Letters for September 29

Readers sound off on Che Guevara, the death penalty, Macbeth, and double standards.

“A Hard-Boiled Macbeth,” Theater, 8/25

Misdirection Burns

Shall I compare thee to a horror film?

Thou art more deadly and intemperate;

Rough men of torment torture bardic writing,

And shocking viewers is its only worth.

Sometimes too hot vain misdirection burns

To spoil sturdy stock with clam’rous seasoning

The fallen outdoor faces rue the rigor

And hunger more for language than for violence

My mind’s enduring trauma shall not wane;

Nor shall Death boast I haven’t seen him lately.

When In eternal lines a play is fumbled;

The empty places cannot fill with flourish,

So long as shadows cast production death

So long will I repent this year’s Macbeth

Heidi Perryman, Lafayette

“Jerry Brown Emerges from Hiberation,” Seven Days, 9/8

Listen to the Citizens

I am still enraged.

I called your office Friday, September 10, to express my disbelief and disgust after reading in the East Bay Express that state lawmakers voted down an attempt to ban plastic grocery bags and killed an attempt to prohibit the use of the toxic substance bisphenol-A in baby bottles and sippy cups.

That banning plastic grocery bags will not be easy does not surprise me.

That prohibiting the use of a TOXIC substance in baby bottles and sippy cups is not a shoe-in stupefies me. The state legislators are not doing their job. Their responsibility is to the citizens, the voters who put them in office, to protect the best interests of these same citizens, not the interest of the chemical industry — or of any other industry.

Straighten up and fly right.

Marcia Flannery, Oakland

“Kayla Stra’s Long-Shot Bet,” Feature, 9/8

Don’t Buy the Double Standard

I am a woman that fully supports equal opportunities and rights for everyone regardless of gender. I firmly believe that men and women should be treated equally, and that’s why I was filled with frustration when I read the beginning of “Kayla Stra’s Long-Shot Bet.”

If a man had even tried to go inside a locker room full of half naked women, even if it was just to watch a race replay because they didn’t have a TV in the men’s locker room, he would have been kicked out immediately, and been labeled as at least a potential sex predator. But when Kayla Stra, a woman, wants to watch a race replay in the men’s locker room, and making some of the men there uncomfortable, she is somehow played to be the victim. I plead everyone, especially if you consider yourself to believe in gender equality, to wake up and get rid of the double standards.

Nicole Enriquez, Berkeley

“Confessions of a Pregnant Wine Writer,” Feature, 9/15

Guinness Rules

I like this article. The funny thing for me was that wine had that icky vinegar taste for me during pregnancy so it wasn’t even a temptation. On the other hand, Guinness Beer turned into my drink of choice. In moderate, 4 ounce portions, once a week, never in the first trimester of course!

Heather Flett, Berkeley

“Let’s Do the Time Warp Again,” Food, 8/11

Know Your History

Anneli Rufus displays complete ignorance when it comes to world history and politics,and unfortunately injects it into her write-up.

Maybe she should apply as food critic in Wasilla, Alaska.

She is a product of America’s political brain-washing of its citizens for the last sixty years.The specific lines, other than her general incompetence as a food critic, I’m responding to, are:

“That America-hating, execution facilitating Marxist guerrilla Che reigns here,””it was double comfort food partaken in discomfort, between the din and Che’shomicidal grin.”

What unfortunately shows here is the absolute ignorance of many American writers and the media in general, and the sensationalism that has replaced informed journalism.If this cafe would have embraced Fidel Castro, I would not have blinked, but any educated and worldly person would hopefully know that Cuba was terrorized for almost two decades by a vicious dictatorship headed by Batista, backed by the CIA, that Che Guevara split with Fidel Castro a few years later, after being disillusioned with Castro embracing the Soviet Union and that a short time later he was killed in Bolivia, with help of the CIA.A dear friend of mine, now almost eighty, worked for the Spanish government in Cuba after the revolution. She met and worked with many there, among them Castro and Guevara, who she still remembers as a very complex person, but with a big heart …(I’m not excusing any unjust political action taken by the Cuban government in the years since then.)

