Letters for the Week of October 19, 2016

Readers sound off about endorsements, homelessness, and the Oakland School Board.

“Vote With Us!” by the Express Endorsement Board, Feature Story, October 12:

Vote Third Party

Huh?? Given your extremely tepid endorsement of Clinton, and that she will carry California regardless of how Express readers do or do not vote, why on earth should readers “plug their noses” and vote for her?

Hale Zukas, Berkeley

Hillary, Really?

You wrote that “progressive media” such as your own are endorsing Hillary Clinton so that she can protect us from “tumbling into the political abyss.”

Protecting us? Look at her intimate collaboration with Wall Street. It brings impoverishment and misery to so many millions of Americans. It’s no secret that she protects ruthless investment manipulators (read, gangsters), her old pals. And if you like NAFTA, you’ll love the devastating effects of TPP, another project near and dear to the hearts of Bill and Hillary that would wreak even more pain on the 99 percent.

Vaughn Hovanessian, Oakland

Capitelli for Mayor

I am writing to you regarding the lack of endorsement for Laurie Capitelli, a candidate for the office of Berkeley City Mayor.

On page two in your Editor’s Note, you discuss the very important local and national issue of homelessness. Then, on page six in the article “The Berkeley Show,” a discussion of Berkeley mayoral candidates, you name the other two candidates from the Berkeley City Council as “true progressives,” while labeling Capitelli as a “moderate liberal” who “represents the affluent single-family-home neighborhoods of the northside.”

Let me point out that Capitelli is the only one of the Berkeley City Council members in your article who makes any mention at all about homelessness. “Capitelli said he would focus surgically on housing affordability for vulnerable groups such as homeless people.”

If the Express would reconsider their endorsement of candidates for Berkeley Mayor and endorse Capitelli, it is more likely we will see some true and real progress in the issues of affordable housing, homelessness, and unity within our city government and city.

Maud Engel

Arreguin for Mayor

Kudos to the Express for endorsing Jesse Arreguin for Berkeley Mayor. We need a full-time mayor in Berkeley, and Arreguin is a hard worker who puts in the time. On the council, he is always thoughtfully looking for ways to improve items, to bring more community benefits to Berkeley, and to increase the availability of affordable housing.

I also appreciate his commitment to making Berkeley a climate-action leader. I urge everyone in Berkeley to vote for Arreguin.

Tom Kelly

“Time For Safe Ground” by Nick Miller, Editor’s Note, October 12:

Yes, Safe Ground!

Each of us needs safe ground and awareness of that shared need. Homelessness can afflict any individual. We each are interiorly terrified of it. There will be more and more of it. I couldn’t survive for even a week homeless. To have here safe rotating encampments like Seattle’s would give actual refuge and release from toxic fear and hostility about homelessness. We each need to know we each realize that every person deserves to be safe, dry, clean, warm, where they rest and keep their belongings.

Gayle Mohrbacker, Oakland

“Candidates Vying for Oakland School Board Seats Defined by Positions on Charter Schools” by Darwin BondGraham, News, October 12:

Making Dumb Dumber

Three years ago, the Oakland School Board’s bargaining-unit representatives did not make part of its negotiated agreements that pay raises contingent on new monies were also to be contingent on enrollment not dropping. This last year of the Board’s three-year union contracts, attendance has dropped, with enrollment at charter schools increasing. The board is now trying to get out of paying for that enrollment drop by asserting that new money was contingent on enrollment not declining.

Trying to make employees pay for yet another board mistake is not just unwise, but tying to take back promised pay raise at the start of negotiations of a new contract for all bargaining units is a board decision making dumb dumber. Hopefully nobody will be dumb enough to vote for Oakland School Board incumbents November 8.

Jim Mordecai, Oakland


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