February 22, 2024
Mercury News Letters to the Editor for Aug. 22, 2023

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Powerful forces drive
police corruption

Re: “Did lack of reform lead to scandal?” (Page A1, Aug. 20).

Police departments don’t operate in a vacuum, and they are not autonomous, though it often feels that they are.

The Antioch and Pittsburg police departments’ officers take orders from their superiors on the force as well from powerful outside interests such as chambers of commerce, wealthy and well-connected residents, as well as a variety of business interests large and small. We’d all like to believe that the Antioch and Pittsburg police departments have only a relatively few “rogue” cops, but the truth ought to be far more concerning. In nearly every police department where misconduct is seemingly rampant, the victims are most often members of groups with little economic power. The powers that be give police marching orders to keep them in line and make sure they know their place.

To get at the root of police misconduct means directly challenging powerful forces inside cities and towns.

Anthony Stegman
San Jose

Lack of oversight
plays role in cops’ chaos

Re: “Did lack of reform lead to scandal?” (Page A1, Aug. 20).

The Mercury News asks how the Antioch Police Department corruption issue could happen, and my response from dealing with my own local municipality is clear: Municipal governments in California have barely any oversight unless the citizens pursue it themselves, and a government or police organization that does not want oversight or accountability can lean on all sorts of unethical, underhanded tactics to deflect, ignore, frustrate or confuse citizen oversight and continue acting poorly at the taxpayer’s expense.

My lesson from both my local government and from the Antioch Police Department’s problem, is local municipal governments are in desperate need of more rigorous oversight. City governments and police departments are full of dark shadows for corruption and bigotry to hide.

More tools are needed to shine a light on all our city governments and police departments.

Mathew Clark

Morality missions
obscure real issues

Re: “Pink Poodle explanations not believable” (Page A8, Aug. 13).

I’ve subscribed to the Mercury News since 1989, and I have come to expect a pointless campaign every year against the Pink Poodle or the city’s card rooms.

If The Mercury News’ reporters and editorial board would spend the same effort they exert on trivial issues like these on real issues in areas like permitting, city finance irregularities or other consequential issues, their readership and the city would be much better served.

Quit wasting your, and my, time on your morality missions and cover news that actually matters.

C.K. Haun
La Selva Beach

SJSU must get ahead
of misinformation

Re: “SJSU continues to neglect track and field” and “As students struggle, SJSU squanders cash” (Page A6, Aug. 16).

Mercury News reader Monty Steadman criticizes the building of the $70 million Spartan Athletic Center by San Jose State and wants to know where’s the track and field facility? Well, San Jose State has received $9 million to build a new track and field facility at the county fairgrounds.

Randall Spangler decries the new Spartan Athletic Center because he believes the money to build it is depriving needy students of help. San Jose State already has many social and welfare programs to assist students in need. The money spent on the athletic center was privately raised and had there been no fundraising there would not be $70 million to spend.

San Jose State administration needs to do one additional thing: Get out in front of this kind of willful ignorance by certain members of our community.

Mark Carbonaro

Save beds to show
we care for mentally ill

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

In a time where mental disabilities are rampant, Good Samaritan Hospital is choosing to close 18 psychiatric beds at its Mission Oaks campus.

We as the caretakers of loved ones with sever mental illness are desperate to keep those beds. We need them for stabilization. If not, our loved ones will end up in the streets, in jails or dead.

The counties did not pick up the slack adequately when the psychiatric hospitals were closed, and we’re seeing a severe shortage of services. Let us show we care.

Nurit Baruch
San Francisco

Environmental disasters
require shared response

As I read about the heroic efforts of Canadian firefighters in the face of massive blazes, I’m reminded of our shared struggle to combat the effects of climate change, which knows no borders.

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As the impact of climate change continues to escalate, the need for collaborative efforts becomes paramount. The shared experiences of Canada, California, and other affected regions underscore the importance of learning from one another. By uniting our knowledge, resources, and determination, we can tackle the rise in extreme weather events head-on.

It is my hope that Canada, California, and all areas grappling with the repercussions of climate change can forge a path of joint action. Only through collective commitment can we mitigate these catastrophic effects and pave the way toward a sustainable future. The global nature of climate change demands a global response, and until we collaborate to confront its destructive consequences, we’ll remain ensnared by uncertainty.

Isabella Bian
Palo Alto