Letters for the week of November 22-28, 2006 

"Welcome to Alameda," Feature, 11/1

The estuary is still wet
I think I might have been able to save you guys some space by condensing your article on Alameda as follows: "Alameda still overrun with old white assholes who refuse to shut the hell up and die."

Or, more succinctly: "Water is still wet."

Thanks, though. I've been barking up this same tree for thirty-odd years and I need the gratification from time to time.
Erik Kolacek, Alameda

Such a tired tactic
Since Chris Thompson's article about Alameda politics was the cover story, I expected his usual in-depth lengthy analysis, instead of the two-page throw-off piece I read. Right, let's blast "Mayberry" once again for its provincial and racist attitudes. Indeed, pro-development forces have gotten used to using this technique on a daily basis. Turning over rocks to find evidence of racism is such a tired tactic.

Fact: Alameda is probably one of the most racially diverse cities in the Bay Area, since it is a favored destination for many ethnicities who have the money to be able to afford to rent or buy a home and take advantage of the quality of life here. The school district is often cited as being a primary reason for relocating. There are very few Oakland parents of any race who wouldn't love for their children to attend Alameda public schools. And being against a huge taxpayer-funded subsidy for a coterie of developers seeking to turn Alameda into yet another giant megaplex/mall town does not a racist make. Yes, there are racial problems here, like there are in every community. I was recently eyewitness to an event of blatant discrimination. A young African-American colleague was denied a rental unit solely due to her race. No, the landlord was not some old provincial Alamedan, but a nonwhite recent immigrant from another country. Makes you think, doesn't it?
Brian O'Neil, Alameda

Racism is really an issue
I really wanted to compliment your article, for I found it incredibly accurate about the atmosphere of Alameda. I'm an audiologist on Central Avenue and have talked to Alameda seniors at great length about all the issues you addressed. There really is a racism issue that needed to be exposed. Great work, and I'll look forward to your future articles.
Ray Crookston, Alameda

"Rebranding a Candidate," Feature, 11/1

Political chameleon
Pat Kernighan's phony presentation of herself as a "feminist" is not only disingenuous, it is patently stupid. Even for people foolish enough to believe her bogus about-face, why would they care?

Feminism was a hot topic for bourgeois white women of the '70s. In the 21st century, it's "dinosaur politics." Looked at demographically, this is the likely fallout now: 1) Baby boomer white women — an ever-decreasing voting block, with their political power also waning; 2) Young white women — consider their present emancipation a done deal, and therefore a nonissue; 3) Latino women — raised in a Catholic culture, unsympathetic to feminism, their attitude runs indifferent to somewhat hostile to feminist issues (note: Virtually all oppose the right to choose); 4) Chinese women — their Confucianist culture is even more restrictive of women's freedom than Catholicism. Ditto of above: 5) Afro-American women — more free-thinking than other minority women, and sympathetic to some feminist issues, but that doesn't mean they will be friendly to a yuppie white woman they have cause to hate. When she has to stand in the welfare line to beg for money to feed her children, or when she has to hide out at a battered women's shelter, that's when they will vote for her, not before.

Whether [Kernighan] wins or loses, the voters will now have ample cause to distrust her; a situation she can never take back. Too bad she didn't find out who she was before she became involved in politics.

"The Moving Finger writes; and, having writ,/Moves on: nor all thy Piety nor Wit/Shall lure it back to cancel half a Line,/Nor all thy Tears wash out a Word of it. — Omar Khayyam, The Rubaiyat
James Fenton, Oakland

"RIP, Berkeley Rap Radio," Close 2 tha Edge, 11/1

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