Rental depreciation is not at all simple

I'm responding to the letter about landlords and depreciation on improvements to their property. It goes like this:

Put in a new carpet. Government says carpets last 10 years. Carpet costs $1,500. Divide this by 10 years and you don't have to pay taxes on $150. My tax bracket rate is 20 percent, so I save .20 times $150, which equals $30 a year for the next 10 years. I get back $300 on the carpet after 10 years.

My property also depreciates. Property costs $210,000 to buy, value of land is $55,000; divide by 27.5 years. This means I am not taxed on $5,636 each year. This saves me 20 percent times $5,636, which equals $1,127 a year.

Sound good? No. Depreciation is not a free gift from government. You can't refuse it. When you sell, all your depreciation for each year is added up and taxed at 25 percent. I lose 5 percent on all depreciation. Only those above the 25 percent tax bracket benefit. Government is happy to keep the fight between the tenant and landlord, and collect the taxes.

Rebecca Lester

Fremont

'Transgender' is not being used correctly

I know the politically correct style guides say to use "transgender" for everyone. That's too confusing.

Reading Mark Emmons' recent excellent article on fitness contestant Chloie Johnson changed my opinion of her because it told me she's actually a transsexual woman (surgery eight years ago, new California birth certificate), not one of the many transgender women who want access to women's venues without having to have sex-reassignment surgery.

When I first heard of a "transgender" athlete barred from a women's competition, I assumed it was someone physically male who didn't belong there. A transsexual athlete is a completely different story, and now I support Chloie.

Gender is between your ears and sex is between your legs. Transsexuals change their lives and what's between their legs to match what's between their ears. Transgenders change their lives to match what's between their ears but keep what's between their legs. Easy to remember. The paper should make that distinction.

Beth Elliott

Oakland

Planning to vote no on hazardous waste plan

More hazardous material processing sites are planned, hopefully, along the ever-changing bus routes so that I, as a senior citizen, can climb on board with my six buckets of discarded paint and ask the bus driver to stop at the next hazmat site.

As reported via postcard, the second Alameda County Waste Management Authority public hearing about a proposed fee of $9.55 per year for 10 years to support (and expand) local household hazardous waste programs will be held at 3 p.m. March 26 at 1537 Webster St. in Oakland.

Along with my negative vote, it is suggested that fees charged by the garbage companies for household waste pick up and disposal are adequate to cover all household waste materials. Whatever the charge, firms in the waste disposal business with the large trucks are better equipped for this service than seniors or other people who have no way of transporting waste material to the special hazardous waste sites.

Any proposal for additional taxes/fees will not be popular in Alameda County because existing special district fees result in approximately 3 percent property tax rate rather than the touted 1 percent property tax rate.

Barney Oliver

Newark

Ban both union shop and strikes at BART

A recent editorial urged BART to ban strikes. Far better: Ban the union shop for BART employees; indeed, for all government employees.

Compelling employees to support a union to work for BART (or any public agency) breeds conflicts of interest and divided loyalties.

The famous union pioneer Sam Gompers said in effect: Good unions don't need a union shop; bad unions don't deserve one.

Unions don't need compulsory membership for collective bargaining. Free riders aren't really that; they lose their individual rights at the workplace.

Robert S. Allen

Livermore