Letters to the Editor

Friday August 05, 2005


Editors, Daily Planet: 

I am writing to correct the public perception regarding the City of Berkeley’s policy on advertising in community publications. After reading letters alleging the City of Berkeley is not purchasing ad space in the Berkeley Daily Planet, the Planet published mistaken information that a citywide policy was issued to prevent use of the Berkeley Daily Planet for public notices. This is not the case. The city’s policy is to use adjudicated newspapers or newspapers of general circulation for legally required notices.  

1) There is no boycott of the Berkeley Daily Planet. It is against the policy of a city municipality to take a political stand for or against a newspaper. 

2) The city is required by state statutes to use adjudicated newspapers or newspapers of general circulation for legal public noticing. 

3) Sometimes economics is a factor. The city continues to seek the least cost for advertising and to use as many outlets as possible. 

4) Various departments within the city may issue public notices using a variety of outlets, as long as newspapers of general circulation and adjudicated papers are used for legally required notices.  

I urge the Planet to correct the public record in this matter and not rely on hearsa y in its reporting.  

Phil Kamlarz 

City Manager 


EDITOR’S NOTE: The Daily Planet has never reported in a news article on the City of Berkeley’s policies regarding advertising in the press. The paper has never been qualified under state law to print legally required notices which must run in adjudicated general circulation papers, and has never expected to carry them. A Planet editorial alluded to a report from an ad salesman that some discretionary announcement (non-legal) advertising had been transferred by the city manager’s office from the locally owned Planet to a corporate competitor, a fact later confirmed by a call to that office made by a columnist. Further confirmation was provided by a conversation held with an elected official on the topic by a freelance contributor, who then wrote a letter to the editor complaining about what he’d learned. Mr. Kamlarz’s third point is presumably his office’s justification for placing its ads in the corporate publication. Citizens are encouraged to comment on wh ether or not they think it’s good public policy to “buy local.” 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

Many of Bob Burnett’s remarks of June 28 (“When Down Looks Like Up”) not dealing with Bush’s military adventure in Iraq refer to the administration’s Orwe llian semantics. Allow me to knit the two and then to comment. 

Until 1947, our military forces were grouped under the appropriately named War Department. After some months as the National Military Establishment, it was re-named to its current title, Depa rtment of Defense. The secretary who straddled these departments was James Forrestall, who soon killed himself and promptly had the then-largest aircraft carrier named after him. 

After 9/11, something horribly dubbed the Department of Homeland Security w as invented, still without much apparent use or effectiveness. 

The various failures of our intelligence and investigative agencies aside, my proposal is to restore a direct and honest use of the English language by renaming the Department of Defense as t he War Department, since war, both aggressive and covert is its business, and that Homeland Security be renamed the Department of Defense, since national defense is its alleged purpose. 

We can go from there. 

Phil Allen 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

As a former Peace and Justice Commissioner, I was disturbed to see that a month after the Peace and Justice Commission failed to muster enough votes to support a resolution to support a U.S. Department of Peace, it was also unable to pass a resolution from Code Pink to bring California’s National Guard troops home from Iraq. Something is seriously wrong here. At the heart of the matter lies what I would consider to be some horribly misguided commission appointments by some of Berkeley’s elected officials. Commissioner Wornick, for example, is an extreme conservative opposed to Peace and Justice’s mission and led the opposition to both proposals. Considering that his appointer, Mr. Wozniak, is Berkeley’s most conservative councilmember with a his tory of defending Berkeley Lab’s nuclear weapons work and tritium contamination, it is of little surprise. 

What’s disappointing is that Mayor Bates, who claims to be progressive, appointed Leslie Cocholla, one of the commission’s most conservative member s. She voted both against bringing California National Guard troops back from Iraq and against urging Congress to create a Department of Peace. She claimed her refusal to support the Department of Peace was because the City of Berkeley might suffer fiscal burden. That claim was easily discredited when it became apparent the only cost for Berkeley was the price of the postage to mail copies of the resolution to Washington.  

Remember how the Bush administration shifted its rationale for the war after the w eapons of mass destruction argument was discredited? Well, after council adopted the Department of Peace resolution the mayor’s appointee realized her argument had been discredited and acted similarly, insisting meeting minutes not reveal that fiscal impact on Berkeley was the reason she originally stated for not supporting the Department of Peace resolution.  

