Union chased off call center

At what point in recent history did unions take over the role of management of businesses?

I'm referring to the Feb. 27 article, "Call center plan dropped," wherein the Service Employees International Union chased off a proposed call center and its 214 new jobs because it insisted, incredibly, that "its members (are) to set their own work hours."

The article ended by saying the other union involved, Local 512 of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, wants work rules allowing employees to stay one hour after the center closed to qualify for additional money in the form of a "shift differential." Right, the center is closed but hang around for an hour and collect more money.

I believe there are easily 214 unemployed individuals in Contra Costa County who would be happy to have their work hours laid out for them as terms of employment.

Why must this call center be a union shop? This has gotten beyond ridiculous for those of us who have spent decades in the work force without the benevolent guidance of some union fat cat bosses.

Tom Olsen

Walnut Creek

Blame Obama and the Democrats

The Times' Feb. 27 "sequestration" editorial unfortunately promotes the Obama-hype rather than the facts of our nation's financial dilemma.

From the editorial's title blaming "Congress" to its content favoring even more taxation and repeating the scare scenarios, the credibility of your otherwise fine newspaper is hurt.

As you should know, the sequestration alternative that was proposed and signed by President Barack Obama and the Republican Congress has twice passed resolutions with sensible cuts. It has been the Democratic Senate that has done nothing to cut back spending and which hasn't even passed a budget for four long years.

Obama's proposed "budgets" have been so ridiculous that even his Senate doesn't support them, and his fear mongering and blaming others is pure demagoguery since it is he who's running trillion dollar deficits and his policies that scare the economy into paralysis.

As polls show, most Americans understand we have an out-of-control spending problem. It's time not for more taxes, but for Obama and the Senate to cut out the obscene waste and this structural disaster that they have created.

Pete Laurence

Clayton

Guns pose danger to many

Gun advocates have a point suggesting improved mental health services would be beneficial, especially if the mental health is provided for the gun-obsessed and gun-crazed who are needlessly paranoid that sensible gun regulations would neuter their right to violent activities.

Yearly, tens of thousands of Americans commit suicide with guns. Easy access to guns risk the lives of law-enforcement officers. And thousands of innocent children lose their lives thinking real guns lying around are toys.

Hundreds of billions of dollars are taken out of the economy as profits to armament makers -- unproductive wealth lying around in uninsured, unsupervised weapons.

John Schank

San Pablo

Here are FBI's actual stats on killings

Gene Berry, who otherwise wrote a reasonable and interesting letter to the editor, quotes 2011 FBI statistics to "prove" that more people are killed by clubs and knives than by guns.

Below are the actual statistics for that year. Please note that what Berry said was true of rifles, not all guns. Include handguns, shotguns and "firearms, type not stated," and, of course, Berry is dead wrong by a huge margin.

Here are the 2011 FBI statistics on killings: handguns, 6,220; rifles, 323; shotguns, 356; other guns, 97; firearms, type not stated, 1,587; knives or cutting instruments, 1,694; blunt objects (clubs, hammers, etc.), 496; and personal weapons (hands, fists, feet, etc.), 728.

Mike Steinberg

Berkeley

George Will column is a good choice

In my opinion, while Mallard Fillmore and Doonesbury do certainly express diametrically opposite political perspectives, they are not equal in other respects. Doonesbury is by far the better comic. Again, my opinion.

Doonesbury is incisive -- it slices like a finely-honed razor. Mallard Fillmore bludgeons like a sledgehammer.

Nonetheless, both have plenty of enthusiastic fans among readers, so I expect the paper will keep them both -- and rightly so.

However, to treat readers to something that slices like a finely-honed razor from a conservative point of view, I suggest the paper run George Will's column more often.

Richard Orlando

Oakland