Tell senators to cut failed NIF spending

It's big, shiny and broken. The National Ignition Facility was supposed to attract talent to Lawrence Livermore Laboratory. It did, but many left due to its poor performance. NIF was built for ignition, but after almost 20 years and $8 billion, that's nowhere in sight.

Lab management wants to divert attention from NIF's failures. Unfortunately, the plan will hurt workers and the community.

The 2015 budget states that Livermore Lab will begin using plutonium in NIF. This will invalidate the 1995 NIF nonproliferation study. Worse, it will increase its nuclear waste by 50 percent and worker exposure to radiation threefold, according to the latest environmental impact statement.

If you're tired of your tax dollars going down NIF's bottomless pit, and don't want plutonium splattered around, let our U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein know. Feinstein chairs the subcommittee that funds NIF. Then call Sen. Barbara Boxer to oppose plutonium in NIF. Boxer sits on the committee that oversees cleanup of the lab's leaking toxic and radioactive wastes. Call the capitol switchboard at 202-224-3121 and leave both Senators a message. I did.

Jo Ann Frisch

Livermore

A bipartisan effort needed to stop tea party


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If moderate Republicans and Democrats were wise, they would band together in the upcoming Virginia race to upset the tea party nominee for the House. If this was as recently printed a statement about the gridlock in Washington I'm not sure what result Virginia voters are hoping for.

The tea party is obstructionist; nothing will happen in Washington to benefit citizens as long as they have even the slightest power. A Democracy held captive by a few cannot function, and apathetic Republicans and Democrats should take the Virginia race very seriously.

Dorothy Nicholas

Livermore

Sacrifices of troops in vain due to release

I was disappointed to hear of the release of the five terrorists recently for someone who seems to have turned his back on America.

More to the point, I cannot imagine the disappointment of those families of the American service members killed or injured in the years it took to track down and capture these five terrorists. It seems like a waste of our troops' lives and possibly the lives of future service members.

Joe Wilder

Livermore

Bergdahl deal shouldn't have been arranged

The U.S. should not have negotiated the release of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl. He was a deserter, not a POW. Moreover, during his disappearance he should not have been promoted to higher rank. He actually received a double promotion, going from private first class to sergeant, skipping the intermediate rank of corporal. This totally undeserved promotion makes a mockery of those brave soldiers who had to earn their corporal or sergeant stripes by putting their lives on the line. Those in the U.S. Army responsible for this outrage should be severely reprimanded, if not dismissed outright.

Lawrence Foster

San Ramon

Citizens' input on Bay Delta plan missing

How many Californians send anything on the Bay Delta Conservation Plan during its comment period? How many people even know what it is or why they should be informed? Do responses come only from vested interests? Those supporters such as bankers making loans to build it, junior water rights agribusiness owners, building trade contractors bidding on tunnels, realtors selling land for tunnels, materials suppliers for tunnel construction, developers wanting to construct homes and businesses to use the potential water, sales, property or income tax collectors, unions and lawyers fighting for these folks? Someone will benefit from the BDCP.

How about vested opponents of the project such as budget watchdogs, Delta water advocates, fishing industry workers, sport fishers, environmentalists, Delta residents, senior water rights holders and the lawyers who will file suits to stop tunnels? No implementation of BDCP benefits someone.

There're more unheard California residents left out of the comment period, i.e. limited-English speakers. Twenty percent of Californians don't speak English, and we can't assume they read or understand English well yet. But legal residents and potential new citizens will be affected by the BDCP and need to add voices to the discussion.

Jan Howe

San Ramon

Program on Civil War was disrespectful

I do hope that I'm not the only veteran or common-sense citizen incensed by the photograph of the Walnut Creek Intermediate School Civil War Days program depicting fun and frivolity on a make-believe battlefield.

The photo's disregard for respect deepens as it portrays a young African-American student charging the field carrying a Confederate flag. Behind her stand other students clapping and cheering as if they were at a soccer game. A sub-photo depicts students laughing as they toss flour bags at one another simulating Civil War fighting. If Walnut Creek Intermediate School wants students to remember and respect the Civil War, then they need to re-examine their current methods. Condoning this type of celebration makes one wonder how far we are from making light of World Wars I and II, the Korean War, Vietnam and even 9/11.

Later this year, I'll be visiting the hallowed battlefields of Gettysburg. I do pray that I won't see kids throwing bags of flour at one another mocking the ultimate sacrifice that so many made.

Marshall Berman

U.S. Coast Guard (retired) San Ramon

Could someone define 'grossly ineffective?'

I must admit to being confused. There is said to be a possible misquote of an expert witness' statement reported in the June 14 article on the striking down of schoolteacher tenure protections and layoff rules. It appears the expert witness states that he did not quite say what the judge thought he heard.

David Berliner, an Arizona State professor emeritus, in discussing a model that aims to quantify a teacher's effect by measuring how much children have learned during the school year, estimated the percentage of teachers who fall into a low-performance category for four straight years was 1 to 3 percent. Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Rolf M. Treu then extrapolated a range of 2,750 to 8,250 "grossly ineffective" teachers within a total of about 275,000 active teachers in California.

Berliner says he is alarmed because he never actually testified that these teachers were grossly ineffective and has previously stated that he has never personally seen a grossly ineffective teacher in his hundreds of classroom visits. I myself am alarmed to think that there are teachers in our system who affect our children with their low-performance teaching for more than four straight years who are not considered grossly ineffective teachers. What more does it take to be "grossly ineffective?" Perhaps as parents and grandparents of California students, we need a better understanding of the system.

Alva H. Griffith

San Ramon