Try not to let climate change ruin your day
For those recent letter writers suffering from climate change-induced angst, I recommend that you take a deep breath, recite the serenity prayer and plant a tree.
Capitol Hill isn't going to "wake up" and lead the world in reducing atmospheric CO2. These are the same 535 people who can't negotiate something as mundane as a balanced budget given a 20-year horizon. Besides, carbon emissions is a specter that only wealthy countries can afford to contemplate; most Earthlings don't even have a source of safe drinking water.
If climate change depresses you because you're a nature worshiping Wiccan, relax. Mother Earth will be spinning just fine for the next million years brimming with C02-loving critters. If, however, you're concerned about its deleterious effect on humanity, then doesn't it make more sense to use our finite resources to reduce a real problem, like helping developing countries separate sewage from water?
Chevron money people have too much influence
The recent Chevron refinery fire produced fines and medical costs reportedly around $11 million, which pale in comparison to Chevron's $26 billion profit in 2012. The cost of preventing losses versus the expected benefit has always been a debatable matter in industry. The financial people usually take the minimum position, whereas the engineers and operational people quite often argue for improved loss control. I don't believe it's a good situation when the final decision on loss-control matters is made by a financial person.
This brings to mind the Tosco refinery fire of 1999 and the recent PG&E pipeline explosion. The CEOs of both companies were financial guys. Chevron CEO John Watson has an economics background, but I believe he is smart enough to understand the importance of proactive loss control. Many oil companies are proactive in some aspects, but in others, they only correct their procedures as a result of a loss. A recent example is BP.
The CEO of Chevron should have a group skilled in all facets in engineering and operational loss control. This would include fire, explosion, equipment breakdown, life safety and potential environmental aspects. This group should have a solid line to the CEO, without bureaucracy in between. This should help prevent another Richmond incident.
H. Tom Nelson
Why it is Miller seeks minimum wage increase
I found Rep. Miller's article about raising the minimum wage to be amusing, misleading and very self-serving.
Apparently, George spends too much time in Washington because in his first three paragraphs he argues for the "3.5 million workers in California in low-wage jobs to get a raise." California's hourly minimum wage is $8, not the federal rate of $7.25, and cities in California ($10 in San Jose) are raising that by themselves. In a Feb. 25 Wall Street article titled "Why Unions Want a Higher Minimum Wage," it is clear that union contracts are tied to the increase in the minimum wage. According to the article, "Labor unions spent an estimated $174 million on the 2012 election, with 91 percent of the money going to Democrats. "
According to the website MapLight, George did get his share, as he received $274,000 from the unions! The website also stated that "George Miller received 95 percent of his campaign contributions ($1,123,017) from outside his district."
As for my opinion, raising the minimum wage (aka raising union wages) at a time when our economic recovery is still struggling (see March 2013 jobs report) is reckless and unwise. To compound this recklessness, Rep. Miller's bill, HR 1010, would have the minimum wage move with inflation, giving unions raises on top of already negotiated increases!
Reply to critics of opposition to housing plan
David Kurrent, his utopian sensibilities all aflutter, called my March 17 criticism of the Association of Bay Area Governments' vastly overcompensated bureaucrats and their "affordable housing" quotas for Danville "elitist and arrogant" (March 22).
For perspective, Kurrent should have revealed his membership in the Contra Costa Transportation Authority's Citizen Advisory Commission and his determination (exhibited in his May 2011 letter to Pinole's City Council) to overcome CCTA elected officials' "reluctance" to force housing dictates upon "their neighbors."
Thomas Day, echoing the "elitist" theme, demanded research validating my concerns about impacts on schools, traffic and crime rates (March 25). In fact, numerous such studies exist; and poor Antioch provides substantiation nearby.
Michael Youngblood labeled my comments Tea Party "propaganda" and urged looking up individuals I named (April 4). These included two "Earth Charter" internationalists who mounted environmentalism as a stalking horse for socialism: former Soviet Communist General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev and Canadian Maurice Strong.
Strong chaired 1992's Rio Earth Summit, which produced the U.N.'s notorious Agenda 21 scheme. A multimillionaire, Strong wrote the year before that "current lifestyles ... of the affluent middle-class ... involving high meat intake ... frozen and 'convenience' foods ... motor vehicles ... numerous electric household appliances ... expansive suburban housing ... are not sustainable."
Implicated in 2005's Oil for Food scandal, Strong moved to an apartment he owned in Beijing, where political conditions were friendlier to his socialist hypocrisies.
Lab managers didn't deserve new contract
Every year the National Nuclear Security Agency (NNSA) evaluates the Limited Liability Corporation (LLC) that manages Livermore Lab. This LLC consists of Bechtel Corp., the University of California and other weapons contractors.
First, the LLC self-evaluates. This year it gave itself very high marks. Then the NNSA made its own evaluation and found the LLC did not perform as well as it evaluated itself. Eighty percent is considered the standard for the LLC to receive a bonus and automatic contract renewal.
The NNSA rating was 78 percent, which is below the reward standard. However, Neile Miller, the fee determining official, wrote a one-paragraph addendum giving the bonus and contract renewal to the LLC despite her agency's own acknowlegement that it was undeserved. Miller was subsequently promoted to NNSA deputy administrator. In view of the current budget cuts, these kinds of undeserved bonuses do not make sense. The LLC benefits even though it has not performed as it was contracted to do. Is it right that this corporate contractor benefits while so many other beneficial government programs are being cut?