Letters for July 18, 2013

Who’s responsible for the American Dream denied?

Re “This is your American Dream” by Sasha Abramsky (SN&R Feature Story, July 11):

This tells the story of a handful of people who have been damaged by the economy, but does not address the larger issue of who created this situation and who should be prosecuted and imprisoned. Tens of thousands of people in the Sacramento metro area have been left underunemployed [or] unemployed, homeless, or destitute, and, a few, suicidal. Your article mentions a range of people in their mid 40s to 60s, who are now in desperate situations. I represent a group of skilled, experienced professionals in this demographic that have lost marriages, homes and their lifetime savings as a direct result of the corruption and greed by our government, banks (the [Federal Reserve]), lawyers, HMO and drug companies, and big business. I have watched competent, hard-working, decent people who contributed to society for decades lose everything they worked for (including myself). Your articles should directly investigate and name those responsible, including the state Legislature, the U.S. Congress and the executive branch, and demand restitution to the citizens who entrusted them to act in our best interests.

Garry Merkel


It’s not about stopping the arena

Re “Playing to vote” by Cosmo Garvin (SN&R Bites, July 4):

The effort under way to put the city of Sacramento’s arena contribution on the ballot is not to “stop the arena,” but to empower voters with the option to decide whether they want hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars to go toward the construction of a new arena.

Recent polling shows 80 percent of Sacramento’s voters want to vote on this issue. From the Sunday downtown farmers market to the 41st Street Fourth of July parade, thousands of people have signed petitions demanding a vote.

The lack of transparency of our city government warrants a public vote. The city held public workshops on the term sheet before it was released. Subsequently, the term sheet was released on a holiday weekend, only three days before it was voted on by the city council. That’s three days to vet a project that will cost hundreds of millions of dollars and put Sacramento in further debt for decades.

The term sheet underestimates the city’s contribution while pulling revenues out of thin air. Along with shaky numbers, the city council gifted itself an $8 million arena luxury box with free parking. California’s constitution gave its voters the initiative to curb these kinds of actions by elected officials.

Jason Orta


Why only public employees?

Re “This is your American Dream” by Sasha Abramsky (SN&R Feature Story, July 11):

I find it fascinating that the author of the story decided to highlight the certainly hard plights of two individuals who lost jobs in the government and nonprofit sectors during the economic downturn of the last few years and not talk about, except in passing, the day-to-day struggles of the working and nonworking poor of Sacramento.

I know from personal experience over the years that there are going to be periods of time when you are riding high and making good money, and there are going to be times you are facing unemployment, with little or no money coming in. The idea for survival is to find any type of work you can and move up as the economy and your hard work allow. …

I have worked as a volunteer with many nonprofit groups over the years and have been a member of the board of directors of some of them. What always struck me was that as much as these organizations talked about getting off the teat of government funding [and] grants, most did not make hard efforts to find alternative private funding sources or work to develop individual donors.

As for government work, there has been a back-and-forth tussle over the years between those who believe that government is there to be “everything for everyone” and those who believe that government should be there to serve only certain societal needs and goals. Even in times of recession, there are those who seem to think that government jobs are forever. That, unlike the private sector, government should maintain the status quo or grow in size and not adjust to meet economic realities.

It is obvious from the story in the July 11 edition of SN&R and others in previous editions where the views of the ownership and staff of the paper lie.

Jeffery Cassity