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Letters for February 17

Readers sound off on electric cars, women in metal, and Alameda's Measure B.


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Richard Register, Oakland

"Women in Metal," Music, 2/3

Extreme Gratitude

Kudos to Kirsty Evans' profile on Angela Gossow of Arch Enemy and her intelligently written article on women in metal.

Gems such as this wonderful article pop up only once in a few years. Thank you for assigning her the piece and thanks to the East Bay Express for covering extreme and independent artists in the music scene.

Loana dP Valencia, Publicity & Video Promotions

Nuclear Blast Records, Hawthorne, CA 

"Plan B for Measure B," News, 1/27

More Diverse Than Berkeley

Your editorial opposing Alameda's Measure B was appreciated. That SunCal-designed ballot measure would have been disastrous for our island city.

However, I must protest your outrageous statement that "Measure A [is] a racist initiative designed to keep people of color out of Alameda by blocking the construction of less-expensive apartments and condos."

Racist? So a low-density law is by definition racist? Please explain that to us. Is that because people of color love living in crowded apartment buildings? Or is it because all people of color are poor? Or maybe you think all poor people are racial minorities? Your statement begs for clarification, or retraction.

Since 1973, Measure A has kept Alameda an island of safe neighborhoods, quiet streets, and high home values. Even with the chaos of Oakland at its doorstep, Alameda has maintained excellent schools and low crime.

More importantly, Alameda has managed to do this as a culturally and racially diverse city. Alameda is actually more diverse than Berkeley!

A quick look at the 2000 Census will show you: Alameda is 56.9 percent White, while Berkeley is 59.2 percent White. Alameda is 26.2 percent Asian, while Berkeley is only 16.4 percent Asian. Alameda is 6.2 percent African-American, and 9.3 percent Latino.

So "racist" Alameda has a population of over 43 percent people of color. Berkeley, that progressive paradise, has only 41 percent people of color.

How about doing some homework before throwing about the "racist" label?

Lorenzo Puertas, Alameda

"A Father's Quest," Feature, 1/13

More Prevention Resources Needed

I am a family law attorney in Alameda County, so I read "A Father's Quest" with interest. In addition to representing parents in custody disputes, I am appointed by the court to represent children in high conflict custody disputes and I also sit as a Judge Pro Tem in family court.

I applaud the East Bay Express for its willingness to draw attention to the hugely important issue of child custody, and the decisions required from the courts, when parents cannot successfully co-parent.

From my perspective, the article completely missed the larger social issues that result in cases like "A Father's Quest." 

As a society, we have failed in a significant way to teach many of the skills that might have helped the Tyberius' parents resolve their own dispute, without the necessity of court intervention. We do not value communication skills, nor do we teach them in school. We do not, as a general rule, require parents to participate in parenting classes. We certainly do not teach any kind of conflict resolution skills, nor do many of our public role models emulate this kind of approach to problem solving. In other words, we do not use our social and financial resources to front-load social skills. Instead, we spend unjustifiable amounts of money on conflict and incarceration after the fact.

The courts spend far more money on criminal cases and juvenile cases than family law cases — which seems counter-productive. If we devoted more resources to families in crisis in the first place, by offering meaningful therapeutic interventions, mediation, and communication skills, we might have fewer criminal and juvenile cases. Family courts desperately need the time and resources necessary to work with parents, investigate the facts, consider all the available evidence, and render the best possible, informed decision to create a positive, constructive parenting plan.

I empathize with Tyberius. I know what it's like to represent a child when the parents cannot communicate and are committed to the dysfunctional dance of conflict. When I have asked my young clients to imagine the proverbial three wishes, they consistently choose an end to the parental conflict over everything else.

From my perspective, the family law bench officers in Alameda County and the court-connected mediators are diligent, committed people who try very hard to make the right decisions. Their ability to achieve that result is greatly impacted by inadequate resources.

We should concentrate our resources to allow the family court to reach the most informed decision possible, to help parents understand childhood needs and development, to improve communication and problem solving skills and to give families in crisis the opportunity for meaningful interventions and mediation. We need to rethink the way we use judicial resources, and devote way more of them to give children their right to have a connected, safe, and healthy relationship with their parents.

Nikki Clark, Law Office of Nikki Clark, Oakland

"Time to Reassess Ron Dellums," News, 12/23

Get Rid of the Mayor's Seat

In my opinion, Ron Dellums has shown Oakland that it does not need a mayor. This city can be run and managed by an active city council and a city manager with the president of the council handling any signatory events. Dellums has wasted Oakland's time and money. Oakland needs to shut down the office of mayor.

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