Letters for the Week of August 3, 2016

Readers sound off on fear-mongering and transparency.

“The Big One: Scientists Say the East Bay is Overdue for the Largest Earthquake in Centuries. And We’re Not Prepared.” by Alastair Bland, Feature Story, July 27:

Thanks for the Paranoia, Express

I’d like to complain about this article and the imagery that accompanied it on the front cover. Really? What were you guys thinking to allow this anxiety- and fear-provoking article to help fuel the already ongoing fear hysteria going on in the United States right now? For what benefit is it to publish such an article, about an occurrence that people can’t prevent or control? Fine, by all means, put pressure on the owners of buildings to work on improving the infrastructure to make them more safe. But don’t publish this publicly. Your readers are the people actually living in these unsafe buildings. Thanks for provoking unhelpful fear and paranoia in our community.

The mass hysteria in this country governed by fear is completely the result of dramatic media. Yes, we all bloody know the “big one” is coming — and small ones too! Stop reminding us of it when we are trying to go on with our days trying not to think about all the bad news we hear on the radio and news.

Give it a rest and focus your attention on community building in positive ways. The article mentioned at least four times how many people would die. Why? Seriously, please really think hard about the repercussions on people’s mental health before you join forces with CNN and the like in making people live their lives in fear.

From a usually happy reader of East Bay Express.

Rachelle Désille, via email

Thank You, Express

The Golden Gate Chapter of the American Society of Home Inspectors thanks you for publishing this cover story. As home inspectors, we address seismic concerns every day, so it was nice to see the information we routinely provide to clients be made available to the general public. Thank you.

Brian Cogley, president, GGASHI

“Value Black Lives, Too” by Sue Thornbridge, Letters, July 27; “Questions of Dogma” by Bob Madera, Letters, July 20; and “Time for White Americans to be Part of the Solution, Not the Problem,” by Jay Youngdahl, Essay, July 13:

Don’t Use Racially Divisive Language

I don’t support racial-profiling of any sort. It seems ironic to me that those who decry racially loaded terms such as “Black criminality” can feel totally at ease using phrases like “white privilege.” In my reality, some Blacks are criminals; the overwhelming majority are not. And anyone who thinks all whites are privileged should take a trip through meth-ridden Appalachia some time; there are towns there that make East Oakland look like Paris.

Language of this sort, whether employed by erstwhile liberals or earnest conservatives, is racially divisive and inimical to the cause all right-thinking Americans support — equality for all, regardless of race, creed, or color.

Bob Madera, via email

“Survivor, Oakland City Hall: Power Struggle Led to Expulsion of City Clerk from Closed Session” by Darwin BondGraham, News, July 19:

Kicking Out City
Clerk a Bad Move
for Transparency

This is a very timely article due to the fact that Oakland lacks transparency, and has struggled with issues of equity for years. Oakland has paid several high-profile lawsuits that span wrongful termination to police corruption. Oakland is lucky to have a City Clerk who can sit between the City Council and the City Administrators without being conflicted or controlled. This helps to eliminate bias and improves public trust. When we start allowing City Officials private spaces to meet without someone to keep a record of the actions, we allow obfuscation of the political process. The public is completely in the dark as to their actions, intent, and policy motivations. …

Oakland needs to address the lack of affordable housing and jobs for their citizens, get their police in line, and bring some recreation back for their kids. The last thing we need in the city I love and cherish is for our valuable resources to be squandered harassing the clerk and trying to hide actions from Joe and Josette Public. What I find most astounding about this article is that the City of Oakland wants to control whistleblowers and information that should be public and accessible.

Mason Cooper, Berkeley


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