Some historical trivia for Mrs. Rufus:Cuba wanted nothing more than to have relations with the States, but when the Castro decided to raise the price of sugar cane, so that Cuba actually would finally get revenue from their exports, American companies (Coca Cola at the helm) went to war.Las Vegas only became what it is today, with all its corruption and money, after the casinos and the mafia were kicked out of Cuba after the revolution.

Tell Anneli Rufus to stick strictly to being a food critic, and not ruin it with uninformed political dressing.

Wolfgang Troullier, Oakland

“The High Costs of the Death Penalty,” Feature, 8/18

Real Justice

The death penalty. To abolish or not to abolish? The topic has become contentious. As poor and middle-class Americans fight to survive the recession, opposition to the death penalty becomes more prevalent.

Some are opposed to the death penalty for religious reasons, whereas capital punishment doesn’t coincide with the tenets of their religion. In spite of what their true disposition may be, effort is made to follow the teachings of their faith. Nevertheless, under the right circumstances, some of them would be the first to judge, convict, and condemn.

Some oppose the death penalty on moral grounds. They believe it to be barbaric and inhumane. However, there are some of them who only have a qualm with the state’s method of execution. To this end, they call for a more effective protocol, a more humane way of killing the condemned.

Those who are conscious and well-informed tend to reject the death penalty on many levels. They know that the criminal justice system is racist, flawed, corrupt, and unjust. For instance, when it comes to investigating and/or prosecuting a case, the state has access to unlimited resources. Public defenders fall on the other side of the spectrum. Their budgets have never been carte blanche. Such disparities make it difficult for a criminal defendant to receive a fair trial. Due process should always be elevated when dealing with one’s very existence. If not, a guilty verdict doesn’t disprove actual innocence.

Now on to the economy. There are those who oppose the death penalty solely on economic grounds. A recent 2010 survey showed that support for the death penalty had dropped from 79 percent to 66 percent. Thus, as the economy crumbles, so does support for the death penalty. This may explain why the L.A. Times recently reported that “California’s capital punishment system has drawn widespread criticism as the most cost-inefficient in the country, having executed only 13 people in more than 30 years.” This insinuates that the killing machine is not only too costly, but too idle! Life without the possibility of parole (LWOP) is now being (re)considered as a cheaper alternative.

* It costs $49,300 to incarcerate one inmate for one year.

* It costs $138,000 to incarcerate one death row inmate for one year.

There are well over 700 prisoners on California’s death row. I am one of them, however I do not speak for all of them. As an innocent man on death row, I dare add my discernment to the debate. LWOP vs. the death penalty … I see little difference. Do they both not end in death? Is the state any less guilty of murderous revenge? Let us not consider LWOP a victory, but rather a bare beginning.

There are numerous inmates to vindicate. The prison system is littered with those who have been wrongfully convicted. To warehouse or execute even one is too many! Give to them hope and liberty; not some empty alternative that only serves an economic purpose. To truly resolve the death penalty, and a litany of other problems, injustice and inequality must hereby be abolished!

Tim Young, San Quentin

“An Art Project For the Birds,” Eco Watch, 8/25

Habitat for No One

The “project” at the meadow of the Berkeley Marina is not a “Habitat Restoration,” as the sign claims, nor is it really a “park,” as claimed by the other sign. It is really a development of a special interest group that has gained control of the area and has fenced out the public, though it is public land and its management is paid for by public funds; it is in effect the private nursery of that special interest group.

The land, which is a huge area almost the size of the UC Berkeley campus, was originally under water, so there was no habitat to be restored. Like its neighbor, Chavez Park, it became a landfill and a dump until the early Seventies, when a wilderness grew and thrived there, and a multitude of nature-lovers enjoyed its wildlife for three decades until it was clear-cut a few years ago.

Students from UC would visit there to study its eden of wildflowers and all the rabbits and reptiles that the owls and hawks would feed upon, and of course there were flocks and flocks of red-winged blackbirds and finches, and yes, migratory birds as well, who would visit during the rainy season.

