Letters for May 20 

Readers sound off on JR Valrey, Oxytocin, marijuana testing, and the Obamas' dog.

Page 2 of 3

Tom Walton, vice president, AlliedBarton Security Services

"Is the Downturn a Boost to the Public Schools?" Raising the Bar, 4/15

Don't Blame Prop 13

Mr. Youngdahl does raise a point that others have noted over the years concerning decisions about where to place one's children during economic downturns or flat public school expenditures. What concerns me is that Mr. Youngdahl blames Proposition 13 for the state of California's schools, while neglecting to mention the Serrano v. Priest court case that pre-dates Proposition 13 or the Serrano II decision, which effectively changed the funding mechanism for schools from local to state government. He also comments on the difficulty of raising parcel taxes due to the two-third's approval requirement. I believe raising taxes should be difficult. What Mr. Youngdahl failed to mention is that numerous school districts within Alameda County have been able to raise taxes. While he mentioned Alameda Unified's Measure H, he failed to mention their Measure A, or measures that passed in Oakland, San Leandro, and Berkeley.

Mr. Youngdahl may have some valid points in his column, however, by making statements without backup, disregarding crucial information, or limiting his examples, these points are missed.

Jim Haussener, Castro Valley

"The Chemistry of Commitment," Feature, 4/15

Suck on Oxytocin

I recently read your article on the "Chemistry of Commitment," and would like to correct you on one thing. Oxytocin CAN be bought. Naturopathic doctors are able to prescribe Oxytocin lozenges to patients. I am a graduate student doing my masters project on the transformative effects of Oxytocin, and currently have seven people taking one to two doses a week of this incredible hormone. 

I have done papers with much of the same information you offered in your article, utilizing Barash's The Myth of Monogamy, Moberg's The Oxytocin Factor, and Fisher's Why We Love. You are very right with all of your statements, but there is so much research showing that beyond the trust, generosity, and empathy, it can also play a role in cutting addictions, working with autistic individuals, and helping PTSD patients. 

I just wanted to let you know that it is available and that research is being done all over the place with it. Perhaps not so much with the lozenges, but it is showing signs of being incredibly promising.

Already my participants are having incredible experiences with it.

Jessica Franco, Oakland

"Breeder Heal Thyself," Opinion, 4/15

Adopt and Snip

While PETA wishes that the Obamas had taken the golden opportunity to set an example for our country by adopting a castoff dog from a shelter or breed rescue group, we're relieved to learn that Bo won't contribute to the glut of unwanted dogs, because he has already been neutered ("Breeder Heal Thyself," 4/15/09).

Each year, some 6 to 8 million animals end up in our country's shelters. About half of these animals — most of them just as healthy and sweet as Bo is — must be euthanized because there aren't enough good homes for them. Every dog and cat breeder shares the blame for this tragedy because every puppy or kitten they produce takes away a home — and a chance at life — from a needy shelter animal. As long as animals are dying for lack of homes, no breeding can be considered "responsible."

I encourage readers who are ready to pour their time, money, energy, and love into an animal to adopt from their local shelter or PetFinder.com, and to make sure their animals are fixed, as Bo is. If Americans vow to always do these two things — adopt and "snip" — together, yes we can end animal homelessness.

Daphna Nachminovitch, vice president, Cruelty Investigations Department, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA)

"What About Pesticides?" Letters, 4/15

Testing Buds Expands

Your cover story about the analytic chemistry lab serving the medical cannabis industry was an important scoop. 'Grats to David Downs and the EBE for playing it so prominently and giving it so much space. The outrage expressed by a letter writer was misplaced — the lab plans to test for pesticides as soon as it is feasible. They also plan to test for terpenes — aromatic compounds in the plant, some of which may influence its effects on the mind and body. As Dylan said, "Things should start to get interesting, right about now."

Fred Gardner, Alameda


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