Letters to the Editor
Recently I have been paying closer attention to the Police Blotter section of The Sun. Each day leads off with a tally of grand theft [auto], and I have found that a surprising number of autos are stollen in our city. The weekly average seems to be in the mid-teens, but during the week starting Monday, June 8, and ending Sunday, June 14, 25 cars were stolen.
At that rate 1,300 vehicles would be stolen annually. I’m sure our police department has the actual figures and they are likely lower than 1,300, but still a lot. I read recently that a confounding number of people do not lock their cars, and in many cases leave their car keys inside, fully exposed.
Those who do that should be paying much higher auto insurance premiums than those of us who lock up.
I stick close to the Old Man these days. He is worried. I am worried. We dogs have a great sense of right and wrong and something is not right.
The Old Man and Old Lady are watching the square box way too much. Sometimes she cries. I put my head on the Old Man’s foot to comfort him. The old country girl even pets me. This is big, she used to say dogs belong outside. (Hmph). My job is to stay close to them to cheer them up.
The other day I went to my second parade!! This one was different than the Women’s March from Bay Farm. First off, we were in our car. (On the Women’s March we hiked and I was adopted by two excellent girl scouts, sweet.) This time young people marched ahead and we drove behind. What a marvelous mix of young’uns, loud and proud, but I was stuck in the car. I could tell, over the car horns and chants, that something was wrong. There were smiles and laughter, but hurt and anger too. We crawled along with my oldsters waving and cheering. Head out the window I enjoyed the show. When we got home there was a quiet joy in our house.
Barricades have mysteriously appeared on our street. The Old Man loves it, me too. There are a lot less cars and lots more people and dogs on our street, often strolling down the middle. All day long we have our own Pacific Ave Parade-a definite improvement. Now the three of us sit on the porch and watch our parade. Children freely wheel down our street, even an occasional bicycle lesson from a proud parent. Always willing to put his two cents in, the Old Man will call out to the rainbow passing by. I am not allowed to go down to visit with the people or dogs, but I get regular scratches from my oldster as he tells tall tales to our neighbors as they stroll and roll by.
We are taking longer walks now and seeing some strange things. Six young men, each with a large ball, have invaded my swimming hole by Wind River. They swim and throw the balls at each other. What kind of game of fetch is this? Meanwhile a young lady swims by chased by some kind of orange balloon. These healthy athletes are laughing, running and jumping in my swimming hole, the nerve.
Three times now we have stopped in my Jean Sweeney Park to join a group of oldsters digging in the dirt and picking up trash. The Old Man welds a big fork and the Old Lady digs from a low stool. Not my kind of digging, but since I get plenty of attention, I don’t mind. I do keep an eye on the old ones to make sure they are safe and working.
Last week for the first time since things have gotten different we finally stopped at our friend Lenny’s house. A lot of time has passed since the geezers of Alameda Old Men United got together to drink beer, laugh and tell tall tales. They all stayed strangely apart from each other and only shared their treats with me (sweet). I have really missed Brian, my occasional dog sitting buddy and his special snacks and scratches. Usually these meetings are held at Alameda Island Brewery, but in the day’s heat Lenny had a perfect tree for this hound to sprawl under. Dogs are not the only pack animals in Alameda.
These days life still seems slow, but there is tension in the air. I think we dogs may have a lesson for our humans. We easily make friends; size, shape or color doesn’t matter. We are all here to enjoy each other and our place in the sun.
Stay safe Rudy.
The disturbing incident of Alameda Police Department (APD) arresting Mali Watkins for dancing in the street in front of his house would probably not have been averted by the Eight Can’t Wait reforms to address police violence that the city is now considering.
Instead, the basic issue appeared to be the utter and complete unwillingness of initial responding officers to listen to what Watkins was saying to them! This should have been a two-minute conversation. And so a larger problem is revealed: an apparent APD culture of treating a black man as voiceless, unworthy of listening to.
I’d like to know how Chief Paul Rolleri intends to address this travesty of respect. I’d also like to know whether Rolleri has apologized yet to Watkins. I urge others to join me in calling his office to ask.