Shame on paper for Segway story

The March 15 edition of The Montclarion had a ringing endorsement of illegal activity on the front page. It is illegal for any motor vehicle to ride in Joaquin Miller Park, as the pictures show the people doing. It is also illegal throughout the East Bay Regional Park District unless you are disabled.

The operator of this business has been informed by the city of Oakland that he is in violation of city ordinances, and then you basically ran a free advertisement for this criminal.

Randy Sherren

Oakland

Editor's note: The Montclarion stands by the story by Lou Fancher and contacted Segway Off Road owner Drew Foster for a reaction to the above letter. This is Foster's response:

We do not operate in East Bay Regional Park District systems or on any trails in city of Oakland parks. We stick to the pavement such as roads' parking areas, basically anywhere a car can go.

These devices are not even designated as motorized vehicles, not by the state Department of Transportation or the federal government. Nowhere on any list is a Segway considered a motorized vehicle.

It's funny how people react sometimes to a good thing. The park system's biggest goal is to get more people into the parks with the least amount of potential damage.


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Literally thousands of folks have been introduced to these two parks because of this Segway tour.

New pope wrong about birth control

Recent front-page stories give voluminous details on the selection of the new Catholic Pope Francis from Argentina.

It seems significant that out of a total of 550 million faithful in the world's top 10 countries, 41 percent are from Latin America.

According to news report from Vatican City, quoting the editor of the Catholic Almanac, Francis had a "mandate for change." However, the report added that "the conclave appeared more swayed by his compassion on issues such as poverty and his fealty to traditional church teachings such as opposition to birth control."

But we can't fight poverty and ignorance by suppressing birth control. Did the report get it wrong? Francis is a scientist with a master's degree in chemistry, so we're told. Considering our out-of-control exploding world population and global warming crisis, we must include teaching family planning, sexual health and contraception to save our planet.

John Wagers

Oakland

Stricter gun control is a women's cause

The YWCA Berkeley/Oakland supports strengthening the nation's gun laws. We see this as a women's issue.

Every day, shootings and deaths bring tragedy to families in our communities and across the country. While legislation to address the many causes and most effective means of reducing gun deaths and accidents is complicated, we must start now. One life saved makes a world of difference.

I speak on behalf of the YWCA Berkeley/Oakland with approval of the board of directors. The YWCA Berkeley/Oakland has more than 1,800 members. Our goals are to eliminate racism and empower women. We fulfill this goal by programs that link students at UC Berkeley with at-risk children and youth in Oakland and Berkeley. I thank everyone for their efforts in building safer communities. I urge support for stronger gun control measures in the current session.

Sarah Knox Miyazaki

president, board of directors, YWCA Berkeley/Oakland Berkeley

Species Act should expand worldwide

The Endangered Species Act turns 40 this year. Here in the Bay Area, we can celebrate the return from near-extinction of the California condor, southern sea otter and California least tern among more than 200 species placed on the act's list for protection over the past few decades.

All species play a part in fragile, yet complex biosystems that provide food and habitat as well as clean air and water -- the requirements for all life-forms. However, due to the extreme escalation of human demands for higher technological standards of living, we are faced with a global crisis.

More species face habitat loss, introduction of alien species into their communities and fragmentation of their natural environment because of the physical assault of bulldozers, highways, etc. More species are on the brink of extinction.

The Endangered Species Act has a remarkable success record of 99 percent of those listed. We must ensure that this valuable legislation remains not only strong but expands its scope globally.

Maida Counts

Oakland