Random thoughts on Island's goings-on

You know the little sign in the middle of the street at some of our crosswalks? The one that says, "State law -- Yield for pedestrians?" I think it should say, "Alamedans -- Yield for pedestrians" -- people may take it to heart a bit more.

On a related note, for the past few weeks, I've been driving a friend to BART in the mornings. I typically pass by an elementary school just as parents are dropping off their kids for the day. The crosswalks are filled with little ones, some on bikes, almost all with a parent or two in tow and perhaps a dog to boot. Cars are quickly pulling up to the curb and then pulling away, this is a place where one needs to be extra-cautious and pay close attention to what's going on.

And yet, in the middle of all of this madness, there are parents who are letting their children out of the car on the driver's side and then letting them jaywalk across the street. And not just one or two parents. And not just on one day. I see it all the time. It drives me nuts. I raised six children in Alameda, and never, not once, did I let my kids out of the car on the driver's side.

Is it just me? Or is a quarter of a million dollars a year a lot of money? Because that, I hear, is how much the city manager is being paid. I would have taken the job for $100,000 a year.

And one last thing. I don't remember my heroes ever needing authorization to help someone, or standing on a beach and watching a man drown in 3 feet of water. My heroes do what I would have done, if I could have done it.

Oh, but what do I know?

Paul Little

Improve life for all by banning poverty

I think that poverty should be abolished. Many people today don't get a chance to have a good education because of poverty. Some parents don't have a stable job because their education isn't enough for them to find a stable job.

According to Ronald Reagan, "We fought a war on poverty, and poverty won." Fifteen percent of the population, 46 million Americans, are counted now as poor.

Before the Civil War, most married women worked at home because they didn't get enough education to find a job for better wages. Twenty-five percent worked in manufacturing. About half of the women in manufacturing got jobs in the garment trades. Even though they had skills, they were paid only half as much as men.

Today's situation is exactly the same. If nobody were poor, all of us would have a good education. Poverty should be ended so people can get formal education and get a stable job.

Kristela Caoile

Save lives -- repeal Second Amendment

The U.S. Constitution should be changed to make guns illegal. Guns don't kill people, but people use guns to kill people.

On Nov. 23, Florida, Michael David opened fire and killed Jordan Davis, 17, because Jordan's music was too loud. Police reported they argued back and forth, and David opened fire after Jordan refused to turn down the music. In Connecticut, a 20-year-old opened fire and killed 20 elementary students and six educators. He took the gun from his mother before he killer her.

If guns were banned, these tragedies wouldn't have happened. The law should be changed so we don't have to suffer our friends or relatives losing their lives. We must protect people from people using guns.

John Lam

Editor's note: fifth-grade students at Alameda's Edison Elementary School wrote the following letters about Alameda County's ban on free plastic bags at grocery stores that took effect Jan. 1.

Paper bags are good, reusable ones better

On Jan. 1, a bag ban was put to effect. All grocery stores cleared out their plastic bags, and now people have to pay for paper ones. Instead of paying for bags, we can buy reusable ones. Not only can you reuse them again and again, you're also helping the environment.

Plastic bags are an extreme hazard to our wildlife. Marine wildlife mistake these treacherous plastic bags as food. Dolphins and turtles eat this plastic thinking they are jellyfish. More than 50,000 marine animals die of the poisoning in plastic.

Yes, it can be hard remembering to bring your bag into the store, but you can hang it on your front doorknob, put it in the back of your car or hang it with your coats. All over the nation we have put a stop to plastic bags. This act will bring us closer to a greener world. Make the right choice: keep the ban on plastic bags.

Olivia Harrison

It's an honor to join ban on plastic bags

You won't see many plastic bags in Alameda anymore. I think that this is a good move.

Using reusable bags is a very good thing. It helps the environment in many ways, and is a fantastic substitute for plastic and paper bags. You can easily buy one for around $0.55 to $3.

I understand why many people oppose the bag ban. They are angry that suddenly these bags have been eliminated in Alameda County. They are also irritated that we have to pay a whole 10 cents for one paper bag.

Plastic bags have been helpful to us for years, but they aren't leaving Alameda entirely. Only stores that sell food were forced to give up these bags. Otherwise, stores that sell things like books or clothes still give them out.

I am one of 29 students writing about this subject. We all just want to save the environment. As you probably know, pollution is damaging the atmosphere. We only have one of those.

All we ask is for you to help us. Anybody can make a difference. It is an honor for Alameda to join the plastic bag ban.

Tiena Elias