Letters
Letters • 02-04-16 PDF  | Print |  E-mail

Asks How Much Money Has Been Spent on Consultants

Editor:

More consultants to tell us about parking downtown? Really, are you kidding me?

How much money has been wasted on consultants for the city in the last few years. We have department heads throughout City Hall that we obviously don’t need since they need help doing their work. I’ve never seen anything quite like this where all the tough jobs seem to be outsourced. You’d think the city was flush in cash. But it’s not.

Why doesn’t our own traffic department know what to do to solve our parking problems downtown? And for that matter, why doesn’t our public works director know which roads need to be repaved without a consultant?

I think these are all valid questions that need to be answered with something more than righteous indignation.

Let’s run through the partial list of consultants the city has hired recently. A consultant to instruct the mayor and council to speak up at council meetings, a consultant to translate our city name (we have a library), a consultant to tell the city to rezone around the new hospital (no brainer) and now a consultant to tell us about parking in our own town. It’s gotten ridiculous.

So, City Manager Chris Zapata, how much money has been spent (wasted) on consultants in the last four years? It’s a valid question considering the city pleads poverty when even a new bench is asked for.

— Gary Langbehn, San Leandro



Trap, Neuter & Return Called Best Way to Control Cats

Editor:

I am writing in response to the letter from Ruth Sisler (“Cat Population: Maybe ‘trap, Neuter & Return’ Isn’t Working,” Letters, Jan. 28).

I would like to commend Ms. Sisler for helping the cat that showed up in her yard. It takes time and effort to help a homeless animal. However, her response to the second cat she found stating that she would never again help a stray cat is upsetting.

The first cat she found had a notched ear...meaning that he had been previously neutered. Most likely this cat was part of a managed colony. Of course things happen, possibly the caretaker became ill or the cat got lost. Most likely he would have been content to remain outside with no other human contact than occasional feeding.

When he was re-homed and a new kitty showed up, this is an example of the well-documented “vacuum effect” that occurs when wildlife are removed from an environment. A vacuum is created where other animals move in to take it’s place.

The National Animal Control Association no longer supports “catch and kill” policies stating that they are ineffective due to this phenomenon.

Trap, Neuter & Return is the most effective way to control outdoor living cats. Feral cats are neutered and returned to where they were found. Kittens and abandoned tame cats are fostered & adopted out. As the population ages it’s size decreases as members die and no new litters are created.

Of course this program relies on the kindness of caretakers & neighbors to be willing to step up and watch over these community cats. Yes, this can be time-consuming and frustrating, but I have seen the terror of the feral cats that are trapped and brought into the shelter and the way they are killed. It is not a peaceful euthanasia.

— Kris Nill-Snow, San Leandro



Open Letter to the East Bay Regional Park District

Dear President Siden and Members of Board:

Thank you for withdrawing the Conditional Use Permit Application for the Campus Modernization at Lake Chabot.

We understand the need for the new maintenance and public safety facilities and support this idea, but not at this location.

We will continue to monitor this issue and offer our assistance in finding a viable location for these vital services.

Respectfully submitted,

— Jeffrey Panero & 129 others (Friends, Neighbors and users of Lake Chabot)



Council Accused of ‘Feigning and Dodging’ on Rent Control

Editor:

Finally, after feigning and dodging for five months, the San Leandro City Council approved a Rent Review Program shaped up mostly by the landlords on the Rent Review Board as Mr. Silva’s speech at the meeting clearly showed.

As usual, our issue was left for last, hoping some will leave. Also, while on the issue of marijuana, speakers were allocated three minutes to speak. For us, as usual, only 2 minutes. This clearly shows the priorities of the City Hall.

While the landlords on the Rent Review Board showed up and spoke for their cause at most of the meetings, the “Tenant Representatives” were not there most of the times and never spoke on behalf of the tenants.

María Luisa Penaranda and Sandra Simon, who were appointed by Mayor Cutter, never reached out to tenants and have shown the same ineptness of the two previous reps, appointed by Cassidy. It’s very clear that the City Council wants “yes women” on the Rent Review Board. If they had any dignity they should resign.

I applied for the position twice and was rejected by both mayors.

Some tenants had the illusion of influencing the City Council to their side without realizing the uselessness of the lame ordinance. Others consciously worked against a movement for Rent Control, while some are not even tenants.

What’s left for us, the tenants, is to start organizing in order to put Rent Control on the ballot.

This should be done with tenants who are legal residents of California, for those who attempted to insert other issues into the tenants cause have clearly failed.

With City Councilmembers, we should deal on election date.

— Leo T. West, San Leandro


 
Letters • 01-28-16 PDF  | Print |  E-mail

Don’t Blame the Landlords, They Have Growing Expenses

Editor:

I am a private contractor and have no government or company pension of any kind from my job. I saved up to put a down payment on a property which I could use to pay for retirement.

Owners of rental property understand that if rent is raised too high renters are forced to move. It is costly to the landlord with even one month in lost rent. We have to pay the bank and government and other costs.

Facing daily living increases is hard on all of us, especially on single-parent households, but please do not blame the landlord for this. They have growing expenses as well.

Rent control would cause many to sell their properties rather than rent them out, so you will have even less availability for housing as landlords choose to invest elsewhere. And what properties remain will decline in appearance as the landlord faces increasing costs in property tax, utilities, maintenance, insurance, management fees appliance repair, roof, and so on.

If rent control is imposed, owners of these properties will be forced to sell out of this high-cost market and tenants will suffer the consequences.

— Corey Anderson, San Leandro


Debating Climate Change Like Debating Gravity

Editor:

Global climate change is not a “nuanced concept” as Mr. Jelencic (“Letter Writer Shouldn’t Shut Off Debate on Climate Change,” Letters Dec. 31) suggests, and there is no reason to debate the cause. The severe weather patterns being seen now were predicted many decades ago and based on the effects of increased CO2 in the atmosphere from fossil fuels.

There is overwhelming consensus: 99.99% of climatologists and scientists worldwide agree that climate change is man-made and occurring due to human activity. The evidence is clear and overwhelming. Failing to understand and acknowledge this makes about as much sense as debating the reality of gravity.

Thoughtful debate and dialog requires some foundation of knowledge and understanding of the issue, which Mr. Jelencic’s letter fails to demonstrate. For example, he opines that the severe climate change patterns seen do not suggest to him that fossil fuels and increased atmospheric CO2 are the cause – based on.....what? Your opinion? Your lack of understanding of science?

He is welcome to attribute climate change to divine judgment and intervention if he wishes, but only if he chooses to ignore the very real physical science that explains the changes being seen. What is the motivation for such a choice? Perhaps to avoid taking action or accepting responsibility for working to solve the challenge of climate change?

Understanding the grave threat posed by our rapidly warming world, most major religious groups have acknowledged man-made climate change and call for action to address it, as Pope Francis did in his recent Environment Encyclical. To quote the Anglican faith community “We accept the evidence of science: Human activity, especially in fossil-fuel based economies, is the main cause of the climate crisis....The problem is spiritual as well as economic, scientific and political....now is the time for us, rooted in prayer, to step up and take action on the climate crisis.”

— Renee Harper, San Leandro


Not Embarrassed by Donald Trump’s Rhetoric

Editor:

Regarding Jeff Sturm’s letter, “Americans Should Be Ashamed of Donald Trump’s Statements,” (Letters, Jan. 7): Is he telling it like it is? Is he talking about a broken political system? Is he lying?

Yes, he is a successful educated businessman and yes, a huge majority of his followers are also successful and educated, and they still follow him. What does that tell you? People are sick and tired of our inept political system where the government of the people, by the people, and for the people has been taken over by a gang of corrupt money grubbing lobbyists and politicians who are dimly aware of the people they’re supposed to represent.

The politicians don’t want to rock the boat because they don’t want to lose their place at the trough.

I think the writer’s rant is more about terrorists, immigration and bigotry then about Donald Trump.

If Donald Trump (or any president) was able to overcome the greed and corruption that pervades Washington and actually “fix the system” including the immigration fiasco that allows terrorists into this country, most of them would be weeded out and turned back at the border. More importantly, it is the same system that causes our country to have homegrown terrorists.

