Letters • 05-28-15 PDF  | Print |  E-mail

Those We Should Remember on Memorial Day


I don’t believe sales, barbecues, or the first day of summer vacation season were envisioned for Memorial (or Decoration) Day in the Civil War.

It’s appropriate to remember those whose lives were taken from – not given by – them in American wars.

Remember the “Best and Brightest” also. It was their often-misguided policies that contributed to these deaths. They conflate defending American interests with defending America. This will happen again, because as Carl von Clausewitz said, “War is politics by other means.”

Many of the “Best and Brightest” never heard a shot fired in anger. Because they don’t pay the price, it’s easy for them to create slogans like War to End All War, Remember Pearl Harbor, Police Action, Domino Theory, War on Terror, Iraqi Freedom, Wounded Warriors, etc. to sell these endeavors.

Every day we should remember the severely wounded and those still living with their sacrifice. Annual rituals of flags, parades, bands,and bugles do nothing for them. Those whose lives have changed forever live day after day with reminders of their service.  Those with PTSD, endlessly, relive their service. Who knows what those abandoned and living on the streets reflect on?

All deserve and are owed the fullest amount, not the bare minimum, of help physically, psychologically, economically and socially by the government that sent them to war in the first place. Their assistance should not be outsourced to the whims of charity given to the Wounded Warrior Foundation.

The Pentagon spends billions on weapons systems. Surely, there must be funds to care for our veterans now and in the future.

All this needs to be remembered.

— Jeff Sturm, San Leandro

Glad San Leandrans Taking Water Crisis to Heart, But...


As a longtime resident, gardener and environmentalist, I want to thank my neighborhood for taking our water crisis to heart.

Strolling the Broadmoor area, it’s good to see lawns turning brown and homeowners using drought tolerant landscaping as a replacement. This is encouraging, but there are two trends that should be of concern to all of us as neighbors.

As folks let their lawns go dry, weeds are thriving and being ignored. Weeds are drought tolerant and invasive. Their seeds will disperse throughout the entire area promoting more, but are easily controlled with pulling, mowing and disposal in your green waste bucket. Your neighbors will be grateful.

A brown lawn is not esthetically pleasing which is why replacement with sustainable, drought tolerant landscaping is the preferred way to improve your property. Unfortunately, some homeowners are also replacing a living landscape with artificial turf. Although they have good intentions and want to conserve water, artificial turf comes with another set of environmental problems and possible health consequences.

According to the EBMUD website, regarding Lawn Conversion & Irrigation Rebates, under General Guidelines: “Artificial turf does not qualify (for lawn replacement) because it does not support soil health or provide habitat, is destined for the landfill when it wears out, may contain heavy metals, and creates a heat island effect because it doesn’t cool the air like a natural landscape.”

The materials used to produce and install this “turf” include plastics and ground, recycled tires (CRM). CRM has been labeled a health hazard by the NYC Health Department. If you are considering artificial turf, I encourage you to visit sanjosegreenhome.com and read the article “Fake Grass, Synthetic Turf or Stepford Lawns?”

I also encourage you to visit the websites for EBMUD, Bay Friendly Gardening and the Alameda County Master Gardeners to learn about resources and rebates for replacing your lawn sustainably. The Master Gardeners have an advice booth at Bayfair Farmers Market every other weekend.

Finally, go visit the good folks at our own Evergreen Nursery. They have free classes, a demonstration garden and lots of inspiration.

— Pat Schuessler, San Leandro

Quick Action by SLPD Squelches Home Burglary


I want to thank the San Leandro Police Dept. for their quick response to my neighbor’s call regarding a suspicious person around my home on Thursday, April 10. Their quick action allowed them to apprehend the young “man” who broke into my home in search of valuables.

This “man” parked his grandmother’s car in front of my home and there it remained until his grandmother retrieved it a few hours later. I was in front of my house when grandma came to retrieve her car and she denied having a grandson.

I would deny having a grandson too, if my grandson drove my new Barcelona Red Metallic 2014 Corolla (with my name and address on the dashboard, paper license plates and small flag of El Salvador hanging off the rear view mirror) and parked it in front of the house he was planning to rob.

Many thanks again to the San Leandro Police Dept. for their swift actions and also to my neighbors for their support and for looking out for each other.

— Jodi Funk, San Leandro

Yard Sale Benefit for Norell Family Raises $7,000-Plus


The Norell Family, Grandma Allison and Wyatt’s Warriors would like to thank the San Leandro community for the outpouring of love and generosity expressed in support of our yard sale fundraiser last weekend.

As a result of your generosity, we raised over $7,000 for the Norell Family. Words cannot express our gratitude. God Bless you all.

— Lisa Benson, San Leandro

Letters • 05-21-15 PDF  | Print |  E-mail

An Update on San Leandro’s High-Speed Fiber Loop


I write to provide an update on the high speed fiber loop and its success in San Leandro.

Since Dr. Patrick Kennedy presented and partnered with the City of San Leandro to create

LitSanLeandro, the following has occurred:

1) Expansion of the original 11-mile loop to 18 miles utilizing $2.1 million in federal funds from the Economic Development Administration.

2) High speed fiber connection to Bayfair Mall and Westgate Mall, now known as The Gate and home to a cluster of 3D printing manufacturers including Type A Machines.

3) Development of the San Leandro Tech Campus at the San Leandro BART Station which is currently under construction. The build out of this project will create 500,000 square feet of office space. The $60 million first phase alone will house an OSIsoft expansion keeping a world class tech company growing and healthy in San Leandro where it was born.

