Pacifica executive should have known
In an interview published July 25, Pacifica's Executive Director Bessie Wash says your reporter "caught [her] by surprise" with a question about democratization of the local advisory board for KPFA. She said she didn't know anything about it and referred you to Jim Bennett, KPFA's interim general manager.
The change in the local board has been announced for some months now, and were Ms. Wash to take any interest in the largest station in the network she administers, she'd easily have known about it. And in asking your paper to direct questions about the local board election to Mr. Bennett, she showed either ignorance of station governance (Mr. Bennett is not a member of that board and isn't responsible for its procedures), or perhaps just inability to name any of the board's members. Either is alarming in an administrator hired to deal with a challenging situation.
Ms. Wash has been caught off guard not by a pertinent question from the Daily Planet, but by the serious responsibilities of her job.
David B. Aragon
Hills fire station not needed
In response to the story in your July 22 issue about the proposed Hill Fire Station, I am writing this letter to you to express my views and concern about the project, according to my understanding of the proposal. My understanding of the project is that it will be built adjacent to the Shasta Pumping Station and that it will involve a three bay building of between 7,5000 and 10,000 square feet and that Fire Station 7 will be eliminated. I reside uphill and behind the Shasta Pumping Station.
This project is causing a lot of controversy and conflict in our neighborhoods. It also does not conform to the requirements of Measure G – the bond measure providing funds that the City contemplates using to build the project.
I start out with the assumptions that everyone is in favor of earthquake and fire safety and that we certainly have enough controversy and conflict within the borders of Berkeley.
As I see it, there are two main aspects to the problem of providing adequate earthquake and fire protection to the hill area that need to be addressed:
(1) The first aspect is that there must be an immediate, effective response to dire, medical, and other emergencies that arise in this area. These have been and now are being very adequately addressed by Fire Station 7 in the areas below the present location and in those areas above and east of the present location.
(2) Another aspect of the problem is addressing the needs of the area in the case of a catastrophic event – such as an earthquake or an area-wide fire as occurred in 1991 with the Oakland wildfire.
The time required to respond to these latter kinds of events does not have the same urgency as those of Number One but require the availability of equipment, supplies, and staff sufficient to meet the needs of the neighborhoods and to address combating the danger of the event and the needs caused b the event.
It appears to me, that the proper way to prevent conflict and provide proper safety for the residents of this neighborhoods would be to retrofit Fire Station 7 and to build a separate, jointly staffed, maintained, and equipped emergency storage area in the vicinity of the Centennial Drive and Grizzly Peak (where almost all of our wild fires have started in the past) or elsewhere on Park or University land in co-operation with the Park and the University.
This would probably meet the requirements of Measure G, would eliminate the conflict arising over the present proposed project, provide for the safety of out neighborhoods, and place the financial burdens of the project on the proper jurisdictions.
I submit that the magnitude of the project presently contemplated would be inappropriate and unacceptable in any residential neighborhood in Berkeley and has certainly served to bring conflict into an otherwise peaceful and quiet, pleasant neighborhoods.
Foldvary fighting for parents’ rights
This letter was sent to the Berkeley Daily Planet by Foldvary for Congress:
Fred Foldvary, Libertarian Party candidate for Congress in the 9th District (Berkeley-Oakland area), declares he will seek federal legislation that protects parental rights as a civil right.
The rights of parents include teaching their cultural heritage to their children. That implies the right of parents to choose the education of their children, including private schools and home schooling. The Berkeley School Board attempted to deny the right to home schooling, but the Alameda County District Attorney has backed off from its efforts to charge families that homeschool their children with criminal truancy.
In May, four families were brought before the School Attendance Review Board, which questioned the legality of the existence of home schools. The Berkeley Unified School District SARB demanded that the families produce evidence of their children's school attendance as well as information regarding their educational curriculum. The Home School Legal Defense Association told WorldNetDaily, which has been reporting on this case, that the SARB has no authority to request any information regarding curriculum.
According to Julie Foster of WorldNetDaily.com, Alameda County is notoriously hostile toward home schoolers and may use the complaint to challenge the legality of home schools in the state.
Foldvary notes that home and private schooling creates a loss of state reimbursement, which would be gained if the students were enrolled in the school district. The public school boards therefore have a strong incentive to stop home schooling and to stifle competition from private schools.
To protect the rights of parents and students to choose their schooling and preserve their cultural and religious heritage, Fred Foldvary advocates federal legislation to declare home schooling a civil right, to be protected by federal civil rights law under the 9th and 14th Amendments to the USA Constitution.
Foldvary for Congress