Letters to the Editor

Tuesday July 06, 2004


Editors, Daily Planet: 

I am concerned that the quotation attributed to me in the article “Death of Fine Arts Cinema Ends a Legendary Tradition” (Daily Planet, July 2-5) may be misinterpreted. The quote, which follows a lengthy article covering every aspect from the cultural contribution of the theaters original owner, to the demolition and construction, might create the impression that I am adverse to the Fine Arts building. 

I want to emphasize that I have no problem with the size, appearance or number of apartments, etc. of the Fine Arts Building. My comments relate to my disappointment when I was told that a movie theater I was looking forward to attending is no longer being planned at that location. If the cost of outfitting the unfinished space as a movie theater is too expensive perhaps the space could be developed as a small supermarket. The new residents of Fine Arts building, as well as the thousands of residents in the surrounding area assure that of a place within walking distance where we could buy groceries and fresh produce would be both profitable and appreciated. 

Elliot Cohen 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

In the article entitled “‘Scathing’ Report Blasts UC Developments Plan” (Daily Planet, June 29-July 2), it was stated that “AC Transit is considering a ‘bus rapid transit’ alternative...which would reduce the number of auto lanes on Telegraph below Dwight from four to just two.” This is not true. From Dwight Way to downtown Oakland, there are at least six, and often seven “auto” lanes on Telegraph, because one must certainly consider parking lanes as “auto” lanes. There are, however, only four or five traffic lanes. The proposal will not affect the number of traffic lanes, only the traffic mixture on them. The number of lanes available to autos would be reduced by approximately one third, rather than one half. Considering this reduction of lanes using the proper proportion may well reflect the percentage of travelers using bus transit compared to those using autos along that corridor, even without taking into account the ridership increases that improved bus service could bring. 

Bruce De Benedictis 





Editors, Daily Planet: 

The recent revelation that the Oakland City Council voted to support keeping public officials salaries private is shocking but not surprising. 

Perhaps the Daily Planet could ask the mayor to make public a list of Berkeley’s officials and their salaries. It would also be educational to know how many more vacant positions there are that whose elimination will bring about further budget savings? 

I suggest that until we get real answers to these questions that we all vote against any further tax or fee hikes. Such knowledge of where our tax  

dollars goes would seem to be the foundation of a democracy. Even in Berkeley. 

Paul Rabinow 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

An American Indian burial ground in Lafayette has been dug up, having been hidden beneath a housing development known as Hidden Oaks. When it was dug up, there were 80 sets of human remains and artifacts. Despite the burial ground, there are still planned to build two dozen upscale homes. I hope that the City of Lafayette will respect American Indian burial ground as sacred and not be desecrated for a housing development. 

Billy Trice, Jr. 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

The nightly news reported that for the July 4 weekend the color-coded terrorist threat level would not be changed. However, terrorists continue to target the U.S.A., so Secretary of Homeland Security Tom Ridge issued a statement urging “…all Americans to be on the alert for signs of terrorist activity.” 

I inferred from this that if I saw a sign of terrorist activity it was my civic duty to inform the local police. Even if terrorists are prone to give signs of their activity I don’t think I’d recognize one if I saw it. Can there be a sign of terrorist activity and no terrorist activity? Can there be terrorist activity and no sign? 

Other people must be in the dark too. It would help if Mr. Ridge published an alphabetized list of terrorist activities together with their corresponding signs. 

It’s now July 6. Can I stop being alert then or should I wait for Mr. Ridge’s advice? And, why don’t the newspapers keep us informed as they do when they alert us to the possibility of fires, floods, and mudslides? 

Marvin Chachere 

San Pablo 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

Our taxes have skyrocketed—thanks to George Bush. 

“Bridge toll goes up one dollar,” the headlines read. Now we have to pay one dollar more just to cross the freaking bridge? 

“Local school bonds pass,” says the news. Great. Now every house in town coughs up $100 a year more to educate our kids. 

“FBI asks police to step up local patrols,” said the radio this morning. How is this paid for? How do you think? More local taxes. 

“Sales tax goes up” is followed by “Property tax increase” and “State income tax rate change announced.” Not to mention all the interest on the two trillion dollars worth of loans we co-signed for so that Bush could purchase the Simple Life for Enron, Halliburton and Carlyle. 

George Bush claims that he has lowered our taxes? Bull dookie! He just serves them up to us in a different form. Sure we get $400 back from the IRS. And then we pay thousands more at the pump, in health care costs and wage loss.  

And factor in the sad fact that we are the ones who pay most of the taxes now. Corporations no longer help us out. In 1950, U.S. corporations paid 40 percent of all taxes (and despite this so-called tax burden, business and commerce flourished too. For them, the right to do business in a healthy American economy was worth every cent!) Now corporations only pay seven percent. And guess who pays the rest? You. Me. The bus driver. The small farmer. The postman. The night clerk at the convenience store. 

What can we do? For starters, let’s balance the federal budget. How? We could start by not buying the things that we don’t need. For instance, let’s stop squandering 60 percent of our income on buying overpriced, falsely advertised designer wars. 

Jane Stillwater