Letters to the Editor
Let me ask editor Dennis Evanosky ("School District Under Fire," Feb. 20) and Paul Ivanovich Chichikov ("District Issues Worrisome Directive," Feb. 20) a question.
Assume you are employed by a company. Assume that something that your company has done is a matter of public concern. And let’s say you walk out the door of your workplace one evening after work, and a journalist with a notebook or a reporter with a microphone asks you for your opinion on this company matter. What are you, as an employee of the company, allowed to say?
The answer is nothing. Legally, ethically and as a matter of loyalty and common sense, you are allowed to say nothing.
Everyone who has a real job knows this. It is common knowledge in the real working world. Every organization has an information officer, a public relations person or spokesperson who makes approved public statements on behalf of the company. No one else is legally allowed to do so. This is not controversial and has nothing to do with free speech.
In addition to this legal restriction, an employee is not allowed to voluntarily admit to outsiders that the company is at fault in any company activity. That is also common sense and a legal necessity.
There are certainly exceptions for whistleblowing, and employees have an obligation to speak up about illegal conduct. But something like that is rightly reserved for serious law breaking or negligence.
And of course, as a citizen, you can make statements outside the venue of your workplace about almost anything but your company’s business without any fear of retribution. Jeffrey Smith, for example, has no problem addressing the general state of public education in the pages of the Alameda Sun.
Editor’s note: Reichert’s premise about the employees not having the right to speak out on the gas-leak issue falls apart when one recalls that school district administrators allegedly took the broken device to a bar on Webster Street and openly discussed the leak.
In other words, teachers can’t talk to reporters about the same incident that the administrators were allegedly free to openly discuss while bellying up to the bar.
Chichikov felt that the warning to the teachers not to speak to the press did not jive with the behavior of the administrators at the 1400 Bar and Grill. The Alameda Sun relegated this part of the story to the op-ed page because no one other than the teachers who approached Chichikov were willing to comment on the alleged behavior at the 1400 Bar and Grill, and none of those wanted their names used for fear of losing their jobs.
Before and during the Great Depression, highly competitive auto ferries were self-supporting, not state subsidized. Then in 1939 the ferries gave way to the Bay Bridge. Now, as years go by a growing demand to cross the bay brings back the viability of transportation of another form or combination.
The old ways may be thought of again, but flexibility and speed are key factors. Adding another long bridge across the bay isn’t immediately helpful as, using political standards, it would not be completed by 2039. By then, other means of transport would have surpassed an expensive and congested crossing. So other options should be considered; high-speed water taxies for example. The calm bay is ideal for hydrofoils large and small, and they can go on dry land to load and unload safely. That’s flexibility.
Another faster option is passenger helicopter transport; even now that is a military reality. At one time (50 years ago) there was an SFO helicopter from Oakland to the airports. A helicopter port for the Bay Area that’s already fit and available exists at Alameda Point. It would take an airline operator only a short time to establish an operational flight service to fill the demand.
Alameda Point, a former naval air station has a first-class concrete area, a control tower, hangar facilities, a seaplane ramp for hydrofoils, and room for a large variety of large and small craft. It would be a fixed base business of great benefit to the city and the East Bay. Alameda Point is a location secure from mayhem and noise complaints.
Long before 2039, anyone could fly from Alameda Point to anywhere a helicopter can land within 500 miles of the Bay Area, faster and safer than any other means of transport. The cost/benefit is viable as people continue to distance themselves from crowded cites.
I appreciate what Ben Cable and Marcial McCarthy Bolina did ("Cable-Bolina Wedding," Feb. 13), but their challenge to California’s ban on same-sex marriage was not the first. The June 12, 1969, issue of The Advocate magazine carried a report of the March wedding in Los Angeles of Neva Heckman and Judith Bellew. The Rev. Troy Perry officiated. The Advocate described the union as: "The first marriage in the nation designed to legally bind two persons of the same sex."
The June 24, 1970, issue of The Advocate reported that Perry was testing the state’s ban on gay marriage. He based this test on the theory that California’s common law marriage statute did not specify gender. Because Heckman and Bellew had lived together the required two years, the state recognized them as married.
Los Angeles attorney Albert L. Gordon filed a lawsuit on Heckman and Bellew’s behalf but it was dismissed.