Letters to the Editor

Letters to the editor | Sunday, Sept. 29, 2019: Teen activism, rainbow flag, nutria and teachers

Crusty columnist got it wrong...

Re “Oh, to be 16 – and to know it all again” (Page 8A, Sept. 27): The Bee juxtaposed a 16-year-old student and an octogenarian columnist. He asks: “How much credibility should we give to a 16- year-old when considering her qualifications to lecture adults about science?” I ask, “How much credibility should we give an octogenarian columnist to lecture young people about science?”

Is one ever too young – or too old – to speak up? That depends on how well-informed is one’s position and ability to argue the data instead of using diatribes to undermine the positions of others.

I am most impressed with the composure, intelligence and eloquence of Greta. She is an example par excellence of a well-educated person whose passion has been put to the test by many who want to smear her reputation.

We can only hope that our American education system will produce similarly informed and impassioned young people — but I have doubts; we are afraid to produce analysts and philosophers who can think for themselves. If we did, they might not believe half of what octogenarians tell them, and they have every reason to be skeptical.

Elmano M. Costa, Turlock

...While young activist figured it out

Re “Oh, to be 16 – and to know it all again” (Page 8A, Sept. 27): Given that columnist Cal Thomas is 60 years older than climate change activist Greta Thunberg, there is every likelihood that he will be dead and buried before the worst of the ecological disasters predicted by Thunberg and a majority of environmental scientists.

But for her, and billions of young people around the globe, the outlook becomes, with each passing year of little-to-no significant worldwide action to prevent global climate change, evermore bleak and unsettling. Who can blame her for being angry?

Though some past predictions have been premature or incorrect, the science involved has become far more sophisticated and the information much more specific and precise. And one can’t help notice that all of the incorrect studies Thomas cited were 50 years old or more. Let’s see him deny some more recent studies.

Apparently Thomas finds it very easy to dismiss an impassioned young woman who seeks to help save the Earth and lectures the United Nations, which all too often seems more concerned with global quarterly profits than the long-term survival of mankind. May God bless her and enlighten him.

Gary McNett, Modesto

Air rules have curbed pollution

As a boy in a poor 1950s Los Angeles neighborhood, one chore was to take out the trash. Fun! Dump it into the maw of our incinerator and light it up. One day my dad set a tire on fire and we threw gobs of trimmings in. Everyone drove their own stinky car. We never got to skip school for a bad air day. It was always bad in the dry season. Our eyes hurt and teared up; you felt it in your lungs when you inhaled deep. I laughed at my cousins visiting from Iowa, when their eyes hurt and they complained. We were tough; we were used to it. Back in the ‘50s, we also liked Ike. We knew he had saved us from having to learn German. And he liked kids.

Now there are over 6 million cars in LA. Without pollution controls it would have become a killing field.

Lower car mileage requirements? Weaken metropolitan air standards? MAGA better not make California air like back in the ‘50s. It will kill us, especially the kids.

Richard Anderson, Modesto

We need reporters, too

I wake up thinking of the dangers that people choose to take protecting us. Each and every morning, they put on their uniform not knowing what will happen when they go to work. A famous professor, Dr. Peter Drucker, was once asked, “How can we evaluate any public service in terms of need and expectation?” He responded, “Simply imagine not having people like them doing what must be done.” Imagine no military, no firefighters, no city police or county sheriff’s deputies.

I would include in this group investigative reporters. Most certainly, we see some problems but they are less than 1% and eventually will be solved by training and the camera. So, I would like to salute these men and women for what they do. They are unsung heroes among us.

Fred Pete Perriera, Modesto

Turlock councilman on rainbow flag flap

We have two groups that look at the very same image and somehow hear two very different messages. What has led to a cultural divide so wide?

One group sees the raising of the pride flag above city hall as a community taking a step toward creating a welcoming environment for the diverse population groups that call Turlock home. The other sees it as an attack on their way of life or simply a waste of time.

