Letters to the Editor

CIA torture report, police killing protests, school day, etc.

Some things worth fighting for

Re “CIA’s interrogations vicious, ineffective, Senate panel says” (Page A1, Dec. 10): We have always considered ourselves to be a compassionate and moral people. If we wish to keep this image, it is up to us to do so, not some small group of men pretending to represent our best interests. We did not vote to be considered evil torturers by the world, yet we are.

The cost of our soul as a nation was hard won with lives, and is far too precious to give up for the sake of saved lives. Had we used this “saved lives” argument, we would never have fought against Hitler, for to stay neutral would have saved American lives. We would never have attempted to abolish slavery and risked lives. We would have ignored Pearl Harbor and surrendered the Pacific to “save American lives.”

If a country sacrifices its soul and reputation for the sake of saving lives no matter what the cost, then maybe our lives do not deserve saving.

Donald Yost, Fair Oaks

Torture infected America

Torture happened. Our country’s torturing of prisoners was nothing less than Dick Cheney’s extreme authoritarian sadism, and it was contagious. It infected millions of U.S. citizens when they were feeling vulnerable.

Most hope to put it behind us, but it has awakened mean-spiritedness within some. Many politicians, a few bad police, bullies and sexual abusers have subtly been encouraged by acceptance of torture in American processes.

In my view, what Cheney’s torturing did to Americans is far worse than anything that would have been done against us.

Bill Trzeciak, Penn Valley

Aren’t we a nation of laws?

Re “Fears of violence over torture” (Page A1, Dec. 9): Why are you giving the CIA’s torture defenders a chance to spin a report that we still haven’t seen?

The fact that former CIA officials might object to a report critical of the CIA isn’t that surprising. But these accounts, along with the stories stoking fears about attacks on U.S. facilities as payback for the Senate Intelligence Committee report, serve to obscure the more important findings about CIA torture and deception – that there was use of torture and plenty of evidence of the CIA lying to Congress about the use of torture. Are we a nation of laws or not?

Gary Fitzgerald, Carmichael

Riots about conduct, not race

Re “No justice? No peace in trashing a Trader Joe’s” (Editorials, Dec. 9): Your editorial board said the real issue is that “we have a problem in this country at the intersection of law enforcement and poverty and race.” The underlying problem is people breaking the law or behaving stupidly to put themselves in dangerous situations.

It’s about personal conduct, not skin color.

Doug Hinchey, Lincoln

Let police pick equipment

Re “Protests continue in Bay Area” (Capitol & California, Dec. 9): Berkeley city leaders believe they know best what equipment is necessary for their officers to use in quelling disruptive protests. This is ridiculous and places officers’ safety in jeopardy.

Decisions as to necessary equipment, such as stun guns and helicopter surveillance, should be made by police command personnel and not by people who should concentrate on city issues for which they were elected or appointed.

Dan Graham, Sacramento

Sleep essential for success

Re “Early class times hurt our children” (Dan Walters, Dec. 8): The phrase “rise and shine” has substance only if one is given the chance to do so. Starting the day later would let kids fully activate their brains and engage in class. Sleep is absolutely necessary to remain healthy and have proper brain function. Parents or guardians who disagree with this idea should consider re-evaluating all of the facts.

As a society, we should provide the best opportunities for the next generation. Youths are the future of our country, and we should allow them every opportunity for success.

John McDowall, Sacramento

Later start time makes sense

In a world where it’s difficult even for most adults to wake up and be at work at 7 a.m., myself included, how can we expect children to do the same?

I agree with Dan Walters and stand behind him in his push for legislators to change the school starting time to 9 a.m. Walters writes that “some students may be standing on cold and dark streets at 7 a.m. waiting for buses.”

I dreaded this exact circumstance as a child. If school times started later in the morning, then children would not loathe the thought of waking up so early to go to school.

In turn, they may have a changed disposition about school altogether, thereby potentially improving their academic performances.

Jana King, Sacramento

Drought bill would help

Re “Emergency drought bill deserves to die” (Editorials, Dec. 6); Your editorial completely misrepresents HR 5781, the Emergency Drought Relief Act of 2014. This is a 20-month stopgap measure to direct federal water managers to capture excess storm runoff for beneficial human use once all state and federal environmental and water rights laws have been satisfied.

That’s important, because we are getting several heavy storms this season and we desperately need to store that surplus – after all environmental demands have been met – for what could be another very dry summer. To lose that stormwater to the ocean, as the editorial advocates, is lunacy.

The editorial claims the bill “would suspend state water rights and environmental law.” It does no such thing. It adopts language that unanimously passed the Senate explicitly requiring all state and federal environmental laws be upheld and adds House provisions to strengthen water rights for areas of origin with federal protection.

Reps. Doug LaMalfa, R-Auburn and Tom McClintock, R-Elk Grove

GOP bad at governing

Re “Lobbyists try to curb climate law” (Page A1, Dec. 8): It’s about time the American Legislative Exchange Council was exposed. This well-funded outfit has operated since the early 1970s and has been very successful in getting politicians to sell out America by pushing tax cuts for the 1 percent, passing dangerous and deeply flawed “stand-your-ground” laws, making sure nothing positive happens on immigration and now going after its latest enemy, the environment.

Now that ALEC and the GOP have the House and Senate, I hope that all the people who voted for these so-called public servants are paying attention and see how they intend to keep America going in the “right” direction.

I think after two long years we all will realize the GOP is very good at getting elected and very bad at governing.

John Campbell, Sacramento

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