Letters for the Week of April 18, 2012 

Readers sound off on the shrinking stage, OPD and Occupy, Mary Hayashi, and AC Transit finally buying American.

Page 2 of 4

I have been a member of Occupy Oakland for the past several months. I am employed, have a place to live, and have a college-aged daughter whom I help support. I'm involved with Occupy in several ways, including attending marches and events. I have been at almost all the major events during the past few months, including the all-day conflicts of January 28.

There is nothing like being at an event firsthand and seeing it unfold with your own eyes when it comes to really understanding the truth of a situation. I have previously been somewhat balanced in my attitudes toward police, but I have been shocked by what I have seen during these conflicts with the Oakland Police Department, and it has radicalized me to some degree.

Diane Reiner, Oakland

"Replacing Mary Hayashi," News, 4/4

The Bright Side

Hayashi is termed out? Oh, what a shame. But look at the positive — more time for shopping!

Don Sandri, Hayward

Go Green

Excellent article — compares candidates accurately. Green is probably the most prepared for the seat. There will be a runoff in November, probably between Green and Quirk. I doubt money will be a major handicap for Green, as he has been around a long time and is well-known in the area.

Anthony Santos

Former mayor, San Leandro

"When Pizza Goes Bicoastal," Restaurant Review, 4/4

Lipstick on a Pig

Since you were able to detect the flaw in the basic dough, no makeup of good toppings can cover that problem. The best pizza is dough-centric, and all other additions should revolve around that.

But I also have to argue with your statement that putting crushed tomatoes causes a paste-like consistency. This is not true, as any good pizza cook can tell you. First of all, the tomatoes are cooked from the can. They are not raw. Secondly, almost all good pizza puts crushed tomatoes on the pie; it's twice-cooking that causes a paste-like texture, or maybe it's just a poor-quality sauce.

Jason Carey, Oakland

"AC Transit Finally Buys American," Seven Days, 4/4

Van Fools

"Van Fools" or "Van Hells": Enter this bus at your own risk! For those of us who ride them often enough or rely on them solely as our main source of transportation, we, both riders and drivers, have truly hated them from the very beginning. It took a decade to get them finally changed and that is too long to wait. I wonder how many of us have been injured by these buses? I hope the new buses will be better for riders and drivers than the spine-rattling boondoggles we now have. Those Van Hool buses have caused us more injuries, and at the same time wasted our taxpayer transit funds.

Plus, whoever on the AC Transit Board decided that riding backwards on a bus is better than riding forward did not have his or her head on straight at all. The lint-collecting fabric on the bus seats also rival BART's seats when it comes to sanitation levels.

We need better and safer buses and more services restored. The members of the AC Transit Board of Directors are the managers of the dwindling funds the agency receives from the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC). They need to be more proactive about getting more funding for services. Meanwhile, the MTC only gives bus agencies 8 percent each of its public subsidies, whereas 25 percent goes to BART and 53 percent goes to Caltrans. Yet fares keep rising and we continue to get fewer services for more money. MTC pays $53 million a year in swap fees to the big banks like Chase, JP Morgan, Wells Fargo, Bank of America, and others while bus services were cut $52 million annually since 2009. This, too, must change.

Kit Vaq

Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment (ACCE)

Riders for Transit Justice

Badly Designed and Here for Awhile

The Van Hools seem to have been designed by someone more interested in creating a bus with interesting nooks and crannies than someone interested in creating one that can safely transport passengers from Point A to Point B. The aisles are too narrow, there are too many steps and not enough overhead bars to hang on to, a bell situated immediately next to a seat gets rung whenever the occupant of said seat accidentally leans against it, and the ridiculous bit of upholstery at the front of the bus says "this is not a seat" even though it looks like one. Unfortunately it'll be many years before the last of the Van Hools is retired, so we will continue to hear drivers wearily telling folks not to sit on the forbidden upholstery for a long time to come.

John Seal, Oakland

"Biff Stands His Ground," This Modern World, 3/23

What Tom Tomorrow Got Wrong About Guns

Usually I am a big fan of Tom Tomorrow's "This Modern World" and its hip, radical penguin behind the designer sunglasses who regularly throws accurate darts at the One Percent. But in his dig at so-called "Stand Your Ground Laws," the little fellow has plunked his webbed foot down on whatever "equipment" it is that penguins have. Simply put, Tom Tomorrow has been sucked in by one of the most interesting and elaborate tricks of the wealthy: the canard known as "gun control."


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