4) Contracts have been signed to connect 15 San Leandro schools to LitSanLeandro’s high speed fiber creating competitive advantages for all students.

5) Connection to the Main Library, St. Leander’s School and free downtown wi-fi or “wi-fiber” is underway as well.

This is partial information as to the investment, high quality jobs and educational benefit of high speed fiber in our community, high speed fiber which is 21st century infrastructure as necessary as

electricity, roads and airports. I hope this is useful information to San Leandro residents.

— Chris Zapata, City Manager, City of San Leandro

Arc Clothing Donations Help Hundreds of Disabled People


During the week of May 18, The Arc of Alameda County tested its new clothing recycling collection program in a section of San Leandro. The test was a success. Our systems and our clients worked extremely well and we are ready to go.

There are two reasons you should support The Arc’s recycling program.

Number one: The Arc is local. We work with over 400 Alameda County residents who have intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD). Your clothing donation help men and women who may very well live in your neighborhood.

Number two: With an abysmal 80 percent unemployment rate among people with I/DD, we are hiring our clients to collect and sort the donated items. They are not volunteers – they are not part of a training program – they are employees earning real money for their labors.

So when you see the door hanger with The Arc logo or spot our red vans coming down your street, understand that your donation means you’re not only keeping your old clothing out of the landfill, you’re creating jobs for local people with disabilities who are finally living a lifelong dream of having a job.

— Ron Luter, CEO, The Arc of Alameda County

Public Transportation a Bargain that Needs Support


I used my BART-issued Clipper Card to travel from San Leandro to downtown Oakland this week for less than one dollar each way. I went to my doctor in Fremont for less than three dollars, each way. There is a gas station outside my window selling gas for three dollars and fifty cents (it probably will be higher by the time you read this).

I say this to point out that public transportation is still a bargain and needs to be supported. Those who rail against the cost of maintaining this vital service seem to be living in some fantasy land. I guess being anti-union shuts down part of your brain. How else do you explain shrugging off the hosing the oil companies are pulling off, while strangling the infrastructure we all need and use?

If you see arrogance in those who scoff at your opinions, maybe you just do a little research before you say things like President Obama froze Social Security payments for two years. That is not only incorrect ,it sounds stupid.

— Vernon S. Burton, San Leandro

Time to Revise that BBQ Menu for Memorial Day?


What ever happened to the good old days when the worst things we had to fear on Memorial Day were traffic jams and indigestion?

This year, it’s all about food poisoning by the nasty E. coli, Salmonella, and Listeria bugs lurking in hamburgers, hot dogs, and

chicken nuggets at millions of backyard barbecues.  The U.S. Meat and Poultry Hotline’s advice is to grill meat and chicken products longer and hotter. They fail to caution that high-temperature grilling forms lots of cancer-causing compounds. Do we really need to choose between food poisoning and cancer?

Luckily, enterprising food manufacturers and processors have met this challenge head-on by developing a great variety of healthful, delicious, convenient plant-based veggie burgers, veggie dogs, and soy nuggets. These wholesome foods don’t harbor nasty bugs or cancer-causing compounds. They don’t even carry cholesterol, saturated fats, drugs, or pesticides. And, they are right there, in the frozen food section of our supermarket.

This Memorial Day, let’s stay safe on the roads and safe at the family barbecue.

— Dennis Roth, San Leandro


Letters • 05-14-15 PDF  | Print |  E-mail

Why the Silence on that High Speed Internet Loop?


For years we all read in this newspaper how our high speed fiber optic loop was going to transform San Leandro into the next Silicon Valley.

Predictions were made about how businesses were going to flock to San Leandro just because of the loop. We all saw the ego-boosting video promoting the project. And, we even hired a full time person at city hall to solicit business for our loop.

So why don’t we ever hear about the loop anymore? How many businesses have we attracted to San Leandro as a result of the loop? For something that was supposed to remake our city, it’s surprising how little we hear about it now.

— Gary Langbehn, San Leandro

BART Fares: Public Has Right To Say 'Enough is Enough'


Vernon Burton’s letter (“Tired of ‘Knee-Jerk Reactions’ To Inevitable

Price Hikes,” Letters, May 7) regarding BART fare increases is very typical of his thinking. BART has been raising fares almost every year for years and the public has every right to say enough is enough.

BART is a train system made for the people by the people. BART taxes are paid by everyone in their  annual property tax bill.

Our daughter commutes every day from Concord to Oakland on BART. She is  paying dearly for this service and each time fares are raised it squeezes her meager budget  a little more.

We are repeatedly being told to “take public transportation” and leave our cars at home to improve freeway congestion and help out the environment. BART is doing nothing to support this ideal: it is in fact sending  commuters back to their cars again.

Of course we have to accept cost of living increases as a fact of of life, but we have every right to ask questions about how our  taxes and money are being spent. BART fares are no exception. Mr. Burton’s arrogance and his contempt for those who dare to question is very tiresome. I can only assume he does not have to use BART to commute to work each day.

— Bernadette Buchanan, San Leandro

Says Burton Fell for City’s Scare Tactics on Tax Vote


Vernon S. Burton (see above), in defense of the status quo and the tax increases, writes, “I wonder what he buys that is the same price it was 40 days ago.”

Vernon Burton seems totally ignorant that Barack Obama froze Social Security for two years and has otherwise allowed only 1.5 % increases since. Burton also ignores

that rents, in most cases, have increased more than 50% in the last five years.

