Opinion Columns & Blogs

Letters: UC, health care, pensions, Al Jazeera, water plan, bicycling

Napolitano picks right task

Re “Napolitano offers narrow agenda in first big speech” (Editorials, Nov. 1): I believe The Bee’s editorial board got it exactly wrong in its critique of University of California President Janet Napolitano’s maiden speech at the Commonwealth Club.

The unique skills that she brings to the job are precisely the ones she has chosen to emphasize in her first months. As a governor and Cabinet secretary, her strength is her ability to analyze a large organization structurally, identify the inefficiencies, the redundancies and the outright absurdities and work to make our university system stronger, leaner and ultimately more accessible and affordable.

Let’s leave the showboating and flashy initiatives for another day. It may make good copy for The Bee, but it isn’t where a good leader and manager should start.

– Michael Biggs, Folsom

Government can’t run things

Re “Health sticker shock ahead” and “”Got no pulse? You can still get a federal check” (Page A1, Nov. 4): These seemingly unrelated front page stories have a common thread: the feds are generally not good at running large programs.

If a private company allowed the fraud rampant in Social Security or misled consumers like in Obamacare, they would go broke because consumers would leave them. Yet the lack accountability and inability to fire incompetent federal workers makes it difficult to fix these problems, so we are stuck with them.

The liberal brand continues to be tarnished as those that believe that government can fix all problems gets pummeled by these constant screw-ups.

– Lon Uso, Cool

Down with Obamacare

Re “Obamacare opponents are trying to hide their real intentions” (Viewpoints, Nov. 4): The disaster of Obamacare is best described by using the analogy of housing where the rent or mortgage is the insurance premium and building codes are the minimum health plan requirements.

We who object to Obamacare must be clear that we have chosen to minimize our rent by living in housing that, while admittedly substandard, is very cheap. We have a cheap place to live, and we don’t want to be evicted. If a tornado blows the roof off, we renters can usually find similar substandard housing; we homeowners can either choose to sacrifice our freedom and get FEMA funds from the government to rebuild (according to government imposed building codes) or do it our own way and keep our rent and mortgage low.

Don’t force me to pay for some higher minimum quality health insurance. Down with Obamacare! Down with building codes! Down with government!

– Dave Hart, Davis

Be wary of pension plan

Re “To save jobs, unions should embrace reform” (Editorials, Nov. 4): Employee unions should be dubious of San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed’s disingenuous overture, considering his track record.

As a San Jose councilman, Reed voted for the pay and retirement raises he now denounces. As mayor, he refused to negotiate with his unions, hit the panic button, and championed Measure B – though warned by experts it was illegal (San Jose has spent $3 million defending Measure B).

Reed ignored reality to the city’s long-term detriment. Crime is up and police services are down. Police staffing is down 30 percent, as experienced officers and now academy recruits have fled the department for more competitive pay and benefits. Academies will never catch up. Now, in anticipation of Measure B losing in the courts, Reed wants new union dialogue and passage of the Pension Reform Act in 2014. Reed’s invitation to unions seems hollow when considering his past actions and the motivations of the Pension Reform Act’s financial backers.

– David Keneller, Shingle Springs

How did Al Jazeera get affidavit?

Re “Did FBI carelessness lead to leak of Calderon affidavit?” (The Buzz, Nov. 4): The real story with the FBI investigation of Ron Calderon is not whether the senator put his hand in the wrong cookie jar, the real issue is how Al Jazeera America accessed a court sealed FBI investigation.

Al Jazeera is an Arabic-based news network owned by the government of Qatar, which has financial ties to the Palestinian terrorist group Hamas. The FBI is the entity responsible for domestic security of the United States, and obviously has a serious security breach when a foreign entity. Yet not a word of concern from anyone.

Hello, the porch light is on, is anyone home? Is the news media too busy building the gallows to hang the senator to worry about our national security? And the leadership of our state and federal governments, are they oblivious or too busy peddling their marijuana initiatives? Somebody, wake up!

– Maury Hannigan, El Dorado Hills

Water plan needs refinement

Re “Water plan aims to avoid crisis” (A3, Nov. 1): The Brown administration deserves praise for its endeavor to create a comprehensive, statewide plan that provides a reliable water supply for all Californians.

However, there are some omissions in the plan, and local water providers wish to collaborate with the administration to address these.

For example: The plan must include provisions that protect existing water rights and area-of-origin water supplies, as well as strategies to ensure Folsom and other reservoirs do not reach dead pool during dry years.

Moreover, the plan must include a detailed definition for “action” that includes dates and commitments for both financial and personnel resources that goes beyond a Bay Delta Conservation Plan and the needs of Delta water users. Water providers look forward to providing input as the administration refines its plan and are committed to finding thoughtful and fair solutions that addresses water supply reliability issues statewide.

– Rob Roscoe, Citrus Heights,

chair of the Regional Water Authority

Yes, Cordova Hills is sprawl

Re “Cordova Hills is not sprawl” (Letters, Nov. 4): If I remember correctly, Sacramento County Supervisor Roberta MacGlashan came to the hearing on this Cordova Hills project with her mind made up and did not want to be confused with any facts.

The Bee editorial board was right in its stand against this project. This is an environmentally sensitive area where water and wildlife will be eliminated.

Why don’t Sacramento County supervisors try for some innovative thinking instead of just destroying more of the environment? The supervisors already preside over a huge money guzzling machine.

– Rachel Johnson, Sacramento


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