Letters to the Editor

Police, Drought, Methane

Members of the Sacramento Police Department pray before a forum on Ferguson on Aug. 20 at the Guild Theater in Sacramento.
Members of the Sacramento Police Department pray before a forum on Ferguson on Aug. 20 at the Guild Theater in Sacramento. aseng@sacbee.com

We need more female officers

Re “Diversity, one recruit at a time” (Insight, Foon Rhee, Aug. 18): I appreciated Foon Rhee’s column about recruiting for ethnic diversity in the Sacramento Police Department, which is definitely needed.

I was surprised that statistics for women weren’t included. Will there be similar research and coverage of the underrepresentation of women in the Police Department? Coincidentally, the column was printed on the 95th anniversary of the 19th Amendment, which gave women the right to vote.

Heather Fargo, Sacramento

Drought not only farm threat

Re “Drought’s impact pegged at $2.7 billion” (Capitol & California, Aug. 19): The economic toll of fallowing more than a half million acres of farmland in California this year because of the drought is staggering. However, American Farmland Trust finds it worth noting that while this land has been temporarily taken out of production, California has permanently lost more than 1 million acres of farmland to urban sprawl in the last 25 years. This land will never come back into production.

Certainly, water is critical to agriculture and the drought is an immediate concern to all Californians. But water isn’t the only issue threatening the future of farms. The loss of farmland to development is at least as much of a threat to our state’s agriculture industry and everyone who depends on its harvests.

Edward Thompson Jr., Sacramento

More reasons to limit methane

Re “U.S. proposes to cut methane from oil, gas by nearly half” (Page 8A, Aug. 19): As a physician, I support the Obama administration’s proposal to curb methane emissions. Besides the serious effects of natural gas on climate change, methane is a medical hazard here and now.

Natural gas is a precursor to ground-level ozone, a dangerous pollutant that leads to exacerbating asthma conditions, the worsening of other chronic respiratory diseases and even direct permanent damage to the lungs.

For the sake of the public health, we must act to reduce this pollutant. A powerful plan, gaining support among liberals and conservatives, is to place a fee on all carbon emissions. Fees on carbon would be returned to American households as a dividend, so as not to burden the public with extra costs. This would address the true cost of methane pollution.

Methane is often thought of as a safe and clean energy source. It is not. Arsenic and lead are also natural, but I cannot advocate their consumption.

Janice L. Kirsch, Berkeley

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