Congress must work for people

To our members of Congress: Do your job and quit catering to lobbyists and putting all your efforts into getting re-elected.

Members of Congress must represent the voters who put them in office. Governing is about compromise, not gaining a political advantage.

Have any of them looked at the polls regarding public approval? They rank lower than used-car salesmen. Why? Because they are more interested in keeping their jobs than serving their country and its people -- not to mention the members of the military who are in harm's way and sacrificing their lives to protect us.

They should be ashamed! They cost the U.S. economy $24 billion. And those who suffered the most were small businesses and average, hardworking Americans.

The public has a short memory, but I think the shutdown caused by Congress will be remembered come election time. I know I will remember.

Stanley V. Saunders

Martinez

BART now in the unions' hands

The BART board has effectively handed the operation of the system to the unions and the workers, so why don't they just get out of the way and make it official.

Put the union leaders in charge, let them run the system they way they want, and pay the workers whatever they think they are worth.


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The unions made an outrageous demand for a 30 percent pay increase, and settled for only 16.4 percent, which means, on the average, they will be making $89,000 in 2017. This only happens in the public sector, where they are working with other people's money.

Contrast the current $76,500 BART employee pay with an electrical engineer's pay of the $57,000, after four years in college and a degree, as noted on the front page of the Oct. 23 Times.

Jim Sconza

Lafayette

Article presented sobering reality

The Oct. 20 Times article, "The Globalist Quiz: CEOs and the rest of us," was sobering for those who believe our standard of living is the highest in the world.

While the article focused on the gap between CEO compensation and workers' pay, it was a real eye-opener to see that workers in other developed countries make more money and have a more comfortable life than we have in the United States. We are falling so far behind.

I know some readers will say, "So what if CEOs have high salaries and workers low? That's what capitalism is about." However, they should be concerned about what happens when no one has money to buy things. Factories and stores cannot remain open if there are no customers.

If countries such as Germany, Japan and Australia, to mention a few, have healthy economies and pay workers far more than U.S. workers take home (and with universal health care and pensions), why not us?

The reality is that Reaganomics and trickle-down economics have been a big failure and must be abandoned.

Dave Kurrent

Pinole

Plastic bags are not the problem

Like Richmond and El Cerrito, the city of Pittsburg recently approved a plastic bag ban. Brentwood and Oakley are considering doing likewise.

Guess they haven't done their fact checking. Illegal dumping is the problem, not plastic bags. Plastic bags represent a fraction of California's total waste stream, are 100 percent recyclable and take 80 percent less energy to make than paper. In addition, politicians want merchants to charge consumers a fee for paper bags and fine merchants if they don't.

Currently, consumers can drop plastic bags, sacks and wraps in plastic bag recycling bins at participating stores. The recycled plastic bags are used to make new plastic bags and building products such as backyard decks, playground equipment and fences. Any tax or ban would threaten this quickly growing green industry and threaten jobs.

Unintended consequences of plastic bag bans are increased shoplifting and spikes in emergency room treatments due to E. coli infections attributed to the use of reusable grocery bags.

Also, Health Canada and the U.S. military have recognized the health risk inherent in reusable grocery bags, which should be cleaned and disinfected between use to prevent food cross-contamination.

Barbara Zivica

Antioch