BART strike must be settled quickly

I disagree with the Aug. 13 editorial, "BART's offer to workers is too generous:"

If anything, and if possible, Gov. Jerry Brown should have issued an order not just to continue BART negotiations, but that a strike would not even be an option until as early as maybe Thanksgiving or Christmas break.

Some schools already have started, and most will be starting next week. A strike would create problems for new students at new schools.

And don't forget, the AC Transit situation hasn't been completely resolved. If both agencies were to be out on strike at the same time, it will be a total mess.

Unions -- not just BART or AC Transit -- but all unions of public agencies shouldn't be able to threaten a strike. Taxpayers are the ones who support the operations of most of these agencies, and it would be only fair for the employees to pay in something to their benefits. Everyone else does.

Settle it now. Please.

Tom Matarrese

Oakland

Children need to be able to celebrate

This is regarding the shooting deaths of a young father and son in Oakland:

No more birthdays for the baby or the dad. Both young in time's eye -- one 16 months the other 20 years old -- a mere pebble in the lake that ripples no more. When did the father and son die?

Did they die when the shooter found their bedroom? No. They entered death's plot when the shooter was a mere boy searching for love in all the wrong places, when life's doors slammed his fingers with self-hate. Hatred reflected back at him each morning when he brushed his teeth.

Communities without fathers celebrating their sons birthdays eventually die -- one cold shoulder at a time -- collective backs turned, denying fatherhood love. All of our children deserve love; unfortunately, the lack thereof is killing our city. Desperate times demands actions, or shall Oakland continue down the killing fields' path?

Neighbors, please love our children: Help them heal. Help them celebrate life's joy. And perhaps if each one mentors two, we can slow the killing.

Do it so the babies can celebrate birthdays in peace.

Gerald Green

Oakland

Religious leaders must empower openly

I am writing in response to the religious leader who wrote in a recent letter that he is where he is supposed to be "in my parish church on Sundays." He goes on to say that "productive, behind the scenes actions" are how he fosters change.

Recently, as part of the fast-food walkout for a living wage that occurred in St. Louis, religious leaders from many faiths stood with the workers and escorted them back to their jobs to ensure that they were not fired. The negotiations were not easy, requiring hardheaded persistence, as reported in the press. The religious leaders knew that their upfront, public support would be crucial, that their recognized position and moral authority in the city is essential to empowering the workers. That is leadership.

Pamela Dernham

Oakland

Ignorance, stupidity are the real enemies

Racism cannot be cured or solved since it is not the problem. Racism is the result of ignorance and stupidity and will never disappear as long as ignorance and stupidity remain. Racism is a problem, but before solving such a problem, we must first properly identify the problem. When examining the definition of racism, one quickly determines that ignorance and stupidity are the basis of all racist beliefs.

Some may say it's impossible to eliminate all ignorance and stupidity, and they're correct. But look at the space programs in every country. Going into space requires the elimination of ignorance and stupidity at every turn, multiple times over, with backups to backups. And still, things go wrong. But look how far we've gone. We are human, we're not going to eliminate ignorance and stupidity. But we can do a better job than we're doing just by becoming aware that ignorance and stupidity are our real enemies.

Michael Spurek

Castro Valley

Obamacare is a good law

I do not think Republicans in the House should block or delay Obamacare. It is the law of the land. And it is a good law, as it substantially improves health care insurance availability (no more rejections for preconditions) and affordability (insurance-premium subsidies for those who qualify). The Romneycare model in the state of Massachusetts has worked well for years. It will work in other states too.

Republicans have the problem of never having proposed an alternative to Obamacare. They just want to say "no."

They would rather remain with the imperfect status-quo system -- with 50 million Americans lacking health insurance -- that makes the inability to pay medical bills our most common cause of bankruptcy.

Republicans are perceived, more and more, as protecting the rich and powerful at the expense of the American middle class and working poor. Obamacare will make our country better. It will improve the status quo.

George Fulmore

Concord