Letters for the Week of June 22 

Readers sound off on J.R. Rider, Albany Beach, and pinball.

"Fallen Rider," Feature, 6/8

Don't Pathologize Rider

That article was absurdly long and the author seemed to retrace cultural landscapes in a way that almost reinforce instead of debunk stereotypes. "Talking ghetto?" Are you really serious? Oppositon complex, or whatever he called it — being smart is white. I felt like I was reading a brochure for a cultural sensitivity workshop from the Eighties. It's kind of like when the slavemaster psychiatrists came up with some sort of diagnosis that described slaves continuously trying to escape from the plantation as a mental disorder.

Now, J.R. might really have some sort of emotional or mental problems, but they seemed to have been glazed over by a lot of cultural generalizations in this article (in quite a juvenile and somewhat foreign way, I might add).

I'll be glad when they start coming up with clinical terms and catchphrases that put a box around the reasons why crazy white people do the things that they do.

Pallo Peacock, Oakland

Zero Sympathy

No matter what idiot commenters say, dude had it all and screwed it up. I feel zero sympathy for someone that made more in one year than most people see in their whole lives. Ye reap what ye sow, and crack kills!

Vito Andolini, Charlotte, North Carolina

Good Job, Gackle

Paul Gackle's article on Isaiah Rider was just phenomenal. Well written, gripping, poignant, and just a great read. The end really got me as I can't help but hope that Isaiah III offers a true chance for redemption. Let's hope the support is there for him.

Mark Numainville, Oakland


This article is bullshit; get your facts straight. Isaiah is a God-fearing man who is misunderstood because the media like to tell lies and glorify his mishaps. God will continue to bless Isaiah and his family regardless of these articles.

A video will be coming soon and Isaiah will tell it himself. You have not talked to Isaiah so your article is hearsay.

Vanessa Cassidy, Phoenix 

Mo' Money, Mo' Problems

Giving someone a pile of money doesn't give them structure, discipline, interests or goals. It's so easy to think that money rules ... if you're ruled by money.

If you don't have the solid foundation first, laid down by family, community and society, all money is going to do is exacerbate your worst habits.

David De La Fuente, San Francisco

Kidd's Not Innocent Either

The article isn't about Jason Kidd, rather juxtaposing Kidd and Rider — but aren't you expunging Kidd's record here by making him the "light" as opposed to Rider's "dark"? Literally as well as figuratively?

Kidd had some serious problems of his own before he went on to the NBA, and has had plenty afterward.

Alison Cecile Johns, Oakland

"A Thousand Songs, and Then Some," Music, 6/8

A Mann Fan

This is an amazingly talented artist, and a super creative concept. I'll be listening all month, can't wait!

Sarah E. Brown, Berkeley

"Beautifying Albany Beach," Eco Watch, 6/8

Don't Pave the Trail

Nice concept, but does the "trail easement" absolutely need to be paved with asphalt? Are there not other suitable bicycle path constructing materials available which do not use petroleum products in the manufacturing process? What happens when a trail becomes a paved surface?

William M. Popper, Berkeley

Let It Be

Leave the freakin' place alone. It is perfect just as it is. The lumber is part of the shifting history of the area. As is every other piece of "debris." And the coastal cleanups which happen both on an organized and impromptu level by those of us who love and utilize this wonderful place get rid of the discarded waste, like plastics, cigarette butts, drink containers, etc., which floats ashore or gets thrown carelessly about.

Albany Beach, Waterfront, Bulb and Park: Let it be.

Jill Posener, Berkeley

"Murals Are No Longer Illegal," News, 6/8

Good for Them

The fact that the students had the property owner's permission should have been the end of the story, but nooo.... Glad sanity finally prevailed, and good for the Gompers students!

Mary Eisenhart, Oakland

"Heroes and Cowards," Seven Days, 6/8

What About the Bystanders?

It is logical to suspect there was at least one senior member of the Alameda fire and/or police departments who gave the command not to help prevent or even try to intercede in that slow-evolving suicide. Nonetheless, many others were present for the incident — and it appears not one soul other than the reported kite-surfer tried communicating with the now-dead person. This is an abrogation of human-to-human obligation — to try to help a person in obvious trouble. This has less to do with law enforcement preparedness, union issues, cut-backs or any other excuses. It is a clear issue of cultural disintegration — where people with badges, and those without them, watch for an extended time as a person takes his life. Nonetheless, the city government personnel who stood by, taking no action to even dissuade the suicide, failed as employees of the public and as humans who would normally be elevated to the position of protecting the public they serve. This article is on target by naming them for what they are: cowards all.

William H. Thompson, Walnut Creek

For Shame

It's really appalling and disturbing to read about Robert Zack drowning — do you need certification to be a human being? He was up to his neck in water but the police thought he might [be] armed and dangerous? A young woman retrieved his motionless body from the water? An independent review? How about hiring a new fire and police department that aren't out in the field bureaucrats? I can see where one person would be reluctant to physically engage in a water rescue, but there was more than one person. But even one person could have swam out and tried to talk to him from a distance — even if they had to shout. Just the fact that someone cared enough to do that might have changed his mind. Once again this tragedy gets to the real bottom line of our current society and culture: money [and] profits. It wasn't in the job description of the Alameda fire and police departments to attempt to save a drowning person — suicidal or not. The Alameda County Sheriff's Department has a "state of the art" gunboat for "terrorists," but not even a surfboard to paddle out and deal with someone drowning. This tragedy reveals what happens when you run a city like a corporation instead of a government — and in the wake of the firefighters who lost their lives in San Francisco, and Mehserle being released after less than a year for "manslaughter." The national level shame and disgrace in Alameda County is quite deserved.


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