The land belonged to Santa Fe Railroad at first, but it was handed over to the public in a process that was influenced by the Citizens for Eastshore State Parks, until some members of that group used their influence and their connections with East Bay Regional Parks to have it fenced and clear-cut for their own agenda, indifferent to the general public.

And now the wildlife is gone and it has become a wasteland where no one goes except to use the single ugly fenced-in trail as a short cut from one end to the other. It is called a “resource protection area,” but the actual resource was clear-cut and what remains is in effect the private property of a small group who have power over it.

Pete Najarian, Berkeley

“Sacramento Takes a Nap,” Seven Days, 9/1

Far From Heartening

When the Berkeley Daily Planet went out of business, I and two colleagues who had acted to rid our community of that anti-Semitic scourge found ourselves termed Zio-Cons by Express reporter Robert Gammons in his Seven Days column. My friends and those of my colleagues all had quite a laugh about that, as we are well known in Berkeley as moderate to quite liberal Democrats. In a letter subsequently published in the Express, I conveyed that to get to the truth of this matter, rather than taking as gospel the allegations of the Planet‘s chief reporter, all Gammons had to do was ask us.

Alas, in his commentary about the new Islamic “liberal” arts college in Berkeley, which Gammons called “heartening,” he apparently failed to look into the background of the school’s founders and intimated that the school has opened sans any sense of concern by a good percentage of people in the East Bay. True, no one has made any attempt to deter the school’s opening, nor has anyone stated that they are opposed to seeing an Islamic school functioning locally. Nevertheless, Gammons has failed to undertake the due diligence of any decent reporter on this issue. Had he done any measure of research, he would have found a good number of women, gays, and Jews alarmed about both the politics of the school’s founders as well as what will be taught at Zaytuna College. 

Sheikh Hamza Yusuf, one of the colleges founders, wrote to an Islamic group, saying: “America is a country that has little to be proud of in its past and less to be proud of in the present. I am a citizen of this country not by choice but by birth. I reside in this country not by choice but by conviction in attempting to spread the message of Islam in this country. I became Muslim in part because I did not believe in the false gods of this society whether we call them Jesus or democracy or the Bill of Rights or any other element of this society that is held sacrosanct by the ill-informed peoples that make up this charade of a society … Fundamentals of Islam are being compromised … Conventional resolutions are meaningless Masonic exercises devised by men who desire to engage people in forums that would insure nothing changes … There should be no voting or debate … We have no room for ayes or nays.”

Imam Zaid Shakir, another founder, serves as an adviser for the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) and is a frequent speaker at CAIR gatherings.

On one occasion, Imam Shakir ruled that Islamic law permits Muslims to attack C-130 military transport planes carrying the 82nd Airborne out of Fort Bragg, North Carolina. “Jihad,” he said, “is physically fighting the enemies of Islam to protect and advance the religion of Islam. This is jihad.” He added that among acceptable targets of jihad are U.S. military aircraft.

Hatem Bazian, the third founder of the new college, holds a Ph.D in Islamic Studies from the University of California where he teaches. He is an ardent supporter of intifada (the militant uprising of Muslims) not only in Palestinian territory (in which he was born) but also throughout the United States. He stunned a San Francisco crowd of thousands of anti-Iraq war demonstrators by screaming: “Well, we’ve been watching intifada in Palestine, we’ve been watching an uprising in Iraq, and the question is that what are we doing? How come we don’t have an intifada in this country? It’s about time that we have an intifada in this country that change[s]. Of course I know some people are gonna hear this and say about me, ‘this is some Palestinian being too radical’ — well, you haven’t seen radicalism yet!” 

Finally, learning that the college has a major in Islamic law, a good number of women and gays, fully aware of how Sharia demeans females and homosexuals, have understandably expressed their concern about what students will be taught at Zaytuna.

Correspondingly,  Mr. Gammons, if you truly wish to be known as an investigative journalist, please next time do your homework. Had you done some fundamental research on Zaytuna, you would have learned that many of your neighbors are not exactly “heartened” by the opening of an institution which they fear with good reason may well become a bastion of the most odious forms of fundamentalism.

