A tale of two ruined lives

For the past few days, the local media has focused intense coverage on the plight of an Oakland family whose 13-year-old daughter is now brain-dead due to a tonsillectomy gone badly wrong. It is a heartbreaking and difficult situation that has challenged us on medical and ethical questions and has reached the courts for a final judgment on her fate.

Contrast that with the coverage of the shooting death of a 24-year-old man at the Bay Fair Shopping Center recently. The end of his life rated three paragraphs in the "In Brief" section, with some of that ink dedicated to the effect on other mall shoppers. But aah, that was only gun violence, and we are inoculated as to its effects -- just another shooting.

What a strange society we are; able to obsess and demand moral accountability for a one-in-a-million occurrence and at the same time accept without meaningful challenge a mindset that will cost thousands of lives in the next year.

Ron Kuhlmann

Danville

Pot calling kettle black on zoning

I was surprised and disappointed by the recent piece by Roger Smith, the American Institute of Architects' current president. Smith outlines residential and commercial zoning for the uninitiated and then proclaims that the planned construction of an indoor athletic facility by the San Ramon Valley United Methodist Church would be a "commercial enterprise," because maintenance fees would be charged for its use and therefore in "direct conflict with the zoning of their property."

Smith ignores the fact that the San Ramon Valley United Methodist Church is a certified nonprofit organization in this argument, and that the church will provide a much needed community service with the facility. A long-standing problem for our 14,000-population community is that we have few recreation venues for youth and no indoor sport facilities. The AIA has apparently forgotten, or is ignoring, this need!

Smith's opposition to the church construction on the basis of commercial operation in a residential area is particularly ironic, since he operates a commercial business from his home on High Eagle Road.

William Nelson

Alamo former AIA president 48-year Alamo resident

Young adults have it right on nukes

Harvard University's Institute of Politics has been surveying undergrad students since 2000 to determine the attitudes young adults (18- to 29-year-olds) on many different social and political issues.

On the Oct. 30—Nov. 11 survey, one of the questions asked was if the students supported a policy to "Reduce spending related to the nuclear arsenal by reducing U.S. nuclear warheads from approximately 2,000 to approximately 1,550." This was supported across the board by Democrats, Republicans and independents.

I'd say we young people have got it right.

Alison Forrest

Livermore

Stop the lab's 'Frankenbomb' nuke program

Livermore Lab has been pushing Congress to move forward with the development of a dangerous new nuclear warhead. Most of the research and development would take place in Livermore.

This project, estimated to cost upward of $14 billion, would mix elements from several existing nuclear weapons. Some components would come from the Navy's submarine-based W88, some from the Air Force's silo-based W8 and some from other weapon designs.

This "mash-up" of three or more different warheads would create an untested "Frankenbomb" with new military capabilities, thereby violating our Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty obligations and encouraging other nations to undertake similar new weapons programs.

Because the Navy and others have objected to the "interoperable" warhead's costs as well as the radical nature of the proposed new design, the Obama administration could, and should, impose a five-year delay on the program to study alternatives.

The Livermore-based Tri-Valley CAREs has brought important information to light about this new warhead and continues to challenge this dangerous and costly program. The group serves as an important check on the lab's otherwise unfettered nuclear ambitions. Check out their work at www.trivalleycares.org.

Scott Yundt

Livermore

Handshake with Castro a nonstory

They were laying to rest a great man and all this Congressional person could talk about was the handshake between President Obama and Raul Castro. I think that says a lot about that Congressional person and the news media that talked about it 24/7.

Donna Fortner

Livermore

I-580 traffic jam a telling experience

Pray that the East Bay never has to evacuate!

On Dec. 23, a big-rig mishap on eastbound Interstate 580 near Vasco Road in Livermore snarled up most of the lanes. The accident occurred about 10:30 a.m., and the traffic impact lasted into the evening. Commute traffic was at a standstill.

Leaving Alameda at 3 p.m., it took me 21/2 hours to arrive home in Livermore. City streets in Pleasanton, Livermore and Dublin were virtual parking lots. The Sig Alerts on radio stations advised travelers of possible delays. Oh, so true! God help us if we ever have a total evacuation and everyone has to leave the Bay Area.

It was interesting in that evening news programs on TV and the daily morning papers did not carry this story. The most important news item was the "The Fanstastick Farewell" to Candlestick Park.

Dale Berven

Livermore

Union PLA to be bad for area workers

On Nov. 13, Antioch Unified School District Trustees approved a union-negotiated Project Labor Agreement (PLA) by a 4-1 vote that decreases local opportunities for 84 percent of construction workers. While the unions would have you believe PLAs are a good thing, research and experience shows PLAs result in reduced competition and increased costs.

About 63 percent of voters approved the $56.5 million Measure B in November 2012, but only construction workers who sign on to union workforce rules will be allowed to work on Measure B Antioch High School Projects over $1 million. A 2010 study by the nonpartisan National University System Institute for Policy Research found project costs increase 13-15 percent when PLAs are required. Taxpayers foot this extra bill.

Trustees who voted for the PLA are: Diane Gibson-Gray, Barbara Cowan, Gary Hack and Joy Motts. Contact the trustees to voice your displeasure and urge them to reconsider this decision that has local work and dollars leaving our community and lining others' pockets.

Nicole Goehring

government affairs director Livermore

Let's hear it for nonsense

HIP-HIP-HURRAY!

For David Arroyo's 'Spare the Air ... nonsensical' letter.

Joe Wilder

Livermore