Palestinians' deaths are fault of Hamas

The author of July 25 letter, "U.S. aids and abets slaughter in Gaza," expresses disgust that not one member of the U.S. Senate voted against a resolution supporting Israel's right to defend itself against Hamas, which she attributes to the "Israeli lobby."

Consider the facts: Hamas, a recognized terrorist organization, begins indiscriminate rocket attacks on Israel. It ignores warnings and escalates attacks to the point at which millions of Israelis are fleeing to bomb shelters. It builds tunnels for the purpose of attacking and kidnapping civilians and soldiers and for smuggling in rockets and other weapons. It locates missile launchers and command facilities amid civilians and advises residents not to evacuate after Israeli warnings that their location is to be targeted. And finally, it rejects repeated cease-fire proposals from the international community.

While the civilian casualties in Gaza -- and Israel -- are tragic, deliberately acting to cause the deaths of innocent Gazans is part of Hamas' strategy. That is a war crime.

Gilbert R. Serota

Oakland board member Anti-Defamation League Central Pacific Region

Latest parcel tax just more of same

The so-called violence-prevention tax known as Measure Y foisted upon us 10 years ago was proved to be a fraud with taxes collected and promised services not rendered. We never got the cops promised, and the politicians were complicit in this failure.


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As a consequence, the fools running this town decided that we have not suffered enough and ought to sign up all over again for the "Pay More, Get Less" municipal government so common hereabout.

Another parcel tax promises very little in the way of adequate police staffing and is sure to deliver significantly less. And this is the best that our mayor and our City Council can deliver, notwithstanding the fact that our town is overrun by thieves, thugs and out-of-control barbarism. Absent a police force of at least 900 we will endure more of the same, and you can take that to the bank.

It is nothing short of stupefying that Mayor Jean Quan cannot acknowledge the serious crime problem that so many people have to endure day after day and that our town's economy suffers mightily as a consequence. You would think that councilmembers who aspire to be mayor would have the ability and political chops sufficient to get something more consequential than the Measure Y redux that we will vote on in November.

This is a big nothing-burger and is once again confirmation that Oakland is not ready for prime time with a class of nonentities and lightweights who just cannot do the work necessary to bring our town into the civilized world. When considering who you want to run this town for the next four years consider the state of our police department.

Jonathan C. Breault

Importing of species invasions must stop

Last Saturday through this Sunday is "California Invasive Species Action Week." Someone should alert our Fish & Wildlife Department.

California annually imports 2 million non-native American bullfrogs for human consumption, commonly sold on the market in Chinatowns. These invasives can be bought and released into local waters, where they prey upon and displace our native species.

Worse, most of the market frogs carry the dreaded chytrid fungus, which in recent years has caused the extinction of more than 200 species of frogs and other amphibians. Back in 2010, our state Fish & Game Commission unanimously instructed the Fish & Wildlife Department to stop the import of all live frogs and turtles for food. They were ignored, and the frogs and the fungus continue to spread. The department's response? "The director acts at the pleasure of the governor." So much for the democratic process and resource protection.

Easy fix: the Fish & Wildlife Department need only enforce its own California Code of Regulations, CCR 236, which stipulates that any shipment of diseased animals be either destroyed or returned to its point of origin. Numerous necropsies have shown that all the market frogs and turtles are diseased and/or parasitized. Cultural politics and big money continue to trump environmental protection. Not acceptable.

Let the department hear from you before we lose all our native frogs. Write to Chuck Bonham, director, Fish & Wildlife Department, 1416 Ninth St., Sacramento, CA 95814; or email director@wildlife.ca.gov.

Eric Mills

Coordinator Action For Animals Oakland