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Comment Archives: stories: News & Opinion: Letters

Re: “Letters for the Week of August 15, 2012

I list the web sites of all the other District 1 City Council candidates sans snarky comments here…

Posted by Leonard Raphael on 08/22/2012 at 9:20 PM

Re: “Letters for the Week of August 15, 2012

Caryn, I'm not your average wannabe Oakland pol. I did not want to run but couldn't find any of the "viable" candidates willing to forgo the support of the muni unions and/or city contracted non-profits. Some of the other candidates are very well educated but as long as they're tied with a funding in money or in kind umbilical cord to the muni unions and muni non-profits, they'll have to wait for a Federal bankruptcy judge before they do anything to pay for more cops, replace ineffective violence protection programs, or make a dent in the multi-billion structural deficit.

To have a little fun going negative here, (and why not since the three "viable" candidates which I call the Kingston Trio, all appeal to the same group of voters):

Raya's excellent experience is more suited to running for City Auditor, but at least he has number crunching work experience which is more than any other candidate other than me. He is particularly proud of floating zillions of school bonds. Borrowing our way out of our fiscal problems certainly appeals to the current City Council. He'll fit right in. I suspect he knows what has to be done, but simply will have too many ties to his union and ngo supporters like Oakland Rising and Oakland Uprising to dare try to upset the status quo.

Lemly considers herself to have work experience in economic development because she is a "social entrepreneur". Beats me how that's relevant to attracting anything other than more non-profits to Oakland. And her other strength, which we thought Dellums had, as an "expert in accessing state and federal funding..." Well, that train left the station about 4 years of Federal and CA deficits ago. Her solution to crime is (she's vague) something about economic development. I guess she'll bring in more non-profits that don't pay taxes and pay min wages. Great strategy.

Kalb is an unreconstructed environmentalist old school progressive. He's upfront and specific on how he'll deal with crime: "The centerpiece of Dan’s plans to create a safer city is to make smart investments in programs that reduce recidivism". Vague on everything else.

Don the Green candidate is vague too. But union leadership isn't too fond of Greens. So maybe he and I will debate the issues instead of sidestepping with feel good sound bites. Unless he goes upbeat vague on me because he wants to get those RCV second choice votes.

Believe it or not, below Shattuck all of the ncpc activists (including the many who supported the recall) are convinced Don Link is the anointed one because he's been organizing neighborhood watches and cleaning off graffiti tirelessly for twenty years. And because the SF Chroncle voted him one of the top 3 supporters of Mayor Quan. Completely unknown outside of his area. But then so are all of the Kingston Trio.

Len Raphael, CPA
Candidate for District 1 City Council

Posted by Leonard Raphael on 08/22/2012 at 8:50 PM

Re: “Letters for the Week of August 15, 2012

Len, for this town you sound fairly reasonable. I would rather see city services privatized than more funding for any programs.
I don't agree with the ideological position of the editor in the way he criticizes the cops but I'm no fan of the OPD and wouldn't mind further layoffs. They spend way too much time on drug law enforcement, which said laws should be abolished. OPD rather routinely tells disputing neighbors to file restraining orders against each other without telling them of the dire consequences including loss of Second Amendment rights for starters. This nonsense clogs up our courts. We had one (thankfully retired) Judge here who used to issue restraining orders like water mainly to promote her gun control views.
Frankly many of the cops just don't want to be bothered and my advice is to try to stay out of their way.
I may consider voting for you.

1 like, 0 dislikes
Posted by Caryn Goddard on 08/19/2012 at 1:22 PM

Re: “Letters for the Week of August 15, 2012

My election pamphlet candidate statement as limited to 150 words lays out the bare bones of what I think is needed to reduce crime. Doubling the size of OPD by adding 500 cops is necessary but not sufficient step. There was no room to list the changes needed within OPD to correct the way it's mismanaged or more accurately NOT managed by the civilian officials to provide effective and safe policing for all residents. I've done that in other posts. Bottom line: cop lovers and cop haters hate me. Can't please everyone ;)

