Letters to the Editor

Climate change, Ferguson, calories, plastic bags

Jobs in energy efficiency

Re “Lobbyists try to curb climate law” (Page A1, Dec. 8): The Republican Party achieved massive victories in congressional and state elections. The fossil fuel industries spent millions to help achieve this result. Their lobbyists are now seeking payback in the form of legislation to roll back federal efforts to combat climate change. This is fair. This is how our political system operates.

Therefore, it is imperative that GOP officeholders hear another message from their constituents: The interests of the fossil fuel industries do not represent our interests.

Republicans recognize that the real future for economic growth and job creation resides in the millions of jobs that are being created in the energy efficiency and low carbon technology economies. The innovative energies of our entrepreneurs are focused on these efforts, not on digging deeper coal mines. A carbon fee and dividend program further unleashes these energies.

Harold Ferber, Elk Grove

Play with fire, get burned

Re “Counting police killings” (Letters, Dec. 8): As James Mirabell writes, there are too many needless killings from our police forces. However, in most cases these victims have been fighting the police officers, defying the police action to detain them. If a person messes with fire, they can certainly get burned.

If one will cooperate with law enforcement, and are innocent, there would be fewer problems.

Bettye Grant, Roseville

Emphasize interpersonal skills

Re “Mayor is leading the way on Ferguson” (Editorials, Dec. 2): The efforts to bring about a police force that accurately represents Sacramento’s population are valuable and necessary. Beyond this, it is vital that there is an increased emphasis on interpersonal skills and training to ensure that officer-involved deaths, like those in New York and Ferguson, Mo., do not come to Sacramento.

Recently I visited the website of the Sacramento Police Academy. Listed are the topics covered at the academy, which include firearms training, arrest-control-baton procedures, emergency vehicle operations and gas and riot training. Conspicuously absent are skills involving sensitivity, communication, leadership and de-escalation. This seems to reveal a misalignment of the values desired in police officers (protection and service) with those being taught. Training and recruitment of a force that demonstrates empathy and compassion are urgently needed.

Coupled with a racially representative police force, such training would go a long way to building trust in our community.

Sky Massey, Sacramento

We need more exercise

Re “Calorie counts on menus have been due here for years” (Editorials, Dec. 3): Although the initiation of the calorie count on menus law has a great cause behind it, I don’t believe it is going to help decrease the obesity rate in California as much as it is expected. The biggest problem is not just what we eat, but our lack of exercise.

Almost 55 percent of Americans do not get the recommended amount of exercise a week, which is 30 minutes on at least three days. About 60 percent of Americans are obese. Calorie counts displayed on menus may keep consumers aware of the calories they are consuming, and their food decisions may become healthier, but we will still be taking in a high number of calories. What we as Americans really need to change are our exercising habits.

Melissa Pimentel, Sacramento

Bags won’t recycle themselves

Re “Plastic bag cartoon” (Viewpoints, Dec. 3): As a college student, I’ve seen the tables with petitions to stop the plastic bag ban. After hearing their claim that the cost of reusable bags is prohibitive and inconvenient, I rested easy that the movement wouldn’t pick up.

Plastic bags harm the environment, end of story. To complain that spending a few dollars for a reusable bag is an inconvenience is laughable. I’ve seen people spend more money on far less, like cigarettes. I suppose people would rather harm themselves and each other than protect the environment.

I’m glad California has taken steps to protect our beautiful state, but I’m disappointed in my lazy neighbors for ignoring the facts about pollution and environmental damage. Plastic bags won’t recycle themselves.

Jeremy B. Taylor, Sacramento

Untapped source for colleges

Re “Public colleges are underfunded, but no appetite for higher fees” (Capitol Alert, Dec. 1): Considering that Californians pay among the highest income and sales taxes in the country and that our public higher education system is becoming increasingly unaffordable, it’s not surprising that we are unwilling to pay higher taxes or raise student tuition. However, we do recognize the importance of investing in our public school system.

Fortunately, there’s a simple solution to our problem of funding public education. Reforming Proposition 13 so that large commercial properties pay market value property tax rates would bring in billions in reliable revenue each year to our schools and public services.

Instead of continually asking individuals and working families to shoulder the burden of funding our schools, let’s have those that could most afford it – hugely profitable companies like Chevron and Disney – pay their fair share to support the development of an educated workforce they would also benefit from.

Jeffrey Pu, Berkeley

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