What worker gets a 50% increase on wages in five years? As a matter of fact, adjusted by inflation, today wages are lower than in 1974. That’s more than 40 years ago!

Unfortunately, Burton is just one more of the many San Leandrans who fall for City Hall’s scare tactics and vote each time for another tax increase on consumers, instead of demanding higher taxes on business and corporations. I also doubt that Burton ever rides the BART.

— Leo T. West, San Leandro

Honoring Motherhood without Meat or Dairy



We all looked forward to Sunday’s celebration of Mother’s Day and the cherished bond between mother and child.

Ironically, dairy cows – world-wide symbols of motherhood – never get to see their babies. The newborn calves are torn from their mothers at birth and turned into veal cutlets, so we can drink the milk that nature designed for them.

The distraught mothers bellow for days, hoping for their return.

Most cows spend their lives chained on a concrete floor, with no access to the outdoors. Each year, they are impregnated artificially to keep the milk flowing. When their production drops, around four years of age, they are turned into hamburgers.

Let’s honor motherhood and our natural compassion by replacing cow’s milk and other dairy products, all laden with fat and cholesterol, with delicious, healthful, cruelty-free nut or soy-based milk, cheese, yogurt, and ice cream. These are available in every supermarket. Mother cows, and our own bodies will be most grateful.

— Kurt Champler, San Leandro

PG&E Joins State Effort in Preparing for Wildfires


It only takes a spark. As California continues to weather one of the most severe droughts on record, the risk of wildfire is a very real and present danger. CAL FIRE has already responded to more than 1,000 wildfires scorching more than 4,100 acres this year, which they say is well above average.

That’s why PG&E is joining with CAL FIRE during California Wildfire Awareness Week (May 3-9) to urge our employees, customers and the public to help prevent and prepare for wildfires.

PG&E is providing nearly $2 million in funding to local Fire Safe Councils this fire season to help create fire breaks and emergency access roads, reduce fire fuels, and help

residents create defensible space around their homes.

Here in the East Bay, we are pro-viding $150,000 to Diablo Fire Safe Council.

CAL FIRE says more than 90 percent of wildfires are caused by people. We can all do our part by learning how to properly use outdoor equipment, burn debris, safely start and extinguish a campfire, and maintain and tow vehicles safely.

You can learn more by clicking here at “One Less Spark, One Less Wildfire.”

At PG&E, we’re honored to team with firefighters and local communities to prevent and prepare for dangerous wildfires, and together help build a better California.

— Laura Wetmore, PG&E Senior Manager, Mission Division

Letters • 05-07-15 PDF  | Print |  E-mail

Tired of ‘Knee-Jerk Reactions’ to Inevitable Price Hikes


I wonder if the irate letter writer who is so upset about the inevitable BART fare hikes realizes the Bay Area rail system is 40-plus years old. I wonder what he buys that is the same price it was 40 days ago, let alone four decades ago.

One other thing. Just what are these “pet projects” that these BART board members are planning to finance with the increase?

Knee-jerk reactions to increases in the cost of living are so tiresome. There are legitimate things to get upset about, but tiny upticks in the sales tax and the need to pay for a vital transportation system show that some folks are living in a parallel universe where reality seems nonexistent.

— Vernon S. Burton, San Leandro

Times’ Headline Writer Chose Poor Wording on Biker Story


Page 6 of the San Leandro Times on April 30 contained an article titled “Bikers to Terrorize Town on Sunday.”

The title did get my attention and I read the article closely. However, I feel the title was poorly worded because the word “Terrorize” now has worldwide connotations of violence and fear and mayhem.

I am certain the good editors of our local newspaper could have created a title more appropriate for an article that asked for the participation of children, adults and families in a fun, local happening. Certainly the activities described for our citizens had nothing to do with terror.

I can’t help but think participation might have been higher if the title had been more appropriate.

— Vi Walters, San Leandro

Meat, Dairy Consumption Must Be Reduced Significantly


I totally agree with Dennis Roth’s letter (“Earth Day Reminder on Sustainable Foods,” Letters, April 30), however, he left out one very important issue: water.

The statistics I use come from Kip Anderson’s film “Cowspiracy” (www.cowspiracy.com). It is available on DVD and online. Critiques of the film also are available online.

Only 5% of U.S. water usage is for domestic use; 55% is for animal agriculture. I believe these are approximately the same percentages for California.

When water for feed crops is added to the water consumed by the animals themselves, it takes 2,500 gallons of water to produce 1 pound of beef. In addition, nearly 50% of the U.S. mainland land mass is used for animal agriculture. This includes land for grazing, soy, alfalfa (a water intense plant), and corn planting.

Think about that when you have your next barbeque or dollar meal.

Non-meat and non-dairy alternatives are available at Lucky, Safeway, and Health Unlimited (in Pelton Center).  Except for the most discriminating connoisseur, most will find these substitutes’ flavors acceptable.

While they are great for lessening water and land usage, vegan diets are not for everyone. Critiques of these diets also are online. In any event, meat and dairy consumption must be reduced significantly in the long run for the sake of water conservation, as well as for the environment.

Shorter showers, reduced flushing, glasses of water only on demand in restaurants, less lawn and garden watering, while helpful, make as much of an impact as spitting in the ocean (30% of 5% vs 0% of 55%).

