Letters to the Editor

LETTERS Foie gras, soil, Senate seniority, judges’ pensions

Maybe chef should be force-fed

Re “Foie gras can be sold in California again” (Business, Jan. 8): I hope the judge’s poor foie gras decision will soon be challenged by the attorney general and be reversed.

Chef Patrick Mulvaney might be less “jubilant” if he were force-fed so his liver would grow to outrageous proportions. His “5,000 years” of tradition logic could also justify all manner of inhumanity people impose on each other, on the animal kingdom and on the environment.

I can (and will) avoid patronizing Mr. Mulvaney’s eatery. Given his justification on inhumane animal practices, I wonder if he buys his poultry from the recently exposed Minnesota processor that apparently places live chickens in boiling vats of water?

Gregory Ptucha, Sacramento

Avoid eateries serving foie gras

As a young rancher of beef cattle in the 1970s I made my decision to be a carnivore, but with as much sensitivity, compassion and knowledge of the process as possible. Patrick Mulvaney likes his foie gras. I like my filet mignon with the fresh organic lettuce and tomatoes I grow every summer. I buy local, grass-fed meat for most of my diet and as often as I can within reason.

If you don’t know what foie gras is, please go online and watch any video of how it’s made. How does that make you feel? You can do two things: First, boycott any restaurant that serves foie gras just by not dining or drinking there. Most restaurants have their full menus online to be checked out beforehand. If, after you get there you see they are serving foie gras, you can walk out and tell the staff why you are leaving.

Secondly: You can write on any blog you choose to let the restaurant owner know why you didn’t spend your money there.

It’s one thing to keep chickens held in pens for the consumer’s purpose. It’s another to torture birds before their inevitable death.

Shana Haynie, Cameron Park

Soil is a vital resource

Re “Antibiotic found in dirt kills some resistant bugs” (Page A1, Jan. 8); This article was most interesting, but old news. Selman Waksman, a soil microbiologist at Rutgers University, received the Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine in 1952 for his isolation of antibiotics from soil.

Note the use of the word “soil,” not “dirt.” Waksman first isolated actinomycin in 1940, followed by streptomycin and neomycin. The work continues today by microbiologists and soil scientists. Indeed, the Food and Agriculture Organization has declared 2015 to be the International Year of Soils, and Sacramento is fortunate to have a soil science exhibit at The California Museum. Soil is a vital resource that we should protect and use wisely. We should not treat soil as dirt.

Michael J. Singer, professor emeritus of soil science, Davis

Boxer should resign in summer

Re “Sizing up successors,” (Page A14, Jan. 9): Seniority in the U.S. Senate is a precious commodity. If Sen. Barbara Boxer remains in office until the end of 2016, then her successor will start out in 2017 as a very lowly, junior lawmaker.

However, if she walks away this summer, then Gov. Jerry Brown could appoint someone to serve out the remainder of her term. Assuming that person runs and wins in the 2016 general election, then California’s newest senator will have a leg up on the other freshman lawmakers.

Denny Freidenrich, Laguna Beach

Judges to rule on pensions

Re “Judges fight for better pensions” (Capitol & California, Jan. 8): Six California Superior Court judges elected in November 2012 filed a lawsuit because they pay a higher percentage contribution for their pension since they didn’t start earning their pay until Jan. 7, 2013. However, their suit claims they were elected in November 2012 and therefore should be excluded from a new law that began Jan. 1, 2013 that clearly states new employees will contribute more toward their retirement fund.

What’s worse is that a court (run by judges) will decide if these judges should be excluded from the 2013 law. A judge determining judge pay is like having a hungry dog guard a meat wagon. Keep an eye on how our judicial branch protects a law that is crystal clear. They should contribute starting with their first earned paycheck, not election results or swear-in dates.

Dave Mulvehill, Rancho Murieta

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