Letters to the Editor

LETTERS: Redistricting, pledge, dead voters, homeless kids, old cars, etc.

Yes, change the boundaries

Re “Is it the right time to right a wrong?” (Viewpoints, Foon Rhee, Nov. 18): It is absolutely the right time to undo the scandalous City Council redistricting decision that moved the Medical Center into Councilman Kevin McCarty’s district. This decision was the poster child for why politicians should not be allowed any input into creating voting district boundaries.

Just like a kid in a candy store, they just can’t stop themselves from enhancing their advantage for fundraising and re-election, even when it comes at the expense of the electorate. That night in 2011, the council ignored hundreds of people who spoke against the proposal. Mayor Kevin Johnson’s proposed fix is long overdue.

Michael Russell, Sacramento

Uncomfortable with the pledge

Re “Don’t betray the true meaning of our pledge” (Viewpoints, Nov. 18): Kudos to Bruce Maiman for a great piece concerning the Pledge of Allegiance. Even as a child in grammar school, I felt somehow uncomfortable in being forced to participate in this mass statement of commitment. This feeling increased as I saw a friend of mine disciplined in junior high for refusing to recite the pledge because of his beliefs as a Jehovah’s Witness.

When, in high school history classes, I was exposed to pictures of German children saluting as members of the Hitler Youth or Soviet children being pressured to wear the red scarves of the communist youth organizations, it became clear that rituals such as the pledge serve only to encourage blind loyalty, not true appreciation for the values of the country.

Don Rudisill, Sacramento

Real patriotism and the pledge

Thanks to Bruce Maiman for getting it right on the Pledge of Allegiance. Real devotion to liberty and patriotism has nothing to do with pledges or unfurling giant flags at football games. It has to do with civic involvement, voting and staying informed, which sadly few Americans seem to be able to do.

Paul Disario, Gold River

Engagement required

Re “Deceased still gets ballots” (Letters, Nov. 18): I’m so sick of reading letters suggesting the potential for voter fraud. One letter writer is so upset that her deceased husband continues to receive an absentee ballot.

I have an idea for this distraught voter: Call Jill LaVine at the Department of Voter Registration and Elections and let her know your husband passed away 4½ years ago. What, you say? That’s not her responsibility? They – which is of course the much maligned and hated government – should have an unerring system that would prevent such a thing from happening in the first place? Poppycock. This nation was founded by hands-on people – not people inclined to sit on their hands and complain.

As a once-admired president said, “In your hands, my fellow citizens, more than mine, will rest the final success or failure of our course.”

Martin E. Kaelli, Sacramento

Homeless kids need help

Re “Child homelessness on the rise in U.S.” (Sacbee.com, Nov. 17): This article highlights a problem that is of epidemic proportions, yet receives very little coverage. With one-fifth of the homeless child population, California is at the bottom of the list. The last complete survey of services for homeless youths in our state, done in 2010, shows that we have direct services in only 20 of the 58 counties. The investment by the state on this issue, standing at $1.1 million, has not changed by one dollar since 1988.

California has the second-highest rate of unsheltered, unaccompanied minor homeless youths in the country at 79.2 percent, according to a report to Congress on this issue. The percentages for other states drop dramatically after California. We are not investing nearly enough to take care of one of the most vulnerable populations in our state: homeless youths.

California can and must do better.

Paul Curtis, Sacramento

Don’t blame car manufacturers

Re “Don’t give older cars a pass on safety” (Viewpoints, Nov. 12): In his commentary on older car safety, Ben Kelley applauds a jury for requiring that Toyota pay $12 million to a young woman who suffered partial paralysis while wearing a lap-only seat belt in a 1996 Toyota SUV that crashed. What Kelley didn’t mention was that she chose to ride with an underage drunken driver on a mountain road and that she had already received a $1.3 million settlement not from Toyota.

Sympathetic juries have been accessing deep-pocket defendants for years when the person actually at fault doesn’t have enough money. If it’s not one reason, they’ll find another. Kelley’s contention that older, less-safe cars should be recalled to be updated is outrageous. Manufacturers essentially make what people are willing to pay for.

People sometimes make bad choices, and they should be responsible for them. Stuff happens.

Harvey Swenson, Sacramento

Downtown parking shocker

I attended a Broadway series play at the Community Theater. I was shocked to find that for four hours of evening parking at a garage on 13th Street the fee was $24. This is triple what I paid previously. Before you go downtown, check the website sacpark.org for parking fees, as they all charge different rates. Do not support these garages that way overcharge for a public service.

Arlene Kozub, Roseville

Pérez sans college degree?

Re “Pérez tapped as UC regent” (Capitol & California, Nov. 18): At the very least, one would expect an incoming University of California regent to have a college degree, which John A. Pérez doesn’t have. The Pérez appointment is bizarre, appalling and deeply troubling. At this critical juncture for the UCs, the students and taxpayers deserve more academically prepared regents.

Matthias Mendezona, North Highlands

California is doomed!

Re “Manson gets marriage license, could wed soon” (Capitol & California, Nov. 18): Charles Manson wants to get married, and the prison system has assigned a wedding coordinator to facilitate this circus. Really? Is this the best we can do with our tax dollars?

Carol Rose, Sacramento

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