Juveniles to blame for crimes, not police

In the June 23 edition, a local "In Brief" article by staff writer Pete Carey notes a group of juveniles crashed a stolen car into a house and set the house on fire. Rather than holding the irresponsible and criminal juveniles accountable, the reporter subtly blames the police.

He notes: "The incident began when a police officer tried to stop a car traveling with no headlights." No. The incident began when the four thugs stole a car and drove recklessly without headlights.

A minor example of the media and society in general shifting responsibility for criminal acts on everyone but the criminals.

Bernard Flusche

Newark

NEA has no business in the gun debate

A recent local news headline touts "A call for gun control." In typical anti-gun (and irresponsible) rhetoric, the writer labels politicians and gun lobbyists as indifferent to gun violence.

My first complaint is that the National Education Association's vice president is spouting personal views in a forum that does not reflect the ideology of much of its membership. It is for reasons like this that I, who am eligible for membership, opt out of it.

The NEA has no business in the discussion of gun matters any more than it does in the matter of abortion, same-sex marriage, etc. It is grossly unqualified to opine on this matter.

The NEA should be devoting its time to improving education standards, promoting and protecting teaching jobs (not to be confused with protecting deadwood), and advocating for improved funding for schools. The whiny diatribe spouted diminishes the credibility of this organization (my second complaint).

Education is losing ground rapidly, and there is no connection between gun issues and improving education. I believe the gun industry is far more responsive and responsible than the NEA which does little to reduce violence in society.

Eric Hentschke

Newark

Like to hear what Zimmer might say

Detached curiosity is how I approached the news about George Zimmer's public firing from the Men's Warehouse.

Over the past few days, I have noticed Zimmer's reach encompass much of Oakland. Zimmer, a Jewish man from New York who valued public education, upgraded the wing of Holy Names University, a Catholic institution that educates many Oakland public school teachers.

The Oakland Zoo, to which Zimmer has given generously, is world-class and working to build a veterinary hospital on the site.

This led me to think about why such a man would be fired just before a board meeting -- the board meeting postponed until a date yet to be determined. And then it occurred to me that perhaps Zimmer had something to say -- something that would become public record, as are all annual board meetings.

Zimmer has spoken through his philanthropic work, now I'd like to hear the words that Zimmer would have said if he were allowed to do so at the annual board meeting.

Debora Rinehart

Oakland

Style won out over function on bridge

I was glad to see that the author of a June 12 My Word on the new east span of the Bay Bridge agreed with mine -- that form aced out function. What drove the design was the desire for a beautiful bridge, an iconic structure, and by the way, safety for drivers.

Supposedly, the new bridge was needed because of fear that the existing one might not survive another earthquake. You would think public safety would be foremost and that a proven design, whose intrinsic configuration makes it seismically rigorous, and could be designed and built quickly, say in seven years, like the existing bridge, would be first choice.

Instead a very complex, seismically challenged, untested design won. There are a few self-anchored bridges in the world, but this will be the only one with a single-tower. It was as though there was a contest for the most seismically challenged bridge so engineers could prove they could devise clever, complicated ways to overcome this vulnerability.

One has to question the professional competence of engineers who did not realize its complexity and were so very far off their time and money estimate that design/build would be 15 years rather than five years, and cost $6.4 billion instead of $1.1 billion.

The job of an engineer is to find the most cost-effective solution. A design that is the simplest, most rational solution is a thing of beauty.

If we need an icon, build a 525-foot-tall sculpture in the bay of the two Browns shaking hands. That will be unique.

Joyce Roy

Oakland

Move released inmates near federal judges

Three federal judges have decided that because of overcrowding, 10,000 inmates now in California prisons have to be released into the public by the end of this year.

I have also made a decision about this issue, and here it is: All 10,000 of those released inmates should be required to live within five blocks of the homes of those three federal judges.

Dan A. Robertson

Crockett