BART unions holding riders hostage again

The prospect of another BART strike is unacceptable.

It is outrageous that these unions have the power to disrupt the lives and livelihoods of hundreds of thousands of Bay Area residents. Our BART directors and lawmakers must take steps to ensure these unions cannot hijack our transportation system, and that the BART strikes we have been forced to endure in the past can never happen again.

It is clearly evident that relying on union workers to operate and maintain BART has been a big mistake. We, the people who built and own BART, would be much better served if BART employees were hired and paid like the rest of us -- through competitive labor markets. That's the best way to ensure BART employees are fairly compensated, rather than letting the unions hold the public as hostages until their demands are met.

And then let's elect state legislators who aren't in the pockets of the SEIU and other unions and who will make laws to protect us from the greed and tyranny of the unions.

Dick Patterson

El Cerrito

Use licensing to curb tobacco sales to kids

Deadly tobacco products are being pushed to youths in Pittsburg.

Contra Costa County Supervisor Federal Glover has discussed tobacco industry targeting of youths, low-income communities and communities of color. It's certainly true in Pittsburg.

I've seen minors enter adult-only tobacco stores and can't miss tobacco products displayed next to eye-catching professional sporting merchandise or candy. Worse, our stores sell tobacco to minors.

Pittsburg has one of the highest rates of illegal tobacco sales to minors (26 percent) in the county, according to the state Public Health Department. A Tobacco Retailer Licensing law may make retailers take these laws more seriously.

A TRL requires tobacco retailers to buy a local license for a small fee. The money pays for enforcement of tobacco laws and allows the city to suspend their tobacco licenses if they break the law.

A similar program reduced the rate in unincorporated Contra Costa County from 37 percent to less than 4 percent. It's time for our city leaders to consider a tool, such as licensing, to protect our youths from these deadly products.

Connie Russell

Pittsburg Russell is the director of the nonprofit People Who Care Children Association based in Pittsburg

Helping spay, neuter feral cat is the solution

This is a response to the letter from Steve Matthews regarding the feeding of feral cats in his neighborhood.

The young lady in question is helping creatures that are homeless and hungry through no fault of their own. Those responsible are pet owners who let their cats outside without spay/neuter surgery; discard them when they tire of caring for them; or move away, leaving their pets to fend for themselves. They're left to suffer because of very unkind humans.

Rather than alerting the police and animal services and reiterating the problem, I suggest Matthews become part of the solution. Help the young lady in your neighborhood by removing the plates and bowls when the cats finish eating to avoid trash build up and attracting wild critters.

Help her trap the cats and take them to a veterinary office or clinic for spay/neuter surgery and rabies and distemper vaccinations. Humane traps are available for purchase or rent. Matthews may discover he's made a new friend in his neighborhood.

Trap, neuter and return is effective in maintaining feral cat populations. The cats are healthier and reproduction is controlled. It takes time, effort and patience, but don't we owe the animals who share our world compassion and humane treatment?

Kathy Coad

Pinole

Let's snoop on drivers instead of gun owners

This is in response Naveed Khan's June 20 letter, "Snooping as way to save lives."

Khan says that he would urge the NSA to secretly monitor every gun owner who may go berserk one day and kill dozens of people at random.

I am going to assume Khan drives a vehicle. Thousands are killed every year by drunk drivers, so using his logic we should have every car owner monitored to make sure they don't get behind the wheel drunk.

Please remember most of the gun killings are not done by legal, responsible gun owners.

Vickie Keller

Livermore