Letters: Death penalty | Help the homeless | Unaffordable Bay Area | Public spaces

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Federal, state laws
support death penalty

Re: “DA has no right to dismantle death sentences” (Page A9, April 21).

Ron Matthias’ fact-filled article excellently rebuts the recent efforts of Santa Clara District Attorney Jeff Rosen to unilaterally commute the death sentences of all 15 of our county’s death row inmates. Rosen’s efforts ignore the following constitutional realities:

1. Our federal Constitution expressly recognizes: (a) the death penalty (see the 5th Amendment); and (b) that persons may be deprived of their lives (in addition to their liberties) as long as the government does so through a “due process of law” (14th Amendment).

2. Article 5, section 8(a), of our state Constitution expressly provides that even our governor “may not grant a … commutation to a person twice convicted of a felony except on recommendation of the [state] Supreme Court.” (Most death row inmates have multiple felony convictions.)

Accordingly, Rosen should review our constitutions before proceeding any further with his lawless, anti-democratic, anti-jury proposal.

John Haggerty
Santa Clara

We should help, not
punish, the homeless

Re: “Justices wade into homeless dispute” (Page A1, April 23).

San Jose is often referred to as one of the most expensive U.S. cities to live in. People are being priced out of their homes and driven into homelessness.

If the U.S. Supreme Court makes it easier for cities to clear homeless encampments, when beds are unavailable in shelters, where are these unhoused people expected to go? Why are we penalizing the homeless population, rather than working on the systemic issues that cause such high rates of homelessness in the first place?

Moving unhoused people from one city to another achieves nothing, apart from disrupting their lives and demonizing their mere existence. Instead, the Supreme Court should be focusing on how to implement guidelines for fair and affordable housing to assist those who are unhoused, which may actually give people an opportunity to get on the housing ladder.

Amrit Bassi
San Jose

Latest tax grab would
add to unaffordability

Re: “Make Bay Area transit seamless as a condition of new funding” (Page A8, April 21).

State Sens. Scott Wiener and Aisha Wahab have introduced the Connect Bay Area Act (SB 1031). I recommend a no vote.

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. For example, we need to eliminate the redundant BART extension between the San Jose and Santa Clara Caltrain stations. The BART segment from these stations would duplicate both the existing Caltrain line and VTA’s 22 and 522 buses.

William Hough
Los Altos

Bring buzz of public
spaces to San Jose

San Jose thrives on innovation, diversity and food trucks. But something’s missing: the buzz of community in vibrant public spaces. Studies show strong social ties boost happiness and health. Public spaces, designed for interaction, can nurture these connections.

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