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Letters for the week of June 17, 2015

Readers sound off on diversity in the arts, protest regulations, and software disputes.

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This law gives any litigant in any case, civil or criminal, the absolute right to disqualify any judge or commissioner from hearing or participating in the case. It is called a peremptory challenge. You can only use it once in any case. You must sign it or recite it in open court under penalty of perjury as show in the examples referenced below.

You must use it soon after you find out that the particular judge or commissioner you name has been assigned to hear your case. To be certain that you do not miss that somewhat uncertain deadline, you should consider filing the challenge along with your first communication with the court, perhaps filing it at the time you post bail. Enclose a copy with any other communications you have with the court to be sure it does not get ignored or misplaced.

Here is a link to a form to be used to effect such a challenge posted as a public service by the Los Angeles Superior Court.

http://www.lasuperiorcourt.org/forms/pdf/laciv015.pdf

This form, with the name of the court changed to Alameda County Superior Court, is proper for use in Oakland. You may also simply copy the language on the form either in typescript or in your own handwriting, sign it under penalty of perjury and file it. A form and text for a peremptory challenge [and much other useful advice] is also available in the book published by Nolo Press, Fight Your Ticket & Win in California, which you can borrow from the Berkeley Public Library and from many others in our area.

Tell your friends.

Sherman Kassof, Oakland

Commissioner Culver Needs to Go

I fully appreciate the Express for giving citizens and regular people the opportunity to express themselves and bring exposure to those elements that harm the community.

I believe that all who read the article and have been to the court where Taylor Culver sits will agree with every aspect of it. This man is so unprofessional, arrogant, and a phony, as well. He first tries to make jokes of your traffic situation, get you laughing, then lowers the boom on your wallet by refusing to reduce any fine for you. He speaks to everyone in harsh and unforgiving language, bringing some to tears. He reminds you of the guy on the street corner who gives you this slick rap about what he's going to do for you, while all the while he has designs of getting into your money pocket.

The courts may certainly be aware of all the problems that swirl around this man, but may have sustained a use for him as he beats and intimidates the poor out of their money. For someone who holds court in a jurisdiction like Oakland, where the homicides run off the charts, he has stated that he "doesn't care who in your family died, is sick or disabled, or has financial hardships. You are going to pay this money, all of it, and don't waste my time begging for reductions.

"I'm the only one in the room that's special and the whole lot of you are nothing."

According to the well-composed article, this man has been hurting people for upwards of ten years and needs to go. His time there has run out and the court's image and reputation could then be restored.

Some Black Republicans, which he certainly is, don't mind making poor people poorer while he and cronies like him get richer — see Clarence Thomas, Ward Connerly, J.C. Watts, and Ben Carson, just to name a few. Please continue exposing individuals like them.

Jess Covington, Oakland


"Shifting Gears," Feature, 3/18

Keep Up the Good Work, Michael Schwartz

Michael Schwartz, I am the nurse practitioner who tended to you at the accident scene. I have often wondered what happened to you and how your recovery was going. It was clear to me you had very serious injuries and would not walk for some time. I will never forget the image of your body flying though the air and hitting the pavement.

I am so gratified to learn of your recovery but also deeply grateful for your bicycle advocacy work. I am a cyclist and I choose to ride to work daily. Your accident was the type that could stop one from cycling forever. I felt myself making the choice again to stay on the road, but now with vivid real life knowledge of the dangers.

I have stayed on the road and it appears you have, too. Thank you for your service on behalf of cyclists. God bless you in your continued recovery. Keep up the good work.

Rebecca Faith, Oakland


Miscellaneous Letters

Banks Are Robbing the Poor

Last year, banks skimmed an estimated $19 million from California's welfare system. This profit came directly from the pockets of California's poorest families, who rely on their welfare benefits to feed and support their children. Instead of spending their money on necessities like rent and diapers, poor families are forced to fork over a percentage to banks.

Unlike in years past, welfare benefits are no longer paid out to families through checks. Welfare benefits are now paid out to families on bankcards. Families can use these bankcards at any retail locations that aren't cash-only, just like they would a debit card. And similar to a debit card, if a family wants to withdraw cash, they can do so at an ATM. That's where the trouble comes in.

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