Letters to the Editor

Parkway fires, wages, ferrets

A grass and brush fire at Discovery Park.
A grass and brush fire at Discovery Park. aseng@sacbee.com

Stop the fires before they start

Re “A burning silence on river parkway” (Insight, Aug. 19): I am outraged by the continuing destruction of our beautiful American River Parkway.

There are lawyers standing up for the homeless, but who stands up to defend the trees? Every tree burned will take at least 30 years to regrow.

There needs to be a zero-tolerance policy for illegal camping in the parkway.

Don’t tell me it’s too expensive to send officers out at night. What is it costing to put out the fires? And what is the cost to Sacramento of a completely blackened and barren parkway from Campus Commons to Discovery Park?

Lawrence Bernstein,

Sacramento

Parkway fires need real solutions

Marcos Breton is punching down, blindly and hard, when he argues that the best way to protect the parkway from a spate of fires is to crack down on homeless people and to confiscate their stuff.

It is very unlikely that most campers are at fault for these fires – no one wants to burn down their own home, so most are careful. If a bad apple is committing arson, then campers are the most in danger, not the most to blame.

Tearing down campsites isn’t a durable solution. Does Breton think that campers choose to live in the (now often burning) parkway bushes by choice?

Rather than persecuting the vulnerable folks in the parkway, let’s dedicate real funds to permanently housing and caring for them rather than focusing on confiscation and displacement that will strip them of their possessions, making it even harder to recover and get off the streets.

Craig Segall, Sacramento

Livable wage the right thing to do

Re “Sacramento workers deserve a livable wage” (Viewpoints, Aug. 19): Thanks to Lino Pedres for his clear and accurate distillation of the need to raise the minimum wage in Sacramento.

If somebody is working full time, they should be paid a wage by their employer that provides them a decent living.

The point of paying for labor is to make it so that the worker reaps some measure of return on the value they create in the economy.

Employers who rely on welfare programs to subsidize the paltry wages they offer violate this fundamental principle, and they should adjust their business model to pay a living wage.

Jeff Otter, Sacramento

Wages not outsiders’ business

Lino Pedres’ appeal for a “livable wage” is emotionally appealing but morally and intellectually bereft.

Is it “fair” to pay me $10 an hour for my $5-an-hour skills while my co-worker is paid $10 an hour for his $10-an-hour skills? Is it “fair” for a third party, with nothing invested in the business, to tell the business owner how much to pay his employees? A fair wage is between you and I, what you agree to pay and I agree to take.

Pedres claims that could put $291 million back into our economy. Where does he think that money will go if not to wages, under the employer’s mattress? It will be spent or invested, perhaps in the community, perhaps elsewhere.

John Paul, Carmichael

Ferret legalization is a bad idea

Re “California ferret legalization cleared to collect ballot measure signatures” (Capitol & California, Aug. 19): Legalizing ferrets in California would be yet another example of the irresponsible leadership by our state government. Given the ferociousness, fertility and lack of larger predators to control them, ferrets could rapidly multiply and spread to become a threat to chicken farms, small native birds, animals and pets – ferrets only eat meat.

Like skunks, ferrets can carry rabies which can infect their owners – often small children.

I know, supposedly the ferrets will not escape, or only neutered, non-reproducing, vaccinated ferrets will escape and thus cannot multiply nor spread rabies.

There are many examples of imported animals overrunning areas without natural predators to control their spread – boa constrictors and pythons in the Florida Everglades, mongooses and brown tree snakes in Hawaii, rabbits in Australia, and ferrets in New Zealand.

Ron W. Loutzenhiser, Galt

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