Knight rescues pair after flat on freeway

On March 14, we were on Highway 24 and, as we approached the Orinda/Moraga turn off, we had a tire blow. Needless to say, as senior citizens, we were pretty shaken up.

While we were waiting for AAA to show up, a wonderful young man named Aaron who worked for a medical equipment company pulled up in back of us and offered assistance. He promptly changed our tire.

We thanked him profusely and offered him some money. He refused, saying if it was his parents, he would hope someone would do the same for them.

In this day and age, it's refreshing to know there are still thoughtful and caring young people around.

If Aaron sees this, he should know that he was our knight in shining armor, and we, again, thank him so much.

Herbert and Alice Gardner

Oakland

Stair event supports research on cancer

More than 1,200 climbers will join the American Lung Association in California's Fight For Air Climb on March 23 to ascend the 1,197 stairs of the landmark San Francisco skyscraper at 555 California St. This event supports the mission of the Lung Association to improve lung health and prevent lung disease.

With lung disease, including asthma and lung cancer, now the third leading cause of death in the United States, this event raises critical funds and awareness to address this growing threat to public health.

Lung cancer is the nation's leading cause of cancer death in both men and women, taking more lives than breast, colorectal, prostate and pancreatic cancers combined. Ninety percent of Californians live in areas with unhealthy air, contributing to breathing problems, hospitalizations and even premature death.

In the Bay Area, more than 500,000 residents struggle with asthma, including 100,000 children.

Everyone knows someone who has been affected by lung disease. Let's join the fight for healthy lungs and clean air, and celebrate at the top of the 52nd floor. Walk-ins are welcome. Event day registration starts at 8 a.m. For more information, visit www.FightForAirClimb.org

Mark Di Giorgio

Fight for Air Climb volunteer chairman San Francisco

Quan's policies root of Oakland's decline

Oakland now has the highest per capita 911 calls in the nation. We hear about another murder, assault, robbery and home burglary every day. Nationwide, Oakland ranks first in violent robberies and is the third most dangerous city.

Over several months, graffiti has metastasized throughout the city. Graffiti along every inch of Interstate 880 is a particularly disconcerting "Welcome to Oakland."

This is a symptom of the growing culture of disrespect for public and private property. Mayor Jean Quan's lax policies started Oakland's slide down a slippery slope to total ruin.

Garnering much publicity, she chose not to enforce the law and allowed the Occupiers to camp out in Frank Ogawa Plaza. The occupiers were empowered to escalate their violence and property destruction.

For weeks, homeless have been camped in front of the Alameda County Administration Building. The message that no one is minding the store permeates the city's psyche.

Mayor Quan should take note of the "broken windows" theory: If you don't fix minor problems, they will escalate to major ones.

Dan Brown

Oakland

Discussions must include all the facts

A recent My Word submission stated that the movie "Zero Dark Thirty" distorted the truth by falsely implying that torture of prisoners provided U.S. officials with information that led to the location of Osama bin Laden's hiding place in Pakistan.

Jose Rodriguez was the CIA official in charge of the National Clandestine Service. Rodriguez has defended the use of "enhanced interrogation" techniques, including slapping, stripping of clothes and sleep and food deprivation, stress techniques.

He said waterboarding was effectively used to gather information from three principal terror masterminds: Abu Zubaydah, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri.

Contrary to the claim that such coercive techniques are ineffective, Rodriguez insists that they elicited crucial information that led to the interruption of at least 10 large-scale plots and the capture of many more terrorists.

Contrary to the depiction in the film, however, Rodriguez said that the interrogation of all detainees was carefully monitored, controlled and reviewed by top CIA officials. He also said that top congressional leaders, both Democrats and Republicans, were fully supportive of the specific interrogation techniques that were used to gather information.

I agree that a discussion of the CIA's interrogation program should be based on fact, not fiction. But in having that conversation, we cannot simply close our eyes and wish away uncomfortable facts.

Andrew Gross

Union City