Bridge span not something to want name on

I was confused when I read in today's paper a group of legislators proposed to name the western span of the Bay Bridge after Willie L. Brown Jr.

Then I read he "battled with lawmakers over the design and location, which led to years of delays" without mention of the billions of dollars this amounted to. I am sure he is a great guy and know he had a long and prosperous run in California politics.

According to Wikipedia, preliminary discussions leading to the eventual building of the Golden Gate Bridge were held in January 1923. Construction began on Jan. 5, 1933. The project was finished in April 1937, $1.3 million underbudget, and declared one of the wonders of the modern world by the American Society of Civil Engineers. That's four years to build -- who did they name this bridge after?

Tom Pifer

Pleasanton

Risk chances can never get down to zero

Kory Judd appears to have the engineering foundation to improve the Chevron refinery. But his quote, "The industry and community have become much more sensitive to incidents and rightly so. Zero (incidents) is attainable," perpetuates a falsehood. Engineering is the science of minimizing risk, but the risk is never zero!

Engineering can decrease the incidents and control the magnitude when potential failure scenarios are reviewed and safety controls engineered into systems. When a person lives in a home with a large tree, there is a risk that it may fall. An arborist can evaluate the health of the tree but cannot guarantee that the tree will not fall in a storm. Public agencies must ensure that the best engineering practices are being used.

Bob Sanchez

Pleasanton

SEIU local gives unions a bad name

My wife commutes to San Francisco daily from Dublin/Pleasanton. On July 8 on the 5:28 train, she sat next to two BART employees. All they could talk about was how much overtime they either made or could have made on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Their quote was, "(It) would make up for being out Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday."

This shows just how much Service Employees International Union and it's partner union members really care about "a safer BART" -- they don't. The SEIU1021.org webpage is totally false in saying they are bargaining for a safer BART. They don't want a safer BART because that would mean less overtime for them. It's simply pure greed. I have a Public Employees Retirement System retirement that all complain about. But to get it, my fellow officers and I gave up numerous raises and other benefits that would have immediately improved our lives. Instead, we saw the bigger picture of "what we should do now to ensure a better future?"

SEIU and the other union can't see beyond their noses! They only want immediate self-gratification. They don't live in reality. Both unions have nothing but a "what's in it for me?" attitude. They don't care about the public. Their T-shirts with the deadly cobra ready to strike speak volumes. They never intended to negotiate in good faith. They want BART management to stay clear and just give them what they want. What they need is to grow up! Too bad BART can't pull a Ronald Reagan and fire all of them like the air traffic controllers.

Mark Weiss

Livermore

Column correct about respect for U.S. anthem

I want to thank you for printing columnist Esther Cepeda's article, "Longing for a Return to Revering National Anthem."

The title tells readers clearly what her philosophy is. Most of us who are musicians shudder when our national anthem is performed by vocalists. Ms. Cepeda's term is "self-indulgent," which I think nails the difficulty even more than her words "respect" and "reverence." This music isn't about you, the singer; it's about us, patriotism and national unity. It isn't an appropriate place to show off your vocal skills; it's about honoring your nation.

This year, as we do every July Fourth in Pleasanton, the Pleasanton Community Concert Band played, and Ward Belding, our own Uncle Sam, beautifully led the community in singing "The Star Spangled Banner." Families sit in the city park and listen to speeches, poems and the band playing patriotic tunes. What a great way to celebrate Independence Day. I hope those who are asked to sing the national anthem read -- and take to heart -- Ms. Cepeda's words and sing it straight. And I wish they could participate in a traditional celebration to experience how our national anthem can bring a community together.

Beth Wilson

Livermore member, Pleasanton Community Concert Band

Military should stay out of Syria

In your June 21 editorial about possible U.S. involvement in the Syria conflict, you opined that in view of Assad's use of chemical weapons, "Intervention is the right thing to do." On moral grounds, I found your conclusion inescapable. But then you explained how that intervention could very possibly have many disastrous effects. Upon reflection, I find it difficult to call something moral when it very possibly will hurt more people than it helps.

Whom do we expect our "intervention" to help? The rebels? Hezbollah? Al-Qaida? Iran? Russia? And, by the way, precisely what is our goal? We have dabbled in foreign conflicts in this area of the world in the past, and things have not turned out well. I support providing humanitarian aid to the rebels, and providing any sort of support to those neighboring countries with positions similar to our own. However, I oppose any direct military intervention (particularly at this late date).

Daniel Mauthe

Livermore

Sowell forgets one of the most important evils

Columnist Thomas Sowell argues that the "Left's mindset ignores that there is evil in the world." (Times, Friday, July 5) and that the left tries to reduce crime with social intervention programs or gun control because of their historical refusal to accept the fact that there is evil in the world and that people will just do whatever they want.

He criticizes the left for having too-romantic visions of human nature and being soft on crime, but he omits how the government, left and right, refuses to acknowledge one particular flavor of evil -- greed. An example of government blindness to evil in high places is Alan Greenspan believing that banks and large corporations would regulate themselves. That trust and laxness of rules contributed to the world recession. Corporations and banks are ruling the world, and our government is helping them. Maybe we need to pay more attention to what banks and corporations are doing than to focus on the gangbangers on the bottom. They are capable of doing much more harm, and their activities are largely ignored by the general public.

Becky Simpson

Livermore