Letters to the Editor

Obama, retirement, pensions, UC regents

U.S. President Barack Obama, right, inspects the honor guard as he arrives to meet with Ethiopian prime minister, Hailemariam Desalegn at the National Palace in Addis Ababa , Ethiopia, Monday, July 27, 2015.
U.S. President Barack Obama, right, inspects the honor guard as he arrives to meet with Ethiopian prime minister, Hailemariam Desalegn at the National Palace in Addis Ababa , Ethiopia, Monday, July 27, 2015. AP

Obama offers inspiration

Re “Obama cites family in address on Kenya’s future” (Page 7A, July 27): We left Africa as slaves on slave ships and returned as president on Air Force One.

What a mighty God we serve.

Chuck Starks, Sacramento

On the hook for retirement

Re “Latest measure from pension attackers threatens middle class” (Viewpoints, July 27): Surprise, the article’s author, Dave Low, chairman of the Californians for Retirement Security lobby group, accuses others of being biased.

When Low says that the current public-sector pension system is “one of the last bastions of middle-class economic security,” he used the words “middle-class” instead of “government employee.” Taxpayers shouldn’t be responsible for guaranteeing economic security to anyone, including public-sector employees.

John DeKellis, Rocklin

Few workers have pensions

Pension reform will not threaten the middle class, but it likely will save California and its counties, cities and special districts from financial ruin due to unsustainable public pensions.

In his zeal to protect public employee unions, Dave Low is oblivious of the need to rein in the out-of-control pension costs and liabilities borne by middle-class taxpayers who are tired of funding retirement benefits for public employees that they no longer enjoy themselves.

Many private-sector workers had defined benefit pension programs when they were hired. But they became unsustainable. Public-sector retirement benefits that have already been earned can be protected, but unearned benefits from future service must be converted to 401(k)-type plans. The delivery of basic governmental services will be the only thing threatened by the failure to pass the pension reform initiative.

Richard Ulery, Grass Valley

UC regents take cynical turn

Re “UC raising its minimum hourly wage to $15” (Page 1A, July 23): If anyone doubts that we live in an economically polarized society, consider two actions that the UC Board of Regents took last week. Regents raised the minimum wage to $15 per hour, spread over three years, and approved 3 percent salary increases to top UC administrators, including five chancellors. Their new paychecks range from $424,360 for Linda P.B. Katehi at Davis to $772,500 for Sam Hawgood at UC San Francisco.

A $15-an-hour wage for a person works out to an annual salary of $31,200 before taxes. They clean bathrooms and labs, maintain the physical plant and landscaping, and do clerical work to keep the bloated bureaucracy humming.

What do the executives do for their six-figure incomes? They can’t be spending much time on doing their jobs or they wouldn’t have financial overruns.

I can’t imagine anything more cynical than the regents’ actions. When are Californians going to realize that UC is being run into the ground by neo-liberal technocrats?

Kathryn A. Klar, Richmond

State fails to help most needy

Re “Disabled face uphill fight for state funds” (Insight, July 25): Bouyed by California’s commitment to serving disabled people, Summer House Inc. was established 42 years ago to serve the residential needs of the developmentally disabled of Yolo County.

With commitment from friends and family of the disabled and funding from the state, our programs have grown to include two residential homes, transitional apartments, community living support services and out-of-home respite services.

What has happened in the state that once led the nation in its support of disabled people? Imposing rate freezes for contracted services and raising minimum wages while blindly ignoring the impact on service providers reveals a disturbing disregard for the most needy of our society.

Patrick C. Monley, Summer House Inc., board president, Woodland

Harris aims at wrong target

Re “Nonprofit probed on abortion videos” (Page 6A, July 25): I am appalled that Attorney General Kamala Harris is investigating possible misconduct by an investigative team which likely uncovered the selling of vital organs from aborted babies.

Harris, a candidate for U.S. Senate, is still supposed to be serving as top cop for California.

Selling baby parts for cash and even altering medical techniques to maximize the harvesting of baby parts is repulsive and illegal. Why isn’t she investigating that grotesque practice in California? Are those doctors licensed in California?

While I agree that the videos seem to be heavily edited, it does not negate the incriminating statements made by the doctors involved. Does Harris get to pick and choose which laws to enforce?

Ana Ramirez-Palmer, West Sacramento

Water is infinite, isn’t it?

Re “Green lawns in Land Park, too” (Letters, July 24): Letter writer Don Brown suggests everyone should conserve water. I can’t go along with that.

In every direction from my home, I see new vineyards and nut orchards. Farmer-corporations obviously know that the water beneath our feet is infinite. Why else would they plant all these new plants? So when the rivers and lakes dry out, just put in a well and go green.

Mike Nelson, Galt

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