Assembly members should revisit vote

Bay Area Assemblywomen Susan Bonilla and Joan Buchanan recently voted to support the governor's budget, which included the use of cap-and-trade revenues from polluting industries to be used to reduce emissions. We were, therefore, surprised to see them both signing on to a letter to exempt the worst source of pollution, transportation fuels, from inclusion in the AB32 cap-and-trade program.

As a physician, I see the suffering from asthma, emphysema and heart disease in my patients, who suffer even more when they breathe air pollution. Low-income communities are disproportionately affected by air pollution, which puts them at higher risk for illnesses.

More than 30 major medical and health care organizations in California support AB32 to save lives and reduce health care costs from breathing polluted air.

By avoiding their compliance obligation under AB32, the oil industry is promising to impose even more costs on families that are already burdened with air pollution and higher health care expenses. We urge the assemblymembers to reconsider their positions.

Fred Herskowitz, MD

Volunteer physician, American Lung Association in California Oakland

Governor made error by signing food bill


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Gov. Jerry Brown's recent signing of AB2310, which reversed a previous year's law that would have required food handlers to wear gloves, was irresponsible. It was clearly a political move where restaurant employees lobbied state legislators and put their own interest above that of the public.

This reversal flies in the face of modern public health principles. Forty-one states have food-borne legislation requiring gloves. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicates that direct contact with food is the most common route of transmission for the Norovirus infection, not to mention other pathogens such as Hepatitis A, Salmonella, and Shigella.

Washing hands correctly, in addition to wearing gloves, provides two-levels of protection for both the food handler, their colleagues and the public.

Another related issue is that California Health and Safety Code section 114276 grandfathers in restaurants constructed after July 1984 and having less than 20,000 square feet from having to provide restrooms. Really? Should we always be equipped with hand sanitizer when we go out to eat in some older restaurants?

Sounds as if both issues are double-whammies. If California is to tout itself as being on the cutting edge, then it needs to bring its health and safety codes/laws into the 21st century.

Kurt Kleier

San Francisco

Everyone must look closely at evidence

I am writing in response to the July 9 letter, "Global warming is the lie of the century." The author claims global warming is the "lie of the century" backed by big-money power brokers.

The issue of whether climate change is real is so important, I encourage the letter writer, and all media consumers, to look broadly at reputable sources.

The data and conclusions from reputable science departments are clear: Climate change is real and almost certainly caused by human activity. Even skeptics are coming around when they look at the data objectively: In 2012 the Koch brothers funded a highly skeptical UC Berkeley scientist, Richard Muller, to analyze all the data on temperature in a well-structured study. Muller speaks about how surprised he was to conclude that the warming measurements are true and he now believes that it appears to be human caused.

I'm a parent and feel we owe it to the next generation to inform ourselves and, if convinced by objective facts, take ethical action.

Martha Sellers

Oakland

Obama's starving of parks is misguided

President Barack Obama requested $3.7 billion to address the illegal immigrant crisis at our southern border; a crisis due in great part to Obama administration policies and actions that led Central American children and families to believe that they would be able to stay in the United States if they could only cross our border.

Compare that with the $3.6 billion requested by our national parks to operate in fiscal 2015 -- the centennial year of our national parks. Our national parks have been starved for funds for years, resulting in park closures, deferred maintenance, park ranger layoffs and park ranger furloughs.

We need to change the belief that illegal immigrants are welcome in the United States. To do this, we need to return the illegal immigrants to their home country as quickly as possible and demand that their countries accept them. The threat of reducing aid from the United States to these counties would probably encourage them to accept. That threat of reducing aid would also encourage those countries to curtail the exodus of children and families. Of course, we also need to beef up border security.

Obama's request to spend billions in Central America while starving our precious national parks is misguided.

Jerry Robertson

Fremont