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Letters to the Editor

Wednesday October 11, 2000

Why blame U.S.? 



The latest burst of bloodletting in the MidEast is horrible enough to watch, without being told that the USA is responsible for it (photo, Friday 10/6). 

Let’s get it straight: the endless war in the MidEast is entirely the fault of the people who are fighting it. Blame the bloodletting on the fanatics of both sides. 

Israeli religious fanatics claim that God has given them the right to settle all of Biblical Israel, and throw out any non-Jews who might already live there. 

The Palestinians, Syrians and the various Arab guerrilla groups want the state of Israel to cease to exist. These people are being supported by various Muslim religious fanatics. 

Seen from outside the battlefield, there are all kinds of reasonable compromises available, any of which would let Israel and Palestine both have their national identity. If Israel and Palestine ever quit fighting and got together to make a MidEast research and industrial zone, it could be another place like Silicon Valley. 

But the fighting goes on, basically because the minority fanatics on both sides won’t allow any kind of compromise. 

As I see it, the major sticking points are the West Bank settlements and security. Israel needs to give up some occupied territory, but not unless the Palestinians can give credible guarantees that terrorists won’t use such territory to continue attacks on Israel. This last part is where the Israelis are right and the Palestinians are farthest from reality, in my opinion. 

Anyway, don’t blame the bloodletting on the USA. 

Steve Geller 



Berkeley’s loss becomes Altmont’s gain 


Here’s one for your “gown swallows town” ironies column. Every year, a certain San Francisco-based private charitable foundation spends millions supporting environmentally friendly organizations and projects. They even offer the world’s largest prize program honoring grassroots environmentalists. 

Three years ago, that same foundation awarded a $10 million grant to UC Berkeley’s Graduate School of Public Policy. Re-christened the Richard & Rhoda Goldman School of Public Policy, the school launched an ambitious expansion program. 

The latest phase of that effort is the planned construction of an 11,000 square-foot facility for academic offices and classrooms. It will occupy the last remaining parcel of open space on Hearst Avenue’s north side, just across from the main UCB campus, and be scrunched up against the GSPP’s present facilities in the historic Beta Theta Pi fraternity house (Ernest Coxhead, 1893) and National Register Landmark Cloyne Court (John Galen Howard, 1904). Both of these old buildings are among the Northside’s few survivors of Berkeley’s 1923 Fire. 

To make room for the GSPP Expansion Project, as it is called, “approximately 3,500 cubic yards of materials and soils would need to be excavated from the site.” (GSPP Expansion Project DEIR, page 3-12) 

How much material is this actually? The back of a standard pickup truck accommodates about a cubic yard of soil. So, if you allot 20 linear feet of road for each truck, imagine a solid line of 3,500 pickups extending over 13 miles – from the Goldman School at Hearst & LeRoy Avenues clear across the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge.  

And where is all this material going? To the Altamont Landfill, of course.  

If this has you raising an environmental eyebrow, consider UCB’s current plans for “SRB1” (aka “surge” building) just down the hill at the Oxford Tract. There, to make room for a 200-vehicle subterranean parking garage beneath the 79,000 square-foot offices-and-classrooms building above, “approximately 40,000 cubic yards of material and soil would have to be disposed during excavation and grading.” (SRB1 DEIR, p 58)  

For this one, visualize a solid line of pickup trucks extending from the Oxford Tract down to through Santa Cruz to Monterey Bay or out beyond Sacramento to the Gold Country.  

Berkeley’s loss will be Altamont’s gain. 


Jim Sharp 


Get rid of the bicycles 

The Berkeley Daily Planet received this letter addressed to Deans, Chairs & Miscellaneous Titles: 

What follows—some notes I took in my head as I walked on the campus the other day and will, hopefully, be an abrupt departure from your usual reading fare.  

Occasionally I chance on Campus, to renew my library card, get a book out, or just to consider the happenings over the last 35 years since I was a student here. 

First there are the bicycles threading their way speedily through the crowds, making the less than agile 70 year old like myself wary and nervous. As a practicing curmudgeon, I’ve made note of this to a Dean’s office several times before. Always a nice letter ensues – “we’re looking into the matter, enforcement will prevail, admonishments will be made” and the like. But it gets worse. Where are the bikers going now that they didn’t have to go when bikes were kept off the pathways? 

And now there are cars to watch out for too! Gone are the dirt paths and wild areas that used to make the place and pace so attractive. Now paved over and the wild places are now planted with new buildings housing the urgencies of progress. The campus used to be such a serene public place, quiet enough to think about the education you were receiving, even to ruminate on whether it was worthwhile having one, or to consider bailing out of the rat race and shucking the career racket. 

