Letters for the Week of January 18, 2017

Readers sound off about vandalism, deportation, and climate change.

“Trumping Science” by Nick Miller, News, January 11:

A GOP Solution to Climate Change

I too am frightened at the thought of a government dominated by climate-change deniers and oil-industry representatives. My one hope is that the Republican Congress might use their moment of concentrated power to protect us from climate disaster in a Republican-friendly way.

Yes, there is a Republican-friendly policy that can cut CO2 emissions drastically while helping vulnerable communities: carbon fee and dividend. The government collects a steadily rising fee on all fossil fuels. But instead of spending it on programs, it simply gives the money to all American households.

For Republicans, the policy is market-based, doesn’t pick winners and losers, and doesn’t expand government. For progressives, the policy protects the poor by giving them a dividend higher than their excess energy costs — only energy hogs will lose money overall. Let’s hold our collective breath and be ready for this Republican breakthrough if it comes.

Harry Chomsky, Albany

Can’t Wait For Congress

Thank you for your excellent article by Nick Miller on the fate of climate change under the Trump administration. The lineup of proposed cabinet members and advisors reads like a who’s who of fossil-fuel apologists and promoters. These are the folks who place profit over safe drinking water.

As UC Berkeley professor David Romps notes in the article, “California potentially could step up to a new role here, and now it could really be the bastion of hope.” If California enacts a carbon fee and dividend program, to incentivize industry in the state, it would be a window of hope. We can’t afford to wait for Congress to act on a national level, we haven’t the time.

Janice Murota, Berkeley

Explore ‘Revenue-Neutral’ Solutions

While this news story highlights many worrisome indications of potentially damaging federal actions (and inactions) on climate change, there are rays of hope that deserve our attention and support.

In particular, Art Laffer, tax policy advisor to Donald Trump, on the December 23, 2016 airing of the Morning Edition radio show, expressed his support for a national fee on the carbon content of fuels, fully rebated to American households on a per-capita basis. Such a “Carbon Fee and Dividend” policy would reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 50 percent over twenty years. This is a far greater reduction than President Barack Obama’s Clean Power Plan would achieve.

In addition, a Carbon Fee and Dividend policy would add 2.8 million net new jobs, grow the economy by $1.3 trillion, and save 225,000 lives.

This kind of policy appeals to Republicans because it addresses climate change without growing government. Progressive leaders, such as Rep. Barbara Lee, have been optimistic but cautious about this “revenue-neutral” approach to climate change, because it does not redress historical environmental injustices, but it would steeply curtail future ones. With a Republican majority in both houses of Congress, and with the earth heating up rapidly, we should let our representatives know that a revenue-neutral solution has our support.

Ted Obbard, Berkeley

“Ambushed: Contra Costa County Law Enforcement Sets Up Surprise Stings To Help Federal Immigration Agents Arrest and Deport Immigrants” by Darwin BondGraham, Feature Story, January 11:

Hammer Down Hard?

Are you kidding me? Let’s follow the facts: Chris Kim commits a violent armed robbery. But that’s not all. He is here illegally, and then goes on to commit other crimes, such as possessing stolen property. David Jones had to cope with stress and had four DUIs while here illegally. Are you kidding me? He could have killed someone. And then, the last sad victim of this story is Amy Smith, who — guess what — committed a crime while here illegally, too. Domestic violence! What am I missing? If the probation chief and the sheriff’s office didn’t hand them immediately to Immigrations and Custom Enforcement, they would be guilty of incompetence. The public defender cannot possibly defend this nonsense.

Maybe the author is hoping to win a Pulitzer Prize on this ridiculous article. The only thing he proved is that the Trump administration needs to bring the hammer down hard and now. You provided three great examples of why!

E. Cox

Rotten in CoCo

Seems like Contra Costa County is motivated by greed and malicious dislike of immigrants (particularly brown immigrants). It’s so easy to ignore Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Every other Bay Area county does. Something is rotting in Contra Costa.

Carlos Aguilar

Flawed Investigation?

The premise of this article is so flawed, it defies description. It promotes the concept that illegal immigrants, who have committed crimes, are somehow “sacred cows” with higher rights than actual U.S. citizens. It implies that cooperation among law-enforcement agencies to rid this country of such criminals is a crime. Chris Kim, for example, was given his chance when pardoned after his conviction of a Georgia hold-up — and then he did another crime! He had better learn Korean, because that is where he should immediately be deported. The reporter has made the case for just such law-enforcement agency cooperation — no matter how many tears this article might precipitate from liberals who refuse to respect the personal consequences of law and order.

William H. Thompson

“Protest Trump’s Inauguration in Oakland, But Please Don’t Be Violent” by Cat Brooks, Essay, January 11:

What About Vandalism?

The headline of this piece says “please don’t vandalize.” However, the headline is typically written by the newspaper, not the author. And, in fact, nowhere in the piece does the author speak to vandalism. It is vandalism that plagues Oakland protests, perpetrated by those who like to riot for sport.

I’ve read the first sentence of the second to last paragraph (“APTP refuses to be boxed by politicians, police, or media into a narrative that condemns any form of protest, except bodily harm”) several times and still don’t understand it.

What is clear is that the author, for whatever reason, cannot bring herself to explicitly disavow and speak against vandalism.

David Cohen

Thank You, Cat

Cat Brooks, I would like to take this opportunity to say that you are one of my heroes, and I am so proud and humbled by the great work that you are doing on behalf of our people. I share your sentiments exactly, and am so tired of the violence being perpetuated against our people being compared and conflated to destruction of property. I’m tired of our ancestor’s efforts being thrown in our faces, as if their way of organizing is the only way, or as if the white people throwing it in our faces actually know anything about how or why they organized. As if we weren’t at home digging through their words, searching for direction and finding in it exactly the direction we are going.

Phoenix Love Armenta


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