I recently called the mayor and discussed this matter with him as he is about to appoint a new Peace and Justice commissioner to replace Cocholla. Disappointingly he made no firm commitment to improve the situation by reappointing a real advocate for peace to the commission. The mayor is supposed to represent the sentiments of the voters and should not be appointing people who are unwilling to supp ort peace and bring the troops home.  

Berkeley has a proud history of speaking out on issues of peace and social justice. I hope things will change if enough people realize what Mayor Bates’ appointee to the Peace and Justice Commission is doing to under mine Berkeley’s opposition to war.  

Alan Moore 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

Joanna Graham’s attack upon me was pure libel. With zero evidence, I am accused of having single-handedly “infiltrated and neutralized” the Peace and Justice Commission. Who exactly on Peace and Justice have I appointed or caused to be appointed? In the words of Jane Litman, one member of Peace and Justice, in her op-ed piece, “John [Gertz] is not a member of Peace and Justice, nor of city government, nor does he speak for the Jewish community. He is an individual citizen.” The fact of the matter is that I have recommended exactly one new member for consideration, an African American, with no known position (even to me) on the Middle East, and she has not been appointed to the post. I made that recommendation because I do feel that Peace and Justice should no longer be the exclusive playground of Berkeley’s lunatic fringe. African-Americans (who do not currently hold a seat) and other Berkeleyans should be allowed seats.  

Not satisfied with her first utterly false accusation, Graham insinuates that I would spy for Israel and even murder for Israel. I have indeed become outraged by extreme anti-Israel and even anti-Semitic incitement in the pages of the Daily Planet, on KPF A, and in Peace and Justice’s mindless resolutions. As a private citizen I have decided to do all I can to take Berkeley back from this gutter. And yes, as one private citizen, I have said publicly that I will do all that I can to make sure that politicia ns, like Linda Maio, who have supported hateful one-sided anti-Israel resolutions, will not become mayor. But I want to stress that my every action has been and will be legal and ethical. Such actions include writing op-ed pieces and letters in this newsp aper, donating and raising money for candidates, and lobbying my elected officials. As for the canard that I am not a real American because I am pro-Israel (I actually identify with Israel’s left wing and, for example, very enthusiastically support Israel’s impending withdrawal from Gaza), well you should know I am also pro-Free Tibet, and pro-Free Burma, and that I would rather see our troops in Darfur than Iraq. I also love Great Britain, and have a soft spot for France and Italy, too. Ms. Graham, I ass ure you that I am as American as you, born, bred and proud to be so. If you visit my home you will find a well-read copy of the Federalist Papers and many similar volumes on my bookshelf. No, Ms. Graham, I will not assassinate anyone, nor blow up City Hal l, even if, in accordance with your conspiratorial delusions, the prime minister of Israel himself orders me to do so. Yes, Ms. Graham, as you note, an American Jew is serving time as an Israeli spy. So perhaps all Jews should be expelled from America, ev en supposed anti-Israel Jews, since they could be double agents. A Palestinian Arab is doing a life sentence for the murder of Robert Kennedy, so let’s throw out all the Arabs too. And let’s not forget the Catholics, who may harbor a secret loyalty to the pope, and the Japanese, who may still furtively worship the emperor, and since I don’t understand Spanish, let’s throw out the Hispanics for good measure since who knows what coded anti-American orders they are receiving over Univision. 

Finally, you ask that Peace and Justice make this the year of discussing Palestine and Israel. This is in line with O’Malley’s recent editorial that called for communication as the antidote to terrorism. Dialogue among the parties on the divisive issue of Palestine/Israel can be very constructive, if sometimes painful. I support it. But Peace and Justice was not promoting dialogue when it passed successive anti-Israel resolutions. The result was not dialogue, but a meeting of hundreds of people on the steps of City Hall screaming slogans at each other and the press, in a disgraceful and decidedly anti-communication spectacle that served only to set Berkeleyans at each other’s throats. 

John Gertz 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

I’m happy to accept Joanna Graham’s invitation to talk about Israel/Palestine. 

I want to talk to progressives first. 

What governments in the Middle East allow women to drive cars, go to school, hold jobs, own land, serve in the legislature, and lead the government? Well, there’s Israel. 

What governments in the Middle East regularly send medical aid teams to impoverished areas in Africa? Hmm, there’s Israel. 

What Middle-East government has a history of democracy combined with freedom of the press to criticize government acts? Israel. 

