Generosity critical to Thanksgiving meal

Thanks to all for the support of the League of Volunteers' Thanksgiving meal program.

The community opened up its heart and made it happen. It would not have been possible without the generous donations of food, equipment, the use of the Newark Pavilion and monetary support by caring individuals and businesses.

It was a beautiful day, thanks to the more than 400 volunteers who cooked, carved, served, delivered meals to the homebound, picked up dinner guests, distributed bags of food, worked in the kids area, set tables, decorated, entertained, stayed to clean up and helped.

We are blessed to live in a community that can pull together and give of themselves for those less fortunate.

We provided 4,483 meals, including those delivered to the homebound. A total of 290 turkeys, 64 hams and 476 pies were consumed, along with all the trimmings. We also gave out 775 bags of groceries to the guests who came to the Pavilion.

Our heartfelt thanks go to everyone who made this a special holiday for so many -- there is no way we can individually thank so many personally, as much as we would like to.

For more information, visit www.lov.org.

Shirley D. Sisk

Executive director League of Volunteers Newark

State's death penalty implementation is joke


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I followed the murder trial of Nathan Burris and found it interesting that he didn't care if he got the death penalty. He should be put to death -- if the death penalty were without the legal appeals. He says "California ... capital punishment is a joke." I agree with him.

I have been a proponent of the death penalty, but have struggled with its long delays due to the mandated appeals process. I reluctantly accepted that due to the long delays, the death penalty was not effective.

I was therefore glad to see Proposition 34, Death Penalty Initiative, on the ballot, repealing the death penalty.

Those on death row today, due to the long appeals process, are in effect on a sentence of life without the possibility of parole. That is why I voted for the proposition. Too bad it did not pass.

I'm sad to see that Burris received the death penalty. Adding another inmate to death row is a waste of time and money. If the death penalty were swift, we would not have to contend with the issues of appeals and costs.

All death row inmates should be in the general population of inmates. Just as Burris said, California capital punishment is a joke.

Nick Verhoek

San Leandro

Family doctor shortage only going to get worse

Kudos for the in-depth article exposing the shortage of family physicians.

Physicians have seen this coming, anticipating baby boomers reaching retirement age, and rising obesity and chronic disease rates that portend increased demand for care. Health care reform, as welcome as it is, unfortunately exacerbates this problem.

Physicians also see this shortage extending to other primary care specialties -- internal medicine, pediatrics, geriatrics, OB/GYNs -- and to specialists as well. Moreover, rising overhead and demand for capital investment into important practice tools such as electronic medical records make it increasingly difficult to keep the doors open for physicians who are in solo and small practice and those who treat low-income patients.

Add the specter of $200,000 worth of medical education debt and the challenge is all the more daunting.

While policymakers grapple with the "fiscal cliff" and see health care spending as a concern, physicians hope it is recognized that funding policies adopted over the past several decades have negatively affected physician supply: funding for medical training was frozen in 1996; Medi-Cal pays physicians a mere $20 for an office visit; Medicare payment rates remain at 2002 level; and commercial health plans tie their rates to a percentage of Medicare rates.

Physicians enjoy helping patients get better. But they can't do it if they can't get trained, or can't afford to enter and remain in practice.

Jeffrey Klingman, MD,

President Alameda-Contra Costa Medical Association

Bush's deception led to deaths of Americans

I am referring to Mike Harkleroad's Nov. 27 letter, "Impeachment of Obama must begin."

While Harkleroad apparently is working from a redacted fact sheet regarding Benghazi, one wonders if he led a call to impeach President George W. Bush. Bush really did lie, thousands of Americans died because of those lies, and well over 100,000 Iraqis.

Charles Locher

Richmond