Re "Time to bring immigration reform to a vote" (Editorials, Dec. 2): Should we vote on a new immigration reform bill? The answer is yes, of course, but the fact that people within our government would try to stop a democratic process from taking place is appalling to me.
This is America where we vote on stuff. And no matter how the vote turns out, the majority always rules. Now, if the current immigration system we have is the right one, which it very well may be, then it shall be the one that wins the vote. But not letting a vote take place is undemocratic, and will hinder the progress that the Constitution upholds.
I understand that people will be upset if changes do take place, but that's how a republic works. The majority rules, and the minority does not. We leave it up to the people to decide the laws.
e "No-bid arena deal sought" (Our Region, Dec. 7): I'm sniffing a sweetheart deal here. Competitive bidding requirements ensure people that their money is spent wisely.
The article says the city has "tentatively agreed to contribute $258 million toward the project ..." Though the city would own the arena, is this deal worthwhile? Why does Sacramento need an arena?
It doesn't. Supporting a pro-sports team is not the proper role of government.
The most important information is in the article's last paragraph: The Kings have already selected the contractors for the arena: ICON Venture Group, Turner Construction and sports architect AECOM.
So, insiders have already selected the firms to design and build the arena. To them, a competitive bidding process isn't necessary for they've already selected the best.
But are these specific firms really the best choices?
Absent an open process of competitive bidding, how will we know?
Re "Fracking boom in U.S. at core of energy revolution" (Page A1, Nov. 28): In response to the article by Sean Cockerham, I say this boom in oil production is exactly what the United States needs. An opportunity like this is one of a kind and will most likely bring the United States back to being the top nation again.
This fuel revolution also will benefit other nations, our country's unemployed and the United States as a whole.
Many may disagree, and there may be many risks involved, but if the United States does not take that chance, there may never be another opportunity for our country to be self-sufficient. The United States was once a self-sufficient nation, and with this boom in oil production, we can be that again.
Re "Ease prison lockups, says expert" (Capitol and California, Nov. 23): Dr. Craig Haney may be an expert on conditions of confinement, but his suggestion that mentally ill inmates be excluded from the punishment of being placed in segregation is absurd. Allowing an ordinance of that nature would only create more violence in prisons and increase the number of criminals who claim to be inflicted by mental health issues.
If inmates knew that they couldn't be dealt certain punishments for their behavior, then they may be more inclined to break the rules while in prison. Let us not forget that they have they have been convicted of a crime to land them in prison, and once in prison, they have committed yet another act to land them in segregation.
While fighting for the rights of the criminals, also consider the rights of the correction's staff members, whose safety would be put in jeopardy were an order, such as the one proposed by Dr. Haney, passed.
Re "Google bets a bundle on robots" (Page A1, Dec. 4): I have never seen a robot buy food, clothes, gas or a house. With the rush towards automation, what seems to be missing from the discussion is the societal cost. We must ask ourselves what will we do with the expanding lower-income class, the shrinking middle class and the inevitable increase of unemployed workers.
More than 8 million Californians are living below the poverty level, and that figure grows ever year. Imagine if they started to organize in protest.
We have heard the arguments that society will retrain people, add new jobs, adjust, etc. But that's not true this time: Jobs aren't disappearing, but people are being replaced.
Much won't change until the people who design and engineer these advance products are replaced themselves by automation and robots. But, by then, who will care?
Re "To clean up government, bring back mandatory military service" (Viewpoints, Dec. 2): The science fiction writer Robert A. Heinlein told a good story, but he was even better at thinking straight about politics. Instead of a draft, he would have had all persons desiring full voting citizenship perform two years of public service.
In his book, "Starship Troopers," he said that in our time, "people had been led to believe that they could simply vote for whatever they wanted ... and get it, without toil, without sweat, without tears." History shows that democracy without the personal investments of its citizens cannot stand.
Re "Senate Dems see to it that the rules no longer apply" (Viewpoints, Nov. 29): I think that Charles Krauthammer's article concluded in my theory on how the current administration in the White House is running this country with an iron fist. Krauthammer highlighted the surreal instances where President Barrack Obama has blatantly abused the powers that the American people have privileged him with.
The president recently did this by enacting an "administration fix" on the new health care law. Congress was set to vote to change this part of the legislation legally the way it the legislative branch was designed to do. Obama vowed to veto it, and, instead, he held a news conference and made the state health insurance commissioners feel obligated to break a federal law and allow cancelled plans to go back on the market. Krauthammer said it best. "Imagine: vetoing the very bill that would legally enact his own illegal fix."
Re "Time to bring immigration reform to a vote" (Editorials, Dec. 2): The current immigration system, to me, should be redone. The system we have as of now is too slow and is making it next to impossible for immigrants to live here legally.
Immigrants should not be separated from their families for years due to this system we have now. If immigrants want to come here for educational purposes, they should quickly be able to do so. Less fortunate immigrants should also have the opportunity to come to America to have a new better life.
Every immigrant should have a chance at the "American Dream." We need bright and talented minds from other countries to help America prosper.
Re "California can find road to prosperity by embracing hydraulic fracturing" (Viewpoints, Nov. 20): What is the damage that will be done to our beautiful state if fracking is allowed to go virtually unchecked? There is no denying that fracking, as hydraulic fracturing is called, is a path to prosperity, but at what cost to our environment and our future?
As long as there is still debate about the damage being done in the states where fracking is allowed, let us go slow and mitigate the possibility of damage before it occurs. Earthquakes, air pollution, wasted water, contaminated water and contaminated land are all very real concerns when it comes to fracking.
Instead of fracking, let us put our time and energy and resources into finding a clean, healthy source of energy, not one that's going to destroy our land, our health and our people.
