Letters to the Editor

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ACLU People Power — Alameda, applauds  Vice-Mayor John Knox-White and Councilmember Malia Vella’s proposed resident-led process with committees to examine a reform process for the Alameda Police Department (APD).  

We believe that due to the institutional systemic racism embedded in our city and in particular within APD, an independent Citizen Oversight Commission be formed and charged with appointing a process and citizen committees.

However, before we, as a community, can begin a phase of reform, we must reimagine our public health and safety. We must immediately act in one of two ways that provides for the public health, safety and general welfare for our Black community members and all Alamedans: 

1) reallocate APD funding to community support program services, or 
2) enact an immediate 50 percent reduction in APD’s budget and reallocate funding for community support programs.  

Without addressing the institutional systemic racism directly and first, Council continues to put our community’s Black lives at risk. 

Furthermore, Council’s action to hold a workshop diverts from bringing immediate consequences to eliminate systemic racism within APD. 

This again ignores and invalidates the Black experience with regards to disproportionate police violence, arrests and harassment in our city. 

We ask that Council reprioritze its focus by centering Black lives and experiences in this debate. 

Council must address the problem of racist policies and police violence, lack of public trust and public accountability, over-militarization and runaway budgets.  

To continue to do otherwise does not serve or support Black lives nor does it serve the will of the people calling for accountability now. 

We call on City Council to reduce and reallocate APD budget funding now and first, before taking steps to reform. 

— Amos White

I have resided in Alameda for over 39 years. Living in the same location all this time. I am a concerned resident who supports the Alameda Police Department (APD). There are many reasons people choose to live in this community. I have been taught, and have taught my children, respect is due to everyone around you at all times. This includes respect for authority, which includes the police. 

I reviewed all the video tapes available of the incident. These included the initial encounter and final video cam; I can honestly say that I had I been dancing in the street and got called on and behaved the way Watkins did, I am sure I would have been handled the same, especially  since I fell that dismissing a police officer is not OK.

The officers involved were doing their job and so well that no one was hurt in any way.... physically. Trying to compare APD to events around other cities is political.

If I wanted to dance in the streets I would need to apply for a city permit to do so. What double standards are you creating within our own community? 


— Moya Grabina.

The Alameda Sun received a copy of this letter sent to the City Council.

I realized the other day that I had been seriously traumatized by the events surrounding the George Floyd demonstrations.  It’s not that I was traumatized by Floyd’s murder, although I was. It’s not that I was traumatized by the protests — rather I supported them. It’s not that I was traumatized by the looting and vandalism — more dismayed, sympathetic to the victims of the damage, and relieved that it was as minimal as it was.

Rather, I was traumatized by all the bigotry, disinformation, and outright racism I experienced on local social media. The number of hysterical claims; “saw it on Instagram,” the painful ignorance and plain old stupidity, the blatantly obvious frauds “shared” because “my sister texted this to me, she got it from a reliable source on Facebook.” 

The number of Alamedans who didn’t just believe, but insisted — insisted! — that hordes of looters and rioters (i.e., Black people — don’t even try to deny it) were going to flood through the tunnels, over the bridges and in caravans coming down Doolittle Drive — the presumed-moribund “people from Oakland” trope raising its ugly head. These people insisted that we had to raise the bridges and blockade Doolittle. I was even called unpatriotic by a white-supremacist sympathizer. You all ought to be ashamed of yourselves, but we all know you have no shame, you vile, unAmerican disgraces. I’m not over it.


— Jeff Mark