Letters • 04-17-14 PDF  | Print |  E-mail

City’s Trees Being Cut Despite Voluminous Restrictions


We applaud perceptive citizens like Linda Skaar (“‘Shocked’ that City Allowed Mature Trees to Be Cut Down,” Letters, April 10) who recognize the harm committed by city actions.

With the voluminous restrictions impeding the removal of any San Leandro tree today, the Lucky Store site tree eradication debacle begs the question of how the city accounts for destroying such precious, natural “public” beauty and benefit without first gaining the minimally required community support? Please explain.

— Cory Anderson, George Banks, Jim Godkin, John Palau, Oakes Blvd. Residents, San Leandro

Calls for Heritage Tree Law To Stop the Cutting


I would like to respond to Linda Skaar’s letter (see above). It is very important that we look at new findings about the roles that large trees play in our environment.

All over the world we are losing old trees. According to US Geological Surveyor Adrian Das: “...our findings suggest that...large old trees play a disproportionately important role in carbon dynamics. It’s as if the star players on your favorite sports team were a bunch of 90-year-olds.”

Large trees do not slow down when they grow older; in fact it has been discovered that they accelerate. They may not appear to grow taller but they gain girth, and clean up large amounts of air. You cannot replace a large old tree with a new one because it will take years for the young tree to reach an age to collect the air pollution in amounts that matters to all of us.

Research in 2012 showed that big trees may comprise less than 2% of the trees in a forest, but contain 25% of the total biomass, and are vital for the health of the environment that surrounds them.

Since our family moved here in the ’80s, we have seen many people move in. Soon after, instead of trimming large trees, they cut the trees down.

My neighbor came home after fighting in WWII. He has nursed a now very large sycamore tree for years. All the sycamores that still stand were planted after WWII, and the ones that are left are beautiful. We found out that the sycamore tree is a host tree for the Yellow Swallowtail butterflies to lay their eggs.

Please support a Heritage Tree law in San Leandro. Stop the Cutting of large healthy Trees!

— Larry Eisler, San Leandro

Don’t Look at the Test Scores, Look at the Kids


I am the mother of a 6th grader at Bancroft Middle School. Last week was the school’s open house.

We speak often about how badly our schools rate on standardized tests. But I don’t think we speak enough about the complexity and sophistication of the work our students are doing. It actually blows my mind how these 11-year-olds are learning the historical, social and philosophical differences of religious systems such as Hinduism, Confucianism, Christianity and Islam; how they understand the causes of climate change better than many Congress members and how they create art that is both impactful and meaningful.

Seeing the work of kids at Bancroft confirms my conviction that there is very little correlation between test scores and actual achievement. It also makes me glad that my daughter is attending this middle school.

— Margarita Lacabe, San Leandro

Wonders if Times Shouldn’t Stop Publishing Some Letters


I hate to contemplate what it would be like if sick and injured individuals are turned away at hospitals and emergency, rooms. This is the stuff Hollywood makes “end of  the world  B movies” about.

Allan Lindsay-O’Neal’s (“Cheapest Way to Unclog ERs Is to Deny Health Care Services to Illegal Aliens,” Letters, April 10) dislike of President Obama seems to be driving him over the proverbial edge. I wonder if the Times is doing him a disservice by feeding his malady by providing him a forum for his diatribes about the Affordable Care Act.

It is one thing to provide a place for opinions and debates on the issues that confront us all every day, but to publish letter after letter of misinformation, distortions and outright propaganda serve little purpose other than to allow an obsessed person a place to rant.

— Vernon S. Burton, San Leandro

Kopp: ‘We Must Work Toward A  Solution that Provides Necessary Health Care to All’


Mr. Lindsey-O’Neal’s most recent criticism of the nation’s health insurance problem (see above) inadvertently hits the nail on the head.

When in 1986 President Reagan signed the Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act (EMTALA), he forced nearly all hospitals to provide emergency medical treatment without regard to a patient’s ability to pay. This unfunded mandate represented a monumental ethical and economic decision: to compel private parties to provide lifesaving care without financial remuneration.

Mr. Lindsey-O’Neal suggests that a means of resolving the ER overcrowding created by the EMTALA is to deny care to “illegal aliens.”  In other words, if an undocumented child had a life-threatening emergency, we could free up the ER by denying emergency treatment on the basis of invalid naturalization status. I believe that “solution” undermines President Reagan’s goal when he signed EMTALA.

This is the essential moral and public health conundrum: we will either dry our bleeding hearts and deny life-saving care to those who cannot afford it, regardless of their immigration status; or we will all shoulder the burden to guarantee that everyone, regardless of their financial and legal status, has access to the medical care that is necessary to preserve their lives and to prevent them from endangering the lives of others (such as with communicable diseases).

If we are going to accept that life is more important than money, and that hospital admission staff are unqualified to act as immigration officers, we must find a better system than just dumping the uninsured into the ER. Obamacare is flawed, but the status quo was demonstrably flawed as well. We must work constructively towards a solution that provides necessary care to all.

— Andrew Kopp, San Leandro

Letters • 04-10-14 PDF  | Print |  E-mail

‘Shocked’ that City Allowed Mature Trees to Be Cut Down


I am totally shocked that Mayor Cassidy and the city council have allowed the mature trees around the old Lucky supermarket site to be cut down. The trees took years and years to grow and they were beautiful.

I cannot believe that any modern shopping center ( a drugstore, a burger joint and a coffee shop) can come close to replacing these beautiful trees. I don’t know who the architect is, but Mayor Cassidy and the city council seem to have no sense of aesthetics. The parking lot would have been more desirable.

— Linda Skaar, San Leandro

Dog Attack ... Again


On Friday, April 4, Li’l D and I were attacked again, five weeks after the other attack on March 1 at Washington Park in San Leandro. This time a mid-sized dog that the lady could not control.

I’m 82 and protecting Li’l D, I fell again, as I did on March 1, and badly scraped my elbow, knee and very sore right shoulder.

Fifteen minutes earlier, a man and a woman were allowing their pit bull to run loose, which we had to stay clear of. I called out to them, “Your dog should be on a leash, can’t you read the signs?” They just ignored me.

We have loved beautiful Washington Park and its trees, but never again will we take our dear Li’l D there for walks, nor the Marina mile trail, where we were also attacked about a year ago. Our Li’l D is too precious to be confronted again by unconcerned dog owners.

— Richard (Dick) Sofield, San Leandro

‘Marina Should Remain the Providence of San Leandro’


What needs to be known clearly is, whether or not our City or a marina management business, properly manages our Marina, it would be profitable and self-sustaining.

Mayor: If you were to offer a deal, such as the tremendously generous deal you’ve made with CEO Ed Miller of Cal-Coast for Shoreline Development, to a marina management business like Marina’s International, marina management would readily be paid for privately. You, of course, know this.

Nevertheless, our Marina should remain the providence of the City of San Leandro and its citizens. It’s a Regional and Civic Asset of importance beyond your consideration, affordable and could well coexist with Shoreline Development.

