"Brown and the Prison Guards," Seven Days, 4/27
Jerry Brown simply needs to be recalled! How dare he give them more money when we have people losing their jobs or what's left of them, teachers are being laid off, and vital programs that are needed by the poor, the disabled, and the elderly are being cut, not to mention education for our kids. Did he make a deal with the prison guards to under-educate our kids, to keep them with job security forever? And what happened to the prisoners being released? Was that another pipe dream, or did he have a hand in that, too? Well, I guess when they gave him all the money to elect him they knew they could count on him, after all, isn't he senile already? He should be in a rest home, not in the governor's office! Recall Jerry Brown.
Rachel Contreras, Riverside, Calif.
Bankruptcy Not a Bad Idea
I now pay more state, county, sales, and city taxes than federal taxes. This state can either cut spending drastically or go bankrupt as far as I am concerned. And obviously Jerry Brown has no intention of cutting spending in any meaningful way. My latest thinking is bankruptcy could be the best thing that ever happened to California and the legislators who can't even do simple math problems. I voted for Brown, but he just made the next governor a Republican at best, or showed we are headed for bankruptcy at worst. Or is it worst, when you really think about it?Yeah, I know, more taxes fixes everything. Except I am paying 40K a year mostly to support useless do-nothings who give me about $2,000 worth of services in return.
Jim Moore, Tujunga, Calif.
"Luvplanet," Local Licks, 4/13
Rachel Swan, who are you? I'm sorry the day you listened to Luvolution was not an aesthetic day for you. Seems like you are full of platitude days. Variation in music is known to people who can hear them. Nicole's voice is her own unique sound and goes very well with Mark's ("skronking?" — whatever that means, it is not in the English dictionary) guitar. You may want to get a better sound system to listen to the CDs you are judging. You will hear how great Scott and Tommy are. Only then, you will know how fantastic the band Luvplanet truly is.
Roberta Bingham, Patterson, Calif.
Check Your Hearing
After reading your review it's obvious to me as to what transpired. You may have been listening to Luvolution but you certainly didn't actually hear Luvplanet's music. Those of us who can "hear" Luvplanet find ourselves truly blessed to be able to comprehend their incredible lyrics and songwriting skills. This band is awesome. Luvplanet is the best original rock band in the Bay Area.
Steven Bacich, Novato
The Kids Love It
Wow, you are really misinterpreting Luvplanet there, Rachel. This band is true to themselves, playing euphonious music from their heart to our ears and heart. The music is their motivation as well as their message of goodness. This band spreads good energy and if you give them a chance by listening with repetition, you will find it is uplifting music. I myself have been playing it in my shuttle bus in NYC for college kids and they all have grown to like it a lot. Luvplanet is a jewel in the ruff. They will grow in popularity with or without your approval.
Gerry Zaccaria, Mahwah, NJ
"Why a Politically Connected Firm Lost Its Contract," Seven Days, 4/13
ABC Security Responds
As a local woman business owner, I am deeply concerned about recent misrepresentations of my character, my company, and my employees. The inaccuracies, poor journalism, and biases displayed by Mr. Robert Gammon in the East Bay Express, have prompted me to speak up.
I am a local, minority businesswoman who took ABC Security Service to the next level, in an industry dominated by men. Furthermore, since I took over the company, I have been working hard to earn and keep contracts by providing the best possible quality service. This is my merit, and it has been validated by countless local and statewide recognitions and awards.
After losing a bid for a contract with the City of Oakland, we have been working diligently with the new service provider to support our workforce and ensure a smooth transition for all parties involved.
For Mr. Gammon to say that I am a poster child to cronyism is to, quite frankly, insult me by disregarding my many years of hard work, and my proven ability as a businessperson. If he wants to talk about cronyism, he should investigate many businesses contracted by governmental entities. However, he looks aside when people he likes are part of those dealings.
