Concern regarding Supreme Court case

A recent article regarding arguments before the Supreme Court about the right of religious conservatives to refuse to provide all kinds contraceptive coverage for their employees concerns me deeply.

The Founding Fathers were very concerned about the role and power of religion in our society. The current composition of the Supreme Court of six Catholics and three of the Jewish faith does nothing to calm my concerns. When the last Supreme Court justice was confirmed, more than 50 percent of the populace's religious beliefs or nonbeliefs are not represented on the current court.

The right to keep religion out of the public sphere was a long and bitterly fought battle and is still going on. Allowing business owners to use their religious beliefs to restrict the rights of others is a dangerous path.

I highly recommend John M. Barry's book "Roger Williams and the Creation of the American Soul, Church, State and the Birth of Liberty" to anyone who wants more information, or Google James Madison on religious freedom.

Roger Wood

Fremont

Make sure officials know you're aware

Why do taxpayers have to put up with state elected officials receiving paychecks when they are not on the job? Current example: California Sens. Rod Wright, Ron Calderon and Leland Yee.


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Of course, putting pressure on them to resign could alter the political count, heaven forbid. It's no wonder that in opinion polls the public ranks so many of these self-serving politicians at the bottom of the pile. With the next election in June, no matter what the issues, it's imperative that voters get out to cast a ballot.

Make sure that our elected officials realize we are keeping close tabs on their actions or lack of action.

Maren Giannini

Castro Valley

Again, Oakland gets it wrong on security

Once again, the Oakland mayor and City Council have demonstrated the gross incompetence that has made this city a model of dysfunctionality.

They have voted, in the interest of protecting privacy, to dismantle the citywide integrated system of street cameras and gunshot detector microphones that have helped our minimally staffed police department protect public safety.

Apparently, the rights of teenage gang members to shoot their guns in the streets without being detected are more important than the rights of innocent bystanders and children to not be shot.

Stephen Matthews

Oakland

Yee should consider pleading insanity

State Sen. Leland Yee has yet to enter a plea regarding his multiple-count arrest by the FBI. I suggest he plead insanity.

How else could he have been so oblivious to the undercover agent's thinly veiled advances, including the agent's stating that the money the agent would pay to Yee was dirty money from gambling, prostitution and drug running?

Jessea Greenman

Oakland

Keystone pipeline not what we need

The Keystone XL pipeline is not what the United States or the world needs.

A recent Cornell University study found the claims of 20,000 construction jobs and 119,000 other jobs being created are false, and the pipeline could actually cause job loss due to the rising costs of gasoline that comes with the diversion of oil to the Gulf.

The pipeline will have severe environmental ramifications. Much of the tar sands oil lies under a large forest that's home to many species of plants and animals. Additionally, the forest serves as a large carbon sink, preventing it from entering the atmosphere and acting as a greenhouse gas.

Some 2.4 million barrels of water per day would be required to extract the oil. This water becomes so polluted that it must be stored in man-made ponds to prevent any of it from reaching the environment. But leaks still occur, spreading the contamination to drinking water.

The pipeline may be in the best interests of the oil companies, but it's not in the best interests of citizens.

Andrew Ramsey

Pleasant Hill Ramsey is an environmental science student at College Park High School in Pleasant Hill.