Letters to the Editor

Friday November 12, 2004


Editors, Daily Planet: 

Now that we’ve spent thousands of dollars printing and posting election placards everywhere, I propose that each candidate, having won or lost, go out and pick up your signs off the telephone and light posts and recycle them rather than waiting for these visual eyesores to fall off and get swept up by our refuse collectors. Saturday after election day should be Berkeley Politico Cleanup Day!  

Tim Q. Cannon  




Editors, Daily Planet: 

Many Berkeley residents shop at El Cerrito Plaza and may be interested in development in the parking area on the Trader Joe’s side of the mall. It is also the side that give access to Loni Hancock’s offices. I was told that the plaza will become accessible only through the San Pablo entrance.  

There is public opposition to squeeze 100 condos and a 500-car parking garage for BART riders into that south-east corner. Needless to say, the project is moving forward despite neighbors’ opposition. The EIR was scheduled to be released in early November. 

Neighborhood associations in Albany and El Cerrito are involved in the opposition. They are the North Albany Neighborhood Association, 515 Spokane Ave., Albany, 94706, and the Behrens Neighborhood Association, 131 Behrens St., El Cerrito, 94530. 

For further information, call 731-0202 or get on the Plaza Neighbors e-mail list by writing to plazaneighbors-subscribe@yahoo.groups.com, and check out the Plaza Neighbors website: www.well.com/~karensu/pn_news.htm.  

Ann Reid Slaby 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

I have a question for Jeanne Gray Loughman (Letters, Daily Planet, Nov. 9-11): If you’re “not evil right wing religious zealots...war mongers, homophobes, or oil barons” as you claim, then why on earth did you vote for a president and administration who are? 

Ron Reade 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

Thank you for the article on Jobs Consortium (Daily Planet, Nov. 2-4). Those of us who worked for Jobs Consortium have been running into (former) participants, all of whom have expressed distress over its closing. Since 1988, the Consortium delivered “one-stop” services to homeless persons and individuals with disabilities, based on the Vision and Mission developed, in large part, by our founding director, Michael Daniels (starting in Berkeley, then expanding to Oakland). We have consistently strived to provide excellent customer service regardless of an individual’s work/conviction/economic/personal background. Our goal has always been to help clients with becoming self-sufficient by providing the necessary tailored assistance in order to reach job readiness and to look for, obtain, and maintain viable, competitive employment. My understanding is that we always met (or exceeded) placement objectives, and averaged a relatively high (compared to other agencies) starting wage/salary. We wish the best to those who received services in the past and to those who will be receiving services in the, hopefully, near future. A note of correction: We did not have a food service program, but you can add to the list of training programs, Computer/Office Skills.  

Arlene Talbot 





Editors, Daily Planet: 

One week after the “most important election of our lifetime” what evidence do we have of the result? Two things: the officially reported vote counts and the exit polls. The two don’t agree. On the basis of the reported vote count Bush is declared the winner. The exit polls (in which people stated who they had just voted for) had Kerry way ahead. Why the discrepancy? TV commentators on election night said there must be something wrong with the exit polls. But now evidence is beginning to trickle out that there may be irregularities in the tabulation of the votes in Florida and Ohio.  

Democrats seem to think that we will be called sore losers if we question the election results. If this really was the most important election of our lifetime, I think it’s worth taking the risk of being called whiners to make sure this election was not rigged. Let’s demand a thorough investigation of the vote counting process. (For more information on this subject see Thom Hartmann’s article “Evidence Mounts That The Vote May Have Been Hacked” at www.commondreams.org.) 

Carole Bennett-Simmons 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

A memorandum dated Oct. 20 from Stephen Barton, director of Housing, to the Commission on Aging recommends that the commission “endorse the following eligibility changes and distribution guidelines for Berkeley Paratransit Services (BPSW), effective Jan. 1, 2005.” The commission will meet on Wednesday, Nov. 17 at 1:30 p.m. at the South Berkeley Senior Center, 2939 Ellis, at the corner of Ashby. 

