Letters for the Week of January 9, 2013

Readers sound off on rent prices, organic food, and AC Transit.

Oakland’s Food Truck Future in Limbo,”
What the Fork, 12/26

The Tip of the Iceberg

It’s just more evidence of our failed government in Oakland. No vision for our city, no goals set, no overall management capacity, no leadership, no accountability, no transparency.

The result in recent weeks: a food truck policy in shambles; a police department to be managed by a federally appointed “compliance director”; an inability to decide on a new dog park at Lake Merritt; a half-baked attempt to deal with graffiti; a “Ceasefire” violence-reduction initiative without the required full-time project manager; no interest in a comprehensive crime plan; failure to truly make crime reduction a priority; a mayor who’s invisible — too busy on foreign jaunts to deal with real problems at home. And so forth.

Mike Ferro, Oakland

Year in Review, 12/19

The Oakland Express

Why don’t you just be honest and change your name to The Oakland Express? And call this issue what it is: The Year in Review in Oakland. Oakland cops, rent, real estate, economy, culture, sports — all these subjects got full-page articles. The rest of us got a few paragraphs here and there. If this keeps up I’ll start reading Dan Savage online and forgo what used to be an informative pleasure: reading the Express back when it really did try to cover the whole East Bay in depth.

Jessie West, Richmond

Rent Prices Soar in Oakland,” Year in Review, 12/19

A Two-Way Street

It’s interesting that rents are increasing but it’s still hard to find a good tenant! I keep a fair price (not market value) for my rental in East Oakland, hoping to get good tenants. I feel like I’m a great landlord and I offer extra things that other landlords don’t with my property, but I continually get poor quality tenants.

The flip side to all this is that those moving to Oakland need to truly “understand” Oakland to live in it. Despite coming from a neighboring city like SF, they don’t seem to realize the challenges we have with crime and then end up moving out because of it. Frustrating for all, as far as I’m concerned.

Krista Gulbransen, Oakland

Nick’s Pizza Is an Oakland Original,” Restaurant Review, 12/19

The Importance of Organic

Thanks for mentioning that the sourdough pizza is organic in your review of Nick’s Pizza. I often find myself asking that when I read your reviews because, as is stated elsewhere in the Express, Monsanto was a big winner in this election (that it bought) and we don’t know whether our food is genetically manipulated because it’s not labeled — that is, unless it’s organic.

If you don’t want Agent Orange on your greens or fish genes in your tomato sauce, you either have to know the source of those ingredients, which is tremendously difficult in our global agribusiness, or it has to be certified GMO-free — and right now, the best, if not only, way to have that certification is by buying organic food.

Please let us know in your restaurant reviews who uses local, organic foods.

Jodi Selene, Berkeley

Crises Precipitate Change,” News, 12/5

One Size Doesn’t Fit All

It is obvious that there is a big difference of opinion between the northern cities and the southeastern suburbs of Alameda County.

What works for Oakland and Berkeley does not work for Fremont or Pleasanton.
As a resident of Fremont, I love BART, but cannot bear to see the scores of empty AC Transit buses plying the roads. This is true of the eastern suburbs as well. B1 had allocated 48 percent of its funds to transit, which would have increased the number of empty buses being run. It is patently unfair to tax us to give us something that is totally not needed.

Each city should decide how to spend its transportation dollars, and not be dictated by the Berkeley-Oakland-based leadership.
I see the superior condition of transportation in Santa Clara and Contra Costa counties, and wonder how they are able to accomplish that with a lower sales tax than us — something for us to ponder.

Vish Conjeevaram, Fremont


In our December 19 Year in Review story “Rent Prices Soar in Oakland,” we erroneously stated that in Berkeley and San Francisco, rent control cases are heard by rent boards.

In fact, cases in those cities are first heard by a hearing officer and only go before a rent board in the case of an appeal, as is also true in Oakland.


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