Letter: Bay Area teachers are not earning a living wage

Teachers need, deserve
to earn a living wage

Re: “Kamala Harris proposes significant pay boost for teachers in first major policy plan of presidential campaign” (Eastbaytimes.com, March 27):

Kamala Harris’ proposal to invest federal dollars to raise teacher salaries has huge implications in the Bay Area where the living wage necessary to support a family of one adult and one child is around $82,900, compared to the average public school teacher salary of about $75,000. Oakland’s average teacher salary is $63,000.

Teachers are not making enough to support themselves — are not earning a living wage, as indicated by the uptick in teacher strikes here in Oakland and across the country. Increasing teacher pay is known to reduce teacher turnover and increase retention, which improves student achievement.

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Teachers are the economic backbone of our society and need to be supported.

Mia Cooper
Oakland

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Source:: The Mercury News – Politics

      

Hanson: How Clinton was at the heart of the entire Russian collusion hoax

Hillary Clinton recently editorialized about the second volume of special counsel Robert Mueller’s massive report. She concluded of the report’s assorted testimonies and inside White House gossip concerning President Trump’s words and actions that “any other person engaged in those acts would certainly have been indicted.”

Psychologists might call her claims “projection.” That is the well-known psychological malady of attributing bad behavior to others as a means of exonerating one’s own similar, if not often even worse, sins.

After 22 months of investigation and $34 million spent, the Mueller report concluded that there was no Trump-Russia collusion — the main focus of the investigation — even though that unfounded allegation dominated print and televised media’s speculative headlines for the last two years.

While Mueller’s report addressed various allegations of Trump’s other roguery, the special counsel did not recommend that the president be indicted for obstruction of justice in what Mueller had just concluded was not a crime of collusion.

What Mueller strangely did do — and what most federal prosecutors do not do — was cite all the allegedly questionable behavior of a target who has just been de facto exonerated by not being indicted.

What Mueller did not do was explain that much of the evidence he found useful was clearly a product of unethical and illegal behavior. In the case of the false charge of “collusion,” the irony was rich.

Russians likely fed salacious but untrue allegations about Trump to ex-British spy Christopher Steele, who was being paid in part by the Hillary Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee to find dirt on Trump.

The Russians rightly assumed that Steele would lap up their fantasies, seed them among Trump-hating officials in the Barack Obama administration and thereby cause hysteria during the election, the transition and, eventually, the Trump presidency.

Russia succeeded in sowing such chaos, …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Politics

      

Dionne: How Barr’s poisonous distortions twisted debate over Mueller’s findings

One of our most colorful legal concepts is the “fruit of the poisonous tree.” The phrase was introduced by Supreme Court Justice Felix Frankfurter 80 years ago to hold that evidence obtained illegally cannot be used to convict a defendant.

We now know that the entire debate the country has been having over special counsel Robert Mueller’s report was fatally infected by the lethal sapling that was Attorney General William Barr’s four-page letter offering his gloss on the findings of the 448-page document. As a dandruff shampoo ad taught us long ago, you never get a second chance to make a first impression.

It’s not good enough that a redacted version of the report was eventually made public. For 27 days, the debate over Mueller’s findings was twisted by Barr’s poisonous distortions that implied a full exoneration of President Trump. Many public statements and much punditry were devoted to insisting that Trump’s opponents owed the president an apology, that the Russia matter was never what it was cracked up to be, that the president was free and clear.

While it would be nice to see an outpouring of public apologies from those who were snookered by Barr, I am not anticipating a run on sackcloth. But it is very heartening — but also, in light of Barr’s subsequent conduct, very disturbing — to know that one person who was infuriated by what Barr did was Mueller himself.

As The Washington Post and then The New York Times reported, three days after the attorney general released his propaganda document, Mueller wrote Barr to express his dismay. “The summary letter the Department sent to Congress and released to the public late in the afternoon of March 24 did not fully capture the context, nature, and substance of this office’s work and conclusions,” Mueller wrote, adding, “There …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Politics

      

Letter: Commute death sentences to life in solitary confinement

Commute death sentences to
life in solitary confinement

Re: “Skelton: Golden State Killer will test Newsom’s death penalty stance” (Opinion section, April 28):

While I don’t agree with the death penalty, I certainly object to Gov. Gavin Newsom’s two-faced tactics in breaking a campaign vow and circumventing the voters’ will with a moratorium on executions.

However, what might be considered by lawmakers and voters is that the death penalty be repealed and instead commute death sentences into life in solitary confinement.

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If any incarcerates were exonerated later, they would be available for release. If they remained guilty, then they could just live with themselves and what they’ve done for the rest of their lives.

Blaine Burgstrom
San Jose

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