Nothing wrong with showing ID to vote

Approximately 20 states now have some form of voter ID laws and have come under attack from both the Department of Justice and various civil rights groups challenging the constitutionality of the laws as disenfranchisement. Some high-profile political figures such as Hillary Clinton have even mildly attacked the Supreme Court for recently striking down the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Several observations:

First, if we have to present state-issued IDs or other official forms of ID such as passports for routine activities, then why should we not be required to present it for the most important responsibilities we have as citizens? If individuals can make it to the polling place, then they can make it to the DMV to obtain a low-cost government ID.

Second (and an issue never mentioned), there are felons who have either the same or similar names to nonfelons. There have been cases of mistaken identity. Presenting official ID would most likely avert this.

If I were a Democratic strategist, I would advise Hillary Clinton and company to hush up unless they want to see Justices Scalia, Alito, and Thomas serve on the Supreme Court until they are over 100 years old.

Kurt Kleier

Oakland

Making sure to stop animal cruelty cases

Hats off to Oakland animal control for rescuing cats from apparent animal hoarder Jan Van Dusen and to Deputy District Attorney Timothy Burr for taking strong measures to ensure justice in this case of extreme cruelty.

This case appears to be yet another incident in a national epidemic of animals suffering and dying in the hands of unregulated rescuers, and it is a reminder that rescues aren't always the havens they claim to be. So-called rescues and shelters make up a quarter of the approximately 6,000 new hoarding cases reported in the U.S. each year.

Animal hoarders acquire far more animals than they can care for, often believing that they are saving them, and frequently let them suffer and die from untreated diseases, starvation, filthy conditions and even cannibalism. The American Psychiatric Association classifies hoarding as a mental disorder.

According to Gail Steketee, a professor at Boston University's School of Social Work, hoarders have a nearly 100 percent relapse rate. If she is convicted, it is vital that Van Dusen be given a lifetime ban on owning or harboring animals, with animal control officials ensuring compliance, in addition to the maximum jail sentence.

Please, notify authorities immediately if you suspect someone is hoarding animals. To learn more, visit www.peta.org.

Teresa Chagrin

Animal care and control specialist People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals Norfolk, Va.

Another side to the Zimmerman case

A recent letter writer considers several bits of evidence in reaching the conclusion that George Zimmerman was justified in killing Trayvon Martin. Unfortunately, she considers only evidence from one side, Zimmerman's.

Zimmerman states that Martin attacked him. Zimmerman states that Martin bashed his head repeatedly on the concrete. Zimmerman states that Martin told him he was about to die. Zimmerman states it was a fight for his life.

Of course we can't hear what Martin would say. He can't testify. Would Zimmerman have any motivation to lie or stretch the truth? Of course. Consider that while you are considering.

I have two other questions: Considering that Zimmerman didn't identify himself or state what he was doing following Martin, was Martin justified in standing his ground and would he have been justified in shooting had he had a gun? Finally, how many times did Zimmerman follow or call the police when he saw white teens at night in the neighborhood?

Joseph Brulenski

Berkeley

Teachers and their pensions

I would like to correct a statement in the Aug. 9 letter from John Hitchen titled, "Social Security opt-out is damaging."

Even if teachers paid into Social Security, they wouldn't be able to collect it. I am a retired schoolteacher who worked a second job for more than 30 years while teaching and paid into Social Security at that job; I still work and still pay. I also worked outside of California for five years and paid into Social Security.

Due to California's "windfall exclusion," I can't collect Social Security even though I paid into it. That's not all: When my husband died I was informed that I couldn't get his Social Security widow's pension because I was a schoolteacher. That's why I'm still working at my second job!

Hitchen's last statement, " ... which also leaves schoolteachers in relative poverty," is correct.

Jean Fisk

San Pablo