House must pass bill protecting women

The House must pass the Violence Against Women Act.

It is the second time in the past year a large majority of senators agreed to expand protections to combat domestic violence, sexual assault and stalking. The bill has wide support by victim advocates' groups and the public.

Unfortunately, the 22 "no" votes were all Republicans. One hopes that upon seeking re-election they will be remembered.

The reauthorization bill offers needed expanded protection for gays, undocumented immigrants and Native American women who suffer from domestic abuse (now not treated equally under the law).

President Barack Obama wants to sign the bill as soon as the House takes action. Let us hope the Republican-led chamber doesn't let the bill die through inaction.

Richard Asadoorian

Antioch

Abortion-rights camp should be ashamed

While our nation mourns the shooting of 20 innocent children at Sandy Hook school, not a thought or mention from our government and mainstream media of the 52 million children aborted since Roe v. Wade, including 700,000 in 2012.

Many think of an aborted child as just a fetus, but everyone knows they were alive and developing humans in a mother's womb.

Shame on the Supreme Court for its ruling. The high court took away the right of an unborn U.S. citizen to "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness," and has allowed abortions to reach genocidal proportions.

Shame on you, Americans who voted into public office the intelligentsia, the politically correct progressives, socialists and liberals who concur with this genocide and who are complacent to this slaughter.

Have you not heard, and do you not know, that you will be judged by a higher authority than the Supreme Court?

David B. Smith

Richmond

Early education key to children's success

We know that children are our future -- and our future is in trouble if we don't start making wise investments and policy decisions now.

In 1970, one in three Californians was a child. By 2030, only one in five will be. Currently, nearly half the state's children live in poverty or close to it, which significantly limits their potential and can even hinder their development.

With baby boomers soon to retire, shouldn't we be doing all we can to prepare our future workforce for success?

In New York's recent budget, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced plans to invest in high-quality prekindergarten. While Gov. Jerry Brown didn't cut early childhood education funding in his new budget, he also didn't move to restore the $1 billion lost from these programs in recent years.

Decades of research show that early education has a lasting impact on children's success. It leads to better outcomes in health, education and economic productivity, and saves public spending on special education, public assistance and crime.

This isn't just about the future of California's children. It's about the future of California. Investing in early education is vital to California's economic recovery.

Sean Casey

Concord Casey is director of First 5 Contra Costa.

State's gas tax hurts the middle class

In 1995, I moved with my business to Arizona, to avoid the incredible taxes in California. At that time, my sales business required more than 60,000 miles of driving per year.

Now retired, I am back only because of my children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

What I find incredible is the continuance of the 50-cents-per-gallon gasoline tax, which was voted in through an initiative in 1993 by a bunch of ignorant people claiming this would "help" the poor.

Now -- with the poor economy, high unemployment, new taxes and elimination of many tax deductions -- why hasn't any effort been made to eliminate this abominable tax on the working class and the poor?

I might also add that using California gasoline, I get 14.6 miles per gallon, while gasoline in Arizona gave me 25 mpg.

Give the people some relief and drop the excessive 50-cent tax. And stop using all these additives in gasoline that lower mpg and actually increase the emissions.

Art Tuber

Walnut Creek