No need to protect the great white shark

Paul Rogers' article about great white sharks makes some ridiculous comparisons.

More people die from bee stings and dog bites than are killed by white sharks? His article tells us there are 339 white sharks on the West Coast. How many bees are there in California? Maybe a billion or two?

If I had the choice between getting bit by a dog in my neighborhood or attacked by a great white shark in the ocean, my choice would be the dog bite, which would rarely be deadly.

No one has any idea how many great white sharks there are off the West Coast, and to propose we place them on the endangered species list is just as ridiculous as comparing the threat of great white sharks to bee stings and dog bites.

We have shut down an oyster farm in Marin County, so now let's stop fishing so we don't hurt any white sharks? Have we lost our minds?

Peter Calimeris

Pleasant Hill

'Mallard Fillmore' is idiotic, not funny

I assure my conservative friends my objections to the "Mallard Fillmore" strip has nothing to do with his views or my willingness to hear an opinion I don't hold. My objections are that Mallard's a bully, his humor's based on shaming and mockery, and he's an idiot.


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The Mallard's current series is about the Head Start program. According to the Heritage Foundation -- oops, I mean the Mallard -- the Head Start program's a failure. What does that mean? Everyone knows that despite claims about academic preparation, the Head Start program really exists to provide child care to the working poor, for kids too young for kindergarten. It's absurd to hold any other expectation.

Thus, the "failure" of the Head Start program is the failure of American society to ensure poor kids can get a decent education.

Of course, blame for that failure has been assigned to teachers, because blaming poverty (how could a stressful home environment and malnourishment impair learning ability?) would lead to discussion about meaningful redistribution of wealth.

Yet, all the Mallard has to say is, "Head Start is a failure." He's a bully. He's not funny. And if he's not an idiot, he must think we are.

Paul Mackinney

Albany

Bridge bash a massive waste of our money

I applaud the position the Times took in its Feb. 10 editorial to not spend public money on a "bridge bash." I would take it a step further and not spend any money on a bridge bash.

Does the public realize what $5.6 million could do for our food banks and our homeless/abused women shelters? BART tickets for our challenged youths who have to commute to youth shelters and special education classes could be provided.

Our public authorities have their priorities completely out of place.

Any money, beyond the $5.6 million, collected for the celebration should be put back into community organizations serving needy and homeless people.

Come on Bay Area residents, let's force the issue of wasting corporate and taxpayer money!

Randy Burchfield

Danville

We are not a country of all immigrants

Ellen Dumesnil's assertion in her Feb. 10 guest column that we are a nation of immigrants and that we are all immigrants is, in fact, untrue.

More than half of our current population can trace their ancestry to the original 13 colonies and the territories that later became states. By definition, these persons were not immigrants.

Also, we don't really know how many illegal immigrants are living within our borders. The government estimates 11 million, but it could be far more -- as many as 18 million.

If we legalize this population, what is the message to persons waiting for years in their home countries to come legally? Moreover, which group should we want to encourage to become citizens, those who ignored the law or those that followed it?

Unfortunately, since we are either unable or unwilling to control our borders, we are destined to have this mass legalization every 20 to 30 years in perpetuity. Regardless of how much humanity we wish to display, the burden will become simply unbearable and destructive.

Jim Anderson

Pleasant Hill