No fracking during drought
While reading the recent article in the Times by Garance Burke, "In dry California, water fetching record prices," I couldn't help but think back to Gov. Jerry Brown declaring a drought emergency in January, asking "every city, every community, every Californian" to do their part and reduce their water use by 20 percent.
Brown should have mentioned "every oil corporation," too. So long as fracking persists in California, Big Oil is using nearly as much water to frack a single oil well as my family of four uses in a year.
We've shortened our showers, watered the plants in the evenings and turned off the tap when brushing our teeth, and more. We're doing our part, but it doesn't feel as though California's government is keeping my family's best interests at heart by allowing fracking.
Continued fracking should not have a place during the drought, as there is clearly enough pressure on our state's water resources as it is.
Outdated and dangerous
I am a longtime A's fan and used to think the A's ballpark, the O.co Coliseum, was quaint and old-fashioned.
Then I fractured my fibia climbing up the concrete steps from my field box seat. Without rails down the center, the stadium is unsafe and does not meet Americans with Disabilities Act standards.
We need a new state of the art stadium
Murders can't be tolerated
The murder of Israeli teens Eyal Yifrach, Naftali Fraenkel and Gilad Shaar and the revenge murder of Palestinian teen Mohammad Abu Khdeir cannot be tolerated.
Since 2000, 1,527 Palestinian children have been killed by Israel and 134 Israeli children have been killed. (RememberTheseChildren.org)
Though it is not clear that Hamas was responsible for the Israeli teen deaths, Israel launched air strikes against Gaza in retaliation. The homes of the "suspects" were demolished.
This is collective punishment, illegal under international law. Hundreds of Palestinians are under administrative detention. Video showed Israeli police severely beating Tarek Abu Khdeir, American cousin of lynch victim Mohammad.
U.S. taxpayers give Israel $3.5 billion yearly to prolong an unjust occupation, which allows inequality and violence to continue against Palestinians. Mobs shouting "death to Arabs" and price-tag attacks show the racism present there.
Our foreign policy should not support this. End military aid to Israel now.
Racial profiling a current issue
This is in response to Tom Barnidge's July 3 column in the Times, "Politics cloud school renaming."
Barnidge sees no logic in renaming Portola school after Fred Korematsu "70 years after internment ended, 16 years after Korematsu's award and nine years after his death."
Barnidge forgets that in 2010, California Gov. Schwarzenegger signed the law proclaiming Jan. 30 "Fred T. Korematsu Day of Civil Liberties and the Constitution" because Korematsu fought for the constitutional civil rights for all Americans, not just for the Japanese-Americans.
After 9/11, Korematsu spoke up against rounding up Muslims. Up to his death, Korematsu fought against what we call "racial profiling" -- something he, among 80,000 American citizens of Japanese ancestry, experienced while being forcefully removed and interned without fair trials. They were incarcerated in America's 10 concentration camps, along with some 40,000 immigrant parents who were denied by racist laws the right to become naturalized American citizens.
Korematsu's fight is not an outdated Japanese-American issue. It is very much a current American issue that racial profiling and such civil liberty violations are still happening today.
Nakahara is a retired Portola Middle School teacher.
Deportation splits families
Recently, nationwide demonstrations were held to protest two million deportations of undocumented immigrants under the Obama presidency.
The initial intention was to deport serious offenders but now all undocumented people, regardless of length of residency, productivity or clean criminal record are included. Most have families which, then, are torn apart.
The more local demonstration was held in San Francisco's financial district at the Immigration Court, where 23 protesters sat around a big banner "Deporter in Chief" in the middle of an intersection.
One demonstrator, a fellow Unitarian Universalist, a single mother of a teenage son, inspired this letter. All 23 were arrested, charged with failure to obey a lawful order and with blocking an intersection, and given a citation and a court date.
It's sad that, willing to shed light on a troubling issue, one undergoes arrest, a fact that may adversely affect one's future. But at least in America one can protest without being maimed or killed.
Claire J. Baker
Tenure ruling may backfire
Having been a teacher at a school in a low-performing East Bay district for eight years, I've noticed teachers leave schools in this district at a much higher rate than in higher-performing districts.
If the teacher tenure ruling by Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Rolf M. Treu is enacted, the inequality may worsen because administrators in high-performing schools could opt to remove teachers who aren't quite as effective as their best teachers. This would open up more teaching slots for teachers wanting to leave low-performing schools.
Then these administrators could choose among the best of these applicants. Since lower-performing districts always have fewer teachers willing to teach in their schools, their administrators are often left to choose any warm body willing to fill a classroom, with the alternative being one substitute after another or no teacher at all.
Thus, the result could be that the highest-performing schools would get better teachers, while the low-performing schools would be left with fewer effective teachers from which to choose.
Instead, we need to find ways to attract more good teachers to low-performing schools.