A Safeway takeover bad for consumers

My thanks to the president of the Commercial Workers Union for presenting information about the proposed takeover of Safeway from New York City private investment firm Cerberus Capital Management.

A buyout of Safeway from a firm interested only in profits would have a negative effect on shoppers throughout California and the East Bay.

There are 20 Safeway supermarkets in the East Bay. Safeway thus has a dominant position for food and produce shopping in our area, and the consumer has few choices for a full-service food market.

Here's what a buyout would mean: A decrease in employee hours and employee morale, longer lines at the checkouts, and a decrease in high-quality health food and produce.

For Safeway to compete: increase the hourly pay of all Safeway employees, encourage employee customer service, and increase healthy living, exceptional quality food and produce with the Safeway label.

A buyout from an investment firm is not good news for food and produce shoppers in our area. Let's hope that the Safeway shareholders vote no on this proposal.

Stan Heimowitz

Castro Valley

Airline's after-crash action is shameful

Decision-makers at Asiana Airlines should be ashamed. ("Asiana fined for aid lapses," Feb. 26).


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They not only employed a pilot incapable of safely handling a crash landing, they also left families in despair for days on the whereabouts of their loved ones as a gruesome CNN clip of the fatal plane crash played endlessly.

Loved ones of crash victims were left in fear before Asiana finally called with the bad news: three families learned their teenage daughters had died and 200 families learned their loved ones were badly injured. One can only imagine the horror.

Families also received a second call from Asiana, but not one of sympathy and remorse. The concern was over potential claims against the airline. Asiana, we now know, failed to follow proper procedures immediately after a crash. So after causing grief, anxiety, loss and funerals, Asiana Airlines is only asked to pay a total of $500,000 for its mistake.

If you're ever asked how much is life worth, respond from an Asiana Airlines viewpoint: $500,000 and maybe a phone call.

Meghan Ferris

Hayward

People need facts to make decisions

If we are to make reasonable decisions about government, we need to have accurate information about its actions.

The viewpoint expressed in the Feb. 6 letter referring to Edward Snowden as a traitor is indicative of the kind of thinking that stems from an underlying fear that requires relinquishing civil liberties to have security. Such a dangerous attitude can lead us down the rocky road to loss of our remaining freedoms.

For his job, Snowden pledged allegiance to our Constitution, not to our government or our military establishment. His actions in no way violate our country, but are instead a courageous demonstration of an allegiance to the principles under which we (are supposed to) live.

It is up to us to examine our government's actions.

While a Nobel Peace Prize nomination may be a bit premature, we need to thank him for showing the kind of courage of which few of us are capable, to give us the kind of information about our own democracy that we need to make rational decisions.

Marilyn Clark

Oakland

Hikes in Hayward's taxes must stop

The city of Hayward has added a utility tax to every household in the city and also added a tax on the water bill. Between these two taxes, that's about $1 million a month from about 49,000 residential customers.

The city has planned a meeting to discuss the proposed half-cent, or half-percent increase. The city can't seem to make up its mind.

This meeting is a sham. The mayor and the council already have made their collective minds up about the increase, but they must have an open meeting for discussion of the proposed ballot initiative.

The city uses the water system as its piggy bank. It keeps increasing the rates under the guise of upgrades for the system.

It's time for residents of the city to put a stop to this never-ending assault on our pocketbooks.

Henry Quintel

Hayward