Some simple safety suggestions

The city of El Cerrito is asking for suggestions for improvement to make the city safer and a more pleasant place in which to live. Good goals.

So far, however, most of what I've seen on the city's behalf are a number of twirly things hanging from poles along San Pablo Avenue and bicycle rings, that no one seems to use, along the street.

If El Cerrito is really interested in promoting safety, I can think of two important safety measures.

  • Fix all the cracks and holes in the sidewalks, which cause falls resulting in injuries to walkers.

  • Plant trees to provide not only shade, but help reduce carbon monoxide, which in turn improve air quality.

    These are basic improvements the city should be providing. Twirly things are nice, but should come last in money spent. Safety and regular maintenance should come first in city budgets.

    Geraldine Judt

    El Cerrito

    Shredding 4th Amendment

    In his July 15 letter in the Times, Yan S. Pawlak asks, "If anyone objects to government data mining, my question is: Have they any unpatriotic sins or bad intentions?"

    This is exactly the kind of thinking that empowers those who seek to control the citizenry through intimidation. It "shreds" the Fourth Amendment of the Constitution.

    What is objectionable about the data mining by the government is that it (they) also assumes the role of judge by deciding whether what has been mined is "unpatriotic" or "sinful," as well as making arbitrary assumptions about what one's intentions are.

    To top it off, they have concluded that it is their "duty" to act upon their judgments as jailer, torturer (punisher), or executioner.

    The theft of our government, the laws, the policies, and the media is nearly complete. We best educate ourselves while it is still possible and wake up from the patriotic reverie, or we shall surely suffer the consequences of our blissful ignorance.

    Ron Greenstein

    El Cerrito

    Happy with postponement

    My heartfelt thanks to the team that decided the safety of the Bay Bridge requires more time.

    Since opening day has apparently been postponed, we can dispense with the ridiculous expenses of festivity and spend the money, instead, on the needy.

    The San Francisco Bay Area is still the most beautiful place in the world.

    Joan Bartulovich

    El Cerrito

    Good riddance to Napolitano

    Janet Napolitano resigned from her position as secretary of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

    Good riddance. She is a tyrant. And she missed it in Boston. Oops!

    Napolitano ordered 1.6 billion bullets to protect us from ourselves. These are enough bullets to shoot each of our 320 million Americans five times. Why?

    She ordered 2,700 urban rubber-tired military tanks to patrol our cities in order to protect us from ourselves. Why? It is estimated we would have 82 tanks to roam our streets and protect us here in our nine Bay Area counties. Wow!

    President George W. Bush was wrong to create the Department of Homeland Security. We don't need it. We don't need these federal agents overruling our local communities.

    We have a well qualified sheriff and deputies in every one of our American counties and we have a police force in every city.

    I believe in local control. Get the feds out of here.

    Mike Vukelich

    El Cerrito

    How far have we come?

    I heard in the news how school children in some 36 states will no longer be taught cursive writing.

    It saddens me that they will not only be denied a basic human form of communication but that will they also will be unable to read copies of original handwritten texts, such as the following.

    The Declaration of Independence: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal."

    The Constitution: " ... and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity" and "The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied."

    The Bill of Rights: " ... shall make no law abridging the freedom of speech."

    The Gettysburg Address: " ... that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth."

    Some 72 million people in the United States earn an income of $25,000 or less yearly. According to a 2010 U.S. Department of Commerce report, people in this bracket tend not to have Internet access or a computer at home.

    If they don't know how to write, how are they going to communicate without being face-to-face or on the telephone?

    Jack da Silva

    Pinole

    Enact new rules quickly

    We all applaud President Barack Obama, who has pledged that new regulations will occur to control power plant carbon emissions and that other important greenhouse gas production will be mitigated. The sooner the better, one insists.

    Two years to start building the necessary filtration systems would be way too long. This is an emergency. From Science magazine: " ... 38 billion tons of CO2 ... needs to be cut sharply and promptly to avoid accelerating climate change."

    The original proposed strong new rules must be adopted, unweakened by lobbyists' pleadings. Financing could be government supported. Utility CEOs are multimillionaires many times over and do not need exemptions or weakened regulations in order to survive.

    Subsidies to build solar, wind and geothermal power plants might be increased radically. Worldwide reforestation seems a quick, cheap way to cut carbon in the air.

    It seems rational to say we must find humane ways to limit population growth worldwide and to limit increases in energy demands, especially in developed countries.

    And above all, the right-wing dominated House or courts must not be permitted to interfere, as they doubtless will attempt to do. They lack perspective on the global warming problem.

    Terry Cochrell

    Berkeley

    The real price of profits

    Steve Butler's recent column in praise of corporate profits borders on parody.

    The secrets of their success? They pay fewer taxes (there go pensions and civil service jobs); hired fewer worker (off-shoring, automation); pushed these few employees harder (a personal life?); and stagnated wages, on which a Times front-page article reported.

    The silver lining? Larger 401K accounts, if you have one, and if it is solvent when you need it.

    I would rather see those profits go to defined benefit packages for the employees. Most important, an investment defined society places more value on money then quality of life, social justice and the environment.

    Wendy Brubaker

    Richmond