Understand Planned Parenthood's mission

In her May 7 letter, "Lobby for the unborn to exist," Anna Koepke makes an erroneous assumption that if President Barack Obama supports Planned Parenthood's right to exist, he must be advocating for abortion.

I'm convinced Koepke isn't aware Planned Parenthood health centers provide services to men, women and teens that include tests and treatment to reduce the spread of sexually transmitted infections and screenings for cervical and other cancers.

They provide doctors and nurses to teach patients about breast care, connect patients to resources to help them get vital biopsies, ultrasounds and mammograms, and follow up to make sure patients are cared for with the attention they need and deserve. There's no reason for Obama not to support Planned Parenthood.

Then there's Koepke's rhetorical question: "Is it convenient for a sitting president to involve himself in personal family matters other than his own?" Forget about convenience; it is something he must do.

What does Koepke think Obama's doing when he sends relief funds to cities and communities after devastating storms, floods, earthquakes, fires and numerous other plagues? When he allocates funds to education and secures health care for everyone in the nation?

Is Obama demanding she accept services from Planned Parenthood? That is my rhetorical question.

Evie Groch

El Cerrito

City has been shortsighted


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Like a well-bred lady, a well-managed municipality should rarely see its name in the papers, yet Pleasant Hill has been in the papers and on local TV news of late regarding the habitual traffic snarls on Contra Costa Boulevard and adjacent feeder roads caused by the poorly planned Safeway gas station.

This is truly an accident waiting to happen.

Also attracting media attention has been the justified public furor over the closing and demolition of the Dome theater, which has only reinforced the perception of shortsightedness of Pleasant Hill's civic leaders.

Carlee Durfor

Pleasant Hill

Appreciation for our troops

On May 18, Armed Forces Day, please take a moment to reflect on the sacrifices made on our behalf by our troops.

Then, reach out and demonstrate your thanks personally or through a troop-support organization such as the Blue Star Mothers of America (members are mothers with sons and daughters serving in the military).

You can donate in-kind goods for care packages, or meet the moms and ask what they need to continue the organization's support of America's military, veterans and the families of our fallen heroes. America's military needs to be supported by one and all.

Pat Soler

Walnut Creek Soler is national president of Blue Star Mothers of America.

Security must be vigilant

We must never let our hands down for a split second. The boxer who does that will be hit a surprising blow that will mean the end of a fight.

Our security people at airports, ball games or BART stations are now slowing down their search for bombs because the news about the Boston tragedy has cooled down and nothing has happened in the Bay Area.

Security personnel assigned to this job must keep up the wonderful work they are doing to ensure our safety because that is what we need. Don't let some horrible things happen here.

Keep searching and never slow down your vigilance for a split second since many lives could be lost. Never give the bad guys a chance.

Arthur L. Gubisch

Concord

Continue regional trails program

Trail enthusiasts in the East Bay should be urging Gov. Jerry Brown to continue this state's participation in the federal government's Recreational Trails Program.

Congress reauthorized legislation last year that preserved funding for RTP, but granted the governor of each state the authority to opt out of the program. Some Sacramento interests are advising Brown to opt out of RTP.

Since its creation in 1993, RTP has funded approximately 24 trail projects in Alameda and Contra Costa counties. Local municipalities that have received these grants include, but are not limited to: Contra Costa County, East Bay Regional Park District, Danville, Richmond, Oakland and Hayward Parks and Recreation.

Don Amador

Oakley

Berkeley is wrong about payday loans

The recent article about Berkeley targeting high-interest "payday" loan businesses fails to answer the question: "What is a person without a bank account supposed to do with a paycheck or with some immediate need?"

By the way, the exorbitant interest rates quoted are grossly misleading. The 460 percent rate given for a two-week loan is the rate one would pay if the loan was kept unpaid for a year. If the loan was paid it off in two weeks, the cost would be 17.7 percent of the loan amount (17.7 percent compounded 26 times becomes 460 percent).

Here's a concrete example of the utility of such a loan: Suppose you have a credit card payment due May 20. The nonpayment penalty is $30. You have a paycheck due May 31, but no other funds just now. With a payday loan of $100, you can make a credit card payment and do a few other things. In two weeks time, you pay off the loan, at a cost of $18. Pretty good deal.

Close the lenders' storefronts in Berkeley, and some truly unsavory, back-alley lenders will offer the service (at higher rates, including bodily harm).

Arthur Luehrmann

Berkeley