Letters • 07-30-15 PDF  | Print |  E-mail

Underground Utilities, Street Light Installation Underway


In last week’s San Leandro Times, a resident expressed concern regarding the City’s efforts with undergrounding utilities and conversion to LED street lights to save on energy (“Expansion of OSI Called ‘A Quiet Failure,’” Letters, July 23).

In 2012, the City completed utility undergrounding on E. 14th Street from 150th Avenue to the southern city limits at a cost of approximately $2.7 million. The City’s Engineering & Transportation Department is currently designing an $8.5-million undergrounding project on E. 14th Street from 150th Avenue to Thornton Street. Construction is scheduled to start in the next few years.

In late 2010, at the direction of Council, the City entered into an agreement with the Department of Energy for acceptance of $734,800 in Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant funds.

These grant funds were spread out to encompass both energy efficiency programs made available to residents, as well as construction projects focused on improving the City of San Leandro’s energy efficiency.

At project completion in 2013, $188,972 was spent on upgrading 14 percent of the City’s street lights to LED, and $336,800 was spent on installing building management systems (HVAC and lighting controls) in several City buildings. Additionally, in 2013, the Public Works Department completed retrofitting all City traffic signals via a PG&E rebate program.

Earlier this year, City Council directed staff to pursue work with a consultant, who, after completing a citywide audit, will provide a list of recommended energy and water efficiency projects for the City’s consideration. It is anticipated that the conversion of the remaining street lights to LED will rank high on the list of projects and work could begin as early as the first quarter of 2016.

— Debbie Pollart, Public Works Director, City of San Leandro

There’ll Always Be Grumblers About City Improvements


I wonder what the folks at OSI did to incur so much wrath from certain quarters of the San Leandro population.

Week after week, the Times has a letter or two from some resident who is in a snit about their buildings or their taste in art for the OSI campus. It would seem that some of our local curmudgeons are so bent out of shape that they even drug poor former Oakland Mayor Jean Quan into the fray last week.

Well, my advice to the OSI folks is to ignore the babble. Some of these same complainers fought the new Kaiser Medical Center and can be counted on to mutter and grumble about anything that drags San Leandro into the 21st century.

— Vernon S. Burton, San Leandro

About the Food Change and How it Involves All of Us


As we give thought as to how to make our outdoor spaces more inviting for pollinators and humans alike, I encourage us to drop the word “yard” from our vocabulary.

What we are trying to create are gardens. That may help us to remember that our gardens are part of the wider web of gardens in our community. If we can keep this deep connection in mind, we really can begin to create an urban sanctuary for all living things, from the microbes in the soil, to the fruits and flowers we enjoy, to the birds in the air.

We cannot pick and choose. We need to consider them all.

I am reminded of this connection as I read the very fine book, “The Third Plate,” by Dan Barber. Yes, he is a chef writing about the food chain, but it is truly applicable to everything.

He writes, “What we refer to as the beginning and end of the food chain – a field on a farm at one end, a plate of food at the other – isn’t really a chain at all. The food chain is actually more like a set of Olympic rings. They all hang together… We can’t think about changing parts of our system. We need to think about redesigning the system. (21).”

That is both the beauty and the perils of being a pollinator. They connect us. We are in this together.

When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the Universe.”  John Muir (Barber, 20).

— Rev. Sue Ann Yarbrough, SpiritCare Ministry to Seniors Bee Friendly, San Leandro

Letters • 07-23-15 PDF  | Print |  E-mail

Expansion of OSI Called ‘A Quiet Failure’


I have a very different vision for San Leandro than our current Mayor.

I know it sounds exciting to think we’re going to be the next Silicon Valley with our fiber optic loop but so far it’s been a quiet failure. In reality what we’re doing is helping pay for expanding OSI which will justify the cost of hooking up the library and malls to the loop.

It has not been a big job creator as sold to us by this Mayor and the last one, otherwise someone would have corrected my past letters with a glowing jobs report to silence my criticism. I think the silence from City Hall speaks volumes.

So right now we’re busy watching them erect some truly ugly, built-on-the-cheap office buildings that look nothing like the Spanish theme buildings on the east side to the BART Station and I think to myself we can do better.

Plopping a naked lady in the middle of cheap looking buildings isn’t some big win for the city. It’s as if you’re erecting a giant shrine to male chauvinism in San Leandro since just about zero women work in the tech industry and the Mayor thinks it’s really cool. I’m skeptical.

I know it doesn’t sound very exciting, but I’d rather have safer streets, undergrounded utilities and LED street lights to save on energy. But instead we got the loop. I’m very skeptical.

I’m frustrated that we’ve elected someone as our Mayor without the common sense to deal with these issues. That somehow a naked lady statue trumps public safety and fiscal responsibility, but then, I think about what Oakland had to endure with Jean Quan as their Mayor. They suffered through four years of her bad decision-making.

I guess Mayor Cutter is now our Jean Quan.

— Gary Langbehn, San Leandro

Rep. Lee: San Leandro Moving In the Right Direction


Solar power is here to stay and that’s a good thing for our planet and for jobs.

The 13th Congressional District is home to more than 70 solar companies, six of which are located in San Leandro. These companies employ more than 1,800 workers in the green economy jobs of today and tomorrow. Solar energy powers more than 18,000 homes in the 13th Congressional District.

Most recently, the San Leandro Unified School District became connected to the city’s fiber optic loop because of a new solar panel installation. This connection opens the door to high-speed internet and 21st century technology in every classroom.

It’s clear that San Leandro and the entire East Bay are moving in the right direction.

Now, we must continue this progress and ensure that all Americans can access this clean energy source.

That is why I was proud to introduce the Low Income Solar Act (H.R. 3041), with Congressmen Tony Cárdenas (D-CA) and Keith Ellison (D-MN), to ensure that everyone has access to solar power and that our community benefits from the burgeoning solar industry.

H.R. 3041 would allow low-income families to obtain grants to install solar panels on their homes to decrease energy costs and increase sustainability.  Additionally, the bill establishes a loan program to create community solar facilities.

This bill is a step in the right direction to guarantee economic and environmental justice all while helping to create more jobs.

We must continue to invest in  21st century technologies.

— Congresswoman Barbara Lee, 13th Congressional District

Regulations, Trash Haulers Share Blame for Dumping


This is in response to the letter, “Fears Trash Dumping is Turning Ashland into a Slum” on July 16, 2015.

I would like to thank Avis Robinson of Ashland for her letter. Unfortunately it is not just happening in Ashland, but all over the Bay Area. On my street alone I can typically fill a 13-gallon trash bag every other week. I pick up the litter in the street and in people’s yards and I am always calling the City of San Leandro regarding the dumping (often of several rooms of furniture and garbage) along Foothill Boulevard.

