MEAT TAX

With Congressional Republicans rushing to place a new tax bill on President Trump’s desk before Christmas, here comes the respected British publication The Guardian suggesting a new source of tax revenue — meat. Yes, a tax on meat, to beat the health and climate crises.

The concept is hardly radical. We already pay taxes on tobacco, alcohol, sugary sodas, plastic bags and other consumables that afflict the public health and incur other social costs.

The revenue would reimburse Medicare, Medicaid and other government health care programs for treating victims of chronic diseases that have been linked conclusively with consumption of animal products. It would contribute to the costs of restoring air and water quality and wildlife habitats that have been devastated by production of these items.

Benjamin Franklin noted that nothing is certain except death and taxes. However, death can be deferred substantially by taxing the very products that make us sick.  

~  PATRICK LAWSON

PASADENA

SAFETY CONCERNS

Dear Chief Sanchez and City Council of Pasadena:

I’m very concerned about the safety of Pasadena residents and people like myself who spend a lot of time in Pasadena. 

What happened on Nov. 9, 2017 to 21-year-old Christopher Ballew is despicable and, unfortunately, possibly the most egregious use of force I would have ever expected from the Pasadena Police Department.

I do not feel safe with officers like Zachary Lujan and Lerry Esparza roaming the streets of not only Pasadena but also Altadena and who knows where else, guns loaded and batons in use to beat up persons they’ve pulled over for a traffic infraction. 

My taillight was out for a while. Should I, too, expect to be attacked, handcuffed and beaten by your officers? 

Mr. Ballew was not resisting arrest, did not run away, did not strike an officer, yet your men continued to beat him up, broke his leg and smashed his face to the ground. They were out of control, and Mr. Ballew did not deserve any of it — none whatsoever.

After watching the videos again and again, the only explanation for your officers to impart such treatment unto him that I can think of — the only crime that Christopher Ballew committed in their eyes — was being born with a skin color that is black.

The entire community of Pasadena will be following this case, and we will not stop until Officers Zachary Lujan and Lerry Esparza are permanently suspended from duty with the Pasadena PD.

~ MELISSA MICHELSON

ALHAMBRA

REMEMBERING CORY IVERSON

As your fire chief, I must offer that these are the times that try men and women’s souls. Fire Apparatus Engineer Cory Iverson worked in the Riverside Unit before he was promoted to the San Diego Unit. He worked at the Hemet-Ryan AAB. We lost a real firefighter and a real friend to all. This is a terrible loss. We all feel it.

Cory was loved and highly respected by his fellow firefighters and superiors. When you think of it, the public never knew Cory so they couldn’t love him the way we loved him. With that thought, the public would have loved Cory as he gave his life doing what he loved — fighting fire.

CAL FIRE San Diego Unit Chief Tony Mecham just phoned me. He is with Cory’s wife this very moment. This tragic loss left Mrs. Iverson with a 3-year old daughter and a soon-to-be-born (five-months pregnant) little one. HRAAB Battalion Chief Justin McGough has reached out to the family to assist where possible. CAL FIRE San Bernardino Unit Chief Glenn Barley and Division Chief Jeff Veik are with Cory’s mother at Big Bear.

Please, please keep the Iverson family in your thoughts and prayers. They will need emotional support as well, as will our firefighters and their families who knew Fire Apparatus Engineer Cory Iverson. We must always support the real family, our fire family and everyone else during this most difficult of grieving times.

~ JOHN R. HAWKIN, UNIT

& FIRE CHIEF

CAL FIRE & RIVERSIDE COUNTY FIRE DEPARTMENT

DECEMBER 15

LETTERS WANTED

Send letters to kevinu@pasadenaweekly.com. For news tips and information about happenings and events, contact Kevin at the address above or call (626) 584-1500, ext. 115. Contact Deputy Editor André Coleman at andrec@pasadenaweekly.com or by dialing ext. 114.