Many would be glad for jobs

All those BART people on strike should quit their jobs.

There are plenty of available people out of work who would appreciate making $70,000 to $80,000 per year. Rest assured, the vacancies would be filled with quality folks happy to have a job with BART.

Richard Splenda

Berkeley

Shredding 4th Amendment

In his July 15 letter in the Times, Yan S. Pawlak asks, "If anyone objects to government data mining, my question is: Have they any unpatriotic sins or bad intentions?"

This is exactly the kind of thinking that empowers those who seek to control the citizenry through intimidation. It "shreds" the Fourth Amendment of the Constitution.

What is objectionable about the data mining by the government is that it (they) also assumes the role of judge by deciding whether what has been mined is "unpatriotic" or "sinful," as well as making arbitrary assumptions about what one's intentions are.

To top it off, they have concluded that it is their "duty" to act upon their judgments as jailer, torturer (punisher), or executioner.

The theft of our government, the laws, the policies, and the media is nearly complete. We best educate ourselves while it is still possible and wake up from the patriotic reverie, or we shall surely suffer the consequences of our blissful ignorance.


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Ron Greenstein

El Cerrito

Happy with postponement

My heartfelt thanks to the team that decided the safety of the Bay Bridge requires more time.

Since opening day has apparently been postponed, we can dispense with the ridiculous expenses of festivity and spend the money, instead, on the needy.

The San Francisco Bay Area is still the most beautiful place in the world.

Joan Bartulovich

El Cerrito

Good riddance to Napolitano

Janet Napolitano resigned from her position as secretary of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

Good riddance. She is a tyrant. And she missed it in Boston. Oops!

Napolitano ordered 1.6 billion bullets to protect us from ourselves. These are enough bullets to shoot each of our 320 million Americans five times. Why?

She ordered 2,700 urban rubber-tired military tanks to patrol our cities in order to protect us from ourselves. Why? It is estimated we would have 82 tanks to roam our streets and protect us here in our nine Bay Area counties. Wow!

President George W. Bush was wrong to create the Department of Homeland Security. We don't need it. We don't need these federal agents overruling our local communities.

We have a well qualified sheriff and deputies in every one of our American counties and we have a police force in every city.

I believe in local control. Get the feds outa here.

Mike Vukelich

El Cerrito

How far have we come?

I heard in the news how school children in some 36 states will no longer be taught cursive writing.

It saddens me that they will not only be denied a basic human form of communication but that will they also will be unable to read copies of original hand-written texts, such as the following.

The Declaration of Independence: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal."

The Constitution: " ... and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity" and "The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied."

The Bill of Rights: " ... shall make no law abridging the freedom of speech."

The Gettysburg Address: " ... that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth."

Some 72 million people in the United States earn an income of $25,000 or less yearly. According to a 2010 U.S. Department of Commerce report, people in this bracket tend not to have Internet access or a computer at home.

If they don't know how to write, how are they going to communicate without being face-to-face or on the telephone?

Jack da Silva

Pinole

Leaking, spying is not new

I know first-hand about surveillance.

My true story: During World War II, my stepfather served as assistant ambassador to Germany and my mother was German-born. We learned after the war that our home phone had been tapped. Mother was not political, she had lady friends. My sister was embarrassed, she had boyfriends. The stepfather seldom used the phone and I was a teen, not yet into dating.

But, still, how dare the State Department, or whoever gave the order!

One day, my stepfather drove me through a ritzy neighborhood near our hometown of Bethesda, Md. He stopped by a mansion and said the owner had been paid big-time by the Russians for secret material. He said he could have done the same, but would not.

Leaking information, spying, covert activities, acting counter to or beyond our government's rules and constitutional rights is deplorable -- but, really, nothing new.

Claire J. Baker

Pinole

Questions ban of plastic bags

I recently read that the Richmond City Council passed an ordinance banning the use of plastic bags in various businesses.

However, as well intentioned as the council is (concern for the birds and fish, and problems associated with plastic bags), it is still ignoring one very important issue: What are we going to do about plastic garbage bags, sandwich bags, plastic food storage bags, and so on?

Further, many persons use those retail plastic bags as garbage can liners and discard them properly in their weekly pick-up by the sanitary company.

These issues have to be addressed before implementation of the ban.

Bob Collins

Richmond

Public gets raw deal with strike

The unconscionable BART workers and their unions' strike caused some 200,000 workers problems in getting to their jobs. They disrespectfully did this at the time of a national holiday, the Fourth of July.

The salary of $78,000 per year for BART blue-collar workers likely could start an engineer on a job and more than pay a teacher's salary. BART proposes to pay them even higher, $82,000 to $84,000. That's obscene.

Under the unions' proposal, average pay would climb to about $93,000 in 2015. That's outlandish -- especially for people who can get a BART job with only a GED -- when there are thousands of people out of work, some with college degrees and advanced degrees.

BART workers currently pay a paltry $92 per month for medical care for themselves and their families. I, a senior citizen pay $173 monthly.

An Internet report says BART workers cost the government $120,000 per employee -- high, considering levels of education, training and accomplishments.

The public is getting a raw deal and it is really costing the taxpayers. Something needs to be done.

Evelyn Botti

El Sobrante