Letters to the Editor

Oak Park, farmers and water, debates, etc.

Although new businesses and apartments have been going up along Broadway in Oak Park for some time, a new wave of pricey, hip businesses has upset some longtime residents.
Although new businesses and apartments have been going up along Broadway in Oak Park for some time, a new wave of pricey, hip businesses has upset some longtime residents. rpench@sacbee.com

Gentrification or renaissance?

Re “Oak Park is the new ‘it’ neighborhood – but not everyone’s happy” (Forum, March 13): Erika Smith’s column uses “gentrification” to focus negatively on the changing Oak Park landscape. As an Oak Park resident for 12 years, I prefer “renaissance” – a period of new growth or activity often associated with revival. It more clearly reflects what is taking place – returning Oak Park to its roots when people felt safe sitting on porches and chatting with neighbors, and children playing in front yards without fear of gunfire and constant presence of prostitutes and drug dealers.

Smith talks of a “largely disconnected demographic moving in.” Come to an Oak Park Neighborhood Association meeting and you’ll have a different perspective. As an Oak Park Redevelopment Advisory Committee member we struggled with displacement vs. blighted structures with landowners who had little interest in the quality of our neighborhoods. Our new neighbors are investing in upgrading homes and businesses they buy. This truly is an Oak Park renaissance.

Mark Rentz, Sacramento

Ohman is right about debates

Re “Debates demean political process” (Forum, March 13): Jack Ohman got it exactly right in his column. The contrast with who the real Republicans are and the blind followers that Donald Trump has attracted to the Republican Party could not be clearer.

Trump’s people are former Democrats, people who never voted, bigots, haters, racists and starstruck fools. Trump’s power comes from stoking anger and fear. There is a better way, and that is to tell people how things can get better and what they can do to reach that goal.

The media has caused this spectacle. They thought it was good for ratings to cause food fights, and now it is out of control. It is way past funny now and time for drastic action as the world looks at us in disbelief.

Kay Walsh, Sacramento

Government should just serve

Re “Thirsty farmers must wise up over water use” (Viewpoints, March 13): Christopher Thornberg’s commentary suggests the government force farmers to grow crops that use less water. This suggests government exists to manage the citizens, not the other way around.

I have news for Thornberg. Government and bureaucrats don’t know best, and the American people don’t need to be micromanaged. Most of us can figure out how to live our lives and run our businesses without governmental interference. Farmers are fully capable of selecting the crops they grow.

Government’s job is to provide the water we need. During 1976-77 drought, our governor called for conservation and declined new storage. Since that time, the population has doubled and water storage has remained essentially the same. Now, same governor, same attitude. Rather than trying to manage the folks, our government should build the storage necessary to provide water during dry years.

James W. Rushford,


No chance to contain mudsnails

Re “Invasion of the mudsnails puts more stress on sensitive habitats” (Forum, Northern Exposure, March 6): I commend Jane Braxton Little’s attention to invasive species, but we missed the chance to contain New Zealand mudsnails when they were confined to a small stretch of the Owens River. They’re now established in at least 10 rivers from Del Norte to Orange County. There are no feasible eradication technologies.

Fortunately, the snails live only in slow-moving water. We must learn to manage our rivers and live with New Zealand mudsnails. We won’t eradicate them.

Lowell Ashbaugh, Davis


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