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Comment Archives: stories: News & Opinion: Letters

Re: “Letters for the Week of October 30

Chevron's community mindedness is not sincere. If it were, Chevron not route their emission pipes past air quality monitors so as to falsely claim their emissions are well within the air quality control standards, they would have replaced the corroded pipe (their own in-house audit recommended they do so back in 2002) that failed in the fire and explosion of August 6, 2012, they would have replaced the 3,000 pipes to date that are woefully thin and dangerous, they would stay out of Richmond politics and not spend the millions of dollars they spend on city council candidates that will roll over for them, and they would contribute more than the one million dollars here, two million dollars there, for social responsibility in Richmond which is peanuts compared to what they make in net profits (in 2012 Chevron made $26.2 billion dollars in net profits), and they would pony up to what was done in Ecuador and pay the indigenous people, that, to this date, are continuing to be poisoned and sickened because Chevron will not clean up the contaminated sites properly.

Chevron is very good at public relations, but their intent is very insincere. In fact, I truly believe they would rather Richmond be poor, down and out, so that the citizenry, struggling day to day, would not have the energy to hold Chevron responsible for all the wrongs that Chevron does in Richmond, and in Ecuador.

They need to be a responsible neighbor, and that means a safe refinery, and the most important of all, they should seriously convert to alternative fuels (they want to refine heavier, dirtier crude) because climate change is not a joke.

Posted by Jeanne Kortz on 10/31/2013 at 4:22 PM

Re: “Letters for the Week of October 23

If the homicides that increase are the predators themselves it will balance to the favor of the law abiding. I'm ok with that.

Israel has an armed citizenry, albeit for different reasons, but has very little crime in the fashion we must all too often suffer in Oakland. I think your comment that we "love" firearms and that is the reason for proliferation of guns among criminals is false. They are simply tools to protect my life, property, and family.

Lawful gun owner don't think of brandishing their firearms, but the previous open carry laws perpetuated this. An easier process for lawful concealed carry would allow law abiding citizens to protect themselves should a criminal attempt to harm them or take their property.

Is a smartphone worth a bullet to a criminal's forehead? I can't say, but if people who make their living committing crimes, both property and assaults, maybe they will reconsider carefully if a law abiding person is willing to take that chance if he/she is armed.

Posted by michael.sagehorn on 10/25/2013 at 10:33 PM

Re: “Letters for the Week of October 23

Carrying guns ready to shoot at a moments notice is not going to reduce gun homicides but rather increase them. Until this country stops its insane love of guns and stops gun dealers and trade shows from evading background checks we won't make much of a dent. More cameras and even a stop and frisk policy that is carefully crafted and implemented to prevent profiling could be helpful. Lastly let's not forget that getting hundred of citizens out into the streets with baseball bats if necessary may have a schilling effect on criminals and crime. Isn't it time to take back our communities from the thugs? Having elected officials who pay close attention to this ever present problem has been problematic as the agenda seems to be on development and land deals. This has created a vacuum of indifference not only in Oakland but Berkeley and surrounding communities.

Posted by Steve Redmond on 10/24/2013 at 1:37 PM

Re: “Letters for the Week of October 23

800 or even 8,000 Oakland police officers won't solve robberies in any neighborhood. What will reduce robberies is if people who commit such crimes realize that the probability of themselves being killed or wounded by a trained and armed citizen is high.

Remember, Govenor Brown and Mayor Quan have armed security details. They will likely never be victims of the crimes impacting Oakland residents. They have high end security systems in their own homes. My only security system is limited to my home -a 12 gauge shotgun racked with slugs and a .45 Colt automatic.

I can't lawfully carry any of them as I go about my business in Rockridge, Temescal, Piedmont Ave, and North Oakland, though trained and competent in their use I also understand the risks and consequences of deadly force.

Govenor Brown signed into law bills that banned open unloaded carry of firearms. How long will Oakland and the state's political leaders continue to perpetuate the myth that a lawfully armed citizenry leads to more violence?

Human predators, both animals and thugs, operate in a "risk/rewards" reasoning mode when selecting victims. Perhaps if the letter writers who were robbed and assaulted shot back, and yes , even killed people who chose this way of making a living, maybe the "risk' of violent crime will appear too great.

1 like, 3 dislikes
Posted by michael.sagehorn on 10/23/2013 at 8:28 PM

Re: “Letters for the Week of August 21

This comment was removed because it violates our policy against anonymous comments. It will be reposted if the commenter chooses to use his or her real name.

