Letters for January 21, 2010

Letter of the week
Rant ’n’ rage

Re “Rant ’n’ rail” by R.V. Scheide (SN&R Race to the Bottom, January 7) and “Pruitt most overpaid CEO, again” by Cosmo Garvin (SN&R Cut&Paste, January 7):

SN&R self-congratulatorily pats itself on the back and prides itself on being “green” in every issue you publish. Please explain why you aren’t you providing free Regional Transit monthly transit passes to your employees as an employment benefit? The Sacramento Bee has been giving free RT passes to their employees for decades.

R.V. Scheide’s column grouses about the high cost of a monthly transit pass, and how much he would rather ride his motorcycle to work than use public transit. Scheide’s sloppy lack of research glaringly omits the fact motorcycles emit copious amounts of air pollution. This does not mitigate motorcycles getting better mileage compared to cars.

Every friggin’ issue of SN&R whines and blathers about how The Sacramento Bee is “anti-labor”—yet the Bee is unionized. SN&R is not unionized, and probably never will be. When is smug Mr. Smarty Pants Jeff vonKaenel planning to unionize SN&R? Pardon me while I don’t hold my breath on that one.

In the same issue, Cosmo Garvin posits that Bee CEO Gary Pruitt is the most overpaid executive in our region. I’m curious how much SN&R CEO vonKaenel is paid in ratio to rank and file SN&R staffers. Unless vonKaenel’s salary is less than five times higher than the lowest paid SN&R employee, you are cranky hypocrites of the worst order. (The 5-1 salary ratio was created by Ben & Jerry ice-cream company as a barometer of salary equity between the ruling class and working stiffs.)

I’ve been reading SN&R for 15 years, and every damn issue engages in puerile, mean-spirited carping against the Sac Bee newspaper. Get over it. Your “Bee bashing” is grounded in unprofessional jealousy and puerility.

SN&R isn’t “journalism”—it’s just “typing.”

Colleen Whalen

Editor’s note: There has been no scientific test that compares greenhouse-gas emissions between motorcycles and automobiles, and until there is, R.V. Scheide will continue to rely on gas mileage for comparison.

VonKaenel more than qualifies for the 5-1 salary ratio. Pruitt’s ratio, on the other hand, is more than 40-1.

Bravo, Del Paso

Re “¿Qué pasa, Del Paso?” by Cosmo Garvin (SN&R Feature, January 14):

This is a great article about Del Paso Boulevard and the businesses (old and new) in the “Uptown” area. The photography and the story lines are the beginning of a new Sacramento.

Now that SN&R is a neighbor, maybe the good news will continue for this valued part of the Sacramento community.

John Franklin King

Try it and see what happens

Re “No justice possible” by R.V. Scheide (SN&R Race to the Bottom, January 14):

The enablers/apologists (bootlickers for judicial misfits) sitting on the [California Commission on Judicial Performance] have again proven beyond doubt that judges like Peter McBrien are in fact held to a lower standard of conduct than you or me. At least two members rightfully voted to remove “Chainsaw Pete” from the bench. For that, they deserve our respect.

Try pulling the same crap that Judge McBrien did and see if your employer gives you a pass. Kudos to R.V. Scheide and SN&R for having the courage to tell it like it is.

Dave Palmer

Niello’s encouraging

Re “Capital clash” by Sasha Abramsky (SN&R Feature, January 7):

I am encouraged by politicians such as Roger Niello, because it is clear nothing gets done when each camp digs in and votes party lines without any thought to what is reasonable. I am a lifelong Democrat, but I have seen good things come from our governor and other politicians when they use common sense instead of party affiliation.

Alice Hyatt

He’s tired of taxes

Re “Capital clash” by Sasha Abramsky (SN&R Feature, January 7):

It’s a shame you don’t seem to have grasped the real groundswell behind the tax revolt. Government in California is no longer of the people, by the people or for the people. Rather, it’s solely about money. State employee unions have bought and paid for Sacramento with our tax dollars, and ordinary citizens are simply tired of it.

We’re tired of having our own tax dollars used by unions to lobby against our interests and against our very votes. We’re tired of having unemployment among the highest in the country while no state worker gets fired. We’re tired of having no pension plan while state workers retire at 50. We’re tired of seeing public officials retire with pensions in the hundreds of thousands. We’re tired of finding out we’re paying for limos. We’re tired of police and fire being cut to punish voters for rejecting new taxes. We’re tired of having critical services cut while elected officials redecorate their offices. We’re tired of new restrictions and taxes that drive away our jobs. We’re tired of having our taxes raised continuously only to be told there’s yet another budget deficit that requires a tax hike.

We’re also tired of being told we simply can’t understand the how complex the real problem is by people who haven’t done their job for the past 20 years and want to balance the budget on our backs. That includes journalists who haven’t asked the tough questions of politicians running for office, pushing for new programs or offering the unions yet another pension increase.

As for your assertion, “You could fire every state worker and still not achieve $25 billion savings,” I’d settle for half, and we’ll see if anyone notices.

Bert Armijo
via e-mail

Look at the big tax picture

Re “Capital clash” by Sasha Abramsky (SN&R Feature, January 7):

California’s tax burden per capita is actually less than most states in the union, while its income per capita is greater than most states. A quick Internet search of U.S. Census statistics will confirm that for any doubters. California pays even less taxes per person than Texas, a bastion of Republicanism.

If Californians paid the same taxes as the poor farmers and workers in Texas, we would not have a budget crisis. But don’t take my word for it; Google the statistics yourself.

As for state employees getting rich off taxpayers, I have Ph.D. in engineering with two years experience, work as a state scientist, get no more pay than a kid fresh out of school with a bachelor’s degree in English and cannot even afford to buy a house in Sacramento.

Philip Giovannini