Letters to the Editor

Drone strikes, water markets, almonds, etc.

An unmanned U.S. Predator drone flies over Kandahar Air Field in southern Afghanistan.
An unmanned U.S. Predator drone flies over Kandahar Air Field in southern Afghanistan. Associated Press file

What’s the alternative to drones?

Re “Deeply flawed drone war takes more innocent victims” (Editorials, April 26): The biggest flaw that I see in our war on terrorism is the human race’s actions that have resulted in the many wars that have been fought and the millions who have died in combat or as collateral damage.

I wonder what The Sacramento Bee editorial board would suggest as an alternative to drone strikes. Yes, drones sometimes take innocent lives, but the alternatives are boots on the ground, carpet bombing, atomic bombs or 500 bombing raids that destroyed whole cities during World War II, none of which would improve the situation. The deaths of the innocent people caused by drones are infinitesimal compared to alternatives.

The real solution is for humans to change their attitude toward solving problems using violence.

Don Perera, Rocklin

Focus on drones is misplaced

The deaths of innocent people resulting from drone strikes are of course horrible, as are the deaths of many thousands of innocent people at the hands of mad-dog terrorists. Does The Bee’s editorial board expect perfection in the attempt to kill terrorists bent on taking as many innocent lives as they can? Would the editorial board prefer to send in troops and risk the lives of those troops, who will undoubtedly take some innocent lives by accident in the effort to kill the enemy?

Let’s not lose sight of the fact that the free world is engaged in a war with a relentless bunch of terrorists who will stop at nothing to achieve their goals. That’s where the focus properly belongs.

Robert A. Dell’Agostino, Sacramento

Free market is not the answer

Re “Water market offers better approach” (Viewpoints, April 26): That’s the answer, let free-market forces resolve our water problems. Yes, let farmers who have received water from taxpayer-built projects, for the sole purpose of watering crops, turn around and sell that water to taxpayers at a higher rate. Great idea.

There are ideas in the pipeline, such as reclaiming grey water and cleaning it to drinkable standards, and more efficient agriculture methods. People are waking up to the fact that water is a limited resource, and we don’t need free marketers’ interference.

With free-market ideas, one thing can be sure: that middle- and lower-income citizens will bear the brunt of our water dilemma, with higher costs and less availability.

And do we really want our water in the hands of people who just want to treat it like any other product or commodity? Water is too valuable to let free marketers touch it.

Michael Santos, Antelope

State water is not subsidized

The State Water Project does not “provide water to contractors at heavily subsidized prices.” The 29 public water agencies with water supply contracts with the California Department of Water Resources for delivery of State Water Project water pay for all water supply-associated costs, including costs of repayment of bonds and interest for construction, operation, maintenance, power and replacement of facilities.

The public agencies also pay most of the fish and wildlife preservation costs associated with the project, including those involving endangered species, as well as costs related to water right permits, such as Delta water quality requirements. The State Water Project was approved by Californians in the 1960 Burns-Porter Act and is by definition a multipurpose project with diverse beneficiaries that extend beyond the 29 public water agencies that pay nearly all project costs.

Nancy Vogel, Sacramento

public affairs director, Department of Water Resources

Meat, dairy worsen shortage

Re “Why knock almonds? Alfalfa uses more water” (Another View, April 26): Thank you, Lauren Michele, for calling attention to the fact that water used to grow alfalfa, which is primarily used for forage, is a large percentage of total water usage in California. Richard Oppenlander, author of “Food Choice and Sustainability” notes that 47 percent of water usage is going for meat and dairy products. To the scientific evidence for the adverse health effects of eating meat and dairy, we can add the impact of those industries to our water supply. I can feel good about not flushing the toilet “when it’s yellow, so mellow” and saving 2 to 3 gallons of water, but that’s nothing like the amount I save by not eating a hamburger, 650 gallons.

Ken Newman, Sacramento

Farmers are focused on profits

Wake up, non-farming folks of California. The farmers and the governor don’t care about you. The nut farmers are trying to get us to believe that alfalfa is the bad water-sucking crop. Yes, it looks like alfalfa uses more water than almonds. Alfalfa feeds cattle. Cattle provide us with milk and meat. I can’t remember the last time I heard a person order a double-almond whopper with cheese. Do you? Californians, don’t be fooled by the almond and pistachio farmers crying they are being picked on. They deserve to be picked on. They are making huge profits and abusing the California groundwater supplies at the detriment of non-farmers.

Gregg Johnson, Antelope

Water-intensive crops exported

Lauren Michele’s article conveniently overlooks the basic issue. Why is California using precious water to grow water-intensive crops and forage for the world?

Almonds are a luxury overseas. Alfalfa is exported to feed cows in parts of the world that have never before depended on milk or cow meat. I have no objection to farming to feed America. Exports have profited farmers immensely. I can’t blame them for wanting to make money. But it leaves unanswered the question: “Where is the water to grow these crops?”

If we are in a drought, farmers cannot act as if we are not. Yet, I see new almond trees planted wherever I travel. The TV news stories show the same thing, with water-inefficient rainbirds (rather than drip irrigation) used to water these new plantings.

We are almost out of water. Farmers must also cut back.

Martha Villegas, Orangevale

Public panic on vaccines

Re “Vaccine safety?” (Letters, April 26): Epidemics, outbreak, etc., are terms used to panic the public into vaccinating their children.

I grew up without vaccines. When schoolmates got the measles, we knew it was a matter of time before we also got the measles. We suffered for a short time, and our parents kept the infants away from us.

What has increased since my childhood is autism, bipolar disorder, etc. along with vaccines and the wealth of the pharmaceutical companies. They say there is evidence that vaccines don’t cause autism, yet they admit they are researching to find the cause. If the cause is not known, vaccines cannot be ruled out.

Suzanne Glimstad, Elk Grove