Letters for the Week of August 6, 2014

Readers sound off on Public Ethics Charter Reform, Illegal Dumping and Adjunct Faculty Unions

“Best Good-Government Politician,” Best of the East Bay, 7/23

Schaaf Deserves Credit, Too

Thanks so very much for the honor. I’m thrilled that the public ethics charter reform measure is on the ballot. Our redistricting commission measure is also important. And Councilmember Libby Schaaf deserves a big share of the credit for that one.

Dan Kalb, Oakland City Councilmember

“A Neighborhoood Reawakens,” News, 7/23

What About Illegal Dumping?

How about we take those “overly diligent” [parking enforcement] staff and put them on illegal dumping cleanup and enforcement? That seems like a much more important problem that needs dealing with before we slam the two-hour parkers. Just looking at the neighborhood on [Google] Street View you can see little piles of trash all over the place.

Max Chanowitz, Oakland

“The Battle for Adjunct Faculty Rights,” News, 7/23

Adjunct Faculty Are Under Attack

I was glad to read Sam Levin’s article about Mills College adjunct faculty member’s success in forming a union.  Having taught part-time for more than thirty years, mainly in community colleges, I am keenly aware of the numerous indignities, including low pay and ongoing job insecurity, endured by adjuncts/part-timers. Finally, this is being recognized as a nationwide scandal that undermines the quality of education our students receive.
I currently teach at City College of San Francisco (CCSF) where, thanks to the efforts of some of our union members over the years, part-timers are paid more than the average adjunct, with many even eligible for medical benefits, while also receiving a degree of job protection through our seniority system.
Now, these rights are under attack. With the manufactured accreditation crisis at CCSF, all faculty have suffered pay cuts. Our current pay is less than it was in 2007, with no adjustment for the increase in the cost of living.

During the last two years, the new administration at CCSF has used the excuse of the accreditation crisis to especially target part-timers, and have tried to further reduce our pay and benefits, while also seeking to eliminate our seniority system.

In spite of certain full-time faculty union members’ voiced disgruntlement, our local has held firm on maintaining the relatively high pay and benefits of part-timers who work at CCSF.

Unfortunately, the administration has also used the accreditation crisis as an excuse to downsize CCSF, and many part-timers have lost their jobs.

Rick Baum, Oakland

“There is No Such Thing as a Child Prostitute” Feature, 7/2

What About the Pedophiles?

I’ve known commercially sexually exploited children who explained that they would rather have sex with strangers than be raped by family members or molested by a foster parent. Some of them have the illusion of control and feel they have made an independent decision, rather than being manipulated and controlled. And why didn’t this article mention the fine, upstanding citizens who buy children for sex? Chances are they molest their own children as well, being pedophiles and/or ephebephiles. (An ephebephile is an adult who is attracted to young teens. They generally don’t want kids who can pass for over eighteen, either. It’s the vulnerability of youth that attracts them.) They should be charged as child molesters and put on the Megan’s Law list, in my opinion.

Holly Harwood, Oakland

“Are Jazz Festivals Excluding Women?” Music, 6/3

Promoting Women Musicians

Excellent raising of consciousness around the issue of the lack of opportunities for women’s music to be heard, Ellen Seeling. You are to be applauded and we will continue to support your efforts by fulfilling our mission to promote women musicians, globally, at WiJSF.org.

Joan Cartwright, Executive Director, Women in Jazz South Florida, Atlanta, Georgia


No Faith in Establishment

The City of Oakland has recently hired a new executive director of the Citizens’ Police Review Board (CPRB), Anthony Finnell, who appeared at the July 10 meeting of the CPRB. It’s too bad the city did not think that this appointment was important enough to warrant a press release.

Perhaps, given recent community efforts to achieve greater police accountability that were thwarted by the city administration, it was felt that this might not be the opportune time to discuss the current civilian oversight agency that Oakland has had for decades.

What a terrible signal this sends to the community — not to mention the newly hired director who isn’t valued sufficiently by his new employer to warrant a story in the press: that the agency he now heads is undervalued.

Is it any wonder that the community lacks faith in the “establishment” to take the issue of police accountability seriously?

The administration should be embarrassed about its failure to post a formal announcement to the media — other than what the mayor included in her newsletter.

Rashidah Grinage, Oakland

Abject Incompetence Over A’s Lease

The brouhaha over the A’s lease is indicative of the long-standing problem of manifest incompetence and absence of rudimentary business practices at City Hall. Irrespective of what one’s position is on the details of the lease transaction there can be no doubt that the ineptitude and schizoid mixed messages coming from Mayor Jean Quan and the city council are cause for immense concern to taxpayers who expect first rate competence from those entrusted with the operation of the city and the management of our municipal finances. Deals are deals and once negotiated and agreed upon are irrevocable. Grandstanding by hopelessly inept politicians does no good for anyone and once again confirms the overwhelming perception that Oakland is run by unqualified, inexperienced frauds who have done almost nothing of real consequence in the world of business and thus are doing the business of Oakland as a training exercise on how to function in the real world. The inevitable results are entirely predictable as mistake-prone, incoherent, and imprecise policies are foisted upon the public and the responsible, organized, and qualified parties attempting to do business here find this behavior to be stunningly unprofessional and alarming. It is the ongoing tragedy we endure hereabouts. Abject incompetents run Oakland and the evidence of their bungling is on display every day.

Jonathan C. Breault, Oakland


Our July 23 Best of the East Bay selection for “Best Youth Training Program” misstated the address for EMS Corps of Alameda County. It’s 1000 San Leandro Blvd., San Leandro — not 100 San Leandro Blvd., San Leandro.


Our July 9 feature, “A Battle for Profits,” stated that Children’s Fairyland Executive Director C.J. Hirschfield spoke in opposition to raising the minimum wage at a recent chamber of commerce meeting regarding the Lift Up Oakland ballot measure, which would increase the minimum wage to $12.25 an hour for all workers in Oakland in March 2015. After the story was published, Hirschfield said she had only raised objections to the Lift Up Oakland measure at the meeting. She declined to state whether she opposes or supports the measure.


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