Must stop abuse of antibiotics
Imagine including a low dose of antibiotics in your breakfast cereal every morning. That's essentially what factory farms do to their animals, feeding livestock daily low doses of antibiotics allowing them to keep animals in crowded and unsanitary conditions.
Eighty percent of antibiotics sold in the U.S. are used on livestock, usually in low doses on healthy animals, which kills bacteria that are susceptible to the antibiotics and leaves resistant bacteria to thrive and reproduce. This means that antibiotics, which are used as critical tools for human medicine, are becoming less effective, with 23,000 deaths and 2 million hospitalizations due to antibiotic resistant infections annually in the U.S.
Despite agreement among the medical community and federal agencies such as the FDA that the non-therapeutic use of antibiotics is a threat to public health, this method is perfectly legal. You can help stop this harmful practice by contacting your members of Congress to support the Preservation of Antibiotics for Medical Treatment Act and the Prevention of Antibiotic Resistance Act.
Oversight is helping OPD change culture
Regarding the letter, "OPD's settlement is an expensive disaster," July 1:
The police abuses happened on ex-Mayor Jerry Brown's watch, and he got us into the Negotiated Settlement Agreement, then did not actively make sure the Oakland Police Department obeyed it.
Oakland Mayor Jean Quan, incredibly, is the first mayor in more than a decade under the NSA to meet directly with the court-appointed overseer. She named an excellent Police Chief in Sean Whent, a veteran of OPD's Internal Affairs and uniquely qualified to foster compliance.
The NSA was imposed because some OPD officers were credibly accused of planting evidence, physically abusing arrestees, and other unconstitutional abuses. Others remained silent, protecting fellow officers.
Polls showed that 40 percent of Oaklanders don't trust the police. Public safety depends upon OPD being trusted as respecting constitutional protections for all. In Los Angeles, crime went down and the solve rate went up when their police department complied with their own court oversight.
OPD's culture is changing under Whent and Quan, as praised by the court overseer in recent reports. When the court lifts oversight, OPD will need to continue the new constitutional practices for the safety of all.
Outdated definitions of the police role in society have no place in a modern city like Oakland.
Illegal immigrant DUI law is wrong
On June 30, an SUV driven by a drunk illegal immigrant crossed the divider line and ran head-on into another car on Willow Pass Road in Concord. A mother and her 21-month-old daughter in the other car were killed. The illegal immigrant driver of the SUV already had two DUI convictions and had been deported.
Under the Senate immigration bill, illegal immigrants given legal status would have to commit three DUIs before they would be eligible for deportation.
It makes you wonder who our senators are representing. Sadly, this case is not that unusual. Check out ojjpac.org/memorial.asp, a memorial website devoted to persons killed by illegal immigrants.
School district lets down teachers
A recent article about the fight to rehire a fired Montera Middle School teacher provides two lessons: (1) Oakland Unified School District's leadership is morally bankrupt, and (2) school districts can and do fire teachers without tenure for advocating for students.
Sixth grade history teacher Judy Ganley, previously held up as a shining example of Montera's excellence, was suddenly fired after she raised legitimate concerns at the school's monthly Faculty Council. Downtown administration supported this vindictive action. School board member Anne Campbell Washington's self-serving claim of "due diligence," excerpted from her email to parents who had protested the firing, absolves herself and fellow board members for failing to seriously investigate a case reeking with evidence of illegal retaliation.
The district has exploited the absolute lack of due process afforded to teachers in their first two years of employment to cover up this and other instances of retribution against those who advocate for students and the school community.
This case illustrates why school districts, including OUSD, support the recent Vegara court decision, which could lead to weaker seniority protection and longer probationary periods for new teachers. Tenure provisions do not make it impossible to fire bad teachers for good reasons, but they do make it harder for administration to fire educators for speaking up on issues of concern to students, parents and teachers.