When he refers to our services as "mediocre" he is insulting our workforce: immigrants and people of color. All of them are hardworking, amicable, responsible security guards. During our contract with the City of Oakland, we did not receive complaints against their performance. Like in any relationship between client and service provider, we had meetings periodically where our client made recommendations as to how they would like things to be done. But to our knowledge, they were satisfied with our services.
Mr. Gammon refers to me as one of the most generous donors to politicians. Again, he did not investigate enough. Business people as well as any person respond to political candidates' requests for donations to their campaigns. I do not consider myself as the most generous political donor. Perhaps it would be more accurate to say that I have been very generous with a wide range of nonprofit organizations that support women, minorities, small businesses, and other causes beneficial to the well-being of our society. In fact, I am a board member for a few nonprofits and have been a long-term advocate for many organizations.
It is obvious to me and to many others that Mr. Gammon disregards the fact that there is always more than one side to a story. He also seems to ignore the fact that anybody who calls himself a journalist has an obligation to be fair to those implicated in his writings.
I cannot ignore the fact that Mr. Gammon has a history of attacking successful Latinos, and I wonder if his malicious writings against myself, my company, and my employees may be due to an underlying anti-immigrant sentiment.
CEO, ABC Security Service Inc.
"The Uncivil Debate," News, 4/13
The Year for Civil Discourse
Incivility in the Jewish community mirrors incivility in the larger society; our community is not unique in facing disagreement on issues about which we feel passionate. As a people, the Jewish community has thrived on its ability to engage in healthy dialogue and debate, to wrestle with issues of vital importance. With this in mind, the Jewish Community Relations Council, our Jewish Federations, and Board of Rabbis dedicated this as the Year of Civil Discourse (YCD). This initiative aims to elevate the level of discourse and facilitate respectful and informed conversations about Israel and other issues. The project trains community members in participating in challenging conversations, engaging in constructive listening, and modeling civility during controversy. YCD seeks to build trust and inclusivity among those with divergent views, to foster a culture that advances common interests and a community where vibrant, engaged, and respectful discussions about Israel and other wedge issues are the norm. With this project six months in progress, we've already begun to witness the positve outcome when moderate voices are amplified and a community rehearses skills in dialogue and consensus-building. We are very hopeful this initiative will further strengthen our community, this year and beyond. To learn more about the Year of Civil Discourse, you are welcome to check JCRC.org.
JCRC East Bay Regional Director
"Conspiracy Theory," Movies, 4/13
A History Footnote
Kelly Vance's review of Robert Redford's The Conspirator indicates an omission of a real turn of history in his telling of the story of Mary Surratt.
The military tribunal which condemned her and the (other) conspirators to Lincoln's assassination included General Lew Wallace, who allegedly felt such contrition over his part in her hanging that he was later moved to assuage his guilt by reckoning her as his muse as he wrote Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ, the 19th-century's fiction best-seller and a work which would take on a life of its own. His famous train-car debate with Robert Ingersoll, "The Great Agnostic," on the merits of faith, provided the impetus; she gave him the guidance.
Phil Allen, Berkeley
"Two Winners Emerge from the Barry Bonds Trial," Raising the Bar, 4/20
Not So Smart
It would seem that the Bonds jury, faced with the classic dilemma, "Is he lying or is he stupid?," decided on the latter.
Jeff Mark, Alameda
In our 4/27 Culture Spy, we misspelled the name of news anchor Marcus Sams and director Colin Murray. Also, Murray and host Dan Sullivan are not neighbors. Also, we neglected to mention that Sam Jack is the executive producer of The Variety Society. Both Murray and Jack are also co-owners of Viral Media Network. In our 4/27 Eco Watch, "The Slow Death of Mushrooms," we incorrectly stated that San Leandro resident Norm Andresen leads mushroom hunting forays with the Bay Area Mycological Society. While Andresen is a foray leader, he actually works with the Mycological Society of San Francisco.