City how it used to be is much missed
I have been around for a while -- back in '74, San Ramon was hardscrabble, patchwork, dead-end streets with liquor stores, bars, a pizza place, an ice cream store and four gas stations.
We have come a long way. Sure, we need a downtown, less traffic and finer places to eat, but we have made huge gains. Home values, and school test scores are the envy of the state, if not the nation.
We have become multicultural, and that takes some getting used to. My bike rides down Iron Horse Trail and through local parks brings me in touch with many ethnic groups. The language of our founders is not often heard.
I try to engage people with a smile or 'how you doing?" Rarely is it reciprocated. It seems not so long ago conversation was easy and natural. Perhaps I've lost touch. I need some guidance from your readers, is this the new norm? Can we make this great place to live a more friendlier place?
It sure would helpful to this old codger if, while on my ride down the old train tracks, it felt a little more like home.
UC faculty article racist
I can't believe it took two pages and eight pie graphs to whine about the fact that there's a student-faculty mismatch in the UC system. I find the article extremely racist. I would like to think that teachers, as well as doctors or any employees for that matter, are hired for their competence, not for the color of their skin.
It would make just as much sense as for me to say that the majority of students who play basketball for UC Berkeley, according to the roster I looked up on the net, are black (8 out of 13), and this is a mismatch and unfair to whites.
"Shocking and definitely concerning" (a quote by an African-American, i.e., black, campus activist)? The only thing shocking and concerning is how much ink and paper you wasted on this racist, rabble-rousing bellyache.
Anti-union letter writer not neutral
Nicole Goehring (Jan. 2, "Union PLA to be bad for area workers") presents herself as an informed, but neutral, observer. She claims that Antioch Unified School District's acceptance of a Project Labor Agreement (PLA) will automatically cost jobs and drain money from "our community".
Goehring is not neutral, and her claim of automatic losses is untrue. Her concluding demand that her fellow good citizens confront the AUSD trustees is a political canard.
Goehring, a government affairs director, works for and represents the Associated Builders and Contractors, Golden Gate and Northern California chapters. The ABC is pro-open shop and decidedly anti-PLAs. Her previous employer was U.S. Rep. Richard Pombo, a man scornful of unions.
Please note that PLAs are not automatically good or bad. Check the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service Report, "Project Labor Agreements", which concluded that you have to look at each case to determine which way to hop (see www.cga.ct.gov/2011/rpt/2011-R-0360.htm).
Goehring's pretense of being just a good, locally involved Antioch citizen would carry some weight if she didn't live in Livermore. Antioch residents should, by all means, learn how and why the AUSD trustees voted. They shouldn't buy Goehring's disingenuous manipulation.
W. Michael Youngblood
For security, privacy must compromise
Advanced technology has forced a seismic shift in opposing political ideologies: dictatorial governments will have to be less dictatorial for the sake of stability and democratic governments less democratic for the sake of security.
Americans have come to regard liberty and privacy as their birthright. But now security demands are compelling for a compromise. Good citizens would welcome surveillance for preventive action to assure security. However, they have a "bureaucracy phobia:" tempering and abuse of surveillance records by the National Security Agency bureaucracy.
Bureaucracies are immortal and ever-expanding, and bureaucrats work with a singular purpose of increasing their power and income. The quiet power of a bureaucrat can be aphrodisiac. Bureaucrats with coercive power and discretion are perceived as terrorists themselves. Hackers are equally dangerous.
Circumstances demand that emphasis should not be on curtailing the necessary surveillance programs but on adopting the foolproof measures assuring that the records would be accurate, unalterable and there could be no possibility of abuse.
Some Newspapers have been supportive of Snowden, once a trusted worker at NSA, for not violating any written laws. They ignore the fact that every citizen has an unwritten moral obligation to protect the national interest. This obligation is rooted in conscience. The NSA director believes that America is more vulnerable after Snowden's disclosures.
Sympathy for the executed is misplaced
Responding to the Jan. 17 article "Killer's execution takes almost 25 minutes," I don't see the problem with that timeline.
How long did the woman he raped have to endure his actions? I would imagine his victim was also made to suffer "agony and terror" probably longer than 25 minutes. I also think the family of the victim would have said, "Oh, my God" if they watched her final moments with him.
Pro athletes' contracts are disgusting
Having been in education for 33 years I was able to teach, coach and set examples for probably thousands of students. Every teacher has that goal to reach out, educate and guide the lives of many youngsters.
Compare the salary of a teacher now at around $60,000 to the overpaid, greedy pro athletes who are earning millions for only four to six months each year. Don't you feel sorry for the L.A. Dodger pitcher who will earn $30 million per year for seven years? This is 500 times the salary of a beleaguered teacher.
What about the Oakland Athletic who wants higher than the $2 million offered? That is 33 times a teacher's salary. He is asking for 3.5 million. Poor guy.
Anytime there is an outcry that teachers are overpaid, just ask yourself -- who has a lasting impact on your children, the teacher or the pro athlete?