Letters to the Editor

Union battle, costly campaigns, arming Ukraine

A Ukrainian soldier guards territory near Debaltseve in eastern Ukraine.  A letter writer says Russian-backed separatist activity is a reaction to President Barack Obama’s support in overthrowing the elected government in Kiev and replacing it with a pro-Western regime.
A Ukrainian soldier guards territory near Debaltseve in eastern Ukraine. A letter writer says Russian-backed separatist activity is a reaction to President Barack Obama’s support in overthrowing the elected government in Kiev and replacing it with a pro-Western regime. The Associated Press

Insight to Grim Reaper

Re “Grim sign for capital businesses” (Our Region, City Beat, Feb. 8): Thank you, Sacramento, for your outpouring of love and support. We don’t understand why the Carpenters Union 46 has decided to target our small business since we are merely a tenant at 16 Powerhouse, a LEED certified development project under construction in the heart of downtown. CU46 fliers and signage from more than 20 protests and counting in front of our cafes are highly misleading, and the enormous Grim Reaper is frightening to small children. As a small coffee business, we feel CU46 protests are misdirected.

From inception, we have taken great pride in our mission to provide insight into quality coffee. We serve delicious pastries from Magpie Cafe, another local tenant targeted by CU46. We have created many new jobs and growth opportunities for our team. We have invested further in this great city by taking chances on innovative projects such as 16 Powerhouse for a new cafe. The CU46 banner stating we “hurt workers, hurt families and harm communities” is simply not true.

We remain committed to our mission, our talented staff and to making Sacramento the best coffee city in the world. Thank you for supporting our small business.

Chris Ryan, co-owner,

Insight Coffee Roasters, Sacramento

Antidote to costly campaigns

Re “See state’s 20 most expensive political campaigns of 2013-14” (Capitol & California, Feb. 8): The 2014 electoral cycle was one of the costliest in California’s history. The flood of big money in our elections is not a Democrat vs. Republican or liberal vs. conservative problem. This is a national problem that affects federal, state and local elections. With most of the spending coming from just a few megadonors and super PACs, we need to reform the system and reclaim our democracy.

Public matching funds for grass-roots candidates could address this problem at the national and local level. With 67 percent of American voters in support, small donor empowerment programs including public matching funds and tax credits for small donations would have a powerful effect. Congress and cities across California should pass legislation to encourage candidates to fundraise through individual contributions instead of dialing for dollars from megadonors. This will ensure that participating candidates hear from their constituents when they are fundraising on the campaign trail.

Anthony Nachor, Novato

No weapons to Ukraine

Re “Western unity splinters over strategy in Ukraine” (Page A1, Feb. 9): In the Ukraine, the Obama administration is now reaping what it has sown. The Russian-backed separatist activity is a reaction to Obama’s audacious support a year ago of efforts that overthrew a duly elected government in Kiev and replaced it with a pro-Western regime.

Given the region’s historical ties and its geographic proximity to Russia, the reaction of Vladimir Putin’s government is predictably defensive against U.S.-backed NATO incursions since the fall of the old Soviet Union into Russia’s historic sphere of influence. For the U.S. to give offensive weapons to Ukraine now is truly dumping gasoline onto the fire. Defense Department nominee Ashton Carter should keep his sabre-rattling rhetoric to himself, especially since the CIA is probably already funneling offensive weaponry there.

The unanticipated consequences of Obama’s support for the overthrow of the Kiev government may prove truly dreadful.

Gregory Ptucha, Sacramento

Well, excuse us

Re “Obama’s criticism is naive” (Letters, Feb. 9): Since the terrible things our president reminded us about what happened 100 years ago, we should just look the other way and let the terrorists continue, right?

Bettye Grant, Roseville

Spanking is never OK

Re “Spanking kids OK if their dignity is kept, pope says” (Page A11, Feb. 6): As Pope Francis’ own sex abuse commission advised him, his suggestion that spanking is an acceptable form of child discipline is way out of line. There is no method for spanking or using other corporal punishment in a way that preserves a child’s dignity. In fact, research abounds on the negative effects of corporal punishment. Unfortunately, too many people blindly accept the pope’s statements as their road map through life. He needs to immediately correct the record and direct people to positive guidance and discipline approaches.

Emily Nahat, Sacramento

Williams and déjà vu

Re “Brian Williams shreds his credibility with tall tale from Iraq” (Viewpoints, Feb. 9): Doug Elmets takes a swing at Brian Williams, but conveniently forgets his former boss set the gold standard for fibs a generation ago.

As Salon pointed out recently, Ronald Reagan told Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir in November 1983 during a White House visit that while serving in the U.S. Army film corps, his unit had shot footage of the Nazi concentration camps as they were liberated. He repeated the same tale to Nazi hunter Simon Wiesenthal and other witnesses.

Reagan had indeed served in the Army and worked on morale-boosting movies for the War Department. But he had done so without ever leaving Hollywood for the entire duration of the war.

Michael Kelly, Chico

Kryptonite and credibility

In the interest of full disclosure, I have no respect for Brian Williams as a newsman. I consider him simply an entertainer who happens to work in the TV news industry. But on reading Doug Elmets’ article on Williams shredding his credibility, I had to laugh and not at Williams.

Elmets attempts to establish his own bona fides early on by telling us how he worked at the White House press office during the Reagan era but then proceeds to shred his credibility when he describes Williams’ exaggerated story as: “telling a falsehood stripped away his Kryptonite – that badge of credibility and believability.”

Excuse me, Kryptonite is what again? Has Elmets never read a Superman comic book? So much for credibility.

Bill Child, Fair Oaks

Goodbye, WSJ Sunday

Thank you for providing us with The Wall Street Journal Sunday for so long. It was my weekend treat, and I’ll miss every page.

Hjordes Norman, Loomis

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