Letters to the Editor: Leaving California because of finances doesn’t make you a ‘climate migrant’

A tanker drops bright-red retardant over a wildfire in Sonoma County
A tanker drops retardant over a wildfire in Sonoma County, an area that has seen multiple catastrophic fires in the last few years.
(Los Angeles Times)

To the editor: It’s hard to feel sorry for Jacques Leslie and his wife having to leave California for a brand-new home in Vermont because they underestimated the cost of building their “environmentally state-of-the-art” home in Marin County.

Considering that about 160,000 Californians are forced to live without a home, Leslie’s has to be the most first-world problem I have ever seen.

Leslie wrote that “Vermont’s lower cost of living and simpler regulations” make it possible for him to build a brand-new home there. “Lower cost of living” is often a euphemism for lower taxes, meaning less investment in a community’s need to build, operate and maintain its infrastructure. As for “simpler regulations,” that usually means fewer regulations, which can risk damaging the environment.


Whatever shortcomings he found Mill Valley to have, Leslie will soon discover what it is like to live in a state where the open and concealed carry of weapons without a permit is revered next to the Bible.

Donald Bentley, La Puente


To the editor: Word choice matters. When Leslie calls himself a “climate migrant,” he trivializes the word “migrant.” As the word is understood today, and maybe always, it connotes loss of home, fear, danger, the possibility of rejection and derision.

For people like Leslie to choose to leave Marin County for Vermont and call themselves “migrants” moving to the “diaspora” is an insult to millions of people who weep every day because they actually are migrants living in a diaspora.

Holly Ciotti, Los Angeles