Ad­min­is­tra­tion’s weak re­sponse to COVID­19

San Francisco Chronicle - - FROM THE COVER -

Af­ter hav­ing con­sis­tently topped the COVID­19 in­fec­tion and deaths rates since the be­gin­ning of the pan­demic, with the lat­est count hav­ing crossed the grim mile­stone of the global record of 200,000 deaths, the loom­ing ques­tion re­mains: What makes the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion’s tepid re­sponse to COVID­19 the weak­est in the world?

The sim­ple rea­son is that Amer­i­cans are not told by the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion to own the re­spon­si­bil­ity of tam­ing the virus by do­ing some ba­sic sac­ri­fices and not ask­ing the same ba­nal ques­tion again and again: What’s in for me?

Un­less ev­i­dence­backed, ba­sic med­i­cal safety pro­to­cols proven to ar­rest the virus spread, like wear­ing a face mask and so­cial dis­tanc­ing, are en­forced na­tion­ally, we may not see any gains un­til a full roll­out of the coro­n­avirus vac­cine.

And the big­gest ques­tion re­mains about the time­line of the highly an­tic­i­pated vac­cine: When will this hap­pen and, un­til then, what out­come do we await for this es­ca­lat­ing in­fec­tion and death rate?

Atul Karnik, Wood­side, N.Y.

A dy­ing democ­racy

I am get­ting wor­ried about the state of our democ­racy, and I teach about it ev­ery day to high school stu­dents. The Repub­li­cans should state plainly that if they are in con­trol of the Se­nate, no Demo­cratic nom­i­nee for the Supreme Court will get a hear­ing. Then we will know for cer­tain that our demo­cratic ex­per­i­ment has failed.

The Se­nate is one of the least rep­re­sen­ta­tive parts of our govern­ment. The state of Wy­oming has fewer res­i­dents than our medium­sized city of San Fran­cisco, yet Wy­oming has the same num­ber of sen­a­tors as Cal­i­for­nia. James Madi­son knew this was un­demo­cratic, but it was another com­pro­mise, along with the Elec­toral Col­lege, to ap­pease the slave states (and the small states).

These com­pro­mises came to cre­ate this coun­try, but they also came at a ter­ri­ble cost. Democ­racy is dy­ing right in front of us.

Adam Michels, San Fran­cisco

Con­tro­ver­sial process

There are two an­swers to the ques­tion posed by Chron­i­cle jour­nal­ist Joe Garo­foli’s ar­ti­cle “Will flip­flop on Supreme Court mat­ter to vot­ers?” (Sept. 23). Yes, if you’re a Demo­crat or In­de­pen­dent voter who is ap­palled by the

GOP’S ruth­less tac­tics to con­trol ju­di­cial ap­point­ments, sup­press voter turnout and kow­tow to its white evan­gel­i­cal base.

No, if you’re a Repub­li­can who thinks that end­ing the right to abor­tion while pro­tect­ing the right to have guns are top pri­or­i­ties, and de­fends a pres­i­dent who has told over 20,000 lies while in of­fice. I’d agree with Garo­foli’s as­sess­ment that, no mat­ter when the next Supreme Court jus­tice is con­firmed, all of the con­tro­versy sur­round­ing the process will fur­ther di­min­ish our na­tion’s re­spect for its high­est court.

Dy­lan Sea­ger, San Fran­cisco

‘Hyp­o­critic Oath’

Re­gard­ing “Livid with Fe­in­stein” (Let­ters, Sept. 23): Re­gret­tably, Sen. Dianne Fe­in­stein is merely be­ing re­al­is­tic about lack­ing the abil­ity to force Repub­li­cans not to re­place the es­teemed Ruth Bader Gins­burg on the Supreme Court.

Nor does she have the power to make them bow to her pres­sure, as the let­ter writer sug­gests. Hav­ing ap­par­ently taken the “Hyp­o­critic Oath,” Repub­li­cans hold the power to act now. Their cur­rent power, un­for­tu­nately, is a fact (not an al­ter­na­tive fact).

Even if it does not help the Supreme Court now, how­ever, our votes for Democrats in both the Con­gres­sional and ex­ec­u­tive branches of govern­ment will at least be a step to­ward restor­ing de­cency and ac­count­abil­ity in our govern­ment.

