Don't penalize those who conserve water

I could hardly believe my eyes when I learned about the Alameda County Water District considering raising rates, in light of its $15 million budget deficit.

This comes just a month after the district sent out a rather mean-spirited memo concerning the drought, threatening all of their customers with legal prosecution if they do not toe the line regarding the new draconian water use restrictions.

It is almost obscene, and definitely immoral, for the same board to now come back and threaten the same customers with tiered rate increases as our reward for having done such an excellent job of conserving water. How unconscionable is that?

Joseph Devine

Union City

Relief for Autism Spectrum Disorders

Just as researchers are beginning to realize that our Alzheimer's tragedies will eventually be solved by comparable statistics, Autism Spectrum Disorders -- or ASD -- will undoubtedly be identified, and perhaps even prevented, in the same way.

Just as national or international registries can give Alzheimer's disease researchers the earliest possible information on probable causes of ASD, such as genetics, diseases, injuries, etc.; ASD families will undoubtedly be grateful to add their ASD experiences to this method of comparable statistics.


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Meanwhile, there is a wealth of helpful formation available now. The following three authors have written about their own Asperger's experiences:

Professor Temple Grandin has been an award-winning autistic activist, educating the world about her valuable ASD aids and discoveries.

Michael John Carley's book is "Asperger's From The Inside Out." He is the executive director of GRASP -- The Global and Reginal Asperger Syndrome Partnerhip -- at www.grasp.org.

Writer and researcher,Dr. Liane Holliday Willey's autobiography is "Pretending To Be Normal: Living with Asperger's syndrome."

Gerta Farber

Berkeley

Stabbing suspect a child needing help

A few days ago, I turned on the radio to get my daily fix of news. I learned about the teen boy in Pennsylvania who created destruction and near death in his high school with two knives.

My 30-year career treating mental illness prompted me to listen to this news event with a different perspective than the average person. He is clearly an extremely troubled kid and he desperately needs help.

The mental health delivery system in this country is in shambles. For talking heads on TV to endlessly process this and similar tragedies will do nothing to address the trauma and hurt that preceded this incident in a high school. There are now major physical and psychological injuries that must be addressed in Murrysville, Pa.

The 16-year-old perpetrator of this tragedy should not be tried in court as an adult. He did commit a serious crime, but he is a child in need of help. He is not a seasoned criminal with no hope of rehabilitation. If he had wanted to have a rampage in his high school with guns, he would have found guns with which commit the tragedy.

I appreciate news outlets for running a photo of this teenage perpetrator. It appears that the boy is in a hospital gown. We need to think of him as a patient who needs medical help. He needs to face the consequences of his actions in the juvenile justice system, not in the adult prison system.

Elizabeth Preston

Oakland

Senate vote shows hidden racial bias

The Senate's March 5 vote to block President Barack Obama's nomination of Debo Adegbile to head the Department of Justice Civil Rights Division stands as a classic case of the influence of hidden racial anxieties that need to be acknowledged and debated.

Adegbile's legal defense of our Voting Rights Act to the Supreme Court and his work with the NAACP's Legal Defense Division to uphold our Constitution's guarantees of equal justice for all citizens gives him impeccable credentials for this nomination.

But his minor role in the NAACP's obtaining a sentence change for Mumia Abu-Jamal led to a smear campaign against him using coded language that blocked his nomination among senators who lack the courage to live up to their pledge to uphold our Constitution.

Accusations of defending a cop killer sufficed for the senators to use the code words cop killer to rationalize their cowardice and deny any racial undertones.

That Abu-Jamal is black, and that Adegbile has a black father, cannot be ignored in so unjust an outcome for Adegbile's nomination. Denying the truth behind such unfairness only sends us down the slippery slope to loss of our Constitutional guarantees.

Marilyn Clark

Oakland