Stop reporting horror stories

You know those terrible things we read about in the paper each day. The innocent bystander shot while going to work, gunfight between cars plays out near school, grandmother shot while baby-sitting and it goes on. It's ubiquitous, abstruse and we can't call it an anomaly any longer.

Here's my idea: don't report it. Just don't print that stuff, sure the people have a right to know, but how many people out there want to know? How much of that violence is copycat driven? Some guy in a bad way reads about the daily atrocities, and perhaps a seed is planted, he starts thinking bad things and the next thing you know he plots revenge. You can read all about it. Look for it bound in a rubber band, on your driveway early in the morning.

A precedent is already in place: We don't report jumpers from the Bay's bridges. Sure, people still jump, but how many haven't because they didn't see it in the paper.

What if the Tri-Valley Times gave it a try? Let's see what happens, I'll bet the response will be overwhelming from your readers. And who knows? Maybe circulation will go up. What have we got to lose?

Anne Murray said it best back in the '70s: sure could use a little good news today.

Bill Chestnut

San Ramon

A modest plan for overhauling U.S. democracy


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Out of the past governing systems, democracy has evolved to create a balance between individual liberty and the state authority. It provides periodic constitutional opportunities to the body politic for a peaceful change in governing officials.

However, no system adopted at any point in history can be everlasting without periodic and timely renewals. Since its adoption in 1776, American democracy has not incorporated any significant changes. The system is showing signs of fatigue.

Now it seems that the present system is not sustainable unless:

  • the Bill of Rights is expanded to include attendant obligations;

  • equality is redefined to mean equality of opportunity and equal treatment under the law is no longer used to equate the best of human culture with the worst of human nature through the "justice is blind" philosophy;

  • destructive competition that keeps decent people away from politics is replaced by constructive competition by (a) disallowing false accusations and character assassination of opposing candidates and (b) requiring progressively strict qualifications and prerequisites to improve the quality of candidates as well as voters;

  • Congress and the presidency are restructured by abolishing the Senate and establishing a 15-member nonpartisan Supreme Council to take over the functions and responsibilities of the Senate, the president and the vice president;

  • all governmental operations are made corruption-free and perceived by the public as corruption-free and efficient.

    Where are the "political pundits?" Please respond.

    T.S. Khanna

    Alamo Foundation for Better Government

    Equal Pay Day always makes some see red

    Tuesday was the national observance of Equal Pay Day. Across the nation, people were to wear red to symbolize a gender wage gap that puts working women "in the red" as compared to the wages of their male counterparts.

    According to the 2012 U.S. Census, women are paid on average 77 cents for every dollar a man makes for doing the same job -- a gap of 23 cents. California's average is only slightly better, at 85 cents to the dollar. Women and their families are being shortchanged thousands of dollars a year -- and hundreds of thousands of dollars over a lifetime.

    Even with the Equal Pay Act of 1963 a rule of law for 50 years, gender-based wage discrimination is still rampant. As citizens, we can help close the gap by urging Congress to support the Paycheck Fairness Act (S. 84/H.R. 377), discussing confirmed gender pay inequities with our employers and filing complaints with local fair employment agencies or the EEOC.

    With so many households relying upon women's paychecks, eliminating the gender pay gap is crucial -- not only to achieve pay equity, but for the sake of our families and their financial stability.

    Susan Beyerle

    public policy chair American Association of University Women, San Ramon branch

    Don't be too shy to condemn bad GM foods

    Although I'm glad to see an article that mentions that it's been found that eating genetically modified salmon can lead to a person developing allergies to seafood, I would've still liked to have seen this point clarified in greater detail as to why this is so, etc. In the film, "Genetic Roulette," parents have had to remove all GM foods from their child's diets because of extreme allergies that the children not only had to GM food but even to non-GM foods of the same variety after ingesting GM foods.

    An elderly person who is dear to me has suddenly over the past 10 years developed serious allergies to all seafood, which strangely began with a piece of (probably GM) salmon she ordered in a restaurant. It has been downhill since. So I think it's unfortunate that this topic is treated somewhat how global warming and evolution are treated. Even though the preponderance of evidence points to them being absolutely true, our media still takes the backward stance that these findings are controversial. Scientific testing on rats show all kinds of awful toxic effects on the immune systems of animals fed GMO foods.

    Paulette Kenyon

    Pleasanton

    Taxpayers fund most of parks division's budget

    In the 2013-2014 budget, the Off-Highway Motor Vehicle Recreation (OHMVR) Division of the California State Parks Department is slated to collect about $81.23 million. Seventy-five percent of that money comes from the motor vehicle fuel tax, representing the tax on more than 150,000,000 gallons of gasoline mostly sold to average drivers. Less than 25 percent will come from entrance fees and Off-Highway Vehicle (OHV) sticker fees. Of that 150,000,000 gallons of gasoline, only 13.3 percent is for registered OHVs.

    The OHMVR Division is handed over this fuel tax windfall based on an outdated formula. The state legislature has thus far been unwilling or unable to correct this travesty because of the OHV lobby. OHMVR parks cost six times as much as other state parks to operate, and are the most highly subsidized state parks. Contact your state legislature; tell them that OHMVR can have their 13.3 percent of the gas tax, but please give back our 86.7 percent to fix our roads and other state parks.

    Art Hull

    Livermore