Taxi Scrip Program Eligibility Criteria will consist of Berkeley residents 80 years of age and above or certified by East Bay Paratransit as Americans with Disabilities Act-eligible and whose incomes are not more than 30 percent of the Area Median Income. (Thirty percent of the AMI for one person is less than $1,438.) If there is a quorum (there are two vacancies: Shirek and Wozniak) of Commission on Aging members present at the monthly COA meeting and they endorse as per Dr. Barton’s recommendation, it will presumably then go to the City Council. 

What can you do if you too would be negatively impacted by this sneaky action? Resist the budget excuse (dictionary: an explanation used to avoid  

responsibility); attend the Commission on Aging’s Nov. 17 meeting; inform your councilmember (the city clerk at 981-6900 will provide your councilmember’s name and or phone number, fax, and e-mail address) inform others; and attend council meetings. 

Helen Rippier Wheeler 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

Reporter J. Douglas Allen-Taylor’s lead sentence in “Rivera, Selawsky Appear to Hold on to School Board Seats” (Daily Planet, Nov. 5-8), which states that “Race...formed a quiet subtext to the Berkeley School Board elections” is totally unsubstantiated. The bulk of the front page news article on the school board elections is based on the charges and unsupported opinions of the disgruntled campaign manager of school board candidate Hemphill. If racism is the charge, the numbers certainly don’t bear this out. Hemphill (who the reporter identifies as African-American) received a higher vote count than either of the other two (white) challengers. Incumbent School Board member Rivera, who the reporter points out is Puerto Rican, won handily by garnering over 3,000 more than the next closest candidate. Could we have accurate news reporting on the front page and move the post-election complaints of campaign managers and others to the op-ed page? 

Priscilla Myrick 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

As one of the gals who worked towards the passage of Measure B, I’d like to thank Berkeley citizens for their help, support and generosity. It was a pleasure to work with so many people who are committed to excellent education for Berkeley’s students. Truly, the experience has given me faith in the culture of my recently adopted hometown and hope for the future of Berkeley, our School District, and our world. The adventure of promoting Measure B proved that people of all races, ages, experiences and perspectives can rally together to achieve challenging but worthy goals! 

Thank you to all of the parents, teachers and staff, administrators, students and citizens who posted yard signs, walked and marched, addressed envelopes, stood at grocery stores (rain or shine, Marice Ashe!) or made like telemarketers to help us get the word out Measure B. You were the model for a Berkeley School District, Unified! 

Thank you to the PTA’s of all of our schools for your unanimous endorsements and support. And, thank you for all of the work you do, all of the time. May others see and respond to the value and power of enthusiastic parent participation in advancing our schools...for our children.  

Thank you to all of the candidates for School Board and City Council for embracing the measure and promoting it as part of their individual campaigns. Your example taught us all that folks can work together despite differing viewpoints for the betterment of community. May we all continue to allow individual voices expression while continuing the work for the collective whole. 

Thank you to a special group of volunteers whose efforts were tireless, whose dedication was endless ... all of the members of Berkeley Citizens for Quality Schools, Tedi Crawford, Rebecca Herman, Robin Miller, Paci Hammond, et al. May you be blessed to have people in your world to support you in the way in which you supported Measure B (and me)! It was invaluable. Thank you each, again and again. 

Thank you to the leadership from Superintendent Lawrence (who gave of mind and body!) and all of the School Directors for demonstrating vision and courage in pursuing excellence for Berkeley’s schools. May you continue to work together, solicit and implement input from our community effectively while spending the money wisely and responsibly! (I am keeping my seat on the Planning and Oversight Committee...)  

Thank you to BASTA! for encouraging dialogue and fiscal responsibility in beauracracy while recognizing that “We cannot shortchange our kids. Period.” (Thank you, Laura Menard) 

Thank you to Caleb Dardick and Marissa Saunders for everything - most especially the personal growth that thrives in authentic relationship. 

Thank you to the children and young people of Berkeley. You took action to help Measure B and your own education. How powerful and strong you are! Special shout outs... to Berkeley High’s Minx Manuel and Scott Rasmussen who give me hope for our young people - black and white, with lots and with less, male and female, hip hopped and bellbottomed!, to the Berkeley Scholars to Cal program for practicing (and walking!) what we preach, and to my own two - Adahn and Ian - who managed their responsibilities, did (most) of their school work, and ate way too much ramen while their mother worked for Measure B. You are all shining examples of what tomorrow holds. 

