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Letters for August 12

Readers sound off on trucking pollution at the Port of Oakland and our Best of the East Bay issue.

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"Is Bigger Better When it Comes to Trucking?," Eco Watch, 7/15

Progress Without the Ban

The July 15, 2009 article, "Is Bigger Better When it Comes to Trucking?," should have mentioned that great environmental progress has been achieved with Clean Truck Programs at other California ports without the illegal ban on independent owner-operators, and other draconian measures, being pursued by union bosses.

The story revealed that Oakland port officials are intent on making the same mistakes that Port of Los Angeles made: kowtowing to unions and in the process wasting millions of dollars of taxpayers' money in a city that is already bankrupt. Contrary to the lies that unions and environmental groups recite, the trucking industry supports the replacement of older trucks to clean the air. The trucking industry has opposed only the concession agreement requirements pushed by unions and their Coalition for Clean and Safe Ports.

This year the US Court of Appeals unanimously ruled that an owner-operator ban, and many other rules created for the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, are illegal. But the ports have achieved tremendous environmental success, ahead of schedule, without those poorly planned rules ever having taken effect.

In June, a Port of Los Angeles representative stated the goal of reducing truck pollution in the harbor by 80 percent in five years may be reached in about one year. Clean air is achieved by replacing older trucks, and the majority of these truck replacements have come from private capital, not government grants. The Cunningham Report newsletter stated in June that already nearly one-third of the drayage truck fleet has been replaced with trucks meeting the strictest environmental standards that will ever be required by the Clean Truck Program.

Major newspapers in the LA area have editorially criticized the unions and several environmental groups for misleading the public by falsely claiming an owner-operator ban is necessary to clean the air. Now these same groups say they want Congress to do their dirty work for them and nullify the ruling of the US Court of Appeals.

Unions claimed that small companies and owner-operators could not afford to buy new trucks. But evidence from the Port of Los Angeles proves the opposite. Small trucking companies and individual owner-operators are buying new trucks to comply with new pollution standards and reduce emissions, and all ahead of schedule.

It is amazing that Port of Oakland officials give any credibility to the unions and their supporters when the groups stated publicly that their goal is to get port trucking under the control of a few big companies, which then could be easily unionized. The purpose of cleaning the air should be to protect the citizens of Oakland, not the treasury of the Teamsters.

Clayton Boyce, American Trucking Associations Vice President of Public Affairs

Subcultures: Best of the East Bay 2009, 7/15

A True Subculture

I just want to thank you and your readers for shouting out Gene V. Baker and MiRthkon in "Best of the East Bay 2009." That's some hardworking folks that got singled out, and I believe that they deeply deserve the recognition.

Gene V. Baker's the Supreme 80 is a spectacle to behold indeed! He's accumulated a throng of some of the best instrumentalists in the area to play his impeccable arrangements and he's a monstrous organ player. A leave-your-fake-book-at-home/leave-your-ego-back-at-jazzschool kind of guy, Gene is a consummate musician, no genre games necessary, and a sweetheart to boot.

I'm not a big fan of the yearly Best of the East Bay issue and was a bit taken aback to seeing the punny heading SUBCULTURES (yeah, I get it, we're a super schizoid place, with two pages of culture, probably an offhand comment about subs and doms, and then thirty pages of consumerism?), but you done redeemed yo'selfs in my mind with representing a TRUE Bay Area subculture, hardworking musicians, who do it for the love, are going to do it THEIR way no matter what, and still do their darndest to be inclusive to all without falling into trappings of "eclecticism." The Supreme 80 and MiRthkon, kissing cousins in the Oakland family tree, though quite different groups, both exemplify what I think is Best of the Bay.

Might I also suggest that you give chronic respondent WILLIS STORK a regular column, at least in your superlative issues. He knows this town like no other. Some of us subscribe to the idea that were Willis to cease to exist, so would Oakland. He is the patron Saint of the Uptown (you know, the OLD uptown).

Nehemiah St. Danger, Oakland

Where to Find the Best

It would be most helpful if you would include the city in which a winning restaurant/bar is located. It would make the categories more relevant, be easier for me to know where to go to make a reservation, or if the location is too far to travel. Please consider making this change in the future. I requested this change last year but it has not been implemented.Thank you for your consideration.

Sandy Simon, Walnut Creek

A Beef with Your Oversight

Editor, Either you're closing your eyes

To a situation you do not wish to acknowledge

Or you are not aware of the caliber of disaster indicated

By the absence of a hamburger in your "Best Of" issue.

Why sure, I'm a burger eater.

I'm always mighty proud to say it.

I consider the hours I spend with buns in my hands are golden.

They help you you cultivate beef sense

and a cool shake and a keen fry.

But just as I say, it takes

judgment, brains, and maturity to grill a burger,

I say that any boob can take

And shove tomatoes on a crust.

Now, I know all your readers are the right kinda people.

I'm going to be perfectly frank.

Would you like to know what kinda conversation goes

On while young people are loafing around the pizza parlor?

They're tryin' out Bevo, tryin' out Cubebs,

Tryin' out medicinal marijuana like cigarette fiends!

And braggin' all about

How they're gonna cover up a tell-tale breath with Altoids.

One fine night, they leave the pizza parlor,

Headin' for the dance at the Fox!

Libertine men and Scarlet women!

And Hip Hop, shameless music,

That'll grab your son and your daughterWith the arms of a jungle animal instinct!

I'm thinkin' of the kids in the pants that hang down,

Shirt-tail young ones, peekin' in the Pizza

Parlor window after school, look, folks!

Right here in Oakland.

You've got trouble with a capital T

And that rhymes with P

And that stands for Pizza.

Best wishes,

Pete Imburg, Oakland

"Aquarium Age"

I'm a Believer

Ralfee, I'm not all that into astrology, well, maybe not until I found your column. I love it, and it continues to offer me insight and peace of mind (like when I think the world is going crazy and then read your column that confirms that yes it is (at least momentarily), and here's why, and here's what you can do about it...). Anyways, it's great, and a big help at times. Thank you!!

Your fan,

Heather Thomson, Richmond

Correction

The artwork featured in the July 29 art & museums preview should have been credited to Christopher Peterson.

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