Letters to the Editor

Friday September 09, 2005


Editors, Daily Planet: 

Thanks for publishing my article, “Listeners Marched to Support KPFA” (Sept. 2). 

I want to correct a wrong impression readers might get, due to a misprint plus an edit of the title of the piece, which together give the impression that I disrespect the staff’s contribution to KPFA. 

The station is pretty polarized, at this point, but will be trying to reconcile differences so that we can work together towards our common goals, which are considerable. (I believe the LSB has committed to be implementing Mr. Campanella’s “Six-point Plan for Reconciliation and Transformation”.) 

It was not my intention to say things in such a way as to exacerbate divisiveness at the station and I did not write the piece that way! I want the station to heal and personally, to be able to work on committees with staff who won’t prejudge me as their enemy! 

The third paragraph should have read like this—except that I’m putting in brackets the section which the Daily Planet accidentally omitted: 

“It was an amazing victory when we won the station back and won democratic participation for the listeners, who were instrumental in the victory. Our governance was changed from a general manager and an advisory board, who did not represent us or the staff, to an elected board composed of 18 listener representatives and 6 staff representatives, and reclaimed the] five stations’ representation on the National Board.” 

The other change was in the title, which I wrote as “[A Listener] Marched to Support the Station, not (Just) the Staff.” The “Just” was left out to shorten it, but it gives the impression that I or we did not support the staff!  

We do support the staff; the only thing I do not support is those attempts on the part of some of the staff to deny some 30,000 listener-supporters their voice in station affairs. 

I look forward to us all working together using our station to strengthen our communities in bringing about a better world. 

Mara Rivera 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

Newsflash! Everything isn’t about racism! Suzy Parker wrote an intelligent column about a teenager who was taking advantage of her hospitality and a grandmother who was able to teach Suzy a thing or two about maintaining control. The column was amusing and instructive—and not at all about the teenager’s being black, as at least one of your readers seemed to think. 

Susan Parker’s column is the reason I almost never miss picking up the Tuesday edition of the Daily Planet. 

Carolyn Bradley 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

Dear Madeline Smith: Well I am a black person and I love Susan Parker and I think about all the things that are wrong in the world you would be on the top of my list. Suzi, as we call her around our neighborhood, has helped so many people. You read her articles and misinterpret what she says as being racist. But that is not the case. She is around African-Americans 24/7, and for you to just write bad things makes me feel sorry for you, because you don’t know her and you have never been in her company to actually know what she is really like. So, my friend, you should take a look the mirror.  

Susan Parker for president! 

Kisha Scott 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

The people Susan Parker wrote about liked her articles. But Madeline Smith Moore says they were “unsophisticated.” So their opinions don’t matter? Just who appointed Ms. Moore to decide what African Americans should and should not enjoy? 

Nancy Ward 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

Lack of preparedness on the part of the U.S. Government is as much responsible for devastation in the hurricane region as is the poor response in the aftermath. 

The levees located near the region were no secret. Why wasn’t there a plan for repairing broken levees, and why weren’t they shored up before the storm hit, in preparation for the worst? 

If the U.S. can airlift supplies and food to foreign countries, by plane and helicopter, why wasn’t that response prepared for a natural disaster in its own country? 

I don’t buy for a minute the excuse that flooding has kept supplies from arriving on the ground to the people in the devastated regions. Not when millions of dollars are being spent for equipment and machinery that has created so much devastation on foreign lands. Why doesn’t the U.S. put taxpayer dollars to good use instead of destruction? 

These questions need to be answered. This lack of preparedness and pathetic response is unconscionable.  

Get the people that are there what they need now. If they need water and food, drop it to them before they die. Get them out of there before disease takes hold. Bring all the troops, planes and helicopters deployed to Iraq and around the world home now to help with this effort. 

This is nothing short of parental neglect on a national scale. What example is being set for good people in the U.S. and world-wide? 

The current conditions in New Orleans are American Apartheid in action, for all the world to see. 

Marcy Greenhut 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

I think those who claim that George W. Bush doesn’t care about poor people who are black are mistaken. Actually Bush doesn’t care about poor people regardless of race or ethnic background. 

Meade Fischer 





Editors, Daily Planet: 

With a formerly unthinkable American Holocaust horrifying the whole world, it should be clear to the most obtuse right-wing fundamentalist “Christian” that the George W. Bush administration has no business being in the White House to “lead” the American people. 

