Dobbs v. Jackson is just the beginning
An important thing to keep in mind about the devastating Dobbs v. Jackson decision is that it would not have been possible in a fair, democratic government.
Of the six justices who voted to overturn the constitutional right to bodily autonomy, five were appointed by Presidents Bush and Trump -- both of whom were elected through the Electoral College, which allowed them to reach the highest office in the land without popular support from the American people.
These justices were then confirmed by a Senate that does not represent the people fairly -- California, with a population of 39.3 million people, has received the same representation in the Senate as Wyoming, which has a population of 580,000.
On top of that, every single person holding power in these institutions was propped up by a political system that rewards corporatism and corruption. After clearing these hurdles, the justices have had their job for life, never to be held accountable for their decisions by anyone.
All of these anti-democratic mechanisms have proven over time to favor a conservative minority -- thus, despite the overwhelming disapproval of the American people, the court voted 6-3 to take away our right to choose.
I implore all of you who care about preserving the right to choose to continue to fight for it on the local, state, and national level. But we should all be aware: institutions that do not require our consent to govern will not listen to us.
-- Mark Lester
I am so tired
I am so tired of turning on the TV or glancing at my newsfeed to learn the details of yet another mass shooting, all the while knowing that they have become so frequent that most don't even make the news anymore.
I am tired of the daily unintentional deaths of children and teens who gain access to an unsecured firearm. I am tired of the suicides of so many young people, veterans and others who have such easy access to a gun.
I am tired of the city gun violence that continues while we pretend that there is little or nothing we can do to stop it. I am tired of victims of domestic violence dying because we refuse to close easy loopholes that allow abusers to kill.
I am tired of our elected leaders, the gun lobby, gun manufacturers and gun traffickers putting profit over safety, and getting away with it.
It's time for gun owners and non-gun owners alike to come together and take action! We must secure our firearms in our homes and vehicles if we are gun owners.
We must demand updated background checks on all gun sales, ban ghost guns and assault weapons, enact red-flag laws and elect gun sense candidates.
Join Moms Demand Action, a grassroots organization fighting for public safety measures that protect people from gun violence. Text ACT to 644-33 and stand up against the inaction of our elected officials and the gun lobby.
-- Janie Dobbs
Hiding behind the second
"A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed." Does not exclude nukes!
The U.S. actively works to prevent the proliferation of nuclear weapons, and we all agree that individuals do not have the right to own those weapons, even under the Second Amendment. Similarly individuals are not allowed to own Howitzers, fighter jets, battleships, mortars, Javelin missiles, tanks, but we draw the line at AK47s.
Why doesn't the Second Amendment allow individuals to own all of these types of arms? Has an arms dealer ever tried to hide behind the Second Amendment? Are their specific laws barring ownership of mortars and such?
-- Ellis Goldberg
Thank you, and now the work begins
I want to offer a heartfelt thank you for electing me to the Alameda County Board of Education District 7. I am keenly aware that this was a community, grassroots effort that resulted in this outcome.
From this civic education teacher and advocate, it really made my heart sing at the participatory citizenry that I saw not only in my election but also in many other races throughout our county.
Now the work begins. I am committed to serving the students and families of District 7 and by extension the entire county.
-- Cheryl Cook-Kallio, trustee-elect
Sewer extension initiative
Winemakers are framing the proposed five-mile sewer extension in Livermore Valley as an essential step in infrastructure for South Livermore's agriculture; however, the taxpayers, not the wineries, would be stuck with a $6.5 million bill. Not only is it not in the economic interest of voters to support the extension -- it is not in the interest of our health.
Studies have shown this exposure can increase the cancer rates of people in the area. Napa, Sonoma and other extensive wine marking regions, such as the Bordeaux region in France, have higher cancer rates than the surrounding areas that lack a sizable wine industry.
Not only are Livermore residents exposed to these toxic chemicals while the pesticides are being sprayed, but pesticides enter the soil and can have very adverse environmental effects. Over half of applied pesticides end up in the soil, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. Over the long term, pesticides denigrate soil quality, decreasing the ability to store carbon, which is essential to fight global warming.
Children are particularly vulnerable to pesticides, and long-term health issues have been proven due to exposure to these known carcinogens.
