Hiring security step in right direction

As a new homeowner in Rockridge, I have been following the many stories about robberies and other crime in Oakland and the various approaches to dealing with it. I reflect often on the fact that Oakland's positive attractions -- great restaurants, a thriving art scene, access to outdoor spaces -- go hand in hand with negative issues -- such as lack of a sufficient police force and elevated crime rates.

When I first bought my home here, I was on the fence about installing a home alarm and hiring private security. I lock my doors and am getting to know my neighbors -- why should I spend money on extra security? But after a rash of daytime robberies in my neighborhood, I decided to contribute to the crowd-funded hiring of a private security company to patrol my neighborhood, and I'm glad I did.

The recent hiring of private security by a number of Oakland neighborhoods has been somewhat controversial. But it has raised residents' awareness and engaged us in dialogue with each other and with OPD about how best to deal with crime and gaps in police coverage. It is also a tangible way for me to invest in my new community.

I plan to be here for a long time, and I hope to see the City of Oakland make a similar investment in law enforcement and community outreach so that the positive attractions can start to outweigh the negative issues someday.

Syri Mongiello

Oakland

Snowden did nation great public service


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Would we be having a national examination of the role the NSA and other spy agencies in a free society if Edward Snowden hadn't revealed NSA's secret activities?

Accusations of massive spying would be met with official denials, as they have for years. The lack of oversight and effective protection of our privacy rights remains a threat to us and future generations. Rather than being honored as a hero, this brave whistle-blower is being charged as a traitor. That just ain't right.

Bruce Joffe

Piedmont

PG&E penalty must be a fair one for all

The San Bruno pipeline accident was a tragedy, and PG&E should pay a fair and just penalty. However, the record-breaking $4 billion fine proposed by the California Public Utilities Commission may harm the local community and workers.

A penalty of this size may prevent the financing of the very infrastructure projects needed to test and modernize PG&E's energy system to keep our communities safe. In addition, infrastructure projects of this size bring good jobs to local workers and boost our economy.

I hope the CPUC will take these factors into account before signing off on the penalty.

Michael Hernandez

business manager, Plumbers & Steamfitters Local Union 342, Oakland

What is really scary is the meat industry

I was not scared of all the witches, zombies and assorted goblins wandering about on Halloween. What really scares me is the meat industry.

This is the industry that: mutilates, cages and butchers billions of cows, pigs and other sentient animals; feeds carcasses of cats and dogs killed in pounds to chickens; exposes undocumented workers to chronic workplace injuries at slave wages; exploits farmers and ranchers by dictating wholesale market prices; punishes documentation of its abuses through unconstitutional ag-gag laws; promotes world hunger by feeding nutritious corn and soybeans to animals; generates more greenhouse gases and water pollution than any other human activity; creates a permanent "dead zone" in the Gulf of Mexico that dwarfs the BP oil spill, creates deadly antibiotic-resistant pathogens by feeding antibiotics to animals; creates epidemics of salmonella, listeria and other infectious diseases; and promotes mortality from diabetes, heart failure, stroke, cancer and other diseases.

Now, that's really scary. And this is why I am dropping animal products from my menu.

Milton Connley

Oakland

Name Washington's team the Rednecks

The name Washington Redskins has been challenged by some Native Americans as being racist and offensive. The owner of that football team has stated that the name Washington Redskins is not racist but shows respect and honor for Native Americans.

I would like to have the football team owner change the team name to Washington Rednecks. Now before anyone tweets, I will remind them that the word redneck has been used on TV, as well as by a comedian who states "You might be a redneck if ..." So the terminology "redneck" is being used in public and reportedly is not offensive to anyone.

Let's see if the owner of the football team would consider Rednecks as nonoffensive as he considers Redskins.

Walt Randle

Oakland