Is tea party racist? You be the judge

I don't know local tea party luminary Mark Marcotte. I don't know what is in his heart. Without knowing that, to call him a racist would be irresponsible. He says he and other tea party followers are not racists, and I take them at their word.

On the other hand, it is instructive to observe the behavior of Mr. Marcotte and other fellow travelers in the tea party. Why have the actions of the federal government, starting in January 2009, created such a tipping point for them?

They demand continued investigations of the Benghazi tragedy but demanded no similar investigation into the decision-making related to the Iraq War. They demand the repeal of the Affordable Care Act, but many older tea party followers want their own version of socialized medicine in the form of Medicare to be left alone. For the tea party, the Solyndra story rises to the level of treason, but subsidies and tax breaks for Big Oil, Big Ag and Big Pharma which have gone on far longer and at a much greater cost don't register a word of protest.

Whether the behavior of the tea party is racist, I will leave that for others to decide based on comments and venom they direct at this president, and the outrage from them that curiously started in 2009. However without question, the behavior of the tea party and their enablers in the media rises to the highest levels of hypocrisy.

Rick Greene

San Ramon

Our gripe list for California

After reading your recent article on how fewer California applicants are being admitted to California public universities, I thought it appropriate to make a list of some of the reasons why we all love California.

  • Highest personal tax rate in the country

  • Highest gas tax in the country

  • Highest gas prices in the country

  • Highest real estate prices in the country

  • Massive unfunded pension liability for public employees that will ultimately require new taxes or cuts in public services

  • Infrastructure including water storage, highways, and schools where we are either unwilling or unable to keep up with demand

  • California kids can't get into UC or CSU schools that we pay taxes for

  • One of top 5 anti-business states in the country

  • Chronically high unemployment rates in many parts of the state

  • Great weather!

    John Hill

    Danville

    U.S. interests more crucial than ideology

    Whenever there is a revolution against autocratic rule, faith in democracy peaks into euphoria. Seekers and founders of democracy see only the dreamy side of democracy based on the sentiments of freedom and equality. They tend to ignore the selfish and damaging potential of human nature with freedom and equality for all.

    The 18th century design of democratic government for the United States is now showing signs of fatigue and nonsustainability: ever-growing budget deficits; political logjams and deadlocks in Congress; atomization of the society caused by representative democracy without the superseding power of collective democracy; diversity with conflicting and persistent interests dissipating the collective positive energy of the nation; departure from the strong wealth-producing values of capitalistic democracy (economic democracy) and embracing of the wealth-consuming socialistic democracy (economic slavery); and ruination of great values that propelled the progress and the quality of life in the name of "blind justice equality," equating the best of human culture (family values) with the worst of human nature (porn business).

    The future demands that governments be now more goal- and efficiency- oriented than be merely ideology-oriented. No political idea has a permanent shelf life anymore. Legitimacy of governments now hinges more on how accurately and efficiently they are able to meet the new challenges of the changing times.

    Political pundits, regardless of their party affiliation, are urged to incorporate the needed changes in American democracy to bring the nation back on track.

    T.S. Khanna

    Alamo

    Livermore doing wrong by the poor

    I try and try to get this point across ... let me put it this way; it isn't good to live in a city that only cares about its taxes and riches not its citizens -- seniors, veterans and the disable on fixed income who rent and have a hard time just getting by.

    What is wrong with Livermore? They run off homeless people. If it wasn't for five churches, those people would go without food or a place to sleep when it is cold or raining. Not everyone living in the city of Livermore is rich; there are a lot of us out here who are not living that well. We are at the mercy of landlords who ask any price they want.

    Try and see from my point of view; if you only get Social Security and a small pension -- about $1,654 dollars. You pay rent, then have to pay electric bills, TV, phone, gas and groceries, and that leaves very little for anything else. It is a crime that everyone in the city -- the mayor and city council -- looks the other way and forgets it seniors, vets and disabled. This city has very, very little regard for renters compared to other cities that care and look out for their seniors, vets and disabled.

    William Roland

    Livermore

    Walmart has benefited state and Livermore

    As the store manager for the Livermore Walmart, I would like to respond to a recent (April 3) letter entitled, "Walmart's bad record a long one."

    At Walmart, we are proud of our jobs. Our wages and benefits typically meet or exceed those offered by a majority of our competitors and our average, hourly full-time wage in California is $13.03. Our company is dedicated to creating opportunities for associates that lead to upwardly mobile careers. I began my own career with Walmart in 2000 as an hourly intern, and today I am managing my own store.

    Independent research here in California has shown that, on average, communities with a Walmart enjoy general business growth and an increase in citywide taxable retail sales. We support small businesses and carry products from such area companies as Happy Home Pet Products, of Napa, and Nor-Cal Beverage Company, of West Sacramento.

    Since 2012, the Livermore Walmart has contributed $20,000 to the local community and has supported such area organizations as Open Heart Kitchen and the Community Interfaith Student Support program.

    Sunny Edmisten

    Livermore Walmart Store Manager