Deal strongly with Putin's bullying

President Vladimir Putin is a bully -- of the same ilk as Saddam Hussein and Adolf Hitler.

The oppressed people of Ukraine need all the support they can get in their struggle to find a peaceful solution to the invasion of their soil by Russian soldiers who cover their faces in shame, like the criminals they are.

This situation is a step backward in history. We are Americans who love freedom and we need to be united to deal with aggressors who want to establish the old evil Soviet empire again.

Instead of criticizing and making our elected leaders look weak, we must stand together with an iron fist and say: "This shall not pass."

If Putin gets away with the rape of Ukraine, what's next? Who's next? There's only one way to deal with bullies and that's with strength and determination.

We must make it clear that America stands with the freedom-loving people of Ukraine.

Al Paltin

Orinda

Free speech not allowed in Pinole

Pinole Mayor Tim Banuelos adjourns each meeting with a warm tribute to our troops. However, despite swearing on the Constitution to uphold our freedoms, which our troops give their lives to protect, Banuelos stepped all over my right to free speech at the March 4 Pinole City Council meeting.

In conjunction with a discussion of whether to hire an outside firm to recruit a replacement for Pinole's police chief, I attempted to broach the subject of Avery & Associates' track record in abiding to nondiscrimination in its recruitment practices.

Recently, a new interim fire chief was hired and individuals cried foul when they were not allowed to apply for the job. At least one individual claimed that Pinole engaged in racial discrimination in hiring.

Banuelos cut off the microphone when I broached the subject of nondiscrimination in hiring. The mayor committed the ultimate First Amendment violation: preventing the expression of unpopular ideas in the public square.

Anthony Gutierrez

Pinole

A photo ID is not needed for voting

In his March 5 letter, Hal Bray is using an apples-oranges comparison in complaining that applicants for Affordable Care Act coverage must present extensive documentation while there is no voter ID requirement.

What he is ignoring is the financial factor. There is no direct financial incentive to vote, unlike getting medical coverage.

Documentation may be needed to determine exactly which health coverage is appropriate, but it's also needed to be sure that recipients are eligible and that government money is being used as intended. There is no government money being given to voters who go to the polls.

The lack of financial incentive explains why even registered voters don't go to the polls in droves every election. Voting is seen as a duty, not something to put money in the wallet. This also explains the extremely low rate of voter fraud.

The nonpartisan League of Women Voters, which has a strong interest in the conduct of elections, opposes voter ID regulations as unnecessary and a disincentive to voting. Bray should consider adopting its position.

Leslie Stewart

Concord

What became of anti-war outrage?

While George W. Bush was the president, military deaths in Iraq and Afghanistan were reported almost daily. There was an endless stream of outrage and crosses going up in Lafayette.

In Benicia, children were on the corners downtown with their parents denouncing President Bush and the wars.

Under the Obama White House, more than 1,000 American soldiers have lost their lives in Afghanistan in the past two years. That is more than the total of the nine years before. Thirty died in August alone.

Why is the mainstream media so strangely silent? Why don't I see the protests on the corners or pictures of crosses?

Please tell me, where are all you concerned citizens now?

Cynthia Cerletti

Benicia