Chevron executive is out of touch

As a neighbor of the Chevron refinery, I was disappointed to read the Sept. 1 commentary in the Times by the facility's general manager, Kory Judd, "Safer Chevron refinery would be boon to Richmond."

Instead of demonstrating he understands the need for Chevron to become a better neighbor, Judd demonizes Richmond's ex-vice mayor, Dr. Jeff Ritterman.

Ritterman has proved he has the health and best interest of the community in mind, while Chevron has proved it does not. (See the Cal-OSHA and U.S. Material Safety Board reports on the August 2012 fire.)

Ritterman, like every Richmond resident, recognizes Chevron is an important part of the city's economy. We don't want it to cease operations. But we do want it to operate in a manner that's safe, responsible and fair, with minimal damage to our environment.

Judd seems more interested in improving Chevron's image than its operations. He's certainly out of touch with the community.

If Judd wants to demonstrate his confidence in the refinery's safety, I challenge him to move his family to Point Richmond, next to the refinery, where he can share the air with the rest of us 24 hours a day.

Bruce Kaplan

Richmond

Word 'racist' is overused

This responds to the Aug. 25 column by Byron Williams on defining racism.

The word "racist" is used too much. Williams mentioned that the dictionary definition of racism states, in part, that it is the superiority one race feels over another. Too often, when the accusation of "racist" is slung, the situation has nothing to do with superiority.

Often, as soon as ethnicity is mentioned in a conversation, whatever is said is labeled as racist. People have called me racist when I've stated, "I've always had an Asian best friend." Perhaps it's true and I am an ignorant racist, but I don't understand how stating a fact is racist.

Typically, when we accuse someone of racism, is it not because we are uncomfortable or don't agree with the racial emphasis that was placed?

Because it carries great weight, we need to use the word "racism" for those truly racist occasions, which do still exist. Its importance is diminished every time it's used in a lackluster manner. And overuse makes it so common we're becoming numb to it.

Jennifer Amato

Livermore

Court decision on insulin was correct

With students now back in school, I applaud the California Supreme Court decision to allow school employees other than nurses to administer insulin to children under carefully controlled circumstances.

Because only 5 percent of California schools have a full-time nurse, this makes it much easier to get these students prompt access to the care they need. In the past, the requirement that only school nurses give insulin meant that parents needed to be ready at a moment's notice to come to school and help their kids.

School staff who volunteer to help these kids will receive clear training and instructions under the common-sense approach approved by the court. This approach is already working successfully in many other states.

I serve on the local leadership board of the American Diabetes Association, and I am proud of the role our organization played fighting for over eight years to reach this outcome.

All students have a right to pursue their education in a healthy, safe environment. This decision vastly improves the lives of students with diabetes and their families.

Rodney Paul

Kensington

Sacramento must act to prevent strikes

This is an opportunity for state government to do the right thing.

We all know by now that the positions taken by BART management and labor are not positioned to compromise any further. They also seem to have a real dislike for one another that goes well beyond normal contract disagreements.

Fearing, as I do, that the 60-day cooling off period will only delay the inevitable strike, I strongly support new rules mandating mediation and, failing that, arbitration.

Public employees should certainly be allowed to have collective bargaining. However, there must be a limit when the well-being of our entire Bay Area is harmed by a strike.

This issue is not about taking sides with either the management or labor groups. It is about doing what is right for the people being harmed tremendously by a BART strike. It is about BART riders and the many related businesses. Sacramento needs to step in now.

Fredrick R. Ford

Walnut Creek