Support the FBI
Re “Trump criticizes FBI deputy director as he plans retirement” (sacbee.com, Dec. 23): For almost 50 years, the FBI has been the premier law enforcement agency in the United States and has been widely respected by professionals around the world.
As an assistant United States attorney prosecuting a broad range of crimes, including fraud, drugs and even some national security cases, and now as an attorney who frequently interacts with the bureau in the defense of significant cases, I know that FBI agents from the very top to those working on the street are dedicated to their work and to the learning the truth when called into service.
They take immense pride in their work and deserve to do so because they are among the finest and bravest among us. So too have federal prosecutors in the Department of Justice earned enormous respect and admiration for their outstanding service to this country from those who work with and against them in our courts.
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For that reason, it is tragic that various elected officials have begun to try to compromise that extraordinary reputation by attempting to undermine the FBI’s and Justice Department’s credibility in order to avoid careful scrutiny of their own conduct.
We all lose when politicians, even newly minted businessman-politicians, get away with such blatant and disgusting tactics. Those efforts are factually and morally wrong and will do damage to our criminal justice system for decades to come. We should not be denigrating the FBI and the DOJ. We should instead thank these brave and honest people for their service and let them do their jobs.
Malcolm Segal, Sacramento
Re “Trump’s gutting of Obamacare is as illegal as it is cruel” (California Forum, Erwin Chemerinksy, Dec. 24): Erwin Chemerinsky asserts that the elimination of the individual mandate in the just-passed tax relief bill will mean that millions of Americans will lose their health insurance coverage.
Clearly, this amounts to polarizing hyperbole. I understand the need for a balanced risk pool in order for a health insurance market to be workable. Obamacare’s approach to this is based on threats and punishment: If you don’t get health care insurance, you will pay a fine.
Chereminsky conflates the individual mandate with other components of Obamacare, such as the elimination of penalties for pre-existing illnesses and coverage for screening, all of which remain unchanged. Rather than focus on a possible bad outcome, why not work to craft a solution that does not rely on punishment?
George Palma, Loomis
Re “Is living in a disaster zone now part of the California package? Wildfires show our risk” (Shawn Hubler, Dec. 24): My nephews have opened up the special toys they so wanted for Christmas. By next year, those will be at the back of the closet. The gift that will last their lifetime is a world that has a hospitable climate.
Failing to address climate change could mean that they may lose their home in a fire, as did families in Sonoma and Los Angeles counties. A good approach to reduce the effects of climate change, embraced by Democrats and Republicans, is a steadily increasing carbon fee with dividends returned to Americans.
A New Year’s resolution to do something weekly to make the world safer for the children in your life – calling your U.S. Representative, writing a check, talking to friends and relatives about climate change – would be the best gift ever. I plan to do whatever I can to ensure a habitable world for my nephews. Will you join me?
Eileen Heinrich, Sacramento
Better light bulbs?
Re “Traditional lightbulbs set to vanish from California store shelves starting Jan. 1” (sacbee.com, Dec. 22): Your otherwise excellent article did not emphasize an important fact. Those oddly shaped, compact fluorescent lights, which are still permitted, contain mercury, a hazardous material. Before LED bulbs came into wider use, compact fluorescent bulbs were the only alternative to incandescent bulbs. The government urged us to use them with no easy method to properly dispose of them. Compact fluorescent light bulbs are not accepted by most electronics recyclers or curbside collection. Since California has continued to allow their use, will the state provide easy recycling for hazmat? Will there be any penalty for Californians transporting incandescent bulbs from out of state?
Stephen P. Keller, Rocklin