Re “He used to be homeless, sleeping in Sacramento parks. Now he’s a rookie CHP officer” (Marcos Breton, July 7): The story of Edwin Lopez' rise from near desperation to personal triumph as a rookie CHP officer should move us all. Bravo to this man who kept his values clear and positive during the darkest of times. His lesson should be our lesson, too.
Robert L. Thayer, Jr., Davis
Power of print
It’s stories like the one written by Marcos Breton that show why the power of the written word is so crucial to going deeper into a story of such human enlightenment. Breton captured the essence of homelessness, but not the helplessness of it. Officer Edwin Lopez's rise above circumstances is an inspiration to all of us. Does a healthy community newspaper reflect the same of its community? Yes. Thanks to Marcos Breton and The Bee for sharing this CHP officer’s story. It’s stories like this that remind me how the daily newspaper can impact us in such a personal way that no other media can.
Michael Hamiel, Elk Grove
The story of Edwin Lopez is a great example of what dedication, perseverance and lucky breaks can do to end homelessness. He was one of the lucky ones. Many other transition aged youth and young adults ages 12-24 are not so lucky. There is very little in the way of resources to help our homeless youth and young adults. There are between 400-500 transition aged youth in Sacramento County who are homeless and without a parent, guardian or anyone to support them. There are six beds for homeless youth ages 12-17 and six beds for homeless young adults 18-24 in Sacramento County, with no emergency beds in surrounding counties. Homeless youths and young adults make up 15 percent of the homeless population, yet few emergency beds are dedicated to this population. Unless we dedicate more resources to this population, we are creating the next wave of chronically homeless. Officer Lopez was one of the lucky ones. Many others are not able to escape the cycle of abuse, exploitation and trauma.
Paul Curtis, Sacramento
Re “3,600 homeless people in Sacramento? Time to stop badmouthing San Francisco.” (Editorials, July 11): The Sacramento Bee’s editorial board asks what good is it to roust campers from the American River Parkway when shelters are too crowded? The benefits of enforcing the anti-camping law are numerous. It reduces the likelihood of destructive wildfires on the parkway, and diminishes the trash, human waste and used needles that often accompany illegal camping. It creates a safer environment for children and families who wish to lawfully enjoy the parkway. It presents a more favorable image of the parkway amenities available to businesses weighing whether to establish operations here. It reinforces the importance of the rule of law in a society founded up on that concept. It protects an irreplaceable resource that is unique among urban parks throughout the United States. End homelessness, not the parkway.
Mark L. Andrews, Sacramento
Re “Court fees punish the poor for being poor. California, stop criminalizing poverty” (California Forum, July 2): Writer Father Gregory Boyle hits it on the nose when he talks about compassion being the solution to poverty. I recently spent 12 days in a garbage dump community just outside of Guatemala City, and saw the effects of poverty first hand. I came to the realization that poverty can be solved when we live in solidarity with one another. We need to show compassion, and treat every person as we would ourselves. I spent five days at an Elementary School called Francisco Coll School, and found I was no different than the other kids. We all have dreams and aspirations. So why treat these people differently just because they may not have as much money as we do? In Gregory Boyle's book, “Tattoos on the Heart,” he encourages us to stand in awe at what the poor have to carry, rather than stand in judgment at how they carry it. As I saw the vibrant smiles on the students faces at Francisco Coll School, people in poverty don't want to be treated any differently. They want to be treated with respect. Compassion can take us a long way, and when we live in solidarity with others, it can provide the hope that they may need to continue to fight their way out of poverty.
Max Cheney, Folsom
Recently, I returned from a service immersion trip in Guatemala. We are lucky that we have a minimum standard of pay and employees have many job protections. In Guatemala, I met people who lived in a garbage dump community. They picked through garbage for items they sold for recycling. They made $1.00 for more than 8 hours of work and were not paid overtime. We shouldn’t focus on what we don’t have, but rather for the chance of a better future that we do have. We should thank God that we were born in the U.S.; I do.
Jared Paulson, Elk Grove
Re “Want to fix Sacramento’s housing crisis? This is so the wrong way to do it” (Erika D. Smith, July 9) Erika D. Smith ignores the basic economics of the costs of building housing. Building fees paid by Habitat for Humanity are paid by all builders. The costs are passed on to the buyer, which increases the overall costs of housing. Many of fees offset the impacts of that new house on schools, parks, fire stations and roads. Whether these fees are prudent is a complex topic. But waiving fees for certain groups would put the burden on others to pay for those impacts. That’s basic economics.
James Adamson, Roseville
Government over-regulates and over-taxes everything. Nothing can be built cheaply in California because the government has a hand in every piece of the process. We need regulations to keep people safe. But some regulations are ridiculous. My employer must re-certify us to drive a fork lift every three years. These are the same forklifts we have driven for years. If I should change jobs, I would have to be certified to drive the forklifts at my new job. A forklift is a forklift. If you can drive one you can drive them all. It’s not just regulations that are making housing unaffordable. People are about to be hit by new taxes to drive a vehicle. California is owned by the public unions. The Sacramento Bee endorses candidates who are robbing us, especially the poor. Maybe it’s time you hold our lawmakers accountable for wasting our tax dollars.
Joe Phelps, Citrus Heights
Re “Supreme Court sought a middle ground on travel ban, but ended up empowering Trump” (California Forum, July 9): President Donald Trump’s ban on people .from several Muslim-majority countries entering the U.S. is discriminatory and will deeply affect individuals residing here and around the world. The U.S. Supreme Court ruling that allows parts of the ban to take effect sends a dangerous message, demonizing Muslim people. Congress must step in and stop this from moving any further.
Stephanie Nelson, Rancho Cordova
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