Real gas math
“For fuel economy standards, one national program” (The Sacramento Bee, section 9A, Sept. 23): Thank you to the authors for this fine example of political math. Improved fuel economy does increase the cost of cars, but they also use less gas. American families can do the math: The less expensive car costs more in gas over the life of the car, resulting in a more expensive car. The less expensive car also releases more pollutants and particulate matter into the air, increasing lung disease and asthma and raising health care costs for taxpayers. Automakers are already building cars to meet California’s standards. The ill-considered revisions to these standards will increase automakers’ costs. Another financial disadvantage to automakers and autoworkers, other countries will not buy 35-mpg cars, because they want 50-mpg cars. The cheapest, healthiest, safest, best-for-auto-companies action is to leave the Obama administration fuel standards in place. Use real math, not political math, please.
Scientific distrust is ignorance
“Environmental science is facing a public-trust crisis. Here’s how to fix it” (sacbee.com, Sept. 24): My own social sciences training was facilitated by keeping the skeptic’s tools always within reach. And it explains why I am skeptical of Wayne Linklater’s assertion that environmental controversies “originate from our different values.” The shocking statistics he provides that show the high level of distrust so many have of the scientific community are not from mere ignorance, but willful ignorance. Why? The dark side of our democracy’s guarantee of religious freedom, likewise, ensured the right to believe whatever one wished no matter how fantastical or blatant a disregard of reason and science. There is no “value” in that, and such thinking doesn’t merit the winking given to a child’s belief in Santa Claus. Environmental scientists, awed by the magnificence and complexity of their work, are generally by nature and experience humble and not confrontational. The latter is the social scientist’s job.
Spencer P. Le Gate,
School district is the real bully
“Enough is enough. It’s time for good people to stand up to Sacramento teacher union’s bullying” (sacbee.com, Sept. 24): Speaking as a Sacramento City Unified School District psychologist and parent of a recent graduate, I think Marcos Bretón should not be so reckless in slinging the word “bullying.” Bullying is when a person or group of people who have more power than another uses that power to control, embarrass or harm others who are in a vulnerable position. Bullying is not when a group of educators stand up to people who are in power. Superintendent Jorge Aguilar and Board President Jessie Ryan control our pay checks (and are withholding our retroactive pay), lay off educators, keep information from the public and refuse to honor our contract and obey the law. That’s bullying. We canvassed voters with a leaflet that includes the phone number Ryan uses to conduct school board business. We advocated for our children. That’s not bullying – it’s democracy. And more importantly, it’s the right thing to do for our children.