From Gay Marriage to Immigrant Rights; More on School Food …

by on June 29, 2011

To the Editor:

Mr. Shaw is perhaps confused in confusing the legislation in New York with Immigration Reform. Same Sex Marriage passed in New York for one reason and one only and that is because someone finally got it through their heads that they needed to give religious institutions a way out and shield them from law suits.

Personally I always in favor of same sex marriage, I mean who am I to define and impose on my fellow humans what marriage is to them. It comes down to the Equal Protection Clause in the Constitution, nothing more, nothing less. The problem has always been the all or nothing approach that the movements sponsors and activists have insisted upon that has been their undoing time and time again. If any of them have been paying attention they will model the next bill or ballot measure after New York’s and give the religious institutions an out and protect them from litigation.

The whole immigration argument cannot be framed in this way, it simply can’t, because there is no one to give an out to since this affects the entire population of this country not a small segment. Unless the United States as a country decides to flush all the existing emigration law and simply open the borders then this is always going to be a problem. I have argued this with rabid right wingers and always take their arguments apart with a very simple rebuttal and that is how do we do it? Their faces drop and their eyes go blank when faced with a couple of very simple questions.

1. Who is going to do the work that these people do? Their answer is inevitably “Guest Worker,” to which I reply fine. Lets just say that we have a “Guest Worker” program in place. Someone from Mexico has a valid guest worker ID that permits them to come to the United States for the harvest. How do we treat these people? Do we force them to live in tents? Can they rent housing? Do we force them to always take public transportation? Do we buss them around? Do they get a drivers license? Is their Mexican drivers license good in this country for the period that their Guest Worker ID is good for?

Medical Care, how do we deal with that? Many dangerous machines are used in the harvest process and what happens if they are injured? Do we send them to a cut rate urgent care clinic? If you were doing the same job what level of medical care would you demand for yourself? Do we treat them and “street them,” e.g.: get them the most minimal care possible and then shove them back to Mexico?

Income Taxes. Well if they are just a guest worker then why should they pay US taxes on their income? They have no benefits of citizenship so why should they? If they have a vehicle they are already paying fuel taxes and they pay sales tax on whatever they purchase. So that leads to yet another question. Obviously they have some form of income tax in Mexico so does the United States now have an obligation to report a guest workers income to the government of Mexico?

All of those questions raise even more questions and the answers are so far removed from simple and easy ( such as giving religious organizations and out and protection ) and 5 people will have 5 different opinions on what they should be.

William Sappington
Oakland, CA

To the Editor:

Seven months into the school year, I was shocked to received a bill for $160.27 from SFUSD for school lunches. I had not set up a meal account for my Kindergartner because I provided a homemade lunch and snacks every day. It never occurred to me that the school would provide school lunches to my child without an account.

I think it’s a good idea to feed hungry children, but my Kindergartner already had a lunchbox filled with food. I wish the staff had shooed her out of line or at notified me of what was going on. Parents should be encouraged to register for the meal account because they will be able to see their student’s meal purchase history. I wish I had known this at the beginning of the school year.

Susanne DeRisi
San Francisco

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