"From Richmond to the Rainforest," Feature, 10/16
Destroying Our Planet for Money
Thanks so much for John Geluardi's excellent article on Chevron and Ecuador. The reporting was spot on and the coverage of Rafael Correa's environmental transgressions was an excellent and necessary balancing of facts.
The fact that someone like President Correa is willing to sell his and Ecuador's soul for oil and its money shows that even the left will destroy our planet for money. Correa's decision to proceed with the destruction of Yasuni National Park is a complete disaster, but unfortunately it's only the biggest and worst example of his decisions to harm the rainforest in order to get money.
The fact that modern humans of both the left and right will destroy land for money is why a very few remaining traditional indigenous people, like the Waorani mentioned in your article, have chosen to avoid modern humans and their Earth-destroying civilization. We modern humans have much to learn from these people, and they are the ones we should be attempting to emulate, not the other way around. Traditional indigenous people like the Waorani are more spiritually and emotionally evolved than we are, which is why they don't lust after money or the material things it can buy. They live in relative harmony with their natural environment, making their societies as sustainable as possible, which cannot at all be said for ours. In fact, other than geological periods of time, the only threat to their societies is us modern humans.
Again, thanks for a great article. It's one of the best and most informative things I've ever read in the East Bay Express.
Jeff Hoffman, Berkeley
Community-Minded Energy Giant
Richmond Mayor Gayle McLaughlin's recent trip to Quito puts her in a position on par with the native Ecuadorian Jaguars: as a species of prey. She continues to prey, unreasonably and illogically, on the large, profitable, and community-minded energy giant that has continued to support Richmond as the city developed around it over nearly a century.
Chevron employees surely agree that the pollution that inadvertently occurred in Ecuador was tragic and has been devastating for all parties involved. Going forward, though, the best tactic is not to capitalize on your town's misery to fuel a self-centered publicity campaign or to levy public antagonism for Chevron's diverse operations in order to pave the way for yet more unfair taxes and operating restrictions as McLaughlin has done.
With the past written but the future a blank slate, the best tactic is to use this unfortunate situation as an opportunity for learning and improvement, which is what Chevron is actively doing.
Lynn Rice, Richmond
"Who's Patrolling the Patrols?" News, 10/16
Chalk it Up to Government Failure
You can chalk it all up to municipal government failure in Oakland: failure to reform OPD; failure to support OPD with adequate resources and manpower; failure to institute real community policing; and failure to build community and the economy in poorer neighborhoods. When government fails, then some citizens are driven to try to do what government refuses to do or cannot do. It's not a good situation in any way, but we should be very clear about who is responsible for the failures.
Mike Ferro, Oakland
Private or Public Cowboys
Pick your poison: private or public cowboys. What a choice.
John Seal, Oakland
"Why Lew Wolff Should Sell the Oakland A's," Seven Days, 10/16
Slams Against Our City
Thanks so much. The Tribune has become a shill for San Jose with writers like [Mark] Purdy, although Scott Ostler of "the Comical" is not any better in his slams against our city. There are people here who would buy the team ,and the O.co location is still a good one. They want water views, you can get all that out there. Personally I liked the old, pre-Mount Davis view of the hills. Sell the team to the Knauss group or let Zimmer and Morgan have a chance again.
Earl Marty Price, Oakland
Just Keep Billy Beane
The most important thing, no matter what happens, is to make sure that the existing or new owners keep Billy Beane. Now, it would be great if they were to be purchased by a rich baseball fan that would spend some money. Imagine what Billy could do with a $100-million-a-year payroll. Are you listening Larry E.?
Dan Marin, Vancouver, Washington
"Greenwashing the War on Drugs," Feature, 10/9
One of the positive outcomes of this discussion could and should be better stewardship of the environment by everyone, regardless of any political affiliation or opinion on cannabis use. The truth is taking responsibility for one's own impact to the land, water, air, and animals is really difficult. Denial is rampant among small cannabis growers, as it is among most of us. Although conservatives and the media are taking a harder look at the environmental effects of cannabis production, I see any dialogue about identifying ways to reduce environmental impacts as positive, especially when we are hearing it from those who are traditionally non-environmentalists. Perhaps a side benefit of this discussion will be improvements in managing more of our activities for reduced impact and improved sustainability. Cannabis production should be regulated like any other activity with the potential to harm the environment.
I must also point out an error in the article. The second photo is not a trespass grow. It is a private grow on private land. Blaming all of the problems on trespass grows is another form of denial.
Brad Henderson, Redding
"Reality Check: Violent Crime Is Down in Oakland," Seven Days, 10/9
911 System Is a Joke
Clearly the author has never called 911 in Oakland. For years the only thing you usually get is a recording announcing that "the following tone is for TDD users," and then you hear that screaming fax-like tone, followed by announcements in five or six languages, and then the whole thing repeats. I know because after listening to a child scream and scream for half an hour, and listening to a man scream at her to shut the fuck up, I called 911 and got the same recording. It sounds just like your bank or insurance company, "Your call is important to us, please stay on the line blah blah." And only then will you finally get a dispatcher. After reporting the crime (I was the only one who reported it, according to the dispatcher), I asked the dispatcher about the recording. She said they were currently having trouble and that the way to get through was to dial '0' when it answers. I then asked her why they didn't say that on the recording and she said she thought it did, which it does not. After getting off the phone I ruminated on her comment that they were currently having technical problems, which is a lie as anybody knows the 911 system is a joke and has been for many years. This is why crime is "down." Too bad this reporter never thought of that. And what about all the police departments in America busted for minimizing crime stats? There was a long program on KQED recently.
Todd Pratum, Oakland