Letters to the Editor

Friday July 01, 2005


Editors, Daily Planet: 

Your June 28 story about the proposed development at 2701 Shattuck Ave. states that I “had been Choyce’s partner in the project until the cleric bought him out.” 

If I have—or have had—any ownership in this project this is the first time I have heard of it. 

Could Mr. Brenneman kindly provide the source for his assertion? Legal documents and filings with the county are the usual sources for such information. I’d be grateful to see what he relied on to make such a claim.  

Patrick Kennedy 

PS. South Shattuck is one of the most underachieving parts of our city. I think this project would help enormously to turn that situation around. Berkeley’s sky-high prices will only come down when the city produces more for-sale housing. Witness the effect the construction of all the new rental housing has done to lower rental rates—something you comment on frequently.  




Editors, Daily Planet: 

Just as thousands of others throughout this country, I have been captivated by Berkeley’s most recent saga of Thomas Jefferson and the Sequoia tree. The one question I have not seen addressed thus far: Are Nancy and Maggie “Related Riddles” or “Unrelated Riddles”? I would love to know the answer. 

Ann McReynolds  

Saint Louis, MO  




Editors, Daily Planet: 

As flags wave gently in the breeze this holiday the GOP has launched another assault on the First Amendment with its flag amendment. Flag burning is practically non-existent in this country—averaging 10 times a year—yet Republicans and conservatives are bound and determined to turn the flag into a symbol of repression. The GOP continues to wrap itself in the flag using it as a wedge issue to divide America and as a tool for political advantage. Representative Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) has it right when he says, “If the flag needs protection at all, it needs protection from members of Congress who value the symbol more than the freedoms that the flag represents.” 

Ron Lowe 

Nevada City 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

Group? I’m in a group? I have an organization? If I do, are they holding meetings without telling me? 

Ms. Taubenfeld, in her June 28 letter to the editor, has misunderstood my letter to the editor of June 24 criticizing Councilmember Lieber. It was directed at his pronouncement from the Albany City Council podium that the residents of Albany had no say about what would happen with development at Golden Gate Fields. 

I am not “pro-development” and I am not “pro-no-development.” I am “pro-find-out-what-is-going-on.” That is what I am doing right now, and that is what I encourage everyone to do before they vote on this Measure C issue when it comes to the ballot. 

If Ms. Taubenfeld wishes to ignore one side of the issue and hold to her dogmatic opinion, she is no friend of Albany. Rather than continuing to flog this issue on these pages, I invite her to call me and discuss the issue; I’m in the book. I am open to her opinion, and I can offer her a cup of coffee and a cookie. 

Lubov Mazur 





Editors, Daily Planet: 

As a person with a family history of cancer, and is also at risk of developing mental changes with advancing age, I am horrified by the proposal of Sutter Medical to close both the oncology and geriatric psychiatry units at Summit Medical Center in Oakland. It seems Sutter claims that the number of patients suffering from these ailments is dropping. Huh?? 

My horror is not diminished by the fact that no one else seems to have reacted to this outrageous matter since Mr. Brenneman first reported on it June 7 (“Patient Shifts, Contract Spark Alta Bates Protest”). His next piece appeared on June 17 (“Emeryville Nurses’ Protest Targets Major Fundraiser for Schwarzenegger”). While I liked the coverage, I was startled to see the relatively uncomplicated name of Jan Rodolfo, an oncology nurse spokesperson, morphing into Joan Rudolfo (see caption of the June 17 page 27). When I accessed the Daily Planet’s website, I was amused by the search hint: Check spelling—be as specific as possible. I gently advise Mr. Brenneman to follow this advice, especially with people’s names, in all his future pieces, which I look forward to reading.  

Sonya Rodolfo-Sioson 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

As a south Berkeley flatlands resident and neighbor to the infamous and truly offensive “Flying Cottage,” I want to express my strong support for the “wake-up call” issued by Sharon Hudson in her article in the June 28 Daily Planet, “It Takes a Community.” I didn’t live in Berkeley yet in the 1970s, when developers were gutting neighborhoods by buying and demolishing older homes and replacing them with ugly “fourplex” apartment buildings. Fortunately, someone saw the light before every neighborhood was torn asunder in this way, and apparently the city planning ordinances changed to prevent any more such projects. The ugly intruders, remain, however, as a reminder of how easy it is to destroy the esthetic integrity of a historic residential block.  

The new attempts by greedy individuals to profit from projects that destroy the integrity of flatland residential neighborhoods with incongruously tall buildings reminds me of those fourplexes. Our neighborhoods and their integrity form one of the crucial attractions for living in Berkeley. This is equally true of the flats and the hills in all parts of Berkeley, not just the north. What is the historical reason for zoning residential neighborhoods full of one family homes and duplexes for three to six story buildings? Do any other South and West Berkeley residents want to revise the zoning regulations for their neighborhoods before this destructive trend accelerates? We already have stringent regulations regarding the allowable footprint of buildings on residential lots. How about caring for our airspace as well?  

These developers may profit individually short-term, but at what long-term detriment to our whole community?  

Rosemary Hyde 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

I live a block from the 1301 Oxford St. site at which Congregation Beth El is building its new synagogue complex. I’m writing because I understand that the Beth El leaders have failed to live up to their agreement with our neighborhood association and that despite that, the city is preparing to issue a certificate of occupancy for the project. 

Not only do I pay taxes to the city, but I have invested a substantial amount of energy and money in my property to help improve both the appearance and the morale of the neighborhood. I expect the city to provide essential services and protect my interests. The Beth El project will have major negative impacts on my neighborhood. An area that already has parking issues without the introduction of the new CBE buildings. It was to mitigate those CBE impacts that LOCCNA went through a long and hard negotiation with Beth El’s leaders. After many compromises, a deal was reached, a legally binding agreement signed, and the language of that agreement incorporated into the Conditional Use Permit issued for the project. 

That deal was a compromise. To preserve the creek and minimize parking and traffic impacts on our neighborhood and our daily lives, LOCCNA’s negotiators yielded on a number of key points. Since that deal is written into the city’s permit conditions, if the congregation’s leaders fail to live up to the deal they signed, it is the city’s responsibility to enforce it. 

Frankly, I am surprised that CBE isn’t being more considerate of a community that they intend to join. And I demand that the city require full compliance with the conditions it specified before allowing the buildings to be occupied. 

In particular: 

• The city must require an adequate, detailed parking plan that complies with the language of the agreement and the permit. 

• The city must ensure the protection of Codornices Creek by requiring bank-stabilization and other landscaping before permitting occupancy. 

It is self-evident to anyone looking at the buildings being constructed that this is a massive addition placed in the middle of a residential neighborhood—my neighborhood. It is time for the city to show that it means what it says about neighborhood preservation by enforcing its own rules.  

Kate Farnady