While I agree that it is the responsibility of homeowners and renters, property managers, and business owners to ensure that their properties are kept trash free, I also place blame on regulation and the trash collection industry.

Regulation – the way trash is collected (by one driver and a truck) – and access to the County dump has made it virtually impossible to dispose of unwanted items. If it can’t fit in any of those cans it will end up in the street.

The drivers often do not get out of their truck to pick it up (I have witnessed this many times) leaving the “collecting” to others to have to pick up!

I don’t want to live in a slum either as this results in the loss of my property value. Everyone should help out by bending over once in awhile to remove trash and weeds from their yards and businesses. Take some pride in living in a well kept community!

— Donna M. Meyer, San Leandro

Sharing Our Resources


In a recent on-line discussion, a neighbor reported that while she was out hand watering her garden someone ran by and shouted, “Water waster!” and kept on going.  The label puzzled my neighbor, as she was trying to comply to gardening guidelines that suggest deeper, less frequent watering.

She was not able to have that conversation with the one running by because that person did not stop to converse. Yet, that evening she was blessed to spend time in her garden with several hummingbirds who did indeed opt to linger and enjoy her garden.

I confess that I believe everything we plant or dig up must be attended with our pollinators in mind. The same is true of the choices we make about what to water and what to let go dry. We need to share our watering and gardening resources with our birds, bees, and other pollinators because that is what they do for us. We need their presence in our gardens now, and we will need them long after this drought has passed.

We also need to be in good relationships with our human neighbors as well.

If you are interested in being part of a group exploring how and what to plant for our pollinators, please send an email to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . If you are on Facebook, go to Bee Friendly, San Leandro, www.facebook.com/beesinsanleandro.

Also, please keep in mind that Tuesday, August 4, is National Night Out, a great time to connect with neighbors. Tuesday morning’s earthquake should remind us all that none of us are on solid ground. The neighbor we rush by in a huff today may very well be the neighbor whose assistance we will need tomorrow. Let’s nurture and enjoy good relationships now.

— Rev. Sue Ann Yarbrough, SpiritCare Ministry to Seniors, Bee Friendly, San Leandro

Letters • 07-16-15 PDF  | Print |  E-mail

Better Check Your Water Bill For EBMUD ‘Estimate’


The drought has raised alarm and concern for all of us. As a citizen of San Leandro, I have been doing my part to conserve water. I’ve turned off my automatic sprinkler system and water by hand just enough to keep my browning lawn alive. We are also conserving water indoors washing dishes by hand and taking abbreviated showers.

Despite all our efforts to conserve I received a bill from EBMUD that was over three times the amount of my previous bill. It stated I was using an astonishing 760 gallons a day. Much of my new bill was calculated using the new “premium rate.”

I looked at my bill closely taking note of the current meter reading stated there. I went outside and pried off the lid and took a look at the meter. To my surprise the meter read 49 units less than what was stated on my bill. In other words I was over-billed 36,652 gal. or 564 gal. per day.

I called EBMUD. The person I spoke to suggested I must have a leak somewhere on my property. I explained that the bill showed more usage than what my meter indicated. After some “investigation” she stated that my current bill was an estimate. Apparently the meter was not actually read. Their estimate increased my bill by $224.13 from my previous bill, much of it at premium rates for water abusers.

So is it their policy to charge people using an estimate that does not take into account the efforts customers have made to conserve? After more discussion it was agreed that my bill should be lowered by $215.02. I’m wondering how many others are being billed using “estimates” that put them into the water abuser category.

— Steve Witt, San Leandro

Applauds City Council for Passing Pro-Union Pact


It’s not often that your publication has great news for regular folks like me, your headline on July 9 2015, was just that incredibly good news.

A community benefit agreement guarantees that San Leandro residents have a seat at the table when developers come to town. Local hiring and prevailing wage means that local workers will get money to spend in our city and in that way grow our economy allowing everyone to prosper.

You will get the un-informed anti-union rhetoric from the Fox news set as  predictable as the 7:30 a.m. BART train is late. I urge the readers to question the motivation of people who would give away public lands or public financing without asking for guaranteed benefits to San Leandro workers.

I applaud Jim Prola and the rest of the council. Now, lets get to work.

— Guillermo Elenes, San Leandro

Says Pro-Union Agreement Tosses Competitive Bidding


I can’t believe that the City Council unanimously approved the “Community Workforce Agreement” which will give the unions more power.

The unions will now have the power to screen which companies can bid on San Leandro contracts and this will throw competitive bidding right out the window.

The union says that they will make a “good faith effort” to hire companies that have 30 percent of their workforce living in San Leandro, which reminds me of the used car dealer that said “this car was owned by a little old lady who only drove it to church on Sundays.”

Who’s kidding who?

In addition, the Union must hire a San Leandro resident (apprentice) for every $5 million of the contract. Big deal, like that’s really going to put a dent in San Leandro’s unemployment.

I find it very interesting that only two other cities (Berkeley and Martinez) in the entire Bay Area have adopted this business policy, which makes me wonder what the other cities know now that our clueless City Council is about to go along with this hair-brained idea.

It appears that Councilman Jim Prola spearheaded this insane idea and it makes me wonder how much money the unions contributed to his campaign.

In addition, city business development manager Jeff Kay already acknowledged that this agreement will cost the city more money. Now I totally understand why the City of San Leandro wanted to boost our sales tax a few months ago to the highest level in the state. They wanted to do it to support the unions – and just look what that did to the city of Detroit.

— Brent Heath, San Leandro

Fears Trash Dumping Is Turning Ashland into a Slum


As I drive around the unincorporated Ashland area, I shake my head at all the litter and illegally dumped items – mattresses, tires, couches and chairs everywhere. Five years ago, Ashland was clean. So what happened?

Property managers, homeowners and stores have stopped cleaning up the sidewalks and streets and cutting overgrown vegetation in front of their buildings. Trash cans at almost every bus stop are overflowing with trash spilling onto the ground.

Homeless people toss garbage everywhere as they go through trash cans. Cigarette butts are strewn on the ground. And, the garbage and recycling companies don’t pick up trash that falls on the ground as they empty bins. They just leave it there and drive away.

The creek running through the unincorporated area, which used to be beautiful, is now littered with garbage and trash, as are the streets and area surrounding Bayfair Mall and the Bayfair theater, BART, the medical center and Walgreens.

