California Dolphin: statewide California news

East Bay letters: Save the world, impeach Trump

Impeach Trump to save world from nuclear destruction
We’ve been repulsed and appalled, but we’ve also been hypnotically attentive to the circus spinning from and around Donald Trump.
The lying and self-serving corruption, the bullying and ever-changing directions have driven us anxious and angry. The respect that other nations consistently had for us has shriveled. But none of that compares with the clear and present danger that Trump’s withdrawal from the Iran nuclear treaty has initiated.
He has lit the fuse to war in the Mideast and beyond. Iran and its neighbors now have no alternative but to prepare for nuclear threats. Uncounted millions could die, including Americans. Our property, security and economy are at risk of catastrophic destruction. And for what reason? Our system of government has let a madman take charge of our country.
There is one recourse that can save us and the world. Congressional Republicans and Democrats must unite to impeach and remove this dangerous demagogue.
— Bruce Joffe, Piedmont
Lafayette development Measure L’s cons outweigh pros
Although I am a member of the Lafayette City Council, I am writing this letter in my capacity as a private citizen. From comments I’ve heard and questions I’ve been asked, I believe that the following points need to be clarified:

The Lafayette City Council voted 4-1 to have the election on Measure L in June.  I voted against an early election because I don’t think a hasty campaign gives time for reasoned decision-making or for the parties to try and formulate a reasonable settlement for the benefit of our community.
The City Council has not, and by law cannot, take a position on Measure L. Four Councilmembers — in their individual capacities — have chosen to support the “yes” position; I have decided not to do so.

After much deliberation, I have decided to support the “no” position. I believe that there are major problems with the proposed development, legally and factually. This referendum is being rushed through without sufficient time to thoroughly and thoughtfully consider major issues. For example:

what precedent will this project have on how traffic and hillsides protection are considered in future applications?
have other potential sports field sites been summarily dismissed without proper vetting?
given the unresolved air quality issues, doesn’t prudence dictate caution when dealing with children’s health and safety?
is a smaller-scale development with a significant component of affordable housing a better use of the site and better public policy?