Contact your assembly member, Rob Bonta (916-319-2018, 510-286-1670), State Senator Loni Hancock (916-651-4009, 510-286-1333), and Gov. Jerry Brown (916-445-2841) if you want a fairer sharing of the current water conservation burden.

— Jeffrey Sturm, San Leandro

Letters • 04-30-15 PDF  | Print |  E-mail

Tracey Family Overwhelmed by Outpouring of Support


The family of Captain Edward Tracey is feeling overwhelmed by the outpouring of love and support from friends, family and the community.

We are tremendously proud of Ed and the impact he has made in the Bay Area communities in which he served. While he is no longer with us, we are proud of the legacy he has left behind.

Ed loved his profession as a law enforcement officer as he loved to serve and protect. He lived his life with courage and conviction and stood for what he believed in.

We would like to thank Mayor Cutter and the members of the San Leandro City Council for declaring April 22, 2015 as Captain Edward Tracey day. This is an honour and terrific acknowledgement of Ed’s

contribution to the great city of San Leandro and its citizens.

Lastly, thank you for the generosity of so many who have already contributed to the Memorial Fund for Captain Ed Tracey including the generous donation made by the San Leandro Police Officer Association (SLPOA), www.gofundme.com/edtracey.

— Martin Tracey, Danville (brother of Capt. Edward Tracey)

Outraged by BART’s Planned Fare Increases


It is outrageous that the BART board members want to raise the fare again for next year.

There is some contradiction on their part when they keep saying to the public in their PR campaign to take BART instead of driving in order to spare the air. But at the same time they keep raising the fare in order to fund their pet projects.

The board members could ask the state for more money. They need to understand that not every BART passenger is middle- and upper-income. These passengers rely on BART because not all of them can drive. I urge the BART board to stop raising fares and find other ways to get resources.

— Billy Trice Jr., Oakland


‘State of the City’ Gets ‘Back Pages’ Treatment


I think the San Leandro Times has summed perfectly up how relevant (or irrelevant, depending on how you look at it) Mayor Cutter and her State of the City address was by reporting on it three weeks after the fact and on page 7 in last week’s issue - after the horoscopes, recipes and comics.

— Gary Langbehn, San Leandro

Earth Day Reminder on Sustainable Foods


Just in time for the 45th anniversary of Earth Day, the U.S. Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee has made it official: consumption of animal products is not environmentally sustainable.

Their conclusions match those of a massive 2010 United Nations report, which concluded that a global shift towards a vegan diet is vital to save the world from hunger, fuel poverty and climate change.

Carbon dioxide, the chief greenhouse gas, is emitted by burning forests to create animal pastures and by combustion of fossil fuels to operate farm machinery, trucks, refrigeration equipment, factory farms, and slaughterhouses.

The much more damaging methane and nitrous oxide are released from digestive tracts of cattle and from animal waste cesspools.

Moreover, animal agriculture contributes more pollutants to our waterways than other human activities combined. Principal sources are animal wastes, soil particles, minerals, crop debris, fertilizers, and pesticides from feed croplands. It is also the driving force in world-wide deforestation and wildlife habitat destruction.

In an environmentally sustainable world, just as fossil fuels are replaced by wind, solar, and other sustainable energy sources, animal foods must be replaced by vegetables, fruits, and grains. Our next trip to the supermarket is a great starting point.

— Dennis Roth. San Leandro

Letters • 04-23-15 PDF  | Print |  E-mail

Says Tax Protester Will Spend More Shopping Outside San Leandro


In her recent letter, Peggy Heubel (“Sales Tax Protest: Refuses to Spend Money in San Leandro,” Letters, Apri1 16) failed to explain the “deep-rooted principle” she holds which justifies her decision to “not shop anywhere in San Leandro” in response to voter approvals of City, County and State sales tax measures.

It appears a very peculiar principle, because Peggy will waste money, time and gasoline in her misguided mission to punish San Leandrans.

As Amy Sylvestri’s reporting detailed, our total sales tax is matched by four

other East Bay cities. Ms. Heubel will have to do a lot of driving to avoid paying an additional nickel for a $10 purchase at businesses in five local cities.

Peggy is among those who are angered by a “double-digit” cumulative sales tax. Let’s detail what gets us to that overall 10% rate.

We pay one penny per $4 purchase for the Statewide tax of Proposition 30. Peggy may be happily awaiting the

moment when this revenue source is scheduled to end in 2017. Others are unhappy to contemplate the loss of valuable funds which have helped repair the terrible cuts to local schools and other services which we suffered before benefiting from Prop 30’s $7 billion annual contribution to the State general fund.

A penny per $2 purchase comes from the voter-extended Measure AA, which funds the Alameda Health System. The San Leandro Hospital emergency room sees around 28,000 people seeking care per year. Without this sales tax, our downtown Hospital would almost certainly suffer the same fate as Doctors Hospital San Pablo, which closed for good this Tuesday.

Finally, the penny per $2 sale for City services finances the Police Department that Peggy has worked for, and retirement benefits for civil servants like herself. The streets we use to drive to our houses, the parks we enjoy, and much more is financed by the money she encourages us to withdraw from City government and businesses.

I enjoy doing business in our City, and will continue to do so.

— Doug Jones, San Leandro

An Open Letter to Peggy Heubel on Higher Sales Tax


Peggy...So, you are unhappy with the 1/4-cent increase in sales taxes that has been voted in by the citizens of San Leandro.

