Drought not nearly as bad as advertised
Your "Communities in Brief" item recently on page B3 concerning a sprinkle of rain in Livermore, falsely asserted " ... record-breaking drought ...." The only thing record-breaking about this drought is the false hype from government, parroted by the lap-dog media.
Nearly two-thirds of all rain years are drought, by the way, a fact ignored by government and media. Rainfall data for two California sites and snowpack data published by your paper in April show many rainfall years below the 2013/2014 year. For Stockton (rain nearly identical with Livermore's), there have been 12 years with less rain, going back to 1850, with seven of those in the second half of the 19th century and only five in all of the 20th century, meaning we are having fewer bad droughts recently, not more, which is consistent with global warming physics (i.e. evaporation and transportation) but contradicted by self-serving government and media.
For one coastal mountain site, the 2013-14 rain was 27 inches, which is the fourth least since 1923, and your snow pack tables showed 2013-14 to be third-worst over the years depicted, no record-breakers. Why does government and media not look at the data before printing nonsense terms like "record-breaking" or "driest year?" To have more water available for human use, don't let so much flow out the Delta to the ocean. Use that for people, with reclaimed water for irrigation and fish. But that would require common sense on the part of government and the media -- not likely.
City Council meetings don't need prayers
I see that a Concord City Councilmember has apparently gotten inspired to introduce religious prayers at government meetings (Times, Aug. 11).
I urge his fellow councilmembers to vigorously oppose this misguided effort.
Government-endorsed prayers are offensive to all nonreligious citizens, currently about 20 percent of the population according to the Pew Foundation. We see prayers as a ritualized form of talking to yourself.
Government prayers are offensive to adherents of minority religions, who feel excluded and discriminated against. Such prayers are also offensive to more liberal Christians, who respect the separation of religion and government as a cornerstone of American law.
If the Concord City Council insists on pursuing this issue, I predict it will consume a major portion of their time. Certainly there are more important issues they should be focusing on.
Activists' silence deafening on issue of water
With the drought looming all around, where is the Sierra Club or the Restore Hetch Hetchy crowd? The reservoir is at the lowest it may ever be, and we hear nothing from Earthjustice or former California Democratic Party chief Kathy Bowler (who was on the board of Restore Hetch Hetchy).
We could drain all the clear water and return it to it's natural state for our great-great grandchildren to enjoy. Who needs water when the tap is full and there is always Crystal Geyser? The Saturday bath night would come back in fashion as would showering in after-shave. Who needs Hetch Hetchy water? We all do. And especially these "community activists".
State should remain united
Split California in six pieces? A half- (sixth-?) baked idea. As our nation seeks more diversity, why split California into pieces? Unity in variety is far more desirable than localized identity. Let's enjoy our diversity and keep California whole.
Dr. Albert J. Rothman
DeSaulnier did right thing on utility program
This is a public thank-you to California Sen. Mark DeSaulnier and his staff for following through on attending to language of a bill that could harm the most powerful tool California local governments have for reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
The program is called Community Choice Aggregation and gives citizens of communities adopting the program the choice of their electricity provider. A public provider of electricity is able to contract for greener, cheaper energy with no stockholders to pay.
Either because of sloppy or calculated language, AB 2145 could hurt this program. Sen. DeSaulnier took the time to pay attention when he is also running for Congress. With 3,000 bills coming through the legislature each year and constituents clamoring for attention, I am especially impressed. It gives me confidence that he will make a wonderful, conscientious member of Congress. He has my vote.
Europe's rail cars far better than BART's
Having just returned from traveling by various trains, light rail and street cars in Europe, all of which run with metal wheels on metal rails, I was disappointed to ride BART from Castro Valley to San Francisco and be overwhelmed by noise from the undercarriages.
Whereas the European railed public transit systems offer smooth and quiet rides, easily allowing conversation, the screech of the wheels for a BART rider is so loud I would expect that the sound level would exceed environmental safety standards. There are some sections of the rails that are quieter than others, so it would seem that some of the problem is the rails. The noise on BART is especially overwhelming when the carriages pass through a tunnel and the sound from underneath is reflected from the walls, an amplification I never experienced in Europe. It really is a shame that we in the Bay Area must put up with such a noisy and uncomfortable transit system, one that I no longer can look forward to riding with any pleasure.
Experts failed to make note of drought impact
According to a recent article, osprey populations have been increasing in the North and East Bay for the last three years and decreasing around inland lakes and reservoirs; scientists are not sure why, speculating it might be better water quality, more fish in the bay or eagles crowding out ospreys from their former habitats. I'm no ornithologist, but might materially lower water levels in inland lakes and reservoirs due to the ongoing drought be a part of the answer? If so, the experts cited did not mention this possibility.
Obama should straighten out Phoenix VA
My respect for President Obama would greatly be elevated if, on the his way to California to pick up the Democratic Party fundraising monthly paycheck, he would have stopped off at the VA Hospital in Phoenix, kicked butt and took names. Rhetoric just doesn't cut it. The bully pulpit may!