Repair state library annex
Re “Why state building upkeep lags” (Jon Ortiz, March 26): I have been back in my native city for several months doing research for a book. Several days per week I’m at the splendid California State Library Annex on N Street working in the California Room collections. This building was opened just 20 years ago. Yet each time I enter the handsome lobby, I cannot help but notice the brown water stains on the second floor veranda – and above that, a taped plastic-covered hole in the ceiling that masks the source of that old leak. Yes, old leak: This “temporary” cover-up has been like this for at least two years. But there’s more.
Go inside the microfilms storage and reading room, and the same leak extends back into that area, too. A plastic trash can has a “permanent” spot on the carpeted floor amidst the microfilm storage drawers, its location defined by a rectangle of blue masking tape and a sign asking patrons not to move it. I could decry the tired state of the microfilm reader-printer machines, but the condition of the CSL Annex bothers me every bit as much. Frankly, it’s embarrassing to me as a native Californian.
The Department of General Services claims to not have the wherewithal to hold staff, engineers, building repair crews and plumbers, yet supposedly the state is flush with cash. So, Governor Brown, how about coercing the Legislature to hire a commercial roofer, plumber, drywall crew and painter – whatever it takes – to come fix the problems at the State Library Annex? And maybe get those microfilm machines fixed or replaced, too.
Kevin Bunker, Sacramento
Harris forgets free speech
Re “Harris seeks to block ‘kill gays’ initiative” (Page A1, March 26): Attorney General Harris may be as disgusted as I am about the “Sodomite Suppression Act,” but for her to try and block it under the limited rules allowed to suppress free speech is worse than the attempt to have the initiative put on the ballot. I don’t like Nazis parading, or NAMBLA members exhorting man/boy love as something other than pedophilia. But free speech is a necessity in a free society.
Pat Whittington, Grizzly Flats
We need ‘bee pastures’
Re “Bees need allies beyond nut farms” (Editorial, March 22): There was a time when John Muir wrote of great swaths of “bee pastures” in California. These consisted of native wildflowers alone. We can mimic these bee pastures of old by transforming one of the most widespread monocultures of all: lawns. By adding dandelions and white clover to the lawns we can acquire dynamic accumulators of nutrients for the soil. These plants are also excellent bee nectaries. They can bloom up to 10 months a year and can be mowed on a regular basis. Although this will certainly benefit the bees, it is no panacea. Lately, for me, it is rare to see more than two bees per site, no matter what is blooming or how big the bloom. Silent spring indeed.
William Lesh, Roseville
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