1 like, 0 dislikes
Posted by Editor on 08/22/2013 at 2:11 PM

Re: “Letters for the Week of July 24

David Cohen writes, "As for young toughs of any color "skylarking" on BART and then (surprise!) fighting, this is an assault on the public that cannot be tolerated. I cannot imagine a single person who would not want the police to wade into this situation and settle it. Mistakes are always made in battle. These consequences of the battle remain attached to those who created the situation."

Although well-articulated, Mr. Cohen's justification of a tragic loss of life relies on the omission of facts to make its point. It is a fact that the reported fight was over by the time police arrived on the scene, so there was no need for them to "settle" a fight which had already ended, was there? It is also a fact that the fight involved more than just young black males, according to witness accounts, yet only young black males were detained. That's the very definition of racial profiling. It is also a fact that Tony Pirone's overzealous and unnecessary actions escalated the level of tension -- and almost certainlyinfluenced Johannes Mehserle's response.

Those three things led to the creation of the situation, in which Grant found himself in, and cannot be attributed not just to human error, but also procedural error, in part due to lack of training (as an independent investigator who examined BART police's conduct on the night of Grant's murder found). Where Mr. Cohen is especially off-base is in his assumption that lack of police accountability, to say nothing of misconduct, is something which should be tolerated by the public, at any cost.

To be perfectly clear, racial profiling, combined with overzealous police behavior witnessed by hundreds, led to a chaotic situation which ultimately caused an unarmed man to be killed. This is not a mere "mistake," but an example of how systemic inequity plays out, with deadly consequences. Let's ask ourselves, do we want BART police, or any police for that matter, to "battle" what Mr. Cohen refers to as "young toughs"? Or do we want police to uphold their sworn duty as peace officers and not escalate things to the point of potentially fatal injury, whether we are talking about Oscar Grant, Occupy protests, or the black teenager who was shot in the face in downtown Oakland, in April, who was mistakenly identified as a robbery suspect?

The "battle" mentality Mr. Cohen upholds was responsible for $10 million in misconduct payouts last year by OPD, as well as the more recent million-dollar judgment won by those injured by police in the Occupy protests. Taxpayers foot the bill for that, so there is a cost to pay over and above the harm done to those injured by police.

Another question is, why does "Fruitvale Station" need to be defended, as Mr. Cohen suggests? Moreover, why does Oscar Grant need to be defended? As with Trayvon Martin, Grant was not on trial, so even using this word in this context speaks to a presumption that the circumstances of Grant's life are somehow responsible for his death. Or that he is culpable in his own murder, for which a police officer was charged and convicted.

Finally, it's unclear why Mr. Cohen spends so much time in his letter defending Mehserle, a character who's not even in the movie, and who is portrayed as a composite -- Kevin Durand's character conflates the real-life actions of Pirone as well as Mehserle. Perhaps Mr. Cohen hasn't seen the film. If that's the case, he would be better off to reserve judgment of any review until he has.

5 likes, 3 dislikes
Posted by Eric Arnold on 07/23/2013 at 11:41 PM

Re: “Letters for the Week of July 3, 2013

For those that will be around in 2060, enjoy the coming carbon taxation that will pay for the infrastructure to accommodate the water rise. Oh, by the way, 1.5 feet is a very modest rise expectation so 2060 might not be seen by most those whom think they actually might live long enough to see 2060.

1 like, 0 dislikes
Posted by Mike Dar on 07/04/2013 at 3:54 AM

Re: “Letters for the Week of June 19, 2013

Most likely from the author of "Leave Fido at home"

I never miss an issue of the Express but I am realizing it takes a bit of home work when I read something that raises a red flag for me.

See -…

Posted by Tom Nigman on 06/20/2013 at 10:21 AM

Re: “Letters for the Week of May 15, 2013

Regarding handicap placard abuse: ENFORCEMENT! Yesterday at lunch NINE out of the ten cars parked on the south side of the 2200 block of Webster had placards. Most of the vehicles were also FBI agents' cars and that's crazy... the parking garage for their building has an elevator but the street spaces they are parking in are as far away from their office's entrances as you can get.

Posted by Matt_Chambers on 05/21/2013 at 10:39 AM

Re: “Letters for the Week of May 15, 2013

Thanks to Ms. Boyd for her contributions to accuracy, however deaf the ears on which they fall.

