Letters to the Editor

Mental health, water, UCD swastikas, measles, Kochs

A swastika found painted on the walls of AEPi, a Jewish fraternity at UC Davis.
A swastika found painted on the walls of AEPi, a Jewish fraternity at UC Davis. Sacramento Bee

Mental health act works

Re “Yet again, mental health funding act gets slammed” (Editorials, Jan. 28): As the co-author of Proposition 63, the Mental Health Services Act, it pains me to read the Little Hoover Commission’s highly critical report on implementation of the act. This isn’t to say the report is wrong.

The report gets it right when it summarizes that an improved oversight commission “must be able to better tell who has benefited from the act and how. The commission’s ability to tell this story will provide a basis for continued state support of these programs.” This is precisely what my institute, which I founded this year, will help state leaders achieve. The institute’s mission is to advance public policies and political leadership on the issue of mental health.

In the coming weeks, we will unveil our first piece of work that will help directly address the issue of using data to demonstrate the positive impacts of Proposition 63 – a demonstrable success story that is nevertheless sometimes difficult for mental health professionals to tell. I have no doubt that Proposition 63 has changed the lives of millions for the better and has kept the faith with what it promised taxpayers. I am just as confident that by expanding political leadership on mental health, we can fix the bureaucratic obstacles to demonstrating these significant ongoing achievements.

Darrell Steinberg, Senate President Pro Tem (ret)

Upcoming clean water vote

Sen. Barbara Boxer of California will have a fresh opportunity to defend public health on Wednesday when lawmakers in Congress convene a hearing on a proposed Clean Water Rule that would guarantee protections for America’s streams and wetlands, including those in California. Some in Congress are seeking to block the rule. But I hope Sen. Boxer will continue to ensure that our children will have clean water to swim in and that everyone in California will have safe water to drink. She is the top Democrat on one of the committees that is taking part in the hearing.

At issue is a proposal by the Environmental Protection Agency to close a loophole in our national clean water rules and restore protections to small streams, wetlands and other waters that are vital by themselves and because they directly affect water quality downstream. The streams this rule would protect feed into the drinking water supplies of 117 million Americans. It’s a common-sense adjustment that is long overdue and supported by reams of scientific evidence. We’re counting on Sen. Boxer to support clean water.

Jon Devine, Natural Resources Defense Council, Washington, D.C.

Drought response off-course

Re “Water chief preaches conservation – and balance among users” (Page A1, Jan. 31): It is good that Water Board Chief Felicia Marcus conserves water by entering her shower while the water is still cold, but it is far from enough. Enforcing archaic century-old water rights law is required.

What is not required is relaxing minimally protective water flow standards every time someone cries for relief. Balancing beneficial uses is a tough job and someone has to do it. But they can do it well. What is needed is meaningful water flow standards kept in place and a water market operated so that agriculture can sell discretionary water to those with essential needs. If a farmer can pay bills and wait for wetter times to farm, their use is discretionary. Why is so much fear being injected into the public understanding of water management?

Richard Morat, Sacramento

Drought fines unenforced

We keep seeing people watering their yards. Water runs down the gutters freely without the homeowners apparently noticing. A lot of people ignore a 20 percent surcharge and short of hitting them in the head with a hammer to get their attention, nothing will work for the habitual wasters unless the $500 fine is enforced. Roseville is close to realizing a 20 percent reduction in usage, but this is being done on the backs of the responsible citizens. It is time for everyone to share the pain. Enforce the $500 penalty.

Don Warden, Roseville

Stop hate at UC campuses

Re “Vandal paints swastikas on Jewish fraternity house” (Our Region, Feb. 1): Recently, a Nazi swastika was painted on the UC Davis Jewish fraternity. Last week the UC Davis student senate voted to disinvest in companies doing business with Israel. One student senate member leading the vote took to Facebook and triumphantly wrote “Hamas and Shariah Law have taken over UC Davis.” Anti-Israel causes should be exposed for what they are: racist anti-Jewish hate groups. Neo-Nazis should not be allowed to foster in our universities under the guise of anti-Israel causes.

Jose Mirales, Sacramento

Anti-semitism or diversion?

Swastikas are despicable, but the report of the Davis incident mentioned the student senate’s passage Jan. 29 of a resolution calling on UC to divest from corporations that profit from Israel’s occupation. That resolution was backed by a coalition of students from all races, ethnicities and religions. Speakers emphasized its target as human rights violators. Aggies for Israel leaders, however, aimed offensive invective at the senators, hurled baseless accusations of anti-Semitism and led a walkout, sabotaging any chance for healthy debate.

Who then painted swastikas is unknown. Some clearly want to imply it was critics of Israeli policies, whom they seek to tar as anti-Semites. But why would the victors in a years-long effort to pass a resolution they say is against bigotry want to change the subject the next morning to false allegations of anti-Semitism?

David L. Mandel, Sacramento

The few harm the many

Re “What about the public’s right not to be made sick?” (Editorials, Jan. 30): I agree completely with this editorial. Measles is a highly contagious disease and only affects humans. There is no animal reservoir. That means that if everyone in the world were vaccinated, measles would be eradicated, just like smallpox. The choices of a few are harming the many and causing this epidemic. This is based on ignorance and directly conflicts with our common goal to protect our children. In addition to the current requirement to be informed, there should be a penalty fee.

Dr. Alfredo Burlando, Carmichael

Oligarchic plutocracy

Re “Koch oligarchs gather to plot 2016” (Editorials, Jan. 30): So long as elections can be bought, this nation will submerge deeper into oligarchic plutocracy. Middle and low-income Americans cannot and should not be expected to match or out-spend wealthy corporations and individuals. If the public continues to comply with this system, we deserve the complete loss of democracy.

Victor de Vlaming, Sacramento

Democrats plot, too

Thank you for your piece on the Koch donors. When can we look forward to your article on Democratic mega-donor George Soros?

Suzy Horton, El Macero

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