Letters to the Editor

Cal Fire, Social Security, tunnels, EPA, debate

Paul Goyette, president and CEO of Goyette and Associates law firm, discusses a case involving families of contracted air tanker pilots killed in the line of duty who have filed a claim against Cal Fire saying it failed to pay death benefits required by state law. The claim alleges that Cal Fire officials committed fraud by hiding the law from surviving family members since lawmakers passed it in 2002.
Paul Goyette, president and CEO of Goyette and Associates law firm, discusses a case involving families of contracted air tanker pilots killed in the line of duty who have filed a claim against Cal Fire saying it failed to pay death benefits required by state law. The claim alleges that Cal Fire officials committed fraud by hiding the law from surviving family members since lawmakers passed it in 2002. aseng@sacbee.com

Who should foot the bill?

Re “Pilots’ families say Cal Fire owes them” (Page 1A, Aug. 10): Would someone explain to me why, as a California taxpayer, I should be required to pay death benefits to a contracted employee?

In the real world, the contract company and/or the employee (if they choose) is responsible for any benefits due to death or accidents.

Bud Byer, Sacramento

Use Social Security as intended

Re “Modest changes could sustain program” (Insight, Aug. 10): We have people applying and receiving Social Security benefits who should be ashamed of themselves. Social Security was intended to be an insurance policy against poverty in old age.

We, along with the help of our employer, pay for Social Security, and, in some cases, it is the only income for many elderly people. But for those who have an income over $200,000 as Gov. Chris Christie suggested, they should not collect it.

Use it only if you need it. Don’t use it simply because you can.

Norma Loudenslager, Citrus Heights

Austerity not the answer

The Associated Press’ story about Social Security distorts the program’s “long-term financial problems,” saying it must have benefit cuts and/or tax hikes to be viable. It even omits suggesting a tax on all income.

Meanwhile, the Fed’s own audit says it pushed $16 trillion out the door to cure the financial frauds of 2007-08. Where was the AP’s fiscal responsibility then? Ignore bank bailouts, and relatively small demands of social safety nets might appear unreasonable, but expressing fiscal responsibility only when safety nets are the topic is misinformation that subjects Social Security recipients to unnecessary austerity.

Mark Dempsey, Orangevale

Nonfarmers also have a stake

Re “Farms weigh project risks” (Page 1A, Aug. 9): It is disturbing to see that San Joaquin Valley farmers will primarily be deciding the fate of the twin tunnels project, given their dismissive comments about the extinction of fish species. The health of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta and survival of the fish that live there is something that all citizens should have a stake in.

Paul Milkey, Sacramento

Hold the EPA accountable?

Re “Mine plug blows in Colorado, dumping 1M gallons of waste” (sacbee.com, Aug. 6): I care about the environment, and I am appalled by what the Environmental Protection Agency has done to the Animas River in Colorado.

The devastation will be felt for many years and well beyond the river banks. Taxpayers will have to pay for the cleanup. Citizens are held accountable, but the government gets a free pass? It would be fitting to finally see top officials held accountable for such an enormous, catastrophic poisoning of the water system. If it wasn’t so horrific it would be laughable. The double standard, the injustice, the inability to act as a servant of the people is astounding.

Let’s not kid ourselves, the government would fine, incarcerate and humiliate anyone who did the same.

Sherri Fowler, Placerville

Debate format suggestion

The next GOP presidential debates are scheduled for mid-September at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley. Like the organizers did in Cleveland this month, there will be at least 16 candidates invited to participate in one of two debates.

I don’t think the candidates should be selected for either debate based on their polling numbers. If the decision was left up to me, I’d randomly select the participants for each one.

Forget the lower-tier candidates debating first- and the higher-tier candidates appearing next. By randomly picking eight candidates to participate in one of two debates, all 16 Republican candidates will be on a level playing field.

Denny Freidenrich,

Laguna Beach

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