News & Opinion » Letters & Guest Essays

Letters for the week of October 14-20

Readers sound off on gentrification in Oakland, a proposed park featuring a wooden deck and racism on


"The Superheroes Behind the Scenes," Culture Spy, 10/14

My Heart Breaks

The story of this beautiful project coming out of [Attitudinal Health Connection] Art Esteem as visualized by Amana Harris and her amazing parents, co-creators, and artists, who run AHC, breaks my heart. I am at a loss for words in expressing the grief I feel for the family and friends of Antonio Ramos. Oakland is my home town and I will continue to pray for its healing and love for all!

Roberta Llewellyn, Sebastopol

"Censored!: Ten Big Stories the Media Ignored," Feature, 10/14

A Point of Clarification

I am disappointed that Tim Redmond suggested that, at times in the past, we "veer[ed] off in the Looney world of conspiracies and 9/11 Truther territory." I went back and reviewed the top 25 stories for 2003 to the present. There were three news stories listed in the top 25 related to 9/11 out of 325 stories we published in that time period. This amounts to less than 1 percent of all the stories we ranked in the top 25 each year. This is hardly a "veering off in the Looney world of conspiracies" that Redmond claims.

The three 9/11 stories we did cite were more than adequately sourced, including Deseret News, FBI records, and transcripts from the Japanese parliament. All three had been completely censored by the US corporate media. The topics included how the FBI had no evidence that Osama Ben Laden was involved in 9/11, coverage in Japanese news and television regarding 9/11 questions from official transcripts in the Japanese Parliament, and news from a Salt Lake City mainstream paper on how a university physicist was questioning the collapse of Building Seven.

The Project Censored mission is to research and report important news stories that the corporate media ignores or censors. In that regard, there are no forbidden topics, including 9/11, and we stand proudly on our record.

Peter Phillips, President Media Freedom Foundation/Project Censored, Occidental

"Oakland's Culture Clash," Seven Days, 10/14

Newcomers, Please Volunteer

Thanks, Bob Gammon, for this. I wish all the folks who are moving in would take the energy to volunteer somewhere in our community. Every school, recreational center, arts nonprofit, or food bank that has been working for years to make Oakland better can use your help by donating money, or better yet, your time.

Karen Hester, Oakland

Diversity Is the Secret Sauce

Given the recent representation Oaklanders' received from Ms. Rachel "There is no affordability crisis" Flynn, director of [Planning and Building], and Libby "Let's appointment an eviction specialist as tenant advocate" Schaaf, mayor of Oakland, it seems pretty clear that the folks in power are failing to prioritize and enact policies that would preserve Oakland's "secret sauce."

I would also like to suggest that the "sauce" is 99 percent cultural capital that has been built up by and sustained by Oakland's economically and ethnically diverse, working-class residents and only 1 percent actual financial investment in Oakland by private and state monies. But, to hear our leaders tell it, it's the other way around. Thank you for voicing these concerns so succinctly. Just one peeve: Hella lot equals hell of a lot. Maybe "hella sauce" if you have to.

Chanty Nok, Oakland

The Newcomers Are Not to Blame

This is what I love about our Liberal Bay Area Writers. We celebrate and cherish diversity. But ... if they don't look like us, earn like us, like what we like, want what we want, then we don't welcome them here.

Oh, and you really think that people (young or old, white or not) really want to move into areas being "gentrified" if they are wealthy and have lots of disposable income? Really? It is just people looking for housing that is affordable to them. They just happen to be able to afford more. Shame on them.

We would not want them here. They are different than us. We are too busy promoting diversity. The East Bay is liberal and conservatives try to maintain the status quo but we had better not let anything change around here.

Geez, listen to yourself.

Michael Good, Oakland

"A Park to Nowhere?" Eco Watch, 10/14

What's Wrong with the Deck?

Where is the city going to get the great amount of funds needed to make it a park, especially a highly accessible park?

What the Bay Area really needs most is more housing to address the acute housing shortage. That is the reason the housing prices are so high. And if most of the housing at this new location will be high cost, so what? That will take the price pressure off of all available housing in the area as the well-to-do will abandon existing housing for this site. Let them have their big boardwalk. The site was awful before and no one went there. In the future, I can bicycle there, and it will be a great bike destination. [People with disabilities] can take East Bay paratransit service to get there or a taxi.

Vincent Sauve, Oakland

The Whole Thing Should Be a Park

The public already decided what it wanted. We learned when the project was first proposed that a ten-year-long citywide open consultation process determined the entire Oak to Ninth [Avenue] area should be an open space park, as per California state requirements that waterfront be recreational or water-based industrial. Never residential. [Then-state Senator Don] Perata pushed an exception through the state legislature allowing Oakland and Signature Development [Group] to build residential there, in direct opposition to the citywide decision to make it parkland.