June 21, 2024
Mercury News Letters to the Editor for Sept. 3

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Penalties on neglected
buildings should rise

Re: “Officials consider elevating penalties” (Page A1, Aug. 25).

Mayor Mahan, Vice Mayor Kamei and City Council members Torres and Foley have proposed that San Jose increase the fees on negligent property owners. The First Church of Christ, Scientist at St. James Park is one of these properties. By increasing the fees substantially and increasing the vigilance by code enforcement, we can save landmarks that add beauty, and historical and cultural value to our city.

Historic buildings give us a sense of the past, our heritage, and enrich our lives with their beauty and stories of earlier generations. We must protect these treasures, and this proposal would help to do that.

Paul Boehm
San Jose

Guardrails in place
for sentencing reform

Re: “Proposed bill raises anxiety, concerns” (Page A1, Aug. 30).

Regarding the concerns about SB 94, the bill follows a clear 3-step process of rigorous evaluation: judicial discretion, Board of Pardons Hearings and the governor’s review. Public safety officials and victims will be consulted at every step of the way.

Terry McCaffrey
Amnesty International
Palo Alto

Headline misleads
by blaming president

Re: “Clean water protection weakened by Biden” (Page A4, Aug. 30).

I don’t know if you or the Associated Press compose the headlines of your articles, but whoever it is needs to do much better.

If you just read the headline, “Clean water protection weakened by Biden,” you would think that President Joe Biden himself, or perhaps EPA Administrator Michael Regan, had the direct responsibility for weakening clean water regulations. But reading the article clarifies that it was the Supreme Court who actually made this happen. “Administrator Michael Regan said that the agency had no alternative after the Court sharply limited the federal government’s power to regulate wetlands. … Justices boosted property rights over concerns about clean water in a May ruling in favor of an Idaho couple who sought to build a house near a lake.”

So, who really weakened those clean water protections? Please avoid misleading and erroneous headlines.

Dick Howard
San Jose

Column should point
finger at Trump

Re: “Pullout from Afghanistan could cost Biden reelection” (Page A7, Aug. 30).

Marc Thiessen’s column is a perfect example of why you have to be skeptical of highly partisan columnists.

Reading Thiessen’s column, one would never know that it was actually Donald Trump who first negotiated the Afghanistan withdrawal in February 2020. Not only that, Trump originally wanted to complete the withdrawal by election day. Thiessen also failed to mention that Biden had inherited a declining Western force in Afghanistan that would have been hard to reverse.

While I personally agree with Thiessen that the Afghanistan withdrawal was a mistake, the mistake was negotiated and set in motion by Donald Trump, not President Biden.

Loren Spiekerman
Foster City

Congress should act
to keep kids safe online

We’ve read too many heartbreaking stories about families who have lost children because of the dangers of social media: relentless cyberbullying leading to suicide, dangerous “TikTok challenges” causing fatal accidents, videos promoting eating disorders among young girls, exposure to adult predators.

We can no longer stand by silently as more kids get hurt. It’s time to stand together — and to demand that our leaders in Washington and state capitals across the country do something about it. Congress should start by passing the Kids Online Safety Act, which has wide, bipartisan support.

Our kids are constantly inundated with harmful content. The act would provide tools and safeguards to protect against dangerous content pushed online, and hold social media companies accountable for repeatedly failing to remove it.

Lawmakers have a duty to protect our kids from Big Tech’s blatant abuses. It’s time to bring this important legislation to a vote.

Kanika Kansara
San Jose

Planet’s real problem
is overpopulation

Re: “Here is the real problem with all-electric vehicles” (Page A6, Aug. 29).

Mr. Crisps’ opinion piece regarding electric cars was interesting. And his concluding remarks about climate chaos being “very likely to continue unless we change the way we live, which means fewer cars, smaller homes, less air travel, less red meat, less comfort and convenience” is what we are constantly told.

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But, just like every other article discussing this issue, he leaves out the number one driver of climate change — the over 8 billion people on the planet who are consuming and destroying the planet.

If, instead, we discussed and promoted replacement population levels, and at the same time we worked to decrease our impact on the planet, results would be seen dramatically sooner and perhaps be less draconian to Mr. Crisp.

It is time to talk often and openly about the real driver of our environmental issues. Ask your elected officials what they are doing to decrease population growth worldwide.

Tina Peak
Palo Alto

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