Killings show access to guns still too loose

The recent tragedy in Isla Vista occurred across the street from where my daughter lived for two years while attending UCSB and, for me, was the last straw. Some of my dearest friends own guns. They happen to be very responsible people, and I wouldn't want to deny them the right to own guns for hunting or self-defense, but something has to change.

While the Second Amendment could be updated, repealing it is not the answer. But these tragedies have not had the effect I would expect in a civilized society. Instead of working to make us safer, our government, in response to Newtown, Virginia Tech, etc. has, in many cases, only made gun ownership and access easier. Had my child been killed in one of these incidents, and I saw how our nation responded, I would have gone crazy. The collateral damage of children and innocent people dying is not worth the right for almost anyone to get a gun as easily as possible.

What to do? Start with making guns at least as difficult to get as a driver's license. Add rigor and time to the process. Require gun owners to register in a national database. Use technology to link weapons to owners. We can do many things TOWARD reducing gun violence.

All of these suggestions might not have prevented Isla Vista, but if we continue doing nothing, we're actually making matters worse. As Richard Martinez pleaded, "Stop this madness -- we don't have to live like this!"

Mark Miller

Pleasanton

Elect Glazer to Assembly's 16th District

Education has always been a priority of the larger community here in the East Bay.

Because of this, it's only appropriate that we send a representative to Sacramento who is equally committed to preserving and furthering our education system. In the race for the 16th Assembly District, Steve Glazer has experience with securing support for education.

Whether it's been through advocating for students as a trustee on the board of the California State University system, or by helping to pass Jerry Brown's landmark education measure, Steve Glazer has proved he is a friend of education. This experience is important, and he will use it to continue the fight for education in our area.

Fidela Del Docena

Pleasanton

Property tax hikes hit small landlords most

Obligations to be paid only by increasing property taxes are the most unfair of all California's taxes. An assessment based on the value of your property or on the fact that you own property affects the individual property owner who owns one or two parcels (maybe a rental). Each of those parcels is hit with a full assessment of the new tax. I may have to increase my tenant's rent. If I own a 100-unit apartment building, I will pay only for a single parcel, probably absorbing the cost. The end result is that renters can vote for the new tax without having to pay for it, yet they will probably benefit from it. In addition, the refrain of "seniors are exempt" is bandied about. Again, this is calculated to gain yet more votes for the tax by those who will not have to pay for it. Will renters gain from infrastructure or school bonds? Yes. Will they have to pay for it? No. Finally, the state legislature is writing bills (i.e. ACA8) that will reduce the 67 percent majority needed to pass school bonds to 67 percent to assure the easier passage of these bonds.

David Pastor

Pleasanton

BART officials lack maturity to run agency

Wow, just when I thought we may have seen the last of the BART management's buffoonery they provide the coup de grâce in (the Oakland Airport Connector's) pathetically poor economic decision-making. Time for the management, the board and all their overpaid consultants to go -- and be replaced by the Boy Scouts, as they generally have adult leadership!

Edward R. Maddox Jr.

Pleasanton

Obama short on answers to VA scandal

The reprehensible Veterans Affairs Department scandal is now known by the general public. President Obama, after considerable delay, has made the official response that he is enraged over the inexcusable treatment of veterans -- never mind that he knew about VA problems years ago. What is his plan to remediate the situation and get veterans the proper care? Judging by his recent speech: diddly-squat.

Henry D. Shay

Livermore

Forcing sale of Clippers not in spirit of law

Sometimes a moment of lucidity is necessary to sweep the fog of popular hysteria from the pages of the Mainstream Media. Having unpopular beliefs and communicating them in personal correspondence is not a crime. In California the recording of private phone conversations without the permission of all parties is a crime punishable by both jail and a fine (Ca. Penal Code #632), as well as subjecting the perpetrator to triple damages in civil court (Ca. Penal Code #637.2).

The owners of sports franchises are free to associate and do business with whomever they choose, as well as make voluntary arrangements among themselves. But they should not be free to use an agency of the government such as the court system to punish thought and facilitate crime.

Roland Butnick

Danville

Pro-choice on death penalty for prisoners

Death penalty abolitionists lamented a recent inefficient 42-minute execution by lethal injection, only 30 minutes tardy, claiming the unconscious prisoner felt pain. Someone's 20 year old daughter was beaten, raped, shot and buried alive. She felt pain for many hours. Abolitionists stated no lamentations for her pain.

Bogus judges conjure up reasons to delay justice, and one judge ruled San Quentin's gas chamber observation room was out of his assessment of code compliance. Another judge ruled lethal injection drugs could cause pain -- incredible delays in justice for victims!

California allows prisoners a right to choose gas chamber execution. Electric chair execution rights should be added. Both methods are less than 15 minutes. Guillotine execution is less than 10 seconds of pain.

Condemned inmates have the choice of a last meal and should have the choice of a preferred execution method. Efficient execution also reallocates money for schools.

Abolitionists say the death penalty is not a crime deterrent. Executed prisoners are deterred from repeat offenses. Pro-choice rights for execution methods mitigate prisoner pain and expedite justice for victims.

Gene Miller

Danville