Thanks to the shrinking middle class, our jobs are going overseas and pensions are dying. Give more of our people jobs and a future and our citizens would not have nearly as much incentive to actively protest our form of government. Donald Trump knows that we can do better.

The hatred and bigotry that was brought up in that person’s letter did not need to be brought up in a rant about Donald Trump. Hatred and bigotry are rampant worldwide, not just in America. It has always been there and it always will be. You cannot have control over how people think and feel about each other, and extremists will always will always exist. God has many names in this world and he/she is all about love and tolerance, not hatred and murder.

I am an American and I, for one, am not ashamed or embarrassed by Donald Trump’s rhetoric. I think he is a breath of fresh air that has made it into the political arena.  I don’t know if he will make it to the presidency, but we sure need a person like him in Washington.

— Frank Powers, San Leandro


 
Letters • 01-21-16 PDF  | Print |  E-mail

Don’t Blame the Landlords, They Have Growing Expenses

Editor:

I am a private contractor and have no government or company pension of any kind from my job. I saved up to put a down payment on a property which I could use to pay for retirement.

Owners of rental property understand that if rent is raised too high renters are forced to move. It is costly to the landlord with even one month in lost rent. We have to pay the bank and government and other costs.

Facing daily living increases is hard on all of us, especially on single-parent households, but please do not blame the landlord for this. They have growing expenses as well.

Rent control would cause many to sell their properties rather than rent them out, so you will have even less availability for housing as landlords choose to invest elsewhere. And what properties remain will decline in appearance as the landlord faces increasing costs in property tax, utilities, maintenance, insurance, management fees appliance repair, roof, and so on.

If rent control is imposed, owners of these properties will be forced to sell out of this high-cost market and tenants will suffer the consequences.

— Corey Anderson, San Leandro



Debating Climate Change Like Debating Gravity

Editor:

Global climate change is not a “nuanced concept” as Mr. Jelencic (“Letter Writer Shouldn’t Shut Off Debate on Climate Change,” Letters Dec. 31) suggests, and there is no reason to debate the cause. The severe weather patterns being seen now were predicted many decades ago and based on the effects of increased CO2 in the atmosphere from fossil fuels.

There is overwhelming consensus: 99.99% of climatologists and scientists worldwide agree that climate change is man-made and occurring due to human activity. The evidence is clear and overwhelming. Failing to understand and acknowledge this makes about as much sense as debating the reality of gravity.

Thoughtful debate and dialog requires some foundation of knowledge and understanding of the issue, which Mr. Jelencic’s letter fails to demonstrate. For example, he opines that the severe climate change patterns seen do not suggest to him that fossil fuels and increased atmospheric CO2 are the cause – based on.....what? Your opinion? Your lack of understanding of science?

He is welcome to attribute climate change to divine judgment and intervention if he wishes, but only if he chooses to ignore the very real physical science that explains the changes being seen. What is the motivation for such a choice? Perhaps to avoid taking action or accepting responsibility for working to solve the challenge of climate change?

Understanding the grave threat posed by our rapidly warming world, most major religious groups have acknowledged man-made climate change and call for action to address it, as Pope Francis did in his recent Environment Encyclical. To quote the Anglican faith community “We accept the evidence of science: Human activity, especially in fossil-fuel based economies, is the main cause of the climate crisis....The problem is spiritual as well as economic, scientific and political....now is the time for us, rooted in prayer, to step up and take action on the climate crisis.”

— Renee Harper, San Leandro


Not Embarrassed by Donald Trump’s Rhetoric

Editor:

Regarding Jeff Sturm’s letter, “Americans Should Be Ashamed of Donald Trump’s Statements,” (Letters, Jan. 7): Is he telling it like it is? Is he talking about a broken political system? Is he lying?

Yes, he is a successful educated businessman and yes, a huge majority of his followers are also successful and educated, and they still follow him. What does that tell you? People are sick and tired of our inept political system where the government of the people, by the people, and for the people has been taken over by a gang of corrupt money grubbing lobbyists and politicians who are dimly aware of the people they’re supposed to represent.

The politicians don’t want to rock the boat because they don’t want to lose their place at the trough.

I think the writer’s rant is more about terrorists, immigration and bigotry then about Donald Trump.

If Donald Trump (or any president) was able to overcome the greed and corruption that pervades Washington and actually “fix the system” including the immigration fiasco that allows terrorists into this country, most of them would be weeded out and turned back at the border. More importantly, it is the same system that causes our country to have homegrown terrorists.

Thanks to the shrinking middle class, our jobs are going overseas and pensions are dying. Give more of our people jobs and a future and our citizens would not have nearly as much incentive to actively protest our form of government. Donald Trump knows that we can do better.

The hatred and bigotry that was brought up in that person’s letter did not need to be brought up in a rant about Donald Trump. Hatred and bigotry are rampant worldwide, not just in America. It has always been there and it always will be. You cannot have control over how people think and feel about each other, and extremists will always will always exist. God has many names in this world and he/she is all about love and tolerance, not hatred and murder.

I am an American and I, for one, am not ashamed or embarrassed by Donald Trump’s rhetoric. I think he is a breath of fresh air that has made it into the political arena.  I don’t know if he will make it to the presidency, but we sure need a person like him in Washington.

— Frank Powers, San Leandro


 
Letters • 01-14-16 PDF  | Print |  E-mail

No Resources for Middle Class When it Comes to Rent

Editor:

I agree with reader Leo T. West (“Calls for Tenants to Organize, Put Rent Control on the Ballot,” Letters, Dec. 31) about getting a rent control measure on the ballot.

I recently received a 60-day notice that my rent is going up $100 per month starting Feb. 1. I live in San Leandro and work in San Francisco. I love living here. I commute to the City five days a week and spend almost $200 a month to ride BART every day.

I’ve stopped parking at BART due the increasing parking cost. I walk to BART. That $3 a day parking adds up quickly. I don’t have money to just give away especially with BART’s recent fare increase. I’m also a single mother of one child and I don’t receive any subsidies or government assistance for my child. I pay out of pocket for everything.

The middle class is being pushed out and there are few or no resources for the middle class where rent is concerned. Everything is set up for the low-income who are being supported by the middle class through taxes and welfare. Even the Alameda County food bank has income guidelines, which should not be, since not too long ago the middle class was donating a significant amount of food to the food bank.

Now the middle class doesn’t even have access because they aren’t poor enough. There are many people who live here that commute to other cities because of higher paying jobs. Housing for middle-income people and families are needed in San Leandro as well. The middle class can’t even afford to purchase homes due to the inflation of real estate and job numbers coming out of San Francisco and the Silicon Valley.

The City Council members who are landlords are trying to protect their bank accounts by using deceptive and ambiguous language in the rent ordinance to confuse renters about how rent control will hurt the landlords. The rising rents in San Leandro is all about money for most of the landlords. This is not San Francisco and never will be. No one should be spending their entire pay check on rent. Rent control is needed in San Leandro now!

— Kiki Davis, San Leandro



No Law Guaranteeing Right to Live in Gun-Free Country

Editor:

Bernadette Buchanan (“Last Thing She Wants to Hear in the Park is Gunfire,” Letters, Dec. 24) is operating under her own set of misguided interpretations re: the 2nd Amendment. The Supreme Court is empowered to interpret constitutional law. In Presser v. Illinois (1886) the Court states “It is undoubtedly true that all citizens capable of bearing arms constitute the reserved military force or reserve militia of the United States as well as of the States; and, in view of this prerogative of the General Government, as well as of its general powers, the States cannot... prohibit the people from keeping and bearing arms”

On June 26, 2008, in the case of The District of Columbia V. Heller, the Court held: “1. The Second Amendment protects an individual right to possess a firearm unconnected with service in a militia, and to use that arm for traditionally lawful purposes, such as self-defense within the home.

(a) The Amendment’s prefatory clause announces a purpose, but does not limit or expand the scope of the second part, the operative clause. The operative clause’s text and history demonstrate that it connotes an individual right to keep and bear arms.

(b) The prefatory clause comports with the Court’s interpretation of the operative clause. The “militia” comprised all males physically capable of acting in concert for the common defense”.

