Letters to the Editor

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Pro Choice, Pre Conception

My sister, Carolee, and I
Were out of wedlock born.
Our older sister, Jeanne, was not.
But none of us did scorn
Our mother for the way she led
Her twenties' flapper life
And then, when on the edge of war,
A struggling, working wife.
She later taught in several schools,
She paid some foster care.
We all went on to useful lives
And each of us would share
How we had thrived, in spite of all
The challenges we met,
So thankful for the fact we're here,
Knowing this, and yet,
We younger two are grateful that,
Through all the good and bad,
Our Mom decided we would be
Abortions that she never had.

Arthur Lenhardt, 2022

Arthur Lenhardt

The days of censorship are here. There’s no getting around it. If your views veer too much from the establishment line, “Off with his face (or tweet).”

Even the Alameda Sun is not immune from this disease. The Sun has carried a certain banner of freedom of expression in its letters page way beyond what you see in publications like the East Bay Times or the SF Chronicle, which only give space to sycophants of the established order. For this, Alamedans can be grateful. But there seem to be critical limits to this, like criticizing U.S. involvement with Ukraine, which I did in a recent letter, that was not accepted. This is unfortunate because we are slipping down a dangerous path and differing views should be heard before it’s too late.

— Hunter Cobb

Editor’s note: Two weeks ago Hunter Cobb wrote a letter to the editor about the U.S. involvement in the Ukraine-Russia conflict. The Alameda Sun decided not to publish it because it included a statement from a weapons expert about the Bucha massacre where, according to reports, numerous Ukrainian civilians were brutally murdered by Russian soldiers. The statement read, “It’s much more likely it was done by the Ukrainian security forces after the Russians left!” The Sun deemed the statement too controversial to publish without any proof. This message was conveyed to Mr. Cobb. The Alameda Sun welcomes differing opinions in its public opinion section. However, we have the right to not publish a piece if it includes statements that can be considered insulting or too controversial without any proof.

The Sun’s reporting on the murder of Mario Gonzalez by the Alameda Police Department (APD) officers has been deplorable. For anyone who has watched the police body-cam videos, this was not an “altercation.” Mr. Gonzalez had committed no crime and was endangering no one when he was set upon by two armed officers — that is, he was attacked by officers who a) attempted to handcuff him (for no apparent reason) then b) forced him to the ground (because he refused to be handcuffed) and, finally, suffocated him (“asphyxiation”) by sitting on his chest.

The Sun would do us all a favor in its reporting on this case by referencing the FULL video and by naming the 11-minute “incident” what it was — an unprovoked assault on Mr. Gonzalez.

The Alameda Police Department are making a distressingly frequent habit of assaulting and/or arresting civilians (Shelby Gattenby in 2018, Mali Watkins in 2020, and now Mario Gonzalez in 2021). Where is the sense of outrage from the city’s leadership at the police who are acting in their — and our —names? And why does the Sun implicitly apologize for the police by whitewashing their arrogant, aggressive, abusive behavior?

— Bob Barde

Editor’s note: As a newspaper, the Alameda Sun is bound by the ethics of journalism. Therefore, we do not include our own opinions when reporting the news. Labeling Mario Gonzalez’s death a murder or an attack would not be factually accurate under the scope of journalism. According to the dictionary, a murder is defined as the unlawful premeditated killing of one human being by another. Because Gonzalez’s death was not deemed unlawful by the Alameda County District Attorney, we as a news source cannot label it a murder. Also, an altercation is defined as a “noisy dispute by at least two people.” Even if Gonzalez was not an aggressor the incident can still be labeled an altercation. The Sun tries to provide only factual statements in news reporting. However, opinions are appropriate for our public opinion section, which we welcome.