Letters for October 14 

Readers sound off on Oakland's restaurants, the Altamont wind farm, and AirBART.

"Oakland, America's Next Great Dining Town," Dining Guide, 9/30

A Whopper of an Article

The irony of seeing a "Dining Guide" reader eat a Whopper Jr. was striking. I've enjoyed the blossoming of restaurants in my town. The contradiction that many residents are limited to a fast-food menu highlights a great strength of Oakland: the city's incredible diversity promotes civic pride and a thriving community. Many thanks to the East Bay Express for helpful information on local dining choices.

Eric Simmons, Oakland

Dance Explodes in the East Bay, Too

As a native San Franciscan born in 1945 and primed to take in the '60s full tilt, it is with some small measure of chagrin that I find myself chiming in on the observation voiced by Meredith Melville in the recent Taste insert of the Express, noting the "[t]he East Bay is so rich in what San Francisco used to have."

True in so many ways and to identify but one, I've been an avid Latin and ballroom dancer for more than twenty years and the East Bay is increasingly becoming the destination of choice for spending an evening out on the floor at Just Dance on the Embarcadero, the Lake Merritt Dance Center at the Veterans Memorial Building (also the current hot spot for zydeco), and Emeryville's Allegro Ballroom, among other venues.These are all up-and-comers in the dance world and their successes have been in large part shaped by those qualities also identified by Ms. Melville: the artistic energy, creativity, and variety formerly associated with the city that once knew how.

Hal Aigner, San Francisco

Don't Forget Flora

The recent article on Oakland as a dining destination was great. It's about time that Oakland gets the culinary accolades it deserves. I was disappointed however that there was no mention of Flora, what many consider to be a jewel of the Uptown district. The restaurants that you did mention are coming in on the road paved by Flora, who moved into the Uptown neighborhood when it was predominately a construction site.  Flora's owners are busy creating the Uptown's next restaurant, Xolo, to be opened early next year — again not mentioned.

Flora's mothership, Doña Tomas quietly blazed the trail into Temescal ten years ago. It's a shame that none of these fabulous, homegrown, local restaurants garnered a mention in the article on Oakland dining. As Flora's manager, I had to take a minute to protest their absence.

We are thrilled to have new foodie neighbors and more attention on the restaurant scene in Oakland. I understand that not everyone could be mentioned, but to overlook a group of restaurants that have thrived in Oakland for several years just seems like bad reporting to me. 

Andee Brown, General Manager, Flora, Oakland

Editor's Note

The restaurants mentioned in our story all opened in roughly the past year. Flora opened in late 2007. As far as Xolo, we weren't aware of it.

"South by Southeast," Food, 9/23

Inspirational Curry

"As thick and curry-yellow as the accrued wisdom of eternity" was quite the inspired choice of words in your review of Burma Superstar. Just for that, I'd try the place — although thanks to your heads-up, I think we'll get take-out instead.

Nate Davis, Oakland

"Shoddy Science," Eco Watch, 9/16

Stop the Spraying

A coalition of California cities and health and environmental groups told the state today that the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) should abandon its attempt to eradicate the light brown apple moth in Northern and Central California. The groups said that eradicating the moth is neither feasible nor necessary, and that the eradication program threatens public health and the environment.

"There are such enormous holes in CDFA's argument for the apple moth program that the agency has no justification for proceeding with it," said Nan Wishner of Stop the Spray East Bay. "We call on CDFA to end this unsafe, unnecessary, ineffective and costly program now."

"The CDFA's determination to spend over ninety million tax dollars annually on a program without sound scientific merit is unconsionable," added Debbie Friedman, Chair of Mothers of Marin Against the Spray, "particularly now, when schools and vital services are facing drastic cuts."

In a 26-page letter criticizing the CDFA's draft environmental impact report (DEIR) on the program, the coalition, represented by Earthjustice, said that the DEIR omits critical information on the program's potential public health and environmental effects, the locations in which pesticides will be used, the complete contents of those pesticides, and alternatives to eradication.

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