Oakland must make security investment

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 deal with it.

I reflect often on Oakland's positive attractions -- great restaurants, thriving art scene, access to outdoor spaces -- go hand in hand with negative issues such as lack of 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, so 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. 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 deserves to be called a hero


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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

Quirk should've skipped dinner

How would you spend $13,000? We just learned that oil industry lobbyists led by Chevron treated a dozen lawmakers, including Assemblyman Bill Quirk, of Hayward, to a $13,000 dinner at one of Sacramento's finest restaurants.

The pricey meal was hosted during the final days of the legislative session earlier this year amid key oil votes. In one meal, a dozen lawmakers spent more money than some of our poorest community members make in an entire year.

Oil companies such as Chevron are desperate to hold onto their monopoly -- no matter the cost to our environment, our economy or public health. In fact, oil industry lobbyists spend roughly $27,000 every day, pushing to delay and weaken California's renewable energy and clean air laws.

We're disappointed that Assemblyman Quirk keeps company with an industry that wants to protect the status quo and their hundreds of billions of dollars in annual profits.

Mari Rose Taruc

State organizing director Asian Pacific Environmental Network Oakland

Need discernment and ethical clarity

I read Angela Hill's recent article with interest about the know-it-all world. I like the way in which she made her point about technology and how it has redefined knowledge.

I believe, though, we have to make a differentiation between information and knowledge.

Technology gives you data and information. Making sense of the information and coming up with your own interpretation is the process of creating knowledge.

I hope readers understand -- having knowledge is different from knowing and sense making. It is important because understanding patterns does not necessarily help people make better decisions and take meaningful actions.

They have to develop a sense of knowing, and that is beyond much of the technology -- though good user interface might help people to tap into their instincts and emotions.

Knowledge without values can be dangerous. We have seen many CEOs get into ethical quandaries because they have gotten trapped in the technology and knowledge paradigm. We need more discernment and ethical clarity for our leaders -- and all of us.

That is where wisdom comes into the picture. When people have humility, ethical clarity and a larger purpose to serve, then they develop discernment in decision making and take prudent and wise actions.

Prasad Kaipa

Campbell