You must have lived in San Leandro for many years, probably worked here, maybe even retired here, so you have  benefitted from  the protection and services of the Police and Fire Department, and enjoyed  a variety of clean, safe places to shop, great schools, libraries, recreational facilities, senior centers, adult schools, to name a few.

The 1/4 cent increase in sales tax is a small price to pay for these perks.   Please don’t turn your back on the city now.

You are only hurting yourself by spending  more in gas and time  to go to another city to shop, rather than  pay the minor  sales tax increase San Leandro needs to maintain its status as a great place to live.

Times are a-changing and the cost  of quality services is  going up everywhere.

Live with it.

(Live here, spend here)

— Bea Kiley, San Leandro

Upset that Non-SL Residents Had No Say on Tax Hike


I totally agree with Peggy A. Heubel’s opinion in the San Leandro Times’ Letters to the Editor.

I have stopped purchasing taxable items in San Leandro. I will miss eating at the fast food restaurants, going to Tito’s, Harry’s for dinner and having my favorite Chinese takeout Rose Garden, delivering my dinner when I don’t feel like cooking.  It’s a shame that the businesses in San Leandro have to suffer because of the greed of the city officials. Living in unincorporated (Ashland), we were not able to vote on these tax increases and the city officials. I would have voted No!

We have a home in Sonora and go there every other week and purchase our taxable items. Three of our neighbors have joined us in this process. The sales tax is 8%.

Along with Peggy, we have four

families that will not be paying San Leandro’s 10%. One and a half percent goes to San Leandro’s slush fund. Does not help me, since I don’t live in the San Leandro city limits.

— Betty Foott, Unincorporated Alameda County

Says .5% Sales Tax Increase Benefits All Who Live Here


A recent letter writer (see above) is urging friends, family and all in the City of San Leandro to boycott all businesses in San Leandro now that we have a 10% sales tax.

I hope that people who read this letter remember that the businesses which charge this tax did not create it for their personal profit. This was voted on and approved by the citizens of San Leandro to help us finance City services.

Now that we have a 10% sales tax in San Leandro, that $100 item which used be taxed at $9.50 (9.5% sales tax) is now taxes at $10 (10% sales tax) – a whopping increase of 50 cents per 100 dollars spent in taxable merchandise.

This was a voters’ choice issue and it passed. Please do not punish the merchants of San Leandro for a choice made by a majority of voters in this City.

The merchants in San Leandro are still our same hard-working friends and neighbors and do not benefit in any personal way from this tax. Rather, they benefit as we all do with open libraries, hopefully repaved and repaired streets, public safety protection and the rest of the City services we count on.

— Moira Fry, San Leandro

Thanks to All Who Made Book Sales Such a Success


Thank you to all those who attended our April Book Sale. Without your support the Friends of the San Leandro Library would not be able to give back to the community the many programs we sponsor, especially the Summer Reading Program for children, teens and adults.

At the end of the program, we sponsor the children’s carnival as a reward for reading so many books during the summer which enables them to keep up with their reading skills during summer vacation.

Thanks also to the many volunteers and library staff members who help put together our book sale. We couldn’t do it without you.

— Anna May Tandi, President, Friends of the San Leandro Library

Letters • 04-16-15 PDF  | Print |  E-mail

Thanks to All Who Oppose Crude Oil Trains Through SL


The City of San Leandro passed a strongly worded letter in opposition to a permit application from the Phillips 66 oil company in San Luis Obispo County. This resolution objects to crude oil by rail transportation through the heart of our city.

If Phillips 66 receives permission from San Luis Obispo County to modify and expand its train terminal, the Santa Maria/Nipomo area refinery will be able to accept and process at least one 80-car train daily of highly explosive oil that will travel on the Capital Corridor rail through the Bay Area. These trains are approximately one mile long and the identified blast zone encompasses our downtown, several schools, and thousands of homes and business properties.

San Leandro stands above all other cities in their written opposition to this ill-conceived project. The letter passed by the City Council and Mayor Cutter also includes powerful wording that demands detailed safety mitigation should the SLO project be approved.

San Leandro Unified School District was the first school district to write to the SLO Planning Commission, because the Board of Trustees recognizes that our school communities are in danger within the blast and evacuation zones.

San Leandro Teachers Association was the first labor organization to object to the project because the safety of our children, their families and school district employees is essential to the work of teachers. Furthermore, teachers are mandated disaster workers and there are no known school disaster plans in the United States that provide an oil-train blast response.

Since San Leandro leaders have written to San Luis Obispo County, other Alameda County cities, school districts and teachers’ unions have followed suit.

The language and composition of our resolutions have been a template for Berkeley, Oakland, and now Hayward.

Thank you City Council members, Mayor Cutter, the San Leandro and San Lorenzo School Trustees, and the union representatives in both districts for your leadership. You have placed the health, safety and well-being of our city's residents in front of all other concerns and special interests in this matter.

— Maureen Forney, San Leandro, Garfield Elementary School Teacher

Why Won’t EBMUD Offer Rebates for Artificial Turf?


Despite the crisis of the drought, the need to change our water-consuming behavior, and State Water Resources Control Board imposing a 25-percent reduction, EBMUD refuses to change its behavior… continuing to disallow rebates for professionally installed artificial turf.

Santa Clara County Water District allows it, why won’t EBMUD?

Even drought-tolerant native plants need some water, but artificial turf needs none.

