Makers and takers
EDITOR: The takers/makers argument that is going on in our nation can be heard right here in Sonoma County with regard to county worker's pensions. Taxes do not pay 100 percent of a county worker's pension since 65 percent to 70 percent of a worker's retirement is funded by gains made from investments. Yet there are those who seem to think that they should have 100 percent control over how much a pension should be.
Following that line of logic, I guess that anyone who pays federal taxes should dictate to the oil companies how much they should pay their workers since they rake in millions in federal subsidies each year.
Maybe taxpayers should dictate corporate policy to Wal-Mart since its workers are paid so little that they have to rely on federal aid to get by. Since big business enjoys so many government handouts, I wonder who the real takers are?
EDITOR: A few months ago, my shopping bags were stolen from me at the Santa Rosa Plaza. It was almost $200 worth of freshly purchased merchandise. I talked to the store manager where it was stolen and mall security, and I could not get a single person to take action or even care that it had happened.
I told them I knew the exact moment my bags were taken, perhaps there was video footage? They didn't care. Did they want to write a report, in case it happens again to someone else? Nope. I began to wonder what their purpose was, if not to protect commerce. Now I know. It's too harass peaceful protestors ("Mall says it regrets treatment of activists," Friday).
Technology and change
EDITOR: We're living in unprecedented times. We're at the dawn of what might later be known as the information revolution, with electronic technology creeping into every facet of life. Technology is rapidly making things obsolete, and it's not just products; it's also making some behaviors obsolete.
Bad behavior by elected leaders and public servants will be readily recorded by average citizens and instantly uploaded to YouTube. Anybody who is interested can see how our law enforcement officers and county supervisors act in public.
The 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that recording law enforcement officers performing their jobs in public isn't only legal it's paramount to the First Amendment.
There are countless examples on YouTube of officers behaving badly. These are videos taken by an average person who pulled out their phone and showed the world what happened. Soon it will be common for every law enforcement officer to be a walking recording studio. This will happen because technology will make it too easy not to.
So the days of police brutality, and the abuse of the authority that comes with a badge or an elected position, will be an ugly part of our past, and future generations will wonder why we let it happen.
BILL CARRETTA JR.
EDITOR: I recently asked a cashier at a local grocery store to record the number of plastic bags she issued out in a day. In her eight-hour shift on the 10-items-or-fewer stand, she used 646 plastic bags to bag customer groceries. I find this amount ridiculously high, as should you.