Friday's Letters to the Editor

Money earned

EDITOR: I am sick and tired of the constant use of the word "entitlement" to describe Social Security and Medicare. Every day that I worked, money was taken from my earned income to pay for Social Security. A portion of Social Security income was taken for Medicare costs. We don't get it for free.

Social Security is enforced savings and, for the most part, it's the only money most retired people have to live on.

The people who are "entitled" are the members of Congress, with their large salaries for doing very little — show up, take attendance, debate some obscure bill, take a break, maybe vote, leave work early. And let's not forget their great health/retirement benefits; I suspect it's better than Medicare benefits.

It's not the 47 percent who are entitled; it's our elected representatives and the millionaires who are whining about having their 10-year tax breaks end and how they might now have to live on their investment income. Sigh. I lose a lot of sleep worrying about their predicament.

How would I describe Social Security? Money earned. How would I describe entitlement? Congress.



Gorin's vacation

EDITOR: Jude Cameron's comment regarding Sonoma County Supervisor Susan Gorin's vacation seems a bit jaded ("Gorin's trip," Letters, Feb. 23). Most normal, common people, regardless of whether they have worked in the private sector, plan their vacations well in advance and place deposits, etc. Unless, one is fortunate (or unfortunate depending on how you look at it) to be flying on Air Force One, vacations are not whimsical and are well deserved.



No severance tax

EDITOR: This is regarding state Sen. Noreen Evans' proposed SB241 and the accompanying statement that "California is the only major oil-producing state without an oil severance tax. Oil taxes are major sources of revenue in Texas and Alaska" ("First look at local senators' bills," Monday).

What's missing from the argument for the bill is that Texas and Alaska have no state income tax. In fact, Alaska returns dividends to its citizens. Should we plan on the California Legislature lowering or repealing the state income tax and possibly even returning dividends?

SB 241 is another bad bureaucratic money grab idea that will come back to bite the average citizen in the rear end. As production and distribution costs increase 10 percent to reflect the new tax, we can expect increased prices on almost everything that relies on fuel to move: agricultural products, food, beverages, building materials, appliances, household goods, consumer electronics, anything that ships via UPS, the Postal Service or FedEx, public buses, emergency vehicles and more.

This additional tax would put California citizens and businesses at a terrible economic disadvantage.



Cultural history

EDITOR: When we think about historic preservation, we usually think of old Victorian homes or old brick buildings in our downtowns. There is another important aspect of historic preservation — our cultural history. Oyster farming, such as the Drakes Bay Oyster Co., is part of California's cultural history and should be preserved.

Historically, San Francisco Bay was teaming with oyster farms. During the Gold Rush, Hangtown Fries (scrambled eggs and oysters) was on the menu. A young Jack London was an oyster pirate, sailing out to the oyster farms in the cover of darkness. Pollution destroyed the oyster farms in San Francisco Bay, limiting the use to pristine areas.

It is the primary role of the National Park Service to protect the natural environment, but it is also responsible for protection of our cultural history. The oyster farm should work with the park service to protect the environment and waters of Drakes Bay. The interior secretary and the park service should protect not only our natural environment but also our cultural history.

Protecting oyster farms in California is just as important as preserving old historic buildings.


Grass Valley