A community should support its children

Rep. Barbara Lee's article, "More talk won't help African-American boys; it's time to act" (Times, Aug. 27) had important points. However, adults must work together to protect children.

Focus on strengthening families!

Four important things that help a community support its children:

1. Connected neighbors become aware of what's happening on their block, which reduces fear as they create a strong sense of community.

2. When children see neighbors interacting positively, they learn to respect others. Caring neighbors help children feel accepted.

3. Adults often repeat the abuse they experienced as children. Involved neighbors reduce isolation. Our prisons are full of men who were abused.

4. Good neighbors become mentors and role models for children. Connected neighbors can work together to solve problems. Adults teach children by example.

The power of community unity is free. but needs to be encouraged, promoted and rewarded. City leaders can appoint a committee to focus on strengthening families. When we work together for stronger cities, we will fulfill Dr. Martin Luther King's dream for all Americans.

Stephanie L. Mann

Crime and violence prevention consultant, Safe Kids Now, Orinda

Saranap: Our community isn't 'tired,' 'blighted'


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As homeowners on Kendall Court in the Saranap, we are concerned with changes that developer Mark Hall and the Hall Equities Group are planning for our neighborhood ("Makeover sought for Saranap," Sept. 1 Times). Of particular concern are the heights proposed for four new buildings, the tallest of which would be six stories. There are no buildings currently over three stories anywhere in the Saranap neighborhood, and anything taller would significantly change the character of our idyllic hamlet.

Ours is a diverse and vibrant residential community. We do not view the Saranap as "tired" or "blighted," as suggested by Mr. Hall. Many of us would welcome projects that would make better use of the long-empty corner lot and the vacant store, including additional businesses that would serve our community. Many of us would also welcome changes that would make Boulevard Way more pedestrian friendly.

With more creativity and appreciation for the current strengths of the Saranap, development can be done successfully. But we adamantly oppose any new buildings taller than those currently in the Saranap.

John and Karen Kersey, Aissa and Paul Markey and residents of 11 other households on Kendall Court and Lucy Lane

Saranap