"Oakland residents deserve a safe, fiscally secure city with functioning parks, libraries, and roads. Laying off police and furloughing employees is not the solution. Burdening younger residents with $2.5 billion of retirement and postponed infrastructure costs is not fair. Oakland must be moved off the most violent cities list. We must replace crony-ridden violence prevention programs with effective ones. To hire 500 more police, I will push for a two tiered, reduced pay system for new city employees. Crime reduction will in turn attract more employers, increasing business taxes and jobs. To challenge the status quo, I will not accept economic support from any nonprofit or union with city contracts. I am a lifelong District 1 resident with BS and MS degrees in accounting and tax from UC Berkeley and Golden Gate University. I can lead the Council to realistic decisions to fix Oakland's problems."

3 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Leonard Raphael on 08/16/2012 at 12:46 AM

Re: “Letters for the Week of August 15, 2012

Desley Brooks has had her problems with the OPD and is a big part of the problem in Oakland. The extortionate Riders settlement needs to be set aside.
Brooks is a typical race card player in Oakland. Three of the four Riders were non-white and the one white was married to a black woman.
Enough of this leftist nonsense and let's let the police do their job without further political obstruction.

6 likes, 2 dislikes
Posted by Caryn Goddard on 08/15/2012 at 5:27 PM

Re: “Letters for the Week of August 1

As a socialist, I guess I qualify as one of Vernon S. Burton's (Letters, EBX, August 1-7, 2012, pp. 4-5) "faux progressives." However, I am confused by his screed. Can he explain how insulting me, castigating me ("whine"), belittling me ("sitting on (my) hands"), and trying to scare me ("results similar to that of the 2010 mid-terms") will get me to vote for his guy?

If I'm supposed to be scared of a Pres. Mitt Romney, can Mr. Burton tell me how Pres. Romney will persecute Bradley Manning any more than Pres. Obama has.?

If I'm supposed to be scared of a Pres. Mitt Romney, can Mr. Burton tell me how Pres. Romney will throw the Palestinians under the bus, then run over them repeatedly more than Pres. Obama has?

If I'm supposed to be scared of a Pres. Mitt Romney, can Mr. Burton tell me how Pres. Romney will use the Espionage Act of 1919 to persecute whistle blowers any more than Pres. Obama has?

If I'm supposed to be scared of a Pres. Mitt Romney, can Mr. Burton tell me how Pres. Romney will seek the extradition of Julian Assange so that he can be given a show trial in a kangaroo American court--if tried at all-- any more than Pres. Obama has?

If I'm supposed to be scared of a Pres. Mitt Romney, can Mr. Burton tell me how Pres. Romney will kill more Muslims from the Mediterranean to the Indus River any more than Pres. Obama has?

If I'm supposed to be scared of a Pres. Mitt Romney, can Mr. Burton tell me how Pres. Romney will sell out the American blue-collar worker with various Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) any more than Pres. Obama has?

If I'm supposed to be scared of a Pres. Mitt Romney, can Mr. Burton tell me how Pres. Romney will support dictators or coups against democratically-elected governments any more than Pres. Obama has?

Granted, a Pres. Romney will approve the Keystone pipeline in 2013; so will a Pres. Obama.

Granted, a Pres. Romney will go to war with Iran in 2013; so will a Pres. Obama.

Granted a Pres. Romney will throw the Mexicans under the bus if elected; so will a Pres. Obama if re-elected.

Why should a "true" Progressive vote for a man who embraces Lieberman and attacks Kucinich?

Why should a "true" Progressive vote for a man who orders a Shirley Sherrod fired, and in a most humiliating way (no Cabinet secretary does that on his own; it has to come from the Oval Office), yet won't fire a Melinda Haag?

Why should a "true" Progressive vote for a man who can't find a pair of "comfortable shoes?"

Why should a "true" Progressive vote for a man who is George W. Bush's third term, and now wants to be his fourth term?

