Government should be under surveillance, too

My daughter and I were coming home after a lovely walk to the Martinez Marina.

On Berrellesa Street, we were alarmed by what we saw: signs that read, "Closed circuit television and audio monitoring on premises" and "Live video wireless surveillance."

We looked up at the streetlights and cameras were everywhere. There's no doubt we're living in a surveillance state.

If this is the new civic reality, then let me tell you what I want. I want surveillance cameras in every local, county, state and federal building; in every governmental office; and rolling during every meeting and behind every closed door. We have plenty of retired citizens who, I'm sure, would be happy to monitor the proceedings in real time, 24/7, and report out.

Absurd? Lest we forget, our country belongs to "We the people" and every government official is our public servant. Per our Constitution, we are more entitled to know what is going on behind their closed doors than they are ours.

Anne Manyak

Martinez

'Obamabirds' or vulture capitalists in disguise?

I am referring to Vicki Carlson's letter, "Program to fund 'Obamabirds?" printed on Sept. 4.

In reality, the hummingbird feeder in the Carlson backyard in Alamo is probably being drained on a daily basis because the hummers are preparing to migrate South ahead of winter.

But then, it is possible their Obamabirds are really vulture capitalists in disguise, sucking up tax loopholes, bailouts and CEO bonuses?

Joann Seaver

Walnut Creek

No voter fraud? The data say otherwise

In a recent letter, Kylan Patterson labeled efforts to deal with voter fraud as a "nonexistent" issue.

Apparently, Patterson's unaware that in 59 voting divisions in Philadelphia (19,605 votes), not one vote was for Mitt Romney, a statistical impossibility.

In Colorado, 5,000 illegal immigrants voted. In Ohio, 106,258 voted in a county with only 98,213 registered voters. In a Florida county, with 175,574 registered voters, 247,713 votes were cast.

Election officials in Indiana, Michigan, Kansas, Missouri, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Washington state are investigating and prosecuting ACORN workers for filing thousands of fraudulent voter registrations.

If Patterson's really concerned about those who "bled and died" for our right to vote, he should be first in line to make sure our system's not corrupted.

Having a picture ID only proves you are who you say you are. You need a picture ID to cash a check, use a credit card, and board a plane.

According to the American Civil Rights Union, 99 percent of Americans have photo IDs. Most state governments and motor vehicle departments issue free photo IDs.

It's condescending to infer that because you're poor or a minority, you're too incompetent to get an ID card.

Jacqueline Cloidt

Orinda

Add more cars to BART trains

My concern with the newly designed BART cars with fewer seats relates to the elderly and the disabled.

Baby boomers are getting older, whether we like it or not, and fewer BART seats means more elderly and disabled people standing on the trains. I think this is extremely dangerous, regardless of how fast or slow the trains are moving.

Unfortunately, this is a very litigious country and I fear that BART will lose more money on lawsuits than it is saving on removing seats and adding more room for people to stand.

I would recommend adding more BART cars to each train, even if they are longer than the platforms. People can walk through the cars as they do in other cities such as New York's Long Island Railroad.

Bottom line: More train cars and more seats, not fewer. That's what I recommend for long-term safety, less overall costs and increased revenues.

Barbara Bernstein

Berkeley

Musk's Hyperloop wave of the future

Kudos to Elon Musk. The Hyperloop, his proposal for the next breakthrough in transportation, has me excited.

Where do I sign up? Let's scrap high-speed rail.

I question Richard Muller's opinion that Musk's proposals are "completely impractical." The UC Berkeley physics professor was once a skeptic of global warming.

If we can go to the moon, I think we can go from San Francisco to Los Angeles by Hyperloop transportation!

Lloyd Coyne

El Cerrito