Letters for the Week of November 26, 2014 

Readers sound off on Ranked Choice Voting, cigarette butts and the meaning of progressivism.


"Oaklanders Understood RCV," News, 11/19

Good Job

Robert Gammon's article on Ranked Choice Voting was generally good. I appreciate his pointing out that Oaklanders do understand and benefit from RCV. 

Michelle Ortega, Oakland


"A New War on Smoking," Feature, 11/12

Tax Your Butt

A solution may be to put a "bounty" of one cent for each cigarette to be paid out by any retail vendor in the state. The legislature could pass an additional 20-cent per pack tax and call it what it is: Tax Your Butt. The administration costs could be funded by the existing 25-cents-per-pack tax.

Pat Ferraro, San Jose


"Progressive Domination," Seven Days, 11/12

Schaaf Is No Progressive

I am as happy as anyone about the progressive victories in our East Bay elections. However, I was disturbed by Robert Gammon's characterization of Libby Schaaf's election to the mayor's office as a progressive win. I was there at the city council meeting the night (during the Occupy protests) that Schaaf and her colleague Ignacio De la Fuente attempted to push through an "emergency measure" to keep the port of Oakland open during blockades using "any force necessary" (their words). Schaaf and De La Fuente wanted to authorize the use of a panoply of militarized police tactics (and potentially the national guard) to deprive the populace of this important and non-violent tactic that has been used in actions against Apartheid South Africa and both invasions of Iraq. Schaaf and De La Fuente's draconian and anti-democratic behavior, slavishly greasing the machinery of commerce and state, is more worthy of the bureaucrats of Tiananmen Square than any progressive leader. Schaaf is a charming and astute politician, but let's not forget the fangs she has shown us in the past.

Ivar Diehl, Oakland

Some Progressives Didn't Win

Linda Maio beat a more progressive candidate. Trying to jam every race into your "progressives win" jar is a bit over the top.

JP Massar, Berkeley

You're Redefining Progressive

I think this is pure wishful thinking. In race after race after race in Alameda County (I won't speak about Richmond, as I didn't follow that race) the more conservative candidates won. Incumbents were — sometimes — an exception. Only in two races did a more liberal non-incumbent candidate outright win over more conservative ones and both were open seats: Annie Campbell Washington in Oakland and Mike Bucci in Union City — but that was an at-large election for two seats, and Bucci came second to a Republican candidate. The only way you get to say that progressives won in Berkeley and Oakland is redefining the word and ignoring the competition. Alejandro Soto-Vigil is much more progressive than Linda Maio and Libby Schaaf is very much a moderate. Meanwhile, I disagree that Dana King is more moderate than Abel Guillen — each one is more liberal than the other on different issues. 

Margarita Lacabe, San Leandro


"The Age of Fear and Disillusionment," Raising the Bar, 11/12

Speak to Power

Excellent article. Fear is an American value that is manipulated by those in power to do as they please.

Art Zamora, Walnut Creek


"The Turkey Invasion," Feature, 11/5

Gang Is Right

Yep. Feeling it. Turkeys ganged up on me recently while I was leaving for work. I couldn't figure out if I could get them to move. I didn't want to be mean and scare them, but truth be told, I was a little scared of them. Freaks.

Melody Simpson, Oakland

We Should Just Eat Them

There is something we can do about non-native wild turkeys: we can eat them. They are delicious. Hunting them with shotguns is problematic in the hills of Montclair, but bagging one with a bow is safe, assuming there's a safe backstop. Create a scientific hunting season with bag limits that reflect carrying capacity of the land. Have hunters participate in a lottery for tags. Close some East Bay Regional Park lands where the birds roost and have a four-day hunt in fall and spring. Use the revenue from tags for habitat protection and conservation as practiced by Ducks Unlimited, Trout Unlimited, and the American Turkey Federation. We all "hunt." Most folks leave the killing to others.

Michael Sagehorn, Oakland


"An Environmental Setback at Brooklyn Basin," News, 11/5

You're Blaming the Wrong Agency

Casting the Army Corps of Engineers as the villains in this is backward. The developer and the Port of Oakland are the ones that came up with a plan that the Army Corps could never approve.

