Alhambra Source readers debated the new shark-fin ban and city development the past few weeks. Some questioned the merits of the shark-fin ban in California, commenting on Lillian Li Ting Ma’s feature about the controversy surrounding the Chinese delicacy and the way it is obtained. While one reader disregards shark fin's influence on Chinese tradition, many others believe the new law targets the Asian community without political legitimacy. Opinions were split on Elizabeth Salinas’s story about the construction of large-scale residences in the historic Midwick Tract. Some supported developer City Ventures, while others asked if City Council truly understood residents’ needs.
Readers fired back and forth about the state government’s decision to ban shark fin because of the inhumane treatment of the animal. “Letting sharks die after cutting their fins may be morally wrong,” wrote Alhambra Resident, “but addressing this problem through MORE LAWS doesn't seem like a good long-term strategy. Someone in Sacramento should do their job and see if any other laws or policies can be ENFORCED instead of targeting a speciifc act with more laws.”
“California made a mistake with this ban,” agreed Cathy. “Why not ban fins whose source can't be verified?…Boo Jerry Brown!! Boo!”
But one reader supported the ban, believing that shark fin is less a Chinese tradition than a sign of wealth. “This is NOT a Chinese ‘tradition’" South End wrote. "Once in America baby, you've become an American that NEEDS to abide by laws we put forth by a majority. I hate to sound nationalistic, but if you don't like it here…you can always go back to where you came from. We do not change or base our laws on other country's ‘traditions.’”
This hit a nerve with some Asian American readers. “Your comments are really rude,” responded A. Ling. “Look at the politicians who are making the laws….they are mostly non-white…Sorry BABY, but look around, America is changing, so get use to it!”
Albert Lu also fired back, summing up how many Chinese-Americans feel about the shark-fin ban. “Don't insult my culture.”
In a more local debate, Midwick Tract residents are fighting to stop a new development that they believe the city can help them prevent. “Every one of our council members is tied to developers (look at their campaign contributors available from the City Clerk office),” wrote Another Angry Alhambran. “I don't have a problem with concentrating their build-lust on Main Street, but keep them OUT OF OUR NEIGHBORHOODS!! NO MORE CONDOS and TOWN-HOMES! NO MORE APARTMENT UNITS! NO MORE ‘MIXED-USE’ DEVELOPMENTS!!”
But John Gacis was frustrated with what he perceived as anti-Council comments. “I'm all for CONTROLLED growth,” he wrote, “but to demand that ALL development stop and prohibit the same opportunity we had (for new residents) when we first moved into this community is one of the most selfish things an Alhambra resident can do…If you, Angry Alhambran, do not wish to support our city's future needs by providing ideas for solutions, then CV and other stakeholders will do the work for you.”
“There is no shortage of market-rate housing in the city,” responded Eric Sunada (who is also an Alhambra Source community contributor). “So it's just plain wrong when you equate opposition to the current Front Porch plan to some jingoistic selfishness among those speaking out."
*Updated 11.9.11: An earlier version of this story incorrectly inferred that the City Council was responsible for the development at Midwick Tract. It is an independent development.