My position: It is not to the benefit of Turlock residents that myself and four other elected officials have these conversations on your behalf, then make a decision as to which side we will represent. It also is not the role of elected officials to create restrictive laws that censor the people’s will or expression of self.

If a sizable segment of our population wants a flag raised, the flag is not a symbol affiliated with a recognized hate group, and the group making the request covers the costs associated with a “community flag program,” let the flag fly.

It is time that everyone have these difficult conversations and we work toward understanding our neighbors a little bit better.

Andrew Nosrati, Turlock City Council member

Here’s what to do about nutria

I read with bemusement your story, “California working to rid waterways of big, invasive rodents.”

About two years ago this came to my attention via The Bee. A local farmer had discovered this big, nasty, destructive rat on his property. Fish and Game was called out, and he was told it was illegal for him to kill it — he could only trap it. They would coordinate with Sacramento to develop a comprehensive plan posthaste because “if you don’t get them early you won’t have any hope of getting rid of them,” as they breed like rabbits.

Fast forward to today. Our Federal Government is being asked to step in to fund this program to the tune of $10 million.

This is everything you need to know about what is wrong with our current government.

The media compound the problem by chasing the shiny object, the grandstanding show of our representative. By bringing a stuffed animal to Congress he creates a great photo op that takes the focus off the fact that this matter should have been handled years ago.

This farmer could have eradicated this problem for the cost of a box of ammunition. Instead, we’re wasting $10 million.

Mike Murphy, Ripon

In support of our teachers

I come from a long line of educators, my great-grandfather all the way to nieces and nephews. Growing up as a teacher’s child, I saw my father’s struggles to make ends meet, working not only as a high school teacher but also taking on summer jobs so he could take care of our family of six. It seems like not much has changed since he retired in the ‘80s. Teachers still aren’t compensated for the level of education and experience required to do their job and sometimes feel unsupported by their school districts.

I believe most teachers continue teaching out of love for the profession, but unfortunately teaching is not often treated as if it’s a true profession. Administrators often seem too willing to accommodate perceived community needs versus the very real needs that the teachers have.

Next year we will have the opportunity to add $11 billion to our schools and local communities through a ballot initiative. We should use some of this funding to adequately compensate teachers, decrease class sizes and make sure our tax dollars are being spent in the classrooms.

Annette Dawson, Turlock

Solving the doctor shortage

A UC Merced medical school has been promised for 20 years, but has never seriously been considered by UC regents.

Dan Schnur’s Sept 15. column correctly summarized all the other concerns that our Central Valley has to consider. Many of those needs would be met if the UC Merced medical school had been built. Serious issues of student debt and burnout would be eased if medical students were living close to their families and attending a world class public university — always the best financial choice.

After teaching family practice residents for 40-plus years, I can assure educators that there is no shortage of qualified applicants. The real issue is simply the lack of medical school slots. UC President Janet Napolitano’s plan for increasing 200 slots would hardly solve the problem. With 10 UC medical schools, we’ll get only 20 more graduates a year from each.

We cannot utilize a large number of various health care support professionals if there is no actual doctor available to diagnosis the patient and write the prescription. Everyone agrees that the shortage of physicians is a crisis. So what are we waiting for? Just build the UC Merced medical school.

Dr. Roland C. Nyegaard, Modesto

Fond farewell to Modesto concerts

The Modesto Community Concert Association is conducting its final season after providing our community with quality musical entertainment for 69 years. While changing times and new venues currently provide ample opportunities for entertainment in our area, the MCCA was among the first volunteer-based organizations to make sure that the Central Valley was consistently provided with diverse cultural experiences. We have been season subscribers for several years, and in addition to listening to beautiful music, we have met wonderful friends through the MCCA.

Our community owes a sincere thank you to those who have served on the board of directors through the years and to business sponsors who have made it possible for the MCCA to bring excellent musical entertainment to this region.

Patrick and Cheryl Barney Durr, Modesto