Letters: Cut waste | Grand jury | Affordable housing | Ethnic studies | Serious on climate

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Before increasing transit
taxes, eliminate waste

Re: “BART needs driverless trains; VTA should halt S.J. extension” (Page A6, May 19).

This tax increase talk is quite annoying. Vote no. Over the last several elections, voters in Santa Clara County have passed multiple tax and fee increases.

All this nickel and diming contributes to making the Bay Area a horribly expensive place to live; especially for people of modest means, who must pay the greatest percentage of their income in these regressive taxes and fees. Each increase by itself does not amount to much, but the cumulative effect is to add to the unaffordability of the region.

Before increasing taxes yet again, waste needs to be removed from transportation projects.

William Hough
Los Altos

Civil grand jury keeps
Santa Clara honest

Re: “Indictment shows the value of the civil grand jury” (Page A6, May 25).

Henry Groth and Michael Kray point out that the recent indictment of Santa Clara City Councilmember Anthony Becker is necessary to show faith in the civil grand jury. They are correct.

The civil grand jury is an important watchdog of the people. The entire matter was developed not as a tool of Mayor Lisa Gillmor, but as an independent check on the multimillion-dollar effort by the 49ers to “Putinize” Santa Clara. The endless secret meetings between the 49ers and some City Councilmembers were an effort to destroy the ethical framework of the city. Becker sought to replace the city’s symbol of the mission with a football helmet.

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The act of leaking the grand jury report was a violation of public trust and Becker’s indictment is a remedy.

James Rowen

Affordable housing
won’t raise crime rates

As climate change persists and its impacts become more visible within the Bay Area, people are going to be moving from affected areas. However, if the status quo continues there won’t be any housing that’s affordable or even available for these refugees.

What’s the solution? We need to build more housing in the Bay Area. In fact, it’s the solution to many of the Bay Area’s problems. According to a study from Livable Cities Labs, increased affordable housing leads to less crime while still minting growing house prices for existing homeowners.()

The amount of people who complain about crime, high housing prices and non-walkable cities in the Bay Area while also opposing new construction of housing is alarming. We need to understand that building more affordable housing will not increase crime in your community but will likely reduce it.

Austin Stern

State’s high schools
need ethnic studies

As an adult, I learned so much in my ethnic studies class. Afterward, I only wanted to learn more.

Ethnic studies are not offered in California high schools. The government interprets it as lies that minorities have made up, which is not the truth. Students are being denied the opportunity to learn about their cultures and the truth of their history. The implementation of ethnic studies has only helped students and improved their education.

I urge California high schools to include ethnic studies in the curriculum. General ethnic studies are very educational, but more specifically, African American heritage classes and Chicano studies could be offered as electives so those who are interested in going in-depth into their cultures are able. Students who otherwise would be judged and labeled by administrators will then be motivated by their own interests and success.

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Yolanda Barron

Elect leaders who are
serious about climate

Climate change is not only an environmental crisis; it is also an urgent threat to our health. Rising temperatures bring forth extreme weather events, such as heat waves and hurricanes, increasing the risk of illnesses, and even death. Poor air quality from pollution and wildfires worsens respiratory diseases and asthma, affecting our ability to breathe freely. Changing precipitation patterns disrupt food production and lead to malnutrition.

It is time to elect leaders who prioritize science-based solutions and advocate for sustainable policies. We must transition to clean energy sources, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and invest in resilient infrastructure.

I urge young readers to become vocal advocates for climate action. Speak up at school, engage in local initiatives and demand change from elected officials. Let’s empower ourselves and inspire others to protect our health and the health of our planet. Together, we can build a healthier, greener future for ourselves and future generations.

Thanh Son
San Jose

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