Martinez earned the council seat

It's ironic that the Times now is advocating for a costly special election to fill Richmond's vacant City Council seat, proclaiming, "The voters should determine the political future of their city."

At the time of the last vacancy, in January 2007, the Times made no call for a special election and expressed no concern that the individual appointed had never been a candidate or vetted by the voters in any way.

Last week's Times editorial further stated: "If this were a community and council generally unified behind one political philosophy, we could understand letting the elected leaders fill a vacancy to save the estimated $200,000 cost of the election. But that's not the case here." Nor was that the case in 2007, when newly-elected Mayor Gayle McLaughlin was leading a progressive shift on the City Council.

The fact is, Richmond voters have already spoken. Just a couple of months ago, nearly the same number of people voted for Gary Bell and Eduardo Martinez.

The council seat should go to Martinez. He has earned it.

Marilyn Langlois

Richmond

McCain is an embarrassment

Sen. John McCain has become an embarrassment to the United States.

He is no longer a man of substance, but rather one content to play political games. He destroyed the chance of the extremely qualified Susan Rice of becoming secretary of state and now he is trying to destroy Hillary Clinton's career.

McCain's attacks on Clinton last week were disrespectful and outrageous, as were those of Sen. Rand Paul.

Yes, it is sad four Americans were killed in Libya. But where was McCain's outrage at Secretary Caspar Weinberger and President Ronald Reagan when 241 Marines were killed in Beirut? Where was his outrage at President George W. Bush for ignoring the Aug. 6, 2001, daily briefing, "Bin Laden determined to strike in the U.S." when 3,000 were killed a few days later on 9/11? And his laughter at not finding any WMDs could not have been any more disrespectful of the dead Americans who fought an unnecessary war in Iraq.

McCain is the perfect example of why we need term limits.

Kit Miller

Walnut Creek

Thanks for column by Thomas Sowell

A number of letter writers to the Times have criticized columnist Thomas Sowell. For example, one said Sowell needs to "see through the lens of the disenfranchised".

Sowell is a 73-year-old black man born during the depression in North Carolina and raised in Harlem by his great aunt. He was the first in his family to go to school past the sixth grade.

He didn't graduate from high school, but after returning from the Korean War (Marine Corps.) he obtained a GED while working at menial jobs. High scores on his College Board Exam and recommendations by two professors got him admitted to Harvard, where he graduated magna cum laude in 1958.

He earned a Ph.D. in economics in 1968 from the University of Chicago.

Sowell has taught at UCLA, Brandeis, Cornell and Howard universities. He's written more than 30 books on economics and social policy, many including sections on the effect of economic policies on ethnic groups.

Sowell was born "disenfranchised" and has had greater success than most people. His column offers his perspective, key learnings and solutions that work. We are privileged to read him weekly.

Hal and Linda Bray

Brentwood

Arming teachers is ludicrous idea

Most of us who favor gun control propose banning semi-automatic assault guns, not all guns.

The idea of armed teachers is ludicrous. Students do assault teachers. If an "adult size" student smacks you in the face and you have a gun, what will be your reaction?

Adam Lanza took his mother's guns, as have other students; and arming teachers will be followed by students taking and using their guns.

Most gun owners are killed by their own weapons during a burglary than use their guns to defend themselves, a fact the NRA does not want its members to know.

John Carr

Concord