Differences in ideology
The problem with Richmond City Council meetings is that in the name of "free speech," council members Corky Booze and Nat Bates, and sometimes the general speaking public, become vitriolic because of major differences in ideology for solving Richmond's economic problems.
On one side of the debate are Mayor Gayle McLaughlin and council members Jovanka Beckles and Jeff Ritterman, often joined by Tom Butt and Jim Rogers, who encourage the formation of worker-owned and cooperative businesses. On the other side, Booze and Bates prefer the traditional status quo big-business model.
Booze and Bates view the difference as racism, despite the presence of Beckles, a woman of color, who disagrees. Bates and Booze, lifelong Richmond residents, are of the generation and political persuasion of those who opposed Martin Luther King's involvement in anything above and beyond civil rights. King, who rejected that point of view, became a spokesman for the anti-war movement.
It is shameful, disrespectful and disruptive when two councilmen use every vitriolic, male-chauvinist tactic to discredit other members of the council and the speaking public.
I support McLaughlin and hope Bates and Booze will change their behavior and work with the rest of the council to allow the city business to be timely and respectfully conducted.
Here are some examples of government running amok.
The proposed tax on miles driven is just more bureaucratic nonsense and expense.
Gas tax logically applied should suffice in building and maintaining roads. The more government entities involved, the greater the waste.
Bridge tolls should be eliminated when bonds are paid off. FasTrak probably costs more than it is worth.
Traffic jams can be mitigated by proper planning. Civil servants should be required to schedule work hours accordingly.
Also, bullet trains are a total waste of taxpayers dollars. Planes, buses and private cars are much more convenient and less costly. Even 40 years or so ago it was faster, easier and more convenient to drive to Los Angeles from San Francisco.
Think about the time to and from the airport, parking and rental expenses. The cost of the connector from BART to the Oakland Airport is totally obscene.
Paul W. Van Etten
Political move by Mayor Leone
How generous of Concord Mayor Ron Leone to offer the benefits of his lifetime health care from the Mt. Diablo Health District to cancer victims if he is elected in 2014. He is currently covered under the city of Concord's health care plan.
What he fails to mention is that if he is elected again in 2014, he will qualify for lifetime health care from the city of Concord after serving only five years in a part-time position on the City Council.
Nice political move, but thanks for nothing, mayor. Local taxpayers will still be footing the bill for his lifetime health care if he is elected in 2014.
It's all about taking control
This proposed tax on miles driven is not about saving the environment. It is about control and social engineering.
The Utopian masterminds at the regional, unelected MTC/ABAG want people out of their cars and into stack and pack housing near mass transit.
Money collected (estimated at $15 million per day) will be used for more social welfare programs. There will be no middle class left in the Bay Area. The elites will have cars and the unwashed mass will be forever in poverty.