April 12, 2024
East Bay Times Letters to the Editor for Aug. 18, 2023

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Orinda’s evacuation
plan needs work

Orinda’s Evacuation Analysis must be redone. It assumed that a wildfire would not spread. Of course, in that event, there would be no need to evacuate.

The fire chief pointed out this flaw to city staff last fall, saying that wildfire spread should be modeled. Attorney General Rob Bonta has said the same thing. Orinda staff did not relay the fire chief’s concerns to the City Council, even though he asked staff to do so. The Evacuation Analysis also had been promised to but failed to analyze the effect on evacuation through downtown of the planned 1,618 new housing units to be built downtown. This is troublesome because many Orindans will need to evacuate through downtown, which is a known pinch point.

Unfortunately, to date, although the Orinda City Council has been made aware of these issues, there is no indication that it intends to do anything about them.

Nick Waranoff
Orinda

Money trumps
fire safety for PG&E

Re: “Utility’s wildfire strategy doubted” (Page A1, Aug. 7).

PG&E determined that power shut-off costs much less than tree trimming. Consequently, the capitalist board decided to let wildfire fuel grow near power lines and stop providing power until some vague threat passes, solely to increase their investors’ dividends. Not a second’s worth of consideration was given to your costs, or the pain involved — those hours that your electrically powered medical devices don’t operate, or your refrigerated food spoils, [disastrous if you own a restaurant], or heating/cooling that’s absent when and where you need it, or any electrical necessity. Whenever a question of people versus dollars arises at PG&E, currency always wins.

San Francisco was debating municipal power in the 1980s, but PG&E defeated them at every turn. So ratepayers will always be at the mercy of PG&E, Southern California Edison and San Diego Gas & Electric.

R Cote
Castro Valley

Urge state not to
issue live permits

California’s Department of Fish and Wildlife annually imports 2 million American bullfrogs and 300,000 freshwater turtles for human consumption. None are native to California, and all are diseased and/or parasitized, though it is illegal to sell such products.

Worse, the majority of the bullfrogs carry a dreaded chytrid fungus (Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis, or Bd), responsible for the recent extinctions of more than 100 amphibian species worldwide.

Our state Fish & Game Commission has twice voted to stop the permits, with thousands of letters supporting the ban, including two from former Resources Secretary Huey Johnson, to no avail.  Easy fix:  Stop the live permits, allowing frozen frog/turtle products only.

The Commission meets in Fortuna (coastal Humboldt County) on Tuesday, Aug. 22; this issue is No. 13 on the agenda.

Eric Mills
Coordinator, Action for Animals
Oakland

Homelessness needs
solutions, not complaints

Re: “Homelessness may haunt Newsom in DeSantis debate” (Page A7, Aug. 9).

Dan Walters dedicates his column to stating the obvious: California has a lot of homeless residents.

A reader might wonder why some states and cities have more homeless than others but Walters doesn’t even hint at any kind of solution to the problem. Could it be there are none? And if not why bring it up? Where I grew up if you are going to complain and point fingers you had better have at least one specific alternative remedy to offer. Otherwise, all you are doing is whining and we don’t need that from our political leaders or columnists.

Homelessness is a great political issue upon which to put up or shut up.

Tom McVeigh
Pleasant Hill

Biden administration
is doing good work

With all the noise surrounding the alleged criminal activity of prior officials, it’s hard to hear the good news. There are big accomplishments of the current administration like the infrastructure law creating good-paying jobs building roads and bridges, and the Chips Act bringing semi-conductor manufacturing to Ohio to build chips here.

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The little things don’t receive much attention: lowering insulin for seniors to $35.00 a month; energizing pharmaceutical companies to follow suit; ending and making junk fees transparent; pushing airlines to allow families to sit together without being forced to pay extra; assuring that spouses of veterans are eligible after two months of employment to receive 401(k) contributions providing security to military families who are routinely reassigned to different locations. The VA coverage for veterans exposed to burn pits is another protection and accomplishment.

It’s comforting to know that President Biden and his administration get up every day and do the good work.

Elizabeth Copp-Phelan
Pleasant Hill

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