Election Section

Letters to the Editor

Friday August 27, 2004


Editors, Daily Planet: 

Your article (“Governor’s San Pablo Casino Deal Fulfills Hopes of GOP Operatives,” Daily Planet, Aug. 20-26) is accurate in most regards, however, you relied on the Village Voice, who made an error of omission. 

My company IKON did not pay a “fine” to the New York State Temporary Commission of Lobbying. We settled the matter with no admission of violation of the law.  

The issue at hand was a First Amendment issue—the commission claimed that we could not run newspaper and television ads regarding casino gaming even though we had never contacted or spent any money on contacting elected officials in any branch of government. 

We believe our activities were protected under our First Amendment rights. We recognized litigation would be long and expensive and elected to settle for convenience—again, the settlement document specifically contains no admission of violating the law. 

The settlement was paid entirely by Trump Hotel and Casino Resorts. I would have preferred to litigate as I said to the press at the time.  

I would ask you to clarify this in all fairness. 

Roger Stone 


P.S.: If you are going to cite my “dirty tricks” for Richard Nixon, also acknowledge my role as regional political director for Ronald Reagan and my role as senior consultant to George Bush Sr.’s 1988 California campaign. Perhaps a little more rounded profile... 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

Bravo on your “Welcome Back to Berkeley” issue, particularly Joe Eaton’s article “Worshipping at City’s Literary Shrines.” Your readers might also check out the Berkeley Public Library-produced “Fiction Set in Berkeley,” a compendium of fiction, mysteries, science fiction, and children’s fiction set all or in part in Berkeley. Reference copies are available in all five Berkeley Public Library branches, and at the Berkeley History Room at the Central Library.  

Sayre Van Young 

Berkeley Information Network/Berkeley History Room 

Berkeley Public Library 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

Thank you for publishing Helen Rippier Wheeler’s superlative article “Coming Upon August 26” (Women’s Equality Day). Wheeler’s article is a comprehensive and inspiring reminder of how far women have come and of how much we have yet to accomplish—among these are the assault weapons ban, basic health coverage and decent housing. 

Nancy Ward 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

The charge of racism leveled at the School Board is offensive. The City of Berkeley is 12 percent African American according to the last census, yet Berkeley High serves a 40 percent African American student body. This remarkable demographic transfer occurs largely because BUSD has voluntarily chosen not to enforce residency requirements for enrollment. No other school board in the region or state has acted with such genuine interest in promoting diversity over the financial interest of its own taxpayers. The education gap would virtually disappear but for the school board’s generosity. To then accuse this liberal body of racism is uninformed. 

David Baggins 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

There is a valley in El Sobrante with a strange geography—it is hidden from everyone but its immediate neighbors. They can look down into the steep, bowl-shaped valley of Garrity Creek. When in the valley, the houses seem to disappear. It is very quiet and secluded, with vast trees, a few horses, and in the sky overhead a hawk or two circling. It’s as if time has stopped. 

When the Friends of Garrity Creek heard that a housing development was planned here, we looked into the valley structure. We found documents showing it is composed of watery, unstable soil, and that documents the developer submitted to the county were inaccurate. 

When the county did their study, it showed this place as a safe place to build. 

We protested at the county planning hearings and later to the Board of Supervisors. We discovered and introduced important new evidence. 

The Board of Supervisors decided for an environmental impact report, to research this area thoroughly. 

For this, the developer has filed suit against the county. 

The Friends of Garrity Creek are proud and grateful that the Board of Supervisors has stood up for honest development. We hope that they will not let this latest move by the developer intimidate them. 

Gwynn O’Neill 





Editors, Daily Planet: 

It is refreshing to read your Letters to the Editor section. You provide equal opportunity of expression to all sides of each issue. Today this sort of free speech is all too lacking in this supposedly liberal and progressive community. I am reminded of Bob Dylan’s song, “I Shall Be Free No. 10,” where he states, “Now, I’m a liberal, but to a degree. I want ev’rybody to be free, but if you think that I’ll let Barry Goldwater move in next door and marry my daughter you must think I’m crazy! I wouldn’t do let him do it for all the farms in Cuba.” I believe Dylan was trying to make a point that any philosophy fails when it ignores the very basis of its foundation. That is all too often the prevailing sentiment in this town. “Each of us has the right to free speech as long as that speech agrees with mine.” Again, thank you for moving beyond that mindset. 

