Distraction from real problems

Our executive and legislative branches are arguing for the agendas of their constituents as to whether to raise tax rates and/or cut services or other budget items.

This is a distraction from the real set of problems we are suffering. I think it may be clear to all what would serve the common good of many. The following should be the main agenda.

We need to amend our current policies regarding commerce, finances, taxes, environmental concerns, energy, labor, etc., in ways that will strongly encourage the offering of services and manufacturing of products locally by smaller private and public organizations.

These services and products should be safe (not poisoning, polluting), lasting (repairable, inexpensively upgradable), and with a primary focus on what is more necessary.

I understand that this would be a major and complex task and not so much a matter of tinkering. The current policies in place are the exact opposite.

Ron Greenstein

El Cerrito

McConnell came out of the cave

I felt the need to respond to Tom Bjorndal's recent letter, "Did McConnell retire to a cave?"

Obviously, Bjorndal wrote too soon, as Mitch McConnell has emerged from said cave to inexplicably filibuster his own motion on the floor of the Senate. Oh those wacky Republicans. What will they think of next?


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And, I suppose luckily enough for all of us, he only had to announce a filibuster instead of actually speaking on any subject he chose for hours on end. Or would it have been fun to watch him try to explain for hours why he thought he could embarrass the Democrats by pushing them into a vote or, for that matter, why the Republicans lost the last election? Maybe next time.

Tamicia Cummings

Concord

Character assassination

This is regarding the withdrawal of Susan Rice's rumored nomination as secretary of state.

There are times when the only response possible is a string of expletives. This is one of those times. President Barack Obama has caved to the most small minded of character assassins.

The entire country knows that John McCain, Lindsey Graham, Kelly Ayotte and their ilk are lying through their collective teeth and that Susan Rice, the nominative appointee, is much less culpable than Condoleezza Rice, the consented-to, who actually lied in support of an unwarranted war.

Disgusting.

Terry W. Vinson

Walnut Creek

Big Pharma again shows true colors

This is regarding Big Pharma's suit of Alameda County over the drug take-back program.

We as consumers make it too convenient for manufacturers to sell us products that they are not responsible for, despite the effect on the environment.

Unfortunately, pharmaceuticals are a necessity. Pharmaceutical companies had a chance to chime in on the drug take-back program when it was first brought to the Alameda County counsel.

Instead of working together, taxpayer time and money was spent on planning the program and then more public money wasted by suing the county.

Had the companies acted like stewards, a win-win program could have been created. Instead they lawyer up, arguing that the program will cost us money and hurt the environment.

How -- one wonders -- is a program that removes thousands of pounds of hazardous waste from waterways detrimental to the environment? Without programs like this, taxpaying consumers all over the U.S. will be paying for upgrades and repairs to wastewater treatment plants, costly cleanup of waterways, and exposing themselves to potential illnesses.

Thank you, Big Pharma, for once again looking out for our best interest and putting your customers first.

Krystal Phaneuf

San Ramon

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