Learn from Canada's bad rail experience

I was pleased to see the Feb. 16 editorial stated that the fast-rail plans "still don't add up." I could not agree more.

Moreover, the whole idea of a high-speed passenger train makes little economic sense. It may work only in very high-density regions

Most such undertakings have been a failure. A major example is the shutting down of scheduled passenger train service on the Canadian Pacific Railway (a fully independent company) about 30 years ago. This allowed the company to become profitable with freight service only.

The government-supported Canadian National Railway (CNR) carried passengers and almost always lost money. Recognizing the problem, in 1978, CNR split off its passenger service to VIA Rail, a new Crown corporation. But that only shifted the economic problem. Today, VIA Rail still needs considerable financial support from the Canadian government.

If California wants to build a high-speed train, it should be done as a fully-independent business and not funded by taxpayer money. This position is supported by a large majority of Californians.

Jacques Guertin

Newark

Shooting man with baseball bat wrong

The Alameda County sheriffs deputies "struck out" by shooting and killing a 60-year-old, baseball-bat wielding man at his house. That they had been called to his home on 19 previous occasions certainly would imply they knew who/what they were dealing with. Sort of like baseball pitchers knowing batters they have faced.

Place the officers on paid administrative leave during an investigation? Really? I say send them back to the farm league. I hate to think what they would have done had he come at them with an ax. The ultimate punishment for this medically/mentally challenged citizen doesn't fit the "crime."

Mark Ziebro

Hayward

Congress not ones to fix Postal Service

Our estimable Congress once again is showing its business acumen as it addresses the perpetual red ink of the U.S. Postal Service.

Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Vista, and others know the answer: Cut out Saturday mail deliveries and close down inefficient post offices in remote areas.

Why stop there? If eliminating Saturday service is good, why not go a few steps better: Get rid of home and business service altogether. This will result in enormous savings to the service, and Congress can pat itself on the back for its creative solution.

Sure, there would be whining by people who actually still use the post office, especially those who live in rural America or are too cheap to buy a sophisticated home computer system and have a FedEx account.

Postal workers waiting to sort and deliver mail that never arrives may wonder why they are still being paid. That will be Step Two.

Thankfully, men like Issa, a supposedly successful business owner, know how to improve a product that is losing money and customers: Give the buying public less, and charge them more. Brilliant thinking, sir.

Joseph W. Campbell

Alameda

Must concentrate on ensuring food safety

The U.S. Department of Agriculture is still expanding the list of retailers carrying meat unfit for human consumption to Alabama, Florida, Mississippi, New Mexico, Oregon, Washington, and 970 locations in California alone.

About 8.7 million pounds were shipped all through 2013 by Rancho Feeding Corporation of Petaluma.

The recall comes in the wake of USDA's new "inspection" program that allows the meat industry to increase speed of processing lines and replace federal inspectors with plant employees.

According to the USDA inspector general, this has resulted in partial failure to remove fecal matter, undigested food and other contaminants that may contain deadly E. coli and listeria bacteria.

Traditionally, the USDA has catered more to the interests and profitability of the meat industry than health and safety of American consumers.

Consumer interests come into play only when large numbers of us get sick. Having USDA protect consumers is like asking the fox to guard the henhouse.

The Obama administration should reallocate responsibility for all food safety to the Food and Drug administration.

Milton Connley

Oakland