Emergency that led to Measure Z is long gone
San Leandro voters passed Measure Z in 2010 as a temporary emergency tax increase to help the city close a budget shortfall caused by the Great Recession that would sunset in seven years when they expected the economy to recover. Should it pass, Measure HH in November's election will not only extend the temporary emergency for another 30 years, it will double the sales tax increase from a quarter-cent to a half-cent.
Was the news media lying when they told us the recession was over? Were they lying to us when they reported that Mayor Stephen Cassidy balanced San Leandro's budget three years in a row? What new crisis does San Leandro face today that the newspapers have been hiding from us?
Oh, wait. I get it. We face threats from terrorists. The SLPD needs $6 million to expand its headquarters, scan more license plates and renew its contract with Redflex, the red light camera company whose CEO was indicted on federal corruption charges.
Perhaps they need the extra money to purchase a $7,000 drone, like San Jose police, or maybe they are jealous they don't own armored military vehicles.
Historic parallels seen in Mideast, Europe
It doesn't take much recollection of so-called modern European history to see considerable parallels to the violence and conflict in today's Middle East/Fertile Crescent with what happened in Europe from roughly 1530 to 1660.
In those days, the Protestants (in several varieties) and the Catholics duked it out with each other with wholesale slaughtering of the innocents, mass migrations of people escaping punishment for their ideas, etc. My ancestors were German Protestants granted asylum in England who outgrew their welcome in London and were sent to the upper Hudson Valley of New York to settle between the Native Americans and the good burghers of the valley and provide a buffer; they were known as Palatines.
Eventually, we in the West have given up most of that intolerant behavior to the death and have assumed a somewhat more live-and-let-live lifestyle, although ideologues seem to be everywhere and never tire of inflicting their ideas on others. It seems to take a lot of death and destruction for people to get tired enough to do anything about it.
It's hard to think how the United States could ever be a trusted peacemaker in a region that we have mostly ignored or used only for our own needs, (mostly oil and tourism, it seems). War from an outsider serves no useful purpose; poor President Barack Obama -- he lives on bad advice.
Arthur R. Boone
Little Leaguers are the true role models
I am enjoying the Little League World Series, which involves teams from many countries. Just watching the kids' humility, smiling even when things go wrong, teammates patting a player on the back when they struck out or made an error, and just overall being carefree kids made it all the more enjoyable.
There was no complaining to or about the officials, no middle-finger salutes, no showboating, no display of individualism, and they really listened to their coaches.
A compilation of several games would make a wonderful training film for the professionals who think the game is all about the individual.
Oh well, I can dream, can't I?
Lawmakers must represent all people
Many legislators believe their votes can't be bought, but their biggest donors, be they corporate or labor, buy access. This means their arguments and claims get preferential treatment. With 3,000 bills coming through the Legislature each year, there is not enough time to check the truth of the lobbyists pitching their positions.
Bill Quirk wants to have it both ways -- namely, to represent his donors but pay lip service to listening to the people.
A recent bill would have killed Community Choice, the most powerful legal tool for local governments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. At a meeting with concerned residents, he assured the group that he would work to get the killer part of the bill removed. If he followed up, he was not successful, but rather argued for the bill on the Assembly floor.
He wrote a letter explaining how difficult the decision was and how complicated the issue. Community Choice is complicated, but the bill was not.
We need our legislators to represent the people.
Mandeep S.S. Gill