When you vote for Candidate Obama, you get Pres. Obama. Even a yellow dog Democrat or Obama cultist such as Mr. Burton should realize that once free from ever having to run for public office again, the real Obama will surface: a right-wing, empty-suit Rockefeller Republican whose only political principle is that he believes he should be President of the United States from January 20, 2013 to January 20, 2017, same as a Pres. Romney.

Eugene Webber

0 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by eugene webber on 08/01/2012 at 2:21 PM

Re: “Letters for the Week of June 13, 2012

Is an Arizona style immigration law coming to California?

With a $16 billion budget shortfall, a US Supreme Court ruling favoring Arizona's SB1070 could cause Californians to revisit the idea of a tough enforcement referendum. Polls show most California voters would support an Arizona style immigration law in the state.

A previous attempt to crack down on illegal immigration, Proposition 187 (The 1994 "Save our State" referendum), passed by a two to one margin. But shortly thereafter that law was struck down by a federal judge. This discouraged further attempts at such ballot initiatives. If the Supreme Court does rule in favor of Arizona things would be different.

Enforcement proponents in many jurisdictions will be emboldened by a decision favorable to SB1070. With federal lawmakers paralyzed by the unpopularity of amnesty legislation the immigration issue will play out in the states.

This court decision has the potential to be a real game changer.

Please feel free to continue the discussion. Contact

0 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by John DiPaolo on 06/13/2012 at 11:08 PM

Re: “Letters for the Week of April 25, 2012

I doubt education would reduce recidivism much. A person with a felony conviction is screwed for life, because employers don't want to hire ex-cons. You can work menial jobs or go back to prison. It's better than living on the street. Even with a college degree in engineering, you can't get a security clearance, the Government won't hire you, defense contractors won't hire you, and most employers won't either.

Posted by Frank Defelice on 05/16/2012 at 11:34 PM

Re: “Letters for the Week of May 2

These photos, showing Jack Russo and Alameda firefighters union officials, partying with Alameda Mayor Marie Gilmore and Councilmembers Lena Tam and Rob Bonta on election night, 2010, should tell voters everything they need to know about Measure C.…

Posted by David Howard on 05/04/2012 at 8:32 AM

Re: “Letters for the Week of May 2

David Howard has an ax to grind with our public safety officials because he was arrested for alleged domestic violence and was later charged by the District Attorney. He is Alameda's Ross Mirkirimi. He cannot see the truth about Measure C, even after a judge ruled that he was wrong. Don't let his lies hurt Alameda. Vote Yes on Measure C to have reliable police patrol and Emergency response.

1 like, 1 dislike
Posted by Chuck Meese on 05/03/2012 at 7:59 AM

Re: “Letters for the Week of May 2

This comment was removed because it violates our policy against anonymous comments. It will be reposted if the commenter chooses to use his or her real name.

5 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Editor on 05/02/2012 at 7:12 AM

Re: “Letters for the Week of March 7, 2012

This comment was removed because it violates our policy against anonymous comments. It will be reposted if the commenter chooses to use his or her real name.

Posted by Editor on 03/12/2012 at 2:15 AM

Re: “Letters for the Week of December 28, 2011

Ellen Cushing’s article “Trashed” in the Dec. 14 edition of the East Bay Express contained some additional factual errors that were not corrected above: the central campus is 178 acres, not 6,651 or “over 10 square miles” as was reported. The campus’s student population is currently 36,142 students and 1,582 fulltime faculty, not 40,000 students (campus data available at

Posted by Christine Shaff on 01/03/2012 at 9:50 AM

Re: “Letters for the Week of December 14, 2011

I want to thank Molly for worrying about the California Live Oak at City Hall being flooded. I am also worried about the majestic and symbolic tree for another reason, pepper spray harms foliage, and an evergreen oak is different from the London Plane Trees defoliated on Sproul Plaza when they were gassed in the 1960s.

1 like, 0 dislikes
Posted by Hank Chapot on 12/15/2011 at 6:56 PM

Re: “Letters for the Week of November 16

At an independent, truth-seeking newspaper, journalists have the responsibility to frame the controversial terms and issues they report on. In this week’s edition, both Robert Gammon and Rachel Swan used vandalism and violence interchangeably in characterizing the Oakland Occupy movement. These words are not synonyms, nor should they be used frivolously.

