Letters for the Week of August 5, 2015 

Readers sound off on Best of the East Bay, Cal's curtailed family healthcare, and more.


"Best Police Watchdog: Anthony Finnell," Best of the East Bay, People & Places, 7/22

Right On

I agree with this perspective. Mr. Finnell has brought professionalism, experience, and commitment to police accountability in Oakland. We expect that he will continue to strive to strengthen police oversight and confront the racial disparities that continue to exist in police encounters.

Rashidah Grinage, Oakland


"Best Tenants' Rights Organizers: Eastlake United for Justice," Best of the East Bay, People & Places, 7/22

Impressive Campaign

I have been more impressed with this local campaign than anything that has happened in years in Oakland. Shutting down the city council meeting seems to have been an effective strategy in gaining time and media attention. It's hard to come from behind and organize neighbors effectively. A million thanks to the person who leaked the memo from City Attorney Barbara Parker that might have killed the sweetheart deal with UrbanCore. So many of the most important city decisions happen in "closed session," and that's a shame for community activists who should at least have a chance to weigh in. Same thing happened with the five new Bay Bridge billboards (although we at Scenic East Bay were able to help pull the plug on two of them.) Kudos, Eastlake United for Justice!

Karen Hester, Oakland


"Best Volunteer Animal Rescue Group: Feral Change," Best of the East Bay, Goods & Services 7/22

Thanks, Sarah Rogers!

Trap and release is humane to wildlife and to feral cats. Most importantly, it keeps Oakland from having to kill feral cats and stabilizes the cat population in our communities. Thank you, Sarah Rogers and your volunteers, for showing everyone the humane way to manage our feral cat issues. There are dozens of volunteers, vets, foster homes, and Oakland merchants behind these efforts. We should be proud that Oakland is leading the way in demonstrating that feral cats have been part of healthy human communities since the time of the pharaohs. Let's hope other cities and communities adopt similar organizations and methods. And yes, I have a formerly feral cat that was trapped and released and socialized by Sarah and the great folks at Feral Change.

Sam Muggins, Oakland


"A Tunnels Alternative," Eco Watch, 7/22

Retiring Land Is a Winner

An excellent article illuminating a huge cost savings that ought to be implemented now. With no construction involved, its efficacy can be evaluated swiftly — much earlier than any tunnel completion. Even at a cost of $1 billion, it is 1.4 percent of the projected costs of Brown's $67 billion tunnels, a project that will surely have $4.7 billion in cost overruns if history is any indication — overruns five times the entire cost of this approach. With this plan in place, 454,000 acre feet of immediately needed water could begin its flow to high priority uses — perhaps to those now willing to pay higher rates, thus offsetting the $1 billion cost. Non-partisan logic says this is a winner.

William H. Thompson, Walnut Creek


"Oakland Auto Dealer Got Big Tax Break," News, 7/22

The City Is Out of Control

Once again, the City of Oakland ignores its own policies and ordinances in order to cut backroom deals with certain people. It's out of control and spreads throughout the organization. Why do we have rules when you can just make them up as you go? At the end of the day, who is accountable? So far, the answer is nobody!

Gary Patton, Hayward


"Cal Drops Family Coverage," News, 7/22

Fire the Administrators

How outrageous as overpaid politicians and administrators run amok at Cal and waste billions on pushing paper. Restore these benefits immediately and fire administrators who won't be missed. By the way, Cal professors are vastly underpaid relative to administrators. It's a sick system that pays $500,000 to a politician lawyer to be the head of Cal and allowed an administrator with no particular skills to make $180,000 plus benefits and hire her boyfriend at more than $100,000. It took a near faculty revolt to get admin to fix the problem.

Steve Redmond, Berkeley

Kudos!

Great article! Thanks, Susan Cohen, for good reporting, and thanks, John Ready, for telling it like it is. And thank you, Arran Phipps, Kayleigh Cassella, and family, for putting your health issues in the spotlight over and over for the benefit of all of us.

Seth Leibson, Berkeley

It's Not UC's Responsibility

There are more than 37,000 grad and undergrad students at UC Berkeley. (About the same number as when I attended Cal, but SHIP didn't even exist then.) About 22,000 are enrolled in the school's Student Health Insurance Plan (SHIP). Note the name: Students' Health Insurance Plan. No mention of dependents. Was Cal nice enough to cover dependents for a number of years? Yes. Is Cal obligated to continue providing such coverage forever? No.

The school's University Health Services (UHS) can no longer afford to offer SHIP to Cal students' dependents. This affects only around one hundred of the 22,000 students enrolled in SHIP. Should 21,900 students have to suffer to subsidize insurance for those 100 students' dependents? That seems illogical and inappropriate. With $6 million in increased healthcare costs looming for the 2015–16 school year, UC Berkeley decided to eliminate dependent care coverage in order to keep fees for students as low as possible.

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