Richard Dawson was a gentleman

I enjoyed The Associated Press obituary about actor and television personality Richard Dawson.

As a 1979 "Family Feud" contestant with my four sisters, hoping to win the big money for our church's centennial, I wish to set the record straight about Dawson's kisses on the show.

All these years later, it's still the first question I get asked when I confess to having been on "Family Feud," and then whether his kissing us was "gross" or "icky." The article said Dawson kissed each of the women contestants "without exception." Not true.

Dawson was a true gentleman, and while meeting us shortly before taping the show, he greeted each of us warmly, even asking if we preferred a handshake to being kissed. My oldest sister, then a young nun, opted appropriately for the handshake.

When the live taping began, Dawson seemed genuinely nervous, which seemed odd for the number of shows he must have taped. We were nervous, too, having to be cute, funny, personable and come up with four or five answers to every question as he went down the line for responses.

It was really his opening handshake and kiss that calmed him and us down. Sadly, we lost to the five brothers in the other family.

Jeanne Gray Loughman

Albany

Must debate facts, not baseless claims

With regard to the June 7 letter, "Miller neglects to offer specifics about his bill" from an Orinda writer, I offer the following response.

First, while the writer might not like the Affordable Care Act, Rep. George Miller's March 20 op-ed included specifics. For example, the law is already helping millions of young adults stay on their parents' insurance, saving seniors billions on their medications, and ensuring coverage for children with a pre-existing condition. And it strengthens Medicare by attacking fraud and extends the life of the trust fund to 2024. If you want more specifics, there is a wealth of nonpartisan information at www.healthreform.gov.

Second, the writer repeats a number of noted misleading or flatly incorrect statements about the law.

One of them is that members of Congress are exempt from the law. This is categorically false. If you look at Section 1312(d)(3)(D) of the Affordable Care Act, members of Congress and staff will be required to participate in the health exchanges if they request health insurance from their job.

No ifs, ands or buts about it. Don't just take my word for it. Nonpartisan fact-checking organizations have examined this and the other wild claims and found them all to be false. I encourage readers to look them up at www.factcheck.org.

I am not surprised that outright falsehoods about the health care law keep circulating on the Internet long after being publicly debunked. But I am disappointed that the Times would allow one of them to be published. There are plenty of facts about the law that we can legitimately debate. We should not waste time on criticisms that have no basis in fact.

The Affordable Care Act is delivering real benefits and savings to families, seniors and workers. And, members of Congress and their staff are not exempt from the law.

Daniel Weiss

Washington, D.C. Weiss is chief of staff to U.S. Rep. George Miller

Nonsensical missive about Walnut Creek

Michael Scott's green rant against Walnut Creek's inadequate efforts at "greenness" was absurd.

He would apparently have an eco-squad armed with stopwatches and citation books combing the city to clamp down on idling vehicles. His utopian dream apparently requires the heavy hand of a coercive city government to arrest, fine, ban and generally eradicate those things that defy his eco-zeal.

His claim that our air quality is "among the nation's worst" only proves his delusion. Does he know how easy those statistics are to Google?

I and most people I know actively participate in collective and collaborative efforts to improve the environment.

We all love clean air, water and soil. Many of us professionally educate and assist our clientele to improve their efforts in reducing their impact.

Most of us chuckled at the 2010 Audi Super Bowl ad "The Green Police." On the other hand, I imagine that Scott and his ilk became excited.

Patrick J. McNamara

Martinez