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Letters for the Week of February 1, 2012

Readers sound off on the Jean Quan recall, Plum and Make Westing's prices, and 924 Gilman.


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Carla Hilton, San Pablo


"Coliseum City Unveiled," Seven Days, 12/14

A Commitment to Excellence — and to Oakland

Great idea. I am a lifelong Oakland Raiders fan. Any other city does not work for me. I am not a LA Raiders, Irwindale Raiders, or anything else fan. At this point, if [General Manager] Reggie McKenzie does not turn this thing around and the city build a new stadium I am finally just gonna have to give up on the Raiders — like they did to the Bills, Broncos, Lions, and Chargers this year.

Get it together Oakland and the Raiders. The Oakland Raiders is the greatest franchise in sports!

Michael Klein, Atlanta



In Defense of Richmond

This is just an open letter to the ignorant of the Bay Area. For the third time recently, I have heard my city/neighborhood referred to as "the ghetto," in a strictly demeaning and derogatory manner.

The first time, it was when I was reading a Yelp review from an Albany resident who was venturing for the first time to the "Target in the ghetto of Richmond." The most recent time, it was from a protesting Cal student lamenting tuition hikes because it might force them to have to look for housing in the "Richmond Ghetto."

I live in a working-class neighborhood whose residents include blue-collar families with children, degreed professionals, artists and musicians, police and fire personnel, small business owners, retirees and immigrants, homeowners and home renters — people of all colors and walks of life. Pretty much one of the most diverse neighborhoods I have ever run across, including those of Berkeley, Oakland and San Francisco.

My city is full of little gems that the rest of the Bay Area hasn't been fortunate enough to have discovered. Maybe if they'd get their noses out of the air and come down to earth they might find that Richmond isn't as scary as they imagine and there are some really cool people, places and things here.

How horrific it would be should these snotty elitists ever have to lower themselves to visit, much less live, in such a place.

Debbie Rheuark, Richmond


Focus on Oakland, Not Occupy

As members of the Oakland Greens organization — an affiliate of the Green Party of Alameda County — we express our revulsion and horror at the language of a recent Oakland City Council resolution directing the City of Oakland to prevent the Occupy Oakland movement from attempting to organize future peaceful actions at the Port of Oakland.

The resolution in question, brought before the council on December 20, 2011, would have directed the mayor and city administrator "to use whatever lawful tools [they] have" available to prevent Occupy Oakland members from exercising their constitutional right to freedom of assembly and freedom of speech at the Port of Oakland.

This resolution's language is tantamount to a thinly-veiled threat to use police force —i.e., violence — against peaceful Occupy Oakland movement protesters.

Fortunately, cooler heads prevailed at the meeting that evening. The resolution —sponsored by Councilmembers Ignacio De La Fuente and Libby Schaaf — was defeated, albeit temporarily, on a procedural motion by a four-to-four vote.

The Oakland Greens strongly commend Councilmembers Rebecca Kaplan, Nancy Nadel, Jane Brunner and Pat Kernighan for voting against this insidious and inappropriate resolution. To her credit, Mayor Jean Quan elected not to cast a vote on De La Fuente's resolution. (Because the motion needed six votes to be considered by the City Council that evening, the resolution was remanded (returned) back to the Council's Rules and Legislation sub-committee.)

Councilmember De La Fuente has publicly stated that he intends to move the resolution out of the rules committee again at a future date and return it before the city council for a simple majority vote.

The unfortunate irony of Councilmember De La Fuente's apparent blind obsession with the Occupy Oakland movement over the last three months is that he is squandering his precious city council time and energy on the relatively benign Occupy movement while neglecting the very serious issues and concerns of his own district, Fruitvale: violent crime, social peace, and neighborhood economic development.

The fixation and energy expended on Occupy Oakland by certain Oakland city councilmembers should instead be re-directed to more important public policy priorities given that Oakland's homicide rate jumped ten percent during 2011— the first time in five years that there was an increase in the homicide toll.

Parallel to this, the Oakland's citywide violent crime rate increased by 6 percent in 2011, including in Oakland's Fruitvale and East Oakland neighborhoods, which are represented by Councilmember De la Fuente.

Given this situation, the Oakland Greens demand to know what Councilmembers De La Fuente and Shaaf's priorities are. Addressing violent crime and establishing social peace on the streets of Oakland — not Occupy Oakland — should be the city council's highest priority at the moment.

Don Macleay, former Green Party candidate for mayor of Oakland (2010) and Chris Kavanagh, former elected Green Party Berkeley Rent Stabilization Board Commissioner (2002-2008)

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