Renaming school not a high priority

I've been a resident of Union City for 17 years. My kids attend New Haven schools where I've been an active member of school site council and a regular parent volunteer. Each year, through the council's conversations with teachers and principals, and time spent helping in classrooms, I've witnessed the devastating effects our budget crisis has wrought on our schools.

It was with great dismay that I heard about the proposal to rename Alvarado Middle School. How can the district be considering such a proposal when we have six furlough days this school year? Shouldn't the first priority of our school district be to ensure that our kids are getting the best possible education? Shouldn't all available dollars go directly to helping our kids?

We do not need to spend any money renaming a school with all the expenses that entails. How does it benefit the education of our kids? It doesn't. Spending money on something frivolous during these tough times makes a mockery of the district's cries of "poor mouth." Save the name for the next new school and let's get back to focusing on our top priority -- educating our kids.

Vanessa McDonnell

Union City

Obama must stop Keystone pipeline

The State Department's latest review of the Keystone XL pipeline is a cynical sham.

It ignores the pipeline's significant risk for toxic spills, ignores its catastrophic impacts on our climate and ignores the clear consensus among financial analysts and oil executives who agree Keystone XL will make the difference in tar sands development.

Instead of continuing to allow oil company contractors to determine what is in our national interest, it's time for the Obama administration to step up and reject this pipeline once and for all.

The president delivered inspiring rhetoric on climate action during his inaugural speech. But it is his decision on Keystone XL that will determine his legacy on climate. If approved, Keystone XL will be the Obama Tar Sands Pipeline and it will, as our own government's top climate scientist James Hansen has explained, mean "game over" for our fight to stop global warming.

Karen Engel

Oakland

Feds are to blame for prison crowding

It's disturbing to read about the increase of sex offender fugitives as a result of prison realignment. I lay part of the blame for our overcrowded prisons and jails on the federal government.

In 1986, we were promised our southern border would be secured in exchange for amnesty for 3 million illegal immigrants. The border security part never happened. At the end of 2010, there were 20,864 illegal immigrants in California prisons, 13 percent of our prison population, at an annual cost of $929,762,432, according to the Department of Corrections.

Dave Smith

Hayward

Solutions not so market based

"World must use market-based solution to stem climate crisis" was the headline in a recent guest opinion piece.

The text, however, contained multiple recommendations, including a carbon tax; protective tariffs on countries without an equivalent tax; and a federally led effort (comparable to the World War II era war economy) to build "massive wind, solar and hydroelectric farms connected to cities with smart grids" -- all magically creating "jobs for the future" without disrupting our slowly recovering economy.

With the exception of the carbon tax, these are not market-based solutions. They constitute a "command economy" model that presumes to know what's best for us.

For the record, I'm not a climate "denier" and I agree that a well-formulated, gradually imposed, carbon tax could be part of an overall solution to stabilize and eventually lower atmospheric CO2. However, nuclear power and carbon sequestration technology must also be options in any overall solution.

Industry needs maximum flexibility to determine the most efficient ways to lower our carbon footprint -- it doesn't need Napoleon marching us toward Moscow as winter closes in.

Harold Mantle

Lafayette