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"A New Day in Oakland," Seven Days, 1/5
Key to Urban Investment
How would Brown grab the tax increment financing mechanism that the redevelopment agencies hold? Given the sordid past of many redevelopment agencies in the state, it wouldn't be that surprising if they went away — but that tax financing is key to urban investment in one form or another.
Doug Johnson, Oakland
"Cee Lo Green," CD Reviews, 1/5
And to think he used to make relevant, meaningful music with Goodie Mob. I guess it all started when he wore that wedding dress. We really need Dungeon Family in times like these.
Carl Chambers, Oakland
"Worst Movie of the Year," Letters, 1/12
Kudos to David Wietzman for his letter about the Coen brother's True Grit. I also wasted two hours on it, and felt ashamed and sickened at the El Cerrito audience cackling with glee at Jeff Bridge's abuse of Indian children. He also did a truly atrocious job of overacting.
Another example of review inflation is the favorable critical response to Black Swan. Did we need another film where the female characters are impaired or devilish? Do the writers of this bile enjoy seeing a young woman kill herself at her moment of success? All the credits at the end seemed to belong to men.
Rachel DeCarlo, El Cerrito
"Yelp and the Business of Extortion 2.0," Feature, 2/18/09
A Cash Grab
Yelp is absolutely, 100-percent a cash-grab. I posted a (tactfully worded) negative review, stating 100 percent that it was my personal experience, truthful and legit. There was no slander, no explicit language, no reason whatsoever to pull the review — yet two weeks later it was filtered and the offending business' reputation restored to perfect shape. It is a cash-grab and a joke. Cannot wait for a competitor to blow Yelp out of the water.
Mike Hoyles, Calgary, Alberta, Canada
I left a nice review for a local business that my wife and I use quite often on Yelp.com. I carefully wrote the review so it could be useful to someone reading it. What happens? My review gets filtered by their overzealous filter system. Screw Yelp.com, I removed my review, told Yelp.com to take a long walk on a short pier and closed my account. I will never trust Yelp.com again after this and reading about other peoples' experiences with them.
Sean Ryer, Galena, OH
"Top Ramen for Life," Feature, 11/10
Educated At a Price
I thought being educated was a gain for everyone. The interest rates are horrendous. Loan sharks and Sallie Mae have a lot in common. I am in a situation where we agreed on a payment plan and Sallie Mae reneged on the agreement. No one will take my case. Sallie Mae will not allow me to consolidate either — the recovery department is a joke. The advocates are not helpful, they just keep telling you how sorry they are. I have resorted to getting two jobs. If I had known that being educated came at this price, I probably would have just opted to get a government job and kept good credit. I am a skilled, professional living close to the poverty level with bad credit.
Linda Kamal, Kansas City, MO
"Collective Bike Riding Gaining Traction," News, 11/10
I've guided a few ad-hoc gangs of bikes on First Fridays, although we have made the obligatory stop at Linden Street first to enjoy a fine sample of their brews, we then head into downtown Oakland to tour the galleries on the Murmur nights. It's so much fun to have enough bikes together to claim a full lane of traffic and generally cars have been very friendly and entertained by our presence!
Tres Fontaine, Oakland
"Dangerous Perspectives," Feature, 12/15
Beautifully written, Rachel. Felt like I was experiencing his harrowing shoots, too.
Nga Bui, Oakland
"Speeding down 880 at 90 miles per hour ... lurched across lanes ... weaving between the other vehicles."
The guy is welcome to risk his own skin and make orphans of his kids, but he is a jerk for endangering others with his juvenile behavior.
Aaron S. Thomas, El Cerrito
"Hello Again," Food, 12/15
I'm really happy Giovanni's has reopened again — new menu, fresh homemade pasta, and keeping the best parts of the past, the pizza and focaccia bread. The service is warm and friendly, the decor has been updated but it's not a total makeover. I still feel at home.
Tom Rathmann, Oakland
Should be "fried egg panino" (singular), not "fried egg panini," if you're referring to a single menu item. Plus penne is almost always a dried, store-bought pasta, even in the best restaurants, unless the kitchen is making it fresh with a pasta extruding machine. Chicken parm and veal marsala are not programmed into a European's food memory hard-drive. Don't confuse traditional recipes from Italy with Italian-American cuisine.
Adrian Reynolds, Oakland
"A Safer Place to Break the Law?" News, 12/22
Blame the Burbs
I just knew it! It's that suburban element coming in and messing up our city.
I'm saying that still believing graffiti is art.
Peter Schroepfer, Oakland
"Express Appoints New Co-Editors," Editor's Note, 12/22
I'll Miss Bob
Just read Gammon will be assuming another position with the East Bay Express. I'm pleased for him but disappointed because I will certainly miss his articles!
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