Health talk at Christmas unreassuring

As instructed by the president, we discussed health care at the dinner table on Christmas.

A medical doctor at the table discussed his experience at the VA Hospital. Before patients in serious back pain can be seen by an M.D., they must first pass through the pain clinic and physical therapy. After finally being seen by an MD who recommends surgery, the wait continues. In total, 18 months passes while a patient at risk of long term nerve damage waits. The VA Hospital is government health care on a small scale. We can all expect this as the new normal as we are subjected to "universal health care."

Ray Devlin

Danville

Parking lots' lanes should be numbered

An old codger like me sometimes forgets where his car is parked! It would really help if the grocery stores, big box stores, hospitals, home improvement stores, malls and so forth numbered their parking lot lanes. They already do this at the stadiums and sports arenas.

Donald C. Wilfong

San Ramon

Liberals should go all-out with love for Reagan

So now the Left, in an attempt to defend Barack Obama's extremist expansion of federal government power, incredibly claim such overreaching would have been part of Ronald Reagan's agenda (Dec. 31 letters).


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Reagan was a firm believer in limited government and was quoted as saying "Government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem." He also famously said that liberals aren't ignorant; it's just that "they know so much that isn't so." It would be welcome news if the Left now wants to adopt Ronald Reagan's agenda and policies and reverse their big spending and dictatorial ways.

Carol Nowicki

Castro Valley

Lee fails to talk about welfare recipients' role

Far leftist representative Barbara Lee typically rails against Republicans for supposed insensitivity to the food stamp program (Dec. 1 Contra Costa Times).

But nowhere in her diatribe does she mention any responsibility or positive steps that recipients of the welfare handouts could take that would not only reduce the staggering amount of taxpayers' money doled out to them but would, more importantly, improve their own lot in life and give them a degree of respect and accountability.

Living a life virtually from cradle to grave at other people's (society's producers) expense not only strips welfare takers of dignity but also must be terribly damaging to their pride and sense of self worth, if they possess such qualities.

Citing the 50th anniversary of one of the biggest boondoggles in history, Lyndon Johnson's abominable "War on Poverty" which has cost untold billions (trillions?) of dollars with poverty more widespread now than its inception, Lee fatuously writes that we must continue to work toward eradicating poverty. Poverty will never be eradicated. Sadly, neither will Lee and her "progressive" brethren.

Lanny R. Middings

San Ramon

For what chief of hospital did, there's a word

I read the front page story about the $1 million-plus-salaried Washington Hospital CEO who wrote thousands of dollars in philanthropic checks to her own hospital organizations and others and then got reimbursed for thousands of those dollars. I read the story three times, looking for the word, which I think best describes what she has done. I was looking for the word "fraud." Fraud was pretty well described in the descriptions of her check writing and reimbursements.

Hospital board Director Dr. William Nicholson declared that checks written by CEO Nancy Farber and maybe others were needed to "jump-start more giving." He said that the board does not review or set limits on the CEO's expenses and that the CEO "would act appropriately in all matters." The reimbursements are "allowed under Farber's contract."

This all points to a highly paid hospital CEO who is not so philanthropic and a board that seems complicit in helping her, and I think deceptively, encourage others to donate money, money which is presumably given without expectations of reimbursement.

Ron Geren

Livermore

There isn't any water shortage -- desalinate

Northern, Central and Southern California have plenty of water. We have the Pacific Ocean! It is salty, but we can build desalination plants and create drinking water, as Israel and other countries do.

Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory is rolling out new plant technology with cheaper and stronger filtering membranes. Desalting plants are expensive, but tunnels cost even more. North, central and south state area can build plants. Stealing water from rivers and marshlands harms fisheries and habitats and deprives farmers of water for food crops. Remember the "Peripheral Canal?" We stopped it. Now we must stop the "Peripheral Tunnels."

The solution is obvious: get more water, don't just move what little we have around. Let's get busy before the next drought and be creative instead of destructive. Stop tunneling and start desalinating. Create and use portable water. We must call and write our representatives, senators and governor and keep pressure on against the stupid tunnels until the nonsense stops.

Rosemary Hartman

Pleasanton