The devil vs. the cyclists

As they should, Diablo residents have spoken out against cyclists for their flouting of traffic laws as they ride through town.

I wish these same residents spoke out against drivers speeding, running stop signs and failing to signal turns. I suppose the difference is these errant drivers are their neighbors, whereas misbehaving cyclists are perceived as out-of-towners bringing mayhem to town.

Yet I've been run off the road and nearly hit many times as Diablo residents turn onto their private lanes, all while I'm obeying every traffic law. Apparently, public safety concerns in Diablo extend only to residents.

Most serious cyclists I know would rather stay on Blackhawk Road than ruffle the leaves in Diablo, as it's a more direct route to Mount Diablo. Speeding drivers, weaving in the lane as they talk on their phones and who exhibit a callous disregard for cyclists generally make this a risky choice.

I don't blame the self-satisfied, self-righteous residents of Diablo for declaring war on cyclists. But their anger is misplaced. They should be angry with the city and county for failing to provide proper bike lanes on the main thoroughfares, forcing cyclists to ride through neighborhoods.

Alan Plummer

Walnut Creek

EBMUD wants more money

EBMUD is asking for a 20 percent rate increase over the next two years.

It had rate increases of 7.5 percent in 2011 and 7.5 percent in 2012. The proposed rates for 2014 would be double what they were in 2007.

Part of the district's reasoning is that people are not using as much water, which decreases its revenue.

The district claims it needs money for seismic upgrades to Chabot Dam, replacing 53 miles of pipes over the next five years and upgrades to treatment plants. In 2006, it justified a 3.4 percent increase in rates to fund a five-year capital improvement and 10-year plan for seismic improvements.

Its current budget shows $202 million for infrastructure improvements. The current total budget is $703 million. Adding 20 percent revenue is an additional $140 million, or 69 percent of its current capital improvement budget -- if all the additional money goes to capital improvements.

The interesting part is that EBMUD, for some reason, isn't subject to public utilities regulation.

The public hearing is 1:15 p.m. June 11 in the EBMUD board room, 375 11th St., Oakland.

Brian Deans

Berkeley

Time to revolt at the ballot box?

Those Americans who filed a 1040 tax form were "Tax Free at Last" on April 19.

According to the Tax Foundation figures, that is the day "when the nation as a whole has earned enough money to pay its total tax bill for the year."

Almost one-third of Americans' working hours are owned by the government. Yes, we do have to fund government ... but not that much government. The Investors Business Daily aptly stated, "It's inconsistent with liberty to require taxpayers to toil that much for the state."

In the days of ruler kings, a nation's wealth belonged to the ruler. The king allowed his subjects to keep just enough to subsist and to avert a rebellion. Modern politicians have a similar philosophy, except they substitute government for king.

It may be time for a revolt -- at the ballot box. Candidates who won't pledge to shrink the size of a bloated government and our soaring tax bills should not get our vote.

Jacqueline Cloidt

Orinda

Religion is bad news

I'm totally exasperated by the recent news of religion still causing the death of innocent children.

Most gruesome is the case of the Philadelphia faith healers who put their imaginary god above the law by denying care for their infant son.

On the other hand, the good news is that the Boy Scouts decided to allow gays and atheists to become members.

Is the religious brainwashing of our youths starting to break down? For humanity's sake, I certainly hope so.

David M. Mandell

Fremont

Richmond BART parking concerns

I certainly agree with S.S. Suko's May 20 letter regarding BART parking security.

I've been using Richmond BART for 23 years without a problem. However, my first thought upon hearing about the garage was, as Suko noted, "walking through an unattended enclosed garage after dark in a high-crime area."

Charles Locher

Richmond