February 22, 2024
Mercury News Letters to the Editor for Aug. 25, 2023

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We have the means
to support transit

Re: “Brakes applied to bridge toll hike bill” (Page A1, Aug. 22).

Now that the bridge toll increase to fund public transit operations has been paused, Will McCarthy reports that “state lawmakers will now have to return to the drawing board as they determine how to support the Bay Area’s regional transit system.”

They don’t have to look far. An alternative measure that would ask all drivers, not just those using toll bridges, is already available for public transit improvements. AB 595 by Valerie Brown became law in 1997. It authorizes the Metropolitan Transportation Commission to place a regional ballot measure before voters in the nine counties to hike gas taxes by up to 10 cents per gallon. If voters passed the measure, it would be the first regional gas tax in California.

A comparable increase in electric vehicle annual fees registered in the Bay Area could be included so all motorists have a stake in keeping our transit agencies afloat.

Irvin Dawid
Burlingame

Good officers stuck
on inside pages

Re: “More officers indicted” (Page A1, Aug. 19) and “Man charged with attempted murder” (Page B1, Aug. 19).

The small-town bad cops get front-page treatment while our good cops get recognized in the B section.

A San Jose officer gets shot and gravely injured and the suspect is eventually arrested after a standoff. No shots were fired by the police and no retaliation was taken despite a fallen colleague, and no potential for collateral damage resulted. The best outcome happened in a bad situation that could have easily been exacerbated if officers lost their cool.

The professionalism demonstrated by the SJPD stands in sharp contrast to the thuggery of some officers and former officers of East Contra Costa County. Whether it’s the recruitment, training, best practices, leadership or all of the above, the SJPD is doing something right. We as a community need to show our gratitude. Meanwhile, bad cops need to be rooted out wherever they may operate.

Finally, hope and prayers for our wounded officer.

Art Mainfield
San Jose

Time for utility users
to pay the piper

Re: “PG&E must shoulder cost of undergrounding” (Page A6, Aug. 23).

Enough of the whining about PG&E paying to underground power lines. The people of California bear most of the blame for not undergrounding them initially.

PG&E never cared about the cost of undergrounding; it is a utility. They would have passed the cost on to the users and made a larger profit from the increased rates all these years.

No, the CPUC and the users allowed this to happen and benefitted from the lower utility rates. I’ve been in California for over 40 years and have never seen any concerted efforts during that time to get PG&E to raise our rates by burying the lines. Like everyone else, I accepted the windfall of lower rates.

So, let’s stop whining now. Let’s accept the responsibility that has always been ours. It’s past time for the users to pay the piper.

Barry Jackson
San Jose

Help our youth
to find their voices

Re: “Bay Area youth applaud landmark Montana verdict” (Page B1, Aug. 17)

I would like to cheer the recent ruling in favor of the Montana youth who filed a case against the state for violating their right to a “clean and healthful environment” by promoting the use of fossil fuels.

As an educator for more than 40 years, some of the most important lessons I can teach my students are to be able to express their opinions articulately, to engage in our political process and to become advocates for their own future.

As we begin the school year, I urge parents, educators and students everywhere to raise their voices and act in the face of the climate crisis.

Diana Mo
San Jose

Changing Constitution
only route to gun control

Re: “Newsom gun control crusade smacks of prior political stunt” (Page A7, Aug. 22).

Obfuscation is all that can be said of Dan Walters’ oped. The only thing made clear is his position against gun control. We’ve seen the conflict states and courts have over this issue. He insults California’s laws and acknowledges that gun death rates have fallen, but then hides behind the claim that “other factors” could be responsible. Coward.

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Whatever language the amendment will contain Walters has purely made up. Writers at the constitutional convention do that. They decide age limits, gun types or waiting periods, and since they are tasked with writing an amendment that will pass, they will make adjustments. However controversial a gun control amendment may be, it is popular.

Gov. Gavin Newsom has gotten to the root of the problem and offered a solution. All that’s blocking effective gun control is the Second Amendment. If Americans want to see consistently reliable gun control, an amendment to the Constitution is required.

John Francis
San Jose

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