Locations better for emergency center

In the Jan. 24 article, "Emergency center design up for review," City Planner Andrew Thomas touched on the obvious about the Emergency Communication Center when he said the planned building would be similar in size and scale to the city's Carnegie Building.

The obvious question is why not use the Carnegie Building for the Emergency Communication Center. The city's parking structure is nearby, and it would be far more fitting to the city's core activity center than a pinball museum (do we want Alameda to become known as Pinball City?).

Everyone would know where the "across from City Hall" location would be, coming from out of the area to a major Alameda emergency. Putting the Emergency Operations Center in the middle of a residential neighborhood invites it to be blocked off in the event of a really big, local disaster.

A better location would be at Alameda Point, near City Hall West, which could be something more during a citywide emergency. Alameda Point is also where emergency equipment would likely arrive by air and sea, and having the command and communication center co-located makes logical sense. The Carnegie and Alameda Point locations are far better than the fire chief's no-bid contract location.

Richard Neveln


Advertisement

Thanks for helping Christmas charity

I'm writing to thank Alameda residents for their generosity in helping thousands of suffering children worldwide this Christmas. Through their efforts, we were able to collect more than 2,300 shoeboxes -- filled with toys, school supplies and hygiene items -- for Operation Christmas Child, the world's largest Christmas project of its kind. These simple gift-filled shoeboxes communicate to needy children that they are loved and not forgotten.

Although drop-off locations in Alameda are closed until November 2014, shoe box gifts can be packed any time. Gifts are received year-round at Samaritan's Purse, 801 Bamboo Road, Boone, N.C. 28607, or using the project's online tool, at which donors can virtually build a box. To get involved, visit samaritanspurse.org or call 714-432-7030.

Thanks again to everyone who participated in this project. A simple gift, packed with love, can communicate hope and transform the lives of children worldwide.

Jennifer Trevithick

West Coast Regional Director Operation Christmas Child Santa Ana

Statewide bag ban needs a test period

Any deal to ban carryout plastic supermarket bags statewide should be implemented strictly on a temporary five-year trial basis.

After five years, the law should be subject to a review-and-renew process. If, at the five-year mark, it cannot be proven beyond a reasonable doubt that the law has accomplished its intended objectives, the law should automatically repeal itself. After all, can we really be certain the local/county bag bans have done any good?

Robert Minot

Alameda

Midway Shelter aid is much appreciated

Many thanks to those individuals and groups who have contributed to the Midway Shelter's Adopt-A-Bed program for abused women and their children. The donors listed below contributed during the month of January 2014. A number of donors have contributed several times during this period:

Betty Sanderson, Anonymous I, Barbara Anderson, Charles Schwab Foundation, Merry Thomas, Ewart and Virginia Wetherill, Mary and Dan McEachern, Alice Garvin, Renee and William Sheehan, C. J. Kingsley, LeeAnn and Michael Baker, Doris Neuberger, Elaine Kofman, Mavis and Randy Guber, Virginia Krutilek, Dolores Rodriguez, Gary and Lily Gee, Nancy Matthews, Jerald Kerschman, Kathryn Destafney, Donald E. Cary, Susanne M. Hamilton, Louise Parker, Janine Shafer in memory of Virginia Bartalini, Allianz Global Investors -- S.F. Charitable Contribution Committee, Lois Pryor, Bay Ship & Yacht, Frank DeSimone, Suresh Srinivasan, Tricia Ulricksen, First Congregational Church (UCC), Isle City Institute #51 YLI, Alameda Welfare Council, Frank and Winifred Ghiglione in memory of Daisy Owyang, Varetta Mayes, Debbie Gregoire, Cheryl, W. Lijoi, Ashley Stapleton, Josephine Galliano, Thanh-Van Ly, Pamela I. Franco, Rachelle Perata, Lena Tam, St Joseph Basilica, Latinos Unidos of Alameda High School, Amber and Patrick Brose, Donalynne and William Fuller, Maxine.

Donations may be sent to Alameda Homeless Network, P.O. Box 951, Alameda CA 94501. For further information call 510-523-2377 or go to www.midwayshelter.org

Virginia Krutilek

TV show makes losers of us all

The latest season of "The Biggest Loser" TV game show ended with a major controversy recently -- a controversy that I'm surprised no one saw coming.

The newly crowned winner, Rachel Frederickson, lost 66 percent of her body weight for a final weigh-in of 105 pounds. Viewers' sentiments matched those of trainer Jillian Michaels, who looked noticeably shocked and concerned. This spiraled into a Twitter storm of criticism that railed on Frederickson's "unhealthy" weight. I put "unhealthy" in quotes out of caution; I am not her doctor, therefore I cannot know whether Frederickson is in fact healthy or not.

I did, however, plug Frederickson's weight and her 5-foot-5-inch height into a Body Mass Index calculator for a BMI of 17.5. That's a whole BMI point below what's considered the bottom threshold of a healthy weight (18.5).

Let's stop talking about the numbers for a moment and get to the real root of the problem: weight does not always correlate with health. Yes, to my eyes, Frederickson looks dangerously skinny -- almost skeletal -- but there is no way for me to judge her health by sight alone. That said, 105 pounds is not a weight that should be celebrated, let alone a weight that should be awarded $250,000.

Isn't it obvious how messed-up a message this sends? Lose weight, and you win; gain weight, and you lose. That's one seriously screwed-up equation. I don't want my TV to tell me that I'm a failure for an inability to lose weight. But when TV turns weight loss into a game show, what else am I supposed to think?

Shows such as "The Biggest Loser" blur the line between health and weight. I know plenty of people who are considered healthy in strictly medical terms but don't necessarily appear thin in plain sight.

"The Biggest Loser" celebrates weight loss, not health. And when we put the numbers and the contest above everything else, we all end up losing.

Michelle Robertson

UC Berkeley sophomore