Re “With the best of intentions, a California rule leads to dropouts and splits families” (Editorials, July 16): 7/16/17: While well-intended, your editorial turns the meaning of a migrant worker and migrant housing on its head. What you refer to as an obscure regulation, the 50-mile rule, is at the core of what distinguishes a migrant worker from a year-round, permanent worker and migrant housing from year-round, permanent housing. If the state drops the 50-mile rule altogether and allows families to seek alternative housing nearby when the centers are closed, as you suggest, what would distinguish a migrant worker from any other worker living year-round in the community? And what is the alternative housing that will become available for just that part of the school year when the centers are closed but is not available the rest of the year? There are long waiting lists for migrant housing under the current rules. A much better solution would be for the state to fund more migrant centers, provide subsidies to keep centers open longer, and support production of year-round, permanent farm worker housing so that families can keep their kids at home and in school. Instead of offering false fixes, The Sacramento Bee should enthusiastically support three bills currently in the California Legislature - AB 71, SB 2, and SB 3 - that will greatly increase the supply of decent and affordable farm worker housing in the communities where they live and work.
Robert Wiener, California Coalition for Rural Housing executive director, Sacramento
Never miss a local story.
The editorial and Sergio Lopez’s column, “Her work is back-breaking. A rule that splits her from her kids is heartbreaking,” miss the point about the need for decent, affordable farm worker housing. Worse, they pit some farm worker families against others, forcing them to fight over scraps of inadequately funded housing programs. Unintended consequences will reduce the housing inventory for eligible migrant farm workers rather than ensure a decent place to live for all farm workers, the hardest working and most vulnerable among us. Migrant housing serves a critical need. Removing eligibility rules will not solve the real problem, the need for affordable housing. I represent farm workers who fear the loss of housing because of this half-baked idea. It is an example of policy by emotion, not careful examination. Migrant child education needs to do its job to protect children and the state must implement its complement of affordable housing programs for all farm workers.
Ilene J. Jacobs, Marysville
Fix the rule
Thanks to The Sacramento Bee for highlighting the unfairness of a Housing and Community Development Department regulation, which impedes the education of migrant farm worker children. Forcing families to chose between making a living and their children’s future when a rule has become outdated is a failure of our government. This is an example of regulatory overkill we hear about when businesses are told, Don’t pollute our air or water. When California’s children and our future are being harmed we hear, This is too difficult; we can’t change anything. That’s nonsense. Definitions are drafted to solve problems every day by people who want to make things better.
Harry M. Snyder, UC Berkeley School of Public Health
It's a disgrace that our state knowingly puts farm workers' children at a disadvantage as they try to get an education. With all the barriers that face those who pick the food we all eat, the state should not be part of the problem, but instead immediately look for a solution.
Lauren Ornelas, Cotati
Change the rule
On March 15, 2017, the Office of Migrant Services sent a letter to the three migrant family housing centers in San Joaquin County announcing that families could no longer live in the centers for nine months as they have for years. They would instead be limited to a six-month residence, a change that could dramatically impede children’s academic trajectories. If we believe that the future of the bright, bicultural and multi-skilled youth residing in centers is paramount, and if we are serious about protecting their education, then any change to the 50-mile regulation must be coupled with the formalization of a 9-month residential season for farm working families. At the stakeholders meeting, OMS Program Manager Juan Estupinian echoed this, saying that for many families, the issue “is not about distance. It’s about time.”
Aggie Ebrahimi Bazaz, Allentown, Penn.
Re “Guns, bathroom bills, deportation: Is Texas safe for my California kid?” (Shawn Hubler, July 16): Shawn Hublers' hit piece on Texas was arrogant, unprofessional, and uncalled for. Does Hubler understand that she was writing about fellow Americans? Dad-gum, how dare those Texans not think like us Californians. In full disclosure I have spent most of my life in California but did military duty and private business in Texas and found the state to be welcoming and the people pleasant. To be sure, Texas is a conservative state and that makes them different than California, which is not bad. Hubler needs to expand her horizons and be more inclusive and accepting and not use The Sacramento Bee as a bully-pulpit to denigrate a group of people that she views as "pathologically hostile."
Craig Shuey, Lincoln
Shawn Hubler's column in Sunday's Forum was a study in urban elite arrogance. She paints Texas as a kind of horror, a land of terrible laws and unenlightened people. It makes me wonder why we don't have hordes of Texans trying to come to the Land Of Enlightenment. Maybe they like their state and how they live.
Raymond Waugh, Volcano
Thank you Shawn for your column about Texas. I was immediately enamored of the state when I read words like guns, dirt roads, BBQ, cold beer, Willie Nelson, Anglo males and God. But then I realized, you were actually lampooning the California liberal, the one who loathes and belittles any person, state or organization which is not in lock-step with progressive ideology. Especially those dad-gum Anglo males who voted for Trump and who bully the weak with impunity. It is with amazing hypocrisy, but all too common, that the California liberal shows no tolerance of persons outside their philosophy. That said, it was mighty inclusive’ of your daughter to accept the graduate program there.
Dennis Gallagher, Sacramento
You reared an open minded intelligent daughter. There is hope.
Jane Lane, Sacramento
This is the most inane article the Bee has ever printed. Ms. Hubler should compare her Texas fears with parents whose children are in harm’s way in the military.
Janis Hightower, Orangevale
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