Letters to the Editor

Marriage equality, Nestle water, traffic fines, etc.

A flag is held over a stack of 60 boxes containing copies of an appeal filed with the U.S. Supreme Court, during a Restrain the Judges news conference Monday in front of the Supreme Court in Washington, D.C. Opponents of same-sex marriage are urging the court to resist embracing what they see as a radical change in society’s view of what constitutes marriage.
A flag is held over a stack of 60 boxes containing copies of an appeal filed with the U.S. Supreme Court, during a Restrain the Judges news conference Monday in front of the Supreme Court in Washington, D.C. Opponents of same-sex marriage are urging the court to resist embracing what they see as a radical change in society’s view of what constitutes marriage. The Associated Press

Constitution protects everyone

Re “Voters and legislators, not judges, should decide gay marriage” (Viewpoints, April 27): Margaret Bengs says marriage has been known throughout history as between a man and a woman. Throughout history, it had also been commonplace to keep slaves. Tradition and historic acceptance is no reason to continue doing something harmful to others. Neither is a majority vote. If voters somehow approved the internment of Muslims in a fit of xenophobia, it would be struck down by the courts. The Constitution exists to protect people’s rights, regardless of whether or not those people are in the majority.

Isaac Smith, Sacramento

Judges must act

According to Margaret Bengs, a handful of unelected judges should not be allowed to thwart the desires of “the people.” Sorry, but Bengs needs to brush up on history. For decades, “the people” of virtually every state prohibited interracial marriages. Substitute the words “black” and “white” for “man” and “woman” and her screed could have been printed prior to the Supreme Court’s 1967 opinion in Loving v. Virginia, declaring anti-miscegenation laws unconstitutional.

In 1948, a handful of judges in California declared California’s ban on interracial marriages unconstitutional. These justices, like their unelected colleagues on the Supreme Court, are constitutionally required to tell state legislators and citizens of the states when they discriminate against other individuals by denying them equal treatment under the law. Millions of Americans may unfortunately want to discriminate, but fortunately we live in a country where judges have the power to tell them they can’t.

Daniel Broderick, Sacramento

Wrong on marriage

Margaret Bengs got it completely wrong. The individual should decide whether, and whom, to marry – not the voters, the legislators or any other government entities. And individual churches have the right to discern whether the church will officiate at their marriage. The government gets to register marriages for whatever official benefits and obligations a couple incurs by entering into marriage. That’s all. As a voter, I have no say in anyone’s marriage, nor should Bengs have a say in anyone else’s.

Laurel Beckett, Davis

Courts are part of democracy

Since when are courts not a legitimate part of our democracy? According to the logic of Margaret Bengs, the courts are seemingly an outside force, rather than one of the three branches. Oh, I see. Courts aren’t legitimate when they don’t agree with you. Just tell that to Al Gore after the 2000 election.

Chris Cappa, Sacramento

Focus on Nestlé is unfair

Re “Bottling plant draws fire over city’s sale of water” (Our Region, April 26) and “What about Nestlé?” (Letters, April 26): I appreciate letter-writer Steve Caruso and activist Bob Saunders’ water conservation concerns, but singling out Nestlé is unfair. They use a minuscule amount of city water while operating efficiently and contribute to our local economy in many ways.

We learned in The Bee’s Sunday Feast section that some restaurants can use up to 5,000 gallons of water a day, so will conservation-minded Crunch Nestlé be picketing any of them soon? And what of the thousands of swimming pools in Sacramento County that can evaporate up to 20,000 gallons a year, will those homeowners be your next target?

Bringing attention to water-wasting fracking is a legitimate goal for Saunders’ organization, but attacking and picketing an honest and diligent business is misguided and unwarranted.

Stephen Farr, Folsom

Nestlé facts don’t add up

Nestlé officials respond to criticism of their bottling plant in south Sacramento by using faulty logic and being disingenuous with their facts.

According to a company spokeswoman, using water to create and sell a product is no different from using water to manufacture any consumer goods. Really? Where does Nestlé procure the plastic bottles that they fill with city water? According to National Geographic, making those plastic bottles uses 17 million barrels of crude oil each year. It also takes 60 ounces of water to make one 20-ounce plastic bottle. Nestlé admits it pays only $1 per 100 cubic feet of water, yet does not dispute the 1,000 percent profit from buying municipal water. Crunch Nestlé representatives are right when they question the logic of allowing this during one of the worst droughts in California history.

Kathleen Papst, Sacramento

Bee is right about traffic fines

Re “Extra fees added to traffic fines are an unfair burden” (Editorials, April 27): For once, I totally agree with The Sacramento Bee’s editorial board. What one ends up having to pay when ticketed for something very minor is shocking. For example, if a camera films you rolling though a right turn at 1 mph at a red light in Elk Grove, the fine ends up north of $500. For a middle-class person, that is annoying. For a poor person, it is truly devastating. When one actually goes to court to fight it, the city of Elk Grove pays two officers overtime pay to come to court and show the judge a video.

So, officers write as many tickets as they can so that they can stack their paychecks by going to court during their off hours. Most municipalities pay their officers automatic overtime to go to court, even if the officer loses the case. This practice needs to end.

Brian Bainter, Elk Grove

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