Shouldn't kid selves about private cops

This is regarding the Jan. 12 piece, "Private security rise is people's response to decline in police."

I lament the dreadful state of Oakland's finances and accept that people who can afford to do so may want to purchase private security. But they should not fool themselves about what they're doing.

The authors deny that private security "creates haves and have-nots" by claiming that everyone benefits from "the deterrent effect." This is clearly wrong; if there's any deterrent effect, then it pushes crime from the neighborhoods with private security to the ones without it.

I also don't buy the claim that private security "frees police resources to focus on higher-crime areas and more serious crimes." The police are already limited to a high-crime focus, which is why many low-crime neighborhoods feel insecure.

Private security is no substitute for a professionally trained and dedicated police force. People who pay for private guards will be even less likely to support the new needed tax measures.

Those who shell out for private patrols aren't doing the rest of us any favors. Quite the opposite -- they are pushing more crime at the rest of us.

Greg Linden

Oakland

Moral strength needed to address hunger


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Several prominent institutions warned Congress that further cuts to food stamps could increase medical costs in the United States. The Children's Health Watch founder, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and Pew Charitable Trusts are warning politicians in Washington, D.C., that more cuts to food aid will increase heath care costs down the line.

We are urged to go along with the mythology that the United States is the best country in the world. By some economic measures, we are the wealthiest. However, politicians are either so corrupt or out of touch with daily life that they must be advised by experts that hunger is a problem in this country.

Apparently, that adults in the U.S. are hungry is neither an ethical nor a moral issue. Adults simply must go out and get a (nonexistent) job. There is only a moral or ethical problem if the health of a child is compromised. About that point, I am sure that politicians will argue about the validity of the study.

There is something seriously wrong with this picture. In countries without the wealth of the United States, human beings, whether adult or children, receive adequate nutrition.

Hunger and food insecurity have always been a problem with a subset of the American population. The severe downturn of the economy of 2008, followed by a jobless recovery, have left many previously middle-class families behind.

Why are we allowing our politicians to argue about future health care costs? There is hunger all around us, in adults and children. It is not hard to see. Do we have the moral strength to address the issue?

Elizabeth Preston

Oakland

Maybe nation should make Congress work

Many members of the current Republican hierarchy define unemployment compensation as paying people for not working. They say it encourages people to stop looking for work and, therefore, no extension of benefits long-term unemployed Americans is warranted.

And the Republican members of Congress should know. They have indicated that they plan to work less than 100 days in 2014. They gave themselves numerous breaks in 2013, including a 16-day shutdown of the government that cost taxpayers some $24 billion.

They have caused this Congress to be called the Do-Nothing Congress. And they are still getting their full package of pay, benefits and other perks. But they have not offered any plan to offset the money they receive for doing nothing.

They're still searching for something, anything to try to impeach President Barack Obama. Maybe we taxpayers should start recall efforts for members of Congress. The sooner, the better.

Clyde E. Albert

Hayward