Dan Spitzer, Berkeley

Editor’s Note

Speaking of doing your homework, the article in question was written by contributor Chris Thompson. Also, Robert’s last name is Gammon, not Gammons.

“Everyone Should Demand Justice,” Letters, 9/15

Grant Was a Lowlife

Lynette Gibson McElhaney’s rant on race is the most egregiously demented pile of crap I’ve read on the subject.

African Americans have been committing crimes way out of proportion to their numbers for many decades now. The only reason more of their victims are black is due to the accident of proximity. Otherwise, a white or Asian victim will do just fine. Black on white and black on Asian crime far exceeds the reverse. 

No one except a black racist or their stinky white left apologists thought that the OJ verdict was anything but a total travesty of justice, including the black DA who prosecuted Simpson.

Affirmative desegregation means affirmative discrimination against white males in real life.

To compare a journalist like Chauncey Bailey with a lowlife petty criminal like Oscar Grant is obscene. Race was the only thing they had in common. And by the way, Bailey’s murder (by other blacks) was extensively covered in the media contrary to McElhaney’s unsupported assertion. If Grant was such a doting dad, why was he involved in a fracas on BART instead of being home with his kid?

Of course McElhaney doesn’t mention the widespread anti-snitch culture inside the black community. Many decent blacks are afraid to call the police lest they be targeted as “informers.”

Nor do the police in many Bay Area cities do much about crimes against whites as many a white crime victim could testify.

“Anti-racism” has long been the last refuge of the scoundrel.

Michael P. Hardesty, Oakland

Miscellaneous Letters

Tumults Troubling Telegraph Worsen

It wasn’t many years ago when Mayor Bates, spurred by beleagured Telegraph Ave.merchants, took a twilight walking tour of the troubled district.

Cody’s was extant, and compared to the present troubled scene, the mayor’s stroll was a cake walk after which he offered to fix the merchant’s complaints.

Those complaints centered on the general deteriorating conditions on lower Telegraph, the last straws on the camel’s back after more than thirty years of violent changes, as the avenue struggles for its survival.

Years later, the fix the mayor promised has yet to gel, and, if anything, conditions have worsened. Entropy has the area in a choke hold.

Coming on the heels of numerous violent incidents at People’s Park, a near riot occurred outside Raleigh’s on Telegraph, Aug. 28. It involved more than twenty punch-drunk late night revelers encamped on two city-installed benches.

The drunken late-night fistfight banged up against Raleigh’s plate glass windows and Raleigh bouncers and a female bartender went out to quell it.

No sooner had Raleigh’s defenders emerged, then the crowd converged on them, pushing, shoving, and punching. One of the assailants used a motorcycle helmet on Raleigh personnel, drawing blood.

When a BPD officer arrived, or, perhaps because of that arrival, the ruffians fled.

The assailant with the helmet, although escaped, was later identified and Raleigh’s filed an assault complaint.

Not more than minutes later, another fracas erupted outside Ameoba across the street; but the officer was busy writing the Raleigh’s report in her vehicle.

After being alerted to the new eruption, the officer stayed put. I’ll check it out, she said.

Another squad car passed Amoeba, eye-balled the dangerous scene, and drove on.

According to the first officer on the scene, there were three armed robbery cases underway.

“We consider guns a priority over fists,” she explained.

Menacing, sidewalk-blocking “scenes” have been developing for months, after dusk, on the Ave; and the hangers-on seem to have established beach heads outside Blake’s, Raleigh’s, Amoeba, and the Caffe Mediterraneum.

Such events raise the question of whether the ave is being hung out to dry and if so who or what is responsible.

Ted Friedman, Berkeley

Perata Doesn’t Believe in Accountability

Don Perata’s newest TV ad “I Believe in Oakland” fails to mention that Don does not believe that the community should oversee the Oakland Police Department. He also does not believe that Oakland needs an Ethics Commission, which, come to think of it, shouldn’t come as much of a surprise, should it?

