Letters to the Editor

E-cigarettes, Boxer race, police, debt, Bee ad, etc.

E-cigs and Citizens United

Re “Bill by Sen. Mark Leno would put major restrictions on e-cigs” (Sacbee.com, Jan. 26): Sen. Leno’s bill would ban e-cigarettes from certain public spaces and indisputably protect public health. Previously, similar bills have been set aside and if you follow the money, it’s easy to see that campaign contributions from cigarette companies played a role.

This is yet another example of big donor money influencing elected representatives to action directly contrary to the interests and health of their constituents. Ever since Citizens United, which allowed corporations to give unlimited money to influence elections, our representatives have had less incentive to legislate for the public good because it was not citizens but corporate special interests that got them to Sacramento.

To make Congress work for its citizens, we need a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United, as well as public matching funds.

Katharine Hirata, Berkeley

Willie Brown’s nepotism

Re “Willie Brown’s guide to alienating voters” (Editorial, Jan. 28): Brown’s comments regarding our other choices for the soon-to-be-vacant Barbara Boxer seat are an affront to California’s Latinos. His support of Kamala Harris is a clear example of geographic and racial nepotism. I would think it’s in her best interest to separate herself from this kind of help, and to encourage all to participate in the process, in the interest of good politics and fair play.

Ma Figueroa, Sacramento

Chief’s wish list falls short

Re “Police chief’s wish list diverse” (Page A1, Jan. 28): In response to nationwide police shootings, Sacramento police Chief Sam Somers seeks a wish list that includes increasing cultural sensitivity training and recruiting new officers from diverse backgrounds. He also wants body cameras for his patrol officers at a cost of more than $600,000 a year. Bias and use-of-force training would cost another $300,000, minimum. Although I support the chief’s wish list, I feel nothing in it addresses the real problem. The real problem lies not with the police, but with the uncaring, incompetent and irresponsible parents who fail to teach their children to respect authority and obey the law. Society needs to do more to hold parents accountable when they fail to teach their children to be respectful, law-abiding and productive members of society.

Jose Gonzalez, Roseville

Body cameras just a start

Good on the SPD for asking for body cameras and bias/use-of-force training. However, I am skeptical about the “growing our own officers” idea. Professor Justin McCrary indicated that law enforcement agencies rarely reflect the communities they serve. That fact alone foments distrust, and distrust gets in the way of recruitment goals. Meaningful transparency is great, but pushing past defensive stances is even better.

Another tangible idea for building trust is truly involving community members in developing policing plans and monitoring the outcomes. Showing that achievement is not only possible but encouraged is critical.

Women and people of color also must be fully represented in senior management positions in law enforcement organizations. The Los Angeles and San Francisco police departments appear more successful and could provide some ideas for best practices.

D.K. Telling-Rodriguez, Elk Grove

The real DUI culprit

Re “Ignition interlocks are an effective weapon against drunken driving” (Viewpoints, Jan. 28): I am sick and tired of the misdirected advocacy against drunken driving. No one is asking why our society encourages people to drink at weddings, funerals, sporting events and any other celebratory event with little or no concern that many of us can’t handle our drinks. No one is asking why movies show people solving their problems by taking a couple of shots of alcohol, lighting up a cigarette and grabbing their gun.

Stiff penalties and ignition interlocks are after-the-fact solutions that don’t get to the underlying social conditions that cause drunken driving. Thank God for Google’s self-driving car, and too bad for the vultures that plague our misdirected judicial system.

Benjamin Fuentes, Folsom

Sacramento’s priorities

Re “City ‘wall of debt’ dangerously high” (Editorial, Jan. 27): Great editorial. Sacramento lacks adequate funding to fix the huge concentration of public housing in Upper Land Park. Public housing should be integrated in smaller numbers throughout Sacramento – nearer successful schools for the children, public transportation, grocery stores, jobs, etc.

But with Sacramento’s wall of debt, city officials inappropriately rely on limited federal grants, giving land to private developers and leaving the over-concentration in the one area, just squeezing in more high-density affordable and market-rate housing to cover costs and maintain profits.

The city says it can’t afford to do better but incurs huge debts for the new sports palace. Bad funding priorities?

Craig Chaffee, Sacramento

The Bee’s priorities

The Bee has been this town’s biggest cheerleader for spending hundreds of millions of public funds on an arena for a billionaire and his multimillionaire players. Now you have the nerve to complain about the city’s growing wall of debt. Really?

Jack Kashtan, Sacramento

Full-page hate speech

Re “Paid Advertisement” (Page A11, Jan. 28): Shame on The Bee. I am deeply offended by the full-page, paid advertisement by Dale Creasey, a “Scriptural Christian,” bashing homosexuality in the name of God.

Would The Bee run a full-page ad written by a racist, denouncing people of color? I think not. Prejudice (and even hate) toward gays, lesbians and LGBT people is appalling and should not be tolerated by anyone in our society, let alone our local newspaper.

Diana Landau, Sacramento

‘Scriptural Christian’?

Initially, I was taken aback by Dale Creasey’s “Scriptural Christian” ad – even offended. My second emotion was to feel sorry for the writer who, while entitled to his opinion, hides behind the skirts of religion while harboring such fear of and insensitivity toward his fellow citizens.

Some may fault The Bee for publishing the ad, but ad space is an important source of revenue for newspapers. If this were not the circumstance, given The Bee’s editorial stance on guns, why would we see ads for firearms outlets on so many pages?

Inadvertently, Creasey may have moved the conversation back to where it needs to be, though. Because the real lesson is this: On the road to equity, tolerance and mutual understanding, we have miles yet to go. Therein rests the challenge.

David Delgardo, Rocklin

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