Peace only happens when hatred is gone

In Internet debates, Poe's Law refers to the difficulty in distinguishing an extreme position from a parody of an extreme position. A Feb. 5 letter -- in which the writer calls for the United States to invade Israel, forcibly close the Israeli settlements in the West Bank, and impose a peace plan on the region -- appears to qualify as a "Poe."

Neither the United States nor any other external power can impose peace upon the Israelis and Palestinians. On the one hand, the Israeli prime minister and a majority of Israelis have expressed support for a contiguous Palestinian state that has peaceful relations with Israel.

On the other hand, unfortunately, a majority of Palestinians continue to hope for the elimination of the Jewish state. Only when the Palestinians decide to let go of their hatred and accept Israel's right to exist as a Jewish state will lasting peace in the region be viable.

Andrew Gross

Union City

Measure A is nearly a lifetime tax hike

It's time to kill Measure A before it becomes a lifetime tax hike, which it almost is since it extends the sales tax until 2034.

Matt O'Brien's Feb. 5, front-page article on Measure A states that "Alameda County has pledged to keep caring for a population excluded from the federal health insurance exchange: undocumented immigrants."


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Is that so? If so, under what authority? I don't remember voting for this pledge. I've had it with Alameda County. It wants us to pay for every idea it has by endlessly increasing taxes. With the federal government's monumental failure to enforce our borders, it is as if the government has moved an illegal immigrant into a room in my house, and then required that I pay for his hip replacement.

If Alameda County made this pledge to cover illegal aliens, it did it without the consent of the rest of us. I'm already subsidizing the health insurance of legal citizens. I draw the line at illegal immigrants. It has to stop somewhere. These creeping taxes add up. Stop it now. Vote no on Measure A.

Penelope Bevan

Oakland

Garbage customers take note of new fee

Readers have probably received several notices lately about a new fee/tax that is going to be automatically added to your garbage bill for "analyzing your garbage."

Albeit the fee is small ($1.81 a year for individual households), there are 1.55 million people in Alameda County, so that will generate approximately $1.4 million a year just from the residential customers (if the average is two persons per household). Businesses and apartments pay more.

For the new fee, they will issue an annual report detailing how their work will "add $140 million to Alameda's economy" -- pretty interesting economic forecasting here.

According to their website, the agency's administrative budget is $6,148,536 a year. Of this, $1,804,199 or 30 percent of the total budget is spent on personnel leave, vacations, sick leave, holidays, etc. Not payroll.

There have been three notices from the agency. The latest one states you can telephone 877-786-7927 or you can go online to stopwaste.org/benchmark. But you have to do this before March 31. You must have your garbage account number to complete the registration.

Brian Deans

Berkeley

Alternatives to school suspensions needed

A recent article discussed the virtues of cutting back at-home suspensions.

This is a goal (fewer suspensions) our schools should strive to achieve. Many educators have found that as a result of trying to meet this goal, disruptions in the classroom have increased. What the powers-that-be need to understand is that lowering suspension numbers alone will not solve the problem.

A goal of classroom stability is primarily the responsibility of the instructor and the general school climate accentuated by a consistent administrative policy/procedure.

It is important that in the classroom the teacher can teach and the learner can learn without disruption.

There are numerous reasons why students become disruptive in the classroom, from simply being hungry to problems with other individuals. The reality is that some students will act out in the classroom. An alternative to suspension is needed to positively change this negative behavior.

Some alternative solutions: In-school suspension with an instructor; conflict resolution with trained student leaders; time out room for disruptive students; a learning environment that teaches kids to be respective to their education and those around them.

John Soulis

Fremont