Letters to the Editor

Measles, mental health spending, Boxer seat, UCD swastikas

Democratic Sens. Richard Pan of Sacramento, at podium, and Ben Allen of Santa Monica, far left, have introduced legislation that would end California’s vaccine exemption loophole. The bill would eliminate the ability for parents of schoolchildren to opt out of vaccinating their kids based on a personal belief.
Democratic Sens. Richard Pan of Sacramento, at podium, and Ben Allen of Santa Monica, far left, have introduced legislation that would end California’s vaccine exemption loophole. The bill would eliminate the ability for parents of schoolchildren to opt out of vaccinating their kids based on a personal belief. rpench@sacbee.com

No right to endanger others

Re “Senate bill would shut vaccination loophole” (Page A1, Feb. 5): I am very proud of my state senator and colleague Dr. Richard Pan for doing what any physician or public official should do: speaking out for saving lives.

Measles still kills over 100,000 annually worldwide, and before a vaccine became available, it used to kill hundreds of American children every year. Parents who foolishly embrace anything “natural” (other things that are natural: earthquakes, rattlesnakes, poisonous mushrooms – I don’t recommend them) may have a right to put their own children at risk for paralysis or death. But they don’t have the right to endanger mine or anyone else’s. If that means they cannot send their children to public school or a public university, that is also their own misguided choice.

Dr. Francisco Prieto, Sacramento

Don’t spread pathogens

Re “What about the public’s right not to be made sick?” (Editorials, Jan. 30): My grandmother had three siblings who died as children and never made it to adulthood. They died of childhood diseases that have since been almost entirely eradicated through widespread vaccinations. These diseases are deadly serious.

If a parent chooses to not vaccinate a child, that should be their right. However, just as a smoker does not have the right to subject the rest of us to their secondhand smoke, a parent should not have the right to subject the rest of society to their unvaccinated child’s pathogens.

A parent who refuses to have a child vaccinated has a responsibility to keep that child separated from the rest of us. That means at school, at church, in restaurants, at the movies, at Disneyland. It’s a social responsibility. We don’t want their germs.

Doug Fee, Auburn

Cure for immunity to facts

Re “What will cure our immunity to facts?” (Editorials, Feb. 4): Until the 1980s, America was a pretty sane, civil society. It changed when broadcasting’s long-standing “fairness doctrine” was abolished by Ronald Reagan, who said the “marketplace would dictate fairness.”

Enter Rush Limbaugh and non-rebuttal talk radio. Women activists were called femi-Nazis, environmentalists were called wackos, union members were labeled thugs, etc. Teachers and scientists were accused of lying to advance a political agenda and thus could not be trusted. All this without ever having to give the other side a chance to rebut the claims and accusations leveled against them on Limbaugh’s show.

Add hundreds of radio clones across the country beating the same drum and it’s no wonder basic proven medical practice is questioned and ignored by otherwise intelligent people. World War II radio propaganda demonstrated the power and danger it poses to our country. That’s why rules were required to prevent it. Those rules are long gone.

Harry Cowan, Mount Aukum

Is there a cure?

“What will cure our immunity to facts?” the Bee’s editorial board inquires of its readers. If by “our” they are referring to their own record of immunity to all facts prejudicial to the Democratic Party, sadly, such a vaccine does not yet exist.

James McCandless, Roseville

Truth about Prop. 63

Re “Mental health money ‘fix’ will compound the problem” (Viewpoints, Feb. 3): The article by Kathy Day and D.J. Jaffe is replete with inaccuracies.

Fact: The Mental Health Services Oversight and Accountability Commission works to ensure that Proposition 63 focuses on preventing tragic personal and societal costs of untreated mental illness and that it is evaluated.

Fact: A rigorous, independent UCLA study found that over 99 percent of prevention and early intervention programs addressed specific Mental Health Services Act goals. That’s in stark contrast to repeated unsubstantiated charges made by Jaffe.

Fact: Prevention and early intervention programs are required to use effective methods to bring about Proposition 63 outcomes.

The volunteer commission includes representatives of law enforcement, education, business, labor, insurance, substance abuse treatment, a mental health provider, legislators, individuals with a severe mental illness and family members of individuals with a severe mental illness. Dishonest attacks on the challenging work of creating the best possible public mental health system benefit no one. We need to support each other to address the challenges referenced in the Little Hoover Commission report.

Dr. Victor Carrion, professor, Stanford University and MHSOAC chair

Qualifications, not race

Re “Latino choice to fill Boxer seat urged by caucus” (Page A1, Feb. 4): In politics, as in business and sports, I would hope the best qualified are chosen to fill a position and serve all the people equally. Born of immigrant parents who applied for and passed their citizenship examinations and who never requested any special treatment, I’m tired of hearing about race caucuses in government. Those elected should be held responsible to represent all the people, not leaning to a specific race, color or agenda. We are all Americans, and it’s time we acted and operated as such.

Francis Petkovich, Granite Bay

Nazi symbols of hate

Re “Vandal paints swastikas on Jewish fraternity house” (Our Region, Feb. 1): The swastikas painted on the UC Davis fraternity house hurt me so much. Members of my family were murdered by the Nazis in Germany during the time of Hitler. They were surrounded by swastikas and it meant death to Jews, homosexuals, gypsies and others.

To think that there are people here in our community who still identify with this symbol makes me wonder why they act out this way. Can they not stand up for what they believe in openly, instead of hiding behind a symbol of irrational hate? I hope the authorities find the perpetrators of this shameful expression of discrimination and anti-Semitism.

Laraine Silberstein, Sacramento

A pattern at UCD

UC Davis condemned the swastikas that were painted on a Jewish frat house as a “gross violation of the values our university holds dear.” Words are fine, but institutional change is required. In 2013, racial slurs were scrawled on a chalkboard in Dutton Hall; in 2012, a noose was hung from the campus football field; and in 2010, a mural that included a Palestinian flag was defaced and painted over with a Star of David.

UC Davis student associations and administrators need to do more than condemn this most recent act. A clear message needs to be sent to these individuals that a hateful act against one group is a hateful act against us all, and we need to see student associations rally together to celebrate diversity and speak out against a problem that’s clearly a pattern at this university.

Harjit Kaur, San Jose

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