<b>Rush to judgment</b>
EDITOR: It seems that there are a lot of people willing to condemn Supervisor Efren Carrillo for something that may have happened. Now, his fellow supervisors have put in words what they think ("Supervisors speak out," Tuesday). It all feels like a rush to judgment before all of the facts are known. I don't blame Carrillo for hiring a good defense attorney.
<b>A tale of two protests</b>
EDITOR: Two groups of protesters blocked traffic. In Egypt, the Muslim Brotherhood, protesting ex-President Mohamed Morsi's arrest, blocked traffic on a bridge. In the United States, in the Westwood district of Los Angeles, a group of striking maintenance workers from UCLA staged a sit-in at Westwood and Wilshire boulevards.
In Egypt, the police shot to kill the protestors. In the U.S., the police arrested the protestors, and they were released on bail until they appear before a judge.
So much for democracy after a military coup in which Gen. Abdel Fattah al-Sisi arrested and killed the opposition to consolidate his power. It was foolish of our military to believe it could influence the military in Egypt. The Egyptian military, with the killing of its own people, was influenced more by the example of Syria than by the United States.
Or perhaps Sisi is a Peronist.
EDITOR: Michael A. Fiumara's Close to Home column ("Making crosswalks safer," Monday) included good ideas, but none of them would stop anyone who deliberately doesn't stop or stop anyone who simply is distracted. Perhaps we could try a proven method that I saw in the Netherlands, where cars are physically required to slow down.
I saw three types of crossings, all very effective. First is the road narrowing to one lane, such as you might find with a one-lane bridge. This forces drivers to slow down to make sure there are no cars coming or pedestrians crossing. The second was a raised crossing, rather like a sidewalk, built about four to five inches above the surface of the street. In all my driving, I never saw a car go over such a crossing at more than a few miles per hour. The third type combined the two, narrowing the road to one lane and elevating the crossing. It was used where there were many bicycles or pedestrians.
In all these cases, quite simply, a driver would have to slow down or risk serious damage to his or her car — far preferable to killing a bicyclist or pedestrian.
EDITOR: I was disappointed to read that the Bay Area Air Quality Management District is requiring homeowners to pay new fees to dispose of vegetative material on their property through allowable fires ("New fee set for agricultural fires," Tuesday).
Responsible homeowners conduct vegetative burns to protect their homes and maintain a safe property. Unattended vegetation provides fuel for uncontrolled fires to reach our homes. Small farmers and homeowners shouldn't have to pay fees to responsibly protect their property.
My neighborhood supports small farmers and promotes family and community gardens. We shouldn't increase costs for people to manage their property in alignment with our community values.
In rural areas, we already pay taxes to support safe vegetative fires on our properties. Property taxes, special taxes and state taxes fund fire protection. Fire districts already regulate safe vegetative burns that homeowners conduct on their properties. The Bay Area Air Quality Management District is requiring us to pay for protection that already exists.