Letters Oct. 16 – Nov. 13

Stirrings of an Oakland Tax Revolt Could
Hamper Parks Maintenance, News, Oct. 16

How About a Trade-Off?

I’ll go for a homeless tax if … it’s relocate them out of Oakland!!! They’ve taken over parks etc. ENOUGH!!!

Paul Merr

A’s Might Have Perfect 2020 Vision,
News, Oct. 23

Not at the Coliseum

I’m cautiously optimistic, but I don’t think the Coliseum site should be on the table at all. It’s still a great location for sports, and the vacuum left by the departure of the NFL and NBA will be filled. Why waste all that infrastructure by turning it into an office park or affordable housing?

Jesse Adams

Can someone please explain to me why the A’s should get the right to own the Coliseum complex? Why won’t the city/county put the complex up for sale? The A’s can bid. Why tie it to the Howard terminal site or any other site. You cannot tell me that the A’s are privately financing Howard Terminal if they are getting a sweetheart deal for the Coliseum. It seems that if the A’s are getting enough from Coliseum deal to finance Howard that there’s a lot of money on the table and it really isn’t privately financed at all but a sweetheart deal. I do agree though that having the team own their site rather than the silly joint agreement would have probably prevented a lot of mistakes and debt foisted upon Oakland citizens. For once I might agree with Dan Kalb — akkkk.

Jeff Diver


Rudy Lopez Sr.

This article should and could have been written one year ago. Every single on-the-field issue you identified in the article existed at the end of the 2018 baseball season. The one big missing piece limiting team success was starting pitching. Over the off season, Billy Beane did absolutely nothing to address that issue. Predictably, in 2019, the A’s once again made a quick and rather silent exit from the playoffs. Look at the A’s playoff record in the last 20 years, it is not good. They have never made it beyond the first round.

The fact that you forgot to mention is that in the mid 2000’s the A’s had a young dynamic nucleus of Josh Donaldson, Yeonis Cespedes, and Brandon Moss. They were the best and most productive power hitting 3,4, and 5 hitters in baseball. Despite the numbers they generated, Beane broke up that group because at the end of the day he knew that he would never spend the money needed to sign them to long term contracts at the levels their performances would require. I predict that the same thing will happen again with this young group. When they become free agent eligible, they will sign with other teams because the A’s will not spend the money required to keep them.

In the world of sports that we live in today, teams have about 3 years to win championships if they are lucky enough to pull together enough young talented players at the same time. When that window closes with one group, it is time to retool. The A’s just finished year 2 with this group. It is clear to me that the organizational model is to consistently put together a team that is competitive enough to be in the hunt, but not good enough to win the a title. By doing that, they maintain fan interest every year, keep the payroll low and continue to collect the luxury tax. That is a profitable business model. Unfortunately, teams at the lower third of the payroll scale do not go to the World Series. Just look at the numbers. That may be good enough for you Chris, but don’t deceive the public with dream scenarios that will never happen until the A’s make a financial commitment to do what it takes to win, not just compete.


New Law Bans Smoking in Parks and Beaches — Except Where It Doesn’t, News, Oct. 23

Smoking Ban is
a Good First Step

A famous person once said, ‘a baby step in the right direction is still a step in the right direction; Rome was not conquered in a day.’ I think that the legislature, for whatever reason, has at least made the first step in pushing smoking out of state parks. The real discussion should center on the next step, instead of criticizing the size of the first step.

Jerome Defusco

Does this mean I don’t have to smell pot stink the next time I visit a State Park? Of course not. Nobody’s interested in Big Pot and the health effects of smoking their lucrative product.


The Stink in East Oakland, Feature, Oct. 30

The Foundry and the Smell

I live a couple miles east, and I smell the foundry at least once a week. People who actually live here know exactly what I’m talking about. I’m glad this serious issue is finally getting some attention.


Bravo to the sheroes and heroes in East Oakland fighting against AB&I, the corrupt BAAQMD and the politicians who are their enablers. Bravo also to the good Dr. Rupa for understanding, caring and doing something about the blatant environmental racism that runs rampant in the Bay Area!