I can find no law that guarantees anyone the “right to live in a gun-free and civilized country.”

I suggest Ms. Buchanan do more research before “shooting from the hip.”

Safe handling of firearms is of paramount importance at the Chabot Gun Club; this is reflected in the training provided.  

Considering the large number of deaths and injuries caused by unsafe handling of these weapons, closing the Chabot Gun Range and depriving the residents of the East Bay of these training opportunities can only result in the unnecessary death and injury.

— Stephen Carbonaro, San Leandro



Accuses Meat Industry of Suppressing Scientific Data

Editor:

The “Dietary Guidelines for Americans” just released by U.S. Departments of Agriculture and Health and Human Services mark the ninth time in a row that the meat industry has successfully suppressed scientific findings recommending reduced meat consumption. The reduction was recommended by the government-appointed Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee in a 571-page report based on review of thousands of studies.

Reduced meat consumption was first recommended in 1977 by the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Nutrition and Human Needs in “Dietary Goals for the United States,” a precursor to the Dietary Guidelines. The meat industry forced the Committee to destroy all copies of the report and to remove the offending recommendation from a new edition.

That wanton government sell-out to the meat industry has replayed itself with every new edition of the Dietary Guidelines since then. “Dietary Guidelines for Americans” shape school lunches and other government food support programs and underlie public health campaigns to lower rates of obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and cancer.

Fortunately, American consumers are not easily duped. Sales of plant-based meats, cheeses, milks, and ice creams have skyrocketed, and every grocery store provides seemingly countless choices of fruits and vegetables.

— Dennis Roth, San Leandro


 
Letters • 01-07-16 PDF  | Print |  E-mail

Calls for Support in Opposing Lake Chabot Building Plans

Editor:

Please join me in opposing the newly proposed East Bay Regional Park District’s “campus” planned on the hilltop above Lake Chabot.

The plans include a massive expansion of current facilities, including multi-story buildings with concrete courtyards and walkways, in addition to the existing single-story public safety and vehicle maintenance facilities. This scenic ridgeline, a gem for the Castro Valley community, is not the place for a corporate center! This plan, at this location, makes no sense.

I hope that the Castro Valley Municipal Advisory Council will reject this development and that the community will come together to put a stop to this massive expansion, before it is too late. This project will negatively impact the quality of life for our community. Furthermore, the plan is in violation of the EBRPD Master Plan, which states: “The District will seek to locate facilities in a manner that preserves open space.”

To fully appreciate the impact of this project, please visit the location and then take a look at the design plans at: www.ebparks.org/about/news/Chabot-Campus-Modernization-Project-FAQ. The EBRPD says that the project is necessary for our protection, yet they say they plan no increase in staffing or traffic at the location.

Why the need to triple or quadruple the square footage then? There has been minimal EBRPD police presence protecting Castro Valley citizens. The location would also make it difficult for emergency vehicles to get anywhere quickly. This is just a timely political strategy to get people to support the project.

This development is self-serving, does not belong at this location, and will not result in improved service to our community. It is hard to believe the EBRPD would even consider this! It contradicts their purpose. Why not locate their facilities in areas that are already developed, not in open space? More information is available at guardiansoflakechabot.blogspot.com/ and castrovalleymatters.org.

— Katie Stone, Castro Valley



Calls Firearms ‘Most Heavily Regulated Product’ in U.S.

Editor:

The difficulty dealing with anti-gun cranks is their refusal or inability to support their arguments with any facts or reference to the law.

For example, Bernadette Buchanan (“Last Thing She Wants to Hear In the Park is Gunfire,” Letters, Dec. 24) thinks gun owners can take their guns anywhere, load them up wherever they want, and just fire away. This ignorance of the law means Bernadette has no idea of the myriad penalties and jail time involved should someone simply decide to haul out their guns and blaze away.

Worse, she pretends to a higher understanding of the Second Amendment, saying it refers to a “well-regulated militia,” not “any Tom, Dick, or Harry.”

A close attention to history and the law would inform you that all able-bodied males are members of the militia and are expected to appear when summoned fully equipped and trained with the latest military weapons and gear – i.e.: “well regulated” – which means trained and ready.

Obviously unaware that firearms are already the most heavily regulated product in America, let’s accept Ms. Buchanan’s desire for “regulation” and extend it to something she knows, like bicycles. People get hurt – even killed – on bicycles, but wouldn’t she be outraged if government made her take a test to see if she knows how to ride one safely, then buy a license to purchase one, then undergo a criminal background check, then wait ten days for permission to take it home – as if to say that she is to blame for other people’s accidents?

Failing to think things through, then cranking their mouth without engaging brain, history, facts, or common sense: this is what earns them the sobriquet: “anti-gun cranks.”

— Allan K. Lindsay-O’Neal, San Leandro



Americans Should Be Ashamed of Donald Trump’s Statements

Editor:

The reprehensible statements made by Donald Trump are ones that all Americans should be ashamed of and embarrassed by. This is not a call to be politically correct.

These statements are not the ranting of the lunatic fringe. Appallingly, they are from a well- educated successful businessman, running for president of the United States.

What is truly frightening is the following that Trump is gathering. These people are not just the ignorant yokels or “angry white guys” whom we would expect. Many are educated middle/upper-middle-class citizens. Others are politicians who hold similar views and keep them to themselves, until they perceive the politics of fear to be useful.

Unfortunately, this sort of fear, hate and bigotry has a long history in the United States. Catholics, Mormons and Jews have experienced this malevolence. In some cases, they still do. Ask Mitt Romney and the Anti-Defamation League. Now it’s the Muslims’ turn.

Background screening of immigrants is appropriate. However, we don’t need to worry as much about imported terrorists as we do about the multitude of homegrown terrorists (anti-government militias, white supremacists, the Klan) who are rarely mentioned in the news. For more information, go to www.splcenter.org.

Since terror is a mind game, the two shooters in San Bernardino succeeded beyond their wildest imagination. By inflicting 36 casualties, including 14 dead, they have managed to frighten a nation of almost 320 million people and to turn some people against their neighbors and fellow citizens.

Every religion has its crazies, who are absolutely certain that they alone possess the divine truth and are commanded to act accordingly. The overwhelming majority of Muslims in the U.S. and abroad condemn this atrocity and other similar criminal actions.  We cannot accept, nor fail to speak out against, the scapegoating of our Muslim neighbors.

— Jeff Sturm, San Leandro



A Justification for Trump’s Wall at Mexico Border

Editor:

Mexico should demand that Trump pay to have a wall built to keep “affluenza” teens and their incorrigible parents from fleeing to Mexico.

— Kathy Starzenski, San Leandro


 

 
Letters • 12-31-15 PDF  | Print |  E-mail

Calls for Tenants to Organize, Put Rent Control on the Ballot

Editor:

As I predicted some three months ago, the cowardly San Leandro City Council kept on kicking forward the decision on implementing some changes to its lame, non-binding Rent Review Ordinance just to come to the last meeting of the year to decide to do nothing. Actually, tabling the amended ordinance is not the worst thing, since it is as useless as the current one.

At the numerous Rent Review Board and City Council meetings, hundreds of tenants expressed support for rent control but the City Council responds to the landlords’ interests. Actually, some council members are landlords, as Mr. Prola acknowledged to be one himself. Of course,Prola declared himself to be “a good landlord” but the hundreds of tenants who testified at the hearings told quite different stories.

The Council members used twisted language to appear to be in support of changes while doing nothing: The City Council is not willing to enforce its own ordinance; the City Council unanimously opposes rent control and it doesn’t build new housing either, while all of them use twisted language to convince the tenants that rent control is bad for them.

Acouple of lines of my Social Security report for 2016 read: “The law does not permit an increase in benefits when there is no increase in the cost of living. So your benefit will stay the same in 2016. There was no increase in the cost of living during the past year based on the Consumer Price Index (CPI) published by the Department of Labor.”

It seems the Consumer Price Index is good to freeze my Social Security check but not good for the landlords. From the White House to the San Leandro City Council, the government is in the pockets of corporations and landlords.

If we, the tenants of San Leandro, want a Rent Control Ordinance, we ought to start organizing to put it on the ballot in 2016.

