Letters for July 22 

Readers sound off on the Cosco Busan, budget issues, and foreclosures in East Oakland.

"Prisoners of the Cosco Busan," Feature, May 27

The Real Criminal

The real criminal, the Cosco Busan, was not held. If it was held In Rem, things would have progress rapidly. Ships are accountable and responsible for their transgressions as if they were a person in admiralty court (federal district court sitting in admiralty).

The responsible person is the master of the vessel. (Only in the Panama Canal and in situations where a ship crosses the forefoot of a drydock does the master of the vessel lose his navigational command.) The master was in command of the navigation of the vessel since the ship was not in the Panama Canal or was involved in entering a drydock.

The Chinese captain agreed to leave the dock in thick fog and had no idea what the weather in the Bay was. The Chinese captain did not ask that a tug be attached to stern in case of emergency or at least on the bow. The Chinese captain thought it was ok not to wait for the stand of the tide considering the minimum visibility. Maybe he should have had the chief mate on the bridge monitoring the radar for the navigation team. These are some of the precautions captains take. Instead he sat on the bridge like a piece of furniture.

The pilot had the conn but the Chinese captain had the navigational command.

Put the right man in the clink. The pilot, as inept as he was, was only an advisor.The pilot's association should be responsible for the caliber of his ineptitude so as it contributed to the event.

Richard Morrissey, Walnut CreekFormer Ship's Pilot, Panama Canal

"Budget May Stall Effort to Reform Internal Affairs," News, 6/17

We Overtly Oppose

Great article, although an updated version would amend the statement that nobody is "overtly" opposing this proposal.

As of the most recent report coming to Public Safety on June 23rd, Dan Lindheim, the city administrator, clearly opposes our recommendation that the committee vote to accept this proposal in principle as we seek funding for the new hires.

Rashindah Grinage, Oakland

"Crime Is Down, But it May Rise Again" (from "Tax Pot and Save the Parks"), Seven Days, 6/17

End the Death Penalty, Save Money

Thanks for continuing to call attention to the devastating proposed cuts to Alameda County prosecutors and the Probation Dept. As you note, these cuts would result in even less supervision of all released convicts, likely increasing recidivism, as well as dangerous failures to pursue, investigate, and prosecute criminals. I have no argument with your suggestion to save some money by eliminating minor drug crime prosecutions. However, I submit it would be better and more cost-effective to eliminate death penalty trials in favor of pursuing permanent incarceration. This would save millions of dollars. Since 2000, Alameda County has wasted $17.8 million seeking the death penalty for murderers who will likely die in prison of natural causes.

Beth Weinberger, Oakland

"Down on the Farm," Books, 6/17

Thanks for Killing Me?

As a long-time vegetarian and now vegan, I take exception to your article on Novella Carpenter, to quote "they are killed humanely at the hands of their loving owner and go on to sustain my life." The author here is trying to gloss over the fact that to kill an animal for human consumption is murder, no matter how you look at it. I think most people who claim to try a vegetarian/vegan diet give up too easily and make the excuse to go back to a carnivore diet. There is a world of good, healthy, life-sustaining food out there where no more animals need ever suffer. It just takes a little more creativity, fortitude, and willingness to say that in this day and age we can truly move forward and live in total harmony with all the creatures on this planet. We as humans do not have dominion over the rest of the animal kingdom.

You may think your form of killing is humane, but do you look closely into the eyes of that beautiful animal as it dies? Does it say, "I had no choice in the matter, but thank you for killing me anyway"?

Maria Pinto, Oakland

"Foreclosure and Its Aftereffects," Feature, 6/24

Slumlords Take Over

I live in deep East Oakland. There were six foreclosures on my once owner-occupied block alone, and just as many one block over. Most of those foreclosures have now been bought by eager investors. These were all properties in need of major rehabilitation. Not one has been rehabbed. Instead, these outside investors have swooped down like vultures, paying $60,000 for homes once valued at $400,000, and renting them out as quickly as possible to anyone willing to live in them. Our once proud owner-occupied neighborhood has become a block of slumlord-owned rentals. Not wonderful for the few of us owner occupants who remain.

Joshua Beth, Oakland

Can I Buy One?

I'd like to buy one of these blighted foreclosed houses for back taxes. As someone who has been stuck renting in California for twenty years because of super high housing prices, I am really disgusted with Oakland allowing banks to blight neighborhoods and still hold ownership. Why isn't a condemnation placed on blighted houses and the houses sold at auction to people that will fix them up? Why are banks allowed to ruin the property value of surrounding properties and ruin Oakland's city budgets? Can't the city see there are too many people who would love a house bought for the price of back taxes, people who will bring new life to neighborhoods. Get with the game Oakland leaders! There is an opportunity to start collecting full taxes on rehabbed houses with no need for federal programs. Stop giving banks a free ride while they destroy our cities. The city could sell blighted houses for $1 to people who promise to live in them and bring them to code. The tax coffers of the city will swell and the neighborhood will be a happier place. 

Michael Zack, San Bruno

"Hysterical Society," Movies, 6/24

When Blood Isn't PC

It's based on a true story, yes? It's also true that many women (and men) are stoned in Iran every year, yes? And most of this stoning is done on very flimsy evidence, for things we in the West would not consider a crime, correct? Put these three facts together and what you don't get is propaganda. The movie may be more violent than you prefer. Hey, I didn't like the violence in Saving Private Ryan, either — or dozens of other modern movies. But these kinds of movies are made all the time, and nobody does more than yawn. Except, I guess, when the message isn't "PC" enough. Would it have been acceptable with less bloodshed? Or is your message, let's let sharia be sharia. (Feminism be damned.)

Debbie Sims, San Francisco

"Changing the Rules at Alameda Point," News, 6/24

An Unbiased Report

Thank you, Rin Kelly, for researching and writing your article about SunCal and their wily operations in Alameda.  This is the closest to an unbiased report that has been published about the duplicitous plan the mayor endorsed in March. We need more in-depth articles like this. Keep going, Rin. 

Rosemary McNally, Alameda

Corrections

In our July 15 Best of the East Bay issue, we misspelled the name of the sports-card and collectible store Dave's Dougout.

The caption in the photo of the July 15 Eco Watch ("Is Bigger Better When It Comes to Trucking") should have read: "Environmentalists and organized labor want the Port of Oakland to overhaul the local trucking industry."

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