BART board's free rides outrageous

My wife and I were already displeased with Rebecca Saltzman because of the manner in which the BART board mishandled the negotiations with the unions some months ago.

This latest piece of self-serving management in which the board voted to continue to provide lifetime ridership for its members, spouses and dependent children is the capper. Only the board members themselves should have that privilege. And then only while they are in office.

When BART is strapped for revenue, the board should not be so casual about giving up $741,000 a year in revenue by allowing family members to ride for free. It is irresponsible for Saltzman and the other board members to continue this policy for family members in any way, shape or form.

We plan to vote for her opponent in the upcoming election in November. Other concerned citizens should also not vote for any incumbent in their district. This is the only way the board will get the message.

Richard Solomon

Oakland

Letters about Gaza replete with racism

I wish to comment on the Aug. 1 letters, "Palestinians made bed they now lie in" and "Israelis fight Islamist threat to whole world."

Many of their statements are not based on facts and show mean-spirited racism. Much of what they state comes directly from the lies of Israel's prime minister.


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I am a Jew who does not subscribe to their views about Israel/Palestine. I disagree with the labeling of people who disagree with the Israeli government policies as being anti-Semitic. War does not create peace; only talking and listening will.

I will comment on only one of many of their ill-informed comments; that Israel gets less (U.S. aid) money than the Arab countries and 90 percent of this military aid is spent in the United States providing jobs. Anyone can go to www.state.gov/documents/organization/208292.pdf and see that for 2014, Israel gets six times more U.S. taxpayer dollars more than $3 billion more than the West Bank and Gaza combined, which get a mere $500 million. If you add in Egypt, Jordan and Lebanon you get less than the amount provided to Israel.

It is true that much of the aid to Israel is in the form of U.S. corporate military products. The U.S. corporate military lobby promotes Israel's aid package, and the civilians in Palestine are suffering for it.

Jewish Voice for Peace and many other civil society groups are supporting the Palestinian civil societies call for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions against companies that profit from the occupation of Palestine. Some of these U.S. companies include Hewlett Packard, Motorola Solutions and Caterpillar.

If Israel would end the occupation, most of it's problems would also end. They need to work with the unified Palestinian government to find a solution to either a true two-state solution or to allow Palestinians in the West Bank, Gaza and the diaspora to return to their pre-1948 homes.

Susan Shawl

Oakland

Piedmont residents still watering lawns

Maybe the residents of Piedmont haven't heard. Maybe they have heard but don't believe it. Maybe they have heard but don't care. News flash: we are in the midst of a serious drought.

On my street of modest homes in the upper Dimond neighborhood in Oakland, about four out of five lawns have turned a golden brown. But on the days I walk my two dogs across Park Boulevard onto St. James Drive, I see one bright green lawn after another, one lush garden after another. Occasionally, I even see large swaths of new sod being rolled out for houses presumably soon to be on the market.

Maybe letting my small lawn go brown is merely a token effort in the fight to conserve water, but I would like to know when the residents in the surrounding wealthier neighborhoods are going to start making the same effort.

Anne Stafford

Oakland

Obama's choices of words unsurprising

I recently saw President Barack Obama get choked up as he publicly sympathized with three terrorist mass murderers, whom he gently named as some folks whom we tortured (waterboarded uncomfortably).

But a while back, I heard Obama disparage millions of American folks, whom he did not call folks, but instead publicly used a slur of a sexual practice not nice enough to name here in a family paper.

And I learned that Obama's operative Lois Lerner from the IRS used her government email to refer to those same millions of American folks by a foul body part, which is also unfit to print here.

But recently I heard Obama tell Bill O'Reilly, about Lois Lerner and her disturbingly partisan shenanigans at the IRS, that there "is not a smidgen of corruption."

Well, I guess that is what I expect from a president who is sympathetic of terrorist folks, but who saves his nasty name-calling for the folks who reprehensibly dare to organize for smaller government.

Steven Mix

Oakland