Bankhead needs a plan to stay open

The Bankhead Theater is a wonderful and very valuable part of Livermore. The vitality of our downtown restaurants and stores reflect the importance of the theater.

Residents from Livermore, the Tri-Valley and beyond enjoy a great variety of outstanding entertainment close to home with free parking and modest costs.

The Livermore Valley Performing Arts Center, a nonprofit corporation that built and operates the theater, and its board of directors continue to make payments on the $22 million in bonds used to build the Bankhead Theater.

They had counted on new borrowing and contributions to make ongoing payments to a New York bank and to build the larger regional theater. That is not possible now that the state has withdrawn redevelopment money funded with tax overrides. The lower court voted not to reinstate LVPAC's redevelopment money, and appeals to higher courts are costly and could take as much as two years or more for a decision.

Many knowledgeable people feel the appellate court will not reverse the opinion of the lower court.

It is important that we do not let the Bankhead close, even for a short time. As long as LVPAC makes payments to the bank from their very limited and diminishing reserves, the bank has no incentive to work out a plan that will allow the Bankhead to survive. The bank and the public must be told the regional theater is no longer a possibility and, therefore, LVPAC does not have the ability to continue to pay both operating and debt service costs.

LVPAC should withhold future payments to the bank until a plan to meet this crisis is worked out. It is incumbent on LVPAC and all involved to be realistic on what is possible to move toward a sound financial plan that can save our theater.

We all owe a great deal of appreciation to all the fine people who donated money and worked hard to give our community its fine theater. I know LVPAC's leaders want to keep the Bankhead open. We must all work together to see that it does.

John Shirley

Livermore

Top issue needs to be opposing legal corruption

Our system is corrupt. Given the high cost of election campaigns and Supreme Court rulings, moneyed interests are running our country.

U.S. House members spend five hours a day fundraising; 94 percent of the time in California, the candidate with the most money wins; veiled promises of jobs to Congressional aides means instant attention. "We the people" are not well represented. Time and time again, the voice of the American people is ignored while super-PAC positions prevail.

A substantial majority of each political group agrees and wants it stopped. Yet few candidates speak to the issue. Exhaustive grass roots work has had a measure of success. The only weapon against big money is our votes. If we make opposing legal corruption a number-one issue and demand support for change from our candidates, perhaps we will have relief from the need to fight every battle for every bill.

Legal corruption is still corruption! Let's hold those running in 2014 accountable.

Eloise Hamann

Dublin

Employ jobless temporarily on public works

An email from George Miller supported extending unemployment compensation. On his site many bleeding heart letters expressed why this compensation should be extended.

Let's go back to really hard times, to the Great Depression when the government put the Civilian Conservation Corps into effect. The CCC allowed men 18 and older to work at a dollar a day. The typical tour was six months except for married men, who could enlist for up to a year. The program put America back to work.

But it didn't go on and on. The work was often backbreaking, using nothing more than picks, shovels and axes. Slackers were not tolerated.

Sure, a dollar a day would go nowhere today, but the principle is the same. Those receiving "unemployment" should do something for this money, and if one is not willing to work, then someone who is should be given the opportunity. Unemployment compensation should not go on endlessly.

Joan Hamblin

Danville

We shouldn't judge a dog by its breed

This is in response to Cynthia Shon's "More dogs should be on leashes" (Feb. 20).

I have no issue with her statements regarding the owners' financial responsibilities for damage and injuries caused by their dogs or with her assessment that many owners believe they have better control over their dogs than they actually do.

My issue is with her presumption that the dog that bit her horse was a "pit bull" and her statement "if you own a breed of dog that is known for aggression, you need to be especially diligent."

It has been well documented that even professionals who deal with dogs on a daily basis have difficulty guessing a dog's breed based solely on physical characteristics. Without a DNA test, no one can truly tell the breed of a dog. Pit bulls are not, in fact, bred to be aggressive, nor are they any stronger than any other large-breed dog.

In temperament tests, they score higher (therefore are LESS aggressive) than breeds such as the golden retriever and Chihuahua. Assumptions should never be made about the temperament of ANY breed. Every animal is unique, and it is foolish to assume one breed is more (or less) aggressive than another based solely on its appearance.

Kimberley Hagen

Livermore

Let's bail on high-speed rail, revive I-5

Gov. Brown, please do not spend $68 BILLION on this high-speed rail set to fail.

Please spend far less money and still put people to work widening Interstate 5 to three or even four lanes while rebuilding it with some asphalt that might last more than a few years. Allow us to travel 80 mph on the newly improved Interstate 5. Then we can drive straight from our homes in the East Bay without buying tickets, parking or getting a ride to a rail station, checking in and on the other end ... being picked up or having to rent a car. We can drive to L.A. in well under five hours on our safe, modernized and rebuilt Interstate 5. Besides ... we all know that the game will change over and over after it is built and not in favor of the citizens. What?! Fees for luggage?! Bail on the Rail -- Bring I-5 Alive!

Nick Vleisides

Danville