City should continue funding First Fridays

What is it about our city's elected officials that makes understanding Oakland so difficult? First Fridays are not a once-a-year event, they are a monthly reminder to build and celebrate a relationship with Oakland.

First Fridays get us out of our cars and walking, connecting as a community, discovering new neighborhoods, appreciating art, spending money, and witnessing people from across the region changing their perceptions.

Oakland is a wonderful and complex fabric and this event sheds light on threads often missed. We are realists in Oakland -- we know there are issues and inequities that need attention and we also know that change happens in small corners (Art Murmur is a good example) and often provides a synergy elected officials don't understand how to nurture.

Residents should encourage our City Council members and mayor to reconsider funding so this event and its ripple continue.

Katrina Brekke-Miesner

Oakland

Driver should suffer regret for rest of life

This is regarding the horrific June 4 crash in Fremont.

How does this guy feel to know that he is responsible for the death of his wife and 3-year-old son? Speed, alcohol, drugs or just stupidity. It doesn't matter, he has wasted two beautiful lives.

May he suffer with regret for the rest of his life.

Roger Miller

Union City

Please join rally for cleaner Bay Area air

Matthias Gafni's June 2 article, "No pipeline? No problem," exposed the current and planned processing of tar sands by our five local refineries.

What will be our legacy? Our acquiescence to greater local air and climate pollution? Or our debunking the myth that we need more oil, and our rejecting dirtier, more polluting fossil fuel?

Let's demonstrate how to save the Bay and the planet by transitioning to renewable energy and dramatically reducing Bay Area greenhouse gas emissions. There are many more local jobs in a renewable energy future than in tar.

We urge the Bay Area Air Quality Management District to pass John Avalos' No Keystone XL Pipeline resolution and the Bay Climate Action Plan resolution, and implement the Crude Slate Rule.

These measures will provide accountability, drastically cut emissions, and reject carbon-intensive fuels.

Join us Aug. 3 in Richmond at a major rally to show that tar sands already in the Bay Area are a grave concern for us and our children. It's our air. Petitions and info at www.350bayarea.org.

Rand Wrobel

Member 350 Bay Area Steering Committee Alameda

Shame on churches for pulling support

The churches of American once again show us what hypocrites they are by pulling out support for the Boy Scouts because they accept gay children.

The Bible said one main message is love. I guess these churches forgot the main message of being a true Christian, and the Golden Rule to treat others as you want to be treated. It's a very sad message for those called Christians to be giving to the world.

They should read the Bible a lot more before judging others. Shame on them.

Ann Olson

Hayward

IRS simply ferreting out the tax cheats

If it were my job to ferret out tax cheats among politically active nonprofits, the tea party, "patriots" and Rove's Crossroads would certainly be high on my list of suspects.

I wouldn't need the president to point that out.

Ralph Valle

Oakland

Don't blame poor for health care crisis

All this outrage over Obama-care spending money on health care for the poor is misplaced.

The retiring CEO of United Healthcare, Bill McGuire, got a $1.7 billion retirement package in 2006. I'm sure the reigning health care CEOs are in line for similar or higher compensation. I haven't heard a peep of disapproval.

According to journalist Steven Brill's exposé on the medical-industrial complex, McGuire's $1.7 billion is more than half of what hospitals now spend (not charge) in care for the poor: namely, less than $3 billion.

Is assuring one man's obscenely cushy retirement really as valuable to the American people as caring for half of all the poor people who need health care? Is he God? He must be, because a lot of people are being sacrificed to make him happy.

Two retiring health insurance industry CEOs and you've spent the equivalent of all the money spent on the poor. Shouldn't we be outraged about the individuals getting billions of health care funds instead of the many people struggling to pay for a bottle of aspirin?

McGuire, and others like him, are really the cause of the health care crisis. Don't blame the poor.

Elizabeth Fisher

Pleasant Hill