Letters to the Editor

Pot farms, city parks, firefighters and paramedics, aid in dying, charter schools

Commercial-style farms grow marijuana in timberland near Willow Creek in Humboldt County. The California Department of Fish and Wildlife Watershed Enforcement Team and State Water Resources Control Board document the farms’ use of land and their relationship to the condition of the watershed.
Commercial-style farms grow marijuana in timberland near Willow Creek in Humboldt County. The California Department of Fish and Wildlife Watershed Enforcement Team and State Water Resources Control Board document the farms’ use of land and their relationship to the condition of the watershed.

Pot farms’ impact needs attention

Re “State wants pot farms to become water-wise” (Page 1A, Aug. 30): It’s encouraging that elected officials and regulatory agencies are finally seriously addressing legal cannabis cultivation’s environmental impacts and trying to bring cultivators into compliance with existing law regarding water use. However, the focus needs to be broadened to include the breadth of environmental impacts.

The photos accompanying The Sacramento Bee’s article about the special enforcement program on cannabis cultivation were a stark reminder that cultivators clear cut large swaths of forest land, which breaks up forest ecosystems and damages wildlife habitat and corridors.

Are the cultivators doing this in compliance with state laws? Is pesticide usage consistent with state law?

In many cases, the answer is no. And the result is serious environmental damage at a time when, given the effects of climate change, intact forests and protected wildlife are more important than ever to ensure species survival.

Kathryn Phillips,

Sacramento

Don’t let our great parks languish

Re “As city parks acreage grew, maintenance staffing shrunk” (Local, Aug. 30): Sacramento’s great parks make our neighborhoods into great communities – when they are given the proper attention and investment they need. Sadly, they’ve taken a back seat to other flashier projects.

In 2010, I started a volunteer effort to restore Tahoe Park after years of cutbacks left our park neglected and, in some places, dangerous. Neighbors turned out en masse to put their sweat equity into the playgrounds, trees, baseball diamonds and soccer fields so that they would be preserved for people of all backgrounds to use. Parks are inclusive in that way – we all draw enjoyment from them regardless of class or creed.

The parks department should be a high priority for our elected leaders. Their management needs real improvement and modernization on a world-class scale, and the rank-and-file maintenance workers who are our boots-on-the-ground in our 200 parks should be hailed as the all-stars they are.

Isaac Gonzalez,

Sacramento

Don’t cut corners with firefighters

Re “Three alarms for city fire” (Insight, Foon Rhee, Aug. 25): I am retired from a fire district, and I must disagree with Foon Rhee’s statement that the Sacramento Fire Department should not have firefighter/paramedics responding on ambulances to save money.

When you put firefighter/paramedics on ambulances, they serve to increase the service to the constituents. It allows cross-staffing so that more firefighters can be on scene during an incident, and higher-quality medical assistance can arrive on a call immediately. You see, when a fire truck responds, so does an ambulance, and vice versa.

Rhee says that putting EMTs on ambulances means that “training is less expensive and takes less time.” If you said the same about your doctor, would you still use his/her services?

Sometimes you get what you pay for. A life-saving system is worth it.

Leona Allen,

South Lake Tahoe

Involving doctors changes profession

Re “In support of choice in dying” (Letters, Aug. 27): About 2,500 years ago a profession arose with the intent to cure, not end lives. Now some want to change this profession to do both? Seriously?

Remove the oath “First do no harm, give no poison even if asked,” then who will advocate for the sickest, the weakest? How will each patient know which hat the physician is wearing when?

Please don’t ask the medical profession to seek dying or killing. Anyone else designated by the state could do so. To ask medicine to kill will destroy the profession. And with it patient care.

Dr. Raymond Mikelionis, Roseville

Charter schools not the answer

Re “George W. Bush praises school progress since Katrina devastation” (Page 8A, Aug. 29): George W. Bush praised the charter takeover of New Orleans public schools and his brother Jeb has pushed for charter schools, vouchers and the proliferation of the testing that punishes public schools, teachers and children.

After Hurricane Katrina, a devastated New Orleans served as the beachhead for the national movement to remove public schools from local democratic control and accountability. The dependence upon veteran, certified teachers was shifted to temporary, inexperienced teachers, such as Teach for America recruits.

Rather than serving the initial purpose of charter schools to allow for replicable innovation, the charter movement has been hijacked by free-marketers who are being allowed to pick-and-choose their students.

Linda Strauss, Sacramento

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