Bill designed to keep doors open

I authored AB 566 to keep the doors of our courthouses open to the public. Unfortunately, the Oakland Tribune's Oct. 2 editorial misrepresented both the intent and the effect of the bill.

Let me be clear: AB 566 does not add undue burdens on courts that privatize judicial services. It merely establishes reasonable standards already followed by other branches of government to ensure that when for-profit companies are hired with tax dollars, decisions prioritize cost, quality and the public interest.

After state judicial executives let costs for an out-of-control IT project balloon to over a half-billion dollars before pulling the plug on the boondoggle, independent auditors called for more oversight. AB 566 improves transparency at the local level so taxpayers know privatized services actually save money, and won't run up unforeseen bills that bleed dollars from core court operations. And it protects the integrity of our courts.

Gov. Jerry Brown should sign AB 566 to protect taxpayers and access to justice.

Bob Wieckowski

Assemblyman, 25th District Chairman, Assembly Judiciary Committee

Clancy novels often were prescient


Advertisement

I was saddened to read of Tom Clancy's death.

I was a big fan of his and fell asleep many nights sitting up on the couch reading Clancy novels.

One of those mentioned in Thursday's obituary was "Debt of Honor," and what was most memorable about that story for me was that the villain who crashed the plane into the U.S. Capitol had earlier crashed the world economy -- by buying up a New York investment firm and then somehow obliterating records of all Wall Street transactions that occurred over a several-day period, causing anarchy and panic.

As I recall, he was a fabulously wealthy Japanese businessman who was obsessed with his parents' leaping off a cliff on Tarawa or Saipan during World War II rather than surrendering to the Americans.

In mid-2008, while I was reading fiction about this guy bringing down the world economy deliberately, other nonfictional people were bringing it down in real life.

And, as some folks know, many of these very same people are still fabulously wealthy and in charge and setting the tone and calling the shots and owning the government, not to mention staying out of prison.

Clancy was certainly prescient and validated the wisdom that truth is sometimes stranger than fiction.

Don Buchholz

Union City

Japan nuclear plant is scary reminder

While folks in Washington argue about the best way to keep as many American people as healthy as possible, I am thinking about the out-of-control nuclear plant in Japan.

I have eaten food that came from a Dumpster. I have rafted down the Tuolemne River. I have tried marijuana and hashish. I have walked for hours in Oakland alone in the dark. I backpacked five times in the Grand Canyon. I was concerned. I paid attention. But now I am scared to death.

One bad mistake at Fukushima and no health care in the world could prevent thousands of deaths and birth defects, some immediately, and some from cancer over time. I ask that radioactivity be monitored here in the United States, and that the United Nations recognize this problem for what it is and work together.

Albert Einstein said it best: "The splitting of the atom has changed everything, except our ways of thinking. Thus we drift toward unparalleled catastrophe."

Carla Haimowitz

Oakland

Holder suit over ID is a political game

Eric Holder, our country's attorney general, is suing the state of North Carolina because the state wants voter IDs. He says that the poor people, mainly black poor, can't get IDs because they can't get to DMV to get an ID.

The new Affordable Care Act, (Obamacare) requires that you get online to sign up for health insurance. Some of my friends and family don't have a computer, so you know a lot of these poor people don't have a computer either, so they will have to go somewhere to have access to a computer, like the library.

So what's the difference between getting an ID to vote or getting access to a computer? You have to get some transportation don't you?

This is strictly politics on Holder's part. These poor people he is referring to usually vote Democrat.

Cathy Ledbetter

Newark