Letters to the Editor

Legal system, family values, redistricting, high-speed rail, etc.

Eileen and George McDavid, right, embrace their son Eric along with Sarah McDavid and Jenny Esquivel outside of the Federal Courthouse in Sacramento following Eric McDavid’s release on Jan. 8.
Eileen and George McDavid, right, embrace their son Eric along with Sarah McDavid and Jenny Esquivel outside of the Federal Courthouse in Sacramento following Eric McDavid’s release on Jan. 8. jvillegas@sacbee.com

Justice out of balance

Re “Eco-terror case reflects poorly on legal system” (Forum, Another View, Jan. 25): As a former federal prosecutor who held several supervisory positions, I support the point made by attorney Mark Reichel, who wants a better answer for the apparently outrageous prosecution of his client, Eric McDavid.

You might be tempted to pass over his client’s story of evidence withheld because of his alleged crime. But we ignore this kind of tragedy at our peril because it’s in the tough cases where we learn whether our system is working – or not.

While we often see stories of those unjustly convicted being released from prison, where are the stories fully explaining how it occurred or who is being held accountable? And when can you recall an FBI agent or a prosecutor being investigated for this kind of misconduct, let alone fired?

The only people who know what happened are those who engaged in serious misconduct and their supervisors, who do not hold them accountable. We spend more time investigating deflated footballs than how and why innocent people spend years in prison. If only one side is forced to play by the rules, the scales of justice never will be balanced.

Nancy Luque, Carmichael

Children are a responsibility

Re “Time for ‘family values’ Congress to value families” (Editorials, Jan. 25): American culture has managed to politicize every aspect of our human experience. Already, our entire lives are evaluated, judged and measured based on political platforms, hijacked by extreme factions.

Children are precious human beings, our prospects for a brighter future. Yet all considerations relate to the dollar.

The issue avoided by everyone: responsibility. Couples need to take prime responsibility to only get pregnant if and when they’re ready to responsibly raise their children. Our communities and culture must take responsibility to provide programs and systems which support healthy child development – the likes of which we rarely see from our politicians.

Mitch Darnell, Sacramento

Tired, old argument

The Sacramento Bee editorial board’s antipathy toward teachers’ unions is well-established and always perplexing. But the reference in this editorial defies logic. To be sure, Congress must address the critical child care dilemma that families face every day. It is crucial, and the case for such action was clearly made in the editorial. But then this ugly sentence appeared: “There’s the school day, which ends long before most parents’ workday, for reasons that eludes everyone but teachers’ unions.” What? The Bee simply cannot blame the nation’s “child care dilemma” on teachers’ unions. The editorial board has blamed everything else on teachers’ unions, but this strains the paper’s credulity. The Bee owes its readers an explanation.

Chuck Aswell, Penn Valley

Leave redistricting to voters

Re “Legislators take aim at voters’ rights” (Forum, Dan Morain, Jan. 25): Shame on the Arizona legislature for suing to dismantle that state’s independent redistricting commission. Arizona argues that only the legislature has the power to revise voting districts. This goes against voters in Arizona and many other states (having noticed that legislators of the dominant party will gerrymander districts to protect their incumbents) passing initiatives to establish independent redistricting commissions.

Dan Morain quotes Dan Backer, a Republican attorney who supports the Arizona suit, which is headed for the U.S. Supreme Court: “The Constitution clearly delegates (redistricting) power to the legislatures.” If that’s true, and if the legislatures clearly abuse their power, shouldn’t “We the People” have the authority to reclaim that power to sustain the health of the body politic? Thanks goes to Kamala Harris for defending the voters’ right to establish independent redistricting commissions like we have in California.

Dave Parker, Elk Grove

The cause of low voter turnout

Re “A powerful history lesson about civic responsibility” (Editorials, Jan. 25): While I will not argue the value of the movie “Selma,” I certainly can offer another valid reason for voter lack of interest. In the last election, we were all inundated with negative ads by Doug Ose and Ami Bera. If they gave us a good reason to vote for them, I cannot remember what it was.

Although we did vote, my wife and I did not mark either of them on our ballot, and if there had been a third choice, he or she would have gotten our vote. With this kind of election advertising, how can we expect anyone, let alone young people, to get excited about voting?

Billy Barnes, Carmichael

Revisit high-speed rail plan

Re “Without a viable funding plan, high-speed rail goes off its track” (Viewpoints, Jan. 18): For the record, I am a high-speed rail proponent, and I believe Rep. Jeff Denham is right. The current plan, as conceived, will primarily benefit Los Angeles and San Francisco. What about the rest of us? How are we supposed to get to the rail stations? Is there a plan for that?

Let’s stop trying to maximize federal funding and stop pretending that we can move directly from old rail infrastructure to 200 mph trains. Let’s instead plan to upgrade existing rail corridors for speed, connect existing commuter rail lines and submit a more realistic plan – for a fraction of the cost. The time is now.

Victor Simon, Sacramento

Prioritize roads over bullet train

Re “One way or another, you’ll pay more for roads” (Editorial, Jan. 17): I’m glad to see a shift in focus from the high-speed railways to our more pressing matter of deteriorating roads.

Matthew Ng, Sacramento