Homeowners, trim your yards, please

I applaud those who recently helped with the cleanup in and around Montclair Park. While driving along Moraga Boulevard, we can see the big mounds of ivy and other vegetation that were cleared out. The area looks much better and it reduces the fire danger. Can all of us take a look at our own properties and see if there is similar work that needs to be done there?

My main concern is fire. I think it is just beginning to dawn on many of us that there is a lot more accumulated debris on our slopes and in the gutters than usual. Recently, while trying to make a dent in the amount of leaves, bark and branches that has slid down the slope into the street behind my property, it occurred to me that part of the reason that there is more debris than usual is because we have had less rain and therefore less compaction and decomposition of the material.

Increasing the fire hazard, of course, is the fact that all of the accumulated material is very dry. All it would take to start another fire is one spark from a parked car or a workman's electrical equipment or a cigarette thrown by a careless smoker.

My second concern regards pedestrian safety. Because we live in the hills, most residents drive to and from the village and other places rather than walk. Some of us (including students), however, walk when we can and that's when we notice that many homes have vegetation that has gradually covered more and more of the sidewalks (or the gutters where there is no sidewalk).


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In addition, there are many places where trees and shrubs have branches that stick into, or overhang, the sidewalk at eye level. So, this is my plea--that homeowners and other residents take a look at their property from the perspective of those on foot and trim back plants that are intruding on walkways.

I have emailed the city about street sweeping (which I don't think has happened in our area for better than two years), but even if they come up here, they are not designed to deal with the mounds of leaves. We are, however, and we can all do our part by filling our green carts and those yard-waste paper bags.

Susan Alcorn

Oakland

Thanks for coming to aid of stray cats

Few individuals have given as generously of their time and resources as Ellen Lynch, who was spotlighted in the recent article, " 'Crazy Cat Lady' on a mission."

Dedicated animal lovers probably do seem a bit nuts to many folks, particularly when they go to great lengths to care for and protect animals that do not share their homes. The selfless kind of work that Ellen does day in and day out to feed starving feral cats is rarely recognized, let alone rewarded.

Thanks to her tireless efforts to trap ferals, and have them spayed or neutered, she helps keep this population from growing even faster. People often mistake the independent nature of cats for an ability to survive in the urban wilds when, in fact, they are as vulnerable to starvation, injury and disease as everyday house cats.

A heartfelt thanks to Fix Our Ferals, Ellen, and other volunteers for bringing our attention to the problem of stray cats and offering remedies, short- and long-term.

Wendy Jung

president, San Antonio Hills Neighborhood Association Oakland

Oakland must take action on stadium

OK, Lew Wolff is definitely against a Port of Oakland site for a new stadium, and the Raiders are interested in using the same current location.

Wolff also mentioned that one of the reasons for not moving to the port is that it's too far from BART. It also was mentioned that the Giants' AT&T Park is located about the same distance from the closest BART station as is the Howard Terminal location.

However true that may be, the main difference is San Francisco has Muni lines that run along the Embarcadero, and Oakland/AC Transit does not have any bus lines that service that location.

The city of Oakland would be in a better bargaining position to work on, as has been mentioned many previous times, building a new stadium on the current property. Whether it's baseball-only or football-only can be worked out later. Build one, tear down the other and start new construction.

One hang-up could be that whichever team is waiting for the new facility may need to find a new temporary home, unless the Warriors actually abandon Oakland. In that case, tear down the arena, start one stadium there, then start the other next to the current one. This way neither the A's nor the Raiders will be displaced.

Tom Matarrese

Oakland