Letters for September 2 

Readers sound off on Bishop Sal, gay marriage, East Bay parking, "Smart Growth," and union leadership.

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Might Chris Thompson's feelings about Bishop Cordileone be unduly harsh? The article read like a call for the villagers to grab their pitchforks and torches and storm the cathedral at Lake Merritt. It's fair enough for Thompson or the Express to have such views, but it's worth considering that the pressing issue for many Prop. 8 supporters is not so much same-sex marriage but, rather, a change in the nature of marriage itself. If California were considering three-way marriages, or marriages to beasts or to objects, then we'd surely see a Prop. 9 or Prop. 10. In other words, the issue isn't "gay" marriage but "changed" marriage.

I think the only way to escape the endless bickering is to separate marriage from the legal system. I believe Michael Kinsley was the first to propose this, in his 2003 Slate article deceptively titled "Abolish Marriage." If marriage no longer carried legal "rights," then it would become completely cultural. Each religious or cultural group could decide for itself which type of marriage(s) are encouraged. One church might marry same-sex couples, another might not. Even if the marriages had no legal significance, they'd still have cultural significance — much like a Bar or Bat Mitzvah, or a Confirmation.

Are there any organizations in the East Bay working for a separation such as this? If so, I'd be interested in reading about them in the Express.

David Goldweber, Oakland

Shame on You, Pro-Degenerate Media

It's a pathetic display to see how the pro-degenerates media tries and distorts the meaning of the victory in the ballots of Proposition 8 by assigning credit for it to a single Catholic bishop. Where was Salvatore Cordileone when we, the voters, passed Proposition 22? The only reason for Proposition 8 not winning by a larger margin was because Jerry Brown, intentionally, changed the wording forcing us to vote "Yes" instead of "No to gay marriages" as it was originally intended, thus confusing a lot of people. Twisted logic and labels of "bigots, right wingers, religious nuts, etc." are not going to prevent us, the workers, from defeating them again, whether in 2010 or 2012 for the degenerations of nature are always going to be rejected by the species. It's an instinct for self preservation.

Leo T. West, San Leandro 

"Parking Rebellion Stirs Up Oakland," News, 8/12

Time for a Lawsuit

My dispute with the City of Oakland over a parking ticket was described as follows: "The citation ... said that she had been parked on Waverly for more than two hours, but Seritis claimed that the parking log's initial time was incorrect."

This is in error. I had, for the second time in the past year, received a ticket after properly moving my vehicle from 23rd to Waverly within the two-hour limit posted on these streets. When I requested the activity sheet for this ticket, it showed that my vehicle was originally spotted on "23rd / Waverly / 27th / Harrison." In other words, if I had parked on ANY of these streets, and then moved anywhere within this four-block zone within the two-hour limit, I could have received a ticket for a two-hour zone violation. This is in direct violation of the city's own Oakland Municipal Code 10.28.190, which restricts the two-hour limit to a SINGLE street. I appealed this ticket twice and was turned down both times, in spite of the fact that the sheet clearly shows that my initial location was not identified as any one street, but could have been 23rd, 24th, 26th, 27th, Waverly, or Harrison. This has also happened to several of my co-workers, some of whom were mentioned in the same article.

I think it is significant to note this to your readership because it shows that the City of Oakland is illegally setting people up for tickets they do not deserve, and then making it nearly impossible to protest these tickets and have unfair citations overturned. Where does the city define its two-hour zones? Is it five blocks in some areas? Is it ten? Is it an entire neighborhood? And since this violates their own city law, why are our first appeals rejected automatically, without anyone even looking at or acknowledging the evidence? My first rejection stated that I should submit evidence to back my claim, which I already had but which was ignored. Even my second appeal was rejected, despite the fact that their backup for my initial location was woefully inadequate.

What the city is doing is clearly abusive, and should be stopped by the citizenry. Perhaps a class-action lawsuit? I would be a willing participant.

Karin Seritis, Alameda

Do You Ever Feel Like You've Been Had?

Of all the problems that Oakland has, now we have a parking crisis? What does one say? This parking crisis is one of our own making. It is hard to stay respectful and polite when our members of the city council do something so short-sighted. It is not just the 50 cents an hour; it is not just the extra hours until 8 p.m.; it is not just the higher ticket prices. It is the feeling that "gotcha" and anything-goes-for-a-buck is the way they feel. That is what gets under the skin and make us feel like a crime victim when we get a parking ticket.

They sometimes call us shoppers, sometimes call us residents, sometimes call us taxpayers, but they sure do not treat us like citizens. They treat us like someone to milk because they get away with it. 

Most of our council did not run in a contested race to get their job. All but one of the council members represents a district that has nothing to do with where the people of Oakland live, except to make sure that some of those who live in the hills live in each district. But how do they get so out of touch with what it is like to live and work here?

A friend was telling me yesterday that a customer who got a ticket while in her cafe came back into the cafe and told her that she will never come back again. The cafe owner is in no way responsible for Oakland parking policies, but the anger and frustration of the client was very understandable. We who run businesses in Oakland get to hear how angry the citizens who get caught in the trap feel. 

Parking tickets were never a very friendly way to raise funds. The way Oakland does it is something of a trap. It is set up to make it hard on the driver and increase the opportunities to ticket rather than collect parking fees.

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