Why single out theater for lack of union labor?

Park Street is alive because of our Alameda Theatre.

Previous letters to the editor stated rumors persist surrounding the theater because -- like a dog howling at the moon -- the union mentality doesn't know any other option, action or viewpoint. Politics and unions are not first known for truth or honesty historically, are they?

Here comes a knife to my car tires? Am I profiling? Unions are part of the so-called, liberal political establishment, but the same really has little to do with a liberal open mind.

Too bad a closed mind sends a local from a local multiplex to some drab Emeryville multiplex. But maybe there is a message in that statement? Why is it drab and struggling? Choked by a union? Is there a projectionist per film rolling? Getting paid eight hours for working 41/2 hours? With today's technology, do films roll, do we need a projectionist? Or a programmer? Oops, that might require a college education.

Other letter writers can exercise their rights -- I, too, stopped going to the Grand Lake Theater years ago because the owner chooses to use his historic billboard to cram his politics into his customers' fun night out.


Advertisement

The three guys often holding signs in front of our beautiful theater really do look like they need a handout. If they had a cup, I'd give them some change. Can we buy them a meal and cup of coffee? Popcorn and a Coke?

Warren Dole

City's preschool program truly special, awesome

I would like to thank the Alameda Recreation and Park Department for providing an outstanding, free, bilingual School Readiness and Literacy Program.

Recently, while driving home from preschool class, my son Levi, 3, said, "Thanks for taking me to preschool, Mom."

He truly had a wonderful time. After circle time, which is done in Spanish and English, they had a day of fun in the sun. The outside time was phenomenal. It consisted of 15 or so balance bikes for the kids to ride on, foam art, toy cars and play mats.

It was true play at its purest state. Stacy, Clarett and Ricky, you truly are doing an amazing service to our young citizens of Alameda. Thank you.

Leah Pero

Editor's note: fifth-grade students at Alameda's Edison Elementary School wrote the following letters about Alameda County's ban on free plastic bags at grocery stores that took effect Jan. 1.

There's no downside to county's bag ban

In this ever-changing world, we have to act now if we want to make Earth as happy and safe as it used to be. Alameda County recently passed an ordinance that says any store that sells produce can no longer circulate one-use plastic bags. I strongly supported this ban, even before it was passed, and am happy that it has been approved.

First of all, I have noticed that the benefits of using reusable bags made from cloth or sturdy plastic are not only to the environment, but also to people's moods and actions. In many cases, people will feel happier and brighter after switching to reusable bags because they feel like they are doing something good that will help the Earth and it's easy for them.

If 25 percent of Americans used 10 fewer one-use plastic bags per month, we could save 2.5 billion bags per year. Reusable bags are made of durable materials and can be used for many years. You can buy them at most grocery stores for reasonable prices. You can also get personalized bags online. Also, because reusable bags are reusable, many fewer bags will need to be produced.

Even if the claim that says the manufacturing of reusable bags might use up more water and/or emit more greenhouse gasses, reusable bags are still better overall. If I had to choose between paper or plastic, I would choose paper. But, even paper bags have their flaws, and we need to preserve our trees. If we use lots of paper bags, it could hurt our forests and jungles immensely.

It is also true that in some countries, citizens do recycle their one-use plastic bags, but that is not the case in America. Most of the plastic bags end up in landfills, animals' mouths or in the growing Pacific garbage patch that is the size of Texas. If we all used reusable bags, it could dramatically change the world for the better. I hope we will accomplish this goal with your help.

Erin Schmitz

Bag ban a good thing

Plastic bags are a growing pollution problem and more cities should outlaw plastic bags and charge for paper ones, like Alameda County started doing Jan. 1.

Many litter items in our waterways are made from plastic. Since they take centuries to break down, they make a huge accumulative waste problem. One major problem with plastic bag manufacturing is that the mercury emissions are astronomical. The result is that methyl mercury and mercury end up in popular game fish like halibut and pike. It also leaks into much of our canned fish products like tuna.

Yes, it can be difficult to remember your reusable bag, but you can take some steps to not forget. You can: put coupons in your bag and keep it by the door; hang a few reusable bags on the coat rack or a doorknob; keep reusable bags in the back seat of your car. Getting bad illnesses can be a major problem with reusable bags if you don't wash them. To not get sick, wash fabric bags in the washer and hand-wash reusable plastic ones with a quarter cup of vinegar, then air them out. Another step is to designate different bags for different things.

The ban in Alameda covers only stores that sell milk, bread, soda, snack foods and alcohol in Alameda County. I think plastic bags should be outlawed in more counties and have them lean more toward reusable bags.

Maverick Lara

Environment needs ban

Many people are against the Alameda County bag ban, but I think it's the best thing that has happened to the County for a while. The Alameda County bag ban is really going to make a difference.

Plastic bags are commonly found in our waterways. Plastic pollution is an immense threat to marine life. Approximately 100,000 sea turtles and other marine animals die every year because they mistake the plastic bags for their natural diet, the jellyfish. Plastic bags take many years to break down, even 1,000 years, which is the cause of litter problems.

