Letters to the Editor

CSU, e-cigs, measles, swastikas, Number Crunch, endangered cow

A swastika found painted on a Jewish fraternity at UC Davis has created controversy.
A swastika found painted on a Jewish fraternity at UC Davis has created controversy. The Sacramento Bee

At CSU, students suffer most

Re “CSU professors on tenure track now a minority” (Page A1, Feb. 1): To those of us familiar with the California community college system, the decrease in full-time teaching positions and the increase in part-time positions at California State University comes as no surprise. For years, community colleges have been carried by part-time instructors, many of whom work at two or three other campuses to piece together a living wage. Part-timers at community colleges receive no benefits, no retirement and no job security.

Those who choose to do this do it out of dedication to teaching and to their area of study. Part-timers are expected to be as accessible to students as full-timers, but they are not provided with office space or office hours. Part-timers are required to have the same degrees and credentials as full-timers. Often part-timers are asked to donate their time to help the institution. I know one part-timer, well qualified in terms of credentials, degrees and community college teaching experience, who was passed over for a full-time position in favor of a new hire who did not have the appropriate degree and had never taught at any level. He was asked to donate his time to tutor the new hire on how to teach.

I have little sympathy for the remaining full-timers at CSU. Their brethren at the community-college level have spent years ignoring and often denigrating part-timers. Rather than creating more full-time positions or improving student access for part-timers, they have pushed for higher wages and benefits for full-timers so they can have a more comfortable retirement.

It is simply a matter of divide and conquer, and the full-timers have too often cooperated with this effort. Too bad the students are the ones who will suffer.

Jean James, Citrus Heights

Stop selling cigs to kids

Re “A teen’s perspective on e-cigs” (Letters, Feb. 2): It has been suggested that we raise the legal age to buy tobacco products to 21. Fine. Raise it as high as you like. But in the meantime, it makes no difference because the law is not enforced. Some years ago, The Bee reported that an informal “sting” operation revealed that most of the convenience stores in Sacramento were prepared to sell tobacco to children without hesitation. Many even sold loose cigarettes. We need real sting operations, and the consequences need to be dire. Massive fines, and take away the license for years. Otherwise, you might as well drop the law. What good is it if it is not enforced?

Gabriel Lewin, Davis

Vaccinations protect others, too

Re “Obama weighs in on measles, prisoner rescue” (Nation, Feb. 2): President Barack Obama has encouraged Americans to vaccinate their children, but children are not the only people at risk. When women contract measles early in pregnancy, the result can be miscarriages and serious birth defects including deafness, eye defects (which may lead to blindness), heart malformations and neurological problems, such as intellectual disability. Vaccination can prevent these tragedies.

Mary Mackey, Sacramento

UCD vandalism appalls Muslims

Re “Vandal paints swastikas on Jewish fraternity house” (Our Region, Feb. 1): In his thoughtful op-ed on the Charlie Hebdo attack, Rabbi Reuven Taff mentioned the brave actions of Lassana Bathily, a Muslim who saved Jewish hostages by hiding and protecting them when the kosher market was under attack in Paris. In the wake of a recent hate crime against the UC Davis Jewish fraternity that was vandalized with a Nazi swastika, we in the Council on American-Islamic Relations in Sacramento Valley and the Muslim community stand in solidarity with the Jewish community. We condemn all acts of anti-Semitism and hate targeting members of any faith or background. We also applaud the UC Davis student groups for immediately coming together and supporting their Jewish brothers and sisters.

Basim Elkarra, Sacramento

Use of force data misses mark

Re “Hard data informs debate on cops’ use of force” (Numbers Crunch, Jan. 31): That blacks are incarcerated in numbers far greater than their representation of the non-incarcerated population is indisputable. However to suggest that the in-custody death percentage is an indicator of disproportionate use of deadly force is disingenuous and deceptive.

A more meaningful analysis would be to compare in-custody deaths by race to the in-custody population by race. Mariel Garza reports that Hispanics account for 42 percent of in-custody deaths, whites 32 percent, blacks 21 percent and other races 5 percent.

Compare that to the racial makeup of the prison population. According to the Public Policy Institute of California, Hispanics make up 41 percent of the prison population, whites 23 percent, blacks 29 percent, and other races 6 percent.

From these data, one could conclude that white and Hispanic in-custody deaths are in proportions greater than their prison population, and alternatively, black and other deaths are proportionately less than their populations in the prisons. How about including these statistics to “build solid common ground on race and deadly force debate?”

Thomas Hoffman, Orangevale

Death stats lack context

You state that California law enforcement agencies provide data on the ethnicity of the 1,068 people who have died in custody or during the arrest process. You indicate in the headline this is use of force. But that does not appear to be true because the article goes on to say the numbers provided include those in custody who are already serving their sentence and died of natural causes.

How many of these people actually died during the course of an arrest? How many died while in actual police custody while serving their sentences and died of natural causes? Are some of these inmate-on-inmate deaths from prison violence? This is a very confusing article.

David Sullivan, Vacaville

Take comparison further

Now that there is a percentage of deaths in custody of police by race, how about another numbers crunch on percentage of crimes committed by race? I’d like to see if the percentages are close to the same figures.

Gary Sodervick, North Highlands

Grazing over the issue

Re “UC Davis vets rescue family cow from mine shaft after fall” (Page B3, Jan. 31): One has to wonder why anyone would let their family pet, in this case Molly the cow, wander around a pasture with a 30-foot-deep hole in it. I hope the UC Davis vets gave Molly’s owner a hefty bill for their rescue of her hapless beast.

Why wasn’t the presence of this obvious hazard questioned by the article’s author? Sure can’t blame Molly for being clueless, but the owner and the reporter sure seem to be.

Greg Poseley, Orangevale


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