Where is the pride in keeping the unincorporated area clean? It’s simple. If everyone were to keep their property clean and maintained, residents and visitors would use trash cans, and the cans would be picked up when they’re full, smokers would dispose of cigarette butts properly, and if people stop dumping items illegally, the unincorporated Ashland area would be clean and beautiful again! I don’t want to live in a slum, so please help to do your part.

— Avis Robinson, Ashland

‘Our Readers Remember’ Brought Back Many Memories


Thank you so much for the articles last week in “Our Readers Remember.” It brought back many memories, especially the one about the corn and squash, a trip we made each week when things were in season.

I enjoy reading the Times each week.

— Erma Lazzereschi, San Leandro

Letters • 07-09-15 PDF  | Print |  E-mail

Outraged by PUC’s Action Changing Electricity Rates


It is outrageous that the California Public Utilities Commission released its plan for changing electricity rates on Wednesday before the July 4th weekend, and approved it on Friday, giving no time for public comment, or even for public awareness of its action.

Current rates which reward energy conservation will be reversed, so low-usage customers will be paying higher rates while high-usage energy wasters will pay lower rates. This would mean higher bills for about 75% of electricity customers in the coming years, while rate reductions would go to the top 5% of users. That just ain’t right.

In addition, customers who have installed solar power will pay an additional surcharge “to keep the electric grid running.” What about California’s goals for clean and sustainable energy? These rate changes shove in the wrong direction.

Can Governor Brown reverse the CPUC’s bad decision? Can the Democratic-majority legislature save us from this blunder? Perhaps yes, if enough angry citizens let them know we aren’t gonna take this any more.

— Bruce Joffe, Piedmont

‘Welcome to Progressive, Post-Constitutional America’


Jeff Sturm (“Are We Celebrating the Wrong Document on the Wrong Date?” Letters, July 2) suggests we all are celebrating the wrong document and date with our July 4th celebrations, apparently based on the Declaration’s alleged erroneous “all men are created equal” misstep.

He goes on to suggest celebrating the U.S. Constitution on Constitution Day rather than the Declaration of Independence on July 4.

But if Mr. Sturm’s perceived “imperfections” in American history are valid, his solution is a non-starter. Provisions in the Constitution allowed states to count slaves as 3/5 of a person for purposes of apportionment, expressly denied Congress the power to ban importation of slaves until 1808, and prohibited free states from enacting laws protecting fugitive slaves.

Tsk, tsk.  Maybe while we’re busily burning Confederate flags we should take a moment to burn Old Glory, too, no?  And the Constitution? Let our Ayatollahs, the Supremes, be our guide. They’re ignoring it entirely as evidenced by their recent gay marriage decision.

It’s not about the Constitution at all.  It’s about penumbras, emanations, meanings, rainbows, fulfilling oneself, love and equality. Ahh, equality. Trumps all. But there is equality in dungeons.

Welcome to Progressive, Post-Constitutional America. Bring it all down, man.

— Patrick O’Rourke, San Leandro

July 4th: ‘We Must Consider Circumstances of the Times’


I disagree with Jeff Sturm’s (see above) assertion that we should celebrate the signing of the Constitution rather than the Declaration of Independence because the latter did not deal with the issue of slavery or women’s suffrage.

Yes, there are apparent hypocrisies in view of the declaration’s language affirming “...that all men are created equal and endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights...” But we must consider the circumstances of the time.

Many historians say that the colonists considered themselves as English, not yet  “Americans.” Being  English in their orientation, they believed and explained in the Declaration that they were being oppressed by their government, that they had been subjected to “... a long train of abuses (evidence of) a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism.” Efforts at redress were fruitless. It was time to “dissolve the political bonds” which had connected them with England.

These were colonists vs King George, leader of the world’s most powerful nation. Slavery, as horrific as it was, simply was not part of this issue. Without the Declaration and the successful war for independence, however, the Founders would never have had the opportunity to craft the Constitution and The bill of Rights.

Additional amendments followed. Together, these brought forth the country which did abolish slavery which gave women suffrage and affirmed their equality with men. This in stark contrast with what still goes in too much of the world.

— Fred Reicker, San Leandro

Takes Issue with Bertolero’s Comments on Herbicide Use


I think Ms. Ruff (“Good, San Leandro, for Saving Water...but Don’t Let Yards Go Unkempt,” Letters, July 2) brings up an excellent point. Yes, there are many alternatives to simply letting our gardens and front yards die.

I think few of us will disagree that the time of the lawn has passed, and given California’s growing population, our water table will probably never go back to the glory days of green lawns. They require too much water and too many chemicals to maintain – neither of which our environment and our Mediterranean climate can afford. Yes, life and lawns have changed for us.

There are many alternatives to be found in mulching, planting dry gardens, and drought-tolerant plants. With just the use of a plastic bucket, capturing at least some of the water that is normally sent down the drains everyday in kitchens, showers, and bathroom sinks can be redirected to keeping simpler landscaping alive, including vegetable gardens.

Therefore, I was really surprised to read Buzz Bertolero’s suggestion about using Round-Up (brought to us by Monsanto, the creator of Agent Orange and is one of the companies at the heart of the controversy of the GMO connection to dying bees) and another controversial herbicide, Monterey Weed Stopper, to prepare ground for mulching.

We must mulch and plant with the protection of pollinators in mind. The picture is much bigger than simply trying to keep our individual spaces looking attractive in these dry times with as little effort as possible.

It is learning how to care carefully. It is learning that toxic solutions are not solutions, but will more than likely exacerbate the problem. It is recognizing that bees, birds, and butterflies are important to the well being of all of us. It is understanding that If we lose our pollinators while trying to kill a few weeds, we will fail. We cannot exist without them.

Please, talk to your gardening neighbors. Talk to our local nursery. Share what you learn. Let’s create an environment where information and creativity, not herbicides are shared. Let’s find some sustainable ways of living in times of water shortage. We are certainly not the first humans to do so, and these shortages may be around for a long time.  However, if we do not exercise thoughtful land stewardship, life as we know it may not be.

— Rev. Sue Ann Yarbrough, San Leandro

Sizing Up That ‘Arnold’ Statue Suggestion


I applaud Peter Ambrosia’s (“Suggests Pairing ‘Truth’ Lady with Anatomically Correct ‘Arnold’ Statue,” Letters, July 2) idea of giving the “Truth is Beauty” statue a male companion modeled after former Governor Schwarzenegger in his “prime.”

Of course, given the side effects of the steroids that Schwarzenegger used to develop his famous physique, we might need a magnifying glass to see the “anatomical parts” that pique Mr. Ambrosia’s interest. Maybe we could call that statue the “Truth of Beauty.”

