Letters to the Editor

Religion, farm jobs, Matsui, North Korea, etc.

A letter writer wonders at the wisdom of columnist Kathleen Parker poking fun at North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong Un.
A letter writer wonders at the wisdom of columnist Kathleen Parker poking fun at North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong Un. Associated Press file

School broke the law

Re “Using schoolkids to promote religion is a shameless ploy” (Viewpoints, Dec. 30): Bruce Maiman is fair to cover the issue of religious folks proselytizing their peers in school, but the district was not only ham-handed in its response, it broke the law.

California Education Code section 48907 says, “Pupils of the public schools, including charter schools, shall have the right to exercise freedom of speech and of the press including … the distribution of printed materials or petitions.”

Schools have the right to control time and manner of distribution, in order that educational activities are not disrupted, but the student had the right to distribute religious materials to her classmates just as she had to right to distribute party invitations or “Vote for Snoopy” buttons.

California courts have ruled that making people uncomfortable is not equivalent to disrupting education. The Loomis school district needs to revise its rules to conform with state law.

Steve O’Donoghue, Sacramento

California Scholastic Journalism Initiative

Keep religion out of public schools

Clearly, if a person wants their child to be schooled in their religious beliefs, then send them to a private or religious school. Keep the public schools free for science and freedom of thought, not phony creative design.

David Sinclair, El Dorado Hills

No state-funded religious services

Re “Nun will replace rabbi as Senate chaplain” (Capitol & California, Dec. 29): The appointment by Kevin de León of Sister Michelle Gorman to serve as the new Senate chaplain brings to mind a serious breach in the separation of church and state.

The chaplain classification in California state government was created by the State Personnel Board in 1931 when the state began hiring religious figures to serve youths and adults in state correctional facilities. As a result of the extraordinary expansion of the prison industry, there are now about 200 chaplains employed in adult corrections. Add in youth chaplains and benefits, and the cost to taxpayers is about $15 million to $20 million annually.

As a founder of the union that represents chaplains, I have sought for many years to have the job classification eliminated and a policy put in place to provide religious leaders volunteer access to provide these services. This state obligation has never been litigated. It is time for an enlightenment action in 2015. Put these millions into mental health services or education where they will do some actual good.

William Campagna, Sacramento

More jobs for Americans

Re “Farms set to scramble for labor” (Capitol & California, Dec. 29): Here is an opportunity for all those who have complained about undocumented workers taking American jobs. With fewer undocumented workers available for farm labor jobs, American citizens can now hurry to the fields next year to fill these job openings.

David Fibush, Rocklin

Matsui a strong and effective legislator

Re “Matsui ‘an invisible back-bencher’” (Letters, Dec 23): As the CEO of the West Sacramento Chamber of Commerce, I have known Congresswoman Doris Matsui to be active and extremely effective in support of the West Sacramento business community and our city’s infrastructure needs.

Matsui has been essential to the city’s efforts to improve West Sacramento’s level of flood protection, which is vital for public safety and a strong local economy. She is a strong advocate and helped get federal support for the replacement of the I Street Bridge and a new bridge at Broadway, providing much needed connectivity between our community and downtown Sacramento.

The congresswoman routinely engages the West Sacramento business community. Her vision, energy and accomplishments are greatly appreciated by the West Sacramento Chamber of Commerce.

Denice A. Seals, West Sacramento

Unwise discourse on North Korea

Re “Little Kim Jong Un cannot grasp Hollywood satire” (Viewpoints, Dec. 24): The 1910 Japanese invasion of Korea ushered in a 35-year war for national independence. Per the victorious Allied forces after World War II, Korea was to be divided at the 38th parallel. An agreement to hold elections to unite the nation was never reached. Although most sources say North Korea invaded, it is clear that the permanent division of Korea was a major cause of the Korean conflict of 1950-53.

If Kathleen Parker wants to make light of the somewhat hyperbolic North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, she can certainly do so, but one wonders about the wisdom of such an approach.

Peter S. Horn, Sacramento

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