— Robert Engelhart, San Leandro

Not Everyone Was Happy with Recycling Event


In response to Joyce and Jeff Sturm’s letter (“Pleased at Big Turnout for Shredding-Recycling Event,” Letters, April 9), yes, the line on Washington Avenue moved quickly, however, I was in line at 12:40 p.m., approached the entrance to the Corporation Yard just before 1 p.m.

There were four cars ahead of me and about 100 cars behind me, queued up on Chapman, and on Washington all the way to 143rd.

We were all turned away at the gate, after sitting in the line, wasting gas and time, expecting to  drop off our “stuff.”

One person could have walked the line of cars and let us know we would not be admitted.

— Bea Kiley, San Leandro

Anonymous Diner Made Her Birthday Lunch Special


Thank you to the anonymous man in the Manor Grill who treated eight ladies to lunch. We were told that you picked up our check and paid for us.

I would have loved to have met you. I go to the Manor Grill at least once a week, it was my birthday we were celebrating. Thank you for being so thoughtful.

— Dolly Barber, San Lorenzo

SalesTax Protest: Refuses to Spend Money in San Leandro


Based solely and solidly upon deep-rooted principle, I will not shop anywhere in San Leandro due to the newly instituted sales tax increase to 10 percent.

I will not support the businesses at Westgate, at Bayfair and Fashion Faire, in downtown San Leandro, at any of the businesses along Bancroft Ave., along East 14th St., Davis Street, Washington Ave., on any of the side-street businesses, or any single isolated  business selling anything in San Leandro. I will not spend my money at any of them. I will no longer cut out coupons for businesses that offer them; I will no longer bother with sales promotions, etc. The advertising money spent by businesses in San Leandro is wasted as far as I am concerned. Furthermore, I urge my friends and family to go the extra mile, literally, and spend their hard-earned money outside city limits.

— Peggy A. Heubel, San Leandro

Letters • 04-09-15 PDF  | Print |  E-mail

Disturbed by Lack of Witnesses to Killing of Motorcyclist


On April 2, a motorcyclist “splitting lanes” on the bridge from southbound Highway 101 to eastbound Highway 92 had apparently upset a driver in San Mateo Bridge-bound traffic so much that the driver hit the cyclist into the barrier wall, and with such force that the cyclist went over the barrier and fell to his death.

Not one person who had seen this stepped forward with anything meaningful. Imagine this: all the traffic ahead of everyone on a 2-lane bridge was stopped as well, and this hit-and-run driver managed to flee? Did everyone who witnessed this think this act was justifiable because the cyclist was going faster, legally, than they were?

Please don’t share how you have been scared or shocked by a lane-splitter while multi-tasking. Think of them as one less car ahead of you. My condolences to his family.

Tony Breslin, San Leandro (Motorcyclist, bicyclist, traffic engineer)


Pleased at Big Turnout for Shredding-Recycling Event


We would like to thank all involved in the Shredding and Recycling event this past Saturday.

We were surprised that the line of cars started on Washington Avenue then turned onto Chapman Road. However, due to the organization and efficiency of the crew working, the line moved quickly. It’s incredible to see how much stuff we all (including us) accumulate.

Thanks to all involved. We truly appreciate it!

— Joyce and Jeff Sturm, San Leandro


Thanks to Two Who Made a Difference Recently


I’d like to say thank you to two very special people who made a difference recently.

First, to Aracely Garcia for her heartwarming article in the March 19 issue of the San Leandro Times, “Life Lessons Learned from a Cat.”

Aracely, I am so sorry for the loss of your dear little friend. I’m sure she was special to you and your daughter. Thank you for being a guardian angel to her, and for others like her – the world could sure use a lot more caring people like you. Your article really hit home that week, as we had also just lost our kitty the prior week.

We had just gotten home from work that night and let her out to play in the yard with her two siblings while we ran out for a bite of dinner. We weren’t gone more than an hour and, when we got home, we were horrified to find her beautiful little body lying peacefully on the curb in front of our house on W. Ave. 134th. She had tragically been hit by a car, but thankfully someone was kind enough to take her out of the street and lay her on the grass, so she wouldn’t continue to get run over.

My second thank you goes out to that kind, gentle soul who took her out of the street – your random act of kindness meant the world to us, that somebody cared enough to stop and help. Bless you, and may your kindness be repaid ten-fold.

What possessed our sweet little Full Chin to leave the safety of our yard and venture out into the street will always be a mystery. She always was the curious one of the triplets! Lesson learned the hard (worst!) way.

In the future, I will keep a much closer eye on my furry kids and let them out only with adult supervision. Animals really don’t understand the danger of cars, and it’s up to us as their guardians to ensure they are safe.

— Michelle Segelke, San Leandro

Letters • 04-02-15 PDF  | Print |  E-mail

Suggestions to Relieve the BART Parking Crunch


Your article “City Nixes Garage-to-BART Shuttle Bus Service” (Page 8, The Times, March 19) makes it appear that the hundreds of people who used to park in the now-closed 1400 San Leandro Boulevard lot have simply vanished.

That’s not true. And there is plenty that the city could be doing to help the parking crunch.

The downtown parking garage is not a reasonable solution for those driving to BART, and a shuttle that ran only in the evenings was not going to attract people to it.

The city’s Tom Liao says that displaced BART commuters aren’t using nearby streets for parking. But watch the endless circling of cars as drivers look for spots on streets like Juana, Parrott, Clarke, Thornton, and others nearby after 7:30 a.m. each weekday. With BART lots full by then, competition for street parking is fierce.

