Romney's ability trumps other's likability

The presidential campaign seems like a popularity contest, with President Obama holding the winning hand. He is younger, cool, plays sports, has a world-class smile and is equally at home with the ladies on The View or kibitzing with David Letterman.

As president, he professes openness, but is not above cutting off dissenters with a simple "I won!" Not surprisingly, he rammed his health care bill through Congress with no Republican input. Thus, he fails the test of presidential leadership: the ability to weld a consensus from opposing viewpoints. He acknowledged his failure when he recently announced that political change must come from outside government.

Where President Obama excels, Gov. Romney falls short. He is reserved, aloof, prone to making frequent gaffes, more an adviser than a comfortable pal. Clearly a man measured better by his accomplishments than his popularity, he's a man with proven ability to get things done.

We people will soon make our choice: the candidate everyone likes, or the candidate who can get things done. It now looks like four more unproductive years!

Walter D. Welti

Danville

Walmart not needed here

Here's my quick evaluation of the new Walmart store: after several months of remodeling, we now have Walmart in San Ramon.

A couple days after their grand opening I went to see what the hoopla was all about. First, I went to the produce department and noticed a large bin with corn on the cob at 45 cent an ear. "Imported from Mexico" the proud sign announced. It looked sad, and I wondered how long it had been in various trucks before it got to San Ramon. What is wrong with corn from Brentwood? Cabbage, as low-cost item as you can buy, was much more expensive than at Lucky's and other grocery stores.

There is a large sign in the back that locates the meat and seafood section. The only seafood I could find were packages of smoked salmon, and the meat was very expensive and packaged in huge trays. Common hamburger in 5.5-pound bags cost close to $5 a pound. Some already looked like it had been sitting there for some time. Better cuts were well more than $10. There was not a butcher in sight.

Half the store (small by comparison to others in San Ramon) has groceries. The other half has Walmart's usual Chinese imports, household items, cosmetics, pharmaceutical needs, etc. The prices for those items turned out to be quite good. I bought some flossing string that was a dollar less than what I paid at Walgreens and CVS. But what I really need and want is a store where I can buy our daily bread, milk and so on that is fresh, not packaged a week ago.

In a nutshell: Walmart is not needed here. There are enough good grocery stores in this part of San Ramon where the population is relatively stable. We certainly don't need two pharmacies next to each other. What makes it worse, in my opinion, is that Walmart offers substandard produce and meat at high prices. So why bother?

Jay Brentjes

San Ramon

Prop. 30 not right solution for schools

I will oppose Proposition 30. Reason: tt does not provide new funding for education; the money will go into the general fund.

Gov. Brown said if it does not pass, he will cut funding for the schools. What he should say and do is reduce or stop funding for the high speed rail and stop the $1,500 rebates for people who bought plug-in vehicles. More saving can be had by reducing state employee benefits that include 12 paid holidays and up to five weeks paid vacation a year. The added sales tax will affect low-income families the most. Everything they buy except fresh food will have an added cost. That includes a burger at McDonalds, an ice cream cone and don't forget gasoline.

Roger Tuma

Danville

Educators are what's wrong, not funding

"Who dares take on religion, free enterprise, patriotism, and motherhood? We do -- and we must!" (from "Guidelines for Academic Freedom in the Public Schools," California Teachers' Association).

When I debated CTA's executive director at the Commonwealth Club in 1993, he unguardedly said that reforming California education would take 100 years. The debate was over then, and it should be over now.

Money isn't the problem, and Proposition 30 wouldn't benefit California's students. Instead, it would reward the already overpaid administrators and radical teacher unionists who run the schools.

Unsurprisingly, and as commentator Dan Walters observes, "school officials are sullying" state law "by using official communications to plug passage of Proposition 30 [not to mention local school measures]."

Meanwhile, Jerry Brown claims fiscal responsibility while celebrating the $68 billion bullet-train boondoggle and a pension "fix" that leaves the state with $250 billion or more in unfunded liabilities.

Legislative strangleholds by unions, resultant high taxes and over-regulation -- no wonder Chief Executive magazine still rates California's business climate last among the 50 states.

Sensible voters will reject Prop. 30.

Michael Arata

Danville

Obama good man who has bad ideas

George Will's recent column imagines what it would be like if the candidates could speak to us as if we were adults. OK, I'll play.

As an adult and conservative Republican, I duly admit that President Obama is not the Manchurian candidate plotting to destroy all we hold dear. I would like my Democratic counterparts to admit that Mitt Romney is not robbing from the poor and giving to the rich and Paul Ryan probably won't push Grandma off the cliff.

It is not from childishness that we observe that Obama's current policy is an amalgamation of indulgences to a confederation of Democratic user groups and crony capitalists. He is simply pumping up his base with the best intentions of using his second term in office to move us in the direction of equality of outcomes for all. President Obama is a good, decent man with bad ideas for America. I hope he starts a new career in January as a retired elder statesman in the tenor of Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush.

David Fore

San Ramon

In what world are they living?

I read in disbelief the headline "Dems: Yes, U.S. is better off" (Sept. 4).

They did not ask me, my friends, family and colleagues. I had to close my practice because clients could no longer pay because of losing jobs. I am still not working. Those closest to me who are still employed have had their salaries frozen, and bonuses and commissions have not been paid for years. Some of our property values in Northern and Southern California have plummeted by 64 percent.

My colleagues who operate and work in service businesses like spas, gyms, salons, training, luxury service, etc. that are the first to be cut from household budgets during bad economic times have been laid off, experienced huge revenue loss or closed. And most of us have had our retirement, in various forms, devastated by the market.

So I gather that the only people Democrat politicians are asking are those employed by the federal government and the private industries that reaped the benefits from the two taxpayer funded stimuli programs.

I wonder how high unemployment, bankruptcies and foreclosures will be in 2016. And how low the market will fall by then? By Dems' standards, America will be "better off' then as well.

Lisa A. Trapani

San Ramon