Letters to the Editor

Letters: Big Telecom + Fake News + Las Vegas + Sanctuary state + Taxes + Frayed safety net

President Donald Trump on Tuesday throws rolls of paper towels to a crowd affected by Hurricane Maria while Puerto Rico in the wake of Hurricane Maria.
President Donald Trump on Tuesday throws rolls of paper towels to a crowd affected by Hurricane Maria while Puerto Rico in the wake of Hurricane Maria. AP

Big Telecom

Re: “Jerry Brown can help bring a wireless revolution” (Viewpoints, Oct. 6): We all agree on the importance of rapidly deploying wireless networks to improve connectivity. Sen. Ben Hueso’s Senate Bill 649, however, amounts to a billion-dollar corporate handout. It provides telecom companies with below-cost leases for using public assets, courtesy of California taxpayers, without reducing prices to consumers, or helping connect low-income neighborhoods or rural California communities languishing on the wrong side of the digital divide. Big Telecom claims that cities overcharge for the use of street poles to justify the taxpayer subsidy for their proposed below-cost lease rates; Hueso asserted in his Sacramento Bee op-ed that San Jose charges $14,500 per small cell lease. In fact, we’ve never charged more than $3,000. We might tolerate taxpayer subsidies in SB 649 if it required expansion of broadband in underserved communities, or lowered prices to customers. It doesn’t. Gov. Jerry Brown should veto SB 649, putting the public’s interest ahead of Big Telecom’s.

San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo

‘Fake’ news

Re “Amid fake-news revelations, tech titans deserve far more than public shaming” (Editorial, Oct. 2): You suggest fake news and targeted political ads probably influenced voters on a number of social media platforms. What about traditional media’s role? What’s the difference between fake news or political ads delivered by modern social media platforms like Facebook or Twitter compared to traditional media platforms of newspaper, radio or television? Is there any? You suggest Congress enact laws to make sure changes happen. This is contrary to our freedom of speech and a free press. Be careful what you ask for because you might get it and it may apply to those who pen Sacramento Bee editorials. You’re correct, our democracy is at stake. But the solution isn’t censoring the all-inclusive modern press, be it newspaper, radio, television or social media platform. Rather, it’s the duty and responsibility of those consuming the news, be it “fake” or “real,” to do so with a cautious caveat lector.

Edward Joseph Pierini Jr., Sacramento

Sanctuary state

Re “California to become a ‘sanctuary state’ in 2018” (sacbee.com, Oct. 5): I resent our officials establishing California as a sanctuary state. I find it extremely intrusive that a small group of self-serving individuals with political agendas have taken it upon themselves to make a decision of this magnitude, and not allowing the people of California to express their views on a subject that is so controversial. This country was built by immigrants, including my parents who applied for entry, passed through Ellis Island, had to have a sponsor and became citizens. As a youngster, I helped my mother study to pass her citizenship exam. I still have 8 x 11 papers, 112 pages filled with questions she had to answer preparing herself to become a citizen. I am supportive of immigrants, but let’s follow the rule of law. People in positions of authority should exercise their power within a framework of well-established public norms rather than in an arbitrary or purely discretionary manner on the basis of their own preferences or ideology. Government should operate within a framework of law in everything it does, and should be accountable. We need to learn to work better together as a nation and stop seeking ways to divide ourselves.

Francis Petkovich, Granite Bay

Rubbing salt

What part of illegal does Gov. Jerry Brown not understand? He appears to want to flood the state with illegal workers who compete with citizen workers, but who pay no income taxes because their work is under the table. He rubs salt in the wounds by spending our tax dollars to provide them with attorneys. It is no wonder that people are leaving California. Soon there will be no one left here but the super rich and the super poor.

Karen Cochran, Roseville

Assault rifles

Re “Banning bump stocks a no-brainer after Las Vegas shooting. What else you got, Congress?” (Editorials, Oct. 5): The NRA puppet masters of Congress have finally allowed their lackeys to consider legislation to ban the “bump stock” devices. I foolishly believed that Congress answered to the people. I’m surprised that the NRA doesn’t have a desk on the floor of each chamber of Congress. I expect any proposed legislation will have undesirable strings attached and probably fail because of this.

