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Letters to the Editor

Saturday August 04, 2001

New power plants - get ready for assault on environment 


The Daily Planet received this letter addressed to the mayor and council: 

The brisk, cool breezes smelled fresh the last few days. Usually, our breezes arrive more from the west, according to maps at the city library... Except in winter months. 

After the new power plant in Hayward goes into operation, will the south breezes seem fresh and clean to our delicate senses? 

The State Energy Commission holds hearings soon; do we all feel softened up for this new potential assault on the environment? Will our beautiful East Bay become the latest heavy industrial center? Guess how big the plant may be? Want to pick its color? Shall we plant a couple trees? Will it hummmm, day and night? 

Maybe the local media already explored and exhausted the relevant impacts. Doesn’t that word, “impact,” have a kind of stimulating thump to it, like exploding refineries, deep-throated, belching smokestacks, and the like. 



Terry Cochrell 




Union support of Arctic drilling is shocking 


The Daily Planet received this letter addressed to John Sweeney, president of the AFL-CIO: 

I come from a working class labor union family. Several weeks ago I was spending time in discussion convincing a student about the importance of unions. 

Now today I hear on the news that the AFL-CIO has backed the drilling for oil in the Arctic. I was stunned. My parents who are passed-on would be stunned. 

Growing up as a child of union workers who grew up during the depression had taught us not to waste resources and to take care of things and to have a respect and reverence for nature. I have acted upon that within my adult life.  

These values – when I act upon them in advocating for using less and protecting what gives us life--has pegged me as as an “other” as in one of “those environmentalists.” This caring for the earth and the ecosystems that support life has been denounced by many of who wish to continue to exploit or consume more than necessary. 

Long Term Sustainable Jobs that have been created with new technologies replacing the one time extraction concept that does not provide permanent jobs. We have the amazing technological know how to create options that profit the well being of the earth. 

Is that student’s analysis correct? – does labor have “a myopic self interest that does not care about the impact we are having on the planet and continue to suck up to the Oil industry bosses that always throws them crumbs?  

If industry came from a place of justice to begin with we would not need unions!” How can one argue that truth? 

I personally have cut my fuel consumption 75 percent and am walking more to save fuel in contrast to the urban consumers who own SUV’s, many that I see parked outside the high tech gyms and quite a few parked outside REI with what a paradox!)mountain bikes strapped to them!  

We can save the wild Arctic Refuge, one of the last keystone ecosystems & migratory paths for many species by just simply cutting back unnecessary trips and trading in gas guzzling SUV’s for similar but fuel efficient vehicles.  

The Bush energy plan IGNORED energy efficiency, fuel economy, global warming and alternative to fossil fuels.  

It is not about wild places or our justification using wild places as a commodity for our consumption,it is about how we have taken the concept of “stewardship” for self to satisfy wants vs. needs. 

We are so busy with our human pursuits that we cannot see that many species and ecosystems that are life support systems to the planet now need a helping hand. 

“We are the fire which burns the country” - Bantu Proverb 


Redwood Mary 




7-story building to support arts, housing and Brower center 



I was pleased to see your story (7/31/01) concerning the arts center proposed to be part of the David Brower building at the Oxford Street Parking Lot. I’d like to clarify a few of the points in Ben Lumpkin’s excellent article.  

What Kind of Arts Center? – We are proposing a center that would encompass all of the arts. The Berkeley Performing Arts Center would present a wide variety of the traditional performing arts -- theater, dance, and music -- while our partner, the Berkeley Art Center, would manage a fine arts facility with an art gallery and classroom space for art education.  

We’re very excited by the prospect of having visual arts, performing arts, book-readings, poetry, film, and the other arts, all bumping into each other and interacting in the same building.  

How Big is the Arts Center? -- We’ve been talking about a 30,000 sq ft facility. This would include a 420-set theater, a 99-seat theater, a smaller “black-box” multi-purpose theater, a cabaret/restaurant, and 3,000 sq ft for the Berkeley Art Center. That figure needs some clarifying; the actual floor space, including room for bathrooms and administrative areas, would be around 15,000 sq ft. The rest of the square footage – known a “gross floor area” – would be from the 20-30-foot ceiling height required by the theater spaces.  

How Big Should the Brower Building Be? – This may turn out to be the critical question. The 5-story building proposed by the Planning Commission clearly would not be large enough to contain the Brower Center, two floors of affordable housing, retail space, and a substantial arts center. We would like to see the building get bigger – at least seven stories, maybe more. Housing advocates and urban environmentalists agree with us that the site is appropriate for a well-designed taller building.  

The City Council has asked the City staff to study the feasibility of a larger arts space and a larger building, and we hope that this study will lead to something more substantial than the Planning Commission’s version. 

We hope you’ll continue covering this story as it develops. We’re confident that we’ll end up with a first-class arts center that Berkeley can be proud of.  


Mickey Tenenbaum 

Chairman, Berkeley Performing Arts 



Cigarettes and Walgreens - a perfect match 



Where on earth did the Berkeley Tobacco Coalition get the idea that Walgreens selling cigarettes is somehow contradictory?  

There's not a single item on any of their shelves that has anything remotely to do with health. A wide variety of junk food, dangerous drugs, chemical applications and toxic household products keeps the money flowing, but has compromised our health, weakened our children's immunity and drained our vitality.  

How many of us are willing to change our degenerative American diet and lifestyle; to take personal responsibility for their health (and children's health)? 


Michael Bauce 




















It's touchy at best, but we have to look at ourselves and see how our 

well-intentioned policies have created damages to our 

communities. We've tried to see crime by people who, in our society, have long been 

abused because of their color in a different 

light, taking into account their oppression. Berkeley has gone so overboard in this 

direction as to come up with the kind of 

problem we're seeing when looking at the Lakireddy situation. Their crime is being 

reviewed as though their excuses have some 



Their excuses are subtended by Berkeley's traditional concern with their community's 

calling us racist. They are also using the 

customs/culture argument although in roundabout language. ' is our 

custom/culture...' to rape/abuse girls/women/poor 

people/people who are back in the villages providing us our support so we can keep 

abusing them all. 


These murdering rapists need to be set away from our troubled society for the rest 

of their lives. We need to be protected against 

this kind of monstrosity. It's bad enough we grow it locally, on our own, without 

it having to appear that since it's done 

elsewhere, there's any rationale for it, or that its perpetrators can be reformed. 

The people who have done these terrible acts 

have been here long enough to perceive that their actions, while occurring around 

here,too, are no way acceptable, and were not 

only criminal but brutal, sexist and age-ist as well. 


If we'd clean up in one place, we might begin to render justice further in our 

community. These arguments for these intolerable 

actors are vomitous - I get literally ill seeing us protect that behavior in any 

way, any where. 


Yours truly, 


Norma J F Harrison 

1312 Cornell 

Berkeley 94702 Ca., USA