Letters to the Editor

Tuesday December 07, 2004


Editors, Daily Planet: 

The premise of your article “Two Groups Battle for KPFA Listener Board” by Jakob Schiller (Daily Planet, Dec. 3-6) is incorrect and therefore the whole article is based on a lie. The LSB does not order time changes for Democracy Now or any other program. The board merely affirms the democratic decision by the Program Council that moves Democracy Now to prime time in the morning and now to rebroadcast in the evening.  

Also, the article fails to note that electing the ‘pro-staff’ slate would replace the leadership on the board and all black leadership—the PNB director, the treasurer, the secretary, and the chair of the Outreach Committee (Tenderloin summit manager).  

If we cannot rely on Berkeley print media to be fair and balanced...who can we rely on? 

Warm regards, 

LaVarn Williams 

KPFA LSB Ttreasurer  




Editors, Daily Planet: 

Mr. Rumsfeld’s military strategy in Iraq started with shock and awe and evolved into a long hard slog implementing, without intending to, a perversion of the Powell Doctrine: Invade with underwhelming force and don’t worry about exiting. 

Currently, Mr. Rumsfeld, ever the loyal minister, prepares for an election in Iraq on schedule, because “an imperfect election is better than no election.” Having learned nothing from Powell, a general who was once a hero, Mr. Rumsfeld cannot be expected to learn from the situation in the Ukraine where we see evidence that an imperfect election can be very, very bad.  

Marvin Chachere 

San Pablo 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

Why are confederate cult Christians bragging about the rape of Fallujah? 

“American troops took Fallujah by storm this week,” bragged the evening news. “Airplanes strafed insurgents and tanks rolled through the streets.” 

Why would people who actually call themselves Christians want to make the rape of Fallujah sound like a good thing? You would think, after reading the teachings of Jesus every day like they claim to do, that they would have the good grace to shut up about it. 

Every night before we go to bed, let us take a minute to pray for George Bush’s dead...in Afghanistan, Israel, New York, Iraq, Palestine, Sudan, Nigeria, Columbia, Arlington... 

Last week a friend of mine found the decomposed body of a poverty-stricken and ill old man in her back yard—where he had gone to curl up and die. 

     America can—and must—do better. 

Jane Stillwater 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

I admire both Bob Burnett and the Daily Planet for being willing to seriously consider the evidence of voter fraud. At a time when most of the major media (even the Bay Guardian) are unwilling to look at this evidence, this is a vital public service. 

The fact that all of the evidence gathered so far does not add up to 3 million stolen votes is not enough to dismiss the charges of voter fraud. It would be a miracle if an underfunded and ignored group of bloggers could have found every single example of fraud. No one expects the police to catch every single criminal. The most plausible conclusion is that what we found so far is just the tip of the ice berg. 

I found Burnett’s suggestion that the exit poll discrepancy was produced improper sampling of the suburbs and exurbs to be plausible. But Is there any evidence to back it up? If so, I would appreciate it if the Planet would publish it. If this is only a speculation, it is still more plausible that voter fraud is what made the difference, for there is, as Burnett points out, plenty of evidence for that. 

I also agree with Burnett that the Democrats would have better luck if they energized their base, rather than tried to appeal to the center. But that doesn’t mean that Bush actually won this election. 

Teed Rockwell 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

On Bob Burnett’s conclusions that Bush won because the Republicans did a good job at getting out the vote, I just don’t get it. Elections are won by the candidate who gets the most votes, not a subjective opinion about how skillfully a campaign was run. The fact that the Republicans ran a good campaign is not evidence that they got more votes. The only way to know who got the most votes is to count the votes. 

Lynn Davidson 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

P. Levitt’s Nov. 23 reply suggests a misunderstanding of my Nov. 19 letter, and of other things. Allow me to clarify. 

Levitt says he’s “saddened to see our downtown movie theaters become less vital than Emeryville’s because it is too difficult to develop viably in Berkeley.” That’s odd: Berkeley’s last repertory theater (the Fine Arts) recently died because the city’s most vigorous developer handily tore down its building. 

If Berkeley’s first-run theaters are losing business to Emeryville—which I doubt—it’s likely because the latter offers much easier parking. Plus, maybe a place to get a bite after 9 p.m. 

UCLA’s moviegoing district really has declined, though—depressing nearby businesses and real estate. The New York Times attributes this (in a Dec. 1 article) solely to limited parking. 

Levitt also says he’s baffled by how one would define “a reasonable population size” for Berkeley. An easy answer would be some 102,000 to 117,000 people—its range over the last 35 years. 

I value living in a community small enough that city department heads return citizens’ phone calls. Since Levitt says he’s lived in Berkeley for 20 years, I bet he appreciates the same things I do. I don’t want to live in a big city run by an unresponsive machine. Aggressively growing the city’s population won’t spread its benefits, only destroy them. 

Over the Oakland border, mayor Jerry Brown is struggling to add 10,000 new residents to that city’s population of 400,000. Maybe Berkeley should add a proportionate 2,500 new residents. 

Beyond that, let’s help Jerry out by “franchising” Berkeley’s attractions into North Oakland and other neighboring cities. Probably I should volunteer in Oakland schools, and Levitt should keep an eye on the Richmond City Council. Some other Berkeley resident needs to open a tofu stand in El Cerrito. 

Levitt writes that “UCB’s population will continue to grow...We can only respond responsibly by planning well for that which is inevitable.” But that’s defeatist talk, and redundant besides. 

UCB’s growth can ultimately be controlled by riding herd on Sacramento to repeal UC’s archaic constitutional exemption from local planning regulations. The UCB campus is already one of the nation’s largest universities. It, too, needs to start “franchising” some of its prestige to other UC campuses whose host cities can better accommodate physical expansion. 

Levitt laments that “vigorous dialogue so quickly disintegrates into name calling.” That’s curious: He kicked off this exchange by dismissing existing residents as NIMBYs, and their dwellings as “urban blight, existing eyesores.” 

How shortsighted! California’s vernacular structures—which the late design historian Reyner Banham celebrated as “Dingbat Architecture of Freewayland”—are to be cherished. 

Finally, Levitt writes that architects and developers should not be viewed as “outside interlopers.” I disagree. Developers do nothing that government couldn’t do for itself—that is, they build stuff. By privatizing this basic function, they accumulate huge amounts of money. 

Then they distort the political system by playing kingmakers. Then they distort it further, calling in their chits by demanding zoning changes to make it easier for them to build still more stuff. Lastly, they have the gall to claim that this isn’t corporate welfare, but a public service! 

As for Berkeley’s crybaby architects, I’ll say it again: If they had any real talent, they’d have commissions. 

Marcia Lau