Letters to the Editor

Vaccinations, water, roads and teachers

Protesters wait in the hallway with their children to testify during a hearing in opposition to Senate Bill 277 at the Capitol.
Protesters wait in the hallway with their children to testify during a hearing in opposition to Senate Bill 277 at the Capitol. The Associated Press

Anti-SB 277, not anti-science

Re “Kids’ education will be fine under vaccination bill” (Editorials, April 17) and “History and law are on the side of vaccinations” (Editorials, April 27): To say Senate Bill 277 “simply makes it harder for a vocal, misinformed minority of science deniers to endanger the health of the majority’s children” (April 17) inaccurately describes the many of us opposed who do vaccinate.

I’m not anti-vax; all three of our children have had numerous vaccinations. I’m not anti-science; classes I taught at the University of California always included how to critically examine reported findings – including the difference between correlation and causation.

The editorial board also says, “Vaccination against contagious disease is … a societal duty.” (April 27). This inaccurately describes SB 277, which also requires vaccinations for noncommunicable diseases, for example, hepatitis B, transmittable through needle sharing or sex, and tetanus (think rusty nails).

What’s more, until recently, the bill would have allowed vaccines against “any other disease deemed appropriate.” Opposing such overreaching language was and is consistent with public health, medical choice and the California Constitution.

Michelle Leah Gomez, Aptos

A plea to lawmakers

Please do not pass the vaccine bill that is going through the Legislature. Please maintain this “choice” for people. Vaccines are proven “science” as far as the antigen-antibody interaction is concerned, but it has a flawed delivery that has not been proven to be totally safe.

Taxpaying citizens should have a choice in how they handle their health. Don’t cave in to fear and knee-jerk responses. Our California population has doubled over the last 30 years with the existing choices in place. Auto accidents in the last two weeks in Sacramento have killed more than this last measles outbreak nationwide; perhaps it would be better public health policy to eliminate the use of cars.

Tom Pesko, Placerville

Public panic over vaccines

“Epidemics” and “outbreak” 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 got the measles. We suffered for a short time, and 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.

Suzanne Glimstad, Elk Grove

Not a roads scholar

Re “Inferior roads divide California” (Viewpoints, April 30): My heart goes out to Joe Mathews for the suffering he has endured trying to travel on east-west highways in California. Imagine not having a super highway to barrel down to reach that cultural and economic mecca of Crescent City. Highway 152 is so poorly designed that cautiously driven vehicles unexpectedly veer off the road or smash head-on into each other. We need to straighten and add at least two more lanes to each east-west highway no matter the cost. While we’re at it, let’s make Crescent City the northern terminus of the bullet train.

Wes Hill, Sacramento

It’s all about profit

Re “Why knock almonds? Alfalfa uses more water” (Another View, April 26): Wake up nonfarming 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.

Don’t be fooled by the nut farmers crying they are being picked on. They are making huge profits and abusing the California groundwater supplies to the detriment of nonfarmers.

Gregg Johnson, Antelope

Why grow crops for export?

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?

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

Martha Villegas, Orangevale

Salute to Head Start teachers

As the nation celebrates Teacher Appreciation Week, I salute Head Start teachers. As one of 32 million Head Start alumni, I am a testament to the incredible difference these teachers are making in the lives of vulnerable children.

Despite my parents toiling as migrant farmworkers, they were able to enroll me in a Head Start program in Chico. My Head Start teachers instilled in me a confidence and love of learning. I graduated from high school, college and graduate school. I worked in early education for more than 15 years, and today I am proud to work for the California Department of Education – and Head Start paved the way.

So as the nation celebrates teachers across the country and Head Start celebrates its 50th birthday, I want to thank Head Start teachers for their truly life-changing work that is giving all children a chance at success.

Karmina Barrales, Sacramento

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