Letters to the Editor

Tax breaks not needless

Tax breaks not needless

Re “Spare us from these needless tax breaks” (Editorials, Oct. 5): AB 88 provides a sales tax exemption for energy- and water-efficient refrigerators and clothes washers that are provided free to low-income families through the Energy Savings Assistance Program. It includes an important provision, requiring the savings associated with the sales tax exemption to be invested to purchase and serve more low-income families. The Western Center on Law and Poverty joins the California Rural Legal Assistance Foundation, La Cooperativa Campesina and the Center on Race Poverty and the Environment and other groups in supporting this legislation because it helps to serve more low-income Californians.

There has been a false narrative in the Legislature that policies that are good for the climate are bad for poor people. A clean, healthy environment benefits everyone, especially the poor. When low-income Californians have access to more efficient equipment, they not only help contribute to efficiency, they also save money in their water and electricity bills.

As the leading advocates for poor Californians in the state’s capital, Western Center on Law and Poverty doesn’t support many tax breaks, which tend to only broaden the economic divide in our state, already one of the most unequal in the country. But AB 88 offers us a win-win, strengthening a private-public partnership that works to support conservation among poor Californians while saving them money. The bill also contains a five-year sunset. The legislation does not affect any past actions taken by the Board of Equalization, as supposed by the editorial. In fact, the board currently supports the legislation and has asked Gov. Jerry Brown to sign the bill.

Jessica Bartholow, Sacramento

A suggestion on guns

Re “A deeper way to think about guns” (Insight, Oct. 6): I don’t know who the original author is, but I thought this comment was worth publication:

How about we treat every young man who wants to buy a gun like every woman who wants to get an abortion – mandatory 48-hour wanting period, parental permission, a note from his doctor proving he understands what he’s about to do, and watch a video about the effects of gun violence.

Let’s close down all but one gun shop in every state and make him travel hundreds of miles, take time off work, and stay overnight in a strange town to get a gun. Make him walk through a gauntlet of people holding photos of loved ones who were shot to death, people who call him a murderer and beg him not to buy a gun.

It makes more sense to do this with young men and guns than with women and health care, right? After all, no woman getting an abortion has killed a room full of people in seconds, have they?

Gayle Abbott, Sacramento

Deeper still on guns

My thanks to Shawn Hubler for her painfully honest reflections on guns as vice. However, Ms. Hubler’s analysis stopped short of the critical factor: These shooters (and the many other adherents of “involuntary celibate” or “incel” networks) have a real grievance. They really are being excluded and discarded.

We need to get serious about making places for these people. In the past, they might have been cowboys or lumberjacks. They might have maintained railroad tracks or hunted beaver. Those jobs scarcely exist anymore. We can do better than force people to adapt to workplace requirements – and abandon those who cannot.

Louise Mehler, Sacramento

Report the mentally ill

Shawn Hubler’s article analogizing gun ownership to addiction and pornography is absurd. She has labeled all gun owners as addicts and disturbed individuals who feel powerless.

I own guns, and everyone I know who owns them is responsible and careful about their use. It’s not about guns; it’s about the people who are so emotionally disturbed they feel the need to kill others. We need to ask why there are so many mentally ill people who lash out, and we need a concerted effort to identify and treat these disturbed individuals before they kill more innocent people.

And citizens must take responsibility for reporting signs and symptoms, such as Internet rants and other strange behavior. Even if every gun was removed from the planet, these people would find other violent ways to vent their rage.

Susan Wilson, Sacramento


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