Preserve site as a memorial
I am an Asian-American born shortly after World War II, living in the East Bay for the last 45 years.
I read with some consternation that Eden Housing wishes to incorporate the former Tradeway complex on San Pablo Avenue in El Cerrito into housing, without regard to the historic preservation desires of the Japanese-American community to repurpose the former Mabuchi florist shop into an internment museum.
Xenophobia and the oft-used rationale of national security enabled Americans to begin down the same slippery slope of moral justification that some of the Germans used -- which eventually led to the internment and subsequent extermination of Jews in Europe.
Today, there are scores of Holocaust museums established in cities worldwide, built to remind us of the consequence of intolerance. There are few, if any, similar museums in the Bay Area to remind us of the injustice perpetuated on more than 100,000 Japanese-American citizens and their families that were uprooted, their property forfeited to predatory opportunists, then forced into concentration camps all over the western United States 75 years ago.
This modest request by the community to preserve the Mabuchi shop and open a small museum, rather than convert it into a workout room, should absolutely be honored by an organization that itself does honorable work providing affordable housing.
We have plenty of places to work out our bodies, we need a few places preserved to reflect and contemplate our history as members of the Asian-American community. We must have a place to engage those who might forget this history so we are not condemned to repeat it.
City's unwise use of funds
El Cerrito citizens, let's unite against the city's unwise use of funds.
Fairmount Avenue, between San Pablo Avenue and Carlson Boulevard, has two new cutouts in the middle of the median (includes landscaping). Take a look, since construction cost $9,431.
There are crosswalks on the south and north end of this short median. These two cutouts in the middle are for temporary Off the Grid food truck events for four hours every Wednesday. Why doesn't the city spend funds on construction that benefits the majority of residents rather than on a weekly event where many attendees are nonresidents?
These cutouts invite unsafe pedestrian crossings. To spend $9,431 for a four-hour weekly event is irresponsible and creates a safety hazard the remaining 164 hours in the week.
Our city officials are not looking out for the greatest good for the greatest number in the long run. If interested in uniting, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Accusation is misguided
It appears that Larry Waldron, in his Sept. 6 letter, "Comparison to apartheid valid," never misses an opportunity to drive an ever larger wedge between Israel and the Palestinians, with Israel always to blame.
If he's convinced of his misguided accusation of apartheid in Israel, let him explain just a handful of the following examples: In Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and Syria, there are zero Jewish citizens.
In Israel, there are more than 1.2 million Muslims, 250,000 Bedouins, 123,000 Christians, 122,000 Druze, and 700 Baha'i -- all with full civil rights and privileges, some in government positions. If this is apartheid, the definition of it needs changing.
Minorities in Israel get more help in higher education facilities than other Israeli students. They receive focused financial help and tutoring. Many, especially Arabs, hold positions such as professors and directors of clinics in hospitals, including women. There is free education for every child until the age of 18. Everyone has the right to protest on any matter, including the right to arrange pro-Palestinian protest demonstrations.
As for Waldron, I am amazed he is not aware of what really goes on in Israel. Has he ever even been there?
Again, I ask what the Palestinians gave up to pave the way for peace talks. They offered up a set of preconditions and lobbed a few bombs into Israel. Great way to show you want peace! It only shows that peace is not their goal.
Their goal is what it has always been: the destruction of the Jewish state. You hear it and see it in everything they do -- from electing Hamas, supporting Hezbollah, and rejoicing in the streets when Iraqi scuds hit Israel. They now have Waldron's support to achieve that goal.
Let's obey rules of the road
We are none of us perfect. As a pedestrian, I sometimes walk on the road instead of the sidewalk -- usually because cars are parked three quarters on the sidewalk, blocking my way, and sometimes because the surface is smoother.
But I know this is against the law on both counts and I have already written to the police about blocked sidewalks.
It is also against the law for cyclists to ride on the sidewalk, to ride the wrong way on one-way streets and to fail to stop at stop signs.
There are bad pedestrians, bad drivers and bad cyclists. But many cyclists seem unaware of the law. I was happy to see the Sept. 3 letter in the Times by Jim Little, who commented on some cyclists' dangerous habits.
How about if we required every cyclist to purchase and display some kind of signed sticker indicating they understood the rules of the road and agreed to abide by them? Having to pay for something and affirm full knowledge of the laws they are breaking might remind cyclists to help keep our roads safe.
Alzheimer's disease a crisis
I lost my mother to Alzheimer's disease after an emotionally exhausting and financially depleting 15-year struggle. On Alzheimer's Action Day, Sept. 21, I'll be wearing purple to dramatize the urgent need for better treatments, prevention and, ultimately, a cure for Alzheimer's disease.
Why should Californians care? Here are three critical reasons:
On Sept. 21, show your support for increased funding for Alzheimer's research by "going purple," and telling your friends and colleagues why. The time for action against Alzheimer's is now.
Stevenson is a volunteer advocate with Alzheimer's Association.