No one going to jail reveals true power

So, Citigroup has agreed to pay $7 billion to get off the hook for bundling and selling toxic mortgages to investors.

Anyone going to prison for this stupendous swindle? No mention of it in the article. I'd guess of course not. Even politicians go to prison from time to time. Not banksters. What does this say about the hierarchy of power in America?

If corporations are truly people, as determined by the geniuses on the Supreme Court, why do they get off with just paying a fine? For Citigroup and the rest of the bankster bunch, this is just a cost of doing business.

Anyone think this $7 billion settlement will deter the banksters from future criminal activity? If the individuals in the banking houses mostly responsible for cratering the economy through this kind of malfeasance did some serious time in prison, that might be a deterrent.

Don Buchholz

Union City

Letter was unfair on use of e-cigarettes

I am very distressed by the inaccurate propaganda of the July 15 letter "E-cigarettes harm no-smoking effort."

Thousands of people are switching from tobacco to the much safer e-cigarettes and personal vaporizers. I myself quit smoking using a nicotine inhaler. It saved my life.


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The toxins the letter writer cites are minuscule in comparison with tobacco products. Yes, the use of tobacco has been declining, in part because thousands of people are switching to e-cigarettes and personal vaporizers to save their lives.

E-cigarettes are already illegal for youths under age 18 in California. Logically, what is needed is enforcement and I am strongly in favor of that.

E-cigarettes are not tobacco products. I wish all stores, not just 54.4 percent of them that sell tobacco would also sell the much safer e-cigarettes and personal vaporizers. Reasonable regulation of e-cigarettes and personal vaporizers is wise but overregulation will deter some people from switching from tobacco to e-cigarettes and some of them will die because of it.

Bob Swanson

Castro Valley

Jackson is far from worst Oakland road

A July 15 article ("Oakland's worst road? Repairs slated for city street") reported that Oakland was finally going to repair the potholes on Jackson Street. I, and presumably many other Oaklanders, will take issue with labeling Jackson the city's worst street.

Many of the neighborhoods have been neglected for years and there are dozens of streets that have deteriorated far past Jackson's current condition. For example, there is a pothole on Davis Street so big it has its own congressman. You can just forget about bicycling on that dilapidated goat path (unless you have a death wish).

In short, cheers to the city for fixing one problem downtown. So how about throwing some overdue love out to the rest of the tax base?

John Dawson

Oakland

Roads have not been a priority in Oakland

So Oakland voters are supposed to believe that there is not enough money in our city coffers to pave roads.

Public Works places the blame on insufficient gas tax revenues and voters rejecting a county sales tax hike. Reporter Matthew Artz offers his own analysis: increased employee benefits.

The truth is the city has been spending money on road improvements. Just look at 12th Street near Lake Merritt, and 12th Street in East Lake, both of which have new driving pavement and lanes for bicycles. As for 35th Avenue, while the road looks like Jackson Street, there are brand new sidewalks providing access for disabled people on both sides of the road.

We fix the sidewalk, but not the road? How are these infrastructure decisions being made? Does each neighborhood have to lobby for its fair share of our funds? How can we have money to save the A's and the Raiders, pay high-ranking employees large contract settlements and pay for environmental assessments for a private developer, and not have money for roads?

This city needs new leadership in the mayor's office and public works. I, for one, know that it is possible for Oakland to be a clean city with good infrastructure. We just have not seen it in recent memory.

Christine Ralls

Oakland

Shame on Israel and its supporters

Israel is a settler colonial state that has never defined its borders, that systematically discriminates against its Arab citizens (20 percent of population), and that daily bullies and brutalizes the indigenous Palestinian population while cynically pretending to be the victim as they steal more and more land.

Israel is like a gangster thug that brutalizes a weak victim, then when there is feeble protest -- mostly homemade and impotent rockets -- says, "I have a right to defend myself" while escalating the bullying and theft.

Anyone looking honestly into the history will discover that Israel has used terrorism from its founding until today. Now the Israeli military is bombing and killing a trapped population with apparent impunity.

Shame on Israel, its supporters and enablers.

Rick Sterling

Walnut Creek