We all share a world that seems hopeless from almost all perspectives, so much so, that there is nothing to do BUT hope. Lately, Berkeley—all of us—have pondered and dreamed of seceding from the rest of the state and country. We can do it...if not literally. I suggest we commit ourselves as a community to applying the lessons learned in Measure B - the value of participation, diversity, teamwork, and yes, sacrifice - to create a school system and a community that is a world apart.  

I look forward to the adventure with you, Berkeley. And again, I thank you. 

Wanda Stewart 

Field and Volunteer Coordinator for Measure B  




Editors, Daily Planet: 

On only the second night of the City Council imposed brownout of Truck 2 (which covers the North half of Berkeley) we experienced two of many scenarios that proves exactly why all of the Berkeley Fire Department’s fleet must be kept in service 24/7. 

Truck 5, which now strains to solely protect the entire city, responded from Station 5 (Shattuck and Derby) to a report of smoke coming from the downstairs apartment of a multi-unit residential complex. This call came in around 3 a.m., a time when most people are asleep and may be caught unaware by overpowering heat and gases from a structure fire.  

Obviously a faster response yields a greater potential for saving lives and property. 

Due to the brownout, Truck 5 responded well into Truck 2’s district and arrived on scene after an extended response from across town. If Truck 2 had been in service, they would have been a mere five blocks away from this fire! Truck 5’s first assignment was to search all affected residences and affect any rescues, luckily all smoke filled apartments were vacant. Truck 5 was committed to this incident for several hours, meaning there was no truck available within the city limits in the event of any of the following events: 

• Vehicle accident. 

• Rope rescues. 

• Any other fire. 

• Elevator rescues. 

• Structural collapse.  

• Flooding complications. 

• Freeway accidents. 

• Fire alarms, etc. 

When the fire was extinguished and the truck was released, they were not back in quarters for more than 20 minutes (not even long enough to fill their compliment of air bottles which firefighters use breath in a fire) before another fire call came in and they were needed once again! Luckily, this second call was a false alarm. This is the first of many problems that we will encounter due to the recent decision by the City Council to reduce staffing levels. 

And who will be suffering? Yes, firefighters will be sacrificing safety due to the decreased number of personnel that are on scene in a timely manner. But most importantly, the citizens of Berkeley now have a greater potential for increased loss of property and life than they did before Nov. 8. 

David Sprague 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

People who live east of the Ashby BART station, who walk to the station to take BART, need to know that the latest plans for the Ed Robert Campus increase their walking distance to BART by two to three blocks. ERC now plans to close the Tremont Street access to the BART station. Once construction starts, and even after the ERC is finished, everyone will need to walk around to Adeline to enter the BART station. This plan effectively adds two to three blocks to the distance from the station for everyone living east of the Ashby BART.  

The new plans also herald problems with street parking in zones around the new ERC. They are reducing BART parking by 25 spaces. They also provide no parking for ERC clients, and plan to charge employees a parking fee. Clients and employees will thus be forced to use street parking, and those with handicapped placards will be able to park all day on zoned streets, reducing available parking for use by residents. Since ERC’s mission is serving individuals with handicaps, this is likely to mean a significant increase in parking congestion.  

Residents concerned about these proposed changes, which go against what ERC initially promised to surrounding neighborhoods, need to contact the Berkeley Zoning Board immediately, and to attend the Nov. 15 Zoning Board hearing scheduled to approve the ERC plans. They need to know that direct pedestrian access to BART is essential for neighbors to the east, and that adequate parking for ERC clients and staff are an essential part of their commitment to surrounding neighborhoods.  

Rosemary Hyde 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

The first e-mail I got on Nov. 5 (forwarded by a furiously grieving Berkeley friend) was one of those red and blue maps of the United States. The massive inner red zone was labeled JESUSLAND. 

