GMO labeling law is vital for California

California's Legislature is taking up an important effort introduced by state Sen. Noreen Evans, SB1381, to label genetically engineered (GE) or genetically modified (GMO) foods.

The legislation highlights the gulf between Californians demanding the right to know what's in our food and corporations desperate to keep us in the dark.

Narrowly defeated Proposition 37 would have given Californians this information, but it fell victim to a sophisticated public-relations campaign by a handful of junk-food and pesticide corporations.

The new effort's a cleaner, simpler version of the initiative that would allow families the opportunity to choose what they put on their dinner tables.

There are many reasons to be concerned about genetically engineered crops and the ingredients ending up in our foods. And whatever the reason -- religious, health, environmental, fairness -- we deserve that choice.

For me, the link between the increased use of pesticides, over 400 million pounds from the past 16 years of commercialization of GMOs, is reason enough for concern. Let's hope legislators can cut through the misinformation and give Californians the right to know.

Paul Towers

Richmond Towers is a director of Pesticide Action Network.

Tea party activists fight for America

Sometimes I have been asked, in a tone of incredulity, "Do you support the tea party?" My response is, "Of course."

When socialist liberal views, coupled with Islam, began to grow in our country, in an attempt to change the Constitution and our American values, and the Republican Party did not come in early or strong enough to prevent this from happening, tea party people came together and formed what is, in my view, mainstream America.

They have a task force that is fighting Common Core, an education system that is the dumbing down our children. They fight U.N. Agenda 21, a United Nations scheme that attempts to get into our property rights and build stack-and-pack housing. Tea party people support government constitutional principles and Second Amendment rights.

Tea party members say they are deeply Christian, yet they support Israel, the Jewish homeland.

If push comes to shove, and we are threatened with terrorist bombings in our cities, I would bet my money on the tea party to fight the good fight.

Selma Soss

Walnut Creek

Desalination is a possible answer

Modern desalinization plants are being deployed worldwide in parched, densely populated areas that lie near oceans and reliable energy supplies.

Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates thrive in a desert on desalted seawater. Australia is building plants in response to its long-term drought.

Modern plants are efficient, producing potable water for perhaps 20 to 50 percent higher cost than current captured rainwater sources. A gallon of gasoline can purify over 100 gallons of pure water from seawater.

The environmental effects can be significant, but they are manageable with careful seawater inlet design and dilution of the warm brine effluent. Desalinization is a natural co-generation partner with new electric power plants where the low temperature power plant exhaust coolant can flash distill seawater efficiently.

The brackish water of the San Francisco Bay is an ideal low-cost water source. It is time to consider this new fresh water source to complement water storage and upcoming strong water conservation measures in California.

Buzz Pedrotti

Discovery Bay

President Obama is in over his head

This is regarding Charles Krauthammer's March 24 column, "Coming invasion of Ukraine will be catered by U.S."

President Barack Obama cited he wanted a "reset" button with Russia. Instead, he has given an "easy button" to Russia. Obama has been outmatched in every regard -- from Syria to the Black Sea.

The president is in over his head and fails to understand certain truths. A Russia more secure in its borders is more adventuresome, not less.

Try and keep up, Mr. President. Or was this the flexibility he spoke of to Dmitri Medvedev?

Obama is either incompetent or invidious. Either way, Obama will not be missed -- and may history treat him like the "Carterite" he is.

Scott F. Burch

Albany