Child abuse suspicions need to be reported

Each day, the news media is reporting on more and more violence in our communities. What is disturbing is the number of incidents of child abuse and neglect in our schools.

School districts are struggling with their responsibilities on how to identify suspected child abuse and on how to report it. Teachers, coaches and those who work with children are required to report suspected child abuse. California's mandated reporting law clearly states what child abuse is and how to report it.

However, protecting children is the responsibility of everyone. If you have reason to believe a child may be at risk of harm at school, in the community or in their home, call the Contra Costa County Children and Family Services or your local law enforcement agency so professionals can assess the situation.

Anyone who is worried about the well-being of a child can call to report their concerns. Reporting abuse or neglect can protect a child and get help for a family. It may even save a child's life.

Carol Carrillo

Concord

Carrillo is the director of Child Abuse Prevention Council of Contra Costa County.

Young man fatally shot in Hayward was a victim


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According to the Hayward Police Department, Shawn Joseph Jetmore Stoddard-Nunez, the 19-year-old mistakenly shot to death recently by the Hayward police, wasn't a victim of police violence or lethal rules of engagement but "the dynamics of motion and time."

The police spokesman went on to say, "at this point in the investigation, we have not found anything we would have arrested him for" -- as if the police are hoping they can come up with something that would make their actions seem justified.

I join the Bay Area community in deploring the murder of the two police officers in Santa Cruz. But the murder of this young man and many other innocent citizens by the police is equally tragic.

Arthur Pakman, the driver of the car in which Stoddard-Nunez was a passenger, was arrested on suspicion of felony murder charges.

Reportedly, Pakman hit a police car, either on purpose or by mistake, then tried to get away. Maybe he is stupid. Maybe he is young and stupid. But he didn't shoot and kill his friend. Time and motion didn't, either. The police did.

Deborah Bayer

Richmond

Sequester hasn't work as planned

Despite his campaigning that he would go through the budget line by line, President Barack Obama never intended to cut anything.

Politicians, like that 47 percent, have no skin in the game; it makes it easier to raise taxes.

Obama figured there would be a public outcry against the sequester that would force Republicans to raise taxes again. It didn't happen.

The smaller the debt, the better the economy -- and the folks know that. Now Obama's pouting, so he cut White House tours. So much for transparency.

Bill Jones

Pleasant Hill

Times publishes an excellent opinion page

Great Times opinion page on March 8! That includes the letters selected, as well as the editorial itself.

My only comment on the latter is that I was involved in efforts to explore "alternatives to incarceration" 50 years ago -- and we didn't know about pre-adult brain development in those days. But here we are, half a century later, much more enlightened and still trying. Good luck!

I think it says something about what I would call the "angle of repose" in human nature.

Mitch VanBourg

Berkeley

Good guys did stop the bad guy

In a recent letter, Stan Oberg apparently was trying to use the murder of two Santa Cruz police officers to mock the National Rifle Association mantra, "The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun," which argues for the arming of school personnel.

But Oberg shot himself in the foot. Good guys with guns did stop the bad guy with a gun.

Steve Poff

Walnut Creek

Congress forced to look at military spending

I think the sequester is a giant mistake, and it will hurt a lot of needy people.

However, it has caused Congress to take a look at the horrifically wasteful military budget.

Across-the-board cuts are dumb. What we need to look at is cutting out our purchase of unneeded aircraft carriers, nuclear submarines, nuclear weapons and planes such as the F-35. They are, at best, make-work welfare for the arms manufacturers.

Bob Hanson

Walnut Creek