The council of the United Church of Hayward, UCC, is concerned about what we consider to be an offensive billboard on Mission Boulevard, one-half block north of Tennyson Road in Hayward.

The billboard ad is for http://www.MikeFraga.com, an Internet company that makes car loans to "everyone." Next to the company's Web address and other information, there is a picture of a man in a blue shirt and black cap holding a shotgun (or rifle), with a big smile on his face.

Underneath the picture are these words: "I blow away the competition."

Our church council feels this billboard is very inappropriate, particularly in south Hayward with the crime problems in that part of the city. (There have been a number of murders in this area in recent years). Glorifying guns, even in an advertisement, seems to us to send the wrong message to people driving past that sign.

One question we have is: Are there no regulations on what outdoor advertising companies can post on their billboards? It would seem that there are some restrictions, because no billboards have swear words, for example.

Dana Schaufler

United Church of Hayward, UCC Council

Why has Saddam's toppling

brought complaints?

The "Greatest Generation" was criticized for not bringing down Adolph Hitler when he was making his moves in Europe. Millions of lives were sacrificed because he was not stopped sooner. Now Saddam Hussein was toppled to prevent such a catastrophe and there are complaints.

Why?

Zita Atkinson

Castro Valley

Thanks to locals who

protested the Iraq war

Kudos to Mayor Santos, Stephen Cassidy and the other speakers for having the courage to speak out against the war in Iraq on Monday in Root Park. The protest wasn't about bashing those who support this horrible disaster in Iraq, but to send a message that the majority of this country is calling for an end to the senseless maiming and killing of our troops and Iraqi citizens.

The Rev. Martin Luther King made headlines when he spoke out against the Vietnam War and his noble teachings gave credence to the swelling anti-war movement that sought to end a useless conflict that ultimately killed over 50,000 U.S. soldiers and untold numbers of Vietnamese.

Maybe the grass-roots efforts like those of our elected officials in San Leandro will break through the hard-headed arrogance of President Bush and allow him to see the beacon of reality.

Ben Levy

San Leandro

What the war's really about

Bush tells the nation

He now has a plan

For more U.S. troops

To steal oil from Iran.

George Banks

San Leandro