Letters for March 16 

Readers sound off on Fruitvale, Hate Man, and OpenTable.

Page 2 of 6

It's no secret that whites are starting to move into Oakland, and we all know that when whites find it hard to co-exist with others, they prefer to take over.

I would not be surprised if black businesses in the Downtown-Uptown area are being targeted. I have been to many of those venues and a good handful of them are run exceptionally well. And you also have those that hit under the mark, just like some white businesses I have been to, and Latin and Asian and Indian businesses. Why the blacks always get put on display as the negative is beyond me. America would not be America without black people adding all the flavor others try to capture.

I encourage people, especially here in the Bay Area, to explore deeper into their own true history.

Cedric Bedford-Chalale, Oakland

Cut OPD Slack

I don't believe the citizens of Oakland give our police department enough credit. I would recommend you try to empathize with their situation. Many of these guys are fathers with young kids that they would like to see raised into adulthood. We had four OPD gunned down two years ago, and another squad car fired upon just two weeks ago. Why anyone would want to volunteer to be an Oakland cop is beyond me, especially when they don't have the support of the community at their back.

Oakland is not Walnut Creek or Belmont, where all cops have to worry about are jaywalkers and drivers making illegal U-turns. This is a tough city and it requires tough law enforcement to keep it functional. Why is it that downtown Oakland doesn't have a vibrant nightlife, like our neighbor in San Francisco? It's because most Oaklanders lock themselves into their fortresses at night and stay there until they feel it's safe to come out in the morning. All I am saying is cut our OPD some slack. They are the thin blue line between us and anarchy.

Mark Romankiw, Oakland 

"Will Oakland Become a No-Fest Zone?" News, 2/23

Is That Legal?

Addressing the anecdotal evidence that calling a council person can reduce fees, how can that happen when council members are prohibited from directing staff directly? I do not deny that Oakland's various fees are out of line with other local cities. I just think your article illustrates another more serious sproblem.

Mark Dieter, Oakland

A Shame

If the City of Oakland wants to compete with almost any other California city, it really needs to get with the program and make festivals more affordable and far less-complicated a process for organizers. We have a fantastic wealth of talented folks here who can and do put on great events, and throngs of Oakland locals who are hungry for more community festivals. People will come from all over the Bay Area and beyond. It would be a horrible shame if Oaklavia or other events don't happen due to unreasonable costs. Thanks to Karen Hester for persevering, and to other organizers who continue to work to create more Oaklandish events. Viva Oakland!

Elizabeth August, Oakland

The Road to Broke

Great article. Oakland's flavor is jut coming back after decades of downtown being a ghost town. We (organizers and festival-goers) create the culture that sells the city. Without us, no shuttles, no restaurants, no theater, no reason for Bay Area residents to come play, live, and raise families here. Oakland city officials need to realize how broke they'll be again if they inhibit celebrations, festivals, and gathering with soaring fees, because we promote business, boost real estate, and the tax base.

Brian Drayton

Executive Director

Richmond SPOKES

"OpenTable Reconsidered," Feature, 1/26

Unsavory Practice

I read the OpenTable article with great interest. I hadn't realized this additional burden that many restaurants are under, although I already knew that restaurants have the highest level of failure of any business.

That said, I wanted to draw your attention to the unsavory practice of charging customers if they have to cancel within 24 hours of the reservation; I thought that this might make an interesting follow-up to the OpenTable piece. I was looking forward to a belated birthday celebration with a friend at Eve restaurant on Feb 11. When I made the 7:30 p.m. reservation, the cancellation policy was explained to me when my credit card information was taken. Unfortunately, on the day of the reservation, my friend had to leave work to go home sick with the flu. He called me, and I immediately called the restaurant (around 2:30 p.m.). I talked to one of the owners, Veronica Laramie, and explained what had happened. She said that she had to charge me because it was policy. Now, I understand this policy (sort of) for no-shows, but I contacted her as soon as I knew. I also checked their reservations web site (they use OpenTable) at 5 p.m. that evening, and there were no openings for the 7:30 p.m. time slot. According to OpenTable's tech department, as soon as a cancellation is entered, the site updates, so I think that I can safely assume that they filled the reservation, and were not hurt by my late cancellation. As I agreed to their policy when I made the reservation, I have no recourse as far as disputing the charge on my credit card. I still feel that Eve restaurant made $58 for services that they did not render, and that it is a very shabby way to do business. It is a good restaurant, but no restaurant is that good.


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