— Margarita Lacabe, San  Leandro

Book Re-Labelling Project Could Use Some Volunteers


As a retired person with many outside activities that include caring for an elderly family member, I try to carve out time for volunteer work in my town of San Leandro. 

I recently had the opportunity to work with an incredible group of dedicated souls at SLED. The project entails re-labeling every book in each of San Leandro’s eight Elementary schools! This means pulling each book, matching it with the new label and re-shelving.

When a student finishes a book, a computer scans the code on that new label and generates a quiz for that specific book that challenges the student, gives the teacher the results and tracks that student for reading levels and comprehension. Wow! It’s a huge job and if you could see all the retired teachers, neighborhood volunteers and retired folks like me diving in, you would be very impressed.

However, this is a daunting project. SLED hopes to be finished by Aug. 19. I would urge anyone out there who has a child in the system, cares about the quality of education in San Leandro or has a few extra hours in the day to please get involved!

I have never had a child in a San Leandro school, as we moved here after our sons were grown, but my neighbors do, and I care about them. If you have a passion for education and have some time to give, check out the SLED website: www.sledfund.org. I’m definitely going back to help. My husband has signed up too. The volunteers are dedicated, have entertaining stories and snacks! This is a great step forward for our San Leandro schools.

— Suzanne Anderson, San Leandro

Says Texas Deserves Our Ridicule and Scorn


Regarding “Times Editorial Cartoon Wronged Texas,” Letters, July 2,” I have to say “I beg to differ.” The voters in Texas continue to elect the most vociferous, anti-government wingnuts they can find. These morons obstruct and hinder any and all efforts by government to move this nation forward on issue after issue. After Hurricanes Karina and Sandy, Texas politicians marched in lock step with other red state, mossbacks to hinder the legislation needed to help millions of Americans who were impacted by these disasters.

As is typical with hypocrites, the minute they found their sorry butts in trouble they came whining to the rest of us for help. Texas deserved our help because they are our fellow human beings. They also deserve our ridicule and scorn for their backward voting habits.

— Vernon S. Burton, San Leandro

Letters • 07-02-15 PDF  | Print |  E-mail

Are We Celebrating the Wrong Document on the Wrong Date?


The Declaration of Independence is a more complex – and troubling – document than is assumed.

The 4th of July, like many American holidays, comes wrapped in patriotism and accompanied by door buster sales and fireworks. There is a surprising amount of contradictions, disagreements, and opinions about what the document says or doesn’t say, even what type of document it is, given its importance to the American myth.

For example: While the document states that all men are created equal with unalienable rights, we know that in the reality of 1776 it applied to some men and no women.

While this was a statement of freedom, the English lexicographer, Dr. Samuel Johnson asked, ”How is it that we hear the loudest yelps for liberty among the drivers of Negroes?”  Forty-one of the 56 signers owned slaves, a practice that was legal in all 13 colonies in 1776. So, why is this the document we celebrate?

Due to its historical and ongoing influence on our society, the document worthy of commemoration is the Constitution. Constitution Day (September 17) should be the national holiday when we take the opportunity to reflect on how words written centuries ago give us something to celebrate today.

— Jeff Sturm, San Leandro

“Truth in Beauty” Statue “Would be Right at Home in Las Vegas”


As a 45-year resident of San Leandro, I have been pleased with the new and improved look of our city. And along comes “Truth Is Beauty” and with her own light show.

Truth is beauty, but tacky is forever. I don’t think she is porn, but I don’t think she fits into the art category, maybe craft.

OSIsoft should build a 56-foot atrium for “Truth Is Beauty” to reside in, or send her to live in Las Vegas where she would be right at home. Although I would like to see what the graffiti group could do to improve the lovely “Truth Is Beauty” and her lights.

— Gerry Isham, San Leandro

Applauds Mayor, Council for Bringing Statue to San Leandro


I address this letter to the Mayor and City Council as well as the readers of this paper.

I am in favor of this statue coming to San Leandro. I have traveled extensively and have admired art in many forms. Beautiful naked statues adorn all cities in Europe and all over the world. Please do not be swayed by those who do not appreciate art. I love that it will be displayed here.

I’ve lived here 40 years, (and God willing will be here another 40), raised five children here and they appreciate art, in all forms.

I applaud the Mayor and Council for bringing this art work to San Leandro.

And as to Girls, Inc. leaving SL, they moved for larger facilities and to be closer to the people they serve, but the writer knows this.

— Cathy Costa, San Leandro

Suggests Pairing “Truth” Lady with Anatomically Correct “Arnold” Statue


I tend to side with the ladies of the issue that this “Public Art” statue is a bit much – if not inappropriate – in a public setting.

As the Cole Porter song refrain: “Anything Goes.” Therefore, if the lady is going to just stand there all day, I propose that the Burning Man artist be commissioned to create her a male partner, modeled after California’s ex-governor Arnold Schwarzenegger in his prime, with all anatomical parts in place (just like the woman). Should make a dazzling light show.

— Peter Ambrosia, San Leandro

Good, San Leandro, for Saving Water… but Don’t Let Yards Go Unkempt


All of San Leandro’s residents are hopefully conserving water by now. The city is doing a wonderful job of keeping landscaping looking beautiful due to drought tolerant plantings within the new downtown shopping center at East 14th Street and Juana Avenue.

We, as residents, who are conserving water must remember to do our part as well. Even though our grasses are all brown or dying we need to keep our lawn mowed.

Not watering is a great thing, but if our properties look uncut with high weeds it makes all of San Leandro look bad as you drive around. The residents with wells are hopefully watering at night when you get the best soaking.

Let’s all keep San Leandro as beautiful as we possibly can, with well kept brown lawns.

— Georgina Ruff, San Leandro

Times’ Editorial Cartoon Wronged Texas


With its petroleum, technological, and agricultural industries, the Republic of Texas pours more tax money into the federal government coffers than most states, including California.

Texas accepted and sheltered more Louisiana victims of the floods and hurricanes than any other state. They are entitled to FEMA assistance in a disastrous act-of-God situation.

Their refusal to participate in a health program which was passed by a Congress that did not read, discuss, or analyze was a more cerebral response than that of states which jumped for the bait without seeing the balloon payment down the road.

It is the right of any state to govern for its people. Would that the federal government shared this view.

You have provided honest, family-oriented reportage for so long; don’t get into the yellow journalism of hatred and ridicule. Especially when you reprint a political cartoon run in a lesser, less responsible publication in Kansas (Opinion Page, June 25).

Using any state for a punching bag when its people are suffering loss and death cannot be defended or respected.

