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Letters to the Editor

Saturday November 18, 2000

UC Berkeley needs satellite 

Internet classes 


Since UC Berkeley is about to eat up another hunk of Berkeley (the area around People’s Park and Anna Head School), I should like to make the following suggestion: Satellite campuses connected by the Internet. For example: 

UC Berkeley establishes a campus in Fresno via Internet. To apply, you do what you do in Berkeley; take and pass entrance exams, but stay in Fresno and attend lectures on your TV or laptop. Students could also attend a lecture broadcast on a giant screen on the Fresno State campus and discuss notes with fellow students.  


George Kauffman 



City attorney should resign 


I am writing regarding Berkeley City Attorney Manuela Albuquerque’s actions of the past year.  

She has persistently attempted to disqualify elected and appointed city officials from voting on any matter in which they, or any organization they belong to, have any existing opinion or position. 

She has advised city councilmembers not to discuss any matters that may come before the city and she recently, at the directive of deputy director of planning, Vivian Kahn, attempted to disqualify four Landmarks Preservation commissioners from further participation in the Beth El planning process. This was simply because they are members of BAHA, which has expressed concerns about the project.  


This is absolutely absurd. We, as  

voters, need to know the positions and values of those we choose to elect.  


By Albuquerque’s flawed legal interpretation, every United States congressman and senator would have to disqualify him or herself from every single vote related to immigration, education, abortion, defense spending, the environment, and any other issues they have previously spoken to. If they belonged to the Sierra Club, League of Women Voters, or NRA, they could not vote on any issue those groups have taken a position on. 

This is absolutely absurd. We, as voters, need to know the positions and values of those we choose to elect. Anyone involved in the community will have existing opinions on issues. We must trust our elected and appointed officials to act in a reasoned manner, being open to the continuous evolution of their positions as new information becomes available.  

Albuquerque’s actions are an embarrassment to Berkeley and a grave disservice to its citizens. She is interfering with the very core of our democratic process. Berkeley deserves much, much better.  

Albuquerque must tender her immediate resignation, and if she refuses, the city council must take immediate and decisive action to replace her. Enough is enough.  


Benjamin Rodefer 


Better Berkeley Coalition 



An open letter to President  

Bill Clinton 


This is probably my last letter to you, Bill.  

I had hoped to see you, and that you might have seen me, waving my UN flag of course, outside Moscone Center in San Francisco recently. But you apparently sneaked in a back door, disappointing critics and friends alike.  

I was there. One photographer took a picture of me and my faithful two foot by three foot UN flag. A woman described her location over a cell phone as “next to the guy flying a blue and white flag.” I clarified for her that it was a UN flag and that Herbst Hall was where the United Nations charter was signed in 1945. She said something about learning something new every day.  

I also had the satisfaction of handing out some 70 or 80 copies of “What on earth are they talking about?” This is a marvelous pre-election questionnaire put out by Earth Action with help from the Campaign for UN Reform and the Humanitarian Group for Social Development.  

You may remember me as the guy who attended both of your inaugurations, with UN flag flying, standing among the many thousands. I even got a photo of me, with UN flag, and a quote in the SF Examiner.  

When I sent you a two foot by three foot UN flag, which had flown over my house, to reciprocate for my three foot by five foot US flag, which had flown - oh so briefly — over the capitol, I had hoped to hear from you more personally. But it wasn’t to be.  

I had received one of thousands of such US flags sent via congresspersons to deserving citizens. My 30 years delivering mail in Berkeley through various kinds of weather qualified me for such an honor. If you happen to find my gift to you as you pack to move north, you might want to join our small group of US citizens who think it’s really patriotic to fly a UN flag daily. 

On the subject of the United Nations, Bill, I confess to being truly saddened and disappointed with your eight years relating to the only global instrument of peace that we possess. I would grade your effort as between a D+ and a D-.  

Not only did you truly mount your “bully pulpit” and plead with the American public to demand prompt payment of all our UN financial obligations past, present, and future, but you did not once lend your considerable intelligence, education and energy to getting the US to rejoin the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. When you get a chance, in some brief, quiet moment between now and the 2001 inauguration, encourage our next president to do better by the UN than you did.  

I hope you find some way to be as helpful to our Earth community as Jimmy Carter did. Maybe you could barnstorm the country, encouraging citizens to join in turning our national focus from wealth and warfare in a second American Century to peace and plenty for all in a first United Nations Century. 

Anyway, God bless you and your family. Any one named Bill can’t be all bad, right?  

The next time you’re in San Francisco, you might want to visit the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. memorial near Moscone Center. One of his thoughts you can read is as follows: “Men for years have been talking about war and peace. But now, no longer can they just talk about it. It is no longer the choice between violence and non-violence in this world. It’s non-violence or non-existence.”  


Bill Trampleasure