Shouldn't try teen in adult court system

This is regarding the teen boy in Pennsylvania who created destruction and near death in his high school with two knives.

My 30-year-career treating mental illness causes me to listen to this news event with a different perspective from the average person's. He is clearly an extremely troubled kid, and he desperately needs help.

The mental health delivery system in this country is in shambles. For talking heads on TV to endlessly process this and similar tragedies will do nothing to address the trauma and hurt that preceded this incident in a high school.

There are major physical and psychological injuries that must be addressed.

The 16-year-old perpetrator should not be tried in court as an adult. He did commit a serious crime, but he is a child in need of help. He is not a seasoned criminal. If he had wanted to rampage in his high school with guns, he would have found guns.

In a photo of this teenage perpetrator, it appears that the boy is in a hospital gown. We need to think of him as a patient who needs medical help.

He needs to face the consequences of his actions in the juvenile justice system, not in the adult prison system.

Elizabeth Preston

Oakland

Nomination vote had little to do with race

This is in response to the April 11 letter, "Senate vote shows hidden racial bias," on the Senate vote of nominee Debo Adegbile.

I am always utterly amazed when folks try to defend the indefensible. The letter writer described Debo Adegbile as having a minor role in the NAACP's obtaining a sentence reduction for Mumia Abu-Jamal.

Seven Democrats voted against Adegbile's nomination, and for good reason -- he not only volunteered to be Abu-Jamal's attorney but held protests and rallies to try to get his conviction altered.

As always, race was used to persuade people that his skin color was the reason Abu-Jamal was convicted. Do you actually know how policeman Daniel Faulkner was murdered? He was first shot in the back by Abu-Jamal, then as he lay on the ground, he was shot several more times in the face.

After his arrest, Abu-Jamal admitted he had killed Faulkner and announced he hoped the cop would die.

So, what was the reason again for wanting Debo Adegbile to be placed in a position of power? Have we all lost our sense of decency along the way?

Connie Clark Benson

Hayward

Punish the officeholders severely

I'm sure people are growing weary of public officeholders -- elected, appointed or hired -- breaking the trust endowed on them by the public.

Cases in point: State legislators Leland Yee, Ronald Calderon and Roderick Wright, and others, as well as law-enforcement officers. It seems these people get these jobs and then thumb their noses at those who put them there. It also seems exposure of these miscreants is almost a daily occurrence.

The penalties they receive are too lenient. Breaking the public trust is as serious a crime as their taking bribes, bypassing contracts and showing favoritism. Obviously, they don't fear embarrassment, jail or fines.

The punishment must be more severe. Perhaps we need to bring back a symbolic version of the biblical practice of public stoning. This would allow members of the public who feel they've been generally or personally wronged by these crooks to cast his own personal stone.

Maybe this would send these thieves the message that we, the public for whom they work, are tired of their shenanigans and won't take it.

Ken Martin

Castro Valley

Must build dams, reservoirs now

Gov. Jerry Brown has proposed building more dams and reservoirs. However, he didn't address the four slated to be removed this year or those already removed.

Also, Brown didn't relax the enormously prohibitive regulations placed on building dams. This tells me his concern is just lip service and he is not serious.

There is a concentrated effort to have "pristine" and free-flowing rivers -- a good thing. But we also need to be practical.

Many dams have hydroelectric capabilities; the energy produced is about as environmentally friendly as you can get. When the spawning migration of fish is interrupted, hatcheries can be built and utilized. The result is that more fish can make it back to the ocean.

I love the outdoors. Being a native Californian, I've camped, hunted, fished and hiked in the mountains of California. We need to protect and manage our resources. We must be good stewards of the environment.

I've talked to some environmental experts, and what is happening is scary. Let's build dams we need now, not down the road sometime.

Bill Nelson

Concord