Letters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor 6/16

American inequality

The Sacramento Bee fails to see the larger perspective in supporting San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed’s attempt at employee pension reform, a current popular agenda.

Income inequality is higher in the United States than in any other developed country, and conservatives are successful at getting the majority of Americans to accept that fact, perhaps by suggesting public employees are the problem.

Emmanuel Saez, an economist at U.C. Berkeley, shows that the top 10 percent of income earners in the U.S. received 49.7 percent of the national income in 2007 and the top 1 percent of income earners captured half of all the economic growth of the nation between 1993 and 2007.

European governments and Japan believe that national cohesion would be disrupted if income inequality were so vast. In the United States, not only is income inequality tolerated, but the inequality is justified as necessary to produce economic growth, while new taxes are abhorred. But the data show that U.S. economic growth, compared with Japan and Europe, is not that significantly different (Center for Strategic & International Studies).

Putting the squeeze on public employees, who support our states with their knowledge, skills and hard work, by reducing their pay and benefits is going to erode the quality of our lives and discourage the best from careers in public service.

There are other ways to solve our economic crisis without destroying the fabric of our society.

Phil Middleton

Pismo Beach

On-call pay

Every night, weekend and holiday, a social worker is on call to assist law enforcement in investigations of child abuse or neglect. The on-call pay rate is $2.75 an hour.

If the salaries of the 21 top wage earners for the county featured in Sunday’s front page story were reduced by just 1 percent, it would just about pay for increasing the on-call rate to the minimum wage.

The on-call rate hasn’t been increased for many years. It’s long past the time for the county to do the right thing and pay social workers who are on call the minimum wage.

Lance Hillsinger

Social worker IV

Questions answered

I had questions about the Topaz solar project in the Carrizo Plain. Outreach director Dawn Legg organized a bus trip to have the project director and project biologist explain it.

I am very impressed with the efforts they are making to minimize the impact of the project. In fact, the mitigation provisions will actually improve many aspects of the eco-system.

My questions were thoroughly answered and I now fully support the project, which will provide clean energy and utilize currently underused power lines. I encourage anyone with questions to attend the next trip on June 20.

David Georgi

Shell Beach

Grover deterioration

I have written to The Tribune maybe more than twice about my thoughts and views on the street problems in Grover Beach. I keep writing these letters because I see more and more street deterioration, potholes and sidewalk damage.

I’ve lived in Grover Beach more then 20 years, in the same neighborhood where I grew up. Not one time in all those years has one sidewalk been fixed or the street fixed. That’s 20 years of cars driving over that street every day. You can imagine how many streets are the same.

This has to stop. I’ve talked to many residents who are tired of the delay. They’re frustrated with promises that aren’t being kept. Some streets have no sidewalks. That is unacceptable. Drivers, bicyclists and pedestrians are at risk.

I know that elected officials recognize that it’s a problem. All I can do is motivate them and let them know we’re not happy about it.

Grand Avenue is fine — the problem is the other streets. Think of your own citizens before the tourists. First things first; it’s time to do something about it!

Joseph Holmes

Grover Beach

Healthy trees felled

Last week, the Paso Robles pro-growth City Council approved the removal of two large, healthy oak trees at 1120 Chestnut St. and 266 Townhouse Terrace, erroneously listed as 152.

According to the tree cutter, the oak tree on Townhouse Terrace was 14 inches in diameter, but is actually 20 inches, and as the meeting progressed the tree shrank to 12 inches. Of course, pruning was not an option.

These 40- to 50-foot mature oak trees will be replaced with one-and-a-half-inch saplings. Twenty residents living nearby signed a letter, which was presented at the meeting, objecting to the removal of the trees.

In the past year and a half, more than 25 trees have been cut down in the same neighborhood.

Dick William, Donna Buchholz, Marian Von Dollen

Paso Robles

Personal letters

I was standing behind a uniformed young man. He was stationed at Camp San Luis. I asked him about his new duties. He said: “I will be going to Afghanistan in a month. I already spent time in Iraq.”

I think it is time for all congressmen and congresswomen to write our soldiers and their mothers before these soldiers go to war. Explain to these generous, brave families why great young people like this young man must risk their lives for Afghanistan, Pakistan or Iraq.

It is also time for Obama to write these mothers and sons and explain why they must risk their lives for his goals.

I am not sure Congress or the president has the insight or courage to write these personal letters.

William Cormeny

San Luis Obispo

Ditch the lobbyists

As a reader commented on June 13, “Endless crop of bums,” I wholeheartedly agree that too many politicians (state and federal) are not representing their constituents, but are more focused on themselves. Now then, in my opinion, if we were able to get rid of the lobbyists, then we might have honest government.

Paid lobbyists tend to corrupt even the “Good Guys,” we vote the “Old Bums” out, and vote the “New Bums” in.

Once the quid pro quo lobbyists get ahold of them, they are hopelessly corrupted.

Honest government has become an oxymoron because of the paid lobbyists. Too bad we can’t get rid of them.

Patrick Thomas

Pismo Beach