Letters for October 10, 2013

Shutdown breeds cynicism

Re “GOP attacks poor (again)” by Nick Miller (Editor’s Note, October 3):

This Editor's Note really hit the nail on the head. It's absolutely appalling how deeply the GOP has degraded support services for the least well-off. Those folks feel more alienated and powerless in democracy than ever. When you are working two or three minimum-wage jobs, scraping paychecks together and trying to support your family, and the government takes away the two measly food-stamp dollars you get per meal, how can you have any faith in democracy, let alone believe that your vote makes any difference?

It's truly sad how the sequester, government shutdown and all the absurd dysfunction are making people—especially young voters—even more cynical and callous about civic participation. At a time when we should be rising up in the streets, demanding that our government work better for the people, the champions for the poor and the innovators for better government have been marginalized and buried under the incessant onslaught of manipulative misinformation and caustic partisanship. All the while, Democratic and Republican candidates and operatives are using these fabricated crises to shore up their war chests for the 2014 and 2016 elections—money which no doubt will be spent on more spin, more mud-slinging and more pandering to the mythical swing voter. Merde!

Patrick Stelmach


Educators doing great job

Re “The great education-reform swindle” by Cosmo Garvin (SN&R Bites, October 3):

Thank you for covering the Diane Ravitch event and for reviewing her book. I am constantly amazed that, when it comes to education, The Sacramento Bee is not covering what is actually happening. I am a public-school teacher, and I know that we educators are doing a great job. My peers are the education experts that should be involved in setting education policy.

Sadly, this is not the case, and we are constantly told what and how to teach by those with no background in education. This is the norm and has been for well over a decade! Regardless of these bad policies, our children flourish due to the education experts in the classroom.

Carlos Rico


Wal-Mart responds

Re “What Wal-Mart should do” (SN&R Editorial, September 19):

I’ve been with Wal-Mart for 15 years, and I see associates in the Sacramento region get promoted weekly to positions with more pay and responsibility. Nearly two-thirds of store management teams started as hourly associates. Our jobs offer a chance for people to work hard and climb the ladder from stockers or cashiers to department managers, store managers and beyond. Our managers earn between $50,000 and $170,000 a year—similar to what firefighters, accountants and doctors make. Each year, we promote about 160,000 people to jobs with more responsibility and pay.

In addition, we have health-care plans available to eligible full- and part-time associates, including one that starts at about $17 per pay period; 401k retirement plans with up to a 6 percent company match; merchandise discounts; associate stock purchase programs; and company-paid life insurance.

Our average, hourly full-time wage in California is $13.03.

Jenna Wainaina

market manager, Wal-Mart