Zimmerman shouldn't even have faced trial

George Zimmerman should not have been acquitted in the Trayvon Martin killing. The reason is simple. Zimmerman should never have been put on trial in the first place. But the Florida judicial system meekly kowtowed to the unhinged machinations of race-baiters like Al Sharpton and the liberal idiocy of the so-called mainstream media.

For those who impartially followed the trial, it was clear that the case presented by the prosecution was a sham and devoid of meaningful evidence and the prosecution's "witnesses" were a farcical joke. The concept of "proof beyond a reasonable doubt" was a few hundred light years away.

This circus of a trial demonstrated once again that raw emotions and insidious self-serving motives should have no place in the structure of jurisprudence and the proper implementation of constitutional law. When emotions replace orderly legal procedures, it's a tenuously short trip to the deterioration of society.

As a point of interest, where were all these clueless protesters when O.J. Simpson, despite overwhelming evidence of guilt, was shockingly acquitted of two ghastly murders?

Lanny R. Middings

San Ramon

Not what I said

I was very taken aback by the headline that this newspaper posted above my previous letter to the editor (July 25), "Zimmerman should have let self be attacked." This was not the opinion I expressed in my letter.

In brief, here are the two points I hoped to convey: 1) Zimmerman armed himself with a gun and was the first aggressor. At the very least, he deserved a voluntary manslaughter verdict. 2) I am boycotting the state of Florida.

Janet Brazelton

San Ramon

Losing all faith in humanity

Nearly every week, when I open Yahoo to check my email and scroll through the news or scan the "Trending Now" box, I see something about a shooting, bombing, or other violent and malicious crime. Minutes ago, I just read a recently posted article about the shooting of a 66-year-old woman in Oakland.

Not so long ago, a man with a picture related to the incident accompanied by a short caption and the words "I've lost all faith in humanity" or "I don't want to live on this planet anymore" would be circulating the web within hours. But now, when I open Facebook, my news feed is peaceful with pictures and posts from friends and Harry Potter fan pages. It's truly saddening.

Tiffany Zheng

San Ramon

Nuclear budget a great place to look for cuts

The development of nuclear warheads at Livermore Lab does not necessarily make me feel safer. In fact, Livermore is subject to many dangers associated with nuclear weapons, such as radiation, health issues and environmental contamination.

I also feel nuclear weapons programs are very outdated. This month marks 68 years since the U.S. dropped atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and it's been nearly a quarter-century since the Berlin Wall came down.

Therefore, I call on Congress to trim the fat from the nuclear weapons budget. In this regard, I thank the Senate, especially my Sen. Dianne Feinstein, as the Senate Appropriations bill cut 30 percent of the $537 million requested for Fiscal Year 2014 to upgrade the B61 nuclear bomb.

The United States should not massively change the design of this bomb, which is deployed in Europe. Nor can taxpayers afford the project's overall $11 billion price tag for the Energy Department and the Pentagon to do so. Instead of billions more for new bombs, I ask Congress to work for a world free of nuclear weapons.

Alison Forrest

Livermore

Bay Bridge span design flawed, too expensive

While reporting on the sheared bolts in the new Bay Bridge span, a major -- and I believe the most important -- fact has been left out: these bolts hold together critical parts of the bridge during a significant earthquake.

These bolts were ordered with very exact specifications. Any small variation from these specifications would lead to failure, as has been demonstrated. Also, after the sizable stresses of an earthquake, why were none of them expected to fail? My question, one that any qualified engineer could easily answer, is why didn't the bridge design allow for these bolts to be replaced as needed over the life span of the bridge? Now, we have an expensive "workaround" to hold the pieces together.

We could have had an earthquake-resistant causeway from Oakland to Yerba Buena Island years ago at a fraction of the current cost if the then-mayor of Oakland, Jerry Brown, hadn't insisted that "his" side of the bridge had to be as attractive as the San Francisco side.

David Pastor

Pleasanton

IRS should be rebuked, purge bad leadership

I almost fell out of my chair when I read the header to Joseph Peddecord's letter to the editor (Aug. 2), "IRS Office Should Be Commended."

The head of the IRS wasn't booted out of office for no reason. The IRS' deliberate and determined blocking of groups applying for tax-exempt or tax-limited status before the 2012 national election took place -- groups that the very leaders of the IRS (and above?) decided might politically threaten President Obama's re-election by their very existence -- is a very real scandal that deserves more heat, not less. To rid ourselves of this type of nasty, unscrupulous "leadership" is a worthy goal.

Nancy Stevens

Pleasanton

Public has no sympathy with BART unions

In the beginning, BART union demands met little opposition. This empowered union leaders to inevitably step over the line. In one contract year, a demand for free pet insurance was placed on the table.

The press picked up on this, and it created great public outcry. At the same time, BART employees' outrageous pay and benefits package was exposed. Since then, they have never been in the public favor. In the current contract negotiations, the union tried a public relations ploy by introducing the word, "safety" into the mix, thinking that their excessive wage demands would be mitigated.

When union leaders realized that tactic was not working and the public was not fooled, they returned to their inner beings by attacking BART negotiators and screeching threats that if their monetary demands were not met, they would bring on a strike, safety be damned, that would end the world. So, BART employees, when you get what you really want, which is more and more money (the local Lexus dealers are anxiously awaiting you), think whether it has been worth it to have your riders continue to look upon you as greedy, public punishing scoundrels.

Thomas Lofgren

Dublin