Letters for February 24, 2011


Re “Teeth and taxes” by Cosmo Garvin (SN&R Bites, February 17):

The memo from the city that Cosmo [Garvin] is referring to can be seen here: http://fluoridefreesacramento.org/JULY_1_MEMO.pdf.

[Erin] Blount of First 5 [Sacramento] must not realize that just a few weeks ago, the federal government admitted that fluoride is hurting children. After decades of ignoring research pointing to its dangers and a jingoist-like promotion, the government is now calling for a reduction in the amount of fluoride it adds to public water supplies.

How long will the city continue the program as the mounting “Fluoride-gate” approaches is anyone’s guess.

Brian Lambert

Fix the pensions

Re “OK, you fix the budget!” by Greg Lucas (SN&R Feature, February 17):

Yes, we are in over our heads! Local, county and state governments have gotten California taxpayers into an “unresolvable” problem! The problem is immense. It divides us all. …

As a retired person, I feel retirement benefits at the state, county and local levels vary too much. There is a need for standardization of procedures based upon a maximum benefits for all, coupled with years of service in relation to annual income and a standard percentage to be applied to all retirees.

I retired in 1991 with a monthly retirement benefit which is overpoweringly different than that which has been ushered into legislation in recent years. For example, my ending annual pay ($48,000) plus 30 some years of governmental service entitled me to an annual retirement income of about $19,000, or 40 percent of my pre-retirement income. In addition, because I was a double-dipper, I received only half of my entitled Social Security monthly benefits.

Nowadays, there is no similarity to retirement benefits of yore. Let’s face it; under past legislative commitments at the local, county and state government levels, taxpayers cannot afford to even continue to honor something that is so unworkable. Keep in mind, the majority of voting citizens of California and the judicial system of California, when given valid information on the present status of local, county and state governmental sanctioned retirement programs, will be appalled at the past irresponsibility the legislative process has demonstrated or perpetuated on its present and future citizens.

Dale J. Koehler

Bravo, Angelides! Now, fix the banks.

Re “About a crisis” by Jeff vonKaenel (SN&R Frontlines, February 17):

I offer my congratulations to Mr. [Phil] Angelides for his hard, diligent work in uncovering, from the shadows, the true nature of what brought our nation to the brink of collapse, which still threatens us today. I do believe that truth is a far more powerful weapon at our disposal than any attempt at dissent. I did have the opportunity, yesterday, to watch the hearing in the House, and I am very impressed at his composure in the face of the opposition.

However, my concern is this. The Dodd-Frank bill does not go far enough. It is true that our financial system is far removed from the one we had during [Franklin D. Roosevelt’s] years, in the sense that, then, money was earmarked for the growth of the real productive economy, not for the growth of financial instruments. With his untimely death, Wall Street has been vigorously pursuing change in the economy from a productive economy to a money economy. The key target was Glass-Steagall. The Glass-Steagall Act (not to be confused with the “Volcker rule”) was an expression of the preamble of our Constitution: the Hamiltonian principle of national banking. It was a return to that principle which made the recovery from the Great Depression possible, and similarly, will be the means by which a recovery is affected today.

We need a new Glass-Steagall Act passed through Congress to ban speculation from our commercial banking system, reconstituting them to perform the function, as useful instruments of the general welfare, of building up our nation’s economy through large-scale infrastructure projects. It is the fundamental change in the notion of “value” from monetary value (“money making money”) to physical values (i.e., human values), which our nation’s leaders must address.

Thank you for being a true patriot, Mr. Angelides!

Anthony Guerrero
Daly City

Some real scientists disagree

Re “<del>Global warming</del> Climate change” by Auntie Ruth (SN&R An Inconvenient Ruth, February 17):

You do your cause a disservice by wasting words on the people who equate weather with climate. This may surprise you, but there are real scientists—the kind with degrees who publish in peer-reviewed journals—challenging the mainstream view of climate change.

For example, Roy Spencer, a climatologist at the University of Alabama in Huntsville, has published several papers which suggest that variations in cloud cover are primarily responsible for the rise in global temperatures. Similarly, former University of Virginia researcher Patrick Michaels has argued that global surface temperatures in the last three decades have been grossly overestimated, perhaps by as much as 50 percent. There are many more examples, but you get the idea.

Since there are experts attacking the hypothesis, why write only about the arguments put forth by uninformed laypeople? Honestly, that is no way to engage in a more genial dialogue with the other side.

Cameron English

What ethnic cleansing looks like

Re “More than one violent religion” (SN&R Letters, February 10):

Maggie Coulter never tires of demonizing Israel. The latest example is her claim that “the government of Israel … is continuing its 60-plus-year-old practice of ethnically cleansing native non-Jews from what is now Israel.” As usual, her message appeals only to the ignorant, the gullible, the ideologically driven, the anti-Semitic and the editors of SN&R.

The reality is that about 156,000 Arabs lived in Israel in 1948 (after the surrounding Arab nations invaded Israel but were unsuccessful at destroying it). At the end of 2008, the Israeli Arab population had grown to 1,488,000, an increase of 854 percent!

The Christian population growth is even more remarkable since Israel is the only country in the Middle East whose Christian population is growing, rather than decreasing. (There is anti-Christian violence in Egypt, Lebanon, Iraq, Pakistan and the West Bank.)

So, if Israel is engaging in ethnic cleansing of non-Jews, the Israelis (usually noted for their efficiency) are surely the most pathetically inept ethnic cleaners in world history.

This is not to say that there is no ethnic cleansing in the Middle East. According to the [United Nations], here’s just a few of the many examples: the Jewish population in Egypt was 75,000 in 1948, down to only 100 in 2001; in Libya it was 38,000 in 1948, down to zero in 2001; in Yemen it was 55,000 in 1948, down to only 200 in 2001; in Aden it was 8,000 in 1948, down to zero in 2001; in Iraq it was 135,000 in 1948, down to only 100 in 2001; in Algeria it was 140,000 in 1948, down to zero in 2001.

That’s what ethnic cleansing looks like!

Fred Hayward