AmeriCorps valuable, largely locally funded 

Congress is debating whether to cut or even eliminate AmeriCorps and VISTA national service. That would be a bad move.

Some local AmeriCorps and VISTA programs are operated by Bay Area Community Resources in collaboration with about 50 other nonprofit community organizations. The federal government puts up only 40 percent of the money, while our communities pay 60 percent.

Services are in the most economically disadvantaged neighborhoods: 3,500 children get help in class and after school; 1,500 kids get professional counseling; 33 cities and counties get help doing clean energy projects; 15 community agencies get help addressing poverty. Solid evidence shows the services are effective. The federal cost is little while the benefits are large.

Adolfo Rivera, Bay Area Community Resources, Richmond

Caltrain must stay strong

I ride Caltrain four to five days per week from San Francisco to San Jose and Stanford. The recent service cuts have already forced me to drive more often than I would like, but further cuts would essentially make me drive at least two to three days per week. Driving more will hurt everyone (including me) and the environment. Caltrain should do everything it can to help keep life in the Bay Area the best it can be and become a viable, reliable and long-term form of transportation.

Arash Anoshiravani, San Francisco

Officials need perspective

One out of five Americans is out of work. Gasoline is at $4 a gallon and rising. The federal government plus many states, cities and counties are broke. The Mideast is on fire and could soon explode. The national debt is in trillions. Sen. Harry Reid is upset because “Cowboy Poetry Week” will be cancelled. Is there something wrong with this picture? Do our elected officials have any idea what is going on in the world?

Keith C. De Filippis, San Jose

Don’t bleed the voters

I was pleased to read that the Republican lawmakers are preventing Gov. Jerry Brown from calling a special election in June to maintain expiring tax hikes even though the Democrats say that not having the election would mean the end of California.

Who should pay for the $26.6 billion debt? I say the California government and the public employees should pay. Surely not the federal government, for they also have a debt limit problem — and not China again.

Frank Norton, San Francisco

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