Shame on community for allowing crime

Steal my daughter's van? Really? An old -- probably older than the lowlifes who stole it -- beater, but it's what she could afford.

She worked hard for it and now it's gone, and with it her way to get to work, her tools to keep it running, and her camping gear to enjoy the beauty of the area. She doesn't own much more than that.

It was worth way more to her than whatever measly amount of money one may have gotten for it. It's not like she has money to replace it. The thieves have hurt someone who is barely making it, and has never done anything to hurt them.

This is the second time her vehicle has been burglarized in six months. Shame on the community for tolerating such treatment of hardworking but poor young people.

Michelle Wegler

Duluth, Minn.

Paper should at least move Mallard Filmore

I know the paper has received complaints about the highly offensive Mallard Filmore "cartoon" in the past. There is nothing amusing or even satirical about this twisted attempt at humor.

I am adding my voice to those who would like to see it disappear from our newspaper, or at least be moved to a less conspicuous spot.

Bruce Tinsley is obviously galled that President Barack Obama won the election -- twice -- by both the popular and the electoral votes. He may even feel that his invective "humor" classifies as "patriotic." A better descriptor is "egregious."

If the paper feels it must retain this offensive rant, please move it to the editorial page or at the bottom of the comics page.

One may say, "You don't have to read it." It's pretty hard to avoid it, considering it's at eye level, right across from the advice and medical columns and the TV Guide. Much like other road kill, it's hard to divert one's eyes -- and it's just as sickening.

Lyn Hooker

San Leandro

Gratitude for a good Samaritan's kindness

Last month, near the UC Berkeley campus, my iPhone became unclipped from my belt and fell into the gutter.

Fortunately, a good Samaritan found it. Although she did not know much about iPhones, she flagged down someone who helped her find my husband's phone number, and then called to tell us that the phone had been found.

She had a thick accent that was difficult to understand, and I was not familiar with Berkeley landmarks, so she waited for me where I had lost the phone for about 30 minutes until I could make my way back through the city traffic to retrieve it. Her husband waited with her, despite the fact that they needed to get to work.

When I finally reached her, she refused to take any reward for her efforts, saying that she was a mother, she was Persian, and she wanted me to know that she had helped me not for a monetary reward, but out of kindness. She and her husband then rushed off to work.

I want to thank her again, both for my phone and for this simple but very much appreciated expression of good will toward a stranger.

Linda Sanders

Walnut Creek

Stores already taking advantage of bag law

The ban on providing plastic bags in grocery stores and stores that sell packaged food throughout Alameda County began Jan. 1. Shoppers have the option to take their own bags or purchase paper bags made from recycled material at 10 cents per bag, a cost intended to encourage shoppers to use their own bags.

However, I have already found two non-grocery stores that are charging for bags and claiming that the law requires them to charge for bags, a complete fabrication. Since the law applies only to grocery stores, there is no way to know in advance that you will be charged for bags in other stores.

The next time that I'm in a store other than a grocery store and told at checkout that I need to purchase a bag or go without, I plan to leave my merchandise at the checkout counter and walk out.

Jack Burgess

Newark

Humans just don't need milk or dairy

News stories made it sound like the end of the world if we went over the "cliff" and milk prices doubled.

The fact is, the human body does not need milk or dairy products, and may be healthier without them. I know big, strong, healthy people raised on soy milk and rice milk.

Many people find relief from certain diseases when they stop eating dairy products. There is a strong correlation between animal foods and osteoporosis.

This may be a good opportunity for Americans to try some alternative, vegetable-based foods; they may find themselves healthier for it.

Kit Miller

Walnut Creek