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Letters to the Editor

Friday April 11, 2003



Editors, Daily Planet: 

I am glad that the Daily Planet is once again reporting the local Berkeley news. At times I agreed with you, at times I disagreed, but I always appreciated your diversity of opinions. Freedom of the press offers continuing opportunity for all citizens. 

One of our Eagle scouts of Troop 19 and Berkeley High School graduate, LCPL Maurice Delmer USMC, has been serving in Iraq for quite some time. I miss seeing his smiling face and pray he comes home safely to his family soon. 

To keep him up to date with the Berkeley scene, I mailed him the first two issues of the Planet for his reading enjoyment. I'm sure he’ll be sharing the Planet with his fellow marines in Baghdad. 


Vince Lipinski 






Editors, Daily Planet: 

I welcome back the local coverage of the Daily Planet. You are a major potential source for encouraging democracy to flourish. We need good local information and not Associated Press press releases. I hope you will have diverse writers from the Black, Asian and Latino communities of Berkeley. 

Please avoid out-of-context cartoons like the one this past week about Mayor Tom Bates and the Daily Cal.  

Leave partial, slanted truth-telling to the major media. The absurdity of the Daily Cal supporting the conservative UC Berkeley employee Shirley Dean for mayor could have been sketched on a headline tossed in the garbage can. That was Bates’ statement and is more accurate reporting. 

Rev. Sandra Decker 






Editors, Daily Planet: 

I attended the youth summit (Daily Planet, April 4-7) and participated in the school safety group. I was pleased with the outcome and commitment. Truancy, victim services and the climate of permissiveness were identified as priorities. Some of the tasks toward achieving these objectives are under way. 

Effectively responding to school violence requires systems for incident reporting and victim services. When students report incidents, they exercise their right to a safe learning environment and everyone benefits. The schools’ administrations need to respond appropriately as well as enforce their own policies and rules. 

Reducing truancy will restore revenue, improve academic success and reduce crime. During the summit some data was presented. We did not see Berkeley High School truancy data; however, police data showed youth crime between noon and 3 p.m. to be not much less than in the 3 to 6 p.m. period. 

Three years ago a group of parents and high school students requested that the city and school district form a task force on youth health and safety issues. Sound familiar? The issues identified were primarily compliance with state law. Then Mayor Shirley Dean placed our presentations on the 2x2 committee agenda. Safety became a focus of subsequent meetings and some progress should be recognized. 

In the Planet article, Michael Miller, of Parents of Children of African Descent (PCAD), states “nothing will change.” I find this pessimism ironic, when I recall the message from PCAD at its inception. It was a message of hope and belief in our kids. Berkeley spends $15 million on youth services; with assessment and re-allocations, surely we can do better. 

Shirley Issel is quoted as saying there is less tension with the change of mayors. Watching years of these discussions I know the issues are not so easily explained. To understand the contentious nature of Berkeley politics, I recommend reading Joseph P. Lyford’s social history, “The Berkeley Archipelago.” The book describes the unwillingness of the then school board to respond to school violence. Is the current school board any different? 

Laura Menard 






Editors, Daily Planet: 

As a former East Bay resident, I’m glad to see the Berkeley Daily Planet up and running again, and better than ever. Your web site is going to be a home away from home while I live in Bloomington, Ind. 

Carol Polsgrove 


The Berkeley Daily Planet encourages Letters to the Editor. Please send them to, or by mail to 3023A Shattuck Ave., Berkeley, CA 94705. Please include address and phone number for contact purposes. The Planet reserves the right to edit letters for space.