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Bay Area News Group-East Bay Dec. 6 Letters to the editor

Submitted by News Desk on Fri, 12/10/2010 - 10:40am

Not Drivers' Fault

THIS IS regarding the Nov. 24 editorial, "AC Transit gets relief, but cuts still likely misses the mark:"

AC Transit's financial woes are not primarily due to drivers' salaries. (In fact, a regional and national comparison done in September of transit wages by MTC puts AC's toward the bottom of the spectrum.)

AC's deficit is mainly due to discriminatory funding decisions at the regional, state and federal levels, which prioritize highway expansion and costly rail expansion at the expense of operating bus service. And, as pointed out, the drawn-out recession doesn't help AC either.

Adequate transportation funding exists to balance AC's budget. Last summer, as AC contemplated another round of cuts, $70 million was found to fund the three-mile BART Oakland Airport Connector. The half-billion spent on the connector could cover AC Transit's deficit 10 times over.

Instead of attacking hardworking people, we should be celebrating that AC Transit is creating living-wage jobs on top of providing a critical service to hundreds of thousands of East Bay residents.

And, we should be supporting AC Transit by shifting transportation resources away from highway expansion and costly, extravagant rail extensions. The next Alameda Countywide Transportation Plan is the place to start.

Lindsay Imai

Program associate Transportation
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and Housing Program Urban Habitat Oakland

Repeal 'don't ask, don't tell'

REPEALING "don't ask, don't tell" is a matter of justice. Discriminating based on sexual orientation is unfair to our citizens willing to fight for us.

Defense Secretary Robert Gates and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs Admiral Mullen have been working hard to repeal "don't ask, don't tell." Let's try to raise our voice and have it repealed by the end of the year.

Stephanie Tran


Health insurers deserved fines

KUDOS TO the California Department of Managed Health Care for levying $5 million in fines on California health plans for persistently failing to properly pay for health care services rendered to Californians.

The department's investigation reveals what physicians contend with on a daily basis: routine denial of legitimate claims for payment for medical services rendered in good faith.

This is a constant drag on physicians' ability to run an efficient medical practice, lowers morale among physicians and their staff, and serves as a deterrent to practicing medicine.

While physicians are pleased to see health plans fined and required to provide tens of millions of dollars in restitution for their misdeeds, we remain concerned that the health insurance industry will continue to treat this simply as a cost of doing business.

We hope they will take seriously the Department of Managed Health Care's edict that they improve their business practices. Physicians want to focus on practicing medicine and patients want to feel confident that their health insurance policy meets its commitments.

John T. Ganey, MD

President, Alameda-Contra Costa Medical Association Oakland

BART to Livermore

As a 27-year Livermore resident, I have watched Livermore develop from a suburban bedroom on the outskirts of the Bay Area into a spectacular community of wineries with a beautiful downtown and many parks, including Lake Del Val, while managing to keep its small-town flavor.

For these reasons, I am against bringing BART to the downtown area. Specifically, bringing BART into the heart of our city will:

  • Turn Livermore into a regional commuter hub with thousands of people using it to reach the trains every weekday.
  • Result in an enormous volume of traffic over city streets as people comb the apparently limited parking being planned for the downtown station.
  • Bring increased crime directly into the heart of Livermore. Cost an estimated extra $2.71 billion over the cost of a single station on the I-580 median at grade to Isabel. The difference is paid by taxpayers regardless of the agency and branch of government that funds.
  • Increase noise levels in and around Livermore where the trains run above ground.
  • Disrupt neighborhoods and businesses over large areas for six years as the underground section is built.
  • Place an unsightly rail yard adjacent to 1st Street.

A new Livermore BART station will primarily serve people who live in the Central Valley. Keep BART on 580.

Kevin Ellis