Our government is not a democracy

We love to call our country a democracy.

You hear it all the time. Pundits and others expound how our democracy makes this the greatest country in the world. But the failure of the Senate to pass a single gun-control measure last week was a painful reminder that our government is not a democracy.

We have, of course, a representative form of government. The Senate's failure shows it's representatives do not work for the people who elect them, but rather for those who provide the money for their re-election campaigns. And that clearly is not us!

Don't tell me about how a minority of Republicans derailed gun control or a few Blue Dog Democrats derailed real filibuster reform.

Our government is broken. It failed an overwhelming mandate from its citizens. Greatest country? By what measure ... other than number of guns per capita?

John Bursch

Martinez

Lawmakers trample on the neediest citizens

This letter is regarding the sequestration and so-called "entitlements."

While our state and federal lawmakers reduce funding for seniors and disabled citizens who have earned the right to live out their lives without financial worries, our elected officials -- who get very large lifetime retirement pensions (even after only one term) -- want to take that very small cushion of money from its citizens.

Those lawmakers get premium medical care and other benefits. They need to step into our shoes to see what life is really like.

The ones who really get entitlements are those very same lawmakers and decision-makers who never worked at real jobs in their lives, including President Barack Obama. Those of us who have labored all our lives and paid into Social Security now face reductions in an economy that is suffering badly.

Instead of reducing the national debt on the backs of its neediest citizens, our government must stop sending billions of dollars, year after year, to foreign governments, many of which hate us and want to kill us.

Bob Collins

Richmond

Solar panels don't grow on magic trees

After reading the letter from Tim Guernsey of Brentwood regarding the addition of solar panels being placed at schools, not only in Brentwood, but across the Bay Area, I had to chuckle.

What better opportunity to teach children the importance of alternative energy sources than at schools? The school parking areas where the majority of these panels are placed are using an existing footprint to harness energy.

I looked high and wide and was unable to find a magic forest that grows these panels, so I assume some manufacturing would be needed.

What about the manufacturing of energy-efficient cars, double-pane windows, compostable food containers for restaurants, Energy Star appliances, and products made from recycled products? They all must be manufactured. Where does Guernsey think his home materials came from?

Until we find that magic forest, the least we can do is attempt to look at green alternatives to the things we consume and need.

I think the real issues with Guernsey are his not-in-my-backyard mentality and that his view of the "truly green hills" of East Contra Costa County is compromised.

Tim Nasty

Oakley

U.S.-made steel hardly proves to be superior

An April 15 letter by Pete Laurence, "Bay Bridge fiasco shows incompetence," states that "outsourcing the steel components to communist China leads the list of outright stupidity."

Laurence implies that China, "our largest and main potential military enemy," might deliberately sabotage its steel products.

Whether the components from "communist China" are up to the task has yet to be proven, as the new bridge has not yet opened to traffic. However, one thing we do know for sure: The steel components from "capitalist United States," the Dyson Corp. of Ohio, have already shown a failure rate of 33 percent. And this was not under load, but under the stress of being installed!

This hardly inspires confidence in the superiority of capitalist American technology or metallurgy.

Burt Bogardus

Danville