No need for gun laws that won't be enforced
Use a gun, go to jail -- a hoax played out daily across California.
Politicians and activists are up in arms over recent tragedies. They want a ban on gun ownership. They, along with Sen. Dianne Feinstein, want to end legal ownership of firearms. They want new laws to curb lawful ownership. They say this will reduce or eliminate mass shootings. If that were true, I would stand with them.
We have more than enough laws on the books to reduce gun violence.
Recently, an Oakland man was arrested for a series of armed robberies. He is on probation for gun and drug convictions, authorities said. Why isn't he in jail?
Every week, we hear about felons arrested in possession of a firearm. If we follow the case, we learn the felon pleaded guilty to a felony and was granted probation.
Let's not enact more laws that will go unenforced. Many of those prohibited from owning firearms do own them. There aren't enough resources to arrest them. Lawmakers want millions more to locate and arrest these lawbreakers. If caught, will they get probation?
Take the shooters off our streets. That will make us all safer.
Post office will not stop mail properly
Chatting with others in my building and on my block, I find that we all have the same rotten experience when asking the Oakland post office to put our mail on hold when we must go away for a week or two.
When you return, if you are lucky, you may collect some mail at the post office, but my neighbors and I, instead, always find that most of our mail is almost shredded as the mail has continued to be stuffed into our mailboxes.
I would like to know if Mayor Jean Quan or the postmaster or my supervisor has this problem. If not, why are my political representatives enjoying decent behavior from the post office while the rest of us suffer abuse?
Just one of the problems with our Postal Service, another being that magazines arrive two weeks late.
An encouraging act amid trial of cancer
The headlines these days seem to be filled with crime and negativity.
Then, something special happened to renew my hope in the human race.
Two days before Christmas, our doorbell rang and my wife and daughter were greeted by a group singing Christmas carols. These people were dealing with cancer, but came by to let my daughter, who also has cancer and other health problems, know that someone cares. They were transported by Judy and Vern Teyler, who both gave my daughter loving hugs.
Four years ago, my wife contacted Judy at the Women's Support Center at the Neighborhood Church in Castro Valley. To this day, they continue to help.
We thank the wonderful women who have taken the time, despite their own serious problems, to visit our daughter in the hospital and at home, to phone her, bring gifts and provide transportation when needed.
The Women's Cancer Support group meets 7 to 8:30 p.m. every Monday night at Neighborhood Church, believing that God performs miracles and He will find a way to help. If you are a woman with cancer in need of support, contact the group.
It gives us great hope that there are so many decent, law-abiding and caring citizens like the women at the Women's Support Center. They deserve the headlines.
Owen "Jack" Jones
Pentagon spending needs to be reined in
As expressed in his recent letter, Jerry Collins holds the mistaken belief, as do too many people, that the United States is spending too much on foreign aid.
Data from the New Priorities Campaign indicates the federal discretionary budget proposed for 2013 (not including Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and interest on the debt) provides 1 percent for foreign aid and 57 percent for the military.
Pentagon spending has been growing for more than a decade, while other programs have faced cuts. And the United States now accounts for 42 percent of the world's military spending -- as much as the next 14 countries combined.
New priorities resolutions were passed unanimously by the city councils of El Cerrito, Richmond and San Pablo in 2012. Residents who testified pointed out that investing in nonmilitary sectors creates more jobs than Pentagon spending.
Putting people back to work is one of the best ways to reduce the deficit. Readers can send this message to Congress and President Barack Obama by signing a petition at www.Jobs-Not-Wars.org.
Kensington Brown is the co-chairwoman of East Bay Peace Action.