Letters to the Editor

Bicycles, pedestrians, city staffers, killer drones

The Taranis drone is controlled by a human operator. But experts say software could allow for a robot to operate it and make life-or-death decisions.
The Taranis drone is controlled by a human operator. But experts say software could allow for a robot to operate it and make life-or-death decisions. BAE Systems

City needs plan for infrastructure

Re “Drawing a line with sidewalks, cyclists” (Insight, Marcos Breton, May 13): One of the primary jobs of city government is to ensure that the city has the proper infrastructure to sustain itself. Sacramento is remaking its central city on top of sidewalks and streets that cannot accommodate the traffic resulting from new development.

Before building the arena and possibly a streetcar system, the city should have embarked on a plan of improvements for all commuters: whether they be pedestrians, cyclists, drivers and users of public transit.

How will these projects succeed if getting to them is problematic for all modes of transportation?

Jason Orta, Sacramento

Drawing lines isn’t productive

After Sacramento’s decades-long push for alternative transportation and year after year growth in bicycle use, we need a thoughtful, public dialogue about how best to accommodate bicycle/car/pedestrian interaction. Unfortunately, Marcos Breton’s use of inflammatory terms like “maimed,” “creamed” and “blow by” serves only to stigmatize.

Our community would be better served by recognizing that bicyclists, drivers and pedestrians all have legitimate interests, each group is here to stay and proceed from there with a respectful dialogue that doesn’t dissuade people from participating for fear of being targeted by inflammatory rhetoric.

Mark L. Andrews, Sacramento

Hansen represents the people

Re “Some see mayor’s critic as having other motives” (Insight, May 14): Some see City Councilman Steve Hansen as critical of Mayor Kevin Johnson because of his own political ambitions. I see Hansen as a representative of his constituents. While Johnson has been on a power grab (arena, strong mayor, additional staff), Hansen has stood for the interest of the people (parks, housing, employment). Sacramentans, when you oppose an arena but your mayor decides he knows better, don’t you need someone like Hansen to stand against him?

Connie Clark, Sacramento

Staff increase stats misleading

Re “City Council debates budget” (Local News, May 13): There’s an old expression about “Lies, damn lies, and statistics.”

It’s unfortunate that The Sacramento Bee’s coverage of the city budget has focused on one statistic: a “70 percent increase” in the mayor’s staff. What a ridiculous number to use. The increase is five positions, giving the mayor of California’s capital 12 staffers – far less than state legislators.

Quibbling over a handful of staff positions that could help accelerate our city’s comeback is just plain silly.

Elena LaPlaca, Sacramento

In favor of killer robots

Re “U.N. pressured to ban development of killer robots – before it’s too late” (Insight, May 12): This thinly disguised humanitarian gesture is a subtle effort to slow our technical progress while allowing our adversaries to catch up.

The historical record is replete with evidence that our adversaries – specifically the Russians, Chinese and North Koreans – do not honor treaties. This is especially true of Muslim countries like Iran. And besides, we already have this capability.

As an aging veteran of dodging surface-to-air missiles and 37 mm anti-aircraft fire in two politically mismanaged “police actions,” I’m all for continued development of remote control of “killer robots.”

John Lowery Sr., Folsom

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