Letters for December 17, 2009

Letter of the week
Nothing to lose by changing

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

It has been a while since I have read a treatment of the climate-change issue as spectacularly eloquent, accurate and moving as this story. Every feeling and thought I have on the matter was addressed, and that with a delicacy of language and a particularly just sense of metaphor which made it come vividly alive.

It doesn’t matter whether climate change is caused by humans or not. It is happening; this much scientists agree on; this much governments have agreed on. …

I assert that it doesn’t matter whether or not [humans] are causing climate change. It still benefits us to alter our habits for a more environmentally friendly economy.

Second, I would like to place added emphasis on the problem of overpopulation. Just as people feel threatened by the idea that they must change in answer to the problem of climate change, they feel equally threatened by the idea of changing their reproductive habits. …

The truth is that this Earth of ours is only so big, and comes with only so many resources. Overpopulation is a very real, very pressing concern, and like climate change, one which we cannot afford to risk. Because overpopulation is an important issue both to the general health of humanity and to climate change, it is important that every person try to have no more than two children. If you want a big family, adopt. There are literally millions of children out there in need of homes and parents to love them.

In the end, our power to change the future is great, even without huge sacrifice in the present, as long as each and every one of us does what we can.

Elisa Bursten


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

Perfect timing, SN&R. The “ClimateGate” story is still exploding and NASA is being sued for refusing to release global cooling data under the Freedom of Information Act, and you jokers double-down on the man-made global-warming hoax.

Could you guys be any more irrelevant or out of touch? Do us all a favor and stop cutting down trees to spread your lies. Show us all the way by reducing your carbon footprint to zero.

Jim Andrews

Get specific

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

It would help people who want to make sensible changes to list some specific things they can do if they want to minimize both climate change and sacrifice.

Killing their leaf blowers, lawn mowers and other unnecessary machinery would reduce useless emissions. Start growing some food, as much as possible, instead of a useless lawn. Get some chickens, maybe a goat or two. Figure out a way to stop driving so much; maybe switch jobs, maybe share or trade more with folks nearby, maybe get a bike, maybe several things. Maybe not tomorrow, but starting within a year or so.

It’s possible to live without plastic; people did it for millennia, up until less than 100 years ago. And you can do it too, if you plan properly.

Install a composting privy at your house. If we all do this, we will save lots of clean water and energy, and also have more fertilizer. It’s very simple science.

There is more, but you get the idea; visit www.work4sustenance.blogspot.com for more information. And if it turns out that climate change isn’t that bad after all, no worries! Measures like this will make you happier and more economically secure than you are now anyway.

Muriel Strand

The planet will decide

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

Great article. It’s about time we started talking about a movement.

In my opinion, it will be almost impossible to change the minds of ordinary people and leaders in this country about the global-warming threat. I think capitalism is what stops a lot of people (including me) from making an effort. We’re too busy making money, chasing the carrot, and quite frankly too many powerful people stand to lose too much by changing the way this country works. That is why it will be all talk and business as usual, while slowly but surely the planet gets rid of us.

I like the part where you say that it’s not the planet that’s at risk, but humans.

Hamish October

Fighting fraud keeps home care safe

Re “The war at home” by Steve Mehlman (SN&R Essay, December 3):

If only it was as easy as UDW [Homecare Providers Union] Steve Mehlman writes. …

Unfortunately, he doesn’t describe the cases we see. Yes, the elderly, blind and disabled are much better off being cared for in their own homes when they are getting honest, quality care. When they are being victimized by the very person who is entrusted with caring for them, they are not better off.

I started my IHSS Fraud Task Force, because as district attorney I saw cases that demonstrated a need for someone to watch out for victims in a system with little checks and balances.

The IHSS Fraud Task Force’s goal is to protect the integrity of the IHSS program and to make sure the providers are doing what they are paid to do. Honest recipients and providers have nothing to fear—dishonest ones do. The task force is there to get the dishonest people off the payroll, to deter those who believe it’s a free ride to cheat the system and to act as a deterrent to IHSS fraud in the same way the IRS acts as a deterrent to tax fraud.

The Sacramento district attorney’s IHSS Fraud Task Force began in July 2009. Since that time, the task force has received very positive feedback from: the Sacramento County IHSS Advisory Committee [includes providers and recipients], Adult System of Protection committee, and family court staff, among others.

IHSS statewide cost $5.42 billion in taxpayer dollars in 2008, serving 400,000 California recipients. This program will bankrupt the county and the state if nothing is done to curtail the fraud and abuse within this program. If that happens, everyone loses.

Jan Scully
Sacramento County district attorney