Letters for September 30 

Readers sound off on new Oakland tax, NUMMI plant, legalizing pot, and Bishop Cordileone.

"A New Tax Angers Small Oakland Retailers," Full Disclosure, 9/16

Good Lord

Just like making it illegal for Oakland muffler shops to install those loud mufflers on mostly import cars, guess what boys and girls, all the out-of-town muffler shops installed more than their normal share of this fad-driven mufflers (heard one lately?). Without a basic core of how a small business works, the City of Oakland looks to small businesses as an inexhaustible source of tax cash. If a few close down well they were probably run by Republicans anyway, and a "model" city has no use for anyone that is not a progressive.Good Lord, man, how much more of this insanity can we take, with cities just over the border holding their arms open wide for our hopes and dreams???

Ingvard Christensen, Oakland

"A Tribute to NUMMI Workers," Photo Essay, 9/9

Thank Reagan

Thank you to David Bacon for this poignant photo essay. There's something very wrong in our culture that the basic human desire to do constructive work to make one's living has been intentionally denied for the sake of larger profits to be made where cheaper labor can be found. We have Ronald Reagan to thank for making sure his corporate supporters could readily move their operations offshore to the cheapest labor source, all the while assuring us that what we wanted to be was a service economy (code for low-paying jobs and no labor unions). And he largely succeeded in this effort

Charlene Woodcock, Berkeley

"A New Front in the War Against Pot?," News, 8/26

Protect the Consumer

Please note that we must address the people with legalized cannabis. It won't do any good to do this to appease Law Enforcement and big business. We will still have prisoners and the crime will still be going on. Lee's initiative is the only way to save the black market in the face of legalization. Look at CCI and the Lee one — which one creates a way to protect the consumer? Not Lee's. Please reconsider your support.

Ernst Berg, Turlock

"I Am Annoyed and Disappointed," News, 8/5

Not Dogma

My wife and I are writing to you regarding an article by Sam Levin in the East Bay Express in August. Mr. Levin misrepresented our company suggesting in his article that we have employees and managers at our Café Gratitude take a program (The Landmark Forum) that might conflict with their religious or spiritual beliefs. There is absolutely nothing religious or spiritual about The Landmark Forum, which is a training and development course.

Landmark holds memberships in the American Society for Training and Development, the International Society for Performance Improvement, and offers Continuing Education Units (CEUs). Numerous religious and spiritual clergy, including Catholic, Episcopalian, Jewish, and Mormon, have confirmed this. In addition, Dr. Paul Knitter, a professor of theology and expert on world religions and culture from Union Theological Seminary, stated, "The facts are clear that Landmark Education and The Landmark Forum are not a religion or religious in nature, are not contrary to religion and do not interfere with the religious beliefs of participants in The Landmark Forum. The Landmark Forum provides no theology, dogma or doctrine to believe in or follow, there is nothing to worship and there are no practices to repeat. In addition, many participants in The Landmark Forum have reported that their participation in fact enhanced their own religious beliefs and practices." Landmark has been recognized by HR.com/James Mc Neil as one of the top training and development companies in the world. Although ours is a small business, we want the best training possible for our people.

Mathew and Terces Englehart, owners, Café Gratitude

"The Father of Proposition 8," Feature, 8/12

Deeply Disturbed

I just wanted to thank the East Bay Express for running the piece about Bishop Salvatore Cordileone. Being a gay man living in the Bay Area, I had no idea that this person had moved into the area, and was deeply disturbed by his language and message. I'm sure you will receive lots of mail about this, both for and against the article, and thought it important to send a letter of deep gratitude and thanks.

Andrew Wedge, San Francisco

Censored Voice

I wanted to share with you that I read your article. Also, I received an e-mail from the new musical director at the Christ the Light Cathedral asking me to join the choir and the exclusiveness of the music that would be sung at the regular services at the Cathedral. In response, I wrote the following to the Catholic Voice, which is a publication of the Oakland Diocese, to express my disappointment of both situations. Here is the e-mail, which was entitled "What is Happening to the Church of the People?":

"I was very saddened when I read the article in the Bay Express dated August 12 entitled The Father Proposition 8. From the Bay Express: 'As an auxiliary bishop in San Diego, Cordileone played an indispensable role in conceiving, funding, organizing, and ultimately winning the campaign to pass Proposition 8. It was Bishop Sal and a small group of Catholic leaders who decided that they had to amend the state constitution.' The article goes on to talk about how the Bishop influenced political figures and the steps he took to move this measure forward. I am concerned that a governmental issue where it would give equal rights to all to provide for their loved ones is being influenced by the Church and the Bishop of a diocese with a highly diverse population. I am not saying that the Church sanction gay marriage in the Church. This is civil marriage. God will decide whether to sanctify or not without our help and judgement.

"Also, I received an e-mail from Rudy de Vos, the new Music Director for the Cathedral. I was a member of the Dedication Choir and the Installation of the New Bishop choir. The e-mail I received was asking to join the new choir he was forming. What troubled me the most from his e-mail was what he wrote: 'I am looking forward to develop a music program of excellence, befitting of and suitable to a Cathedral. Repertoire that will be focused on will include Gregorian chant, Renaissance polyphony and other staples of the choral repertory (i.e. music by Byrd, Tallis, Attwood, Stanford, Parry, Howells, Duruflé, Colin Mawby, Joel Martinson, Leo Nestor etc.) and no music by Haugen and Haas.'  Again, I was under the impression that the church belonged to the people and not to an elite few. If we the people of the Oakland Diocese are a diverse group and we are to celebrate our diversity in our spiritual world, would we not include people like Haugen, Haas, Mannebusem, Sullivan-Whitaker, as well as others who write very spiritual music for the people and have roots in our diocese?The church wants us to celebrate as a unified church and as a family of God's people. But it seems that the leaders of the Oakland Diocese wants its people to return to the days of pre-Vatican II and let the leaders worship  for the people and for the people to worship in the closet. It is not surprising why so many Catholics are not at the forefront claiming that they are Catholics."

What was published in the Catholic Voice was this letter entitled Muscial Exclusions:

"I recently received an e-mail from Rudy de Vos, the new music director for the cathedral, asking me to join the new choir he is forming. I was a member of the cathedral's dedication choir and the choir for the installation of Bishop Cordileone.What troubled me was that de Vos wrote that he was 'looking forward to develop a music program of excellence, befitting of and suitable to a cathedral. Repertoire that will be focused on will include Gregorian chant, Renaissance polyphony and other staples of the choral repertory (i.e. music by Byrd, Tallis, Attwood, Stanford, Parry, Howells, Duruflé, Colin Mawby, Joel Martinson, Leo Nestor etc.) and no music by Haugen and Haas.'I was under the impression that the Church belonged to the people and not to an elite few. If we the people of the Oakland Diocese are a diverse group and we are to celebrate our diversity in our spiritual world, why would we not include people like Haugen, Haas, Manibusan, Sullivan-Whitaker and others who write very spiritual music for the people and have roots in our diocese?The Church wants us to celebrate as a unified Church and as a family of God's people. But it seems that the leaders of the Oakland Diocese want its people to return to the days of pre-Vatican II and let the leaders worship for the people and for the people to worship in the closet. It is not surprising that so many Catholics are not at the forefront claiming they are Catholics."

Sebastian Romeo

Via e-mail

Frankly I am not surprised that they deleted the section on Prop 8, but I wasn't going to do anything then I decided to see if you would follow-up.

Sebastian J Romeo, San Leandro

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