Letters to the Editor

Jerry Brown requests ‘honest talk and avoidance of unnecessary hyperbole’ on Prop. 57

California Gov. Jerry Brown.
California Gov. Jerry Brown. AP

Proposition 57

Re “Concerns about parole measure are coming true” (sacbee.com, July 28), Sacramento County District Attorney Anne Marie Schubert repeats her complaints about Proposition 57, a much-needed prison reform measure, which 64 percent of voters approved last year. It’s clear District Attorney Schubert would rather fear-monger than fact-find. The Sacramento County district attorney claims that a particular gang member was eligible for parole under Proposition 57, which he is not. She also claims that the parole process is not transparent. In fact, all victims who have requested notice and all district attorneys are contacted before any parole review is conducted. Finally, it is well to keep in mind that parole review doesn’t mean release. Last year, 75 percent of cases were either screened out or resulted in denial. I welcome prosecutorial participation, but I expect honest talk and avoidance of unnecessary hyperbole.

Gov. Edmund G. Brown, Jr., Sacramento

Marin County

Re “Marin County gets another smug reprieve from housing quotas” (California Forum, July 30): Dan Walters of CalMatters mistakes housing quotas for housing density. California is suffering from a major housing shortage. Like California, Marin County needs market rate and affordable housing. Unfortunately, state housing laws lack flexibility for local governments to properly zone housing. One of those laws is Assembly Bill 2348 of 2003, which requires counties to zone affordable housing at density levels based on a Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) designation as urban, suburban or rural. The Office of Management and Budget, which created Metropolitan Statistical Areas, has told lawmakers not to use these designations to create policy. It stated this under both Presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama. Marin, with a population of about 250,000, is considered urban under the MSA because of its proximity to San Francisco. Santa Clara County, with a population of about 2 million, is considered suburban. I authored AB 1537 in 2014 to reclassify parts of Marin as suburban until 2023. Recently, SB 106 extended those requirements to 2028. This law does not exempt Marin from building affordable housing. Rather, Marin will have the same flexibility as Santa Clara to meet its housing needs. Nothing prevents the county from zoning higher densities. SB 106 is a small step in the right direction for increasing affordable housing in Marin.

Assemblyman Marc Levine, D-San Rafael

High-speed rail

Italy, a country two-thirds the size of California, but with a third more people, has several types of high speed trains and a network of regular trains that cover the whole country. During our guided tour trip in Italy last fall, it was very impressive to see those bullet trains whiz by our tour bus as we meandered up the roadways in the country or inched our way into Venice on the crowded highway. I didn’t mind our pace as I took in beautiful scenery, but the high speed train has been a well-used, fast and efficient way of life for commuters in Italy beginning 40 years ago. I am sure it will quickly become the same for commuters in California. It may be costly, and have its fits and starts, but it is about time for us to catch up with the rest of the world in this regard.

Diane M. Shakal, El Dorado

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