Mural idea great but seems pricey

I really liked the proposed tromp l'oeil design for the old railroad abutment ("Fundraising begins for mural project," April 25), but isn't $60,000 a little high?

I would rather that Montclair Safety Improvement Council would use some of that money to clean up Montclair Park, especially the invasive weeds that have taken over our pond.

Jon Hartung

Oakland

Phone kill switch must be required

The state Senate did a dumb thing on smartphones by not passing SB 962 -- the bill that would require all new smartphones sold in California to have a kill switch deactivation mechanism enabled on each phone.

As an Oakland local elected official and the victim of an armed robbery, I know that if and when this bill becomes law, it will reduce armed robberies in Oakland and throughout the state. I hope that the wavering senators who failed the public wise up and vote yes when it comes up for another vote.

I pushed for introduction of this bill and thank state Sen. Mark Leno for authoring the legislation. I -- along with Mayor Quan and the Oakland City Council -- have made this bill a top legislative priority. I've been lobbying for its passage in Sacramento.

Dan Kalb

Oakland City Council District 1

Let's bring back runoff elections


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Continuing the idea of the recent letter, "Restoring sanity in Oakland," a good step would be to restore the old, honest voting system in our town.

The present, completely confusing system was sold as being cheaper than runoff elections. It is true, but it is dishonest and un-understandable. It does not reflect who is the better candidate from the two best contestants.

The result is our present mayor. She figured out that she would not be elected on the first ballot and urged her followers to vote for her in the second position. With this technical trick, she got automatically elected without a real runoff election.

I don't expect her to advocate changing the system back from the one that has served her so well, but we need a change in order to be able to vote for a really good candidate without trickery.

Nicholas Balas

Oakland

Don't believe lies about oil pipeline

It is good President Obama delayed the building of the XL Keystone Pipeline, which will stretch from western Canada to the Gulf Coast. If approved, it will cause health problems toward indigenous people in this country, just as it did toward their peers in Canada.

Canadian indigenous peoples, such as the Dene and Metis First Nations, have suffered several health problems due to eating fish from the water, which is contaminated by the oil from the pipeline. I can see this happening to indigenous peoples in this country if it's approved. For example, the Lakota could suffer sickness if the dirty oil from the pipeline gets into the water in which they either drink or bathe.

Americans should not buy into the lies by the Republicans and some Democrats who claim that building the pipeline will create jobs and lower gas prices. I urge President Obama to reject the building of the XL Keystone Pipeline.

Billy Trice Jr.

Oakland

BART fine holds no one responsible

How does fining BART $210,000 make the system safer for workers or passengers?

BART revenues come from the fare box and the taxpayers. BART will simply absorb the $210,000 by increasing fares, eliminating service or reducing maintenance.

Compensation for board members, BART administrators or, for that matter, anyone actually responsible for the workers' deaths will not be affected.

Fining public agencies for safety violations holds no one accountable.

Robert W. Nichelini

Oakland

Honeybees vital to environment

Research has found in the last decade there is a decline in honeybees. The need for honeybee colonies is important. We as human beings depend on honeybees for various resources.

In Europe and in the United States, there have been reports of annual declines of hives.

I was proud to have read in the article "Oakland a welcome haven for city bees" about the workers of the building not calling an exterminator.

As stated in the article, a couple years back they probably would have had someone exterminate the honeybees.

It is a time where people want to have goods that are locally grown. Planting urban gardens is becoming a priority for people who are conscientious of the environment.

What fascinated me about the article are the people in the community using urban beehives. People still fear bees but they have changed their perception of them as a very important part of the ecosystem that is in need of growth in population.

Alberto Salinas

Oakland