Support small businesses, shop local

Now that California's economy has begun to improve, many local residents--myself included -- have been shopping for the "perfect gift" for our family, friends and loved ones during this year's holiday season. Though many people prefer to shop online or at big box corporate retailers, I urge local residents to seriously consider supporting small businesses, particularly those in local communities throughout the East Bay and Tri-Valley.

According to the Governor's Office of Business and Economic Development (GO-Biz), "California's 3.4 million small businesses account for 99 percent of the state's employers and employ 52 percent of the workforce."

Clearly, small businesses -- including a significant number of "mom-and-pop" stores in our local communities -- provide much of the economic engine for our state. It is critical that local residents help these small businesses thrive by making a strong effort to support local merchants that will further reinvigorate local economies and create jobs. Earlier this year, I authored, the Legislature passed and Gov. Jerry Brown signed important legislation that will help California small businesses market and promote their high-quality products within the state and throughout the world. SB12, which will take effect Jan. 1 in California, is a label program that allows consumers to more easily identify California-produced goods.


Advertisement

This unique program will help spur the California economy by enabling shoppers to buy local and in-state products. During these times of economic recovery, I know that shoppers are looking for opportunities to buy local goods made by local businesses. Thanks to the passage of SB 12, consumers will be able to buy "Made in California" products and know those goods were made within the state or even locally. So before you finish your holiday shopping, I hope that you will consider shopping local so that East Bay and Tri-Valley communities and businesses will continue to prosper in the months and years ahead.

Ellen M. Corbett, D-East Bay

Senate majority leader 10th State Senate District

Scant snowfall affects more than just skiing

Regarding the recent story "Little Snow Means Faux Snow in Tahoe:" what a travesty that Californians must settle for machine-made snow to satisfy their winter sporting needs. Over the Thanksgiving holiday, Tahoe's largest resorts operated at less than a quarter of their full potential. What's next? Lake levels so low we can no longer grace their surfaces with our ski boats?

Well, yes! That's exactly what could be in store for us. The consequences of a poor snow season extend far beyond bummed-out snowboarders and skiers. Snowmelt provides us with our drinking water, our food and electricity for our homes. So why are we only concerned with diminished winter recreation?

Few of us willingly recognize this issue for what it is. Without even addressing the cause of increasingly erratic weather patterns, many of us prefer not to see beyond the next ski season. But why should we? Skiing makes us happy, and happiness is what truly matters, right?

Braden Christensen

Livermore

Cmpared to other forms, medical fraud is small

Of course, stopping medical fraud is becoming essential to make our economy work. Not just for the Affordable Care Act but for the entire governmental system.

I applaud anyone who finds and reports medical fraud. Just keep it in perspective. According to the FBI, health care fraud of all types takes an $80 billion bite out of our national budget.

That's big, but compare it with:

  • Tax fraud in 2010 cost us $305 billion. (Source: IRS)

  • Military waste and fraud, over several years, topped $100 billion. (Source: Forbes)

  • Congressional nondefense items stuffed in the military budget: more than $6 billion a year. (Source: Sen Tom Coburn, R-OK)

  • Securities and banking fraud? Hundreds of billions. (At least the Obama administration has started on that.)

    Unfortunately tackling fraud will be impossible under sequestration. Ditto, while the Tea Party Congress continues to waste our time with trying to kill the ACA and win the War on Women. So I'm glad to see our local politicos howling mad about government waste and fraud. My only question is: Where the heck have you been for the last 30 years?

    W. Michael Youngblood

    Danville

    A wish list of treatments for health care

    The current year's federal expenditure in America is estimated at $ 2.8 trillion, including $800 billion on Medicare and Medicaid. The expenditure has been rising faster than inflation and is a contributing cause of a growing federal deficit. It is not sustainable. Yet, it is not easily correctable, considering that the health care industry spends more on Washington lobbyists than the defense-aerospace and oil-and-gas industries combined.

    In an effort to reduce the cost to an affordable level for greater numbers of people, it is recommended to:

  • establish outpatient clinics at religious institutions' facilities;

  • provide immunity to doctors from lawsuits to reduce the business expense of doctors and the cost to patients by avoiding unnecessary lab tests needed for lawsuit protection only.

  • require doctors, in exchange for the immunity, to devote a free eight-hour service per week at the clinics proposed above

  • establish a fair profit commission to enforce competitive fair profits as opposed to the current practice of aggressive unfair profits from captive patients with debilitating diseases. For example, a charge of $7 for a cotton-swab or $12 for a Tylenol tablet.

  • establish a fair wages commission to regulate wages for the nurses. Unions, with their right to strike, eliminate the competition and hijack the economy of the entire organization.

    The Constitutionalists may be reminded that the lifeline of free enterprise is open competition. The unions have eliminated competition in wages and quiet collusion of corporations has eliminated competition in profits. The entire U.S. economy is suffering on this account.

    T.S. Khanna

    Alamo Foundation for Better Government

    Where will drug legalizing finally end?

    Good Grief!

    So now the same ignorant people who gave the worst president in history a second term want to legalize pot. Hey, I hear black tar heroin, meth, and cocaine want on the ballot, too. Idiots.

    Mitchell Smith

    Alamo