Keep up the great work on the ferries

I thank the entire San Francisco Bay Area ferry team for doing a great job of planning and managing the logistics for providing additional ferry service during the BART strike.

I take the Harbor Bay ferry, and I know that many of the regular riders share my sentiment. I'm sure everyone will learn a lot from this experience, which will make the process going forward all the better.

Keep up the great work -- we really love our ferry system and the wonderful crews that run it.

Peter Scampavia

Alameda

Near disaster should be fire wake-up call

A great, celebratory and fireworks-filled evening on the Fourth of July ended with a scary reminder of where we live in the Oakland hills.

A forest fire started in the city-owned Joaquin Miller Park about 10:30 p.m., probably from firecrackers being set off in the abandoned Sinawik Cabin deep in the park on steep terrain just south of Castle Drive. Kudos to the swift action of local firefighters who responded that night and had the fire out before it spread too far.

Local leaders along with our ever-present, hands-on Mayor Jean Quan were on site the whole time helping direct traffic onto park trails that only a few locals really know that well, especially in the dark.


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Lots of sparks were flying for at least two to three hours. With a little more wind and warmer temperatures, the wildfire could have easily spread quickly down toward Woodminster or over the hill (into the neighboring, totally unmanaged Castle Canyon Park) toward Montclair Village.

We hope that this is yet another wake-up call to local residents to vote (watch for your mail-in ballots this fall) for renewal of the Wildfire Assessment District (www.keepoaklandfiresafe.org).

The money from that voter-passed initiative is what funds a range of fire prevention strategies, including the goats who had only last week passed through the portion of the park where the wildfire could have easily spread.

Connie and Stan Weisner

Oakland

Stop subsidizing Big Agriculture

We have come to the point in our society where junk food is readily available. With both parents working, families are forced to eat microwaveable TV-dinners or even more readily available fast food.

Junk food has become a staple diet in the daily lives of many Americans, especially children and adolescents. I personally have seen how students at my high school would come back from lunch every day with bags of chips and bottles of soda. A simple packed lunch has become nearly obsolete.

Why?

This is because millions of subsidies go into the hands of major agricultural corporations who produce these obesity-inducing ingredients such as high-fructose corn syrup. Very little of the subsidies go to small-business farmers to produce fresh fruit and vegetables. A healthier alternative is there, we just have to fight to make it more available.

The farm bill is currently being debated in the Congress. I would personally like to thank the members of the House and Senate who rejected the farm bill earlier this summer. I would also like to thank Rep. Barbara Lee for voting right by saying no.

However, it is not over yet. We need to stop these subsidies to large corporations. We need to take a stand to stop obesity in the future generation. I sincerely hope that when our members of Congress vote on the farm bill, they think about the future of America.

Shayaan Saiyed

Fremont

Dental care for needy is good news

So many poor and disabled persons in California are happy that Gov. Jerry Brown has reinstated full dental benefits.

It says in the Bible that when you help the poor, you will have a legacy. And, so, those hurt and poor people will bless the state for such goodness. I have heard so many bad stories that I am overjoyed with learning of this news.

Susan Cu Tikalsky

Brentwood