The voters’ choice
EDITOR: I’ve been hearing a lot about the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency. First I heard what a terrible job it was doing at the border, separating children from their parents. Then I heard the clarion call for ICE to be disbanded. Disbanding or, as some in Congress have suggested, reorganizing it isn’t a good idea.
When you call a company’s 800 number and get a person who can’t do what you request because it’s against company policy, you shouldn’t take it out on the person. They’re only doing what they were told to do. The same goes for the Internal Revenue Service or your local police. They’re following the law as prescribed.
The problem lies with the people who make the laws — Congress — and the person who sends the edicts — the president. Granted, there may have been a little zealousness on ICE’s part in carrying out the laws and edicts, but in the long run it isn’t their fault.
Look to your representatives and the president to change laws and policies that ICE and other agencies have to follow. If they aren’t doing what you want, vote them out. If you think they’re doing what they should, vote them back in. Either way, the ball is in your court. Be careful what you ask for.
Raise minimum wage
EDITOR: That we have a housing crisis is obvious: Almost 3,000 homeless, housing construction taking years and some renters paying 50 percent of income for rent. Polls show that many residents can’t afford to live here.
What’s to be done? A Saturday headline — “HUD staying on the sidelines” — makes clear that we will receive no help from the Trump administration. Columnist David Brooks believes that solving problems at the local level is the only answer (“The time has come for a ‘localist’ revolution,” July 24).
Raising the local minimum wage would make rent more affordable. Martin J. Bennett (“Give renters a floor and a ceiling,” Close to Home, July 5) makes a powerful case for rent control and raising the local minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2020. Think of this increase as partial compensation for three decades of wage stagnation. If wages had kept pace with inflation and productivity gains, the minimum wage today would be well over $20 an hour.
Do you wish that you could do something to relieve our housing catastrophe? Contact our Santa Rosa City Council members and urge them to raise the minimum wage for Santa Rosa.
GENE A. HOTTEL
Trump’s farm aid
EDITOR: Let’s see if I get this right. Donald Trump, with his tariffs, has raised the price of many of the things we buy. The retaliatory tariffs from our trading partners are hurting American farmers. Trump proposes to ease the farmers’ pain by giving them some more of our money (“Trump to pay farmers $12 billion,” July 25).
Am I missing something?
No-grow zone needed
EDITOR: Sonoma County Supervisor Susan Gorin wants to bring illegal marijuana grows from the shadows and make them legal, hence the push to issue permits despite numerous violations by the county of its own regulations.