Deal shows CPUC chief is just a shill for PG&E

As the Dec. 26 Times editorial so correctly stated, Gov. Jerry Brown must remove PG&E's main shill, California Public Utilities Commission President Michael Peevey -- not only for the San Bruno response, but for his $150 million sweetheart deal with Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.

Peevey dreamed up a $150 million research boondoggle for the lab that PG&E, SoCal Edison and San Diego Gas & Electric customers will have to pay through higher electric and gas rates.

While most public companies send projects costing as little as $100,000 out for competitive bid, this $150 million project never went out for bid. It was simply handed to LLNL on a silver platter, with PG&E shareholders earning their 11 percent on top.

While TURN, The Utility Reform Network, has publicly called on Brown to remove Peevey, we need a concerted effort by the public and opinion makers to help pull this disaster called the CPUC out of the clutches of PG&E.

Craig Bender

Walnut Creek

Gang rape that killed woman was shameful

As an Indian-American, I'm ashamed to read about the brutal gang rape of a medical student in New Delhi. Despite surgeries and treatment in Asia's best Mount Elizabeth Hospital in Singapore, she died Dec. 29.

The publicity this case engendered illustrates Indian society's deep-rooted low esteem of women. The desire for male children, resulting in frequent abortions of female fetuses, is further evidence of the centuries-old mindset.

A rape victim is very embarrassed due to family dishonor and is, therefore, reluctant to go to the police. Even if she gathers courage to do so, she's not taken seriously by the police and is often encouraged to forget the incident.

Making matters worse, Indian police are notoriously inefficient and ineffective. The Indian legal system is overburdened and slow. It takes years before a rape case goes to trial. Consequently, a majority of rape cases go unregistered.

A complete overhaul of enforcement agencies and the judiciary -- with adequate resources and the government's strong commitment to act decisively -- is needed to bring necessary reforms. Pressure generated by worldwide coverage in the press and active social media may finally force the government to take positive action.

Vijay P. Khasat

Antioch

Hostage-taking is M.O. of Boehner's governing

I have come to understand that no election, no political party, no one man can cause a cataclysmic end of American democracy. Political winds change direction, sometimes with damaging force, but time tends to moderate the effects of political change.

Speaker John Boehner is sorely testing this theory. His strategy of governing by hostage-taking may ruin this nation yet. Under his influence, we have jumped from one cliff to another for the past two years, and now we can look forward to another two years of the same.

Boehner's style is purely political. Every move is dictated by politics and appearances, not by the welfare of the nation. Even the emergency funding for Superstorm Sandy victims, which has wide bipartisan support, couldn't be voted on because of political appearances.

It is time for our Congress to return to representing the people who elected them instead of representing the party.

Financial, political and global confidence will continue to erode under Boehner's leadership until our country is impotent and unable to recover.

Joel Farr

Concord

Let local government regulate our firearms

Editorial writers and politicians do not seem to have learned anything from the past four years of gridlock. Do not expect top-down solutions to any problem. Local actions are the only way to change things.

Specifically:

  • The Supreme Court said a gun-control law had to show a need. The justices have said this about other behavioral laws, specifically anti-discrimination.

  • The Second Amendment calls for a "well-regulated militia." Militias are state and local organizations, and the obvious intent of the writers of the Constitution was that states and localities would regulate -- write laws, regulations, conditions, for people who want to "bear arms."

  • The "right to bear arms" does not necessarily imply the right to own a private arsenal.

    Soldiers and police bear arms, which are owned by their organizations, and the care and use of which are carefully controlled by the organizations.

    With this in mind, local mayors and county boards of supervisors can draft local regulations for the possession, care and use of firearms. Go for it.

    Teddy Knight

    Berkeley