A better future
Re "A teen's heavy load," Column One, Nov. 18
Thank you for the incredibly important biography of a real member of the 99% — a sad story, albeit an inspiration for those brave, hardworking young students who are expected to do more for their families than they should have to.
Miriam Hernandez is the type of citizen I — and I hope others — would want to see make up the 100%. Rather than sitting on dying grass, doing yoga and blurting out non sequiturs about one's personal cause, Hernandez is fighting the good, honest fight to change our country for the better, for people like her and for everyone who cannot relate to her or even support her.
Miriam Hernandez, I applaud you.
Seth Clyde-Hamilton Gold
What we aren't paying for
Re "Pay it forward, Californians," Editorial, Nov. 19
I was born in 1940, and I am ashamed of my generation.
My father's generation invested in the future, building the world's finest infrastructure — highways, bridges, airports, dams and sewage systems. We've been too cheap even to maintain them.
My father's generation understood that education is fundamental to a successful democracy. We've cut so severely that we are now easy prey to simple slogans and political charlatans.
My father's generation realized that a sound economy requires sensible regulation to keep a balance. We opened the vaults and invited the thieves to help themselves. Now we try to recover the lost funds — not from the thieves but from our poorest neighbors.
My father's generation had honor and integrity. We had selfishness and greed.
I don't feel I have let go of my moral obligation to care for people in need. I just don't support increasing taxes at this time to achieve that goal.
Your Oct. 31 editorial on pensions talked about how city services to the needy compete for funds with public employee retirement programs. Further, the assumption that pension funds will enjoy a 7.75% or 8% return points to much-larger general fund payments required to meet pension obligations if actual returns are lower.
Thus I have no confidence that any increases in taxes will do more than reduce massive unfunded pension obligations. Bring public employee retirement benefits in line with those enjoyed by the rest of us. Then we would all have an aligned interest in programs that support people in need.
Your editorial brought to mind the history of the reduced vehicle license fees.
During the modest boom years in the late 1990s, Sacramento decided to reduce the fees, with the understanding that they would be reinstated if the economy went bust.
When the economy did go bust, then-Gov. Gray Davis reinstated the original fees — and was recalled. Arnold Schwarzenegger was elected governor, and the fees were reduced.
It's as if Californians want services but don't want to pay for them.
No respite from holiday shopping
Re "Shoppers will barely have time for pie," Nov. 22
The captains of the American retail industry have decided that Thanksgiving Day should be dedicated to shopping .
Their message: "Oh yes, that family thing for good feelings and thanking the Lord for the bounty of life is a nice, quaint idea. But it is more important for you to be at the mall. If you need a family meal, stop at the food court."
The retail industry is attempting to trump an American tradition that started with the Pilgrims. Three of our greatest presidents — George Washington, Abraham Lincoln and Franklin D. Roosevelt — declared a national day of thanks.
Will the retail industry be successful in this enterprise? I guess that is our decision .
Frank A. Ferrone
Sad news that Thanksgiving has become a day of shopping. Consumers, however, can help our economy by looking for a label that says "Made in U.S.A."
Corporations have been shipping jobs out of the country for many years. Now jobless Americans can't afford to buy the foreign goods shipped here. Bring the jobs back home and our economic ship will sail again.
Yes, we are part of the global community. But we can't help anyone else if we don't have the jobs and money to help ourselves.
Look for "Made in U.S.A." or don't buy.
Charity B. Gourley
Thanksgiving is being reduced to an interruption in the greedy rush to Christmas. The decisions of calendar-challenged stores and shoppers (who, in some places, have already welcomed Santa)
are unpatriotic and anti-family.
Are stores saying they will fold if they close for one day and can't open before midnight the next? Nordstrom's slogan says it best: "One holiday at a time."
Re "Is Alzheimer's inevitable?," Editorial, Nov. 21
The Times poses the wrong question.
Many researchers believe it is possible to stop Alzheimer's by 2020 with a national plan and committed investment. And the stakes couldn't be higher.