Letters to the Editor

Friday June 18, 2004


Editors, Daily Planet: 

A letter by Phillipa Freneau in the Daily Planet’s May 18 edition stated that Affordable Housing Associates (AHA) “is being paid over $400 per unit per month” to manage the Housing Authority’s Public Housing. This is incorrect. In fact, AHA, who has been managing the Berkeley Housing Authority’s Public Housing since January 2004, receives $55 per unit per month as a management fee, plus $7.50 per unit per month as a bookkeeping fee. 

Angela Cavanaugh 

Property Supervisor, AHA 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

I am an active United Methodist. I didn’t vote for George W. Bush, I don’t support him, and I don’t support his war in Iraq. I hope to see him un-elected and out of office without a second term. Those Nashville folks you uncovered are an embarrassment (“Truth, Power, American Way,” Daily Planet editorial, June 11-14). You did at least mention that the local United Methodists are different, which is a fact. That being so, why do you ignore us locally in favor of non-news off the Internet about some misguided people on the other side of the country? 

David Coolidge 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

It’s ludicrous for UC’s Hagerty to assert that the university’s contributions offset the city’s losses. Despite having among the highest taxes and fees in the state, the city’s budget is a mess—and it is not the city’s fault. UC shortchange of Berkeley and other cities pits the residents, businesses, property owners, tenants and city against each other, with the biggest beneficiary feasting on the spoils. 

If other businesses backfilled UC properties, the city will realize property, business license, and sales tax, and user fees far in excess of the contributions and calculated shortfall. There will also be more that enough CEO’s and single proprietors that will make up the “goodwill” that UC so benevolently bestows.  

It’s time for UC to owe up to their responsibility, and get off this free ride. 

Ignacio Dayrit 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

I wish to ditto Ariel Parkinson’s wonderful letter to the Daily Planet, May 28-31. I too am an elderly widow with a dog as a housemate. The Albany Bulb is a rare urban treat that reflects the best in human ingenuity. Wild flowers tumbling over concrete rip-rap, palm trees next to oak and laurel, paths leading nowhere, art made of everything from driftwood to old bicycle parts , and dogs swimming and running free. Please, whoever you uptight commissioners are, just let it be! 

Mary Kent 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

Your editorial on Ronald Reagan (“That Good Old Hot Air,” Daily Planet, June 8-10) was too kind, too blind, too dismissive of his mass murder of thousands of peasants in El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua; his racist support for apartheid in South Africa and white supremacy in the American South; his opposition to reparations for Japanese Americans incarcerated during World War II; his homophobic dismissal of the AIDS epidemic until thousands had died; his union-busting firing of thousands of air traffic controllers; his fascist honoring of Nazis at the Bitburg cemetery; his sexist opposition to abortion rights; his gassing of the UC Berkeley campus; his emptying of California’s mental hospitals, forcing countless sick and homeless onto the streets; his nefarious promotion of the Cold War; his illegal Iran-Contra drug trafficking; and on and on. You heap vitriol on overdevelopment in Berkeley but lob pablum on the Reagan monster, progenitor of the Bush disaster. Shame, shame! 

Estelle Jelinek 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

I always enjoy Joe Eaton’s articles on various facets of our local natural world, and particularly liked the June 15 piece on the “mule” deer hill-dwelling gardeners love to hate and the rest of us tend to regard with delight or awe. 

I learn a lot from Joe. This time, it included gleaning the origin of the Abbots Bromley horn dance, which has for seventeen years or more been my VERY favorite recurring element in that wonderful winter solstice pageant, “The Christmas Revels”, held over two long weekends in mid-December at the Scottish Rite Temple on the shore of Lake Merritt. 

The dance is performed by local Morris dancers who take pride in carrying on a very old English tradition, and it always begins the second half of the show. The music that accompanies it is simply enchanting, and the sound of those antlers clicking in that massive domed hall is one that you don’t forget. 

There’s lots more that has made the Revels a crucial December ritual for our family and friends. (Each year features a different culture and time period, but certain songs, dances and dramatic features recur each time.) You can learn about this year’s theme and dates on their Web site, www.calrevels.org. 

Incidentally, you won’t find much that relates to Christmas. I once asked the artistic director, Elizabeth Mayer, why they don’t call it the Solstice Revels, and she said that one year they tried and lost audience. It seemed some people were scared off by the fear of “pagan” rituals... 

Again, thanks, Joe, for this and all your articles. 

