Liability questions in shooting by guard

My wife and I own property, live and vote in District 4. We are raising two children and live on Forest Hill Avenue.

Recently, someone who is not a sworn law enforcement officer discharged a firearm in my neighborhood (insidebayarea.com, "Private security guard shoots suspected burglar," Feb. 13). I have a few questions for my Oakland representative, Councilmember Libby Schaaf:

First: Will there be an investigation by the Oakland Police Department or any other law enforcement agency of this incident? If so, how do we get progress reports and a copy of the final report? If not, why not?

Second: If a person who is not a sworn law enforcement officer discharges a weapon in the city of Oakland that results in the accidental death of a child riding his or her bicycle, who happens to be in the wrong place at the wrong time, or any person for that matter, are the people who hired and pay for the services of the shooter legally responsible in any way?

Third: What governmental agencies, if any, are responsible for regulating the possession and use of firearms by private citizens who are not sworn law enforcement officers? Please provide contact details.

Fourth: Since this shooting resulted in an injury that will require medical treatment, who pays for that? Because medical treatment can be quite costly, I want to know if the taxpaying citizens of Oakland pay for the treatment, assuming the victim does not have health insurance that covers being a shooting victim. Or are the people who hired the shooter responsible for these costs?

My fifth and final question is for Schaaf as an elected official: does she approve of neighbors paying people to discharge firearms in her own neighborhood? Does that seem like a good idea?

I look forward to a prompt written response from Schaaf that addresses each of my five questions.

Mitsu Fisher

Oakland

Road upkeep: Is it too much to ask for?

People tell me all the time that complaining about the rampant, pervasive dysfunction of Oakland's municipal government is counterproductive and a waste of time.

Perhaps so, but in light of the fact that I am compelled to navigate Oakland's roads every day and recognize that they are in absolutely appalling and desperate condition I feel obligated to point out this obvious fact and ask if others feel the same way.

I really don't want much from the municipal government. I recognize the extreme limitations under which they operate. The roads are a simple proposition: budget for adequate maintenance, paving and repair. Do the job properly the first time.

Roads in Oakland are just appalling with horrific potholes literally everywhere that if hit dead-center can do lots of damage to one's car. This is outrageous and evidence of chronic ineptitude on the part of our civic administration. Do the simple things right and principal among them is maintain safe and well paved roads. That is a basic, elementary function of local government.

Jonathan C. Breault

Oakland

Why do BART cops need cars anyway?

My question is why are BART police in cars driving on city streets and, I guess, driving from station to station? Why do they need cars? Why don't they ride the trains from station to station where their presence is needed? Why not assign police to the stations?

I realize that some of the police probably have to have cars to respond to emergencies, but park the cars at the stations at their disposal. I think a lot of time and money is spent and wasted driving from station to station.

Michael Langsdorf

Oakland

Indigenous people must be considered

The U.S. State Department's report claiming that the XL Keystone Pipeline will not cause environmental risk is not accurate.

The department had not consulted with indigenous peoples in Canada about the health problem that they had to endure because of the dirty oil leaking from the pipeline, which spills into the Athabasca River there.

Indigenous people, such as the Dene, First Nation and Metis, suffer a higher rate of cancer because they have eaten fish that were contaminated by it.

I can see this happening here in this country if President Barack Obama approves the building of the XL Keystone Pipeline.

I urge Obama not to do it. It is too risky, and I don't want to see indigenous peoples here suffer the same fate as their peers in Canada.

Billy Trice Jr.

Oakland

A proposed new cell law won't cut thefts

Passing a law to discourage the theft of tablets and phones using kill switches seems naive and intrusive.

Sure, the information and usability of these devices will prevent the thief from using it, and subsequently prevent the victim's information from being stolen. For a while. Criminals will just find ways to keep those kill signals from activating.

What our civic leaders seem to overlook is that those who commit these robberies don't use these phones or sell them on the street or steal information from them. The pros unload them as quickly as possible to local dealers who are too prepared to be thwarted by these electronic protections.

A recent article specifically cites that many of these devices are spirited from our shores. What if there's nobody to buy stolen goods? They'd lose their value, and wouldn't be worth the trouble of stealing.

We need to throw our efforts into jailing the buyers of stolen property. If this could be accomplished, crime of all kinds will diminish significantly because, literally, crime would no longer pay.

Erich Hayner

Oakland