On Sunday I attended a performance of the Fauré Requium at St. Augustine (Catholic) Chuch, which turned out to be imbedded in an actual requieum mass “for those who have died through violence.” This “Mass of Remembrance” was for the seventy people killed on Oakland streets this year (listed in the program, and named during the mass) as well as (I quote the priest) for “all victims in Iraq, Ivory Coast, and other ongoing wars.” The program listed the agencies getting that day’s collection: two community organizations and Doctors Without Borders. (Need I mention that this church congregation, which put a lot of money and time into this event, is not located in the red zone of “Jesusland” as designated by my friend? Nor are the local churches that provide food and shelter for the homeless; nor the nuns who in the early 1980s set up the first hospice in the Castro for men dying of AIDS; nor the church women who were raped, tortured, and killed around the same time for trying to help the poor in El Salvador; nor the churches and synagogues which made up the backbone of the Civil Rights Movement; nor...but, enough.) 

In the San Francisco Chronicle on the same day, Rabbi Michael Lerner, editor of the liberal Jewish journal TIKKUN, wrote of “liberals, trapped in a long-standing disdain for religion and tone-deaf to the spiritual needs that underlie the move to the right.” He went on, “Imagine if John Kerry had been able to counter George Bush by insisting that...to love one’s neighbor required us to provide health care for all...” 

Which reminded me of a letter to the same paper a couple of weeks ago, saying that a recent article (which I hadn’t read) clearly placed the Religious Right Wing and the Secular Left Wing, but “never mentioned those of us in the Religious Left--we are homeless.” 

I look again at that map my friend e-mailed me, and I think of the Vietnam War days when we let the Right Wing co-opt the flag and use it to push their definition of love of country. When we designate the states Bush won as JESUSLAND, it seems we’re doing it all over again—letting the Right co-opt the name of a great moral teacher and use it to support their benighted view of moral values. 

Dorothy Bryant 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

The chances of breaking Republican control of the government any time soon appear slim, considering the gerrymandering, the built in bias toward the South in the electoral college, and the GOP effect upon coming court decisions. 

Perhaps it is time to think past the issue of our U.S. government? Why not think international rather than nation? Hasn’t the world become one big global village? Let us gather a world movement to challenge Washington. And while we broaden our concept of the struggle, let’s dump the “progressive” label in favor of “radical.” The concept of “progress” is so evolutionary in tone. We haven’t got time for that: the planet is overheating, and Wall street economic policy is burning up our human social capital as millions are without work, and other millions stare in the face of starvation. 

On the international front, we could direct our energy to get the outside world to help “save the planet from Bush” by waging an embargo against the U.S., in the manner that well meaning folks the world over embargoed South Africa, and helped bring down the apartheid regime. On the domestic front we could stop trying to compete with the Republicans on the patriotism issue, and be as radical as was abolitionist William Lloyd Garrison when he burned the constitution and the flag in Boston. At present, a few million flags on lawns and porches of the U.S. represent support for a government that doesn’t deserve support, any more than the government of the slaveocracy deserved support in Garrison’s day.  

Radically repudiating this government would give a signal to the people of the world that there are U.S. citizens who reject the Empire, and this signal would help the world turn against the Empire of Washington. In addition to our acts at home, we would radically reach out to the world, as in our traveling abroad to advertise the embargo against this present government of a cadre of greed loving fundamentalist Empire hungry zealots. Why wait to react in some nice peaceful march to the next atrocity from Washington? Rather, let us heed the words of the spiritual mentor of Garrison, the ex-slave Frederick Douglass: “If there is no struggle, there is no progress.... Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did, and it never will.” 

Ted Vincent 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

Regarding James K. Sayre’s “Another Stolen Election (Daily Planet, Nov.9-11): Somehow seems like a “side” light when its news should be screaming from every front page in the land. Compared to the very popular Osha Neumann who “fucks” Kerry, Mr. Sayre seems almost delicate, yet what he is saying is stronger than any carelessly tossed out four-letter word about a man calling for unity (Kerry). I don’t know but strongly suspect that Osha was a strong Nader fan back when—and allowed a four-year term to be installed of our present government—to the downfall and suffering of its people. I have no solution for the nightmare. But I think John Kerry is a good person—certainly a fighter. Osha Neumann I’m not so sure about, in spite of his radicalism. He’s too arrogant. 

