Constitution changes to avoid absurd issues

In his Feb. 8 letter, Alexander Montalvo warns us to protect against those who would chip away at the Second Amendment.

However, present-day common-sense interpretation of our Constitution does not amount to chipping away but rather is an acknowledgment that things have changed in the past 230 years. We, as a people, and the Constitution are evolving.

Rigid construction of our precious Constitution would lead to absurd results. Now we have nuclear arms; no rational mind would suggest we all have a right to "keep" nuclear arms at home.

Also, the First Amendment protects the right of free speech, but you still cannot scream "fire!" in a crowded theater. We have freedom of religion, but you cannot practice a religion that involves human sacrifice.

We cannot be prisoners to rigid, outdated and absurd interpretations.

So, yes, common-sense limitations are and always have been a part of an evolving interpretation of our great Constitution. Obviously, our brilliant Founding Fathers had the foresight to intend this approach regarding the interpretation of our Constitution.

Alfred H. Buchta

Discovery Bay

Sure, spend our taxes on Bay Bridge opening!

So, the state plans to spend $5.6 million to celebrate the opening of the new span of the Bay Bridge.

Hey, why not? After all, the enlightened voters of California just voted to increase taxes. I mean, with an electorate like that, the powers that be should be able to celebrate the opening of a sanitation tank in the style to which they have become accustomed.

A. J. Buttacavoli

Walnut Creek

School trustees must work with teachers

Members of the United Teachers of Richmond have endured difficult working conditions for more than six years.

We continue fighting for fairness, equity and social justice for our students. All of our students need a level playing field to give them the opportunity to be successful. Our members have spent the past four years without a salary increase. We need our school board trustees to commit to employees how the board will fix years of cost cutting at employees' expense.

Our district can't attract quality teachers when our pay is the lowest in the county. The future of the district depends on teachers in the classroom. The future of our students' education depends on the actions the trustees take.

With UTR's help, we passed the parcel tax and the school bond. The economy's improving and promises a better fiscal outlook, thanks to our hard work in helping to pass Proposition 30.

Gov. Jerry Brown committed to dedicate $2.7 billion to our public schools. He's also committed to spending funds proportionally for students in Richmond who have disproportionate challenges.

In the spirit of African American History month: Alex Haley wrote, "Find the good and praise it." The time is now.

Diane Brown

Richmond Brown is the president of United Teachers of Richmond

Parent mustn't defend abusive educator

I was stunned to read Mary Morris' response to the Times article, "Tenure shields a bad teacher," regarding Dina Holder, who was accused of abusing an autistic student.

Apparently, if Holder had thrown Morris' son on a classroom floor and kicked him, Morris would have forgiven her. Maybe she would have even continued to engage Holder as her son's tutor, despite the fact Holder was convicted of misdemeanor child abuse.

Would Morris have held her hand during a four-year probation, one year of child-abuse training, and ignored a stay-away order so Holder could continue to tutor her son. After all, Morris said Holder was a "good teacher."

Unlike Morris, an abuser's dream parent who can look beyond abuse, Caneel Carlin was courageous, vigilant and looked to the legal system to get some justice for her son.

Juliet Barraza

Castro Valley Barraza is an education advocate