Waste tax is bad, but vote method is worse

Is this the future of voting? I recently received a ballot from Alameda County Waste Management Authority relative to adding $9.95 to our property tax bill.

After further checking as to what this is about, all I can say is: outrageous. If you do not return this ballot, stating you do not want this additional fee, your address will count as an automatic yes vote.

Not only am I against this additional fee to my property taxes for 20 years, I am totally against this type of voting. By adding this to our tax bills, it becomes a tax that should be voted on by every resident of Alameda County, on a voter ballot, not in a mail-out that most people will not read or reply to. Therefore, an automatic passing of this additional fee. Outrageous.

This newspaper should report on this scam. We are being nickel-and-dimed on all of these fees without sufficient explanation or accounting of the future use. This should not be allowed. Send your no votes.

Midge Fowler

Fremont

Independent study of soil is necessary

So the San Francisco Bay Regional Water Quality Control Board wants to dump 210,000 cubic yards of pesticide-laden soil into the Dumbarton Quarry, without doing an independent soil study of its own?

The engineering geologist with the agency states "there was nothing about the quarry consultant's numbers we found surprising."

Where is the due diligence by the agency of confirming the quarry consultant's report for such an environmentally sensitive project for the citizens of the Bay Area?

This board has a responsibility to Newark and Fremont residents who live within a few miles of the quarry to perform its own independent soil study.

Dumping that amount of tainted soil will cause massive dust clouds, where the pesticide particles will be carried by bay winds over residential areas.

This project is getting streamlined with no regard for a second independent soil study. What are they hiding?

John Sorensen

Newark

Commentary shows what is being done

The Rev. Ben McBride's Jan. 16 My Word on the role that Oakland's clergy plays in violence prevention was an eye-opener for me.

I hear often about efforts by the City Council and the police, but the same has not been true of the clergy, and I had often wondered about this. I had no idea of the role the faith community has been playing in reinvigorating and providing continuity for Ceasefire.

Laws made by our politicians and enforcement by the police are pointless without the arm that protects our youth and guides them into a positive life.

As the Rev. Michael McBride wrote, the clergy have the dedication and the resources. I add that they also have the trust and gratitude of the community.

The whole point of Ceasefire is that the goals cannot be achieved without collaboration. I hope all of our city leaders will stay involved in supporting our youths. And that the media will let us know how they're doing.

Pamela Dernham

Oakland

Dance depicts real-life pain in Oakland

I want to share my experience of the powerful dance production by the very talented students at Skyline High on Jan. 18.

Their closing dance, "Crime Wave" by Stanley Clarke, was moving, unforgettable and dedicated "to all of the senseless violence." Starting with a short skit, as kids are hanging out and having fun, a boy walks onstage, gets into a fight, and shoots the person. As everyone scatters, a girl runs on with a bloodcurdling scream -- and then they dance.

What a waker-upper. Their dancing expressed what they know -- too many people die violent deaths in Oakland.

Headlines stretch across the front page for a girl staying on life support a little too long, while buried deep is a blurb about a boy shot on his way home after eating at a taco truck.

Students see senseless violence every day and hear lullabies of gunshots every night. Skyline High and other Oakland public schools' students are thoughtful, passionate and care deeply about Oakland. Thank you, Skyline dance department, for bringing attention to this important issue.

Sarah Kluger

Oakland