The undocumented not getting enough

There is much talk about creating fair immigration policy so that millions of people who reside permanently in the United States without "permission" can regain a modicum of basic rights that we have deprived them of.

Both political parties echo the mantra, yet Governor Jerry Brown has declared he will take away state funding from counties -- funding which provides health care for the indigent. Among the more than 20 million people not eligible for coverage under the Affordable Care Act (or ObamaCare), the undocumented make up about half.

Brown knows full well that Congress removed the undocumented from insurance coverage under the health care reform. In California, these folks rely upon county-funded clinics. Like the removal of drivers' licenses, Brown's intention denies common sense, as it will create greater risks to all.

People denied coverage get sicker and end up at emergency rooms. California will have to reimburse hospitals, at higher cost, under the Hill-Burton Act.

Does not our nation's founding Declaration read: We hold " ... that all men are created equal"?

Marc Sapir

Berkeley Dr. Sapir provides primary care at a public clinic in Alameda County.

EBMUD wants more money


Advertisement

EBMUD is asking for a rate increase again by 20 percent over the next two years.

It had rate increases of 7.5 percent in 2011 and 7.5 percent in 2012. The proposed rates for 2014 would be double what they were in 2007.

Part of the district's reasoning is that people are not using as much water, which decreases its revenue.

This year, the district is claiming it needs money for seismic upgrades to Chabot Dam, replacing 53 miles of pipes over the next five years and upgrades to treatment plants. In 2006, it justified a 3.4 percent increase in rates to fund a five-year capital improvement and 10-year plan for seismic improvements.

Its current budget (posted on its website) shows $202 million for infrastructure improvements. The current total budget is $703 million. Adding 20 percent revenue is an additional $140 million, or 69 percent of its current capital improvement budget -- if all the additional money goes to capital improvements.

The interesting part is that EBMUD, for some reason, is not subject to public utilities regulation.

The public hearing is 1:15 p.m. June 11 in the EBMUD board room, 375 11th St., Oakland.

Brian Deans

Berkeley

Preventive care is essential

Half of the people infected with hepatitis C have not received proper follow-ups, so the patients are at risk for further complications, such as liver cancer, which are preventable.

Because the costs for health care are so high in the United States, several patients may not return for follow-ups, fearing expensive hospital bills.

The solution to reduce the instances of several preventable diseases should not be creating new drugs but reforming the health care system.

The current health care system is based on the concept of free-market capitalism, where health services can be bought and sold as a commodity. The current system is driven largely by market forces. The theory is that private health insurance companies seeking to maximize profit will compete with each other, thus driving down costs. However, costs have continued to rise steeply because the current free-market system is failing.

Therefore, an effective health care system that will drive down costs to promote patients to seek preventive care is needed.

Preventive care is an essential aspect of health care that prevents further complications from diseases like hepatitis C.

Kuntal Chowdhary

Berkeley

AB-26 another handout to Big Oil

The August explosion at Chevron Richmond proved refinery safety and community health are concerns requiring serious solutions.

Assembly Bill 26 isn't a solution but another corporate handout. California's Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund was meant to help communities facing health and economic threats from climate change. AB-26 would use it to allow profit-rich oil companies to outsource jobs.

There's no evidence the contracted workers would be more skilled than those they replace, and there's nothing in AB-26 that would make anyone safer. Nor would the bill curb pollution -- California refineries would emit more CO2 per barrel processed than any other U.S. refining region.

AB-26 also defies public opinion: Californians overwhelmingly supported environmental protections when they rejected Proposition 23 in 2010.

The bill also institutes a dangerous, shortsighted "blame the worker" approach to safety instead of focusing on root causes. The U.S. Chemical Safety Board found, in part, that the Richmond fire resulted from Chevron ignoring six recommendations over 10 years to replace and monitor a corroded pipe.

Sadly, AB-26 would make it easier for oil companies to ignore real issues and make us all less safe as a result.

The Committee on Appropriations plans to consider AB-26 on May 24. Tell them to reject it: apro.assembly.ca.gov/membersstaff.

Miya Yoshitani

Bill Gallegos

Robert LaVenture

Yoshitani is with the Asian Pacific Environmental Network based in Oakland; Gallegos is with Communities for a Better Environment based in Oakland; LaVenture is the western director of United Steelworkers.

Eating meat leads to disease

The new link between meat consumption and heart disease, discovered by Dr. Stanley Hazen of the Cleveland Clinic, is just the latest evidence linking meat consumption to killer diseases that cripple, then kill, 1.3 million Americans annually.

Hazen's study showed that carnitine, an amino acid contained in all meat products, is a major factor in heart failure.

Similarly, an Oxford University study of nearly 45,000 adults in January's American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that vegetarians were 32 percent less likely to suffer from heart disease than people who ate meat and fish.

A Harvard University study of 37,698 men and 83,644 women in April's Archives of Internal Medicine concluded meat consumption raises the risk of total, heart and cancer mortality.

We have sacrificed the lives of 10,000 Americans and trillions of dollars in waging two wars to avenge the deaths of 2,600 Americans in the 9/11 attacks. When will we wage a bloodless, low-cost war on the killer meat-based diet, potentially responsible for as many as 1.3 million American deaths annually?

In the meantime, we have the power to raise our own life expectancy by adopting a meat-free diet. An Internet search provides ample resources.

Samuel Bentino

Oakland

Appreciation for our troops

May 18 was Armed Forces Day. It was a special day on which we could reflect on the sacrifices made, on our behalf, by our troops.

You can reach out and demonstrate your thanks personally or through a troop-support organization such as the Blue Star Mothers of America (members are mothers with sons and daughters serving in the military).

You can donate in-kind goods for care packages, or meet the moms and ask what they need to continue the organization's support of America's military, veterans, and the families of our fallen heroes. America's military needs to be supported by one and all.

Pat Soler

Walnut creek Soler is the national president of Blue Star Mothers of America, Inc.