Should the few be able to hold many hostage?

Public employee unions often have the power to bring important public facilities to a complete halt. This is generally much different from unions in the private sector, where there are usually alternative products and services.

This gives the public employee unions a big advantage, a cartel-like power to disrupt public order, enabling them to exact generous settlements during wage and benefit negotiations, or (is this an acceptable alternative?) they can shut down the system, one where there are no alternatives, as in the private sector.

Should a public employee union, representing perhaps 2,000 workers, have the power to disrupt the public safety and order of millions? Which is more important, good public order or the right of public employees to strike? It's one or the other, not both. I'm still waiting for some of our courageous elected officials to wade in on this issue.

John Griffin

Alamo

Zimmerman should have let self be attacked

I am sickened by the acquittal of George Zimmerman in Florida. I don't care if he even really was attacked.

Armed with a gun, he provoked an altercation that he felt confident he would win no matter what happened. Well, the worst happened, a young man is dead, and George Zimmerman is walking free of his wrongdoing. When my boys were small, I had dreamed of taking them to Florida when they were teenagers. No longer. I will never visit Florida with my family. There are 49 other states where I would rather spend my tourist dollars.

Janet Brazelton

San Ramon

Is paper saying Obama's favor can be bought?

I found your editorial, Sunday, 7/14/2013, "Obama must lead debate on disclosure," nothing short of shocking. The very first paragraph states that "Silicon Valley" has backed President Obama with "votes and dollars," and therefore, according to BANG, he owes Silicon Valley his support. It seems BANG is suggesting that the president's favor can be bought!

Diana Gregory

Danville

WWII sailor, 93, has a story that's important

I am writing a biography for my creative writing class of my 93-year-old neighbor, Dick Quincy, who through a lot of luck was one of World War II's surviving merchant seamen.

On Dec. 22, 1941, his tanker, the Montebello, was torpedoed by a Japanese submarine and sunk off the Pacific Coast near San Simeon. The ship was loaded with three million gallons of oil, but the torpedo hit an empty dry storage area, so there was no explosion. All of the crew survived, although Dick is now the only one still living.

After a voyage from Aruba to Nova Scotia, it was decided to unload the tanker's kerosene, rather than continue on to Murmansk, a voyage that always had an extremely high rate of ships being sunk by German submarines. Two months after Dick left this tanker to take his test to become an able seaman, the ship was torpedoed and sunk with a loss of all but six of the 40 crewmen.

On a voyage from Hawaii to Majuro in the Marshall Islands his ship not only carried oil to resupply Navy destroyers, but was loaded with ammunition and detonators!

After surviving the war, merchant seamen lost employment and educational opportunities because they lacked veteran status, which they finally achieved in 1988.

Kirk Smith

Danville

America needs a clear plan for its tech future

American progress in technological fields has no parallel in history. However, the political arena in America has not kept pace with it.

From a technological perspective, there is a solution to every problem; from a political perspective, there is a problem to every solution.

The citizens cannot draw full benefits from technological progress unless the political system is brought in sync with technological progress. Disconnected progress in the two arenas can be harmful to the citizens.

Based on a certain ideology, the American government has remained the product of the time it was created in. Now the challenge of the changing times demands that the government must also be goal-oriented to create the most desired future for the nation. The leadership must own the responsibility for the nation's future.

Unless there is a vision, direction and pursuit of the desired future, people can perish by their own untamed progress. If we do not know where we want to go then every road goes there. Not knowing what we want in the future cannot create the desired future. The desired future is not a gift of God. It is the expected result of the efforts exerted in the present.

America has the best talent to delineate the desired future through "Generative Scenario Methodology" but has never deployed it. Congress must act now.

T.S. Khanna

Alamo

Prop. 8 ruling merits changes in vocabulary

The judges have made their ruling on Prop. 8, so some new words will now be needed. Words that say what they mean and mean what they say. "Marriage", "husband", "wife" do not fit all situations. The following quotes from this paper, "his husband" and "I now pronounce you wife and wife," do not fit the definition of the words.

Perhaps "union," "spouse and spousette," "dude and dudette" would be acceptable.

Along with this new wording, two additional legal documents will need to be printed incorporating the new words. There are plenty of bright minds out there, so surely someone can come up with words to fit the comfort zone and also be explanatory.

Mavis Jamison

Dublin

Snowden looks pretty good compared to Wall Street

The world's attention is on Edward Snowden, the leaker -- or whistle-blower -- of our spy agency's vast surveillance program. He told the world what most of us already knew or at least suspected: our phone calls and emails might be monitored. Still, our president, members of Congress and many Americans are outraged and want to see him put behind bars. Why? Because he jeopardized our "national security."

Accepting this argument, why hasn't Washington gone with equal fervor after the Wall Street guys whose recklessness caused a worldwide economic meltdown five years ago? Talk about "national security" -- these gangsters really did major damage! Remember Angelo Mozilo, of Countrywide; Jimmy Caine, of Bear Stearns; Richard Fuld, of Lehman Brothers or Fabrice Tourre, of Goldman Sachs?

Mr. Snowden should be last in the line leading to court and jail -- I want to see these gangsters behind bars first. If we are being told that they haven't broken any laws, then we, the public, should ask why our elected representatives adjust the laws to make it perfectly legal to sell high-risky mortgages as AAA-rated. Compared to Wall Street criminals and their corrupt accomplices in Congress, Mr. Snowden doesn't really seem like such a villain!

Patrick Weidhaas

Dublin