City government possesses Marina ownership, and yet it’s an explicit obligation held in trust for the citizens and taxpayers-who are the rightful owners. Allow their voice to be heard and realized.

Mayor Cassidy: Do yourself the greatest favor, along with Marina founders, former Mayor Dave Karp and State Senator Ellen Corbett’s vision, and once again allow our Marina to flourish. Rest assured, this will prove invaluable to your legacy.

— Dwight Pitcaithley, San Leandro

‘Cheapest Way to Unclog ERs Is to Deny Health Care Services to Illegal Aliens’


So here’s the President claiming 7.1 million people have signed up for Obamacare at the same time a RAND study finds that only 858,000 have actually paid for coverage. It looks like the government is claiming shopping window lookie-loos as customers even though they kept on walking and never went in the store.

It is to laugh: if that same businessman tried to sell his company claiming he had 7.1 million customers when in fact he had only 858,000, he’d be arrested for fraud and sent to jail. Obama will merely take another multi-million dollar vacation and play some more golf.

(And as an aside, I’d like to thank attorney Kopp and citizen Jones for agreeing with me that emergency rooms should be for emergencies only and it is not right to ask other people to pay for services the patient either can’t or won’t. However, I disagree with them that Obamacare is the answer when the easiest and cheapest way to unclog crowded emergency rooms and reduce hospital costs due to non-payment is to deny healthcare services to illegal aliens.)

— Allan Lindsay-O’Neal, San Leandro

Letters • 04-03-14 PDF  | Print |  E-mail

Nothing Friendly About a Walk Through San Leandro


I walk 6-7 miles a day, up to 5 days a week.

The sidewalks are narrow, with many obstacles built into them.

There are very few bike lanes, which means bicyclists, skateboarders, and pedestrians must share the sidewalks.

Automobiles usually will not stop if a pedestrian is waiting to use the crosswalk. That is if they even acknowledge their presence at all.

Finally, when the light turns green for cars, unless you have hit the walk button at precisely the right time, pedestrians must wait.

So, help me understand what makes San Leandro a pedestrian friendly city?

— Mike Paoletti, San Leandro

Worried About Environmental, Aesthetic Impacts of Cal Coast Development at Marina


As a follow up to last week’s letter from Dwight Pitcaithley, I want to express my support of his concerns regarding the economic aspects of the Cal Coast Development at the Marina.

This plan is not favorable to the people of San Leandro. An example of a past mistaken financial contract which the city entered into was the Lease Agreement of Horatios Restaurant (owned by Restaurants Unlimited) which amounts to only $500 a month paid to the City for the next 20 years. Let us be very thoughtful about any future uses of our Marina.

In addition, I am worried about the environmental and aesthetic impacts of this construction when there are alternatives such as wind and solar projects at this location perfect for these economically advantageous energy sources. Our state is the leader in solar energy and we could join in this forward thinking type of development especially in this time of severe climate change.

To be clear, the Cal Coast Development includes a parking structure, office buildings and high income housing. At the very least the residents of San Leandro, not the developers deserve a vote on whether we go forward or backward in the care of our environment.

— Robert Fox, San Leandro

Says Marina Can Financially Coexist with Shoreline Development


Once again we heard Mayor Cassidy’s “State of the City” address lamentable utterance of not being able to afford marina dredging. How many times do you need to repeat it, sir, before you’re certain citizens and taxpayers will be transformed by it?

Marina Dredging: $4.7 million for channel and slip dredging. $1 million for clearing San Leandro Dredge Material Management Site.  Corroborated by Camenzind Dredging Company and St. Lucia Trans Inc. All recouped by the City over 7 years (channel dredging cycle) from Marina berth revenue of $9.5 Million-at 70% berth occupancy. Expenses inclusive, the Marina would be profitable. At no expense to taxpayers!

And yet, Mayor, how do you reconcile your stated $14 million for Marina clearing costs, plus millions with Marina renovation, all at taxpayer expense! With no Marina attraction or revenue.

The Mayor is nonetheless well received by Cal-Coast Development and allowed all it’s asked for. Why? Cal-Coast is entirely funding Shoreline Development. What is the Mayor unfortunately sacrificing with Cal-Coast’s funding largess? The Marina!

Mayor Cassidy, on behalf of taxpayers, has surrendered unto Cal-Coast All Marina jetties area, including all available parking for Cal-Coast business and residences, leaving only the minimum required under public access trust parking and therefore no Marina.

The Mayor’s plaintive Marina dredging sermon is a red herring to perplex taxpayers and shine his light of wonderment on Shoreline Development.

It’s time to recognize how remarkable the Marina is as a regional and civic asset, Mayor. A marina would succeed, or end up your vacuous space of no attraction, no usefulness, or potential revenue.

Mayor Cassidy: A Marina can financially coexist with Shoreline Development, and “You Can Make It Happen!”

— Dwight Pitcaithley, San Leandro

Free ER Care for Uninsured Means Higher Medical Costs For the Rest


Allan Lindsey-O’Neal suggests that prior to Obamacare “everyone ha(d) coverage of a sort: if you appear(ed) at a hospital emergency room sick or injured, they (had to) treat you as a matter of law.”

Mr. Lindsey-O’Neal is referring to the mandate of the Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act (EMTALA). That 1986 law forced hospitals accepting Medicare and Medicaid payments to accept anyone for emergency treatment, regardless of ability to pay.

Ronald Reagan and Strom Thurmond must have known that by passing EMTALA the cost of treating those who couldn’t afford it would be shifted to those who could, just like with Obamacare. The cost of free ER care was reflected in higher medical costs and, consequently, larger insurance premiums.

Surely the Republican leadership also realized that by forcing ERs and ER doctors to treat the uninsured for free, the uninsured would use the ERs for all kinds of medical care, thereby straining the emergency medicine system to the breaking point.

My brother, a professor of emergency medicine at Brown Medical School, often complains that the condition he is most often asked to treat is the toothache. He bemoans that his ER docs are almost exclusively forced to write off the cost of treating the uninsured. Doctors are leaving emergency medicine for more lucrative and appreciated opportunities. Medical students avoid emergency medicine like college students avoid secondary school teaching. More patients plus fewer doctors equals ever longer waits in the ER.

The EMTALA does not provide “coverage” of any kind, Mr. Lindsey-O’Neal. EMTALA did the same as Obamacare – shifted the cost of treating the impoverished to the middle class. At least Obamacare enables people get non-emergent treatment without going to the ER, thereby saving the ER for everyone to use as intended.

Some improvements can’t be measur-ed in the cost of premiums.

— Andrew J. Kopp, Esq., Oakland

ER ‘Most Expensive, Least Comprehensive Set of Health Services’


Here’s Allan Lindsay-O’Neal’s prescription for an affordable health care system, in whole: “...everyone has coverage of a sort: if you appear at a hospital emergency room sick or injured, they must treat you as a matter of law. If you want more coverage than that, you can buy it.”

