Letters to the Editor

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Recent letters regarding rent control urging the City Council and voters not to enact new policies because they will limit housing availability and cost more in the long run raise some questions. 

What about Proposition 13 and the unfairness of multi-generational tax subsidies, not only for residents living in their homes, but rental income properties and commercial properties, too? This includes tax subsidies for big corporations? Is it fair to new home buyers not covered by Prop 13 to have to subsidize those that are? 

Are renters seeing lower rents because multi-generational owners who are covered by Prop 13 are converting them into rental income properties? Or are they raising rents according to whatever the market will bear? Is it fair that the state has taken the power away from voters at the county level to decide local property taxes? 

Those corporations who used to pay two thirds of the state’s revenue engine prior to Prop 13, now pay only one third. And because of tax subsidies from Prop 13, the loss of revenue from property taxes to make up the two thirds paid by private citizens now comes from state income and sales taxes. Is that fair too? 

Tell me how fair it is that new home buyers and renters are subsidizing many of the wealthiest property owners and corporations’ property taxes. Are the same liberal elites who lecture us about “equality” telling us that this corrupt system of taxes and two classes of citizens are fair and equal?

I would otherwise not be for rent control. But telling us half-truths to justify and rationalize this unequal and unfair system of taxes insults me. Are we really that stupid or do they just think we are? 

If the only way to fight back against this unfair abuse of power is rent control, then it is high time that the majority of voters stand up and use the leverage they have by voting. 

Rent control? Under the circumstances, “yes.” I say, bring it on.


Bill Hayden

I am concerned about reports from the Environmental Working Group (EWG) regarding PFAS, toxic substances found in local Alameda water. According to California’s State Water Resources Control Board “PFOA and PFOS ... have been used extensively in consumer products such as carpets, clothing, fabrics for furniture, paper packaging for food ... designed to be waterproof, stain-resistant or non-stick ... [and] have been used in fire-retarding foam and various industrial processes.”

PFAS cause liver cancer and problems with fetal development, immunity and more. EWG reports they are at alarming levels in hundreds of sites across the country, especially former or current military bases like Alameda.

The public needs to be better informed on what is being done to address this issue. Current state test sites do not include the former Alameda Naval Air Station. Will further tests be conducted here? How do we protect our families in the meantime?


Chase R. Martin

Editor’s note: Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are a group of man-made chemicals that include: PFOA, PFOS, GenX and many others.


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.


Lawrence A. Reh