Marin Clean Energy not for everyone in the city

The city of Richmond has joined the Marin Clean Energy group, as is its right under California state law. In so doing, it has also signed up every customer of PG&E in the city.

I object most strenuously.

When this state law was enacted, under the advocacy of the Clean Energy Group, other conservation groups and supposedly the watchful eyes of the California Public Utilities Commission, the law did not require an "opt in" to join, but rather an "opt out" not to join method of not going with Marin Clean Energy.

Big Brother is telling us what to do!

I think we all know full well that because of a lack of understanding or the additional work required, most people will not opt out -- as would be to their financial well-being -- and, thus, they will pay through the nose money that they don't have.

The city of Richmond is not as rich as Marin County. Paying Marin Clean Energy more for electricity than PG&E charges is not right for everyone.

Thomas O'Reilly

Richmond

'Zero Dark Thirty' asks if ends justify means

Two recent pieces in the Times on "Zero Dark Thirty" and government sanctioned "torture" sorely need some perspective.

To suggest this movie "erodes our society's values" is ridiculous. It's not clear that either author actually watched the film. If they had, they would not have said it fails to point out torture is profoundly destructive to those who engage in it.

It should have been clear that it neither glorifies torture nor does it directly suggest information revealed under torture was key in locating Osama bin Laden. Besides being extremely difficult to watch, the torture scenes clearly showed that the lead interrogator was degraded and dehumanized by his actions.

Far from a "suspense thriller" (everyone already knows bin Laden dies), the film indirectly asked the key question: Just how far should our society go in interrogating jihadists intent on mass murder and can the end ever justify the means?

I encourage all citizens to watch the movie, not for vindication in getting bin Laden, but for inquiry into the continued cost we pay as a society.

Harold Mantle

Lafayette

Stopping smoking takes commitment

I was trapped in a two-pack-a-day smoking habit for many years.

Cigarettes were essential to all my activities. I couldn't have a cup of coffee or start the car without one.

Then in 1974, I saw an advertisement in the newspaper for an organization called "SmokEnders." The meeting happened to be on my way home from work. One turn went home and the other headed for the meeting. It was a 50-50 choice, but mindlessly, I took the meeting exit.

It was a program of many weeks. I obeyed the rules, but still smoked as much as possible. When quit day came, though, I did what they told me and stopped smoking for good.

The group leader warned us that the most dangerous times to fall off the smoker's wagon were happy times, such as parties or meeting old friends.

Now, I don't miss smoking one bit. Yes, one can be truly free from cigarettes. Furthermore, coffee is great without them.

Harriet Jones

Berkeley

Berkeley lab takes on market manipulators

I thought the Department of Energy's national labs were mostly about basic and applied science, with an emphasis on energy. But according to your April 15 front-page article, "Supercomputers a weapon in battle against stock crashes," Berkeley Lab's supercomputer Edison, capable of 2 quadrillion (15 zeros) operations per second, is being programmed to detect "precursors to a (stock market) crash."

While some may question how this use of taxpayer funds relates to DOE's energy mission, I think it's a great application of resources and scientific talent.

Berkeley lab's scientists are very sharp; they are free thinkers. Managing them is sort of like trying to keep track of where they've been.

If they get into the inner workings of high frequency computer trading, they are bound to uncover "gazillions" of mysterious trading anomalies. Market manipulators beware.

Chris Kniel

Orinda

Safeway must upgrade Rossmoor store first

Before Safeway talks about building a huge project near Shadelands Drive, it should take better care of the Safeway near Rossmoor.

I moved to Rossmoor 13 years ago and am very grateful Safeway has a store nearby with such a pleasant staff which does its best. However, its vegetable and fruit sections need to be improved.

Corporate Safeway has not responded to any of the cards I've sent over the years. Emails are not answered and it seems impossible to reach anyone at Safeway's headquarters by phone.

Celia Menczel

Walnut Creek