February 24, 2024
Mercury News Letters to the Editor for Aug. 29, 2023

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All transit must be on
same regulatory page

With all the local transit agencies still below pre-pandemic ridership, yet more of us are headed to the office, I have observed an interesting change in commuting.

Many commuters are using rideshare companies. These rideshare companies and their drivers need to act and be treated as to what they are, commercial carriers of passengers, whether a Passenger Stage Corporation or Transportation Network Companies, per the CPUC. All drivers for a rideshare company need to be background checked, to be licensed through the DMV, their vehicles registered as commercial vehicles and their drivers must have commercial insurance in the same manner that transit operators have to comply.

If transit wants to get back to pre-pandemic ridership, you must get all forms of possible transit abiding by the same licensing and insurance requirements.

Conrad Schapira
Milpitas

CEQA not at fault
in housing crisis

Re: “Legislature avoids key issues, such as fire insurance crisis” (Page A6, Aug. 17).

Dan Walters’ commentary mistakenly blames the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) for the state’s housing crisis, blatantly disregarding empirical evidence to the contrary.

Researchers at The Housing Workshop and UC Berkeley Law called out the real culprits in our affordable housing shortage: high land/construction costs, restrictive local zoning practices and lack of financing for affordable housing. Environmental regulation is not to blame.

CEQA has enabled decision-makers to protect public health, support clean air and water, avoid building in hazardous areas, and preserve treasured natural areas throughout California for 50 years.

Walters criticizes the governor for not recommending new legislation to streamline housing approvals. But the Legislature has already exempted or streamlined most housing projects in urban infill areas. Housing should not be used as a pretext to further weaken California’s foremost environmental law.

Lennie Roberts
Legislative Advocate, Green Foothills
Portola Valley

Inexperienced senator
hurts national security

A first-time senator with absolutely no previous experience of any kind is holding up hundreds of military promotions because of its policy to assist service people with unwanted pregnancies.

If U.S. Sen. Tommy Tuberfield disagrees with the policy, then he should write a law prohibiting the policy. Promotions and unwanted pregnancies are two different things as someone should explain to the rookie Republican senator from Alabama. Both should be addressed separately. The list of unapproved promotions grows each day, hurting our nation’s readiness and its military families, withholding earned salary increases, hindering relocation, and getting their children ready for fall.

Whatever the outcome, two things must change. No one senator should ever be allowed to wield so much power for such misconstrued purposes. We need to elect experienced, knowledgeable and accomplished officials, and Tuberfield is not one.

Raymond Grzan
Morgan Hill

Ramaswamy is
just Trump 2.0

Re: “Ramaswamy takes center stage” (Page A4, Aug. 25).

Watching Vivek Ramaswamy perform during the GOP primary debate raises a few questions.

Given that he fancies himself as Trump 2.0, does he seriously think that the Trump cult base will opt for New Coke instead of the Original? Or is he just a stand-in for Trump, who may not take part in any of the debates? It’s the same shtick — talking over the others, insulting everyone, uttering outrageous statements. Why is he running as a duplicate of his idol, with his age being his only point of differentiation? A vice presidential slot, perhaps?

Chandran Cheriyan
Saratoga

Trump offers best hope
of peace in Ukraine

Re: “Ukraine aid faces a stress test from GOP” (Page A7, Aug. 26).

Asmer Madhani’s article focuses on Vivek Ramaswamy’s criticism of Biden administration futility in specious spending on the Ukrainian war.

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Interesting is Donald Trump’s promise to end the war in a single day if he is elected in 2024. If that sounds like bluff and bluster we must remember that Trump developed an unpopular relationship of mutual respect with Vladimir Putin. As president, Barack Obama critiqued Putin on Crimea and human rights. Biden repeats Hillary Clinton’s ill-advised “Putin must go,” disqualifying him from any role as a peace broker. Obama broke all his campaign promises of 2008 starting with ending two wars and closing Guantanamo.

Trump’s cognizance of the need for a face-saving resolution in Ukraine represents our best hope of peace.

Fred Gutmann
Cupertino

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