Beware of making water cuts now

I moved to Walnut Creek early in 1976 during a serious drought.

I moved here from the Chicago area and was not familiar with water shortage issues. However, when the request came to voluntarily reduce water usage, as is again the case, I dutifully did everything they asked, and more, to reduce water usage.

I even allowed my lawn to completely die, which later cost me to re-sod. My neighbors just laughed at me and continued to waste a lot of water. But I thought I was being a good citizen and ignored them.

Then came the mandatory water usage reductions. Guess what level they required us to cut from? You guessed it: from the very levels I had aggressively cut to by being a good citizen.

So I paid penalties because I had nothing left to cut, while my neighbors had no difficulty at all making the cuts, which to them were minor. Now, guess what voluntary cuts I'm going to make this time?

Ray Christie

Walnut Creek

Blame greed, not workers' unions

In a recent letter, Sidney Steinberg encourages us to "do the math" at the end of his equation for a "new BART." However, Steinberg left out the most important part in the equation: the human components.


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OK, let's say you now work for the new BART. You've come to work three days with the flu because you have no sick leave or medical coverage; you pass out at your station, so the new BART boss fires you for sleeping on the job. The boss is thinking, "Why pay this old, sick guy when I can hire a 19-year-old for half the wage?"

There's an easy way and a hard way. The easy way's to blame unions; the hard way's to make unions what they're supposed to be, namely the workers' advocate.

Too many blame the unions for our economic woes. But the culprit is greed. Everyone wants it all for nothing: employers, unions, employees. If you don't have an advocate, you'll be swallowed by another's greed.

I don't know how to fix greed, but eliminating unions isn't the way to fix any company in which the little guy -- who makes the company work -- is easily shoved around.

Susan Armstrong

Pittsburg

Excellent article on cat colonies

Thanks, Times, for printing the Jan. 22 front-page article about the community efforts to care for free-roaming cats.

It was good reporting on an important topic. I've been a Times subscriber for some 40 years and appreciate the exposure. These oft-forgotten cats need all the help they can get, and so do their devoted caretakers.

Cynthia Burke

Richmond Burke is the president and founder of the nonprofit Bee Holistic Cat Rescue and Care in Richmond.

Will comparisons were laughable

George Will's column comparing the Chevrolet Volt to the Ford F-series pickups is, at best, laughable. It is tantamount to comparing a pelican with a humming bird. They are different vehicles built for different purposes and markets.

What Will fails to mention is that the sale of alternative drive vehicles, of all makes, continues to increase dramatically every year. The market demand for the Tesla, Leaf, Ford C-Max, Volt, Prius Plug-in, and others, continues to grow.

The Ford C-Max is a distant follower in sales to the Volt. Does that mean there is some closet "liberalism" lurking in the Ford management team? No, that's just the market at work.

We've driven our 2012 Volt in excess of 25,000 miles and used less than 250 gallons of fuel. The increase in our PG&E bill has been minimal in comparison to our fuel savings. Plus we've had zero repairs. It must have been built by liberal engineers.

Ken Fischer

Moraga

Water conservation policies are not fair

This is in response to a letter, "Consider water usage penalties."

The last time EBMUD enforced a 20 percent reduction with penalties, I was in a similar situation as the letter writer describes. I had already been conserving my water use mightily. Nevertheless, my target was set 20 percent below my calculated average use, even though my average was well below the districtwide average. Calls to three EBMUD officials did not change my target.

As a result, ever since the 20 percent penalty was lifted, I have been using water without trying to conserve. I am working on raising my average in anticipation of the next drought-required, penalty-enforced reduction.

EBMUD's inflexibility and inability to respond to consumers who normally conserve has caused its customers to use, and possibly waste, more water.

Bruce Joffe

Piedmont