This letter, however, is not meant as a criticism of Osha Neumann only—or even anyone else. I am simply pointing out priorities in printing—emphasis of point: “Another Stolen Election.” I believe in the truth of that statement and that, as a conquered nation, unity would be a good thing. It is a dream, a hope; an aspiration. Just as is world peace. Even though most of us, especially here in the Bay Area, know that war can be ended by the will of goodness: a unanimous will. 

Iris Crider  




Editors, Daily Planet: 

Regarding J. Douglas Allen-Taylor’s column “A Preliminary Question About the Election Results” (Daily Planet, Nov. 5-8): 

In the months before the election, besides the seemingly fatal flaw of electronic voting machines having no paper trail, there were alarming reports on the radio quoting the Republican manufacturer of the machines saying that he would “do anything to get Bush re-elected, and that he “promised President Bush Ohio”. So, it was my understanding that watchdog groups (and the Democrats?) were going to use exit polls, the only means they had, to monitor for possible inaccuracies in the electronic voting. 

Then, sure enough, on election night there is this large discrepancy--exit poles showing Kerry winning, but the votes indicating Bush. But immediately everyone seems to be assuming it is the fault of the pollsters. What happened to the idea that the discrepancy could indicate a large-scale inaccuracy or fraud in the electronic voting machines? 

Also on election night, there were reports (on the radio) of problems with electronic voting in the key swing states of Florida and Ohio, where people’s ballots came on the screen already filled in, or their summary screen showing completely different votes than the ones they cast. And now, there is an e-mail circulating on campus, from a few students who staffed a hotline in Broward County, Florida on election day, where widespread problems were reported. Especially, there were voters who repeatedly pressed the Kerry button, only to have their vote show up as Bush. 

It is my experience that even here in highly educated, outspoken, iconoclastic, wild Berkeley, people are oddly passive when it comes to reporting malfunctions of equipment or facilities. This was probably not true at the polls in the intense activism of this election, but in normal situations, I seem always to be the first to report breakdowns or problems, even though dozens before me have run into the problem, but seemingly just shrug their shoulders and leave, without reporting it. If this is the case in Berkeley, I can only imagine how someone would feel in a more conventional part of the country, in front of all their neighbors who are waiting uncomfortably and impatiently in a long line to vote-It is unlikely they would take the extra time to fight with the ballot to make it show their vote correctly, or even notice if the summary screen was wrong. And it is even less likely that they would report any problems to the poll workers. 

Given that: 1) machines, by nature, do the same thing over and over, 2) the likelihood that the reported problems were not even the tip of the iceberg of the actual problems voters ran into, 3) the zealous support of Bush by the electronic voting machine’s manufacturer, 4) Bush’s brother’s control of Florida and Florida’s history of disenfranchisement and corruption, etc., I find it not only possible, but likely, that the fraud and inaccuracies could be up into the hundred thousands, enough to swing the election to Kerry, and even in the millions, enough to swing the popular vote. (And this not including other illegal voter intimidation and disenfranchisement techniques that were reported in Florida, Ohio, and, I assume, elsewhere.) So, once again, there is the distinct possibility that the election was stolen from the Democrats. And, the Democrats and watchdog groups seemingly did nothing to question the results. 

So what do we do about this? Is there any thorough investigation of the electronic votes taking place? What about the future of electronic, no-paper-trail voting? I feel we cannot afford to let this go un-pursued, both for the sake of our wounded psyches, and for what is left of our wounded democracy. 

Diane Shavelson 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

In the Nov. 5-8 Daily Planet (“Council Changes, Measure B Wins, Others Lose”) we find Kriss Wortington dithering about strategic failures in the city’s attempt to squeeze more money out of Berkeley residents, instead of addressing the mandate of the people. Wake up, Mr. Worthington! The message is this: You get no more money until you spend the money we give you more wisely. Examples: If a business were run the way the library is, it would be backrupt in a year. The council’s job is to put someone in charge who understands management. There are over 50 youth service organizations on the public dole, representing gross redundancy and inefficiency. The City Council’s job is to send in a coordinator to reduce these to 10, administering the same functions with one fifth the paid staff. Eric Landes-Brenman, president of Public Employee Union Local 1 “called on the city to work with unions to identify areas where the city could operate more efficiently.” Just a little late. The council’s job is to do this. 

