SN&R Letters 2012-03-15

Bishop’s on the right track

Re “Sex and the bishop” by Jeff vonKaenel (SN&R Frontlines, March 8) and “Catholics’ chain of command” (SN&R Letters, March 8):

The contrast between the uncompromising Catholic layperson, [letter writer] Rod Dwyre, and the reasonable Catholic bishop of Sacramento, Jaime Soto, couldn’t be more obvious. While Mr. Dwyre invited all Catholics who disagreed with Catholic teachings to get out (and get out now), Bishop Soto realized that almost all Catholics disagreed with the church on a number of issues (like contraception, abortion, the death penalty, immigration, euthanasia, stem-cell research, helping the poor, etc.), and if all Catholics who disagreed left then the only people left would be conservative loons like Rick Santorum and Mel Gibson.

Joseph S. Bruno

Stupid sociology students

Re “Occupy the Capitol?” by Nick Miller (SN&R Feature, March 1):

From the article: “‘We’re graduating college with a mountain of debt and dim job prospects,’ Eaton said.”

Oh, really? Mr. [Charlie] Eaton, you are getting a Ph.D. in sociology and have an undergrad [degree] in politics. What high-paying job did you expect to get when you signed up for those areas of study? You do realize that attending school for eight-plus years will entail considerable debt, right? If you knew that walking in and still chose those areas of study, who is to blame for that mountain of debt and dim job prospects?

If you want to blame someone, blame the UC system for allowing so many students to choose sociology, ethnic studies and the like for their major, knowing full well there would be not demand for those jobs.

I find it ironic that the professors will be “joining” the occupiers, as they are the No. 1 reason why the costs of college have gone through the roof. They are way overpaid and chose to decrease class offerings and work less hours rather than taking a pay cut.

I think true reform is needed. I would start by making every major that cannot show an ability to have student debt associated with that degree paid off within 10 years of graduation at the average wage for that field be eliminated from financial aid. Let those that can afford to pay their own way go into these charity-type jobs. That way, those students too stupid to understand basic financial decisions will have the decisions made for them.

Bill Bixby
Gold River

You’ll pry his lightbulb from his cold, dark fingers!

Re “Lightbulb apocalypse” by Jeff vonKaenel (SN&R Greenlight, March 1):

Just who do you think you are, Mr. vonKaenel? You’re not my mother, you’re not my wife. So butt out of my life. What kind of lightbulb I use is not your or the government’s business. I am an American, which means I have the liberty to decide how to run my life without your interference.

As for saving energy by using these so-called energy-efficient lightbulbs, the claim is dubious. You do realize that the energy savings can only be claimed by leaving these bulbs on continuously, 24-seven? I have found through personal experience that these bulbs—because they are turned off and on—seem to have a much shorter life than traditional lightbulbs.

Also, when these burn out, they explode, leaving not only shards of glass to be picked up, but now they have released toxic mercury into the household. You don’t even mention the mercury issue in your column. And the light from these bulbs is horrible and causes eyestrain (at least for me).

If I choose to pay more for my electricity because I want better lighting than these new bulbs provide, what business of that is yours? All these laws and regulations passed in the name of safety or health reduce significantly my liberty. If I choose to do these things myself all well and good. But if I don’t, it’s none of your—or the government’s—damn business. Mind your own business.

John Ryan

Separation of church and business

Re “Catholics’ chain of command” (SN&R Letters, March 8):

Rod Dwyre has the U.S. Constitution backwards. The Obama administration does respect his rights. If he believes it to be against his religious principles as taught to him by the Roman Catholic Church, no one in the Obama administration can force him to use birth control. He’s perfectly free to not use it, just as he’s perfectly free to not have sex outside of marriage, to not marry someone of the same gender, and so on.

But when it comes down to Roman Catholic-owned businesses, in contrast to the church itself (and make no mistake, hospitals, colleges, law schools, etc., are business—big business), the Church should not be allowed to impose its religious beliefs on non-Roman Catholic employees by cherry-picking employee and taxpayer-subsidized health-care insurance coverage.

As for Dwyre’s belief that the human beings who make up the Roman Catholic Church hierarchy are perpetually infallible, I don’t need to go there. Thankfully for millions of Christians around the world, Martin Luther already did, 500 years ago.

Rob Sawyer

What ‘per capita’ means

Re “Teachers are not royalty” (SN&R Letters, February 23):

I just want to make sure that everyone understands what “per capita” means. Derek Link is being deceptive if he’s trying to lead people to believe that teachers make extraordinary salaries above those of other employed adults in the Sacramento region.

“Per capita” income includes people under 18, over 65, and unemployed; there are ample numbers of all of those. It is an apple-to-oranges comparison to hold the average teacher salary up against the average income of a group that includes 8-year-olds, retirees, welfare recipients and inmates.

The median family income of households with one or two earners is quite different: $37,670 for one earner and $76,060 with two earners (source:

Thus teachers, who have a bachelor’s degree and a teaching credential, make about $25,000 more than average for wage earners in a city where 91 percent of people have less education.

Also, Link’s phrasing that teachers “would earn” an amount that includes benefits is intellectually dishonest since he compares that number with actual income—not income plus benefits—of others.

I agree that teachers are not royalty, but I disagree that $40,000 a year for someone with a B.A. and an additional degree is “royal” wages. Most first-year teachers I know share an apartment with a roommate and have crushing student debt.

I don’t believe teachers are underpaid, but I also don’t believe in putting out misleading information and letting it appear to be true.

Kara Synhorst