— Leo T. West, San Leandro



Says School-to-Prison Pipeline ‘Not a Laughing Matter’

Editor:

If Janet Gebhardt (“Takes Issue with Letter Opposing Cops at Schools,” Letters. Dec. 17) likes to laugh, she shouldn’t miss the photos at sanleandrotalk.voxpublica.org/ of the undercover SLPD officers present at the last School Board meeting. The overtime they were paid to protect against a bunch of moms and kids is bound to be hilarious to San Leandro taxpayers.

Unfortunately, the expansion of the school-to-prison pipeline in San Leandro is not a laughing matter to the children and families that get caught in it. Even as incidents of violence and crime in schools have declined, arrests and referrals of students to the juvenile justice system by police officers assigned to schools have increased dramatically nationwide.

While there is no evidence that the presence of police on school campuses makes the schools safer, studies do show that they lead to the criminalization of normal childhood and adolescent behavior: pushing and shoving become “battery” while talking back is charged as “disorderly conduct.”

Studies also show that while African Americans and Latino students are not more disruptive than their white and Asian classmates, they are punished at much higher rates. Indeed, the San Leandro School District has one of the highest rates of suspensions of black students in the Bay Area.

Meanwhile, there is a strong and positive correlation between getting suspended in school, not being able to graduate and being incarcerated later in life.

At the secondary redesign meeting, district administrators said that our schools are failing to educate 80% of students. The fact that the School District seems more concerned about opening classrooms to police than about creating welcoming learning environments and finding good teachers goes a long way to explaining these failures. But it also should be a call of action to all parents who care about a quality public education for all students.

— Margarita Lacabe, San Leandro



Lindsay-O’Neal: ‘Scratch a Liberal, Find a Fascist’

Editor:

Concerned citizen Larry Schumacher (“Says Times’ Opinion Page Wasted on Political Silliness,” Letters, Dec. 17) makes his annoyance and displeasure with free speech abundantly clear.

With insult and invective, he spits and snarls his way through recent letters, deriding and sneering at the writers as silly and irrational, saying it is a waste of space to publish opinions other than his own.

It is an illuminating performance. Much more than the usual left-wing car wreck at the intersections of Tolerance and Diversity streets, Mr. Schumacher gives us a guided tour of the dark, hate-filled recesses of the modern liberal mind and its preferred way of thinking.

In the last analysis, his diatribe only proves the truth of the old adage: “Scratch a liberal, find a fascist.”

— Allan Lindsay-O’Neal, San Leandro



Letter-Writer Shouldn’t Shut Off Debate on Climate Change

Editor:

Renee Harper (Letters, Dec. 3 and Dec. 24) insists “The debate is over. Climate change is happening now.”

I cannot disagree with her more about the status of the debate, while agreeing with her that severe weather patterns are upon us.

The debate should not be, and really has never been, about if we see a change in weather patterns, but about what is causing the change.

This page might be a good place for people to express thoughts on the cause, but should not be used to shut down the conversation the way Renee’s letter would do without a reply. Sadly we are in a state of decline in the arts of debate, dialog, and respectful discussion of nuanced concepts that might force us to think for ourselves, instead of fall in line with some dogmatic leader.

The severity of the pattern, (insurance agents might would call them Act of God events) does not suggest to me that the cause is our choice of fuels, but other choices that would lead to divine action designed to turn us in a different direction.

I will let the debate about the cause(s) of divine judgement continue, and invite open ended, thoughtful debate, but I think we are unwise to assume God is judging us for using to much fossil fuel. Rejecting a divine hand at work, just because we have created a “scientific reason” that does not need to consider that God might still be alive and at work, may not help us avoid the types of disasters that we have been seeing in our weather patterns.

— Justin Jelincic, San Leandro


 
Letters • 12-24-15 PDF  | Print |  E-mail

Will Watch Fox News to Hear What Lunatic Fringe Thinks

Editor:

Thanks to Larry Schumacher (“Says Times’ Opinion Page Wasted on Political Silliness,” Letters, Dec. 17). It was very well written and on point.  Same to Janet Gebhardt (“Takes Issue with Letter Opposing Cops at Schools”).

Frankly, if I want to know what the lunatic fringe is thinking, I’ll watch Fox News. I don’t need to read it in the San Leandro Times. Having said that, it’s good entertainment lacking anything else.

In general, Thank You for a great paper. A must read every week.

— Dave Fiano, San Leandro



Last Thing She Wants to Hear In the Park is Gunfire

Editor:

In response to Allan Lindsay O’Neal’s letter (“Gunfire at Chabot Range Called ‘the Sound of Freedom’,” Letters, Dec. 10), his tirade is typical of people like him who believe in some misguided way that the Second Amendment means that gun nuts like him can take his guns anywhere, including public parks, and fire away.

If I’m walking or bicycling through a public park such as Chabot Park, the last thing I want to hear is gunfire. Take your precious guns and fire them elsewhere and do not take the outrageous liberty of calling us folks who do not support guns “cranks.”

I might remind Mr. O’Neal that the Second Amendment is constantly misquoted. It  begins “a well regulated militia…” not “any Tom Dick or Harry…”  The Second Amendment was written  in 1791 and was clearly meant to be enforced by those (the militia) whose  job it was to secure America and keep her a free state. Your “right” to gun-use in no way trumps my right to live in a gun-free and civilized country.

— Bernadette Buchanan, San Leandro



Says Deluded Christians Kill More in U.S. than Deluded Muslims

Editor:

Last month, a deranged Christian evangelist attacked a Planned Parenthood clinic and murdered many Americans, including a police officer. Days later, a deranged married couple who were followers of Islam murdered many Americans, almost all co-workers of the husband.

Each mass murder was intended to terrorize and achieve political goals. Only one of these mass murders has caused millions of Americans like Debbie Pereira (“‘Something Strange About The Commander-in-Chief’,” Letters, Dec. 10) to foul themselves in misguided fear and anger and selectively demand that our President use our military to mass murder innocent men, women and children who are not planning terrorist acts and only share the same skin color and professed religious belief as the murderers.

Senator Ted Cruz is the clear leader in polling of Republican voters in Iowa, the first Presidential primary state. Cruz said terrorists who claim Islam as their inspiration “…will not be deterred by targeted air strikes (in the Middle East) with zero tolerance for civilian casualties…” Cruz also said “I don’t know if sand can glow in the dark, but we’re going to find out.”

During the Obama Administration,

many more Americans have been murdered by people who were motivated by their deluded Christian and white supremacist beliefs than those motivated by their deluded Muslim beliefs. For Ms. Pereira and others made uniquely fearful and angry by murders committed by those with Middle Eastern ancestry, it is wise to consider the financial and moral expenses.

If conservatives like Ms. Pereira are right in claiming that we are all in mortal danger from “radical Islamic terrorism,” our billions and billions of dollars spent on military actions in the Middle East and worldwide spying after September 11th, 2001 have been very, very poor investments, including the many billions in defense and homeland security deficit spending during the Obama Administration.

— Doug Jones, San Leandro



Cruz Would Limit Ability to Prevent Mass Shootings

Editor:

Republican presidential hopefuls like Ted Cruz oppose gun registration, regulation, and restriction because they don’t want “the government” to have more intrusive powers.

What other institution do Americans have to protect them from no-fly-list terrorists, mentally unstable people and criminals acquiring guns? Our government agencies require people to pass a test before they are licensed to drive a car, practice law, or even cut hair. Surely the purchase of killing machines and ammunition should require passing a background check, a safety test, registering in a national database, and screening for subsequent infractions that would disqualify gun ownership.

Candidates like Cruz want to limit the ability of our government to prevent mass shootings, which now account for three times more deaths than we suffered on 9/11. They pose as “outsiders” when actually they are completely embedded in corporation-sponsored corruption of our government. It is time to vote against Republicans like Cruz, and turn them into the outsiders they pretend to be.

— Bruce Joffe, Piedmont



Homeowners Should Join with Tenants in Battle for Housing

Editor:

According to Rent Jungle, as of October 2015, “One bedroom apartments in San Leandro rent for $2,098 a month on average and two-bedroom apartment rents average $2,586.” I checked out a one bedroom in a downtown complex and it was $1,895. A sales associate at Home Depot earns $16 an hour, about $2,500 a month.

