Obamacare sales pitch like Bay Bridge's

After 11 years and $6.4 billion (far above estimates) the new eastern half of the Bay Bridge is open. In 1936 the entire Bay bridge was completed in just three years and seven months for $78 million, or about $1.3 billion if adjusted to today's value.

Now we are embarking on Obamacare, and the government says it is going to save us money and provide better health care. Based upon public reaction thus far, it seems to me the American public has just been sold another bridge.

Joe Crosslin

Pleasanton

Press handle bridge fiasco with kid gloves

It was very sad to see the local media fawning over dignitaries (aka politicians) at the opening of the new Bay Bridge. Instead of asking questions as to why the span cost six times the original estimate and took six years longer to complete, we got to hear how Gavin Newsom got lessons in how to use a torch. Pathetic.

Dan Yeggy

Pleasanton

How to increase BART unions' cost of striking

Daniel Borenstein's Aug. 23 column "Strike ban for transit workers sounds like a good idea, but ..." makes many very good points. As a casual observer, there appears to be little incentive for compromise; binding arbitration would be a disaster for more reasons than I can state here; and the likelihood of banning unions from striking is slim to none.

There may be another way, though. In New York City, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority unions are subject to the Taylor law. It essentially says that if a union strikes, its members will be docked two days pay' for each day of the strike. In addition, I assume BART automatically deducts union dues through payroll deductions and passes those payments on to the unions. If that's true, create a law that relieves BART from that responsibility beginning the first day of a strike and continuing through the life of the next contract. The unions would still retain their right to strike but would have "skin in the game".

Jim Bono

Pleasanton former deputy inspector general, New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority

DMV needn't be so inefficient

Government does not have the economic incentives for efficiency that private industry has. This week I took my daughter to the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) in Dublin to renew her drivers license.

We had to wait three hours for the renewal. A major cause of this is people are called by numbers and the employees wait for them to go to the counter. If the person has left the DMV and does not come, they are called repeatedly, and the clerk does nothing until they finally call the next person. This process could be speeded up considerably if a wait station was set up outside the counter and the customer was called to the wait station where they could immediately step to the counter when the prior client steps away. This would probably increase the number of customers that could be serviced by 30 to 50 percent.

Donald G. Pellinen

Livermore

Column was a hatchet job on cattle industry

As Mark Twain said "If you don't read the newspaper, you are uninformed; if you do read the newspaper, you are misinformed." Some things never change.

In an apparent effort to attract readers to her column, "Nation is Overdosed on Meat Antibiotics," Dr. Kate Scannell slanders this country's food producers.

Dr. Scannell should look at her own industry first and foremost when discussing antibiotic resistance. There is plenty of room for improvement. The cattle industry, contrary to what you read in the newspapers, is phasing out the use of subtherapeutic antibiotics and many of the antibiotics used are ionophores, not used by humans.

We are all aware and concerned with antibiotic resistance and continue to work at reducing risk. At the same time, we believe that healthy animals, properly treated when necessary, are a key to humanely raised, healthy food.

Jeff Wiedemann

cattle producer, Pleasanton

PBS, C-SPAN suppress news on protests, too

I was delighted to see Jim Beller's letter on the suppression of domestic political protests by TV news media. His is the first voice I have heard on this subject. He is touching the tip of the iceberg.

I became aware of TV news suppression of a political-demonstrations dimension of a story on comparing BBC World News, which covers demonstrations in the United States, with the PBS Newshour, which tends not to. The PBS Newshour, with all of its formidable corporate sponsors -- so-called "underwriters" -- is the most sanitized and soporific show in all of TV news. Its producers invite conservative think-tank fellows to appear with drumbeat regularity. Another example is C-Span, whose cameras are seldom turned beyond the foreground of a congressional hearing where mostly silent persons often can be found holding protest signs.

No, we live in quiet rooms in the United States. The shows' producers of all of the quiet networks and not the shows' hosts appear to be the censors, who are responding to the networks' owners.

Burke Ritchie

Livermore

Case for attack on Syria, at best, is really weak

How certain are we that chemical weapons are being used? Secretary Kerry seemed to cite evidence that could be anecdotal or manufactured. And are we being manipulated, perhaps by al-Qaida, to do their bidding?

Why, after years of Syrian civil war, are we now choosing the high road? We don't respond to 99.9 percent of the atrocities in the world, so why now to this? Why not to genocide in Africa, human rights violations in Asia and the drug war carnage in Central and South America?

What will happen to the collateral damage in Syria? What about all the women, children and other innocent civilians we kill during the strikes? And how will that be perceived in the world, especially the Arab world?

Secretary Kerry cited support from some Arab nations. How will they support us? Money to cover strike costs? Protection from or prevention of retaliatory strikes directed at U.S. citizens at home or abroad? I don't see a history of that help.

We don't need to begin this military action. I'm very sorry for the innocent Syrian people. But haven't we learned from wars from Vietnam onward that we don't always help those we fight to save? In considering all foreign military actions, we have to remind ourselves that we are there first to do no harm. If great harm to ourselves or Syrian nonperpetrators is a potential, we shouldn't engage in the fight.

Katherine Knabke

Danville