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Tuesday May 22, 2001

Who’s country? 


I wonder if the correspondent who called attention to the "pre-existing" land rights of Israelis (granted, no doubt, by the benevolent but biased God of Real Estate) is at this very moment packing so that the Native Americans, who without a doubt have pre-existing rights to the Americas, can move in. She will no doubt apologize for trespassing and send postcards from the land of her ancestors. 

Ruth Bird 



Higher means more abodes 


I’m glad that Patrick Kennedy is willing to put up with the obstacle course of Berkeley zoning and give us some of our best new buildings. Even if he’s not doing a lot for affordable housing directly, at least his new projects will house some more of the well-off, and take price pressure off the older housing. 

Regarding the controversy about how many stories we can have in a building, I say Berkeley is not a small town; it’s a city; cities are where we build tall buildings. If people must have an unobstructed view out over the land, then let them buy one of those houses up in the hills. 


Steve Geller 


It’s a question of quality  


One word in John Geluardi’s May 19-20 article on Berkeley’s Sewer Fund made a big difference – quality. I do not question the quality of the sewer system improvement work. Rather, I am concerned that the quantity be adequate to meet an agreement the city has with the Water Quality Control Board. The review program proposed by the Public Works Commission is to evaluate progress to date and develop a plan for the next 15 years that will ensure that we meet the terms of that agreement.  

From what I’ve seen, Public Works Department Staff has done a commendable job in moving a vital program which, unfortunately, is not the top listing of most Berkeley Citizens’ hot-button topics.  

John P. Piercy  

Chair, Public Works Commission  



Beth El is good for the whole community 


The daily planet received the following letter addressed to the mayor and council: 

This is a letter of unqualified support for Congregation Beth El’s proposed plan for the Oxford Street site in Berkeley. I am not a member of Congregation Beth El, but my family and I have many close friends who are members of Congregation Beth El. We have lived in North Berkeley for twenty-two years, and over that time we have again and again experienced the positive influence and resources Beth El has provided in the North Berkeley community and schools.  

Our daughter attended the JCC early childhood center at Walnut Square with many Beth El kids, and many of our friendships started there. We have attended countless bar mitzvahs for kids at Beth El who were friends of our children. We have always felt completely included and welcome, even though we are not Jewish.  

We know many families who are members of Beth El who are diligent supporters, both in terms of time and money, of the public schools in Berkeley as well as other community activities that enrich life in Berkeley, such as organized league sports for children.  

We are personally acquainted with many of the children and now young adults who have attended the wonderful religious school program at Beth El. It is our belief that the character and values that are so obvious in virtually all of the dozens of young people we know from Beth El have been instilled by the strength and health of the Congregation that brought them up.  

By their contributions to the enrichment of the North Berkeley community and by their inclusiveness, the members of Beth El have earned and deserve the support of the City Council in their effort to move from their outgrown facility on Arch Street to the new site on Oxford.  

I believe Beth El has provided more than reasonable responses to criticisms of their plan for the new facility. Please approve Congregation Beth El’s proposed plan for the Oxford site as presented. 


Dennis J. White