Marin IJ Readers’ Forum June 18, 2022 – Marin Independent Journal

The modes of transport all receive subsidies

Marin IJ’s recent op-ed on the Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit system’s budget surplus (“SMART Must Get More Affordable, Deliver on Election Promises,” June 2) reminds us that opponents are railing against the system’s dependence on subsidies. Their outrage ignores the subsidies that support all modes of transit.

Automobile travel is subsidized through the design, construction and maintenance of roads. It is funded by the California Highway Patrol, Emergency Medical Response, Department of Motor Vehicles, and Vehicle Safety Enforcement, to name a few.

Air travel is also heavily subsidized. Airports are built with public funds. Air traffic control and airport security are provided by federal agencies. Publicly funded government entities also monitor aircraft design, provide proper maintenance, and investigate aircraft failures.

These are only partial subsidy lists of just two popular transit options.

It is neither logical nor wise to insist that SMART must be self-sufficient when other transit options are not. Metropolitan areas need rail transportation to reduce congestion and fossil fuel emissions. SMART is an efficient means of transport which, with fare reductions, can meet the travel needs of service workers and professionals.

— Dr. Will Meecham, Novato

Helping suffering children before fighting for the unborn child

I am impressed by the amount of energy some people expend to protect the helpless unborn child by working to stop abortions. However, I have to ask, what about those born helpless?

I don’t think most anti-abortion activists know that the United States has a much higher infant mortality rate than you might expect. It is significantly higher than most developed countries. Anti-abortion activists should also be aware that half of the children in our wealthy country are malnourished. Our country has the highest maternal mortality rate of any western country. More than 2 million American children are homeless.

Perhaps that energy would be better spent trying to help these suffering children rather than forcing unwanted children into the world.

—Ted Janko, San Anselmo

Congress must help ease the burden of gasoline prices

Gasoline now averages $5 a gallon nationally, nearly $2.50 more than a few years ago. This price increase costs the average taxpayer motorist more than $1,200 more per year.

Organized Democrats could help taxpayers recoup most of that cost by eliminating the 10% federal income tax on the first $10,275 of income ($20,550 for couples). This would save each taxpayer over $1,027 per year. Although this tax cut would cost $150 billion a year, it could be funded by enacting a tax on billionaires’ assets of 3% on $1-20 billion, 5% on $20-50 billion of dollars and 7% on 50 billion dollars.

Yes, 50 Republican senators (and several Democrats) would oppose giving 150 million Americans a modest tax break at the expense of 700 billionaires, but no one else would. Lawmakers are expected to plan a vote on it every week by Election Day on Nov. 8.

— Philip Quadrini, City of Marin

The sheriff’s office needs an oversight committee

It is high time for Marin County to organize a civilian board, team, or committee with subpoena power to monitor the activities of the sheriff’s department.

Recent data shows, for example, that traffic stops and other arrests disproportionately affect people of color. It’s extremely traumatic to be arrested when you’re just minding your own business. The Marin City Ministerial Alliance collected first-person stories about it.

People of color already face housing discrimination, poorer educational opportunities than white residents, lower lifetime earning power and poorer health right here in the liberal, Democratic county. of Marin.

Discrimination in law enforcement could be an important tool to help remedy this shameful situation.

—Barbara Rothkrug, Mill Valley

Vote against those who refuse to guarantee a safer society

Have you felt a new fear of going to public places, like the grocery store, a movie theater, your school office, or even a hospital? Recently I have. Our rights to life, liberty and happiness are violated when fear governs our choices.

How can the Second Amendment, written in the days of muskets, take away these inalienable rights from an entire country? Assault weapons for military use – the AR-15 now for sale in many states to anyone – were unimaginable in 1791. Hand grenades and bazookas are currently banned. Why not also ban assault rifles that mutilate the victim?

The 14th Amendment states that “Individual states shall not deprive any person of life or liberty…nor deny any person equal protection.” It’s everyone’s problem. It’s highly unlikely that anyone bent on killing cares whether the victims are Republicans or Democrats, but one party supports gun safety and the other appears to advocate access to assault rifles without strong enough laws. to protect us.

Most people in the United States want this protection, but all are denied it. It means that we live under the tyranny of the minority. Vote against people who refuse to ensure a safer society. Elect those who will protect us and give us back what we have lost – freedom from fear.

Let’s turn our awareness and anger into action. Write “old-fashioned” letters and send postcards. Flood the mailbags of senators from states you love, where you have family or friends. Send at least one email. All correspondence is counted.

—Alice Cochran, San Rafael

Protecting firearms from those who misuse them

Many gun advocates claim that the primary cause of gun violence is the people using the gun rather than the gun itself. I agree.

Therefore, I want to suggest passing something that I would like to call the “Gun Protection Act”. It would contain things like universal background checks, two-week waiting periods, required training prerequisites, raising the age to buy a semi-automatic weapon to 21, “flag red” and the requirement that firearms be empty when stored or transported.

We really need to protect our firearms from people who abuse and misuse them.

—Kevin Lozaw, San Anselmo

Weapon Advancements Require Recalibration

In the 18th century, when our ancestors were writing the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, their weapons were cannons and single-shot muskets that took a long time to reload. They had no way of imagining the firepower available for purchase today.

The Second Amendment was not written so that 18-year-old boys could acquire semi-automatic weapons loaded with huge magazines capable of killing large numbers of children quickly and effectively. In the years since the drafting of the Bill of Rights, weapons have steadily increased in lethal power.

We now have a wide range of tools of war. At one end are atomic bombs and ballistic missiles, then tanks and short-range rockets. Further down the spectrum are flamethrowers and hand grenades, high powered assault rifles, automatic pistols and the list ends with revolvers, small pistols and knives.

As a society, we already recognize that citizens should not be allowed to possess bazookas, hand grenades or atomic bombs, but we have failed to move the line between what is allowed and what is not. is not, as the ability of small arms to kill and maim has become increasingly deadly. It’s time to reconsider where we draw the line.

— John Hammond, San Rafael

Melvin B. Baillie