Insane campaign spending must stop

The surge of money from the rich and corporations into political campaigns after the Supreme Court's Citizens United decision has further eroded the voice of the "little man (and woman)."

It also apparently emboldened pols with fatter fistfuls of cash to deviate from facts with greater abandon. Why? With greater access to deep pockets (super PACs), do they think Americans believe their lies if repeated and advertised often enough?

Example: blaming Obama for a Wisconsin GM factory closure that began shutting down under Bush. Example: accusing Obama of "gutting" welfare reform (extra points for racial innuendo) by granting waivers allowing flexibility in work requirements -- waivers requested by Republican governors! Conversely the TANF Emergency Contingency Fund placed 260,000 low-income parents and youth in paid jobs. But Republicans killed it after only a year and a half.

Logic? Facts? Ultimately, I believe, they are victims to the "free speech" of unrestricted, nontransparent flows of money into campaigns. A Constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United would be a good first step to reduce the undemocratic influence of money.

Stephanie Ericson

Dublin

Private control at parks not better

It doesn't surprise me in the least that hantavirus is in a park whose concession is leased to Delaware Parks Corp. This is what we can expect with the privatization of our public parks.

When I stayed at the Delaware-run hotel in Sequoia National Park, I was astonished to witness "the help" using a leaf blower to "clean" the carpeting rather than a vacuum. I wouldn't be surprised if they did the same thing in the tent cabins at Yosemite. I found poop on the underside of the toilet seat in my room with the paper seal "sanitized for your protection" still wrapped around the toilet seat and hair (not mine) in the bathtub.

I could go on about my vacation from hell in Sequoia; but, suffice it to say that I have happy childhood memories of Yosemite when it was a publicly run park. It's unfortunate that everything these days seems to be under the thumb of a corporation's bottom line.

Paulette Kenyon

Pleasanton

'Yes' on 32: Break public unions' grip

Many of us feel that the public employee unions are in control of Sacramento politics. We feel that the majority of Californians are not represented because of the large contributions that the public sector unions contribute to our Assembly members.

As a California taxpayer, I want a voice in where my tax money is spent and the direction of California. This is why I'm encouraging you to vote "yes" on Proposition 32. This "paycheck protection" initiative prohibits unions, corporations or government contractors from using payroll-deducted funds for political purposes. It also prohibits union and corporate contributions to candidates and their committees.

Proposition 32's proponents say it's needed because special interests control California government to the point that our elected leaders listen more to these special interests than to the voters.

Those against Proposition 32 are of the opinion that the measure puts unfair restrictions on working people and their unions. One of the organizations that are against Proposition 32 is the California Teachers Association.

Many feel that the primary reason why the association is against Proposition 32 is because it would eliminate the millions of dollars that they spend on campaign contributions to state Assembly members. They use this money to push our representatives to do what they want, not what the parents want -- "holding teachers accountable for their performance".

Hopefully you will see what I have learned and vote "yes" on Proposition 32.

James D. Smith

Livermore

He needs those he doesn't care about

Mr. Romney's statement about 47 percent of Americans not paying taxes is offensive. Those 47 percent of the population just like me still pay payroll tax and contribute to the Social Security fund.

I wrote him off when he first declared "he is not worried about the poor, because they have their safety net." But he still needs those poor souls' vote.

Good luck getting their vote

Fred Mohammed

Livermore

Vote Thorne for mayor, 'no' on B-1

Thank you, Jerry Thorne, for your stand against Measure B-1.

Unfortunately, you were in the minority, and we will be voting on Measure B-1. If B-1 passes it will add a half-cent to the current sales tax rate, moving it up to 9.25 percent. This half-cent increase would remain "in perpetuity." Alameda County's sales tax is already one of the highest in the state. If Proposition 30 also passes, it will raise our sales tax another half-cent to 9.75 percent. That will be one of the highest in the nation.

Alameda County, doesn't have a TAX problem, it has a SPENDING problem. Our tax rates are forcing people and businesses to leave our state, and they are crushing the taxpayer. When is enough enough? Remember, everyone pays the sales tax!

Please vote for Jerry Thorne for Pleasanton mayor. He is not afraid to take a hard stand against taxes and public employee wages and benefits. His number-one concern is, "What's best for the citizens of Pleasanton?"

Frank Capilla

Pleasanton

Gas price spike a teachable moment

Back in the '70s when we were struggling with the first gas shortage, I was teaching seventh- and eighth-graders at Dublin Elementary School.

In my social studies class, we had a discussion brought up by the students who were very upset by the gas shortage that might cause their parents' inability to get to work. The father of one student worked for an Oakland-based bus company, and he informed us that his dad told him that many buses were in the parking lot day after day. He said that we needed to have bus transportation from the Tri-Valley to Hayward so the parents could get to work on BART. Those were the days before BART tracks were laid to the Dublin-Pleasanton area.

I asked the class if they would like to do something about it. We studied civics in that class, so I took this as a good time to introduce the use of petitions. After getting the principal's and parental permission, I handed out petitions that I made to the students who then canvassed all the apartments and homes around Dublin Elementary for two days after school. I mailed all the petitions to Pete Stark and within days was contacted by him. He came to the area and visited the metropolitan bus company in Oakland and the BART office headquarters. This resulted in buses serving our area for more than three years between the Hayward-San Leandro area and Dublin-Pleasanton before the BART track was finished.

The students were so proud and said to me "Look what we did, and we aren't even old enough to vote!"

Pete Stark deserves to be remembered for his part in this achievement. Thank you for this opportunity to tell our area about this.

Doris Battin

Dublin retired schoolteacher