Questions origin of Prop. 37 editorial

Your recent anti-Proposition 37 editorial sounded like a news release from a Monsanto corporate office.

Rejected by voters in Vermont and Connecticut, and at the federal level? Likely due to the expenditure of the large sums of money spent by the manufacturers, as will happen here soon.

Cottage industry for lawyers? Smoke screen. A revival of the "ambulance chasers" myth. If outlets are concerned about the purported possible legal ramifications, they don't need to carry the products so labeled. That's their choice, just as it should be ours as to what we want to eat.

The American Medical Association and World Health Organization state there's no risk to human health from genetically modified food? Based on what? Manufacturer studies, which can hardly be considered credible? Remember DDT and Agent Orange? Those also were deemed safe.

There's one thing that truly must be recognized. These are not merely poisons that are sprayed on our food and "can be washed off." These are substances that become a part of our food, which we're eating every day.

Robert P. Philipps

Port Costa

Out of touch with property owners

A recent Times edition contained five full pages of properties on which property taxes were in default.

This reminded me of the opinion piece by Fire Capt. Vince Wells. He was upset by a Times editorial that didn't support Measure Q, which would add a $75 annual property tax charge for fire services. He found it incredible that the Times didn't support the measure.

Wells' argument was the amount requested was only 21 cents per day and it would only last for seven years.

I feel Wells, the president of the United Professional Firefighters of Contra Costa County, is out of touch with most property owners. More than 50 percent of our tax statements are for extras, not based on the actual value of our property.

I think it makes much more sense for Wells and his fellow government employees to give up some of their high salaries and pensions, not to mention health care benefits.

John M. Canatela

Richmond

Where are all the militia members?

All these local gunbattles remind us that guns are easy to get. In fact, as a nation, we are armed to the teeth.

We have the National Rifle Association to thank for this situation. The NRA has been extraordinarily efficient in weakening our gun bills, reminding us the Second Amendment of the Constitution gives us all the right to keep guns (even assault guns, which make it possible for even lousy shots to kill many).

The Second Amendment reads: "A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed."

This is so clear even a 6-year-old could understand it: We need a militia, and they need guns. Since we do have guns all over the place, the logical conclusion is that there must be lots of militia members around. Right? But where are they? I've never met any.

Robert Zanker

Concord

Project supports global warming

Brooks Alexander's letter in the Aug. 23 Times appears to cast professor Richard Muller of the Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature project as a maverick who has come to unwarranted conclusions about global warming. Muller has decided it's for real.

Alexander seems to imply the group may not agree and goes on to claim recent research supports the climate skeptics rather than Muller.

Based on that letter, a reader might be surprised by viewing berkeleyearth.org, the project's web page. The Summary of Results and FAQ pages clearly state the group has concluded global land temperatures have increased 1.5 degrees Celsius over the last 250 years, and this "upward trend is likely to be an indication of anthropogenic changes." Quite the opposite of what Alexander appears to suggest.

The Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature project is an independent group of scientists, funded by unrestricted grants from government and private foundations, including one of the Koch brothers. Their purpose: sort out confusing data sets, address critics concerns and come to a conclusion free of partisan bias.

Donald Broderson

Crockett