So, to the 98% of Americans who cannot afford to have tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars set aside to pay for treatment of acute health care issues when they crop up, Allan says “To the ER for you!” Never mind that emergency services are the most expensive, least comprehensive set of health services.

Also, never mind that this is exactly the previous status quo that had caused San Leandro to lose almost all our acute care providers, many subacute providers, and would certainly lead to the closure of San Leandro Hospital if left unaddressed.

Think of the implications of Mr. Lindsay-O’Neal’s position here: the Hospital must provide constant, inefficient, and uncompensated service to the vast majority of area residents. Besides the business considerations, we could also acknowledge that, very understandably, people don’t like going to the ER for basic health care.

This Republican’s views fail to inspire us. I grew up with the idea of an America which said, “We’re all in this together.” This has fallen out of favor with too many, replaced by a false idolatry of rugged individualism, which fails most of us when confronting an extremely unfair playing field slanted to favor money and the most powerful tribal connections. This has been bad for our public budgets and our economy, but it has been particularly destructive to us, our society, and our goodwill for our neighbors.

— Doug Jones, San Leandro

‘Amazed’ By Those Working ‘To Deprive People of Health Care’


I am amazed that some have worked so hard to deprive people of health care. The ACA is an opportunity for some of the poorest in our nation to improve the health of their family. The act covers emergency services, hospitalization, pre-existing conditions, prescription drugs and a host of other health care issues.

A complete list can be found on the ACA web site (HealthCare.gov). As a person who grew up without any health coverage, I am very happy to support the ACA effort to bring health care to the most vulnerable in our society.

— Elie V. Parker, San Leandro

Calls U.S. Declarations in Defense of Democracy ‘Sanctimonious’


No. Russia acted in support of the Russian-speaking population who’s being threatened with the banning of their language and other physical harm by a coup orchestrated by the U.S. Department, via Victoria Nuland and John Kerry.

The question should really be: Why is the United States sticking its nose all over the world?

Barack Obama and John Kerry’s sanctimonious declarations of

“defense of democracy and civil rights” as well as of “international treaties” sound hypocritical considering United States’ invasions of Vietnam, Grenada, Panama, Iraq, Yugoslavia, Afghanistan, Lybia, etc., in addition to the criminal daily bombing in Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, etc., with unmanned drones – all countries located thousands of miles away from the U.S. borders.

What kind of measures should the world take against the United States?

Oh yes, the United States always get “invited” to intervene by some local stooges or act “to protect our interests.”

If Obama and Kerry had a shred of decency, they’d stay silent.

— Leo T. West, San Leandro

Letters • 03-27-14 PDF  | Print |  E-mail

Councilwoman Cutter’s Flag Issue Compromise


Regarding the Article in the March 20 San Leandro Times (“Council Refuses to Ban Foreign Flags at City Hall”), I would like to correct some parts of the article.

While it is true this issue has taken up an immense amount of time for the council, we had only 1 ad hoc meeting to discuss this issue. At the Council meeting on March 17, I proposed a compromise that would erect a new flag pole at Root Park, not City Hall, which would be available to recognize other countries, cultures and ideas.

I do not believe a flag of a foreign nation should be flown on the poles in front of the City Hall. I believed a flagpole at Root Park would be a good compromise to allow us to move on from this issue allowing us to honor other nations and beliefs while not compromising our own ideals.

— Pauline Cutter, District 5

San Leandro City Council Wants to Hear from ‘City Hall Four’ on Foreign Flag Stance


Letters to the Editor and public comment at City Council meetings make clear that the majority of San Leandrans do not want the flag of any other nation flown at City Hall. Yet a faction of the City Council persists in its view that displaying the flag of another country – much less that of the Chinese People’s Republic – is acceptable.

One of the principles embraced in this country’s founding was the protection of the minority from the tyranny of the majority. The stance of the “City Hall Four,” however, is yet another example of what we have had an excess of nationally in recent years – the tyranny of the majority by the minority.

Council member Benny Lee is the only one of the four who has made an effort on these pages to explain his position. In the spirit of a democratic debate on this deeply felt issue, I believe Council members Prola, Reed and Souza should jointly issue a statement explaining their position. Other than Mr. Prola’s short quotes in news accounts of this matter, we’ve heard nothing substantive from him or the others. The residents who elected them deserve nothing less.

— Fred Reicker, San Leandro

Standing Up for Teamwork


Thank you, Durant Avenue Task Force members, organizers and supporters. We welcome everyone who came and became a part of this historic neighborhood gathering, including City of Oakland Council Members Rebecca Kaplan, and Larry Reid, Mayor Stephen Cassidy, and especially Council Member Pauline Cutter, who brought us all together and designed the Livable Neighborhoods border area meeting agenda.

City Hall’s Sister Cities Room was filled to capacity with neighbors who live on Durant Avenue as well as surrounding neighborhoods in the City of Oakland and the City of San Leandro.

Mayor Stephen Cassidy said he likes to to set up deadlines so things will get done. We love his style! He encouraged everyone to plan on meeting back again sometime in May in order to review planning progress and share ideas.

The Durant Avenue Task Force has posted a 10 minute video on YouTube, showing a portion of the meeting where we presented what the Durant Avenue Task Force stands for. You may view this video by going to our Facebook Page. Search “Durant Avenue Task Force.”

We are very excited to say that this 90-minute meeting took place with a lively exchange of questions, answers, and ideas from both San Leandro and Oakland officials and residents!

On the last Friday of the month we gather for a Critical Mass, parking our cars legally on the street to slow down traffic. See you at the next Durant Avenue Critical Mass this Friday, March 28, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. (corners of Beverly and Durant avenues (the site of a recent high speed crash).

— Gus Roldan and Leah Hall, San Leandro

Durant Avenue Task Force, San Leandro Accuses Mayor of Lack of Transparency on Marina


Mayor Cassidy, and his super funder Shoreline Developer Cal-Coast, are making irreversible choices on behalf of citizens and taxpayers, the majority of whom are completely unaware.

We hear that utterance from the Mayor about not being able to afford millions over decades for Marina dredging.

Marina dredging:  $4.7 million for channel and slip dredging, and $1 million for clearing San Leandro Dredge Material Management Site. All recouped by the City over 7 years (channel dredging period) from Marina berth revenue of $9.5 million-at 70 percent berth occupancy.  Expenses inclusive, the Marina would be profitable. At no expense to taxpayers!

Yet please know this: Taxpayers will pay for the mayor’s stated $14 million in Marina clearing costs and additional millions in Marina renovation, with no revenue from a Marina!

Integration of Shoreline Development with a Marina should be mutually inclusive.  And yet the mayor is forsaking everythingall Shoreline Development, the Marina, all revenue to Cal-Coast for the foreseeable future.

With all due respect  mayor: What exactly is being paid for by Cal-Coast, under what terms? What Shoreline Development and Marina renovations costs will be paid for by taxpayers? What is potential taxpayer liability should Shoreline Development fail to meet expectation?