Donna Mickleson 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

I am a 24-year-old progressive libertarian who is seriously considering a run against incumbent City Councilmember Betty Olds of District 6 this November. The major obstacle I foresee in running a successful campaign is raising enough money to get my name and message out against such a seasoned politician.  

I am interested in running a very aggressive campaign which will inform the constituents of District 6 of the councilmember’s many shortcomings with respect to the duties they have entrusted her with and which will also emphasize her reckless self-serving approach to local legislation. I will do this primarily by illuminating the facts around her involvement in the misleading legislation dealing with the new fire department designed to protect Berkeley residents from wildfire threats, her personal attack on the freedom of speech and the offensive language she used in the Berkeley Free Speech Tango Debacle, and her dealings with the legislation concerning the Waterfront Commission, among others. I need your help in the form of printed articles which will enable me to conduct an aggressive campaign and outline my message to the constituents of District 6. Being that I will never be able to raise enough money to fight it out with Councilmember Olds via radio and TV adds I, need an alliance with a powerful media outlet such as yourself to help me publicize the campaign. I assure you that there will be plenty of sparks and that if you give me the appropriate support I will give Councilmember Olds a serious run for her money.  

I look forward to your response. 

Ryan Rea  




Editors, Daily Planet: 

I would like to thank Jakob Schiller and the Berkeley Daily Planet for the excellent piece “UC Hate Debate as Complex as Mideast Conflict,” (Daily Planet, June 8-10). Especially after reading the horrendously inaccurate article in the East Bay Express, I am glad a paper decided to take a rational look at such claims. Slapping the “anti-Semite” label on anyone who steps out of line when it comes to Israel is not only incorrect and rude, but deflates the meaning of any actual anti-Jewish behavior that takes place.  

Gordon Gladstone is wrong when he says that criticism of Israel as a Jewish state is anti-Jewish. A “democratic Jewish state” is an oxymoron, when 17 percent of the population is not Jewish and do not have the same rights as their Jewish counterparts. Such a claim is similar to calling the Vatican a democratic Catholic state or apartheid South Africa a democratic white state. 

My thanks again for the excellent journalism. 

Scott Campbell 





Editors, Daily Planet: 

The exceedingly convenient timing of latest Bush administration hysteria about those darned summertime terrorist threats (do they only attack in nice weather or are they guided by holiday greeting card fanatics?) is not hard to understand. After all, public support for Bush has been dropping steadily since the mass torturing and unseemly abuse of Iraqi prisoners was revealed to the world in April. However, I could not understand how the London-based Institute for International Baloney got their asserted number of 18,000 “potential terrorists.” (What exactly is a “potential terrorist” anyway?) This morning, one of the local papers said that the FBI was going to notify some 18,000 state and local law enforcement agencies of this new supposed terror threat. So it all adds up, one “potential terrorist” per American state and local law enforcement agency. One on one, I think that we can handle that.  

And exactly how are these potential terrorists crossing our national borders after three years of the draconian internal security rules set up by Attorney General John Ashcroft? In donkey carts overland from Canada or Mexico? By plywood gliders flown 5,000 miles from their mountain redoubts in Afghanistan and Pakistan (against the prevailing Westerly winds, to boot)? And how is an alleged threat with “no time, no place and no date” qualify as being called “intelligence?” It sounds more like finely tuned propaganda to scare us into supporting our heroic warmonger to me.  

James K. Sayre 




Editors, Daily Planet:  

Congratulations to KPFA for airing the New York City portion of the Kean Commission 9/11 hearings. No other media organization would touch it, not even CSPAN. 

One issue that has me seriously concerned, if we are to believe Larry Bensky’s unflinching support of the Bush administration’s account of what happened on that day, is the strength of our steel frame buildings. 

On 9/11, two 60-ton jets slammed into the towers near their points of greatest leverage and thinnest steel, yet despite no visible movement of the buildings less than an hour later, the South Tower (WTC2—the second building to be hit) collapses, according to the Kean Commission in 10 seconds. The upper floors, which were on fire and which were lighter and, according to the Bensky/Bushco model, lost all their strength from the fires, traveled through the lower floors, which were constructed of thicker steel and had no fires in seconds. WTC2 was 1362 feet tall. Freefall in a vacuum from a height of 1362 feet is 9.2 seconds. This means that the steel structure of the twin towers offered little more resistance than the air surrounding the buildings in it’s vertical direction. 

One can only conclude from the Bensky/Bushco New Physics Order, that steel frame buildings have incredible horizontal strength and almost no vertical strength. I submit that we immediately stop all construction of steel frame buildings as they are prone to instantaneous collapse from the forces of gravity. 

David Heller