Letters to the Editor

Cap-and-trade + Confederate statues + Housing + Parkway + Homeless + Poetry

A Great Blue heron on the shore of the American River in Sacramento on Aug. 16, 2017.
A Great Blue heron on the shore of the American River in Sacramento on Aug. 16, 2017. rbenton@sacbee.com

Clean diesel

Re “What California should really do with cap-and-trade windfall,” Editorials, Aug. 23): The Sacramento Bee editorial board’s endorsement of carbon cap-and-trade funds for transportation is diminished by antiquated perceptions of diesel technology. The California Air Resources Board recognizes new diesel as a proven carbon and NOx reduction solution. While manufacturers explore and develop advanced technologies and biofuels, diesel drives California’s economy. Exotic freight solutions may come to market, eventually. Today, no other technology competes with new diesel in biofuel capabilities, efficiency, power, low emissions and reliability. In 2010, diesel trucks became 95 percent cleaner. Older models, however, make up 85 percent of California’s fleet of commercial trucks. Upgrading old trucks with near-zero-emission models is smart. Clean diesel is a big part of the solution for California, today and tomorrow.

Tom Fulks, Diesel Technology Forum, Sacramento

Irrigation

The Sacramento Bee editorial board mistakenly suggests that making farm irrigation more efficient would squander cap-and-trade funds that should be spent on transportation projects. In fact, the California Air Resources Board’s own analysis of the cost-effectiveness of 2016 cap-and-trade expenditures shows farm irrigation efficiency program is one of the most cost-effective greenhouse gas reduction measures. Reduced irrigation pumping reduces electricity use, and electricity generation is a major source of greenhouse gas.

Pete Price, Sacramento

Housing costs

Re “Is Sacramento’s industry hunter starting to hit the target?” (Foon Rhee, Aug. 21): With Mayor Darrell Steinberg so on board with the Barry Broome Boom, it’s hard to tell which one is the operative mayor. Let’s say Broome recruits 30,000 jobs to Sacramento. Just as Californians now flock to Texas or Nevada seeking jobs, we could expect 45,000 or more job seekers some with dependents flocking to Sacramento as word gets out that we are a job mecca. But Sacramento is not close to providing housing. The result will be soaring rents and red-hot housing costs. Maybe we should postpone the population surge until after we demonstrate we can produce affordable housing for all.

Kevin Coyle, Sacramento

Population crisis

Americans want to live in California. That nearly 1 out of every 8 people in the nation lives in California is proof. Since World War II, our growing population has always exceeded housing availability. The truth is it always will. Population crisis, not housing, spawns most other crises. Building more housing won’t change that. At nearly 40 million, does California have a housing crisis or is it really a population crisis?

Gene Denman, Rough and Ready

Employment

Re “Could a job van roll through Sacramento, picking up the homeless for day labor?” (sacbee.com, Aug. 24): Kudos to Councilman Jay Schenirer for floating a proposal to employ homeless people as laborers charged with cleaning public places. It will be a great litmus test to see how many of the 3,665 people identified as homeless sign up for this opportunity. It will make us think about what we should do next in committing taxpayer-funded resources to help those able-bodied who choose not to participate. It also will provide a reality check about whether existing efforts of homeless service groups are creating a comfortable status quo that keeps homeless people stuck, rather than inching them along to be integrated income-earning members of society.

Edward Joseph Pierini Jr., Sacramento

Serna is right

Re “The parkway is already a sewer. This dumb decision by Sacramento County would keep it that way” (Editorials, Aug. 22): One of the joys of the American River Parkway is going down to the river and being entertained by bird songs or watching a mother river otter teaching her three pups to catch crayfish. This is what founders of the parkway had in mind, a place where you can commune with nature. Unfortunately our parkway is slowly being destroyed by a cancer of illegal campers. They destroy habitat and displace the birds and animals. Like any cancer left untreated, the problem will get worse. I commend the Board of Supervisors for taking action to preserve this precious natural resource.

George Nyberg, Sacramento

Save the parkway

Re “A choice for Sacramento: Save the parkway or let it become a sewer for good” (Marcos Breton, Aug. 20): Sacramento city and county should do more to house and help people. But why can’t they do that and protect the American River Parkway as well?. There are homeless people throughout our region. Sacramento County and all the county’s cities should pool their resources and implement a unified plan to help homeless people.

Stephen Green, Fair Oaks

Mental illness

Breton’s column reflects a disregard for the downtrodden in our community, made worse by an abysmal failure to publicize the county’s denial of needed funding for mental health facilities, social welfare agencies and affordable housing for the past decade.

Paul Clegg, Sacramento

Campaign money

Re “One key to affordable housing crisis? Pay construction workers a living wage.” (Viewpoints, Aug 21): Kevin Duncan hit the proverbial nail on the head. Wages are stagnant or falling behind while big business owners rake in record profits. This needs to be fixed. But how? I don’t see the people who have the power the make the necessary changes doing anything that will cut into their income and profits. Members of Congress depend on big money donors to keep their jobs and will not pass legislation that might affect their donors’ bottom line. Maybe campaign finance reform is a solution, but big money donors don’t want campaign finance reform. Government is no longer for the people nor is it by the people.

Katy Pridy, Jackson

Lynchings

Re “For nation to heal, Confederate statues must come down” (Viewpoints, Aug. 24): Almost 5,000 black men were lynched between the end of Reconstruction and World War II. A group called Equal Justice Initiative has produced a map showing where these lynchings occurred. Another map shows locations of 1,500 Confederate monuments similar to ones being taken down now. Many of these statues and lynchings were in the same place. Coincidence? Not by a long shot. These were well planned political statements and policies to legitimize white supremacy and subordinate and segregate blacks.

Richard Kuechle, Lincoln

Civil War

Sacramento can be proud that in Capitol Park, there’s a statue of the Civil War-era minister, Thomas Starr King, who fought slavery, and against attempts by Southern sympathizers to make California secede from the Union. He was a hero who richly deserves to be commemorated.

David Briggs, Grass Valley

Poets among us

Re “Never has a solar eclipse been so timely. At last, something to inspire awe.” (Editorials, Aug. 21): I was touched by your editorial about the eclipse, especially the closing paragraph: “We are stardust. We are light. We are infinitesimal in the cosmos. And like the eclipse, we are oh, so brief. There is nothing like us. Now we are here. And now we are gone.” In the maelstrom of events, there are still poets among us.

Joan Walthall, Sacramento

Take a pause

Part of this editorial was read aloud during our yoga class during the eclipse. We were in awe of the solar and lunar show. We meditated on the message from this beautiful piece of writing. “To the extent that Monday’s eclipse restores a modicum of perspective, we can literally thank heaven for hitting pause.” In that pause, we hope this darkened nation will have a moment to step away from screens, away from distractions, and for just a few minutes, allow the universe to remind where we come from and who we are.

Susan Twining, Sacramento

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