Census questions were intrusive

I am extremely concerned about the intrusiveness and inappropriateness of the questions in the American Community Survey that I received from the U.S. Census Bureau.

In good faith, I tried to fill it out online. I pay all of my taxes and do everything by the book.

However, the questions in this survey are "Big Brotherish" and do not have any possible relevance to "bridges, hospitals, social services" needed in my community (the justification given in the brochure).

They want to know if I received dividends, what my degree was in, and how many rooms in my house are bedrooms. I refuse to continue this survey and if I don't, I'm threatened with a fine or imprisonment. This is not the hallmark of an open society!

To quote Adam Johnson, winner of the 2012 Pulitzer Prize in literature, "When you have a subject's biography, there is nothing between the citizen and the state."

Kathe Jordan

Berkeley

President Obama, then and now

In 2008, future-President Barack Obama generated an unprecedented movement of hope and enthusiasm in the majority of Americans.

He won in a landslide and we thought a return to political sanity was imminent. I again voted for him in 2012, but for vastly different reasons -- uppermost the thought of Mitt Romney as president being disastrous.

Obama struck me as down to earth and honorable, but I found it disconcerting he couldn't get anything major accomplished while the Democrats had complete control of Congress before 2010. I believed his vow to restore our rights jeopardized by President George W. Bush's Patriot Act. However, I am disturbed by Obama's relentless increase of citizen suppression and the dubious needs for the presidential powers he's afforded himself.

I'm now trying to believe Obama originally had good intentions but has been steamrolled by the corrupt "good-old-boy" gang in Congress.

The Republicans have certainly succeeded in their promise to oppose everything Obama has proposed, to the extent of deliberately driving the country into a devastating downward spiral. Many Democrats have also exhibited the same disdain for his presence.

Nick Jury

Clayton

Shame on Lockyer for taking new job

Looks like California takes the shaft again. Our state Treasurer, being paid $139,189-plus, needs a part-time job?

Shame on you, Bill Lockyer. The good citizens of California have stood by you for 46 years through thick and thin. You should retire now and start your apparently new career.

Let's fill this critical position with someone who is willing to dedicate all of their time to the financial affairs of the state.

Susan Elliott

Oakland

NSA's intelligence gathering needed

I understand the desire for total privacy. I also understand national security is complicated and difficult.

If we strip the NSA's ability to surveil phone traffic, and roll back current practices, aren't we cobbling their efforts in the war against terror and losing valuable ground? We can't have it both ways.

America spoke loudly and clearly that our government should stand up against worldwide terrorists. Our Forefathers would not have imagined our government's long arm reaching into our phone lines, but the world is a vastly different place now than when our Constitution was being crafted.

I have nothing to hide and I support the NSA's intelligence gathering. In fact, I thank them for it.

Emily Schardt

Walnut Creek