Letters to the Editor

Baltimore riots, survivor’s guilt, antibiotics, water, taxes, etc.

Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake and Police Commissioner Anthony Batts hold a news conference Tuesday in the aftermath of rioting following Monday's funeral for Freddie Gray, who died in police custody.
Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake and Police Commissioner Anthony Batts hold a news conference Tuesday in the aftermath of rioting following Monday's funeral for Freddie Gray, who died in police custody. The Associated Press

No quick fix, indeed

Re “No quick fix to the slow-rolling crisis of brutality” (Editorials, April 29): Why not listen to the president of the National Fraternal Order of Police, Chuck Canterbury? He said, “In any place that there’s tension with police officers, there’s abject poverty. And politicians tend to use their law enforcement as the only form of government that those neighborhoods ever see.” Right on, Canterbury.

Police brutality is a blister on flesh scorched by laissez-faire capitalism. The wealth gap increases as poverty settles like a shroud over some communities. Poor neighborhoods have many potential troublemakers: unemployed and hopeless youth, addicts, untreated mentally ill, the homeless and the desperate. With justification, the police are wary and the poor cynical.

As The Bee’s editorial stated, complex problems don’t have quick fixes. Maybe if we had more decent-paying jobs, better safety nets like the rest of the developed world, better health care for the mentally ill and better education for all citizens, the situation might improve. Until then, police and the poor slay each other on the front lines of the wealth wars.

Joan Maredyth, Sacramento

No survivor’s guilt

Re “Vietnam nightmare, survivor’s guilt” (Letters, April 30): John McCormack does not speak for me. I have no survivor’s guilt. Do I disagree with the way the war was prosecuted? Yes. Do I remember my friends that died? Yes. Does it break my heart that more than 58,000 of my generation died in a war we were not allowed to win? Yes.

But, like many others, I came home, assimilated into civilian life and got on with my own life. I will always remember those that died. Always. But I do not feel survivor’s remorse ... just anger and blessed that I survived.

Dennis Johnson, Woodland

Stop overuse of antibiotics

Re “Tyson to stop human antibiotics in chickens” (Business, April 29): Tyson Foods, one of the largest meat producers in the country, announced that it plans to end antibiotic use in its chicken production by 2017. This is an important step toward solving one of the most serious public health crises of our time.

Antibiotics are becoming less effective. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently found that 2 million Americans get sick from drug-resistant bacteria each year, and nearly 23,000 people die. And the primary reason for this problem is the overuse of antibiotics on factory farms. About 70 percent of antibiotics are sold for use in food animals.

Tyson’s announcement is a positive step forward. However, in order to tackle this growing public health problem, we need more comprehensive action by state leaders in California. Now is the time for state legislators to stop the routine use of antibiotics on all livestock in California.

Jason Pfeifle, Oakland

Fish need water

Re “Too much water for far too few fish” (Another View, April 28): Bruce Maiman’s April 21 commentary, “Another fish tale mucks up the state water debate,” very correctly pointed out that the recent water release to the Stanislaus River was not to protect 29 steelhead trout. This was well-known to the National Marine Fisheries Service, the Department of Fish and Wildlife, and any reputable fisheries biologist you talk to.

Of course, that wasn’t good enough for Steve Knell, general manager of the Oakdale Irrigation District. He continues to spread more “muck” in his recent comments. He quotes an old agricultural business saying: “It’s not what you sow, it’s what you reap that counts at the bank.” It’s only fair, then, for me to quote an old parable that explains the concern of all those trying to protect the environment: “Blessed is he that has removed all the water from the river, for he shall no longer need to protect the fish.”

William H. Crooks, Sacramento

Show us the water first

Re “Good approach to permits” (Letters, April 29): Local contractor Jeff Deming states the benefits of government entities issuing building permits in a more timely manner. His points are valid, but before any office in the state issues a permit to build a residence, it should have to disclose to the State Water Resources Control Board the new source of water that will serve the occupants. Water saved by current residents, under threat of fines up to $10,000 as recommended by Gov. Jerry Brown, would not qualify as a new resource.

Wes Hill, Sacramento

Another reason to up taxes

Re “GOP wrong on highway complaints” (Capitol & California, Dan Walters, April 29): Although Americans believe that there is a lot of traffic congestion on the highways, I do not believe that constructing new roads is going to solve the problem. Road construction also aids in traffic congestion. Road construction is generally limited to during daylight hours and moderately warm weather. In many cases, the work has to be adjusted to prevent closing of a highway completely.

Overall, building new roads and bridges just means there are additional construction jobs. Doesn’t improving roads and bridges sound like a total waste of money? The ones I drive on are completely fine! And who’s going to pay for it? Yes, the American taxpayers. Guess our taxes are going to go up even more.

Nisha Ghag, Lathrop

Don’t interrupt classes

Re “No more on school’s plate” (Letters, April 27): Providing breakfast for needy children is a great goal. However, Assembly Bill 1240 seems to be motivated by the thought of passing the burden of the expense onto the state. This could occur should the school districts and county offices of education assume new duties that would be mandated by the state. This is because the bill includes a provision that requires breakfast to be available after instruction has begun.

Picture a teacher trying to instruct a class of young children in reading, writing and arithmetic while some of the children are busy eating breakfast. Our teachers have a difficult job. Let us not interrupt their classes with menus and spilt milk as they assume the new duties of serving breakfast.

John Olsen, Carmichael

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