"Farmer's Markets: Who Benefits?," Feature, 6/1
As a member of the Grand Lake Farmers' Market Advisory Board, I was enlightened by this article. I had thought that local vendors were our first priority and now see that that has not been working the way it should. I will definitely make a recommendation that we move Oakland vendors into those spots very quickly and that the vendors be required to show they also pay the business license tax that the city is so determined to get from everyone else.
We do offer spaces to local businesses, but it is sometimes difficult to staff another location. If you look at how the new Kwik Way and Caña are doing on Saturdays, you can see that the market is a draw for that street. Most of Lakeshore does very well on Saturdays. Also, many families with small children who eat at the market would not likely stop at a restaurant on Saturday mornings, so this is perhaps a different clientele that is drawn to the area.
Pamela Drake, Oakland
Placing farmer's markets in areas that disrupt brick-and-mortar business is moronic. The farmer's markets should at least offer stall space for the businesses they impose upon. Restrict markets to locations not directly adjacent to busy retail districts. The Temescal market works well in its location. Grand Lake and Old Oakland are a mess.
Amy Badore, Oakland
Fix It at the Council Level
Thanks for such a comprehensive and complicated look at this issue. I shop at many of the farmer's markets mentioned and agree that it's a balancing act as it's important to have markets in residential areas (the Temescal market on Sundays and Berkeley markets are the best at this) so that folks can get there without driving, as in walking, busing, and biking. The Oakland Food Policy Council needs council support to come up with a sensible policy as well as a new policy to support mobile food pods, the first of which, called Bites on Broadway, is coming to 45th and Broadway, every Friday, 5:30-8:30 p.m., starting June 10.
Karen Hester, Oakland
It's the Parking
I know you can't please everyone, but not having any parking spots for customers, and therefore shutting down a whole business day, is more than inconvenient. The trucks used for the farmer's market in Old Oakland also park for free in metered spots.
This isn't just a farmer's market problem. Any of the street closings from other events also close down parking for Old Oakland.
Also, the local farms barely make anything from those "high" prices. Buying locally with anything can be more expensive, but paying for a local economy will fix those potholes.
Nou Phabmixay, Oakland
"Adult Education Dismantled," News, 6/1
Nowhere to Go
I really appreciated your publication's in-depth coverage of the dismantling of Oakland's adult education program. School districts across the state have been put in an untenable position in having to choose between their main mission of educating K-12 students or continuing to fund adult programs. Given that situation, school districts have little choice in the decisions they are making. Unfortunately, unless districts maintain some semblance of an adult education program — no matter how small — programs that took years to develop may never recover, even when the economy revives. The question then becomes, what organization(s) will provide the services once offered by adult schools?
John D. Mitchell, Creston, Calif.
Keep It Up
An excellent story detailing the history of adult education in Oakland. I will use this as a reference as I approach my legislators on behalf of adult ed funding. Please continue your critical, detailed, and well documented reporting on behalf of adult education.
Lillian Bloom, Oakland
If It Means We're One Degree Closer to Johnny Depp...
At the risk of making light of a very bad situation, I would have loved the Express to headline this story 'Oakland scissors Edward Shands.'
John Seal, Oakland
"On Asian Parenting: 'Level Up' Seeks Middle Ground," Culture Spy, 6/1
The Yang Gang, Part I...
I had Mr. Yang as a teacher at Bishop O'Dowd when I was in high school. Since that time, I have graduated from both undergraduate and law school and never found another teacher who cared as much or tried as hard as Mr. Yang. I will never forget him.
James Arcellana, Oakland
Yang's books are great. As a teacher, I used to keep American Born Chinese on my shelf to give to bored boys during reading time. They always resisted at first and then thanked me later for making them give it a look.
Ashley Nulph, San Leandro
"Falling Leaves," Movies, 6/1
Tree of Trite
Thank you for this review. Everyone else seems afraid to plainly call [The Tree of Life] out for its heavy-handed devices and lack of narrative. So many scenes have seemingly been "borrowed" from other films. Most notably the end scene on the beach, which directly hearkens back to Longtime Companion.
Danielle Stallings, Los Angeles
"Libraries on the Brink," News, 5/25
Portals to Imagination
The books, magazines, DVDs, etc. that are housed in a library are a portal to imagination, inspiration and literacy. We need that resource in our communities. In fact, some families do not have a car or even money for a bus pass to ride all over town looking for an open library. Why deny them an accessible library? A sliding scale fee-based library card might be an answer...
Don Curtis, Oakland
In our June 8 music story, "Jonathan Mann, Times a Thousand," we characterized Mann's song "Hey, Paul Krugman" as a rebuke to the Bush administration. It's actually a rebuke to the Obama administration.