Election Section

Letters to the Editor

Friday June 25, 2004


Editors, Daily Planet: 

Keith Winnard’s June 11 letter proposing that Berkeley renters submit to means testing—to determine whether or not an individual renter can qualify for the city’s rent stabilization program—profoundly misunderstands the purpose and nature of California’s scores of community rent stabilization ordinances, which regulate nearly a million tenant households statewide. 

Mr. Winnard suggests that a parallel can be drawn between federal and state entitlement program means testing and local rent stabilization ordinances. 

This parallel is false: unlike federal welfare support, student financial support, or the state’s MediCal program, which, as Mr. Winnard correctly notes, require means testing documentation, Berkeley rental property owners operate as private businesses. 

For owners operating three or more units, a City of Berkeley business license (and adherence to corresponding health and safety regulations) is required. Rental units are also subject to the city’s voter-approved Rent Stabilization Ordinance regulations. 

As private operators controlling a fixed supply of housing units—and a corresponding high renter demand for housing—the city’s rent stabilization program regulates unit rent levels as a universal program. 

This same notion of universal participation also applies to other regulated private (or semi-private) markets/monopolies: i.e. electricity, natural gas, water, telephone service, etc. Given how critical housing and other regulated services are for California’s population, universal—not arbitrary income-based participation is vital. 

Chris Kavanagh  




Editors, Daily Planet: 

I am deeply troubled that the City of Berkeley wants to blame Cal for its money problems. Cal is the reason why many people come to Berkeley. I work at a small shop a block away from the campus and I can tell you if it weren’t for the Cal students and staff we (and other shops) would go out of business. I’ve seen this town go down the gutter through the years and many people are struggling to get by. Sadly it seems that the homeless are taking over and cops are slow to respond when needed and nothing is getting done to fix it. 

If we want to blame the Cal campus for Berkeley it’s the students that will suffer, with more fees on top of an already expensive education, resulting in them going deeper into debt. These are our children and it’s time to stop asking them to carry our state’s problems on their already overloaded backs. 

Melissa Brown 





Editors, Daily Planet: 

Kenneth Theisen decries the fact that illegal immigrants are being “forced” into inhospitable terrain by the Border Patrol (“U.S.-Mexico Border Patrol Abuses Greater Than Abu Ghraib,” Daily Planet, June 11-14). 

Fundamental questions: 

1. What is your idea of the optimum population of the U.S.? 

2. Do you favor unlimited immigration? (Easy question. No evasions, just yes or no.) 

3. If yes, go back to question No. 1. If no, what annual immigration limit should be adopted, and what means would be appropriate to enforce it? 

Peter B. Jansen 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

PacifiCorp, a subsidiary of Scottish Power, one of Scotland’s leading multinationals, is destroying the traditional fishing grounds of California Indians—the Karuk, Yurok, Hoopa and Klamath—by killing off the salmon by building dams on the Klamath River. At one time, the Klamath River—winding through Northern California and southern Oregon—was once the third largest salmon river in this country.  

California Indians had lived along the river for millennia, relying on the salmon for sustenance. However, when PacifiCorp came in, it built these dams which prevented the salmon from reaching their natural grounds river. As a result, two species of salmon are extinct. Scottish Power needs to be held accountable for the action taken by its subsidiary.  

Billy Trice, Jr.