Smith is blatantly exploiting children

In his March 30 guest commentary, Tony Smith, the former Superintendent of the Oakland Unified School District, vigorously lobbies against employment protection for teachers that is at the heart of the ongoing Vergara vs. California lawsuit.

In his framing of the issue, teachers' entitlement is a significant barrier to access to education for many students. Never mind that teachers, like students, suffer the consequences of the chronic underfunding of our educational system.

Seeing as this lawsuit is brought on by a wealthy Silicon Valley entrepreneur, we can be excused for concluding that it is the latest attempt to erode the public education system.

Smith repeatedly exhorted us to think of the children; he should be ashamed of his blatant exploitation of them.

Baby Djojonegoro

Oakland

Oakland's new lights need improvements

While I concur with the March 21 letter writer that streetlights are valuable civic amenities, Oakland's recently installed lamps actually present a public safety hazard.

Because they are overly bright and poorly designed, their glare blinds drivers ascending Lyman Street hill and other hilly locations. Drivers' impaired vision may well cause accidents and potential liability for the city.

And as the March 14 letter writer noted, the cold, harsh, unpleasant light severely and painfully diminishes the feeling of well-being of residents.

Energy-efficient lighting technology has developed bulbs in more human-friendly colors than these glaring, overly bright fixtures.

A better design directing appropriate light onto the street rather than wasteful spillage would offer cost- and energy-efficiency, more humane quality of life for residents, and decrease the potential risk to public safety.

Deva Lowenthal

Oakland

Sale signals death knell for Safeway

I can't help but hear the ringing of the death knell for Safeway as we know it.

Cerberus isn't interested in the consumer. Cerberus is all about Cerberus; their board, stock holders and investors. They are a private equity firm in New York whose sole mission is to make money.

Case in point: I give you Mervyn's department stores, another California institution, started in San Lorenzo in 1949. When they were acquired by Cerberus and several other equity firms in 2004, the first act of the new owners was to sell the real estate under the stores and begin charging Mervyn's rent. By October 2008, Mervyn's filed for Chapter 7.

Can you hear it? Clang, clang, clang.

Mike Tucker

Fremont

PG&E plan to cut trees is, indeed, a brutal one

The March 30 editorial, "PG&E aims to hurt public to save a buck," was on target.

Yet, it's worse than that. They want to cut down hundreds of trees in the spring, when all the birds are nesting and having chicks. Brutal plan.

There are laws that prohibit destruction of nesting birds. Does PG&E know about them? Endangered species of birds may not be disturbed. Does PG&E know which species?

Does PG&E care at all about doing what is right?

James Wilson

San Pablo

Respect the Ohlone, don't dig up grave

Recently, an ancient Ohlone grave site in Pleasanton was discovered by developers who wanted to remove it to build an apartment.

If that burial ground were Christian, Jewish or Catholic, it would have been left alone. I urge developers to respect the Ohlone people by not removing their ancestors who are buried there.

Billy Trice Jr.

Oakland

Section provides some serious help

Thanks to the paper for the Your Life section. It is awesome, simply awesome.

And thanks for the new tools and honesty in Martha Ross' recent article, "Taming the envy monster." I've battled that brut every day since I can remember being consciously aware of it at the age of 7.

Ross gave a total stranger powerful validation and ammunition to battle a real beast from where the true origin of drama thrives.

The entire section of Your Life should be printed every day for one week so those who missed it can receive some good for a change. Something good for everyone.

Gwendolyn Bell

Oakland