Letters to the Editor: Feb 8, 2012

Letting the Stats Be Known

Thanks for the incredibly detailed analysis of a very complex problem (“The Big O,” Feb. 1). It appears that if the powers that be were as intent on uncovering facts as is Mr. Edmonds, the citizens of Santa Rosa would be far better served.

Pacific Grove

Going Rogue

I was glad to see the Open Mic in the current Bohemian (“The Police Log,” Feb. 1). I really think the attention of the public needs to be called to the increasing tendency of law enforcement agencies everywhere to “go rogue,” and literally take the law and its interpretation into their own hands. I find it very disturbing, for instance, to see example after example of people who can’t remotely be considered dangerous handcuffed as a matter of course prior to arrest. All this is a bad sign in what was once a conspicuously democratic country. Keep blowing the whistle, and thanks.

Santa Rosa

Houses, Not Buses

As a transit advocate, I read “Waiting for the Bus” by Rachel Dovey (The Paper, Feb. 1) with great interest. I feel compassion for Ms. Byrne’s predicament, but she has misdiagnosed its source. Hard as it may be to hear, her problem is not the lack of public transportation in remote rural Marin. Such locations will never be served by public transportation, because it simply is not feasible. Her need for public transit can only be met in more populated areas.

While Marin could certainly use a lot more transit, meeting Ms. Byrne’s needs will require something else: truly affordable housing and adequate income for people with disabilities.

San Rafael

Giving Care

The labor laws exploit caregivers (“Maid in America,” Dec. 21). Believe it or not, in Sonoma County, in 2012, I worked three days per week at my agency’s client’s home—three 24-hour sleepover shifts—and by law was only getting paid for 13 hours of it per day, with no overtime after eight hours and no double time after 12 hours. This, even though you can’t leave at any time, even to go for a 10 minute walk during those 24-hour shifts, to stretch your legs and (slightly) maintain your cardio health. If the client likes to stay up late, you get less than eight hours sleep (but more than the five hours required by law for caregivers).

How are we supposed to give good care to the elderly when we’re dragging around on five hours of sleep, and work 72 hours per week but are only paid for 39 hours of it, at $10–$11 an hour, with no overtime for our long days? In reality, that works out to around $6 an hour.

All caregiving agencies can do this because it is allowed under state and federal law.

The entire time you’re at the employer’s, you can’t check email, call a friend, go out to dinner with your partner, go to the gym or a movie or have any involvement with your partner at all. But you’re not getting paid for that time after 12 or 13 hours. It’s treating the caregiver like a mule or a slave.

This article says these laws date back to Southern lawmakers making these laws, and Obama said this is a vestige of slavery. But it isn’t so much a vestige specifically of black slavery, as it is the slavery of women.

After all, caregiving work is an extension of what women have always been expected to do, for many hundreds of years or more: take care of kids, the elderly or disabled at no pay, because the woman was her husband’s property.

This has got to change, beginning with hired caregivers. Please support the strongest domestic workers’ labor laws possible.

Sonoma County

Dept. of Article V

Last week’s letter by Abraham Entin erroneously attributed incomplete facts about the constitutional amendement process to SSU professor David McCuan. In fact, the omission was ours.

Rooting for a 34-State Convention

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