Jerry Landis 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

So Nancy Feinstein says “our elected representatives and civil servants spend their every working hour trying to serve the public good” (“Defeat of Tax Measures Favors Individuals, Not Common Good,” Daily Planet, Nov. 5-8) ! Excuse me, Ms. Feinstein, what planet are you living on? Obviously you have never spent five minutes down at Oakland City Hall. I doubt Berkeley, San Francisco, Richmond, et al, are that much better. There is no “common good.” Society is solely made up of individuals and they all have a right to exist for their own sakes, not for the state. Berkeley voters have been way too generous for decades in voting themselves one of the highest local tax burdens. I only wish the voters here in Oakland would wise up. The problem is that we have 60 percent renters who think nothing of sticking it to property owners. I think only property owners should be able to vote on property tax issues. When any community votes for the kind of generous social services that Berkeley provides, it becomes a magnet for people who are all too happy to let someone else foot the bill. It’s like giving to panhandlers, it only delays the inevitable adjustment back to objective reality. One person’s misfortune is not a lien on the rest of us. 

For a far wiser view of existence, readers should consult Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged. 

Michael P. Hardesty 





Editors, Daily Planet: 

On Saturday, I attended the meeting at the Berkeley Yacht Club where we heard the latest from the WTA on the plans for a ferry between Berkeley and San Francisco. 

The statistics and studies sounded fine. The ferry would be a great idea, for both commuting and recreation. But there’s one big thing wrong with the ferry plan. 

It’s parking spaces for the cars. 

Evidently the plan is for most ferry riders to park a car at the ferry terminal. The WTA studies project that 75 percent of ferry riders will not walk, bike or ride a bus; they will drive. 

This prospect makes me very negative about the Berkeley ferry. I have a vision of a ferry arriving at the marina about 6:00 p.m. of a weekday, and all those cold-started cars spewing out a miasma of pollution, which rolls out over the bay. The cars then launch themselves into the Berkeley road system, causing huge congestion. 

At the meeting, the WTA people suggested a $2 parking charge, on top of the $3.50 one-way ferry fare. I hope that was $2 an hour. 

We don’t need any extra parking for the ferry. AC Transit now serves the marina with the No, 9 bus, which passes through much of North Berkeley. The #51 bus used to go to the marina, before that service was cut. At the meeting, we were told that most Berkeley ferry riders will be coming from local areas. If so, then AC Transit should extend existing bus service connect those areas with the ferry terminal. 

Patrons must park, we’re told. People want to drive. If this is really true, why are we wasting public money on a ferry system at all? We should boost the capacity of the bridge, widen the roads and encourage more parking in San Francisco, so people can drive, drive, drive. 

The Berkeley ferry should be for people, not for motorists. 

I think all the worry I heard about boat wakes, noise, disturbance of aquatic life and so on is misplaced. The big worry should be about the plans for parking. 

Steve Geller 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

While differences on issues and candidates are a hallmark of democracy, we recognize and realize that fundamental respect should cross all lines. 

Whether we agree or disagree with Maudelle Shirek’s position on the issues, the germane issue is respect. After an excess of 45 years supporting the BCA, after nearly 20 years as a City Councilmember, after 93-plus years of living on the planet, and the oldest living black elected official in California, and maybe in the nation, many of us who are longtime residents (and not-so-longtime residents) are outraged at how Ms. Shirek is being treated this election year. It feels to many of us as if she is being “kicked to the curb,” and pushed aside by the BCA because they feel she is no longer useful to them or no longer serves their purpose. 

Or perhaps Ms. Shirek is being treated with such disrespect because she is in independent thinker with many years of wisdom and doesn’t go along to get along. At 93 years of age, Ms. Shirek is an elder of this community having been one of the founders of the South Berkeley Community Church, which began in 1943, a co-founder of the Berkeley Co-Op, and an unequaled advocate for seniors. Certainly these and many achievements too numerous to list here entitle Ms. Shirek to greater respect than she is receiving this election year by the organization (BCA) she has supported since its inception. Where is the respect, the honor? Is Ms. Shirek just another used up black leader slapped down by her own party? 

