Generous benefits plan attracts top employees 

Neither city employees nor state employees receive “free” health insurance, pensions or anything else. These benefits are part of a total compensation package where government has wisely determined that to attract and retain talented professional employees it is important to offer a career benefits package.

State employees pay 5 to 10 percent of their salaries toward their pensions every month. Only a top manager or executive gets a pension out of PERS approaching what it takes to live well in this city. Most current retirees get a check of about $2,200 per month. It’s not poverty, but they contributed heavily during their careers too.

If the state or The City can’t pay competitive wages — and for professionals, they don’t — it was determined a long time ago that the only way to get good engineers, scientists, doctors, nurses, planners, architects and IT people was to provide solid benefits.

Mattson Austin, San Francisco

Helping people quit

The Jan. 23 San Francisco Examiner article “Patients at health center have a right to smoke” clearly explained how current state laws banning smoking in workplaces are made virtually ineffective by an antiquated 1982 state law that allows smoking at skilled-nursing facilities.

It is for this reason that we support Assemblyman Jerry Hill’s proposed legislation that would strictly restrict smoking at such long-term care sites. Living in a healthy environment seems to be paramount to the functionality of these sites and therefore we find it an extreme contradiction to allow a loophole for patients and workers to be continually exposed to tobacco smoke.

Breathe California is an organization that provides smoking cessation services throughout San Mateo County. We care deeply about helping people quit smoking. We would be happy to assist any skilled-nursing facilities by providing smoking cessation services for their patients or staff to ease the transition to adapting to stronger smoke-free policies.

Karen Licavoli-Farnkopf, Breathe California, Daly City

Double standard?

When Iranians demonstrated against their tyrannical government, we came down on the side of the government. When Egyptians demonstrated against their tyrannical government, we sided with the demonstrators. This is confusing because the Egyptian government has always been friendly to this country.

The Iranian government has always been hostile to us. Why are we siding with those who are hostile to us and against those who are friendly to us? Surely there must be a good reason — I just wish we knew what it is.

Keith C. De Filippis, San Jose

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