Letters of the Week: Our Readers Chime in on Last Week’s Issue

“Birthing Inequities,” Feature, 1/31

How Can We Help?

Thank you for bringing this and so many other stories to light. How can I support your journalism in these tough times?

Jackie Buxton

“Neither Here Nor There,” News, 1/31

Above the Law

BART has proven that its police force is above the law. The forces of gentrification have further pushed the boundaries of the bad faith that they act with.

Kelly H. Williams

It’s Homesteading

People don’t seem to fully grasp this, but one of the issues accompanying homelessness is the increasing level of appropriation of public property.

Homeless people do have a constitutional right to sleep in public places if they have nowhere else to go. However, the right to sleep in public places does not imply a right to set up permanent camps in public places and essentially begin homesteading on public land.

Unpermitted camps can lead to a number of nuisance issues, which is why we are seeing fences going up around parks, underpasses, and the HERE/THERE sculpture. The fences would not be necessary if cities could be more responsive and remove the camps when they first appear.

There’s a simple solution here, which is to tell people, “Yes you have a right to sleep in a public place but you may not stay in that spot for more than 10 or so hours per day. After that you have to move.” And this would prevent any camp from being erected anywhere in the city.

We have homeless camps with solar panels to generate power, heaters, water storage, even tiny homes. It’s homesteading any way you slice it.

Rebecca Hoffman

“The Problems With PRIME,” News, 1/31

Should Be No Surprise

The technical problems so often cited in this report are plainly what can be expected from a system integration project like this. These kinds of projects are notorious everywhere for big cost overruns, plagues of bugs, inability to deliver anything like what was envisioned by the client (and certainly the end users). Why? Because they are very, very difficult, both technically and operationally. They are completely different in terms of the design and programming requirements and problems, from building a completely new system something absolutely new from the ground up, from the very start.

This system, PRIME, was based on the idea that it would seamlessly integrate information (and, especially challenging, information in different forms, including video) from several other systems, each of which had their own data formats, access protocols, and, more basically, design principles. All of this quite varied stuff was supposed to be available to users of the new system in a way that was truly integrated, so the users did not have to know all about or, really, much of anything about each of the systems being integrated and their distinct uses, they only had to know how to use this new interface and its system requirements. That it all turned out to be a mess should be no surprise.

Jack Whalen

“Housing Bill Is a Game-Changer,” Seven Days, 1/31

Protect Historic Sites

I’d suggest an exception for historically important buildings. Otherwise, we could lose some exceptional stuff like the 1877 Marcus Garvey Building (Liberty Hall), the oldest commercial building in Oakland (“Souley Vegan”), and the former Western Pacific station around the corner, complicating efforts to preserve what’s left of the Seventh Street blues district, among many others.

Because Oakland’s BART stations were located in historic nodes of ethnic communities, there is also a danger of displacing locally owned businesses and residences.

Naomi Schiff


Our Jan. 31 Legalization Nation, “Cannabis Home Grows Are the New Wine Cellar,” listed Joseph Snow’s wrong email. It is [email protected]


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