Follow food chain to grasp obesity

It seems that everyone is talking about the national obesity problem, the rise in childhood diabetes, high blood pressure, and the risks associated with being overweight. Even the Defense Department says that obesity is a concern for our national security.

Now I'm just a guy sitting at his desk here in Alameda, and even I can tell you why obesity is running amok in this country. It's very simple: We are what we eat. Or rather: We are what we are fed.

In the 1970s, we began to experiment with genetically modifying our grain crops. One of the things we did was to modify the protein genes of corn. This corn was designed to be used as feed for the cattle industry. In other words; this corn makes cows fat.

Stay with me now. Seventy percent of this corn is used for animal feed -- that's cows, pigs, chickens and even lamb. The other 30 percent of the corn is used to make high-fructose corn syrup. Remember: We are what we are fed.

GMO corn makes animals fat, and this same corn is used to make high-fructose corn syrup, which is in everything -- from low-fat salad dressing to breads and cereals, almost all processed foods, barbecue sauce, ketchup, mustard, peanut butter, jelly, ice cream and, yes, soda pop.

So, I'll just say it: We are obese because we are fed foods that were fed food designed to make things fat. Hey, people, science really works.

Paul Little

Thanks to backers at Measure D event

We are happy to report that our recent fundraiser for Measure D was a very well attended, upbeat and successful event. We in Protect Our Alameda Parks are grateful to all the gracious, generous people who attended and participated Sept. 19.

Also, we want to thank the many local Alameda businesses who supported our fundraiser, particularly Dragon Rouge Restaurant, which hosted our event on their beautiful deck. We do hope you'll support many of these Alameda and local businesses in the future.

These include: R and B Cellars; Encinal Nursery; Thomsen's Nursery; Pixie's and Peonies Florists; Encinal Market; Bed Bath and Beyond; Alameda Theater; Seven Seas Gourmet Coffee; Kim's Nails; and Pedal Beach Bicycle Rental.

Additionally, the many fine restaurants who donated include: Asena; Angel Fish; Angela's Bistro and Bar; Burma Star; C'era Una Volta; Dragon Rouge; Gold Coast; Kamakura; Otaez; Soleil Restaurant.

Cafes and Coffee shops include: The Beanery; Coffee Au Lait; Julie's; High St. Station; Jonathan's; Little House Cafe; Marti's Place.

A special note of appreciation to other nearby businesses: the Oakland East Bay Symphony; Golden Gate Racing Fields; Prospect 772 Winery.

Also, our live music was performed by two fine local musicians, Ken Weinstock and Josh Cohen, who currently perform with the Ellis Island Old World Band and several other venues.

Again, our heartfelt thanks to all who participated and donated to our fundraiser on behalf of Alameda's Measure D, which is on the November ballot.

Please vote "yes" for Measure D, which will protect our city parks and golf course from any future land sale or swap without a vote of the people. Reminder: Measure D is at the very end of the ballot, so please look for it.

Reyla Graber

Protect Our Alameda Parks

Ashcraft can be fine council member

I have known Marilyn Ashcraft for more than 15 years. Her experience in city and state government makes her uniquely qualified among the list of candidates for Alameda City Council.

I met Marilyn when I moved to Alameda and began working with her on several library measures, paving the way for the building of our new main library. Marilyn's leadership in these efforts is a significant part of the reason this new library exists.

The library is a vibrant place that serves everyone in our community. Over the years I have had other opportunities to work with Marilyn on issues critical to the city of Alameda. One of these was the successful campaign to save Alameda Hospital. Alameda is fortunate to have a hospital that not only serves us daily but that may be critical in the event of a catastrophic disaster.

Marilyn served on the Hospital Board and the Economic Development Commission and serves on the Alameda Planning Board. Her knowledge of local, county and state politics is vast. Marilyn is a person who gets things done and works tirelessly for this community. She is not tied to special interests and can make tough decisions when called on to do so. I strongly encourage people to make a choice in this election that will serve this community for years to come.

The upcoming election is a tough one. The ballot is long and contains many difficult propositions and bond measures. In a time of much uncertainty, of one thing I can be sure -- my vote goes to Marilyn Ezzy Ashcraft.

Nancy Coan Torres

Bonta cares about career, not voters

I am an Alamedan, and, as much as I would like to support a fellow Alamedan for elected office, I simply cannot do so.

I am referring to Vice Mayor Rob Bonta and his quest to win the District 18 Assembly race against Abel Guillen.

Bonta wants to leave his City Council seat only months after winning it. I am always a little suspicious of politicians who too eagerly jump from one post to another. It seems like their ambition is bigger than their desire to serve the public who elected them.

I am also a bit distrustful of our elected leaders who don't take the time or make the effort to return phone calls to constituents who reach out to them, which is the experience I have had with Bonta.

My vote goes to Abel Guillen. I think he is a very community-spirited man who will serve Alameda and the 18th District with the integrity and respect it deserves. I have been able to see Guillen's passion when as a member of the Peralta Community College board of trustees he fought to keep my son's preschool open at the College of Alameda.

I will always appreciate the commitment he showed to our youngest Alameda students and their families.

I wholeheartedly endorse Abel Guillen. I will vote for him Nov. 6 and encourage my friends and family to do the same.

Angie Watson-Hajjem