Letters to the editor: July 12, 2017

Failure to veto minimum wage bill will hurt St. Louisans

Gov. Eric Greitens has allowed the passage of two bills that will have devastating effects on women in our communities. Those bills take away the minimum wage increase the city of St. Louis approved and that the courts upheld. Our legislature decided that the individuals we elect at the local level should give up their right to create legislation that benefits us. And our governor agreed.

We believe the Board of Alderman of the city of St. Louis should still have the local control to do what is best for the constituents that elected them.

The figures are startling: 27.6 percent of St. Louis workers make less than $11 an hour; 38.4 percent of single mothers and 38.6 percent of black women make less than $11 an hour. And, of the 250,000 people who work in the city of St. Louis, only about 80,000 are city residents, so this increase could have impacted those living in the county as well. Raising the minimum wage to $10, not even to a “living wage” in our region, would have helped immensely.  But now it’s “too little, too late.”

New Mt. Sinai Cemetery advertisement

As a Jewish organization that works to improve the lives of all women, children, and families, and embodies the value of “tikkun olam” — repairing the world and giving back to the world in which we live — we believe this is a Jewish issue. And we are beyond disappointed in Greitens for not vetoing these bills, while allowing them to become law without his signature.  He is keeping our friends, families, and neighbors from living better lives, creating opportunities for themselves and their families and maybe even having the opportunity one day to give back, too. 

The statistics say it all — these women needed better pay.

By allowing multiple bills to become law without his signature, he’s sending a clear message: Gov. Greitens is more concerned with the support of his base than the well-being of his fellow Missourians.  That should sadden us all.

Melissa Alper, State Policy Advocacy Chair, National Council of Jewish Women-St. Louis 

Contact your senators about health care bill

Cynthia Levin’s analysis of the Senate health care bill paints a very sad picture (July 5 letter: “Lives on the line”). The Congressional Budget Office reports shows that it cuts health insurance from 22 million Americans. It is extremely harsh on children, the disabled and the elderly, in addition to the poor. We can stop this from happening with our calls and letters to our senators, wherever we live. Ask them to drop this bill from consideration and pass one that affordably covers all Americans. Our calls and letters will help our senators have the political will to pass life-saving legislation.

Willie Dickerson, Snohomish, Wa. 

Church-state editorial

In April, the Jewish Light came out opposed to Trinity Lutheran Church receiving money from a State of Missouri grant for a playground surface made from rubberized tires (April 26 editorial, “Keep Church-State Barrier Strong).  The case before the U.S. Supreme Court was judged 7 to 2 in favor of Trinity Lutheran over the State of Missouri.  The case had been brought by the Nixon administration.

The editorial stated, “Not only should taxpayers not have to support religious institution that may or may not conform to their beliefs, but the institutions themselves — churches, synagogues, mosques and others — should not want to accept government money that would and should bring government oversight as well. In this case, and all similar ones keeping a sturdy wall between church and state in place is vital to everyone.”

I recently saw a classified ad in a local paper for a St. Louis synagogue “soliciting bids for the purchase and installation of ballistic resistant surfaces on our glass doors and windows. Paid by Department of Homeland Security…”

In the past few years, several St. Louis Jewish congregations and organizations have received upgrades through Homeland Security’s Nonprofit Security Grant Program.

Given the paper’s position on the Trinity Lutheran case, I’m curious to know the paper’s views would be on these grants, which have supported Jewish groups (and those of other faiths).

Craig Niehaus, Glendale