Andres Soto

So let’s see here… We have a heavy industry that is now and has been operating for quite some time (foundries don’t just spring up over night) lawfully. It’s in a long-term industrial district. It has been industrial for a VERY long time. It’s one of the few operations in Oakland that provides good jobs at decent wages. It recycles materials for use in it’s processes.

And someone who lives at a minimum of three miles away is complaining of the smell? I live within that range, and I gotta tell ya, I have NEVER known it was even there!

Somethings smells here. … And I don’t think it’s the foundry.

Bruce Ferrell

Oakland Wrestles With Bewildering Pot-Tax Proposals, Chronic Town, Oct. 30

It All Starts With
Employee Benefits

Oakland painted itself into a fiscal corner through years of promising employees retirement benefits without funding them. Now when our local economy is booming we should be sitting pretty. Instead, City Hall is having to make many decisions based on how much revenue something will generate. That influences every decision from development approvals to marijuana taxes.

Still, it was nice to dream that we could grow our way out of our fiscal problems like SF.

Len Raphael

Lucinda Williams, Never Too Late,
Music, Oct. 30

Lucinda Brings Me Joy

Love Lucinda Williams. Hate that she’s been negatively branded as a “perfectionist” — shouldn’t we celebrate an artist’s own high standards for their work? Yes, we should.

Jono Schneider

What Color Is Fire? Feature, Nov. 6

Really Poor Timing

Look, I’m sure there are diversity problems in the fire department just like almost any department. I’m a woman, I’m Asian, and no this isn’t news. But for you to put a spotlight on this issue (esp about a postcard from February?) in the VERY WAKE of another massive California fire where people are absolutely depending on these people to save their lives and homes, actually made me pretty sick to my stomach. Really poor timing. Not even conclusive or solutions-oriented. Didn’t even interview any of the minority firemen about their thoughts. I was honestly really surprised to find this on your front page.


Content of your character, not the color of your skin. Let me see, who said that? How often so many people have forgotten what Dr. King admonished. This article should investigate whether or not the hiring criteria are biased. Do we not want the most highly qualified people to become firefighters, without regard to the color or the skin, ethnic origin, etc.? This article has a particular point of view prior to writing. What are the characteristics of the hiring process that are biased? Are these appropriate characteristics to become a firefighter? Could this person save his comrade in a dangerous situation where lives are on the line? Does this person know enough about fire science to determine what is possibly safe when entering a burning building? Does the person have prior experience fighting fires, such as forest fires? These are the criteria which should matter. Then the admonition of Dr. Martin Luther King would be recognized.

Jerry Udinsky

Is Oakland Really Going to Cut Pot Taxes This Time?, Chronic Town, Nov. 6

What Will They Cut?

According to the staff reports this will cut a hole in the budget of $4-9.6 million.How will that be handled?

ed gerber

Trump Administration Plan Allows
Delta Water Managers to Kill Off Winter-Run Chinook Salmon, News, Nov. 6

What Is a Wild Salmon?

Are there any wild fish left? After decades of producing hatchery fish how can we say that winter run salmon are wild?
How has the introduction of a non native species of fish (Stripers) by the CDF&W hurt overall salmon production in the Sacramento and Feather River system?
Are pumps along the Sacramento and Feather Rivers measured for amounts pumped by farmers? If not, why not?

Would the placement of more hatchery facilities increase the overall productivity of reared smolts in the Delta? What effect does ocean fishing have on overall production of salmon vs hatchery fish, through all life stages of summer-, spring- and winter-run salmon?

Les Nicholson

The Clock is Ticking at Point Molate (Feature), Nov. 13

About That Housing
at Point Molate

Where is the info on the federal judge ordering Richmond to build at least 670 units as part of the lawsuit settlement?

Eric Doziér

This article doesn’t even mention the federal judge’s orders. Richmond either uses it or loses it. If the author “researched this thoroughly” why isn’t that mentioned??????

Sandra Davenport

I’d like to correct one of my quotes in this very thorough and well-researched article. I mentioned a new waterfront development in Pt. Richmond that I implied wasn’t selling well. My information came mostly from agent hearsay and I hadn’t done a recent market analysis on that development prior to speaking with the reporter. I’ve since heard from a homeowner there who says their property has increased in price by $400K over the past year and the project is filling up, which is great news for that community. I stand corrected and want to apologize to the homeowners and the developer of Waterline since I seem to have mischaracterized the situation over there.

