Page One

Letters to the Editor

Tuesday November 14, 2000

PTA Council says ‘Thank You Berkeley!’ 


On November 7th, Berkeley kids won the election hands down. I believe that I speak for all of our Parents, Teachers and Children when I say, Thank you Berkeley voters; we are proud of your commitment to our schools, to our kids, and to this community. I know that many of you are parents or grandparents yourself, or your siblings may have kids in a Berkeley school, but I also know that many voters don’t have kids, or your kids are already out of school.  

Your vote says that you understand that the future and the education of our children is a community responsibility.  

Your vote has so encouraged me and countless other parent and community volunteers to renew our commitment to working in our schools and classrooms.  

Because of your generosity, we can spend more of our time working with kids, and less time raising money to keep the schools running.  

This is going to be exciting. Contact your school, your PTA, a favorite teacher, or the district to see what volunteer opportunities are there for you. 

But wait. You didn’t stop with the schools. You also voted for libraries, warm water pools, and everything else on this ballot that was so important to all of our community. And to all of the volunteers who spent thousands of hours working on the campaigns for AA, BB and all the others...  

We earned this victory! As a Berkeley parent, I promise you that our children will grow up to be great leaders, inventors, visionaries and thinkers. All because this community gave them a chance.  

Mark Coplan, Le Conte Parent 



Told you so... 



Famous last words: “A vote for Nader is not a vote for Bush.”  


Sig Cohn  




Measure B passed because its emphasis was not highways 



Alameda County voters can be very proud that they passed Measure B with a record margin.  

Measure B got 81 percent this time because there was a big coalition behind it. The coalition came about mostly because the Expenditure Plan shifted emphasis from highways to public transit.  

Does this mean that a substantial number of people who now get about only by  

automobile are now prepared to use buses and BART, when there’s better service? Well, not quite. There’s still a strong attachment to the private automobile. I think that many who voted for Measure B are still hoping that “other people” will flock to the nice new transit. 

Funding the buses and bike trails is one part of the solution to congestion. The other part, the part that will actually start making our roads less congested, is a lifestyle change. Somehow, a substantial number of people will make a choice to use transit, especially where the car congestion is greatest. 

Measure B actually provides funds to work on changing our lifestyle. On page 17 of the Expenditure Plan, there’s a vague little item titled “Congestion Relief Emergency Fund” -- $7.6 million over 20 years. It’s not a lot, but it could fund an ad campaign to turn people on to transit. 

If Measure B only makes more transit available, Alameda County may not see much congestion reduction. The reduction will happen only when there are fewer vehicles on the roads. This means that you and me, not just “other people” will choose transit over our cars. 

We voted the money. Now let’s spend it wisely. 


Steve Geller 



Voters showed support for Berkeley parks 


By passing Measures S & W by an overwhelming majority, Berkeley’s voters have once again shown their solid support for our parks and playing fields, and have ensured that our park system will have adequate maintenance resources in the coming years. Because of this generosity, the partnership between the Parks Department and volunteer groups, such as Berkeley Partners for Parks and the Association of Sports Field Users, will continue to flourish. Thank-you everyone! I’m proud to live in a city where voters care about their parks, libraries, schools, and services for people with disabilities. 


Nancy Carleton 

Chair, Support Our Parks, the Committee for Measures S & W 



Filipinos also see irony in electoral impass  

Dear Editor: 

It’s not just the Mexicans who view with alarm the present US election limbo (PNS’ Martin Espinoza’s Opinion piece, Nov. 11). Filipinos (who don’t register on Americans’ consciousness as much as the Mexicans, though we almost match them in immigrant numbers) view the present presidential impasse as ironic. This is because our present political turmoil mirrors the impeachment crisis the US recently went through (a move to oust our president for financial corruption is on); also it’s often small countries like ours getting bogged down in election quagmires. 

As the US’s only colony, we inherited your form of government (including an overlong campaign period and the spending of money we can’t afford). But each person gets a vote -- our vice president can be in the opposition, as is currently true. It’s hard to see why the one person-one vote system isn’t in place in the world’s leading democracy, as it’s been 200 years since British immigrants set up a process in which supposedly “wiser men” would decide for the masses. 

Foreign apprehension over a Bush administration turning its back on international affairs is indeed valid – especially as GBW, unlike Gore, seems clueless about the rest of the world (he told the NYTimes that “…until I’m president, it’s going to be hard for me to verify that I think I’ll be more effective (on foreign policy).” Pandering to isolationist desires, he vowed the US would stop being “the world’s policeman” (while giving no assurances of bolstering the UN by, among other things, paying the US debt) . 

A new immigrant who hopes the US will not abdicate its role as leader of the free world, I want to believe Americans won’t just wallow in their cocoon of prosperity but will continue to reach out even as they solve their domestic problems -- like your past statesmen, always conscious of history, helped foster democracy on this planet. 


Isabel T. Escoda 



Beth El EIR is lacking in numerous areas  


The Sierra Club has reviewed the Congregation Beth El Synagogue and School Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR). We have also heard presentations from Congregation Beth El and Live Oak Codornices Creek Neighborhood Association. On Oct. 23, 2000 we approved a resolution pointing out a number of problems with the DEIR. 

Although our resolution focuses on Codornices Creek, we also have serious concerns over the adequacy of the DEIR. Upon reviewing the DEIR, it is surprising to find it deficient in so many areas, including: Biological Resources, Geology and Soils/Hydrology and Water Quality, Traffic and Parking, Historic Resources, Aesthetics, and Alternative Analysis.  

It is unfortunate the city allowed this document to be released for public review. The purposed of a DEIR is to inform the reader of a project’s impacts. One obvious omission in this DEIR is photos showing the project superimposed on the current site. Without this basic information how is the public supposed to get a true sense of what this project is?  

Toni Loveland 

Chairperson, Sierra Club 



Gray Panthers need a hand into cyberspace 



The Berkeley Gray Panthers are in desperate need of a computer, a PC with greater capacity that the one we have. We now have a 486 that cannot hold our database of members. We would also like to have some kind of station where our senior members could access email. 

The Berkeley Gray Panthers was founded in Berkeley in 1978, and has about 300 activist members in the East Bay. We are part of the National Gray Panthers founded in 1975 by Maggie Kuhn. Our office is at 1403 Addison Street behind Andronico's Super Market on University Avenue. We are a 501(c)3 non profit organization recognized by the State of California. 

We educate on the need for affordable housing, universal health care, improved public transportation, expanded educational opportunities and peace and justice issues. Many of our members are now plugging into the computer age; among those that have not, many are interested in training. Our members include wonderful volunteers who train seniors in the use of computers, both at our office and at the local senior centers. 


Margot Smith 

Chair, Health Committee 

Berkeley Gray Panthers