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East Bay Times Letters to the Editor for Aug. 15, 2023

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Supervisors leave
tenants in the lurch

Re: “Tenants say landlords neglecting dingy units” (Page A1, Aug. 9).

A report detailing illegal housing conditions for up to one-third of renters in unincorporated Alameda County illustrates the need to protect tenants from eviction for reporting landlord violations.

In December 2022, the Board of Supervisors approved the first reading of three tenant protection ordinances: the Rental Housing Registration ordinance, the Just Cause ordinance and the Fair Chance ordinance. Unfortunately, in February of this year, all three ordinances failed a necessary second reading and were defeated.

The Just Cause ordinance would have prevented landlords from evicting tenants for filing complaints of illegal and unsafe housing conditions. Landlords would have to offer a legal reason for the eviction and tenants who file complaints against illegal housing conditions would be protected from retaliation. Siding with the landlord lobby, Supervisors Nate Miley, David Haubert and Lena Tam would not vote for such a basic protection.

Bob Britton
Castro Valley

Deaf culture at stake
in contract negotiations

I’m a former teacher of deaf students, and I am extremely concerned about one of the world’s top five deaf schools, in Fremont, because the pay rate is so low that staff are sleeping in their cars, commuting long distances, renting rooms in their homes or working multiple jobs. These are uniquely skilled, passionate individuals, as I saw first-hand, and their impact on deaf students is lifelong and tremendous.

Right now, SEIU Local 1000 is in fierce negotiations with the state. It is asking for an unprecedented 30% pay raise over three years. And it is being offered an insulting 2% instead, in one of the country’s most expensive areas to live.

The requests are not new but ignored. What people may not understand is that the deaf school has lost vast numbers of both staff and students, and we are at risk of nothing less than deaf cultural genocide.

Rachel Zemach
Santa Rosa

Western contributions
shaped our history

Re: “American education filled with fabled Eurocentric worldview” (Page A7, Aug. 8).

In his attempt to spin Western history to comply with his warped understanding of it, David Redman omits and distorts so many crucial facts that he creates his own fables.

For example, Redman would like us to think the Koreans invented the printing press based on their use of movable metal type. But whatever they invented wasn’t a practical printing press, didn’t make it out of Korea, and had no lasting impact. It was Gutenberg who invented a “high speed” (at the time) printing press that clearly had profound and lasting impacts throughout the world. Redman falsely implies the steam engine was invented by the Egyptians 2,000 years ago. What they invented was closer to a teapot whistle — nothing remotely like the engine Watt perfected. And while Edison didn’t invent the light bulb, he invented a commercially successful one, and for that, he rightly deserves immense credit.

Dick Patterson
El Cerrito

We must confront
conservative alienation

Re: “What if the people who oppose Trump are really the bad guys?” (Page A6, Aug. 4).

David Brooks is correct in arguing that Donald Trump is supported by people alienated by certain policies in modern America, but while there are a plethora of reasons for this alienation, Brooks is dead wrong in identifying causes as some ill-defined “educated” and “professional” class, and an equally ill-defined “meritocracy” system.

At the core of “conservative” alienation are policies that either deprived entire communities of secure jobs or “progressive” narratives that portray broad segments of American society with contempt. It is shipping jobs and critical technology outside the U.S., and billionaire hedge fund managers. It is also arrogance like the kind that led Hilary Clinton to not even campaign in the Midwest states and cost her the election, uncontrolled borders, and the incessant portrayal of all White America as racist.

I am appalled by people who tolerate Trump, but we will not regain their allegiance to truth and democracy until we accurately acknowledge their reasons.

Eliot Hudson

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Precise language
matters for climate

The language we use to talk about climate change matters. It’s undeniable that burning fossil fuels like gas in our homes and buildings generate greenhouse gas emissions that fuel the climate crisis — it’s not “conventional wisdom” among “people holding this view.” (“Elias: Forcing appliance electrification may cause California backlash,” Aug. 4).

Creating a false sense of uncertainty around the role that gas plays in fueling the climate crisis is dangerous. As a scientist, I always take care in choosing language that reflects the scientific literature. That should be the standard.

Greg Zilliac