Letters for June 24, 2010

Letter of the week

Peer reviewed political change

Re “Timed-out teens” by Seth Sandronsky (SN&R Frontlines, June 17):

I am an emancipated foster youth that received the benefit of preparation and education prior to emancipation, as well as support after emancipation. I sympathize with the reasons for shedding light on the plight of teens aging out of the system.

However, there are other teens that are receiving support: www.calyouthconn.org. This is a site to the state foster youth advocacy organization that also prepares and educates them prior to emancipation. The age group is 13-23. They interact directly with the Legislature and on many occasions have testified on panels regarding bills being presented that impact foster-youth rights. If a follow-up piece is considered, you may want to speak with some of the youth who are actively involved in the process of making positive political change for their peers.

Annie Cannon

Get schooled about teachers

Re “Pink slip yearbook” by Cosmo Garvin, Rachel Leibrock and Nick Miller (SN&R Feature, June 17):

Thank you for publishing “Pink slip yearbook.” As a teacher who has had to deal with being pink-slipped, I appreciated reading an article that highlights the plight of teachers.

Teaching truly is a noble profession, and it saddens me that educators in this country have to deal with such circumstances. Hopefully “Pink slip yearbook” will help educate the public about how much teachers truly care about what they do and help the public realize that teachers are an extremely valuable resource.

Dave Driever
Rancho Cordova

Prop. 14 morning-after blues

Re “Top of the 9th” by Cosmo Garvin (SN&R Bites, June 17):

The voters, I should say the early vote-by-mail voters, just passed Proposition 14.

However, as people started hearing the opposition side of the story, a majority of those going to the polls appear to have voted against it. But because of the strong vote by mail, it appears to have passed.

Come late summer or early fall 2012, voters are going to wake up and wonder why they only have two choices. There will no longer be Peace and Freedom Party, Libertarian Party, Green Party or American Independent Party candidates on the general-election ballot. Independent candidates will no longer be allowed to qualify for the general-election ballot.

To top it off, write-in votes will no longer be counted in the general election.

Most people thought they had voted to open the voting system, only to find they had in fact closed it in the much larger, much more important general election. Now only Democrats and Republicans will remain. Party bosses will soon return to the corrupt practice of deciding behind closed doors who the party will support, then pressure others to drop out so that the vote will not be split.

C.T. Weber

History of the top two

Re “Top of the 9th” by Cosmo Garvin (SN&R Bites, June 17):

The top-two system was invented in Louisiana in 1975. Louisiana has had 35 years of experience with it. I am amazed that people will speculate about how it will work and not actually discuss what really happened in Louisiana.

In 35 years, no minor party candidate ever qualified for the second round.

Washington state used the system for the first time in 2008. For the first time since Washington became a state in 1889, there were no minor party or independent candidates on the November ballot for either Congress or statewide state office.

Richard Winger
via e-mail

Out front on collective growers

Re “New buds” by Nick Miller (SN&R Frontlines, June 17):

I really like the story. [It had] a lot of good info. Great idea about doing a Sacramento city-run growing operation, or even owning or investing into dispensaries or qualified collective growers. I would like to be out there on the front line for this one.

Quinton Fleming

Fix the foster-care system

Re “Timed-out teens” by Seth Sandronsky (SN&R Frontlines, June 17):

California doesn’t do nearly enough for children aging out of foster care—but even if the state came through, it’s not enough to try to bandage the deep, gaping wounds of the foster-care system years after they’ve been inflicted. Nothing can fully undo the damage.

One major study of foster care alumni found that only one in five does well as a young adult. The study also calculated that, were foster care made perfect, those outcomes would improve by 22.2 percentage points—so you’d have a system that churns out walking wounded “only” three times out of five instead of four.

Of course that’s worth doing. But the only way to really fix foster care is to have less of it. And no county in California does worse in that regard than Sacramento, which is now the state’s child-removal capital.

The story says children are removed when they are abused and neglected. That’s the theory, and, of course, in some cases that’s true. But many children are taken needlessly, often when poverty itself is confused with neglect. Not only does needless removal do enormous harm to the children taken away, it also overloads the system, so workers have even less time to find children in real danger. Details on Sacramento’s dismal performance are available in this post to my organization’s Child Welfare Blog: http://nccpr.blogspot.com/2010/06/foster-care-in-california-capital-is.html.

Richard Wexler
executive director
National Coalition for Child Protection Reform

College money for timed-out teens

Re “Timed-out teens” by Seth Sandronsky (SN&R Frontlines, June 17):

Christopher Ento and other foster youth in his situation should be taking advantage of state grant money so they can continue on to college and earn a degree or certificate to give them a chance for a brighter future. The California Student Aid Commission can help them in this regard. There is the Chafee Grant Program that provides up to $5,000 per year for career and technical training or college. These funds are for current or former foster youth that have not reached their 22nd birthday as of July 1 of the award year.

Additionally, because of their financial status, most foster youth also qualify for one of the Cal Grant awards as well as many scholarships and work-study programs.

If a former foster youth has a decent [grade-point average] (2.5 or higher) and fills out all of the required paperwork on time, he or she could potentially be awarded enough grant and scholarship money to not only completely pay for tuition and books, but also enough to cover their room and board, too, for all four years of college!

Drew Schrepel

After the spill, rely on the government

Re “My bad” by Todd Walton (SN&R Essay, June 17):

All the tea partiers and Republicans now think more government is good since the disastrous oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. What happened to “Drill, baby, drill”? Sucks, huh?

Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal is crying like a baby, and Sarah Palin is nowhere to be found. Bush and Cheney allowed BP to go basically unregulated, and now we’re all paying the price. With the people of the Gulf states facing ruin, “some” Republicans now want the government to clean up this mess.

How sad. This crisis could have been avoided with simple regulation. What exactly does the GOP want the current administration to do? Take back the permits that let BP ignore basic disaster-relief strategies? If you chose to vote for Republicans or tea partiers in November, you deserve what you are getting now.

Ron Lowe
Nevada City

Moore lovin’

Re “Where he’s at” by Mosi Reeves (SN&R Music, June 17):

I absolutely love this CD. I bought Where I’m At from Amazon a couple weeks ago and can’t stop playing it. Darryl Moore is gifted and blessed. This is good music.

Trina Southall
Simi Valley

Positive role model

Re “Where he’s at” by Mosi Reeves (SN&R Music, June 17):

I think it’s a great thing when a black man that grew up living the “street life” was able to swallow his pride and become a positive role model for other brothers that are in the same situation. I would say keep up the good work and your faith and all good will come to you!

Cynthia Causey

Higher co-pays equal lower premiums

Re “Teachers get schooled” by Cosmo Garvin (SN&R Frontlines, June 10):

I work for San Juan Unified and our union has really tried to work with the district. Regarding health benefits, we had to switch to a new provider in order to save hundreds of teachers’ jobs. Most teachers will have to switch from long time health care providers to new ones, but as a union we looked at the big picture, to save teachers. Our co-pay is between $20 and $25 an office visit; the area that dictates how much the district really pays for medical treatment. Low co-pays equal high premiums for the district.

Come on Sac City, give some concessions in order to save teachers’ jobs. Our move has saved millions of dollars.

Doug Barnes


In “New buds” by Nick Miller (SN&R Frontlines, June 17), it was reported that Councilwoman Bonnie Parnell called upon Ryan Landers for assistance in dealing with a medical-cannabis dispensary on Center Parkway. This was not the case; Landers volunteered to help Parnell after she expressed concerns during a June 1 council meeting. The clarification has been reflected in the online version of the story.