Letters to the Editor

Letters to the editor | Sunday, Aug. 18, 2019: Trump, gun rights, straight pride, shelter pets

Think twice when calling Trump racist

Hatred of fellow humans because of where they come from has existed throughout history, including very ugly chapters in this country. Actions or omissions based on this hatred are a serious evil and sin. But isn’t calling someone you don’t agree with a racist a manipulation and cheapening of the word?

“Racist” is used in every context these days. If one criticizes or disagrees with a person of color, she is a racist. Since U.S. immigration law applies to persons of color, it’s a racist law. Not being appropriately sensitive to a person’s skin color is racism.

It’s fashionable to call our president a racist, hating bigot. Is Trump the moral leader of honesty and integrity in our nation? Don’t think so. Is he a racist? Don’t think so either.

He is a real estate tycoon. His entire life and singular focus have been to win the deal and come out on top. The U.S. is the biggest development project in history to him. Trump is considered racist under today’s standards because he is an insensitive oaf with what he says and tweets. While it is impossible for us to judge the heart, arrogance is not the same as hatred.

Ross W. Lee, Modesto

Mayor politicizes Second Amendment

Mayor Brandvold mobilized gun advocates to Tuesday’s Modesto City Council meeting, ostensibly to focus attention on something that may not happen. When the city manager and chief of police drafted an ordinance allowing MPD to safely manage crowds at demonstrations and protests, they were focused on ensuring that any crowd showing up didn’t bring bats, sticks, spray paint, shields, slingshots — the stuff of violent confrontation. As the city was drafting the ordinance, before it was published as part of the meeting agenda, any reference to firearms was deleted. The proposed language became silent on firearms. Nothing about this ordinance is meant to push against the Second Amendment or concealed carry permits.

Why would the mayor raise the alarm? To bring uproar to the council? I can only think his purpose is to stir conservative gun advocates as a counter to last week’s turnout of those against hate and racism in our community.

Michelle Park, Turlock

People accountable for selves

A nation that cannot control its borders is not a nation. It’s not that liberals aren’t smart, it’s just that so much of what they know isn’t so.

We must reject the idea that every time a law’s broken, society is guilty rather than the lawbreaker. It’s time we restore the American precept that each individual is accountable for his actions.

You won’t get gun control by disarming law-abiding citizens. There’s only one way to get real gun control: disarm the thugs and the criminals, lock them up, and if you don’t actually throw away the key, at least lose it for a long time.

John Mendosa, Ceres

History shows gun control works

Restricting gun ownership won’t work. There are already too many guns out there — many in the wrong hands, no doubt. But, gun control is possible and it’s the price we must pay for a civilized society.

Some of the wildest towns of the old west learned this more than 100 years ago. Dodge, Kansas, was a wide-open town with a regular murder count of two or more per weekend. As wives and families joined their menfolk, civilization came to Dodge. When Dodge got its city charter, the first law passed by the city fathers was a gun-control ordinance. Cowboys were required to check their guns at the marshal’s office and retrieve them when they left town. Wyatt Earp and his brothers were hired to enforce the law. Within a year the death rate from gun violence dropped to one or two per year. “Gun control was their answer to gun violence,” comments Bill Ball, editor of “True West” magazine.

Other Wild West towns followed suit — and the courts backed them up. Some had to overcome opposition, as in Tombstone, Arizona, where the Earp brothers went next. Ball says that Tombstone had more gun laws in the 1880s than it has now.

Harold Crumpley, Modesto

Live and let live

Re “No one needs to know your sexual orientation” (Letters, Aug. 13): So well spoken. We don’t need to know anybody’s sexual orientation. Just live your life and be nice to people. My gosh, relax.

William E. Burns, Modesto

Is “more jobs” the only goal?

Re “More nuts, fewer jobs” (Letters, Aug. 13): The writer suggests that converting land from nut-growing to fruit and vegetable production would provide more jobs.

Nut crops are grown in our area for many reasons – climate, soil suitability, water availability, and financial gain. Yes, these crops do provide higher incomes than do some others. They also provide commodities for people in other parts of the world where nuts cannot be grown.

