Did we really need to spend so much?

While I periodically glanced at the inauguration on television and read about it, I kept wondering about the cost of such an extravagant event and could the tax money of the American public be better used elsewhere.

I never heard or read any commentators or writers speculate about the amount of money spent on the inauguration, but I would have to assume the price tag was in the millions given the number of police and security personnel.

It would have seemed more appropriate for President Barack Obama to host a dinner to acknowledge all those individuals who played a significant role in his re-election. For instance, the money that went to this inauguration could have been used to upgrade the resources and mental health support for our military returning from combat.

To me, the current system of having a costly inauguration is a complete waste of our resources and could be better used in a variety of ways.

Steven Ross

San Ramon

Use corn-oil based bags for dog waste

In response to a recent letter about using plastic bags for dog waste:

There is an easier solution for animal waste and many other uses of plastic bags. Corn oil-based plastic bags are biodegradable.

Though biodegradable bags are not always appropriate for every use, if people made a concerted effort to use them, the amount of plastic permanently in landfills would be greatly lessened.


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We could diminish landfill use still further if everyone refused to accept food or drinks served in Styrofoam containers, particularly hot food and drinks, since Styrofoam when heated gives off styrene, a proven cancer-causing chemical. And Styrofoam never breaks down, whereas cardboard does.

Stop buying bottled water -- so forth and so on.

You don't need to sentence dog owners to carrying around soggy paper parcels of poop. Just small changes in our habits would do wonders.

Stephanie Massey

Oakland

Must take action in cleaning area

I am a third-generation Oakland homeowner living in the same home my grandfather built in 1921 in the Laurel District. I have watched my street and its surrounding neighborhood try and dig out from declining property values, to no avail.

One major contributor to this situation is the abandoned gas station (more than 25 years) at the corner of Quigley Street and 35th Avenue; long a site for graffiti, illegal dumping and, most recently, a fire due to someone setting a Christmas tree afire and the trees overhead catching fire.

Now someone is using this property to park construction crew personnel cars and trucks, and you'd think that this would lessen the graffiti and illegal dumping but has not.

As soon as the lessee paints out the graffiti, the next day there is more. No one takes ownership of the garbage strewed around this entire structure.

It angers me to see the disrespect shown and, as a longtime resident, is forcing me to consider selling my home and moving from Oakland.

Most of the homes are now rentals, and neither the renters or the actual homeowners do anything to spruce up their yards, allowing weeds and trash to collect.

This again makes the neighborhood look neglected, thus attracting crime and more illegal dumping.

It is sad that there are those who find making things more unattractive is how they wish to show who they are, instead of doing good and picking up after themselves and taking pride in how their properties look.

Joanna Roberts

Oakland