Letters to the Editor

School volunteer rules, UC funding, sheriff’s video, immigration, etc.

Parent hours pay off

Re “Rights group questions charter school volunteer rules” (Page A1, Nov. 21): I’ve been a member of the Leonardo da Vinci public school community for eight years. In spite of running a business and supporting two very active school-aged kids, my husband and I manage to log about 200 parent hours every year. It isn’t difficult to meet and exceed the required 40 because of the wide variety of options that are available outside of regular school and working hours.

In return, I have a good understanding of what my student is learning in school and who her friends are. The reason why schools like Leonardo da Vinci are so successful and in high demand is due in part to the contribution made by the engaged parents. It is a school of choice. If parents aren’t able or are not willing to make the commitment to put in the time to make the program work, they should select the option of attending a school without the requirement. Our district has many high-performing neighborhood schools that offer open enrollment.

Cindy Kazee, Sacramento

Volunteering helps children

My husband and I have put five children through five different schools. We have managed to volunteer through the years and if we were unable to make it, an aunt, grandparent or friend was gratefully accepted as a fill-in. Our current system of schooling is not working – so let’s do it differently. Get involved and your children will benefit. The lawyers need to stay out of this one.

Jane Macaulay, Sacramento

More than a fundraiser

Re “Bera tops Ose as tally finishes” (Page Al, Nov. 20): I take issue with your describing Ami Bera as “a prolific fundraiser.” By nature or inclination he is not a fundraiser, he is a doctor. He was forced to become a fundraiser only because he was targeted by Karl Rove and the Koch brothers, two of the most cynical and bitterly partisan kingmakers in American politics.

I don’t normally contribute to campaigns. I became part of this fundraising because I did not want to see a decent, locally elected man be driven out of office by a couple of Texas billionaires. More than fundraising, you neglected to mention the veritable army who volunteered for Bera. Outside money could not match that – fortunately. I know Bera would prefer that the millions spent on this ugly campaign could have been spent on efforts to help people. Would that Karl Rove and the Koch brothers felt the same.

Larry W. Smith, Sacramento

Almonds grow, salmon die

Re “Next step for water bill up in the air” (Capitol & California, Nov. 22): I read with interest that Devin Nunes, R-Visalia, who represents Central Valley farming interests, said we have a crisis in regard to the drought. A crisis? Really? Because recent articles in The Sacramento Bee report that almond and tomato growers had record crops in 2014.

If he wants to know where the real crisis is, he should talk to the fishermen on the Sacramento River where the salmon run is dismal.

Powell Svendsen, Rancho Murieta

Why UCs need money

Re “UC regents advance tuition hike” (Page A1, Nov. 20): The virtual abandonment of California’s commitment to funding its public university system coincided with the enactment and aftermath of Proposition 13, which significantly reduced state revenues from property taxes. The battle now brewing between UC President Janet Napolitano and Gov. Jerry Brown assumes a zero-sum game.

But, the solution is simple. Fix the commercial side of Prop 13 so that businesses are assessed regularly for property tax purposes, thereby closing a loophole that huge corporations like Chevron and Disney have used to freeze their taxes at 1970s levels. The fix would bring in $6 billion a year in additional revenue to California – a good chunk of the $7 billion it takes to run the whole UC system. It is only right that business pays its fair share of the cost of the well-educated workforce it so richly benefits from.

Kitty Calavita, Berkeley

chancellor’s professor emerita UC Irvine

Teachers and health insurance

Re “Union contract conflict theatens district detente” (Editorials, Nov. 22): I managed health insurance for another local school district for nearly six years and we never had problems with insurance choices. Though Kaiser was always a staple in the mix of three carriers many years because of cost, there was mass exodus from one plan to another but the insurance contracts were negotiated districtwide and across all bargaining units. Teachers need to focus on their job of teaching students not who their insurance carrier is. They are totally out of line. Get back to your classroom and make it the best you can.

Nikki Carpenter, Elk Grove


What has happened amounts to a fundamental change to benefits. In addition to the almost certain loss of coverage for out-of-area retirees and college-student children of teachers, many of us must change doctors, our out-of-pocket costs for healthcare will most certainly rise and we must all re-enroll in the middle of the year by a deadline that the district keeps changing. Worst of all, the turmoil and uncertainty occurs in the middle of the year, just when we were thinking we could trust our new administration. Why on earth was this change needed, and by whom was it made? Certainly not the teachers.

Yes, our benefits are – or were – generous. If the district would like to change that, how about negotiating it into our contract? If the district would like to pick and choose which parts of our contract to honor, may teachers also pick and choose which parts of our contract we get to honor? José Banda should not have agreed to the terms of our contract if they were not suitable to the district. Changing them unilaterally amounts to a slap in the face of hardworking teachers in Sacramento, and shame on the Bee for blaming our union.

John Doolittle, West Sacramento

GOP outraged yet again

Re “GOP outraged by decision to unilaterally suspend threat of deportation” (Page A1, Nov. 21): The GOP is outraged, do you hear, outraged! that Obama acted without Congress to change the rules on immigration. The shock! The horror! OMG! This act on the part of the right wing has become so routine it’s a wonder anyone pays attention to them any more. OMG! Indeed.

Sandra Campbell, Pine Grove

‘Immigration reform’ means …

Will the editorial board please define what “immigration reform” means to them? To me, it includes controllable borders, an annual number of immigrants that can be absorbed, a quota from each country and skills that would help this country.

Peter W. Gissing, Roseville

Change immigration law

Change the law. If you are not a legal citizen and come to the U.S. to have a baby, the baby should be a citizen of the mother’s country. That should apply to Chinese and Taiwanese citizens who pay for “maternity homes” and “birth tourism.” It should apply to undocumented people who come over the border to have a baby.

Then, build a state-of-the-art prison in Baja California, Mexico, and a town to support it. Send illegal criminals there and clean out our overpopulated prisons. Pay them $5,000 instead of $50,000 per head, per year.

Do this under NAFTA with oversight. Add education and skills training.

Ginger Jenkins, Sacramento


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