Letters to the Editor

Mammograms, school testing, bullet train

A radiologist uses a magnifying glass to check mammograms for breast cancer in Los Angeles.
A radiologist uses a magnifying glass to check mammograms for breast cancer in Los Angeles. The Associated Press

Mining law protects water

Re “A new law stops gold dredging” (Dan Walters, Oct. 23): I appreciate Dan Walters’ sentimentality about the Gold Rush, but environmental standards have thankfully changed since then.

So when the courts ruled that a gap in our law prohibited California from protecting its rivers and streams from degradation caused by suction dredge mining, the Legislature responded appropriately with the passage of my SB 637, which is now law.

Now miners will be required to get a permit from the State Water Board. Miners claim that the environmental impacts of suction dredging are minor. If that is true, they’ll have no problem getting a permit. However, years of scientific evidence suggests it often degrades waterways. That’s why those with a vested interest in water quality supported SB 637.

Sen. Ben Allen, Santa Monica

Mammogram rule is science at work

Re “Breast cancer test guidelines change” (Page 1A, Oct. 21): As a retired breast surgeon, I’m convinced that far too many women have been exposed to the very real physical and psychological risks of overdiagnosis through the overuse of mammography.

The new guidelines are based on research and confirm what surgeons have suspected. Women under 45 are still encouraged to get mammograms if they’re at increased risk for developing breast cancer, and no one is discouraging breast self-exam. Keep checking yourself and trying to understand what the experts are saying.

Scarlet La Rue, Sacramento

Support limits on school testing

Re “Limit school testing, Obama policy urges” (Page 6A, Oct. 25): The Obama administration now recommends that only 2 percent of classroom instruction time should be spent taking tests.

With state-mandated and district-mandated benchmark tests, my middle-school-age child will be taking tests for 11 days this year. His teachers care about him and know how to assess their students better than any mandated test.

So why should he be spending valuable instructional minutes being assessed in a generic, useless way? Leave teachers alone to teach and students alone to learn.

Nicole Baradat, Orangevale

Aftershock fest a monster headache

Re “Lighter traffic reported on Day 2 of Aftershock” (Page 3A, Oct. 26): The Monster Energy Aftershock Festival lived up to its name. To hold any type of event of this magnitude in an area accessible by only two-lane Elverta Road was the epitome of poor planning.

On Saturday, there was a line of cars two miles long, just another example of Sacramento County and Gibson Ranch General Manager Doug Ose mismanaging a county jewel for profit.

David Flaa, Elverta

Baby Cousins: Grow up now

Re “Cousins, Kings can go far – without the scowl” (Andy Furillo, Oct. 26): Andy Furillo mostly hit the nail on the head. I have not been able to support or enjoy the Kings since angry Baby DeMarcus Cousins joined the team back in 2010. His constant “world-class rolling of the eyes,” scowl, and grimace have sapped all the fun out of games.

Until Coach George Karl gets Cousins to grow up – or shows him the door – the Kings will never win a championship.

Robert George, Davis

Bullet train vs. self-driving cars

Re “Bullet train likely to miss budget, deadline targets” (Page 3A, Oct. 25): By the time the bullet train project is halfway done, most of us will be comfortably settled in our self-driving, all-electric cars as we cruise down I-5. Of course, we may well be stuck behind a 18-wheeler passing another 18-wheeler on the potholed two lanes we’ll still have down the spine of California.

Wouldn’t a third lane for our major arteries be money better spent?

Sunny Beebe, Grass Valley

California lacks leadership, water

Re “Despite big storms, state can’t capitalize,” (Insight, Oct. 26): This state has two big problems: One, the lack of infrastructure to capture stormwater and the other, our leaders patching rather than fixing problems.

California would be a desert without its snowpacks for water. The climate is changing to less snow and more droughts and floods. What are our leaders doing? Organizing a storage infrastructure to respond? No, they are telling us to use less and stock sandbags. Time for new leaders, or it’s welcome to the desert of the great state of California.

Bill Jurkovich, Citrus Heights

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