Letters to the Editor, Jan. 31

Opinion San Francisco Chronicle Published 1:00 am, Wednesday, January 31, 2018 window._taboola = window._taboola || []; _taboola.push({ mode: 'thumbnails-c', container: 'taboola-interstitial-gallery-thumbnails-3', placement: 'Interstitial Gallery Thumbnails 3', target_type: 'mix' }); _taboola.push({flush: true}); Photo: GENNA MARTIN, GENNA MARTIN, SEATTLEPI.COM Image 1of/3 CaptionClose Image 1 of 3 Amazon security walk the perimeter of The Spheres, during an opening day unveiling event, Monday morning, Jan. 29, 2018. The Spheres are an innovative workplace filled with more than 40,000 plants from around the world, that will be available to Amazon employees beginning this week. (Genna Martin, seattlepi.com) less Amazon security walk the perimeter of The Spheres, during an opening day unveiling event, Monday morning, Jan. 29, 2018. The Spheres are an innovative workplace filled with more than 40,000 plants from around ... more Photo: GENNA MARTIN, GENNA MARTIN, SEATTLEPI.COM Image 2 of 3 An Amazon Lily from South America is one of the 400 species of plants housed inside The Spheres. (Genna Martin, seattlepi.com) An Amazon Lily from South America is one of the 400 species of plants housed inside The Spheres. (Genna Martin, seattlepi.com) Photo: GENNA MARTIN, GENNA MARTIN, SEATTLEPI.COM Image 3 of 3 Letters to the Editor, Jan. 31 1 / 3 Back to Gallery Regarding “Chances rising for a too-dry winter” (Jan. 30): With more warm and dry winter weather on the way and our state’s snowpack at only 30 percent of normal, Californians should again revert to water conservation measures. This means taking shorter showers, not watering lawns or washing down dusty sidewalks, and flushing toilets only when Continue Reading

Letters to the Editor, Wednesday, Oct. 25, 2017

Protestors hijacking flag, anthem, countryAt a time when our country is plagued with distrust, deceit and dissension, the NFL has opted to deepen the divide by “hijacking” our flag, national anthem and respect for God and country.As we become lost in a morass of deception and explanations surrounding alleged social and racial injustice, the entire NFL has followed a broken, emaciated, rebellious quarterback over the cliff leading to the demise and possible destruction of professional football.Baltimore Ravens head coach John Harbaugh attempted to slow the stampede by canceling practice one day in late August. He took his team to Arlington National Cemetery and the Pentagon to impress upon his players that our flag and national anthem honor our veterans who have made the supreme sacrifice. Unfortunately, no other coaches or owners followed his lead and the NFL commissioner was missing in action.Fortunately for all of us Americans, our military, police, fire and emergency medical personnel have not opted to take a knee when they are dispatched to deadly deployments and life-threatening incidents hundreds of thousands of times daily within the United States and abroad. Conversely, the 32 NFL teams take the field weekly clad in every possible piece of protective gear to play a kids game.  The NFL could not have acted more cowardly over the past months during player protest of our flag and anthem. It followed the lead of a single, ill-informed, rejected and jilted football player with absolutely no leadership from its multimillionaire commissioner, Roger Goodell.   Tom Minick, Naples  Be objective or hide biasLong ago, I edited my high school newspaper, housed in the school’s basement. Because one staffer worked on weekends and discarded his cigarette butts on the concrete floor, my first task many Mondays was sweeping up the forbidden debris.Once as I was finishing, the dean of discipline appeared. He Continue Reading

