Letters for the Week of June 10, 2015 

Readers sound off on the California drought, nighttime protests, and police tactics.


"Turning Water Into Wine," 5/27

We Need a Rational Water Strategy

I was born in Oakland, but the Wine Country has long been my playground. The water is our resource. Citizens should have all of the information so that we can all make an informed choice on how we use our water. No bullying, no special privileges for big wine. We need a rational water strategy. Thank you Express and Will Parrish for giving citizens insight. Brilliantly done!

Dana Smith, Emeryville

So What Wine Is Sustainable?

Well, here I was trying to buy California-produced wine, thinking it was more sustainable than buying wine that has been shipped from another state or continent. What should the sustainably minded consumer do? Is wine from Washington, Oregon, South America, Australia, or Europe more sustainably produced?

Keira Williams, Oakland

This Should Be a National Story

I appreciate the Express for publishing this detailed research article by Will Parrish. A lot has changed here in Sonoma County, which used to be known as part of the Redwood Empire. It has been transformed by investors from Wall Street, Silicon Valley, China, and Europe, and turned into their Wine Empire. They extract the benefits and we locals pay the costs. This article helps concerned residents here extend our reach into more of the San Francisco Bay Area. Since wine is a commodity that leaves here and is sold throughout the United States and internationally, this article can help make this a national story.

Shepherd Bliss, Sebastopol

A Wake-Up Call for Water and Wine

Will Parrish shines a light on the gravity and magnitude of ecological and subsequent financial collapse that the state is in for if immediate actions are not taken — which he also sheds light on. Hats off to those working on these actions. This is truly a wake-up call.

Ellen Hopkins, Santa Rosa

Water Is Sacred

This is an excellent article. It is time for the public to understand what creates health in our environment. Evidently, we can't depend on our elected officials to do so, and certainly not on those who profit from taking what belongs to all of us: water and the water cycle. Ignorance and greed are devastating companions. As native people say, water is sacred. Perhaps a dark gift of the drought is this realization.

Patricia Damery, Napa

Don't Forget About the Pesticides

Excellent article, Mr. Parrish. I live in Sonoma County, and in addition to the water issues caused by the proliferation of vineyards, many people are experiencing health problems related to vineyard drift (from pesticides and herbicides). That could be a whole other article.

A large winery here is the number-one polluter in the county. It is good to keep your windows up and vents closed when driving. What looks beautiful can also be extremely harmful. Many vineyards have taken to spraying under cover of darkness so as not to alarm the neighbors. I can't imagine that drinking these wines would be very good for your health either. So much for the pleasure of wine tasting.

Kathleen McCormick, Petaluma


"Schaaf Fails First Big Test," 5/27

The Mayor Has Her Priorities Wrong

The most frustrating thing is when an elected official is too busy being concerned with how people are protesting rather than working toward changing the why.

Talia Alarid, Oakland

I Call Bullshit

As a native Oaklander and resident, I say your commentary on the banning of nighttime street protests is bullshit. Nowhere is there a constitutional right for anybody to create a situation that encourages the kind of behavior we have seen in recent night marches in downtown Oakland. This isn't free speech, it is incitement to a riot, regardless of the peaceful intentions of the organizers. Anybody who wants to organize a march has obligations to fellow citizens that extend to the unintentional consequences of these events.

Limiting the street marches to daytime hours is sensible and allows our city government, yes, the police department is part of it, to monitor and control the uncontrollable elements that these events encourage.

I am tired of my city being trashed by people who have no business being allowed to continue this type of anarchism. Get used to it. There are so many of us Oakland residents who will not tolerate it anymore.

Michael Yoino-Young, Oakland

Schaaf Should've Learned from Quan

You'd think that Libby Schaaf would have studied the lesson[s] of former Mayor Jean Quan and learned something. Nope. Most telling is the silence of her Black female campaign advisor Peggy Moore. There's already a recall Libby campaign, just five months into her term.

Eric Arnold, Oakland

You're Wrong About Schaaf

I disagree. I think Mayor Schaaf passed her first big test with flying colors. We cannot allow Oakland to continue to be the default playground for professional protesters with no clear goals and a desire to take to the streets for any reason regardless if it actually has anything to do with Oakland.

There is a reason this doesn't happen in any other city ... because they don't allow these destructive nighttime protests either. Kudos to Mayor Schaaf, and it's about time the citizens here who are truly proud of and actually respect and represent this community, take a stand against the few here who continually seek to disrupt, destroy, and rob it of its vital resources.

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