Appreciate effort on violence prevention
We at Prevention Institute appreciated Tammerlin Drummond's moving July 29 column, "Commitment needed to stop violence," on the ongoing, tragic violence that is plaguing Oakland communities.
We completely agree with her about the need for cities to develop comprehensive plans and to exercise political leadership and will in order to reduce community violence. We also appreciate her mention of the work we've done with cities around the country.
Drummond mentioned the Unity Urban agenda in her column and we'd invite interested readers to take a look at our website -- preventioninstitute.org/unity.html -- to see it, along with the blueprints different cities have developed to reduce violence.
Chief communications officer Prevention Institute Oakland
Vodka boycott here won't affect Russia
Regarding folks boycotting Russian vodka because of Russia's anti-gay laws:
Unfortunately, unless you start with a vodka boycott in Russia, we stand little chance of having any impact on that industry by boycotting here in the states.
BART management should not give in
I hope BART management does not agree to union demands.
Employee demands in the face of the current economy are clearly out of line. Their compensation package seems more than adequate.
They dwell on their stagnant salary, for one thing. That only means to me that they have been on the high end of the food chain for far too long.
I can't help but think of the young man who appeared on a recent news clip who said he needed to ride the trains to get to his $10-an-hour job. The BART janitor who makes more than $50,000 would seem overpaid, since clean trains are a rarity.
How dare those employees punish the working public who try to get to their jobs with salaries that pale in comparison to the BART workers I never see, much less doing any work.
Governor needs to veto contractor bill
Gov. Jerry Brown should veto SB 776.
This week, the Assembly sent SB 776 by Sen. Ellen Corbett, the elected Democrat majority leader, to the governor's desk for signature. Clearly, they either have no idea or no concern about the struggles of honest contractors.
Honest contractors are constantly getting underbid by cheating contractors for public works projects. When you bid at your cost just to keep your crews working and you still get underbid, you know something is wrong.
The cheating contractor may pay workers off the books, or demand rebates, misclassify workers or overuse apprentices. By lowering their payroll costs, they lower payroll taxes and workers' compensation costs. The community loses money and honest contractors go out of business.
The state does not do these audits. They are done either by unions or nonunion auditing groups. SB 776 would bar nonunion contractors from being able to support their auditing programs. In this tilted playing field, only union-affiliated auditors will remain. Imagine that.
Gov. Jerry Brown can still veto SB 776 and keep robust independent auditing programs alive and well so honest contractors will still have a chance.
Personal politics at city meetings
One of your recent editorials was necessary in pointing out the transgressions and meddling that is occurring on the Oakland City Council.
It is my hope and that of many others that you can focus your investigative efforts on the Richmond City Council in the near future. Recently the police were called to quell another disturbance at a council meeting.
Richmond has become the laughingstock of politics. A new faction has instigated and encouraged disruption, diversion and demagoguery for several years.
We are a proud city and could be prosperous if only we were not so wrapped up in the personal politics that we see at every council meeting.
Glenn L. Stephenson