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Letters to the Editor

Monday March 19, 2001

KPFA value is its diverse programs 



Re: Wayne Huber’s comments about the lack of diversity of opinion within KPFA. 

Mr Huber's criticism is misdirected when referring to KPFA. The entire radio spectrum has been homogenized into a selling machine. Commercial radio has many voices with one purpose. National Public Radio has become an outlet for the same purpose with just a slightly different voice. KPFA is one of the few stations in the nation that speak with a unique voice. It was designed that way. Those that like the voice get a vote by paying for 

it. If Mr. Huber wants a vote he should forget his radio dial and send in a contribution to the station. 


Harry Wiener 



Helicopter hell over San Pablo Park 



While the question of whether the CHP was correct in choosing to chase a drunk driver continues; I want to question why 4 hours after the accident some branch of the media felt it was necessary to have a helicopter hovering at low altitude over a residential neighborhood. I live 3 blocks from the accident. I did not hear sirens or crashing, but at 5:30 a.m. an unidentified helicopter arrived over San Pablo Park Neighborhood and hovered in the area for an hour. I have to assume that by that time the cars had been towed off, the investigation was over and all that was left was flashing red lights. Is there any one we can call or hold accountable for destroying the peace of a flatland morning? 


Lucina Pearson  



Beth El’s a respected part of the community 



In an article March 8, you quoted Zoning Board member David Blake claiming Congregation Beth El received a permit from ZAB because it is “powerful.” Beth El has participated in a lengthy and difficult Berkeley permit process.  

To the degree the fifty-year-old Congregation has any power in Berkeley, it comes about because of respect gained through the Congregation’s many and ongoing contributions to the community.  

Congregation Beth El educates children and adults and teaches them their responsibilities in the world. The Congregation provides a summer day camp (Camp Kee Tov) that serves the children of the wider community.  

Beth El creates a community for its members and unites with other religious institutions in Berkeley to do good works. Our members work in the Berkeley schools, helped create BOSS, feed the homeless, and receive awards for the amount of food contributed to the Alameda County Food Bank. 

Members and supporters of Congregation Beth El are deeply grateful that the Zoning Adjustments Board voted to grant the congregation a use permit, so it will be able to go on providing these essential human services in the future. David Blake’s first question to Beth El at Zoning Adjustments Board hearings was “why didn’t we look for a new site in Albany or El Cerrito.” Our congregational family has been in North Berkeley for 50 years, and we want to stay here where the majority of our members live. 


Michael Fajans 



BART director: need housing at transit hubs not more parking 



Re; Heather Petersen’s Letter of 3-07: 

Petersen uses excellent quotes but what she suggested is at cross-purposes to her quotes. She calls for a shuttle service on one hand, which I believe needs to be provided, but on the other hand she says build structured parking.  

Paraphrasing John Levy, she says greater auto use discourages transit use.  

In fact, building more parking will only promote more auto use and less transit use and for an effective remedy we need to get people out of cars and into transit. However, most of all, we need to work towards building transit-oriented developments to make transit more viable.  

These developments should not be just at BART stations but along high mixed use dense corridors as in Curitiba, Brazil where most of the trips are along the corridor and not to centers or nodes. 

Since BART parking fills every day, riders are parking throughout the neighborhood causing parking problems. Parking is the worst use of land for such a high activity and high property value area. Most BART parkers are long-term parkers and their cars will not generate added activity or use. 

Land cost around BART, even in the suburbs, now ranges up to over $80 per square foot; so one surface parking space could cost $18,000 to $25,000. Structured parking over existing BART spaces will cost about the same. 

At $20,000 per space the public would subsidize a free parker over $6 per day when including maintenance and operating costs. Instead of more parking, we can provide far superior service for more than twice the riders and be more environmentally sound by providing free bus shuttles indefinitely at these costs.  

BART has established a Strategic Plan that incorporated a policy that promotes Transit Oriented Developments where people can live, work and walk around such as there is in Paris, or Barcelona, in lieu of parking.  

A limitation however is that BART owns only a limited area and for a decent TOD of one half to three quarter mile area, it will take a partnership with the city and developers to have this happen. 


Roy Nakadegawa  

BART Director, District 3 

District 3 includes parts of Berkeley