Just wait for cost of high-speed rail

No doubt the "new" (Can one still call it that after 24 years?) Bay Bridge span is the biggest boondoggle in California history.

But not for long. High-speed rail is on the way.

John Polt

Oakland

Fools must stop the illegal fireworks

Hayward has one of the finest police departments in the Bay Area, but even they seem not to be able to stem the use of illegal fireworks in town on Independence Day (and following).

Residents ignore the message boards and signs entering town, and set off whatever they choose -- regardless of how animals and humans are traumatized, or houses and dry areas that could easily burn.

In my neighborhood, a team posted on the grounds of Bowman Elementary School, and one or two teams at Tennyson High (or roving through the courts off Whitman) could make a real difference. One illegal explosion went off near 11 p.m., so close and loud that we jumped, and a car started honking. These clearly, are not "safe and sane" fireworks.

I love my neighborhood, and would prefer it not be destroyed by fools.

Jerry Wrenn

Hayward

Raising rates after a disaster is disgusting

One silver lining in this country is that in the aftermath of a local natural or man-made disaster, people will pull together to help each other.

After the plane crash at SFO, however, some corporate groups displayed all the humanity of a common looter. Unfortunately, this isn't new. That is why laws throughout the country already prohibit retailers from jacking up prices of supplies preceding an expected disaster and in its aftermath.

Certain hotels in proximity of SFO have demonstrated the need for such regulation to become applicable to their industry.

KTVU news reported on the day after the crash that, according to the Millbrae Patch, hotel rates increased from the previous week: Best Western from $180 to $400; Travel Lodge from $89 to $329; Budget from $75 to $200; Super 8 from $100 to $180.

John Thurston

Hayward

Pitts' column right about atheists

Thanks to the paper for the commentary, "God, the 'universal spirit,' is cool with all those atheists," in the July 8 issue. I am one of those "religious atheists" whom author Leonard Pitts Jr. discusses.

To be more exact; I believe in logic, truth and love. If you include this set of concepts in your designation "god," I'm a theist, otherwise I'm an atheist or agnostic to you. I regularly attend Sunday worship services as a member of the Mission Peak Unitarian Universalist Congregation in Fremont.

Pitts is also succinct in stating some of the problems with conventional religion, and I agree with his analysis that "faith and doubt do not oppose each other -- they define each other, like light and shadow."

Paul K. Davis

Fremont

Paper doing good job of informing

I want to express my appreciation for the contribution to our community made by the reporters, columnists and, most especially, the editors of this newspaper. I have a growing gratitude for the active role all play in informing and advocating on our behalf.

Most recently, I've been impressed with columns: taking the governor and Legislature to task for their attempt to make government records less available (unavailable?), contextualizing BART workers' bargaining position, and revelations of pension spiking.

Whether I agree or disagree with the paper's conclusions is beside the point (though mostly I agree). The work is integral to the continual effort to improve our society.

Daniel Dal Corso

Oakland

Prop. 8 ruling damages the initiative process

Regardless of one's political leanings, the manner of resolution of Proposition 8 has seriously undermined the rule of law and our rights through the initiative process in California.

Our governor and attorney general take an oath of office. It includes: "I ... do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of the state of California against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of the state of California; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties upon which I am about to enter."

It does not include the caveat of supporting only the parts of the constitution one likes, or confers constitutionality determining powers. That is for the courts. Our elected officials abdicated their responsibility, and did so in a manner that seriously undermined the position the people have in the initiative process in California.

Mark Strauch

Livermore