Letters: Skeleton crews | Ban clear-cutting | 'Remarkable individual' | Free student meals | Valley C …

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State misplaced priorities
on its inmate fire crews

Re. “As Bonny Doon burns, defiant residents refuse to give up the fight for ‘Battle Mountain,’” Aug. 24:

My neighborhood in Bonny Doon off Martin Drive had five homes saved solely by locals. Until five days after the start of the fire, no one had seen a single fire truck anywhere near our neighborhood.

If not for the locals who organized to fight the fire, our entire neighborhood would be gone. One house, four lots down, was saved twice: the first time by a neighbor with a water truck when the house was on fire, the second time by two residents who fought back brush fires.

Our state government made the decision to give early releases to more than 800 inmate firefighters. Inmates typically make up 43% of Cal Fire firefighting forces. The state is down to 1,659 inmate firefighters from the 2,255 available in April, despite 86 deaths (Camp fire) and record heat. The priority of our elected officials? Not Cal Fire nor homeowners threatened by fire.

Sherri McQuaide
Bonny Doon

It’s time for California
to ban clear-cutting forests

It is heartening that the Big Basin redwoods will make it through the current conflagration (“Redwoods expected to survive”, Aug. 25). Withstanding these fires demonstrates that their only truly formidable enemy is us.

Our voracious need for lumber has led to the destruction of about 96% of the two million acres of redwood present along the coast in 1850 when logging became a boom industry in California. Further, the continued logging of redwoods is generally accomplished through clear-cutting, a profitable but extreme timber industry practice that increases wildfire risk, contributes to climate change, degrades our water supply and decreases habitat and biodiversity.

In light of the climate crisis, we must demand an immediate end to clear-cutting in California, and we must establish special protections for all of the redwoods that remain in our state, not only for their beauty but because of their unsurpassed ability to keep carbon out of the atmosphere.

Jennifer Normoyle

San Jose was lucky
to have Rick Doyle

I had the opportunity to work with Rich Doyle when he was a deputy city attorney and then when he was the city attorney of the city of San Jose.

He was a remarkable individual, ethical to the core, fair and even-handed in his legal determinations, and just a really fine person. It reminds me that at times we see so few with those qualities at a national level but at the local government level we see many fine examples of that.

Rick was that kind of person, imbued with integrity, intellect and the courage to take positions which were the right thing to do but not always popular. The city was blessed to have him as one of its key leaders for as long as it did.

Les White
Former San Jose city manager

USDA should renew free
meal waiver for students

As a new school year begins, many families of young children have entered a new world of virtual learning, but also the challenges of putting food on the table. Due to the pandemic and the rise of unemployment many families are struggling to feed their children.

Unfortunately, The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) which runs the National School Lunch Program has refused to extend waivers to let schools serve free meals this fall.

As of now, schools are required to check student ID to determine eligibility for free lunch. During the summer, East Side Union High School District was serving 6,000 lunches daily but has lowered to 120 a day since the start of the school year, according to reports.

There needs to be more action and urgency toward the USDA to extend its eligibility waiver to let schools serve free meals to all in order for children to reach their full potential.

Nandini Devi
San Bruno

Social media must meet
newfound responsibility

Clearly the platforms Valley C-Suiters create, build and maintain will be central to the future of humanity: our economy, health care, communication. We will not be lacking ideas anytime soon.

Their rapid growth was the tsunami that leveled much journalism, destabilizing the only industry we promise to protect in our Constitution. Their algorithms help drive home-made radicalization, their chat rooms host racist, hate-filled groups. Their data collecting means some people know a considerable amount more about us than we know about them. (That’s creepy.)

Do you want this massive industrial shift we’re surfing on to continue in bloodshed or in calm citizen debate? They are the new elite. The new Fourth Estate. What are you ready to do about it before November?

You want to know how powerful the tech revolution is? Look how it’s being used to undo democracy before our very eyes.

Greg Rowe-Pasos
Santa Cruz

Voting for Trump is
assault on democracy

There you go again, . It’s said that if you tell a lie often enough people will believe it is the truth. In Trump’s world, the truth is far from the truth.

The problem is that Trump believes in an autocracy where he is the supreme leader. There is no room for reaching across the aisle, for in his world, that would be working with an evil enemy instead of a fellow citizen.

Now Trump is worried that he won’t keep his leadership. Like so many of the autocrats he admires (, Kim Jong-un, etc.) he and his cronies have resorted to creating a self-fulfilling lie by reducing polling stations, squeezing the post office and claiming that there is massive fraud afoot. (“Trump warns convention of rigged election,” Aug. 25)

Don’t let the Trump team disenfranchise your vote. Truth is, failing to vote this would-be dictator out of office is a vote for destroying your democracy.

John Lococo

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