If the Democrats can’t rise to an occasion such as the one evolving in Louisiana with a filibuster on the John Roberts nomination, an Alberto Gonzales nomination, and any other nominee to the Supreme Court named by this disastrous president, it is over as a party. I have voted Democratic all my very long life, and never hear a peep from them except a “survey” that elicits no response whatsoever and to which is always attached is a request for funds.  

We are living right now the “exceptional circumstances” agreed on in the Dems’ ill-conceived “compromise”! 

Nancy Chirich 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

I am writing in regard to Becky O’Malley’s Aug. 26 editorial, “Welcome Back, Part Two.” I have watched with alarm for some time your editorial page’s uncompromisingly negative attitude toward the university, and I had been hoping that you were at least able to differentiate between the administration and the many thousands of individual people associated with the university. I now see that hope was in vain. 

I was quite shocked to read that a newspaper that considers itself a publication for everyone in “Greater Berkeley” would deride and exclude every single UC Berkeley student as a “guest.” I am a UC Berkeley graduate student, and as such I have chosen to make my home here for a rather long time. I pay quite a lot of rent to my landlord, a “long-term” Berkeley resident, and that money goes to paying city taxes on his property. I eat meals in many Berkeley restaurants, and buy the rest of my food in the city, supporting these local businesses. I volunteer for and contribute money to local causes. And, yes, I am a student and employee of one of the world’s finest universities—which, for all its faults, enriches the cultural life of the city tremendously. I am most certainly not anyone’s guest! 

I am unconvinced by your moderating, tacked-on final paragraph, and I am not interested in being told that I am an exception or that it is really the undergraduates who are the problem. By all means, ask your fellow citizens to keep the noise of their parties down, if that is what you really wanted to say. But don’t patronize us as “guests!” 

Seth Zenz 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

Richard Brenneman’s article on South Campus noise complaints seemed thorough and interesting. But his second sentence raised my eyebrows: “If you crowd a handful or two bright young students into one-bedroom off-campus apartments, parties are pretty much a given—as are the complaints of the more sedate ‘civilians’ who live nearby.” 

In any context the word “sedate” connotes stiff formality; in Berkeley it is a definite put-down. People of any age and any role in Berkeley—even students—might resent being put down because they don’t want to be kept awake by noise at 4 a. m. 

Perhaps we should all, as a community, question some of the other assumptions implicit in that sentence. For instance, that living independently, away from home, to pursue “higher education” does not include learning to live as an adult, instead of like a 13-year-old whose parents went out of town for the weekend.  

We should also question the assumption that blasting loud music throughout a neighborhood at 4 a.m. is a sign of youthful high spirits; on the contrary, it is an act of aggression. We have several students, in groups of one to four, living on our South Berkeley block in houses also occupied by the owner, who has set rules for reasonable behavior. By reasonable, I mean that we all expect and endure one noisy, late party at the beginning of the semester, and another at the end. The rest of the time, the students generally keep their parties like our own—size and noise with consideration for the neighbors. 

Recently one large house on our block, not owner-occupied, was enlarged to house I’m not sure how many students. We had to leave polite little notes: “Please don’t block sidewalk with your car.” And, “Please don’t put packing cartons etc. on the curb until pickup days. We all keep our garbage inside until then.” Our block captain made a couple of calls to the owner. 

We got lucky—for now. (Maybe someone in the house took charge.) The last time there was a big ending-semester party, we all got a letter in our mailboxes, warning us there might be loud music, inviting us to join in if we liked, and giving their phone number to call “instead of police” if the noise was too much. (We are, at least six of us, instant callers of police for excessive noise problems.) I left a note in their mailbox complimenting them on their classy attitude and wishing them a good time. 

Brenneman quotes Jesse Arreguin: “My sense is that the university is putting the neighbors before its own students.” I don’t understand this statement. Does it mean that the university should defend and promote behavior by students that their neighbors would not tolerate from each other? Does it mean that there are two “opposing sides” here, one to be favored over the other? 

We are all—students and long-term residents—one community. Responsible consideration for one another is beneficial, not only for the permanent residents, but for the young people who come here for “higher education.” 

Dorothy Bryant