Trade pact has pitfalls
Re “Pacific trade pact will boost exports, deliver good jobs” (Viewpoints, March 11): U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman fails to tell the whole story about the Pacific trade pact known as the TPP. Yes, exports create jobs and investing in R&D is good for business. But, as we’ve learned from prior trade agreements like NAFTA, passing the TPP won’t necessarily create an export boom for California; it could instead cause California manufacturers to close their doors or move their facilities, which means more job losses and Main Street businesses with fewer customers.
Here in Sacramento, Northrop Grumman laid off 45 of its Sacramento employees when it moved production to Mexico in 2001. And under the more recent Korea FTA, U.S. exports actually decreased, which has already cost America 60,000 jobs. And Froman never even mentions the provisions that could weaken “Buy American” provisions, jeopardize food safety, give multinational corporations the ability to undermine U.S. regulations and make medicines more expensive. Without substantial improvement, the TPP would jeopardize California businesses and working families. We hope others will join us in asking Reps. Ami Bera and Doris Matsui to stand up for a strong California economy by fighting any effort to fast-track the TPP.
Robert Longer, Communications Workers of America, Local 9421
Mental health funds well-spent
Re “Steinberg report meaningless” (Letters, March 17): I strongly defend the spending of Mental Health Services Act dollars on Prevention/Early Intervention Programs. Ms. Bernard states this is “where most or all of the waste and misuse of funds occurs.”
I am a family member of a seriously mentally ill person. Before I had knowledge and understanding about mental illness, I had sadness. With knowledge, I have the ability to make a difference in people’s lives.
As an extra-help employee with Yolo County, I teach Mental Health First Aid and suicide prevention classes. I like to think of myself as a community educator. This position is funded by MHSA PEI dollars. Helping the community to identify and understand mental illness, interact and support people living with mental illness, and reduce the fear and stigma about mental illness is very important.
In the 1960s people were afraid to talk about cancer. That has changed. My dream is that the stigma and fear about mental illness will be eliminated in my lifetime.
Donna Bousquet, Woodland
Walters wrong about poverty
Re “Capitol sees poverty, but does little” (Dan Walters, March 15): Walters writes that people in the Capitol are talking about applying bandages to solve poverty. But poverty will be overcome only if California attracts private investment that creates jobs.
And that’s the rub. Never mind economist Lester Thurow’s observation that, if you count teachers, 41 percent of good jobs are government jobs. Walters has succumbed to the propaganda that only the private sector can create jobs.
Only the beatified chief executive officers can supposedly save us. Ignore the government-funded research that produced the transistor, integrated circuit, Internet, GPS and more.
Walters is correct in saying government is sitting on its hands, not employing people directly. Government direct employment has declined since 2007. But expecting the private sector, currently more interested in stock buybacks and derivative speculation than in productive work, to show the way back to full employment is propaganda.
Mark Dempsey, Orangevale
Move on, Sheriff Jones
Re “Sheriff slams ACLU amid suit over surveillance tech” (Our Region, March 13): How ironic. Here we have a law enforcement officer committing a possible violation of the Constitution, deriding an organization whose sole purpose and mission is dedicated to protecting the U.S. Constitution.
Sheriff Scott Jones states: “In my experience, they (ACLU) believe that few – if any – persons belong in jail.” Statements like that indicate Jones lacks knowledge of the ACLU’s mission.
It is time for Jones to take his expensive pension and move on. Sacramento County deserves better.
Michael Santos, Antelope
Proud of city’s public art
In the 1990s, I produced a weekly segment for Fox 40 News that ferreted out wasteful government spending. One of my favorite targets was the city’s mandate that 1.5 percent of public construction funding go toward public art.
I made a lot of enemies on the Arts Commission by revealing that expensive fish kept dying in the fish tank in Sacramento County’s jail, that people were falling on a sidewalk made slippery by an art waterfall, and more. These stories forced the commission to approve only those projects that required minimal upkeep.
I thought then that the public arts requirement was a sham. But now, when I walk the streets of Sacramento, I deeply appreciate the beauty and character art has given the city. I’m still proud of influencing the commission to clean up its spending act, but am glad that the arts baby wasn’t thrown out with the bathwater.
Sue Wilson, El Dorado Hills
A local’s critique of Koons
Jeff Koons has without a doubt created art appropriate for dialogue, enjoyment and controversy. Koons’ art, however, is a big fat blunder for the sports arena. A Piglet? $8 million? New York-based? Oh, Pooh.
Lisa Travers, Novato
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