We need to fix our roads

As a local Realtor I get to drive more of Orinda's roads than the average resident, and I can tell you the condition of the roads drops off quickly once you get off the main through streets.

I also get to see the look on homebuyers' faces when we hit really rough patches or when I have to slow down to maneuver past potholes. One client remarked the roads looked like those in a Third World country. As a real estate agent and as an Orinda homeowner, I urge Orindans to vote yes on Measure L because maintaining our roads is important to maintaining our home values.

Rick Booth

Orinda

Polls not so trustworthy

My pollster can beat up your pollster any day of the week and twice on Sundays. That's because he knows that subtle changes to the questions he asks can produce the results he wanted in the first place.

Furthermore, he's not interested in registered voters or likely voters, but only clueless voters. And to keep costs down, he only interviews a few dozen people, so the margin of error is plus or minus 25 percent, which means I'm not paying attention to any poll in the next few weeks.

The only numbers that I care about will be released by the county clerk in days just before the big Veterans Day Weekend Sale at SunValley Mall.

Tom Gardner

Orinda

Facing up to insolvency

With reference to your editorial "Prop 30 is not the way to solve state's fiscal crisis" (Oct. 7 Times), I agree, and we are past the point where kick-the-can policy is constructive.

Insolvency is "the condition of having more debts (liabilities) than total assets." If pension liabilities are honestly accounted for (e.g., using a realistic rate of return -- not 7.5 percent), the state is insolvent.

In addition to the issues mentioned in your editorial, the causes behind the crisis include decades of financial irresponsibility that has indebted our children to astonishing levels. We have a dysfunctional state government. There are too many overlapping agencies and bureaucracies with fuzzy, conflicted agendas. More taxes and more debt with the same policies are not a solution. A common sense restructuring and streamlining of the state's (dis)organization including a revamp of unfunded liabilities (not just "austerity") is essential.

If our elected leaders lack the political will to responsibly streamline and restructure, and instead continue to favor delusions of extend and pretend policy, it is likely the impending federal fiscal crisis will set the stage for California in an even more severe manner.

Chris Kniel

Orinda