BART issues need more explanation

It might have been easier to sympathize with BART employees if we, the public, knew what they actually do.

I heard a lot of comments of how the trains are automatically run and all the drivers have to do is push a button. The only employees most of us see are the workers who sit in the glassed box outside the ticketing area and it's not obvious what their responsibilities are on a daily basis.

In all the media coverage of the strike, I didn't see any information on the scope of jobs BART workers do and the training and experience needed to keep BART running and safe for everyone.

Unfortunately, it took a tragedy to understand the important role of safety and communication that happens behind the scenes. To see the both sides of issues, we need to be able to step into the shoes of the other.

More substance and less inflammatory rhetoric would be helpful in understanding the complexity of issues such as these.

Sue Gannon

Walnut Creek

A look at the GOP and compromise

Michael Arata, in his Oct. 17 letter, says the Republicans offered four compromise iterations on Obamacare, but President Barack Obama and the Democrats refused to negotiate.


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Obamacare has already been enacted into law. What is there to negotiate? The GOP was a day late and a dollar short.

As far as the GOP being the party of fiscal conservatives, forget it. They're willing to bankrupt the country when their man is in the Oval Office. Remember President George W. Bush? It's only when the Democrats are in there that the GOP suddenly becomes fiscally responsible.

And since we are on the subject of compromise, Mallard Fillmore has gotten some bad press here lately. Some people say he shouldn't be in the funnies.

I have a suggestion. Why not put Mallard on the editorial page, in place of Thomas Sowell, and put Sowell in the funnies? I think that might be a satisfactory compromise.

Bob Frank

El Sobrante

Many in Congress not living the oath

Day after day, the American public learns of more dysfunction in Congress.

It has gone on so long that many think it is to be expected and can't be made better. But is it really dysfunction and irreversible?

Consider the oath taken by all Congress members:

"I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter: So help me God."

There is good reason to believe that many members are in serious violation of this oath, and that for some, an in-depth investigation for treasonous behavior should be instituted, under the direction of the Supreme Court.

It is time to let the foxes know that they really don't own the hen house.

Thomas E. Lindemuth Sr.

Walnut Creek

Demeaning dirty work others do

According to Thomas Sowell, domestic workers such as maids or those who get an income by assisting the elderly in their homes are "limited in education or English" and "don't require years of learning."

Ouch, what a stereotypical assumption. But he's spot on about Americans not wanting to get their hands dirty. Who wants to do the unsexy, mostly female dominated job of carting around dirty linens, scrubbing toilets dirtied by strangers or cleaning up some little old guy with soiled diapers?

Why should people doing these jobs want a living wage? What they are willing to do is so meaningless they should be doing it for free. Let them eat cake. Minimum wage? Not on your life!

Sowell misses the point about the foreign-born charwoman or janitor who comes here intending to work hard at any menial job in order to achieve the American dream. They have pride in their "lowly" work.

Some day they or their children will get the education and command of English, if they get the dignity of a living wage for the work no one else wants to do.

We don't start as mechanics, nurses, CEOs, university professors, electricians, or competent, loving caregivers.

Jan Howe

San Ramon

Endangered our nation's stability

I am sickened by the fact there are so many members of Congress who appear to care so little about the stability of our country.

If they don't believe the shutdown of the government and refusing to raise the debt ceiling would have dire consequences, they are sadly mistaken. If they don't care, that's even worse.

Beckie Abbott

Concord