Letters to the Editor

Letters: Ballot propositions, endorsements, Catholic church

Prisons train criminals

Re “Prop. 47 would lighten some crime penalties” (Page A1, Oct. 13): My initial reaction was to vote “no” because reducing felonies to misdemeanors would let many criminals out of state prison. That scares me.

Then I realized that is exactly why I need to vote for Proposition 47. What scares me most is not the petty thief. It’s what happens to him when he spends a year in our overcrowded, understaffed and misfocused state prisons. He develops criminal contacts, learns criminal skills and comes out a hardened criminal rather than a rehabilitated citizen.

We can try to spend our way out of our problem by building more prisons. That’s what law enforcement unions would like. Or we can think our way out by reforming our penal system. That’s what we need.

– Michael Biggs, Folsom

Drug treatment will lose

The intent of Proposition 47 is to get more low-level drug offenses classified as misdemeanors and to get more people into treatment. However, when people are convicted of misdemeanors they won’t be offered treatment.

People are supervised on probation only when they are deemed high risk. Taking away prosecutors’ discretion to charge as a felony or a misdemeanor takes away the best hope of directing someone into treatment.

– Maggi Schubert, Sacramento

Water bond is full of pork

Re “Proposition 1’s water bonds finally surface” (Capitol & California, Oct. 11): Water for California needs big-picture action now. But Proposition 1 is a cornucopia of big spending related to the supply, delivery, quality and use of water. Due to timing, it’s one of the hottest buttons for the electorate in years, and it got on the ballot almost unopposed. Why so little opposition? Because every faction gets something it has been wanting related to water.

If you were paying attention in the 1990s, this sounds familiar. For “water” substitute “electricity” supply, delivery, quality and use, and you’ll recall that the Legislature and Public Utilities Commission gave us electricity deregulation, another hot-button package with a carrot for each faction that might have opposed it. We all know how great that turned out.

Who or what’s going to be Enron this time?

– George Preston, Auburn

Support Prop. 2 for schools

Re “Will Prop. 2 shore up state finances?” (Viewpoints, Oct. 10): As a past supporter, I thank Educate Our State for efforts to better fund education. However, as a Davis school board member who rode the roller coaster of boom and bust down the free fall of cuts to schools in the Great Recession, I take exception to the group’s position on Proposition 2.

Yes, education is inadequately funded. Yes, the district reserve cap was poorly crafted and should be revisited. Beyond that, we part ways.

Proposition 2 has unanimous, bipartisan support from the Legislature and governor. The League of Women Voters and my own organization, California Forward, advocate for its implementation. The measure is endorsed by Michael Kirst of the State Board of Education, the League of Cities and the California Association of Counties. Proposition 2 would smooth the volatility of state revenues and help protect schools from deep cuts in future downturns. This is good policy.

– Susan Lovenburg, Davis

Prop. 2 foes are mistaken

The opponents of Proposition 2 are misinformed. K-12 schools will continue to be the state’s first priority. Schools have more protection than any other public service and still this guarantee is not enough to protect school funding if the Legislature cannot manage the booms and busts of our economy.

The local school district cap in question is not in Proposition 2, and opponents should stop implying otherwise by opposing a common-sense measure to get California’s fiscal house in order. The cap issue will likely be revisited when the Legislature reconvenes in January.

Proposition 2 is an improvement on the flawed reserve currently in place that will reduce more debt and bring stability to education, public safety and safety net services. We must protect our children’s education from bad economic times. There’s no better way than voting “yes” on Proposition 2.

– Phillip Ung, Sacramento

Torlakson a champion for kids

Re “School chief battle just one of many” (Dan Walters, Oct. 13): Dan Walters and The Bee’s editorial board just do not get it. Come into my classroom and see the changes over the last decade.

Walters says that school reformers such as Marshall Tuck “don’t deny we need more money, but worry aloud about reform.”

The reform of the last decade has narrowed the curriculum and focused on bubble tests.

Tom Torlakson has focused on the needs of the kids in my classroom. The ability to focus on the needs of the individual students is finally happening now that we are getting a bit more money into the classroom.

Champions for kids such as Tom Torlakson have been fighting for this funding and we need them to continue the effort. We have had over a decade of less money and useless “reform” from the corporate types like Tuck. The kids of California need Torlakson.

– Bill Simmons, Carmichael

Ranalli for El Dorado supervisor

Re “Ballot-box zoning is wrong way to control growth” (Endorsements, Oct. 13): Once again, The Bee’s editorial board shows its utter ignorance about El Dorado County in endorsing Howard Penn and Sue Novasel for Board of Supervisor seats.

Neither Penn nor Novasel is really qualified.

The only truly and seriously qualified candidate in the District 2 race in Michael Ranalli. Have you examined his superb record? I think not.

– David W. Long, Folsom

Outsiders influencing election

Confused about how to vote Nov. 4? Following the money trail can lead you to an answer.

In El Dorado County, the “No on M-N-O” campaign has as its stated goal to “save local control.” However, there is very little local about the largest financial contributors against these measures. Financial records as of Sept. 30 show that developers and outside interests with addresses in Modesto, Sacramento and Granite Bay have contributed more than $150,000 to defeat M-N-O.

Even the group listed as El Dorado County Voters for Local Control has a Sacramento address. This is not my definition of local.

– Patty Wilson, Diamond Springs

Government does good

I am a moderately enthusiastic cyclist. Recently, I noticed an odd-looking device being pulled down the center of the American River Parkway bike trail by a smiling, waving county worker – a trail blower, for lack of a better term. With the pencil-thin tires on today’s bicycles, an errant acorn can cause a trip to the emergency room.

Thank you, government. Your detractors are many. Now I am a very big fan.

– Tom Wardell, Sacramento


Find them at:



Online form (preferred):


Other: Letters, P.O. Box 15779,

Sacramento, CA 95852

150-word limit. Include name, address and phone number. Letters may be edited for clarity, brevity and content.