Measure's opponents should present plans
The election is over. The district's multiyear effort to address safety, accessibility, degradation and educational issues at Alan Harvey Theatre, developed in collaboration with teachers, community members, architects and construction professionals, failed. I am deeply grateful to the many community members who donated their time, expertise and enthusiasm, over many years, to this effort to serve our children.
Unfortunately, all of the identified problems still exist. During the campaign, certain opponents variously claimed that a brand-new theater could be built for less than the district's proposed renovation or that accessibility, safety and degradation problems could be solved for far less than the district's plan.
In Piedmont, community members seek to solve problems, not simply ignore them. So, I invite the Measure H opponents to come forward with your design drawings and cost estimates, and show us a better way to address the admitted problems at Alan Harvey. The school board will reserve time on its agenda for September, when parents are back from the summer and focused on their children's schools, for your presentations.
president, Piedmont School Board
Union deal to milk taxpayers yet again
I have no doubt that when the new contract for garbage, green waste and recycling is finalized, taxpayers will once again be the losers compelled to overpay for service and continue to be underserved by a monopoly that has no incentive to treat customers fairly, as their contract guarantees payment.
Notwithstanding their public pronouncements to the contrary, our public officials -- Mayor Jean Quan and all of the City Council -- care more about being re-elected and far less about fiscal propriety and fairness to the taxpayers. Thus, the demands of the unions will always not only take precedence within the hierarchy of priorities and concerns, they will be acceded to without much consternation, and the beat goes on and on.
Entrust vacuous and shallow fools with our money, and they squander it through exceedingly undisciplined policies that continue to inflate out of proportion to the overall economic costs associated with public employees. The last refuge of unionized employment is public employees. As a consequence they are simply a poorly disguised subsidiary of the local political cabal who are bankrupting this town. Seemingly, we are stuck, and taxpayers are ill-served as usual.
Jonathan C. Breault
Don't make Scouts sit in sun, heat again
The Mountain View Memorial Day commemoration program was quite touching. As I am a veteran -- U.S. Women's Army Corps from 1950 to 1953 -- I am glad I was able to attend.
It went smoothly for the most part, with plenty of protection from the hot sun for the elderly survivors of World War II and the Korean War.
A Boy Scout troop of about 16, however, had to sit it out facing the full sun. A couple of times I thought that a couple of the youths were going to be overcome with the heat. Their body language indicated more than simple distress. None of the troop appeared to have water available.
Equally important, only two Scouts were wearing sunglasses, and only three other boys wore caps with visors giving them some protection from ultraviolet light rays.
Hopefully, these oversights won't be passed off with a nonchalant remark, like "Boys are tough," or "They were told to wear caps and sunglasses." Asking these children if they felt any discomfort in the sun, being boys, they will probably say "no."
I hope this issue is resolved before Memorial Day 2015.
Patricia T. Maginnis
Restrooms should be gender-neutral
There are countless transgender community members who continually feel uncomfortable using restrooms in public buildings, as they may not feel like they belong in either a boys' or girls' bathroom. Not only do they feel estranged, but many claim to feel unsafe in traditional boy-girl bathroom settings.
Many institutions across the U.S., namely universities, have adopted gender-neutral bathrooms for their official buildings. It is imperative that the city of Oakland strive to create a safe community for all members, and gender-neutral bathrooms are a huge step in the right direction.
Hospital thrift shop closing a bad move
For decades, Berkeley's Alta Bates Hospital has had a retail thrift shop staffed by numerous volunteers. For the past 30 years, it has been located at 5615 College Ave. in Oakland near the BART Station. The hospital happens to own the building in which the thrift shop operates. Without discussion with the volunteers, the hospital is closing the shop.
Over the years, the shop has provided the hospital an estimated more than $4 million due to the hard work of the volunteers. The shop manager is the only paid employee. In addition to providing cash and equipment for hospital operations, the shop serves the community at large with very reasonably priced clothes and other household items.
I realize that the hospital may receive a good sum for the building. However, by closing they are eliminating the ongoing cash flow provided by the shop as well as the more important good will to the community. The community has already expressed their significant displeasure with the closing.
The Alta Bates decision is very shortsighted.