Readers write about California's crops, why South Africa turned away the Dalai Lama, school security since Columbine, and foster care.
California farmers should grow food
Regarding the April 17 article, "California's drought raises rural-urban tensions over water": Over 1 million acres of alfalfa, 500,000 acres of cotton, and 700,000 acres of almonds will be planted in California this year. In addition to that, hundreds of thousands of new almond trees were just planted last winter, even in the face of a drought.
Neither almonds, alfalfa, nor cotton are staples of our diet, nor do these machine-harvested crops provide employment for the farmhands of the Central Valley in any great numbers.
What are we Californians supposed to think of these farmers who keep demanding more and more of our water without providing any benefit to our citizens?
Before thinking about building new dams or canals, let's think about how to allocate the existing water to the best benefit of our citizens.
Give us broccoli, lettuce, bell peppers and other crops that make living in this great state so fantastic – and put a cap on those crops that are produced almost exclusively for the international export market, to benefit very few at the expense of everybody else.
In regard to the March 26 article, "South Africa turns away Dalai Lama, political firestorm follows": I'm not exactly shocked at South Africa's decision to disinvite the Dalai Lama.
Despite all the adulation heaped on Nelson Mandela, people forget that his African National Congress was and is a Marxist organization that accepted aid from various radical regimes in its struggle against the South African white minority government. I always believed that this background did not bode well for the nation's future, just as I was highly apprehensive about the former Rhodesia back in 1980 when that nation was "liberated" by another "black freedom fighter." World opinion then, in its euphoria over the change in regimes, didn't seem to want to notice that the hero of the moment – Robert Mugabe – was a lifelong Marxist. A Maoist, in fact: a bit of irony that shouldn't be lost in view of the rebuff of the Dalai Lama.