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Letters for July 28

Readers sound off on Oakland Animal Services, PG&E's Hayward plant, Alameda schools, and pot ads.


Pot ads, Legalization Nation and elsewhere, 7/7

Too Many Pot Ads

I think you should change your name to the East Bay High Times so that those of us who are actually interested in reading local news and not selling or smoking weed can look elsewhere for real content. I used MM for nausea after chemotherapy and I guarantee you I didn't need a million ads to find what I needed. With all of the ad revenue you're earning, why don't you just create a supplement so those of us who don't want to feel like we're back in college listening to Bob Marley can read the movie reviews and get on with our day.

Michaela Brasesco, Oakland

"Foes of Hayward Power Plant Fight Back," Eco Watch, 7/7

Build the Gas Plant

Robert Gammon gives good information about PG&E's Hayward natural gas plant, but implications of the most important fact were missed. Nine pounds of particulate matter per hour from the plant is nothing compared to the pollution from 500,000 vehicles per day on the city's freeways. Quibbling over 1.5 pounds an hour is a joke. The little bit of pollution added by the plant is nothing to be concerned about. Gammon's article gives no numbers on how much in particulates is added to Hayward's air from those 500,000 vehicles, but it should be noted that the antagonists in the controversy, the Sierra Club and Chabot College, don't seem to mind the freeway's threat to health. Neither does the State of California. Pollution problems from cars were dealt with thirty years ago, but particulates from heavy trucks are only now being addressed. For some reason electric power has become the culprit in Hayward and must be curtailed.

Fossil fuels have become an obsession in certain circles. Gammon's mention of the state's 20 percent "renewable" standard shows that he takes this obsession seriously, but that standard will go the way of the dodo bird when Assembly Bill 32 is suspended this fall by an initiative designed to combat its draconian push for "renewables." The recession is forcing our state to embrace reality and leave the "green energy" mantra behind. The initiative demands that planners forget about stopping fossil fuels until California's unemployment rate falls to 5.5 percent from its current 12 percent. That is not going to happen anytime soon. Build the plant, then get to work curtailing heavy trucks and their particulate pollution.

Steve Tabor, Oakland

"Is Oakland Animal Services Killing Too Many Dogs?" Feature, 7/7

Start Saving Lives

Stop blaming the community. There is no doubt that Oakland Animal Services faces unique challenges. No one said running an open-access municipal shelter in Oakland was an easy job. But I was surprised that the shelter administration said nothing about what they are doing to reduce the number of animals they kill. They simply defended the status quo of killing 40 percent and blamed the community at large. Their excuses for having such a high kill rate focus on social problems such as poverty, the economy, and irresponsible pet owners. These problems will always exist in Oakland. What is important is not the problems that exist, but what policies the shelter administration implements to solve them. The shelter administration needs to stop blaming the public and start utilizing the whole of the community as a resource. Outreach to the Latino, Asian and African-American community has always been sorely lacking. Partnership with Bay Area rescue organizations is dropping dramatically. You can't just open the doors every morning and expect people to line up and adopt. Without embracing every cross section of the community through targeted outreach, adoption events and education designed for the majority of people who live in Oakland (multilingual web site, advertising, flyers), the shelter will never reduce its kill rate meaningfully. The tried-and-true policies proven to drastically reduce kill rates are painstakingly documented by The No Kill Advocacy center. Look it up. If the shelter administration doesn't have a strong commitment to reduce the numbers of animals it kills — by creating the necessary policies and aggressively implementing them — the shelter will continue to fail in its primary objective. Saving lives.

Ian Elwood, Oakland

Five Steps OAS Can Take Now

The article and the ensuing comments, by volunteers (supportive and otherwise), as well as rescues and concerned citizens, have brought into sharp focus a number of practices that could be changed virtually overnight with life-saving results. It will be very interesting to see if any of them get implemented.

1. Stop locking the door to the back cages. They were not locked at the old hellhole at Ford and Lancaster, and anyone could walk in off the street and look for their lost dog and/or see if they wanted to adopt any dog there. I know, I did both. The locking of the door to the back cages was an extreme sore spot with the citizenry back in the days of the Reshan Wars, and has been held over anyway. This is clearly more about asserting control than about getting dogs out of the system alive. If there is an actual security issue, it can be addressed equally well by stationing a volunteer in each kennel room during the hours that the shelter is open. Requiring people to wait outside a locked door till a volunteer is available to "escort" them is controlling, mean-spirited, and above all inefficient.