In fear of the court
“Feinstein and Harris must lead the charge on Trump’s Supreme Court nominee” (Editorials, July 9): I am scared to death at the prospect of a fully conservative U.S. Supreme Court. My husband and I only won full marriage equality rights three years ago, and with the current conservative majority so clearly ignoring precedent in a number of its most recent rulings, I fear it's only a matter of time before my marriage is up for re-evaluation by the new majority. And it's not just marriage equality. Roe v. Wade, unions and affirmative action also could fall. If you care about any of these things, or any progressive measure any future Congress might pass, you need to call and write to your representatives and to the swing votes in the Senate. Then do one more thing: Vote in November.
J. Scott Coatsworth,
Pensions vs. taxes
“What’s with all the talk of California taxes? Do the math – it’s pension costs” (Dan Walters, July 8): In Dan Walter's column about pensions and local taxes, he implies that local governments asking for additional tax revenue for police, fire protection and parks are being less than candid with their constituents. He does acknowledge that costs are rising due to “mandatory payments” into the CalPERS and CalSTRS to cover the required worker pensions. Since the local governments must make these payments – that's what “mandatory” means – what is wrong with saying that additional money is needed to keep other services at levels the voters expect? Nothing. Mr. Walters is simply accusing cities and counties of hiding the ball without clearly thinking about how local funding works. We need fire, police and park funding as well as money to meet our local pension obligations. Doing something about increasing pension costs is another question.
Timothy Tutt, Davis
We all lost money
Because the state's pension funds lost a significant amount of money during the recession a decade ago and are now in the position of not being able to pay to the level originally planned, the state is now planning on using several tax measures to make up the difference. I would be fine with that if there was some way that I could tax somebody or some entity that would make up the money I lost. Every citizen in California who were not state, county or city employees and had their retirement funds invested in the stock market lost a significant amount of money. This was their money, not some money that someone else deposited for them. I think the state and other public employees should bear the same problems and face the same risks that we do. We pay their salaries, benefits and pensions, enough is enough.
Ronald P. Avanzino,
Blame Prop. 13
“The rich are fleeing California. Flatter, lower taxes will bring them back” (California Influencers, July 5): Jon Coupal expresses concern for the well-being of California’s wealthy and forecasts their flight from the Golden State. He laments that taxing the wealthy will render California uncompetitive. Conveniently, he forgets to credit California for being the fifth largest economy in the world. He also forgets to detail the many necessary services that taxes fund, especially education. Public education funding has already been directly affected by Proposition 13, a property tax break that mostly benefited large corporations. Providing tax breaks to rich landowners comes at a high cost to our future economy, as we need to have an educated California to move our economy forward. We cannot continue to grant the wealthy large benefits at the expense of California children.
Gas tax is fair
“Tax haircuts and concerts – or the rich? Californians consider the options” (California Influencers, July 9): Over the decades, all I have heard from Republicans is that a system of use taxes should be put into place to make taxation fair. If one uses a product or service, you should pay "sales tax" for using that product or service. Now, the state has instituted an add-on sales tax on gasoline and diesel for road maintenance and development, and Republicans are screaming to high heaven while trying to kill the tax. What could be more fair than an additional sales tax on fuel? If you do not drive or drive very little, it virtually has no impact on your budget. If you are a driver who puts many miles a year on a vehicle and makes heavy use of the roads, you pay for using that “product.” You are getting what you have always asked for and are crying like babies! I am confused.
Charles Mallonee, Roseville
“California beats Trump in sanctuary state battle's first round” (sacbee.com, July 5): According to Attorney General Becerra:”The Constitution gives the people of California, not the Trump administration, the power to decide how we will provide for our public safety and general welfare.” However, “the people” of California were never given the option to decide whether to become a sanctuary state. Becerra and the governor, in all their arrogance, once again treated our state like their own private fifedom, and made a unilateral decision and forced it on us. They owe the citizens of California a detailed explanation of how this action “provides for our public safety and general welfare.” This is just another disgraceful instance of governement abuse of power.
Lee Covella, Fair Oaks
People over fish
“California has a new plan for allocating its water, and it means less for farmers” (sacbee.com, July 6): Governor Brown and state regulators need to get their environmental heads out of their rear ends. They need to think more about the people and less about small fish.
John Thomas West,
Water, not a train
If Brown wants to leave a lasting legacy, the high speed train to nowhere and the twin tunnels aren't going to do it. Rather, he should have promoted and built reservoirs for Californians’ future water needs. That’s what will ensure his positive place in history.
Phil Germond, Roseville