Letters to the Editor

Drones, missions, Delta, labor and Iran

While Senate Bill 142 masquerades as a privacy protection bill, it will stifle new technological innovation without providing real privacy protections, a letter writer says.
While Senate Bill 142 masquerades as a privacy protection bill, it will stifle new technological innovation without providing real privacy protections, a letter writer says. The Associated Press

Drone bill will stifle technology

Re “Don’t prematurely limit the potential of aerial drones” (Viewpoints, Aug. 23): Senate Bill 142 by Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson sits on Gov. Jerry Brown’s desk. While this flawed legislation masquerades as a privacy protection bill, it will stifle new technological innovation without providing real privacy protections.

SB 142 is overreaching legislation that hinders the use of small, unmanned aerial vehicles by imposing impractical, unworkable altitude limits that are flatly inconsistent with limits set by the Federal Aviation Administration.

This legislation would not protect you and your family from operators using unmanned aerial vehicles inappropriately and provides no recourse should someone take pictures or videos from his or her property.

Instead, SB 142 prevents the use of unmanned aerial vehicles with no monitoring mechanisms from helping to improve daily life, from delivering medicine from the pharmacy, to tracking traffic and making agriculture more efficient.

SB 142 will hinder an industry that is developing technological advances to improve our lives. It deserves a veto.

Michael Drobac,

executive director,

Small UAV Coalition,

Washington, D.C.

Governor, hear me out on water plan

Californians know Gov. Jerry Brown wants a better way to convey water from Northern California to the farms and urban areas south of the Delta. His tunnels plan, an isolated conveyance facility that would take large amounts of water from the Sacramento River before it reaches the Delta, would do more harm than good.

There is an alternative to the tunnels that would retain their benefits while eliminating their harmful features. Called the “Western Delta Conveyance System,” it would restore the natural flow pattern in the Delta, would be cheaper to build, would prevent the need to confiscate property right-of-way from 300 Delta farms and would provide good-quality water on a reliable basis to south-of-the Delta water users.

Having served as the state’s first Delta watermaster, I’d like 30 minutes of the governor’s time to explain this better water conveyance alternative.

Craig M. Wilson,


A native’s view of missions, Indians

Re “Church to examine portrayal of Indians” (Local, Sept. 5): The article on the Roman Catholic portrayal of the California mission system is symptomatic of the conqueror rewriting history.

Though many can say this is a significant step toward changing the way we look at the mission system, it falls short of reality. That reality must include the word genocide. It is estimated that more than 400,000 natives died during the enslavement of California’s Indians by the Spanish missions. As a native, I am appalled at Californians ignoring the killing fields that happened on their own soil.

We need to change the curriculum in all schools and to advance public acknowledgment of these crimes against humanity.

Wesley Elliott, Sacramento

Stronger climate action needed

Re “Class bias in green subsidies” (Capitol & California, Sept. 6): Dan Walters and some letter writers dis climate regulations and green subsidies. They don’t get it.

Climate policy law is supposed to give authority and responsibility to agencies like the California Air Resources Board. That’s the normal pathway for statutory law to become administrative law, which produces regulations. There is public notification and access throughout the process, so what’s the beef?

We’re bothering with this because policy set years ago helped curb our appetite for electricity to the point that we now use 50 percent less per capita than the rest of the nation.

To naysayers and to Dan Walters, who complains about renewable subsidies, I offer this. New policy choices require incentives, and mature fossil fuel industries still get the lion’s share. Carbon reduction in our skies helps everyone, while reducing health care costs.

Bill Martin, Quincy

Unions caused their own demise

Re “President Obama must speak out and stand up for labor unions” (Viewpoints, Sept. 7): I agree with Cherri Senders that the middle class of old was built by unions, but they also caused their demise.

Businesses are willing to pay wages and benefits that allow them to remain competitive. But this was ignored by union leadership, and the manufacturing jobs went overseas. Unions remain mostly in the government sector since they are able control this group and there is no limit on their costs.

Donald E. Perry,



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