Shooting forces us to rethink security

Recently, a private security guard in the Oakmore neighborhood of Oakland shot and wounded a burglary suspect. I'm not a subscriber to a private security service, but I live in this neighborhood.

I was very troubled by the media coverage of the incident, particularly the TV reporting. The interviews with neighbors that made it on air showed predominately white folks, hailing the guard as a hero.

While we all want to live in a safe and secure neighborhood, not all of us think it's a good idea to have armed guards firing guns in our driveways, and many of us would not declare this a victory. Many of us think this is a back-to-the-drawing-board moment in our efforts to make ourselves more secure in our homes.

Some news sources showed a photo of the shirtless African-American suspect bleeding on the sidewalk after he was shot. One smirking television reporter referred to the suspect's clothes, saying "his pants were so baggy he was nearly tripping from them."

Coverage like this only serves to heighten the divide and mistrust between affluent, white, hills dwellers and the poorer, disadvantaged people of color watching in the Oakland flatlands. It plays to stereotypes and assumptions that won't serve to make any of us better informed or safer in our city.

Kathleen Matz

Oakland

Oakland's new lights ruin the ambience


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I'm so disappointed with the new Oakland streetlights, especially in Montclair. Of course, I understand the wonderful energy savings, but did anyone ever vet the aesthetic quality of the light? It's like a headlamp in my eyes wherever I go now.

The new LED lights are way too strong and bright. How I miss the soft yellow lights that I never realized I would ever miss.

I admit I'm not the first to be in the audience of the city's Lighting Assessment District meetings to decide such policy. I don't think the city really conveyed to the citizenry the change that would be wrought upon us. I read the studies and analysis the city did and there's no mention of light aesthetics; only how much would be saved.

It's ruined the whole ambience of my street and of many hills streets. I understand the need for safety but can we tone it down a bit? It hurts my eyes and ruined my experience of the night in Oakland. There's got to be a better way.

Michael Bostick

Oakland

Smoking leaves of any kind bad for you

Get a grip over there, Fremont and Hayward. Real cigarettes, but not nicotine, are carcinogenic. I repeat: Nicotine is not a human carcinogen. What is the fuss about banning e-cigarettes?

I am not a smoker or a former smoker, but in regard to public health, I certainly think that e-cigarettes are an improvement over the real thing and have helped many people to quit. Meanwhile, smoking marijuana is deemed as harmless -- indeed even medicinal.

I have news for you, John Q. Public -- smoking unfiltered marijuana leaves is undoubtedly just as carcinogenic (perhaps more) as smoking tobacco leaves. And no one else likes that secondhand smoke either.

Yet this activity is lauded by the aficionados as totally harmless and has been legalized in two states. If you want the benefits of the active ingredient of marijuana -- THC (also not a carcinogen) -- just purify it and take the pill. No smoking tobacco leaves or marijuana leaves, please.

J.W. Yager

Oakland

Action is needed on water issues, now

Are weather patterns changing enough? Is the word "drought" a clue ... maybe? Or is our statewide rain water drain into the ocean strategy in need of some changes?

Our lakes are pretty low, and if rain patterns continue as they are, we need to save as much of it as possible. This aspect of water conservation should be studied and acted upon, ASAP.

Gwendolyn Bell

Oakland

Maybe prosecutor should prosecute

Inquiring minds would like to know:

Why has U.S. Attorney Melinda Haag spent far more time and government resources prosecuting people involved with medicinal marijuana than she has spent investigating and/or prosecuting the former Hercules city manager who has allegedly funneled hundreds of thousands of dollars of public funds into his own pocket?

Somehow Haag's priorities are out of step with reality. Perhaps it's time for her to take "early retirement."

Kenneth C. Jones

Berkeley