Letters: Two crises | Fired attorney | Glimpse at workers | Teaching standards | On the mark | New leaders

Letters: Two crises | Fired attorney | Glimpse at workers | Teaching standards | On the mark | New leaders

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State should solve
two crises at once

Re: “Housing proposal panned by state” (Page A1, Aug. 31).

The housing crisis, and the state’s reaction to it, illustrates again the state government’s inability to react to the times. While hundreds of thousands of square feet of commercial office space across California remain vacant, threatening yet another large-scale financial crisis, California remains focused on fighting local governments over housing plans and unworkable mandates.

State and local governments can address at least a portion of the housing problem by working with commercial office owners to streamline the repurposing of existing commercial space into residential space. The results could change California’s big cities, putting California at the vanguard of modern urban city living.

Will it be easy? No. Not even close. But the “double the word score” benefits of addressing both the residential housing crisis and the commercial office space crisis are more than worth the time and energy.

Chad Walsh
Los Gatos

Fired city attorney
deserves job back

Re: “Ex-city attorney files suit alleging ‘unlawful’ firing and retaliation” (Page A1, Sept. 6).

Though I did not support Brad Doyle’s hiring as city attorney of Santa Clara, nor did I think he was any good in the job, the method of his firing was a clear violation of the Brown Act.

The city of Santa Clara has adopted a Trumpian attitude toward the public record, delaying requests for months. Recently, the city claimed an indicted councilmember did not have the records he gave the San Francisco 49ers, and admitted they never bothered to ask him. The city also classified Councilmember Anthony Becker’s main contributor as a legal counsel to avoid handing over records of their discussions, and the city has allowed Becker’s husband to use an anonymous email to request investigation notes about Becker.

So I am willing to support Doyle’s claims to get a judge to return the rule of law to Santa Clara city government.

James Rowen

Tour offers glimpse
at how workers live

In Pajaro, outside Watsonville, a massive flood displaced a whole farmworker community. Because of low land values, the cost-benefit analysis did not make levee maintenance there worthwhile enough. As a result, a poor community lost everything residents had.

I recently had the unusual chance to learn more directly about the people who grow our food: a Farm Worker Reality Tour (farmworkerfamily.org). I heard first-hand from people who left dire poverty in Mexico to walk for days in darkness through the desert, having borrowed thousands of dollars to make this journey to find low-paying jobs harvesting the food that ends up in our local grocery stores.

I am stunned that I contribute to a system that keeps an entire class of people in indentured servitude. No one is to blame for this, but we are all to blame.

I recommend the Farm Worker Reality Tour.

Theodore Timpson
Mountain View

Column is all wrong
on teaching standards

Re: “State kids score among worst for math, language” (Page A7, Sept. 6).

After reading Dan Walters’ article I was compelled to comment. As someone who has actually read the framework, the message that it says that “math facts can be taken lightly” is inaccurate.

If what you actually wanted to say was that rote memorization of math facts is outdated and actually does more harm than good, then I could agree. As an educator I believe in the importance of number sense and with that comes the understanding of arithmetic. I don’t need to force students to memorize something they cannot even understand. Once they understand the concept, computational fluency will come.

I would also like to make one last point. Making the statement, “We’ll see if California’s new woke math curriculum improves its standing, or drives us even lower,” turns education into a divisive issue. I think it would be better stated that we are making math education relevant to the 21st century.

Sarah Nolan

Singer’s critiqued song
is actually on the mark

Re: “On high horses, liberals disdain Oliver Anthony” (Page A6, Sept. 1).

The author, Nicholas Kristof, misses the single point of the Democratic perspective on the song, “Rich Men North of Richmond.” It is not a throwaway line about obese people on food stamps. That is the division that the right-wing conservative machine wants the average, blue-collar worker to focus on.

Whereas Oliver Amthony sings rightly about the elite controlling policy that affects him, that is also where Anthony falls into the same camp of victimization, of blaming others in his similar situation. He’s living in a trailer with a tarp over its roof. The obese person on food stamps has similar issues. All caused by the same elites in Washington controlling policy.

Take out that throwaway line and “Rich Men” stays on point.

Steve Eldridge

State, nation need
to elect new leaders

I respectfully propose that the world is not going to hell in a handbasket. The Bay Area is thriving, as I found out on a recent outing to San Francisco.

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Do we have a national opioid and fentanyl epidemic? Yes. Has the Bay Area over-invested in housing programs? Certainly yes. Is throwing money at it the solution? Definitely not.

Our elected officials are falling behind, and until we admit that the homeless support apparatus we have funded is not working, we will continue our spiral. We may be getting older, and we have access to more information than ever before in history. Let that guide your voting decisions. It’s time to elect new leaders across the board.

Akeem Mostamandy
San Jose