Letters to the Editor

Tuesday September 07, 2004


Editors, Daily Planet: 

The severity of damage to our national reputation caused by the Bush administration still hasn’t been fully comprehended. Our new enemies see Abu Ghraib not only as the chambers of torture imposed by an imperial occupier, they see the sexual humiliation as proof that ours is a culture of perversion. Our violent entertainment, our sex-titillating commercial advertising, and now, the images from Abu Ghraib, represent the reason why our enemies gain members who are willing to die for their cause. They are fighting a war for their cultural survival. 

It doesn’t help our desire to be the “light on the hill,” when official investigations like the Schlessinger report lack the courage to place responsibility where it belongs. While Bush’s strategists, Justice Department lawyers, and Rumsfeld’s memos tacitly encouraged such torture, saying the Geneva Convention doesn’t apply, Schlessinger’s commission was only able to mumble something about “inadequate planning, organization, and accountability.” 

The responsibility lies in the White House. The only way we can redeem the good reputation we think we deserve is to vote these war criminals out of office, and then hold them accountable before the bar of justice. 

Bruce Joffe 





Editors, Daily Planet: 

In the hope that at least one councilmember is minding the store during City Council’s summer break and will read this letter, I would like to know if the council approves of the present, on-going decimation of the meadow in Eastshore State Park, and do you care?  

I was under the impression that since City of Berkeley has final approval on Eastshore State Park plans, the city had rejected the state’s meadow plans after great public outcry; that the meadow would be left as is, intact, as the last wild area in the Eastshore State Park. Was I, and hundreds others, mistaken? 

These state plans, as you may recall, call for four wooden paths starting at the corners of the meadow converging in the center to a “bird sanctuary.” Apparently, the construction of such paths require the clear cutting of the meadow taking place right now. 

These paths, if completed, will greatly multiply foot/bike/blade traffic in the meadow and destroy a great natural habitat. Bye, bye red winged blackbirds, et al. Hello to more of the Disneyfication of the natural. 

A more lasting, positive legacy would be to underground the telephone lines on the north side of the meadow and lay down a new curving blacktop road, replacing the current pothole-ridden road so that scenic views of the meadow, as created, will be accessible to wheelchair users, pram-pushing parents roller bladers, etc. Those improvements, plus removing the concrete blocks in the adjacent inlet, are all that are needed in that area. We have enough of the managed look of nature in our city parks. 

Were those hundreds of us who lobbied to keep the meadow free of further invasion just shined on? I look forward to receiving a clarification of City of Berkeley’s policy for the meadow. 

Maris Arnold 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

For many years so many of us have enjoyed the wild life in the fields that grew between the boulevard and Frontage Road by the Berkeley Marina, rabbits, snakes, birds of many kinds et cetera, and now it is all being ravaged by development in favor of yet another sterile and boring park that will cost not only to build but to maintain and police. Could someone from the East Bay Regional Parks please tell us why? For whom is this park intended, when so many of us would rather have kept the fields wild? I thought the park system was for preserving wilderness, not eliminating it. 

Peter Najarian 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

I am writing to strongly urge the Berkeley community to support Kalima Rose and Karen Hemphill in the upcoming race for the Berkeley School Board. As a member of the Berkeley High Jacket for the last three years and its editor last year I have attended many School Board meetings as a reporter. My conclusion is simple: This board is not doing enough to address the overwhelming and unacceptable problem of the achievement gap among children in the district. 

Although much lip service is paid to the achievement gap and some admirable efforts have been made, the community needs strong leaders with experience and insight into our district’s most pressing issue serving on the board. Kalima is one of the most active parents in CAS, Berkeley High’s successful pilot small school. Kalima and others recognized the importance of diversity right from the inception of the program and it is one of the only groups at BHS that is intrinsically diverse. Karen would be the only African-American member of our board, lending real diversity to a traditionally homogeneous group. 

Karen also has a lot of experience with school district issues- she is a member of the District Advisory Council, is president of the Washington School Site Council, and is a former BSEP Planning and Oversight Committee member and for the past two year was a member of the Longfellow School Governance Council. 

We cannot afford another term of inaction from our School Board. Year after year our white students excel and our students of color fall through the cracks. Kalima and Karen care about all students in our community and are committed to the vision of a district that affords them all an equal chance at success. Please vote for and support Kalima Rose and Karen Hemphill for Berkeley School Board. 

Peter True 

Berkeley High Graduate, 2004 

Editor, Berkeley High Jacket, 2004 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

How come we are doomed to multi-storied buildings erupting like poisonous mushrooms all over Berkeley? Who decided New York City was the model we should follow? 

What happened to buildings we could see the tops of? What happened to the zoning people who supported the kind of town we could live with? The town that once had a department store and a deli with seats to accommodate the customers, where did it go? 

In a town where traffic is already hazardous and pedestrians must jump out of the way, why must we fill up every last inch of the territory with endless cars and the people to run them, others to evade them? 

Why do the perpetrators of the multi-story eruptions call themselves developers? Where did our control go? Who pushed the go button? 

Dorothy V. Benson