Should we suggest that the writer consider changing his own line of work, probably reducing his income, to another field so more jobs could be generated?

Ed Sciarini, Modesto

Resident doctors need better pay

Re “Living proof that residency works” (Letters, July 21): Thank you Dr. Payanes for reminding us that one way Modesto attracts new primary care doctors to our county is by having a residency program where one third of graduates chose to remain after experiencing the benefits of our community.

Our Stanislaus Family Practice Residency Program is now short four full-time faculty members. We know that the shortage is due to the non-competitive pay scale. If the trend continues, the residency program will be forced to close. The Stanislaus County Board of Supervisors must face the fact that only by making the pay competitive will the faculty be fully staffed. To lose this well-established teaching program would be a tragedy. We truly need those few new primary care doctors that this teaching program provides each year.

Dr. Roland C. Nyegaard, Modesto

Defending Endangered Species Act

Re “Trump overhauls endangered species protections” (Front Page, Aug. 13): The Trump Administration plans to roll back key provisions of the Endangered Species Act, one of the most venerable and effective environmental laws in America. This attack is led by Interior Secretary David Bernhardt, who formerly worked for a Washington, D.C. lobbying firm on behalf of oil and gas companies.

We are Audubon, and we stand united against this brazen assault on the 1,663 animal and plant species that could be headed for human-caused extinction, if these protections were stripped from the E.S.A. When President Nixon signed this law in 1973, he represented the traditional value of the Republican Party to conserve public lands.

The environment and wildlife are not inconvenient, expendable debris to be swept away by ignorant politicians and developers of non-renewable resources. They have an intrinsic right to existence, and we must be their stewards of care and preservation. This is a call for action to all Democrats, to all Republicans true to their party’s former beliefs, and to the growing force of independents. Contact Rep. Josh Harder and other elected officials, and demand that they resist Trump’s latest assault on our public lands.

Salvatore Salerno, President, Stanislaus Audubon Society

Bushes conceal homeless camps

With school starting again, I have become very concerned about sidewalk areas by Johansen High School. In bushes all along Claus Road to Yosemite Boulevard are homeless sleeping setting up camp. From time to time the county comes and trims the bushes and takes away the trash that the homeless leave. Wouldn’t it be better to cement these sidewalks and make them clear and easier for our children to walk to school and home safely?

Before something happens to one of our children, please do the right thing.

Betty Martin, Modesto

Pets deserve our protection

We beg the Tuolumne County Board of Supervisors to not cut funding to the Humane Society. Our pets are not simply possessions; they are family members. If the board votes to cut funds to the center, picked up pets could be euthanized after only a three-day waiting period and injured pets could face the same fate.

I am relating my personal experience to illustrate how wrong and heartless that decision would be. In my case, my adopted pet, out of a broken heart and loyalty to her first master, who was now deceased, was running frantically on the streets, searching to find the only family she had known for five months of her young life. If picked up by a defunded Tuolumne Animal Control, she would have faced a death sentence in three days.

These four-legged pals deserve the time to find their forever home and do what they do best — love us, bring a little humor into our lives and protect us from a potential threat. Their loyalty to us is uncompromising; ours should be the same.

Barbara Porter, Groveland

How to curb underage drinking

Underage drinking carries significant risks far beyond its illegality. The first six weeks of a student’s first year in college are a vulnerable time for harmful and underage college drinking and alcohol-related consequences because of student expectations and social pressures. Relationships and patterns of behavior are established early, and students should start the year on solid footing for success.

Talking to college-bound students about making wise decisions is a critical part of prevention. Parents can learn more about starting these conversations by accessing responsibility.org’s new resource, “Parents, You’re Not Done Yet,” developed to facilitate communications between parents and students, to inform everyone of the risks involved with underage drinking, to coordinate refusal strategies, and to raise awareness for these students as they become more independent.

The good news, according to the Monitoring the Future study published last week, is that drinking among college students is declining; moreover, from 2017 to 2018 there has been a statistically significant decline in binge drinking, bringing it to an all-time low.

Conversations are the key to keeping these numbers going in the right direction.

Benjamin R. Nordstrom, Executive Director, Responsibility.org, Arlington, VA