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Letters to the Editor

Friday October 17, 2003


Editors, Daily Planet: 

I have it on good authority that the Franklin site is being vandalized on a regular basis. This has been happening more since all of the hoopla in the paper. We all know that the school district is not rich with throw away money but that is what they are doing because of all the broken windows in the school. Every time they find a broken window they must send out a couple of workers to board up the window. This usually happens at night when the night crew, funded by Measure BB, is working. They have to stop doing the needed upkeep and repairs to the school site that they are at and go board up the window(s). 

I would like the neighbors around the school to keep a sharper eye out for the vandals that are wasting your tax dollars. If the vandalism is stopped the night crew can continue doing the repairs and maintenance that you want them to do. After all they are working on your dime. 

Name withheld  




Editors, Daily Planet: 

Regarding Berkeley’s plan to outlaw the theft of newspapers in the city, this is rather oxymoronic. It is already illegal to steal newspapers nationwide, and it is illegal (and immoral) to dump said newspapers to hide information from the public. It is astonishing that Bates’ atonement for a crime that has been repeated so often on the Berkeley campus will turn out to be so flaccid and devoid of originality. Perhaps instead he would allow that the various city papers have the opportunity to air their election choices on the steps outside city hall. Except that he might turn off the microphone on that plan. 

John Parman 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

It will be a big mistake and waste of money to build the Bay Trail through the southern part of the Berkeley Marina. This is a park with picnic areas, playgrounds and Bay and wildlife viewing sites along a shoreline connected by an 8-foot-wide path. 

Replacing this path with a 16-foot-wide (12-feet pavement, 4-feet shoulder) roadway, plus pavement for the “interpretation point/overlook/bench/seawall” will require reducing the size of the small much-used lawn areas, and removing the windbrakes of trees and shrubs which shelter them. The widening of the pathway creates a hazardous roadway with fast-moving cyclists riding two to three abreast through a place where people have gathered to stroll, play and relax. This design is a detriment to public safety and the enjoyment of the park. 

Cyclists can access the park from the Bay Trail by walking their bikes on the path, or riding into is on the roads at the Sailing Basin, Shorebird Park and Seawall Drive from the Bicycle Lane on University Avenue. People enjoying the park should not have to dodge bicycles. 

The Bay Trail website lists the benefits of the Bay Trail to be: “accessible recreation opportunities, wildlife observation, broader environmental education” and “a comfortably scaled place that brings people together.” The exiting park at the Berkeley already meets these benefits of the Bay Trail. It is an asset to our community. 

Redesign this proposal so that the Bay Trail is connected to the Berkeley Marina—but does not go inside the park.  

Sheila Andres 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

Chips ahoy, matey. It was truly depressing to read (“City Adopts Controversial RFID Chips,” Daily Planet, Oct. 10) that the public library system in the supposedly “progressive” City of Berkeley has approved the installation of Radio Frequency Identification chips (RFIDs) into all library materials. This new system of tiny electronic chips, which are about the size of a single grain of wheat, is currently being considered for imbedding in consumer clothing and other goods.  

Some experts have falsely claimed that these RFIDs can be “deactivated” as you leave the store or the library. These are passive devices that are energized by signals broadcast by any properly configured remotely-based external scanner. The only way that they can be “deactivated” is by being physically crushed, say with a hammer or a pair of pliers. This new RFID universal surveillance system is an important building block in the construction of the coming worldwide corporate police state, from Cheney-Bush-Haliburton Inc. to Walmart Inc. to your local public library. Chips ahoy, matey.  

James K. Sayre 





Editors, Daily Planet: 

If Berkeley ever needs a monument to bureaucratic blundering, we don’t have to look further than the city’s radio tower. It took extraordinary blindness to stick that thing in our historic civic center. It took Neanderthal obtuseness to plunk it across the street from a residential neighborhood. It took breathtaking carelessness to build it without plans or drawings. It took amazing arrogance to build the second tallest structure in Berkeley without any public review. 

A consultant has told City Council that we don’t have to live with the bureaucrats’ blunder. We can do it differently. We can get the radio services we need without violating virtually every standard of planning, process and elementary aesthetics that citizens have a right to expect from responsible government. Let’s demonstrate the courage and decency for which Berkeley deserves to be known and get rid of this shameful monument. 

Arthur and Carol Dembling