3 likes, 11 dislikes
Posted by Mary Eisenhart on 05/15/2013 at 9:38 AM

Re: “Letters for the Week of March 27, 2013


If you go back and reread the story, it clearly does not advocate for weakening CEQA for open-space projects like in Knowland Park. It advocates for reforming the law only for smart-growth housing and housing mixed-use projects on or near major transit corridors in urban areas.

1 like, 0 dislikes
Posted by Robert Gammon on 03/28/2013 at 12:58 PM

Re: “Letters for the Week of March 27, 2013

Add the California Native Plant Society to CEQA Works, the coalition of environmental organizations that is fighting the assault on CEQA. Our organization relies heavily on this landmark law to protect native plant resources in our state--it's the only state law that protects rare plant communities (not just species). However, even CEQA is challenged to prevail against a determined developer. Take for instance the Oakland Zoo's attempt to develop 56 acres of prime parkland in Knowland Park. The project area possesses two rare plant communities which are remnants of Oakland's natural heritage. Ironically, these remnant plant communities that will be celebrated when the Oakland Museum unveils its new Natural Science wing in May even as the zoo continues its plan to destroy them.

Had CEQA been stronger, the zoo would not have been able to get away with avoiding a full Environmental Impact Report which requires an analysis alternatives. Thus the public was robbed of the opportunity to weigh far more environmentally sound alternatives than the destructive one that the zoo continues to cling to. Instead the zoo was able to engage in "CEQA lite" by releasing a Mitigated Negative Declaration with no analysis of alternatives.

CEQA needs to be strengthened, not weakened. I'm saddened to learn that the East Bay Express joined in CEQA bashing.

3 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by Laura Baker on 03/28/2013 at 11:18 AM

Re: “Letters for the Week of March 27, 2013

I agree with all of these letter writers (except Hoffman who still seems to champion the pseudoscience of Thomas Malthus). A few urban infill projects will not tackle the source of climate change, which is capitalism, an economic system that privatizes the Earth's resources and socializes the costs to the 99.99999999%, i.e. the working class and all other species besides humans.

3 likes, 3 dislikes
Posted by Steve Ongerth on 03/27/2013 at 7:43 AM

Re: “Letters for the Week of January 30, 2013

Mr. Hensley: you just don't understand. Robert Gammon, Dan Siegel, John Burris, and the self-appointed (mostly white and affluent) civil libertarians who live in relatively safe neigborhoods like Montclair and Rockridge know what's good for the folks in Oakland's worst neighborhoods who are routinely threatened by thugs and gang bangers.

7 likes, 3 dislikes
Posted by Eric Tremont on 01/30/2013 at 7:48 AM

Re: “Letters for the Week of January 16, 2013

Hoffman- i think you're absolutely wrong and intolerant to boot of others than "artist/musician/poet/radical types" , so so much for your "progressive" bona fides. You obviously should have bought a year ago when prices were lower (but not 5 yrs ago when prices were higher), to complain now is just sour grapes. To tell people that are of different social or political persuasion as yourself that they cannot live somewhere smacks of at te least intolerance and depending on how far it goes, fascism. But of course that is what you are about. Gentrification is a positive for the neighborhood and the city in higher tax revenues and higher income people who live there and support businesses and need less in the way of city services - you can witness rockridge in Oak., Bernal heights in SF, and a host of other neighborhoods. Why don't you just go to another up and coming neighborhood and purchase a house (capitalist pig/hypocrite) so we all don't have to hear your moaning and why would you want to live in a "yupped up area" anyway?

7 likes, 6 dislikes
Posted by Jeff Diver on 01/16/2013 at 2:48 PM

Re: “Letters for the Week of November 21, 2012

I am happy for Arthur Boone in that he finds a gift tree in the desert of Jane Brunner's public career. However for many of us citizens, even those of a green persuasion (I've been a Sierra Club member for 55 years), she and her cronies will be remembered for their failure to protect minority families from violence and failure to allow the economic growth needed to bring these families out of poverty.

