Mailbag: Keep holidays safe in H.B.

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As the holiday season approaches, it brings many festive occasions with friends and family.

However, it also brings increased risks of being injured or killed in alcohol-related accidents on our roadways.

Just a reminder: A DUI conviction can cost first-time offenders more than $12,000 in fines, classes, DMV license fees, attorney fees and increased insurance costs. Added to those fees are the additional costs of booking and fingerprinting. And if you are under the age of 21, additional fees can cost as much as $15,000 to $20,000!

You will also spend time in jail or, worse, the hospital. Your vehicle may need to be repaired, you could lose your license, and there is a strong possibility of being sued.

Drinking and driving may also take a greater toll if someone is injured or killed by your actions — perhaps you or one of your family members.

Please commit yourself. Do not drink and drive.

Here are some tips to make yourself and others safe this holiday season:

1. Plan to have a designated driver.

2. At parties, hosts should offer nonalcoholic beverages.

3. Stay at a friend's home or nearby hotel. Do not try to "make" it home.

4. Use public transportation or a cab. Many establishments have a voucher cab program.

Keep yourself, your loved ones, others' loved ones and Huntington Beach safe this holiday.

Joe Carchio

Huntington Beach

The writer is the mayor of Huntington Beach.

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Obama's not the robber here

It appears that Community Commentary writer Robert Smythe ("President Obama's jobs bill deserves a layoff," Nov. 3) has selective focus in viewing the input of special interests in President Obama's proposed legislation. One would think that an adjunct professor from USC (the University of Supercilious Conservatives) would be fully aware of the massive impact that all special interests have in shaping our policies and legislation in Washington, D.C.

Big Business (oil companies, pharmaceutical companies, insurance companies, financial institutions, firearms manufacturers, etc.) routinely wrote and influenced legislation under President George W. Bush, and I read no complaints from Smythe. Could it be that he only objects to proposals that negatively impact "fat cats"? One only has his word that his allegations are true. I, for one, take exception to his conclusions.

Perhaps if there wasn't so much corporate greed in our current economy, we wouldn't need so many protections for "the little people." And, yes, "robber barons" have been philanthropic for many years (going back to the 19th century with the likes of Andrew Carnegie, J.P. Morgan, John D. Rockefeller, Cornelius Vanderbilt and Leland Stanford). Does that excuse their corporate greed, their many criminal manipulations and excesses and the mistreatment of their workers? In some cases, their philanthropy was based upon self-aggrandizing guilt, or, more likely today, corporate tax breaks and write-offs.

It may interest Smythe that in 1973, students at Stanford University held an election to choose a mascot for their athletic teams and voted for Robber Barons. The university administration refused to implement the vote, and the teams remain without an official mascot, instead being referred to as the Cardinal. From cardinal and white to cardinal and gold, eh, Mr. Smythe?

It is no wonder that we have so many protests across the country today focusing upon corporate greed and the failure to turn record profits into jobs in this country. It is no wonder that we have so much outrage over Republican obstructionism in Congress and the failure of any jobs creation legislation before these seeming shills for big business.

It seems that Smythe can't see the forest for the redwoods (couldn't resist another Stanford dig) in going after the Democrats to the exclusion of larger Republican legislative and bureaucratic excesses that coddle big business. I guess we need to add some ivory towers to the walls of Troy.

Tim Geddes

Huntington Beach

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