How to fix OPD's staffing problems
In response to the recent front-page article that stated that Oakland agreed to pay Thomas Frazier $337,000 to oversee the police department: perhaps Oakland should let him be chief of police and thus earn his pay.
Then Oakland could save money by not hiring a head hunter for a new chief. Then, to make Oakland safer, we could make all of the captains, deputy chiefs and even the existing chief patrolmen -- thus solving some of the staffing problems.
A's Coliseum area needs more cleanup
Much is made of the Oakland A's poor home attendance; especially in light of the fact that the team is terrific, contending for a Western Division title and possessing a legitimate shot at making the World Series this season.
Yet a visit to the ballpark is depressing and much of this is attributable to the downright filthy condition of the ballpark's periphery, including the appalling bridge that connects BART with the Coliseum.
Would it hurt to keep this busy arterial connector clean? How much effort is required to have this swept and power-washed regularly? Doing so would let the fans know that the team and the city appreciate their patronage and respect them enough to not compel them to traverse a bridge replete with filth of all imaginable descriptions. Much of Oakland could be improved significantly by simply increasing simple, regular maintenance of public spaces. The Coliseum and the BART station adjacent to the ballpark ought to be sparklingly clean. This is what many folks see of Oakland and right now this entire environment is absolutely filthy.
A walk through the neighborhood is a daunting adventure not designed to enhance anyone's perception of Oakland. The area around the ballpark should be clean and safe. It is neither.
Jonathan C. Breault
Why U.S. should intervene in Syria
I'm a peaceful activist who believes we must significantly disable Syria's military. Poison-gassing is an atrocity, on top of 100,000 horrible atrocities, that must receive severe consequences. Without consequences, no standards against abhorrent behavior can be upheld.
Objectors say, "Why should we be policeman to the world?" The answer is we are the most powerful country that also stands for principles of human rights and justice. True, we sometimes give only lip-service to these ideals while pursuing selfish national or corporate interests, but the other powerful countries don't even pretend to uphold these ideals. They'd let people kill each other so long as they can buy resources and sell their products. If we don't act, who will?
Objectors say, "Why go to war now when we did nothing while 100,000 civilians have been killed already?" The answer is that we have no clear threshold beyond which condemnation and reaction are called for. Should the world have reacted after 100,000 murders or 50,000 or 1,000 or 50? How many people must die to call this an atrocity? We don't know. But we do know that use of poison gas, biological or nuclear weapons is an atrocity, and now that line has been crossed.
How can peace-loving people condone war? When negotiation and diplomacy fail, then one must push back when confronted by a bully. Diplomacy only works when all parties actually want to find a resolution. In the case of Syria, the tyrant Assad wants only to eliminate his opposition.
Decision fair on safe drug disposal
Congratulations to Alameda County for the recent court ruling upholding the county's safe drug disposal ordinance.
This ordinance requires drug manufacturers to develop and support safe disposal programs for unused medications. It is a fair requirement given that supporting such programs is a minuscule cost compared to the profits these companies make.
Hopefully, instead of further legal appeals, the pharmaceutical industry will remember that its focus is on health and will work with the county to keep leftover drugs off our streets and out of our water.
program manager Clean Water Action Oakland