Teacher influenced my life
Re “Ex-teacher killed by freight train” (Local News, May 12): I was shocked to hear of the death of Alec Hodgins. I spent three years in his French classroom at Rio Americano High School, years that shaped my entire life. The lessons and culture imparted by Hodgins gave me passion for travel, fearlessness for adventure and a love for French culture.
In Hodgins’ classroom, you not only conjugated verbs but explored French culture. He encouraged us to leave our suburban bubbles and go downtown to taste French food and view foreign films.
My sophomore year, Hodgins took a group of students to France, where we lived with French families before touring Paris and the Loire Valley.
The gifts imparted by Hodgins have given me the independence and courage to live in Paris, travel, move to different cities and never stop exploring. Alec Hodgins was one of the most influential people in my life, and I am so grateful to have known him.
Jessica Anne Scharff, Dallas
Just another power grab
Re “Mayor looks to nearly double his office budget, staff” (Page 1A, May 10): Kevin Johnson’s “strong mayor” proposal was soundly defeated in November. Now he is attempting to increase his power by proposing to add five staff members at an annual cost of about $700,000. Where is the justification for this increase?
On top of the cost, it is particularly disturbing that in the proposed city budget only two of the five new positions would be in the mayor’s office budget line. The other three would be in the city manager’s budget line but would report directly to the mayor. If there is a need for these additional staff members, why not put all five positions in the mayor’s office?
Sacramento deserves better than another power grab by Johnson. There are a myriad of services that could benefit from an infusion of $700,000.
Carbon jackpot for the people?
Re “Jackpot seen in carbon funds” (Page 1A, May 11): I can readily see the politicians salivating over this big jackpot to further their special interests. The governor wants his train to nowhere, while other politicians are pursuing their special interests.
As I understand it, California citizens will be paying more for fuel and utilities. I do not hear of any politicians talking about returning some of the windfall to the people who elected them and now have higher costs to bear. That would be a big surprise.
How about improving our schools, which rank among the lowest in the United States? How about reducing debt for pension and health care obligations for retired state employees? How about a refund for all the people?
David E. Masche, Lincoln
A win-win strategy for police
Re “Fresno takes different tack” (Capitol & California, May 8): Why view the two successful law enforcement strategies as mutually exclusive? Most of us probably support increased police community involvement and zero tolerance. Police brutality is obviously a problem in some jurisdictions but so is crime.
Critics of zero tolerance don’t give police enough credit for their ability to spot suspects. As a kid in an urban area, my friends and I had enough sense to leave an area when we saw anyone looking for trouble. I am sure police officers are at least as able to spot criminal suspects as we were. The two approaches sound like a win-win strategy.
Rich McKone, Lincoln
Michelle Obama’s inspiring speech
I thought Michelle Obama’s commencement address at Tuskegee University in Alabama was, with a few exceptions, an inspiring speech for the many students graduating. I feel those that are critical of it are missing her very powerful effort to motivate the students by making them aware of the difficulties that may lie ahead.
John Olsen, Carmichael
Order to make lawns greener
I received a letter from my homeowners association at Capital Village in Rancho Cordova for the 10th time stating I need to green-up my lawn. I went to the board meeting two weeks ago and they said they are working with the landscapers to figure out how to make everything look good. Across the street from me, more than 250 homes will have lawns because it was approved back in 2005.
What is wrong with this city and state? Get rid of lawns. Meanwhile, the water continues to run down the medians and sidewalks.
Karen Kunz, Rancho Cordova
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