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Letters to the Editor

Tuesday August 05, 2003


Editors, Daily Planet: 

The recent emphasis of the cost of the recall at $66 to 67 million by Gov. Davis is a strange strategy at best, considering that one percent of this deficit (that Davis has watched and double and redouble to its present level of $38 billion) is $380 million dollars! The cost of the recall is less than two tenths of one percent of the deficit.  

Apparently Davis hopes to scare voters into supporting him, while giving his opposition the opportunity to explain to voters the enormity of the fiscal problem confronting our state, and of course the impact this fiscal mess will have on every California community!  

The only positive fiscal action Davis could have taken was to have resigned and let the Lt. Governor take over and save the cost of the recall while keeping a Democrat in office.  

John Cecil  




Editors, Daily Planet: 

Charlene Woodcock claims in “For Doctor Dean,” (Daily Planet, Aug. 1-4) that progressives are supporting Dean because he opposes the war, has the intelligence, honesty, integrity and the energy to defeat Bush and is willing to stand up to the right wing. 

Dennis Kucinich is all of the above plus he supports key progressive ideals such as real campaign finance reform, single payer health care and the elimination of NAFTA and the WTO. 

Kucinich runs well against Republicans. He has a record of attracting swing votes and has ousted republican incumbents three times. 

Kucinich has a proven record of standing up to the right wing. In 1977 as mayor he prevented the privatization of power in Cleveland, an action that would cost him the next election. 

Howard Dean’s rise in the polls to the level of “first tier democrat” has been supported by his mainstream media exposure and their portrayal of him as a grass roots candidate. Indeed the mainstream corporate media has a vested interest in portraying Dean and not Kucinich as the peoples’ candidate. 

I urge progressives to get behind the progressive democratic candidate in the primaries. Dennis Kucinich’s positions can be found on the web at 

George Palen 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

Thanks for two good articles on election technology (Daily Planet, Aug. 1-4). As Thom Hartmann shows, results that shake voter confidence can come from old or new systems. Don Hazen is right that we should insist on a voter-verifiable audit trail in any new equipment. That ability was originally present with paper ballots, sacrificed in the switch to punch cards — with now-famous results — and regained with modern optical-scan systems. It is now offered by many, but not all, vendors of touch-screen voting equipment. 

The touch-screen systems potentially offer better accessibility to the disabled and to language minorities. As an engineer and a member of an IEEE committee developing technical standards for those machines, let me assure readers that providing a voter-verifiable audit trail need not in any way impair accessibility. A voter who is blind, for example, using headphones to receive the data normally sent to the video screen, can use the same method to hear the data sent to the printer. Voters with and without visual impairments can have the same ability to verify, independently and privately, that the ballot they cast is the vote they intend. 

An excellent site on which to follow progress toward such an audit trail requirement is 

Finally I must address Hazen’s fear that “worst case thinking” about election tampering will keep people from the polls. Those people would be drawing exactly the wrong conclusion. By any method, it is easier to steal a few votes than to steal a lot of votes. The challenge now is not only to vote, but to bring enough of your friends to the polls to ensure a tamper-proof margin of victory. 

David Aragon 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

I have thought for 30 years that Dr. Donald Sebanc was the unsung hero of Telegraph Avenue.  

I’m really glad to see that you sang Dr. Donald Sebanc’s heroism in your current issue. 

Allen Walden 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

Possibly because I’m too ignorant, but I don’t understand why the adult school needs to move at all. If the BUSD administration needs a new site, why don't they move in to Franklin themselves and leave the adult school where it is? They could even use some of the paved playground as a parking lot. This would open access to the playground, which currently is only available to fence climbers. Just as the teachers do, administrators could do rotating yard duty, perhaps an hour a week, supervising the playground. 

Barbara Judd 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

Ed Brodick had fun (Daily Planet, July 25-28) trying to get the right nuance to an acronym for editor O’Malley’s “Big Ugly Boxes.” Let me suggest an alternative for our high-rise boom that doesn't benefit by an acronym: “Buildings of Mass Destruction.” 

Victor Herbert 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

Regarding the meeting on Aug. 20, three minutes of possible speaking time concerning something as important as the Franklin School and surrounding neighborhood is an insult. Aren’t we taxed enough to speak at our own meeting? Not only is it on an arbitrary “Lotto” system, which guarantees other subject matter, three minutes is not nearly enough. As a voting member and citizen of the Berkeley community I demand more time for andy and all speakers who wish to give information concerning the Franklin School area and why it will destroy our neighborhood. There continues to be a cover up of pertinent information and a politically instigated “rush job” on all of us. 

Saul Grabia 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

What the heck is the City of Berkeley doing owning commercial property at 2446 Durant St.?  

This is not a proper activity for the City of Berkeley to be engaged in! 

Either put this property up for sale tomorrow and get it back on the tax rolls, or lower our tax rate. Those are your two choices. 

If you don’t do either, you will be liable for a class action lawsuit on behalf of all property owners in the City of Berkeley. 

Berkeley has no business using taxpayer funds to take property off the tax rolls and compete with local businesses. This is not socialist Russia. It is the United States of America. 

How many other properties do you have that are not on the tax rolls, not generating tax revenue and causing expense to the City of Berkeley?  

Sell them. Get them back on the tax rolls, generating tax revenue and put the money back in the city budget.  

Stephen Jory 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

About ten years ago. I was suddenly blasted by intruding voices and noise over the radio while listening to music. The sounds were clearly human, but were too distorted for discerning specific words. The volume was ten times normal listening volume. The shock impact of the sound definitely made my heart skip several beats each time. This interference continued about once or twice a week for several years. I was worried about damage to the electronics and speakers. I never figured out the source of this interference at the time. Many years later I learned that Berkeley Free Radio had rented a space down the block from me on Alcatraz during the corresponding time. Other people in the neighborhood also had similar problems.   

Vincent Osman 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

To all concerned: I was horrified to see that in the map included in the Traffic Impact Analysis dated July 3 the plan is to have the only entrance to the Berkeley Adult School parking lot on Virginia at the head of Kains Avenue. And the Main Entrance to BAS is at this same location. Kains Avenue is never once mentioned as a street that will be impacted by this and yet it is the only street that is a clear shot to the parking and the entrance. The Traffic Impact Analysis failed to see how this will impact Kains Avenue, and it definitely will. This will make Kains a main route to the BAS and change it drastically for the worse. This is unfair and unacceptable and everyone on Kains is against this.  

I am asking that you look seriously into this and make the appropriate changes which would eliminate the parking lot entrance on Virginia and the exit on Francisco and put them on San Pablo where they belong, leaving the main entrance where it is at present. Or reconsider the entire move of the BAS to Franklin, as it is located in the center of a small residential community. The Traffic Impact Analysis also fails to mention Stannage and Cornell and all the small streets surrounding Franklin that definitely will be impacted. 

Joyce Barison