Letters to the Editor

Austin Tice’s ordeal, Sasha Abramsky’s view, diversity, American River

Freelance journalist Austin Tice went missing in Syria in 2012 and has not been heard from since.
Freelance journalist Austin Tice went missing in Syria in 2012 and has not been heard from since. TNS

Free press

Re “Real journalists are being tortured, kidnapped and killed to give you #realnews” (Craig Forman, McClatchy Newspapers, Aug. 14): I don't know Austin Tice, but did work among many who took such risks at the AP, helped James Foley get his documents to go to the Middle East, and lost a good friend, journalist Anthony Shadid, in Syria. Thank you for your eloquence in explaining the risks journalists take, why their work is important, and putting it in the broader context of the issues around a free press. You speak for many of us.

Sue Cross, Institute for Nonprofit News executive director, Los Angeles

Speak their names

It is critical that people in positions of power in the news industry keep the names of journalist such as Austin Tice in the public’s mind, to enhance chances that their captives will keep them alive. Perhaps even more importantly, it will help buoy the hopes of individual captives, should they somehow hear that their plight is still be publicly discussed. A friend and neighbor of mine, Grant Wolfkill, who recently passed away, was a photo journalist working for NBC news in Laos in 1961 when he was captured and held in brutal captivity by the Communist Pathet Lao for 15 months. One of the reasons Wolfkill and his fellow captives survived was because NBC, like you, made a point of speaking his name. He was released on Aug. 17, 1962. President John F. Kennedy awarded him the Medal of Freedom on Oct. 9, 1962. Grant wrote a book, “Reported To Be Alive,” which is worth reading.

Bill Barker, Shelton, Wash.

Twist rant

Re “How history will judge Trump and Republican leadership” (California Forum, Aug. 13): On a Sunday when most of us are saddened by the hatred and inexcusable violence in Charlottesville, we faced a twisted, hate filled rant by far left Sasha Abramsky. Virtually every single thing he said was either not true or twisted beyond recognition. Trump declared a national opioid emergency and where does this poison come from? Mexico. He has proposed fixing the immigration system for the first time in years to a system based on need and merit like many other civilized nations. Illegal immigration is down by 70 percent since he was elected. Trumps tough talk to North Korea was 30 years overdue, and will force China to pressure North Korea into standing down. Abramsky will not recognize the damage Barack Obama’s failure to lead did to this country and to the world.

Kay Walsh, Sacramento

Hateful diatribe

Sasha Abramsky has written the most hateful diatribe against President Donald Trump with nothing more than his unsubstantiated opinion as back-up. It’s okay to dislike the man or his policies, but have specific examples.

Janis Hightower, Orangevale

One-sided

I have enjoyed Sasha Abramsky books in the past. “American Furies” is one of my favorite. Unfortunately his column was a one sided leftist rant. Replace Donald Trump with Barack Obama, change a few things, and you have the same feelings from those on the right. Disdain goes both ways, depending on who is in power. Many people voted for Trump because Hillary Clinton was not an option under any circumstances.

Liz Forsman, Sacramento

Clear case

Sasha Abramsky’s column presented a very clear case for why we need to end the Presidency of Donald Trump. His outrageous behavior should not be tolerated in any civilized setting, let alone the highest office in the land. The damage he is doing to this country is irreparable. We can’t afford to wait for the Mueller investigation to yield grounds for impeachment. I urge California's two U.S. senators to publicly advocate for his immediate removal from office.

Calvin Tremble, Sacramento

Diversity

Re “Country needs to remember the hard lessons of Prop. 209” (California Forum, Aug. 13): People who want to end affirmative action fail to recognize that diversity in the classroom matters enormously. I have been a professor for 30 years and have taught constitutional law in classes that are almost all white and in classes that are racially diverse. It is vastly different to talk about racial profiling by the police or discrimination in housing or affirmative action in a diverse classroom. Preparing students for the racially diverse world they will experience requires that they learn in racially diverse classrooms.

Richard Gilbert, Lincoln

Poverty

Re “Why does California have the nation’s highest poverty level?” (California Forum, Aug. 13): I appreciated the thoughtful analysis of Dan Walters of CalMatters, primarily because it was not a political statement, but a frank discussion of the correlation between poverty, high housing prices, poor job prospects, and low educational rankings. These issues lock people into poverty. The article did not point to either political party. But the state is a one-party state, and that party has implemented, and designed the system that is rigged against the poor. Ironically, this party also claims to be the hero of the downtrodden. Jerry Brown has ignored these realities, and I expect the majority in the legislature will continue to ignore it as well. Teachers unions and public service unions line their pockets. Indeed, without a cultural tsunami under the dome, the jobs, homes and good schools, will be out of reach for Californians. Lifting people up from poverty will require a cultural shift under the dome. Sadly, this is not likely to happen unless the voters revolt.

Margaret Lewis, Sacramento

Parkway

Re “Things to do on American River Parkway” (Jack Ohman, Aug. 13): I was saddened to see Jack Ohman's cartoon on the American River Parkway. As a cyclist I have ridden the parkway often and am grateful I have this amazing resource. Thankfully, I have not experienced any attacks. Now, I do think twice about riding there. This gem needs help from many perspectives. How about another cartoon with possible solutions?

Jane Adams, Sacramento

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