Donald Brazell, Roseville

Las Vegas shooting

Re “Las Vegas shooting must, finally, stir Congress to act. But will it?” (Editorials, Oct. 3): For why Steven Paddock chose to massacre attendees of a Las Vegas concert one answer is clear: He did so because he could. He could inflict mass carnage and did. Whatever other motives, he followed through thanks to a cynically corrupted Second Amendment interpretation as rationalization for his right to deadly firepower. To use as he saw fit. America awash with gun violence on so grand a scale was not always thus; nor were there such unseemly devotions to super-killing firearms. I recall my father’s hunting partner, late of World War II battlefields, scolding me for my then-juvenile fascination with guns. From those years, there was little evidence of a profit-driven trumpeting of a perverse interpretation of Second Amendment rights.

Spencer P. Le Gate, Sacramento

Las Vegas carnage

At his inaugural, President Donald Trump talked about stopping the carnage. He ought to start by banning the instruments that cause the carnage: war weapons that do not belong in civilian hands. Double-barreled shotguns and single shot rifles with magazines of no more than four rounds are the only weapons we need to hunt. Everything else is made exclusively for killing people. Leadership on this issue should come from our local congressman, Rep. Tom McClintock, R-Elk Grove. Unfortunately, the National Rifle Association owns him. McClintock is for unfettered ownership of guns, but is against the Affordable Care Act. This is a sick mind.

John Garon, Placerville

Hunger Games

Re “Donald Trump’s populism mixed with incompetence failed Puerto Rico” (Viewpoints, Oct. 5): Can someone explain to me why it is OK for Donald Trump to throw paper towels at American citizens who have just survived a disaster and many of whom lost everything, as if they were trained seals or animals in a zoo? Have The Hunger Games started already?

Charlene Sonia, El Macero

Trump’s tax plan

Re “Trump seeks to raise taxes on poor people and California, and cut his own” (Viewpoints, Oct. 2): E.J. Dionne Jr. is up to his usual uber-left rant. Nowhere does he mention that the tax proposal currently being considered includes doubling the standard deduction from $6,000 to $12,000. That will help low-income people. He writes that the proposal is a tax break for he wealthy, which is misleading. If the state income taxes cannot be deducted, their taxes will increase. Dionne selects those parts of the tax proposal to paint a picture of a skewed tax proposal favoring the wealthy.

Bill Walters, Carmichael

Brown’s tax plan

Trump’s tax plan can possibly hurt many rich Californians. However, Gov. Jerry Brown’s taxes will hurt many more middle- and lower-class residents. Brown wants to raise the gas tax and registration taxes on all Californians. That will hurt everyone in the middle class and below. I guess the state is running out of money paying for illegal immigrants and their educational benefits.

Leslie H. Brown, Sacramento

Realtors’ tax plan

Re “Own a home and looking to move? California Realtors want to get you a major tax break” (sacbee.com, Sept. 28): It’s hard to be sympathetic to wealthy seniors wanting to move up to a more expensive house but keep their taxes low. Howard Jarvis Taxpayer Association shills argue savings would be spent to buy taxable goods, raising sales-tax revenue. To restate: Wealthy move-up buyers will be relieved of the burden of directly funding schools and local government, using the rationale of saving money, so they can buy stuff? Sounds like another thinly disguised example of the plutocrats’ war on government at the expense of the rest of us.

Terry Lamphier, Grass Valley

Aging in place

For us baby boomers who stayed in our modest starter homes, considering a move to one of the newer homes in the urban core poses a double whammy. Not only are homes in more transit-friendly areas much more expensive, but buying up in price would triple my property taxes. Why would anyone do that? This proposal seems to be common-sense if it could increase the inventory of starter homes and provide a financial incentive for older buyers to purchase homes to allow aging in place and avoid a horrific increase in property taxes. Otherwise, a move out of state looks very appealing.

Bob Rystad, Citrus Heights

Taxpayers

What about serving the hardworking class of people by protecting them from the needles, urine, litter and vicious dogs? Tax-paying citizens have to put up with indignities and pay taxes that support the homeless. We also pay for providing food and shelter for them. What is wrong with this picture? I can see why the homeless population is growing in the Sacramento area.

Carole Caplan, Sacramento

Safety net

I often drive along Folsom Boulevard near Watt Avenue, and the number of homeless people living in the area is astounding. The name should be changed to Homeless Highway. What ever happened to the social safety net?

Mark Collen, Sacramento

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