Ryan Young, El Cerrito


"Ask Legalization Nation: Weeding Out Hemp Oil Hustlers," Legalization Nation, 11/5

Open Your Mind

You're doing nothing more but parroting bad information. Project CBD clearly has a conflict of interest based on past relationships with CannaVEST, and most of the questions regarding the legality of the products mentioned are easily refuted. The contaminates cited came from improper cleaning of lab equipment, were reported as flawed by the lab, and then cited in the report anyway. The project CBD piece was full of holes.

There are many reputable companies selling hemp derived CBD, Medmjinc was simply the first one with the highest profile. They have since been replaced by higher quality whole plant outfits (it's not "in the pipeline," it is already being sold by many companies, get with the times). This stuff (information, companies, etc.) is quite easy to find, so no need to just reprint information that is inaccurate or highly questionable.

The industry has moved beyond the initial companies sourcing Chinese hemp — that is so two years ago. No one is using Chinese hemp — most is coming out of Europe and will be coming out of the US with farms going online this last year.

Quit trying to paint the entire legal CBD industry with the same brush, and labeling it all categorically as "snake oil." All it takes is a simple day on Google or Amazon to get to the bottom of that question. Anyone saying otherwise has never properly researched legal CBD and is simply reprinting articles the way you are in this piece, instead of adding anything original to the debate.

There are many breeders overseas and in the United States using hybrids such as Charlotte's Web (CW) that qualify for industrial hemp status, and as such, may be sold nationally as nutritional supplements, just like CW is as of last month. And no one is saying CW is snake oil. It is low THC medical marijuana or "industrial hemp" under law.

Quit being naïve of the plants' breeding potential under current US law. Legal CBD will pave the way for the marketing of any number of the 120 some cannabinoids found in cannabis, as the only that must be limited is THC.

Open your mind to the breeding possibilities and stop badmouthing the industry.

Steve Jones, Fairbanks, Alaska

Bad Science

SC Labs exposed Project CBD for its bad science — no chain of custody, not removing the background data from their test results, and dirty samples with no indication of where they came from. Believe the "report" at your own risk.

AJ Fincher, Atlanta, Georgia


"Tchaik 5 & Brothers in Arts," Concerts & Clubs Picks, 11/5

'Symphony Light' Strikes, Again

I loved the Tchaikovsky. I am continually impressed by Oakland East Bay Symphony's ability to engage in a classic and introduce something new. I call OEBS "symphony light," because I always feel I can bring a newbie and that person will enjoy the symphony. I'm not a huge jazz fan, so it wouldn't be fair of me to rate the Brothers in Arts. There were some very good parts.

Jan Stamos, Oakland


"The World is Your Oyster," Food Review, 10/8

Hold the Salt!

We ate recently at Jack's Oyster Bar & Fish House. The spinach salad and fried oysters were good, but the crabcake was ridiculously salty, as was the grilled salmon and cioppino. There was even salt sprinkled on the tops of the jalapeno corn muffins! Great if you're intent upon getting sloshed on big cocktails, otherwise ... nope.

Very disappointing!

Jean Komatsu, Oakland


Miscellaneous Letters

Let's Hope Schaaf Gets It

The well-deserved euphoria and general exultation among Mayor-elect Libby Schaaf's supporters will soon dissipate, at which time the stark reality of Oakland's truly dismal finances will need to be addressed.  My expectation is that Mayor Schaaf will understand this subject better than Jean Quan ever did, and as a consequence will be infinitely more conversant on this important issue. 

While everyone is celebrating the advent of a new era here in town, the reality of Oakland's looming budgetary deficits needs to be made public. The truth is: Our politicians have yet to prove that they are serious and capable people who can in fact produce smart budgets using realistic, honest assumptions that are in no way encumbered by obligations to unions whose support most of these folks benefit from.

Schaaf deserves the support of everyone in town, and in return, it is incumbent on her to honestly articulate the true condition of Oakland's finances. This would be a revelation to concerned citizens who for too long have been fed misinformation and self-serving, imprecise projections. The mandate given to Schaaf comes with the expectation that our City Hall will dramatically elevate its performance. 

Let's hope we are not disappointed.

Jonathan Breault, Oakland

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