Band concert great way to celebrate

The Oakland Municipal Band concert season was omitted from Jim Harrington's June 15 article, "Summer concert series hitting Bay Area."

This is the 103rd season of the free concerts at the Bandstand at Lakeside Park, 666 Bellevue Ave, Oakland. We welcome all to the first concert Friday from 1-3 p.m.

Concerts continue from 1-3 p.m. Sundays from July 13-Aug. 3. Bring a lawn chair and picnic. Flag waving is encouraged. For information, call 510-339-2818 or visit www.oaklandmunicipalband.org.

Anne Woodell

Oakland

Chose to remain mute as a protest

The other day I went to hear my 6-year-old neighbor sing a solo at her school's talent show. They opened the program with one of the students singing the national anthem.

Everyone stood up but me.

I sat there feeling sorry for those children, growing up in a country where there are no jobs; where one in four children go to bed hungry; where college tuition is prohibitive and if you do get in, you're in debt for a lifetime; where veterans live on the street and have to wait one year for their benefits, and many commit suicide in despair.

I'm supposed to pay homage to the flag. I'm supposed to be proud of the flag that stands for freedom -- freedom to live on the street and go to bed hungry in a country that sends pilotless planes that kill women and children and innocent citizens attending weddings ("bombs bursting in air").

Since I'm not free to make a speech, I made a statement by not standing up and remaining mute. And I love to sing.

Elizabeth Prosser

Alameda

Meetings should be conducted properly

I have been speaking at all school board meetings regarding the name change for Portola Middle School. I am wondering if these meetings are being properly conducted. Upon checking Robert's Rules of Order, I understand that a chairman of a committee only acts as a moderator.

School board President Charles Ramsey appointed James Ghidella as the chairman, along with Madeline Kronenberg and Randall Enos. At the first study session where members of the community shared their opinions, Ramsey was introduced; but it was never stated that he was replacing Kronenberg. When was this new appointment made? Why wasn't this announced as a change that included a vote by the school board?

At each session, the chairman, Ramsey and Enos speak first about their feelings. Speakers are questioned after they have spoken -- sometimes embarrassing the speaker. Afterward, Ghidella will read a letter or other mail from someone in favor of naming the school for Fred Korematsu, and Korematsu's daughter will speak at length about her father.

Is this the proper way to conduct a meeting in which to gather information?

Katherine Weinstein

El Cerrito

VA debacle is classic case of botched care

Our representative Nancy Pelosi used the VA medical system as justification for the Affordable Care Act. The VA was presented as an example of how efficient and cost effectively the federal government could operate a large-scale health care system.

Recent articles show that the VA is actually very inefficient, to the point of veterans' dying while waiting for an appointment.

Another article shows how overloaded our state Medi-Cal system is with a backlog of at least 900,000 applications.

Our nation is now committed to the Affordable Care Act, which apparently will eventually define and control health care for all of us, except the very rich. How nervous should we be?

Dennis Mockel

Oakland

Shouldn't change the school's name

I am a longtime El Cerrito resident and have known Portola Middle School for many years. Many students have attended this school, on an El Cerrito hillside, in past decades.

The new school location is nearby, with a probable move-in date in January or February 2016. I do not see any reason at all for renaming Portola school.

Please do not waste taxpayers' time and money. Let us focus on how to provide a better education for all of our children. Furthermore, we should not erase "Portola" from our children's precious memories. Rather, we should give them a sense of roots in El Cerrito.

Please do not change the name of Portola school.

Patricia Tai

El Cerrito