Thanks for a great story on a very important topic ("Pinot, Poverty and Politics," Dec. 12). Keeping in mind that with the shockingly low wages for picking grapes, and the fact that many of these workers are exploited and endangered with poor working conditions, lack of adequate shade and water and few job protections, another solution to the lack of low income housing is the use of union jobs and union contracts which bring with them a voice at work, safety standards, healthcare and decent wages.
Paying good middle-class wages is the best way to allow people to afford housing, so they don't have to live three or four families to an apartment or drive two hours to get to work. The people and especially the wine growers in Napa can't complain about low-income housing if they don't pay living wages. If they aren't willing to pay decent wages, they should be building housing that workers can afford. They can't count on taxpayers to subsidize the wine industry with roads, schools, housing and infrastructure while they make huge profits by exploiting workers.
Where's My Stuff?
Uh . . . are you sure you, or someone else, isn't putting us on? ("This Modern Retort," Dec. 12.) I mean . . . Ken Stout, the grumbling, racist, would-be McDonald's french-fry chef from the San Jose area (Milpitas?). It's very tempting to explain to this guy that there may be other reasons than reverse racism for the fast-food industry not rushing to get him on the payroll, but I'm pretty sure other Bohemian readers have already taken care of this. Hopefully, someone will have sent his retort to Bill O'Reilly. Who will ever forget Bill's dark and dank Irish pout, explaining to the world how all those terrible nonwhite Americans are in it for the "stuff"? Hey, listen, I'm half-Italian. So where's my stuff? I refuse to be mixed in with traditional white people.
Anyway, my message to Ken is, try Burger King, dude.
Please tell me you were playing a prank on your readers with last week's open mic, "This Modern Retort." I had to check the calendar to make sure it wasn't April Fools' Day.
Much as I would love to remain in denial that one of your "white, male" readers would get so defensive about Tom Tomorrow's brilliant wit, I must concede that these backward views on race and sex still exist. Please, Mr. Stout, get out from your unnecessary defensive shield and understand that this country/world is still controlled by white males and their many unwitting enablers. Look at the faces of those in control in the dominant culture to understand where change is needed.
If you are an inclusive human being, that will be noted and understood by those working hard for equality and toward a more inclusive world. There is no need to convince anyone, as your actions speak the loudest. The destructive policies of inequality from racism, sexism and classism stem from the power relationships in this country/world. Come join us in doing the hard work to overcome these dynamics, and save us the misguided self-promotion.
For the Love of Taxes
The letter "Jets to Sonoma" by Barbara Coole ("Rhapsodies and Rants," Nov. 28) makes the unfounded statement that the Sonoma County Airport improvement comes from "taxpayer pockets." The fact is that the FAA pays 95 percent and Sonoma County Airport pays 5 percent. The FAA money comes in large part from the tax on aviation fuel, and private jets pay a lot of that.
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