There were even dedicated non-achievers around called bohemians who – peculiar souls – thought an education was an end in itself. Gone! Canceled now by high rents, high fees that require a straight ahead, vocational demeanor, or, barring that, the prospect of homelessness. 

So as not to be purely on the negative side, some suggestions: Eliminate bicycles from the campus, period, since they will invariably violate the rules if allowed. Eliminate scooters, skateboards, and whatever else takes away the need and the pleasure of walking. And throw out cell phones too for that matter. 

James L. Fairley,  

Class of ‘53 


Michael Issel  






Subject: Response to October 3 Berkeley Daily Planet Letter from 

Eleanor Pepples, Candidate for City Council. 


Perhaps Ms. Pepples should direct her efforts directly to the 

council to which she aspires, with a program supporting candidate 

“equal rights for equal blights.” Because we live in Berkeley Ms. 

Pepples could propose public funded “public blight.” Because of 

funding disparities between campaigns, we could equalize them by 

giving every candidate their own set of public poles upon which to 

hang their aesthetic discontinuities, or in Ms. Pepples case, photos 

of herself. We could select several “safe streets” upon which all 

such blight would then be publicly displayed. Tours could be 

arranged. Public pole maintenance costs could be underwritten by 

auto mechanics, because they will become the beneficiaries when 

drivers, casting their eyes skyward, drive into potholes, speed 

bumps, speed pits and each other to avoid viewing the Hydra. This 

new revenue source could serve as an alternative to campaign 

contributions by frequenting our favorite auto mechanics instead.  


Indeed, we can foster an entirely new form of candidacy, the auto 

mechanics! Think of it, with their focus on maintenance to high 

performance standards, a whole new spectrum of governmental 

management possibilities could arise. Because auto mechanic rates 

are the same as psychologists, of necessity, Council meetings would 

be 50 minutes long. And let’s face it, unlike a psychologist; auto 

mechanics have the appropriate training to screw down our loose nuts 

and tighten our heads, not to mention making appropriate adjustments 

for excessive public exhaust emissions. So, instead of debating on 

the policy of foreign nations, we would have debates on foreign 

cars! Instead of endlessly inflating our city expenditures, we 

could have discussions on correct inflation pressure limits. This 

would actually serve a public need. The televised council meeting 

could transition from dreary public entertainment to lively 

informative “car talk” sessions - stay tuned.  


Mike Issel 
















BTV schedule - YEEAAH! 


Fri, 06 Oct 2000 15:47:15 -0700 


lee marrs  







Dear Y’all:  


Thanks so much for running the BTV schedule today. As an avid viewer, it’s driven me crazy to not have  

much of a clue as to when anything ran except the (always entertaining) city council meetings.  


After multiple decades here - back to the days of cursing the Gazette - I am one of many who are delighted to  

have a local paper again at last. Even if some days it’s ads ads ads + a wire service blurb. As an ole  

newspaper person, I know how good it is to be able to pay the bills too.  


Keep up the circus work!  






B-TV schedule 


6 Oct 00 15:07:01 PDT 


Joyce Kawahata  






Dear Daily Planet, 


I was so glad to see the B-TV, Channel 25 schedule in the Daily Planet. = 


hard to find it and the Daily Planet is so accessible. Keep up the good = 


in being a real community newspaper! 


J. Kawahata 






Get free email and a permanent address at 



Zee French Hotel Café 


Tue, 10 Oct 2000 14:05:39 -0700 


Leonard Pitt  



1 , 2 





Dear Judith, 


Might I offer a clarification: 


Sandy Boyd was told three years ago that he had no permit for  

sidewalk furniture. 

He did nothing. 

Last May 24 the City told him to pull all tables in chairs inside,  

which he did. 

Over the summer café patrons, on their own, began taking chairs only  

onto the sidewalk. 

Sandy Boyd finally submitted his application on August 24. 

About three weeks later, in the middle of September, the Berkeley  

police came by and cited the cafe. Not even chairs on the sidewalk! 

That's when several of us went to the police department to find out  

the law on tables and chairs on sidewalk. Bring your own and it's OK,  

as long as you leave 6 feet of unobstructed space for pedestrians. 

Learning that the City takes 2 to 4 months to process these  

applications we then held our sit-out at the café on October 3. 


My Point: 

The café submitted their permit application on August 24. 

According to Wendy Cosin, once this is done both tables and chairs  

are allowed outside. 


So why did the police come by and cite the café? Therein lies the rub. 









>I believe the cafe was cited before people began taking their chairs out 

>-- three years after the owner was asked to get a permit. 

>Leonard Pitt wrote: