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Art Murmur could solve its money issues with a combination of fairs and festival money placed in this year's budget by Councilmember Rebecca Kaplan; money from both the Uptown and Lake Merritt and the Koreatown-Northgate community business districts; and the money offered on a short-term basis by the city administrator's office. The money and responsibility could go a long way if a professional events coordinator were hired and Telegraph was closed. Otherwise, I don't see a responsible and sustainable way forward. That's why Rock Paper Scissors Collective and the Art Murmur group of galleries have stepped aside from sponsoring the event. It's not a lot of fun to always be the ones sweeping up the glass and making sure the street is clean enough on Saturday morning. I also see that person as responsible for raising some money from folks like Pandora, a sympathetic developer or two (?), or other appropriate folks, for the long-term health of the event. I realize that the atmosphere of artistic freedom is what makes Murmur so unique. I think the right organizer who is tuned in to the needs of artists, merchants, and the city could create the bridge and keep the success of Murmur from backfiring.
Karen Hester, Oakland
Danger Is Everywhere
People die in car-related accidents every day. I don't see how this can be blamed on a gathering of people. If we care about two-month-olds needlessly dying, let's stop the drone attacks in the Middle East.
So, more money and organization can stop someone from losing control of their car? Okay, so we need festival organizers to valet park every car within a mile of any public gathering so it doesn't go out of control. If a festival organizer loses control, the parking will have to happen at another location and the people bused in. If the bus driver loses control people will be airlifted in. If the helicopter pilot loses control .... Okay, this is getting too risky. Babies should not be allowed out of the house because they might get hit by a car. It's not recommended for anyone to leave the house because they might get hit by a car. Art should only be enjoyed at home because walking to see it is too dangerous.
Gabriel Lautaro, Berkeley
"Ultra-Safe Bike Parking Gains Popularity," News, 8/15
Not Quite Empty
"That's because the lockers offer a total of only forty individual spaces — twelve of which happened to be vacant — and they serve a somewhat rarified clientele."
Must have been an off-day. I regularly see nearly all forty lockers at the MacArthur BART station occupied on weekday mornings. The good news is that BART is about to start construction on a new facility in the plaza that will accommodate a lot more secure bike parking.
Robert Prinz, Oakland
A Diversification of Solutions
How much do security guards cost per shift? Or just fencing off a portion of the bike area and having a valet rather than a security guard? I tip when at a free valet. I don't think the only solution to the problem is hundreds of private lockers — they take up too much space for their variable usage. The bike areas have cameras anyway; why can't I check in on my bike by looking at a streaming video — is there an app for that? — say with a "Holy shit, someone is stealing my bike" button that notifies the station's security? Or a notification you can send to everyone that is registered in that station: "Gentleman with a carjack, two front wheels, a seat post, and shopping cart ...." All I'm getting at is $3,000 per unit plus upkeep and revenue may be alternatively spent on a diversification of solutions.
Whitney Lawrence, Oakland
"State of Disrepair," Last Call, 8/8
State of Omission
We accept and appreciate the even-handed review of the Missouri Lounge in Ellen Cushing's article, but we're surprised in an article of this length and depth that there was absolutely no mention of one of the best parts of Missouri Lounge: the music. We have some of the most respected and diverse DJs in the Bay Area every single night from 10 p.m.-2 a.m., and also outside some Saturdays and Sundays from 4 p.m.-8 p.m. They include such Bay Area favorites as Joe Quixx, DJ Headnodic, Kool Kyle, Odd Nosdam, Jel, and DJ No Friends. We also have the longest-running open mic (sixteen years) in the East Bay every Wednesday night from 7 p.m.-10 p.m., hosted by the legendary Paul Pot.
Seems like an odd omission but perhaps Ms. Cushing couldn't hear the jams from the bathroom.
Thanks for the kind words.
Missouri Lounge management
"The High Costs of Outsourcing Police," Feature, 8/8
The accounting of allegedly lost revenue is half-baked. How many police and police retirees of other cities live in Oakland? If a good number do, the $200 million figure is only one side of the ledger. If not many do, that tells you something about Oakland as a place for middle-class families to live.
The other reality missing from the article is this: Police have to deal with bad people. Really bad people. Operators of lovey-dovey social programs should not project their mentality onto officers.