Coliseum plan would be a waste of money
It offends me that Mayor Jean Quan and the Oakland City Council intend to spend $3.5 million on a study to determine the feasibility of building and maintaining a $2 billion sports complex euphemistically called Coliseum City to be built on the same piece of East Oakland real estate where the 50-year-old Coliseum complex is situated.
Nobody I know ever confused these politicians with experienced, seasoned, competent business people, so it is not unexpected that these amateurs will make foolish mistakes with other people's money, but this takes the cake in my book.
It trumps all of the other boondoggles and pie-in-the-sky nonsensical projects trumpeted by this gang of fools. Nobody in the world will finance this. Nobody in his right mind would invest in this endeavor. If there were people who were interested they would have made themselves known. Smart people make intelligent investments.
This study is waste of money. If metropolitan New York City with 25 million people in the city and environs has one NFL stadium for two teams, why on earth would little old Oakland get a stadium built when there will be a new stadium in Santa Clara?
Nobody in the world of business is stupid enough to finance that. Oakland desperately needs some grown-ups to take over.
Right now the town is run by veritable children who have absolutely no competency, judgment or rational
Jonathan C Breault
Exercise beats soft drink ban
New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg's proposed ban on extra-large soft drinks is preposterous. It is one thing to list the caloric value of various foods and drinks, but his idea takes it several steps too far.
First, some who want a Nanny State obviously do not realize that it is not the food itself that causes obesity; it is how a person manages his or her intake, including proper exercise. I was a teenager in the 1980s. In high school, I, along my classmates, was required to take vigorous physical education courses every quarter and obesity rates were low despite having soda machines in school.
Second, exercise was a part of my family's daily schedule. This is what parents should require their children to do rather than conforming them to a sedentary lifestyle.
Paying tribute to old Bay Bridge
Recently, I was heading west across the Bay Bridge. How historical, how breathtaking, to see the steeply angled metal/mesh walkways that sway far into the sky up to the lone tower of the new Bay Bridge.
We saw at a distance workers who appeared tiny climbing up and down these precarious walkways. They seem like a special breed of humanity deserving of total admiration!
The existing bridge, now a grandma at 75 years, will welcome the new offspring scheduled for delivery in 2013. Meanwhile, thank you, grandma bridge, for continuing excellent service and great views.
And best wishes to workers on the new span, which is slowly expanding beside the old, readying for delivery.
Claire J. Baker
Limit nonstate CSU students
I am thankful state Sen. Michael Rubio, D-Shafter, proposed a constitutional amendment to prevent any UC campus from enrolling more than 10 percent of its undergraduate students from outside California. He should consider extending this amendment to the California State University system and graduate programs.
University leadership is misleading us when they talk about out-of-state students bringing in more money. What they do not say is that these out-of-state students pay out-of-state tuition rates for only one year, after which they are considered California residents.
For the remainder of their education (three years for undergraduates, two to four years for graduates, depending on whether they're earning a master's or doctorate), they are paying the same tuition rates as Californians who have paid taxes.
Californians are well aware of the problem with funding at UCs and CSUs. If a measure was put on the ballot limiting funding and guaranteeing priority admittance to California residents, it would pass.
Californians have built the best higher education system in the nation. We want to keep it that way. Degrees from anywhere in California are looked upon more favorably than from other states.
Californians should be able to benefit from what they have built and what they still sink funds into. If the UC and CSU systems want to behave like private universities, then they should give Californians our money back.
Name uncredited in bridge history
With all the Golden Gate Bridge anniversary hoopla, one name is surprisingly never mentioned. Without Bank of America President A.P. Giannini's help, there would be no bridge.
The Golden Gate Bridge Authority was formed in 1932, and directors agreed to buy the bonds so construction could begin.
But when the bonds were ready, none of the directors came forward to buy the bonds. In desperation, the bridge chief engineer and planner, Joseph Strauss, called upon Giannini for help.
Giannini listened to Strauss explain his 14-year struggle to improve the San Francisco economy by building the bridge. "We need the bridge," Strauss pleaded.
Giannini said, "I have just one question. How long will it last?" Strauss said, "Over a hundred years!" Giannini said, "OK."
Giannini, through Bank of America, bought $6 million worth of bonds, allowing Strauss' enterprise to get under way. Without Giannini's assistance, the bridge would not have been built.
Tony A. Russo
Bank of America vice president, retired Concord
Save funding for UNICEF
Lost in the gloom of daily news and the fear of impending debt doom is a startling statement from UNICEF: The number of children younger than 5 who die from preventable causes has dropped from 40,000 per day in 1983 to 20,000 in 2010.
That drop is the result of many developments in basic health infrastructure and in the delivery of lifesaving immunizations and health treatment around the world.
Those developments have come because small-but-powerful citizen-led advocacy groups such as RESULTS, for the past 30 years have successfully moved governments of developed countries to divert a tiny portion of their tax dollars toward cost-effective, proven international health programs.
Though less developed countries are stepping up their internal funding to save their children's lives, now is not the time for the House of Representatives to cut international health funding to impoverished countries.
The Department of Defense and U.S. Chamber of Commerce agree that the House should at least maintain -- not cut -- that funding for our own security and economic well-being.
Concord Group leader, RESULTS, Contra Costa County