Letters: Make Worse | Implement transparency

  Letters: Make Worse |  Enforce transparency

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Logging efforts by PG&E.
could worsen the risk of fire

Thanks to Paul Rogers for highlighting PG&E’s ruthless disregard for private landowners and the environment (“PG&E Charged with Aggressive Logging,” Dec 7). The company warrants extensive tree removal, sometimes several feet from power lines, to reduce the risk of forest fires. However, these measures are, in fact, likely to be counterproductive in this regard.

The carbon sequestration function of these trees, especially the redwoods, has been eliminated, further accelerating climate change, which is driving the increase in forest fires in the west. In addition, the massive removal of trees can create wind tunnels that facilitate the spread of fires.

This is a case of penny wise, pound stupid. The utility company faces the possibility of millions of dollars in fines for its bad behavior. It could have invested in underground power lines instead, a far better solution in the long run.

Jennifer Normoyle

Choose an AG that will
Enforce transparency

President-elect Joe Biden has selected California Attorney General Xavier Becerra as his candidate for Secretary of Health and Human Services. Assuming Becerra is confirmed, Governor Gavin Newsom will examine a number of candidates to fill the AG’s position.

While Becerra successfully defended California against President Trump’s numerous politically motivated attacks and led a multi-state campaign to protect the Affordable Care Act, he failed to adhere to California’s SB 1421, which became law on January 1, 2019 on Police Officer Records, who have demonstrated serious misconduct and have either remained in their own departments or have been hired by other police forces. Instead of showing leadership, he has protected police chiefs from releasing these records.

In the interests of social and racial justice, I hope that everyone who replaces Becerra as an AG is doing something they didn’t do. Execute the law.

Steve Ode
San Jose

BART employment contract is
fair, not “exaggerated”

I don’t see how the Mercury News can describe a contract as a treasure in which top workers are paid just slightly above what is considered the middle class in San Jose (according to an article in your own newspaper April 14, 2019) deal.

Health care, retirement, a 40-hour work week, and paid time off are “excessive benefits” (“BART can’t afford a reckless contract,” December 3)? A pension (partially paid by the employee) of 60-67% of salary after 30 years in the job? Well, humbug.

I think it is not surprising that officials who support unions and workers manage to get elected. Anyone who is committed to fair wages and adequate benefits can cast my vote at any time.

Maggie Heaman
Santa Clara

In the historical moment
Trump turned down

As I read today’s great piece about the heroic men who responded during the attack on Pearl Harbor (“These Men Fought Back in the Attack on Pearl Harbor,” Dec. 7), it made me think that history is a handful has presented President with groundbreaking opportunities to take profound leadership.

For Abraham Lincoln it was the civil war and slavery, for Franklin Delano Roosevelt the Great Depression and Pearl Harbor, for John F. Kennedy the Cuban Missile Crisis, for Lyndon Baines Johnson the Vietnam War and civil rights, and for our current President it was COVID.

If you score at home it is safe to say that Lincoln was 1 to 1. FDR, 2 for 2 (i.e. The New Deal and its answer to Pearl Harbor), JFK 1 for 1, LBJ signed the civil rights and voting rights laws but fanned out Vietnam and our 45th President’s answer to its historic moment? Over 14 million infections and almost 300,000 deaths, so 0 for 1.

Barry Goldman-Hall
San Jose State Faculty (Retired)
San Jose

Be sure to prioritize
Worker for vaccine

I would like to offer an alternative to Brian McCormick’s suggestion to prioritize vaccination of the elderly (“Second Stage Vaccine Should Be For Seniors,” December 6th). I’m also a senior with multiple COVID-19 comorbidities, but I’m retired and pretty much self-isolating.

I want to suggest that those key workers who work in our grocery and retail stores, and those who have to work to support their families and pay their rent, get the vaccine before I do. I believe this would have a greater impact on our economy and also reduce the spread of the virus (assuming the vaccine reduces the spread) as it has been found that the younger age groups are more likely to spread the virus.

Joseph Rich
Santa Clara

County online fees
shameful during the crisis

A friend of mine who lives in Santa Clara County and is a homeowner recently had a stroke. She can no longer walk or sign her name.

Imagine we’re excited that your county is now accepting electronic payments for their property tax bills. Imagine our horror of finding a $ 70 transaction fee added for the privilege of paying your property tax bill online.

Apparently, officials in your county are unfamiliar with the terms “usury” and “hollowing out” when it comes to doing business with them online. Right now, in times of mandatory social distancing, they should be ashamed.

Geoffrey Wells
Santa Cruz