When Mayor Cassidy disenfranchises citizens by not allowing a ballot vote on the disposition of the Marina, democracy fails and citizens and taxpayers lose.

Transparency with City government should be immutable through the presence of governance. With Shoreline Development there’s been no concerted effort to fully inform taxpayers!

Don’t let the truth behind what’s motivating Mayor Cassidy blind voters in this General Election year from “Lack of Transparency With Shoreline Development.”

— Dwight Pitcaithley, San Leandro

And on Obamacare...


My last letter gathered the usual responses from Obamacare supporters.

The first writer pushes the illusion of lower premiums, this despite HHS Secretary Sibelius herself saying those premiums will indeed be going up. Industry executives say they will double in some areas.

The second writer’s anger that Obamacare is failing is readily apparent. He denigrates Obamacare’s opponents as “dead-enders” and “sociopaths” telling fibs and lies. This display of bile ignores the Father of All Lies in the Obamacare debate: “If you like your health care plan, you can keep it. Period.” Such anger is more properly directed at the hands holding his strings rather than those working to free the puppet.

The last writer says everybody deserves affordable healthcare coverage, but how to do it? He forgets that everyone has coverage of a sort: if you appear at a hospital emergency room sick or injured, they must treat you as a matter of law. If you want more coverage than that, you can buy it.

Obamacare is failing faster than it can be repealed. Anyone claiming that millions have “signed up” can’t answer the question “How many have paid for it?” because that number is another secret kept by a failed administration with a proven record of lies and falsehoods.

— Allan Lindsay-O’Neal, San Leandro


Letters • 03-20-14 PDF  | Print |  E-mail

100% Opposed to Flying a Foreign Flag Over City Hall


Our family has been San Leandro residents for five generations and as a United States Marine veteran, I can assure you that my family, friends and neighbors are 100 percent opposed to flying any foreign nation’s  flag on “public government property.”

City Hall represents “all” people regardless of national origin. City Councilman Lee ( in the eyes of the obvious ) is pandering to his constituency as well as his own race. Disregarding the protocol of public property flag displays as well the overwhelming sentiment of the residents of San Leandro does a disservice to all of us.

I commend the Mayor and council members Cutter and Gregory for representing the totality of San Leandro, not just one demographic who’s nation of origin represents some of the world’s worst civil rights violations. The city, state or nationwide, America supports the Chinese people living in the U.S. They migrated to the U.S. Many left their nation as well as leaving their flag.

Our support of the local Chinese people does not include a nation that has clearly demonstrated by it’s own laws a totalitarian communist government. A government well known globally who  suppresses its people, violates human rights and the dignity of its citizens nor the flag that represents that type of regime.

George & Sherri Bond, San Leandro

On the Affordable Care Act...


Regarding the Affordable Care Act (ACA), Allan Lindsay-O’Neal asks, “why should anyone support a program that adds $6.2 Trillion to the long-term deficit (GAO) and still leave 31 million uninsured (CBO) by 2023”?

Mr. Lindsay-O’Neal omits the answers which appear in those same reports. The GAO report states that its estimate of the debt increase assumes the elimination of all cost-cutting measures of the ACA. As the law stands the report estimates it will cut $13 trillion from the debt.

As for the 31 million uninsured, the CBO states that without the ACA the figure would be 56 million. Incidentally, that 31 million would come down by 5 million if Republican governors would fully implement the law’s Medicaid expansion (Kaiser Foundation).

The ACA lowers the debt while providing millions with health insurance. Why would anyone oppose it?

Darryl PrettoSan Leandro



Dead-enders continue to take to the pages of the Times to lie about the Affordable Care Act. Nearly a million Californians have gained health insurance through the ACA’s private health insurance exchanges and expansion of Medi-Cal eligibility, and many millions of Americans have improved their futures by enrolling in health insurance with the assistance of ACA policies.

Another letter writer pointed out one of the lies from a dead-ender here, and the liar responded by repeating his lie and spewing a new batch of fibs. No government agency has said the ACA will increase the deficit by billions; as many Congressional Republicans have retired as have Democratic ones. We could spend more time debunking these fibs and mischaracterizations, but it becomes important to note that the Republicans’ small-time dupes here are taking their fabrication cues from top GOP elected leaders and candidates.

Representative Paul Ryan runs the House Budget Committee. In order to undermine the government program which ensures that all schoolchildren have basic nutrition so they are able to learn, Ryan told a third-hand story about a child from a poor family who supposedly told a staffer for a Republican Governor that “he didn’t want a free lunch...because he knew a kid with a brown paper bag (from home) had someone who cared for him.”

The story was improbable on its face; what child would say such a thing to a stranger? No, this sounded like the sociopathy of the modern GOP, placed falsely into the mouth of a child in an invented story. Within days, Ryan’s lie was revealed. What made Ryan’s lie particularly despicable is that Ryan benefited from heavy government assistance as a child after his father died prematurely.

Wild, frequent, repeated lies are prime weapons of today’s Republican Party, top to bottom.

Doug JonesSan Leandro


Allen Lindsay-O’Oneal is right. Everybody in this country deserves affordable health care coverage.

Just tell us how to do it, Allen.

Ben LevySan Leandro

Letters • 03-13-14 PDF  | Print |  E-mail

A Dangerous New Crosswalk


Has anyone noticed the new pedestrian crosswalk at W. Estudillo Avenue and San Leandro Boulevard? No, you say? Probably because there is no red light or even a flashing light to warn motorists that people will be crossing the street.

There are currently red lights at Parrott Street, W. Juana Avenue and then Davis Street. Now in the middle of these lights, as drivers accelerate to make all the greens, there are two lines painted across San Leandro Boulevard that give false hope to pedestrians crossing at W. Estudillo.

I was informed by someone in engineering that people don’t walk to the corner where the light is, so they decided to put a crosswalk in because it would be safer.

What? In this day of so many pedestrian injuries by drivers not paying attention and speeding, they chose to create a dangerous situation at the very corner where a school and church stand.

Please, City of San Leandro, rethink this dangerous situation you have added to an already chaotic area of San Leandro. Either remove this crosswalk or add some type of lights to warn drivers they are approaching a crossing. Thank you.

— Donna Mitchell, San Leandro

Councilmember Lee on Flags: Council Shouldn’t Create Exclusionary Rules


In reference to the “Foreign Flag Flying Decision Is Still Up in the Air” (Page 9, The Times, Feb. 27) article , the City of San Leandro already has a good policy for raising flags which will stand the test of time. Above San Leandro’s flag policy is our Federal Flag Policy which clearly allows for the flying of foreign flags.

Removing the City Council’s ability to make this decision would be a mistake. This could take away our citizens’ ability to petition to raise a flag of any designation. This could mean no more flags of any designation (special causes, Saint Patrick’s Day, etc.). If we add restrictions such as no foreign flags, wouldn’t this be considered a designation of exclusion?

