Simply cannot make room for everyone

The recent commentary "Density is the key to having healthier neighborhoods" missed one very important point. Why must high-density buildings such as those at Walnut and Beacon avenues in Fremont be built up to the sidewalk? Most buildings on Walnut have an attractive setback. Who would live with their window inches from the sidewalk? Fremont is a suburb. Why is it being developed as if it was San Francisco?

Why isn't the space for the enjoyment of residents in front, between the sidewalk and the building? Most buildings along Walnut have a setback -- Kaiser, the Schools for the Blind and Deaf, respectively -- all have greenery between the sidewalk and the buildings.

I disagree that we must build higher-density configurations as though there were no vacancies and homes for sale in Fremont. If we no longer have space, people will go elsewhere. We can't accommodate everyone.

It doesn't matter what I think about high-density housing, but we can do something to make this high-density building more attractive by not building right up to the sidewalk.

Joan Matlack

Fremont

Berkeley is wrong about payday loans

The recent article about Berkeley targeting high-interest "payday" loan businesses fails to answer the question: "What is a person without a bank account supposed to do with a paycheck or with some immediate need?"


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By the way, the exorbitant interest rates quoted are grossly misleading. The 460 percent rate given for a two-week loan is the rate one would pay if the loan was kept unpaid for a year. If the loan was paid off in two weeks, the cost would be 17.7 percent of the loan amount (17.7 percent compounded 26 times becomes 460 percent).

Here's a concrete example of the utility of such a loan: Suppose you have a credit card payment due May 20. The nonpayment penalty is $30. You have a paycheck due May 31, but no other funds just now. With a payday loan of $100, you can make a credit card payment and do a few other things. In two weeks' time, you pay off the loan, at a cost of $18.

Pretty good deal. Enough people think so to keep the lenders in business.

Close the lenders' storefronts in Berkeley, and some truly unsavory, back-alley lenders will offer the service (at higher rates, including bodily harm).

Arthur Luehrmann

Berkeley

Tasers can save the lives of many

The coroner's detailed report about the death of Kayla "Xavier" Moore has finally been published.

It shows clearly that Moore died from taking illegal drugs and failing to take his prescribed medications.

The Berkeley police tried reasoning with Moore for a half-hour before they wrestled him to the ground to restrain him and prevent harm to himself or his roommates.

Moore might be alive today if the police had Tasers at their disposal. Despite a lot of hysteria and misinformation about Tasers, nationwide statistics prove they actually prevent injuries to citizens as well as police.

That is especially true in cases like Moore's, where suspects are so drugged up and upset they can't control their own behavior. A quick tasing is much less stressful than being wrestled into restraints.

Studies of thousands of arrests, comparing tasing to clubbing, wrestling and shooting, make it clear Tasers are the tool of choice, as they cause much less harm than any of the other techniques for subduing violent suspects.

We should seriously consider adding this tool, and training in its proper use, to police resources. While it is too late to save Moore's life, it will save the lives of others.

Bob Flasher

Berkeley

Understand Planned Parenthood's mission

In her May 7 letter, "Lobby for the unborn to exist," Anna Koepke makes an erroneous assumption that if President Barack Obama supports Planned Parenthood's right to exist, he must be advocating for abortion.

I'm convinced Koepke isn't aware Planned Parenthood health centers provide services to men, women and teens that include tests and treatment to reduce the spread of sexually transmitted infections and screenings for cervical and other cancers.

They provide doctors and nurses to teach patients about breast care, connect patients to resources to help them get vital biopsies, ultrasounds and mammograms, and follow up to make sure patients are cared for with the attention they need and deserve. There's no reason for Obama not to support Planned Parenthood.

Then there's Koepke's rhetorical question: "Is it convenient for a sitting president to involve himself in personal family matters other than his own?" Forget about convenience; it is something he must do.

What does Koepke think Obama's doing when he sends relief funds to cities and communities after devastating storms, floods, earthquakes, fires and numerous other plagues? When he allocates funds to education and secures health care for everyone in the nation?

Is Obama demanding she accept services from Planned Parenthood? That is my rhetorical question.

Evie Groch

El Cerrito