Who's voting Obama? Only the clueless
I see some cars around with Obama-2012 bumper stickers, and wonder what these drivers are smoking (hopefully not behind the wheel).
Hello, you Obama-2012 drivers! Your grandchildren may be too young now, but one day they'll realize they're the first Americans ever to not have a higher standard of living than previous generations.
For 2012, we have the most federal government spending (25 percent of GDP), the greatest annual budget deficit (as a percent of GDP) and the largest federal debt (as a percent of GDP) since World War II. Unemployment is up while homeownership is down. The percent of our population receiving federal benefit payments is the highest in American history, while almost half of American households are paying no federal income tax.
You better wake up and salvage your legacy! Do you really think more government, more debt and more borrowing (from China, etc.) are the way to improve things?
Keep religious symbols off public property
I see that several contributors to this forum have gotten their knickers in a twist because the Oakland Zoo recently removed a large Ten Commandments monument from city property.
They accuse atheists and other First Amendment advocates of intolerance toward religion. They are wrong.
To their credit, Oakland city officials wisely chose to follow the advice of their own legal counsel -- namely, that the presence of a religious monument on government property was unconstitutional and legally indefensible if challenged in court.
No one would object if religious monuments such as crosses, crèches and Decalogues were erected on church property or on private property. But some misguided zealots feel compelled to intrude their religious symbols onto public property, implying government endorsement of their beliefs.
Truly, they are the intolerant ones.
I salute Oakland city officials for taking the morally and legally correct stand and refusing to kowtow to religious pressure.
Danville needs cable market competition
My latest Comcast bill included a price list for other Contra Costa cities. Most of Walnut Creek pays $14.50 for basic service. We in Danville pay $23.31. It costs us 60.8 percent more for the same service. Why? Because Walnut Creek has competition with the Astound cable service. Danville is a Comcast monopoly. It's long past time for local governments to end the sweetheart monopoly deals that Comcast and many other cable companies enjoy. Look at the difference just one competitor makes in Walnut Creek.
And don't get me started on the terrible programming available.
Medicare plan column highly dishonest
David Brooks' column in the Tri-Valley Times on Medicare on Aug. 22 was either stunningly ignorant or blatantly dishonest. Despite presenting himself as a reasonable, objective pundit, Brooks is an obvious water-carrier for the GOP; so it's clear to me that he's not being honest here.
Since the Romney/Ryan plan for Medicare is vague on so many details, there is no way Brooks can say it is better than the Obama administration proposal. For example, the GOP plan does not say who would pick up the difference between Medicare costs for -- and the second-lowest bid by -- private insurers. Given GOP indifference to the middle class, I'm guessing that seniors would be forced to ante up. If so, Romney obviously isn't going to say so before the election because he wants the senior vote.
If you want an objective, nonpartisan analysis of the respective parties' positions on Medicare, go to page A4 of the same Aug. 22, 2012 edition and read the article written by Jackie Calmes, of The New York Times. Ignore the Brooks nonsense.
One-party rule in state should be stopped
Wake up, California. Look at who is running the state.
We have a Democratic governor and Democratic leaders in both houses of the legislature. The Democratic leader's lieutenants chair the Assembly and Senate committees. We've all read about the Democratic legislators who did not vote per their leader's instructions (remember Assemblyman Portantino's budget reduction last year). Add to that the Legislature's exemption from the Brown open meeting act and you have a state government run as a dictatorship. The budget was developed in secrecy and voted upon without discussion, high-speed rail and the peripheral water tunnel suddenly showed up as if by magic. Republican bills never pass committee to be voted upon. Budgets claiming to be balanced with "extreme cuts" are actually budget increases in an era of declining revenue. Cuts to education (You want cuts? Take that!) while expansion of other programs continue.
California is out of control. We need a balanced government, Republican and Democrat, checks and balances, and open discussion of proposed bills. An enlightened and enraged citizenry can accomplish this.
At the DMV, shady goings-on
Last year I paid my registration renewal fee in person by dropping it off in the designated drop box on its due date at my local DMV.
When, after some time, I realized I hadn't received my tags, I went into the DMV to inquire about it. The DMV informed me I had been delinquent in paying my registration by one day, and that the DMV, therefore, had held my tags. It was apparent that the DMV had cleared the box the day after I dropped off my payment (the date they stamped it as paid). I knew it had been paid the day it was due, and the approximate time I had dropped it off, and encouraged the DMV to review their camera monitoring system to verify my statement.
Although I clearly followed their system of using their drop box that they have in place for their customers' use, they argued that I should've asked an attendant to date-stamp my check. What a convenient loophole. It took a conversation with a supervisor, and having me sign an affidavit before they would budge on the matter and release my tags without further cost.
Jump to one year later when my registration was due in June 2012. The DMV did not send a renewal notification to me until last week, when it was already delinquent and had incurred a big delinquent fee. Sure, the responsibility to pay registration fees on time is ultimately that of the vehicle owner, but I have to query why so many people have encountered similar situations lately, when the DMV for years has been in the practice of mailing renewal notices to people in advance.
It seems a little too coincidental, perhaps unscrupulous, and certainly very easy for this to take place, when there is no protection in place for consumers in these instances.
I'd like to think that this would give rise to further investigation, especially considering what others have reported, and would be interested in knowing how widespread this issue is.