Flag raising next to the American flag is done to acknowledge, to celebrate, and to honor for one day. It’s an ideal for all that we’re open to recognizing those who have contributed to making our communities better.

We are all descendants of foreigners and have been the backbone of our communities by living, starting up businesses, working, and paying taxes equally.

The City Council should not create rules that could be exclusionary. Instead, we should encourage everyone to come to our city to add to our culture, create businesses, live and/or visit. Citizens who have contributed so positively over the years should have the right to petition the City Council for such purposes.

This issue is not about one flag. It’s about the ability for the City Council to make that decision for any flags.

— Benny Lee, City Councilmember

District 4, San Leandro ‘A Good Place to Hang a Flag”


Between cameras, chickens and flags I really don’t know why more people don’t get into politics.

A good place to hang a flag is on your front porch. That way, when you walk through your front door, you can be reminded, and you can be thankful, why you live here and not in a country that doesn’t fly the stars and stripes.

As far as someone from another country wanting to fly their country’s flag, that’s good, excellent, do it on your front porch. That way, your neighbors will know where you’re from and you can share your country’s rich history and explain to them why you live here.

If you want to discuss flag flyin’ talk to

a veteran. That will give you some real insight.

— Larry Arnold, San Leandro

Says His Critics’ Letters Illustrate Democrats’ Confusion on Obamacare


The letters from Allan Edgars (“Cites ‘Incorrect, Offensive’ Information on Obamacare,” Feb. 20) and Doug Jones (“Says Obamacare Critic Wrong On Nearly Every Claim,” Feb. 20) illustrate the Democrats confusion and fear over what they’ve done to us with Obamacare.

Mr. Edgars says the employer mandate is nothing more than people dropping their employer provided coverage for Obamacare’s “cheaper” rates.

Not so. The employer mandate gives your boss a choice and not you: either pay the higher rates demanded by Obamacare’s coverage requirements, or stop insuring the workers and pay a fine much lower than the coverage would cost. This, according to the Congressional Budget Office, will cause 5 million people a year to lose their health insurance, and this is by design because Obamacare needs people in the system paying those higher premiums to cover the subsidy given to others.

But the young and healthy know this and they aren’t buying it. Indeed, a Census Bureau and Wall Street Journal study found that 18 - 29 year old singles will save between $500 to $1,000 by not signing up and just paying the penalty – like your boss did.

While Mr. Edgars illustrates the confusion over Obamacare, Doug Jones unwittingly shows the fear. As a Democrat operative (as I’ve seen him described) he knows full well why Democrats who voted for this mess are either retiring or trying desperately to distance themselves from Obamacare before the election.

Seeing Obama himself delaying implementation for political gain and bereft of any support for Obamacare, he resorts to put downs and pejorative labelling – Tea Party, Republicans, Fox News – just as we’ve come to expect when our friends on the left have run out of argument.

With even the Democrats turning on Obamacare, why should anyone support a program that adds $6.2 Trillion to the long-term deficit (GAO) and still leave 31 million uninsured (CBO) by 2023?

— Allan Lindsay-O’Neal, San Leandro

‘A Wonderful Employee’ at SL Animal Control Department


Animal Control, thank you.

The city of San Leandro has a wonderful employee in Kristina Herrera of the Animal Control Department. She dropped by our house on Tuesday, March 4, to take our report on the attack of our dog, Li’l D, at Washington Park on Saturday afternoon, March 1.

Kristina greets you with a warm smile and at the same time asks you to relax, take your time, and give her the whole story. Kristina, you are to be commended on a great job.

— Richard Sofield, San Leandro

Letters • 03-06-14 PDF  | Print |  E-mail

Calls on Citizens to Express Their Views on San Leandro’s City Hall Flag-Flying Policy


The Mayor and City Council are expected to vote on a new permanent policy on flags permitted to fly over City Hall at their regular meeting Monday March 17th at 7 p.m.  Plan to attend to express your opinion.

Many people have objected to a council proposal to fly the flag of The People’s Republic of China over San Leandro City Hall.

This proposal is for San Leandro to honor a nation’s government that has a history of human rights abuses, religious persecution, and a non-democratically elected government.

To fly a national flag of another country over San Leandro City Hall would dishonor San Leandro’s long- established immigrants from many other nations. They have been great contributors to our successful city government, year after year.

My suggested policy: Fly only the U.S. flag, California flag, and City of San Leandro flag; no exceptions without unanimous approval of the Council.

— H.W. Kerr, San Leandro

‘We Don’t Want to Live Under Any Other Flag, Even for a Day’


The City Council should adopt a policy that expressly prohibits flying a foreign flag on any staff at City Hall.

The staffs at City Hall were erected to display the flags that represent us – the people of the United States, California and our city. Those are the flags we honor and serve when necessary.

To replace any one of them with that of another country would be a political statement that demeans the flag

that’s replaced. Most residents would be ticked. We don’t want to live under any other flag, even for a day. This is our country, not some other.

There is yet another reason. Our city is very diverse. Many of our residents, or their families before them, came here to escape some form of persecution, repression or bigotry.

They came to the U.S. and San Leandro to embrace the Stars and Stripes and leave behind the bitter experiences endured under some other flags.

How will we determine which flags will not distress some in our community? What will the choices we make say about us?

Furthermore, flying another country’s flag at City Hall, even on a staff erected for that purpose, is not a celebration of another culture, as some say. It’s official recognition of a sovereign nation, some of whose human rights practices are deplorable.

There are other ways and venues in San Leandro to celebrate other cultures, and to display the appropriate flags. But none has earned the privilege of flying at City Hall.

— Fred Reicker, San Leandro

Says Hang All Countries’ Flags, Not Just One for One Council Member


If the City of San Leandro decides it wants to hang flags of other countries at our city hall or elsewhere, they should hang them all; San Leandro should not choose only one other than the USA flag because of one council member.

Also they should hang the Gay Flag.

— Dee Kerry, San Leandro

Capitalism Faulted for ‘Clowns in Washington’


Owen “Jack” Jones (“Those Washington Clowns,” Letters, Feb. 27) forgot to mention that the “clowns” in Washington have been elected by the majority of the people. So, do the people have the government they deserve?

No, the people elect from the only choices presented to them by the capitalist system that makes them believe that those are the best choices they have.

How can the capitalist system do that? By having at its disposal all of the funds taken from the taxpayers in taxes and fees and by having total control of the media’s propaganda with money and connections with corporations.

Also by providing all kind of distractions to keep the population occupied and prevent it from concentrating on the real cause for their condition. Among these distractions is the permissiveness on deviate lifestyle; the neomalthusian reasoning; the fomenting divisions by race, gender, religion, color or sexual preferences; love of animals instead of humanity (Hello, Champler!), and, most important, looking the other way at drug smuggling and consumption.

Once the capitalist system have you hooked on any or all of these,you’re certainly going to become one of its militants and vote the way it wants you to.

