How’s it my fault?
“Sac Unified teachers at crisis point, part 1: How did we get to now?”(sacbee.com, April 09): Reading Marcos Breton’s column, I was anxious to learn how I, as a responsible, tax-paying voter in this city, deserved “blame” for the financial crisis the school district finds itself in. Finishing the article, I had not been convinced. It still seems obvious the blame for the crisis lies with: Mayor Darell Steinberg, who helped broker the 2017 “deal”; the superintendent recruited by the mayor who failed to recognize the severity of the fiscal crisis; the Sacramento City Unified School District board members; and representatives for the teachers unions. All have failed to recognize and effectively deal with the problem that they helped create. Perhaps a future column could be written as to what percentage of blame should be assigned to each entity, but I’m pretty sure city residents are blameless.
Share the sacrifice
“Families brace for teachers strike at Sacramento City Unified schools on Thursday”(sacbee.com, April 09): As a life-long union member, a grandparent and taxpayer in Sacramento, my heart really wants to support the teachers of Sacramento City Teachers Association. They deserve higher pay. Most of us do. I have immense respect for the job they do, but the SCTA has gone too far. It has misrepresented the facts, intimidated families into harassing board members, told 7-year-old kids they should stand with their teachers and urged parents in front of their homes to keep their kids out of school on the strike day. The district didn’t get to insolvency just in the last two years. Expecting to solve it without all parties feeling some pain is unrealistic. Did I deserve a pay cut when the 2008 recession hit? Of course not, but I took it along with tens of thousands because there weren’t many better options. District insolvency will be a worse option for all, for a longer timeframe.
“Hundreds of teachers at Sacramento City Unified walk out on one-day strike”(sacbee.com, April 11): The Sacramento City Unified School District has struggled to financially support their schools and, although it has mismanaged funds, it wouldn’t be facing a budget crunch in the first place if schools were adequately funded. The recent teacher strikes in Sacramento and in other cities across the state highlight the need for more education funding in California. The state was once among the top 10 in per-pupil spending, but shamefully now ranks close to last. The lack of funds for our schools points to one long-term solution: reforming Proposition 13. The Schools and Communities First Initiative will reform Prop. 13 by creating a split-roll tax, which will keep protections for homeowners but make corporations pay their fair share in property taxes. If passed in 2020, this will restore over $11 billion to California’s schools and public services. It’s finally time to prioritize our schools. California’s teachers and students deserve better!
Walk our talk
“Do the math: Teachers + health costs + insanity = we all lose”(sacbee.com, April 14): The problems in Sacramento City Unified School District epitomize the major issues of our state. Why, in the fifth largest economy in the world, are our students so low-performing? Why, in one of the most liberal states in the country, are we spending more on incarceration than education? Why, in Sacramento of all places, are we blaming school districts and teachers for problems created in the state’s Capitol building? Our economy is too large and our progressive values are too strong for us to be complacent when it comes to paying teachers a living wage, providing all residents with exceptional healthcare and providing our kids, especially those in low income neighborhoods, the educational opportunities that I was provided just a few miles away in Roseville. When we walk our talk, teachers will be better able to represent their students and our students will finally be properly equipped to succeed.
One coach, three years
“Vlade’s vision: Why new head coach Luke Walton is perfectly fit to be a King”(sacbee.com, April 14): Jason Anderson praised the selection of Luke Walton as the new head coach of the Kings. In my view, this was a mistake because the Kings have tried numerous times to get the right coach here. Do not forget that the last coach to get the Kings to the playoffs was Rick Aldeman in 2006 and he was fired the next season. Vlade Divac had planned for some time to get Walton up here even though he and Dave Joerger had similar records for the past three years. One more coach in three years, and no playoffs!
Pretty, but flammable
“Living in Danger”(The Sacramento Bee, section 1A, April 15): Nevada City has long been my home away from home. It may be picturesque and cute but, at one point, it played a significant enough role in California’s history to at one time be considered to be our capital. Its loss to fire would be devastating to our history. Sugar Loaf hill is now covered with trees. It looms over the city and was quite bare except for brush until recently. This is a prime example of how trees and undergrowth have expanded and now blanket the landscape. My own property, which was spared by the 49er fire in 1988 by a highway’s width, has seen phenomenal tree and vegetation growth. It now requires more than goats to spare it from burning. Escape routes from such a fire in my community are few. As with other likely disasters to come, we all share blame for not addressing it sooner.
Spencer P. Le Gate,