Re "City arena subsidy faces new debate" (Page A1, Dec. 6): Sacramento's proposed financing plan for the arena provides more questions than answers. A rigorous analysis of the city's proposal by an independent accounting firm is needed.
Bond issues are like credit cards: They push the debt due date into the future and today's politicians and city administrators, like City Treasurer Russ Fehr, won't be around when the repayment of the capital and the interest becomes an onerous burden on present and future citizens. Craig Powell, founder of the Eye on Sacramento government watchdog group, says the debt will be much larger than city officials have stated.
The other elephant in the room is the question, "Why is the city even subsidizing a sports team?" Such subsidies have not helped those cities that have subsidized such teams.
Re "Don't silence street music" (Letters, Dec. 2): While I totally agree with Mary Canote's comments regarding street musicians being banned from Sacramento, but Sacramento will never be a world-class city.
The Rolling Stones or New York Philharmonic could play on our city streets, and Sacramento would still be what it is, a second-class, Podunk town.
Re "Batkid's next caper: Grant other wishes" (Editorial Notebook, Nov. 29 ):
Batkid's wish was the largest and one of the most expensive to date for the Make-A-Wish foundation. Doubts about the wish event arose for some about the cost to taxpayers and the fairness of such a large-scale event for one boy, when many more deserving kids are waiting for their wish.
However, with the media attention, public and nationwide support, the wish event for Miles Scott (Batkid) has increased support for Make-A-Wish Foundation, which received more donations, volunteers and referrals for deserving children.
Because of the positive message, and attention on television and online, the Batkid's wish event not only granted a child a lifelong dream, but inspired many to help other children.
Re "Obama makes wealth an issue" (Page A1, Dec. 5): The article should have pointed out that President Barack Obama has pursued policies that increase inequality. They include bank bailouts, too-big-to-fail insurance for large banks and stronger and longer patent and copyright protection.
The president also has supported a trade policy that puts less educated workers in direct competition with low-paid workers in the developing world, while largely protecting the most highly paid professionals, like doctors, from similar competition.
However, the biggest way in which the government has promoted inequality is by running budgets that lead to large-scale unemployment and underemployment. This policy denies work to millions of people.
Plus, since the bargaining power of workers in the bottom third of the labor market depends hugely on the level of unemployment, the high unemployment policy is also reducing their wages.
Re "Pope embraces Marxism" (Letters, Dec. 2): In response to the letter from John Costello concerning his opinion that Pope Francis upholds Marxism, I think you would have to say the same thing about Jesus. Jesus didn't associate with the elite of society, not even with the religious of that day. He embraced the poor and lowly, the outcasts.
Yes, Jesus said, "The poor shall always be among us." Could that be because he knew that there would always be those who would find excuses for not sharing. Jesus also said, "Give what you have to the poor and come follow me." Read the Gospels.
Re "Pope Embraces Marxism" (Letters, Dec. 2): Are we now to treat Pope Francis, whom Catholics believe is God's representative on earth, and his message, to a hyperbolic Fox News kind of analysis?
The letter writer not only misunderstands the pope's point, but also offends those of us who believe that this pope, finally, speaks for God.
Was it Marxist for God to send his son to be a poor shepherd, rather than the historical equivalent of a CEO?
The letter was even to a lapsed Catholic such as I.
Re "Obama makes wealth an issue" (Page A1, Dec. 5): Eliminating class disparity is easy. Recall all offshore U.S. companies and jobs. Require all companies to provide medical insurance to all employees and dependents and provide pension plans.
Void all equal trade agreements. Require any product used in new construction or rebuilding our infrastructure to be American-made and deport all illegal immigrants. All foreign cars sold in this country must be manufactured and assembled here.
Eliminate all offshore tax shelters, etc. Eliminate all lobbyists and tax-exempt political associations. Require all legislators to think for themselves.
Renew the military draft. Allow Union representation wherever desired.
These steps will provide a healthy middle class and eliminate cities in bankruptcy. Don't worry, though, the top 10 percent will still get their share.
Re "Pope embraces Marxism" (Letters, Dec. 2) Letter writer John Costello appears to put his capitalist views ahead of his Catholicism, something which Jesus addressed, saying "You cannot serve both God and mammon." Jesus advised a rich young man who wanted to follow him to "sell all your possessions and give to the poor...and come, follow me."
I am neither a Catholic nor a religious scholar, but it appears that the writer has as much trouble with the teachings of Jesus as he does with those of Pope Francis, for it was Jesus, not Pope Francis, who said "But woe to you who are rich, for you have already received your comfort."
Re "Health watch" (The Buzz, Nov. 26): When we read about California kids getting early introductions to fast-food meals, we should remember than childhood obesity is a nationwide issue, not just a state one.
The only solution our government seems to come up with for this issue is to continuously host events to show parents how to make healthier meals for their families. Yet children are being exposed to fast food at such an early age because their parents don't necessarily have the time to make a wholesome, healthy meal. The convenience of fast food is what attracts the masses, not the taste or the gimmicks that these fast-food companies offer.
The government can't just point at parents for exposing their children to fast food. The government must require improvements in the fast-food industry if we want to reduce obesity in this country.
I realize not everyone has had a positive experience with the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, but I want to relay my experience to encourage others to explore their options.
Currently, our family of four pays for our own health insurance. We are all healthy, yet our 2013 premium is just $31 less than our mortgage.
It's not great insurance. We have a high deductible, and of the eight preventative care/vaccination visits we've had this year, four have been incorrectly billed (in favor of the insurance company) and reversed when I brought the billing to the company's attention.
Our current coverage is not being canceled, by the way. However, after going through the Covered California website, we will be getting comparable coverage (as confirmed by our broker), but in 2014 will be paying $165 less per month than our 2013 premium. For our family, it's a deal.