Fracking is hazardous
A recent article in the Times by Garance Burke, "In dry California, water fetching record prices," captures the severity of California's water crisis.
As the effects of global warming continue to worsen, it is crucial that we re-evaluate our natural resource consumption. Hydraulic fracturing, commonly known as fracking, is a process used to drill for oil and natural gas that wastes millions of gallons of water. Yet, we are still letting it occur in California.
Water used for fracking is laced with hundreds of chemicals, many of which are known carcinogens, meaning water used for the fracking process can never be used again.
Should we be using our scarce supplies of water to fuel an environmentally hazardous process such as fracking? No.
We, as Californians, have a responsibility to future generations to stop this process and preserve our scarce water resources.
Murders can't be tolerated
The murder of Israeli teens Eyal Yifrach, Naftali Fraenkel and Gilad Shaar and the revenge murder of Palestinian teen Mohammad Abu Khdeir cannot be tolerated.
Since 2000, 1,527 Palestinian children have been killed by Israel and 134 Israeli children have been killed. (RememberTheseChildren.org)
Though it is not clear that Hamas was responsible for the Israeli teen deaths, Israel launched air strikes against Gaza in retaliation. The homes of the "suspects" were demolished.
This is collective punishment, illegal under international law. Hundreds of Palestinians are under administrative detention. Video showed Israeli police severely beating Tarek Abu Khdeir, American cousin of lynch victim Mohammad.
U.S. taxpayers give Israel $3.5 billion yearly to prolong an unjust occupation, which allows inequality and violence to continue against Palestinians. Mobs shouting "death to Arabs" and price-tag attacks show the racism present there.
Our foreign policy should not support this. End military aid to Israel now.
Renaming of Portola school
I have spoken at all West Contra Costa school board meetings regarding the name change for Portola Middle School.
I am wondering if these meetings have been properly conducted? Upon checking Robert's Rules of Order, I understand that a chairman of a committee only acts as a moderator.
School board President Charles Ramsey appointed El Cerrito resident Jim Ghidella as the chairman, along with school board members Madeline Kronenberg and Randall Enos. At the first "study" session, where members of the community shared their opinions, Ramsey was introduced.
However, it was never stated that he was replacing Kronenberg. When was this new appointment made? Why wasn't this announced as a change that included a vote by the school board?
At each session, Ghidella, Ramsey and Enos spoke first about their feelings. Members of the community who spoke were then asked questions -- sometimes embarrassing the speaker. Afterwards, Ghidella read letters or emails only from those in favor of naming the school for Fred Korematsu.
Korematsu's daughter has spoken at length about her father. Why were those who objected to naming the school for Korematsu given only two minutes to speak?
Is this the proper way to conduct a meeting in which to gather information?
Racial profiling a current issue
This is in response to Tom Barnidge's July 3 column in the Times, "Politics cloud school renaming."
Barnidge sees no logic in renaming Portola school after Fred Korematsu "70 years after internment ended, 16 years after Korematsu's award and nine years after his death."
Barnidge forgets that in 2010, California Gov. Schwarzenegger signed the law proclaiming Jan. 30 "Fred T. Korematsu Day of Civil Liberties and the Constitution" because Korematsu fought for the constitutional civil rights for all Americans, not just for the Japanese-Americans.
After 9/11, Korematsu spoke up against rounding up Muslims. Up to his death, Korematsu fought against what we call "racial profiling" -- something he, among 80,000 American citizens of Japanese ancestry, experienced while being forcefully removed and interned without fair trials. They were incarcerated in America's 10 concentration camps, along with some 40,000 immigrant parents who were denied by racist laws the right to become naturalized American citizens.
Korematsu's fight is not an outdated Japanese-American issue. It is very much a current American issue that racial profiling and such civil liberty violations are still happening today.
Nakahar is a retired Portola Middle School teacher.
AB32 creates a slush fund
The state should not use any of the AB32 revenues to fund Gov. Jerry Brown's high-speed rail project.
Funding for the bullet train was supposed to come from investors, who would be lining up to invest, if they thought it would attract enough riders to be profitable. The bullet train will end up costing more than driving, and door-to-door it'll probably take longer.
By the time it's built, we'll all be in cheap, fast electric cars, and it won't alleviate any of the congestion on our highways. Everyone knows this, which is why Californians are overwhelmingly against this folly.
AB32 puts a tax on energy sources such as electricity and gasoline, and will eventually raise billions for the politicians to squander on their pet projects such as the bullet train.
So much for Brown's promise to seek voter approval of any new taxes. The taxes raised by AB32 should be returned to the taxpayers, or Brown should reduce our income taxes. That money belongs to us.
Monument to working class
One of the best monuments to the American working class that I've seen is Rosie the Riveter/World War II Home Front National Historical Park in Richmond.
I recently visited the newly renovated visitor center and was in awe at what a powerful statement it makes about American workers and Richmond.
The very closest I've come to this type of national historic park was Lowell National Historic Park in Massachusetts, which memorializes the birth of the American Industrial Revolution.
I'm sending this message out to people who have shown their interest in and dedication to working-class people. And for that reason I know you will be deeply moved by what you experience at the visitor center.
If you go, I advise you go on a weekday and allow at least one hour or more to read and view the exhibits. The park is free and there is plenty of free parking.
I'm a very proud Richmond resident and I love its working-class history and character. It was this moment 1941-1945 in Richmond's history that defined the city forever. Please check this park out and pass this information on.
Charles T. Smith