— Ester M. Picazo, San Leandro

Questions Theorists Who Brand Climate-Change “a Hoax”


I am guided in life by the truth of certain proverbs, including “Tell me who your friends are and I will tell you who you are.” I say, “Tell me what your theories are and I’ll tell you what I think you are.”

The June 11 Letters to the Editor included three which branded climate change a “hoax.”  Two were from Leo West and Don Grundmann, men well known in this community for their homophobic comments. Grundmann has a “Gay = Pervert” sticker on his car. West recently likened today’s Jews to Nazis.

Peter Ambrosia, the author of the third letter bemoaning the “global warming hoax,” refers readers to the website Real Science. The creator of Real Science is Tony Heller, but he publishes his blog under the pseudonym “Steven Goddard.”  I don’t know how old Heller/Goddard thinks the earth is, but he published a rather lengthy article arguing that President Obama was born in Kenya.

The Heartland Institute, which celebrates its label by The Economist magazine as “the world’s most prominent think tank promoting skepticism about man-made climate change,” charges that “the public health community’s campaign to demonize smokers and all forms of tobacco is based on junk science.”

I’m no scientist. I cannot personally confirm or refute theories. So I am forced to look to other, more knowledgeable people I respect for guidance. When I look to authority and expertise on a subject, I look to a body of theories and beliefs that I respect. If a scientist demonstrates through a body of beliefs and theories that his/her intellect is trustworthy and sound, I am more likely to believe him/her.

For me, homophobia and bigotry are not a body of beliefs that inspire confidence. And if you still think Obama’s from Kenya, well . . . .

— Andrew  Kopp, San Leandro

Wants to Debate Believers of “The Religion of Global Warming”


Since Renee Harper (“Climate-Change Naysayers’ Letters ‘Easily Debunked’,” Letters, June 18) has provided the latest pablum regarding the Religion of Global Warming, I am happy that she will debate me regarding the entire fraud/scam/lie. Can your paper moderate our debate? We can hence bring to the public facts and not “the sky is falling!” hysteria of those who claim that the seas are rising (they are not), all ice is melting (ludicrous), more severe storms (there have always been severe storms and there are less hurricanes recently than before Al Gore proclaimed there would be more), and polar bears are dying off (a total joke).

We can discuss the real reason for the Climate Change Religion panic which was first mentioned in “ Report from Iron Mountain,” a book which explains why this social engineering fantasy first started by proclaiming “global cooling.”

I look forward to debating all such facts (such as one volcano eruption overwhelming any and all silly ideas of reducing so-called “green house gases”) with you, Ms. Harper.  Lets discuss both reality and denial – yours specifically. You can promote banning water vapor which constitutes 95%-plus of such “gases.”  You can promote stopping volcanoes from erupting to “save the planet.”

— Don J. Grundmann, D.C., San Leandro


Letters • 06-25-15 PDF  | Print |  E-mail

OSIsoft Statue Called ‘a Beautiful Addition to Our City’


Regarding the “Truth is Beauty” statue soon to grace our new Tech Campus, Corey Anderson (“OSIsoft Statue: Will SL Become ‘Capital of Outdoor Porn,” Letters June 18) suggested we contact our mayor/city council questioning the statue.

I’ll be making my contacts in

support of the statue. What a beautiful addition to our city!

It will be uplifting for San Leandro to be seen as a city appreciative of all artistic expression. It is not a “disgrace” or “indecent” as the writer suggests.

If everyone had these thoughts, our world would be without the

Michelangelo’s, the Rodin’s...

Regarding the statue, Ms. Anderson claims it to be “salacious” among other things, and says her mind is drawn to places she would rather not go.

Hopefully she can redirect herself at some point and enjoy our city’s new addition. Porn? I think not!

Congratulations are in order on the acquisition of this art installation.

— Lisa Gaspari-Salmon, San Leandro

Applauds City for Commissioning Statue


Corey Anderson (see reference above) thinks the new statue coming to San Leandro is outdoor porn.

I’m guessing that Corey has never seen the statue, I have. I assume that Corey has never traveled outside of San Leandro to visit a museum other than the street art in Branson, Missouri. I applaud the City of San Leandro for commissioning this art work and look forward to continued viewing. Besides, no water needed.

— Brent Heath, San Leandro

Says Mayor, Women on City Council Should Be Ashamed


Does the City Council of the City of San Leandro have no word in what private enterprise trashes our City with?

Really? A 55-foot sculpture of a naked woman arched backwards with fully exposed and protruding breasts (and everything else) is intended to exemplify a female’s “safety, equality and opportunity” ..... with 2,500 colored lights no less?! And this statue is to “de-objectify” women? Good gosh, no wonder Girl’s Inc. of Alameda County moved out of San Leandro last year...they must have seen this coming!

And the statue’s 2,500 colored lights can be programmed to create different light shows for passersby?! Oh, be still my heart! This is progress for females in what capacity??

This is what I think. I am a retired successful business woman who worked 44 years in the corporate arena of investments. I was working in that world before maternity benefits, or computers were invented. I didn’t ever need a 55-foot statue of a naked woman to speak for me.

I have four adult nieces who all grew up in San Leandro. They are college-educated independent women, all in very successful careers, and I dare say that nothing about this statue speaks of them either.  Their “safety, equality or opportunity” as working women cannot be defined by a naked woman with 2,500 colored lights on her.

If this statue is allowed to be erected anywhere in the City of San Leandro by this firm, or any firm, the women on the City Council, including the Mayor of San Leandro, should be ashamed of themselves. What does this statue have to do with the City of San Leandro?

Pray tell, I just want to know, will the lights blink? And, what color lights will be affixed to her nipples???

— Antoinette Troya, San Leandro

Questions City’s Priorities: Neighborhood Improvements or Public Art?


More than 3 years ago I sounded the alarm about the broken-window effect going on in the Broadmoor and how dangerous it is to cross Bancroft Avenue, especially for mothers with strollers. Bancroft is a major north south artery through town with a high volume of traffic at all times of the day.

Two years ago we presented a petition to the city council asking for neighborhood improvements including curb bump outs on Bancroft to make it easier for those mothers with strollers (and everyone else) to cross the street safely and we were met with push back from the city about how there was no money for anything more than a plastic garbage can, a cinder block bus bench and security lighting for the bus stop fit for the back of a Walmart store.

Now I read the city has just allocated $750,000 for public art on West Juana. Please, Mayor Cutter, explain to me and especially those mothers with strollers how public art can trump crossing Bancroft Avenue safely. When did your priorities get so convoluted that you think pleasing Westlake Partners is more important than ensuring the safety of the good citizens of this city?

