Letters to the Editor: February 13, 2019

In which 'Parenting Below the Poverty Line' strikes a few chords

Who Will Pay?

I agree with Cal Fire Chief Ken Pilmot on banning new homes in fire-prone areas (Open Mic, Jan. 30). But to require 20-foot-wide roads (are you adding the two-foot shoulders to both sides of the 20-foot-wide road—24 feet—or 16-foot-wide roads with shoulders?) for all dead-end roads would be cost-prohibitive. It would cost more to improve an existing road or cut a new 20-foot-wide road than the land and home would be worth. Who do you suggest pay for these new requirements: the county or the property owners?


Oppress the Rich

I have empathy for Ms. Stephanie Land (“Parenting Below the Poverty Line,” Feb. 6), as I supported myself for decades with housecleaning and a variety of odd jobs. I have lived frugally, and often paid taxes as well.

I couldn’t work much due to my partial disability, chronic fatigue syndrome. Our government rarely recognizes this disability, and I did not get SSI. I am grateful for the government help that I do get.

Historically, it has been almost impossible for the poor to achieve any economic or social rights progress in America and globally. Remember, if we, the poor people, refuse to provide more slaves/cannon fodder for the rich, by not having children, then the middle class will be next to be oppressed. When they refuse this treatment, then the rich will be oppressed, and then finally the “1 percenters” will have to clean their own damn toilets.

Santa Rosa

Important and Revealing

Thank you for the piece on Maid, a revealing, even important, memoir. The article had me at “young mother who fled an abusive relationship.” From here begins the author’s path into poverty, and how could it not, without a reliable partner or family to help, and without, yet, an education to lead to a secure job.

This begs the question, why did Ms. Land go through with her pregnancy? Surely, there is a sad tale that begat her pairing with an abuser. Congrats to her for leaving! But while the choice to become a single parent is, OK, honorable, of course it comes with a lifetime of responsibility and costs. As to public shaming for using the stamps for whatever she wants, shame on them! I’m happy to pay taxes for assistance and shelters. A safety net is crucial to a successful society.

I write this as one who, with no parental aid, put herself through college waitressing and bartending, and when along the way I was careless and got pregnant, made the difficult choice to not become a “young mother.” I live with that. A close friend of mine then, however, bravely chose to keep a child from a far-flung one-nighter.

She knew what she was getting into raising a child alone. The girl was her pride and joy. She took one step at a time and dreamed of the day she would study art, which she eventually did, slinging steaks to pay her way to a masters degree and now teaches high school art. Her choice to be a young mother was financially challenging, no surprise. But she wouldn’t have changed a thing. After all, we can’t change what we already did, can we? We can only learn to cope, bootstraps and all, and, well, maybe write a book about it.


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