Better way to spend funds for military

I support Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel's push to reduce the size of the military and our national defense budget.

In 2013, the size of our defense budget was greater than the next 10 countries combined. Our military is still largely staffed and structured to respond to Cold War-era threats that no longer exist, and we spend billions on weapons that are not really needed.

I would rather see the savings invested in three other areas that provide national security as much as our military does, namely education, public safety and infrastructure.

We need more qualified teachers to alleviate overcrowded classrooms and provide our kids with the quality education that will enable them to take advantage of a 21st century job market that increasingly will require a well-educated workforce.

Regarding public safety, those of us who live in Oakland can tell you that our city (and many other U.S. cities) needs more cops patrolling the streets. The federal government has the means to help turn some of those green uniforms into much-needed blue uniforms.

And with infrastructure, our ability to stay ahead in an increasingly competitive global marketplace will require that the U.S. maintain top-notch roads, schools, research and development capabilities, as well as updated broadband and energy infrastructure.


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Our continued economic security and vitality, which in turn pays for troops, bases, ships and tanks, depends on making the necessary investments in these three areas.

Jay Ashford

Oakland

Don't buy message sent by alarmist

This paper should know better than to feature a profile of carbon dioxide alarmist Peter Gleick.

Gleick has been preaching the same insanity about "global warming" for decades. Gavin Schmidt and Michael Mann were used to promote his credibility, but the three have acted in concert for years to tout each other. They form an echo chamber. Schmidt and Mann are not disinterested spectators.

So another "drought" has come and gone, and it is raining again. This has been going on for centuries. There is a six-month dry season in California every year.

When Gleick can explain how carbon dioxide causes high pressure bubbles that shunt storms away from California and into Canada, and to the East Coast, I'll take him seriously. But not before then.

Steve Tabor

Oakland

Coca-Cola shows its true colors

After a narrow defeat in Washington state, the public learned that Coca-Cola secretly had contributed more than $1.5 million to the campaign against the labeling of genetically engineered foods in the state. Coca-Cola also contributed more than $1.7 million to defeat labeling in California the year before, making the company one of the largest contributors to the defeat of state labeling efforts.

While this isn't especially surprising, it is two-faced. Coca-Cola has been marketing several of its brands to health-conscious consumers, including Odwalla, Zico Coconut Water, Honest Tea, Simply Orange, Dasani and Vitaminwater. These markets wouldn't be nearly as profitable if consumers understood where Coca-Cola has been directing their money.

Polls repeatedly have shown that the overwhelming majority of Americans believe GE foods should be labeled. According to a recent New York Times poll, 93 percent of the American public supports the labeling of genetically modified organisms. And labeling is already the norm in 64 nations, including all of Europe.

It's time for company policy to respond to the growing demand for consumer choice. Many companies, including Unilever and Mars Inc., already have responded to consumer pressure and stopped giving money to fight GE food labeling. More than 175,000 people have called on Coca-Cola to join them.

Querido Galdo

Oakland

Can't afford to lose St. Rose Hospital

Wake up, Hayward. We can't lose St. Rose Hospital. With Kaiser moving to San Leandro, Hayward won't have a hospital.

I just spent five days at St. Rose after a 911 call to the emergency room with heart problems. Thank God for the wonderful nurse caregivers and doctors. I am now back home. I was amazed at the care I received.

Jim Whitaker

Hayward