This brings me to a recent letter from Michael P. Hardesty. Mind you, I did not read the previous letter from Dan Spitzer to which Mr. Hardesty referred, and can only guess what its subject matter was. What stuck me were Mr. Hardesty’s own words. He stated, “…any dissent from the AIPAC [whatever that is] party line is verboten to the totalitarian mentality represented by people like Spitzer.” He then closes his tirade with, “Maybe the BDP should return the favor and spare us any future letters from Spitzer.” This doesn’t sound very much like a liberal or progressive sentiment? 

His letter may not have ruffled any old Left feathers, but it did ruffle one Right feather. 

Joseph W. Adams 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

Thanks again, Daily Planet, for being there when it counts! Your article last Friday detailing the governor’s connections to Republican interests in the massive casino proposed for San Pablo under Indian guise was a wake-up call! 

The cities of the East Bay have cooperated mightily with their state legislators in recent years to cut crime and rebuild San Pablo Avenue as an attractive boulevard with new landscaping and apartments to support neighborhood commerce. AC transit has joined in investing in faster bus service. San Pablo is becoming a vital spine supporting livable neighborhoods on both sides and transit and walking become viable options for young, old and workers, service may evolve into frequent streetcars. 

This planning and effort by our representatives is beginning to bear fruit in Emeryville, Berkeley, Albany, El Cerrito and Richmond. 

The arrogance of the governor deciding to preempt local land use plans with a plan to reward Republican money with the largest urban casino franchise must be stopped in the State Legislature next week! If we should want a casino in the Bay Area, there are sites identified that will not jeopardize neighborhoods or environmental treasures (Treasure Island and one of the Richmond sites).  

We hope concerned citizens in the San Pablo corridor will assemble after work Friday at the casino to discuss how best to accomplish this. 

Drive, if possible, to experience traffic impacts to Casino San Pablo on San Pablo Avenue in the town of San Pablo with a “Not Here, Gov.” sign. 

Horst and Eva Bansner 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

Where is the justice in not permitting Berkeley citizens to vote for Councilmember Shirek due to misunderstandings, paperwork snafus, sneaky legislation and who knows what underhanded manipulations? This is an outrage. Please correct this gross error. Continuing review of Shirek incident cannot hurt and I appreciate all you’ve printed so far; frankly, one ‘smells a rat.’ Do keep up the good work, please. 

Terry Cochrell 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

Bush and Cheney have the advantage of incumbency at a time when our country is at war with terrorists. Consequently, to win in November, John Kerry and John Edwards need significant support from the approximately 50 percent of disaffected voters who fail to go to the polls. This non-voting silent majority has grown justifiably cynical as our democracy lapses into a plutocracy in which only billionaires and millionaires can meaningfully participate. Thus far in the campaign, Kerry and Edwards promise programs and reforms that energize Democratic party loyalists, but politics as usual will not bring the usual non-voters to their cause.  

Now is the time for Kerry and Edwards to take on the real issues: the byzantine complexity and unfairness of the IRS code for individuals and corporations; the absence of universal government-supported medical and dental care; and forfeiture of the legislative process to paid lobbyists. As matters stand, those with little income need to hire a tax preparer, which they can ill afford, to receive the credits, benefits and exemptions to which they are entitled. The middle class pays the way for the super-rich ( which Bush refers to as his political base) and corporations receive a virtual free pass. 

We are on the edge of a political abyss; only support from the non-voting silent majority can save us. Arise and vote! 

Michael S. Esposito 





Editors, Daily Planet 

Point Molate is a spectacular shoreline site where public access and open space should be a priority (“Casinos, Mall and Politics Mix at East Bay Meetings,” Daily Planet, August 17-19). 

Save The Bay supports the Richmond community’s own vision as expressed in the Point Molate Base Reuse Plan, including public shoreline access, a Bay Trail segment, and a public shoreline park. This plan was the result of a citizen’s Blue Ribbon Committee convened to create a vision for the property after the Navy decommissioned it in the 1990s. It also allows for limited development that would be confined to already-built areas, is comparable with existing public use areas, and preserves the registered historic buildings on the site. 

Save the Bay is working with Richmond residents who want their unique and beautiful shoreline areas to be enjoyed by everyone, with public destinations for families, and protection of the site’s unique resources and habitats. This is a priority for our 10,000 members and supporters. 

Save The Bay has not endorsed any private purchase or development of Point Molate. We encourage the City of Richmond to consider any proposal for Point Molate carefully, in an open public process, to ensure that the Base Reuse Plan’s vision will be guaranteed and implemented for the benefit of the entire community. 

David Lewis 

Executive Director, Save the Bay