Many in the South Berkeley community and in the City of Berkeley in general cannot stand by mute as Ms. Shirek is being “cast out” in clear disrespect. We join Congresswoman Barbara Lee, Supervisor Keith Carson, and former Congressman Ron Dellums and say NO! We cannot stand by idle and voiceless while another African-American leader is shown such disrespect. As Ms. Shirek as so often said, “the struggle continues.” Why is it so that respect must be a struggle? 

Concerned Citizens of District 3: 

Reverend M. Gayle Dickson, James Sweeney, Percy Davis, Sam Dyke, Frank Davis, Jr. 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

While UC’s proposed redevelopment of UC Village and the Gill Tract is in a one-year lull due to lack of funds, we call to the community to ask the university to recreate its design. As proposed, it would extract two historic Little League fields from the interior of the UC Village and place them on the Gill Tract.  

This should not happen. The Little League fields should remain where they are in order to preserve the future integrity of and possibilities for this unique piece of farmland, the last of its kind in the Bay Area. 

We, Urban Roots/Friends of the Gill Tract, have developed a plan which would preserve and transform this multi-faceted gem into an educational local jewel as an urban farm which would be a legacy for our children and the future of the Bay Area. 

A call to sow this vision into becoming a reality of substance and nurturance for our community: the Village Creek Farm and Gardens of the Gill Tract. Please join us. www.gilltract.com 

Kim Linden, Friends of the Gill Tract, organic gardener 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

“Thousands of Ballots Still to be Counted” (Daily Planet, Nov. 5-8). Yes, it is hard to imagine the exit polls foretelling a Kerry victory, then the “real” count catches up to counter the way people said they voted as they departed the facility. Yet, the numbers turned up differently, in fact, the pundits who predicted a Kerry victory in the early evening were baffled and gonged hard by the midnight hour’s revelations. Who needs to wade through a pile of paper when a computer read-out of votes in, votes on, and votes totaled pops up like toast hardly heated and drops onto a plate of votes cast atop cold scrambled eggs. Oops, we’re mixing food and politics, a digression that plagued the entire campaign where the media fed the people side dishes, all swallowed blithely hook, lie and stinker: feeling more protected from terrorism, able to access deeper tax cut pockets, torpedoed manufacturing jobs be canned there’s always military supply spending, and so glad to have a gun myself in case the new neighbors turn out to be gay marrieds. And now what? Four more years of hate, hypocrisy and holocaust? Is that really what the votes amounted to? Just how credible is the vote count? Is anybody counting on the counters to count properly? How meaningful to the security of this system of tallying reality is it that this election and the last election have had candidates who dropped the pursuit of a challenge? Is it that nobody counts anymore, computers do, and the same nobody that ran for president herself so recently counts no more in the face of the “real” numbers, because those numbers represent the rest of uncontested reality? You better believe it. 

CC Saw 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

The election is over. The democrats are now blaming Ralph Nader and the Greens for their candidate John Kerry’s loss. 

First, the immense fraud by the campaign led by Karl Rove and making some wait eight or nine hours in line disqualifying many African American votes in Ohio, fraud in the computer voting procedures at the polls. One county in Ohio has only 638 registered voters but Bush got nearly 4,000 votes there, sending letters to Africa American voters in Florida and North Carolina telling them that they will be arrested if they came to the polls because of failure to pay traffic fines. This helped Bush get 59 million votes. 

Second, the Kerry campaign proceeded on a pro-war policy, pro-patriot act agenda which alienated millions of voters. That is why Kerry got 55 million votes. 

Ralph Nader did not contribute to Kerry’s loss. In 2000, he received nearly three million votes. In 2004 he barely got 300,000. Mr. Cobb of the Green Party received only 134,000 of the 500,000 Greens registered nationwide. Bush won by 4,000,000 plus votes. Most Nader and Cobb supporter voted for Kerry out of fear. 

The blame should be places a the foot of the corporations and their candidate George Bush and not Ralph Nader. 

John Murko