Letters for the Week of September 18

Readers sound off on Alameda County's DA, how to honor Oscar Grant, and oystergate.

“Alameda County DA: We Don’t Want Oaklanders in Alameda,” News, 9/4

Follow the Cash

I work in West Oakland and live three blocks away from the proposed Alameda In-N-Out, so let me see if I’ve got this straight.

Allowing a 7-Eleven near the College of Alameda is not a problem. Having a twenty-four-hour Jack in the Box with a 3 a.m. line down the street is also not a problem. Permitting a late-night Taco Bell, a late-night Nation’s diner, and a loud Jamaican dance club is also somehow totally legit. But allowing conspicuously Christian In-N-Out to open a well-lit store on a huge vacant lot near the extremely isolated Webster tunnel? Oh my god, clearly a horrific crime spree waiting to happen.

Nancy O’Malley has a problem with color all right, I just don’t think it’s a skin tone. Follow the cash, guys. Considering the fact that people of color make up the majority of homeowners on Webster Street, I’ll bet you my lunch money that O’Malley is 100 percent full of shit.

Erik Kolacek, Alameda

O’Malley’s Questionable Behavior

You might expect such comments from a random Alameda resident, but coming from the DA who presumably has access to actual crime stats, that’s a little bit scary. Although, to be fair, O’Malley has engaged in far more questionable behavior over police accountability, where she has consistently sided with officers who have shot and killed young black men and refused to investigate or charge them, even when police accounts were inconsistent, such in as the Alan Blueford case. It is a little strange that O’Malley would make a public comment and then refuse to speak on record. If she had any proof of her assertions, that would have been the time to furnish them.

Eric Arnold, Oakland

Undesirable in Oakland

Well, I guess Alameda can do without my business, too. I’m a middle-aged, middle-class white woman and I live in Oakland, but since Alameda is walking distance from my house I’ve been doing most of my shopping there for ten years. But I guess being from Oakland must make me undesirable too, right?

Carol Maddox, Oakland

Feet in Mouth

Nancy O’Malley’s past service is not the question here. It’s the fact that she managed to stick both feet firmly in her mouth by spouting off on a subject that she should have known about (especially after holding herself out as an expert on the topic) or at least could have researched before trying to fly the whoppers (um, no pun intended) that she attempted to serve up to Alameda.

My only problem with the new Alameda Point (it is not a town center, guys!) construction is that we need to consider adding some tubes to handle all the traffic that developing the point will bring. I honestly don’t know why having more choices for shopping and eating on the island is so frightening to so many of the older, more insular members of the population of this town.

Oh wait, I’m forgetting the BS we went through to renovate the movie theater or to put in the new library. Or … oh well … at least she’s part of a rapidly dwindling demographic.

Yohannon Hadden, Alameda

“A More Fitting Way to Honor Oscar Grant,”
Opinion, 9/4

It’s Already Oscar Grant Station

Oscar Grant didn’t hang around downtown. Oakland City Hall wasn’t his neighborhood; that’s where Frank Ogawa worked and fought for civil rights. So the plaza at City Hall doesn’t really have much to do with Oscar Grant. However, it’s Oscar Grant memorial station whether the BART directors call it that or not. Taggers or BART maintenance can change the signs later, but the name of that station has changed from now on. Use the term “Oscar Grant Station” every time, all the time.

Rashid Patch, Oakland

The Struggle Isn’t New

Thanks so much for this article. The kids who idealistically would like to obliterate the memory of struggle in this town have no idea who Frank Ogawa was or that it was Lionel Wilson and Mark Comfort who brought the Panther emblem back to Oakland from Alabama, and led numerous actions to displace all white venues in our home city — or that we all lived in de facto segregated areas of this town basically until the MacArthur Freeway began displacing whites who moved to the ‘burbs and opened up the Grand Lake and other areas of the town.

Ogawa gave so much to his hometown and for those of us who walked picket lines to integrate Montgomery Ward’s sales staff, to integrate Lucky Stores and Safeway, the Tribune — RIP Mark Comfort — it is alarming for folks to think that struggle began with this generation and that those who actually did sacrifice deserve no honors, no memory.

I have always maintained that a memorial to the murder of this young man would be better where he died as a consistent reminder of cops who were prejudiced and out of control.