Here are a few ideas to get city planners thinking:

1.Reconsider signed parking restrictions. Is there really a need for an extra-long passenger loading/unloading area on San Leandro between Juana and Parrott? What is the rationale for parking spaces limited to 24 minutes in that area? Please re-think these and other restrictions

2.Curbs painted red in that neighborhood have been done so inconsistently. Perhaps some residents have painted the curbs red themselves? That deserves another look.

3.White striping of parallel parking spaces might encourage people to maximize the street parking that’s there, instead of taking up two spaces with one car.

As construction near the San Leandro BART station claims more parking spaces, the city should re-examine parking policies in effect. There are ways to use the street parking area we do have more efficiently, but we need the city’s assistance.

— Blake Lawrence, Sheffield Village

Motorists Need to Look Out for Children and Pets


The article “Life Lesson Learned from a Cat” on page 9 of the March 19 Times caught my eye.

I would like to thank Aracely Garcia for a nicely written article.  It is an important lesson that I wish more people would heed.

My neighbors lost a cat on our street some months back and it was very traumatic for us all (me included). It is unfortunate that people use my street as a “cut-through” driving way above the posted limit. The person driving the car did not stop and left her to die in the street.

The more important lesson I think is that people need to stop being in such a hurry to go nowhere and to always be on the look out for children and pets in their neighborhood. Thanks Again Aracely for you kindness.

— Donna M. Meyer, San Leandro

Letters • 03-26-15 PDF  | Print |  E-mail

Drones, Armored Vehicles Valuable to First Responders


We spend money on fire trucks, ambulances and police cars.

Fire truck: $225,000.

Ambulance: $120,000.

Police Car: $45,000.

If a fire department needed to look at property that was burning, a drone would help greatly. If an ambulance had to rescue shooting victims, your first thought would be: “An armored vehicle would be nice to have right about now.”

Well, guess what? We spend more money on armored vehicles to transport cash (Brinks) than we do on the very vehicle we expect to be ready when we call 911.

Short people want to be taller, fat people want to be thinner, and bald people want hair. Well, folks, if you’re able to take nourishment and still have mobility, be thankful. Some people could give an aspirin a headache!

— Larry Arnold, San Leandro

Determining the Good Guys from the Bad Guys


I read with interest last week’s articles (“Car Stop Leads to Stolen Gun, Pot” and “Cop Spots Stolen Car,” Page 3, The Times, March 19) regarding arrests made following the two incidences of cop car stops.

In the first article, the cop “believed occupants of the car were involved in criminal activity and pulled the car over.” In the second instance, the cop “recognized him driving a car that the cop knew did not belong to him.”

The justification for these traffic stops seems hazy to me. I can’t imagine the SLPD employs Super Cops who can tell the good guys from the bad guys merely by looking at a driver.

While I assume these were “good busts,” and am glad these people are now off the streets, I can only wonder how many other traffic stops for “belief of criminal activity” are made each week in which the beliefs turn out to be unfounded?

— Brennan Kane, San Leandro

Bringing YMCA Youth & Government Program to SL


Here in California there is an important opportunity to enrich the lives of our youth and to take definitive steps towards engendering a sense of civic connection, empowerment, and responsibility.

In March, over 100 people, mostly high school students, caucused about public safety, youth-police interaction, and other issues at San Leandro High School’s Performing Arts Center.  The way the organizers of the Social Justice Academy brought depth to the conversation by combining youth participation with social media was impressive. Innovation and dynamic programs are key tools in empowering future generations to be involved in creating the world they want to live in via policy, process, and democracy.

A passion of mine has been bringing the YMCA Youth & Government program to San Leandro middle school and high school students. California YMCA Youth and Government is a growing statewide mock government program that serves nearly 4,000 students. For over 70 years, it has been the proving grounds for a long list of leaders who have learned how to raise their voice in government to make positive change. Alumna includes Jim Brulte, Chairman of the Republican Party and John Laird, Secretary of the California Natural Resources Agency.

Data reveals Youth & Government alumna out-perform the general population in several areas: registering to vote (96% vs. 66%), actually voting (87% vs. 54%), working on community issues (43% vs. 17%), being members of a board (15% vs. 3%), and getting their bachelor’s degree (88% vs. 25%).

Our daughter, Simone Stevens, is the elected Forum Lt. Governor this year and she would be honored to come to talk with teens and local groups about her experience. There are numerous leaders in the Bay Area involved with this program who would also be eager to share their experiences with those interested in becoming involved.

— Leah Hall, San Leandro (YMCA Youth & Government Lead Advisor 2013, 2014)

Great News for Breast-feeding Moms… and Cows


Great news for breastfeeding moms: You may be improving your children’s IQs. A long-term study of 3,500 babies in Brazil concluded that those who had been breastfed longer went on to score higher on IQ tests as adults. They were also more likely to pursue further education and earn higher salaries.

The research highlights yet another potential benefit of breastfeeding. Numerous studies have already shown that breastfed babies have reduced instances of respiratory and gastrointestinal infections. And the American Academy of Pediatrics reports that babies who are fed cow’s milk “receive inadequate amounts of vitamin E, iron, essential fatty acids, and excessive amounts of protein, potassium, and sodium.”

Cow’s milk has also been linked to common childhood ailments, including runny noses, allergies, ear infections, bronchitis, and asthma. For the many children who are lactose intolerant, milk consumption can lead to stomach aches, nausea, constipation, and diarrhea.

And of course, mother cows would prefer to get to nurse their own babies, as well.

