Letters for the week of May 3-8, 2007 

Readers comment on Alameda's vibe, hip-hop politics, legal eagle John Russo, and Oakland's racial politics.

"Burning Man by the Bay," Press Play, 4/4

Hooray Alameda!
Finally, a city whose soul isn't for sale! I have family that lives on that idyllic island and I love the 25-mph cars that actually STOP for pedestrians in the crosswalk and neighbors that ACTUALLY greet you (even if you're a "stranger"). A party such as the one described is completely out of sync with this beautiful city. A curse on the promoters for even considering that site! The logistics themselves would be a nightmare. Not only that, but would-be partygoers would for sure be targeted by the local police as they were coming and going from the base (what else do the local cops there have to do?).

On the flip side, Rosenblum winery (located across from the base) has for years successfully thrown an open house every four months to celebrate various wine releases. Their parties have grown considerably in size over the past few years. However, even with the massive consumption of wine, food, and live music, it continues to be a relatively sedate party. Must be the clientele.
Celeste Young, Fremont

"Chuck D vs. Obama," Close 2 tha Edge, 4/4

Run, Chuck, run
I think that Senator Obama is a positive brother at a time when we don't get to see many positive brothers not in the realm of entertainment at the forefront of mainstream media outlets. I appreciate his intelligence and his candor, and win or lose, I hope he does well.

Do I think he represents hip-hop? Not so easy to tell. I don't know what's in the brother's iPod. I wouldn't write off John Edwards even though he is from NC and is older (and whiter) than Senator Obama. Often hip-hop represents the have-nots in our society. Senator Edwards is doing more talking about helping the have-nots than any of the front-running Dems. I think that a third-party candidate would be more likely to show hip-hop love than a major candidate would.

I would love to see a guy like Chuck D run a real campaign. As long as we see a two-party duopoly, we aren't going to see any real embracing of marginalized groups.
Derek Arnold, Akron, Ohio

"Disservice to Readers," Letters, 3/14

Check the record
That recent letter of David Roth on John Russo's record is pure fiction. Russo started out his council career by double-crossing his supporters on Just Cause. He neglected to mention his extreme hostility to any form of rent restriction on a landlord's allegedly god-given right to raise rents to whatever level he can get away with.

As a tenant rep on the Oakland Rent Board during 1997, I recall Russo's hostility toward the 60 percent of Oaklanders who are tenants. Only Republican Dick Spees matched Russo in that regard on the city council. Russo was supported by developers and landlords. Unfortunately, some of the brain-dead "progressives" still pictured our Johnny in glowing terms, the Bay Guardian being a particularly embarrassing example of same. That Russo would use his position as city attorney to run interference for the latest development project should cause no surprise to the informed.
Michael Hardesty, Oakland

"Not So Pressing After All," Full Disclosure, 3/28

b>Playing the race card
In Robert Gammon's recent article concerning a City of Oakland minority contracting study, there is a remark that two years ago Ignacio De La Fuente attempted to "limit its scope." No kidding. Ignacio is well known in the Afro-American community for his bigotry toward black people. His recent betrayal of Larry Reid concerning the rotation of the chairman on the city council is the most blatant example, not to mention his consistent support of policies that are certain to be detrimental to African Americans in general. His past shabby treatment of Desley Brooks is well known, probably because she has proved an effective advocate for progressive political action.

What is less well known is that Ignacio treats his own constituency, the Latinos in the Fruitvale district, hardly better. Talking to my Hispanic friends, I hear a never-ending list of neglects and malfeasance they are ever pointing to. I used to wonder about this until I received some interesting information. An acquaintance of mine went to one of Ignacio De La Fuente's fund-raisers when he was running for mayor; speaking to me about it, he told me in a stunned voice that he DID NOT SEE A SINGLE LATINO THERE! The only people he saw were white folks (he is Caucasian) with a smattering of Asians. Many were rich developers or their representatives; and of course there were no blacks. This I find remarkable, considering how many times Ignacio has "played the race card" himself when it was to his political advantages. The reader may take from this what lesson they will.

Thank you, Robert Gammon. Give us more of the same.
James J. Fenton, Oakland

"Hit the Road, Jack," City of Warts, 4/4

I feel your pain
Those of us who were displaced two and a half years ago from another Wareham building in Emeryville are following the story of the Zaentz Center. Our building got mold due to defective construction, and Wareham is proposing to build a huge monstrosity right next door while my family still waits in a hotel to finally return home. The filmmakers have my sympathy. WarehamSux.com is a Web site my neighbor developed about our situation in Emeryville.
Juanita Carroll Young, Emeryville

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