Support food banks and other nonprofits

During my normal grocery shopping trip recently, a woman pushed a whole shopping cart of groceries out the door. Within seconds, several employees ran after her.

An old van was parked outside the front door. The mattresses tied to the roof indicated the family was homeless. A man in the driver's seat and two little wide-eyed kids watched as mom was escorted back into the store.

The mom repeated "I'll pay! I'll pay!" A few minutes later, a clerk said her credit card was declined. Fortunately for this family, the mom was allowed to leave.

I looked for the family, but they were gone. I wanted to tell them about the food bank and our agencies with emergency food pantries, the Bay Area Crisis Nursery for her small children and the family homeless shelter.

What a sad reminder of the necessity of the food bank and other nonprofits. I'll never forget this family and the little scared faces peering out the van windows.

This is also why we should support our nonprofit agencies helping people and families in crisis.

Kathy Gleason

Concord Gleason is with Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano.

We don't need weapons of war


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Apparently, the Times is in favor of weapons-of-war restrictions for civilians. As a Vietnam veteran, I agree.

The Second Amendment basically gives all citizens the "right to bear arms." At the time it was written, what was the context? The weapons of the day for citizens and military were mostly single-shot pistols and rifles.

If citizens weren't allowed to own these weapons, they would not have been able to feed, defend and protect themselves in their new country. And the new country would not be able to defend and protect itself -- via its civilian militia -- in a time of need.

Today's citizens who advocate the "right to bear arms" feel they can own any kind of weapon, including weapons of war. Weapons of war used today are not intended or needed for civilian use because civilian militias are not needed to defend and protect our country in a time of need. We have various regular, reserves and National Guard militaries to defend and protect us.

A line must be drawn now to separate weapons for civilian use and weapons of war. Proper restrictions must be made into law.

Jim Crane

Pleasant Hill

Vote instead of complaining

This is regarding the recent Times article about Richmond, "A Tale of Two Cities."

Having lived and worked for more than three decades in Richmond -- roughly half in Point Richmond and half in East Richmond -- I found one very relevant statistic missing from your interesting article on the schism between "The Point" and "everywhere else" in Richmond.

I am referring to voting statistics. What percentage of eligible voters actually made that minimal effort to participate in and, thus, guide the political process, rather than just complaining about it?

Ralph Hueston Kratz

Richmond

Stop wasting taxpayers' money

I think it is a horrible waste of toll collections to spend such an extravagant amount of money on a celebration for opening day of the new Bay Bridge.

If the MTC has so much money to waste, it should reduce the amount of the bridge tolls until it consumes the $5.6 million in extra funds. Or maybe it can offer free tolls for the entire week. But if it won't do that, then it should at least give the equivalent to a deserving charity instead.

Allocating this huge sum of money toward a grand opening event is just another way taxpayers' money is being wasted. We must speak up and voice our thoughts as a way to stop this kind of waste.

Edna Fernandez

Livermore

Where's the debate over the sequester?

I don't get this supposed debate over the so-called sequester.

Isn't sequestration the massive slashing of government programs? Isn't this exactly what the Republicans have been demanding for eons -- all slashing, no taxes?

Isn't everyone in agreement that if this happens it will be a disaster for the economy? So where's the so-called debate?

Yeah, I know, it's the nuclear-armed drones that the Republicans are worried about losing, not Medicare benefits. Forget I asked.

Jim Hogan

El Sobrante