Forcing sale of Clippers not in spirit of law

Sometimes a moment of lucidity is necessary to sweep the fog of popular hysteria from the pages of the Mainstream Media. Having unpopular beliefs and communicating them in personal correspondence is not a crime. In California the recording of private phone conversations without the permission of all parties is a crime punishable by both jail and a fine (Ca. Penal Code #632), as well as subjecting the perpetrator to triple damages in civil court (Ca. Penal Code #637.2).

The owners of sports franchises are free to associate and do business with whomever they choose, as well as make voluntary arrangements among themselves. But they should not be free to use an agency of the government such as the court system to punish thought and facilitate crime.

Roland Butnick

Danville

Panel's choice puts ambition above service

Recently, the Internal Operations Committee of the Contra Costa board of supervisors decided to appoint a new member of the County Planning Commission and in the process delivered a serious slap in the face to a fine highly respected public servant and the county's unions.

Marvin Terrell was originally appointed to the county planning commission on Oct. 4, 1989. Since then he has been unanimously reappointed by the full board every four years. He has been chosen by the other planning commissioners to serve as commission chair more often than all of the other serving commissioners combined. He was also chosen recently as the California county planning commissioner of the year. Shortly after being appointed to the planning commission he retired from a very senior position with the carpenters' union.

In making their recommendation to not reappoint Terrell, the Internal Operations panel (Supervisors Anderson and Mitchoff) decided to ignore Terrell's more than 24 years of service to the county and his reputation as a hardworking, knowledgeable, and dedicated commissioner deemed by those who follow such things as a leader who brought the commission to its current reputation as one of the best planning commissions in the state. Instead, they chose to recommend an untried applicant as what they saw as a politically advantageous move for when they perhaps run for the soon-to-be-vacant state Senate seat and a perhaps soon-to-be-vacant state Assembly seat.

Shame on them for putting self-serving political ambitions above the well-being of the county residents. Here's hoping the full board decides to reappoint Terrell and ignores the completely unprecedented politically motivated recommendation of the Internal Operations Committee.

This is just wrong.

Kirk Koning

Danville

BART officials lack maturity to run agency

Wow, just when I thought we may have seen the last of the BART management's buffoonery they provide the coup de grâce in (the Oakland Airport Connector's) pathetically poor economic decision-making. Time for the management, the board and all their overpaid consultants to go -- and be replaced by the Boy Scouts, as they generally have adult leadership!

Edward R. Maddox Jr.

Pleasanton

Pro-choice on death penalty for prisoners

Death penalty abolitionists lamented a recent inefficient 42-minute execution by lethal injection, only 30 minutes tardy, claiming the unconscious prisoner felt pain. Someone's 20 year old daughter was beaten, raped, shot and buried alive. She felt pain for many hours. Abolitionists stated no lamentations for her pain.

Bogus judges conjure up reasons to delay justice, and one judge ruled San Quentin's gas chamber observation room was out of his assessment of code compliance. Another judge ruled lethal injection drugs could cause pain -- incredible delays in justice for victims!

California allows prisoners a right to choose gas chamber execution. Electric chair execution rights should be added. Both methods are less than 15 minutes. Guillotine execution is less than 10 seconds of pain.

Condemned inmates have the choice of a last meal and should have the choice of a preferred execution method. Efficient execution also reallocates money for schools.

Abolitionists say the death penalty is not a crime deterrent. Executed prisoners are deterred from repeat offenses. Pro-choice rights for execution methods mitigate prisoner pain and expedite justice for victims.

Gene Miller

Danville

Killings show access to guns still too loose

The recent tragedy in Isla Vista occurred across the street from where my daughter lived for two years while attending UCSB and, for me, was the last straw. Some of my dearest friends own guns. They happen to be very responsible people, and I wouldn't want to deny them the right to own guns for hunting or self-defense, but something has to change.

While the Second Amendment could be updated, repealing it is not the answer. But these tragedies have not had the effect I would expect in a civilized society. Instead of working to make us safer, our government, in response to Newtown, Virginia Tech, etc. has, in many cases, only made gun ownership and access easier. Had my child been killed in one of these incidents, and I saw how our nation responded, I would have gone crazy. The collateral damage of children and innocent people dying is not worth the right for almost anyone to get a gun as easily as possible.

What to do? Start with making guns at least as difficult to get as a driver's license. Add rigor and time to the process. Require gun owners to register in a national database. Use technology to link weapons to owners. We can do many things TOWARD reducing gun violence.

All of these suggestions might not have prevented Isla Vista, but if we continue doing nothing, we're actually making matters worse. As Richard Martinez pleaded, "Stop this madness -- we don't have to live like this!"

Mark Miller

Pleasanton

Obama short on answers to VA scandal

The reprehensible Veterans Affairs Department scandal is now known by the general public. President Obama, after considerable delay, has made the official response that he is enraged over the inexcusable treatment of veterans -- never mind that he knew about VA problems years ago. What is his plan to remediate the situation and get veterans the proper care? Judging by his recent speech: diddly-squat.

Henry D. Shay

Livermore