'Stand-down' orders must be probed

Why are we, as Americans, not up in arms demanding honest answers regarding who gave the two "stand down" orders during the Benghazi attack?

We have four dead fellow Americans who died in service to our country and despite Hillary Clinton's "what does it matter?" statement, we should be unrelenting in our quest to know who gave these orders. This is not a partisan political issue, it goes to the core of who we are and what we stand for as a nation.

Jane Parish

Danville

New medical tax doesn't make sense

Please help your readers understand the scope of the new 2.3 percent medical tax under ObamaCare. What's strange is that this tax applies to sales of sport fishing equipment, fishing rods and fishing poles, electric outboard motors, fishing tackle boxes, bows, quivers, broadheads and points, arrow shafts, coal, gas guzzler autos and vaccines. What is the logical connection between these items and medical devices?

Ray Greer

Danville

Obama hasn't reached out to Republicans

It started out as "Yes, we can!" Now it's "No, we can't -- thanks to those stubborn Republicans!"

We voters were ecstatic at the thought of electing our first black president, especially one so handsome, well-educated, charismatic and articulate. What a wonderful opportunity to purge ourselves of the worst stain on our country's history!

Our mistake, however, was that we elected an unseasoned neophyte as our president, one devoid of the political skills necessary to make a diverse Congress function effectively. As a leader of the Democratic Party, Obama met Republican opposition with an "I won!" attitude, never acknowledging that almost half of the country preferred someone else. He happily basked in the adoration of his party and the press, while unwittingly shirking his role as leader of both halves.

In retrospect, we should have allowed Obama more time to mature as an experienced politician, capable of finding common ground between opposing factions. Lacking the legislative skills of an experienced statesman, he now faces a Congress mired in endless political gridlock.

Walter D. Welti

Danville

Twin tunnels water proposal will be disaster

In response to Jill Duerig and Beau Goldie's response to your editorial on why the Bay Delta Conservation Plan is not right for the Tri-Valley water district, it's the same story on a big fat NO AGAIN ON TWIN TUNNELS that will divert 50 percent or more of our precious water to Southern California and leave us high and dry in the coming future drought years.

Their own response to filling our reservoirs says it all -- "Expanding reservoirs does not help if they can't be filled!" Diverting our water through the twin tunnels will guarantee they'll be empty during a guaranteed drought in our near-future. Please note the dreary 17 percent snowpack this year that is slowing down our creeks to the lowest levels in decades -- climate change is here!

Furthermore, the tone of their letter on restoring habitat and to recover and protect 57 species is not specific enough to determine how they are going to protect the levee system that humans depend on.

In other words, let's vote on something before we have the full story and commit to $50 billion of money we don't have! I know one thing for sure -- no on the twin tunnels!

Dick Kincaide

Dublin

Replace, don't just remove, eucalyptuses

Hummmm ... if Chevron was planning to cut down every tree on their property (if there are any), you, the press, would be all over it, demonizing the plan as if it were the Black Plague.

But since UC Berkeley is the entity behind the destruction of the trees in the Berkeley hills, there's hardly a whimper. Get some backbone and tell the story about this. Let me be clear: I support the removal of the eucalyptus trees. I know beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but I, personally, think eucalyptus trees are uglier than sin, and I would much prefer to see native trees growing again in the Oakland hills.

And, if I'm not mistaken (and I know I'll be corrected if I am), the dominant tree species in those hills 150 years ago was coastal redwoods. Yep, redwoods. Those trees were even used as navigational aids for ships entering San Francisco Bay. The redwood forests of the East Bay were decimated when they began building those beautiful Victorians of San Francisco and Oakland and the needed lumber was supplied by clear-cutting the trees across the bay.

What I would prefer to see UC Berkeley do is REPLACE the eucalyptuses with coast redwoods. The FEMA grant should be used to buy trees not Roundup (herbicide). Labor-intensive? Sure ... but I'm sure there are a lot of out-of-work folks who would enjoy working outdoors at a job with an element of risk (felling and chipping tall trees ain't easy!) and then planting a new forest to benefit generations to come. What more positive outcome to something this drastic could there be?

Kathy Chase

Livermore

Let's put needy Americans first

I am writing in regard to the "Cartoonists View" in the May 15 paper. The image of "Africa's Starving" should have said "America's Starving."

The ads that are shown on late-night TV depict starving children in our own country. I am not against sharing with other countries, but until we start taking care of those in need in America first, I find it disturbing the amount we give in foreign aid.

Dana Santos

Livermore

Alcohol story soaked with misleading facts

Whoa! Your editorial of May 24 (on lowering the alcohol limit) is way off-base. In fact, the information presented is in left field!

The thrust of the editorial should have been what, if any, would be the change in the accident death rates related to alcohol resulting from lowering the alcohol limit from .08 to 05. You reported a 50 percent reduction in alcohol-related deaths in 100 countries by reducing the limit to .05. What was the original blood alcohol number before the 50 percent decrease in casualties?

My guess is 99 percent of the alcohol-related deaths are caused by impaired drivers much higher than the .08 number. These are the repetitive violators who need to be taken off the road with severe fines and imprisonment. Alcohol-related deaths do not address the problem of alcohol-impaired drivers. False statistics. This does not make good law.

Robert Atkinson

Pleasanton