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Letters to the Editor

Wednesday October 04, 2000


Council should have looked first 



I would venture to say that not a single one of the eight council members who voted to designate 1525 Shattuck Avenue a ‘structure of merit’ have ever gone within 10 feet of these buildings  

When I first listed this property over 30 years ago, it had already declined into a “chopped-up” rabbits’ warren of offices and a couple of residential units. If one looked very hard and long they would find a couple of “fish fin” side shingles that gave some clue to it once being an attractive structure.  

Thanks to Harvey Sherback, a real endangered species from the ‘60s, hundreds of signatures were gathered in protest of removing this eyesore. Harvey is the only resident of this property and did not want to relocate. He did an excellent job of obtaining signatures of people who never, ever saw this property.  

He frightened a few businesses on North Shattuck Avenue, that this quality upgrade motel would cause them to lose a few parking spaces. The projected motel would have 25 parking spaces, five to ten more than they needed and which they were willing to share with some of the adjoining businesses.  

I remember over 25 years ago when Alice Waters and her four partners wanted to transform an ugly single family house into the present Chez Panisse restaurant. Here again, if you scraped off the terrible stucco and aluminum paint of that existing old house, one might have found a “landmark” property and then there would not have been a wonderful Chez Panisse that glorifies our North Shattuck Village. 

The proposed project would enhance our North Shattuck neighborhood. It would not be another “Motel Six” or “Holiday Inn,” but a charming Mediterranean facility that would be a “landmark” and a “structure of merit” from our present generation.  

I have signatures from neighboring businesses and merchants who have approved this venture, once they were shown the plan.  

I have no financial or agency interest in this project. I just feel that it would be a valuable addition to our neighborhood. 


Aubrey Lee Broudy 



Kennedy tenant happy as a bunny 


I am not a rabbit either! I am just a student, one of thousands, looking for a place to live. Luckily, I am a resident of the Berkeleyan apartment building at 1910 Oxford St., one of Patrick Kennedy’s developments. 

What this building has afforded me is the opportunity to live close to campus (unheard of these days) and to live in a new, clean and very well-kept apartment building (an even greater rarity).  

What I cannot fathom is the inability of some of Berkeley’s residents, who are non-students of course, to understand that students need housing. And enough housing will never be attained through the construction of one or two story sites. Do the math! 

So why don’t we all face the fact that something must be done for the sake of students, low-income people, and the elderly. Let us not misdirect our attacks onto those who are willing to take action to solve these very real problems; let us instead applaud them. And to the rest of them, “stop the rhetoric!” 


Gemilyn Diwa 



Notes from the underground 


The Morlochs in H.G. Wells’ story live underground and feed off the Eloi as if they were no better than rabbits. Morloch Chaillot of the Deep Ecologists’ Gaian Alliance (Letters, Sept. 29) affirms that the future lies underground, and states that someday we shall all be rabbits.  

Morloch also castigates Richard Register for being a front for out of town developers. I confess, I am confused. Is it sarcasm? Is the alternative to 15 story buildings a subterranean class that feeds on the thoughtless creatures above (City Council candidate Carrie Olson and her supporters?), or is Mr. Register really a crook, and the Deep Ecologists as out of touch with reality as they sound? 

Why is five stories a magic number? Thirty years ago I lived in the Unit 3 dorm. It was, and still is, eight stories high. Should we demolish the top three floors? 

I did not, and do not, consider the dorms a disaster area. The problem is one of context. The dorms have open space on the ground, and are adjacent to commercial areas or take an entire block, and therefore do not create the disaster scenarios that have been described in previous opinion pieces.  

You don’t have to be offered money to support high-rise (or at least higher-rise) building in downtown. One merely has to look at the Los Angeles basin to see what happens when everybody gets their dream of a low-rise environment. Sorry Morloch, Mr. Register does have a constituency in Berkeley. 


Robert Clear 





Thank you for running Vietnamese-born Andrew Lam’s lovely piece on his  

grandmother today (Oct 2nd). Some months ago I saw, in a San Francisco  

paper, another moving article by him about leaving his country. He is truly  

a talented writer of fine prose. Let’s have more. 

