News & Opinion » Letters

Letters for the Week of May 16, 2012

Readers sound off on bikes, bullying, and Jane Brunner.


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Thanks again, Jay! Please continue your fine work. You definitely connected the dots regarding the underlying causes of bullying.

Anita Giudici, Palo Alto


There used to be a time when you could get away from bullying. But it's not that way anymore. For kids that are being bullied, it now follows them home and everywhere else because so much of the bullying happens online. Lots of kids turn to drastic measures to either protect themselves or hurt themselves.

A thirteen-year-old from my hometown just committed suicide this weekend as a result of bullying. It is so tragic.

Heather Harrison, Los Angeles

Bullying Begins at Home

Jay Youngdahl didn't bring up the influence of bullying at home in his piece on the documentary Bully. Don't kids export their domestic torments to the schoolyard? From what I recall, they did.

Phil Allen, Berkeley

"OPD Takes More Steps Backwards," News, 5/2

In Defense of the OPD

I think the OPD did the best job it could have, given the circumstances. I was there on May 1 and watched as "protesters" taunted officers, called them names, threw things at them, and threatened them. Freedom of speech is one thing, anarchy is another. I commend the OPD.

Benjamin Russell, San Francisco

"Term Limits Could Give Brunner an Unfair Advantage," Seven Days, 5/2

Brunner's Bad Precedent

I just read your article and I realized that I may have personally contributed to Councilwoman Jane Brunner's decision to change her position from opposing term limits to suddenly supporting them. As your article noted, "[Ms. Brunner] became a recent convert to term limits after seeing all the candidates who have lined up to replace her on the council." You see, I am one of those candidates running for city council in district one.

Holy cow, that means the reason Brunner has changed her position, at least in part, is because I decided to run for city council. Talk about the Law of Unintended Consequences: I had no idea my candidacy would lead to such results.

All kidding aside, the Oakland campaign expenditure rules were put into place to lessen the impact of huge campaign donations made by wealthy individuals, special interests, and insiders. However, as your article pointed out, the campaign expenditure limits can be manipulated, as evidenced by ex-state Senator Don Perata's misuse of a ballot measure to promote his own candidacy for mayor in 2010.

When Ms. Brunner was asked whether she would appear in advertising supporting the term-limits measure, she stated she would "have to think about it."

Really? Doesn't she think gaming the system is unfair and that elected officials should refuse to participate in it? What is there to think about? I am mindful of Ms. Brunner's right to free speech and to support any cause she deems important.

On the other hand, I am also aware of the fact that campaign expenditure laws were put into place to curtail the influence of big money on the election process. The campaign expenditure rules need to be enforced in a manner that permits free speech but also maintains the expenditures' effectiveness. Until the campaign expenditures regulations are amended to address this "ballot loophole" problem, candidates should decline to do anything that undermines the campaign expenditure measure.

Further, Ms. Brunner is running for Oakland city attorney, and as the city's attorney she would be called upon to offer legal advice and interpretations of various laws — including the possibility of addressing Oakland's campaign expenditure law! The city attorney is supposed to provide legal advice on behalf of the citizens of Oakland that is free of any conflict of interest. Even the appearance of a conflict of interest should be avoided under the rules of professional conduct for attorneys.

Granted, Brunner may not be technically violating the campaign expenditure laws, but she would be stepping all over the intent of the law if she decides to go ahead and allow herself to appear in ads supporting term limits.

Craig A. Brandt, Oakland

An Atomic Elbow

Wow. You're spot-on here and have hit this one out of the park, delivering an atomic elbow to an insipid and arrogant careerist. Well-argued and well-supported.

This piece evidences long-term thinking. Sadly, too many politicians in Oakland fail at that. I wish I felt at liberty to add more, but you made your case and well.

Theo K. Auer, Oakland

"Meshuggah," Music Picks, 5/2

Completely Insane

To give any band the title of "best metal band in the world right now" is ridiculous, but to give the honor to Meshuggah is completely insane! You must have never actually listened to Meshuggah if you think of them as the most "boundary-pushing, technically proficient, challenging band" out there. Get real!

One word: Neurosis.

Dylan Chittenden, Oakland

"Will Your Coffee Still Be Fair-Trade?," News, 4/25

You Can't Be 'Partial Fair Trade'

I am an East Coast consumer of coffee (along with food). I look for the "Fair Trade" label on anything I purchase; food, coffee, clothes, etc. If we are going to have "partial Fair Trade" that's like being part pregnant (please excuse the metaphor but it is apt): You are or you're not — it is fair trade or it's not.

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