— Gary Langbehn, San Leandro

Answers Critics of Students’ Climate-Change Letters


It’s disappointing that three adult readers thought it was appropriate to shout down the first foray’s into public life of three high school students over the topic of climate change and global warming (Letters, June 11).

To those 3 students I say please don’t be intimidated by the rants expressed in these response letters. Keep exploring. The scientific method is alive and well in the world and apparently outside of the knowledge of these people. Just watch this.

Mr. (Peter) Ambrosia: During the Cretaceous Period, CO2 levels were 4x of today, Yellow Stone was a big volcano, and where your house is now was under hundreds of feet of water. The Earth cooled rapidly because 66M year ago a massive comet/asteroid hit at the site knows as the Chicxulub Crater. Climate change killed an estimate 75% of plants and animals due to atmospheric dust being thrown into the air, blocking the sun, and resulted in a quick and extended cooling period.

Mr. (Don J.) Grundmann: There are plenty of climate change scientist that show up to debates and explain their theory and the evidence that support it. Invite Dr. Bill Nye to debate you so our local students can see you get publicly crushed. Just bring up your theory that Greenland was a Viking Napa Valley a thousand years ago. Bill would just laugh I am sure. Everyone accepts that Eric the Red gave Greenland its name, and likely not Greenland specifically since Vikings didn’t speak English, to dupe people into settling there during his banishment. Check the Viking Saga’s of the period. Those people starved to death. Your evidence of grapes and vineyards comes from where? Maybe your great 30x grandfather made some notes? It was the island of Newfoundland, Canada that the Vikings called ‘Vineland’ and only berries, not grapes, ever grew.

Mr. (Leo) West: Students, Mr. West actually put forth no argue against climate change. Of the three, this letter has the most anti-climate change scare tactics due to lack of an argument. All the letter says is: that the weather channel reports on weather; that when climate change theory predicts hotter, dry summers and colder, snowy winters (3 in a row) just forget about it, and that Spanish explorers named California for it’s Mediterranean climate 300 years ago. Okay. So where is the argument? Climate change is only political because the politicians make is so. I don’t see us arguing about Atomic theory or if microbes exist anymore. And, Mr. West, “biblical” people thought the Earth was flat. It was the “roundees” that got lynched...just like people who currently believe in climate change.

— John Clouston, San Leandro

Thankful World is Waking Up to Peril of Climate Change


When those who stubbornly deny human impact on the climate, they always seem to resort to quoting debunked propaganda and nonsense from The Petroleum Institute or they claim some diabolical liberal conspiracy. They cling to this nuttiness in the face of the fact that over 97 percent of the thousands of accredited scientists from around the world agree that man is altering the climate with fossil fuels. These flat-earthers see this as a political issue and bury their collective heads in the sand.

Thankfully more and more the know-nothings and wingnuts are being ignored. Worldwide, more countries are waking up and trying to reduce their carbon footprint. Young folk, like those who wrote in the Times see this issue as what it is. The survival of the planet.

— Vernon S. Burton, San Leandro


Letters • 06-18-15 PDF  | Print |  E-mail

OSIsoft Statue: Will SL Become ‘Capital of Outdoor Porn?’


Am I to understand that we will now have a giant nude woman to look at as an expansion of OSIsoft? That San Leandro will now be known as the “capital of outdoor porn?” This should strike everyone as a disgrace for our fair city.

We are told this “art piece” is meant to get people thinking about female “safety, equality and opportunity” and “de-objectivy” women.  Women, do you feel de-objectified or more safe because of this statue? That is most absurd.

This statue does the very opposite of what the artist tells us it is supposed to do. This is salacious and indecent at best, and is an insult to every moral person in our town. It draws my mind to places I would rather not go. Should we now put Playboy pictures, or worse, on our office halls and call that “art?”  Is this not what some object to as a sexist message, and a 55-foot tall one at that?

We don’t need this here, or anywhere. I urge you to call the mayor’s office and our city council and protest this insult to women, as I am doing.  Let’s protect women from being objectified, as this statue does not do.

— Corey Anderson, San Leandro

Students’ Letters on Climate ‘A Voice in the Wilderness’


The June 4 letters of three San Leandro High students – Hana Fe Agustin, Sebastian Valdez and Toby Frager – were like a voice calling out in the wilderness. Thank you all. While most people are quasi living in cyberspace, these three young people live in the real world and have the courage to speak out.

Please, let’s not wait for the government to do anything significant about climate change – they are handicapped by big business, their supporters. It is up to us to do something about climate change before it is too late.

Get rid of lawns. They waste most of our water and the upkeep causes pollution. Plant trees that do not lose their leaves in the fall so oxygen will be produced all year. Stop the encroachment of new houses adjacent to wilderness areas. They are often the cause of wildfires and displace the few wild animals we have left.

Let’s drive responsibly and smart to cut exhaust. We all must do our part and great things can be accomplished. The time to start is now. Thank you for participating.

— Anna M. Joe, San Leandro

Climate-Change Naysayers’ Letters ‘Easily Debunked’


Last week’s letters disputing climate change were, as is typical, filled with false and irrelevant statements, and unsubstantiated conclusions easily debunked with minimal research and a basic understanding of climate science.

Changes in worldwide global temperatures since the beginning of the industrial revolution are rising at an unprecedented rate. This temperature is far greater than can be explained by any causes other than human influence, and overwhelmingly correlates to increased carbon dioxide.

Nine of the ten warmest years in recorded history have occurred since 2000, and we can identify the source of increased carbon dioxide that has occurred since humans first began burning fossil fuels, since these carbons have a unique chemical signature different from other carbon sources.

All the letter writers apparently fail to understand that “climate” is not the same as “weather,” and isolated incidents of colder years say nothing about long term trends. Global warming is the long-term increase in globally and seasonally averaged surface temperatures. The changes seen worldwide in recent years (extreme heat, severe storms, flooding, sea level rise, and droughts) have all been predicted decades ago and correlate with a rapidly warming world.

Understanding climate change and the urgent need to take action is not a political issue. Informed and responsible Republican leaders acknowledge the reality and have called for action to address the threat. Even our military recognizes the threat climate change poses to our national security. If you follow the facts, global climate change is here now and accelerating, and we all need to under-stand how dire the threat is and act accordingly.

Reality is scary, but denial is deadly – for all of us.

— Renee Harper, San Leandro

Refutes Complaints About City Budget


Regarding the letter, “Flabbergasted’ by SL’s City Budget,” (Letters, June 11), the writer claimed “...our salary and benefit obligations are now $45 million or almost half the budget. This is too much.”

