Watch the sparks fly over homeless shelter vote at Sacramento City Council meeting
Don’t blame community opposition
“Why inaction this summer means homeless people will die in Sacramento this winter” (sacbee.com, Aug. 15): Marcos Bretón’s column is not a comment on the lack of shelters citywide. It is, instead, an attack on Meadowview, because the main scapegoat is opposition to the proposed Meadowview site. Call a spade a spade. If it was the citywide commentary it purports to be, why did it fail to discuss the delayed X Street site near Curtis Park? The X Street site has been studied for much longer than the Meadowview site. The X Street site is large, vacant and supported by and near a “wealthy community.” It checks all the proverbial boxes. Failure to discuss this site, or explain why it will not be ready by winter, misses the biggest reason for the lack of shelters, a failure of our elected leaders and the government at large. We need to hold them accountable, not blame the people of Meadowview.
We need more communication
“I am Mexican American with no hyphen and no apologies – and am haunted by a history of hate” (sacbee.com, Aug. 19): Thank you, Marcos Bretón, for your stirring column reminding usually liberal, Anglo Northern Californians of the pain experienced by our fellow citizens and friends who have felt the brunt of the resurgence of disrespect for Mexican Americans. From the daily barrage of trash talk to the horror of El Paso, your column conveys a call for empathy and simple community fellowship. It is beautifully written and has renewed my commitment to finding connections. Two dear friends, who are a Latino couple, once pointed out to me in a restaurant how aware they were of being the only non-Anglo patrons. I had not noticed, and suddenly I understood the importance of talking about our different experiences in order to achieve close friendship – being in the same place, experiencing different realities. Your column tells of injustices and ignorance, but ultimately reaches for understanding. We need more and more of this.
Here’s to the math teachers
“Remedial math courses don’t help students. They get in the way of our aspirations” (sacbee.com, Aug. 20): People who have taken essential mathematics have succeeded. Taking elementary algebra at American River College in 1992 opened the door to my career. My algebra classes at ARC were a revelation. We calculated the orbits of the planets, the amount of energy in a traffic collision, the height of a ball using its hang time, the location of the point on the opposite side of the world (near the Republic of Mauritius), and so much more. Without the power of algebra, I would never have graduated from college Summa Cum Laude. Without Los Rios providing bridges for those in my socio-economic position, I would never have been selected as Student of Year at my university. Social justice demands abundant access to essential mathematics courses. To all of you teaching algebra and geometry as the leaves turn this autumn, I salute you!
Why not just American?
“I am Mexican American with no hyphen and no apologies – and am haunted by a history of hate” (sacbee.com, Aug. 19): Marcos Bretón states: “I am Mexican American with no hyphen and no apologies. You got a problem with that? Well, many people do. Identifying strongly with my ancestral homeland has come with hassles big and small, annoying and hurtful.” If all of us strongly identified with our “ancestral homelands,” wouldn’t that just create more divisiveness? If you were born here, what’s wrong with saying one unifying statement: I’m an American. If asked about your ethnicity, you say what country your ancestors came from. I do understand if someone is born in another country, and becomes an American citizen, that they have a legitimate reason to call themselves Mexican, Chinese, German, etc., American.
I wasn’t raised that way
“Americans have become too numb to gun violence, and there’s a reason why” (sacbee.com, Aug. 18): No, we were not raised on it. I appreciate Jack Ohman’s honesty. But I want to strongly refute his premise that “we were raised on it.” Many of us were not. I have zero recollections from childhood that match Ohman’s. There was no gunplay and my family did not own guns, nor did the families we spent time with. We were raised to understand that they were unnecessary and dangerous. According to Trace.org, just 3 percent of Americans own half the country’s 265 million civilian-owned guns. Just 22 percent own guns at all. But the rest of us are held hostage by this minority, told that we cannot expect gun licensing or stricter gun laws no matter how much we request them. We’re told we must protect the Second Amendment. Then, let’s let those 22 percent own one of the types of guns that were available when the amendment was written. Why don’t we believe ourselves? Most people don’t want guns.
The Delta is right here
“Get a history lesson on your next vacation” (The Sacramento Bee, section 4E, Aug. 18): I enjoyed the article about considering National Heritage Areas as vacation destinations. However, the article failed to include the most recent area to receive this important designation: the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta! The Delta was recently recognized as a nationally important landscape of historic, cultural and natural resources. Perhaps those who cannot travel to Tennessee, Illinois or Alaska would enjoy learning more about this significant area right in Sacramento’s own backyard.