Brown should veto AB 2132

Gov. Jerry Brown should veto Assembly Bill 2132, which passed the Legislature. The bill specifies "good works" that would be considered when appointing faculty in our colleges to tenured positions.

Sociopolitical causes, however admirable, should not be law in hiring teachers at any educational level. Those who select applicants, being human, will no doubt be affected by political principles, but our laws should never specify anything of the sort.

My belief is based on the experience of my late father, a professor at UC Berkeley, who was deeply involved (behind the scenes) in the McCarthy-era loyalty oath controversy.

The regents, and subsequently the Legislature, were stampeded by mindless chauvinism into demanding orthodoxy. AB 2132 is too close for comfort.

I happen to agree with the ideas this bill promotes, such as sensitivity to the needs of minorities, but any formula to pick sheep and goats outside the essential duty of honest teaching will lead to trouble and ultimately be a disservice to students and faculty.

John Gordon Mackinney

Albany

Mental health stigmatizing

The murder of CHP Officer Kenyon Youngstrom grieves my heart. I cannot begin to fathom the pain his loved ones are experiencing.


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My heart also grieves over the emphasis many news outlets, including the Times, have placed upon the mental health diagnosis of the assailant. The Times, in its Sept. 6 front-page article, described the shooter as "a bipolar 36-year-old computer-programming loner armed with a semi-automatic handgun, two clips and a knife."

Linking the diagnosis of bipolar disorder with violence is stigmatizing and discriminatory. The National Institute of Mental Health reports, "Bipolar disorder affects approximately 5.7 million American adults, or about 2.6 percent of the U.S. population age 18 and older, in a given year."

Are we truly willing, as a nation, to contend that those millions of Americans deserve to be lumped together with the vicious act of a single individual? Those striving to overcome mental health difficulties simply ask for compassion and understanding, not condemnation and stereotyping.

Roberto Roman

Pleasant Hill

Everyone should pay tax to feel vested

Assuming for the sake of argument that the article you printed Sept. 18 titled "Video causes Romney headaches" from The Associated Press is correct in stating that "about 46 percent of Americans owed no federal income tax in 2011," is it fair to conclude that 46 percent of the citizenship is not participating in our democracy?

Democracy requires responsibility on the part of the electorate to vote and pay taxes for the government to function to provide collectively what we individually cannot.

How can those of us who do pay federal income taxes not resent those -- almost half of this country -- who do not? It seems to me that everyone should pay some federal income tax, even though it would be just a nominal amount, in order to be able to say that they have a vested interest in our mutual well-being.

Wendy B. Tuthill

Lafayette

Hope for Hillary to become president

President and commander in chief of the armed forces, Hillary Rodham Clinton.

Don't scoff at this idea. As secretary of state, Clinton has visited countries in the Middle East, conferring with leaders and gaining their respect.

She stood beside President Barack Obama at Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland, eulogizing in a tearful but determined tribute the four Americans killed in a terrorist attack -- Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens and three others.

On a personal level, Clinton has experienced several traumatic, heartbreaking moments, the most memorable being her troubled relationship with the "Comeback Kid" Bill Clinton, whose libido while in the White House resulted in his impeachment.

While some critics find Hillary Clinton a bit strident, nonetheless she possesses the strength of character and determination that qualifies her to be our next U.S. president. Let's hope that happens.

Dorothy Snodgrass

Berkeley

Frightening hantavirus at Yosemite park

How frightening that Yosemite Valley's Curry Village in popular Yosemite National Park lately harbored the dangerous, even deadly, hantavirus. Rats occur nearly everywhere -- mostly a nuisance, now this virus outbreak affects thousands of summer campers.

Curry Village tent-cabins serve as base camp for valley sightseeing, for day hikes to Yosemite Falls, Vernal and Nevada falls (the famous Mist Trail), and the more challenging Half Dome trek, which may require an overnight out under the stars.

May the National Park Service eradicate these disease-causing vermin and keep this virus under control from year to year.

Claire J. Baker

Pinole