— Leo T. West, San Leandro

Advocates a Diet Free of Meat and Dairy Products


This week’s Time Magazine cites several reasons for vegetarians living longer. The article was prompted by a report in American Medical Association’s Internal Medicine that a vegetarian diet lowers blood pressure, a key factor in risk of heart failure and stroke.

The Mayo Clinic notes that vegetarians are at lower risk for developing diabetes, another factor in heart disease. Indeed, an Oxford University study of 45,000 adults in last year’s American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that vegetarians were 32 percent less likely to suffer from heart disease.

Moreover, researchers at California’s Loma Linda University, examining records of 70,000 patients, concluded last year that a vegetarian diet protects against colorectal and other types of cancer.

It’s no wonder that a 2012 Harvard University study of 120,000 people concluded that meat consumption raises the risk of total, heart, and cancer mortality. A more recent six year study of 70,000 patients at Loma Linda found that vegetarians have a 12 percent lower risk of death.

The good news: each of us can find our own fountain of youth by adopting a meat and dairy-free diet. An Internet search on “vegan recipes” or “live vegan” provides ample resources.

— Dennis Roth, San Leandro

Letters • 02-27-14 PDF  | Print |  E-mail

Food Safety Responsibilities Should Be Reallocated to FDA


The U.S. Department of Agriculture is still expanding the list of retailers carrying meat unfit for human consumption to Alabama, Florida, Mississippi, New Mexico, Oregon, Washington, and 970 locations in California alone.

About 8.7 million pounds were shipped all through 2013 by Rancho Feeding Corporation of Petaluma.

The recall comes in the wake of USDA’s new “inspection” program that allows the meat industry to increase speed of processing lines and replace federal inspectors with plant employees.

According to USDA inspector general, this has resulted in partial failure to remove fecal matter, undigested food, and other contaminants that may contain deadly E. coli and listeria bacteria.

Traditionally, USDA has catered more to the interests and profitability of the meat industry than health and safety of American consumers. Consumer interests come into play only when large numbers of us get sick. Having USDA protect consumers is like asking the fox to guard the henhouse.

The Obama administration should reallocate responsibility for all food safety to the Food and Drug administration. In the meantime, each of us can assume responsibility for our own safety by switching to the rich variety of soy-based meat products offered by our favorite supermarket.

— Kurt Champler, San Leandro

Those ‘Washington Clowns’


Congratulations to Dorothy Allen on her letter, “Washington clowns do not deserve pay.” It would be hard to duplicate her article, but what I can do is alert you to the facts that those clowns in Congress in suits and ties are all she tells you they are.

Minimum yearly salary is $174,000 and could climb to $200,000. Pensions are 80 percent of their highest salary. Health plan is 70 percent paid by taxpayers. Cost-of-living raise is automatic every year. They are all millionaires or multi-millionaires. Top Republican net worth – $448 million. Top Democrat net worth – $231 million.

Yes, like you, Dorothy, due to the 1.5 percent Social Security raise, I had to cancel my cruise around Lake Merritt.

— Owen “Jack” Jones, San Leandro

Letters • 02-20-14 PDF  | Print |  E-mail

Marina ‘Will be Ruined Forever’ By Buildings, People, Traffic


In a recent article in the San Leandro Times, a boat owner – Dwight Pitcaithley – voiced his concerns about the future of our marina, which is near and dear to the hearts of those who live here. We do not own a boat but the area that seems doomed to change into buildings, people, and more traffic will be ruined forever.

Big business seems to gradually swallow up any property that the residents of San Leandro enjoy, such as the peace and quiet of strolling along the shores of the marina, sitting on benches to relax and enjoying the view of the bay, the wildlife and the sight of San Francisco.

Our family chose the point at the marina a few years ago to release a bouquet of balloons celebrating the 100th birthday of my father, the first birthday after his passing away. Those moments gave us such a beautiful, personal, silent tribute to him as the balloons rose and drifted, amazingly, toward San Mateo where he had lived.

There are always families gathering for picnics. Little League, Scouts and other organizations use the park for their celebrations. Folks walk their dogs, children play and senior citizens get the fresh air and exercise they need for their health.

My objections are added to those of the boat owner, and so many others who fear losing the pleasure of our marina. We would all lose too much.

— Barbara Matthews, San  Leandro

Cites ‘Incorrect, Offensive’ Information on Obamacare


In response to Allan Lindsay-O’Neal’s letter (“Total Blame for Obamacare Problems Laid on Democrats,” Letters, Feb. 13), I’ll start with the most obviously wrong statement of his letter:  “...the Congressional Budget Office says the employer mandate will cause another 5 million a year ....  to lose their (health insurance).”

Actually, the CBO said no such thing. The report said that 5 million may be removed from employer supplied insurance because taking fewer hours, which would remove the employer mandate for their specific case, would allow them to acquire health insurance through the exchange for less than the employee share of the cost of employer supplied health insurance.

Nor was there any reference in the actual report to 5 million a year losing coverage. At any rate, the alteration in coverage would be at the option of the employee who chose to work less than full time.

Now, to his claim that 5 million have lost their health care coverage because of Obamacare, there has yet to be any proof of people losing their insurance because of ACA regulation.  Most of those introduced by Bill O’Reilly and others have been shown to receive better insurance at a lower cost if they would only go to the ACA exchange, but they hadn’t even gone to the site before appearing on TV claiming the damages.

Some of them, especially small business operators, weren’t even affected by the ACA because they had fewer than 50 employees. But they got their 15 minutes of fame by telling the lie. Others had received letters from their insurance companies saying their old coverage was canceled because it wasn’t up to the standards required under the ACA.

They went on to tell them some of their new policies would be at a lower premium with a lower deductible or no deductible. But people stopped reading when they saw the word “cancelled” because going to the media with the half-truth would get them their 15 minutes.

I’m sorry Mr. Lindsey-O’Neal only listen to Rush Limbaugh and Mr. O’Reilly and never fact-checks what they say.

Don’t get me wrong. I believe the ACA, as it stands, is not good for the future of our country. The only thing that would work is to offer every person and family with an income below $100,000 per year the same medical coverage I receive as a veteran with 100% service connected disability. It operates at a per patient cost 23% that of public hospitals. But incorrect information is offensive, even in the letters column.

— Allan Evert Edgars, San Leandro

Says Obamacare Critic Wrong on Nearly Every Claim


Last week, a GOP supporter wrote here that Congressional Democratic caucus members were the only ones who voted for final passage of the Affordable Care Act. That was the only fact our conservative scribbler got right.

His complaints revealed him to be in the thrall of many wild Tea Party fantasies too numerous to respond to in one letter. Let us deal with one of the most destructive lies he repeated.

No, premiums are not averaging “two to four times higher than what people were paying before Obamacare...” Unfortunately, many people are harmed by their willingness to believe this lie, a lie promoted by the House Republican who gave her Party’s official response to the President’s State Of The Union address.

