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Letters to the Editor for May 17, 2024

Alameda Post - Letters to the Editor

Outdoor/feral cats should not be demonized

To the Editor:

I greatly look forward to reading the weekly Alameda Post offerings and am always impressed with the variety of articles and the level of journalism your missives provide. This past week, however, I was appalled, frustrated, and disappointed to read the article “Meet Our Wild Birds — Keep Them Safe by Keeping Cats Inside” by Deborah Crooks.

While I too love wild birds and can appreciate the author’s passion for them and the importance of protecting wildlife, I felt that her article demonized cats, glossed over the many serious issues surrounding outdoor/feral cats in our community, and to be frank, it was downright inaccurate.

The article used emotional trigger words to describe outdoor cats, such as “prowling” to imply that outdoor cats are “killers.” By recommending that people “don’t feed feral or stray cats,” the article also minimized the tremendous efforts that volunteer cat caretakers and nonprofit cat rescue groups are undertaking to collaborate with members of the public to address this very human (not cat) problem. Rather than helping to protect the bird population, not feeding outdoor cats actually increases the likelihood of birds being killed. If a colony of outdoor/feral cats receives no support, the colony population will balloon out of control, and sick and hungry cats and kittens will be forced to forage for food, exponentially increasing the likelihood of the problem the author is intending to mitigate.

Studies have shown that outdoor cats who are members of a managed colony have stable populations, with the cats having been TNR’d (Trap, Neuter, Return). Outdoor cats live outdoors through no fault of their own—abandonment, lack of vet care, a product of the socio-economic problems facing Bay Area residents. And outdoor cats who are managed by volunteer caretakers have no need to prey on wildlife such as small birds.

The author’s message is well taken for pet cats whose owners may choose to keep them indoors after having read this article, but the message the author is telegraphing to readers about outdoor cats is extremely dangerous—that outdoor cats should be feared, avoided, abandoned, and left to their fate. Rescue groups and their volunteers work hard to try to solve the issues relating to outdoor cats and their place in our community. But this article presents a one-dimensional representation of a much more complex issue.

Outdoor cats are here to stay. Best practices are being employed in our community to address the situation. TNR really works. And to be effective, we need the support of community members. To get that support, rescue organizations need people in the community to care and to respect those who do the “boots on the ground” hard work in trying to solve the problem. This article makes the problem bigger and the job of rescues and rescuers that much harder by turning public feeling against “cat lovers” and outdoor cats.

Emma Pigott
Alameda resident and cat rescue volunteer

Vote Andre Sandford for State Assembly District 18

To the Editor:

My name is Andre Sandford, and I am a State Assembly District 18 candidate. I was born in Detroit, Michigan, where I learned to work and provide for my family. I later attended Jacksonville State University, obtaining my bachelor’s degree in Liberal Arts/Criminal Justice and master’s in Behavioral Science. I have over eight years of leadership experience in behavioral science.

I decided to run for State Assembly District 18 in July 2023 due to a robbery that involved my family. I decided to fight to ensure that the citizens and businesses of District 18 have a safe place to live, work, and conduct business. I plan to make this happen by conducting quarterly assessments of the people’s concerns. I plan to roll out a public safety plan to increase police, reduce the public safety budget, create a state public safety committee, eliminate Proposition 47, create a business camera service that streams live to the police 24 hours a day (paid for by business), and increase the number of neighborhood watch committees.

I will work to create a robust entrepreneurial district that everyone in District 18 can enjoy. I will work to cut payroll and corporate taxes. I will lobby for a state of emergency to relieve our businesses and provide additional police funding to revitalize our business community.

I will fight to create more affordable housing for middle-class families and people experiencing homelessness. I will work to develop land opportunity grants for single-family homes to ensure that families can build cheap homes in District 18 and across the state. I will redevelop SB 423 to ensure that all affordable housing allocates 30% of their units to low-income families and individuals. Once elected I will create an Assembly Bill that will reduce building permit fees for single-family homes to $1,000 to $2,000, and minimize impact fees to $1,000 per new home.

I plan to fight for our children and teachers by ensuring that we never cut our education budget. Protecting our educational budget will prevent layoffs, school closures, and allow us to hire teachers. I will fund a program called Microsociety so that our students can learn how to create their own society and become entrepreneurs to ensure they can compete globally. Finally, I will work endlessly to reduce class sizes to 15 -17 students per class.

Andre Sandford,
Candidate for State Assembly District 18

Editorials and Letters to the Editor

All opinions expressed on this page are the author's alone and do not reflect those of the Alameda Post, nor does our organization endorse any views the author may present. Our objective as an independent news source is to fully reflect our community's varied opinions without giving preference to a particular viewpoint.

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