On the other hand, I’ve had many years to consider all the angles at Pt. Molate, starting with several years sitting on the City of Richmond’s Point Molate Citizens Advisory Committee. I stand by my professional opinion that the combination of hazards, climate change exigencies, inaccessible location/lack of amenities and costs for infrastructure (and the opportunity cost of not concentrating development where it’s really needed) make Pt. Molate an unsuitable location for housing. The real benefit to the city would be to develop and preserve the land as a community resource as so many Richmond residents have said they want.

Toni Hanna

When you consider the accidents that are possible with those refineries and other facilities so near, who would want to live there knowing that? The developers would have to deceive prospective buyers.

Ellen McCarthy

Thank you for the excellent article. Point Molate is a treasure worth saving for all people in Richmond, the Bay Area, and beyond to enjoy. I have spoken with hundreds of people at community events in Richmond and have yet to meet anyone who thinks that using this land for housing is a good idea. People who live in this gritty over urbanized part of the world need more contact with nature — our health depends on it. It is documented that construction and housing will damage the eelgrass beds. We need the eelgrass to thrive – we need the crabs and the fish . We need sports fields, we need hiking trails, we need an Ohlone cultural center, we do not need another high end housing development, we need BREATHING ROOM.

Tarnel Abbott

Besides the questions on fire safety, equity, and loss of habitat, we need an honest accounting of who benefits? Who profits? The city council easily came up with an analysis that it would cost Richmond $5 million per year to provide city services to North Richmond, and that property taxes would not cover the cost. Although we were promised a year ago that the city would provide an economic analysis of a development at Point Molate, nothing has been done to date. This is another bad deal for Richmond, similar to the sale of the Ford building. And similar to the choice of Veolia to run our sewer district. I am tired of a bunch of good old buddies, slapping each other’s backs, and doing each other favors.


After slightly changing the language of the Pt. Molate closed-door settlement agreement, and getting the city council votes (4-3), the city’s lawyers filed a “motion for judgment on the pleadings.” They requested the court rule in their favor in the Brown Act lawsuit based on the city’s defense without a hearing. The court denied the city’s motion.

This is the city’s third attempt to have the court dismiss the Brown Act lawsuit filed against them by SPRAWLDF, Citizens for Eastshore Parks and four Richmond residents, Paul, Carman, Toni Sustak, Jim Hanson and Pam Stello, for approving the settlement behind closed doors.

More taxpayer money wasted due to the direction of the city’s legal staff and Mayor Butt and council members Choi, Bates and Johnson’s support for the backroom agreement and its very costly and risky plan for Pt. Molate.

Please join us, the Pt. Molate Alliance, PtMolateAlliance.org, in the fight against this backroom deal and for a legitimate public process and an open call for developers for this spectacular public resource.

If enough people speak out, the council can change course. They can renegotiate the settlement and hold a comprehensive and inclusive public process and open requests for development plans.

Please write to councilmembers Ben Choi, Demnlus Johnson, and Nat Bates and urge them to reject the backroom deal and the SunCal plan and renegotiate the settlement.

Please thank councilmembers Eduardo Martinez, Melvin Willis and Jael Myrick for standing up for Richmond, the environment, and Richmond families and youth today and future generations.

Questions? [email protected]. Follow us on FB, Twitter and Instagram.
Thank you.

Pam Stello, Pt Molate Alliance Co-Chair

Tom Butt, like Donald Trump, believes if you repeat the same lies often enough people will accept them. Just one example – Butt asked the scientist who’s been leading over a decade of peer-reviewed studies of Point Molate’s eelgrass beds if this housing development would impact their health, telling her he thought it would improve them. When she told him it could damage or destroy the eelgrass beds he turned away and walked off. When I wrote about the threat to the eelgrass in Bay Nature he called it “Junk Science” and his son took to social media to call it “Fake News.” Butt continues to ignore the science and claim the housing tract’s water treatment will improve the eelgrass. That’s why the Estuary and Ocean Science Center, the major marine science lab on SF Bay, the Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen’s Associations, the largest commercial fishing organization on the West Coast, and others have joined the Point Molate Alliance in opposing this bad deal for Richmond, the eelgrass and the health of SF Bay.

David Helvarg

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