Use surpluses to pay debt
Re “State budget surpluses likely to run through the end of decade” (Capitol & California, Nov. 20): After reading the article, one would be left with the impression that our state’s finances are looking pretty good. Our legislators look with anticipation at these surpluses and are already making plans for ways with which this money can be spent.
I looked closely at the article and didn’t see a single mention of the state’s estimated $750 billion debt, most of which is because of unfunded liabilities owed to public employees through CalSTRS and CalPERS.
I have an innovative thought. Rather than spending the expected surpluses on the pet projects of our elected legislators, let’s instead use that money to begin paying down the state’s debt. I know that idea is not nearly as glamorous as the ideas for the money that the governor and most in the Legislature have, but clearly it’d be the responsible thing to do.
Ken Hokanson, Loomis
What did you expect?
Re “United cancels flights to D.C.” (Business, Nov. 19): I read with amusement how some of our legislators are angered by United Airlines’ announced intention to suspend direct flights between Sacramento and Washington, D.C., for three months. Welcome to our world.
It was our Congress that voted to deregulate the domestic airline industry in 1978, and things have rarely improved since then. In fact, they’ve become worse in the past few years.
The fact that these elected officials can publicly complain about having to take a one-stop flight and add two hours to their travel time is laughable.
Mike Fallis, Fair Oaks
Parent volunteers good for kids
Re “Rights group questions charter school volunteer rules” (Page A1, Nov. 21): The group that opposes schools that require or strongly encourage parents to volunteer time to contribute to their child’s education is off the mark. According to the group, excluding students whose parents don’t volunteer “puts charter schools out of reach for children without well-resourced or motivated parents.”
Well-resourced? It doesn’t take an extraordinary amount of resources to staple newsletters at home, stand at a potato bar during a school event or pitch in for an hour on the weekend in the school garden. It does take motivation, but lowering standards for motivated parents won’t help children of disinterested parents. The aim instead should be to motivate unmotivated parents – which is exactly what happens when the school culture emphasizes (even requires) parental involvement.
Monica Engebretson, Sacramento
Record gains but no jail time
Re “Federal prosecutors gain record revenue” (Our Region, Nov. 20): Thank you for printing the story about U.S. prosecutors touting the record revenue recovery in the last fiscal year from fines and judgments. Of course, the big numbers highlighted in the press release are dwarfed by the amount lost in the Sacramento area because of the financial crimes perpetrated by the likes of JPMorgan Chase.
Too bad the article didn’t report that JPMorgan Chase’s stock price soared with the announcement of the deal, or that Jamie Dimon, CEO of JPMorgan Chase, who negotiated the deal, received millions of dollars in bonuses as a reward for closing the deal. However, the main point remains: the U.S. attorney’s office was able to show record revenue gains in spite of the slap on the wrist given the financial criminals who ruined the lives of countless Sacramento residents without one of those criminals spending one day in jail.
Gary Fitzgerald, Carmichael
Would you promise ...
Re “Sheriff takes Obama to task” (Our Region, Nov. 20): What would have Sheriff Scott Jones promised the widow of the slain deputy if he had been shot by an American citizen or a white survivalist? To intimate that illegal immigrants are the only people to shoot at law enforcement officers or even at the general population for that matter is offensive and ignorant, and to have these statements coming from the sheriff makes the video even more distasteful.
It appears that Jones is putting his toes into the political arena to test for future office, and he’s using the immigration issue. Sheriff, it is time for you to step down from the sheriff’s office, as your YouTube video shows your questionable decision-making ability.
Michael Santos, Antelope
Re “Congress, it’s your move on immigration” (Editorials, Nov. 21): It appears elections do not have consequences. The Democratic Party lost in the midterm elections by a landslide. This was clearly a warning that the American people want change in the way government does business.
A responsible president would have seen this. Here was a perfect opportunity for the president to tell the people that he would work with the new Congress to find common ground and strive to pass meaningful legislation, including immigration reform. In his first two years in office President Barack Obama had control of Congress and could have passed immigration reform but didn’t. Why is it so urgent now?
He refuses to let the new Congress even have a chance at reforming immigration policy. Obama’s executive order on immigration was purely political. Add this to Obamacare, Fast and Furious, Benghazi, the IRS scandal and I have a feeling Obama has wakened a conservative tiger.
David Halley, Winters
GOP outraged yet again
Re “GOP outraged by decision to unilaterally suspend threat of deportation” (Page A1, Nov. 21): The GOP is outraged, do you hear, outraged, that President Barack Obama acted without Congress to change the rules on immigration. The shock! The horror! OMG! This act on the part of the right wing has become so routine it’s a wonder anyone pays attention to them any more. OMG indeed.
Sandra Campbell, Pine Grove
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