The ripoff state
EDITOR: Friday’s article about the state budget (“State lawmakers pass $139 billion spending plan”) said that California is swimming in a surplus. The most conservative estimate for this year is $9 billion.
My question is, if we are so rich, why are taxes and fees (disguised taxes) increasing? The latest are bridge tolls and gas taxes. How about we get rid of that $100 billion high-speed train to nowhere and use that money, plus existing gas taxes and tolls, to fix California’s infrastructure?
I looked it up. California is consistently in the top 10 states with the highest tax burden. Florida, also a heavily populated state (with a high percentage of retirees who don’t pay much in taxes), is among the least taxed states. Florida ranks 32nd in education. California ranks 50th. Florida’s roads are in good condition. California’s roads are in disrepair. Florida ranks 27th in cost of living. California is 49th. US News ranks California 50th in quality of life, just ahead of Puerto Rico.
When Ronald Reagan was governor, the budget was $1 billion. Roads were great, housing was cheap, education still sucked, but nobody complained. Something is very wrong.
EDITOR: It was with great sadness that I read columnist Charles Krauthammer has terminal cancer with maybe only a few weeks to live (“A columnist says farewell,” June 10).
I’ve missed Krauthammer’s weekly column in The Press Democrat for the past several months and wondered if his column was no longer published due to many letters complaining about his opinions. I had been pleasantly surprised each week the paper continued to carry his column.
Many think Krauthammer is an ultra-conservative, possibly due to his frequent Fox News appearances. However, I consider him to be a reasonable and rational thinker with astute logic and intuition. As Fay Vincent recently stated, Krauthammer knows where true north points.
Some may not know that Krauthammer was paralyzed from a swimming pool accident at Harvard Medical School. He has used a wheelchair since, but he graduated and became a psychiatrist and, later, the journalist I’ve admired.
Krauthammer has always presented a welcome, friendly and respectful perspective. He has educated and enlightened me. I wish him peace. The world has been a better place because of him.
Cutting the microphone
EDITOR: Petaluma High School did settle the matter of going off-script with its valedictorian beforehand, contrary to what Jane Carey said in her letter (“Valedictorian censored,” Wednesday). School officials told the student she wouldn’t be allowed to continue if she deviated from her submitted speech.
I’m sure, being a valedictorian, the student understood the consequences. Perhaps the administrator could have explained the responsibilities of the valedictorian to the audience after the microphone was cut, so it didn’t seem to be a random act of censorship.
However, the only black eye that should be handed out is to the student. Consider it a responsible adulthood lesson learned.
Trump’s pardon talk
EDITOR: With his recent talk of possible pardons, the president could be sending this signal out to certain others: If you keep quiet about what I did, then I will pardon you for what you did.