Letters to the Editor
A special thank you to Richard Bangert for his coverage of Urban Shield at Alameda Point that included firing blank rounds of ammunition (“Urban Shield Practice at Point Included Gunfire,” Sept. 13).
Is gunfire against the United States Fish and Wildlife Service’s own rules? I find this concerning, and disturbing. I do not think that people were aware, or even notified about what was taking place.
Thankfully, the Alameda County Board of Supervisors, voted on March 28 to end funding for Urban Shield, a law-enforcement and first-responder training exercise hosted by Alameda County Sherriff Gregory Ahern.
That vote only happened after many years of pressure, and activism from many social-justice organizations committed to ending Urban Shield.
We need to stop this practice completely once and for all.
I would like to commend and applaud the top-priority and stellar work the Alameda Police Department (APD) and Police Chief Paul Rolleri put into investigating the murder of Cindy Lê that occurred on April 6 outside her Webster Street restaurant, Pho Anh Dao. The excellent coverage of the Alameda Sun and Bay Area television stations must also be recognized.
The recent arrests of Donte Holloway and Paul Paez in Lê’s murder have not brought complete closure to the Lê family yet, or to the people of Alameda and the Vietnamese American community. This murder case rests in the hands of District Attorney Nancy O’Malley and the judicial system.
The charges against Holloway and Paez include not only murder and robbery, but also special circumstances of lying in wait. The police charged them with waiting for Lê to leave her restaurant in Oakland and then following her to her restaurant in Alameda where, they allegedly robbed and murdered her.
APD’s stellar work should serve as a model for other police departments, including the San Francisco and the Oakland police departments. Holloway and Paez both have multiple robbery and other felony convictions. One of them also faces a third strike in this murder and robbery case.
Finally, I call on O’Malley’s office to charge both Holloway and Paez with hate crimes in Lê’s murder, as she was a Vietnamese-American citizen.
In my opinion, the ongoing recall effort against Vice Mayor Malia Vella is about retribution and partisan pettiness. Recall is allowed by state law and gives voters an opportunity to remove elected officials before their term expires. In this instance, the recall is being used by a subset of Alamedans who saw their preferred candidate lose in the 2016 election.
Perhaps the hope is harbored that a recall will result in a “do-over” and produce the desired result. Worse, perhaps it’s being done out of sheer spite. Whatever it is, it is a blight on our city’s governance.
Recalls are intended for getting rid of crooked or incompetent politicians. Recalls ought to be reserved for serious matters such as abuse of office or betrayals of core commitments. No such thing has occurred under Vella’s leadership. The current recall effort has the appearance of desperation and mean-spiritedness.
We are not alone in this recall matter. Recall attempts sweeping the country have resurrected a political debate over democratic governance. While voters need a way to remove elected officials who have forsaken the public trust, the use of the frivolous recall by a group of disgruntled voters after the majority have spoken, undermines the fabric of democratic elections. The intent of such a recall is to distract, intimidate and hope to plant a seed of doubt among the public, that “where there’s smoke ,there surely must be fire” when no such fire exists at all.
Those attempting to recall Vice Mayor Malia Vella have every legal right to do so. However that doesn’t mean they ought to do it. The reasonable, prudent, balanced course — the way of moderation and reason — is to build a case for the election of the candidate of one’s choice during upcoming election, rather than dividing the city yet again and wasting taxpayers’ time and money.