Some landlords are concerned that single-family homes and duplexes are included in the ordinance that allows their tenants to seek a hearing at the rent board. Tenants did not ask for single-family homes to be included in the rent ordinance. The main problem is large, absentee landlords, investors and speculators in the human shelter market. And, the board’s decision is not binding; it is in fact a toothless ordinance.

A landlord at last week’s rent board meeting was complaining that his tenant is not paying market rate. This landlord, a real estate speculator, has thousands of units nationally. It is not a homeowner whose parents passed away and left them a home that is the issue, although every tenant has a right to decent, affordable accommodation and rights as a tenant.

As a homeowner, I have a landlord, the banks. Millions of homeowners lost their homes during the Great Recession. We too are vulnerable. A landlord with a couple of properties or duplex that lives in this community and is part of this community is different than a hedge fund that buys houses as investments. Homeowners should join with tenants in the battle for affordable housing and accommodation. When someone is paying 75 percent of their income in rent, the entire community suffers.

In the last analysis, I believe that housing is a human right in a civilized society and that if the private sector can’t provide it, then the public sector must.

— Richard Mellor, San Leandro



World Must Aggressively Address Climate Change Now

Editor:

In reply to the letter regarding historic climate change, there have indeed been prior episodes of significant climate change during the Earth’s history. But they were caused by naturally occurring events, not human activity. And, unlike the present changes, they could not have been prevented or reversed.

The climate changes being seen now are the predicted result of rapidly increasing CO2 levels. The corresponding rise in global temperatures closely correlates with increased use of fossil fuel since the industrial revolution, and the exponential rate and degree of change is unprecedented in the recorded history of the Earth.

What the writer fails to note is that the “dramatic changes” associated with historical climate change events include at least five massive extinctions. Each event killed between 60% and 95% of all species living at the time. Recovery from each of those mass extinctions took between 5 and 30 million years. If we fail to address climate change, we are headed towards another mass extinction, which could very well include humans.

Our planet is an incredibly complex, intertwined and intricate system that has supported life for millions of years. But it is not immune to human influence, and we are beginning to overwhelm the natural systems that support life on Earth. If we do not act now to address and correct the changes we are causing, we run the very real risk of runaway global warming from which there can be no reversal.

The challenges of climate change are real and immense, but not insurmountable. Addressing those challenges will require the combined will of informed citizens, governments and leaders worldwide. If, as the writer states, we are called to be prudent stewards of the environment, both for our own sake and the sake of all life, the world must aggressively address climate change now.

— Renee Harper, San Leandro



Thanks to All Who Came Out to Remember Joel Ramirez

Editor:

Many thanks to well over 100 family members, friends and community members who gathered for a candlelight vigil on December 12th, in remembrance of Joel Ramirez, an innocent victim who was senselessly murdered one year ago. People shared memories and hugs while enjoying Mexican hot chocolate on a chilly December evening.

Speakers included Delia Aceves, his aunt and godmother, who asked for help to “catch the person who did this to our family so they don’t make another family suffer like we are,” and Lt. McManus, San Leandro Police, who said “Joel did absolutely nothing wrong” and vowed to follow every lead until the killer is caught.

A $25,000 reward is being offered. Anyone with information is asked to call San Leandro Police Criminal Investigations at 510-577-3230 or Anonymous Crime Tips at 510-577-3278, or by texting “TipSLPolice” to 888777.

Thank you San Leandro for keeping Joel Ramirez’s memory alive and for seeking justice for his family.

— Rob Rich, San Leandro


 
Letters • 12-17-15 PDF  | Print |  E-mail

Modifications of Rent Review Law Should Go on the Ballot

Editor:

I am writing concerning the recent rent board modifications to the Rent Review Program Ordinance.

On Aug. 19th of this year, my wife and I attended a meeting held at the new Senior Center by the City of San Leandro. During the questions portion of the meeting we asked point blank if single-family homes were included in the new proposal. We were told by a City representative hosting the meeting, also point blank, that duplexes and single family homes were not included in the proposed changes.

At the most recent city council meeting which we also attended, not only were duplexes included in the new ordinance but, surprisingly, single-family homes. It is very poor procedure or practice to take away such important property rights without a vote. I request strongly that you  put this on a ballot and allow the entire city to vote on this issue.

— Cris Whyte, San Leandro



City Council Takes Away Rights of Homeowners

Editor:

At the Dec. 7 City Council meeting, the rights of San Leandro homeowners were taken away by our elected officials. The public was assured by city staffers at the Aug. 19 hearings for public comment, and at subsequent Rent Review Board meetings, that single-family homes and duplexes were not subject to the proposed RRPO.

Late last Monday evening, the council majority voted to include single family homes and duplexes in the ordinance, not previously in the proposal. By not delaying the vote until the public was notified of the last minute changes, Mayor Cutter and the City Council members effectively did not allow your voice, those of your senior parents, who are using or plan to use the rent from their homes as retirement and long term care income, to be heard.

Rents in San Leandro are some of the lowest in the Bay Area and the vacancy rate is less than 2%. There is a housing crunch and amendments to the ordinance are necessary to give tenants and landlords an opportunity to resolve issues. However, our San Leandro City Council has started on the short road to rent control that already exists in Oakland, San Francisco, Berkeley and other Bay Area cities.

Rent control has been shown to drive up the cost of rent as it has in those cities, when rental properties turn over.

I urge you to contact your City Council member and Mayor, and demand that the single family home inclusion in the ordinance be opened for public comment and be removed effective immediately from the Rent Review Ordinance by email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ,phone 577-3357 or via Twitter or Facebook.

— Ellen Muir, San Leandro



Says Times’ Opinion Page Wasted on Political Silliness

Editor:

Lately, the lunatic fringe seems to be coming out of the editorial page woodwork. Just last week we heard from the Earth-is-flat crowd, gun nuts and Obamascare endless-war-is-the-answer chicken hawks – in another words, Republicans.

Fred Reicker uses Earth’s temperature changes over the last 150,000 years caused by factors totally unrelated to the large scale atmospheric changes that we are now doing to the planet as a false comparison to rationalize that releasing 38 gigatons of C02/year into the air, producing an atmosphere the likes of which hasn’t been around for hundreds of millions of years, is not a problem.

He argues that somehow we shouldn’t be worried about disrupting the climate conditions under which we evolved and are now relied upon to feed 7 billion people.

Then there’s Allan Lindsay-O-Neal who thinks gunfire in the hills of San Leandro is the sound of freedom. Allan is typical of that scared and selfish crowd that needs guns to hide behind to protect themselves against all the bogeymen out there waiting to get them. They think nothing of infringing upon other people’s rights with their incessant noise pollution.

Finally we have Debbie Pereira, another constitution “expert” rambling on in some fuzzy diatribe about dismantling defense, loss of virtues, leftist professors and Obama the racist. There’s no clear point other than for her to complain that bad ol’ Obama is singlehandedly ruining our country.

It’s unfortunate that the Times’ editorial page is wasted on that sort of silliness, but I guess having to listen to these alienated, anti-science, gun worshiping, irrational president-hating people truly is the sound of freedom – that’s First Amendment, Allan, not Second.

— Larry Schumacher, San Leandro



Takes Issue with Letter Opposing Cops at Schools

Editor:

Just finished reading the highly amusing letter from Margarita Lacabe (“Opposes ‘Surveillance State’ in San Leandro Schools,” Letters, Dec. 10) who opposes our Police Officers in San Leandro schools.

With all the craziness in the world today, you’d think the safety element of having Police Officers present at the school would help add peace of mind. Not for her! She fears they will “overhear private conversations and gather evidence that they can use against the parents and family members of the school children.” (I actually had to read that line three times before I could stop laughing)! What planet does this lady live on?

Both my children went through the DARE program when in school and found it to be both a fun and educational experience.  I also enjoyed the front page article regarding the School Boards unanimous approval of the GREAT program. I applaud them for their judgment and look forward to watching the success and expansion of the program to all schools.

Again I notice Margarita quoted from her presentation saying to the Police, “Do you think this will make us like you more? Do you think this will make us trust you more?”

