Letters for the Week of July 31 

Readers sound off on BART financing, Berkeley's minimum wage increase, and more.

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Last week, one hundred community members, low-wage workers, and friends rallied in downtown Berkeley and marched to the Labor Commission meeting to encourage the Berkeley City Council to continue on its high-road path in raising the minimum wage. Please join our efforts. You can contact us at RaisetheWageEB.org.

Nicky Gonzalez Yuen

Founder, Raise the Wage East Bay; chair of the political science department at De Anza College; steering committee member for the San Jose Minimum Wage Campaign; elected trustee of the Peralta Community College District


"No Accountability," Seven Days, 7/10

Drop in the Bucket

Restore public confidence in local government by censuring Desley Brooks?

Nope.

Censuring Brooks is a mere drop in the deep bucket of actions required in Oakland's City Hall to build some public confidence. How about councilmembers and the mayor actually telling the truth, just occasionally, about Oakland's multitude of serious problems?

Mike Ferro, Oakland

Blame Voters

Can't blame the city council for the failure of the Alameda County DA to back up her own grand jury.

You can blame the Oakland voters who consistently robo-vote for whomever the power brokers put up for district attorney. And the voters here, unlike those of other Alameda County cities, don't bother to even send complaints to the county.

The DA's office seems to consider Oakland to be too ghetto to waste its limited resources on.

Leonard Raphael, Oakland


"BART's Lead Negotiator Has a History of Illegal Behavior," News, 7/10

Why Hire a Mercenary?

Surrounding [Thomas] Hock at the bargaining table is a bunch of attorneys that are on BART's payroll, as well as support staff. I think the question needs to be asked is if BART has all these "labor relations" folks on staff, why do they need to go outside and hire this mercenary at the public's expense?

Another question that needs to be asked is whether Hock is acting as BART's attorney or a consultant? In many instances, these corporate mercenaries act as consultants so they can avoid any ethics violations put forward by the state bar association.

Donny Johnson, Oakland


"Not So Simple," Letters, 6/26

Absurd Position

Thanks for publishing the June 26 letter from Norman La Force (Sierra Club East Bay Public Lands chair), endorsing the clear-cutting of eucalyptus trees from our hills. Okay, so it's Sierra Club versus trees.

Here's the dilemma for the club's Bay Area members (I've been one for twenty years): Support the club's great national work from its birthplace, and your dues subsidize a local chapter that regularly takes absurd positions on behalf of "the Sierra Club."

The club rules say that upon renewal, we can assign ourselves to a chapter elsewhere. I'm thinking Sierrans in some place like Texas could use my dues to fight real, sensible battles?

Marcia Lau, Berkeley


"Is First Fridays Good for Art Galleries?" News, 6/26

Where's the Copy Editor?

Is good grammar still important?

John Betterton, Oakland


Miscellaneous Letters

Bay Area Rapid Transit Strike Prevention Poem #2

Punishing the innocent, who believe in humanity,

who have structured their lives around transit they trust,

is an act of cruelty, selfish and mean,

however vehement your hungering lust.

You might gain more, but you make so much more,

than the employees you represent,

so if you're not making pay during strike,

you're not the one whom to hell will be sent,

so pretend you're a modern day Robin Hood,

justified to strong-arm from the rich,

What if your own heart followed example,

and decided to stop, because of a glitch?

W. Joseph Stegner, Jr., San Leandro

Corrections

Our July 24 news story, "City Officials Under Fire," erroneously stated that deputy city attorney Rocio Fierro had advised Anne Campbell Washington to kick Don Anders out of the meeting about OPD's troubled radio system. According to Campbell Washington, Fierro did not advise her on the matter.

Our July 24 cover story, "False Witness," inaccurately stated that the California Innocence Project helped exonerate Johnny Williams and Ronald Ross. It was actually the Northern California Innocence Project — which, it should be noted, is not a branch of the California Innocence Project but its own independent entity — that helped exonerate the men. In addition, it was a nine-year-old girl, not a six-year-old girl, who made the false ID that helped convict Williams.

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