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Letters: Reflection of failure | Empty homes


Letters: Reflection of failure | Empty homes

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Bills reflect failure

If you are reading this in the Bay Area, then you were likely aghast at the size of your February PG&E bill.

In this moderate climate, our $600-plus bill belied how cold we kept the house. I asked friends in other much colder states how much they paid for electricity consumed in January, and our 46 cents per kilowatt hour delivered charge was the highest by a significant amount. It was four times higher than Rochester, Minn., three times higher than Aurora, Colo., and more than two times higher than Pottstown, Penn.

This comparison shows that the California Public Utilities Commission and PG&E are failing us. We need to get consumer energy pricing back to a reasonable level.

Mark Taylor

Cost of empty homes
ignored by commentary

Re: “Let’s keep the San Jose tax collectors out of our bedrooms” (Page A6, March 15).

Pierluigi Oliverio’s opinion piece against an empty house tax does not mention the cost to neighborhoods of empty houses as owners await further increases in value.

In January 2023, there were 6,340 homeless people in San Jose, yet there were thousands of empty, off the market houses and vacant apartments. Despite this, tax money is being used to build new affordable housing. Housing is now a commodity, not shelter. As empty housing remains off the market, the remaining housing becomes more expensive due to the decrease in supply.

Also, unoccupied houses mean falling enrollment in local schools, leading to less state money for local schools because payment is based on enrollment and attendance, resulting in less money for the education of local children. School districts have fixed costs that cannot be reduced even with fewer students.

Susan Price
San Jose

Schiff must appeal
to progressives

Re: “Rep. Adam Schiff, former baseball star Steve Garvey headed for a two-party November runoff for California’s U.S. Senate seat” (Nov. 6).

Now that the dust has settled in the contentious primary election to fill U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s seat, we need to discuss what Rep. Adam Schiff must do to win the support of voters of color and progressive voters.

Schiff is the presumptive senator-elect in a reliably blue state after one of the most expensive Senate races in California history. Some progressives and people of color rallied behind Rep. Barbara Lee because of her lived experience as a Black woman and single mother (who experienced poverty, housing insecurity, discrimination, racism and domestic violence) is shared by Californians struggling to make ends meet.

Progressives envision a country that delivers freedom, justice and equity for all. To this end, Schiff needs to support the Green New Deal, champion comprehensive immigration reform, fight for racial justice and criminal justice reform, pass legislation that lifts millions of families out of poverty, and advocate for peace.

Christopher R. Wilson
San Francisco

Originalists needed
on Supreme Court

Re: “Your vote could make Supreme Court worse” (Page A7, March 19).

Jackie Calmes’ op-ed aims to influence your vote against Donald Trump.

The current U.S. Supreme Court follows the Constitution better than any other in recent history. Decades of liberal Supreme Court majorities have done much damage to our society, economy and democracy by the creation of an all-powerful federal bureaucracy. Presidential power has expanded with each presidency.

Barack Obama appointed two ultra-liberal justices, so we can’t begrudge Trump’s attempt to reverse the process. Sandra Day O’Connor’s deciding centrist vote is sorely missed on today’s polarized court.

Hatred of Trump can’t be used to justify social change by a “living Constitution.” Ironically, a living Constitution reading has resulted in an imperial living presidency which a conservative court will limit while a progressive one will seek to expand. We need an originalist interpretation to reign in burgeoning executive power, whether devolving to Trump or Joe Biden.

Fred Gutmann

Biden must get
tough with Israel

Re: “Netanyahu rebuffs U.S. plea to halt Rafah offensive” (Page A4, March 23).

President Joe Biden must toughen up and not allow Benjamin Netanyahu to dictate and reject our advice to stop the invasion of Rafah.

Netanyahu already slaughtered 32,000 people and created a humanitarian crisis with Palestinians dying from lack of food and water and on the brink of famine, and with Israel making it extremely difficult for the food trucks to reach the people.

We can stop this war by telling Netanyahu we do not support genocide. We can stop the billions in aid and the supply of weapons

Netanyahu ignores Biden because there is no cost to doing so. Nicholas Kristof, the New York Times columnist, wrote about Moshe Dayan, the former Israeli defense minister, noting he once said: “We take the money, we take the arms and we decline the advice.”

Americans have the leverage to stop the carnage and end the war. It’s up to Biden to toughen up and use the leverage to pave the way to a two-state solution.

Helena Vella

Support bill to protect
puppies’ lives

Goldie’s Act (S. 4033) has just been introduced in the U.S. Senate. The bill is named after a dog known only as Golden Retriever #142, now known as “Goldie.” Goldie suffered in nightmarish conditions at a USDA-licensed puppy mill in Iowa and eventually died there.

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