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Wednesday March 14, 2001

Rumors of demise nonsense 


I‘d like thank all of the kind people who called with condolences, thinking the beleaguered LPC Commissioners had lost our effort to insert some rationality into the city of Berkeley’s conflict of interest dogmas.  

To paraphrase Mark Twain, however, rumors of our defeat are greatly exaggerated. In fact, to quote John Paul Jones, “we have not yet begun to fight”. We petitioned the Court of Appeal to hear our case, but since they’re too busy we’ll just start our case in Superior Court instead. That’s all that’s happening. I hope it won’t take too long to get a decision on the merits.  

And on the Mark Twain web page (yes, there is one) I found an even better quote to paraphrase: We have a commission system which is superior to any in the world; and its efficiency is only marred by the difficulty of finding nine people every month who don’t know anything and can’t read. 


Becky O’Malley 




Wozniak should step down 


The teapot tempest in Berkeley’s Community Environmental Advisory Commission over conflicting interests continues. Berkeley’s attorney has twice declared that senior scientist and general radiation booster Gordon Wozniak’s longtime employment at Lawrence Berkeley National Lab prevents him from voting on lab pollution issues without the appearance of personal benefit. Refusing to resign, Mr Wozniak is waving a writ from his own lawyer defending the right of public employees to serve in public positions like commissions.  

Unfortunately, this has nothing to do with the problem outlined by the city attorney. Mr. Wozniak is welcome to serve on any public body that is not regularly addressing controversial issues between the city and his employer, where his vote in the lab’s favor will always be suspect. Presently, there are serious environmental contamination issues with LBNL like their Tritium Labeling Facility, which has been regularly unloading radioactive waste on us in the form of tritiated water for decades.  

After the trees, groundwater and the next- door Lawrence Hall of Science were found to be radioactive enough to qualify for Super-Fund Status, the Berkeley City Council hired an independent science consultant whose first draft report just arrived. The report did not address all the concerns raised by the local watchdog group, the Committee to Minimize Toxic Waste, but it does demonstrate in numerous ways why the Tritium Facility should close immediately . Berkeley is depending on their environmental commission to translate the report and recommend an appropriate course of action, which probably means huge clean-up and relocation expenses for LBNL and the Dept. of Energy who run this circus. Mr. Wozniak claims that he is not rewarded for his 100 percent pro-Lab votes but I have to wonder whether he would have succeeded as well as he has if he had joined the growing chorus of scientific voices critical of DOE’s self-serving radiation standards.  

Another CEAC commissioner resigned after the city attorney claimed conflict with his newly elected school board position. I’ve been unable to imagine the school board pitted against CEAC over a pollution problem, but I do respect the ex-commissioner’s sacrifice for integrity and less controversy for our environmental process. It’s time to quiet this teapot.  


Mark McDonald 



Teachers should take public transit 


I find it hard to sympathize with BUSD workers or neighborhood residents in their complaints about not having enough on-street parking. 

Here are some thoughts I had after reading Wendy Alfsen’s letter (3/5). 

Residents with cars should have a parking space on their property. It they don’t, then they shouldn’t expect the city to reserve them a free one on the street. 

People working at BUSD or nearby have no more right to the street parking than residents do. The street is public property, but I suppose people or carpools could be leased a parking slot for their exclusive use. This would put a price on scarce parking resources. 

People working at BUSD really shouldn’t be coming by car.  

The area is abundantly served by buses. People who come to work alone, carrying minimal baggage, and don’t use the car during the day, really should be using our fine public transit. 

How much stuff do teachers and administrators have to lug with them? Is it so much 

that it can’t be carried in a briefcase or a knapsack? Even people who have chosen to live far from transit, can find a parking lot for the car, and walk or ride the bus the rest of the way. 

I guess ‘m biased, because I use the bus and my knapsack to get about Berkeley.  

I know it can be done.  


Steve Geller 



Need budget before tax cut 

Dear Editor,  

I think the Emperor has new clothes!  

How can President Bush justify giving back a huge amount of money to the rich when he doesn’t have an approved budget in place so he knows how much he’s going to spend?  

Are we all going to sit back and tell him what a marvelous new suit he’s wearing?  


Anne Smith 


Bailey corrected 


I don’t know a pet who isn’t thrilled by Bailey the Labrador’s run for Berkeley City Council, but I do know a few Malamutes, Rottweillers, Dobermans, etc who would like to have a word with Bailey’s owner/guardian/belly scratcher/campaign manager, Doug Fielding, for his misstatement of the party platform (Berkeley Daily Planet, Forum, 3/9/01). 

There are two animal shelters in Berkeley. One is operated by the Berkeley-East Bay Humane Society. The other - the Berkeley Animal Care Shelter - is operated by the city. Pets are unanimous in their desire to see both supported by the community, but it is the latter, the municipal shelter, that must be replaced. Notwithstanding the ongoing efforts of its compassionate staff and volunteers, the facility is at best a marginally humane physical space for impounded pets. So, clearly, Fielding misquoted our candidate when he called for a new Humane Society building. 

Cats are singing it from moonlit fences. Dogs are digging up favors and fetching votes. Bailey is their man. Or at least their pup.  

His willingness to do the dirty work is apparent, as Fielding pointed out, in his scurrying about with the household toilet brush. No one’s quite sure what it means when he does the same with the household’s shoes and socks, but all are confident it serves the public. 


Paul Klein 


Don’t relax standards 


The UC president and the outreach director should be fired for easing standards; the latter should be made to repay the $207,000 he received in salary for the year in which he retroactively awarded credit to students for nonexistent coursework.  

Richard Thompson 

San Diego