Roads need to be repaired
The front page story describing a family's wrongful death lawsuit against the city of Oakland, charging the city with negligence over poor roadway maintenance that led to the death of cyclist Allen Lee shocked but didn't surprise me.
In July 2008 I, too, suffered a bad crash riding uphill (rather slowly) when my front wheel became "locked up" in a deep rut, that led to a fall and a broken pelvis. Thankfully there were no cars at the time and I was able to drag myself to safety before incurring even more serious injury.
I'm an Oakland hills resident. Having been an avid recreational cyclist for more than 25 years, I have never seen our most used roadways in a greater state of disrepair.
The surface of Skyline Boulevard between Chabot Space and Science Center and the intersection of Grizzly Peak Boulevard is a disgrace and a threat to the safety of all cyclists. Skyline leading into Tunnel Road and beyond is even worse. Grizzly Peak extending through the Berkeley Hills is abominable. Tunnel Road/Grizzly Peak, a major artery for hundreds of cyclists (and motorists) daily, has not been resurfaced since before the Oakland hills firestorm.
Its surface is a patchwork quilt of utility excavations and subsidence spanning 25 years. Bicycling is reaching an unprecedented level of popularity, and the East Bay hills are center stage for thousands of enthusiasts.
Gun laws don't need changing
Gun laws should not be changed in the wake of the Aurora, Colo., massacre.
There needs to be a stop to the use of the term "gun violence," which mistakenly implies that guns jump up and do something by themselves. The term we need to start using is "criminal violence," which puts the blame for the misuse of guns on the criminals who are doing it.
Also, we must stop blaming military-style semi-automatic rifles, which function in the same manner as any other semi-automatic firearm; clips; online ammunition purchases; and the National Rifle Association for the actions of criminals.
There are ample laws on the books to deal with criminal behavior. Hopefully, the state of Colorado will bring a capital murder case against the alleged criminal in the Aurora massacre.
Contrary to some people's opinion, the death penalty in California should be retained. Vicious murderers should not go on living in prison, supported by the taxpayers, for the rest of their lives while their victims lie cold in their graves and the relatives and friends of their victims have to live with the result of their criminal actions for the rest of their lives.
David R. Russell
Tighter control of firearms necessary
First, at the federal level, we need a ban -- like California -- on high-capacity ammunition magazines and military-style semi-automatic assault weapons similar to those that made the attack in Aurora, Colo., so deadly.
Second, (although unrelated to the Aurora tragedy) we need a federal law requiring background checks every time a gun is sold -- including at gun shows.
Too many Americans die because our present policies keep it too easy for criminals and other dangerous prohibited persons to purchase firearms. Unfortunately, too many politicians, especially Republicans, aid the gun trafficking.
Third, we must pass federal laws that help shut down gun dealers who consistently violate gun laws and repeatedly lose dozens of guns out the back door.
Readers can help. Ask the presidential candidates to tell us what they plan to do to prevent gun violence and have your friends do the same. See this link: www.wearebetterthanthis.org.
Refineries must be upgraded
In light of the fire at the Chevron refinery Monday, one has to wonder if the city of Richmond doesn't now wish it had allowed Chevron to upgrade and modernize its equipment a few years ago when the request was made.
You cannot continue to use old equipment in any operation, let alone a refinery, and not expect some type of trouble. We need to do all we can to allow our refineries to upgrade and be as safe for mankind and the environment and as productive as possible.
I'm pretty sure none of us are going to give up the use of fuel in our country.