— Michelle Kretzer, PETA Foundation, Norfolk, Virginia

Letters • 03-19-15 PDF  | Print |  E-mail

‘Why is Heron Bay Allowed to Act Like a Bad Neighbor?’


Ah, Spring is almost here. The days are longer, the sunsets are beautiful, the bay at dusk shimmers and sparkles ... and a security guard at the Heron Bay entrance at the end of Lewelling is checking IDs and allowing only the vehicles of residents to access the Public Bay Trail and threatening non-residents with an expensive tow.

What about disabled access to a trail we all pay for through assessments and taxes?

I’m surprised they let me ride my bike through their exclusive streets after a recent trail ride. Hey, San Leandro City Council, why is Heron Bay allowed to act like such a bad neighbor? Could any city services be withheld from this exclusive enclave until they play fair and share?

If they want to act like a gated community, they should just pay for and build one, a big gate and walls to help keep them away from us, all  of us who paid for, volunteer for clean-ups, cherish and use the Public Bay Trail system!

— Kent Kavasch, San Lorenzo

Pipe Water Down from Rainy Northwest?


With all the water problems the state has, there must be several things the state can do to help out.

If they can build pipelines and canals down to Southern California, then why can’t they build the same types of things down to here from Oregon and Washington? They have rain all the time and there must  be some way to collect it and get it down here.

The money they are wasting on that not-needed or probably won’t-be  used railroad could be better used for something people actually could get some benefits from. Just a thought.

— Fred Miller, Sheffield Village

Suspects SLPD is Angling for ‘More War Toys’


Regarding “Police Say They’re Being Tailed By Gangs,” (Page One, The Times, March 12):

Given the San Leandro Police Department’s history of fact fudging, and hyperbole in other matters such as medical marijuana and the need for that ridiculous military vehicle the “Bear-Cat,” I take this “Gang Threat” story with more than a grain of salt.

I’ve got a feeling we tax payers are getting set up for the acquisition of some more war toys. Is some gun runner having a sale on rocket launchers?

— Vernon S. Burton, San Leandro

Celebrate Start of Spring with Veggies


I do look forward to spring weather, green grass, and flowers in bloom.

The advent of spring is also a great opportunity to turn over a new leaf on our dietary habits. In fact, hundreds of communities welcome spring on March 20th with an observance of the Great American Meatout.

Visitors are asked to go vegan, at least for the day, and to explore a healthy diet of vegetables, fresh fruits, legumes, and grains.

This year’s 30th anniversary celebration of Meatout is particularly significant because of the massive shift in America’s eating habits.

“Meatless Monday” has been making huge advances in public schools, universities, institutional cafeterias, and restaurants. The 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee is recommending reduced

meat consumption. Stock market analysts are warning clients about potential “death of meat.”

Almost 50% of the respondents

in a special GlobalMeatNews poll said they had actively reduced their meat consumption. Accordingly, per capita U.S. meat consumption has dropped by more than 10% since 2005.

Each of us can celebrate our own advent of spring on March 20th by checking out vegan foods in our local supermarket and vegan recipes on the internet.

— Dennis Roth, San Leandro

Letters • 03-12-15 PDF  | Print |  E-mail

On Punishing Guitly School Trustees and Their Electors


I’m with Mary Josephs (“Accuses Voters of ElectingX Incompetent School Trustees,” Letters, Feb. 26).

Let’s punish the San Leandro school boards of the 1980s, and the voters of the 1980s who put them there, and refuse every request the current and future school boards have for addition funding. Let’s cap their budget, regardless of inflation, increased regulation, increased population, and the ever popular unfunded mandate.

Let’s hogtie the district until they atone for their predecessors’ sins by leveling Marina Square and rebuilding Pacific High.

If the kids across this city have to use a school bathroom that hasn’t been upgraded since 1937, so be it. Until we show these spendthrift volunteers what’s what, and make the next generation of San Leandro voters send their children to private schools, we will continue to be forced to pay for public education. Outrageous.

And if any reader is short a knife to cut off his nose, I’ve got extras.

— Andrew Kopp, San Leandro

Leo West Calls for a Rent Control Law


Welcome to the club, Robert Heron (“Unlimited Increases for San Leandro Renters,” Letters, March 5)!

With the last three years of rent increases, the rent has gone up a 47% at my location, even with the limitations written in the San Leandro ordinance. What worker has received a 47% increase in his wages for the last three years?

We have an absent landlord who hasn’t made any maintenance on the property for the last five years; he even fired the maintenance crew that existed previously.

In 2012, I applied for the position of Tenant Representative at the San Leandro Rent Review Board. Mayor Cassidy wouldn’t even give me a hearing, which is written in the procedures. Some time later, when I denounced him at a public meeting, he came to me to tell me that he wouldn’t consider me for the position because I had some “weird” politics. Obviously defending the rights of tenants is weird politics for a defender of landlords and businessmen.

At the time there was a vacant position on the Board for three years! The other position is being occupied by Lizzie Brown since 2002! The great majority of San Leandro tenants haven’t the foggiest idea about who Lizzie Brown is.

Later, Cassidy appointed Karyl Lee-Figueroa. In any case, these “representatives” never hold public informational meetings with tenants, distribute leaflets or show any interest in learning about their situations.

What’s needed in San Leandro is a Rent Control law: Any rent increase should be duly justified and none should be above the rate of inflation. Mr. Heron, lets work in that direction. I’m available.

— Leo T. West, San Leandro



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