Letters to the Editor, Monday, Oct. 16, 2017

Offensive cartoonI take great offense to your cartoon on the editorial page on Oct. 6.Showing a plane headed towards the national Capitol brings back to me visions of 9/11.What were you thinking? Lorraine Thurber, Naples  Good for Trump, SessionsPoor Irene Ketover. In her recent letter, she wrote she still "just can't ascertain what President Donald Trump is talking about." There's not much that Irene does understand.She totally ignores the immediate, unflinching response and personal visits the president gave to us right after Hurricane Irma struck. He promised and delivered "whatever help you need" to our governor and visited and promised the exact same to Puerto Rico. Yes, he did call out the Puerto Rican government for literally wasting much of that help because of disgraceful distribution efforts. Good for him.Ketover hates Trump’s response to the millionaires who own and play for professional sports teams and choose to make our flag and national anthem the tools for their protest of the month. He called them out for their hypocrisy. Good for him.She hates Trump’s twitter rants but fails to acknowledge that he has found a way to speak with us that isn't twisted by the liberal media and the lockstep, controlled celebrities.She refuses to acknowledge the efforts of Trump and Attorney General Jeff Sessions to restore our religious freedoms and allow our schoolchildren to feel safe again in school bathrooms. Good for them.Ketover adored former President Barack Obama and Idolized Hillary Clinton, poor dear. Judith Radecki, Naples  That’s our democracyRegarding taking a knee during the playing of the national anthem at sporting events:To me, our flag represents the people of our nation, our values, our courage, our freedom and so much more, and our people are our institutions: the three branches of government, our military and law enforcement agencies, our sports organizations and many more.When we pledge allegiance Continue Reading

Letters: The right response to abuse victims: ‘I believe you’

Recent news about Harvey Weinstein’s decades-long sexual harassment and the resulting #MeToo social media campaign have reignited the discussion about the widespread nature of sexual violence. As of this letter, more than 12 million people have used the #MeToo hashtag or engaged in the discussion on social media.I continue to be amazed at the power of social media to provide a safe forum for people to share their stories and find comfort from both friends and relative strangers. Admitting that sexual abuse and domestic violence exists is an important first step. No matter how high the hashtag numbers, there are still more victims who cannot speak out on social media, let alone leave their abusive situation.Remember #WhyIStayed after the disturbing video footage of the Baltimore Raven’s running back’s assault on his now-wife in 2014? Many brave women and men came forward and shared the fear and uncertainty that prevented them from leaving an abusive situation.This is a fear we see all too often at The Julian Center, and there are many reasons victims stay silent. They may fear retribution against their children or other loved ones. Many don’t come forward because their abuser has complete financial control. Others fear losing their jobs or homes. Some are unable to believe they are worthy of anything other than a life of abuse. And, as Suzette Hackney’s recent column illustrates, many are told they are to blame or are making the whole thing up.Disputing the realities of domestic and sexual violence can have deadly consequences. A report released by the Centers for Disease Control in July of this year reported that more than 55 percent of all female homicides were related to partner violence.One in 3 women and 1 in 6 men in the United States have experienced some form of sexual or domestic abuse. This is an unacceptable level of violence. It is past time we stand up to protect and serve those who are harassed, attacked, and Continue Reading

Letters: Historic homes are under attack in Indy

The Indianapolis Historic Preservation Commission was formed 50 years ago by State Statute IC 36-7-11.1 “to preserve the character and fabric of historically significant areas and structures.” Through this law, the IHPC has the authority to establish historic areas and to require prior approval for proposed changes to historic homes’ defining features. But the vast majority of historic homes in Marion County are not in the IHPC’s 17 districts. Consequently, these historic homes may be legally demolished, and property owners and their neighbors have no guidelines to ensure new buildings or additions are congruent with surrounding homes. This lack of oversight has been catastrophic for many historic Indianapolis neighborhoods.State Statute IC 36-7.11.1 gives the IHPC its legal authority, but it doesn’t define “historic preservation” or specify how the IHPC should carry out its mission. The legislators permitted the IHPC to determine these on its own. Theoretically, the commission could modify or adapt its definition of historic preservation and the methods it employs to meet historic neighborhoods’ changing needs over time. Unfortunately, they haven’t. Now more than ever, historic homes are under attack. As a result, both historic neighborhoods and the IHPC’s reputation have suffered.The IHPC has maintained the same narrow definition of historic preservation, which focuses on “small architectural details (which) are as important in defining historic district character as are zoning, new infill construction and demolition.” In most cases, commissioners only review context, mass/scale, setback, building height and open space when also reviewing the minutia, such as masonry/tuck-pointing, paint, porches, doors, windows, siding, or awnings/canopies. While these smaller architectural features are certainly important in defining historic district character, they are moot if the structures Continue Reading

