California forum letters: Bee readers take on wildfire piece, St. Francis, surgery delays

·5 min read

Sick of it

Over 1,000 people attend rally protesting California’s vaccine mandate for children,” (, Oct. 19)

I’m sick of it. As I listen to the rants from the anti-vaxxers, anti-school mandators and anti-maskers, my 4-year-old grandson lay severely ill, probably exposed to a virus from preschool. Do the protesting parents understand all the vaccines their children have gotten to enter school were for diseases far less severe than COVID-19? This is about saving other peoples’ lives. Facts are facts. Over 700,000 Americans have died in less than two years from COVID. The confusion on all sides, constant bickering, mistrust and cynicism are killing people. We have to try and put faith into something, and science and history are good places to start.

Robyn E. Russell

Morro Bay


Sacramento Catholic school student says administrators warned them for waving pride flag,”

I read with interest and admiration the story of Emma Houle and the courage they displayed at St. Francis High School’s Homecoming this year. It was disappointing to read about the administration’s response. Over 30 years ago, I came out as a first-year at St. Francis, and despite some initial awkwardness and discomfort, I had an amazing group of friends, teachers and an incredible high school experience. The administration then may not have delighted in my open queerness (it was the 1980s and homophobia was common), but the St. Francis High School I knew was a welcoming, joyous and enriching place. It sounds like the students there are still amazing, courageous young people. I hope that the administration will recognize and celebrate students like Emma. They are an example for us all.

Sarah Bay-Cheng

Toronto, Ontario



Surgery delays at Kaiser Roseville frustrate patient who pays ‘good money for insurance.’” (, Oct. 19)

The title of the story should have been “vaccinated patients suffer as unvaccinated monopolize hospital resources.” The author underscores the complaints of one patient, whose operation was delayed because the hospital is filled with unvaccinated COVID patients, as are all other hospitals in the area.

Scarlet La Rue


Real world math

Stop forcing California students to learn algebra and other math they don’t need,” (, Oct. 18)

In my 25-year career as an attorney and filmmaker, I have never used algebra or trigonometry. A common-sense change to let more students learn applied, instead of “higher,” math is long overdue. I read with interest a 2007 article in EducationWeek by Sean Cavanaugh which stated that “the push for more rigorous math study actually doesn’t fit with the skills that employers, even those in many high-paying fields, demand.” Real-world math education would be more beneficial and interesting to many students.

Elizabeth Bynum


Brown supporter

California union moves to strip Local 1000 president of powers. He calls vote illegitimate,” (, Oct. 18)

I voted for Richard Louis Brown to be the president of SEIU because he pledged to remove politics from the union’s spending. The fact that the board met at the Democratic Party headquarters in Sacramento tells me all I need to know about their intentions. Brown was elected president to preside over the union. He should be able to safeguard my dues for their intended purposes.

Stephen St. Marie

San Francisco

Avoiding problem

‘Self-serving garbage.’ Wildfire experts escalate fight over saving California forests,” (, Oct. 17)

This article promotes the benefits of thinning to eliminate small trees and bushes that might easily ignite. But it doesn’t call for a reduction of clearcutting and other forms of even-aged management that result in plantations of dense young trees. The article states that aggressive logging can result in a need for thinning. However, it doesn’t call for an end to aggressive logging practices such as clearcutting. One would think that it would be easier to avoid a problem than to try to fix it.

Karen Maki

Menlo Park

Don’t bash scientists

‘Self-serving garbage.’ Wildfire experts escalate fight over saving California forests,” (, Oct. 17)

The focus should be on the issues, not on character assassination. Is the issue protecting homes and communities from wind-driven fires caused by flying embers? In which case, there’s ample evidence that home hardening and maintaining defensible space up to 60-100 feet around homes is the most effective protection. Is it mitigating the impacts of climate change? In which case, climate scientists worldwide prioritize sequestering carbon in existing forest ecosystems. Is it about protecting watersheds and wildlife habitat, currently being destroyed by logging? Don’t bash the scientists courageous enough to speak up.

Jenny Blaker


Working together

‘Self-serving garbage.’ Wildfire experts escalate fight over saving California forests,” (, Oct. 17)

I just returned from documenting the Dixie Fire. What I witnessed was miles of forests subjected to fuel treatments “for restoring forest health and resilience,” completed before the fire. These heavily logged forests burned intensely: the small-diameter trees (left after years of cutting the largest) were torched to their tops and are being salvage-logged. The 2021 wildfires raced through heavily logged lands. It’s not news that over 300 scientists have contributed to ideas questioning the thinning paradigm, concocted with a fraction of the available datasets. “Get out of the way” is not something good scientists say. Let’s get out into the field instead.

Maya R. Khosla

Rohnert Park

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting