Letters to the Editor

Tuesday October 18, 2005


Editors, Daily Planet: 

On Tuesday Oct. 11, Becky O’Malley wrote about her frustration using the parking machine in the Recreational Sports Facility Garage prior to a performance at Zellerbach Hall. Certainly being in a line of 50 people approximately 30 minutes before an event is not optimal logistics. I was surprised by her comments about the parking technology located there. On a sign posted on the wall at the machine are the following instructions: 


General Public/Non-Permit Parking 

1) To pay with coins or bills, insert money. 

2) Press the green button to obtain ticket. 

3) Clearly display ticket on dashboard. 


There is only one green button on the parking machine. These machines have been in place since 1999, and have served the university well throughout that time notwithstanding the wear and tear they take. It is always an option for Cal Performances to hire an attendant to assist patrons with machines for their events, but that would be costly and they hope to save those costs if patrons arrive with enough time to deal with parking and other pre-event plans such as a meal. 

We truly regret Becky’s inconvenience, and want to make sure our visitors to the campus get the service they need. If she or anyone else needs any assistance or support with the use of campus parking facilities, they should feel free to contact UC Berkeley Parking & Transportation in advance of their visit at 643-7701. 

Nadesan Permaul 

Director of Transportation 

UC Berkeley 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

Writing rubbish about Elvis Presley stealing black music demeans your publication. Tat sort of nonsense insults your readers’ intelligence. Bing Crosby and Sinatra etc. sang so-called black music without some fool accusing them of stealing or not giving credit! Beethoven used an Irish Air for his magnificent Symphony No. 7! 

Maurice Colgan 

Swords, Ireland 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

During the public Forum on Aug. 1, sponsored by Berkeleyans Organized for Library Defense (BOLD) and the Library Trustees, Gordon Wozniak sat on the panel as the designated expert on radiation effects. 

Mr. Wozniak told us that certainly the ionizing radiation at the top of the wave-length spectrum is dangerous to human health. Cells are damaged by exposure to x-rays, for example. But he denied that human health could be affected by exposure to low-level radiation at the bottom of the spectrum, stating, as I remember, that no reputable studies have shown otherwise. 

During comments from the public, several speakers contradicted Mr. Wozniak’s opinion and referred to studies showing that long-term exposure to non-ionizing, low level radiation endangers human cell integrity. 

This is a disagreement that needs to be sorted out and clarified before library employees in particular are subjected to further exposure in their workplace. 

Corrine Goldstick 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

Creating a baseball field at the Derby site not only provides much needed field space for BHS students during the school year, but also frees up space for over 7200 kids to visit the fields at San Pablo Park—and these are the kids in our city who are the most underserved as far as parks and recreation space. As long as BHS uses the San Pablo field (which is also one of the only remaining parks to have a community center), no other teams or organizations in that neighborhood can use the San Pablo fields after school. A baseball field at Derby will work well with the one-afternoon-a-week farmer’s market while meeting the daytime field needs of multiple teams in a central and accessible location. As a city that cares about ALL of our kids, we should close the single block of Derby and create a field that can help fulfill many, many dreams.  

Iris Starr  




Editors, Daily Planet: 

John Selawsky’s comments present a very short-sighted view of the proposed Derby Street field and the costs to build it the way it should be built. He is probably correct in assuming that the estimates are not exact, building anything these days generally costs more than expected. 

What he is not taking into account is the amount of support for the big new park that will come from the people of Berkeley. Without the School Board’s go-ahead, there has been no fundraising possible. Now that there is an initial stamp of approval, look for a majority of the community and businesses to show their support. 

I question why the Farmers’ Market is opposed to such an obvious improvement to their “storefront.” Is there a cost we are not aware of for them to drive up every week to a better facility that will increase their sales potential? Being moved to a different street a block or two away during construction could be problematic, but maybe development of their site could be done first and fenced off during construction. They are an important feature of our new park and should be well accounted for. 

BUSD will certainly have planners and designers on board who will address and solve the challenges of traffic, parking and emergency routes. This neighborhood is not only residential, it is mixed use with the UC Facilities Plant, Iceland, schools and business next to the park site. A large park will create a buffer and transition to the residential areas around the park. 

This project was designed and ready to be built over seven years ago. The “stalling” came from the other group. We are not looking for a “big league” field. We want the best park possible with a varsity field for our public high school student-athletes and the community to enjoy for generations to come.  

Bart Schultz 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

In his article, “South Berkeley Drug House Case Lands in Small Claims Court,” J. Douglas Allen-Taylor ignores important testimony and draws his analysis from his own perspective. He suggests that both the plaintiffs and the defendant are relying heavily on outside counsel. While this is absolutely true of defendant Moore, that is not the case for the plaintiffs. 

Moore has given responsibility of her defense to attorney Osha Neumann and paralegal Leo Stegman, both employed by East Bay Community Law Center and organizers of CopWatch. 

We the plaintiffs have only received procedural support from Neighborhood Solutions. Neighborhood associations familiar with the assistance of Neufield’s non-profit understand the immense work required by residents in preparing a nuisance lawsuit. Allen-Taylor simply ignored the testimony of Neufield as to her limited role when a community unites in response to a public nuisance. 

On the other hand, Moore’s cause has now entered the realm of “Berkeley political theater” with all the nonsense of disingenuous supporters protesting in the courtroom and canvassing the neighborhood with “cease and desist” flyers. 

As Moore’s advocate, Stegman clearly doesn’t know the neighborhood; he couldn’t correctly describe the infamous intersection. In court he described Lenora Moore as a hard working, employed grandmother keeping the family together, is that not the definition of a “matriarch”? 

In previous court filings, Osha Neumann was listed as a witness who would testify that the police are used as a tool for gentrification by targeting poor black residents. Typical CopWatch dogma. Now desperate to place responsibility anywhere but where it belongs, Neumann suggests it is the fault of the district attorney for not prosecuting enough. Further he complains that the neighbors are negligent for not calling the police every time one of the supposedly restrained family members is in the area. Called as a witness, Neumann performs as a lawyer. He offered no witness’ testimony instead he devised a new defense, suggesting elder abuse, without giving any evidence. Why didn’t their two other witnesses testify to elder abuse? Why at the previous hearing did Lenora explain how proud she is of her family and how they all like to be together? Why is there no record of elder abuse? Allen-Taylor does not include the police testimony quoting Moore saying she does not want the restraining orders enforced, that she obtained them just to satisfy the neighbors. 

It was ironic to hear a CopWatch organizer argue that the police need to harass south Berkeley residents more. Will CopWatch start advocating for effective law enforcement of drug trafficking as opposed to wasting taxpayer money in trumped up complaints against the police? 

Laura Menard 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

It is abhorrent to me how frequently in Berkeley people call out racism to block the actions of other people who are working to make our community a safer, cleaner, more beautiful and hence, better place to live. To love and appreciate the diversity of our neighborhoods is not at all at odds with wanting to control drug dealing, with its toxic pollution and violence. I laud Paul Rauber and his neighbors for their attempt to clean up their street. 

Teddi Baggins 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

I am responding to your Oct. 11 article, “Residents Look to Neighborhood Solutions for Help.” 

As a nine-year resident of the Oregon Street neighborhood, I am very familiar with the goings on at 1610 Oregon St., home to Lenora Moore, the lead defendant in one of the cases referred to in this article (I live a block and a half away). Much evidence exists, both anecdotal and legal (documented police raids and subsequent court cases), that supports the idea that many of the goings on at the Moore place of residence are downright dangerous and constitute a threat to the safety of residents and a public nuisance to our neighborhood. 

I take issue with Mr. Stegman’s quote that implies that this lawsuit (referred to in the article), is being used as a gentrification tool. Residents of my neighborhood have been trying to end the dangerous and unlawful activities that occur in this neighborhood because we live here. Many of us are raising families here. Lots of children live here—lots of elderly folks, people of all colors, and ethnicities, and persuasions. In fact, this is one of the most racially and economically integrated neighborhoods in this city. And many of us who live here want to keep it that way. What we don’t want, is to feel blind and impotent in the face of threatening, violent actions by a couple of our neighbors. 

This is the second lawsuit being leveled against the residents of 1610 Oregon St. The first lawsuit was “won” by the neighbors, I believe, but the drug dealing and dangerous behaviors have continued. Many of us, here, are exhausted and disheartened by knowing that crack cocaine and heroin and guns are available on our street.  

Even though my family did not join this current lawsuit as a plaintiff, we support our other neighbors who did. We did not sign on for a variety of reasons, many of them practical in nature, but a notable reason that we did not agree to being a plaintiff in this lawsuit against the residents of 1610 Oregon St., was fear. For the lead plaintiffs in the first lawsuit, whom we knew, had their fence firebombed. They have since left Berkeley. 

I want to thank my neighbors who were not too afraid to speak up about the ugliness of this kind of activity. I want beauty for all of us here in Berkeley. None of us should have to live in fear. 

Diana Rossi 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

I was glad to see that the “Housing Element,” written under the guidance of the Planning Commission, has reached the City Council’s agenda. 

I write in defense of the Neighborhood Preservation Ordinance (NPO) because the current Housing Element document denigrates this citizens initiative, held dear by residents since 1973. 

First, the report implies that apartment construction dropped in Berkeley because of the NPO. Actually, during that period, cities in the entire bay area had a similar drop in multiunit developments, without an NPO of their own. 

There are two other unmentioned circumstances that caused the failure of housing units to increase. When the BART tunnel was dug, housing units were destroyed along its path. The city lost hundreds of low-income homes that were demolished in order to provide space for two enormous parking lots adjoining the North and South Berkeley BART stations. Modest, low-density homes were sacrificed, contradicting the design concept of connecting dense populations with mass transit. Why did BART planners miss the opportunity to place a station at the university campus where it could have had heavy usage? 

Additionally, by not acting at that time, the City Council allowed conversion of residential units to commercial use, such as lawyers offices, therapy clinics, etc. 

The Neighborhood Preservation Ordinance has not been given credit for initiating the inclusionary, low-income housing unit plan for new apartments. If one reads page 7l of the Housing Element about how developers have to stiff wealthy tenants in order to make up the income lost from low-income rents, you would never know that the federal government is in fact helping pay “market rate rents” to the landlords in the Section 8 program.  

Developers are regularly given money saving concessions besides market-rate rents for their low-income units, such as reductions in parking spaces, useable open space, set backs, and increases in height. Then there is the incentive of a density bonus of 25 percent for more upscale units than are allowed in the city’s land use laws. Thanks to Sacramento, politicians just last week Increased that bonus to 35 percent. 

Martha Nicoloff 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

Making mistakes is not the only avenue to learning but it is very common. In fact, knowing what not to do often precedes knowing what to do. Ask any plumber, electrician or Major League Baseball pitcher. This does not mean that the more mistakes we make the more we learn but rather that if we try we can benefit from our mistakes.  

It is easy to accept this bit of common sense applied to individuals both in their personal and professional actions.  

For five years our nation has had a CEO who admits to no mistakes. If, in fact, President George W. Bush has made no mistakes then we may conclude that he therefore has learned little. If he has made mistakes but he is not aware of doing so then his executive ability is severely crippled. Finally, if he is aware of mistakes “preemptive war, exploding deficits, unqualified and incompetent appointments,” etc. but refuses to admit them, then more the fools are we to trust him.  

Marvin Chachere 

San Pablo 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

Harriet Miers is clearly not qualified. She lacks the credentials and intellectual strength to serve on the Supreme Court. She will have to sit in the Not Qualified Section with Breyer, Souter and Ginsberg. 

W. O. Locke  





Editors, Daily Planet: 

Chris Thompson in his East Bay Express Oct. 13 commentary had this to say about Ignacio De La Fuente’s candidacy for mayor: “Oakland has another man who wants to be mayor, a nasty little power broker tainted by his role as an arm-twister in state Senator Don Perata’s political machine. He’s mean, foul-mouthed, and ruthless, and he’d do more for Oakland in a week than Ron Dellums would in four years.” 

It’s too bad that Mr. Thompson doesn’t understand that what he describes as Ignacio’s assets are the very attributes that most in Oakland find offensive if not embarrassing. Given the results of an early poll in which Ignacio’s negatives were determined to be extremely high, I remain convinced that Oaklanders are not clamoring to elect a” foul-mouthed arm-twister, and ruthless” candidate to serve as mayor.  

