Aid and stereotypes
EDITOR: A Press Democrat reader expressed her anger at the fact that individuals interviewed about their loss of CalFresh (food stamp) benefits were smoking cigarettes, sporting decorated nails and lamenting that Carl's Jr. wouldn't accept their benefit card (“Food money,” Letters, Thursday). As a hunger relief worker in Sonoma County, I can assure you that these poor choices are dismaying to me as well. But, what is even more upsetting is the reader's use of “these people,” implying that all people receiving help make similarly poor choices.
CalFresh supplements an eligible household's food budget, and is a safety net for households with low incomes. In 2012, more than 33,000 individuals received CalFresh benefits each month; and more than half of the recipients were children.
What your reader witnessed on the newscast was three individuals. She would have to meet all 33,000 individual recipients of CalFresh help before she could accurately evaluate how “these people” manage their finances.
Executive director, Redwood Empire Food Bank
The tao of Measure B
EDITOR: Now that the House of Representatives has answered Hamlet's query — to default or not to default — with the answer “it's not my cup of tea,” I shall address another banality found plaguing the city of Sonoma.
I have around me a swarm of “no bees” and “yes bees” trying to pollinate my flower-power vote. They are working with the same puerile tenacity that we all witnessed in recent Beltway behavior.
Since I prefer to be bemused and not befuddled, I want to clearly articulate how to vote. I shall not vote “no” on “No on B,” and I will not vote “yes” on “Yes on B.” Follow these simple rules, and you will be able to walk to the Plaza with a smile on your face and in a sublime state of ambiguity.