Letters to the Editor

Disabled Americans can't pay


An economic [bailout] plan for foreclosure [for] first time homebuyer should happen. Disabled Americans on Social Security should be able to have the closing costs paid.

A loan for $50,00 to $75,000 all disclosure cost should be paid. Annual percentage rate, finance change and extra financed charges, filing fee cost should be paid by the economy plan to help disabled Americans enter into the first time home owner process.

Disabled Americans cannot pay for high rents and it would save the federal government from paying for HUD Sec. 8 vouchers or portable housing.

Also tax [on] first-time homebuyers on $7,500 return should not have to be paid back by the disabled Americans.

President Obama, [please] sign this into the economic plan.

— Gloria Guerra

View of the past


Thank your for including the piece on Alameda's pre-European Native Americans ("Uncovered: Prehistoric Alameda," Feb. 5) on your front page. I have a great fascination with things of the past, and I have the feeling I am not alone in this.

For a long time, I thought that you had to go to East Coast museums to find archeology and paleontology exhibits, but lately I've found that right here in the Bay Area you can see a lot.

For instance, there is a full-sized T-rex fossil skeleton replica in the staircase of the Life Sciences Building on the UC-Berkeley campus, as well as a pterosaur hanging above it, and a triceratops skull in the library.

And as they remodel the building, they will include more soon.

Plus, you can walk through there and see it for free. Cool stuff (and good to know if you're a parent of small boys)!

Also, if you thought the only place to find Tertiary Period (or is it Quatrinary Period?) megafauna was in Rancho La Brea, think again. Many fossils of saber tooth cats, cave bears, dire wolves and the like have been uncovered at the base of Mount Diablo.

I have to wonder if the recently uncovered skeleton on Washington Street was a lone burial, or if many more people are buried there. It seems like every new development in the Bay Area uncovers archeological evidence of thriving communities of prehistory.

It is wonderful to think about such things, to try to imagine the lives of people who existed before this industrialized society we live in.

Thanks for the food for thought.

— A. Kiwi Courters

Make schools safe for all


As pastor of a local church, I am eager to see Alameda schools lead the way in providing a curriculum that addresses issues of sexual orientation and gender identity with the goal of making Alameda a city that is both safe and affirming for all children, youth and all types of families.

We all know how many negative messages children and youth receive about being gay in our society.

Our schools need to be the place where diversity can be explored and affirmed.

This is the way we can take a proactive stance against hate not to mention the self-hatred that plagues many youth who are questioning their sexual identity and have no place to go with these questions.

Our society is on the brink of change and a curriculum like the one proposed is long overdue.

The prejudice and misconceptions that fuel the unequal status of LGBTQ people is the civil rights issue of our time and our schools are the environment where children and youth form many of their beliefs and attitudes.

I urge [AUSD] to put this curriculum in place and in doing so, plant the seeds of change in our community.

I also want to express my concern about the suggestion of giving families the ability to "opt out" of this curriculum on religious grounds.

We can only imagine the uproar that would ensue if parents were able to have their children opt out of lessons on Martin Luther King, Jr. or the history of slavery.

Inequality in any form, i.e. homophobia, racism, sexism is an ethical issue because it is an affront to human dignity.

For those who object to this sort of curriculum on the basis that it is against a specific set of religious or moral beliefs, I would simply say that respect and tolerance for all people as children of God is the unifying and core principle of every world religion.

But more importantly, equality is the core principle of our Constitution and I believe a curriculum that enables children to see all people (and themselves) in a positive light is critical to [AUSD's] mission of making Alameda a safe and welcoming place for all children and all families.

— The Rev. Laura Rose, Pastor, First Congregational Church, United Church of Christ

Robbing the working public


I'm sick, just sick, of the rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer.

This latest economic boondoggle the government is proposing is just going to be more of the same.

How can we justify taking money from the hard-working American public and give it to these irresponsible, unforgivable upper-echelon CEOs who then squander it on retreats and junkets?

How can we justify taking money out of the pockets of kids who haven't yet taken their first breath.

Why isn't stealing from the unborn just as bad as aborting them?

Taxpayer money was not supposed to help out giant financiers; it was supposed to help provide services which every level of government is now pulling back on.

How can we justify paying the legislators who can't balance a budget, while they take food out of the mouths of everyday state workers?

Unfair, unfair, unfair. It's the priveleged using their leverage against the unpriveleged. Isn't that what government is supposed to prevent?

— Coho Jerkins

Safe schools for everyone


If one stops for a moment to reflect on the brouhaha this [sexual orientation] curriculum [in the Alameda Unified School District] is causing, it only serves to highlight why our LGBTQ families are at risk and why we so sorely in need this curriculum in the first place. May it strengthen AUSD's resolve and underscore the urgency of their mission to provide safe schools for everyone.

— David Gunderman and Andrew Raskopf, fathers of Katie and Jake


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