Letters for December 10, 2009

Letter of the week
Little field of dreams

Re “They spent our money on what?” by Cosmo Garvin (SN&R Feature, November 19):

While I would have to agree that the city of Sacramento—and even more so, the state of California—wastes money on completely unnecessary spending, not all spending should be criticized as you have done.

There are good people that give back in a number of ways to the community, but they pay the price with horrible criticism for those whose spending is out of control! As the president of Land Park Pacific Little League (I’ve also held the position of treasurer the previous two years), I’m appalled that Councilman Rob Fong is getting criticized for helping out our Little League.

Our Little League had been trying to renovate the fields for a number of years and raised the majority of the money ourselves, but we were just shy of our goal, so we reached out for assistance. We hosted two post-season tournaments and were mentioned in a number of articles about how great the fields looked. We are one of the only Little League [teams] in the area that [does not play] at a city facility. We pay for the upkeep on our fields, our water, our garbage, and we pay to use Land Park. Most other Little League [teams] get the benefits from being on city property and do not have all those expenses.

So in your eyes (and now the eyes of your readers), you imply that Councilman Fong spent his money in the neighborhood that didn’t need the money? What right do you have to decide which school or league has the most need?

So while I appreciate you bringing to light excessive spending, maybe you should ask yourself, did these other schools like Jedediah Smith (you mentioned) or other Little Leagues in the district have a need and approach the councilman for assistance? He and his staff cannot be aware of all the needs of the district.

Councilman Rob Fong did the right thing by helping Land Park Pacific Little League (established in 1954) to be able to have one of the best Little League fields around. Our league’s fields have never been renovated in the 50-plus years of their existence, and it was in dire need. As stated in a number of Web sites on field maintenance, “Better fields result in better play”; they also result in safer play for our little leaguers.

Thanks again, Rob!

Angela Mico

Not much choice

Re “Do our children deserve to live?” by Fred Branfman (SN&R Feature, December 3):

I guess it’s kind of human to waste a lot of valuable time and space arguing about who or what is to blame for climate change and whether they are sinners or will be cursed. But the point is that the glaciers are receding, the Arctic ice is retreating, Greenland and Antarctic ice-field dynamics are becoming unstable, and portions of the ocean are acidifying to the point where the base of the food chain is being disrupted.

Just as we respond to disease, earthquakes, fire, floods and other changes in our environment, an advanced society has the option to prepare for changes it can anticipate so as to maximize the happiness and well-being of its population.

We know that carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has an effect on climate, so whether it comes from a volcano or a power plant, we have to examine how best to mitigate that effect. We in the first world could choose to build levees or we could choose to emit less carbon dioxide, or we will be choosing to concede a lot of prime real estate to the sea, no matter whether it is humanity or nature that is “at fault.”

Henrik Kibak

People and planet at risk

Re “Do our children deserve to live?” by Fred Branfman (SN&R Feature, December 3):

Thank you for this compelling article. Fred Branfman masterfully refrains from strident posturing and instead appeals to “the better angels of our nature”—the legacy we leave our children. I have encouraged my colleagues to give it a serious read.

A few quibbles: It not quite accurate to say that “It is we, not the planet, who are at risk.” Both are.

Many aspects of planetary transformation (such as glacial recession, drought, species relocation and extinction) are the “canaries in the coal mine” that should be rallying us to get serious. It is true that the planet will carry on in some sense or another, but we will have failed miserably as stewards of “Mother Earth” if she ultimately is unrecognizable from the form in which we inherited her.

In addition, the article seems to equate failure to vigorously tackle the problem of climate change with the end of human civilization. This (hopefully) is an overstatement, although it seems likely that failure to address the problem would certainly result in the end of civilization as we know it.

But who says we were ever “civilized” in the first place? This may be the root of the problem; our technological means far outstrip our moral sensibilities.

John Lindsay Dye

Agenda, not science

Re “Do our children deserve to live?” by Fred Branfman (SN&R Feature, December 3):

Articles like this are the reason people see global warming as an agenda and not a theory grounded in sound science. The premises the article is trying to convey are laughable: “Civilization as we know it will end.” Really? Civilization? End?

Even if we were to assume Al Gore’s worst-case scenario, what civilization are you referring to? Today? 500 years ago? 10,000 years ago?

Given today’s technology, Al Gore’s wettest dream unfolding today would be hard-pressed to impose hardships as a whole comparable even to “civilization” as it was known during World War II, much less “civilization” 2,000 or so years ago.

And yet here we are. However did we survive? I’d like to put Branfman in a time machine and send him back a few thousand years and give him the choice between living life at that time vs. living life with today’s standard of living and dealing with Al Gore’s worst-case scenario, and see what he does. I’d give him about a week before he chooses the latter.

Mark Holbrook

Separate church and state?

Re “Twisted sister” by R.V. Scheide (SN&R Race to the Bottom, December 3):

When I read R.V. Scheide’s column about the Bethlehem sister city, I was shocked. What happened to separation of church and state? Why does any particular religious group get to dictate what our city government does? I know I don’t want some religious group determining policy at any level of government, and I don’t think most Americans do, either.

Ensuring religious freedom does not mean allowing religious groups to suppress freedom of association or speech. And now we learn that is exactly what has just happened right here in River City. Seems like a no-brainer that Sacramento and Bethlehem should be sister cities. What is the matter with the Sacramento mayor and city council? Maybe SN&R should find out!

Grace Roberts