We need more transparency about the vineyards' current pesticides, not a higher volume of exposure to even more insidious chemicals.
Please consider voting no when the sewer extension hits the ballot in November.
-- Victoria Tishman Kamerzell
Smart use of funds
I am very happy with the budget which has been approved by the majority of the Pleasanton City Council. It is especially important to repair and restore the historic Century House. We need to preserve our existing amenities and protect our historic resources. The council has shown that they will meet the published targets for reserves.
-- Sandra Yamaoda
Rainy day reserves
Pleasanton City Council majority voted to remove $1 million from reserves ignoring staff and city manager recommendations not to remove that money. A couple of comments I noted:
Regarding Weekly article, conversations and commentary since last meeting -- Arkin, "public misconception", "community misunderstanding"; Testa, "dialogue in community misleading"; Brown, "the newspaper article."
Following majority vote to move $1 million from reserve -- Arkin, "this is a fiscally responsible decision"; Brown, "it's only a million dollars"; Testa, following city manager explanation for not moving money from reserve, "you have been here two weeks, we have been here..."
That was a really cheap shot by Testa; it was extremely negative, and intent was to hurt.
This current council majority is not good for Pleasanton.
-- Michael Austin
A great Ladies' Day
I would like to give a shout-out to several people and groups who have supported our Ladies' Day at the Races at the Alameda County Fair over the past 31 years. Over 600 ladies have attended at least one Ladies' Day since it was organized in 1992.
The Alameda County Fair has done many things over the years to make the ladies who attend feel special -- displaying a welcome sign for us on the sign board, giving each one of us goodie bags of fair trinkets to take home, offering us a named race so we all could experience a moment in the winner's circle, and a location to have food/drinks after the last race. Thank you, Alameda County Fair, Tiffany Cadrette and Jeanne Wasserman for the special treatment you have offered us.
Each year we take a group photo to document our Ladies' Day at the Races and place it in our ever-growing scrapbook, which is viewed by the attendees. We thank Chuck Deckert, who has photographed our group for 14 years. He also takes the photo of all of us holding the Pleasanton Weekly, which is then printed in the Take Us Along section of the paper. We thank Chuck and the Pleasanton Weekly for the opportunity to highlight our Ladies' Day each year.
We truly appreciate all who support, recognize and attend Ladies' Day at the Races!
-- Kay Huff
Restore balance now
To protect our reproductive freedoms, we need to expand the Supreme Court.
The Judiciary Act of 2021 would add four new seats to the Supreme Court, bringing the number of justices to 13. It would help restore balance to a court that Mitch McConnell has packed with right-wing extremists who just dismantled abortion care in America.
Recent polling showed that not only do a majority of Americans believe that the Supreme Court should uphold the right to abortion care, they also agree that we need to restore balance to the court and support adding additional judges to the Supreme Court.
I'm urging Congress to pass the Judiciary Act so we can create an institution that moves away from partisan politics and represents the good of all Americans.
-- Eric Nichandros
Rodeo cruelty and public safety
Yet another horse died at the annual Rowell Ranch Rodeo in Castro Valley. According to the veterinarian's report, a 15-year-old pickup horse suffered a seizure and died in the arena on Sunday, May 22.
Only the day before, a bull jumped the fence at the Redding Rodeo, injuring six people, and putting one in the hospital. The bull was later captured a half-mile away.
The Rowell Ranch Rodeo again featured the controversial, non-sanctioned, brutal and blatantly sexist "wild cow milking contest," despite ongoing opposition from the Alameda County Veterinary Medical Association, the East Bay SPCA and most animal welfare organizations in the Bay Area.
An online petition has garnered more than 180,000 signatures. Again, these are beef cattle, not dairy, and unused to being handled at all, much less this roughly. They are further stressed by being separated from their still-nursing babies. This same event was scheduled for the June Livermore Rodeo.
To its credit, the county Board of Supervisors outlawed the children's "mutton busting" event back in 2019. They are now considering a ban on the "wild cow milking contest," and need to hear from the general public. WRITE the Alameda County Board of Supervisors, 1221 Oak St., Oakland, CA 94612.
As Supervisor Nate Miley wrote in his 2019 Spring Newsletter, "Any form of violence is repugnant." Indeed. Help stop this cruelty.
-- Eric Mills, coordinator
Action for Animals