Letters to the Editor

California is doing right by kids with school funding

California Gov. Jerry Brown gestures to a chart in 2015 showing the increase in education spending as he discusses his revised state budget plan during a news conference at the Capitol in Sacramento.
California Gov. Jerry Brown gestures to a chart in 2015 showing the increase in education spending as he discusses his revised state budget plan during a news conference at the Capitol in Sacramento. AP

An unfair attack

Re “Is Jerry Brown lifting all students $41 billion later?” (Viewpoints, June 11): The authors’ attack on the Local Control Funding Formula is based on a few big school districts rather than data encompassing the behavioral changes underway within California’s 1,000-plus school districts and 1,300 charter schools.

A recent study by other academic researchers found that districts are making a good faith effort to use new LCFF dollars to improve outcomes for low-income students, English learners and foster youths.

Further, the authors misguidedly call for a return to a funding system based on compliance mandates rather than on improving student outcomes, falsely asserting that the state is not investing in evaluating the current formula.

California is investing billions in equity, transparency, accountability and stakeholder engagement directly and through Local Control Funding Formula components, including the Local Control and Accountability Plan process and the new California School Dashboard.

These tools help local stakeholders focus on struggling learners and align resources to address student group inequities. The state is also investing in training and support for local districts to ensure a focus on lifting all students.

Capacity-building at the local level to improve teaching is the work that lies ahead to ensure that every California student graduates ready for college and the 21st century workplace.

Michael W. Kirst, California State Board of Education president and professor emeritus of education, Stanford University

Impeachment now

Re “Comey made the case that Trump obstructed justice. Now what?” (Forum, June 10): The prospect of Donald Trump’s impeachment is tantalizing for those who shudder at the damage he has done. But a red-hot, smoke-belching cannon will be required to force impeachment and conviction.

Impeachment would give Republicans a black eye going into the 2018 midterm elections, though it could remove a devious and unstable personality from the levers of power and control.

Unfortunately, there still would be a poisonous ideology that drives the core Republican leadership. Vice President Mike Pence and Speaker Paul Ryan would ram through ruinous deregulation, an austerity budget, runaway military spending, and huge tax cuts for corporations and the wealthy. Expect more privatization of vital governmental functions solely for corporate profiteering.

Nevertheless, impeachment would be a giant step in the right direction. May it happen soon: Sometime this year would be great.

Michael Comer, Carmichael

Water fee

Re “Brown, California Democrats are approaching flood control all wrong” (Viewpoints, June 12): In his op-ed, Assemblyman Jim Gallagher is right that Central Valley farms and cities lack funding to maintain a nearly century old levee and bypass system. We also lack funding to modernize that outdated flood protection system.

Instead of fighting over maintenance of a deficient system, we should work to build a better flood system. The Draft State Central Valley Flood Protection Plan recommends multi-benefit projects that reduce flood risk, improve recreational opportunities, rebuild salmon, and recharge overtapped groundwater. Implementation funds are sorely needed. The Legislature is approving flood funds as part of the new budget and is debating new bonds. Both are needed, but we need a lasting solution.

California’s water is owned by the public. Unfortunately, we give it away for free. A smart water fee would provide reliable funding for multi-benefit flood projects that would benefit all Californians.

John Cain, Berkeley

Cap and trade

Re “Jerry Brown uses pomp and symbolism to win GOP votes for climate bill. Will it work?” (Editorials, June 13): Alleviating the disruption that will be caused by climate change is cheap, compared to coping with the damage that unmitigated climate change will cause. Doing nothing would mean that sea level rise will threaten the viability of agriculture in portions of the Delta.

Voting to extend cap and trade would be wise. We can solve the climate problem. Progress and prosperity don’t require emitting heat-trapping gases. Clean energy provides jobs and economic growth. Republican participation will be key to passing the new cap-and-trade program that mirrors the fee and dividend model proposed by Citizens Climate Lobby that is endorsed by conservative Republican leaders such as George Schultz. Helping the world confront climate change is a worthwhile political endeavor that we owe to our children and grandchildren.

Kenneth Wilson Moore, Colfax

GOP is needed

Jerry Brown has become America’s unofficial climate ambassador, and California Republicans can become America’s unofficial GOP climate policymakers. Senate Bill 775 proposes to improve California’s cap-and-trade system, setting a stable and rising price on carbon pollution while returning most of the revenue to taxpayers via regular rebate checks and establishing a border adjustment to keep our state competitive. California Republicans would set a great example for their national party by supporting real bipartisan climate policy.

Dana Nuccitelli, West Sacramento

Climate change

Thanks to Gov. Jerry Brown for talking about cutting greenhouse gas emissions 80 percent below 1990 levels by 2050. Even if this goal is reached, glaciers will still be melting, and sea level will still be rising. A report from the Risky Business Project of New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, former U.S. Secretary of Treasury Hank Paulson, and business leader and philanthropist Tom Steyer states the following:

“If we continue on our current path, by 2050 between $66 billion and $106 billion worth of existing coastal property will likely be below sea level nationwide, with $238 billion to $507 billion worth of property below sea level by 2100.

American business must lead the way in helping reduce climate risks. We hope the Risky Business Project will facilitate this action by providing critical information about how climate change may affect key sectors and regions of our national economy. Let’s also support Brown in finding ways to cut greenhouse gas emissions.

Bruce Burdick, Carmichael

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