Leading teens to pornography

The Berkeley Public Library currently has a book in the teen area that helps direct teens to erotica.

In the introduction, it states, "Though some adults are afraid that giving teens access to sexually explicit material will expose them to dangerous ideas ... Sexually graphic material gives readers the opportunity to explore their sexuality in private." The chapter entitled "Erotica," guides them toward erotic novels, short stories and anthologies.

The library's tactic is that they use the word "erotica" in place of "pornography." According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, erotic means "of, devoted to, or tending to arouse sexual love or desire," while pornography means "the depiction of erotic behavior (as in pictures or writing) intended to cause sexual excitement." Pornography and erotica serve the same function.

I have sent the title of this book and the above information to Mayor Tom Bates, City Council members, some members of the PTA, and two priests. I have included with this several titles of pornography that the library makes available for people of all ages. Thinking there must be a threshold for age-appropriate material, I have written to Berkeley's Board of Library Trustees.

The saddest thing about the book is that it would lead unsuspecting youths to pornography when they aren't even looking for such material. Yet, it is in the teen area and is actually cataloged in the category of Erotica.

Thomas Lynch

Berkeley

American Jews, confront Israel


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American Jews must finally confront the reality of what Israel has become.

Today in Israel, Jewish thugs run wild chanting, "Death to the Arabs," terrorizing Palestinian citizens like the Brown shirts did to us Jews in Nazi Germany.

Our blind support of Israel has allowed it to become like the nation of our worse nightmare. The vast majority of American Jews are proud liberals, having figured prominently in the struggles for civil rights, women's rights, workers' rights, gay rights, and protests against America's aggressions abroad. To hold such principles and blindly support the government of Israel is schizophrenic.

Israel has become blind to its own aggression and the suffering it imposes on others. Its collective punishment of Gaza is a war crime. It is a high-tech slaughter of a largely unarmed civilian population by one of the world's most powerful military.

We can no longer support liberal values, while remaining silent about policies and actions when pursued by Israel, that we would find abhorrent here. This is not just logic. It is a matter of justice.

David Glick

Berkeley

Glick is a member of Jewish Voice for Peace.

We have plenty of extra water

I do not think fines should be imposed for violation of mandatory water rationing.

We only use 52 percent of our water runoff here in California. The government takes 48 of our runoff to protect fish, etc. Starting 40 years ago, the government stopped building reservoirs and increased endangered species regulations for salmon, Delta smelt, steelhead, and others.

Our commercial, industrial and 38 million residents use only 11 percent of our water. We use much less water per capita than we did 40 years ago.

California agriculture uses less water and we produce much more food and fiber than we did 40 years ago. Agriculture now uses only 41 percent of the state's water runoff.

The govern has been the water hog and increased its wasted use, now at 48 percent of our total runoff. Yet it will not build a reservoir and won't give us an extra drop.

The East Bay Municipal Utility District Pardee Reservoir, serving the East Bay, is 91 percent full today. Hetch Hetchy Reservoir, serving San Francisco, Santa Clara, Alameda and San Mateo counties, is 95 percent full today.

Why must we residents suffer and pay fines of up to $500 when we have plenty of extra water? And, yes, I know it will take time to construct reservoirs and pipelines.

Why do federal, state and local government agencies override our constitutional right to have a fair trial before we are fined?

Mike Vukelich

El Cerrito

Reject added EIR conditions

The Richmond Planning Commission was partly right when it passed the Environmental Impact Report for the Chevron modernization.

Its next step, however, was to allow Commissioner Marilyn Langlois to propose additional conditions to the already approved EIR. Langlois was parroting the desires of some environmental group that she and probably Mayor McLaughlin front for.

Chevron has lost money because of all the delays. But that's all right with the environmentalists and community do-gooders: Chevron can afford it. They owe us and should pay for most, if not all, the local communities' needs.

The majority of Richmond's residents and its business community want only the original EIR approved. Wake up, Richmond! If the City Council, led by the mayor, insists on retaining these ridiculous amendments and the EIR is passed, it will be a sad day.

Chevron will reason that Richmond doesn't want the company -- only its money. If Chevron leaves, Richmond will have unemployment, little support for nonprofits and, most importantly, less money to run the city.

Erle Brown

El Cerrito

Brown has been a businessman and contractor in Richmond for 30 years.

Medicare for all is the answer

In a recent column in the Times, Tom Barnidge reported on the practice of awarding lifetime health benefits to former members of the Concord City Council. As a taxpayer in a nearby city, I can certainly understand the concerns of Concord residents in this matter.

I can offer a solution to this and many other health-care related issues -- single-payer health care -- Medicare for all.

The sooner we get our minds around this simple concept, the sooner we can devote our time and energy on things that matter most.

Sal Spataro

Pinole

Partisan fervor trumps honesty

During the 1980 presidential campaign, Ronald Reagan hammered President Carter's inept stewardship of the economy, double-digit inflation and high unemployment, by asking voters, "Are you better off now than you were four years ago?" The response contributed to President Reagan's huge winning margin.

America's electorate has consistently and justifiably held presidents responsible when the economy tanked during their tenure.

An exception: Republicans who servilely and predictably blame Democrats for the financial catastrophe that pummeled Americans during George W. Bush's nightmarish presidency. And they deceitfully ignore an economy that has improved since 2009.

It would have been appropriate during the 2012 campaign for President Obama to reiterate Reagan's question and, except for tea party types, most Americans would have extended at least some credit to Obama. Remember, Obama did win.

Consider the following hypocrisy: Had Sen. John McCain become our 44th president and the economy had progressed to precisely where it is today, GOP idolatrous praise would have elevated McCain to fiscal genius status.

It's shameful that some Americans allow partisan fervor to trump honesty.

Ronald Entwistle

San Pablo