Letters for May 13 

Readers sound off on Burners and JR Valrey.

Page 2 of 2

I am happy he has been exposed. Maybe the devil is setting him up for disposition. Perhaps he has outlived his usefulness.

Lastly, Attorney Walter Riley, lawyer for Paul Cobb and the Oakland Post, informed me he received a phone call from JR threatening him to not write negative stories about the Bakery. If JR was a friend of Chauncey's why would he make calls on behalf of the murder suspects?

Furthermore, he was kicked out of Paul Cobb's office for demanding he replace Chauncey Bailey his so-called friend, but again, if he were Chauncey's friend wouldn't he call to tell him there were murder suspects parked outside his apartment? Instead, he's in repeated phone conversations with the suspects while they are parked in front of Chauncey's apartment. As my friend in DC says, "It just doesn't make sense!"

He was also kicked out of KPOO radio by Terri Collins when he came in acting like he was going to take over the radio station. The boy is a sick puppy and in serious need of a mental health program. He believes in Revolutionary Suicide and thus wants someone to take him out. He tried to provoke me on several occasions but I refused to kill a dead fly that is already dead.

Marvin X, Berkeley

Throwing Blame

JR Valrey is quoted as saying "I did a very shallow investigation."

True indeed if he believes that foul-mouthed, divisiveness-fomenting blamethrowing has improved life for anyone in the East Bay over the last 40 years.

Sociologists doing a more-than-shallow investigation looked for any factors that were meaningful in predicting whether a kid was likely to grow into a violent felon or a drug-abuser. Across ALL LINES of race, economic status, gender, and educational background, they found exactly one meaningful factor: growing up in a home without a father.

Oakland's cops neither force teens to get pregnant nor force males to abandon their offspring.

If Valrey were more interested in our community than in his own glorification, he'd use his pulpits to address that very real problem.

David Altschul, Berkeley

Going Where the Mainstream Won't

Halfway into Benjamin Taylor's radically un-revealing portrait of a reporter as a news-bit curiosity, a little of his journalistic creed comes out: "[R]eporting the news," he suggests, is properly a process of "adher[ing] to the same journalistic standards embraced by mainstream journalists," whereas those who stray from the mainstream can be categorized as ones who "have less interest in reporting the news than in giving voice to the perceived underdog." Well, Gary Webb, the San Jose Mercury News reporter who broke the story on how the CIA brought drugs to the inner city — and then lost his job and career for doing so, even though no one could ever deny his basic facts — was, I guess, according to Mr. Taylor's division, just one of those curiosities who perceived underdogs in this world. The problem is, police brutality is brutally real, and has been so for decades in Oakland, and we're all supporting it with our tax dollars, even the victims. The rage and fear of the police by youth and adults in Oakland is also real — because nothing has been done about police violence since at least the Black Panthers organized to bring about some change but were instead targeted by local political leaders as terrorists for putting forward possible solutions like real accountability to the community. Working with Oakland youth for a year and a half, I have heard countless stories of surprising disrespect, routine misconduct, and even killing by Oakland police — yet these stories barely get a blip in the mainstream news if they weren't caught on camera. I certainly think JR Valrey is deeply mistaken to suggest there was anything heroic about Lovelle Mixon's killing of four police officers, but I deeply appreciate his reporting which has brought to me eyewitness accounts, for example, of the police shooting of unarmed 17-year-old Gary King not long ago in North Oakland. Two of the young people I have worked with knew Gary, and one of them actually witnessed the shooting himself — and likely still suffers PTSD from the event as a consequence, not to mention the effect such witnessing has on his view of his own life's possibilities. I'll continue to subscribe to the SF Bayview to find news that goes where the mainstream media won't: for example, into the lives of Oakland youth.

Jonas LaMattery-Brownell, Oakland

Editor's Note

Actually, Gary Webb's "basic facts" are highly disputed and many were retracted by the San Jose Mercury News.

Promote Peace

After having read Benjamin Taylor's Feature, I must say that it is amazing to me how a "Reporter" can easily capitalize on a trajedy such as the death of the four police men and a young man who died in the Bart station for deflecting wrongful acts to distorting them as justful ones for equal rights. In my opinion, Mr. Valrey needs to go and live in third world countries especially in India where his predecessor, Martin Luther King became enlightened with using "nonviolence" as the ultimate tool for the obtainment of human justice. At least Mr. Valrey admits to have capitalize on the vulnerability the public displays to the media. Proposition 8 is a good example of this type of distortion. When has one have to think on saying "Yes" meaning "No"? As I read his comments and his association with Yusuf Bey IV with another entity, the UHURU organization, I can only say that they are no different then the men who rape the women and young girls in Africa as a substitute of using expensive artillery as a form of winning their battles. If Mr. Valrey and his affiliates are in deed for human justice for the people of color, then they would adopt Martin Luther King's messages and be proactive in enhancing peace and education. Look how far Mr. King's message has gone compared to "Tookie" Williams and Leonard "Deadeye" McKenzie's messages. One cannot compare the type of energies that derive from these parties. My message to all of you, Mr. Valrey, Vey IV, and the UHURU folks: Become proactive in education and peace. Education is what qualifies one to the opportunities that get encountered throughout one's life. As adults, we are the curators for our children in this world.

Elsa Monroe, Oakland


The April 22 Full Disclosure, "Measure Y and the Oakland Budget Mess," used out-of-date figures to describe how much Measure Y produces in annual revenues for the City of Oakland. According to Mayor Ron Dellums' 2009-11 budget, Measure Y, which pays for community policing, some fire department services, and several anti-violence programs, is expected to generate about $20 million in annual tax revenues for each of the next two years — not about $12.5 million, as the story stated.


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