Letters for January 21 

Readers sound off on Alameda Point, Oakland's lobbying law, and transportation for low-income students in Oakland.

Page 2 of 3

A new interfaith social justice organization called Genesis (organized by the same group that trained President-elect Obama as a community organizer in Chicago) has taken up the call for a free youth bus pass. In the 2009 Regional Transportation Plan, MTC is planning to spend $223 billion. Shouldn't that plan finally make it a priority to get low-income youth to school?

John Claasen, Genesis member and chair of its Free Student Bus Pass Committee, Oakland; Richard A. Marcantonio, managing attorney at Public Advocates Inc., Berkeley

"Taste of Firenze," Food & Drink, 12/17

Bad and Boring Tartare

Enough tuna tartare already, isn't it such a bland and cliché fish to make a tartare out of? Safe I say. And boring. And bad for the environment to boot.

Jason Carey, Oakland

E-40: The Ball Street Journal, Music, 12/10

What Do U Know?

I disagree strongly with your review of this album. U could have a point of view. However, this particular artist has 20 years in hip hop in an industry that gives u 5 years if your good. I suggest you step back and really listen to hip hop as an art form and an artist that has been making music longer than u been working at the East Bay Express !!!

Jason Anderson, San Pablo

Miscellaneous Letters

Public Land Trust, Not SunCal

I support establishing a Public Land Trust for Alameda Point instead of SunCal's plans for 4,500 homes, $700 million in additional debt, and increased traffic for Alameda.


Alameda risks losing existing businesses and jobs at Alameda Point, such as TheForgeworks.com.

A Public Land Trust would work to preserve the eight soccer fields at Alameda Point, while SunCal plans to tear them up and replace only half of them, with a mere promise of a sports complex.

Another 4,000 to 6,000 homes would stretch our public safety services at a time that the city is threatening to cut back on police and fire services, and implement rotating fire station "browouts."

Our city cannot afford $700 million in redevelopment bond subsidies to SunCal.

Partnerships such as a VA hospital/clinic at Alameda Point that work with our community colleges and public schools to produce much-needed nursing school graduates or the existing film studio facilities at Alameda Point that work with our local schools to teach our children film and art are preferable to SunCal.

Sheila A. Leonard, Alameda

We Need a Visionary

Military bases and VA medical facilities have been closing or downsizing throughout the nation for over twenty years, particularly affecting the entire Veterans Health Care system. Budget constraints and discretionary funding puts the VA at the back of the line when it comes to setting aside funding for medical facility construction and upgrading advanced medical training. And the results of this callous lack of foresight is our veterans are treated like second-class citizens and their contributions and sacrifices are all but ignored.

Communities are hard-pressed to reclaim the land that once supported the tools of our military efforts, and the histories of these magnificent facilities have become simply footnotes to our nation's history. Hamilton Air Force Base has been marking time for over twenty years with very little resolution to its future. Oaknoll Hospital bit the dust and Livermore medical facility is waiting for the final blow. The Oakland Veterans Outpatient Clinic is suffering diminished resources and is located in an area that suffers the lack of economic development, and its prestige is diminished by the location it was initially built at. It too faces fiscal reevaluation for the future.

The mirror of the past reflects yet another magnificent military base — the former Alameda Naval Air Station that suffered the same fate as many of the other military bases. Its future is the subject of developer's greed and exotic, futuristic planning that ignores the quiet ambience that once appealed to a simple family lifestyle.

Alameda's John J. Mulvany was a visionary. Back in 1917, he scouted the west end of Alameda, then known as Alameda Point, and envisioned a naval base that might be erected on the seventeen hundred acres of marshland. Through determination and vision his dream became a reality. And for over sixty years Alameda and the East Bay benefited from the activities that maintained our ships and repaired the military aircraft. Over 41,000 service men and women and federal workers were employed on these 2,270 acres of marshland, and the funding benefited not only the military but the City of Alameda and surrounding communities. To be sure, Mulvany's vision had a positive effect on the economy of our Alameda community.

Mulvany's vision has been muted and other cities both north and south have benefited from Alameda's demise. Alameda has no visionaries — no one with the foresight to recapture the excellence and potential that John J. Mulvany envisaged over half a century ago. Now our aging veterans and maimed and suffering military men and women returning from the Middle East scramble to find suitable health care close to home. Some travel to health facilities as far away as Travis Air Force Base. And the Veterans Administration stands at the end of the line to receive discretionary funding to support our wounded warriors.

Well, my friends, someone does have a vision. Struggling to keep pace with our aging veterans and wrestling with exotic diseases and severe physical injuries our soldiers are bringing back from the Middle East, the VA is systematically seeking to upgrade existing medical facilities across the country in an attempt to provide adequate medical services to thousands of ailing veterans in Alameda County. Enter the vacant, contested land at Alameda Point. Under the able leadership of VA Directors Claude Hutchinson, Larry Janes, and Don Rinker, the Veterans Administration is proposing to build an up-to-date campus that includes a technically updated two-story outpatient clinic, a potential for a long-term care facility for our aging veterans, possible partnership with Alameda Hospital that will benefit both Alamedans and our veterans. In addition they envision a 53-acre Columbaria that will serve over 322,000 veterans. Their vision includes partnering with the Peralta Community College's School of Allied Health for Nursing training, building a heliport for emergency medical needs, as well as serve the community in the event of regional disasters. The Air Force, Army, and Native American veterans and their families will also benefit from these visionaries.

You sent us off to war to defend the principles and values that were meant to free us from the bonds of hatred and undisciplined demagoguery that pervades an unstable world. We did our job and served our country with honor and pride. Alameda has the chance to revisit that vision John J. Mulvany perceived over half a century ago. This community can make a dramatic contribution to the well-being of our servicemen and women by making a commitment to put Alameda back on the map again. Let Mulvany's vision work for peace. For the sacrifices and contributions our veterans made on behalf of our nation our veterans ask only to heal their wounds and help them put their lives back together again.


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