Letters to the Editor

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Jordan Ma has joined the discussion about the Alameda Unified School District (AUSD) and the closing of Bay Farm Middle School ("https://alamedasun.com/letters/16795," April 6). Ma complains about "the assaults on Smith's character" and Smith's "ad hominem critics," so it's ironic that his letter contains no less than five ad hominem attacks. Moreover, Ma doesn't mention the personal attacks that appear in some of Smith's letters.

It's perfectly reasonable to point out the factual errors Smith presents in the ongoing discussion about the school district; Smith is putting attention on himself. Ma reminds us that Smith "wants to be proven wrong" about what Smith perceives as "the decline in accountability and transparency in public education." But Smith's argument contains a fallacy called "begging the question." Smith's premise is that the abysmal levels of proficiency in core subjects is mostly the fault of the school system. I question that premise and I would welcome an extended discussion with Smith on the topic.

Smith repeats that AUSD must be more accountable and transparent, seeming to forget that Alameda residents have always had the power to do that. I'm reminded of The Wizard of Oz when the good witch tells Dorothy she always had the power to go back to Kansas.

I'll repeat what I've said before, since neither Smith nor Ma have bothered to respond to it: AUSD is accountable to voters. If AUSD has violated the rules, we should vote the rascals out or organize a recall. If the residents of Alameda want to have smaller class sizes in all the middle schools, they can vote for that. If a good case can be made that there is too much unnecessary overhead in school administration, that case must be made before corrective action can be taken.

— Steven Mason

Thank you for sharing information about Community Action for a Sustainable Alameda (CASA) in the Alameda Sun (“https://alamedasun.com/news/time-climate-protection-action-now,” April 6), Opinion section. One climate protection change not mentioned is vital to add; the importance of our textile and clothing decisions and their social and environmental impact.

Too much clothing is produced, and we need to understand better the value of what we have. Clothing is a basic human need that is discarded, yes, thrown out, with an estimated 85% of what is produced ending up in landfills or burned annually.

I am a mender and clothing life extender. I like personalizing my clothing by adding a pocket from a pair of jeans that are too worn to wear to my jacket or making my pants into shorts when the bottom becomes too ragged to wear. I have committed to looking at how I can fix, alter or remake what I own before I buy another piece of clothing. I have also committed to washing before donating clothing to our local Goodwill or St. Vincent DePaul stores.

Lastly, I made the time to go to the CASA site and learn about the goodness of this organization to Alameda and its mission for climate protection in Alameda.

— Connie Ulasewicz

So, I read that the City Council has approved Alameda Police Department’s (APD) equipment request. This request includes a number of AR-15 semi-automatic rifles.

OK, I know this is the police were talking about, not some dumb civilian or militia wannabe. And I understand the police’s desire to have firepower likely to be greater than the firepower of those attacking the police. (Which likelihood may be overstated, but that’s a different discussion.)

But there’s something about this that bothers me. Maybe it’s just the “optics”, as they say, or maybe it’s the legitimately negative reputation that these weapons have, or the simple fact that some misguided people think police departments should be paramilitary organizations, rather than, y’know, protectors of public safety (for which use AR-15s are sub-optimal). But seriously, in the current climate, AR-15s? Combat weaponry? That’s what you had to request? You couldn’t think of something worse? Maybe anti-personnel grenades?

I sincerely hope APD reconsiders this request. Alameda needs a police department, not a combat regiment.

— Jeff Mark