Letters to the Editor
In describing Oakland’s Union Point Park as …”a favored destination for family gatherings on warm spring and summer days”, (Journey Through Jingletown – June 2019), you have done your readers a disservice, a very dangerous one. While once true, Union Point Park has been ceded by the City of Oakland to well over a hundred itinerate campers and is a hotbed of filth and crime populated by decrepit and stolen vehicles, drug use and sales, bicycle chop shops and massive piles of garbage. Rather than a “popular stop for casual bicycling buddies”, it has devolved into a no-go zone for both the police and public alike to be avoided at all costs. The Bay Area citizens have lost another public space jewel to governmental indifference.
I would strongly suggest you refer to the open letter of May 9th in the Alameda Sun written by Matt Gerhart of the California State Coastal Conservancy; Brad McCrea of BCDC; and Laura Thompson of the San Francisco Bay Trail Project: “In recent months, each of our agencies has received complaints from the public about a range of undesirable or illegal activities occurring in the park, including: vandalism, graffiti, prostitution, drug use, dumping of waste, fires, threats to tenants of the neighboring Union Point Marina and a damaging act of arson at the marina’s shower and restroom facility. These activities are creating an unsafe and unwelcoming environment that is restricting the public’s ability to access and enjoy the park."
I understand that you are obliged to honor the first amendment and be fair to various opinions; but it just adds to the confusion over climate change to publish a climate denier’s letter that has no substantiated facts supporting his claim (“Whoa! Alameda is not about to drown,” May 23).
The letter lists several supposedly credible scientists to back up its argument, who, when investigated, are revealed to have no standing in any science magazine or climate-oriented associations.
I confess that I’m one of those privileged non-veterans for whom Memorial Day has never been a high emotional priority, a person who never gave it the significance it deserves. But I have been fortunate to become acquainted with a young man (I’m well past three-score years and 10 myself) who is in his first year at Stanford University, after 10 years of service as a U.S. Navy medic and SEAL — both extremely challenging roles, mentally and physically.
Nestor Walters gained entrance to Stanford’s elite academic environment as a 30-year-old advanced placement sophomore by educating himself in calculus and other complex mathematics. Along the way, he discovered a compulsion to write, to share his experiences and perspective with others and to clarify for himself what his motivation and meaning might be in life.
He was gifted enough to earn a place in Stanford’s extremely selective Levinthal Creative Writing Mentorships, and his work has appeared regularly in The Stanford Daily, the campus newspaper.
I have no connection with him except as an admirer of his talent. He has regularly impressed me with his exploration of issues that most of us never consider, and in singularly mature fashion. But it is his latest essay, on the significance of Memorial Day, published last Friday in The Daily, that I feel ought to have wider exposure.
I recommend it to everyone for whom the day already has deep meaning, and even more so for those like me who need our eyes, minds and hearts opened. Please find it and read it on The Daily’s website at http://tinyurl.com/yxom6uad. You will be rewarded.