Almost all services the City provides must be performed by people who need to be paid fairly for their services. I’m surprised that less than half the budget is taken up by personnel costs. Why is this “too much”? No evidence was presented.

“The common excuse at City Hall for not getting projects done in my neighborhood is: There is no more money,” he wrote. What are these projects, and why are they so important? Again, we are left wondering.

He appears unhappy with the condition of City streets; he claims the City Manager’s strategy is “...what roads won’t we pave this year to pay for my raise?” Unfortunately, his preferred budget strategy would cut the compensation of the workers who pave our roads.

“No more raises at City Hall – except for the brave men and women of the police and fire departments...” Inflation and cost of living increases mean that freezing pay for those who would complete neighborhood projects for our selfish San Leandran is a de facto wage cut.

Our City’s best public servants would take up the letter-writer’s bizarre invitation to “go negotiate with some other municipality.” Hundreds of workers would have less money to patronize businesses in town.

If the writer was so angry that he took the time to write a letter attacking the people who serve him, it would be less disappointing if he thought his critiques and remedies through more thoroughly.

— Doug Jones, San Leandro

Thrift Shop Theft Means Less for Special Child-Care Home


Shame on the person who stole the sterling silver brooch on Friday, June 12, that was on display at our shop, the Treasures Hospice Thrift Store on Washington Avenue in downtown San Leandro. It was on auction to raise money to help the George Mark House for Children.

— Dee Gonzales, Lorraine Heether, and all the Treasures Hospice volunteers

Letters • 06-11-15 PDF  | Print |  E-mail

‘Flabbergasted’ by San Leandro’s City Budget


I was completely flabbergasted reading about our city budget. On a total projected budget of $95 million next year, our salary and benefit obligations are now $45 million or almost half the budget. This is too much.

Mayor Cutter and the city council gave the city manager a big fat raise and added to our $158 million in unfunded pensions. His retirement will result in millions more in unfunded obligations.

We should not have to continue to pass tax increases to get basic service done because of handing out unnecessary and unfunded raises. We don’t have the money.

The common excuse at City Hall for not getting projects done in my neighborhood is: There is no more money.  Mayor Cutter has ensured we’ll never get anything done now.  And, since Mayor Cutter has talked for years about her concerns about the pension crisis, I find the city manager’s exorbitant raise very hypocritical.

Here’s what common sense approach should apply during this ongoing financial crisis. No more raises at City Hall – except for the brave men and women of the police and fire departments out risking their lives for the good people of our city. The city manager, the chief of police and all the department heads make enough money.

If someone at City Hall doesn’t like their salary, let them go negotiate with some other municipality. We need salary caps in place and common sense returning to the city council to ensure our financial security.

The “Rubiks cube” the city manager refers to in dealing with the city budget is really… what roads won’t we pave this year to pay for my raise? Someone has to say, enough is enough.

Gary Langbehn, San Leandro

Says Students’ Conclusions on Climate Change ‘Have No Scientific Basis’


This letter is in response to the letters of June 4, from the students of San Leandro High: Toby Frager, Sebastian Valdez and Hannah Fe Agustin.

I am encouraged and applaud their concern for the environment, which I share. However, in my opinion, the conclusions (cause and effect) they present have no scientific basis, especially Miss Agustin’s statement that “deforestation plays a part in the drought” has no science to back it up.

I would like to present a few examples and references for these students, and anyone, concerning the “man-made” climate change hysteria to read and study:

1. The climate is always changing and will always change, and man has no control. Note that during the Cretaceous period in Earth’s history Alaska had a tropical climate; that is why Alaska is oil rich. Do any of these  students have any clue as to what mechanism caused the Earth to cool so dramatically?

2. During the 1970s, the media and so-called “climate scientists” were announcing America was caught in a “global cooling scare.” In 1974, a Time Magazine cover showing a penguin smothered in ice was titled: “51 Things to do to survive another Ice Age.”

This was one of many similar “scientific” articles by several magazines.

3. Richard Lindzen, climate scientist and professor emeritus of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (a pretty good school), called global warming alarmists a “cult.”

4. June 2, 2015: Nuuk, Greenland is having the coldest year on record.

5. The current “models” that are feeding all the climate change frenzy are contrary to the data gleaned from the Vostok Core drilling. This data debunks almost all “global warming” hysteria. This requires study and research.

There are scores of scientists with tons of data that challenge all of these students’ conclusions as well as the whole hysteria of “global warming,” so I hope that inquiring minds will do their own research and not be “brainwashed” by the political agenda, power struggles and money grabbing that drives today’s hysteria. A good place to start is the website Real Science. “Science is the belief in the ignorance of experts.”

Peter Ambrosia, San Leandro resident since 1994

Wants a Debate to ‘Blow Apart Scam’ of Climate Change


Since you have published the letters of two teenage members of the Church of Global Warming/Climate Change perhaps you can sponsor a debate so that the hysteria/panic induced by this Social Engineering produced hoax/scam/religious belief can be neutralized by true science.

There is a Mount Everest of such true science, also known as “reality,” such as “Greenland” gaining its name from being warm enough – hundreds of years ago – to have grapes and vineyards grown there.

An “excess carbon footprint” did not warm it then just as it does not warm us now since CO2 is less than one half of one percent of so-called “greenhouse gases.” More than 95 percent of such “gases” are water vapor.

Will the believers advocate for banning water vapor? Climate change believers run in panic from any debate. Will even one have enough courage to debate so that the whole scam can be blown apart?

Don J. Grundmann, D.C., San Leandro

Calls Climate Change Coverage ‘Scary Tactic’ to Keep Public on Edge


Judging by the letters on “climate change” in the San Leandro Times, it seems that the schools follow the same line of the “catastrophic” news where all of the channels devote half of the time to the “weather,” assigning up to four correspondents to cover whatever is happening – floods, ice storms, earthquakes, tornadoes, hurricanes, droughts, etc.

The scary tactics are very effective politically to maintain the population on the edge.

“Climate change” used to be known as “global warming,” but since the last three long winters that buried two thirds of the United States in snow, the term is not very catchy, hence the change.

The term “climate change” is equivalent to saying: “The water is wet.” This planet started as a ball of fire with all kinds of cataclysms going on for billions of years; then there were the ice ages and so on.

In the end, “climate changer” retrogrades would like to go back to the fraudulent biblical stories about an earth being a perfect sphere where everything is in perfect order and harmony, “terra in eternum est,” which has never been.

