Big Ag does not deserve water bailout

Oppose HR 3964, which guts our federal and state environmental laws. This GOP House water bill is a stealth drone aimed at state and local control of a valuable resource. It promotes the profit and power of a minority. The measure manipulates representatives who don't live here with scare tactics. California residents have changed their wasteful use of water. They got the low-flow toilets and efficient washing machines. We adapt just as we did during other droughts.

I've asked U.S. Rep. Swalwell to vote against this GOP boondoggle created out of hysteria. The bill's a smoke screen to offset fears of lost profits and power. A bad business proposition isn't the fault of fish, wetlands and our environment.

No government ordered corporate farmers to plant permanent, thirsty crops that need irrigation year-round. That private business decision involved risks. Agriculture is unpredictable. One year's crop loss doesn't bankrupt an industry. Farmers carry crop insurance, they have had subsidies and a new farm bill gives them protections. Permanent crops on arid, selenium-impregnated lands was a bad business decision. Citrus stays green because it drinks all year. At least we use most of the product here. Yes, almonds create lots of taxable income, but 80 percent of them are eaten offshore. Farming is a game of profit and loss.

How many of those agriculture special interests supporting this measure use reclaimed water to irrigate their crops instead

of fresh supplies from the Delta? That's an option worthy of business investment.

Jan Howe

San Ramon

Make hot water reach faucets faster

A great way to save water in the future is to require that all new houses be designed to make hot water available to every house faucet within 25 seconds. Such a requirement would not only save water, but also the energy required to heat the water -- a double savings!

It takes more than two-and-a-half minutes for hot water to reach the bathroom faucet in my daughter's house. Every tenant in my rental house has complained bitterly about how long the water takes to reach the shower. I have to believe this is a fairly common problem, and that a lot of water is wasted.

I have written our representatives about this in the past, including Jerry Brown. The response has always been a "boilerplate" thank-you for the letter, but the only action taken is that I get on their mailing list requesting campaign contributions!

Donald C. Wilfong

San Ramon

Women's hockey loss was no choke

Hats off to the U.S. Women's Olympic Hockey Team. They played an epic gold-medal match against their arch rivals from Canada. A fraction-of-an-inch difference on an empty-net shot that hit the goal post in the dying seconds was all that stood between them and the gold medal. Heartbreaking.

As a hockey fan for more than 50 years, I thought this was one of the best played and most exciting games I had ever watched. Both teams left it all on the ice in a rivalry that matches the 49ers and Seahawks. So I was naturally disappointed that a Times' sportswriter felt compelled to comment that the U.S. team "choked." Two-minute penalty for his bad call.

I hope every reader who saw that writer's comment, rather than blindly accepting his characterization of the team's performance, would find a way to watch that game for themselves. It was epic. No choke.

Reid Linney

Alamo

Dems drove down wage minimums

The president and Congressional Democrats recently announced "income inequality" is a problem, and to fix that, the minimum wage should be raised. Isn't it interesting that this wasn't a concern in 2009 or 2010, when the economy was really bad, and Democrats controlled both houses of Congress, as well as the White House, and could have easily acted on it?

President Obama, on the White House website, recently noted that "the real value of the minimum wage has fallen by nearly one-third since its peak in 1968."

Wonder why it peaked in 1968? Because that's when Sen. Ted Kennedy's bill that significantly changed our immigration policies became effective -- under that law, about 850,000 low-skilled immigrants enter the United States every year, competing for low-wage, entry-level jobs and driving down wages. Who says so? Jorge Borjas, an economist at Harvard, recently reported that these immigration policies have reduced American wages by $402 billion a year.

What's the connection with "income inequality?" Basic economics -- more unskilled workers means the price for their labor declines. And business profits correspondingly go up. So Ted Kennedy's immigration policy redistributes wealth from the poorest American workers to those already higher up. Who keeps voting for these Democrats?

The minimum wage is the perfect Democratic issue. It will screw the very people it claims to help, while making Democrats look like saviors of the working class, either by getting them a higher wage or providing them with generous government benefits when they lose their jobs because of the mandatory wage hike. American workers are suffering as a direct result of the Democrats' policies on immigration. Republicans might want to point that out.

Mike Heller

Danville

BART board won't stand up to union

It is time to replace the entire BART Board. This one is obviously not interested in serving the public and never will be.

All the members have been bought and paid for by the Central Labor Council and their member unions. There is no reason for a board member to lean in favor of the riders, it is the union members that will get them elected and re-elected, BART riders be damned.

If a member suggests that he feels there should be a no-strike clause in the contract or a ban on strikes by BART employee in general, he will find himself looking for another job. The unions will make it impossible to pass any such legislation at any level. They totally own the governing of the cities and this poor state. So we will blunder on until we have a bullet train that will eventually take longer than driving my Model A to Los Angeles, if it ever get's that far, before the state has to declare insolvency. The workers will still hold the reins of power over the high-speed rail authority, just as they hold power over the spineless BART board.

Of course, the leaders of BART and the high speed rail authority will be appointed, retired politicians who have used up their usefulness in the real world and have turned to the political world for a soft cozy spot to live on the dole. This will allow them to tell us how they are serving us, the customers, when in reality they are serving themselves and their pals.

David McArthur

Danville