Beatriz Coda  



I am a member of a campus coalition of the Rainforest Action Group and, a coalition working to stop Citibank from funding environmentally destructive projects all over the world. The destruction of some Citibank property last week has moved me to write a letter explaining what the Citi campaign is about. 

Last Tuesday, Sept. 26th, after the Reclaim the Streets rally in downtown Berkeley, someone smashed the windows of the local Citibank branch. First of all, I would like to set the record straight: this crime was not committed by our members, nor do we condone it. We do not advocate the destruction of property. 

Nonetheless, I would like to say that the Citi campaign is extremely urgent. Rainforest Action Group is boycotting Citigroup and its subsidiaries because  

of its direct financial involvement in a number of environmentally and culturally destructive projects. Citigroup has funded mining in the Amazon, oil pipelines in African rainforests, clearing Headwaters forest here in California, and more. All of these projects destroy habitats, threaten endangered species, and displace Native peoples from their homes.  

Rainforest Action Group and Ecopledge believe 

that Citigroup should be held accountable for its actions, particularly when those actions degrade the overall health of our planet. A part of the funding Citigroup uses for its destruction comes from customer assets (i.e. 

clients’ money). For these reasons, we are urging students and citizens to boycott Citigroup.  

For anyone who would like more information on how to get involved with RAG or Ecopledge, you may contact or An International Day of Action against Citibank is coming up on Tuesday, Oct. 17, in front of Citibanks across the U.S., and we urge Berkeley students to come out with us on that day to stand up and be heard! 


Adinah Curtis 

UC Berkeley student, living in Mill Valley 



























In response to the letter (8/31) from Terry Powell: 

Terry Powell from Lawrence Berkeley National Lab’s (LBNL) public relations department, operated for the Department of Energy (DOE), is just doing her job when she promotes the lab’s official line on the continuous dumping of radioactive waste from their National Tritiu Labeling Facility (NTLF) and Melvin Calvin Lab on the UC campus. 

The Lab’s boosters endlessly repeat the mantra “tritium emissions below the U.S. EPA’s National Emissions Standards for Hazardous Pollutants (NESHAPS).” Never do they address the many credible criticisms of their absurdly low estimate for radioactive tritium exposure, including those in the report by IFEU, made by independent scientists hired at local taxpayers’ expense by the City of Berkeley. 

Dumping in short bursts and a short stack actually located below the Lawrence Hall of Science (LHS) are easily understandable reasons why exposure to LHS workers and visiting children could exceed the NESHAPS standard. Just because the flawed exposure estimates concocted by LBNL remain unchallenged by the perfumed suits at the EPA and the California Department of Toxic Substances is no reason for anyone to believe them.  

All the Lab’s arguments seem like such blather when one visits the site and sees the tritium stack just 30 feet from the LHS’s fence. Common sense tells one that whatever is coming out of the stack is all over whoever is near it. In this cases it’s most of the areas children. Triatiated vapor is extremely hazardous and has been identified as a cause of leukemia, cancer, infertility and other genetic defects.  

Ms. Powell is incorrect when she states that almost all their tritium is captured and recycled. As sloppy as their records are, they do indicate large quantities missing. Even when LBNl has admittedly dumped does not support her claim.  

Also contrary to what Ms. Powell claimed, LBNL’s treatability “study” was just a scam to unload years of backlogged mixed waste without obtaining the usual permits. Mixed waste, toxic chemicals contaminated with radioactive waste, is fed into an “oxidation cell” complete with igniter plugs and exhaust vents, and can run in excess of 1000 degrees Fahrenheit. Sure sounds like an incinerator to me.  

Playing games by reclassifying the NTLF as a “non-nuclear” facility and “delisting” their mixed waste does not alter the reality that large amounts of dangerous radioactive material are stored, used and dumped there. Neither the NTLF or Calvin Lab are appropriately sited in our community and should be closed and cleaned up.  


Mark McDonald