She related the sad, sad story of one of her constituents in Washington State whose monthly premium payments went from $552 to $1052 a month. The ACA was entirely blamed for this outcome.

A news reporter went to the ACA-supported Washington State health insurance exchange and discovered that this constituent has a plan option on the exchange which has lower premiums and deductibles than her previous plan, and covers a more comprehensive set of health care options than her previous catastrophic plan.

The reporter called the constituent to share these facts with her. The constituent’s answer? “I wouldn’t go on that Obama website at all,” she said. “We liked our old plan. It worked for us, but they can’t offer it anymore.”

Like last week’s letter-writer, she opposes our President, so she feels compelled to make ridiculously bad consumer decisions. Her Republican Representative feels compelled to use her story for political expediency instead of informing her constituent of her better options under the law.

— Doug Jones, San Leandro

Letters • 02-13-14 PDF  | Print |  E-mail

Total Blame for Obamacare Problems Laid on Democrats


Concerned citizen Doug Jones calls Republicans sociopathic haters without a shred of decency for not supporting Obamacare.

Such prattle is not surprising from a true believer. Mr. Jones conveniently omits mention that no Republican input was allowed when crafting Obamacare, and thanks to “reconciliation” they were denied a proper vote on it – and now he expects them to shout loud hosannas in support?

Unlike Mr. Jones, even the Democrats now see the pernicious effects of their Obamacare, leading a good number of them to announce their retirement before the next election. They know what’s coming when five million people have already lost their health insurance thanks to Obamacare, while the Congressional Budget Office says the employer mandate will cause another five million a year for the next seven years to lose theirs – that’s 35 million people.

Ignoring the very real problems just trying to sign up for Obamacare on websites that don’t work or are hideously insecure, and aside from the “you can keep your healthcare” lie, it turns out you not only can’t keep your doctor but there’s no certainty you actually have coverage even after you’ve enrolled and made your first payment.

On top of that, premiums are two to four times higher than what people were paying before Obamacare, and the deductibles are in the thousands – not hundreds – of dollars, putting even more strain on the already stressed finances of the tax-paying public.

No, Mr. Jones, the ugly truth is that all of this was done to the people by Democrats and Democrats alone, the same Democrats who now refuse to appear in public with Obama and are starting a rush for the exit door rather than face the full and righteous anger of the voters at the polls.

— Allan Lindsay-O’Neal, San Leandro

Don’t Knock the Palm Trees... They’re Our Best Fronds


Palm Trees, Who Needs Them?

When trees were planted on East 14th Street, my friend who lives in Danville says, “What a waste.” Now they plant them on San Leandro Boulevard. Again he says, “What a waste.” Anyone with a high school diploma knows what trees do.

But let’s start over. I ask my friend, if you live in Danville, why would you visit San Leandro? No response.

Two of the biggest RV rental companies in California are in San Leandro, Apollo RV on Washington Avenue and Mortuis RV on San Leandro Boulevard. These companies attract tourists from Germany and around the world. They land in San Francisco and then take BART to San Leandro for their RV. They then travel to Yosemite, the Grand Canyon, Disneyland, Las Vegas and other places as well.

If I was standing on a BART platform in San Leandro, I would love to see trees. They tell people this is a nice town. I might want to live here, or maybe spend money here. But wait (“Palm trees do nothing to clean up San Leandro.”)

Trees are something you cannot build from scratch. They are a gift. Plant them and enjoy them. Stop thinking in the short term.

As far as the folks from Stepping Stones who sweep up the streets and sidewalks. They are a gift, too.

Like the old saying goes, if you can’t help someone, don’t hurt ‘em.

— Larry Arnold, San Leandro


Letters • 02-06-14 PDF  | Print |  E-mail

Would Like to See More Garrett Marggraffs in Town


Kudos to the brave man, Garrett Marggraff, who was willing to risk his life and limb over a tree (“Tree Falls Despite Neighbor’s Protest,” Page One, Jan. 30).

I wish he lived on my street! I used to enjoy walking to downtown San Leandro, but so many trees have been cut down that there is no longer any shade. Soon after we moved here, our neighbors cut down three beautiful chestnut trees. And within past few years we have lost two majestic redwoods on

our street.

Don’t people realize how much more beautiful a tree-lined street is? They cut down trees that are perfectly healthy because they are “messy” or perhaps a few leaves fall on their car. If a branch overlaps their gutter or interferes with their cable wires, this would be a reason to trim the branch, but not cut down the whole tree.

Let’s not let San Leandro become another dusty, barren, treeless town.

— Camilla Pember, San Leandro

New ‘Stepping Stones’ Contract Should be a Top Priority


Have not heard anyone say that the Stepping Stones Street Sweepers did anything but a great job of keeping downtown San Leandro clean and tidy. One would think that should be a top priority for those in the Central Business District and that they would be begging Stepping Stones to continue the good work their crews have done in the past.

It helps San Leandro’s image to have the downtown look good and the money the city should pay to Stepping Stones to continue to keep it that way is peanuts compared to the money spent on the new palm trees on San Leandro Blvd. near the BART station.

The palm trees do nothing to clean up the town, truthfully add nothing to improve the city’s image, and do nothing to help the disabled folks at Stepping Stones who work hard to keep the city clean.

Any “gap” between contracts is almost shocking and those who should have already taken care of it should be ashamed of themselves. The CBD needs to get it together and get another contract going with Stepping Stones before downtown San Leandro starts to look dirty and dingy, definitely not the image you want the public to see.

— Vicki Brodie, San Leandro

Calls on Governor to Build More Reservoirs


In the past few weeks, about every other day, there’s been several very good articles raising concerns about our state’s present, and lengthening drought. Reminders of past ones are included.

Fading from coverage is mention of Jerry’s Joke....the Little Choo-Choo that thought it could, but is rapidly turning into, at best, a Tonka Toy wannabe.

Dear Gov. Moonbeam: Since your rather expensive, legacy-to-be train to nowhere in no way resembles the promised item voted on by your state’s denizens, how ’bout switching your misguided energy to take the hoped-for bucket of money and build more reservoirs.

You might find a more appreciative audience, and end up with something a lot more useful to our 38 million inhabitants than a new train on old tracks with a very limited load capacity and capable of not covering much more ground than several loops around a high school track team practice facility.

— Dave Cardana, San Leandro

Wonder Why GOP ‘Behaves in Such a Sociopathic Manner’


In his State Of The Union address last Tuesday, President Obama noted, “Because of this law (the Affordable Care Act), no American can ever again be dropped or denied coverage for a preexisting condition like asthma, back pain, or cancer. No woman can ever be charged more just because she’s a woman. And we did all this while adding years to Medicare’s finances, keeping Medicare premiums flat, and lowering prescription costs for millions of seniors.”

As the audience in the House of Representatives was heard applauding these outcomes, television cameras showed rows of Republican members of Congress sitting silently with their arms folded. In fact, they looked very angry.

Why would they behave in such a sociopathic manner? It appears that their extreme, shared ideology requires that they hate absolutely everything about the ACA, even those things that are simple facts which document good outcomes.

During a previous shameful episode in Congressional history, the Army-McCarthy hearings in 1954, the head legal counsel for the U.S. Army, Joseph Welch, famously asked Senator McCarthy, “Have you no sense of decency...?” That would be an appropriate question for the display by those Congressional Republicans.

Another appropriate response would be a less famous statement by Welch to McCarthy: “I think I have never really gauged your cruelty or your recklessness.”

— Doug Jones, San Leandro

Big ‘Thank You’ to Fremont Bank from Friends of SL Creek


Something amazing happened to Friends of San Leandro Creek the other day that everyone should hear about!

But first, some background: Friends of San Leandro Creek (FSLC) is a nonprofit organization that began work in the mid-1990s. Like most nonprofits, FSLC has run its program on a shoestring budget.

Two years ago I wrote to Fremont Bank for a grant, which I received. I quickly asked how I could keep up the relationship and receive help again. I was told not to expect more as we were not banking with them. I asked my Board of Directors to switch banks from our huge, impersonal corporation to the local and FSLC-friendly Fremont Bank. Paper work was completed in time for me to try for the same grant I had received the year before. This too was granted, and I believe it’s because FSLC joined Fremont Bank.

To my great surprise, last week the Director of Community Outreach for Fremont Bank knocked on my door. She asked me if I was aware that this is the 50th year of operation for Fremont Bank. I certainly was not. She said they were giving their favorite local nonprofits some money. And she handed me a nice, generous check. The kind I may get after many days of work.

It is FSLC’s mantra to “think globally and act locally.” That is what Fremont Bank does. Chances are that you have heard of and care about at least one of the deserving groups that received part of the 50th celebration monies.

The money we received will help pay for supplies for Creek Clean-ups, community outreach programs like our Environmental Forum and Earth Day/Watershed Festival, not to mention the many free school field trips we put on for the kids of the area.

Thanks, Fremont Bank. We at “Friends” wish you a most happy 50th anniversary with many, many more to come.

— Susan Levenson, Watershed Awareness Coordinator, Friends of San Leandro Creek

Letters • 01-30-14 PDF  | Print |  E-mail

Wants Council to Put Pot Store Fate on Ballot


I am very grateful to Pat Eisfeld (“Thanks to All Who Signed Petition Against Pot Store,” Letters, Jan. 23) for calling more attention to the highly questionable decision of the San Leandro City Council to allow pot stores in San Leandro.

Before the last I was told by Jim Priola that a case before the state court might prevent cities from keeping out pot stores. When that did not happen – cities do have that right – enough of our council members voted to allow the pot store anyway. I strongly suspect some have personal reasons for this vote, which was probably not done with the best interest of the citizens of San Leandro in mind. I also agree with Ms. Eisfeld that probably most San Leandro voters don’t want pot stores here.

Why not put it on the ballot and let the residents of San Leandro decide? That would be the fair thing to do. If the Council and Mayor can’t allow the residents to decide, then maybe we don’t have the right people representing us. Let’s keep that in mind at the next election.

— Barbara Vester, San Leandro


Vietnam Vet: Pot Store Ban Would Be Harmful


With all respect to Ms. Pat Eisfeld (see above), I’d like to point out who her ideas could harm.

I’m a 67 year old Vietnam veteran on 100% service connected disability. I live in San Leandro, and I’m receiving beneficial treatment for four problems due to my Medical Marijuana prescription.

Without this medically approved treatment I would be in a great deal of neural pain, which the pot alleviates somewhat. I would suffer from extreme insomnia, such severe agoraphobia that I would be unable to do the necessary shopping and other activities to care for myself, and migraine headaches that would require toxic pharmaceuticals which would further damage my stomach and liver.

Despite public outcries and accusations in San Francisco, no increase of criminal activities has been found, and I would expect the same to be true for San Leandro.

Without the medical marijuana industry, the county and the state would forfeit millions of dollars each that are paid in taxes, salaries and licensing. They would also lose the income from medical marijuana patients purchasing our annual cards. Every person now employed by the medical marijuana businesses would lose employment at a time when there are already three applicants for every position available.

So to her statement, “I used to think that the City Council would always act responsibly for the good of the city.  Now I know that at least five of them don’t care,” her logic is flawed. All she knows is that at least five of them disagree with her. In my opinion, she is the one who is in error.

Please don’t take away the medicine that makes my life livable just because you don’t need it yourself. Legal medical marijuana is supported by California law, and has yet to prove in any way detrimental to the public.

— Allan Evert Edgars, San Leandro


A Branch of Government You Probably Don’t Know About


The California Senior Legislature (CSL) serves the senior citizens of California by proposing legislation to the State Legislature and to Congress that will improve their quality of life. Unfortunately, a majority of the state’s citizens do not know of this organization’s good work.

The CSL was established by statute in 1980 to advocate for laws to benefit seniors. It is comprised of 120 dedicated community volunteers from throughout the state, elected as non-partisan representatives, who serve 4-year terms as either an Assembly member or senator, much like the State Legislature.

The CSL has written legislative proposals for consideration at the state and federal levels for 34 years. They have realized a 70 percent success rate for having priority proposals enacted into law. These proposals concerned reverse mortgages, elder and dependent adult abuse, financial exploitation and fraud, mobile home park owner rights, nursing care facility operations, health care, housing, transportation, discrimination, adult day care and many more.

In 2013, five CSL proposals were enacted into law. California seniors have a strong voice in Sacramento on these and other issues.

The CSL needs your support. CSL and its volunteers do not receive state, federal or general money but depend totally on tax-deductible contributions. Although citizens can make contributions directly to the CSL, a much easier way is to use your state income tax form. Under the section titled “Contributions,” look for Code 402 entitled “California Fund for Senior Citizens,” which is the fund that specifically supports the California Senior Legislature.

Your support will also encourage seniors to take a more active role in volunteering their time and energy to serve their peers. As your representative from Alameda County, I can tell you that members of the CSL work countless volunteer hours to bring proposals that can, if they become law, have a profound impact on our senior population’s quality of life.

— George Tucker, San Leandro


Senior Assembly Member California Senior Legislature West Upset With Someone Else’s Continuous Letters


This guy Dwight Pitcaithley is really annoying. I’d like to know why the San Leandro Times gave him an interview to expose his demands in a long article, along with his continuous senseless letters.

I partially,agree with Jeff Sturm’s letter (”His Vote: Boat Owners to Pay for Marina Dredging,” Letters, Jan. 23) specifically on the point that boat owners should pay for dredging the channel, but also, they should pay higher fees for the use of the marina if they want to continue with their privilege of a high life at sea in their yachts. Instead, they want the San Leandro taxpayers to foot the bill for their enjoyment.

All of this is a moot point anyway for the boat owners have never shown any intention of footing the bill. Goodbye, Mr. Pitcaithley.

— Leo T. West, San Leandro




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