Romney's words amid killings unconscionable
It is despicable that Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney issued a pre-emptive criticism of President Barack Obama even as U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens was being killed in Libya.
Not only was Romney misinformed and misguided, but he failed to adhere to a basic rule of American politics: politics stops at the water's edge. When our country is attacked, we stand behind our president, no matter what political party he belongs to.
Romney's statements demonstrate how corruptly he values partisan politics over uniting around our country. He showed greed for power instead of patriotism. Romney seems to think that he is exempt from our common rules of decency.
Another common convention that Romney thinks he is exempt from is that of candidates releasing past income tax filings during their campaign. If you want to see a person's character, look at his finances. You'll see what values he really believes in.
We voters have come to expect such transparency from our candidates; it gives us one opportunity to objectively see the real person behind the paid advertisements. Again, candidate Romney fails.
Measure Y would aid reckless spending
The issue of pension and health benefits and lack of budget control generally is being debated
In the past nine years, our city budget for employee fringe benefits has risen at a compounded annual rate of 10 percent from $2.5 million to $5.9 million. The result is a $40 million unfunded liability in a city with a total annual operating budget of $22 million.
A majority of the Municipal Tax Review Committee (appointed by the City Council to analyze city finances and opine on the need for a parcel tax), myself included, are publicly opposing passage of the parcel tax as the only means of imposing some discipline on irresponsible spending and to put the city on a stronger financial path. For more information, you might refer to our website, NoOnMeasureY.com.
You get what you pay for in city services
The Piedmont Municipal Services Tax is up for renewal on Nov. 6. The Municipal Services Tax costs the average property owner less than $400 per year.
Let me explain why this issue has special meaning for me and why it should have special meaning for every Piedmonter.
The Municipal Services Tax has been in place in Piedmont for more than 30 years and it has meant the difference between the high-quality services that we receive in Piedmont and those of surrounding cities. Twelve years ago, my husband Dean had a massive heart attack. The Piedmont EMTs were at our door in less than three minutes. The doctors who later operated on Dean told me that his recovery, if he survived, would depend primarily upon how well the emergency team who responded had treated him. He made a full recovery. That's the type of service that this tax enables our city to offer.
For the first time in decades, there is organized, vocal opposition to the renewal of this tax. Several of those opposing it were opponents of development in Blair Park and the undergrounding districts, and now oppose what they feel is overstaffing and overpayment for our police and fire departments. I'm not sure why they think that Blair Park and undergrounding have anything to do with the Municipal Services Tax, but if it isn't renewed, police and fire services will certainly be reduced. For all of our families, I want our essential services to be maintained at the current levels. From my perspective, our police and fire departments are not overstaffed or overpaid in the least, and they provide high-quality and reliable services to all in our community.
I urge every Piedmont citizen to vote "yes" on Measure Y, the Piedmont Municipal Services Tax.
Campaigning against law at PTA meetings
At the first meeting of the Montclair Elementary School PTA, almost half the meeting was spent advising parents on how they should vote in the upcoming elections.
Both Principal Nancy Bloom and one of the teachers told the parents they should vote "yes" on Proposition 30, "no" on Proposition 32, probably "no" on Proposition 38 and "yes" on Measure J.
I value free speech but do not feel PTA meetings should be used for electioneering by school officials. Indeed, doing so is strictly illegal. I suggest that in the future, school officials would abide by the law.
Under California law, including Education Code 7054, school districts are strictly prohibited from engaging in political advocacy using public resources. No use may be made of school property, funds, personnel, supplies or equipment "for the purpose of urging the support or defeat of any ballot measure."
Violation of this provision can either be a misdemeanor or felony and is punishable by fines and/or imprisonment. It is a serious breach of the public trust when government officials spend public funds to create an advantage for one side of a political campaign. In order to avoid litigation or legal discovery over this matter, we demand that the Oakland Unified School District immediately refrain from illegal electioneering practices.
Piedmont Avenue has no BevMo 'client need'
As reported in the Sept. 13 editions of The Montclarion and The Piedmonter, BevMo representative Greg Endom indicates that the decision to apply for the Piedmont Avenue lot was solidified by client need and location. After reviewing data from the retailer's loyalty program, it was discovered that nearby residents drove to other cities such as Orinda to shop at BevMo.
I have shopped at BevMo's locations in Jack London Square and in Emeryville but only as an afterthought while doing other shopping. So if the company's data includes shopping habits like mine to make their case for "client need," their conclusions are dead-wrong. Never in my four years as a Piedmont Avenue neighborhood resident (or 30 years as a Bay Area resident) have I made a special trip to shop at BevMo, by car or otherwise.
My shopping habits notwithstanding, the notion of a "client need" for tobacco or alcohol is erroneous and perhaps even dangerous. Tobacco is never necessary and always harmful. Alcohol is never necessary and unless consumed in moderation, associated with a long list of harms to individual and community health and well-being.
Furthermore, Oakland policymakers have long understood the negative impact of high concentrations of alcohol outlets in our city's neighborhoods. Research shows that places with a high density of alcohol outlets have higher rates of violence, injuries and drunk-driving fatalities than those with a low density of such outlets. Where the number of alcohol outlets increases, so does the level of drinking.
BevMo wants to sell alcohol and tobacco within 1,000 feet of four existing businesses where alcohol can be purchased (Egbert Souse Bar, Vino, CVS and Piedmont Grocery), a licensed day care facility and Glen Echo Creek Walkway. Additionally, alcohol is available for purchase in at least 25 establishments (bars, restaurants, grocery stores) within one mile of the proposed BevMo location.
Since the neighborhood is already saturated with places where you can buy a drink, BevMo's proposal will require three zoning waivers. The last thing Piedmont Avenue needs is another liquor store and its attendant problems. To protect the health and well-being of Oakland residents, the City of Oakland should deny BevMo's request to sell alcohol and tobacco on Piedmont Avenue.