Letters for the week of September 5-11, 2007 

Readers comment on Jack London Square development and gender development. Plus: Wineau wins!

"Back to Square One," Feature, 8/8


Are we to flourish?
Great reporting and unlike anything I could ever expect from the Tribune, were I to read it. The still-ghostly Jack London Square: Another failed legacy from clown Jerry Brown? Should the developers not be catering first and foremost to all the condo dwellers moving in around there? I could care less about some bogus add-on to cater to the poor. Is this town to flourish or not? We already have East and West Oakland, thank you.
David Lewis, Oakland


Why won't Oakland port help the city?
Your piece highlights Port of Oakland giveaways. It doesn't touch the question of who the port doesn't give to: Oakland schools, Oakland libraries, or Alameda County health facilities. Mayor Dellums' recent announcement that Oakland has received $12 million from state measures to be used for housing seniors, the homeless, and first-time home buyers and for improving recreational facilities and libraries was welcome news. However, as the mayor acknowledges, it is far from enough. Further state largesse is not expected. Instead, the state refuses to forgive the now $110 million debt "owed" it by the Oakland School District. Meanwhile the schools suffer serious understaffing, shortages of books, facilities in disrepair, and a hemorrhaging of experienced teachers.

The port should be a source for serious funding of programs to address Oakland's multitudinous problems. In May, Mayor Dellums endorsed a picket line mounted by teachers and antiwar activists at two port shipping terminals. Members of ILWU Local 10 honored our picket lines, shutting down these operations for a day to make three major points: Stop War Shipments! Bring the Troops Home Now! Port Money for Schools and Social Services!

The port does $33 billion in business annually, yet not a penny of its revenues go to the schools or Alameda County medical facilities. The sole exception is money Jerry Brown got for his Arts Charter School. One percent of $33 billion is $330 million, 2 percent is $660 million, and 3 percent nearly $1 billion. The latter would suffice to pay off the school "debt" and, more importantly, radically reduce class size in all schools facing severe sanctions because they are in their fourth year of "insufficient progress" under NCLB. It would also cover restoring full library services, rehiring all laid-off city workers, and keeping open and improving all of Alameda County's threatened medical facilities.

Mayor Dellums should walk through the door that teachers, longshore workers, and antiwar activists opened with his support, and take steps to require the port to meet its responsibility to the community.
Bob Mandel, Alameda

Keep it accessible
Great article about Jack London Square. I used to eat there fairly regularly when TGI Friday's and Pizzeria Uno were there. There were a lot of people there then! Now the place is deserted and the restaurants are gone because the rental rates skyrocketed and the Harvest Hall idea is almost DOA. I completely agree that Jack London Square is a public waterfront and should be accessible to all and not dominated by politically connected developers that are taking a sweetheart deal and trying to ultimately turn it into office space.

Please suggest some ways that I can prevent these developers from ruining a part of Oakland that, along with Lake Merritt and Chinatown, I have always enjoyed.
John Robinson, San Francisco

"Embracing the Spectrum," Cityside, 8/8

Too permissive
To a small child, the reason he cannot do many things he would like to do is that his parents won't let him. Many years later, maturity brings an understanding that there are underlying reasons for doing or not doing many things, and that his parents were essentially conduits for those reasons. The truly dangerous period in life is the time when the child has learned the limits of his parents' control and how to circumvent their control, but has not yet understood or accepted the underlying reasons for doing and not doing things. This adolescent period is one that some people — intellectuals especially — never outgrow.

Brill, you are tantamount to Dr. Spock, who has never had children and yet tells parents what they should or should not do. Allowing a child the largesse that you are advocating is bordering on child abuse. What is your true agenda?
Stephen Lee, Vallejo


Don't box 'em in
I was amazed by your article when I accidentally ran across it at a conference in Berkeley. I congratulate you for putting the information out there. As with gender variation, there is sex variation as well. One's "sex" and "gender" are two different issues that society lumps into one of two possible boxes when many exist. A good book to read is Joan Roughgarden's Evolution's Rainbow. Quite an eye-opening!
David Iris Cameron, San Francisco



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Raise a glass
Hic! We can herdly, er, hardly believe our good luck. Wineau, our cheap-wine column by Blair Campbell, beat out the Philadelphia Inquirer last week for Best Newspaper Food Column in the Association of Food Journalists annual contest. That's bad news for wine snobs, because Campbell's is a column for the little people, typically covering wines that cost less than $10 a bottle. You know, the ones you can uncork (or uncap) with a nice hot dog and feel okay about it. This week, without telling her tasters, she pitted Two-Buck Chuck Chardonnay against wines that come by the box. Read all about it in this week's column, "Boxing Match."

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