It worked for DDT, it'll work for sugar

I am in favor of Richmond's proposed soda tax.

A recent Times opinion piece got it wrong when it asked rhetorically, "What's next, butter ... doughnuts ...?" The proper question is, "What's first?"

If the soda tax can prevent one child, teenager or adult from drinking one less soda a week, it's a good start. Drinking soda is a luxury. Nobody has to drink it. But it creates suffering and, ultimately, we taxpayers have to pay the price for emergency room visits.

The soda industry might encourage statements such as, "Imagine city hall telling me that I have to drive 25 miles per hour in a school zone!" Instead, imagine the American Beverage Association telling us what to do -- and then treating our sickness as collateral damage.

We are the city hall and if we got rid of DDT, lead in gasoline and more; we can do it with sugar. If we had not stopped Coca-Cola, they would still be putting cocaine in their drinks. Added sugar is just as addicting.

Let's start now by voting yes on Measures N and O.

Michael Beer

Richmond

High-speed rail: Soft political jobs

You do so much good being able to give us readers information on public employees salaries, retirements and benefits it's amazing. I wish you could find out just how many are employed today and just what they are doing on California High-Speed Rail?

Something is going on there. Gov. Jerry Brown pulled all the strings to get this approved even when most of Californians were against it. Right now, with no tracks laid, this is a prime target for soft political jobs.

Eldon Anderson

Castro Valley

Prop. 38 benefits Mt. Diablo schools

Why support Proposition 38 for Mt. Diablo's schools? MDUSD's budget and programs plummeted more than $92.2 million due to four years of state budget slashes.

Prop. 38 allocates MDUSD's 52 schools $31.4 million in 2013-14, $54.4 million in 2017-18, $73.8 million in 2023-24. For 12 years, Prop. 38 funds go directly to schools, which must provide fund expenditure recommendations to your school board.

What do our schools hope to restore? Reduced class size K-3 and ninth grade, libraries, science and math courses, elementary instrumental music, summer school, PE and foreign language are examples. STEM, arts and technology will be considered. Annually each site must show you how funds improve students' outcomes.

Recently school districts were advised to expect no COLA increases for four years. Offering no future solutions, Prop. 30 has two funding mechanisms creating a fiscal cliff in years four and seven. Sacramento's policymakers cannot touch Prop. 38 funds.

Conceivably, Prop. 38 may be MDUSD's only source of stable funds until 2023-24. Vote yes on Prop. 38. Show Sacramento you care!

Linda Mayo

MDUSD trustee

Scouts wrong in way treating Eagle Scout

I loved Scouting. This is why it pains me to renounce my Eagle Scout rank and return the medal to the Boy Scouts of America. The rejection of Ryan Andresen for being gay and/or not appropriately religious was the final straw.

Despite my own lack of belief in gods, I followed (and continue to follow) my understanding of the high ideals expressed in the Scout Oath and Scout Law. I received the honor of the Order of the Arrow, was awarded the Distinguished Service Key from the Scouting-inspired service fraternity APO in college, volunteered my time as a Scoutmaster, and served as faculty adviser to APO.

However, I can no longer conscionably retain my long association with Scouting while Boy Scouts of America impugns the character of atheists and gays. Ryan's anti-bullying Eagle Scout project puts the lie to the BSA's contention that he is not sufficiently moral or ethical.

BSA should follow its own oath to be "mentally awake and morally straight," reinstate Ryan and repeal its rules barring gays and atheists from the benefits of Scouting.

James Alan Murray

Walnut Creek

Must bring back manufacturing

I believe the Nov. 6 presidential and congressional elections are critical for the future of our country. For full employment and sufficient tax revenue, we must bring back our full manufacturing capabilities in the private sector.

As we now stand, the redistribution of wealth with unlimited spending favored by our present government has discouraged private business and has destroyed the individual will to work, succeed and prosper without government interference.

We must make and sell goods worldwide where private companies become the major thrust of our economy and where business and workers provide tax revenue to fund out government.

Mitt Romney and most Republicans believe in capitalism where a limited but strong federal government has sufficient revenue through fair taxation to meet the obligations of our Constitution.

Emil Raffetto

Hayward