Letters to the Editor

Homeless, mentally ill, Reagan, twin tunnels, minimum wage, etc.

An August grass fire burned into the tree tops before it was extinguished by firefighters at a large homeless camp in the American River Parkway.
An August grass fire burned into the tree tops before it was extinguished by firefighters at a large homeless camp in the American River Parkway. rpench@sacbee.com

Thank Reagan, not liberal policies

Re “It’s time to try something else” (Letters, Oct. 11): Letter writer Janet Quesenberry says that the homeless on the American River Parkway “should be permanently housed in institutional settings,” and that the current policies of leaving them “living in filth and exposed to the elements” are a result of “liberal thinking.”

Well, if you trace the deinstitutionalization of the mentally ill and the cut-off of funding for Community Mental Health Treatment Centers, that would point to both Gov. Ronald Reagan and to President Ronald Reagan. Hmm, a liberal? Oh well, maybe he was, actually, in this modern world of ultra-right-wing-and-never-compromise members of his party, and those who are rewriting history to suit their political purposes.

Candace Furlong,

Sacramento

California, like D.C., is run by money

Re “California is where U.S. policy isn’t paralyzed” (Editorials, Oct. 11): California is the opposite of a tea party state, thank goodness. The conservatives and liberals in California are more mature about finding common ground and moving the state ahead. The list of effective legislation that Gov. Jerry Brown signed was indeed impressive.

Unfortunately, the other huge issue in Washington politics, being driven by corporate money, is alive and well in California. Most notably, the “California WaterFix” project. Brown has continued to ramrod this project with the backing of corporate agribusiness owners and L.A. developers.

Brown would do better to have his legacy defined by the huge steps he has just taken with broad legislative accomplishments. Instead, if he continues with his plan to build twin tunnels through the Delta, his legacy will be tarnished by inflicting on Northern California the environmental and economic disaster it will cause.

Jan McCleery, Discovery Bay

Higher wages will lead to fewer jobs

Re “Sacramento’s minimum wage needs more work” (Editorials, Oct. 12): The argument for increasing the minimum wage assumes that employers will buy the same quantity of employee time at a higher price as they do at a lower price without respect to profit.

Yet grocery store chains have self-service aisles that provide what checkers used to be paid to do. ATMs do what bank tellers used to do. Robotic equipment is used to build cars and other machinery that used to be built by hand. Manufacturing and customer service jobs have moved overseas.

The higher the cost to employ someone, the more likely automation will become more cost-effective.

People who argue for minimum-wage increases ignore the laws of economics. We can mandate a higher wage, but the consequence will be fewer employees and more offshore employment. It is only natural.

J.P. Henderson, Roseville

Support compromise on wages

I’d prefer that we don’t touch the minimum wage, but I understand the thinking and applaud the balanced way Sacramento’s task force crafted its policy.

With the inclusion of total compensation, we can live with this compromise. The idea of a flat $15-per-hour minimum wage is unreasonable. Should it succeed, it would have far-reaching and devastating effects. It’s scary for small business people like me.

Lawyers will have a lot to say regarding the legality of total compensation, but tips are facts of life. Owners are taxed on them as part of income. The editorial board’s suggestion that they shouldn’t be included in figuring out an employee’s income is a head-scratcher. I support the task force’s compromise.

Alan Irvine, Sacramento

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