Letters to the Editor

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Ever see an Alameda Whipsnake? Well, you might never get to if the Trump Administration enforces it's new regulations gutting the landmark Endangered Species Act. For 40 years the Act has saved at least 227 species from extinction and today protects over 1700 species (with a 99% success rate.) Iconic species like the bald eagle, grizzly bear and Humpback whale have been saved along with an impressive array of birds, fish, flowers, butterflies and mollusks.
Industrial interests have gotten everything on their wish list. For example, financial costs will now be factored into whether any species should be listed. Developers will be allowed to bulldoze, mine, drill and log in critical habitats. And delays for new listings - while the number of any respective species dwindles - will become the norm. Finally, wildlife merely deemed as "threatened" will now no longer receive any protection at all, such as that Alameda whipsnake.
This is the single most devastating attack ever seen on the Act, and I dare you to go look at species that have been saved over the years and not be moved by the profound importance of this law.
This is all happening despite the Act's longstanding popularity and the increasing threat of climate change. That is why I am joining groups such as the Center for Biological Diversity and others, urging Alamedans to call their Representatives and Senators. Urge them to pass laws to strike down these proposed changes so that we can continue to live in a world of natural beauty and wonder. The time to act is now.

Chase R. Martin

Editor:
Barbara Mooney asks Alameda residents to give Jamestown Properties a chance with their 1,200-apartment proposal for South Shore Center. (“Give Jamestown a Chance,” Sept. 5). The most important question is, how many units will be set aside as below-market-rate rentals?

It reminds me that several years ago, when Barbara’s husband, Ron Mooney, sat on the school board, he controlled a political action committee (PAC) that campaigned in favor of a school parcel tax. I seem to remember that PAC received a $5,000 contribution from Jamestown Properties.

That parcel tax and subsequent parcel taxes included caps that limited the amount of the tax that Jamestown would pay on South Shore Shopping Center, thereby transferring Jamestown’s benefit to Alameda property owners’ expense.

 

David Howard

Editor:
I usually do not watch the news, but recently I stumbled on the story about the apartment complex in Alameda that is considering cancelling the section-8 portion of tenant apartments in its complex in order to charge higher rents (“Neighbors Rally to Help Renters,” Aug, 29). 

The city, county and federal government have worked with community members to provide a safety net for those most vulnerable. Section-8 is a well-organized scientific system that not only helps those who are most vulnerable — namely the elderly, disabled and families with young children — but also those who randomly fall through the cracks into homelessness for one reason or another. 

My fear is if property managers and owners who are currently accepting section-8, decide not to accept it, then the value of the city’s property will actually plummet. Not accepting the subsidies will increase the city’s homelessness to a point that would be unmanageable by the local police, law enforcement and other agencies. 

We might have people sleeping in tents in and around our backyards instead of in proper housing. Owners and property managers certainly have a right to refuse the subsidies they are already accepting, but they must do it in such a way that all of the other property values in the city will not drop. 

I would hope that ample time would be given for tenants to relocate, such as 9 to 12 months. Such time would reduce the influx of people who suddenly become homeless. This amount of time also allows some other landlord or property managers time to get approved to accept section-8. It is a long process that includes inspections, verifications and clearances. 

Lastly, new apartment buildings are required to have at least 20 percent of their units allocated to affordable housing. Logically, once the section-8 tenants of the already-built apartments are moved out, then repairs and renovations will be needed to get the higher rents. Shouldn’t renovations be upheld to the same requirement of at least 20 percent of the newly renovated complex be allocated to affordable housing as well — especially to section-8? 

If owners and property managers want the rent or value of their property to be maintained or go up, then the people who are currently housed cannot be made homeless. At the very least 9-months notice must be given to both the tenant and the authorities involved. Otherwise, they will simply be creating the same kind of chaos that reduces property values. 

I also believe the longer someone remains homeless, the more they become depressed, angry or mentally ill. Crime levels might increase. Please give them 9 to 12 months. 
 

G.L. Smith

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