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Letters to the Editor

Monday February 26, 2001

Meeting seeks input  

for seismic initiatives at UC research facilities 



The community is invited to a meeting hosted by UC Berkeley on the proposed Northeast Quadrant Science and Safety Projects (NEQSS) on Monday, February 26, 2001, 7 - 9 pm at the Sibley Auditorium, Bechtel Center, on the central campus. At this meeting, UC faculty and campus representatives will discuss the new initiatives, which respond to seismic conditions and new research opportunities.  

Stanley Hall, built in 1952 and close to the Hayward Fault, is rated seismically "poor" and would be replaced. Davis Hall North is a remnant of an original building constructed in 1931. This site on Hearst Avenue at Le Roy Avenue was identified as a new building site in the campus 1990 Long Range Development Plan. 

Stanley Hall and Davis Hall North are severely constrained in their ability to meet the needs of current research efforts. Over the last 30 years, changes in technology and an increased focus on interdisciplinary research require new approaches to space utilization and structural, mechanical and utilities design. Laboratory safety and environmental regulations have also become more stringent. Both buildings would be replaced under the NEQSS proposals. 


Stanley Hall Replacement Building 

UC Berkeley has embarked on a Health Sciences Initiative that will reorganize campus research in the health sciences into interdisciplinary teams. The new Stanley Hall will bring together biologists, physicists, chemists, computer scientists and engineers in a collaborative setting with state-of-the-art laboratories. In this environment, researchers will concentrate on solving pressing biomedical and health problems such as Alzheimer’s disease, cancer, AIDS, spinal cord injuries and new techniques to study the function of the human genome.  


Davis Hall North Replacement Building 

This project is the main component of the Center for Information Technology Research in the Interest of Society (CITRIS) which will house information technology research focusing on solutions to critical societal needs. The goal is to create inexpensive technologies that are widely available for practical applications in transportation management, disaster response, seismic planning, environmental monitoring, medical alert systems and energy usage. The New Davis Hall will provide space for state-of-the-art laboratories, seminar rooms, classrooms, computing facilities and offices.  


The other NEQSS sites include Cory Hall, the Naval Architecture Building, and a low-rise structure north of Soda Hall. 

We hope you will attend this community meeting to learn more about these exciting initiatives and proposed projects, and to provide the university with feedback and input on the scope of the environmental review.  


Irene Hegarty 

University of California, Berkeley 



Treasury Secretary may have link to Marc Rich  



I’m not sure if this has any news value, but it occurred to me that there is potentially a confounding connection between Marc Rich and the U.S. Treasury Secretary Paul O’Neil. 

Marc Rich has been the head of Clarendon which is a Swiss-based trading company owned by Rich (I believe shared ownership was extended to its employees) during most of his exile. Clarendon traded in various commodities including alumina (the intermediate stage of converting bauxite into aluminum). These multimillion-dollar trades were either straight forward sales of alumina or swaps of the material to accommodate timing and location differences. 

Alcoa has been the world’s largest producer of aluminum and alumina. Paul O’Neil as chairman and CEO would have been ultimately responsible and knowledgeable of Alcoa’s activities. Although I can’t be positive, it’s possible that Alcoa has traded alumina with Clarendon in the past. This is possible despite the fact that Alcoa is the world’s largest producer of alumina and therefore not in need of purchasing any alumina. That possibility arises because of the possible need to swap alumina for the above-mentioned timing and location requirements. The former occurs when a competitor has an earlier availability of alumina and your company has a greater need for the material sooner than later. This is known as a time swap, in effect it permits you to better balance your required alumina inventory. The latter type of swap, the location or physical swap, involves an effort by the two parties to the transaction to physically swap their inventory in transit if shipping costs can be reduced (alumina tends to be produced closer to bauxite sources in order to reduce shipping costs – which means equatorial areas and Australia. Whereas aluminum is produced closer to electricity availability since electricity cannot be efficiently transported.) 

Although I’m not positive, I do suspect that Alcoa could have swapped alumina with, and purchased other commodities from, Clarendon during Paul O’Neil’s reign. In any event, it probably deserves some further investigation. 

My knowledge and suspicion is based on my many years of employment with Kaiser Aluminum’s treasury department. I approved various high value payments which included Kaiser’s payments to Clarendon for alumina and other commodities. I’ve been retired for three and half years since the department was relocated to Houston. 


Tom Edwards 



Marcia Poole deserves recognition for actions that saved sex slaves 



Thank you for honoring citizens “for their extraordinary work in trying to make the city a safer place to live.”  

However, is there not one person conspicuously absent from the list? Remember Marcia Poole, who, with her brave actions, saved the lives of two East Indian teenage sex slaves? Who risked her life by interfering in the desperate actions of Mr. Reddy as he tried to stuff the bodies into his panel truck. She did not just walk by saying “this is not my business.”  

Isn’t this what you want citizens to do, Chief Butler? Why was she left out? Too close to home, Chief? Would honoring her remind you, Chief, of work left undone? Should you have investigated further, Chief, as to whether Ms. Chanti Prattipati was actually dead when Reddy arrived to get her? Why did he not call 911? Why was he carrying off all three women and where was he taking them? Are these questions your department should have investigated further? Do you feel guilty, Chief? Does Marcia Poole remind you of your dereliction of duty? Is that why you do not want to honor her?  

I would recommend to the Mayor, Vice-Mayor and City Councilmembers that Marcia Poole be honored at the very next City Council meeting. Thank you.  


Charlotte Collins