Keep teen in school and on birth control

We know the surest way to poverty; studies in education, health care, economics and crime confirm our knowledge. Of course, I am speaking of teen parents.

As a teacher, my lowest-performing students every year were born of teen mothers who had their first child by age 16. Children of teen mothers have as much as a 66 percent chance of becoming teen mothers themselves, according to studies.

I have a radical suggestion for second or more generations of teen parents: Pay teens for staying on birth control and becoming educated. Pay $500 cash quarterly for long-term birth control, directly to the teen, another $100 per month for no absences from school, another $100 for a 3.0 or greater GPA. And, pay through college.

All told, California would invest about $85,000 for the teen until age 23. It is far less money than one unplanned child and it is an investment with a high return on investment. It is time to invest in girls and in their educations.

Debora Rinehart

Oakland

Better civil rights leadership needed

The recent Senate Oversight Committee report regarding the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing highlights the need for new legislation to add additional funding for this important civil rights agency to add staff and to reopen district offices that were closed.

There is also a need for legislation to eliminate the hidden goal policy that allowed the governor to block accusations from being issued against public agencies.

The report also points out the need to replace the current DFEH director with a capable, experienced leader who can restore effective intake and investigation systems.

Californians deserve better leadership in protecting our civil rights than that offered by Jerry Brown and Phyllis Cheng.

Gordon Piper

Oakland

American spirit is alive and well

Remember Chicken Little, who ran around saying "the sky is falling" and predicting the world was coming to an end? Today we have many doomsayers.

The sky is not falling as many Americans are on the march. Even the media is doing a better job of focusing on positive events.

As a crime and violence prevention consultant, I see people in churches helping others heal from drug abuse, abusive behavior and personal loss.

In homes, families are working on unity and spiritual growth. In schools, teachers are strengthening children to stand up to bullies and keep the environment clean.

In neighborhoods, city leaders are encouraging neighbors to work together to stop drug dealers, gangs and gun violence to help make cities safer.

We are not there yet, but prevention is fast becoming the new focus.

The sky is not falling. Americans are discovering faith in themselves and others to create change. We are growing stronger and more secure. Democracy is alive and well.

Stephanie L. Mann,

Director, Safe Kids Now Orinda

Hospital leadership needs clean sweep

I was taken aback and very much concerned about the amount of pay the CEO of Washington Township Hospital is making -- more than $1 million.

I and a lot of other people who pay taxes -- which, in the long run, pay her salary -- would like to know what does she do that someone else could not do with a lot less salary.

Wouldn't it be nice if where everyone worked their companies would reimburse them for whatever charitable contributions they make? I was wondering if she writes off all of her charitable contributions.

If I remember right, it wasn't too long ago that I read Washington Hospital was in dire straits for money. The problem is that there isn't a damn thing the people can do about this kind of graft. The board of directors should be fired; make a clean sweep including the CEO.

Walter D. Terry

Union City