May 30, 2024
Mercury News Letters to the Editor for Aug. 18, 2023

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Wildfire safety tech
already exists

Re: “PG&E’s wildfire strategy needs careful scrutiny” (Page A6, Aug. 9).

As a former utility engineer, I’ve studied the best methods, one of which was developed by San Diego Gas and Electric more than 10 years ago in response to a massive wildfire, and consists of electronic detection of a broken or shorted line within milliseconds and turning off power before the line hits the ground and the current causes a fire.

One problem with relying on tree trimming is that in many mountain areas, the trees outside PG&E’s transmission corridor are tall enough to fall into their lines. Also, on many two-lane country roads where distribution poles are right along the pavement, there is almost no corridor to clear trees, so any nearby tree could land on the line.

PG&E’s engineers feel that high-speed electronic shutoff is a much more cost-effective method than spending too much on tree trimming and they are probably right.

Dennis Gaushell
Sunnyvale

Paper doing its job
in digging for truth

Re: “Paper is overdoing Pink Poodle coverage” (Page A6, Aug. 16).

I am writing to thank The Mercury News for its coverage of the Pink Poodle incident. Clearly, something is amiss, and there appear to be some attempts to cover up the truth.

I must disagree with Isabel Mota-Macias, who doesn’t believe in “drastic measures” or “prolonged coverage” by the newspaper. Without knowing the full story, we simply cannot and should not make any assumptions about the incident, and that is why we must make an all-out effort to get at the truth. I have the utmost respect for our firefighters and first responders, and it is because of this deep respect that I appreciate The Mercury News’ effort to expose the full story. Then, and only then, will those who deserve to be exonerated, be exonerated, and those who deserve to be punished, be punished.

The Mercury News deserves praise for its efforts to get at the truth, not criticism.

Myo Kyaw Myint
San Jose

Bill seeks to reward
folks’ bad behavior

Re: “Cities lose money, harm citizens with ‘poverty tows’” (Page A6, Aug. 16).

Every action has a reaction. Consequences happen when you fail to pay a bill, parking ticket, car registration, insurance, express lane fees, taxes or anything on time. Penalties add up when you are late.

Been there, done that. Thirty years ago I had three parking tickets. I paid them as I can see what the cost is if I do not pay on time. I strive not to get tickets.

Ash Kalra’s AB 1082 would reward bad behavior to those who get parking tickets and cannot afford to pay them in a timely manner. These are the same people who most likely do not have car insurance. Maybe they should not be driving. Seems the progressives are making it easier for people to steal and not pay for their crimes.

It’s time to be an adult. Driving is a privilege and not a right.

Michael McWalters
Alviso

Teacher union stretched
faulty school closures

Re: “Thank Gov. Newsom for doing difficult job” (Page A6, Aug. 11).

I agree with Julie Ludwig that Gov. Gavin Newsom (along with everyone else) faced tough decisions due to all of the unknowns with regard to COVID.

However many states, including “blue” states such as Connecticut, opened schools in September 2020 based on existing data that suggested that young children were not a vector for COVID, yet California teacher unions refused to recognize such data.

Even Newsom came to recognize such and threatened to penalize schools that did not open in the spring of 2021.

While the governor may have been slower to recognize said damage, our school unions were obstinate and refused to recognize scientific data collected to date.

Gary Miller
Saratoga

MS needs funding
and honest portrayal

Re: “U.S. should boost its ALS research funding” (Page 6, Aug. 11).

This is an acknowledgment of the letter to the editor regarding the need for more funding for ALS. It is a horrifying disease and needs funding badly.

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Another devastating disease is multiple sclerosis. To me, it is misleading to see the ads on TV promoting the various drugs to help with symptoms portraying people leading relatively normal lives. They don’t address this disease’s misery for people with progressive MS who can live for many years in a state of complete helplessness unable to walk, talk or care for themselves in any way — and this can go on for decades.

I’m writing this letter on behalf of a very brave friend who is suffering with this disease. I hope in the future a cure can be found to spare others from MS and that a realistic portrayal of what it really is can be shown.

Diane McQuillen
San Jose

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