Avoid student loans -- don't run them up

We have a new government plan to ease repayment of student loans. Your (story) example was a former student whose monthly payments of $500 do not let him save for retirement. I'm supposed to feel sorry for him? There always were ways to avoid these loans.

Can't afford the "best" college? Choose a smaller local one. Start at a community college. Find a job for a couple of years to save money. Or do as many of us did, work and go to night school.

The new repayment plan will be 10 percent of income for a maximum of 20 years. To completely pay off his $70,000 loan in 20 years, he has to pay about $500 per month. If he pays less, taxpayers pick up his tab -- you and me. This is just like another government program that says if you cannot afford your new Obamacare health plan, just earn less money and you will qualify for a bigger subsidy.

Again, paid for by the taxpayers -- you and me. When will this insanity end?

David Pastor

Pleasanton

PG&E, AB2145 not the answers

I thank the paper for the excellent coverage of the Alameda County Board of Supervisors on funding a feasibility study on a startup of a Community Choice Energy (CCE) program in the East Bay.

The CCE program could give us a choice of clean energy unless AB2145 (Bradford) changes the current law and makes PG&E a default provider. In all the states, including California, CCE is the default provider to support the program and encourage local control of energy.

PG&E, the investor-owned utility company, is no choice of mine. So why should it become a default provider over a local government-run program? By changing the default provider AB2145 will kill the program and PG&E will keep its monopoly.

There are many cities and counties ready to start the CCE program. Each program will be developed according to their needs and vision. Green Local Energy is my dream and Calikfornia needs the CCE program to create local jobs and achieve the California Climate Action Plan. Please tell your legislature to oppose AB2145.

Kyoko Takayama

Livermore

Guilty pleasures fueling climate change denial

I think climate change denial is motivated by a compelling need for some pleasures in our lives. Many of those pleasures are discouraged because of their carbon footprint: fast transportation, animal sourced foods, high energy and distant pastimes.

Even I, an extreme but seldom pushy energy conservation advocate, have such pleasures that I refuse to give up, even it they're bad for me.

Acceptable and possibly improved substitutes for those pleasures at competitive prices are under development. Meanwhile, although one might feel guilty, prohibition of, for example, driving to Tahoe for a steak dinner is not going to happen in my lifetime.

What is going to happen is the steady reduction of major sources of CO2 by businesses, which cannot claim any personal need for pleasurable inefficiencies. Our children also cannot assert personal need for things they haven't had. And they won't mind. It's their future.

What we must not insist on is preventing policies such as AB 32 that will give them time to develop and enjoy less harmful pleasures.

Norm Rhett

Danville

Giving Obama credit (blame) where it's due

I enjoy reading your opinions column, particularly views that contradict my own. After all, that is one of the many things that make America great. These opinions generally fall into two categories; interesting and amusing. Ronald Entwistle of San Pablo is solidly in the latter category. He obviously has many, many opinions and the time to detail each one in letter form. His latest rant involves giving President Obama the credit he deserves for his accomplishments. He credits the surging stock market to Obama, failing to realize that a rising stock market does not always directly correlate to a robust economy; and our economy (Obama's responsibility) has hardly been robust in the last five years.

More thought provokers: Ukraine crisis, Syrian Red Line, VA hospital scandal, IRS/Lois Lerner e-mail scandal, HealthCare.gov/A.H.C.A. mess, Benghazi, Bowe Bergdahl "Rose Garden" victory dance, well, you get the picture --probably why the latest polls show Mr. Obama's approval rating's down to 41 percent, with half the American people thinking that his administration is not doing a competent job.

You are correct, Mr. Entwistle, let's give credit where it's due.

Mitch Fidziura

Pleasanton

Misquote in Supreme Court tenure ruling?

I must admit to being confused. There is said to be a possible misquote of an expert witness' statement reported in the Saturday, June 14, 2014, article on the striking down of school teacher tenure protections and lay-off rules. It appears the expert witness states that he did not quite say what the judge thought he heard.

David Berliner, an Arizona State University professor emeritus, in discussing a model which 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-teaching-performance for upwards of 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