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By Tim Hunt

Convenience counts

Uploaded: Jul 17, 2012

The Alameda County Board of Supervisors is likely to enact the nation's first ordinance requiring drug manufacturers to provide a way to dispose of expired or unneeded prescription medications.
The ordinance passed unanimously last week and likely will receive a similar vote next week after county officials worked at length with various stakeholder groups for the past several months. Board President Nate Miley is pushing the ordinance.
For the county, its way to shift responsibility to the industry particularly given the federal law that requires law enforcement officials be present when certain controlled substances are surrendered. Currently, that means going to the sheriff's department's sub-station in San Leandro.
The ordinance and the recycling programs grow out of the increasing knowledge of the potential effects of prescription meds on aquatic life. I remember when my mother died almost 20 years ago; the hospice team simply dumped the remaining morphine and other meds down the toilet. Sewage treatment plants are not designed to remove traces of these meds.
There is some irony in Miley's advocacy. There are more than 20 sites around the county where citizens can drop off prescription meds. Only one of those is located in the Livermore Valley, which Miley and Scott Haggerty represent. That lone site is the facility in east Livermore operated by the StopWaste organization.
Gentlemen—if this is a real problem—how about helping your constituents who want to do the right thing and can't make it to far eastern Livermore between 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. on the designated Thursday, Fridays or Saturdays. Driving 30 miles round-trip to drop off a few pill bottles is asking way too much.

There was an unusual sighting at the Alameda County Fair's 100th anniversary celebration—octogenarian U.S. Rep. Pete Stark. He showed up for the celebration and the photo opp.
Since Pete relocated permanently to Maryland to raise his second family, he has visited his district a half dozen times or fewer per year in recent times. That record reflects the comfortable position he held in a district that was so dominantly Democrat that no Republican bothered to mount a serious challenge for decades in his 40-year career.
With the open primary in effect for the first time, Dublin City Councilman Eric Swalwell mounted an aggressive campaign and got within six points of Stark in the low-turnout primary. Add Swalwell's votes together with those of the other challenger and Stark trailed significantly.
So, Pete has awakened. His public and editorial performances in the primary season showed that his sharp tongue was still roaring, even as his physical body was ebbing. He now walks with a cane and looks every bit of his 80 years. He embarrassed himself during the primary with a series of unfounded charges that newspapers called him on.
Thus far, he's ducking—wisely—Swalwell's invitation to debate. Pete's tongue may still wag, but it's magnified the disconnect between his brain and facts.
He's changed campaign managers, bringing on veteran union leader Sharon Cornu to guide his campaign. She was the executive secretary-treasurer for the Alameda Labor Council for eight years that included a seven-month stint as national field director for the AFL-CIO in Washington D.C. She worked for Oakland Mayor Jean Quan for 11 months before resigning and escaping from that dysfunctional office.
The shakeup may provide better guidance for Pete, but the challenge is that whenever he has to represent himself, he's in trouble. For him, it should be reminiscent of the days four decades ago when he successfully challenged an 81-year-old Democrat for the seat. He's every bit out-of-touch as was his predecessor.


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