What Mi ddle-East government has a track record of being the region’s leader in environmental awareness, religious freedom, and gay/lesbian/transgender rights? Israel. 

Now, to talk to everyone: What government has been the focus of a multinational effort to wipe it off the earth from the day it was recognized by the U.N.? Israel. 

What government has used its state-run schools and TV stations to teach children that their political enemies are swine? The Palestinian Authority. 

What government has used the school s and TV stations it controls to teach its children that the best thing they can grow up to be is a suicide bomber? The Palestinian Authority. 

What government gives free rein to murder-organizations like Hamas to bring kids into summer camp for the purpose of training them to commit terrorist slaughter against random civilians? The Palestinian Authority. 

Like Ms. Graham, “I do not pretend to control what my fellow citizens...say.” And, like Ms. Graham, I hope that, with the infusion of facts, “at least the spell will have been broken.” 

David Altschul 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

If I were a logical-minded alien from another world monitoring Earth’s media, I would have to conclude that Israel/Palestine is the largest, most populous nation on the p lanet, therefore dominating the news. My only wish is that the Daily Planet would choose be part of the solution—rather than part of the problem—in Israel/Palestine, and choose not to publish opinion pieces and letters using rude and emotionally laden ter ms such as “Zionazi” or “Islamofacist.” Better yet, I would love to see more opinion pieces and letters which reflect the consensus in the democratic parts our world, namely that both Israelis and Palestinians have a right to self-determination and nation hood. 

I can dream, can’t I? 

John Erlich 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

Just one little problem with Dan Spitzer’s rebuke of Becky O’Malley on the terrorism issue: Israel has killed 10 times as many Palestinian civilians. The terrorist acts against Israel have been in response to the four decades of Israeli occupation of Palestinians. In fact, Israel itself was created by many acts of terror against the Palestinians of which Deir Yassein was only the most prominent. Since the U.S. taxpayers have forked over hundreds of billions of dollars since 1967 alone to support the illegal and immoral Israeli Occupation, it behooves us to especially criticize Israel. Far from being picked on, Israel has had a free ride for way too long from most of the media. 

If you are really such a great Zionist, Spitzer, go live in Israel and stop getting the rest of us involved in defending your favorite state. 

Michael Hardesty 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

When the O’Malleys bought the Daily Planet, ma ny of us were pleased to see the continuation of a much needed resource, a community newspaper. Unfortunately, the Planet under the O’Malleys has covered local matters poorly and with manifest bias and overemphasized international matters in its editorial s and op-eds, something out-of-place in a small, civic daily. 

With reference to the editorial pages, there has been an overwhelming focus upon Israel. John Gertz’s articulate letter of Aug.2-4 notes that as in previous years, the U.N. General Assembly pa ssed 92 condemnation resolutions, of which 88 were directed at Israel. I’d say that the Daily Planet has a similar ratio of pronouncements when it comes to editorial commentary on international matters. Ditto, the past Peace and Justice Commission resolutions brought to the City Council were overwhelmingly anti-Israel. No wonder Ms. O’Malley is so distraught to see a more open-minded Peace and Justice Commission. 

How appropriate that Johanna Graham’s op-ed requesting that Berkeley make 2006 “the year of talking about Israel/Palestine.” A perusal of Graham’s commentary makes it crystalline that she means a year of Israel bashing. Graham’s cracker quickly crumbles when she says we don’t have enough of it. The Daily Planet has and apparently will provide Graham with all the pro-Palestinian propaganda she clearly covets. 

Once again, since Becky O’Malley states she is so opposed to terrorism, I would like her to sans the usual equivocations, criticize the Palestinian punks who blow up innocent Israelis. And while she is at it, condemn the scores of Palestinian adults who, as noted in last Sunday’s San Francisco Chronicle, conduct summer camp in which 10-year-old boys are taught songs championing the murder of Israelis. Surely, Ms. O’Malley, you take issue with that sort of execrable indoctrination of children, don’t you? 

Dan Spitzer 





Editors, Daily Planet: 

We are disappointed by John Geluardi’s article on July 22 (“El Cerrito Café in Danger of Falling Under Starbucks Wheel) as it was unfair and a misrepresentation of Starbucks and its healthy co-existence with a variety of coffee stores and strong commitment to local communities. 