In addition, estimates show that 764 million single use plastic bags are distributed to Alameda County, as well as 100 million paper bags. Almost 10,000 tons of plastic bags end up in Alameda County's landfills every year. There is a garbage patch floating in the Pacific Ocean about the size of Texas. It is roughly 80 percent plastic, according to The Independent, a British newspaper.

The rumor that a reusable bag was the cause of an outbreak of norovirus that led to the sickness of a girls' soccer team is not true. Scientists say that a girl who had the deadly virus had brought the bag into the bathroom where she was sick. The bag was too close, and then one of her parents put unwrapped snacks into them and served them to her teammates after a game.

I use reusable bags every day, and I have been even before the law passed. My family and I have no problems whatsoever, except when we leave them in the car by accident.

I realize that many people disagree with this new law, and I understand. Plastic bags are very useful when it comes to household activities or chores, and many people use them every day for things such as using them as garbage liners. Some people make art out of them, and I know lots of people who use them to pick up dog waste. But we all have to ask where they go afterward. The answer is the landfill or the ocean.

I think the bag ban will help us keep our earth healthy and clean, and hopefully will influence people all around the country to make the right choice, the green choice.

Hannah Kuhns

Keep bag ban in place

I encourage the continuation of the Alameda bag ban, which took effect Jan. 1. This ban forbids stores that sell food to offer plastic bags to their customers at checkout. Personally, I think that this is a good move for the county, because it motivates people to use reusable bags more often. This is the first step to a cleaner and greener environment in Alameda County.

Reusable bags are lightweight and heavy-duty, and can be easily folded up and put into your car, a convenient way to remember to bring them. They also have soft handles and are easy to carry around. Even though reusable bags can't be recycled, you can use them for about six years.

Paper and plastic bags are equal in many ways, and are both poor choices for the environment. Plastic bags use up a lot of fossil fuels like oil when they are being manufactured. People drill for oil in the ocean, which often leads to oil spills, and the death of many seabirds and fish. Paper bags take up a lot of fresh water and trees when they're made. Making paper bags can lead to deforestation and rain forest animals losing their natural habitat.

Plastic bags often end up in the ocean, killing turtles and other sea creatures that live there due to careless people. Every single square mile of the ocean has about 46,000 pieces of plastic floating in it.

There are a few cons about reusable bags, too, though. For instance, they can use a lot of freshwater when they're being manufactured, but so do paper bags. A reusable bag was thought responsible for causing a norovirus outbreak in a girls' soccer team, but it wasn't actually the bag's fault. The bag was first used by a girl who was sick already and then she left it in the bathroom, and after that the bag was used to carry unwrapped snacks, which were then served to the team. To prevent this from happening, people could hand wash their reusable bags and if they use cloth bags instead of the hard reusable bags, they could easily machine-wash them.

Reusable bags are the environmentally friendly choice, and the bag ban is helping to reduce some of the less environmentally-friendly alternatives. I hope that other things like this will keep happening everywhere, not just California.

Harlee McMann-Chapman

Ban best idea in a while

There has recently been a ban on plastic bags in stores that sell food items. I think the bag ban was one of the best things Alameda's done in a while.

Plastic bags often take hundreds of years to break down or decompose, causing an enormous litter problem. A reusable bag can replace more than 600 single-use plastic bags over its lifetime. Shopping with reusable bags helps reduce litter and waste, protects creeks and the bay, and conserves natural resources.

Plastic bags are one of the most common litter items found in our waterways. They have the potential of causing suffocation and brightly-colored plastic bags have small amounts of lead, which can cause lead poisoning. Plastic bags do not biodegrade. Light breaks them down into smaller and smaller particles that contaminate the soil and water and are expensive and difficult to remove. They do break down but they're still there to hurt the environment. When the small particles from photo degraded plastic bags get into the water, they're ingested by marine animals. The biotoxins that are in the particles are then passed up the food chain, including up to humans.

During 2009's International Coastal Cleanup, the Ocean Conservancy found that plastic bags were the second-most common kind of waste found, at one out of ten items picked up. The state of California spends about 25 million dollars sending plastic bags to landfills each year, and another 8.5 million dollars to remove littered bags from streets. Every year, Americans use approximately one billion shopping bags, creating 300,000 tons of landfill waste. There's about 764 million single-use plastic bags are distributed in Alameda County annually, in addition to more than 100 million paper bags.

The lowly plastic bag is an environmental scourge, sapping the life out of our oceans. In many bodies of water creatures live on the bottom like shrimp, shellfish, and sponges. It's so polluted in some bodies of water that if you lived there it's like you're eating at your dinner table and somebody comes along and throws a plastic tarp over your dinner table and you. There are a zip-bags, grocery store bags, and many others in sadly, polluted waterways.

Plastic bags can still be recycled, though less than 1 percent of plastic bags are recycled each year. Recycling one ton of plastic bags costs $4,000. Roughly 10,000 tons of plastic bags find their way to Alameda County's landfills every year. The City of San Francisco determined that it costs 17 cents for them to handle each discarded bag. Additionally, plastic bags cause processing equipment problems at recycling facilities.

Most of the plastic bags end up in the ocean, in the Pacific garbage patch the size of Texas, where it can be seen in outer space. It's not about saving a bag; it's about saving the environment. The plastic bag ban in Alameda County is saving our county's money, time and its environment.

Matthew Hui