Superintendent pay, benefits over the top
I am astounded that there aren't howls of outrage by Oakland residents at the extremely generous pay package given to the new superintendent of schools.
Salary: $280,000; free health insurance for him and family; $1 million life insurance contract; two bonus payments of $28,000 in years three and four; $28,000 moving expenses from Denver to Oakland; six months of free lodging; 75 days of sick leave to start and one per month; $750 for local travel; and $420,000 a year tax free for life if he becomes disabled.
Do we really need to support an superintendent for life if he becomes disabled during his four-year contract? How can the board of education afford such a lavish package and then go hat-in-hand to the taxpayers when they want to float another bond for school improvements?
It's no wonder the board voted for this lavish taxpayer-funded golden calf outside of public view. Taxpayers are tired of getting fleeced with these generous pay packages for a civil servant who runs a school district.
Del Monte conversion deserves careful study
We should not rush the review of the proposal to convert the Del Monte warehouse in Alameda to 309 residential units. This is a huge project. The community should be given adequate time to consider the proposal, provide input and work with decision-makers to ensure a quality project.
A typical residential block in the neighborhood has about 30 homes. The Del Monte conversion would have as many households as 10 city blocks.
There are several areas of concern. One primary concern is parking. City staff proposes neighborhood permit parking. How will this work? How will this affect Littlejohn Park?
A second concern is circulation. The plan shows realignment of Clement Avenue, but the proposed location of Clement and Sherman Street is owned by Wind River. What happens if the piece is not made available?
There are other concerns. All of them can be resolved satisfactorily with time. Rushing this project does not allow neighbors, staff, or the applicant to work together to create the best possible project.
The conversion is possible because the city's 2012 housing element created an exception from Measure A at certain sites. This is the first project using this exception. Let's take the time to get it right.
Volunteer, find facts on voting irregularities
People have differing opinions and perspectives regarding voter irregularities and fraud in California. The Election Integrity Project is a nonpartisan organization that has been gathering real facts on this issue by observation and analysis. The EIP motto is "Every lawfully cast vote accurately counted."
For the 2012 election, EIP fielded more than 2,000 highly trained citizen observers at California polls. These observers, allowed by law, looked for violations in election law by any party at the polling place and wrote sworn incident reports. The reports were submitted to the registrar of voters.
EIP also analyzes voter rolls by county, and in 2013 in just nine counties EIP submitted more than 81,000 registration irregularities to county officials for investigation, including 46,000 registrants registered more than once in a county and 7,000 registered in two counties. Most problematically, 3,000 registrants appeared to have voted more than once in an election or voted after death.
If you would like to volunteer or get the real facts on voting integrity problems in California, go to www.electionintegrityproject.com.
Men need to engage in home life for kids
Nowhere in the May 5 article "What spurs moms to kill?" is the child's father mentioned. Why was he absent? The enormous job of parenting cannot and should not fall entirely on female shoulders, given that women are not just expected to manage the roost but also bring home the bacon.
As Mother's Day approaches, we must understand the go-it-alone Supermom act is not a healthy or fair one for women. If we can smash glass ceilings at work, we should let men co-parent at home.
Many divorced women who were once resistant to joint custody for financial reasons now see its benefits because it relieves them of their caretaking responsibilities, especially in light of rising child care costs.
Perhaps if there had been some help -- financial and/or caregiving -- from the father, the likelihood of this horrific crime could have been lessened.
We need to do a better job of engaging men in the home and removing the legal and social barriers many face that actually prevent them from exercising fathering responsibilities.
Co-organizer National Coalition of Men NorCal Chapter Walnut Creek