Letters: Sen. Kenley has been friend to education in Indiana

When Luke Kenley, R-Noblesville, retires from the state Senate this fall, he will leave a legacy as one of Indiana’s foremost champions of education. It is a legacy that will continue to bear fruit for our state, because his policies helped educate the residents who fill the ranks of businesses and organizations across Indiana and are building a community and economy we can all be proud of.Under Sen. Kenley’s leadership as chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Indiana consistently makes education funding a priority, and that consistency allows institutions like Ball State University to more effectively plan how best to serve its students. In each budget cycle, Sen. Kenley ensured adequate funding for higher education capital improvements, operations and student financial aid. Indeed, Indiana is one of just a handful of states that have not only regained ground but actually surpassed spending on higher education since the recent recession – significantly more so than neighboring states and our Midwestern peers.Some of the results of Sen. Kenley’s education policies are obvious. At Ball State, to name just one example, Sen. Kenley was an early supporter of our efforts to replace the Cooper Science Complex with two new buildings aimed at modernizing the educational experience in the critical health and STEM fields – the Foundational Science Building and the Health Professions Building, the groundbreaking for which will take place later this month. These buildings are the result of Sen. Kenley’s early and strong support, guiding funding through multiple years and multiple budget cycles.But buildings do not make a university or provide an education. These facilities mean nothing if students cannot afford to attend college, and it is here that Sen. Kenley made perhaps his greatest impact. He is tireless in his efforts to fund Indiana’s student financial aid budget, and is particularly – and rightfully Continue Reading

Open Main Street at Whiskey Row and Kentucky pensions | Letters

In about 3 years, two bridges were built across the deep and wide Ohio River and Spaghetti Junction was completely redone.  Yet over 2 years after a fire, about half of Main Street, between First Street and Second Street, remains blocked.  Real leadership would tell the Whiskey Row elite and their glacier slow contractor: "either finish your work in 10 days so the street can be completely reopened or you will be fined $1,000 a day or shut down."How about it, Mayor Fischer? William D. Parris New Albany 47150 The suggestions for Kentucky pensions reform was a joke. Why was there no mention of elected officials’ pensions? Why is it fully funded, yet CERS, KRS and KTRS aren't? Why not redistribute elected officials pension funds so that all pension funds are equally deficient? Right now, elected officials have no skin in the game.Why was there no talk about tax reform up front?  More: Kentucky Pension Crisis: What is the 'inviolable contract,' and does it mean my benefits are safe? More: Kentucky Pension Crisis: Do these folks get Social Security too? Why not consider a capitalistic tax code that taxes the movement of all money every time it moves? That would include transferring money from one account to another; ATM withdrawals; deposits; campaign contributions; all investment buying and selling; wage and benefit payments, sales of race horses, tattoo parlors, nail trimming, haircuts and all other services currently excluded from the state sales tax?Currently, public employees and retirees don’t need to be punished for the Kentucky General Assembly’s failure to do its job.  David Dunn Louisville  40220 As a retired educator, I read with alarm PFM Consulting's recommendations for teacher retirement. Steering every future and current teacher into 401(k) retirement systems, mandating retirement at age 65, eliminating compensation for unused sick days and eliminating cost of living raises Continue Reading

Your election letters

Hinners for Wayne Township TrusteeMy name is Teresa Hinners and I am seeking the office of Wayne Township Trustee. I have served on the Wayne Township Board of Zoning Appeals. Disrespectful decisions from the current Board of Trustees, poor financial management and lack of common sense has put our township in need.I disagree with our current trustees’ decision to spend and commit hundreds of thousands of dollars on a “Community Center” without allowing the residents to vote. The grant money used to keep their pet project going could have been used for new storm sirens since the trustees are not able to schedule anyone in the firehouse to run the monthly test.Like many communities, Fire-EMS is a large portion of the budget. Wayne Township finds it difficult to keep competitive wages for experienced EMTs, medics. Our starting wage continues to rise. Our turnover is high. Yet our trustees’ created and handed over the title and responsibilities of township administrator. I believe this is a definite mismanagement of township funds as well as our fire chief’s time.On Sept. 25 I spoke, along with many concerned Newtonsville residents at a meeting with the County Commissioners regarding an $8 million project that would litter three residential streets with septic tanks, ruin property values, create an undue financial hardship on homeowners as well as halt growth in and around the village. We asked for a sewer system that would allow the village and township to prosper and grow instead of becoming a plague of problems for the township and county. Yet, not one trustee attended. They failed yet again to concern themselves with the township needs.Wayne Township deserves respect, not pet projects. Common sense, not unnecessary expenditures. Vote Teresa Hinners, Wayne Township Trustee! Teresa Hinners Wayne Township Vote for Tim ButlerWe are writing to endorse Tim Butler for Loveland City Council. We have known Tim for 25 years from his Continue Reading

