Letters for the Week of June 29, 2016

Readers sound off on "Choakland," cops, and frats.

“Grand Jury: Oakland City Council President Had Conflict of Interest, Violated Ethics Rules to Undermine Housing Project” by Darwin BondGraham, Seven Days, June 21:

Assemblage of Fools?

Frauds and charlatans run our town. How is it that a cypher like Councilmember Lynette Gibson McElhaney has any say or power to administer this town? A person too obtuse, too ignorant to understand that private property owners are entitled to due process in Oakland without illegal colluding, ham-handed obstruction, and over-reaching intrusion into the planning process by City Council members? The Grand Jury indictment of McElhaney for her ridiculously illegal, unethical behavior interfering with a private citizen’s property rights is welcome for sure. But the greater issue — or more accurately tragedy — is that we have to countenance world-class fools. The assemblage of fools on our City Council will most likely “circle the wagons” protecting McElhaney, remaining quiet and docile in the full knowledge that on balance they are no less contemptible.

Jonathan C Breault, Oakland

“Choakland” by Nick Miller, Essay, June 22:

You Choked, Miller

The A’s, Raiders, and Warriors all choked and that’s why they didn’t win championships? Come on, Nick. You’re a reporter, do some actual reporting.

As a foundation for this analysis, “choking” in this context means not playing as well as one usually does or is capable of, because of some emotional blockage, like fear, nervousness, etc.

I’m a Dodgers fan, so I’m not unbiased regarding the 1988 World Series. While the A’s were heavily favored, I noticed before the series that the Dodgers had a lot better pitching staff. If you know baseball, you know that pitching is more important than anything, so it was not at all surprising to me that the Dodgers upset the A’s. Regarding the 2002 Super Bowl, Jon Gruden was coaching Tampa Bay and he knew all of the Raiders’ plays from coaching there the previous several years. Again, the Raiders did not choke; they were just at a big disadvantage in that game because the opposing coach knew all their plays in advance.

LeBron James has been in seven of the last eight championship series and is the best player of his generation by far. James beat the Warriors two games in the NBA Finals last season single-handedly, so with Kyrie Irving being healthy this season it was clear that the Warriors would have a harder series this year. I didn’t see the Warriors do anything to show that they weren’t playing up to their capacity; instead, they had injury problems and were beat by a once-in-a-generation player plus another super star.

If you wanted to write about choking, why didn’t you write about the San Jose Sharks before this season? Now there’s a team that used to constantly choke!

Jeff Hoffman, Berkeley

“Badge of Dishonor” by Darwin BondGraham and Ali Winston, Feature Story, June 15:

What a Bummer

What I find so amazing is the depth to which the practice of sex for hire is accepted and apparently commonplace among the very agency that is entrusted to eradicate or at least minimize it. This article highlights just one woman, but there are likely many. The Oakland Police Department witnesses first-hand the devastation of human trafficking, but many officers are obviously unmoved. This is a cultural flaw within the OPD. You would have to be ignorant not to think that this corrupt attitude didn’t spill over into all other areas of enforcement like accuracy of reports, drugs, and gangs. What a bummer.

Bob Gutierrez

OPD Worse Than Frat

At Mayor Libby Schaaf’s press conference, she said she wasn’t here to run a “frat house.” In frat houses, they aren’t running illegal houses of prostitution. They aren’t taking advantage of underage girls, and practicing pederasty. Frat houses don’t run human trafficking organizations. Frat houses aren’t saintly sanctuaries, but at least they aren’t depraved compounds of abuse violating their authority, an authority that is supposed to represent the law and know and practice the law. Shame, shame on the mayor.

Grant Marcus

“Choakland” by Nick Miller, Essay, June 22:


The writer wrote that the Dodgers swept the Athletics in the 1988 World Series. Untrue: Oakland won one game, the third, on a Mark McGwire walk-off homer. (Easy to block out memory of that series, apologies for the mistake.)


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