BART's unions leeching off the taxpayers

The idea that two unions, SEIU Local 1021 and Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1555 have the power to disrupt the lives of more than 400,000 people and bring a major metropolitan area to its knees is nothing less than criminal.

As the Times points out in its July 2 editorial, BART workers have wages and benefits well beyond those of their private-sector peers, the same people who will be on the hook for higher ridership fees and making good on BART's underfunded pension and retiree health care promises. In simple terms, working people, people who will never see wages, benefits and slack work rules as those enjoyed by BART workers, will ultimately have to pay for them. And yet, these unions want more, 23 percent more.

The truth is public employee unions are toxic parasites willing to put the lives and livelihoods of millions of people at risk solely for their own selfish benefit. The greater tragedy is that they can.

Craig Peterson

San Ramon

SEIU local gives unions a bad name

My wife commutes to San Francisco daily from Dublin/Pleasanton. On July 8 on the 5:28 train, she sat next to two BART employees. All they could talk about was how much overtime they either made or could have made on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Their quote was, "(It) would make up for being out Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday."


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This shows just how much Service Employees International Union and it's partner union members really care about "a safer BART" -- they don't. The SEIU1021.org webpage is totally false in saying they are bargaining for a safer BART. They don't want a safer BART because that would mean less overtime for them. It's simply pure greed. I have a Public Employees Retirement System retirement that all complain about. But to get it, my fellow officers and I gave up numerous raises and other benefits that would have immediately improved our lives. Instead, we saw the bigger picture of "what we should do now to ensure a better future?"

SEIU and the other union can't see beyond their noses! They only want immediate self-gratification. They don't live in reality. Both unions have nothing but a "what's in it for me?" attitude. They don't care about the public. Their T-shirts with the deadly cobra ready to strike speak volumes. They never intended to negotiate in good faith. They want BART management to stay clear and just give them what they want. What they need is to grow up! Too bad BART can't pull a Ronald Reagan and fire all of them like the air traffic controllers.

Mark Weiss

Livermore

Coming status as minority not a valid concern

I'm responding to R.V Bean's July 2 letter regarding whites becoming a "minority."

First off, Bean said he read Esther Cepeda's article but I believe that to be false. Sure, you may have looked through said article, but your mind was already made up. You believe whites are losing their foothold and now you "want your country back," so to speak. What you fail to see however is that while Caucasians are no longer the racial majority we still control the government, large corporations and all other high-ranking positions. My advice is to turn off Fox News and learn to celebrate diversity.

Sean Cleveland

Danville

Column correct about respect for U.S. anthem

I want to thank you for printing columnist Esther Cepeda's article, "Longing for a Return to Revering National Anthem."

The title tells readers clearly what her philosophy is. Most of us who are musicians shudder when our national anthem is performed by vocalists. Ms. Cepeda's term is "self-indulgent," which I think nails the difficulty even more than her words "respect" and "reverence." This music isn't about you, the singer; it's about us, patriotism and national unity. It isn't an appropriate place to show off your vocal skills; it's about honoring your nation.

This year, as we do every July Fourth in Pleasanton, the Pleasanton Community Concert Band played, and Ward Belding, our own Uncle Sam, beautifully led the community in singing "The Star Spangled Banner." Families sit in the city park and listen to speeches, poems and the band playing patriotic tunes. What a great way to celebrate Independence Day. I hope those who are asked to sing the national anthem read -- and take to heart -- Ms. Cepeda's words and sing it straight. And I wish they could participate in a traditional celebration to experience how our national anthem can bring a community together.

Beth Wilson

Livermore member, Pleasanton Community Concert Band

Bridge span not something to want name on

I was confused when I read in today's paper a group of legislators proposed to name the western span of the Bay Bridge after Willie L. Brown Jr.

Then I read he "battled with lawmakers over the design and location, which led to years of delays" without mention of the billions of dollars this amounted to. I am sure he is a great guy and know he had a long and prosperous run in California politics.

According to Wikipedia, preliminary discussions leading to the eventual building of the Golden Gate Bridge were held in January 1923. Construction began on Jan. 5, 1933. The project was finished in April 1937, $1.3 million underbudget, and declared one of the wonders of the modern world by the American Society of Civil Engineers. That's four years to build -- who did they name this bridge after?

Tom Pifer

Pleasanton

Sowell forgets one of the most important evils

Columnist Thomas Sowell argues that the "Left's mindset ignores that there is evil in the world." (Times, Friday, July 5) and that the left tries to reduce crime with social intervention programs or gun control because of their historical refusal to accept the fact that there is evil in the world and that people will just do whatever they want.

He criticizes the left for having too-romantic visions of human nature and being soft on crime, but he omits how the government, left and right, refuses to acknowledge one particular flavor of evil -- greed. An example of government blindness to evil in high places is Alan Greenspan believing that banks and large corporations would regulate themselves. That trust and laxness of rules contributed to the world recession. Corporations and banks are ruling the world, and our government is helping them. Maybe we need to pay more attention to what banks and corporations are doing than to focus on the gangbangers on the bottom. They are capable of doing much more harm, and their activities are largely ignored by the general public.

Becky Simpson

Livermore