Letters to the Editor

Race relations, UC tuition, Big Oil, minimum wage hikes, etc.

Opportunities for underclass

Re “Mayor is leading the way on Ferguson” (Editorial, Dec. 2): Whenever there is a perceived offense against a member of a minority community by the police or judiciary, the response is a protest march or riot with violence and destruction. They are the underclass, regardless of race or heritage. Low income and low expectations lead to feelings of distrust, isolation, frustration, hopelessness and oppression.

The real key to ending this is inclusion in the economy and in the larger society. Minorities are isolated from the larger society, both physically and culturally, do not tend to vote or participate in societal events and are often underemployed. The task is to break this isolation by having them get involved in the system and be a part of the larger society.

For this to happen, society must develop economic opportunities for the underclass. Not just college, but trades and manufacturing for good wages. That is what inclusion is really about.

Bill Jurkovich, Citrus Heights

Hire locally

While it is commendable that the mayor and the police brass here in Sacramento are seeking to build a police force that reflects the demographics served, it seems a bit odd to send recruiters to the Bayou Classic. Is the unemployment rate among young minorities so low in the region that we must go outside the community to represent our community? Really?

Chuck Prewett, Sacramento

Breton was right on

Re “Candor is met with wrath” (Marcos Breton, Nov. 30): I sometimes disagree with Marcos Breton, and I certainly did not agree with Mayor Kevin Johnson when he indebted the citizens of Sacramento for an arena that nobody had voted on, but Breton’s column about Johnson’s comments on the Ferguson affair was right on target. Shooting of black males appears to be out of control. Someone once said correctly that only whites can stop racism. Johnson’s comments were reasonable and restrained.

Carl Hauge, Sacramento

Camera discrimination?

Re “Obama calls for more cameras on cops” (Page A1, Dec. 2): It is wonderful that our president has called for more cameras on cops who patrol “communities of color.” I hope, however, that he knows that those cameras may only end up showing that most cops operate with integrity and that convictions of people of color may become much less complicated when the evidence is on film. However, will Al Sharpton now complain of “camera discrimination” if only cops in “communities of color” wear them?

John Costello, Sacramento

Good news on education

Re “No UC tuition hike in the Senate plan” (Page A1, Dec. 3): Upon reading the article, I am both relieved and curious. I’m relieved that we do have lawmakers who are pushing for a solution other than raising tuition for college students. I’m curious as to why it has taken so long for them to realize that freezing tuition is not a solution as they have done in the past years.

Only now that the UC Board of Regents has decided to increase tuition, inciting anger from students and California residents, do legislators decide to do something about it.

Forcing universities to justify their spending each year as suggested by Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins seems like something that is long overdue. To fix a problem, we must follow the money trail to find a solution.

Ben Gramajo, Stockton

Where’s the love for Big Oil?

Why are none of The Bee’s readers who excoriate the petroleum industry when gasoline prices exceed $4 praising the industry now that prices have fallen below $3?

John Newton, Carmichael

Good for small businesses

Re “Mayor’s push on minimum wage” (Page A1, Nov. 27): The article neglected to show how beneficial raising the minimum wage is for small businesses and the economy. Recent polling by Small Business Majority shows small employers believe raising the minimum wage will increase demand for small business products and services, reduce the burden on public assistance programs and level the playing field for small businesses that understand the need for properly compensated workers. Small Business Majority’s Economic Agenda for America’s Future: a set of policy recommendations to help bolster small businesses, calls for raising the minimum wage and indexing it to the cost of living. Why? Because we know entrepreneurs believe creating a fair and consistent minimum wage is essential to the vibrancy of the small-business economy.

Several cities and states took the lead last month, passing their own minimum wage increases. We hope Sacramento follows suit, and soon.

David Chase, Sacramento, California director, Small Business Majority

A great team

Re “A helping hand soon to depart City Hall” (City Beat, Dec. 1): Ryan Lillis is on target with his column about Sue Brown’s commitment and effectiveness as staff to Councilman Steve Cohn. Over the last several years, I have contacted Cohn and Brown about a power pole leaning precariously over Elvas Avenue, potholes, uneven pavement and road conditions that affected bicycle safety. My emails always received a reply followed by timely action to address the problem.

Recently, I sent a message about a stretch of Folsom Boulevard shoulder so rough it had become treacherous for bicyclists. Within a few days, a construction crew was at the site making significant improvements to the pavement quality.

I have really appreciated Brown’s responsiveness and effectiveness. Kudos to Cohn also for supporting Brown’s efforts to improve Sacramento.

Ken McGuire, Sacramento

High price of twin tunnels

Re “California’s big projects still face money problems” (Dan Walters, Nov. 30): Many thanks to Walters for his incisive column on Gov. Jerry Brown’s legacy projects. The twin tunnels are a particularly egregious example of a powerful official’s personal obsession transmuting into an inefficient, fiscally irresponsible and environmentally destructive public works boondoggle. The twin tunnels will do nothing to increase California’s water supply, and they will devastate the family farms and the ecological stability of the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta.

Ultimately, as Walters points out, they will jack up the price of water astronomically. The $25 billion that Walters cites is a blue sky figure at best. By the time the debt for the tunnels is serviced, the price tag could reach or exceed $67 billion. The corporate farmers of the western San Joaquin Valley will be able to absorb these costs by planting water-intensive almonds and pistachios for export, but rank-and-file ratepayers will be left holding the bag.

Carolee Krieger, Santa Barbara

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