Letters for November 25, 2010

More education on single-payer

Re “Single payer, new player” by Raheem F. Hosseini (SN&R Frontlines, November 18):

This was a good article. It framed all the facts I personally am aware of in a concise way that had predictive value. I agree with the author when he says that [Gov.-elect Jerry] Brown will likely veto the first go-round till the funding issues are worked out.

The public needs much more education about the proposed single-payer system. They need to know that, while there may be a need to increase taxes by 3 to 4 percent, this would eliminate insurance premiums and thereby reduce the individual’s health-care expenses drastically.

It should be noted that a person who earns only $2,000 a month and didn’t have health insurance before because they weren’t paying for it would only be paying $60 a month in taxes to cover them. Those who are unemployed would be covered by the whole of the employed population.

And private health insurance would not be eliminated, but they would be prevented from covering the same services covered by the single-payer system. So people could opt for additional coverage, which they would have to pay for directly.

Laurent Colvin
via e-mail

Public education for democracy

Re “Time for action on Sac High” by Cosmo Garvin (SN&R Bites, November 11):

Although I do not live in the Sacramento High School attendance area, I am glad to see that our democratic principles are still viable and the voters were given a chance to have a voice in electing school board members who truly represent public education and the constituency they serve.

Without public education, will we be a democracy? As a public-school teacher and a product of public schools, I have had always at heart the children in my charge, first and foremost. The attacks against teachers as a class have shaken me to the very core, yet my resolve to continue teaching has more to do to with my devotion to my students, more than a paycheck. Why? The kind of hours I must maintain in order to plan for lessons, deal with discipline, enact a well-delivered lesson, grade papers, tutor before school and on weekends, advise extracurricular functions for student involvement, call parents, go to meetings after school, attend professional development during summer, and during the school year. These are just examples of what we do.

It is anybody’s guess why people even enter the teaching force in the first place with all we have been called upon to do as part of the profession as a teacher, save the intrinsic rewards of helping our youth to accomplish and succeed through education. I witnessed firsthand the effect on students who were forced out of the school because they did not want to attend this charter school. I saw the demoralization of fellow dedicated teachers who were forced out of Sac High, despite the public outcry and opposition to handing over the campus to Kevin Johnson. At the time, the former school board president, who kept insisting that the public would be arrested if we spoke out, allowed K.J.’s minions to be rowdy and make noise, yet they were not threatened with removal by the police.

Back to the present discussion: I offered my support to Ellyne Bell because she understands the needs of her constituency, and I know she will not be intimidated or bought out by the Republican agenda of destroying the public education system, which allows young people of all walks of life to have access to a public education.

Ruth C. Sosa

Incremental school privatization

Re “Time for action on Sac High” by Cosmo Garvin (SN&R Bites, November 11):

It amazes me that no one is pointing out the most important thing in the charter vs. general public-school discussion: Charters are an incremental step to ending free public education.

The failure of school vouchers as a means of gutting public education has led to this “kinder, gentler” approach: Paint the public schools as failing, blame the school teachers and their unions, then offer opportunities to a limited few students in privately run, nonunion schools. Eventually, the entire system will be privatized and the biggest success story in universal education will be over. And all these so-called “liberal” parents who say they believe in public education but then select a charter or private school because their kids deserve better are part of the problem.

Jean McCormick

Stop the insanity

Re “Dirt blasters!” by Muriel Strand (SN&R Essay, October 28) and “Another word on leaf blowers” (SN&R Editorial, November 11):

Leaf blowers are obnoxious. Not a morning goes by, Monday through Friday, that they are not within easy earshot of me in my apartment. Most afternoons offer no escape as well.

Just to pre-empt the “get a job” crowd, I have two jobs and I’m in school. I simply think it’s unhealthy to deal with constant and obnoxious noise instead of peaceful mornings and afternoons.

In addition to the points in the [essay and editorial], the user is subject to the constant vibration of the machine. Raking does not destroy the serenity of the neighborhood, does not jeopardize the health of the landscaper, or pollute the air, or kick up debris and excrement.

The insanity must end with a ban on leaf blowers.

Doug Wolfinger

Keep the Kings

Re “The Bucket list” by Hugh Biggar (SN&R Cut&Paste, November 11):

I saw your “Bucket list” article this week about the Louisville Facebook campaign to lure the Kings to Kentucky.

I just wanted to let you know that there is a local grassroots campaign to help get an arena built and keep the Kings in Sacramento that started a few weeks ago. It is called Here We Stay (www.facebook.com/herewestay). It would be nice if you guys could give them a little press, too. They also are on Twitter: @HereWeStay.

Blake Ellington
via e-mail

Theatrical future

Re “Hundreds of stories” by Kel Munger (SN&R Stage, November 11):

America has become so comfortable with the black-and-white paradigm musicals of the past. Along comes In the Heights, about a New York City neighborhood, a musical that turned traditional musicals upside down.

Let’s face it, this might be a new format for other musical storytelling in the future.

Carlito Sano
West Sacramento