Voters weren't given chance on labeling

The Aug. 16 editorial about Proposition 37 gave the impression that the voters of Vermont and Connecticut voted no to labeling genetically engineered food.

Vermont legislators never got the chance to vote on H-722 to label GMOs. Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin and legislators caved in to big biotech's threat to sue Vermont if the bill was passed.

I received an email dated April 13 from Shumlin explaining, "I don't think it is fair to ask Vermonters to bear the burden of the cost of those legal challenges." I find his email troubling when more than 90 percent of Vermonters want GE foods labeled.

Is it right for these special interest groups to have such control over our lawmakers? Who's really running this country? President Barack Obama or Michael Taylor, an ex-Monsanto official who is now the FDA food safety czar? Why can't media dig deeper to get the facts? These are the questions I have when I read the editorial.

Cana Chin

Albany

Proposition 37 gives us choice we need

I was disheartened to read the editorial on Proposition 37, which would give consumers the right to know whether the food they eat has been genetically engineered.

Nearly 50 other countries already require such labeling -- including all of Europe, Australia, Japan and China.

The very same pesticide and agri-chemical companies that have already spent upward of $25 million (most on any initiative on the ballot to date) to deny Californians the right to know what's in our food provide this same information to their customers in those countries.

No long-term studies exist that prove that genetically engineered foods are safe. Our own FDA opposes such testing. However, data do show they require more pesticides, not less, and our over-reliance on GMO crops has resulted in the rise of superweeds and superbugs.

Proposition 37 simply gives us the right to know what's in the food we eat and how it was produced -- allowing us to follow our own personal values to determine what we choose to feed our families.

Zack Kaldveer

Oakland

Drought is proof of dire predictions

The terrible drought we are now experiencing across the nation is primarily the result of global warming. Climate scientists have been predicting this type of climate change due to global warming for some 30 years. This change has arrived, in clear and indisputable form.

It is important that readers make the connection between the drought and global warming so that national action can now be taken to mitigate climate change.

We need to make the public aware of this fact, as it is crucial to planning our future. Perhaps public outcry will finally force national action.

Thomas S. Dickerman

Daly City

Columnist right on Ceasefire program

Thanks to Tammerlin Drummond for her excellent column explaining the potential of the Ceasefire program to help stop the spiral of violence in Oakland.

Her call for safer communities is right on point.

By taking the right steps, we can change both the reality and the perception of violence in our city.

Oakland should fully implement our own Operation Ceasefire -- it's shown incredible results in other U.S. cities. And our residents deserve action to restore public safety -- using methods with a demonstrated track record of success.

This is how we can create hope -- and produce results -- in going after illegal guns and stopping the violence on our streets.

People feel discouraged. But by doing what we know can work, we increase the likelihood that we'll succeed in reducing crime and restoring public trust.

We must stop the deadly violence -- and implementing Ceasefire can be part of the solution.

Rebecca Kaplan

Oakland councilwoman at-large

Fund tech fixes to help stop climate change

Tom Barnidge's column on Berkeley professor Richard Muller's review of past global temperature data was highly informative.

While one of the first lessons a budding skeptic learns is "correlation is not necessarily causation," Muller's analysis seems more persuasive because he was initially so skeptical about the validity of some of the data.

There are also well accepted scientific principles that explain why more CO2 in the atmosphere should warm things up.

The issues seem to boil down to: "how fast the frog (Earth) is being cooked in the pot" and "what (if anything) we should do about it."

As I understand it, he's saying "not very fast" and "switch to natural gas." That's reassuring since we seem to have a new abundance of gas. Yet we still have an abundance of coal.

If we are moving closer to climate-change consensus, what does Washington intend to do about coal -- and more broadly -- slowing the release of CO2 into the air?

At the very least, we should be funding research into technological fixes such as carbon sequestration.

Harold Mantle

Lafayette