I somehow feel the SLPD doesn’t spend much time trying to gain her affection or trust!  The poor woman was also intimidated by the “undercover officers” she spotted at the meeting! It certainly must take a lot of energy to stay that paranoid all the time.  I strongly suggest a cup of Chai Tea and maybe a nap!

— Janet Gebhardt, San Leandro

 
Letters • 12-10-15 PDF  | Print |  E-mail

Opposes ‘Surveillance State’ in San Leandro Schools

Editor:

Last Tuesday, the San Leandro School District curriculum committee met to hear a presentation by San Leandro Police Dept. officers on a proposed program that will put police officers on elementary school campuses to teach a “gang prevention” curriculum during class hours, thus taking away time from actual academic teaching.

If approved, police officers will be treated as faculty members, have complete run of campus, be allowed to stop and interrogate children about any matters and attend parent and faculty meetings. While on campus, police officers can overhear private conversations and gather evidence that they can use against the parents and family members of school children.

The meeting was a great lesson on how institutionalized racism and even sexism by School Board members combine with the surveillance state not only to make sure the school-to-prison pipeline runs as smoothly as possible, but to disempower anyone that would question it.

You can read more about this online at sanleandrotalk.voxpublica.org\

— Margarita Lacabe, San Leandro



Climate Change – A Visitor to Earth Numerous Times

Editor:

Renee Harper’s letter “Climate Change: The Debate is Over – It’s Happening Now,” (Letters, Dec. 3) doesn’t acknowledge that climate change has visited this planet numerous times, effecting dramatic changes.

Starting close to home, San Francisco Bay was once a “great grassy valley” and enormous beasts roamed “a plain that extended to the Farrallon Islands – which at the time were landlocked peaks near the coast.” (San Francisco Chronicle, Dec. 5). There must have been quite a climate change, well before the industrial age, to give us the ocean and bay as we know them.

Farther afield, scientists agree that the now submerged land bridge between the American continent and Siberia was periodically exposed by retreating seas to permit the migration of prehistoric animals and the first modern humans.

In the book “The Invaders” anthropologist Pat Shipman explores whether climate change or modern humans caused the extinction of the Neanderthals. The author reports that five scientifically-confirmed climate changes have occurred during the last 150,000 years. The period from 60,000 to 24,000 years ago “that saw many abrupt flip-flops in climate, from warmer to colder in a few hundred years.” The last Great Ice Age was during the period from 24,000 to 11,000 years ago, when the current warmer stage of climate began. (The author concludes that modern man, who learned to domesticate the wolf, out-competed the Neanderthal.)

So climate changes. This doesn’t absolve us from being prudent stewards of our environment and resources. But it’s preposterous that 40,000 bureaucrats (Wall Street Journal, Nov. 17) recently convened in Paris to save the world from climate change with countless more agreements, the social and economic impacts of which are unknowable.

What hubris. It’s curious that 40,000 people haven’t gathered to address Islamic terrorism and the Syrian conflict, which have wrought so much more human misery than has climate change.

— Fred Reicker, San Leandro



Gun Fire at Chabot Range Called ‘the Sound of Freedom’

Editor:

Anti-gun crank Dennise Burgess (“Calls for Closing Down of Chabot Gun Club,” Letters, Nov. 19) says the sound of gunfire annoys / frightens / bothers her.

That’s just too bad, Dennise. What you’re hearing is the sound of American Citizens exercising a fundamental civil right as enshrined in the Bill of Rights of the U.S. Constitution. If you can’t stand the sound of freedom, why not follow your own advice? There’s lots of other parks here in the Bay Area, so there’s any number of places you can go riding, picnicking, fishing, camping, and hiking.

In fact, that latter is what you should do when you feel the urge to spout off about guns and freedom: take a hike!

— Allan Lindsay-O’Neal, San Leandro



San Leandrans Need to Keep Storm Drains Clear of Debris

Editor:

As we approach the rainy season, I encourage my fellow San Leandrans to join me in doing their part to keep our gutters and storm drains clear and free of debris.

By doing so, we can reduce local flooding and we can help our Public Works crews who have a big area to cover when a storm hits. If we have a lot of rain, as anticipated, they will be plenty busy.

— Sandra Gard, San Leandro



‘Something Strange About the Commander-in-Chief’

Editor:

How could America have twice elected a president who not only can’t stand America but also won’t perform his constitutional duty of defending it? Even Democrats are finally recognizing that there is something strange about a supposed commander in chief who declines to listen to his advisers on terrorism, won’t read their daily briefings, and is uninterested in their threat assessments.

It’s sad that many refused to take Obama seriously when he promised to fundamentally change America. It’s inexcusable that the media and ignorant voters believed that his radical past and his ongoing affiliation with the Rev.Wright’s racist church were irrelevant.

It’s disgraceful that a man who pledged to unite America on race, gender, etc., has intentionally polarized us. It’s contemptible that he has used his office to alienate citizens from law enforcement officials throughout the nation.

It’s abominable that he is systematically dismantling our defense capabilities and approaching foreign policy as if his actions and inactions had no more consequences than a chalkboard exercise by a clique of leftist professors in their faculty lounge.

Islamist terrorists are waging a global war against America and our allies, yet obama won’t even identify our enemy. Historians will wonder how we elected then reelected this blight on our country. We’ll be decades recovering. If any good comes of his time in office it will be of a new appreciation of how important virtue is to the daily function of a Constitutional republic. Wisdom, perseverance, honesty, appreciation for duty, courage.  Without them we don’t have enough good men to operate a government that preserves our liberties deriving its just powers from the consent of the governed, per the Declaration. Possibly one day we’ll be glad we made our horrible Obama mistake. Right now we need to focus on surviving it.

— Debbie Pereira, San Leandro


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

Former Resident Revisits His ‘Old Haunts’

Editor:

I recently had the chance to journey back home. Though it was to put my father to rest, I of course took the time to visit some old haunts.

I was glad to see that Porky’s Pizza Palace and Clancy’s are still there and busy as ever. And, oh, the heat of the salsa at La Piñata, how I have missed that! I was impressed with the new Kaiser facility nearby, and happy to see that a pediatrics department had indeed been included on the campus.

The traffic on 880, oh yes, some things never change. But, alas, they do. The Kmart that I took my first solo walking journey to so many years ago is being transformed and the familiar green buildings across the street, they will transform soon too.

I can only hope this, and all of the other transformations taking place in my hometown, prove to be good for San Leandro and her people in the long run. Though I’ve only been gone for two and a half years, it felt like it had been a lifetime when my plane took off.  I look forward to getting back again.

— Jamie Radley, New Orleans



Open Letter to Park District on Chabot Gun Range

Editor:

The battery of gunfire from Chabot Park is intrusive to people like us who live 2.9 miles away from the gun range. The warlike noise drives families away from park trails, nearby campgrounds and the golf course.

It is unconscionable to subsidize the gun range with taxpayer money to drive out families who seek peace and quiet in a natural setting.

Guns are good, but the Mission Statement states the East Bay Regional Park District will preserve the park. There are about 15 other local gun ranges from which to choose. The lead in the runoff just downstream from the gun range far exceeds environmental standards.

How about an archery range? It would attract families and not wreak havoc on the environment.

— Winnie and Gerry Thompson, Castro Valley



Says Rent Control Opponent Got His Facts Wrong

Editor:

In responding to my letter of Nov. 12, Mr. Nierengarten was factually wrong in his letter of the 26th.

I was not comparing rents “reported in the Census from five years ago in Berkeley and San Francisco.” I referenced his own figures from his letter of Oct. 29. (As Yogi Berra said, “You can look it up”).

He also states I said that “I would gladly move to other cities for lower rents.” In fact, I never wrote that (you can look it up). I wrote “I would gladly pay $1,177 or even $1,328 a month – far below what I’m paying now.” I would not gladly move to another city because my family and my grandkids are here. That’s the major factor in determining where I live.

I and other tenants are asking the city not to allow landlords to price us out of our homes, thereby forcing us to move somewhere we don’t want to be. And because our home is an apartment and not a house, that doesn’t make it any less our home.

