Letters for the week of February 7-13, 2007 

Readers comment on Fremont crime, Oakland litter, and the battle over Wolfgang's Vault.

"Who's Killing the Immigrant Mothers of Fremont?" Feature, 1/10

Straight Outta Fremont
I grew up in Fremont, right down the street from where the two ladies were beaten. I was shocked when I heard it had occurred in my old stamping ground. Nothing ever happened there. That, by the way, is why I'm one of the "white people who fled." There is nothing with a capital "N" to do in Fremont. It's a place where you live and go to school and that's it. It still doesn't have culture, art, or anything of interest to visit. Financially, Fremont became too pricey. We could buy twice as much home and property in the Hayward Hills area, and enjoy ten times more cultural diversity. People have not forgotten the murders. There is still plenty of speculation. The Ansari case is just baffling. As far as people getting upset about changing the name to "Little Kabul," where is the racism in that? If I went to Kabul and set up a sign that said "Centerville" I don't think I'd get a positive response either. It's been Centerville forever, just like Niles and Irvington and Mission. When they do find the perps, I hope you will follow up your story, hate crime theory or not.
Christie Bulcao, Hayward

The Immigrants of Fremont
Being that I was born and raised here in Fremont from 1968 through 2006, I believe that I've got a pretty good idea of what this town is about. The article leads one to believe that these two "hate crimes" (as the families would have one believe) were committed by a Caucasian. How so? Statistically speaking, that is nearly impossible. Add in factors such as the locales where the incidents took place (both are areas of high traffic and gang activity) and you have other "options" as far as "finger-pointing."

I'm not going to say that there aren't old-timers who are racist. Every city has them. I will say this: When I was in high school there came a year when strangers were scuttled into the back classrooms and kept apart from the rest of the school. ESL classes were given to these students (at a time when it didn't exist) and all of their classes were separate from ours. Every so often, you would catch a glimpse of these students — they looked shocked, confused, and scared.

Now, the rest of the student body was never told about these students. There were no announcements that we were getting refugees from a war far away from here (the Russian-Afghan war), no newsletters or yearbook notations. Heck, I'm not even sure if they got yearbook pictures! My point is that the city itself handled the influx of immigrants to Fremont poorly from the start. Those poor kids and the looks on their faces that one day have sat with me for years, until I figured out for myself where they came from and what had happened. This should not have been the way it was handled. As far as I know, the policy toward immigrant children has only changed within the last ten years. For shame!

As kids learn from their peers and adult figures around them, so does hate fester among the ignorant.

For all anyone knows, those horrible murders were like any other murders in the US: Most are committed by someone you know. The immigrants from Mexico were walking in a very heavy Latino/Afghan gang area when it was still dark (how could one see the color of their skin in the dark?) The poor woman who was murdered in what is referred to as the "Glenmoor" area — I cannot believe that there were not more witnesses. That is a very small, close-knit neighborhood. They know when you spit on their lawn, for goodness' sake!

That one may indeed have been a hate crime. Or, it could have been someone whom the public, her family, and friends knew nothing about.

One need only to look as far as Craigslist to see that there are a number of unhappily married women and men from various backgrounds residing in Fremont and looking for "love."

To try and paint this city as racist is totally ridiculous. The so-called whites in this town are a minority. Not only that, this town has been populated with immigrants from day one. Check your facts and history, please! And if there are racists here who are unhappy — MOVE! You are not welcome here.
Celeste Young, Fremont

Consider the Children
Someone should inform the Cuellar family about a bill introduced into Congress called the Child Citizen Protection Act, HR213. It restores limited power to immigration judges to consider the best interests of US citizens before deporting their parents. It is a shame that our government destroys families in this manner and sacrifices our children in the process. Whether or not the parents are here legally, the best interests of their children should be considered first and foremost before the family is deported and forced to start over in a country where their children will not have the resources and future available to them here.
Betsy DeWitt, Flushing, New York


"Chasing the Rubbish Ruffians," Cityside, 1/17

The Pyramid of Crime
Not everyone who lives in West Oakland is poor. This neighborhood has a middle class that increases with each dilapidated home renovated and sold, each condo development completed and occupied. Since moving to West Oakland four years ago, my weekly ritual is to collect and dispose of all the fast-food wrappers, malt-liquor cans, and plastic bags that collect in front of the house. There's a spot across the street, owned by the school district, that is a favorite illegal dumping spot. Mattresses, TVs, household hazardous waste, tires, you name it. The dumpers almost always come in the middle of the night to drop off their "gifts" like some kind of Bad Santa.

Twice each day I pass under the freeway dividing West Oakland and Emeryville. For me, leaving West Oakland and entering E-ville is like the scene in the Wizard of Oz when everything goes from black and white to color. I have to go to Emeryville to find a grocery store ... any store, a cup of coffee, or a restaurant that isn't fast food. Sometimes it seems all we have in West Oakland are liquor stores, churches, and mechanic shops specializing in hot-rodding cars. And piles of illegally dumped trash that often sit for weeks.

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