Brown should fix strike problem

BART workers should not be allowed to strike.

For years we have heard how we should design our lives around public transit. Many have. Every week millions of people depend on BART. There just isn't a viable alternative.

When BART closes down, millions of dollars and hundreds of thousands of hours are lost by residents and businesses every day. There is no business that would cause one-tenth of this disruption by going on strike.

Our "leaders" should take steps to eliminate this threat of a strike. Either pass a law prohibiting BART workers from striking or one that allows BART to hire replacement workers and start training them now.

The BART employee unions know the Bay Area cannot survive a long strike. There is no incentive for them to settle for less.

It would be different if the workers were underpaid. In fact, by every measure, they are extremely well paid.

Gov. Jerry Brown got us into this situation by allowing government workers to unionize. He should be in charge of fixing the problem he created.

Bob Kelso

Walnut Creek

Why must we rush Syria situation?

The apparent impasse on Syria may be good for the Democrats, Syrian rebels and the world in general.

As long as President Obama, Congress and the United Nations dally on what to do about Assad's chemical weapons use, the Syrian regime remains on the defensive. While Assad hides and moves his offensive assets, they are not in place ready to fire.

Democrats are less likely to be held responsible voting their conscience because both peace and punishing the use of chemical weapons appeal to their base. Republicans are going to offend either the Obama haters or the hawks, depending on their vote.

The best course of action is to keep the pressure on Syria by going through Congress and the United Nations and take as long as possible doing it. Vladimir Putin said Russia will hold Assad responsible if there is 100 percent proof.

Let's calm down and keep the Syrians guessing while we look for that proof.

Kirk Essler

Richmond

Let's look at life without unions

With all this talk of banning unions, let's talk about what happens when there are no unions.

Say you work for a company for 10 years. You have no benefits because they only hire part-time employees. So you work two part-times jobs and have no health insurance, no vacation, no retirement plan.

You fall at home and can't work for a couple of months, so you file for disability. Because state disability insurance offices are understaffed, good luck trying to reach them. And even a small mistake in your paperwork, by you or an SDI employee, can take weeks to untangle -- or not at all.

No money to get proper treatment for your injury? That's your problem. Since you can't work because of your injury, you don't qualify for unemployment benefits.

Without union protection, many people are seconds away from poverty at any given time. Before unions, people worked 12, 16-hour days, with no days off. No benefits, nothing.

That's where we're headed back to. No job security, no benefits, no safety net. Actually, most of us are already there now.

Steve Brown Sr.

Oakley

Obstructionists repeat history

Like their predecessors, House Republicans in 1935, trying to block the passage of the Social Security Act, the House Republicans today seem not only to have no sense of history but also continue attempting to block implementation of Obamacare. History is repeating itself.

The concept of Obamacare will hold. However, the implementation to determine coverage and to prevent abuses is necessary. For example, according media reports, the American Hospital Association has urged some institutions to keep patients in them longer than was medically necessary, just in order to get more fees.

Like the Social Security Act, which has over the decades benefited Americans, especially the seniors, Obamacare will eventually benefit us all.

John Home

Walnut Creek

Say no to any war against Syria

The question is not whether or not chemical weapons were used in Syria. The still unanswered question and unconfirmed answer is: "By whom?"

Remember the lies regarding WMD in Iraq. Say "No" to a war against Syria.

Robert P. Philipps

Port Costa