Letters for the Week of May 8-14 


Staffing Versus Services in Oakland, News, May 1

Perhaps We Need an Abuse Avoidance Center

Staffing vs services? What kind of blather is that? It takes staffing to provide services. Yes, contractors come and go and their protections are less. That doesn't mean the city shouldn't use them.

There is a drive to push kids into college at taxpayer expense. Whether it is appropriate or not; whether the measure passed or not. This is something that won't even begin to pay off for more than twenty years, but no job training for teens or adults. That kind of program would pay the job candidates and the city in two to three years. This is the kind of thinking that has resulted in the biggest debt crisis (student loans) since the sub-prime lending fiasco and would simply rope more victims in.

Businesses want to be in Oakland. Why does the city need a Business Assistance Center? Perhaps an oversight center to avoid abuses but I think businesses WANT to be here. Perhaps certain council members need to assist businesses by not encouraging the extortionist/activists/shock troops that have ridden roughshod over the needs of the city for a long time.

Bruce Ferrell

Focus First on Efficiency

Not to belittle all the fiscal problems of the retirement chickens coming home to roost, that were aided and abetted by elected officials and union officials serving on CALPERS over the years, but you never hear City Hall talking about first drastically improving the productivity of the existing workforce before expanding it. Whatever combo of laying off management, training staff, wisely investing in new systems and implementing them effectively, is needed.

Every election time candidates for City Auditor make inflated promises about how they'll cut waste and improve efficiency (I know I did when I ran a few years ago). Nothing happens after they get elected that amounts to a hill of beans. I had hopes after Mayor Schaaf won that she'd follow thru on her version of CityStat. That sank here without a ripple.

Even if we couldn't make up for staff shortages by improving productivity, we'd at least gain the trust of the residents and businesses to support revenue-raising approaches.

Len Raphael, CPA

Who Is Eric Swalwell Anyway? (And Why Does He Thinks He Can Be President?), Feature, Mar. 20

Resign the Rangers

If Congressman Eric Swalwell is serious about a run for the White House, he needs to clean his own house a bit first.

Mr. Swalwell represents the Castro Valley area, home of the annual Rowell Ranch Rodeo, with its long history of animal abuse, injuries and deaths. Mr. Swalwell is a member of the "Rowell Ranch Rangers," an ad hoc group of local politicos who support and promote the rodeo. Other members include County Supervisors Nate Miley and Scott Haggerty, as well as County Sheriff Greg Ahern and State Senator Bob Wieckowski. No doubt they all signed on with good intentions, but ignorant of what the rodeo entails for the animals involved. For most, rodeo is merely a detour en route to the slaughterhouse.

They say that people who care about animals comprise the single biggest lobby in the country. Mr. Swalwell would do well to resign from the "Rangers" publicly, then declare his advocacy for animal welfare. Could only help his campaign.

Eric Mills, coordinator, Action for Animals

Swalwell Maintains Trump Colluded With Russia; 'Sue me,' He Tells President, News, Mar. 27

Bait and Switch

Eric Swalwell has proven himself to be a stealth politician. He was elected in 2012 to the CA-12th District, a district that is balanced in political views, even rather conservative, at least compared to much of California. But increasingly he has made it clear that he is much farther left, much more radical than the district population that elected him. And it's now clear that he is primarily motivated to promote his image in the national and state media. In that media he now regularly gives extremely strong liberal comments. He is now a favorite go-to Congressman on MSNBC for strong liberal sound-bites. He apparently thinks this is good for him and his hoped for career path.

While running in 2012, Mr. Swalwell talked about governing with a moderate point of view that was a good fit for his district. But that has not happened; just the opposite. I live in his district and I have voted against him since he was elected in 2012. Good for him; I planned to support him. But I now see that he very poorly represents my views and the views of the 47.9 percent of this district that voted for his opponent in 2012.

Mr. Swalwell needs to be voted out. He is not representing our 12th Congressional District well at all.

Richard Sweeney, San Ramon

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