Letters for the Week of April 13 

Readers sound off on our Taste issue, Westside Cafe, and landlords.


"Late-Night Dining for Grown-Ups," Taste, 3/30

Waiting for Dives

Super excited for some of these swank new bars to take a divey turn when the novelty wears off and clientele stops flowing so regularly. I can't afford ten-dollar drinks and hate dressing up, and I feel lots of people in Oakland can sympathize.

Jenna Miller, Oakland


"Thirsting for Extreme Beers," Taste, 3/30

Extreme Expense

Two things to note:

Blind Pig Brewery, where Blind Pig obviously originated from, was in Temecula and not San Diego. There is a difference, even though Southern California is considered the home of the DIPA.

While I do love a DIPA or even a TIPA, they are the reason why many small craft breweries will have a problem purchasing the necessary hops for their beers this year — yet increasing the price of beer again.

Sean Lentfer, San Diego


"Brown's Budget Plan Unravels," Seven Days, 3/30

Create Jobs, Not Taxes

And who thought in this California economy that anything like Brown not finding support for tax extensions could have happened? He has proposed $14 billion in taxes against $11.2 billion in spending cuts — $14 billion works out to about $387 from the pockets of every living human in California, or about $1,500 for a family of four. Jobs in the private sector, giving wage earners money to pay exorbitant California gas taxes, exorbitant California sales taxes, and exorbitant California income taxes, are surely a solution. So why isn't Brown talking about jobs?

William H. Thompson, Walnut Creek


"Go West, Young Foodie," Food, 3/30

Ridiculously Good

I'm so glad to see the Westside getting some love from the Express. I've been going here for years and ever since they opened for dinner I've been in weekly. They have some ridiculously good food options for happy hour, and, like the reviewer said, it is an excellent place to get upscale atmosphere and delicious food for an unbeatable price.

Jamie Dunbar, Oakland

Party Time

I love the Westside. Now that they are open for dinner and happy hour (delicious, affordable, comfortable hangout after a long day), my friends, family, and I frequent the restaurant after dark. I love the Aztec soup and my carnivore son favors the burgers and pulled pork. They are still one of the best breakfast joints in town and they cater, too! I'm having a party there.

If you're not familiar with the Westside or you haven't been there in a while, drop on by. You'll be delighted.

Shoey Sindel, Berkeley


"Landlords Put on Notice," News, 3/30

Landlords Must Be Crazy

This article is lame. A $1,000,000 penalty for "taking advantage." What the heck does that mean? It might have been useful if the article had clearly stated what specific part of Measure EE had been violated — applying the facts to the law. That's how one may judge "fairness."

I'm glad I'm not a landlord. Tenants often "take advantage" of the owner (see Representative Rangel in New York City). The owner must subsidize the rent of the tenants, according to rent control laws. The sub-market rents make it hard to keep the place nice, then the renters ironically complain the place is run down. You have to be crazy to be a landlord.

Gary Baker, San Leandro

Mile-Wide Loopholes

It would be unusual in Oakland — under a rent law written by landlords and arguably the weakest in the nation — if landlords did not consistently make a reasonable profit.  Oakland's law also contains a clause that allows landlords to impose unlimited rent increases "to assure a reasonable return, or for any other factors." Even beyond these mile-wide loopholes, the point being missed in the Monte Cresta case, however, is not landlord profit. Here, the owner bought the property with a two-year no-interest purchase loan together with a co-collateralized loan taken on a second property of the owner, with the intent of passing 95 percent of the combined mortgage payments to the tenants. In Oakland, even such weird charge-throughs become legal — if not protested by the affected tenants within sixty days. Even a jury of landlords would find this kind of domination illegal.

James E. Vann, Oakland


"Driving While Buzzed to Become Illegal," Legalization Nation, 3/30

The True Spirit of Marijuana

I'm sitting here in Chop Bar, enjoying a mocha, some oatmeal, and your article. I'm just another nobody with my very own personal opinions regarding medical marijuana, dope-smoking, stoners, legality, and such. Why do I have said opinions? Because as a 45-year-old, non-pot-smoking Berkeley native, I was decidely in what seemed to be the non-stoned minority at Berkeley High. I have seen this discussion go back and forth for over four decades now, and I'd like to offer the following observation, which I have formed over years of watching people smoke pot, hash, and the like.

[ahem]

People smoke marijuana in order to get high.

I don't say this to diminish the medical aspects of marijuana, which are well-founded.  An HIV-positive girlfriend of mine, in the latter stages of her disease, was only ever able to diminish the nausea brought on by her various medications, indeed was only ever able to eat anything and not vomit immediately afterwards, by smoking some bud. Good for her, and yes, fine, it is good medicine for people that show a need for said good medicine.

But the primary reason people smoke marijuana is to get high.

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