Oakland needs Bratton's expertise
Regarding the recent letter, "Bratton's style is not what Oakland needs," I run into clients or acquaintances sometimes daily in Oakland. Most often, the conversation is that they were robbed or someone in their neighborhood was.
In my own neighborhood in Oakland, we normally have about one home burglary a day. We have had home invasions, hear gun shots and had a neighbor shot. The news reported that on one weekend night, three people were shot at a party on Seminary Avenue. In other neighborhoods, people are shot almost daily, it seems.
Is this an emergency situation? I would think most Oaklanders would say "yes." I would also think most Oaklanders would welcome William Bratton in helping reducing crime. Bratton has had success in major U.S. cities for reducing not only crime but also violent crime. Should we be worried about him working for our city, one of the most violent cities in America? I think not. I am pretty sure that most Oaklanders -- not those only in Montclair and Rockridge, as the letter writer suggests, but in Fruitvale, Maxwell Park, East Oakland and other areas -- would welcome Bratton as well.
Oakland has created a culture that is defending criminals and their actions. We must stop making excuses. Most criminals are committing crime whether the economy is good or bad. We have created the perfect storm for this Wild West mentality that we allow on our streets in Oakland. Enough.
Hiring Bratton just another PR move
Call me a cynic, but I doubt that the decision to engage the services of William Bratton to advise Oakland on how to stem the tide of violence and crime has much to do with a sincere change of heart on the part of Mayor Jean Quan.
This is more window dressing designed to give the public the impression that Quan is committed to real reform. In typical fashion, this is a hire long on public relations value and short on specific, long-term strategy.
Why do we have a highly paid chief of police when we then hire what is in essence a duplicate chief for huge dollars? This is just more pie-in-the-sky nonsense designed to ingratiate Quan with the electorate with an eye on re-election and the renewal of the fraud commonly known as Measure Y.
There are plenty of intelligent, prudent recommendations about how to stem the flow of thugs and pimps and assorted swine who have the freedom to operate with impunity in Oakland that ought to be implemented, but until we stop squandering resources on half-measures, boondoggles and poorly vetted programs, we will never do the one thing that is certain to stem the tide: hire a sufficient number of police officers to do the job.
Jonathan C. Breault
A better solution on bags must exist
Being a 91-year-old woman, I have the common problem, as others do, of requiring the use of a plastic bag for my dog.
What are we to do? Can we not get a card or something to be exempt from having to pay for bags? Talk about discrimination. I still think that this new law is a bad idea in general. There should be a better solution to encourage people not to use plastic. I am afraid that we will see more garbage lying around Oakland.
Emeryville cameras are really just a trap
As a resident of Oakland, I frequently go to Emeryville to shop.
The busy and complex intersection of Powell Street and Christie Avenue is one of those infamous camera-designated intersections to catch red-light violators. What it truly represents is a trap.
When exiting east on Powell, making a left onto Christie is tricky. There is a gas station located on the southeast corner that is patronized by many customers. Individuals turning left into this station result in an unpredictable backup in the intersection.
In 2011, there were more than 500 red-light citations issued to raise revenue for the city of Emeryville, some of which were successfully contested while others were not. Even worse, there are risks for accidents and even fatalities at this intersection.
There are three solutions: First, remove the cameras. Second, re-educate the city's engineering department on practical intersection design. Third, send a message to the mayor and the City Council to stop being greedy.
Going over 'milk cliff' would be just fine
A frequent bugaboo of the "fiscal cliff" debacle was the "milk cliff," the threat of milk prices doubling, if Congress failed to extend dairy subsidies.
Consumption of dairy products, laden with saturated fats, cholesterol, hormones and drugs elevates the risk of diabetes, heart disease and cancer. This is particularly critical during childhood years, when dietary flaws become lifelong addictions.
A study of 12,829 children by Harvard Medical School found that drinking cow's milk leads to weight gain. Several proteins in cow's milk can thicken mucus secretions leading to respiratory problems in children. Most African Americans and Asian Americans suffer from cramping and diarrhea because they lack the enzyme to digest lactose in cow's milk.
The good news is that green leafy vegetables and legumes supply all the calcium and proteins touted in cow's milk without the excess calories and other yucky factors noted. Every supermarket offers a huge line of dairy-free milks, cheeses and ice creams made from healthy nuts and grains.
This is why the U.S. Agriculture Department's current dietary guidelines for Americans shunt dairy (and meat) off the recommended plate of vegetables, fruits and grains.
Cow's milk is produced for bovine -- not human -- babies. Let's give our kids a healthy start.