Vote to renew wildfire prevention district

I am an Oakland hills fire survivor and have been very involved with prevention efforts ever since. The Wildfire Prevention Assessment District was originally formed in response to the massive fires of 1991 that killed 25 people and destroyed 3,000 homes in the Oakland hills.

Since its establishment, due to the good work and stewardship of the district, Oakland has not had a significant devastating fire in the hills, while other communities that don't have a dedicated district have experienced large fires.

In fact, earlier this spring we saw a wildfire rage in Idyllwild, which also had a fire in 2008; a fire in Joaquin Miller Park that destroyed the Sinawik Cabin but did not spread thanks to goat grazing in the park the week before; and more recently, the Morgan Fire that destroyed 3,111 acres on Mount Diablo.

Over the past 10 years we've seen that regular fuel reduction efforts can substantially reduce the risk of wildfires. We must replace Oakland's expiring measure to continue a dedicated source of funding where all funds raised will be spent in Oakland neighborhoods at high risk for wildfires; and none of the funds can be used for other needs.


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Voters within the borders of the current wildfire district will receive a red envelope in the mail from the city of Oakland. We ask voters to vote yes on renewing the district so that we can maintain the wildfire prevention services that help to protect our families and our homes -- the risk of losing these services could be catastrophic.

Please mail back your ballot before the Nov. 13 deadline. For more details about the measure and how you can endorse and support its renewal, please visit www.keepoaklandfiresafe.org.

Sue Piper

Co-chair, Keep Oakland Firesafe 2013

Ignore fear-based call to renew fire tax

On Oct. 20, I attended the pro-fire tax news conference at the Hiller Highlands Fire Memorial on the hillside, just west of the Caldecott Tunnel on Highway 24.

While listening to the speakers' rhetoric about the need to pass the tax to "reduce the fuel load" by cutting the dry brush and weeds in the hills, I couldn't help but gaze out to the hills surrounding the memorial -- and the large expanse of dry, waist-high, weeds and brush covering the hillsides.

Clearly, the city's fire tax and the Wildlife Prevention Assessment District that they seek to continue isn't doing the job -- it is painfully obvious that a better plan is needed.

Don't be swayed by the hyperbole and fear tactics -- read the proposal and arguments in your mail ballot. Demand accountability and better use of our tax money. Vote no.

David E. Mix

Oakland

Have long way to go on sugary drinks

While the decrease in consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages among children is a major win for public health, this is only the beginning. ("Study finds sugar drink consumption down for California Kids," Oct. 18)

While this study points to the effectiveness of campaigns aimed at educating parents and the removal of sodas from schools, we need to do more. We, as public health practitioners, have failed to lessen the consumption among teenagers.

As consumption of sugary beverages has increased among this age group, it becomes clear that we need to rethink how we can target this population. Removal of sports drinks from schools and tighter regulations around advertising are potential ways to begin addressing this problem; however, those are just the first steps, and to succeed we need to engage teenagers in addressing the problem and devising solutions.

So, as we celebrate this victory, it is important to remember that we still have a long way to go in improving the health of future generations, and focusing on teenagers should be our next step.

Alex Coleman

Oakland

Washington clowns do not deserve pay

I am so excited. According to the newspapers, I may be getting a 1.5 percent raise on my Social Security. I can't quite decide whether to take a trip across the street or around the block in my neighborhood.

The people in Washington should be ashamed of themselves. Their huge raises are assured, but I guess they think we don't need any. If I was getting all the freebies and inflated paychecks they get, I would be a happy camper.

I thought these clowns were there to work for us, not against us. I'm afraid my camp will be closing due to no raises worth mentioning and terrible inflation.

Since those people who are not able to work together and getting big bucks can't or won't help us, get rid of them. They don't deserve the pay or the job.

Dorothy Allen

San Leandro