East Bay CCA can go forward

I'm referring to the Dec. 14 Voice article, "EBMUD opts out of community choice."

The East Bay's initiative to implement Community Choice Aggregation can still move forward. In fact, the president of the East Bay Municipal Utility District Board of Directors recently sent a letter to the cities of Berkeley, Albany, Emeryville, and Oakland on behalf of EBMUD to offer continued participation by the district staff members in a CCA partnership that can be led by cities.

The article reported that the board decided not to commit funding for further study. But, notably, there was no mention of the important straw poll which displayed the interest of a majority of board directors in EBMUD serving in an administrator role for a CCA formed by East Bay cities.

The mayors of Berkeley, Albany, Emeryville, and Oakland have all expressed support for CCA, as well as additional staff and city council interest at other cities.

As a board director supporting stronger initiative from EBMUD, I see the crises of climate change and local jobs as worth the investment to take institutional leadership. A CCA could empower communities to choose a faster transition to renewable energy and energy efficiency, create more than 1,000 quality, union jobs, and attract clean technology businesses.

With more than 55 megawatts of renewable energy already developed, EBMUD is in a position to provide most of the technical services needed by a CCA that our cities do not have. EBMUD has offered to remain engaged in CCA partnership efforts, as cities determine how to proceed with implementation.

Andy Katz

Berkeley

Katz is the vice president of EBMUD Board of Directors.

Re-examine other areas

A recent community brief announced a Dec. 15 meeting hosted by the City of El Cerrito to improve safety for residents, pedestrians, bicyclists and motorists along Colusa Avenue between Fairmount Avenue and Terrace Drive and noted similar measures currently being implemented on Arlington Boulevard.

These traffic calming efforts are certainly commendable.

I invite the City to re-examine Richmond Street between Fairmount Avenue and Moeser Lane, a high-traffic corridor where traffic safety risk far surpasses that on Colusa Avenue.

Pedestrians, many of whom are students at numerous local schools, face significant risks crossing the street. Residents, including the elderly and disabled, are imperiled attempting to exit their driveways as speed limits are ignored in this residential neighborhood used by motorists as a "short cut" to avoid San Pablo Avenue traffic lights.

Blind hillcrests on some stretches of Richmond Street are a particular concern. While this issue has been raised with the City on countless occasions, public safety risks remain unaddressed.

Gary Wolinsky

El Cerrito

Stricter gun laws necessary

I implore President Obama and my Congress members to take action on gun restrictions.

The massacre in Newtown is beyond description. It is incomprehensible to even try to imagine what was taking place in the deranged mind of this young, near-child himself. His actions are nearly unspeakable.

But we must speak up about the insanity that is the weapons industry and the flood of small arms that have filled homes across the country.

We are a nation of some pretty tense people right now. We've come through a very divisive election that left some people feeling excluded, disappointed and angry. This is reflected in the halls of Congress with the level of goodwill and cooperation at an all-time low.

However, this is all the more reason to take "meaningful action," as stated by Obama. The president, at least for this brief moment, has the will of the American people behind him to put impetus behind sensible, logical and hugely needed gun control.

Our lawmakers must not let this opportunity slide by. Certainly there will be push back from the NRA and gun lobbies. They will quote Second Amendment rights and statements to the effect that guns don't kill people, people kill people. But they are wrong! Small pieces of metal, called bullets, shred through the bodies of 20 innocent children, leaving 40 parents and myriad relatives screaming in grief and facing possible lifelong depression. That is what guns do.

Please pass gun-control laws.

Paul Meyerhof

Albany

Concentrate on education

I have gripes with my own alma mater, Cal State Long Beach, so my feelings are not only focused on Cal.

I was never a student at Cal, but utilized its once wonderful library for a decade. Due to budget cuts, an important portion of the library of one of the finest learning institutions worldwide, closed on weekends. The shortened hours made research frustrating, when it was once exhilarating.

Yet, Cal pours big bucks into pampering its all-important Golden Bears football team -- refurbishing the stadium and catering to its every whim.

Now we have this advertising gimmick regarding the university's logo.

Cal, forget about logos and football teams and focus on the goal of giving students and those wanting to learn a totally user-friendly express train to education and research materials. That's what the money should be spent on.

Charles Birimisa

Watsonville

Rhetoric not the way to go

According to columnist Thomas Sowell, the respected Standford product, if the rich do pay the extra higher taxes, the amount would not run the country for more than 10 days with those extra funds.

Why is the Republican leadership so stupid not to point this out to our citizens day after day, instead of giving out the same old repetitious rhetoric, which makes them look like fools?

No wonder hardly any folks have a high opinion of politicians anymore.

Stan Ginn

Albany

Letters nearly identical

The letters to the editor from Ella Jensen and Sidney Steinberg are nearly always identical.

Perhaps the letter writers might have identified the organization they are representing when they reproduce such scripted letters. The lack of independent thought highlights the intellectual limitations of the American right wing.

Gregory Kalkanis

El Cerrito