He has gone on record as saying that the Citizens’ Police Review Board (CPRB) isn’t necessary because of the oversight of Federal Judge Thelton Henderson. Well, the Judge has just indicated that if the OPD doesn’t get its act together soon, after 8 years of inadequate efforts to reform itself, he may place the Department in receivership! And the real question is, “Who will oversee OPD once the independent (and costly) monitors’ tenure ends?” Maybe he could figure out how to save the millions of dollars in lawsuits paid by taxpayers every year, much more costly to the city than the annual CPRB budget.

Don — you may be surprised to discover that we do believe in Oakland — an Oakland that does not relinquish oversight of its police to Internal Affairs, and an Oakland whose police department no longer requires the City to spend several million dollars for Independent Monitors who report to a Federal Judge about the progress, or lack thereof, in implementing mandated reforms. But we don’t believe in a Mayor who would turn the police accountability clock back over 40 years because he is beholden to the Police Officers Associations who generously support his bid for Mayor.

If you believe in Oakland, as Don does, ask him why the Oakland he believes in doesn’t include civilian oversight of its police department.

Rashidah Grinage, Oakland

Marijuana: A Growth Industry for Berkeley?

On November 2, Berkeley voters will decide whether or not to enable a vastly expanded marijuana industry in Berkeley, when they vote on Measure T.

This is a very complicated subject, so a bit of background is required. In 1972, state voters rejected Proposition 19, which would have legalized all marijuana cultivation and use (recreational and medical) despite federal law prohibiting same. In 1996, state voters approved Proposition 215 legalizing medical marijuana cultivation and use despite federal prohibitions; after many legal events and enforcement actions, the federal legal parameters around marijuana enforcement within states are still murky. Meanwhile, in Berkeley, in 2001 the Berkeley City Council passed legislation (BMC 12.26) implementing Proposition 215 and medical marijuana rules at the local level; then, in 2004, Berkeley voters rejected Measure R, an initiative that would have expanded the medical marijuana arrangements allowed under BMC 12.26; Measure R was subsequently re-submitted to and passed by the voters in 2008 as Measure JJ, and its provisions were incorporated into the Municipal Code. Measure JJ: allowed unlimited outdoor cultivation of marijuana so long as only ten plants are visible from other property; eliminated numerical limits on marijuana controlled by a marijuana collective; created a Peer Review Committee to assist in regulation; deputized Peer Review members to provide immunity from federal prosecution; confirmed that no use permit is required for residential cultivation; and established that marijuana dispensaries are permitted as a matter of right as a Retail Sales Use, with no use permit or public hearing

Now here we are in 2010. There is a new state measure, Proposition 19, the Regulate, Control and Tax Cannnabis Act of 2010, that would, like the 1972 version of Proposition 19, legalize substantially all marijuana cultivation and use despite ongoing federal prohibitions against recreational marijuana; it also enables local tax and regulatory mechanisms on recreational marijuana. And we have a new Berkeley measure, Measure T (amending the municipal code), that would establish the framework for a vastly increased Berkeley marijuana industry whether or not State Proposition 19 passes. If Proposition 19 does not pass, Berkeley will bet set up for a very large local medical marijuana industry; if Proposition 19 does pass, then the sky is the limit on local marijuana businesses, as the Measure T framework can be easily altered, by the City Council alone, to accommodate recreational marijuana businesses as well. This expansion is clearly the intent of city council as evidenced by their discussions.

The “companion” measure to Berkeley Measure T is Berkeley Measure S, Tax on Cannabis Businesses. The proposed tax would cover both medical and recreational marijuana businesses, and would substantially increase the existing business tax on medical marijuana businesses and provide for taxing new recreational marijuana businesses. The purported tax revenue is the lure by the marijuana industry and our cash-strapped local government to get voter approval for a burgeoning local marijuana industry about which many Berkeley residents and stakeholders still have strong reservations. However, if the Berkeley marijuana industry were to stay at its current level, per the City Attorney the new tax would raise only $159, 655 annually, a negligible amount given the City’s $320M annual budget and projected annual deficits of $16M and rising. So to make a real difference in terms of the City budget, Berkeley would need to develop a local marijuana industry worth in the hundreds of millions of dollars. That is the plan and that’s a lot of marijuana.