We firmly believe that there is room for choice in every community. As Starbucks has opened stores over t he years, a growing number of independently owned coffeehouses have also sprung up across the United States. As a result, consumers are offered more choices, new jobs have been created and neighborhoods have been enriched with the addition of local gathering places. Starbucks and other coffee retailers offer a unique atmosphere and different products that appeal to the local marketplace. 

We also believe that in many of the neighborhoods where we operate, our presence have actually benefited other coffee retailers by increasing foot traffic and raising consumer awareness of specialty coffee. We recognize the relevance of the J.R. Muggs café to its customers and wish the owners every success in serving the local community in the years ahead. 

At Starbucks, our store partners take considerable pride in the strong relationships we have established with our customers and the community. We actively support local community groups and charities, provide volunteer time and support many organizations. Last year contributions were valued at $14.6 million and volunteers provided 214,000 hours. 

Starbucks has achieved success one cup at a time, one store at a time. We started as a small business in Seattle’s Pike Place market more than 28 years ago. Since then, each one of our stores has become a unique part of its neighborhood. Our stores are about people. We believe that our customers and partners at each location give the store its own personality and atmosphere. 

Finally, we also recognize that our success is not an entitlement and will work towards earning the trust and respect of all our customers. I invite your readers to learn more about the way Starbucks seeks to be good neighbor at www.starbucks.com 

Leamon J. Abrams 

Director, Civic and Community Affairs 

Starbucks Coffee Company 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

I read Tim Lubeck’s letter about Berkeley Honda with sympathy. It worries me that unions and their members appear to be set on a very narrow track. I ask union members to consider: When does it become unreasonable to ask for more money and benefits? Unions are not to blame. They merely follow in the wake of a mainstream social attitude which views inflation and rising costs as normal. I think the problem lies in accepting without question a s tatus quo built on false premises. The mainstream encourages us to get in debt and above all keep buying. There are alternative ways to live—as a member of a residential cooperative, for example. For most people, housing is one of the biggest costs. It do esn’t have to be. 

Jean Hohl 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

Joanna Graham’s long and verbose commentary is full of prejudicial remarks, and simplistic, dangerous generalizations. Picking on individuals like Eric Alterman or John Gertz and identifying them with American Jewry is not exactly scientific, but typical of Ms. Graham’s approach. Simply referring to some isolated incidents (e.g. individual Americans spying for Israel) and anti-Israel myths is definitely not the way of encouraging or initiating “a year of talking about Israel/Palestine.” Ms. Graham’s inappropriate and ridiculous accusations about “infiltrating and neutralizing” Berkeley’s Peace and Justice Commission was ably addressed by one of the commissioners, Rabbi Jane Litman (August 2-4, 2005). 

For me, the worst part of this “commentary” appears in parenthesis in the last paragraph: “Do not think that Zionists have not been active here: [reference to school curriculum] The first two books my son read in high school were about the Holocaust!” Is reading about the Holocaust a Zionist plot? I, a Holocaust survivor, reject Ms. Graham’s statement, even when it comes from one who identifies herself as a “Jewish American.” (Interestingly, with this one exception, she speaks about Jew s using the third person plural) As a Jew, and as an American, I am deeply saddened that in 21st century America, Ms. Graham, a Berkeley resident, has joined the circle of anti-Zionists who cross the line into anti-Semitism. 

Ferenc Raj 




Edi tors, Daily Planet: 

Just another voice here, crying for our swimming access. I live two blocks from Willard Pool and it has become obvious to me that this community resource is very, very important to our community. Terminating access to this pool is not the way to generate support in the community for school projects. I believe the person who sets priorities for the district needs to take a better assessment of what is supported and what is not supported by Berkeley citizens. 

Seeing the amount of my pr operty taxes that go to the BUSD, I believe that it is important for those of us who rely on Willard Pool for needed exercise be heard and be dealt a fair hand in what those taxes pay for. It seems this battle never ends. Hear the message, BUSD: We pay fo r all of the programs you approve, and without significant complaint. It’s time to repay that support by guaranteeing the continuation of Willard Pool! 

Michael Tandy 



Editors, Daily Planet: 

Shirley Stuart (Letters, Aug. 2-4) says she’s disappointed that I didn’t offer the “accurate, unbiased information” on RFID which I was calling for in my letter of July 29. I wasn’t holding out on the readers, I don’t have that kind of information about RFID. I do have a technical background in other areas of el ectronics and radio, so that I think I’d know the straight goods if I saw them. The intent of my letter was to criticize the Daily Planet for not doing a better job of investigative reporting on this topic. 

