Letters to the Editor

PUC, Cuba, Republicans, terrorism, Switzerland

New PUC pledge is welcome

Re “PUC pledges to improve safety, rebuild public trust” (Viewpoints, Jan. 15): The new president of the California Public Utilities Commission, Michael Picker, pledges to work toward openness and transparency.

This is a welcome focus for an agency that has a reputation for being walled off from people whose lives are deeply impacted by its decisions.

The PUC has been embattled over the discovery of inappropriate communications between regulators and utilities. I have been concerned that new PUC leadership would respond by erecting even higher walls, and that would make their process even less efficient.

It is great to see Picker begin his tenure as president with a pledge for transparency and ideas on how to increase channels of open communication.

We need to fundamentally rethink how decisions are made about what resources we rely on to power our economy. An open process can help make that happen.

Brad Heavner, Sacramento

MLB should expand to Cuba

Re “New rules open Cuba up to more U.S. travelers, trade” (Page A14, Jan. 16): Sports diplomacy has always been one of the most effective ways to bring countries together. To aid reconciliation between the U.S. and Cuba, Major League Baseball should expand by putting a National League and an American League team in two Cuban cities.

The U.S. would benefit because Cuba already knows and loves baseball, so there would be a mutual bond. MLB would benefit because an even number of teams in each league will do away with regular interleague play, which is a nuisance. Plus, it would immediately gain access to the player talent and consumer base that thrives in Cuba. And baseball fans would benefit because the “World Series” would be more international.

This could be a win-win-win situation, so Congress and MLB should go-go-go!

Steev Schmidt, Sacramento

GOP needs to get a clue

Re “GOP aims to strengthen 2016 nominee by picking early” (Page A9, Jan. 16): By tricks and shenanigans – that’s the only way Republicans can win elections. Gerrymander districts, restrict minority voters, tell lies on their propaganda machines – do anything but present qualified, intelligent candidates.

All they can offer us are men under indictment, radical religious right-wingers or political retreads such as Jeb Bush and Mitt Romney. Now they think by moving their convention up earlier, they can get their “message” out sooner and longer, rather like the aspirin commercial that deliberately gives you a headache so you’ll buy its product.

Get a clue, GOP. Stop trying to trick us out of our votes; earn them with viable candidates who think more of their constituents than their own lust for power.

Marcella Lorfing, Sacramento

Krauthammer pushed failed war

Re “Obama seems oblivious to new terrorist threat” (Viewpoints, Jan. 16): The intellectual dishonesty of Charles Krauthammer’s latest column, in which he posits three phases in the “war on terror,” is breathtaking. Nowhere does he invoke the failure of the decade-long Iraq war, for which he bears special moral responsibility having been its loudest cheerleader. The Bush administration sowed chaos in Iraq. We are now inheriting the wind.

In fact, he is almost never right, but he’s not deterred from asserting claims with absolute certainty and zero humility.

When U.S. policymakers followed his advice – or at least policies aligned with his advocacy – it got more than 4,000 American servicemen and women killed, more than 10,000 of them injured and countless Iraqis murdered.

Let’s not repeat this mistake again, for our own sakes.

Jack Peterson, Rocklin

Krauthammer doesn’t get it

How predictable that Charles Krauthammer complains that President Barack Obama isn’t doing enough about the Islamist terrorist threat. Yes, Obama should have gone for the photo op in Paris. He didn’t; get over it.

As for the conflict in the Middle East, it is greatly more complicated than Krauthammer seems to understand. The Bush administration’s mistake of invading Iraq and creating a power vacuum for the Shia to enter is a threat that we cannot comprehend. Krauthammer was wrong when he supported the Iraq invasion. He still doesn’t seem to get it.

Rich Pflugrath, Carmichael

Administration is incompetent

Re “Ambassador represents U.S.” (Letters, Jan. 16): All major countries have embassies located in Paris, so to say that the United States was represented at the Paris march by its ambassador to France doesn’t wash.

I am sure that in addition to heads of state, their ambassadors were also present. This is just another example of an administration that has risen in incompetence.

Bill Walters, Carmichael

Swiss do it right on economy

Re “Franc soars after Swiss drop cap on its value” (Business, Jan. 16): Switzerland, like all of Europe, suffered an economic downturn. But, unlike Europe, Switzerland has fully recovered.

Its GDP is 8 percent above the pre-recession level. Its unemployment rate is 3.5 percent. The increased value of the franc means it will import more from its trading partners and export less, effectively providing an economic boost. This is what we should want to see from such an economy.

So, kudos to Switzerland for doing it right.

Gary Fitzgerald, Carmichael

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