Letters to the Editor

Letters to the editor | Sunday, Oct. 6, 2019: Service dogs, Highway 132, Trump and homeless

Real v. fake service dogs

I am a 16-year-old service dog handler-trainer. I have learned that people are unsure how to deal with service dogs and are unsure of the laws.

Recently, I have seen a number of fake service animals and emotional support animals in public places. These animals lunge, bark, attack and distract working dogs. The owners of these animals usually claim they’re registered. This is a big cause for concern; under the Americans with Disabilities Act, there is no recognized registry.

I would like people to know that they should not talk, look at, distract or pet service animals. And if you see a fake you should be wary, as some of these animals could be aggressive. These animals cause a danger to real service animals and everyone should know proper etiquette around real service dogs.

Lillian Leach, Turlock

A precious Rose Maddox vignette

Hope you have been enjoying the country music documentary, and its Modesto connection, by Ken Burns. The Grant and Erickson families arrived in Modesto in the 1940s to the music of the Maddox Brothers and Rose. We Minnesotans had never heard such music, but Curtis eventually took to strumming, yodeling, and lamenting cheatin’ hearts.

Fast forward to the 1970s, when we were in Nevada pursuing the Emigrant Trail. Arriving in Fallon, we noticed that Rose Maddox was singing in a little honky tonk casino on the main street. Her family was no longer performing together, but she was accompanied by three or four musicians. After we listened awhile, Curtis passed her a note requesting that she sing the old Maddox Brothers and Rose theme song from their days on radio station KTRB. She laughed, and it became apparent that her backup band did not know the song. But she just shouted out, “Give me a C, boys!” They started fiddlin’, and she belted out: “I want to live and love ‘neath the stars above, I want to hold you close to my heart...”

A great trip down memory lane.

Nancy and Curtis Grant, Modesto

Ruing Highway 132 bypass

On the Highway 132 overpass, more than a few neighbors did way more than oppose the idea; they organized demonstrations, wrote letters and petitioned StanCOG to find another way. They beseeched Supervisor Withrow. They uncovered manipulation of the survey for Measure L to guarantee funding. Remember “local roads first”? Really it was a local freeway first. And all the neighbors got in return was lip service about this project being for the better good. Finally, we got confirmation that this project was in fact to benefit Gallo Winery, Blue Diamond and Crystal Creamery, to create better access for products to reach the Port of Oakland.

The neighbors forevermore will have to contend with air pollution and noise pollution in their homes, courtesy of our local government. The only possible way to stop this project would have been a lawsuit, and they knew the poor people in one of our poorest communities couldn’t pull that off.

Welcome to the ruination of west Modesto. Take a drive west on Kansas, avoid the potholes and enjoy the view of desecrated farmland.

Lori Wolf, Modesto

Hypocrisy is his strong suit

President Trump declares that what Democrats are doing is a disgrace to the country. What disgrace? Saving our democracy from a wanna-be dictator? Someone who has walked all over every principle that our nation and our government are built on? A president who wouldn’t know morality or ethics if they fell on him from the top of Trump Tower?

He likewise accuses Democrats of being so fixated on him that they are failing to pass needed legislation. How dare he take away this hard-earned credit from Comrade Mitch McConnell! A man who has worked tirelessly to block every bill, stifle every appointment and suppress anything that might reflect well on Democrats.

The Trump cult — the party known as Republican — will no doubt continue to mindlessly rush to his defense, rationalizing his every self-serving crime. Let’s hope there are enough red and blue and independent voters who still want to live in a free society and are willing to fight for it.

Jack Heinsius, Modesto

Moral ambiguity rules Trump

It is time for Democrats to eliminate their pie in the sky rhetoric and answer two basic questions: 1. Who can depose of prevaricator Trump? 2. What plan can be drawn up and implemented restoring our Bill of Rights and democracy?

Continued pandering is vital for Trump’s win in 2020. The moral majority and evangelicals have gladly traded in their Christian beliefs and values for a continued Trump reign of fear, hate, and nationalism. The racist, white, alt-right is convinced that Trump is the reincarnation of their old Jim Crow favorites: Bull Connor, Lester Maddox, Strom Thurmond and George Wallace. True to his moral ambiguity, Trump does absolutely nothing to assuage these dangerous beliefs.

Democrats must convince independents and undecided voters to vote for their candidate. If they fail, there will be no return to pre-Trump democracy. Instead, the U.S. will continue evolving into a 2020 version of ‘30s and ‘40s Germany and Italy.

Brooks Judd, Turlock

Let’s invest in education

In small towns like Hughson, it sometimes feels like there are not enough opportunities for our young people. We need more programs to keep kids busy and out of trouble and we need strong schools so students can find good jobs in the future.

I have seen how important education is in my own family, watching my daughter push my grandson to work hard in school as a way to make his life even better than his parents’, who worked in a grocery store and in healthcare. Now he is pursuing a degree in computer engineering at Stanford, thanks to an amazing full-ride scholarship, and he is on his way to a very bright future.

We need to invest in education, especially here in the Central Valley, so that all kids have the chance to be successful, regardless of how rich or poor their parents are. Big corporations should want to pay taxes because they benefit greatly from an educated workforce. I’m a taxpayer and my kids are hard-working taxpayers, so it’s only fair that everyone pays their fair share.

Cathy Corbin, Modesto

Keep youth busy doing good

I come from a long line of educators, from 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

Some homeless deserve no help

Both state and federal governments are doing their one-size-fits-all routine with the homeless.

From my prospective, the problem comes in two parts. The majority of homeless are drug addicts in that position due to bad choices they have made, and who in many cases are comfortable with their no-responsibility, drug-high-chasing existence. Then we have those who — due to some inability to cope, either self-induced or brought on by factors they did not control — find themselves homeless. In my opinion, this last group should be administered to and have more resources because they have the greater chance of improving their living conditions and becoming productive members of society.

After these folks are removed from the homeless population, the remaining chronic drug addiction portion may be dealt with as the health and criminal danger to society they represent.

Charles R. Shetron, Oakdale

A case against cell phones

Young protesters are promising for the world. But they all carried cell phones, taking selfies. In their hands they held an item that contains the most toxic and hazardous material: cobalt.

For lithium-ion batteries in cell phones, laptops and electric cars, cobalt is mined all over the world. In the Congo, toxic waste from cobalt causes cancer and many ailments. These people are poor so they go into mines to dig with small shovels and even their hands to collect and bag cobalt. Children are working the mines to help feed their families.

If we are screaming about the environment, then let’s start by throwing away these phones.

Linda Lee, Turlock