I’m interested in seeing what the Planet has to say about the meeting last Monday (Aug 1). I hope there was a reporter there. 

David Coolidge 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

Candace Kilchenman, environmentalist and activist, left us on Saturday, June 25 after a brief illness. She served m any years on the Berkeley-East Bay Gray Panthers Board, and was active in TriValley Cares and the Sierra Club. Her concerns were global warming, environmental degradation, water purity, and peace. She will be dearly missed by her many friends, her daughte r, Chris Oller of Fresno and son Michael Kilchenman of Santa Cruz. 

A Celebration of her Life will be held on Saturday, Aug. 13 at 2 p.m. at Strawberry Creek Lodge, 1320 Addison St. Please call 486-8010 for more information. Donations in her name may be made to the Berkeley Gray Panthers, 1403 Addison St., Berkeley, 94709. 

Margot Smith  

Berkeley-East Bay Gray Panthers 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

This letter is in response to a commentary by Alyss Dorese (“Why I’m Boycotting Walgreens,” July 29). 

It was quite an interesting and somewhat amusing article. She professed her confusion about the differences between the Walgreens and Berkeley Bowl parking lots. She claimed that the two stores were separated by their adjacent parking lots. Yes, Ms. Dore se, but I guess you missed the street that also separated the lots. It’s known as Oregon Street, hardly confusing. There are also large white arrows on the paving indicating which is an exit and which is an entrance. 

But I digress. The real reason she wa nts to boycott Walgreens and suggests that others do also, is because her car got a boot on the wheel and she received a ticket for illegally parking in Walgreens lot to shop in Berkeley Bowl. I go to Walgreens quite often and I see people pushing carts full of groceries from Berkeley Bowl to their cars in Walgreens lot very often.  

She’s mad at Walgreens for that, even though they had every right to do it, and they reduced the fine to $30 from $60! On top of that it seems that Walgreens has a policy of allowing people to park in their lot if they shop at Walgreens first, then shop at Berkeley Bowl. I doubt if Berkeley Bowl has the same type of policy. 

I’m all for boycotts. I’ve been boycotting McDonalds for many many years, ever since Ray Kroc gave all those illegal contributions to the Nixon campaign. 

I’m merely a customer of Walgreens, not an employee, nor a friend of any employees. I just found Ms. Dorese’s article and call for a boycott ridiculous, and felt a need to address it. 

Charles R. Shaw 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

In reading Alyss Dorese’s July 29 commentary about her parking experiences in the Walgreens lot near Berkeley Bowl, I was delighted to learn that Walgreens actually boots and fines Berkeley Bowl shoppers rather than just t hreatening to. 

Ms. Dorese’s essay was full of the amazing lack of logic and common sense often found in Berkeley residents, whether for geriatric reasons or because of baby boomer self-centeredness. “It is very confusing entering the lots trying to figur e out whose is whose.” Well, duh, the one surrounding Berkeley Bowl belongs to Berkeley Bowl, and the one next to Walgreens belongs to Walgreens.  

And again, “I noticed that although the parking lot was three-quarters full, Walgreens’ store was nearly em pty.” Yes, Walgreens is a drug/variety store, with a normal flow of customers picking up items of ordinary living—toothpaste, greeting cards, diapers, prescriptions. The Walgreens lot is also much smaller than the Berkeley Bowl lot. Berkeley Bowl is an ov erhyped boutique store. I lived on Newbury Street behind Berkeley Bowl for many years, and watched crazed, frantic Bowl shoppers park in driveways and by fire hydrants to get into the store to push and shove and claw their way to the baby arugula, or what ever. 

No matter how mighty the sense of entitlement of Berkeley Bowl shoppers, Walgreens shoppers need to be able to park too. Older or disabled customers can’t always walk many blocks from neighborhood parking spaces, and they need to be able to get th eir prescriptions and other necessities. Walgreens is within its rights to enforce parking restrictions. Other Berkeley stores, such as Andronico’s, Safeway, Long’s, etc. also post notices restricting parking to customers, and to a particular length of time. 

Unlike Ms. Dorese, I patronize Walgreens, and I don’t go to Berkeley Bowl. I go to the farmer’s markets (no, not in Berkeley—the same pushing, shoving and clawing happens there too), and try to eat locally and seasonally. You might want to try that, Ms. Dorese—it will save wear and tear on your nerves, and the parking will be simpler too. 

