Letters to the Editor

Welfare, light rail, substitute teachers, etc.

Mitchell’s rhetoric not helping

Re “ ‘Welfare queen’ law repeal urged” (Page A1, Feb. 23): It’s a fact of human biology that children will be born to parents who aren’t ready for their arrival. On the other hand, this isn’t 1850 and couples – yes, both partners – have options. Too often those options are ignored and a child is born. Then another. Then another. And too often the father, who bears equal responsibility, excuses himself as though it’s his cultural birthright, sometimes with the full endorsement of the mother.

State Sen. Holly Mitchell says the “haves” aren’t doing enough for these “have nots” and their unfortunate children, and that if we don’t give them more of our money it’s because we’re “classist, sexist, anti-democratic, anti-child and anti-family.” There are a lot of ways to help our fellow man, and someday I’ll be judged for what I did and didn’t do. But that judge won’t be Mitchell, and her incendiary rhetoric gets us nowhere.

Nancy Zepf, Sacramento

Better use for funds: Child care

State Sen. Holly Mitchell and those who agree with repealing the maximum family grant have taken altruism to heights beyond reason and logic. Even people who are not on public assistance should be dissuaded from having a child if they’re struggling financially. To encourage that kind of behavior among welfare recipients at taxpayers’ expense is utterly mindless.

Vivian Thorp suggests that it should be a crime for the state not to support the children she and others bear while receiving benefits. But isn’t it a bigger crime to selfishly bring children into a seriously disadvantaged situation?

Any funds that would be misdirected to supporting additional children should instead go toward child care for the children that Thorp and others already have, so that those mothers have a fighting chance to secure gainful employment.

Paul Warrick, West Sacramento

Kings should help pay for RT upgrades

Re “Talks on improving light rail to begin” (Our Region, Feb. 23): The Sacramento Kings ownership is demanding changes to Regional Transit to facilitate the new arena downtown. I was a member of the board of directors for the Sacramento Transportation Management Association during the economic downturn in 2008. Regional Transit was making great strides but was hit with a drastic reduction in operating money that set back many of its plans.

Instead of demanding RT change to meet the needs of the Kings, team owners should help fund RT to meet these needs. If the Kings are interested in the commute needs of fans, they should help make the change, not just pontificate on what is needed.

J. Patrick Kelly, Sacramento

All teachers’ work is valued

Re “Region hit by lack of substitute teachers” (Page A1, Feb. 23): I appreciate the article about the lack of substitute teachers in the area, but I would like to point out one glaring omission. As a result of the contract extension negotiated between the district and the Sacramento City Teachers Association, substitute teachers in the Sacramento City Unified School District now make $177 per day after the fifth day of work, not the $116 quoted in the article.

That’s about an 18 percent increase over the previous rate of $149. We value the hard work of all teachers, including substitutes, and agree that they all should be fairly compensated. Doing so will also help our district continue to recruit and retain the teachers our students deserve.

David Fisher, 1st vice president, Sacramento City Teachers Association

Union should put students first

Re “Good luck with that” (Letters, Feb. 23): The job of our public school system is to educate kids. The abundant research proving that later high school start times significantly improve student learning and health, especially for low-income students, should no longer be ignored.

So why is such an obvious, nearly free and proven tactic for improving education and student health so often ignored? Perhaps some of our educators have the wrong priorities. At San Juan Unified, the teachers’ union has the unusual power to prevent a change to the school day of more than five minutes. Although many dedicated district high school teachers have quietly advocated for later high school start times, and at least one school board member publicly supports the change, the San Juan Teachers Association has been an obstacle.

It’s time for the union to use its power to put student achievement and health above any adult self-interest. If it will not, then San Juan’s school board needs to do what it takes to stop hurting the health and achievement of the students they were elected to serve. Who will take the lead?

Joy Wake, Carmichael

No upside to hate crime

Re “Still shocking, intolerance is on the wane” (The Numbers Crunch, Feb. 21): Really? There’s an upside to the hate crime committed on the Jewish fraternity house? And the upside is that there’s been a decline in hate crimes? How about zero tolerance?

That’s like saying that a rape occurred on the campus but the good news is that rape cases are happening less frequently. If someone put a painted 969 on an apartment house occupied by Muslim students, or if a KKK was painted on an African American fraternity house, my guess is that there would be opining about the absence of outrage by Chancellor Linda P.B. Katehi and/or UC President Janet Napolitano.

Tim Clemons, Sacramento


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