Tax funded crucial fire safety program

I read the recent letter, "Support is scant, tax's loss shows," demonstrating the letter writer's exuberance at the loss of the Wildfire Prevention District tax measure to protect the hills from fires like the 1991 conflagration.

On Oct. 20, 1991, my wife and I and our two infant sons escaped the advancing fire, spent the night in a hotel afraid that our recently purchased house would become a pile of rubble and returned a day later breathing a sigh of relief that our house was spared. Others were not so lucky. A tour of the neighborhoods near ours revealed what resembled a war zone with rows of melted cars, concrete slabs and blackened chimneys as the only remnants of the homes that stood there two days before.

The existing hills fire safety program that the tax sought to extend included a goat grazing program. Those goats have reduced 3-foot high dry brown grasses and other highly flammable brush to 1-inch nubs on public property a mere 200 yards from my house and in numerous other hills locations every summer.

My home's surrounding vegetation has been inspected every year since the district was created, and in some years, I was shown bush and tree-related fire dangers on my property that I had not noticed and was told how to correct them, which I did.

I have used the chipping service to dispose of dead branches on and bordering my property. I have received from the district colored diagrams of typical residential property fire issues that I have heeded. They showed me how to recognize and reduce fire dangers on my property.

I assume that my neighbors in this special wildfire prevention district have been similarly alerted and supported in improving fire safety using these services and in additional ways.

This program is no joke, and it is no boondoggle. It is fuel management and fire safety improvement on the ground year after year that may have saved our lives and homes several times since the district was established.

I ask that same letter writer: now that you have gleefully witnessed the demise of this program by a mere 66 votes short of a two-thirds majority of taxpayers, I want to know what, if anything, you plan to do to restore the level of fire safety that the district provided.

Marvin Schwartz


City's political class a bunch of crazies

In years past, it was not PC to promulgate the belief that Oakland actually needed more cops. In fact, it was quite the opposite and our mayor, Jean Quan, espoused the belief that police were not the answer to Oakland's chronic, endemic savagery and lawlessness and thus millions of taxpayer funds were devoted to one completely unproven social theory and program after another with no real metrics to quantify their effectiveness.

Nonprofits and other well-connected folks and contributors have done very well doing good hereabouts while taxpayers have taken it in the shorts for decades. A cabal of political hacks with no real resume run the town.

Not one person in public office in Oakland has a resume to brag about. Sure, one government bureaucratic job after another or some nonprofit experiences, etc., but has anyone ever competed in the world of private business? No.

It is not just disturbing but downright fanciful and hilarious to listen to the pronouncements from Quan and her sycophantic hangers-on about how to invigorate or energize our local economy.

Suddenly, Quan and the City Council allegedly support the hiring of more cops. Or so they say. And it is not surprising to learn that very few candidates indeed are interested in working for these fools. It seems that eligible and qualified candidates for police work would just as soon keep looking rather than work in Oakland under the auspices of foolhardy know-it-alls who cannot be trusted to support them in the serious and dangerous enterprise of police work.

This confrontation with reality is confounding to these folks. Is their mendacity catching up with them finally? Or, as suspected by many, are they simply meshugeneh?

Jonathan C. Breault


Developers threaten habitat for wildlife

I'm in second grade at Aurora School. We visited the Hayward shoreline. I remember all of the birds that live there and visited.

I want to tell you something about another wetland that needs to be saved in Redwood City. Cargill is a company that wants to pave over the wetlands. Please spread the news.

Zoe Kennedy

Aurora School Oakland

Don't allow Cargill to pave wetlands

I have some facts to tell you: Cargill is trying to pave the bay, but I want to stop them.

Wetlands are important because wetlands help prevent floods by soaking up extra water like a sponge.

The Redwood City salt ponds are 1,400 acres, 24,800 birds visit the salt ponds annually.

Alden Gates

Aurora School Oakland