Aija Kanbergs 





Editors, Daily Planet: 

In response to Neil Doherty, who states he had difficulty understanding the point of my lette r titled “Rose-Colored Glasses”: I refer you to an excellent essay parallel in themes. A Google search will connect you to Stanley Crouch’s Salon essay titled, “Addicted to Violence.” I simply illustrated the local picture as it pertains to reactionary an d revolutionary violence. 

As to the rest of the misinformation Doherty attributes to me, I will not respond. He is clearly a “hater” with no real knowledge as to my vision or the huge volunteer effort I provide for the betterment of our community. 

I would like to further explain the amazing results of our grass roots campaign. Our campaign provided an alternative to “business as usual” in a council district under the control of the BCA party. We received 37 percent of the vote while being outspent 8-1. We accomplished this within a mere 6 weeks time without any political machine support, no insider endorsements, door hangers etc. However, I did win the only endorsement which is based on a debate of issues, the Oakland Tribune. Oh yeah, I happen to be a white woman running in a district identified as African American. Clearly our agenda resonated with plenty of tired South Berkeley folks. 

Laura Menard 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

I would like inform your readers about our voting age demo on Tu esday July 12 in Berkeley to raise public awareness of a proposed ballot initiative to lower the voting age to 17 for school board elections in Berkeley. While the number of people who attended, 8, were slim, we got a fair amount of reporters. It was a le arning experience. I hope that more people show interest in the next one (in early October). 

I have talked to most of the City Council about this. I think that the City Council may go for it, because it is a compromise compared to our last proposal (aski ng the state to allow 16-year-olds to vote in local elections). I would like to thank our past supporters (Worthington, Moore, Anderson, Spring) and like to thank those who are keeping an open mind (Bates, Capitelli, Maio). I think that it is important to allow high school seniors to evaluate their administrators. Call the Mayor and Councilmembers to show your support. 

Also, I have talked with the majority of the school board. I know that this is a hard choice for them, because it is scary to have to appeal to 500 additional voters, but I think that they will make the right decision. Mr. Doran has shown interest in this measure. Ms. Issel opposes enfranchising a younger demographic, because she thinks that this resolution would politicize the classroom. Mr. Rivera has had some doubts, but he said that he won’t make his final decision until it appears before him. Unfortunately, I have not had the pleasure of speaking with Ms. Riddle, but I am looking forward to that. I would like to thank Mr. Rivera and M s. Riddle for considering this. And of course, I’d like to thank Mr. Doran for showing support. Please show them that you care by telling them that you want them to allow 17-year-olds to vote in school board elections or to at least give Berkeley voters the opportunity to vote on it. If Berkeley doesn’t want it, fine. But if Berkeley does want it, local officials should give them a chance. 

C’mon, Berkeley. Let’s get the ball rolling. Tell the papers what you think of our idea (whether you like it or not). We need to have a conversation about this in the press to get our cause recognized. I don’t care how short or long your letter is, but get it in. Write it now! 

We are planning to have another demonstration before the City Council Meeting on Oct. 11. So if you are interested in coming, please e-mail me now (baucer@gmail.com; of course, right after you write your letter to the newspaper). We need more people to come to support to show to the officials that Berkeleyans do care about democracy. We need to show them that Berkeleyans do care about their youth and that Berkeleyans do want this now. 

Thank you for your continued support. 

Rio Bauce 

Chair of the National Youth Rights Association-Berkeley Chapter 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

Supreme Co urt Justice Sandra Day O’Connor was a powerful force for moderation, independence and consensus-building on a much divided court. Judging from the giddy anticipation on the right and from the anti-abortion movement, Supreme Court nominee John Roberts will be anything but a consensus builder. Let’s just hope he doesn’t push the Supreme Court too far to the right and over the cliff.  

Remember how the anti-choice jihadists went off with the mere mention of Alberto Gonzales being a replacement for O’Connor? John Roberts’ selection as Supreme Court nominee has quieted down this noisy contingent. John Roberts is solidly in the religious right’s corner. White House spin will tell you just the opposite. 

Roe v.Wade is just a memory even if a recent poll confirmed 68 percent of Americans are against overturning it while 29 percent were for overturning it. We are about to witness what a committed religious and extremist minority can do when they take over a government. 

Ron Lowe 

Nevada City