Letters for the Week of February 22, 2017 

Readers sound off about awards and immigration court.


"Darwin BondGraham, Ali Winston Win Prestigious George Polk Award For Express Series on Oakland Police Scandal" by Nick Miller, News, February 19:

Congrats!

Congratulations to Darwin BondGraham and Ali Winston and the entire staff of the Express. The breadth and depth of reporting and writing becomes more apparent each and every week.

Ann Tashjian, Berkeley

Exemplary!

Congrats to Darwin BondGraham and Ali Winston! Their work this year, on the police story, public land, and housing and education has been exemplary!

Doug Appel


"New Documents Reveal Oakland Officials Were Aware of Ghost Ship's Numerous Problems: Raves, Kidnapping, Battery, Assault, And More" by Nick Miller, Feature Story, February 14:

Good Work!

I found your latest issue very interesting and provocative. The feature article, "No Good Answers," included comprehensive facts about the Ghost Ship background with city agencies that I have not seen elsewhere, and is a must read.

Also, the dining review on Tastee Steam Kitchen was very appealing and informative, and I intend to visit it again. Keep up the good work!

G. Graham, Berkeley


"Oakland Nonprofit Sues Coca-Cola, 'Big Soda' Lobbyist Group Over 'Following The Tobacco Playbook'" by Brian Krans, News, February 13:

Power of Advertising

Great campaign by the Praxis Project, although given the power of advertising in the United States, it's difficult to curb the deceptiveness of ads. Free speech in this country has, for the most part, become the freedom to engage in commercial speech. Last year, for example, ad revenues totaled about $320 billion — nearly 60 percent of what we spend on public schools K-12.

Charlie Stephen


"I Was Kicked Out of Federal Immigration Court — Because I'm a Journalist" by Darwin BondGraham, News, February 17:

Even Worse In Arizona?

I went to a similar federal immigration hearing in Arizona, and they heard the cases with 30-50 "defendants" at a time. It was insane. They had no translation, and would enter their pleas en masse as "guilty." That said, this was under President Obama. I would hate to see what it's going to be like under President Trump.

Gabrielle Haaland

It Will Get Worse

Wow. And it will probably only get worse. If people have a right to a closed hearing, then it seems like the judge should ask them before the proceedings begin, and take appropriate action. Other than that, the public should have the right to observe.

J.P. Massar

Spinning In Graves

When I was going to grade school, our teachers constantly told us the difference between the United States and the then-U.S.S.R. was the latter's citizens had plenty of rights on paper — but none of them in reality. That way, they could claim their people were the freest in the world while they systematically enforcing fascism. That sound I hear now is all my teachers, who tried to install patriotism in me and make me a good American, spinning in their graves.

Jenni Li

The Saddest Thing

The saddest commentary on what happened to you is that no other journalist attends these hearings. Where is the free press that seems limited to opinion pieces on the freedom of the press but does not test it in real life?

Franklin Graham

'Don't Trick Me'

The reporter wasn't kicked out. So, this headline and article kinda stinks. Don't trick me, especially with an outright lie. However, this whole "media is the enemy" thing really pisses me off! President Trump tweeted about it on the same day that this article was posted — so one didn't cause the other. But the press are our eyes and ears — not our enemy.

Thank you, reporter, for doing our job. We need you. We're on your side. We really appreciate it. But please don't funge up the facts. It doesn't help.

Robb Topolski

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