April 13, 2024
Mercury News Letters to the Editor for Aug. 20, 2023

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Pink Poodle headline
inflates material in story

Re: “Mayor blasts firefighter probe answers” (Page A1, Aug. 17).

San Jose Mayor Matt Mahan “blasted” the San Jose Fire Department after the release of the investigative report into the misuse of a fire truck to give a ride to a bikini-clad dancer. At least that’s what The Mercury News’ headline said.

But in reality, the mayor was quoted as being “disappointed” and “concerned.” These were the juiciest quotes available to support a sensational headline, the latest headline of several intended by your paper to turn a mildly wacky lapse in judgment into a massive corruption scandal.

The Mercury News’ vendetta against public employees continues, and with this story, the grudge has outstripped its available source material.

Tony Flemmer
San Jose

S.J. would be better
off without PG&E

Re: “City Council to consider leaving PG&E, form own power department” (Page A1, Aug. 12).

Believing the idea that San Jose Power could be a reliable source of power for residents and businesses is easy.

The union argument that the city will be unable to hire competent people to run a “not for profit”, city-owned power company is not. Just stay away from hiring any of the displaced PG&E workers.

Santa Clara and Palo Alto have both proven we would be better off without PG&E.

Mark Maxson
San Jose

Insulating wires is
prohibitively expensive

Re: “PG&E must insulate its bare wires” (Page A6, Aug. 15).

Jennifer Normoyle wrote “demand that PG&E immediately insulate its bare wires” and that this “can be accomplished … quickly and cost-effectively.” She is mistaken. The needed insulation would be massive and costly, and still wouldn’t solve the problem.

Those bare wires carry high voltages — typically 12,000 volts on distribution lines, 60,000 or 115,000 on transmission lines or even higher (those big towers along the Bay carry 230,000 volts.) Insulation that can withstand those voltages is thick, heavy, and expensive (one reason undergrounding is costly.) It would turn those slender wires into massive cables; it would also deteriorate in sunlight, requiring frequent replacement. And if the wire breaks — the usual cause of fires — the insulation would break with it, exposing the live wire.

Mark C. Lawrence
Palo Alto

Eliminating psychiatric
hospital beds isn’t sane

Re: “County must secure needed inpatient psychiatric beds” (Page A6, Aug. 11).

Plenty of people bemoan the problems of mental illness, and well they should. We are in a severe mental health crisis.

Mission Oaks psychiatric hospital is actually doing something positive about this crisis. They cure people. Now the Hospital Corporation of America (HCA) and Good Samaritan Hospital are planning to close Mission Oaks. This is pure insanity, committed by people who claim to be sane.

Forrest Nixon
San Jose

People in crisis
need psych beds

Re: “County must secure needed inpatient psychiatric beds” (Page A6, Aug. 11).

Mission Oaks should not close its 18 acute inpatient beds for serious mental illness on Aug. 20.

Twenty-eight years ago while working at NASA Ames, attending UC Berkeley for my Ph.D. in math and caring for two young children, I had a serious mental health breakdown and a complete break from reality. I was so fortunate to have a very good hospital where I received excellent treatment. I would be hospitalized three more times. My family and I were so fortunate to get such good care, and I was stabilized and became a productive member of society.

It is imperative that there be enough beds for serious mental illness in our community. In a million years, I would never have believed that this could happen to me. Please write to your elected leaders telling them that this is not the time to be losing such an important resource for our community.

Anna Pryor
Los Altos

Let’s prepare for
reality of 21st century

Re: “Wildfire divides frantic family” (Page A1, Aug 13).

The deadly Lahaina wildfires were a consequence of climate change and negligence. The warmer weather parched vegetation and soils. The warmer world fueled the high windspeeds from the nearby Hurricane Dora. Combined, these factors resulted in intense wildfires. Hawaii Electric Company and Emergency Services must become more diligent and understand that the climate of the 21st century is more treacherous than in previous centuries.

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This is also a message to our Bay Area communities to become more responsive to 21st-century conditions. Individuals can act and follow the recommendations of San Mateo County’s “Fire Safe San Mateo,” which is available at www.firesafesanmateo.org.

The climate will stabilize when greenhouse gas emissions cease. These gases degrade the air quality. Norway has had substantial air quality improvement as their aggressive conversion to electric cars proceeds. Ecuador reports lower hospital admissions for respiratory conditions as households converted from gas to electric stoves.

Gary Latshaw
Cupertino

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