Chevron must pay if it is to change image

A recent letter to the editor about Chevron said that the paper "seems to report happenings at Chevron with less-than-favorable-articles." The letter went on to note that Chevron had provided some funding to the West County School District for Strategic Planning.

In light of Chevron's profits, this is a ridiculously puny contribution to our local schools. I would set the bar a bit higher for the multibillion-dollar oil giant making record profits and living in our backyard.

When Richmond schools are ranked the best in the country and families move to Richmond because of our excellent public education system, Chevron will have given back enough to this community.

Councilmen Tom Butt's and Jael Myrick's proposal suggesting that Chevron pay full college tuition to anyone graduating from public schools in Richmond is a step in the right direction.

If Chevron wants to change its image in Richmond, it must become a participating, concerned partner in the community and make financial investments in line with its enormous wealth.

Linda Schaefer

Richmond

Scout decision is giant step forward

The landmark decision of the Boy Scouts of America lifting the ban on gay Scouts is a giant step forward in the race against prejudice and hatred, but there is another victory inherent in the response to the decision: the arch-conservative leaders' and volunteers' statements that they will quit the organization in protest against the decision.

Perhaps Mayor Michael Bloomberg could offer these people a free ride on the barge loads of unmanageable solid waste that must be shipped out of New York City?

But the real victory comes with their departure, opening the doors to sane, compassionate adults coming forward to help show youths the value of acceptance of others and the necessity of equal human rights for all Americans.

Allen Gardiner

Hayward

Scouts did not agree to accept atheists

The author of a recent letter regarding the Boy Scouts' decision to accept gay members erred in claiming that the scouts also decided to allow atheists to join. While nonsectarian, the Boy Scouts of America requires that each member fulfill his religious obligations.

Religious observance remains an integral part of the Scouting experience. Each boy affirms his "Duty to God" when reciting the Scout Oath or the Cub Scout Promise. The Boy Scout Handbook teaches, "A Scout is reverent toward God. He is faithful in his religious duties. He respects the beliefs of others." Popular campfire prayers and jamboree songs pay tribute to God.

Since its inception, the BSA has been supported by churches and synagogues. Today more than 70 percent of Boy Scout units in the United States are sponsored by a religious association. The union between religion and scouting remains unbreakable.

Andrew Gross

Union City

Must worry about climate change

In his May 26 column, Byron Williams warns that "fixing the levees on our Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta is vital to California." He estimates that "potential damage would dwarf that of Hurricane Katrina if levees fail."

There is no practical way to repair the multitude of levees on the Delta. Without a hurricane, they have endured after being built up over many years with periodic maintenance.

Sometimes nature has prevailed, as with the historic flooding of Frank's Tract. But we see looming threats that could lead to disaster, such as a major earthquake with a high flood tide.

The future holds another ominous threat: climate change. If we don't convert to renewable sources of energy and control our world population -- it is expanding beyond our planet's capacity -- the Earth will warm, glaciers will melt and the sea will rise.

Noted scientists and environmentalists have recorded the factual evidence on climate change and its dire effects.

John Wagers

Oakland

Unions lost their gamble on pensions

This letter is regarding the May 19 Times editorial, "Lawmakers must address teacher pension shortfall."

In my opinion, it was a gamble for people to join a union that "promised" a pension. The union people lost this gamble on pensions.

We taxpayers should not have to make good on the promises of others to pay a pension by paying more in taxes to cover their bet.

Since we taxpayers did not have a say in how the unions got into this mess, then we taxpayers should not be asked to help the unions cover the bet.

Jack H. Gilbert

Albany