Both Gammon and Swan seem to consider broken windows and trashcan fires as acts of violence; windows do not bleed and trashcans do not suffer. Nor can windows and trashcans go hungry, undereducated, or homeless. Corporations are not people. The events that occurred after sundown on November 2nd were acts of vandalism, not violence.

If Gammon and Swan were looking for acts of violence stemming from the Occupy Oakland movement, they could have emphasized police violence. Police officers, acting under the direction of elected city officials, have used numerous violent tactics to suppress constitutionally protected freedoms of assembly and expression, from tear gas (of which I was a victim), to rubber bullets, to batons, to fracturing Scott Olsen’s skull with a projectile. If the EBX uses the word violence to characterize the tactics of Occupy, they must show equivalent demonstrations of force against human beings, not corporate property.

There are instances where the line between vandalism and violence muddy. Fear is an act of violence, the preferred method of the ruling class. When vandals smashed windows at the business where I work, many of my co-workers were terrified. The memory of the fear they felt may harden them against a movement in their name. A nuanced inspection of vandalism and violence should have accompanied Gammon and Swan’s articles—instead they used the terms like synonyms.

One of the great triumphs of the global Occupy Movement is that it has induced people to question widely held misperceptions. Journalists must perform the same function. I urge the EBX and its readers to question themes that emerge around Occupy, like the myth of a violent movement. The status quo that bails out banks that force people from their homes is violent. Police and city administrators who have caused verifiable injuries are violent. Occupy Oakland is responding to this violence, not causing it. Before equating a few isolated acts of vandalism with fractured skulls and ruptured spleens, the EBX and its readers must reflect on their values. If you believe corporations are people, then violence has been done. If violence is an act that can only be committed against fellow human beings, then the EBX should retract accusation that Occupy Oakland is violent.

Owen Andrews, Oakland

0 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by Owen O'Silverman Andrews on 11/16/2011 at 1:16 PM

Re: “Letters for the Week of October 19

Awesome Letters !! Thanks for the brilliant write up!

Posted by Chandra Bose on 10/31/2011 at 10:18 PM

Re: “Letters for the Week of October 5

"I think the Chengs [owners of The Parkway Theater on Park Street] deserve to have their property revoked via eminent domain.I agree 100% with this comment! The Chengs greed is punishing the entire neighborhood (my neighborhood) with blight and bringing down the value of my home so that I cannot refinance.

Posted by arugala on 10/13/2011 at 5:36 PM

Re: “Letters for the Week of October 5

"SFGlam" spoke glowingly of the OLD Peet's, the one that USED to have Christmas parties to get invited to. Holiday parties for employees disappeared years ago. If a manager wants to do something nice for the staff, it has to come outta their own pocket. Didn't use to be that way. Note: if you've earned vacation time at Peet's , didja know you have to use it by the end of October or else put it off until January. Yessir, during November and December Peet's employees are forbidden to take time off. You can't even request to. Well, you CAN, but for thoses two months a year Peet's stated policy is a pithy, "NO."

Posted by Mr. Bean on 10/07/2011 at 7:23 PM

Re: “Letters for the Week of October 5

I have been going to Peet's almost everyday for 6 years....I LOVE my Peet's employees, and they treat me SO well. they even invited me to their Christmas party one year! everyone I've spoken to there indicates they are treated well by the company, and many of them are long-term employees....that says a lot! I've gone to Blue Bottle, and RItual, and all the other hipster coffee places, but nothing holds a candle to my Peet's.

Posted by SFGlam on 10/06/2011 at 1:43 AM

Re: “Letters for the Week of October 5

Wow...I like Peet's coffee, but have seen it become so.. so.. so... similar to Starbucks that I make a point to drive all the way across town to buy from Cole Coffee, where I've been going for about 20 years now. Love the coffee, it's locally owned and when I walk in the door the people who work there are nice. So, I tip well when I go in each week.

Posted by Max Blend on 10/05/2011 at 4:34 PM

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