Re “Let private market solve affordable housing crisis” (Viewpoints, May 21): I agree with the points raised by Edward Joseph Pierini Jr. regarding current housing affordability issues, but I think his remedy contradicts the suppositions outlined in his commentary.
I think the disproportionate influence of wealthy cash buyers and institutional investors has played a significant role in artificially inflated California home prices. In this environment, working and middle class Californians find it difficult, if not impossible, to compete for available homes.
Similarly, average rents in many California cities have sky-rocketed and continue to rise. While rents and home prices climb, real wages have been stagnant for some time. The gulf between what the average state resident earns and what most are paying for housing is unsustainable.
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The fact that housing construction lags behind California population growth trends is problematic and has contributed to an insufficient number of housing units to meet demand.
So, municipalities, counties and state government should actively pursue affordable housing relief on behalf of California residents. The playing field for renters and prospective homeowners is no longer an easy supply-and-demand paradigm in which proportional benefits and opportunities are meted out to both sides.
The fact that local, state and federal housing agencies have thus far provided insufficient relief to constituents does not mean they should be removed from the equation. Rather, these entities should be held accountable and pressured to deliver on their stated mission and promise. Legislative bodies also have a crucial role to play in improved housing affordability outcomes for the states populous.
We’re well past the point where we, renters and home buyers alike, should wait passively for a miracle market solution to California’s dysfunctional housing status quo. On this issue, what the market will bear is clearly not in the public interest.
Re “State’s problem is that it’s underspending” (Viewpoints, May 21): While I agree with Joe Mathews that the state retirement system needs reform, especially changing the retirement age from 55 to 62, where is the rest of the money going to come from?
The state does need to revamp how it taxes its citizens and how it spends the revenue. I don’t mind giving someone a hand up, but if they don’t take the hand and improve themselves it’s a lost cause. As a retiree I can’t afford more taxes and wasteful spending. Where is the money going to come from for underspending?
Karen McDowell, Roseville
Re “There’s a need to improve RT service so start by axing streetcar project” (Forum, May 21): I finally thought there would be some sanity to discussions on how to improve RT service; I was wrong.
First, I live in Roseville but RT keeps depending on federal funds that come out of my pocket. Second, rail service is expensive. To reach all of the citizens in the region, electric or natural gas buses would far better serve the region and not be some grandiose dream of a few politicians, merchants and board members. Rail is the drain on the budget and will only get worse with an expansion in the city.
The only sane rail expansion is to the airport and the demise of the streetcar project would be a good down payment on expanded bus service to reach all citizens.
Michael Hutch, Roseville
Re “China’s ambitious new Silk Road develops potholes in slowing economy” (Forum, May 21): I have been extremely critical of John Berthelsen, the retired editor of the Hong Kong-based Asia Sentinel. He spent 30-plus years overseas, came back here and immediately jumped on the bash President Donald Trump bandwagon with his articles in The Bee.
I wanted to hear his opinions and expertise regarding Asia and Pacific Rim issues. He finally came through. His article about China’s new Silk Road was much more informative and educational than his opinions of Trump.
Groping and rape
Re “Sticking with Trump” (Letters, May 21): Joe Phelps writes that Donald Trump “talking about groping women doesn’t make him a serial rapist.” Oh, so groping is OK as long as rape doesn’t follow? Got it.
El Dorado Hills
Re “Democrats offer little” (Letters, May 21): This letter just had me shaking my head. California is the sixth-largest economy in the world, just a little smaller than the United Kingdom and bigger than France. It is the largest agricultural producer in the U.S. California is the third-largest petroleum producer in the country. Of all the countries, states, provinces, etc., in the world only Japan registers more patents. In the U.S., only a few other blue states register a fraction of California’s total patents.
Yes, we have problems like expensive real estate, congestion, pollution, large pockets of poverty and a stressed infrastructure. These are the problems of success, of prosperity. Perhaps the letter writer would prefer the Kansas or Mississippi approach to government that have made such a resounding success of their own states and so many of the other red states. If the proof of the pudding is in the taste, then the proof of political philosophies should be the quality of their results – prosperity or failure.
Michael Horner, Woodland
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