Despite the simplistic rhetoric proffered by both sides in this campaign, the issues involved, legal and factual, are complicated and nuanced. There is merit in both positions, and we must recognize the good faith belief of our neighbors who hold differing positions. Nobody can guarantee any outcome, and it is sophistry to pretend to do so. I believe that a “no” vote on L is legally sound, reflects our historic land use policies and provides greater opportunity for reasonable development of affordable housing.
Are there questions and uncertainties associated with a “no” vote? Absolutely, but I believe that the identified legal uncertainties and the factual problems associated with a “yes” vote  are substantial. I believe that a “no” vote will better serve the historic goals of our community as well as better position us for future challenges.
— Ivor E. Samson, Lafayette
Vote Hansen for superintendent of Contra Costa schools
The upcoming election for superintendent of the Contra Costa County Office of Education matters.
We need a superintendent with vision, integrity, broad experience in and knowledge of kindergarten through adult education; a deep understanding of and skill in working with school boards; and the ability to create strong partnerships with all 18 school districts in the county, with higher education and with business partners.
Only one candidate is qualified to achieve these goals: Cheryl Hansen. Cheryl’s resume speaks for itself — from the classroom to the board room. Her job titles and experience are real, not manipulated or falsely created for the sake of an election. Cheryl’s endorsements tell the story — from those who have firsthand knowledge of public education in Contra Costa County, including from many Office of Education employees.
Vote for Cheryl Hansen for county schools superintendent. It matters for all public school students in Contra Costa County.
— Barbara Oaks, former Mount Diablo School District trustee, Pleasant Hill
Thanks for support of Brentwood’s Mr. Liberty contest
On April 27, Liberty High School’s Leadership Class presented the 25-year anniversary (1993-2018) of the Mr. Liberty competition.
This show raised more than $4,900 for the Mr. Liberty Scholarship Fund, providing scholarships to students who have had economic difficulties during high school and/or have shown extraordinary leadership during their four years at LHS.
The success of Mr. Liberty over the past 25 years has been due in large part to the community of Brentwood and the spirit of giving back that it possesses. On behalf of the Liberty Leadership program, I would like to thank the following:
New local business Beyond the Terrace donated the gorgeous bouquets that were given to the events’ organizers as thanks for the difficult job they undertook. Since their doors opened, Jen Lau and Deborah Spinola have been very generous in their donations to Liberty, and we hope Brentwood will support them in turn.
Also, as they have for many years past, Brentwood Florist & Gifts generously donated flowers for the technical crew of the evening’s event, thanking them for hours of work that oftentimes go unnoticed. The donations from both businesses allowed all funds raised to go directly to the charity and we could not be more grateful!
We would also like to thank the following businesses for their donation of gifts for the various winners within the Mr. Liberty competition. As a result of their donations, we were able to give all proceeds raised to the scholarship fund. Thank you to: Zeigler Insurance, CreAsian Wok N Roll, Mr. Pickles and Rubios.
The following individuals and businesses helped to ensure the success of Mr. Liberty 2018. Without their hard work, support and diligence, we would not have had such a positive event.  Thank you to: Brentwood Reprographics, for their production of the Mr. Liberty tickets; Lily Partida, Hanna Burns, Delaney Sorenson and Ashley Zeigler, who choreographed and taught the group dance; and the Mr. Liberty technical crew, including: Gabby Brodowski, Molly Brodowski, Taylor Crispi, Sami Gibbs, Amanda Graves, Logan Maher, Jarrett Monsef, Maggie Strong and Jordan Walters.
As a Liberty alumnus who was a student when Mr. Liberty began, I am so proud of this program and to be a part of a school community and community at large who wrap around their students. I hope that we can continue the tradition for years to come.
— Summer Rodriguez, director of student activities, Liberty High School, Brentwood
Move forward with plans to redevelop Alameda Marina
Plans for the redevelopment of Alameda Marina have evolved in recent years based on input from the community, including tenants like us. Now, we believe these plans represent a balanced mix of housing, commercial and maritime uses — while preserving as much of the history of the marina as possible, given the condition of the property.
The marina is still an active commercial environment, but its infrastructure is in dire need of replacement or repair to support its businesses. Built in the 1940s to support war efforts, many of the buildings have outlived their commercial usefulness. The seawall is collapsing and in need of immediate repair, and much of the soil is contaminated with toxins left over from decades-long light industrial activity.
As a tenant of the marina, we believe it is time to reimagine the property for future generations. Pacific Shops has done a good job gathering input, and the plan that they have put together deserves serious consideration and support. The proposal would bring new life to the aging marina and open it up for the entire city to use for boating and other water-related recreation.
Plus plans call for a maritime hub and a modern, efficient dockyard for servicing boats — keeping alive the marina’s historic mission with an eye toward the future. We are anticipating the positive change that investing in the marina will bring, and we are willing to share the new Alameda Marina with future generations of businesses.
— Eric Gantos and Joanne Martin, owners, Hot Rod Shop Inc.
A modest rejoinder: D.A. O’Malley problematic at best