I urge readers and voters to peruse Measures S and T carefully, including and especially the City Attorney Analyses and the Arguments for and against.

I have discussed the Berkeley marijuana measures with many residents. Most agree that they would promote, encourage, and enable a vastly expanded Berkeley marijuana industry with unknown and unknowable consequences for good or ill. However, most voters cannot decide how to vote, since there is so much confusion and uncertainty around consequences and so many dueling expert opinions.

This author however would not recommend support for Measure T. As a forty-year Berkeley resident, parent and grandparent, I can only see the downside and risks.

— The quality and tone of Berkeley will be diminished when there are marijuana and related businesses all over town

— There will be plenty of marijuana available in nearby communities for those who want or need it, so a Berkeley-based industry is not de rigeur

— The impact on our youth is likely to be large and negative. We already have high marijuana use by Berkeley youth and an overly-permissive attitude — and the lowered price, increased availability, increased potency, and perception of yet more adult approval engendered by a local mega-industry can only worsen the situation

— I do not want new marijuana businesses to have a “by-right” entitlement to operate in my town nor do I want to give up to city council the voters future rights to legislate this industry

— I am suspicious of many of the participants in the marijuana industry. While there are some honest and well-intentioned participants, I believe that this industry is a very big tent inhabited by and/or alluring to some serious criminal elements and dealers in other illegal and dangerous substances

— There has been no controlled testing of the benefits and harms of marijuana use. Berkeley purports to be interested in public health and has seriously cracked down on alcohol and tobacco use, so why are we so permissive with marijuana?

— The impact on local wildlife and pets of marijuana vegetation and runoff is unclear, but could well be negative

— Berkeley’s current budget and long-term liabilities deficit needs to be addressed first by deep fiscal reform. A local marijuana industry could actually add to our budget problems by engendering greater needs for public safety and public health services

— A local marijuana mega-industry could negatively affect residential property values and diminish the desirability of Berkeley as a choice for families. I note that some large commercial property owners may welcome potential marijuana industry buyer/renters of their vacant properties. One of our major land use attorneys is now representing the biggest Berkeley marijuana dispensary. Folks, is this another developer boondoggle?

— The marijuana industry is not “green” as it consumes huge amounts of water and electricity. There is increased risk of fire, pesticide contamination, and public safety threats.

Again, I urge Berkeley voters to read the ballot material and consider the issues carefully as the outcome of the Measure T vote will affect the quality and tone of our town. Why take chances?

Barbara Gilbert, Berkeley

Vote for Measure N

An important ballot measure will be facing Albany voters in the November election.  Measure N changes Albany’s Charter to allow for an appointed city attorney rather than an elected Attorney.The measure was unanimously supported by the Alameda County Democratic Party, Albany’s City Council and Charter Committee, and Albany’s long-time incumbent city attorney, Robert Zweben. Why? Because the measure is simply good government:  it ensures that Albany will have the best legal representation by widening the applicant pool and strengthening the selection process.Albany’s current city attorney will soon be retiring. He has been elected for nine terms and has had only three opponents. It’s time for this outmoded process to change.Albany’s small pool of qualified municipal attorneys limits choices.  For this reason, ALL California cities with populations less than 58,000 appoint their attorney.  Only 2 percent of cities elect their attorneys, all very large metropolitan areas.  Of these, Albany is the smallest with 16,000 residents.Further, selecting and appointing a City Attorney is a more rigorous process than electing one.  To run for office in Albany, an individual only needs to be a resident licensed to practice law.  In contrast, an appointed attorney or legal firm, must pass a thorough screening process involving interviews, references, and municipal experience.If Measure N passes, Albany will be able to select a well-qualified firm or individual from the entire Bay Area, presumably one who has the appropriate expertise for the increasingly complex field of municipal law.Albany needs to join the rest of California and voters should say YES on N.  It’s simply good government for a small city.

