Letters for October 29 

Readers sound off on Dr. Gjeltema, SunCal, Oakland schools, and swastika faux pas.

"Meet the Mayor," Feature, 9/17 and "Oakland Feels the Pain," Seven Days, 10/1/08

It's Not Dellums' Fault

I don't care for the comments written in the articles about Mayor Dellums by Robert Gammon or the editorial by Chris Thompson. Both articles implied we have a mayor who is disengaged. The opposite is true. Dellums walked into the problems of Oakland — he didn't create them. He is doing his best to try to solve these problems with the help of his partner (his wife) and the rest of his team. As far as Mrs. Dellums not having any political experience is concerned, what I see of the politicians who do have experience are idiots. We got into this coming depression by so-called experienced idiots!

Carolyn Mixon, Commissioner, Oakland Library Board

"Lehman, SunCal, and Alameda Point," Feature, 9/24

More Oaks Need Saving

I am delighted to see East Bay Express coverage of these projects, but what needs to come to light is that the developer's original plan, which preserved the oak groves and the Knoll as a magnificent backdrop and public benefit, was scrapped by SunCal at the last minute. East Bay Regional Park District is interested in extending the Leona Preserve Trail through the oaks to the Knoll and beyond. Your readers should be appalled at the thought of losing the heart of Oak Knoll's open space to a few added mini-mansions. To grade-down the Knoll à la West Virginia-style strip-mining and razing the oak woodlands would really rip the heart out of the community. This threat is imminent, so do let council member Larry Reid know how you feel. Oak Knoll is in his District 7, and lreid@oaklandnet.com is his address.

Tony Sweet, Oakland

"Closing Small Schools?" Full Disclosure, 10/1

Mayor Doesn't Care

The Express continues its love affair with administrators. Mayor is new in the office. She's upset and frightened huge numbers of parents, teachers, and children, and she has not put forth anything parents, families, and teachers can fight for — only plans they can fight against.

Reporters might love PowerPoints and press releases but parents have to take time off homework and parenting to attend her dumb meetings. Some schools are failing financially and educationally. This is not new information. There was a faddish thoughtless expansion of small schools, which has failed in some areas. The remedy is not the thoughtless faddish closure of small schools.

More importantly, Mayor needs to stop terrorizing families. Her plan does not address where children from closed small schools will go. Does she plan to just dump them or do they all get prized slots at Hillcrest and other white hills schools? The problem with the plan presented to parents and the public is that it showed how little Mayor knows about the Oakland schools and how little she cares about our children.

Ann Nomura, Oakland

"Best Chemotherapy," Letters, 9/3

Hardly the Best Doc

I noticed a letter in the News & Opinion column published in your paper that really hit home with me. The tragic experience, related by Doreen Brand of El Cerrito, was similar to what happened to my husband, Les Kerr.

His primary physician was also Dr. Kenneth Gjeltema (Best General Practitioner, Best of the East Bay, 6/25). Les died (1992) at the age of 58 only six weeks after a diagnosis of colorectal cancer. As most know, this is a slow-growing cancer; and, if caught in time, can be stopped.

Unfortunately, my husband was never encouraged to have a complete physical exam — Dr. Gjeltema sent him quickly on his way after a routine blood-pressure exam and not much else.

Certainly, Les bears some responsibility for not being more aware of his own health and insisting on better care. But like so many others, he was reluctant to complain about minor symptoms until they became serious. He assumed the reason he wasn't feeling quite up to par was just that he was getting older.

Dr. Gjeltema was not proactive and never bothered to offer him the routine tests that can catch this type of cancer — never asked what he did for a living, which was refinishing furniture (a red flag because of the Benzyme products he used). Isn't this the role of a primary physician — to do what they can to catch illness before it becomes too late?

Who else under his care is suffering or lost their life? Dr. Gjeltema is not the Best of the East Bay, not by a long shot.

Mary Kerr, Richmond

"Real Illegal," Music, 10/1

They Rock

This band is GREAT! Best rock band in the Bay Area, no question. Music kicks and their shows are a blast.

Nicole Hurley, Oakland

Pretty Fucking Good

Maybe not THE best band, but pretty fucking good. Shows are unfuckingbelievably fun, music is free on their web site, too, IsThatRealBlood.com. Also the bass player has an awesome recording studio and really knows his stuff.

Russell Cover, Oakland

"Days of Hate," Apprehension, 10/1

Peace and Love

The person who drew the swastika equating it to the Star of David is not only a bigot, but also an ignoramus. The Nazi swastika's legs are a sinistroverse one, with its legs pointing clockwise. In its dextroverse form, with its legs pointing counterclockwise, it is a universal symbol of peace, love, friendship, and good luck. As such, it is still used in India, China, Tibet, and Japan, as well as by the Navajo, Hopi, Pomo, and other Native Americans. It is also an important symbol used by the Aztec, Maya, Inca, and the Cuna of Panama.

Pancho Perico, Oakland

Miscellaneous Letters

I am a resident of South Berkeley and I cannot tolerate the rate of crime. Instead of lamenting the inevitable facts of Western human existence, I call for a query into the source of the matter. Last weekend, a burglar entered my home. The items he stole I located at the Ashby Flea Market. Do you know any individuals who have had things stolen and subsequently found them there? I do. I have also heard of countless accounts of burglary, muggings, and thievery from my neighbors and the community. I believe that the amount of crime in the area will decrease if the flea market were to be shut down or limited to handmade goods only. We can fight back.

I understand that the flea market is a great source for individual interaction. I do enjoy listening to the drum circle. However, we cannot prolong a motive for thieves to steal. If they can sell the goods at the market, we ought to monitor the market.

You published an article about a recent occurrence at the Ashby Bart station: a woman was forced to go down the stairs by an "undercover police officer," who subsequently stole her belongings.

What are we going to do about it?

Lauren Byrne, Berkeley


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