Let's make a deal on lakeside dog park

Everyone who owns a dog in Oakland can see the need for a dog park by Lake Merritt, but if I were living there I might oppose it, too.

I have two little rescue mutts (terrier mixes), Hobo and Scrappy. There is nowhere for them to run and socialize with other dogs in the neighborhoods in and around the lake.

I know: How about a compromise? Build an oval "track" park around the perimeter of the area originally proposed. That way, kids can still play in the center portion, and the dogs can run in circles, which they love, of course. Might cost a bit more in fencing, but it would make our city even more attractive and enjoyable.

Justine Tenzeldam

Oakland

Avoiding downtown until safety addressed

No more downtown Oakland for me until something is done about the crime. Oakland is trying to bring more people into the downtown areas and has opened up many new restaurants there. I would love to support them.

I was enjoying a lovely dinner in one of those restaurants recently. When I returned to my car, I found the left rear window smashed and some (previously not visible) belongings taken.

This was the last straw for me. It does not matter to me what they do to try to improve the downtown area. I will stay away until they do something about the increasing crime rate there. It is no longer a safe place to be.


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Sandra Goldberg

Oakland

Occupation exactly what conflict is about

The author of a Dec. 21 letter writes, "the real reason for the Israeli-Arab conflict is the undying desire of the Arabs to destroy the state of Israel, not about land, occupation, etc."

No. It is about land and occupation. The Jews, victims in Europe, carved out Israel from the Arab state of Palestine and now occupy the West Bank. The Israelis continue to take land by settlements in the West Bank and by making East Jerusalem increasingly inviable as a future capital of Palestine.

The Arabs want the land back and the onerous occupation in the West Bank to end. Think about freedom, liberty and self-determination that we Americans value.

If it weren't for land and occupation, give a reason why the Arabs would want to destroy Israel? Destroying Israel gives the Arabs all their land back, and ends the occupation.

The problem is two nations want the same land. The Israelis aren't a disinterested party to draw up a mutually tolerable peace treaty. The United Nations needs to be involved before the Arab-Israeli conflict becomes World War III.

Rodger H.V. Buehler

Oakland

Fish, game prospect doesn't deserve OK

The confirmation hearing of Fish and Game Commissioner Jim Kellogg is scheduled for Wednesday before the Senate Rules Committee, chaired by state Sen. Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento. Other members are Sens. Hannah-Beth Jackson, D-Santa Barbara, Ricardo Lara, D-South Gate, Jean Fuller, R-Bakersfield, and Bill Emmerson, R-Riverside. Letters of opposition are needed now.

Email pattern for all Senators: senator.steinberg@senateca.gov. All legislators may be written c/o The State Capitol, Sacramento, CA 95814.

Assemblymember Ben Hueso's AB 2609 became law Jan. 1, requiring that Fish and Game commissioners meet certain criteria. Kellogg does not qualify. Worse, he claims that spent lead shot is harmless to condors and other wildlife (false); supports the unethical use of electronic duck decoys ("roboducks"); has declared the invasive striped bass to be "a California native species" (not true); missed the October commission meeting to go hunting (missing an important vote on the status of the gray wolf in California); and at the December commission meeting in San Diego voted with the 2-1 majority (along with Commissioner Richard Rogers) to send the live animal food market issue to the Legislature, abdicating his and the commission's responsibility to protect our natural resources. Our wildlife deserves better.

Urge Gov. Brown to rescind this unfortunate appointment.

Eric Mills

coordinator Action For Animals Oakland

Nation must fix gun, mental health laws

It's been rough trying to find quiet time to talk with our 7-year-old about the Connecticut shooting.

We wanted him to know the facts, so he is prepared. How can anyone be prepared for what follows such unthinkable acts of violence against such innocent victims?

Run-of-the-mill gun violence in urban streets kills more people than mass murder. But psychologically the impact feels greater. We must stop the insanity of both. But why do we start the conversation about gun control by limiting the ban to assault weapons or multibullet magazines? Is the gun lobby really so strong that reformers must bargain against themselves?

As to mental illness, there are medications, understandings and therapies and many more options now than ever before. Remove the stigma so that mental and physical health are on par for care, access, support and funding. Let's not try to find blame, but rather find the solutions.

If anything good can come out of the tragedy in Connecticut, it can be national reforms in our laws for guns and mental health.

Evelyn J. Herrera

Oakland