More on Sister City Dispute
As a Jew, I was dismayed to learn that officials of Temple Israel [“Middle East Dispute Comes to Alameda,” February] opposed the proposal that Alameda create a sister-city relationship with the West Bank village of Wadi Foquin. The synagogue had recently been vandalized by unknown perpetrators, and there were fears that such a sister-city relationship could incite more anti-Semitic incidents. I would have hoped that having experienced racist violence itself, the temple might look with compassion on this struggling Palestinian community and press forward toward mutual understanding.
Carol Sanders, Berkeley
The piece misstates California law regarding boycotts for Palestinian rights. California Assembly Bill 2844 does not — and cannot — prohibit the state from doing business with organizations that boycott Israel to protect Palestinian rights.
The law requires bidders seeking state contracts over $100,000 to certify their compliance with existing antidiscrimination laws. The law does not prohibit bidders from engaging in boycotts for Palestinian rights. This is protected political speech. As a federal judge in Kansas recently confirmed in the case, Koontz v. Watson, a law that conditions state contracts on a pledge not to boycott Israel would be unconstitutional.
Zoha Khalili, Palestine Legal, Oakland
Measure A Feedback
Alameda’s charter ban on multifamily housing [“Meaure A Is D.O.A.,” March] has succeeded in slowing development in Alameda for decades, during which the sea level has risen to levels just below those that threaten to flood low-lying homes on the shoreline during storms and king tides. Now, we have a short time to build new housing to finance sea walls and dykes to protect the city from stormy bay waters.
In a few years, Alamedans with homes near the bay, like me, will begin to have difficulty buying homeowners’ insurance due to risk of flooding. When we go to sell our uninsurable homes, buyers will have to pay cash as banks will not be willing to lend.
William Smith, Alameda
Wonderful article, Rebecca Stees [Channeling Her Mojo,” January]!
Lucy Mathews Heegaard