He also states that I’m “enjoying the good life in the Bay Area without having to pay for it.” I do pay for it. I’m on a fixed income. My entire social security check only covers about half the rent I pay; the rest comes from my pension.  And while landlords want a flat 10 percent across the board increase, none of my incomes will have any COLA this coming year, which means the rent increase I just received isn’t being offset by any type of raise in income.

What he terms my “good life” entails paying rent, food, bills and medical expenses on a stagnant income, or, for other tenants, stagnant wages. We don’t have our cake and eat it, too, because we can’t afford the cake to start with.

— K. Lee-Figueroa, San Leandro



Climate Change: The Debate Is Over – It’s Happening Now

Editor:

What the recent letter “Refutes Proponents of ‘Religion of Climate Change’,” Nov. 19) fails to acknowledge is the debate is already over. Climate change is happening now. Failing to understand this is like failing to understand the reality of gravity.

Every single “fact” the author cites is irrelevant or distorted.

Sea level rise: Sea levels rose 6.7 inches in the last century. The rate has doubled in the last decade. (climate.nasa.gov/evidence/) But perhaps the writer doesn’t feel NASA is a credible source. The website Surging Seas shows a 1 foot sea level rise, San Leandro property valued at $136 million will be flooded. At 2 feet, the Oakland Airport runways will be underwater.

Ice melting: While Antarctic ice has increased, it’s only 1/3 of the magnitude of rapid sea ice loss in the Artic. The amount lost is striking, and well documented by NASA and in the film “Chasing Ice.”

Polar bear deaths: In some (but not all) Arctic regions, polar bears are dying due to sea ice loss in their hunting grounds, which they depend on to catch seals. Deaths of polar bears will only accelerate as more ice melts.

Greenhouse gases: Water vapor is a greenhouse gas, but is an amplifier, not a driver, of increased global temperatures. It does not persist in the environment like CO2. Warmer temperatures due to increased CO2 cause increased water evaporation, more atmospheric water vapor, and heavier snowstorms and rain. The record-breaking snowstorms and floods in recent years are the predicted results of climate change.

And, yes, methane from cows and other food animals is a potent greenhouse gas.

Rational and sane people don’t need to deny reality. Climate change is here now and threatens our food and water supply, health, safety, and national security. We all need to understand how serious the threat is and take action.

— Renee Harper, San Leandro


 

 
Letters • 11-26-15 PDF  | Print |  E-mail

City ‘Needs a Housecleaning, Not a Paid consultant’

Editor:

Regarding “PR Expert Trains City Council on Communication,” Page 1, The Times, Nov. 12, city officials have done some dumb things in the past, but this one takes the cake.

Paying an “expert” with taxpayers’ money to teach them to “communicate” is the utmost in chutzpah. What’s worse is that the takeaway message from all this training, according to the Times article by Ms. Sylvestri, is to get citizens to stop talking, just pull the microphone plug.

Just why are we hiring and electing City officials who don’t give a hoot what the people that pay them think? And this is the truth, given the outcome of the two BZA meetings where citizens were literally told to stop talking because their three minutes were up. BZA members who voted on that case, later were heard to say, “Well I believe that I heard all I needed to hear to make a decision, it didn’t much matter what else anyone said.”

At a recent meeting between our neighborhood activist in Davis West and the Community Development Director, the resident was told that she was the problem and that staff did not want to work with her anymore. I don’t know why anyone else is as outraged as I am, but I would love to recall and fire anyone who cannot do the job they were hired to do.

If excellent communication skills were not foremost on the list of qualifications for any of these positions, then we need Human Resources and the citizens to take a closer look at who we hire and/or put into office. We need some serious housecleaning, not a paid consultant to train people on communications.

— Janet Palma, AICP, REHS, Former BZA Chair and Member, San Leandro



‘Some Form of Rent Control Must Be Fought For’

Editor:

In her article “Renters Plead to Powerless Board For Assistance,” (Page 1, The Times, Nov. 19), Ms Sylvestri referred to me as a person “organizing the renters.” The renters were meeting before I came on the scene and I support their cause, but I am not in any capacity an organizer for the tenants group.

In addition, the rent board is not “powerless” as the title implies. It chooses to be powerless for tenants and favors big landlords. The rent board could write a proposal that favors tenants or an actual rent control proposal that would be sent to the city council with a recommendation for adoption.

Unfortunately, the two renters’ representatives and Mia Ousley, a former business owner who described her values as “social justice, economic equity, and human rights” when she ran for city council, supported the landlord-friendly proposal. But is safe, affordable housing not a “human right”?

That more tenants have become involved is why the board made some concessions in their favor and tenants should build on that. The city council, also dominated by big business interests, will not pass pro-tenant proposals without being pressed to do so by organized tenants. Organization is power, landlords know it and tenants should too.

Housing is a social concern and should not be for profit. The present situation is also harmful to community businesses as it cuts in to local consumer’s buying power. Some form of rent control must be fought for. One San Leandro landlord, an investor, has some 2,000 units in Chicago.

As I argued at the meeting, tenants can only rely on their own strength and organization and that direct action in the form of protesting or picketing other businesses that these investors own as well as rent strikes can be successful at some point.

— Richard Mellor, San Leandro



Says Tenants Want ‘Good Life Without Paying For It’

Editor:

Mr. Lee-Figueroa (“Says Landlord Letter-Writer Makes Case for Rent Control,” Letters, Nov. 12) continues to labor under misconceptions. First, he is comparing current average rent in San Leandro to the rents reported in the Census from 5 years ago in Berkeley and San Francisco; I used Census data from 2000 and 2010 for consistency.

No doubt the current average rent there for a comparable property is higher, and assuredly it is so, or he would have moved to those rent-controlled paradises by now, as he states he would “gladly pay” those rents.

Second, and more importantly, he labors under the assumption that rents would “automatically” increase here by 10% per year. Landlords are in a marketplace like any other, and if I price the rent too high, I lose tenants, and missing a month’s worth of rent is nearly 10% of a year’s income.

Again, he confirms this by stating he would gladly move to other cities for lower rents. Finally, as Mr. Lee-Figueroa would have the City Council tell me how much income I’m able to earn from my property, I would propose the City Council also institutes a “maximum raise” law, where Mr. Lee-Figueroa, is only allowed a maximum annual raise for his wages.

I can hear the responses now: Unfair? Why? You’re proposing the exact same thing for me, and really, a 10% raise in a year is more than anyone should expect, right? After all, as our multi-millionaire President once said, “At some point you’ve made enough.”

Perhaps Mr. Lee-Figueroa wants to have his cake and eat it too, in his words, enjoying the good life in the Bay Area without having to pay for it.

— David Nierengarten, San Leandro



Wants to Put Rent Control Ordinance on The Ballot

Editor:

At the Nov. 17 meeting of the San Leandro Rent Review Board several things became clear:

First, how the Board is totally useless in providing any solution to the arbitrary rent increases. Mr. Silva’s theatrics do not disguise its uselessness.

Second, the Board has been chaired by a landlord for a long time while the so-called Tenant Representatives, appointed by the Mayor, sit there like flower pots only opening their mouths to say “Aye,” This clearly shows the Board’s bent.

Third, Mr. Hernandez made it very clear that the proposed changes stand. Therefore, it’s very clear that they’re not listening to tenants.

Fourth, it’s clear that the Board is kicking the ball forward with these meetings hoping to pass the changes when people stop paying attention. It’s all a sham!

The state is being flooded with illegals who displace U.S. workers from their jobs and housing, while the state’s government – that claims not to have funds to allocate for housing – is providing them with driver licenses, free education, Medi-Cal and other benefits.

The State and the City government are rabidly opposed to Rent Control. If we, the tenants of San Leandro, want to pass a Rent Control Ordinance, we’d only have a chance to do it if we organize to put a Rent Control Ordinance on the ballot for 2016.

When Social Security checks are being frozen, the San Leandro Rent Review Board is willing to give the landlords a 10% increase yearly, no questions asked. Of course, this 10% is not enforceable either. The City certainly is not giving its workers a 10% increase yearly.

