Castro Valley MAC's action is surprising

Castro Valley citizens launched a grass-roots effort to convert the Daughtrey Building into a Town Square. Everyone with whom I've spoken thinks it's a wonderful idea. On Feb. 4, the citizens presented the Town Square project to the Municipal Advisory Council, I assumed to obtain their general support.

In a regular city, citizens would bring ideas to their City Council, and the council would direct public works staff to investigate the idea and report back to council.

What the MAC did surprised me. Rather than treat the Town Square as a public project, the MAC instead treated the citizens as if they were private developers and instructed them to perform a cost and feasibility study on the project.

The citizens are not licensed public engineers, nor should they have to pay for a public project study.

I suppose we can't fault the MAC, since it's their nature and role to advise on regulatory matters. However, the MAC has no legal or regulatory authority on public projects like a Town Square.

Let the MAC support or oppose a Town Square conceptually, but this public project should advance on its own merits. Qualified public engineers within the county should determine project scope, cost, etc.

Brian A. Foster

Castro Valley

Must stop fracking in the Golden State


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I grew up in New England, and as a child I was lucky enough to visit California. The state's pristine beaches and wide blue sky captivated my imagination. I knew even then that California was the land where I'd make my future.

As a UC Berkeley student and member of the statewide Students Against Fracking coalition, I am deeply concerned about fracking and its effects on the places that make the Golden State so meaningful for me and my fellow Californians.

Hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, is a dirty and dangerous method of oil and gas extraction that involves injecting millions of gallons of highly pressurized water, sand and toxic chemicals -- including known carcinogens -- deep into the Earth. Fracking has disastrous effects on our air, our water, our health and our climate.

I call on Gov. Brown to put our state's future -- its students and young people -- ahead of the destructive agenda of the oil and gas industry and ban fracking in California.

Ella Teevan

Coordinator Students Against Fracking UC Berkeley Class of 2014

Why do BART police need cars anyway?

My question is why are BART police in cars driving on city streets and, I guess, driving from station to station? Why do they need cars? Why don't they ride the trains from station to station where their presence is needed? Why not assign police to the stations?

I realize that some of the police probably have to have cars to respond to emergencies, but park the cars at the stations at their disposal.

I think a lot of time and money is spent and wasted driving from station to station?

Michael Langsdorf

Oakland

Being double taxed because of ACHA

Help me out here: Even though the Affordable Health Care Act's full implementation is delayed, it is supposed to cover everyone. The Alameda County health sales tax of 2004 came long before AHCA passed in 2010, and it hits the poor with the same percentage it hits the rich.

If all medical expenses are fully covered by the new AHCA tax as promised, why should Alameda County add another lifetime, to 2034, on to what is now a double tax?

Audie Bock

Fairview

Indigenous people must be considered

The U.S. State Department's report claiming that the XL Keystone Pipeline will not cause environmental risk is not accurate.

The department had not consulted with indigenous peoples in Canada about the health problem that they had to endure because of the dirty oil leaking from the pipeline, which spills into the Athabasca River there.

Indigenous people, such as the Dene, First Nation and Metis, suffer a higher rate of cancer because they have eaten fish that were contaminated by it.

I can see this happening here in this country if President Barack Obama approves the building of the XL Keystone Pipeline.

I urge Obama not to do it. It is too risky and I don't want to see indigenous peoples here suffer the same fate as their peers in Canada.

Billy Trice Jr.

Oakland