Page One


Thursday August 02, 2001

More time to comment 



It’s official. UC Berkeley has graciously extended the 45-day comment period on its biggest-ever construction initiative – the Northeast Quadrant Science and Safety (NEQSS) Projects – for 14 more days.  

This is 23 percent of the 60-day extension that Berkeley City Council requested in its July 24 resolution and that was reiterated in the city manager’s fax to Chancellor Berdahl of last Thursday. 

The city had also asked for an additional public hearing on the NEQSS Draft EIR and another one prior to the submission of the NEQSS Final EIR to the UC Regents for certification (now scheduled in November). 

Written responses to the NEQSS Draft EIR are now due by 5 p.m., Wednesday, August 15.  

For additional official information, or the two-volume Draft EIR itself, please contact UCB Principal Planner Jennifer Lawrence at 642-7720 or .  

For unofficial information, feel free to contact me via email at or at 841-7271.  

You can fax your NEQSS DEIR comments to 642-9442 or mail (or hand carry them) to Capital Projects, University of California, 300 A & E Building, Berkeley CA 94720 or UC Physical and Environmental Planning Office, Room 300, 1936 University Ave., 94704. 


Jim Sharp 


Pharmacies want profit, not health 



Thanks for that great article by Ben Lumpkin about pharmacies in Berkeley. 

I just want to add that Walgreens doesn’t just “sell” tobacco products. The hypocrisy of their ads on television about their wonderful, healthy pharmacy atmosphere is shown in the gross way they promote cigarettes in all four stores in Berkeley. They don’t just sell, they push and they push hard.  

They have allowed Philip Morris to BOLDLY advertise Marlboro in huge displays.  

If they would cut back the promotion, hide the cigarettes from view and accompany any sale of cigarettes with a brochure about quitting, then their wonderful tv image might make some sense. Right now PROFIT is their only goal. 

The Corporate Walgreens people respond to my comments and photos of their Marlboro displays in Berkeley stores by saying they are sending it to the “higher ups.” 

In other words, they have no logical excuse for what they are doing so rather than sticking their foot in their mouths, they will stop saying anything and continue to promote tobacco in their stores. 

If we get any earthquaking changes in their disgusting habits, we’ll let you know. 


Tim Moder 

member, Berkeley Tobacco Coalition 


Problem is that free market’s not really free 



Invoking my name in her Aug. 1 letter, Marion Syrek gives examples of legal “scams” that she says show that “free enterprise” is a racket. It was very perceptive to put “free enterprise” in quotes, because we need to carefully distinguish today’s distorted markets from a truly free market. A pure free market and true free enterprise are voluntary for the whole society. What we have today instead are larcenous markets skewed by government force. The scams are not due to markets as such, but to the privileges and subsidies granted by government, with the costs imposed by government on the public. A slave market, for example, steals the labor of the slave, but the basic fault lies with the government in legalizing and enforcing this theft.  

It is confusing to blame markets for today’s scams. Once you realize the fundamental problem is government-granted privileges and force, the effective remedy becomes clear. 


Fred Foldvary 



Cigarette sales subvert drug store mission 



Ben Lumpkin’s excellent story about cigarette sales in pharmacies (July 26) highlights a strange hypocrisy on the part of retail chain stores. 

The same places that offer many cures also sell the only legal product that, when taken as intended, can kill you. 

Is the desire for profit so great that these health professionals can’t make a decision to stop selling a killer drug? Maybe they ought to look into a way of legalizing the sale of heroin – there’s lots of profit there too. 

“Police don’t sell guns,” Lumpkin quoted one customer as saying...a good comparison for Walgreens and Longs to consider. 

I would think that the mission of a pharmacy is subverted by selling “cancer sticks;” maybe the City Council should consider prohibiting the sale of tobacco products in health care facilities such as hospitals, medical offices and pharmacies. 


Paul Fletcher, 



Old UC Theater, not Oxford lot, place for arts 



Re: Mickey Tenenbaum’s quest since 1975 for a Berkeley performance complex of at least 500 seats for his favorite arts groups (Daily Planet, 7/31/2001): I’ve found it!  

It’s the former UC Theatre, on University Ave. near Shattuck. It’s now empty, it’s enduringly elegant, and everyone loves it. It has 1,300 seats. If that’s too many, founder Gary Meyer has suggested dividing it into three performance halls of different sizes. 

Restoring the UC (including necessary seismic work) would cost less than ballooning the size and cost of the proposed new Oxford Lot development. And bringing the UC back to life wouldn’t crowd the Cal campus’ edge, or block anyone’s view. 

For the public, the UC offers many other advantages over the Oxford site: It’s closer to BART and major bus lines. It’s directly adjacent to great restaurants and cafes (which have long depended on the UC as the block’s “anchor” tenant). It’s right beside the city’s designated “Arts District” on Addison. And it’s far from residences whose tenants might be disturbed by patrons leaving nighttime performances. This last point is a real issue for the proposed 90-apartment complex on Oxford Street as your article paraphrased theatrical impresario George Coates, “The more choices, the bigger the crowds.” 

Founder Gary Meyer is reportedly interested in personally helping to reopen the UC as a performing-arts center. Come on, property owners! Come on, Mayor Dean and City Council! Come on, fellow arts patrons! Let’s help make this happen! 

One last point: When your article described the travails of theater groups forced to perform in “the basement of La Val’s Pizza parlor on Durant Avenue,” I think you actually meant La Val’s Subterranean on Euclid Ave., north of the campus. This is a wonderful place to catch performances. Sure, it’s cramped and funky – like the Haight-Ashbury coffeehouses and Greenwich Village basement folk-music clubs where the 1960s were born. But this is what cutting-edge culture should feel like in a university town. Let’s not dis the fine Subterranean – let’s go there to enjoy emerging local talent before they graduate to a larger space like the UC.  

Michael Katz