It is lit­tle com­fort that just as for­mer Pres­i­dent Barack Obama un­doubt­edly thought the next pres­i­dent fol­low­ing him would be a Demo­crat to fill a Supreme Court seat,

Repub­li­cans now be­lieve it is likely that the next pres­i­dent will be a Demo­crat.

Jac­que­lyn Gen­try, Fos­ter City

Sounds like black­mail

The Repub­li­cans do have a staunch ma­jor­ity in the Se­nate, so it is hard to see what purely po­lit­i­cal pres­sure Sen. Dianne Fe­in­stein could ex­ert. The sug­gested use of “lever­age and in­for­ma­tion” sounds more like black­mail. Isn’t that sort of thing a fa­vored tac­tic of a cer­tain pres­i­dent?

Sherry Gul­mon, Palo Alto

An en­ti­tled at­ti­tude

The de­mands of the Arch­bishop of San Fran­cisco re­gard­ing the lim­i­ta­tions of parish­ioners for in­door ser­vices, re­ally raised some ques­tions for me. Does he care about the health and safety of his flock, or has months of empty col­lec­tions bas­kets trig­gered his reck­less com­ments?

All over this coun­try, we have seen what hap­pens when you fill a church with wor­shipers: Peo­ple get sick and die, many of them mem­bers of the clergy. The fiasco at the Saints Peter and Paul Church nup­tials is a good ex­am­ple; the 10 at­ten­dees stricken could pos­si­bly have in­fected oth­ers.

The Arch­bishop needs to set aside his en­ti­tled at­ti­tude and fol­low the law. He was given a flock to care for, now he should do it!

Leanna Mat­tea, Rohn­ert Park

Don’t build in fire zone

Re­gard­ing “Crises, from dis­as­ters to hous­ing, high­light need for shared so­lu­tions” (Front Page, Sept. 21): In his com­men­tary, John King finds it con­ve­nient to blame the Cal­i­for­nia En­vi­ron­men­tal Qual­ity Act for an ar­ray of ills, in­clud­ing fire haz­ard.

Our group’s lit­i­ga­tion against CalFires’ Veg­e­ta­tion Treat­ment Pro­gram (VTP) does not seek to cur­tail pre­scribed burns in conifer forests, but rather to pre­vent over­treat­ment in Cal­i­for­nia shrub­lands, which have suf­fered an ex­cess of fire.

Such over­treat­ment only leads to re­place­ment with flammable weeds. In­deed, Cal­fire has it­self ad­mit­ted that its VTP is in­ef­fec­tive dur­ing the wind­driven fires in South­ern Cal­i­for­nia that do all the dam­age.

In­stead, we sup­port more strate­gic veg­e­ta­tion treat­ments that do work. The start of a true com­mon sense ap­proach would be to stop ex­pand­ing new hous­ing into the fire zone.

Dan Sil­ver, Los Angeles

Refuse an ap­point­ment

Re­gard­ing “Health care law hangs in the bal­ance” (Front Page, Sept. 22): Any ju­rist nom­i­nated to the Supreme Court should refuse to ac­cept the ap­point­ment be­cause of the cir­cum­stances un­der which the nom­i­na­tion was made.

If the nom­i­na­tion is ac­cepted, the Se­nate should re­ject the nom­i­na­tion be­cause their tes­ti­mony can­not be trusted, given the pre­sump­tion that the nom­i­na­tion is based on par­ti­san pol­i­tics, not ju­di­cial in­tegrity.

While it is the prerogativ­e of the pres­i­dent to nom­i­nate fed­eral judges, con­fir­ma­tion of any jus­tice this close to the elec­tion will un­der­mine the rule of law that ev­ery judge has taken an oath to pro­tect.

An­thony Somkin, Berke­ley

Wor­ship out­doors

Re­open­ing churches is ir­re­spon­si­ble. If Arch­bishop Sal­va­tore J. Cordileone truly cared about parish­ioners’ spir­i­tual and phys­i­cal health, he could gather more au­di­ences out­side. The Son of God did just that. Stop hid­ing be­hind per­sonal pref­er­ences rather than safety for all.

Re­mem­ber these parish­ioners min­gle with oth­ers in so­ci­ety and we all need to be safe.

Brenda Le­v­ersee, Santa Rosa

Tom Meyer / mey­er­

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