Sodas and the obesity industry

Dr. Jeff Ritterman's attempt to put a tax on corn syrup sodas is an attack on free enterprise; there are corporations and doctors relying on obesity for their income.

Manufacturers of insulin and all the paraphernalia surrounding the obesity industry are the source of their income. For them, obesity provides a moneymaking opportunity. That's far more important than people's health.

The corn syrup soda industry is spending millions of dollars to defeat Councilman Ritterman's proposed tax. An army of consultants and public relations specialists must be paid to defeat it.

It's really unfair of Ritterman to do this, for it will attack their bottom line. There are many Americans who rely on the corn syrup soda industry: pensioners, workers, hedge-fund managers ... you name it.

If other cities try to emulate Ritterman and the city of Richmond, it will cause an economic disaster for the obesity industry.

Ritterman and his foolish ideas about reducing obesity and improving the health of millions of Americans must be stopped. It is an attack on the American ideal of free enterprise.

Long live corn syrup sodas and obesity.

Colin Piper

Richmond

Council violated the Brown Act

We concerned Hercules Bayside community residents share the concerns of all Herculeans regarding the budget issues plaguing Hercules. However, fire-selling valuable land for short-term budget fixes and incoherent development isn't the right way forward.

We believe the City Council violated the Ralph M. Brown Act by not providing for an adequate and fair degree of transparency in recent real estate negotiations for the sale of Sycamore Crossings, Parcel C and Victoria Crescent prior to numerous closed-door sessions in which the public had no voice.

As stated in our formal complaint in our Cure and Correct demand letter to the council, glaring violations of the Brown Act include: no requisite resolutions in open council sessions prior to closed-door sessions publicly announcing the real-estate negotiations; the brokers hired or potential buyers; and no formal appraisal or approval for major land-use changes prior to numerous closed sessions.

The Bayside community is already impacted by the overwhelming size of Sycamore North and will be further impacted by adjacent large-scale developments proposed.

The proposed developments will yield little sales tax or property tax revenues, will further erode Bayside housing values, dilute our suffering rental market, and strain city services.

Charles Davidson

Brent Marin

Hercules Seven other Hercules residents also signed this letter.

Protests in the Muslim world

The Walnut Creek Islamic Center strongly condemns the individual acts taken by extremists in Libya in attacking the U.S. Consulate, causing the death of four American diplomats. We deeply mourn the death of Ambassador Chris Stevens and the three consulate employees and offer our condolences to the victims' families.

These violent acts are un-Islamic, as true Islam has always treated members of the diplomatic corps as messengers of peace on a mission to promote peace and prosperity among nations.

Furthermore, our community endorses the statement by the Islamic Society of North America: "Leading American Muslims and senior representatives of other faiths join together to condemn the murder of U.S. diplomats in Libya and the attack on the U.S. Embassy in Cairo."

We strongly believe the only proper response to intentional provocations such as this video is to redouble our joint efforts to promote mutual understanding between faiths and to marginalize extremists of all stripes.

We all need to strive to define and adopt effective ways and means to prevent such material which is offensive, irresponsible, and has no value whatsoever from being posted on the Internet.

Nobody should have the right to deeply insult and ridicule the beliefs and faiths of others, while hiding behind freedom of speech.

Nabil Rageh

Walnut Creek Rageh is the chairman of Walnut Creek Islamic Center

A new political club in town

I read in the Times of the formation of the Hercules Democratic Club, founded on the beliefs of its charter members and open, apparently, only to those Democrats who agree with them.

I'm announcing the formation of the Pinole Decline-to-State Club. This new political organization is open to anyone who feels Republicans and Democrats, Greens and Progressives, Libertarians and Teatotalers, are too full of themselves and ought to spend their time working on the problems they were elected to solve, rather than trashing one another in the media.

The club has no rules and plans to endorse no one, and promises to create a lot of turmoil for electeds who are too preoccupied with their own wonderfulness.

Jeff Rubin

Pinole