GOP using the IRS for its own propaganda
As a former IRS employee and a president of a nonprofit organization for many years, I feel I have the right to comment on the ongoing political situation in which the Obama administration finds itself.
I think this is a propaganda gimmick the Republican Party is using to avoid dealing with our country's real problems. Some problems include the economy, real estate disaster, wars started by Republican administrations, suffering returning veterans and our nation's huge debt.
We IRS employees went after those businesses and organizations that wouldn't follow the policies in place. One of the policies was that if you were a nonprofit organization, you couldn't engage in fundraising for political parties.
Many of the groups in question wanted to raise money for Republican candidates and not pay a tax on the money they raised to support those candidates by claiming they were nonprofit organizations. This was against the policy of the IRS.
Now they claim they were singled out and discriminated against. Of course the IRS went after those who sought to avoid the taxes by claiming nonprofit status.
Joseph T. Zamora
Ban on public worker strikes would fix issue
In a recent editorial about costly public pension subsidies, the Times suggested the elected officials who continue to agree to the costly deals should be voted out of office.
It is extremely unlikely to have different results by replacing the elected officials. The reason is that there is little difference between the majority of the voting public and the public unions. As a consequence, the public unions are negotiating with their mirror image.
What is needed is a ban against public employees striking or to privatize all public supported works.
Will this happen? Perhaps when the public unions kill the goose that laid the golden egg, but then it will be much too late.
Fixing feral cats is an unrealistic solution
The subject of feral cat Trap, Neuter and Return is typically long on emotion and short on real-world perspective.
Unfortunately, there's very little sound raw data by which to judge the problem's magnitude, so we resort to "what-ifs."
U.S. veterinary associations document 20,000-25,000 sites that may be capable of neutering. If, for argument's sake, the average neutering rate is five cats per day, five days a week, then if 20,000 sites are involved, about 25 million neuters would be performed in one year. Sounds promising.
We don't know the size of the feral cat population; around 50 million is a popular estimate. If half of it is in TNR, then of the remainder, let's assume 50 percent are breeding females (12.5 million). This cohort would only have to produce one or two extra survivor kittens in a year to replace cats dragooned into TNR. Feasible? Maybe.
If a goal of about 25 million neuters yearly were to be realistic, then who's going to pay for it? Judging by vet bills for neutering my cats, the incremental overhead could average as much as $100 per cat. Total: $2.5 billion -- making a strong economic case for euthanasia, which is simple, fast, cheap, humane.
BART management and workers are overpaid
All BART workers are grossly overpaid. To lead by example, management needs to cut their own bloated salaries and perks first.
Union workers need to realize they are also overpaid and need to contribute to their own pensions just like everyone else. They must quit asking the riders to pay more for their greed. BART employees have it better than the majority of their riders.
Cut all management and union wages by 40 percent and use the money to lower fares -- and maybe clean those filthy cars more often.
Bay Area should help Egypt with vote
Will the Bay Area help Egypt solve its government crisis?
Egypt's crisis is the result of an outdated election system, which is even worse than our own local elections were before San Francisco, San Leandro, Berkeley and Oakland passed reforms. Egypt's problems can also be solved with the same improvements: District representation and Instant Runoff (Ranked Choice) Voting.
The "parliament" proportional election system itself motivates voters to vote along sectarian lines so that their ethnic/religious group will be represented. Only with district representation and ranked voting are politicians motivated to overcome sectarian divisions and promise to focus on improving their district's future instead.
To win, they cannot risk alienating any ethnic group because they will need all the second- and third-choice votes they can get. This is why Oakland and San Francisco now have the first big-city Asian mayors in the U.S., along with nondivisive, policy-oriented political climates.
We should be sharing these benefits and helping Egypt get proper voting equipment before new elections are held. This is the ideal opportunity, while Egypt has no incumbent government to resist/prevent modernization.