Important to know facts about bids

This is regarding the Sept. 25 article, "Nonprofit lands big workforce contract."

Leaving aside reporter Matt O'Brien's debatable assertion that we are a "well-connected Oakland nonprofit," it is important for readers to have the facts concerning the "lucrative" contract awarded to Oakland Private Industry Council by the Alameda County Board of Supervisors on Sept. 24.

The award was made after a rigorous and unassailable bidding process conducted by an independent body of experts trained in federal procurement and employment training programs. The article fails to point out that under the PIC's successful bid, more than 90 percent of the $2.5 million per year contract directly supports the training and retraining of unemployed Alameda County residents.

This is in contrast to the rival bid, which was three times more costly to the taxpayers, and would have resulted in more than $470,000 less available to meet this urgent community need.

The paper highlighted the unfounded and salacious comments of an unhappy bidder whose complaint was fully investigated by the county and dismissed at multiple levels during the process.

Gay Plair Cobb

Chief executive officer Oakland Private Industry Council Inc. Oakland

Workers itching to show their control

As the BART strike deadline approaches, I quit holding my breath. I predicted a strike was near. Not so much because of principle, but to teach all of us slobs (the customers of BART) a lesson -- in how much pain they can cause all of us.


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I forget how salaries of $60,000 (plus top-tier benefits) for a BART janitor position with little to no education can far outweigh a teacher in our public school system, who has to pay out-of-pocket more than $500 a year to teach our children.

I forget that a single mother, working nights on a temporary status, not because she cannot do the job but because the company does not want to pay benefits. I forget quite a few people, like myself with a ton of professional experience and a collage education, get turned down for a simple cashier job because we are overqualified.

The BART unions are asking for a 20 percent increase across the board; that equates to a $72,000 salary for that janitor, plus full top-tier, almost-no-cost benefits.

Honestly, how can they sleep at night? I personally would love the opportunity to get into BART, sweep the floors, and enjoy the current salaries they all seem to forget they have.

It makes me sick. Like many in the majority at this point, I say let the BART worker miss a couple of house payments and scramble for a few months to put food on the table, and then ask them how fair they really are. The true cost will end up being shoved on the consumer anyhow.

Paul Banducci

Antioch

Test proctors should just follow the script

The Sept. 26 article, "Testing irregularity erases school's score," got my dander up.

It appears that James Logan High School in Union City had its API rating stripped away after a mistake was made during standardized testing this past school year.

It was reported that administrators "allowed students to complete parts of a test they had started on a previous day." The reason given for the error, according the district's chief academic officer, was that this "was an honest error by instructors who did not know the rules governing allotted time."

Which prompts the question: Why didn't they know the rules? Didn't they read the instruction manual provided for them before they administered the test?

I'm sure that the instructors must remember the same types of test they have taken over the years and that there were strict time periods designed for each section of those test. "You have 30 minutes for this test," meant that was all of the time one was permitted for that particular test.

They must remember the instruction, from their own experience, that one wasn't permitted to go back to a previous test if they completed a test section before the allotted time period. So pleading ignorance of the rules regarding allotted time is bogus.

Proctoring a test isn't that hard. Instructors are given a script to follow and all goes well when that script is followed. I hope this turns out to be one of those teachable moments to all who are responsible for the administration of standardize tests.

Morris Soublet

Hayward