Letters for the Week of September 21, 2016

Readers sound off about the Raiders and corporate beer.

“Craft Beer Keeps Growing, And Corporate Beer Keeps Swallowing Up Independent Breweries” by Nick Miller, Feature Story, September 14:

Legal Pot =
Corporate Beer?

I read with disgust and fear your article on the corporate takeover of the craft-beer industry.

Although a medical-marijuana user, I have been struggling to decide whether legalization is a good idea for the very reasons expressed in this article. I believe that California going legal could be the tipping point for Big Pharm to corner the market and shut out the craft providers in the exact fashion that AB InBev is gobbling up the craft beers.

I know we need to completely decriminalize pot so that no one goes to jail. But that can be done without opening the door to the mega-corporations.

I can imagine folks looking back at this period and asking, “What were we thinking?”

For this reason alone, I’m thinking of voting against marijuana legalization. Am I off base here? Can you say anything to reassure me?

Roy Harkow

Keep Track of Who Owns What

When Whole Foods opened up in Berkeley so many years ago, they were selling George Killian’s Irish Red, which was a microbrewery that had at that point been owned by Coors for some time and was part of the Coors boycott. Whole Foods attempted to placate the boycotters by pretending that their customers had a preference for the microbrewery before it was Coors.

Branding is garbage, you have to keep track of who owns whom.

Jym Dyer

“Alameda’s District Attorney Wants to Charge Oakland Cops, But Key Witness Sent to Florida” by Darwin BondGraham and Ali Winston, News, September 14:

Alameda DA ‘Disingenuous’

If the district attorney actually claimed she cannot file charges because the victim was jailed in Florida, she was being disingenuous.

Penal Code section 872(b) permits police officers who have spoken to a witness to testify in their stead at a preliminary hearing, and the Alameda County DA’s Office commonly takes advantage of this provision. Accordingly, the DA can file charges, hold a preliminary hearing, and set a trial date without having the witness appear in court.

The victim would not have to be brought here to testify until a trial has commenced, if it went that far. (A very small percentage of cases actually go to trial, given the plea-bargaining operation that is the American Criminal Justice System.) In the event of a trial, the DA has available a number of means to bring out-of-state witnesses to Oakland for trial testimony, including a subpoena under the Uniform Act to Secure the Attendance of Witnesses from without the State in Criminal Cases, which has been incorporated into the California Penal Code in sections 1334-1334.6. And witnesses are commonly brought to court while they are in custody.

In other words, whether or not there is a will to bring charges against these officers, the law certainly provides ways. I don’t purport to know the details of what’s available to the Contra Costra DA, but his claim that he has no “chargeable case” is preposterous on its face, as is the blustering of the Richmond mayor. More accurately, the DA should say he has no case he chooses to charge.

Given the way the political winds blow, the reason for his reluctance is not hard to guess.

William Locke

retired public defender

“At Burma Bear, the Barbecue Comes with a Side of Burmese Garlic Noodles” by Luke Tsai, Restaurant Review, September 14:


Wow! This place sounds amazing. And I definitely remember those kinds of barbecues!

Lillian Hsu

“Burma Superstar Kitchen Staff Sue Bay Area Chain Over Wage Violations” by Winston Cho, What the Fork, September 9:

Appalled and Disappointed

I too am absolutely appalled and disappointed by these allegations and have to take them very seriously, as Asian Law Caucus, Legal Aid Society-Employment Law Center, and Centro Legal de la Raza would only file a class action suit if the chargeshave credibility.

I too will be boycotting Burma Superstar unless they are exonerated. Eating there would turn my stomach, as we have labor laws for a reason, and immigrants and non-English speakers are often the ones oppressed in these restaurants. I know Burma is making a lot of money, which makes this case even more unfortunate and sad.

Karen Hester

Important Rules
on Tips

A two-to-one decision from the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals bars businesses from sharing tips given to waiters, bartenders, and other staff with back-of-house employees such as dishwashers and cooks. I think that’s important to note when sharing potentially inflammatory information like this: “Many of these issues concern the disparity in pay between front-of-house and back-of-house employees, as generally only FOH employees benefit from tips — an issue that disproportionately affects people of color given that they are more likely to work in the kitchen.”

Julie Chendes

“UC Berkeley Suspends Controversial Israel-Palestine Course Amid Complaints” by H. Graph Massara, News, September 16:

Less Bias

Just what every university needs: student-taught courses, especially courses built on political biases.

Gary Fouse

More Free Speech

So many years after the free speech movement and we are still here?

Don Macleay

“Thirteen Unlucky Observations from Oakland Raiders Disappointing Home Loss to Atlanta” by Nick Miller, News, September 18:

Death Sentence for Defense

The Raiders give up 1,000 yards and 69 points to the other team in two games. I don’t care how good your offense is, if you have to score forty points a game to win, you will not be successful.

Clearly Amari Cooper was pushed out of bounds, but then the Raiders never get those kind of calls.

What was more clear was that the Raider linebackers are terrible. In particular, Ben Heeney seems to have brought back the ghost of Greg Biekert as the proverbial leak in the wall. The opponents game plan has been to run at him and throw the ball in his area.

There is no Raider pass rush, and the defensive backs again seem confused half the time.

What is really obvious is how valuable Charles Woodson was during the last two years. C Wood made sure they were in the correct alignments and made many tackles in an area of the field where linebackers are supposed to rule. I do not see how the players on the roster right now to get it fixed. The linebackers are too small to take on blocks and make tackles between the tackles, which allows the other team positive yardage on first down. That makes for maximum flexibility to run or pass on second down or in short-yardage situations. That is a death sentence for a defense. Both Jack Del Rio and the defensive coordinator, Ken Norton Jr., were better than average linebackers in their NFL careers. I do not know how they did not see this coming?

Gary Patton

Just Watch …

Jack Del Rio is in a unique position. He must realize that Ken Norton Jr. is not cutting it at all. And Bill Musgrave is doing the same thing he did last year: being way too damn conservative. Again, the entire first half was a bunch of runs through the guards and dink passes. He didn’t call one pass beyond the sticks until the second half!

On third and nine, Carr would pass to a running back or wide receiver who was just three or four down field!

Just like last year, he never attempts to stretch the defense! Thus, hardly any points in the first half! Just like last year!

Only when they are behind does he call for Amari Cooper or Michael Crabtree to make long grabs.

I’m so sick of it. We’ll be around 4-7 before Del Rio or Mark Davis decides to scrap our offensive and defensive coordinators and start over. Just watch.

Corey Bayless

“Just Vegas, Baby?: What Are the Odds that the Oakland Raiders Move to Sin City?” by Graham Womack, Feature Story, September 7:

Sports Fans Don’t Support Oakland

Most fans of Oakland sports teams are the ones who least support Oakland as a city The fans come to the Coliseum complex to eat, drink, scream, get in their cars, and head quickly back to the suburbs. These folks shun Oakland for everything but sports, and head over the bridge to San Francisco for their other entertainment.

For the most part, there is no loyalty to Oakland coming from Raider fans, Warrior fans, or A’s fans. For some reason most only care for the team and could care less which city the teams play in as long as they can get to the games. They don’t look at these franchises as a part of the fabric of Oakland.

Oakland really needs to invest in continuing to build Oakland into the great city it is quickly becoming. Oakland needs to do this for those who are enlightened enough to appreciate and support this very cool city.

Oakland needs to invest in its parks, roads, plazas, amenities, and community gathering places. This is how you create a great city. Not by building money-sucking arenas for teams who suck disposable income out of the region which may otherwise have gone to supporting restaurants, arts, and other local institutions within Oakland.

E. Gonsalves


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