Letters to the Editor

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I loved Irene Dieter’s article about the trees (“Many Trees ‘Broom’ for Spring,” April 10). 

The problem is that her advice is faulty. I’ve asked the tree trimmers for years to remove branches from the Liquidambar across the street from my home. Every time a wind came up the tree would drop a branch. 

Last November my luck ran out. The very same limbs I’ve asked to have trimmed back and never broke away crashing onto my Honda Civic totaling it. I didn’t know this until the branch rotted out and broke off pulling the power line down. Our street was closed for two days because they had to install a power pole and attach the power line to that since they had to cut the tree branches back. 

The branch trimming now matches Ani Dimusheva’s “WTF?!” tree art design (Op-Ed cartoon, April 10). Advise your readers to start sending certified letters to Todd Williams, City of Alameda, Public Works Supervisor and demanding a timely response if there is a problem with the trees on their street.

— Camille Khazar


I attended a fantastic event last week that celebrated the fact that The California Department of Transportation (CalTrans) recently adopted urban design guidelines to provide for pedestrians and cyclists in their future plans and projects. 

I thought your readers might want to know about this gathering that happened last Thursday, April 10, at the Oakland Kaiser Center. Vice Mayor Marilyn Ezzy Ashcraft was also in attendance.  

CalTrans formally took on the National Association of City Transportation Officials’ (NACTO) Urban Bikeway Design Guide that treats all users of a street equally. According to the official statements handed out, “Californians will start seeing more protected bikeways and improved intersection designs and that engineers will be less compelled to design streets for peak traffic conditions at the expense of other street users.”

This is very important to me, because as a cyclist who follows traffic laws, I am increasingly frustrated by our society’s inability to share our rights of way. I see both motorists and cyclists truly behaving as if their own safety and the safety of others matter not when attempting to attend a meeting on time or respond to a text message while driving.

Our cities are designed in a way that primarily accommodates the automobile and gives little consideration to the safety of walkers and cyclists. Hopefully the adoption of these guidelines will create more viable pathways for those choosing not to pollute our state with their exhaust fumes. 

I am a big fan of reducing carbon emissions in our community and am very pleased our state is taking steps to do so. Whether or not this move translates into better traffic conditions for Alameda remains to be seen.

Especially given the recent pedestrian death on Otis Drive, I feel initiatives like these are important for our community.


— Anthony Janello


I am fortunate to have adopted two amazing small dogs from the Friends of the Alameda Animal Shelter. I am happy to keep their vaccinations up to date, their licenses valid, to keep them on leash when not at the fenced dog park and, frankly, to pick up their poop. Because that is my responsibility, to them and to my community.

I do not assume that others think my dogs are “just so darn cute” that they want to have them running up to them, or that the sound of them barking are like music to another’s ears. 

Recently, in a public park with notices stating that dogs must be kept on leash at all times, I was annoyed and even somewhat unnerved by the many dogs that were off leash. When I stepped back and picked up my dogs as a group of three Retriever size dogs came galloping my way, the person walking behind them said breezily, “They’re friendly.” What I didn’t say, and I wish I had, was “Why would you assume mine are?”

On another occasion, I watched in disbelief as a woman allowed her two small dogs to chase the birds on the sand at Crown Memorial Beach. The signs prohibiting dogs on the beach are hard to miss. One end of the beach harbors a bird sanctuary, the other a marine reserve where all plant and animal life is protected. I am astounded at the sense of entitlement, lack of respect for the environment and utter disregard for anyone or anything that this woman displayed. Believe me, she’s not alone.

Take a walk in just about any of our residential neighborhoods, and you will find piles of animal waste. I have even heard stories about homeowners who have confronted dog walkers who continually allow their dogs to use their yards as bathrooms, to no avail. I have little bag dispensers attached to both of my dogs’ leashes, and when the inevitable happens, I bend down and pick it up with a little blue bag. I would be embarrassed to be so lazy that I couldn’t be bothered to clean up a mess that I was responsible for. 

It is a joy and a privilege to have my canine companions in my life and I take that responsibility very seriously. I don’t want anyone else to have to take care of my responsibilities, and I would greatly appreciate it if those of you (and you know who you are) would take care of your own. Your behavior makes the rest of us look bad.

— Sue McCullough