Letters for September 17 

Readers sound off on the tragic death of Dr. Zehra Attari.

"An Unresolved Death," Full Disclosure, 8/27

But for the Price of Cab Fare

As a sixteen-year-old in drivers' training, I learned that one of the leading causes of death in automobiles is unfamiliarity with the roads. A few years before that, my father crashed into a deep ditch, even though it was clearly marked as a T intersection. Instead of going left or right, he continued, and almost died.

When Dr. Attari went missing, I watched countless newscasts of her relatives telling the Bay Area how bad a driver Dr. Attari was. Over and over, she stated how horrible the doctor was at driving. Then suddenly, the theory changed to a more sinister one: That Attari was a pediatrician, and many people were jealous of her.

Now, the doctor's family is blaming Alameda for her death. But the blame should be placed where it belongs.

Looking down Grand Street, there is a long row of stoplights until it reaches the water, where there was and is a flashing light, and an "end" sign. There is an alternative to going into the water, and any driver can see that the long row of stoplights do not continue. The speed limit is 25 on Grand, and in bad weather, any good driver would proceed with caution.

Anyone driving anywhere, including Alameda, should know to use a map. They should know when to ask for help. If it's not clear to drive, they should stop. Anyone driving into Alameda should know that it is an island, and you will eventually come to a bridge, a tube, or water. I learned this on my first trip here.

It's such a dangerous place that millions have passed through without a problem?

We place "Do Not Enter" signs on freeway off-ramps, and still there are head-on collisions from those who ignore them. People are warned not to drive across flooded roads, but they still do, with deadly results.

The change of the boat ramp is an admission of guilt? It's an admission that there are bad drivers out there.

Thinking that Dr. Attari was a bad driver, and thinking that others were jealous of her, why didn't the family or coworkers of the doctor either insist to drive her, go with her, or at least provide her with a GPS or a cab? Dr. Attari's death was a tragedy. It's sad to think that for the price of cab fare, she'd be alive today.

D.G. Hayes, Alameda

An Unfortunate Tragedy

I lived on Grand Street for a year and had more than one visitor tell me that they almost drove "into the water." I'm glad that the detour got put up, but it is unfortunate that this sister had to lose her life. RIP.

Reginald James, Alameda

A Waste of Taxpayer Funds

Concerning the Attari family's Wrongful Death lawsuit against the City of Alameda, as a taxpayer resident of the City of Alameda, I am appalled by the actions of the Attari family.

While tragic and sad, Dr. Attari's death is obviously the fault of a woman who by her own husband's admissions had a "poor sense of direction." Add to this her mental state prior to the accident, witnessed to by an Alameda resident who claims that Dr. Attari appeared "lost and distraught," and you have an obvious case of yet another human being minimizing the power of destruction inherent in the motor vehicle.

I hope that this lawsuit is thrown out with prejudice. I do not want to see any of my taxpayer funds going toward this assault on common sense.

Neil Spun, Alameda

Inflating the Bill

What if she were drunk? Wouldn't it make her partially or fully responsible for this? In this case while she was not drunk, she was either under the influence of drugs or else under apparent tremendous stress which impaired her sound judgment (perhaps Medicaid notified her that they are going to perform an audit?). Further, she was 55 at the time of her death. Where in hell her family and her attorney found that she was going to work twenty more years (rather than twelve, ten, or even seven)? Further, even if she earned during her last year $325,000 as her family and attorney contend, that was not a salary earned by MD at Kaiser (which would have been free and clear and subject to taxes only). Quite to the contrary, she had to pay out of her receipts very large expenses (such as malpractice insurance, office rent, receptionist's salary and benefits, etc.). So the real financial loss to the family was at best half of it (actually even much less because she had to pay federal and state taxes on her NET income). Furthermore, substantial part of her net after-tax earnings was spent on herself (medical, car, clothing, food, etc) and thus also has to be subtracted. Finally, her husband either already has or in the future will start receiving substantial monthly Social Security widower's benefits and that has to be subtracted too. Thus the grieving family and their trial-happy lawyer shouldn't use this as an opportunity to make themselves millionaires several times over at the expense of City of Alameda taxpayers.

Lee Stark, San Francisco


In our September 10 Seven Days column, we overstated the California unemployment rate. It is 6.1 percent, not 6.2 percent.

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