Council shouldn't cut public safety

It has been brought to my attention that certain Oakland City Council members support cutting the budget for public safety to fund other expenses, which I don't understand.

I've had my house broken into, sister mugged, parents' house burglarized and have countless friends with the same story.

Cutting the budget only serves to show the criminals how Oakland provided a welcome mat to commit more crimes.

As a business owner with my establishment in another city, it's these types of decisions that keep me from moving my business to Oakland.

Doug Eng

Oakland

Oakland must reduce crime to keep families

I am a three-year resident of the Crocker Highlands neighborhood. I feel great about living in Oakland: I love my neighborhood, have meaningful relationships with my neighbors and go out of my way to prioritize Oakland shopping, dining and natural experiences. I also plan to send my kids to OUSD schools.

One night in January, upon leaving Plum Bar, my friend and I were mugged at knifepoint around the corner from one of Oakland's hottest dining attractions. Thankfully, neither of us was hurt. However, we are terrified to spend any more time in downtown Oakland and canceled additional social plans we had at downtown restaurants.

Oakland is on the verge of international recognition as a destination city. The only thing holding us back is our crime problem. The current spate of violent crime in the Lakeshore Grand area has a Crocker neighbor group talking about starting an armed militia.

My family spends about 80 percent of our entertainment dollars in Oakland: concerts at the Fox, Paramount and Yoshi's; dinner at Plum, Homeroom and in Chinatown; visits to the wonderful zoo, farmers markets in Splash Park, Jack London Square and more.

After my mugging, we discussed moving to Lafayette seriously for the first time. And I know we're not alone.

Oakland City Council members must fix our crime problem, so a family like mine will stay in Oakland. They must restore our 200 police and make all of us feel safe again.

Shira Levine

Oakland

Bad bill on nuclear arms must be fixed

House Republicans added key provisions to increase nuclear dangers and block sensible arms control in the fiscal year 2014 defense authorization bill.

The Republican-dominated House Armed Services Committee wants to increase nuclear weapons funding by about $200 million above the president's request of $7.87 billion for the National Nuclear Security Administration's weapons activities. That's an increase of $654 million from two years ago.

On the other hand, these same Republicans want to hold back $75 million for arms reduction required under the New START treaty with Russia. Also, their bill seeks to limit the president's ability to negotiate agreements with Russia to further reduce our arsenals, even though the U.S. and Russia hold 95 percent of the world's nuclear weapons.

The next step in the process will be to bring the committee's bill to the floor where it can be amended and improved by the whole House before a final vote. Then, the action will move to the Senate. I hope this bad bill gets fixed. If that doesn't happen, I urge President Barack Obama to veto it.

Jo Ann Frisch

Livermore

Is Chevron real cause of residents' ills?

The city of Richmond claims Chevron operations are responsible for the poor health of Richmond's residents and the City Council voted to retain a law firm for legal action if Chevron does not agree to a compensation package.

What needs to be determined is if residents' health problems are due to Chevron or other factors, such as home environment, diet or smog from vehicles.

Richmond is enclosed by Interstates 80, 580 and the Richmond Parkway. On hot, windless days, one could look out over Richmond and observe the smog hanging over the city like the grim reaper.

My parents settled in North Richmond in 1922. Our family and neighbors lived in North Richmond long before there was an agency monitoring air pollution.

The air was so toxic, vegetables and other plants would wilt and die, tree leaves would turn black, and structures painted white would be gray in six months. Yet, most individuals lived a healthy life into their 80s and 90s. Perhaps it was all that toxic air we inhaled.

Al Bruzzone

Richmond

Before retiring, Bruzzone was a research technician with Chevron for 37 years.