Surprise parking tickets a bad tactic

An open letter to Bob Haun, director of public works:

I am writing on behalf of myself and several neighbors on the south side of the 1000 block of Buena Vista Avenue. Two or three weeks ago, the office of Public Works changed the street sweeping "no parking" time on our block without any notice to the residents. For many years, the time has been noon to 3 p.m. Mondays. A new sticker now says 8 to 11 a.m. Mondays.

Obviously, as long term residents, we are not in the habit of rechecking the small print on the street signs every week. This new, earlier time now affects many who normally leave for work on weekday mornings. As a result, several of us have received parking tickets.

I am very surprised that Public Works would make this change without some kind of notice to residents. Moreover, on Aug. 11, the street sweeper actually passed by my house at 1:30 p.m.

I hope that Bob Haun, Director of Public Works, and his department get their parking restrictions coordinated with the street sweepers and do a little bit to gain the cooperation of residents. We do want a clean street and try to cooperate with the process, but I don't think surprise parking tickets on a Monday morning is the best way to get our attention.

Susan Widule

Outside-box ideas needed to save bay


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Water, water everywhere and not a drop to drink. From lament to prediction for future Californians. The response to global warming will require new thinking, regardless of cause -- nature, people or both.

The problem is rising sea levels could inundate vulnerable parts of greater Bay Area cities, open spaces and agricultural lands and parts of the Central Valley. Global warming will diminish snow packs -- our primary water source. Costs of levies, dikes, walls, landfill, dredging and other lowlands protection projects would be in the billions. Building Delta water tunnel and new reservoirs would also cost billions.

The solution is to dam at the Golden Gate Potato Patch, changing the Bay into a reservoir with existing low cost on-the-shelf designs. The North Sea project by the Dutch and conversion of estuaries to reservoirs by the Singapore governments are both models that could facilitate future San Francisco Bay developments.

The bay is not a static entity; it is constantly changing over time from meadow to marsh to bay. This dam is an out-of-the-box suggestion to start a dialogue to challenge traditional systems-bound perspectives and to generate new innovative solutions.

Imagination manages change. Share your thoughts with me at imaginating@mindspring.com.

Don Coughlan

Williams' suicide another warning

Robin Williams' suicide underscores the tragedy of the effects of mental illness.

Of those who take their lives, 90 percent have some form of mental illness. When someone with this level of external success and financial access to resources cannot go on, it is devastating -- and only serves to remind us of the terrible and horrific struggles so many others deal with on a daily basis.

We need to open our hearts and support appropriate, kind and nonstigmatizing interventions.

Peggy Rahman Marsha McInnis Liz Rebensdorf

local affiliate presidents, National Alliance on Mental Illness

Community's deaths should be punished

How many times must we relive the nightmare of a young, unarmed, African-American male being shot and killed by the police? This is the question confronting our nation once again; the question continuously haunting the African-American communal psyche.

Michael Brown's killing must be contextualized within the broader historical narrative of racialized violence enacted by law enforcement. Tragically, it is merely the latest chapter of what feels like an unending canon chronicling the infamous legacy of police brutality nationwide.

Brown's name is now forever associated with other unarmed black victims killed by state-induced violence: Fred Hampton, Amadou Diallo and Eric Garner.

In Oakland, this narrative of young African-American men killed by law enforcement officers is all too familiar: Bobby Hutton, Alan Blueford and Oscar Grant.

Moreover, the agony of these deaths is exacerbated by the slap on the wrist officers frequently receive. We must foster change. We have to decriminalize blackness, change how law enforcement officers are trained and legislatively hold officers accountable for their crimes against humanity and our communities.

Dominique DuBois Gilliard

Oakland