"The Real Purpose of Oakland's Surveillance Center," Feature, 12/18
Push Back Against Spying
Not only is the advent of the Domain Awareness Center terrifying, it's appalling that it's being implemented in a "liberal" and "progressive" city run by Democrats. Here's hoping someone interested in civil liberties runs to replace Pat Kernighan and Libby Schaaf during next year's city council elections. We desperately need someone to push back against this massive, all-seeing spy program.
John Seal, Oakland
Stand Up for Human Rights
Great article! I'm so glad that the Express is here to do the investigative reporting nobody else is doing.
As a member of the Alameda County Central Democratic Committee, I voted to give the party's endorsement to Dan Kalb and Rebecca Kaplan in 2012. I now very much regret that decision. Kalb and Kaplan's willingness to support a project that does nothing to address crime in Oakland but does put every movement of political and labor activists in Oakland under the microscope, is appalling. The fact that they would call themselves Democrats while supporting the type of mass surveillance that would give George Orwell the chills is offensive to those of us who still believe the Democratic Party should bear the standard of civil liberties.
I can only hope that there are people in Oakland willing to stand up for our human rights, not just by opposing the DAC with their words, but by running for mayor and city council.
Margarita Lacabe, San Leandro
Lawless Need Surveillance
The extremist elements of Occupy Oakland and other left-wing protest groups typically seek to provoke an extreme reaction from law enforcement in Oakland, and they are gleeful when it happens — lawlessness is their brand. I hope these people are under constant surveillance when they are planning protests that threaten public safety.
Eric Tremont, Albany
Demand and Enforce Rights
I find it disturbing that now we all know how un-American and unconstitutional the NSA is, that anyone can support this idea of a creeping police state. Alignment with pro- or anti-Occupy protests is not the point.
As free citizens we should demand and enforce our rights and our human need for privacy or we will go the way of such idyllic places as China or North Korea, or our "allies" in Saudi Arabia.
Make a pro-American choice, just for once. The Fourth Amendment bans unreasonable government searches. And, given that the "war of terror" is as much about promoting fear in our population and wasting taxpayer dollars, I'd suggest turning that ugly building into a homeless shelter, a hub for startups, or a place to store sewage.
Ivan Bishop, Campbell
"Jean Quan Should Fire Deanna Santana," Seven Days, 12/18
Buck Stops with Mayor
I'm not defending Santana's mishandling of the first Occupy raid. But just because the mayor departed for DC the day before the raid, you let Mayor Quan completely off the hook for a police raid that put police and demonstrators at serious risk of injury.
That raid was planned a week ahead of time. It was not a secret kept from City Hall. The mayor knowingly left someone as inexperienced as Santana and a hastily chosen acting Police Chief Howard Jordan in charge of a volatile, high-risk situation. The buck stopped with the mayor no matter where she chose to be that night.
Len Raphael, Oakland
"The Bay Area Needs Affordable Housing," Seven Days, 12/11
Families Need Help
I have grown up in Richmond since eighth grade and moved back and forth from Fresno to Richmond because my mom could not afford the whole house payment herself. She still continues to struggle with her payments until this day. Now that I am older I am attending Contra Costa College full-time, plus working full-time so that I can help my mom pay her mortgage. I do hope there is a way to help other families out there, especially around the Bay Area. California is an extremely expensive state to live in. I hope I see a new article in the near future that has mixed housing for families in all incomes.
Monica Kou, Richmond