Letters to the Editor

Letters: Housing crisis is a three-alarm fire

Housing crisis

Re “Housing crisis? What California has is a housing catastrophe” (Erika D. Smith, June 4) Erika D. Smith has written an important column on a critical topic. She helps us understand the three-alarm fire buried in the California Association of Realtors housing report data, something we should already know: most folks in this state can’t buy a house, and, increasingly, can’t afford to rent here.

We’re losing talented educated millennials and Gen Xers who can’t wait 20 years to save enough for a 20 percent down payment. And what about the folks who can’t pay half their monthly income to rent an apartment? The homeless numbers are growing from Oak Park to Santa Monica. Thanks, Ms. Smith for giving us a shake, once again, to turn eyes on the problem.

Lyra Halprin, Davis

Homeless

Re “The solution for homelessness in Sacramento? Try acceptance” (Erika D. Smith, June 1): Erika D. Smith is correct: We must accept that as our city grows, homelessness will as well. It is easy to criticize our region’s homeless policy. Yet, ignoring our homeless residents will not make them disappear.

The old refrain that if we help the homeless, they will come in droves is not supported by the facts. The causes of homelessness stem from, among other things, the rising inequality in our country, skyrocketing rents, mental illness and the sad fact that some people fall on hard times due to no fault of their own.

Solving this problem requires us to have compassion for those in need. We must also accept that we can find solutions.

Ben Gevercer, Sacramento

High-speed rail

Re “Want jobs for the ‘forgotten man’? Finish high-speed rail” (Editorials, June 4): One of the most enduring memories of my childhood is when my parents and I took a high-speed rail train from Tokyo to Osaka, Japan, in 1970. The speed of that train was just under 200 miles an hour, and I understand that since then, the speed has increased by 50 percent.

And so it is frustrating to be told nearly a half century later, that high-speed rail is “impractical” for California. It is really true that national boundaries do stop good ideas from entering a country or at least postpone their implementation.

Don Knutson, Sacramento

Trains, not cars

As a dozen of us sat in a circle at a camping cancer retreat discussing measures taken to alleviate the disease’s effects, several mentioned steps taken ending their dreaded work commutes. Ending the suffering of traffic afflictions, thus, was part of the prescription to treat a dreaded disease.

Our automobiles are the ones in the driver’s seat. I sometimes imagine my own car scoffing, “Just try to get there without me.” To soon give them all brains inspires horror film fantasies.

Speaking of fantasies: Car advertisements showing handsome people driving along empty ocean vista highways. The reality is that paradise is paved and city freeways becoming parking lots.

That our freedoms and individualism – even manliness and womanliness – comes with our rides is a fantasy. Truth is, if we enjoyed the real world’s level of integrated transportation options, we would be a happier, healthier folk.

Spencer P. Le Gate, Sacramento

A boondoggle

Gov. Jerry Brown calls President Donald Trump insane and deviant regarding his decision to pull out of the Paris climate agreement, which never was passed by Congress. I call Brown the insane and deviant for the years of lies and obfuscation regarding the boondoggle bullet train. Governor, stay in the state and cure some of our ills before getting on the world stage. You have enough problems here.

Philip Vercruyssen, Sacramento

Trolly line

Re “These 15 downtown properties will pay the highest taxes for a streetcar line” (sacbee.com, June 7) All decisions to invest taxpayer funds for infrastructure like the Sacramento-to-West Sacramento trolley should be evaluated using a comparative cost-benefit analysis.

The governing bodies should know about the estimated value of benefits produced by a trolley car investment similar to choosing an investment portfolio among a set of stocks. This value is then compared with the benefits from alternative investment options. The cities can adopt criteria for selecting the benefit merits, determine appropriate unit values, and produce a consistent comparison among the investment options. If citizens and businesses know what value they will likely receive for their money, we all have improved trust in those elected to serve in our interest.

Dan Fong, Rancho Cordova

Ohman’s covfefe

On June 1, I attended a dinner featuring Jack Ohman, Pulitzer Prize winning political cartoonist for The Sacramento Bee. Jack’s talk was entertaining and humorous, and planted a small, warped idea in my mind.

The next day my wife and I visited several well known wineries in the Napa region. As noted above, I was motivated by Ohman to talk with the winemakers, suggesting the immediate release of a late harvest fortified desert wine to be called Covfefe.

The wine would be certified as safe for human consumption. This late harvest rarity would carry a label exalting the great flavor of the wine, in spite of a palate of burnt coffee and Rice Vinegar, finished with a chewy mix of stems and skins.

I recommended a limited release of perhaps 500 cases, which would of course be immediately recognized as a one of a kind collectible commanding $10,000 per case. Imagine pulling out a bottle of 2016 Covfefe after the next election. Priceless.

Tom Uhrhammer, Sacramento

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