Retired Judge Bartalini recently presented his case for electing incumbent Nancy O’Malley as Alameda County district attorney on June 5. To his commentary I offer this rebuttal.
First, this is not a “re-election.” 2018 is the first time in 53 years Alameda County has had a choice as to who our district attorney will be. As far as the democratic process goes, the June 5 election is a momentous event.
O’Malley has worked in the district attorney’s office for some 30 years. Of those, eight have been as district attorney. Bartalini cited O’Malley’s recent “fairness” in her dismissal of 6,000 old marijuana cases — she had to: marijuana is now legal. O’Malley was an active agent in the “war on drugs” during her 30-year tenure in the district attorney’s office and was instrumental in the arrest and conviction of those she must now release.
Bartalini tries to dismiss O’Malley’s challenger, stating that she has “never been a prosecutor.” In addition to Pamela Price being an exceptionally accomplished civil rights attorney (her awards and accolades I will not list here) she has had a successful career as a trial lawyer. Price has tried more cases than the incumbent and has argued more cases in the U.S. and California supreme courts. To this record add the many times Price has argued before the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
Also, there are many judges on the Alameda County Superior Court bench who have never practiced criminal law yet sentence people to jail every day. Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan was never even a judge before being appointed to the U.S. Supreme Court, nor was the great Justice Louis Brandeis or California’s Earl Warren. Thurgood Marshall had never been a judge before President Kennedy appointed him to the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
It’s disingenuous to say that challenger Price “will only pursue felony cases,” as if everyone else by “implication” (Bartalini’s word) will go scot-free. Currently, our criminal justice system over-criminalizes and decimates communities of color and poor communities. This has been happening the entire time the incumbent has been a part of the district attorney’s office. O’Malley opposed Proposition 47, the initiative that reduced the classification of most “nonserious and nonviolent property and drug crimes” from felonies to misdemeanors. During much of her tenure, the only minors she prosecuted as adults were — no surprise — black and brown.
Price’s platform will reform the system in order to deliver justice to our communities so that we can experience that peace we so desperately desire. Without justice, there is no peace. In quick summary: Price has a platform that includes ending mass incarceration (which California seeks), eliminating the death penalty (California voted against the death penalty), protecting immigrant communities (we are a sanctuary state), holding the police accountable (police violence is a problem nationwide) and reducing gun violence (our students march for that now).
Most concerning however is to hear a former judge dismissing O’Malley’s taking of $10,000 from the Fremont Police Union as a “mistake” and simply an “error in judgment.” The money was taken at the same time she was investigating the police union president in the fatal shooting of an innocent, pregnant 16-year-old Latina. Two weeks after receipt of the donation, the officers involved in the death were exonerated. If this were a “mistake” or “lapse in judgment,” it could be rectified by returning the money. To date, this has not happened.
The incumbent has also taken a $1,000 contribution from a nonprofit organization in violation of IRS law and thousands from a developer, James Tong, who was later fined $650,000 for skirting environmental protection laws. These is not lapses in judgment or isolated events. These are a pattern of behavior that suggests corruption and points to what is nationally recognized as a two-tiered justice system. Ordinary people who commit petty, nonviolent crimes rot for decades in inhumane prisons. High political leaders who commit serious felonies receive full-scale immunity.
No one can deny that there’s a lot wrong with our justice system. But we will never be on the path to progress if those on the inside, including O’Malley, and — most importantly — if we allow them to do so. After 53 years, it’s time for a change, and we finally have a choice.
— Gabrielle “Gaby” Dolphin, Alameda
Soros-funded hit piece on O’Malley was unconscionable
I am writing to express my outrage at a recent political hit piece delivered to my home and paid for by New York billionaire George Soros. It was bad enough that the facts were excluded and cast aspersions on our district attorney, Nancy O’Malley (who has a laudable record and national recognition for her work).
It was the inclusion of a grainy picture portrayed to be a man dead or dying while in police custody. I find the taste level of this piece to be appalling and well beyond the boundaries of civility and morality. I do not believe for a minute that the candidate Soros is supporting was unaware of this effort to impugn our district attorney. Rather than use partial, unfinished quotes to distort the East Bay Times’ opinion of a candidate, I will include a full paragraph of their evaluation of O’Malley’s opponent.
“Price’s criminal justice advocacy is laudable. But that doesn’t qualify her to be district attorney. She’s never been a prosecutor, and her only criminal work was 15 months as a defense attorney in 1983-84.”
Despite Soros’ efforts from afar, I believe the citizens of Alameda County want an experienced and capable person to serve as our district attorney, not someone who has stated she would not prosecute crimes like drunk driving, car break-ins and some sex crimes. Please do your homework and read the endorsements of our local newspapers and our political and civil leaders. Above all, please vote on June 5. Your vote will count.
— George Phillips, Alameda
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