EDITOR: Your article about California's pact with Israel ("Netanyahu, Brown sign pro-business pact," March 6) contained some serious irony. Gov. Jerry Brown and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu were quoted extolling Israel's approach to water management, suggesting it could be a model for California. Netanyahu was quoted as saying "Israel has no water problems." Is this his tacit acknowledgment that the West Bank, Gaza and the Golan Heights are not part of Israel even though they're occupied by it? It would appear so, because Palestinians, who make up the vast majority of people living in those areas, are subject to extreme water deprivation and water pollution due to Israeli government policies.
If California were actually to pursue the Israeli model of water management, it would behoove Oregon and Nevada to prepare to defend their borders. Arizona and Mexico, not having any water left to steal, would not have to worry.
EDITOR: It seems David E. Gurley ("Fixing pension problem," Letters, Monday) that feels the "pension problem" can be fixed by "renegotiating those promises." What, exactly, is a promise? For hundreds of employees under contract, these promises are a contract, a legal binding contract that cannot be renegotiated at the discretion and convenience of management.
What if title to your home were renegotiated after paying your mortgage for 30 years? It would be convenient for your lender to renegotiate you into continue paying, despite your terms of your contract. It's the same thing with your car loan; what if it were renegotiated for you to continue paying after your loan was paid off? Or your widow, seeking payment from your life insurance policy? Certainly renegotiating that promise would help out the life insurance company, quite a bit. Your family would suffer, but hey, I'm sure that shareholders would support it.
Why is it OK to break a contract with labor, to renegotiate a promise made? Because it's financially convenient? Because labor doesn't matter? A contract is a contract, not a suggestion to be renegotiated whenever conflicting budget priorities occur.
Labor matters, and so do contracts. That's what a promise is — a commitment that you keep.
EDITOR: Please consider me highly incensed with Monday's "Luann" comic strip that portrayed junior college as a less than satisfactory place to obtain an education. I know firsthand that our junior college is Sonoma County is one of the best if in the country. Showing community colleges as second-class "citizens" does a disservice to them and to the nation.
Community college is a place where we provide education for students who cannot afford a four-year school right out of high school. Equally important, they provide educations for middle-class jobs such as ambulance drivers, nurses, diesel mechanics, bookkeepers, police officers, firefighters, farmers, business people and on and on.
We need to address the needs of our middle class as it is the middle class that makes our country what it is. What we don't need to do is to demean the very place that will empower our nation and the working middle class who wish to increase their personal marketability and, in doing so, make a contribution to our society.
I am serious when I say that I demand not just an "I'm sorry" squib in the paper, but a "Luann" cartoon that will glorify all our community colleges, making clear the contribution they make to our nation and our society.