In Indiana, Trump promises ‘revolutionary change’ to tax code

WASHINGTON — President Trump promised Wednesday to bring “revolutionary change” to the federal tax code that will help the middle class — and not the wealthy.“They can call me all they want. It’s not going to help," Trump said of the well-to-do in a speech in Indianapolis. "I'm doing the right thing. And it’s not good for me, believe me.”What would help both the country and his own legacy, Trump said, is when the economy "takes off like a rocket ship" after business taxes are dramatically cut.The tax changes he outlined are the basis for a plan jointly agreed to with Republican congressional leaders. But Congress still has to fill in many important details before bringing to a vote legislation Trump hopes to sign before the end of the year. The missing information will show if the plan lives up to Trump's claims, and how much the tax cuts would add to the deficit."Without sufficient details on how or even if these tax cuts will be fully paid for, this outline is nothing more than a fiscal fantasy," said Maya MacGuineas, head of the nonpartisan Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget.Trump is seeking a much-needed win as he recovers from Republicans’ failure to repeal Obamacare and the loss of Luther Strange, Trump’s chosen candidate in Tuesday's Alabama Senate primary."This is a once-in-a-generation opportunity," Trump said of the tax plan. "I guess it’s probably something I can say I’m very good at. I’ve been waiting for this for a long time."Trump gave what for him was a controlled speech, staying mostly on topic and avoiding such issues as the Alabama race, the NFL anthem protests, or North Korea.And he refrained from lashing out at specific Republicans for the failure of the GOP health care bill, saying “There were a couple of people that — I won’t say anything.” Read more: How President Trump's tax Continue Reading

DOOMED MINERS WORTH LETTERS. Gasping for breath, they bid loved ones farewell

GASPING FOR AIR and running out of hope, the doomed West Virginia coal miners wrote farewell notes from the dark abyss to their loved ones. The revelation yesterday was small solace for relatives who were suddenly plunged into mourning after a "tragic miscommunication" that 12 of the 13 miners had been rescued sparked a short-lived celebration. Much-criticized mine honcho Ben Hatfield apologized for breaking their hearts and urged relatives who had stood vigil at the Sago Baptist Church to "celebrate the one miracle that was delivered. " He was referring to sole survivor Randal McCloy, who was in critical condition with a collapsed lung and dehydration after being trapped for more than 42 hours. "We sincerely regret the manner in which the events unfolded this morning," said a visibly shaken Hatfield. "In the process of being cautious, we allowed the jubilation to go on longer than it should have. " Hatfield said the miners' notes were discovered when rescue crews, drawn by McCloy's moans, found them more than 3,000 feet from the Sago Mine entrance. "They'll go to the families," he said, when asked about their contents. While the tiny coal town of Tallmansville, W. Va., braced for a series of funerals, autopsies on the dead were underway to determine what killed them. During the rescue attempt, searchers found lethal levels of carbon monoxide in the mine. The bodies of the miners were taken to a makeshift morgue across the street from West Virginia Wesleyan College in Buckhannon. The relatives were taken to a chapel on campus for a service. And then one by one, each family was escorted out to identify the bodies. "It was just everyone in fellowship together," said Vicki Sharp, 47, whose brother-in-law Alva Bennett died in the mine. One of the nation's worst coal-mining catastrophes began at 6 a. m. Monday when a massive explosion - possibly caused by a lightning strike - trapped the men 260 feet below the earth's surface. So began a race Continue Reading