Letters to the Editor

Bank reform, juvenile justice, police protests, bullying

Obama abandoned the 99%

Re “Obama bails out Boehner on budget, angers fellow Democrats” (Viewpoints, Dec. 15): I have had it with Barack Obama. I voted for him twice because I believed in him. That loyalty has evaporated. I find it incomprehensible and outrageous that Obama would go to bat for a budget package removing the Dodd-Frank provisions that protect U.S. taxpayers against repeating the Great Recession. People lost savings, homes and jobs.

This spineless, milquetoast leader has shown he is beholden to the big-money interests of Wall Street. I’ve never been so disappointed, and I honestly can’t wait until he’s gone.

I will now turn all my energies to getting Elizabeth Warren elected as our next president in 2016. At least she has the backbone and moxie to go toe to toe with the titans of Wall Street to protect the 99 percenters – a concept that Obama seems to have abandoned.

Richard Cornett, Fair Oaks

Expected more from president

It is unconscionable that Congress passed a compromise spending bill that repeals part of the Dodd-Frank bank reform and that increases tenfold the amounts allowed for campaign contributions from wealthy constituents. It is galling that the president is on board with this.

I expected much more from him. The last election had poor voter turnout. No matter how you feel, your vote does matter. If you don’t like what is happening in Washington now, just wait until the newest crop of legislators takes office. You truly reap what you sow.

Roy David Graham, Carmichael

Youths need mentors

Re “Juvenile justice can be less expensive and more effective” (Viewpoints, Dec. 13): The Youth Law Center states the not-so-obvious: Incarceration doesn’t rehabilitate young thugs, nor does it reduce recidivism. Our organization, Gang Awareness and Prevention, goes into the Sacramento County Youth Detention Facility three days per week. I’ve counseled and built relationships with those on the inside for eight years, and as Sue Burrell claims, we can do a better job at considerably less cost to the taxpayers. Staff, lawyers and youths there know that a huge answer is connecting each child with a mentor upon release.

Whether gang members, trafficked girls or first-time offenders, many need and want one person in their life who will be an advocate and show them right from wrong. Morals, normal behavior or good citizenship isn’t something you’re born with. It’s a learned behavior taught by someone who cares, regardless of what neighborhood or in what family they are born.

Randal Broadhurst, Sacramento

Grand jury reform needed

Re “Focus on ‘racist’ cops misses the bigger picture” (Viewpoints, Dec. 13): Surely Eric Garner would still be alive if he had been born white. However, some conservatives inhabit a post-racial bubble where the only identifiable sin is excess government. In Ben Boychuk’s world, racially biased policing doesn’t exist, and black citizens’ distrust of police merely reflects Americans’ general distrust of all their institutions.

Like climate deniers, Boychuk places ideology above science. Many studies continue to show that racial differences in law enforcement remain widespread. Law enforcement officials often recognize such shortcomings. In Missouri, Ferguson’s police chief admits his force has problems, and the need for more African American officers is widely acknowledged.

Excess bureaucracy notwithstanding, a grand jury system that currently insulates miscreant officers from prosecution is unlikely to be reformed solely by thinning out a web of laws and court rulings. Enhanced federal oversight and civil rights guidelines surely will play a role in grand jury reform.

David Barrett, Sacramento

Put bullies in separate schools

Re “I felt the shame of the bullied” (Marcos Breton, Dec. 14): The cretins whom Marcos Breton suffered under were the same kind of mutants that made my middle and high school years miserable. To me, school was a prison, a bizarre dystopia of thugs enabled by staff who didn’t care, didn’t notice or couldn’t handle the problem of bullying.

A traitorous lie is the notion to stand up to a bully and have him back down. That’s preposterous. The bullies I dealt with were so mean that they would never cower to smaller prey. Besides, they were all part of a gang, ready to help the bully enjoy and extend his torment.

All I can suggest is a separate school system for these misanthropes, as none of them can be any part of a constructive society that looks out for the common welfare.

Thomas Farket, West Sacramento

Don’t empower bullies

As I read the piece by Marcos Breton, I was immediately thrown back to those years in my youth when I, too, suffered at the hands and words of bullies. Between the ages of 6 and 10, I was repeatedly reminded that I was the daughter of a murderer.

It wasn’t until my family moved to the other side of the Sacramento River that I was allowed to make a fresh start, but the damage was done. I was vulnerable and gullible because I wanted friends and craved companionship. Although I was eventually able to come to terms with the shame imposed on me by those childhood and teen bullies, I became hypersensitive to others on the receiving end of bullying.

I regularly observe bullying in academia between colleagues and directed toward adult students. Anyone who imposes a differing view of the status quo is perceived as a threat to the bully’s power, and any intervention to preserve the dignity of the bullied can have devastating career consequences. However, tolerating bullies of any age can only extend the power, control and damage coveted by bullies. One never knows when he or she may become the target of the grown-up mean kid.

Tami Wylder Cisneros, Davis

Schools can prevent bullying tragedies

Re “Ronin Shimizu’s life again shines light on bullying” (Editorials, Dec. 11): As an educator, I’ve seen the trust that students put into their teachers. In situations where students are clearly hurting, they look to teachers to intervene.

The first bill I introduced was Assembly Bill 256. The legislation, law since January, closed loopholes in school bullying laws, which were written before the explosion of electronic devices and instant communication. Teachers and administrators have clear authority to address bullying in all forms – on or off campus.

Ronin’s death shines a light on more than just bullying; it highlights the inability of schools to adequately address it. It’s heartbreaking to know Ronin moved from school to school, looking for peace, and never found it. Schools have the ability to address bullying; I hope that they will begin to enforce the law to prevent further tragedies from occurring.

Assemblywoman Cristina Garcia, D-Bell Gardens


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