In another hypocritical twist, the council members claim that a Rent Control Ordinance would discourage developers from building new housing in San Leandro. They fail to explain how the current rental units scarcity happened when there isn’t a Rent Control in San Leandro. If the City Council were not in the landlords’ pockets it would decree  an immediate freeze on all rent increases.

Let’s organize to put a Rent Control Ordinance on the Ballot!

— Leo T. West, San Leandro



City Has Wrong Priorities: ‘Make Streets Safe Again’¡

Editor:

The number one concern in town right now is not that we need a strip mall at the Marina or giant statue at the BART station, but rather that our streets have become unsafe. Speeders have taken over and as a result it’s no longer safe to even sleep in your own homes, as we all saw on the news last week.

For years the city has chased after retail development thinking the big boon in sales tax revenue would magically balance our budget and put us all on easy street. With the increase in online shopping, brick and mortar stores are becoming a thing of the past and so San Leandro is chasing a worn out dream. Even if we got our Trader Joe’s tomorrow, we still need to make up for Pier One and Kmart leaving earlier this year.

And, so how are we ever going increase our police presence in town and make our streets safer, given this flawed idea of revenue growth? For a city of 85, 000 we have a police force of less than 100 officers. It’s simply not enough. Our tiny force does an incredible job of keeping us safe, but they are not miracle workers. But we’re expecting them to be.

We need to double the size of our current force to at least 200, which will mean figuring out how to pay for it. Waiting for all the sales tax revenue from the new Pete’s Coffee downtown isn’t going to do it.

Mayor Cutter, instead of wasting more taxpayer money on political consults to tell you how to speak up at meetings, please start acting like a leader and make our streets safe again. Put your heads together at city hall and figure this out.

Let’s go back to being able to afford a cop walking the beat downtown. Let’s go back to community policing and preventing crime, instead of only being able to react to it in many cases.  Let’s give the police the tools they need to make our streets safe again.

— Gary Langbehn, San Leandro



Kudos to City for Newly Constructed Streets

Editor:

It has taken 4 years of letters and phone calls to you and our city council members, but Georgetown Ave., along with Hanover and Victor, are now fine, newly constructed streets. They have been totally replaced and are smooth as glass. Kudos to Mark Goralka and his city team for moving this project to its completion. The Gallagher and Company contractors did a great job and were friendly and accommodating to our needs. Thank-you, San Leandro, for helping to make our city a pleasant place in which to live.

— Dori Robinson, San Leandro


 
Letters • 11-19-15 PDF  | Print |  E-mail

Red-Light Camera Fines Called ‘Confiscatory’

Editor:

Mike Katz-Lacabe’s letter (“Now’s the Time to Get Rid of SL’s Red-Light Cameras,” Nov. 5) was spot on.  Those cameras have never been about safety; they are a means to raise revenue for the city, and nothing more.

But I would say the amounts of the fines are beyond punitive.  A fine of several hundred dollars for making a right turn without coming to a complete stop is what I would call confiscatory. Can you tell us which city officials support this program, and when they will stand for election so we can vote them out of office?

— Victor De Grande, San Leandro



Public Urged to Protest Chabot Park Construction

Editor:

As information has begun to circulate about the East Bay Regional Park District’s (EBRPD) Lake Chabot Plan which includes 5  buildings totaling 43,000 square feet of new construction at the old Nike Missile site, community members are starting to worry about the impact on the serenity and natural beauty of their beloved Lake Chabot Park.

A group of local professionals were among the first citizens to voice their concerns about this project.

Over the past 2 months of “...walking it, mapping it, staking it, and modeling it,” the group strongly recommends that the buildings  be constructed outside of Lake Chabot.

In a groundswell of support for their findings, the Guardians of Lake Chabot have organized to distribute  this information. They argue that construction would increase traffic, create noise and air pollution,  upset the natural habitat for native plants and animals and mar the pastoral views and reverie of park users.

Fourteen thousand five hundred cubic feet of excavated earth would have to be off-loaded. The public would no longer have access to  the Nike Base area that has been the “gateway” to Lake Chabot Park for generations of hikers, bikers, runners, and other park users.

In addition, the Guardians believe that this project is in direct violation of

EBRPD Master Plan of 2013 which states: (1) Open space should be preserved, (2) land development should be avoided and (3) proposals from individuals and groups that use the land must be considered.

Through their website (saveourlakechabot.com) and public speaking engagements, the Guardians invite others to join them in Saving Lake Chabot.  Phillips  said, “Now is the time to  email  EBRPD Board members and other governmental agencies  to voice your opposition to their Lake Chabot Plan.”

— Terry Liebowitz, Castro Valley



Refutes Proponents of ‘Religion of Climate Change’

Editor:

I respond, as both a rational/sane citizen and a vegetarian, to the ludicrous letter by Mr. Shapiro of PETA (Letters, Nov. 12) regarding so-called “ Global Warming.

The Religion of Climate Change (TRCC ) in regard to agriculture claims that “ global greenhouse gas emissions” include cow flatulence.  This shows just how stupid its proponents, as with Mr. Shapiro, think the public really is – to claim that people must not eat meat in order to stop cows from destroying the planet.

Bottom Line – The sky is not falling. The oceans are not rising. There are more polar bears than ever. There is more ice at the poles, as with Antarctica, than ever.  That big bright object in the sky, known as the sun, drives the weather on earth; not a vital for life gas ( CO2 ) that is less than 1/2 of 1% of the so-called “greenhouse gases.”  Water vapor is over 95% of such “ gases.” ”

It is time to stop the Social Engineering insanity of TRCC.

— Don J. Grundmann, San Leandro



Mud-Slinging Debates

Editor:

I’ve been watching the debates and keep waiting to hear what plans our presidential hopefuls have for our country. Instead, all I’ve heard so far is mud slinging, which to me is inept. Instead of voting for your party, hopefully voters will vote for the best candidate. Time will tell.

— Earl Cava, San Leandro



Calls for Closing Down of Chabot Gun Club

Editor:

We are fortunate to live close to several beautiful regional parks, especially Lake Chabot and Anthony Chabot Parks.

According to the Vision Statement of the East Bay Regional Parks, our parks have been established to provide opportunities “to experience nature nearby” like hiking, biking, picnicking, fishing, and camping. That is why having the Chabot Gun Club at Anthony Chabot Park is so inconsistent with the purpose of the parks and should be closed down.

We should be able enjoy the quiet and beauty of nature in a park, and not be subjected to the explosive sound of gunshot noise, a sound associated with violence and war, and incompatible with the atmosphere of a natural setting.

Those wanting to do gun training or practice can go to one of the gun ranges outside of our regional parks.

Another concern of keeping the Chabot Gun Club open is the lead contamination of runoff water, which far exceeds current environmental standards.  If the gun range were to continue to operate, required cleanup and maintenance would cost tens of thousands of dollars every year, which would require the taxpayers to subsidize the operation. The Chabot Gun Club has been in Anthony Chabot Park far too long.

Let’s close it down when its lease expires at the end of this year.

— Dennise Burgess, Castro Valley



300 Pounds of Halloween Candy Collected for Troops

Editor:

On behalf of Bancroft Dental Care, we would like to thank the City of San Leandro, North Area Business Association, San Leandro School District, St. Leander and Assumption Schools, and the Fire Department) for supporting our 7th annual Halloween “Cash for Candy” event that was recently held in our office on Nov. 2.

This year we collected over 300 pounds of candy which, along with dental oral hygiene supplies, was donated and shipped to Operation Gratitude, for U.S. military troops stationed around the world.

— Mike Chang DDS, Marie Tero DDS, Bancroft Dental Care, San Leandro



Waiting to Hear Muslim Leaders Condemnation of Terrorists

Editor:

We must be careful not to condemn all Muslims for the barbaric acts of Islamic terrorists. “Islam,” we are told, means “path to peace.”  I’m waiting to hear harsh condemnation from multitudes of Muslim leaders throughout the world. Waiting.  Still waiting.

— Bruce Joffe, Piedmont


 

 

 

Classifieds

Weekly specialty items listings, garage sales, and much more!

 

Current Ads

 

If you would like to place a Classified Ad, call Patrick at 510-614-1558.

Real Estate

Get the latest in housing news and services delivered to you in full color PDF.

 

Browse this weeks gallery