Cartoon was offensive

I find Tom Meyer's April 18 Times editorial-page cartoon on state retirees personally offensive.

My last 10 years before age 65 retirement were spent as a state worker, for which I receive a pension less than the Social Security earned in previous jobs, and a 457 plan that Wall Street keeps chiseling -- CalPERS has barely recouped those investments after the 2008 grand theft showed us what private enterprise can do -- and mostly get away with.

My experience is:

  • State employees provide valuable services private capital would avoid.

  • State jobs aren't easy to get. They require expertise and effort. State employees risk their lives and well being for us every day.

  • I saw my co-workers die soon after retirement.

  • The cartoon figure is by far exceptional, though you can find freeloaders in any large organization.

    My conclusion: Meyer believes the GOP propaganda that all social services should be privatized -- which masks the real objective of a few rich people to cherry-pick some potentially profitable state functions, to the detriment of the rest of us.

    How about a cartoon of the Koch brothers stealing the Postal Service?

    John G. Mackinney

    Albany

    Competition is essential

    Almost daily, I read a story about schools outlawing the competitive element.

    I've spoken to numerous people from all political affiliations at work, at the grocery store or in line at the snack shack; each person disagrees with this type of social-engineering experimentation.

    Who are these people who are allowed to ban students from keeping score during kickball? Who are they who disband the honors award dinner because other students' feelings will be hurt?

    Competition drives the world. It is the foundation of diversity. Healthy competition is where we find out what we are not good at. Some excel in sports, others in music or dance, and others in academics or social skills.

    How else do we self-actualize without failure? Every "I did it!" moment in life starts with a failure. This is the human spirit. This is what we are all about. Taking away the competitive element is taking away the desire to achieve, to self-actualize, to live.

    What affiliation do these "anti-competition" folks belong to? Are we really going to let them engineer the human spirit right out of us?

    Jim Pedrotti

    Walnut Creek

    PUC regulations hardly enforced

    Why am I not surprised by Steve Harmon's April 18 article on the California Public Utilities Commission?

    As an advocate for senior issues, I attended PUC public hearings in San Francisco where some commissioners would nod off during public comments. We taxpayers were merely considered fools. While the room was awash with company lobbyists in three-piece suits and wingtips, the unpaid ratepayers were practically shunned.

    When is the Times going to put the articles about the PUC mess in the front section of the paper, spend some cash to get live reporters where they need to be (not just in Sacramento), and keep these bureaucrats accountable?

    If the state regulators tasked with assuring employee and ratepayer safety are taking paychecks for not doing their jobs, who's going to shine the spotlight where the mess is getting worse?

    People died in San Bruno and Sacramento due to poor enforcement of PUC regulations. Utilities flaunt pathetic record-keeping, allow staff to ignore violations and get fined seldom and too little to cause pain and compliance. The tax dollar gets us nothing.

    Jan Howe

    San Ramon

    In the dark about evolution

    Another lone voice in the darkness.

    In his April 12 letter, Raphael Sealey says, "Evolution is a fantasy." Let's light a candle in the interest of reason.

    A vast body of rigorous research, now bolstered by genetics, has defined beyond any rational doubt the great branching tree of evolution. It's more likely that God is the fantasy, and that the godlike laugh Sealey imagined is on him.

    Jerry Landis

    Berkeley

    Gun violence kills people

    I wonder how advocates against gun control would feel if their 6-year-old child were gunned down while sitting innocently in a classroom or if he or she were shot and severely injured while going about a normal day.

    Would they still believe that the right to own any kind of gun, registered or unregistered, and any amount of ammunition is more important than human life?

    Three people were killed in the Boston Marathon bombings on April 15. How many will be killed by gun violence as a result of the Senate vote on April 17?

    Beckie Abbott

    Concord