Letters from our readers: Forgoing voting should be considered a crime 

Taxpayers get fined when they do not pay what they owe for city, state and federal taxes. But when they do not vote — the most important responsibility in a representative republic form of self-government — registered nonvoters do not receive a fine.

Perhaps cities like San Francisco could offer inducements to encourage qualified voters to register to vote, such as cash awards funded from penalty assessments on registered nonvoting citizens.

Frank Norton, San Francisco

Salt ponds not for sale

Cargill and its developer, DMB, would like to use their vast budget to convince the Bay Area public that the Redwood City salt ponds are “a century-old industrial facility” rather than fully restorable vital wetland habitat.

In the distant past, San Francisco Bay’s tidal wetlands were altered by levees. Now, those who have historically benefited from those levees seek to cash in on what they have now determined is real estate. The Bay was never meant to benefit the few at the expense of the many — while sacrificing the habitat of birds and other wildlife.

Nancy Arbuckle, Redwood City

Lack of oversight to blame

I must take issue with Tim Carney’s May 6 Examiner column that asserts “for some on the left, every crisis is an opportunity to increase government,” which he labels “muddled thinking.”

Anyone in their right mind knows that the Mineral Management Service had not done its job in overseeing drilling, and that BP was allowed to “cut corners” that contributed to the blowout of the Gulf of Mexico oil well. The real problem here is the failure of government agencies to monitor and regulate the offshore drilling industry.

Irvin Dawid, Palo Alto

Expectations too high

Why did the president of the United States delay meeting with the governor of Arizona? The president is supposed to solve problems. Acting childish and not meeting with Gov. Jan Brewer solved nothing. True leaders do not avoid problems. They address problems and solve them.

Perhaps we have expected too much from this man. Perhaps the job of president is too big for a community organizer. Perhaps not being Bush isn’t enough.

Keith C. De Filippis, San Jose

Rethink lockstep support

Hamas is winning the public relations war about the Gaza attack on a flotilla of three cargo ships and three passenger ships carrying 700 activists and 10,000 tons of items that Israel bars from reaching Gaza, like cement and other building materials. Hopefully, the attack will finally prompt the U.S. to rethink its lockstep support of Israel. Now, the indirect peace negotiations that started in May probably will be suspended or ended altogether.

Ralph E. Stone, San Francisco


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