Criminals' rights trump taxpayers'

Once again, the Oakland mayor and City Council have demonstrated the gross incompetence that has made this city a model of disfunctionality. ("Surveillance system limited to port," March 7)

They have voted, in the interest of protecting privacy, to dismantle the citywide integrated system of street cameras and gunshot detector microphones that have helped our minimally staffed police department protect public safety.

Apparently, the rights of teenage gang members to shoot their guns in the streets without being detected are more important than the rights of innocent bystanders and children to not be shot.

Stephen Matthews

Oakland

Old city lights shone better than new ones

As a property owner who pays for Oakland city lighting, I protest the new, harsh blue lights that have replaced the old, warm, bright ones.

They are cold and leave scary shadows. They invite crime. Oakland at night now resembles the dark side of the moon.

Diana Geary

Oakland

Ruby can deal with city's foolish mobs

Good government proponents in Oakland ought to be happy with the news that City Auditor Courtney Ruby is willing to enter the fray and run for mayor.

Ruby clearly understands the low-intelligence snake pit that is Oakland municipal politics, having endured vicious, entirely orchestrated and fictitious slanders when her professional competence and ethical standards were challenged by a carefully selected mob of self-serving fools whose belligerence and aggressiveness set Oakland back a decade or two in the eyes of those who prefer civil, coherent, intelligent and intelligible discourse.

Her willingness to engage within the parameters of Oakland politics is admirable, as she is acquainted with reality and does not conflate disparate, anomalous factoids and use them to propagate self-serving fiction for public consumption. The Oakland City Council is a world-class embarrassment replete with every sort of charlatan and fraud long on personal agendas and very short indeed on competence, professional experience and financial acuity.

This town hemorrhages money, and Ruby has identified these transgressions and met with predictable obstinance from the politicians. Oakland municipal government was long ago hijacked by the indolent, dependent, uneducated and unaccomplished mobs who have succeeded in alienating the segment of the population who produce the wealth that supports the municipal government.

Oakland needs radical change, and absent intelligent, accomplished citizens willing to engage this cabal nothing will change except the name plates on the office doors.

Jonathan C. Breault

Oakland

Ban three practices of animal cruelty

I recently hand-delivered a petition to all 120 state legislators, requesting support for three animal welfare issues at our upcoming California State Fair (July 11-27):

1. Ban the brutal farrowing crates. Pregnant sows are caged and kept nearly immobile for three straight weeks and forced to give birth on a bare metal grid -- a true crime against nature (and a violation of Penal Code 597t). No county fairs feature these cruel exhibits.

2. Ban giving away goldfish as prizes. Some 15,000 goldfish were doled out at the 2013 fair. Many will meet an early demise, be dumped in the wild or flushed down the toilet.

3. Ban the sale of hermit crabs as pets. All are taken from the wild, depleting local populations. Like the goldfish, these animals are treated as expendables -- what a terrible message to send to impressionable young children.

The State Fair Board has received more than 3,000 letters in support of these modest proposals. Please contact your own senator and assemblymember and urge him or her to sign the petition -- it's good for the animals, good for business.

All legislators may be written c/o The State Capitol, Sacramento, CA 95814. The Fair Board may be emailed at calexpoboard@calexpo.com.

Eric Mills

coordinator, Action for Animals Oakland