Earl Marty Price, Oakland

“Labor’s Great Regression,” News, 9/4

Workers Told to Eat Cake

Unemployment and underemployment remain much higher than federal government figures that understate them. I hesitate to call it lying, but if one can find a politician at that level who tells the truth it is most likely an anomaly. So the real unemployment rate remains nearer to 20 percent, with many workers simply opting out of looking for a job. The private sector has, in a word, failed. The federal government à la Franklin D. Roosevelt needs to start a massive jobs program and new Works Progress Administration (WPA), with skill-building and education built in. The creation of millions of jobs can also help private enterprise get better trained workers when or if they decide to get off their duffs and expand and hire new employees. The new WPA needs to be ongoing so that ultimately there are too many jobs and not enough people to fill them all. This will increase pressure to raise wages and reverse the destruction of workers and their families. Don’t look to Obama who has little concern or interest in workers as he soothes his patrons’ big money, big banks and financial institutions, and big media. It’s all about welfare for these big interests while workers are told to eat cake.

Steve Redmond, Berkeley

“Appeals Court Orders Drakes Bay Oyster Company to Close,” Seven Days, 9/4


During oystergate, what with all the disinformation not only flaunted from sign posts and shop windows, but leaking into publications of supposed record, it was an escape into sanity to have in the Express reliably useful, substantial, perceptive coverage, blessedly free of promotion (although you did prove yourself mortal by adoption of the “farm” misnomer). May the estero enjoy undisputed recovery of wildness, and its oysters regroup as the families in which they naturally cluster.

Barbara Deutsch, Pt. Reyes Station

Comparing Cheese to Oysters

This is excellent news! Somehow some landowners in West Marin got terribly confused over this issue and thought that supporting the oyster farm’s continued lease was justifiable because they believed that their ranchlands protected under the Marin Agricultural Land Trust (MALT) would be the next to be threatened. That’s like comparing cheese to oysters. Some wild-eyed nut jobs actually thought that enlisting the rapacious, right-wing Koch brothers to help would be smart. You can’t make this stuff up.

But the tax havens set up by MALT are safe, and now, so is the wilderness. Sometimes the courts really do get things right. Congratulations and deep-hearted thanks to those visionary folks from the ’70s who worked hard to get the wilderness designation in the first place.

Now we just need to convince California State Parks to follow suit and reject the privatization schemes currently being hatched by developers to get their hands on the best lands in California (the state parks) by pretending to save the state park system from financial ruin with golf courses and so-called “nature centers.” The oyster farm fiasco is proof enough of how hard it is to get rid of a Trojan horse once it’s inside the gates.

Laura Baker, Oakland

Miscellaneous Letters

Questioning the Obama Binary

We are a group of concerned university students, gathering on campus to demonstrate our opposition to a war on Syria. As students who study Molecular Cell Biology, Peace and Conflict Studies, Public Health, and History, we understand the impact and significance that a US military attack would have on Syria and the rest of the world. And with that understanding, we stand here to vocalize our opposition to a US military attack, yet also putting forth that we do not support neglecting the situation in Syria. We understand the sensitivity of the Syrian Civil War and do not advocate the position of standing idly by that Obama spoke out against at the G20 Summit last week.

However, we feel that a military strike by the US, no matter the intensity, scope, or range, is a counterproductive and harmful step toward a more cohesive and cooperative world. We invite the community to ask themselves the following questions: Are there more than these two options given to us by mainstream media? Are bombing Syria or standing idly by the only two options available in handling this highly complex international issue? Are there other possible options to explore? And why isn’t the Obama administration exploring these other options?

As young people of the US we have seen the disastrous outcomes of endless wars in the Middle East and feel compelled to act to prevent another addition to these endless wars. More bombs and killings cannot solve issues, they will only create more issues. As students who comprehend the atrocities that could follow a military attack on Syria, we hope that our government will, too.

Shawndeez Jadali and Annie Gordon, Berkeley

A Dumber War

A war with Syria would risk causing a wider regional war, certainly has nothing to do with defending the US, won’t help the Syrian people, won’t end the Syrian Civil war, and won’t end chemical warfare, so why would the US even consider going to war in the Middle East again? And who knows for sure if the chemical attack in Damascus on August 21 is true or false and who carried it out?

Could this just be more WMD hysteria to drag us into war, much like the WMD hype that was used to drag us into the Iraq war? Barack Obama said the war in Iraq was “a dumb war.” Wouldn’t this even be a dumber war?

Ron Lowe, Nevada City


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