Letters to the Editor

Letters: Don’t blame minimum wage hike for increase in automation

Minimum wage

Re “The downside of California’s $15 minimum wage may be more automated jobs” (sacbee.com, Jan. 8): Companies aren’t automating jobs in response to California’s higher minimum wage. Dan Walters cites McDonald’s as an example, but, in fact, the kiosks are part of a nationwide roll out that the company contends has nothing to do with the minimum wage. Automation is a looming threat to jobs, but Walters is wrong that companies are introducing robots out of necessity. It’s insulting to suggest that any corporation would need to automate jobs to stay afloat at a time when corporations are making record profits and just received a tax cut. Higher minimum wages are one of the few ways workers can get a share of the profits. Another way is to stand together in a union. With corporate America soaring while wages stagnate, it’s high time workers get a piece of the pie.

Steve Smith,

California Labor Federation

Obey traffic laws

Re “California traffic fines prey on poor” (Viewpoints, Jan. 8): I disagree with the opinions of Sen. Robert Hertzberg and Emmett D. Carson. Obeying traffic laws is an equal opportunity situation. My spouse served over 20 years in the U.S. Air Force, and we lived in several states, Southeast Asia and Europe. It was our responsibility to learn and obey the local traffic laws, even if we did not speak the language. When I observe a driver speeding or parking illegally, I believe it is intentional. Driving is a serious responsibility. We all have the choice to obey the law or pay the penalty.

Susan Farhood,


Dying salmon runs

Re “As fish disappear, Trump administration seeks to pump more California water south” (sacbee.com, Jan. 2): Central Valley salmon runs will be further harmed if the Trump administration’s plans to divert more water from the Delta to mega-growers in the western San Joaquin Valley aren’t stopped. We’re facing near record low numbers of salmon and other species. California needs to step up and protect our natural resources from Trump and his relatively small base of supporters who grow almonds and pistachios for export.

John McManus, Golden Gate Salmon Association

Salvadoran purge

Re “Trump targets Salvadoran immigrants. Here’s what Congress must do” (Editorials, Jan. 8): Trump decided to deport 200,000 immigrants who have lived here legally for decades. They are now interwoven with everyone else. Not all of those citizens are dreaded “anchor babies” (my grandchildren!). Using a conservative number of four extended family members, there are another 800,000 American citizens whose lives will be torn asunder by this purge. Interestingly, no reason has been given by Trump or the GOP. That’s because there is no moral reason for exploding the lives of innocent people. There is only the excuse that Trump’s base must be fed red meat, preferably brown.

Jacqueline J Keller,


Punishable deeds?

Re “Mayor Steinberg dials for dollars differently than Kevin Johnson. Does that make it OK?” (Foon Rhee, Jan. 6): I’ve been a close observer of Mayor Darrell Steinberg for about 30 years, from the time he was first elected to the Sacramento City Council, through the Legislature and now as mayor. In that time, Steinberg has done some things I didn’t agree with. But soliciting $25,000 in donations for the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Sacramento is not one of them. Nor do I find fault with soliciting $1.5 million from Sutter Health for the Steinberg Institute to improve mental health services. Rhee’s column questioning the mayor’s ethics is an example of the old adage: “No good deed ever goes unpunished.”

Ginger Rutland,


Safeway project

Re “Sacramento City Council can reject Curtis Park gas station, fairly this time” (Editorials, Jan. 8): Jay Schenirer overstepped, plain and simple. That is not how our government is supposed to work. And The Bee states: “The judge may have an unrealistic view of what politicians actually do.” If that is standard operating procedure for politicians, then I vote to get different ones. The Bee also states that advocating on behalf of a majority of his constituents is something good politicians try to do. My opinion is fewer than 200 powerful Curtis Park residents went NIMBY and the City Council was caught catering to them. I have talked to several residents who really want the convenience of a Safeway, and the majority of Schenirer’s constituents probably don’t care. Developer Paul Petrovich is not easy to work with. However, that does not excuse illegal activity by the council. That should have been the point of your editorial.

Patrick Stiehr, Roseville

‘Desperate’ times?

Re “President Oprah? It’s time to talk about the right role for billionaires in politics” (Erika D. Smith, Jan. 8): Ms. Smith is in denial about the positive things going on around her. The ISIS caliphate is basically destroyed, and we are exporting criminals and gangs. The stock market and consumer confidence is high. It’s hard to comprehend her words of woe.

Doug Hinchey, Lincoln

Uninspired voters

Re “Is Dianne Feinstein too old to run for re-election?” (sacbee.com, Jan. 8): Whether to elect someone who will be 91 at the end of her term is certainly a legitimate question. No one is immune from the memory lapses and physical deterioration that accompany advanced age. But the more significant issue with Sen. Dianne Feinstein is her ability to inspire voters, particularly younger voters. Jerry Brown, 79, has shown he can, as has Bernie Sanders, 76. But the last time Feinstein galvanized anyone was 22 years ago, when she shepherded a ban on assault weapons. Younger voters need and California deserves a stronger, more enthusiastic voice in the Senate.

Daniel Broderick,


It’s gender bias

Older male members of the Senate have been wheeled in and out of the Senate chamber with little commentary. Meanwhile, California’s two most powerful members of Congress, both female, face questions about their age. Neither Sen. Dianne Feinstein nor House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi seem hindered by their years. So why the questions? I can only think of one reason: gender bias.

Alison Sweetser,

Grass Valley