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Under bankruptcy, our debt obligations of hundreds of millions of dollars could be restructured. If interest rates alone were cut by half, the budget would nearly balance. Re-modification of contracts on our pension liability must also be restructured. This, too, would save hundreds of millions. These two items alone, which an intelligent bankruptcy plan could accomplish, would put the city back on a stronger foundation from which it could rebuild and grow.
It's untrue that municipal bond obligations cannot be restructured. I've spoken to bond experts, it can be done.
These actions would likely be unpopular. Will it piss people off? You bet. But this is not about keeping smiles on everyone's faces and the local politician's reputation unblemished. It is about saving a city that is the Titanic after the iceberg.
To think the city is too big to fail is erroneous. Look at history. Because we are too big is the very reason the city in time will definitely fail!
And to even begin to worry about the city's credit rating should not be of any concern. The city's credit is already in the toilet.
Oakland leaders take out that chainsaw and don't be inhibited in its use. Do you want something to put on your résumé that you can be proud of? Then make the tough, tough decisions. Make the decisions that will save the city and the people that you were elected to serve.
Rene Boisvert, Oakland
"The Man Behind Richmond's Renaissance," Feature, 5/18
Bringing Class Back
I have lived in Richmond since 1950. Bill Lindsay and Chief Chris Magnus have saved our city — plain and simple. They bring the word "class" back to the city government. Both are fair-minded, hard-working, honest, intelligent, courteous, down-to-earth, well respected gentlemen. Both are extremely well liked and respected. I might add that they have a great sense of humor which helps with the different people that make up this city government.
Cathie Louden, Richmond
Amazing Things Are Possible
I appreciate John Geluardi's positive view of our changing Richmond.
Bill Lindsay is a good administrator, and yes, they are scarce these days. Our city is changing not just because we have good administration but because the community is involved, making change, standing up to the corporations that have dominated us, uniting folks that have been pitted against each other, and developing creative solutions to social problems, and because we have good elected leaders like Mayor Gayle McLaughlin and council people who represent us. Amazing things are possible when you have a mobilized community and a responsive city government.
A better Richmond is possible!
Keep writing about Richmond, John!
Juan Reardon, Richmond
An Emperor With New Clothes
Only one who has not watched a Richmond City Council meeting for the past six years and has paid no attention to crime and unemployment statistics could believe that (1) Richmond has experienced a renaissance, and (2) any renaissancelike movement in the city is attributable to the tongue-tied Mr. Lindsay. Rather, it is clear to those of us who have observed the mean-spirited and pointlessly long council arguments about such pressing local matters as sponsoring a flotilla in the Red Sea that the only change in Richmond is that it has a new emperor, Tom Butt, and he has a new set of clothes, Bill Lindsay. Mr. Butt's new set of clothes leaves him parading naked in the streets.
Miriam Foxx, Richmond
"A Ban on Sitting?" News, 5/25
Don't Criminalize Poverty
Thank you for a thoughtful article on the proposed anti-sitting ordinance, especially for mentioning that the areas in town with the highest percentage of homeless people and transient youths are doing the best economically.
Further criminalizing poverty is such an absurd thing to do. I hope your readers will sign the petition against this proposed idiocy at Change.org/petitions/stand-up-for-the-right-to-sit-down
Stand Up for the Right to Sit Down Coalition, Berkeley
"Pot Penalties May Be Relaxed," Legalization Nation, 5/18
This bill is a big mistake. It should be reduced to a misdemeanor with a $50 fine instead of leaving the penalty to the whims of some bureaucrat.Do not support this wrong-headed approach!
Scott Pitts, Las Cruces, NM
"Yoo: Obama Should Have Tortured Bin Laden," Seven Days, 5/11
Who's the Real Threat?
Wake up! Your government is much more of a threat to you than bin Laden ever was.
Jim Mellander, El Sobrante
"Libraries on the Brink," News, 5/25
(For Oakland, Geri, Michelle, and Stewart)
I'm lookin' here and there
I'm searchin' everywhere
For 100 librarians to
Leap from bookmobiles,
Wrestle black boys off corners,
Arrest their attention,
Transport them to branches,
Handcuff them to the stacks and
"Tubman was strapped, wasn't she?"
"Douglas assaulted his masta, didn't he?"
"Ida interfered with a lynching, didn't she? Didn't she?
"You could ID John Brown in a lineup, couldn't you?"
"Where'd Ol' Nat hide the murder weapon? Where?!"
"Who's the 'Brown Bomber'?
"What's 'Ali Bombaye'?
"Home was stolen 18 times—who did it ? Who?!"
"Who performed the first open heart surgery?"
"Who invented the shoe lasting machine, traffic light, and airbrakes?"
"Who invented bleach, mayonnaise, shaving cream, peanut butter and axel grease? Who?!"
"Who went by the street name, Wizard of Tuskegee? Who?!"
Seven Days - July 21, 5:54 PM
Seven Days - July 20, 4:53 PM
Legalization Nation - July 20, 11:07 AM
Seven Days - July 19, 12:11 PM
Legalization Nation - July 18, 10:16 AM