Sideshows must not be tolerated

On Jan. 26, the relative peace and quiet of our neighborhood was shattered when a sideshow was held at the intersection of Seminary Avenue and MacArthur Boulevard in Oakland. There were an estimated 40 to 50 cars stopped behind the intersection along with two AC Transit buses. Close to 100 people got out of their cars to watch. The action continued for more than 20 minutes and wrapped up with several cars exiting via a blind curve, driving the wrong way up Seminary.

We began calling OPD immediately after this began around 6:30. We spent 10-15 minutes waiting to speak to a live person. I finally got through at 6:45, and one OPD unit arrived at about 6:50 -- after everyone was gone.

I found recent articles documenting the return of this mayhem to Oakland streets that suggest OPD has decided to tolerate sideshows. Is this the case? If so, why?

My husband and I have lived in this neighborhood since 1991. I have never been so pessimistic about the future here. It is getting harder by the day to find reasons to be proud of this city.

Sherry Meek

Oakland

Letter wrong about proposed gun bans

A Jan. 26 letter is deceptive in that it states that the proposed gun bans should limit ownership of "automatic weapons" for use only by the police or military.

This is already the case and has been since 1934, when automatic firearms (machine guns) were outlawed in the United States.

The guns I believe he is talking about outlawing are semiautomatic firearms, which may resemble machine guns, but they are not the same as they require the operator to pull the trigger every time a bullet is to be fired.

Semiautomatic firearms are commonly used for hunting, competitive shooting and self-defense and have been in existence and legal in the United States for more than 100 years. Anti-gun zealots/organizations like to portray these "look-alike" semiautomatic rifles as "only good for killing people." In truth, it is just deceptive propaganda.

And, for your information, the NRA has supported and implemented gun training, safety and educational programs, such as Eddie Eagle, for many years.

Loren Long

Hayward

Making Oakland a safer place to live

The murder rate is not the only factor making Oakland a dangerous place to live.

More menacing is the number of cars on narrow, winding streets never built to accommodate the amount of traffic.

More menacing is the number of eucalyptus trees providing the kindling for another disastrous fire. The last big fire showed us the difficulties experienced by people attempting to leave the area and emergency vehicles trying to respond.

There should be a moratorium on building in the Oakland hills until lots are enlarged to reduce the number of automobiles. Another safety measure would be to help homeowners replace eucalyptus trees with environmentally friendly native species.

What is our infrastructure, the City Council, planning commission and fire department doing about really making Oakland a safer place to live?

Betty Seiden

Oakland

Heart bleeds for Phil Mickelson

I see that Phil Mickelson is complaining about possibly having to pay up to 60 percent of his income in state and federal income taxes.

As Golf Digest magazine estimates that he earned only about $45 million last year, you can understand exactly where Mickelson is coming from. Given his monumental contributions to mankind, it does seem so utterly unfair that he be expected to survive on a mere after-tax income of $18 million.

David Talley

Berkeley

Headquarter the U.N. elsewhere

Most of the United Nations member countries hate Jews.

They could never make a fair decision about the Palestinians, who are controlled by terrorists who want to kill all Jews. The terrorists hate us and they hate Jews.

Most of this area was the land of the Jews 3,000 years ago. The Jews occupy only a small part of what was originally theirs.

More than 12,000 rockets have been launched at the Jews in the past three years. Palestinian terrorists build their rocket launchers next to schools, residential areas and hospitals. Should they have more Jewish land so they could kill all the Jews much sooner?

Most U.N. members almost always vote against Israel. Why do we allow the United Nations to be headquartered in the United States? We should give them five years to build another headquarters in France. Good riddance!

Sidney Steinberg

Berkeley