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Letters to the Editor

Tuesday August 12, 2003


Editors, Daily Planet:  

The fact that Attorney General John Ashcroft is now targeting lenient judges is very, very scary. Federal judges no longer can have discretion over handing down sentences in criminal cases.  

Nowhere in our constitution is the principle that everyone has to be in lock-step with one person.  

Where in the federal government is the principle of diversity and the market place for different ideas? 

Anne Smith 




Editors, Daily Planet:  

Many senior citizens are going without vital health care, groceries and recreation because they lack mobility alternatives. Seniors are the fastest-growing segment of the United States population, and those over age 85 make up the fastest growing segment within that population. With no family or nearby friends to assume the role best played by community transportation, the otherwise self-sufficient can end up warehoused in nursing homes.  

A wise investment, community transportation is a highly effective aspect of preventive health care that helps citizens, community and government to avoid more expensive emergency medical services.  

If the current administration’s vows that no Americans should be left behind are to be taken seriously, nonemergency transportation must be made a viable component of Medicare.  

Aging in place also means communities such as Berkeley will sustain their taxi scrip programs for needy seniors. 

At present Berkeley Paratransit Services seems to categorize seniors as either able to bus/BART or as disabled and thus eligible for East Bay Paratransit, a service that provides compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act. Traditional public transportation is often not a real option for seniors who are not “legally disabled.” Forty-foot fixed-route buses can be inaccessible due to several factors.  

It appears that concern for the taxi scrip situation (as it’s been euphemistically referred to) is on hold. Council went on its July 23-Sept. 8 vacation without even acknowledging the problem. On July 29 I was informed that eligibility criteria are being reevaluated by the Commissions on Aging and Disability (neither is scheduled to meet in August).  

It appears that the City intends to phase out seniors’ taxi scrip by selling tickets for use on East Bay Paratransit, a disabled persons’ service. 

Helen Rippier Wheeler 




Editors, Daily Planet:  

I visited the site of West Campus where the BAS is housed at present. I was amazed how nicely it nestled into the neighborhood and what a great set up it is. It is a campus feeling with inside courtyards and picnic tables. It is attractive and very pleasant looking. There is a swimming pool. I spoke to one of the neighbors and she so much doesn’t want it to leave. 

Moving it to Franklin is creating so many problems and is downgrading the BAS as well as interfering with two neighborhoods who like the way they already are. The Franklin site is ugly and monolithic compared to the West Campus site. It would not be as nice for the students, there would be no swimming facility and the whole neighborhood is up in arms against it.  

There must be a way to remodel the buildings at West Campus and still have the BAS at its present location. It makes no sense to make such a major change that all of the involved players are opposed to for good reasons.  

This move seems only to satisfy the administration and in the end will cause more problems for all. 

Joyce Barison 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

As a parent with a child at the Cedar Street Day Care Center, I’m concerned about the potential health hazard that an antenna on 1600 Shattuck Ave. would pose to schools and day care centers in the community.  

It is unfortunate to hear that city officials are not responsive to demands from the community for information to which they are legally entitled.  

I hope that city officials are forthcoming with the information and I plan to attend the City Council meeting and inform other parents at Cedar Street Child Care about the hearing.  

Michael Marchant  




The following letter was addressed to Council Member Dona Spring. 

I am writing this email regarding an information session held by Sprint to discuss the antennae at 1600 Shattuck Ave. The session was held Aug. 7 at the Senior Center on Hearst Avenue. Please note that such a session should have been held in November 2002, not now. 

The meeting was not really an information session. Sprint had five or six separate tables at which there were one or two representatives. So, people were supposed to go from table to table to ask questions. By doing this, people could not hear the questions raised. Therefore, there could not be a dialogue between people and Sprint representatives. 

Neighbors started to arrange chairs in order to form an audience. But Sprint did not agree with this idea.  

Neighbors left the meeting quickly. One thing I remember was that Mr. Martin of Sprint said that we should have open minds and accept the antennae. Also, we learned that Sprint has put a table by the BART Station in downtown Berkeley and has collected signatures from people who have nothing to do with North Berkeley or 1600 Shattuck Ave. 

People had a discussion among themselves outside of the Senior Center. 

This was a short account of the (mis)information session by Sprint. 

Shahram Shahruz 



Editors, Daily Planet:  

What is the take on unmarked and/or unspoiled ballots? 

In 1998, Hawaii voters approved a new constitutional convention, but an interpretation of the state attorney general (backed by the state supreme court) that the blank votes counted as “no” votes, killed the convention.  

Gray Davis, plus unmarked and/or spoiled ballots will most likely win. By this I mean many voters will vote for more than one of the 100 plus candidates, or will neglect to vote on both of the two sections of the ballot. Hence, their votes will be nullified.  

The United States Supreme Court threw the last presidential election to one of the candidates on a technicality.  

Richard Thompson 




Editors, Daily Planet:  

People should understand that the “race information ban” which will be on the Oct. 7 ballot is as anti-Indian as it is anti-minority.  

Information on the health and education of American Indians will be denied if this initiative is passed.  

If people are concerned about the well-being of American Indians they should vote against the “race information ban.” 

Billy Trice, Jr.