Finally, the Spaniards called it California: “Cali” for “cálido” (Hot) and “Fornia” for “forno,” old Spanish for furnace. Hot furnace. There you have it. That was more than 300 years ago!

It’s the school of “political correctness.”

Leo T. West, San Leandro

San Leandro ‘Angels’ Aid Woman Who Fell


During a recent trip to the Best Building in downtown San Leandro on May 27, my mother fell in the parking lot. Two young men and a young woman rushed to assist her.

They were so kind and gentle with mom. They offered to call an ambulance, which mom refused. The young woman had some hand wipes and helped put them around mom’s bleeding fingers. Mom sat up with their assistance and then we helped her to stand.

After we got to a bench and sat down, our three wonderful helpers waited until they were assured mom was OK. Even as each “angel” drove off, they waved and smiled. Mom calls you “her angels” for your kindness and caring. Thank you for your help.

Toni Macaluso, Castro Valley

The High Cost of Antibiotic Use in Raising Livestock


Last Tuesday, President Obama directed federal agencies to serve antibiotic-free meat and poultry in government cafeterias.

The FDA will require animal producers to obtain authorization from a licensed veterinarian to use drugs to treat a specific disease, rather than just to promote rapid growth, as is current practice.

As much as 80 percent of all U.S. antibiotics are used in animal agriculture.

The moves come amid growing concern about the link between routine antibiotic use in animal agriculture and human infections by bacteria that have developed resistance to antibiotics because of their excessive use. The CDC estimates that antibiotic resistance causes 2 million illnesses per year in the U.S. and 23,000 deaths. It also adds $20 billion per year in health care costs and $35 billion in lost productivity.

And we thought that animal products were just linked to heart disease, cancer and stroke…

While government agencies reduce antibiotics in animal products, the rest of us can do better immediately with wholesome vegetables, fruits, legumes, grains, and a rich variety of plant-based meats, cheeses, milks, and ice creams available in every supermarket.

These foods contain all the nutrients we require, without the deadly pathogens, antibiotics, carcinogens, cholesterol and saturated fats.

Kurt Champler, San Leandro

Letters • 06-04-15 PDF  | Print |  E-mail

Jobs Numbers Omitted from Fiber Optic Update


I found the city manager’s update two weeks ago about the high-speed, fiber-optic loop to be lacking of the most important information – a jobs number update.

We read in the city manager’s update about “contracts being signed” and the schools and malls being linked up to it, but nothing about how many jobs have been added to the San Leandro economy as a result of the loop.

We’ve been told all along that this would be a transformative job creator for the city. We’ve hired a full time person at city hall to solicit businesses for the loop, so I’m curious why the jobs number was left out. I’ll ask more clearly: City Manager Chris Zapata, how many jobs to date have been added to our city as a result of the loop?

— Gary Langbehn, San Leandro

Drought-Weary Residents Shouldn’t Let City ‘Go to Seed’


In response to “Glad San Leandrans Taking Water Crisis To Heart, But...” (Letters, May 28), Ms. Schuessler has made an interesting observation.

Yes, it is good that our neighbors are letting their lawns go dry during the drought. On the other hand, many are also neglecting to mow down the growing weeds, allowing them to disperse their seeds into adjacent yards.

As I drive or walk through various neighborhoods, I see a landscape of wildly growing weeds, some reaching as high as windows or towering over drought tolerant bushes. This is not a pretty sight.

Fellow San Leandrans, please take heed. A brown lawn needs to be mowed. Weeds need to be pulled or

cut down. Do not let the drought to be an excuse to not take care of your yard! Do not neglect this opportunity to do some creative gardening! Do not allow our city to “go to seed”!

— Dori Robinson, San Leandro

Deforestation Partly to Blame for Western Drought


I am writing to inform you of a pressing issue that has been under-reported in the recent past – deforestation.

Deforestation has impacted the effects of climate change. Carbon emissions are high, local wildlife are losing their habitats, and deforestation also throws the balance of the climate helter-skelter.

Lately, a major drought is affecting California. Deforestation has played a part in causing this problem. It adjusts the “regular” rain patterns and while some areas are getting more rainfall than they are used to, we Californians are getting much less rain than we are accustomed to.

Our “regular” climate of the past is now raising. It is getting warmer and warmer as more and more greenhouse gases are released into the atmosphere. It is imperative for the residents of San Leandro and of places all around the world to understand.

Please consider opening this topic up to the public, so that we many all make an effort to reduce our carbon footprints while we still can.

I would suggest discussing the topic of the “Stand for Trees” organization that is making moves toward stopping or reducing deforestation. Regular residents can help with this project by donating small sums of money and it all helps.

— Hannah Fe Agustin, San Leandro High student

Climate Change Affecting Us in Many Ways


The global climate has been rising slowly but surely. There are many things that can cause climate change like pollution – the burning of fossil fuels, oil, and natural gasses.

Climate change can impact the major nutrient cycles on earth by disrupting the natural cycle of elements.

Climate change is also increasing the amount of carbon in the air and there are less things to absorb the carbon.

Climate change is reducing the amount of oxygen in the ocean and also affect the photosynthesis/cellular respiration cycle because the amount of carbon dioxide and oxygen have been reduced.

— Sebastian Valdez, San Leandro High Freshman

Frightened by Official Apathy on Climate Change


Climate change is real. I am concerned about the welfare of the planet, and I find the apathy of many of our elected representatives to do anything to help it frightening. So, to all the climate change deniers, I will paint a picture of some of the “flaming snowmen” that are the effects of climate change.

Let’s look at Greenland. The northernmost territory in North America is a mass of land and glacier home to many fish and some people. A new addition is coming to the area. The Steenstrup Glacier is receding. As it melts further towards the Greenland coast, it will release its grasp on a soon-to-be new island.

This is a major change which will lead to a noticeable geographic difference of the Earth’s surface. This is not an isolated event; long-term changes to Earth’s functions, like its orbit, have caused islands to appear and disappear again. However, none of these are happening.

Let’s investigate a story relevant to us in California, the drought. Water and precipitation are relocated by climate change, and California is getting the short end of the straw.

This drought also has collateral effects. Trees all across California are dying, and the toll has reached 12 million or higher. The trees, not getting enough water, have been depleted of resources, taking away natural methods of defense against plant-eating creatures. Acres upon acres of California forests are consumed by red, dead trees.

Those are just some stories about the obvious effects of climate change. Other problems, like ocean acidification, air pollution, and extinctions persist as well.

These problems and more could develop and get worse without action. Share the news around because climate change won’t solve itself. Contact your government representative. Hopefully events like these will rouse action to stop climate change for good.

— Toby Frager, 14, San Leandro High student

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



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