Editor’s Note: Welcome to our letters to the editor page. Here you’ll find comments from readers on Advocate articles and other news. We collect readers’ opinions from emails, letters, Facebook comments, and comments to valleyadvcoate.com. Want to get in on this? Email editor@valleyadvcoate.com and put “BackTalk” or “letter to the editor” in the subject.

It Follows: The Gender Wage Gap (via email)

I have read your article in the Valley Advocate regarding disparity in wages for women [“Hey Boss, Is Being a Woman Holding Me Back?,” Aug. 10-16, 2017], and would like to add a thought or two. First, the present social security system calculates your benefits based on your earnings records over your most significant work years. This means that your retirement benefits are based on the wages you achieved during your work years and if you are discriminated against during those years, the discrimination and low pay follows you until you are in the grave, and affects the quality of your life all the days of your existence.

Secondly, I have been reading about all the “new jobs” in healthcare and homecare added to our economy recently, such as companions, day care workers, home heath aids, etc. It occurred to me that all of those occupations were previously the unpaid responsibilities of a stay-at-home mom, who cared for the children, tutored them in schoolwork, cared for aging parents, did all the housework and some of the yard work as well, cared for the sick in her family, sometimes helped her husband in his occupation, donated time to fundraisers at church, and on and on. These newly created positions cover many responsibilities — and several people can be on payroll to replace one mom. Yet many of the women from the past generation are living out their existence in poverty, because of the uncorrected bias in our government, workplace, and in our institutions.

I am happy to see the progression your generation is making in obtaining equal rights in the workforce. It is a long battle. Never give up. Be aware of where we have been, where we are now and where we are going. Do not backslide. Sadly, mankind does not have a flattering history with respect to carrying out justice.

— Denise Rochon

Thanks for Keeping it Weird, But … (via email)

First and foremost, I’d like to say how much I love Bizarro Briefs, formerly known as News of the Weird. It is the first section I read when I open the Valley Advocate every Saturday morning while sipping coffee on my front porch.

This week, you shared a news brief titled, “Not a Dog Lover” [“Bizarro Briefs: Hipster Dogs Don’t Need Shots,” Aug. 10-16, 207] that outlined the cruel and vicious behavior towards two poodles. It broke my heart to read this article as I hugged my sweet and loving long-haired Chihuahua. I am very sensitive to abusive behavior towards animals. I was hesitant to continue reading through the rest of the stories for fear of more animal cruelty news.

In a world that suffers from such violent, hateful acts, is there any way that we can save Bizarro Briefs to be a place of truly bizarre topics? I personally find no need for highlighting the disgusting actions of a person that causes harm to our animal friends. Can you please consider this when deciding the subjects you share each week? It would truly be appreciated.

— Molly

Editor’s Note: It’s always difficult to define the line between bizarre and messed up, and this particular item caused debate among the staff. We’re now discussing whether something cruel and weird can also be considered “bizarro.”

Trump Was Never ‘Unpleasant’ (via email)

White male privileged is seeing Donald Trump as simply “unpleasant” rather than dangerous and terrifying [“Between the Lines: Trump Graduates From Unpleasant to Un-American,” Aug. 10-16, 2017]. Comments about freely sexually assaulting women, calling most Mexican-American immigrants rapists and drug dealers, and openly mocking people with disabilities, in my opinion, is not just unpleasant or unsavory, it’s mortifying, awful and unacceptable. Also, in my opinion, Donald Trump is a perfect example of “Amerikan” values if you consider the values that have driven our government policies and our version of Western culture over the last 200 years. The column’s writer Dave Eisenstadter essentially agrees with New York Times columnist Paul Krugman’s point that our country was founded on “openness and inclusion,” which is categorically false. In fact, our country is built on just the opposite; systematic and intentional exclusion/oppression of people based on race, gender, and class — and the continuation of the success of our capitalist system is premised on guarding information that could potentially lead to more people being free more often.

— John W. Arvanitis