June 16, 2024
East Bay Times Letters to the Editor for Sept. 3

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Governor must widely
share vision for prison

Re: “Gov. Newsom plans to transform San Quentin. Lawmakers and the public have had little input” (Aug. 31).

Gov. Gavin Newsom has a vision for San Quentin State Prison. He is a visionary with a lot of love for the Bay Area. The vision he has for San Quentin is a great plan, with little to no details. This scares many inmates, advocacy groups and justice-reform activists.

But from my perspective, as someone who has been in the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation for 28 years now, the vision is great, but the plans and program details must be shared with the public. Justice-reform activists, criminal-justice advocates and volunteer groups that offer the programs must be included in the folds of progress. This can’t be about politics if it’s truly about change.

The main goal must be change, to get inmates ready for real reintegration back into society. We must all work together for this to truly work.

John Crosthwaite
Justice-reform activist
California State Prison-Sacramento

Senate Bill 94 offers
chance at true reform

Re: “Proposed bill raises anxiety, concerns” (Page A1, Aug. 30).

I support SB 94, which would allow judges to review cases of people sentenced to life without parole. Life without parole, in this day and age, when we have so much more scientific data, is frankly immoral. This extreme punishment does not exist in most Western democratic societies.

Many of the young predominantly Black and Brown people incarcerated in this way deserve a second chance after 30 or more years in prison. We need to acknowledge the inherent racism in our country and how the justice system worked 30 or 40 years ago when these people were given their harsh sentences. Many have spent their time in prison completely transforming themselves, maturing, rehabilitating and gaining advanced degrees in education and counseling. They wish to help support their communities, especially help the youth to prevent them from repeating the cycle of violence. Our communities need their help to heal the generational harm.

Caroline Lehman

Investors’ community
fails the smell test

Re: “Investors courting new city in Bay Area” (Page A1, Aug. 27).

So, we have a mysterious company named Flannery, fronted, they tell us, by several Silicon Valley billionaires, buying 54,000 acres of agricultural land, which just happens to ring Travis Air Force Base on three sides, promising to build great housing and amenities on land that is not even zoned for such purposes.

I don’t know about you, but this doesn’t pass the smell test.

We need to find out exactly who the other investors are, the ones hiding in the shadows.

Alarm bells went off when one of the billionaires said that for their new “community,” they would explore “new forms of governance.” So our current forms of democratic governance are not good enough for you? This sounds like a libertarian talking point.

I hope the residents of Solano County vote no on allowing them to change the status of this land to “residential.” Welcome to our form of governance.

Rosie Sorenson

Electrification incentives
are difficult to find

Re: “Federal act has electrification incentives” (Page A12, Aug. 27).

The hard-to-find and very complicated incentives, buried in the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022, make me wonder what Matt Corona is talking about in his Aug. 27 letter to the editor.

I have been making an extreme effort since spring to electrify my home. The three contractors who gave me estimates really don’t know which of their equipment qualifies for tax credits, and bayren.org has told me that my gas hot water heating system doesn’t qualify for any rebates because I must retire a gas forced air furnace. In Matt’s suggested website planner, the which-heat-pump-qualifies puzzle has given me few choices, all of which are far more expensive than the tax credit offers, for similar energy savings. The downloaded 160-page “Electrify Everything in your Home” guide offers no specifics.

I’m mystified.

Kirk Essler

Israel’s Libya gambit
fails to find resolution

Israel refuses to deal with Palestinian demands in accordance with United Nations resolutions and prefers to deal with the Arab states directly. The latest example was the meeting between the foreign ministers of Israel and Libya, which was arranged with the help of the United States and Italian officials.

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The Israeli Foreign Ministry revealed the details of the meeting, while the prime minister of Libya falsely denied knowledge of the meeting, which was done to get the support of the United States for his government. Strong opposition to the meeting was demonstrated in Libya because it was considered a betrayal of the Palestinians. The foreign minister was forced out.

The U.S. administration repeatedly stated its support for the two-state solution (Israel and Palestine), which will be only achieved when Israel withdraws from the Palestinian territories occupied in 1967, and the Palestinians establish their own state.

Amer Araim
Walnut Creek