Letters for the week of November 9-15, 2005 

Partisans of various Oakland candidates -- and even one candidate herself -- chime in on our early coverage of the city's 2006 mayor's race.

"Another Celebrity Mayor?" City of Warts, 10/12

Ahem, I'm still running
I have now read two articles by Chris Thompson on the Oakland mayor's race. Clearly, he is doing his best to advocate for one of the candidates. Might we get some objective coverage of all the candidates any time soon? Since my poll numbers are slightly higher than Chris' favorite and I am not a celebrity, I think it would be, dare I say, good journalism to present a range of options from which the voter can choose.
Nancy Nadel, Oakland

The language of ego
Thanks to Chris Thompson for exposing the sham of Ron Dellums' candidacy. What Oakland doesn't need is another preening egotist using our city to boost his public image. For me, it was easy enough to figure out Dellums was a chump the first time I heard him refer to himself in the third person. Ick.
Lisa Tsering, Oakland

A different sort of politician
I was thoroughly disgusted by Chris Thompson's article on Ron Dellums. I attended the Laney event with Dellums, and I knew I was witnessing a different sort of politician. He is a multitalented individual with many options for his life. He is also a feeling person who responded to the need his community is feeling for his leadership.
Kate Manuel, Oakland

Step up, y'all
Chris Thompson's latest article on mayoral candidate Ignacio De La Fuente neglected to mention a viable, indeed more desirable mayoral candidate alternative. Contrary to De La Fuente's self professed "hard-nosed" approach, consensus builder Nancy Nadel offers an exciting, vibrant vision for all of Oakland. The Express should really offer more comprehensive coverage of this important race.
Nathan Holden, Oakland

Voice of the people
"A nasty little power broker tainted by his role as an arm-twister in state Senator Don Perata's political machine. He's mean, foul-mouthed, and ruthless ..." In so referring to Ignacio De La Fuente, I think Chris Thompson perhaps overstates the case for Ron Dellums to run for mayor of Oakland.

The hope which a Dellums campaign inspires isn't for a "savior," but for a man capable of uniting this divided city in a vision that genuinely puts the interests of ordinary people above the interests of profiteers, developers, and gentrifiers. What Dellums offers the city is a focus around which progressives can organize, block by block, precinct by precinct, district by district, to bring community back to the neighborhoods. Finally, after many false promises, the people will have a voice.
Henry Hitz, Oakland

Nacho's tinhorn commonwealth
I am writing this letter to thank Chris Thompson for showing me the error of my ways. Prior to reading his article on Ron Dellums' running for mayor, I had thought that a civic leader's job was to give the people help and hope. I now see the light: Their divine mission is to help themselves at the expense of the public morals! Given that, what better paradigm of behavior to follow than Mr. De La Fuente? Why, it makes me want to run right out and bully unions, violate the Brown Act, and mount vigilante actions against sex offenders (provided, of course, that they are not close family members).

In fact, I intend to throw away my copy of Plato's Republic and replace it with a volume I am now in process of writing; I will title it Nacho's Tinhorn Commonwealth. A work for the ages! Thanks for trying to destroy what little hope is left in Oakland. We needed that.
James J. Fenton, Oakland


"Well, now that you asked," Letters, 10/12

More damn mistakes
Regarding the supposed "collapse" of Mordam Records as stated by the uninformed: Mordam Records did not collapse; it was sold and is still run under the name "Mordam Records." It was bought by indie distributor Lumberjack and still distributes over thirty record labels. Get the facts straight.
Jeff Robinson, Cotati


"Holy Mother of Cod!," On Food, 10/5

When is cod not cod?
I am one of the owners of Saigon Seafood Harbor. Thank you for your patronage at our restaurant and writing an article about us. You are certainly entitled to your opinion and we value your criticism.

However, you did not order an expensive $100 cod dish. What you and your friends had was a coral trout, Plectopromus leopardus. This is not an ordinary cod in a live tank. Coral trouts are extremely rare and difficult catches in the coral reefs in Australia. You being a cuisine critic and having tasted a coral trout, I am sure you can easily, like all our other patrons, distinguish and love the remarkable texture and delicacy of a coral trout from an ordinary cod. This is not a farm-raised fish in mass production fed with antibiotics and steroids. They are kept alive once they are caught by the local skillful fishermen and immediately taken ashore and rushed to a nearby seafood processing facility where they are packed in hibernation in a sealed, high-tech, life-sustaining water cargo tank specially designed for air-shipping live fishes and then rushed to the airport for the next available air freight. If you ship one pound of fish, you also ship three pounds of seawater.

You know the math. And even with all the precautions taken, sometimes they arrive in San Francisco International Airport dead. The strong ones will make our tanks but lose some body weight after they skip a couple of meals and go through the US Customs inspection and finish the long journey from the ocean in Australia. When they wake up from their hibernation in our tank, we try to make them feel as though they were still home in the Australian ocean because we carefully and knowledgeably set the water temperature, salinity, pH level, and the good bacteria level to the same where they were caught.

Now you know why the coral trouts are selling at $40 a pound. Yet we'd rather keep a low profit margin at this low price to keep our patrons happy. There are only two more Chinese restaurants that have coral trouts in the Bay Area. They are selling at $48 and $50 a pound respectively.

By the way, our "Saigon" is not Saigon, Vietnam. Our "Saigon" is named after the famous seafood town for the locals in Hong Kong.
Kammy Au, Castro Valley

Jonathan Kauffman responds
The waiters and I were having significant problems communicating that night, but I was left with the impression that the fish we selected was cod. If that was an error, I regret it.


"Holy Ghost Stories," Trendspotting, 9/28

You dishonor yourself
Your statement, "Under church law, the former Joseph Ratzinger must be and is a scholastic: his intellectual ..." is simply untrue. There is no Church law requiring anyone to adhere to Scholasticism. Your article is all wrong. There are too many untrue and half-true statements. Where did you get YOUR information? Take writing more seriously. You dishonor yourself by writing so carelessly. You should be embarrassed.
Rev. Dr. Matthew J. Pomilio, New York City


"I Hate Weed Love Songs," Haters Stand Up, 9/14

Deeper than weed
I was reading "I Hate Weed Love Songs" and couldn't agree more, except on one point. Afroman is not entirely based on weed; most of his songs are about Cadillacs, his paranoia about police, or his hard times in his rap career. He is a outstanding rapper, and the reason he got dropped was because he became a Christian and refused to make any more songs like "Because I Got High."
C. Comeau, Springfield, Massachusetts


Hat trick
Three Express reporters won awards from the Northern California chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists in its 2005 journalism contest. In the depth reporting contest, staff writer Robert Gammon won for his story on the California Highway Patrol's flawed investigation of the man they alleged was the East Bay freeway sniper. In the opinion category, columnist Will Harper won for his article "What Media Monopoly?," a critique of press critic Ben Bagdikian's book The New Media Monopoly. Clubs editor Rachel Swan was honored as an outstanding emerging journalist -- the third Express employee so honored in the past four contests -- for a series of three articles that included her profile of three female rap artists and her feature on academics and the UC Berkeley football team. All three awards were bestowed in the nondaily print category, in which the Express competes against other Northern California weeklies and magazines. Only four other organizations won more than a single award, including KALW-FM with two and the San Francisco Chronicle, San Jose Mercury News, and CNETNews.com with three apiece.

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