Stop bashing Quan, focus on solutions

I am weary of people simply venting for the indulgent pleasure of blowing off steam. The screed against the mayor in the March 22 Montclarion came from a writer who had a vast storehouse of adjectives but offered no suggestion or specifics; instead, lots of name calling. Oakland needs her citizens to use their talents to work together to solve our problems -- thoughtful criticism and suggestions are needed.

Mayor Quan inherited a city without a balanced budget and pushed to balance the budget and will probably do it again. She continues her involvement with the communities -- attending the many crime-prevention meetings, joining the Lifeline Ceasefire Night Walks, yes, and showing up for the many Oakland's Night Outs. She is not responsible for the housing bubble's burst nor the pent-up rage against Oakland's police, but she has held steadfast to the Ceasefire program and has hired help from the best in the country.

Her summer jobs and mentoring program recognize the need for providing more opportunities for our young people; she brought in new business, and, despite the crime and violence, if you look around there is hope, pride and a feeling of "Yes, we can make a better Oakland."

Gen Katz

Oakland

No election system can assure best candidate

A recent letter writer states that Oakland Mayor Jean Quan would not have been elected had it not been for ranked-choice voting. And she says the residents are disappointed in Quan's performance as mayor, so the voting system should be abolished.

I'd like to remind her and others that former Mayor Ron Dellums was voted in the old-fashioned way, and he was also a disappointment.

People miss the point if they believe an excellent candidate will be assured under any system. All that ranked-choice voting promised is that a majority of voters would vote for the winning candidate. Don Perata had a plurality, not a majority.

By counting the second-place votes on the second round, Quan had the majority. Blame the voters, if you must.

Anne Spanier

Alameda

Street trees damaged by botched pruning

On your next visit to Montclair Village, raise your eyes skyward and look with dismay on the poor trees that were chopped and hacked courtesy of the Montclair Village Association. Learning how to properly thin and shape a tree is relatively easy -- a Sunset gardening guide will show you the way. Yet the MVA apparently made no effort to ensure that a certified arborist was among the ranks of people they hired to prune the trees. This maintenance mishap has both jeopardized the long-term health of our urban forest, and set a terrible example for the community on how to properly care for mature trees.

Tim Vendlinski

Oakland

Our so-called leaders failed country on Iraq

I commend the editorial staff for the great editorial about the truth concerning the miserable, total failure and waste of the U.S. invasion of Iraq, the "New Vietnam."

U.S. senators and representatives who voted "yes" to give George W. Bush the official approval to invade and occupy Iraq are as guilty as Bush. They knew better.

They were much more concerned about their image of "being patriotic" and being re-elected than doing what was best for our country by voting "no." They knew that millions of Americans believed all the lies and propaganda Bush and his henchmen used in their politics of fear to beat the drums for invading Iraq.

I am disgusted to no end that all of these so-called leaders of our U.S. government will never be held accountable for its inexcusable, despicable actions. Sept. 11, 2001, should never have happened. One would think that the very successful bomb attack, eight years before in one of the towers, would have raised red flags for our U.S. government.

Dan Orth

Oakland

Another self-serving leader takes Oakland police reins

It seems that Thomas Frazier is more interested in helping himself to a big chunk of money than he is in getting to work cleaning up the mess at the Oakland Police Department.

Why should he get special treatment over other employees? Give him the same benefits package offered to the rest of the department and get to work. Take the benefits available, not a "cash equivalent."

Who does he think he is? With a guy like this in charge, can we really expect true reform? It's another case of a leader taking care of himself first and the rest of us be damned.

Tom Hayes

Oakland

NRA worse than al-Qaida, gun deaths their fault

Which is worse, Osama bin Laden and al-Qaida or Wayne LaPierre and the NRA?

On 9/11, nearly 3,000 were killed. Since then, it's been reported that some 270,000 have died by guns (an average of more than 24,500 each year).

As President Barack Obama said, "Shame on us, if we've forgotten."

Marv Tripp

Oakland

Long-term care rate increasing too much

My husband and I are among the hundreds of "victims" of CalPERS' long-term care insurance 85 percent rate increase planned for 2015, as is a fellow letter writer who addressed this issue recently.

We have responsibly paid for this insurance for more than 10 years, which equals to a $75,000 investment. Our monthly rates will increase from $633 to $1,171 in 2015, keeping our current coverage. CalPERS' reason for the increase is "more people are using this insurance than current fees will cover. You will probably only use it for two years anyway."

Our choices at this point are: drop the insurance, go for lesser coverage for fewer years, sell our house and move where long-term care is covered (as in Arizona), or take our chances with Lady Luck. Go figure.

Linda Messick

Oakland