Letters to the Editor

Criminals find guns, Wiley pension deal, California not Soviet

A plastic replica of a bullet is used to quickly remove a magazine from an assault rifle in a demonstration at the California Department of Justice in Sacramento.
A plastic replica of a bullet is used to quickly remove a magazine from an assault rifle in a demonstration at the California Department of Justice in Sacramento. The Associated Press

Criminals always will find guns

Re “Brown signs gun bills to limit rifles, bullet capacity, ammo sales” (Page 1A, July 2): When will politicians understand that strict gun laws have little or no effect on law-abiding, registered gun owners?

The Justice Department says more than $18 billion dollars in illegal drugs are smuggled across our borders annually. Does anybody seriously think that illegal guns and ammo won’t cross our borders at an exponential rate if gun laws become prohibitive?

Criminals purchase and distribute those illegal drugs. Those same criminals would be the buyers and distributors of illegal guns and ammo. Criminals and/or terrorists don’t legally purchase guns or apply for concealed carry weapons permits.

John Hightower, Orangevale

U.S. gives Afghans an opportunity

Re “No Safe Place” (Special section, June 26): I read “No Safe Place” with dismay but felt the need for more prospective. In 1972, I traveled in Afghanistan after completing my service in the Peace Corps.

At that time, public services we take for granted did not exist except in Kabul: electricity 24 hours a day; safe drinking water; garbage and sewer disposal; emergency fire and medical services.

Our democratic system provides transitions in governing parties that do not result in armed conflict. The United States has provided the Afghan immigrants with improved living conditions. Unfortunately, in America you have the right to succeed and to fail. The presence of random violence is one of the costs we pay for the freedom we enjoy.

David E. Haskell, Orangevale

Firefighters should not bend the truth

Re “Firefighters take pay gripes public” (The State Worker, July 2): The state firefighters’ union intends to wage a public campaign for increased wages, ostensibly on the basis that municipal firefighters are paid more money for less work.

The appropriate comparison between state and municipal firefighters is overall compensation, which includes but is not limited to base wages, overtime, holidays, benefits and retirement, rather than just wages.

Everyone recognizes the hard work and professionalism of the state firefighting forces. But if the state firefighters think that they are not being compensated appropriately, they have several options.

One option is to prove in contract negotiations that their overall compensation is lower than the overall compensation in the municipalities. Another option is to leave state service and hire on at a municipality. One option that is completely dishonest, though, is to mount a public campaign loaded only with part of the truth.

We’ve got enough of that going on this election year.

Dana Manning, Sacramento

Wiley is getting a sweet pension deal

Re “Retiring RT chief’s pension was way over federal limit” (Page 1A, July 3): IRS rules limit highly paid executives’ defined pensions to $210,000.

Mike Wiley’s pension is $68,000 higher, so Sacramento Regional Transit must pay him the difference separately every year along with his regular pension payment from RT’s pension fund. The $210,000 limit is adjusted lower for retirements before age 62, except for police and firefighters.

Currently, 684 CalPERS retirees receive supplemental payments because they were promised benefits that exceed IRS limits. If police and firefighters were required to follow the same IRS rules, thousands more would receive special supplemental payments.

Marcia Fritz, Sacramento

RT leader had many losses

Re “Retiring RT chief’s pension was way over federal limit” (Page 1A, July 3): Mike Wiley’s supposed leadership has left Sacramento Regional Transit in financial distress, with nearly zero in its reserve accounts, and some of the highest bus fares in the country.

Most private business would be shutting their doors, but Wiley will be rewarded by a self-serving board of directors.

John DeKellis, Rocklin

California is not ‘Soviet style’

Re “Breaking the laws of economics” (Dan Walters, July 3): Dan Walters’ column on California’s “Soviet-style decrees” on climate change and recycling is just too much. Yes, government policy is not always the best. But to think that private economic forces in the 21st century can confront problems such as climate change is ludicrous.

Walters seems not to believe that we have responsibility to the world, criticizing the state’s “arrogant assumption that it will have global significance” despite acknowledging that California’s economy is the world’s sixth largest.

Stephen Wheeler, Davis

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