Letters to the Editor

Cap and trade, U.S. attorney, church, gunmakers, Sunday jackpot and more

California’s primary focus has been on how to spend the cap-and-trade money; it seems to have avoided showing the results of its emissions crusade.
California’s primary focus has been on how to spend the cap-and-trade money; it seems to have avoided showing the results of its emissions crusade. Associated Press file

Where’s Brown’s transparency?

Re “Brown’s lofty goals come face to face with law” (Forum, Dan Morain, April 24): Gov. Jerry Brown has not been transparent about any progress in reducing California emissions.

California’s flagship climate change policy, AB 32, the Global Warming Initiative, was signed into law in 2006 when California was contributing 1 percent to the world’s greenhouse gas emissions. Ten years later, the state still contributes a miniscule 1 percent and has had little to no impact on the reduction of global emissions.

Yet, by avoiding transparency of the results of its emissions crusade, California’s only focus is how to spend the cap-and-trade money. There remains no progress in reducing greenhouse gasses. And the subsidized renewable energy sources, such as wind and solar, are only able to provide intermittent electricity.

Ronald Stein, Irvine

Only a little blame on bank executives

Re “Goldman Sacs settlement a significant step” (Forum, Another View, April 24): Before U.S. Attorney Benjamin Wagner accuses me of “mischaracterizing” the Department of Justice’s settlement with Goldman Sachs, he should get his facts straight.

Of the approximately $5 billion Goldman Sachs will supposedly pay, about half will be tax-deductible. The settlement contained “an admission of wrongdoing,” but no individual was held accountable, all names were scrubbed from the evidence released by the Justice Department, and shareholders, not wrongdoers, will pay all the penalties.

His characterization of Goldman Sachs’ role in mortgage origination ignores the fact that it provided billions of dollars in funding to subprime mortgage lenders and that its purchase of defective loans is what enabled mortgage fraud to flourish. Goldman’s misconduct was not simply packaging lousy loans into securities; it misled investors about those securities.

Wagner is right when he says, “there is plenty of blame to go around.” It’s too bad that not even a tiny slice of that blame is being borne by the people who ran the banks that engaged in admitted wrongdoing.

Phil Angelides, Sacramento

chairman, Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission

(2009-11)

Two questions for U.S. attorney

Unsurprisingly, U.S. Attorney Benjamin Wagner mounts a spirited rebuttal to Phil Angelides’ attack on the settlement with Goldman Sachs. Surprisingly, Wagner defends his office’s non-indictment of any Goldman Sachs officers, putting the ball into Angelides’ court, stating, “Angelides has offered no specific evidence relating to particular individuals at Goldman.”

Wagner is the prosecutor and, in the natural order of things, one would expect Wagner to state what evidence, if any, his office uncovered regarding such individuals. The Sacramento Bee should press Wagner to provide “yes” or “no” answers to these two questions:

1. Did the Attorney General’s Office find any “specific evidence relating to particular individuals at Goldman”?

2. Were the “two dedicated attorneys” in Wagner’s office – or anyone else on Wagner’s team – tasked with looking for “specific evidence relating to particular individuals at Goldman”?

Dave Bass, Roseville

Soup kitchens and hurricanes

Re “Church’s actions prove Pitts wrong” (Letters, April 24): Letter writer Dean R. Coupe excoriates Leonard Pitts for claiming that social conservatives have never supported African American interests by stating that his church helped with Hurricane Katrina recovery and that he packs “soup mix, etc.”

We all know, of course, that African American interests are completely embodied by disaster relief and soup kitchens. How does one begin to explain how offensive this letter is? Coupe has inadvertently shown Pitts to be absolutely correct.

Michael R. Gorman,

Sacramento

Talk about your flawed analogy

Re “Flawed logic on gunmaker suits” (Letters, April 24): Let’s keep George Alger’s analogy going as he compares gunmakers’ supposed liability to that of carmakers. A car is not designed to be inherently dangerous to either its user or to others. There are tons of safety features embedded into modern cars so that everyone (theoretically) stays safe. Users must pass a test and get a license to operate a car. They must maintain insurance in case something does go wrong.

Guns, however, are designed to hurt others: animals or – in the case of automatic weapons – people. Yet, other than nonstandard background checks, we don’t require any of these items that are required for vehicle operation. If a responsible car owner’s car is stolen and used in a vehicular homicide, whose insurance is liable? How about the same for guns?

David Schnitzer,

West Sacramento

Trump has hustled millions of people

Re “Consultant’s opinion is off base” (Letters, April 24): David Brannan strongly disagrees with Rob Stutzman. Well OK. I strongly agree with Brannan. Donald Trump is more than a narcissistic, vulgar, reality TV star. He is also a spoiled, privileged, huckster who whines like a child if he doesn’t get his way and has used and abused the system to get what he wants at every available opportunity.

That may make him smart to some. To me that simply makes him opportunistically exploitive. If you have changed parties so that you could vote for Trump, you have my sincere sympathy. You’ve been had! But don’t feel alone. Trump has hustled you just as he has hustled millions like you. That’s what he does.

Brian Gray, Pioneer

Hitting the jackpot Sunday morning

Re “Exposing your farm life for documentary is humbling experience” and “Life on the campaign trail through California” (Forum, April 24): Early Sunday morning this sleepy Sacramento Bee reader was delighted to find in the California Forum a wry, poignant literary jackpot on the same page: Not just a cleverly candid David Mas Masumoto article and a satirically skillful Jack Ohman column, but wait, there’s more!

It’s very impressive that Ohman is the recent recipient of the Pulitzer Prize and now we see that the Masumoto family is to be the subject of a PBS documentary, airing on KVIE in early May.

Local guys make good! Good for them, good for The Bee and for us, the reading public.

Congratulations Mas and Jack.

Melanie Kinkead,

Sacramento

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