Letters to the Editor

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It was just a tree! During my daily walks along lagoons, over wooden bridges and by small parks with slides and monkey bars, I encountered the grinding, spitting crunches of angry wood chippers. 

I saw the tree frequently before it was dismembered and muched up, leaving only the stump at the path’s edge. Just days before I met a group of flabbergasted mothers, grandmothers and dog walkers who directed me to the posted sign, unsigned, so any protest was apparently unwelcome. 

The sign referred to a potential risk from the tree. What potential risk? Every tree is a potential risk.

As an environmental scientist, I remain miffed. I did not need to test the health of that tree with my infrared, circumferential gun. None of its branches hung precipitously over a residence. The money spent on the crew of five, one in a cherrypicker, could have been halved by trimming the tree. I am not inclined to offer the benefit of the doubt because attending to that tree, under the claim of potential windblown peril or disease was not posted. 

Forgive my mindset, but I cannot divest myself of thinking of Brazil and the Amazon. It was just a tree that produced metric tons of oxygen in one year. A kauri tree in New Zealand is staying alive via root reach of water and nutrients from neighboring trees.

Who cares what kind of tree it was? It was just a tree.


Thomas Inman

Editor’s note: The above letter included photos of the tree, and the notice referenced. The printed notice pinned to the tree contained no contact information and listed no authority in charge of the decision to axe the tree.

The article by Sun staff about the City of Alameda’s need to improve its storm drain facilities did not share any facts about the storm drain problems in Alameda (“City Invites Property Owners to Pay ‘Fee,’ Sept. 5.)  

Make no mistake — the need for improvement is real. Among the storm drain issues: The City of Alameda relies on 10 pump stations, some dating back to the 1940s. If any of these fail, it would cause significant flooding in the surrounding neighborhoods. 

The program is currently funded by an annual storm drainage utility fee that has not increased in 15 years, while costs have increased significantly. The proposed additional fee would add $78 to the current fee, bringing the total, for the typical Alameda home, to a total of $134 per year — $11.17 per month. 

This is not a fight between renters and home owners, as we feel the article suggests. This is a fight on all of our behalfs to maintain our city and our environment. 

Please, Alameda Sun, report the facts. Please Alamedans, send a quick note to the City Clerk right now to urge the city to put the need for additional funds to a vote.


Randall Block & Catherine Egelhoff

The City of Berkeley recently made changes to a number of job titles and physical items to remove any gender-specific titles. Only time will tell if this action was culturally prescient. 

I would like to propose that the City of Alameda implement a series of name changes to decrease waste by increasing consciousness among our residents. I suggest that we discontinue the use of the words “garbage” and “trash,” replacing them with “landfill.” 

This would mean renaming the can in the kitchen, the bin that goes out to the street, the service that picks it up and the place where it eventually ends. By declaring all refuse that cannot go in the recycle bin or compost bin as landfill, perhaps we might rethink what we are throwing away.

Remember that when we throw something away, there is no “away.” Imagine saying “I don’t take my landfill bin out every week because it never fills up. Now that I’m recycling more I had to get a bigger recycling bin.” 

Minimize what goes to landfill. Learn what is recyclable and what is compostable. Safeway provides a box for collecting plastic bags to be recycled. Or better still, get reusable containers for produce and bulk foods to go with your cloth shopping bags. Let’s work for a better world. 


Susan Freeman