Watch it burn
“Our state wants to burn. It’s the California way to forget” (sacbee.com, April 11): Ryan Sabalow nods to earthquakes, floods and even volcanoes as risks of living in California. However, his story is focused on fire, the people who insist on living in fire-prone areas, and their choice to live there even after their homes burn again and again. “What do we do?” he asks. “Tell people we’re going to stand by and watch their homes burn?” Yes. Exactly. We will have no choice. We have built in the fire zone, on the slopes of volcanoes and on crumbling Pacific cliffs. We won’t change willingly. We are already straining society’s ability to cope with these disasters. We are not far from the point where all we will be able to do is watch it flood, crumble and, yes, burn.
A great disservice
“(Destined to Burn) Survival Code: Half the homes in Paradise built under strict building codes survived the Camp Fire. Here’s what you can do to be prepared for the next wildfire.” (The Sacramento Bee, section 1A, April 14): The Sacramento Bee’s special report “Destined to Burn” was sensational, knee-jerk and contrary to its claims, decidedly unsophisticated. It ignored the proactive local efforts to combat the risk of wildfires. As homeowners in two of the areas cited in your report, we are well aware of the risks. We also are well aware of the efforts to mitigate these risks in recent years. In Nevada City, for example, Pacific Gas and Electric Co. replaced aging natural gas pipelines in neighborhoods in the wake of the San Bruno gas explosion in 2010. In Sunnyside-Tahoe City, also cited in The Bee’s report, dead trees were removed on public lands that are adjacent to homes, a collaborative response to the Angora Fire in 2007. Educational campaigns and fire mitigation efforts are ongoing. You have done a great disservice to our communities in stating the obvious, while ignoring the proactive steps that are being taken locally.
Solving the budget
“Sac Unified teachers at crisis point, part 2: A culture of dysfunction” (sacbee.com, April 09): One thing Marcos Bretón gets right in his column about the Sacramento City Unified School District teacher strike is that the fate of 40,000 kids is on the line. As a school worker, I was disappointed to read that the rest of the column personally attacked individuals. Teachers don’t take strikes lightly. Focusing on personalities diminishes the seriousness of the crisis before our community and trivializes the real issues. We need to reduce class sizes, increase services to students and stop reducing the staff that provide care and guidance to our students. SCUSD should affirm and extend its negotiated agreement with the Sacramento City Teachers Association. It is needed now more than ever. Teachers have agreed to apply health care benefit dollars to class size reduction and programs. Their willingness to do so is necessary to balance the budget without layoffs or cuts to student programs. Let’s engage in a more impactful discourse about resolving the budget together.
“Macron wants fire-ravaged Notre Dame rebuilt within 5 years” (sacbee.com, April 16): My heart goes out to all residents of Paris that are struggling with this tragedy. I’ve always dreamed of traveling to France to see the country’s beautiful historic landmarks. The Notre Dame cathedral was one of them. The Notre Dame cathedral is more than just a place of worship. It is part of France’s deep, rich history and, similar to the French people, it has both survived and been unbroken in the worst of times of humanity. We must all come together and demand answers to this tragedy. Maybe that, in some way, will give everyone enough closure to push us to have the drive to rebuild from the ashes.