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Letters to the Editor

Tuesday April 15, 2003


Editors, Daily Planet: 

I can’t stop thinking about Tom Miller’s “Taxes for Books, Not Bombs” ad in the Berkeley Daily Planet (covered by the San Francisco Chronicle on April 11), which suggests we’d be better off giving our federal taxes directly to local schools. 

By the way, California spends about $7,000 per year per public school student, and approximately $25,000 per prisoner in our huge and ever-increasing corrections system. 

May I suggest that all of us who agree with Mr. Miller donate at least a portion of any refunded federal and state taxes, perhaps to a school or local literacy program? 

Melanie Lawrence 





Editors, Daily Planet: 

I want to commend Rabbi Steven Chester (Daily Planet, April 8-10 edition) for his commentary piece “Keep God Card Out Of This War.” The rabbi’s words are a thoughtful and timely reminder for all of us to remember that God should not be made to take part in any conflict, especially where thousands of civilians are being injured, maimed or killed. 

As a Palestinian American, I especially know the consequences of the pseudo-Godspeak from the many Jews and Palestinians who behave like God-appointed ventriloquists and henchmen. It is time to rely on our rich humanity and seek justice and peace instead of war and continuous conflict. 

A. Saba 





Editors, Daily Planet: 

I already like the new Daily Planet because it is encouraging a high-minded Berkeley-type dialogue in our community. 

I wish to support Carol Denney’s strong sentiment in the Letters to the Editor of the April 4-7 edition, when she says the Green Party owes progressive Democrats (and all other sentient beings on this planet) an apology. 

Ralph Nader’s unilateralist, pre-emptive candidacy of 2000 certainly cost this country dearly. There is plenty of blame to go around, from gutless Democrats to those who didn’t even bother to vote. 

I worked as a volunteer with other ordinary people at the Democratic Headquarters in Oakland during the 2000 election, and I found the group to be a beautiful coalition of people of every age, race and economic level, all working together to get out the vote. 

Greens might be interested to know that 86.2 percent of the people of Macon County, Ala., voted for Al Gore. Can all these people in the birthplace of the Civil Rights Movement be wrong? If you think Al Gore is a “eunuch,” you should reread his prophetic speech of Sept. 23, 2002, given at the Common Wealth Club in San Francisco. He forcefully argued against war with Iraq, well before any of the current Democratic candidates. 

Greens often say things like he ran a poor race; that Gore lost his home state of Tennessee. Can they acknowledge that despite the massive amounts of money the Republicans poured into Tennessee and Florida he still won by over 500,000 votes? That the Congressional Black Caucus, the conscience of our government, supported him 100 percent? 

We desperately need a Democratic candidate with a commanding understanding of where our foreign policy is going with these Bush moves to shut out all world cooperative organizations like the United Nations and NATO, which Al Gore counseled against. 

As an old Democrat, I often feel like a shame-bound abuse victim when I try to defend Al Gore to a purist Green. What’s up with that? 

I hope we Democrats and Greens can reconcile big time for the 2004 presidential race, because we can’t afford another four years of Bush’s policies. And I hope Gore reconsiders running in 2004. 

Maureen Farrell 





Editors, Daily Planet: 

I’m an artist living at the Durkee building in Berkeley. 

It’s a live-work building for low-income artists. Sculptors, painters, woodworkers, photographers, children’s book illustrators and performance artists all live here. 

It was created 15 years ago when a developer bought the building (a vintage brick structure that originally housed a margarine factory) and tried to kick out the artists and tear down the building. 

The outcome of the lawsuit that followed was that in return for preserving the space for low-income artists in perpetuity, the developer (who owns many of the properties in West Berkeley, including Bayer and Xoma) would get special tax credits for 30 years. This was part of the West Berkeley Mu-Li plan (Mixed Use, Light Industrial) to try to preserve light industry and protect artists in the neighborhood from being forced out. 

At the beginning of March we received notice that Wareham was opting out, and we had one year’s notice. 

All we are asking is that they adhere to the terms of the original use permit. 

Claire B. Cotts