Letters to the Editor

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I have concerns about California's voter registration system and the upcoming primaries.

The irregularities in Arizona, the recent hack of a 191 million large voter database, the almost daily reports of irregularities in other states' voting, along with California's transitioning its' database to a new platform - taken together this raises a red flag. I was on the ground in Iowa, Nevada and Utah and bore witness to concerning irregularities perpetrated at a number of caucus sites. The crisis in confidence the American people are experiencing in our democratic institutions is real and it is serious.

On a personal note, my voter registration is current however my husband (who has voted for 30 years with no complication or changes in status) checked his registration only to find his name had been dropped off the rolls. His is not the only case being documented. I choose to think this is a simple administrative error. However, the climate during this election cycle makes it unacceptable. In my opinion, the California voting apparatus must be squeaky clean to avoid perpetuating a perception that the election process is in some way being "tweeked".

I've come to value my voter registration as much as I do my social security number. I encourage all to check their voter registration status at http://www.sos.ca.gov/elections/registration-status/

As a concerned citizen, I've stepped up to be a poll worker. But the nature of this problem requires a state-wide pro-active vigilance.

Gabrielle Dolphin
Alameda CA 94501

Gabrielle Dolphin

On March 22, mass killings were carried out in Brussels, Belgium, through bombing attacks targeting the international airport and a nearby metro station. The extremist group ISIS reportedly took responsibility for the killings of 34 persons and wounding of 270. Reports have stated that ISIS initiated these actions in retaliation for attacks upon them by the Belgium government. 

As in the Paris attacks in November 2015, many innocent lives have been lost — and the grieving of families and friends will not be a simple matter in the weeks to come. Wounds will linger for those who have lost loved ones, and feelings will be exacerbated by the social context of international tensions. The fact that ISIS purports to represent the Muslim faith is disturbing to many faith leaders, especially from the Muslim community. 

As faith community representatives, we share our sympathies for lives lost, but we also express our concerns about the trend demonizing entire Muslim populations in our country. 

It is particularly disconcerting that this has taken place in the context of our presidential election season. Candidates have felt free to target Muslims using them as campaign fodder. Following the Paris attacks, Donald Trump called for a ban on immigration of Muslims into this country. Immediately following the Brussels attacks, Ted Cruz called for increased police patrols of American Muslim neighborhoods. 

These provocative statements are bad enough. What is perhaps more disturbing is that Trump’s poll numbers began to spike upward after he made his statements, indicating that he was mirroring the sentiment of a large part of the American populace. Sadly, American Muslims have now become the face of the enemy in parts of our country and are facing challenging times in daily life in the context of this politically charged environment. These challenges remain highly invisible to the mainstream community, while Muslim families live silently with fear and anxiety for the safety of their children. 

In December 2015, Imam Musa Balde called together the Alameda community following an act of vandalism targeting the local Muslim mosque. To the credit of the Alameda community, the event was well attended and laid a strong foundation for longer term education and strengthening of relationships. One of the key issues raised at the convening was the need for education among young people in our community to dispel stereotypes and, instead, foster greater understanding and friendship. 

As a follow up to conversations with the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) the Alameda Unified School District (AUSD) and the city’s Social Service Human Relations Board (SSHRB) will jointly host a forum on “Muslim Students in America” on Monday, April 11, at 7 p.m. at Kofman Auditorium, 2200 Central Ave.

The free event will feature the award-winning film Fordson: Faith, Fasting, Football, which follows a football team from Dearborn, Mich., as it prepares for its cross-town rivalry game during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. It shows how the football team and Fordson High School, composed primarily of Muslim students, work to both maintain their Islamic faith and traditions and be a part of mainstream America. 

The screening will be followed by a panel discussion about the movie. Panel members will include several Muslim students from AUSD, as well as Sameena Usman, government relations coordinator with CAIR (Council on American-Islamic Relations) which is the nation’s largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization.

In addition to this event, representatives of the interfaith community continue to meet regularly to discuss ways we can work together as diverse faith traditions to foster an environment of safety and inclusiveness for Muslim families who call Alameda home. 

We encourage Alamedans of all backgrounds to attend the upcoming event on April 11 to strengthen the bonds of friendship among people of all faiths in our community, and join us in support of the AUSD, SSHRB and CAIR efforts to make it clear that anyone is safe here, because “Everyone Belongs Here” in Alameda.

Rev. Michael Yoshii, Rabbi Barnett J. Brickner, Rev. Laura Rose Rev. Jeffrey Cheifetz Rev. Joseph Shreffler Rev. Dr. Diana Cheifetz Pastor Mark Hofman Eleanor Wiley Pastor Lisa S. Fry Rev. Dot Lundgren Rev. Christopher Peterson Noor Hazam Zahra Billoo

The Alameda Sun received a copy of this letter.

Everyone has the right to health care, but healthcare costs in the United States are much higher compared to other counties. America may be wealthier than other countries, which can explain higher healthcare costs. The difference in costs when compared to other countries should not be as significant as it is now. These costs boil down to greedy corporations taking advantage of their consumers. Americans are left in the dark and are not given an opportunity to compare prices with other providers.

The federal government is doing little about healthcare costs, which has become the Achilles heel for countless retirees. 


Joanne Borromeo