Letters of The Week: Our Music Section is Getting Some Love 

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“Who Will Be There When You Call 911? Our Writer Plunges Into the World of For-Profit Ambulances.” By Brian Krans, News, July 6:
Coverage Long Overdue
This is the first coverage of emergency-medical services that I’ve ever seen in local press. Long overdue.
While you describe the business motivations of the various segments of the EMS industry, you skip over the motivations of firefighter unions. As fire codes improved and older buildings were replaced over the last few decades, staffing needs for fire-fighting dropped. As population ages and Obamacare implemented/preserved, 911 medical calls increase.
But it is nutso expensive to dispatch an entire fire crew to every 911 medical emergency. Replacing firefighters with EMTs paid at fast-food wage rates is not the answer, either, but surely there’s something in between, where the EMTs would get paid decently and the public wouldn’t get gouged by fire departments.
Len Raphael

The Worst

This is one of the worst aspects of the American health-care system. When I broke my leg, I was charged $5,000 for the ambulance bill just to take me across downtown Oakland, because the ambulance company was “out-of-network.”
Excuse me, but how do you decide what ambulance responds when you dial 911???
Jason Sullivan-Halpern via Facebook

“Arson in Oakland: Is Someone Torching New Developments?” by Darwin BondGraham, News, July 7:
Get A Grip
What is almost worse then this huge fire at a new housing development in downtown Oakland is many people’s reactions. “People feel like they are being priced out of living in Oakland” is somehow given as justification to burn down a building you think you couldn’t afford to live in. Doesn’t anyone think about twenty to thirty years in the future, when the same building might have become a senior or other affordable housing complex, when presumably newer buildings come on line for higher-income people to live in? And what kind of a city would we have now if people had burned down anything they couldn’t have afforded? People please, get a grip!
Nick Yale

Don’t Cheer For Arson
Just seems like it’s one thing to identify the problems — greed, backroom deals, displacement of people who can’t afford to live here anymore — and quite another thing to jump to cheerleading (or worse) for arson. I think a few steps are missing in some people’s thought processes.
Katherine Flak via Facebook

“The Last Straws? Several East Bay Governments Aim to Ban the Plastic Foodware,” By Rosa Furneaux, News, July 6:
What’s the Alternative?
Thank you for the article on the tremendous number of straws becoming refuse. What I missed in the story was the alternative. I remember the first ruckus about grocery bags — don’t use paper, save trees — then the new ruckus — plastic bad, back to paper. There are sanitary and health reasons to use straws, especially when eating out. What is the instead of?
Jerry Metzker

“Las Brujas Radio Champions Spirituality for Political Empowerment,” by Grace Culhane, Music, July 5:
Thanks, Express!
Appreciation for the article on Las Brujas Radio, thanks EBX for your support of innovative future roots radio.
Corey Mason

“Sugar Pie DeSanto’s Delicious Soul” by Liam O’Donoghue, Music, June 28:
Truly Enjoyed This
I really enjoyed the piece on Peylia Davis, aka Sugar Pie Desanto. I thought it was very well-written, and even though I am a long time fan of Desanto, I learned a few things I did not know. Thank you for publishing it.
Mike Hogan

Corrections
In last week’s theater pick (Mamma Mia! At Woodminster in Oakland), we credited the wrong photographer. The photo is by Kathy Kahn.

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