Letters for the week of March 28-April 3, 2007 

Readers comment on Oakland Police tactics, Ralph Nader, immigrants, fact-checking, and the digital-radio fiasco.

"Reinventing the Wheel," Full Disclosure, 3/7

OPD hypocrisy
Thank you for exposing the hypocrisy which is OPD command, especially during the last sixteen months or so. The police department has been fighting the community and geographic integrity, yet here they supposedly embrace it.
Colleen Brown, Oakland

Cronyism over competence
Robert Gammon's article was thorough except for one thing: the reason a good plan was abandoned. That reason? Jerry Brown's administration always emphasized cronyism over competence, just as it's likely to in his new job. The question was not "Will the job get done right?" but rather "Will this guy sufficiently pucker up and kiss my ass?" The answer is predictable by the results.

Want to know how to solve the police response problem? Make the office of police chief an elected office independent of the rest of the city government. Then you will have a police force answerable to the body politic. Don't do this, and you will have the same-old, same-old.

"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God (Jerry Brown), and the Word was 'Yes, boss.'"
James J. Fenton, Oakland

"Spoiler Alert," Film, 3/7

Gore lost on his own
Your review assumes Ralph Nader did spoil the election while the evidence shows he did not. For example: Gore won Florida as would have been confirmed had he demanded a recount, which he failed to do and I'm sure regrets today. Consequently, the Supreme Court decided who would be president. There is much more evidence that proves Nader was not responsible, if you would do your homework.

Start with Too Close to Call by Jeffrey Toobin. Just stop repeating ad nauseam what the Democratic Party wants you to believe, even though its operatives who are honest enough know perfectly well: Gore lost his own election!
Ivana Edwards, New York City

Never a wasted vote
As a registered Republican who voted for Ralph Nader in 2000 and 2004, I would do so again in 2008 if Ralph runs. It is never a wasted vote when you vote for who you truly believe in and who has earned your vote. I believe in Ralph; his ongoing career is all the evidence I need, knowing he always tells the truth. As a Republican it's obvious I am not voting for Ralph because of political ideology, but for the need to straighten out America which has run amok on corporate corruption.
Jonathan Cymberknopf, Coral Springs, Florida

"When Something's in the Air ...," Cityside, 2/28

Learn English already
Based on the article, it does seem that the warning system has room for improvement. However, is it the government's responsibility to develop a warning system for every language that might be spoken in a thirty-mile radius of a given refinery or chemical plant?

English is the national language. Individuals who immigrate here need to learn English. If the same people who were impacted by the 1999 incident mentioned in the article have not learned enough English to understand the simple warning message, then we have a larger problem. These individuals have chosen not to assimilate into US culture. I fail to see why we need to accommodate them. I seriously doubt if I went to Laos (or any other country), I would get much sympathy for not learning the local language after being there for eight years. Thank you for providing a place for me to express my opinion.
David Edgar, San Antonio, Texas

"Really Slow Food," Feature, 2/21

A foggy foodie
John Birdsall is a little foggy on his facts from our interview last fall. I was not "canned," as he puts it. I resigned before I would discipline a valued employee who was being falsely accused of something by a psychotic employee who had it in for the good employee.

Sutter management shudders in their boots when it comes to exposing troublesome union employees. They will continue to be at the bottom of healthcare providers, as they hold onto the dead wood too long.

Please tell Mr. Birdsall to get his facts straight the next time he wishes to use my name in print.
Chef Lorenzo Wimmer, Kentfield

"HD Radio on the Offense," Music, 3/7

Local radio DOA
Your story is the first newspaper article I've seen that hits on the realities of the IBOC situation. I'm an old former broadcaster, age 71, who switched from radio broadcasting to smalltown newspaper editorship in 1981 prior to retirement in 2000. Local radio has virtually died, except perhaps in the small markets that are too far away from a metropolitan area to become what's called a rimshot station. Except for commercials for Viagra, Depends, and the like on TV, plus other drugs, no broadcasters program for my age group.

That's an inadequate nutshell, but a Google Search for "IBOC" and "World of Radio" should find much often highly opinionated but sometimes well-thought-out criticism of IBOC. We who are DX-listening hobbyists recognize that when the FCC authorizes nighttime IBOC operation on the AM band, nearly all of the band will sound like a car radio under a power line. Until, that is, all the analogue receivers are phased out and every station pays its iBiquity fee and buys the requisite equipment to transmit more programming directed to the lowest common denominators among us.
John Callarman, Krum, Texas

CSI: Digital radio
Like the Gil Grissom-led team on CSI, you have unearthed a few of the dirty little HD secrets buried in the radio industry's basement (it was the smell of the HD-2 channels that tipped you off, I'll bet).

Over a year ago I conducted a nationwide research project to explore the best dial-and-display options for HD Radio. While overwhelmingly conclusive, the results were ignored by the same players you criticize in your article. As a result, for the first time in the history of all technology, a HD Radio listener must dial past the intended dial position ... wait for the signal to capture ... and then tune to the intended HD channel. There had better be some hotshot HD programming to suffer through that kind of maze just to tune the dial.

Imagine if CDs had a similar glitch in their manufacture, like having to manually play track three before you could listen to track two. (While this reads like inside baseball, it is important: If a person is listening to 101.7 HD-2 and wants to hear 98.5 HD-2, he must dial down below 98.5 HD-2 to find the root-channel, 98.5 Analog, then wait for several seconds until the Analog signal lumbers to Digital, 98.5 HD-1. Only then can you dial up to the desired station at 98.5 HD-2.)

In addition to the display options, I gathered additional information

about the host of purported advantages touted in the iBiquity and HD-station literature and Web sites. Sounds very much like the early warning signs for many of the issues you talk about in your article, don't they? Keep in mind, the broadcasting world and iBiquity have been aware of these potholes for a very long time — all the major players in the HD tableau have attended or viewed my research, and many of the principals provided their feedback, as we designed the study almost two years ago.
Bob Harper, Paragon Media Strategies, Denver, Colorado

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