Jerri Holan, Member Yes On N Committee, Albany Charter Committee, Albany

Vote for Brown

There’s a bit of nostalgia in a desire to see Jerry Brown return to a place of prominence in the state government. So many Californians look back fondly on the days when Brown fascinated and infuriated us with his quirky habits, frenquent philosophizing, and uncanny ability to shake up politics as usual.

But nostalgia alone is not why California needs him to be the next governor. He is by far the best, smartest, and most experienced person for California’s top spot.

Brown has no “moonbeam” view of how to fight California’s many problems now that he’e been the mayor of Oakland. In that capacity Brown was brought face to face with a city in turmoil. As governor Brown would excel with managing California’s abundant resources.

His record of defending the environment, supporting needed regulation on industry, and supporting civil rights would serve him well. Here’s supporting Jerry Brown in the race for governor.

Ron Lowe, Nevada City, CA   

Don’t Separate West Oakland

Just to correct the typo / oversight that the Trib made in its otherwise concise overview of the proposal made by Bryan Grunwald and reported on yesterday in Chris Metinko’s article, “Architect proposes building new A’s stadium above highway,” the official name of our organization is West Oakland Commerce Association (WOCA), not West Oakland Association.

Given the number of different neighborhood organizations that would be adjacent to or most affected by such a new ballpark, it’s easy to guess why your reporter would assume that a West Oakland Association ought to exist, and maybe that’s something we should all consider, as there will be a Mayoral Forum on the 29th of this month at the Senior Center in West Oakland cosponsored by all of those endorsing further study of the park — plus several other groups to whom Mr. Grunwald has yet to present.

Meanwhile, the A’s want local government to deliver them the site.

That means the host city will have to pay for land acquisition, relocation, toxic remediation, and infrastructure / circulation upgrades. That’s more than $150M for Victory Court or any site San Jose may offer. Yet the site identified by Mr. Grunwald is only $30M!

Why? The air rights are free, plus Oakland doesn’t lose the tax revenue and jobs from the acquisition of private sites because, simply enough, no one today works or pays taxes on those air-rights.

Currently, the freeway site generates noise and has air quality impacts with resulting health risks, creating a de facto moat that acts to further separate West Oakland folks from contributing to the vivacity of their own downtown.

Steve Lowe

VP, West Oakland Commerce Association


I Want an Apology

In May of this year I received a ticket in Oakland. It happened like this: I pulled up at a meter that had a bag on it. No sooner had I done this than a meter person pulled in behind me, strode to the meter, ripped the bag off, tapped the meter twice and went behind my car and began writing a ticket.

I asked if she was writing a ticket, and she told me that I needed to determine whether the meter was working. (The meter didn’t work, by the way). I was given no such opportunity. I left, thinking it best, because she seemed so angry. Several weeks later I got a notice in the mail for an expired meter violation.

I contested the ticket by mail and received a form letter that the ticket was properly issued and meters have certain hours and times and I should have paid attention. I protested yet again, writing a much longer and detailed version of the above, and enclosing the $50 fine. Yesterday, I got a notice for a DMV hold and that I now owe $100, because everything I sent was not received by the Oakland Parking police. I don’t accept that this ticket was issued “properly.” I think the city of Oakland owes me an apology and a cancellation of the DMV hold.

I really can’t believe this happened. I hadn’t even gotten out of my car. Can you imagine this happening in a city like Walnut Creek or Danville? Of course not. Is the city of Oakland so desperate for cash they resort to this? A distinction should be made if the ticket is issued for a broken or expired meter. If the meter is broken you should be allowed to park for whatever the meter’s time limit is. Don’t they mark tires? This person watched me pull into the spot. Was it illegal for me to park there? No one wants to give me an answer. Why? Because they would have sent a copy of the code section dealing with broken meters.

What I should have done was get this woman’s name and asked to speak to her supervisor immediately. I was willing to overlook this, thinking maybe she was having a bad day, but my inaction is going to cost me $100! Unbelievable.

Come on, Oakland. Surely you can do better.

Torre Delgado, Alameda


In our September 1 Fall Arts story “Freed Radicals,” we misspelled the names of Philo T. Farnsworth and Eadweard Muybridge.


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