Letters for the Week of November 2, 2016

Readers sound off about charter schools, bonds, and headlines.

“How a Handful of Pro-Charter Billionaires Flooded Oakland’s School Board Elections With Cash” By Darwin BondGraham, News, October 25:

Oakland’s Faustian Bargain

When we go to bed with Republican ex-New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg because we like his massive financial support of our HH soda tax and his support of gun control, he’s bought our silence over his financial domination of our school-board elections.

That’s why New York City voters got sick of him after three terms. They were tired of his elitist BS. Maybe it takes a wealthy elitist to counter big money, food, and gun lobbies. But maybe it’s not worth the Faustian price.

Len Raphael

Education Policy’

Will hundreds of thousands of dollars buy a better Oakland school system? Or an Oakland school board that supports Republican ex-New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s stop-and-frisk education policy of growing unregulated charter schools?

A way for Oakland voters to disrespect the fiftieth anniversary of the Black Panther Party would be by electing a bought Oakland school-board majority that will grow more charter schools.

Jim Mordecai

More Candidates Means Better Leadership

As recently as six years ago, Oakland voters had no real choice for who would represent them, and their children, on the school board because most Oakland School Board elections had only one candidate. Fortunately, that has changed and today there are no single-candidate races for Oakland School Board positions. The organization, GO Public Schools Advocates, – which I chair – has helped by putting a new spotlight on this vital leadership role.

Over those same years, graduation and college readiness rates have climbed substantially, especially for historically underserved groups, while suspension and arrest rates have declined precipitously. But Oakland has much further to go in the effort to achieve educational justice for all our kids. This election will determine whether we accelerate that progress or turn back the clock.

We conducted a rigorous locally-driven endorsement process for all Oakland school board races, in which the voices of more than 100 parents, educators and community members carried the day. Based on their recommendations GO endorsed: Jody London (District 1), Jumoke Hinton Hodge (District 3), Huber Trenado (District 5), and James Harris (District 7). Our major donors had absolutely no involvement in those decisions.

Some opponents of our endorsed candidates have tried to simplify this race to a question of being for or against supporting charter schools. But the candidates GO has endorsed, in this election and previous ones, have a wide range of positions and records on this issue.

There’s so much more at stake in putting students’ needs first, on a range of issues from restorative justice to widened support for African-American males and other historically underserved students to fiscal recovery.

Oakland’s children deserve a first class education. Help make that happen by voting for the school board candidate of your choice. For more information on GO Public Schools Advocates go to www.goadvocatesoakland.org.

David A. Stein, Oakland
chairman, Go Public Schools Advocates

“Vote With Us! The East Bay Express’ Endorsements for Election Day 2016” by the Express Endorsement Board, Opinion, October 12:

Not OK with KK

Oppose the City of Oakland’s $600 million Measure KK, because the property tax that pays for it will be twice the stated cost of the bond. This $600 million bond will cost approximately $1.2 billion in property tax. This doubling of the cost is due to the fact that the bond omits the financing costs. The only mention of the true property tax cost of the bond is buried on the last page of the measure and hidden among many other numbers.

Oakland is not capable of administering a contract wisely. The Alameda County Grand Jury found that Oakland totally mismanaged the recent $50 million garbage contract.

Now, Oakland wants $600 million of taxpayer money to dole out and manage in contracts. Oakland should not be trusted with large budgets until it has proven its ability to manage small budgets.

Oakland’s infrastructure improvements need to be done incrementally. The taxpayer must evaluate the value received before additional tax money is supplied. All new property taxes should be spent on Oakland’s infrastructure; not 50 percent given to Wall Street financiers.

Vote “no” on Measure KK!

Marcus Crawley

“How to Happy Hour Like a Tech Bro on an ‘I Only Live in Oakland Because My Apartment is Rent Controlled’ Budget” by Pilar Reyes, Feature, October 26:

Is This The ‘East’ Bay?

I can’t believe this is in the East Bay Express. What a rude title. If this is how you feel, please move to San Francisco. We don’t want you. Consider a revision.

Trawets Aifala

Headline Fail

I think we could all learn to enjoy earning money like a “tech bro.” Just saying. And the title seems like a horrible attempt at being tongue in cheek, if in fact that was the intention of the author.

Chantrea Nok

“On Tom Hayden” by Nick Miller, Editor’s Note, October 26:

Don’t Dis Bernie

Nick Miller’s dismissal of Bernie Sanders fails to recognize the ongoing power Bernie has, especially as the most popular national politician and the moral ground gained from Wikileaks’ revelations of DNC bias toward Hillary Clinton. With our support, Bernie and Elizabeth Warren are well positioned to keep Clinton honest and achieve many of the progressive goals that are needed. No, Bernie is no Tom Hayden. But I think Tom would have agreed that Bernie is in a much more powerful position than Tom ever was to effect change.

Tom Miller, Oakland


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