2 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Mike Ferro on 11/24/2012 at 12:16 PM

Re: “Letters for the Week of November 21, 2012

Pamela Drake complains that the Express is saying that the Zoo is "run by some kind of corporate types." The fact is, that is who is running the Zoo. Here is what an article in the SF Chronicle (…) writes about their Board of Directors: "Jim Wunderman is President and CEO of the Bay Area Council, a business-backed public policy organization…. Sebastian DiGrande is a Partner and Managing Director at the Boston Consulting Group, a global management consulting firm and the world's leading advisor on business strategy…. Daniel Boggan, Jr…. assisted the municipal firm of Siebert, Branford & Shank Co. in business development from 2003 to 2006…. Cassady Hudson is a Senior Revenue and Royalty Analyst at Hands-on Mobile…. Mark McClure is a partner at California Capital and Investment Group, a real estate brokerage and development firm based in Oakland CA. He has worked on both residential and commercial development projects primarily in the City of Oakland…. Lora Tabor is the General Manager, Corporate & Services HR, for Chevron Corporation in San Ramon…."

We can like or dislike the fact that "corporate types" are running the Zoo, but the fact is that that is who runs it.

John Reimann
Oakland CA

3 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by John Reimann on 11/23/2012 at 2:18 AM

Re: “Letters for the Week of August 15, 2012

I list the web sites of all the other District 1 City Council candidates sans snarky comments here…

Posted by Leonard Raphael on 08/22/2012 at 9:20 PM

Re: “Letters for the Week of August 15, 2012

Caryn, I'm not your average wannabe Oakland pol. I did not want to run but couldn't find any of the "viable" candidates willing to forgo the support of the muni unions and/or city contracted non-profits. Some of the other candidates are very well educated but as long as they're tied with a funding in money or in kind umbilical cord to the muni unions and muni non-profits, they'll have to wait for a Federal bankruptcy judge before they do anything to pay for more cops, replace ineffective violence protection programs, or make a dent in the multi-billion structural deficit.

To have a little fun going negative here, (and why not since the three "viable" candidates which I call the Kingston Trio, all appeal to the same group of voters):

Raya's excellent experience is more suited to running for City Auditor, but at least he has number crunching work experience which is more than any other candidate other than me. He is particularly proud of floating zillions of school bonds. Borrowing our way out of our fiscal problems certainly appeals to the current City Council. He'll fit right in. I suspect he knows what has to be done, but simply will have too many ties to his union and ngo supporters like Oakland Rising and Oakland Uprising to dare try to upset the status quo.

Lemly considers herself to have work experience in economic development because she is a "social entrepreneur". Beats me how that's relevant to attracting anything other than more non-profits to Oakland. And her other strength, which we thought Dellums had, as an "expert in accessing state and federal funding..." Well, that train left the station about 4 years of Federal and CA deficits ago. Her solution to crime is (she's vague) something about economic development. I guess she'll bring in more non-profits that don't pay taxes and pay min wages. Great strategy.

Kalb is an unreconstructed environmentalist old school progressive. He's upfront and specific on how he'll deal with crime: "The centerpiece of Dan’s plans to create a safer city is to make smart investments in programs that reduce recidivism". Vague on everything else.

Don the Green candidate is vague too. But union leadership isn't too fond of Greens. So maybe he and I will debate the issues instead of sidestepping with feel good sound bites. Unless he goes upbeat vague on me because he wants to get those RCV second choice votes.

Believe it or not, below Shattuck all of the ncpc activists (including the many who supported the recall) are convinced Don Link is the anointed one because he's been organizing neighborhood watches and cleaning off graffiti tirelessly for twenty years. And because the SF Chroncle voted him one of the top 3 supporters of Mayor Quan. Completely unknown outside of his area. But then so are all of the Kingston Trio.

Len Raphael, CPA
Candidate for District 1 City Council

Posted by Leonard Raphael on 08/22/2012 at 8:50 PM

Re: “Letters for the Week of August 15, 2012

Len, for this town you sound fairly reasonable. I would rather see city services privatized than more funding for any programs.
I don't agree with the ideological position of the editor in the way he criticizes the cops but I'm no fan of the OPD and wouldn't mind further layoffs. They spend way too much time on drug law enforcement, which said laws should be abolished. OPD rather routinely tells disputing neighbors to file restraining orders against each other without telling them of the dire consequences including loss of Second Amendment rights for starters. This nonsense clogs up our courts. We had one (thankfully retired) Judge here who used to issue restraining orders like water mainly to promote her gun control views.
Frankly many of the cops just don't want to be bothered and my advice is to try to stay out of their way.
I may consider voting for you.

1 like, 0 dislikes
Posted by Caryn Goddard on 08/19/2012 at 1:22 PM

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