Tree removal not just government’s problem
I have to disagree with my colleague Elliot Cohen. While the destruction of eight street trees does portray government incompetance well, the people who agreed to the “compromise” requiring the removal of dozens of healthy trees downtown need to accept a share of the responsibility.
Levi’s having worldwide problems; Haas School of Business goes on
If you’ll pardon the expression, Levi’s are losing their pants all over the world...
• Laid off 18,500 workers since 1997; closed 29 plants
• Profits dropped 55 percent in the first quarter of this year
• There are over 110 different brands of jeans on the market
• Hurting Levi’s are the failures of department stores in the U.S. and Japan (S.F. Chronicle, March 21)
Okay, enough of that; what should be pointed out (but never is) is that Levi’s are owned by the Haas family, which also underwrites the “Haas School of Business” at UC Berkeley; here, students go to earn their MBAs in “Market Strategy” to avoid such pitfalls as above.
As an old Yiddish song goes, “Sam, you made the pants too long.”
Congregation Beth El project should be moved forward by City Council
Congregation Beth El’s new synagogue has been approved by the Zoning Adjustments Board. This decision was welcomed by hundreds of Berkeley residents. Yet a small group of opponents of the project continues to attack it in the Daily Planet and elsewhere.
Perhaps it’s time to ask, “How do these opponents really want the property to be used?”
As a park? Years ago, the city turned down the opportunity to buy this land to add another park across the street from Live Oak Park when other areas of the city had few or no parks.
As an apartment complex? As the site of a “monster” luxury home? Such uses would destroy the historic unity of the site and would not preserve the lot’s green border and many beautiful trees.
One wonders if any reasonable use of the land would satisfy the opponents of this project.
A few years ago, Congregation Beth El bought this land from the church that owned it and has made plans to build on it in accordance with all city zoning regulations. The environmental impact report gave the project a thumbs up. As part of its overall plan, Beth El intends to restore and protect parts of Codornices Creek, which have been neglected for decades.
In addition, Congregation Beth El’s world-renowned architects have designed a facility that respects and sustains the beauty of the site; that fits the style of the neighborhood; that meets the desperate need of the congregation for a larger facility; that incorporates suggestions from interested citizens and from members of the Zoning Board, the Design Review Commission, the City Planning Department; and that resolves parking and traffic problems.
No other plan exists that accomplishes all of these objectives.
One hopes the City Council will approve this project, so Beth El can move forward – as a good neighbor, continuing to serve the spiritual, social and welfare needs of our community.
Republican Congress blind to many people’s issues – except the wealthy
Extreme measures meant to stimulate this Republican-led economy may also cause a bigger gap between the haves and have-nots, as well as undermine public confidence.
The dominant side of Congress appears unwilling to see Americans on the right, who are beyond their wage-earning years, and Americans on the left, who are yet to achieve the level of earnings necessary to be a substantial payer of income taxes. What, no refunds? No lower tax rate? Congress seems centered on only helping the wealthy of today.
Many former and current workers, rural people, as well as consumers of yesterday also helped to build and nourish today’s great American surpluses.
Don’t panic – fix a tax system that may not be broken, nor blindly rush to extremes, causing profound mistakes. Instead, pay down the national debt and then reward individuals with one simple windfall early this year and next, if surpluses remain.
Let’s actually act now, as President George W. Bush says so often, “leaving no child behind.”
Small construction project a big burden on area
Let us have a moment of silence for the dearly departed.
Not a person, but a small tract of land on the northeast corner of Virginia Avenue and Oxford Street. The University of California has decided it needs the land to build more parking and has hired the construction firm of CW Roen to do its dirty work. UC also plans to raze a tiny university research garden along the west side.
This construction comes on the tail end of the recent private demolition of another, more overgrown garden down the street that for a while served as an outdoor antique shop. Walking through it was like visiting a natural sanctuary that someone had forgotten to destroy.
I suppose we residents of the Northside should be grateful for the years that Virginia between Oxford and Shattuck was a large expanse of field and garden, and that its owners had left it idle.
But the new construction fundamentally changes the feel of the neighborhood. I pity those living in the apartments around the perimeter of the tract, and all of us for losing another bit of nature.
On the corner of Walnut, half a dozen toddlers sitting in a big red wagon watching curiously as the heavy moving equipment churned up the earth.
(They’re just getting a lesson in property rights.)
A woman was leered at as she walked past the construction site. This was no longer a pleasant walk to lunch, just another urban gauntlet filled with the usual burly suspects.
Almost brazenly, she called out to one of them: “Do you like ruining everything you see?”
“Yeah,” One of the workers answered gruffly.