Ignacio not only twists arms, he twists facts. According to Ignacio’s biographical statement on his official city web site, he claims to be the one who is credited with the revitalization of Fruitvale’s International Boulevard shopping area, including major developments of the Fruitvale Transit Village. If this is in fact the truth, why did the San Francisco Foundation, the East Bay Business Times, and the 2004 Ford Foundation Report credit Arabella Martinez, the former chief operating officer of the Spanish Speaking Unity Council, for having been the driving force behind the development of the Fruitvale Transit Village?  

Ignacio’s meanness and ruthless behavior is most evident on Tuesday night. One only has to watch the council meetings to get a clear view of his bully tactics to silence the public, as well as his colleague, Councilmember Desley Brooks.  

Given the way things are now, Oaklanders have little or no say in the running of their government, and/or policy matters that affect the quality of our lives. In fact, President Bush would be proud of Ignacio as only his cronies, supporters and contributors are allowed to have a say and/or a seat at the decision making table. All of the others are ignored, and worst still, silenced and/or discredited.  

Thank God for Ron Dellums’ entry into the mayor’s race. His continued capacity to organically and passionately connect with “we the people” inspired more in 40 minutes, than Ignacio’s “foul-mouthed arm-twister, and ruthless” manner has in the 10-plus years he has been in office. 

Toni Cook 





Editors, Daily Planet: 

Long after WMD, the U.S. major media continues the Iraq charade. I am not the first commentator to note that the current election is not designed to promote democracy in Iraq. The U.S. promoted “constitution” foments continuing civil strife and civil war so that the U.S. government’s permanent military bases in and U.S. political dominance of Iraq will be justified. It is “our” government which has ensured the removal and replacement of the old reasonably democratic Iraqi constitution with one that guarantees a religion based government and the resulting sectarian strife, the disempowerment of women who had a strong role under Saddam’s dictatorship, and ultimately the collapse of Iraq as a nation state. The media allows the government to treat a vote for this “constitution” as a harbinger of democratic reform when these U.S. imposed “reforms” are the guarantor of disaster for Iraq. 

Marc Sapir 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

The Oct. 14 letter from Edith Hallberg typifies the knee-jerk reactions shown by the protesters in this situation. While her letter is filled with accusations and suppositions, none are supported by facts. How does she know what the Berkeley Honda owners’ intentions are? Never mind what they say their intentions are or what they have done in the past, it only matters to Edith what she wants their intentions to be in order to justify her position. While she is certainly entitled to her opinion, the lack of logic shown in her letter should lead anyone to question her motives and those of the protesters. 

She cites the change of ownership at Spenger’s Fish Grotto and the subsequent replacement of it’s “loyal workers.” She then chastises Berkeley Honda as much worse because they have “insulted the community by trying to capitalize on the good name of Jim Doten.” Excuse me for pointing out the obvious, but if the new owners were so interested in capitalizing on Jim Doten’s name, why did they change it? Spenger’s on the other hand, using the former company name and retaining its atmosphere gets a free pass from her?  

Edith cannot drive and will never own a Honda, yet she and the others want to shut down Berkeley Honda. She supports the continued harassment of customers and workers until she can decide who should work there. Presumably she does eat every day, but simply no longer eating at Spenger’s satisfies her outrage at them. Until she, or any of the protesters show any kind of balance, fairness or logic in their arguments, they will continue to strain credibility. 

Chris Regalia 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

Bush by the Bay  

Los Angeles-based developer Rick Caruso is a Bush Ranger—someone who helped raise more than $1 million for Bush’s reelection campaign (Daily Planet, Oct. 14). Caruso is currently proposing a mall development for the Albany waterfront. Presumably, some of the profit from this endeavor would go to other politicians of the Bush ilk. Without even examining the details of Caruso’s proposal, I would urge all Albany residents to join with the Sierra Club and say no to what henceforth should be known as Bush by the Bay.  

As I prepared to send this letter, a friend told me of another slogan that has a nice ring to it: No L.A. by the Bay.  

Michael Fullerton  




Editors, Daily Planet: 

Whatever one’s point of view on the efficacy of the avian flu scare, let’s err on the side of caution, insist on shots, and hope that the chickens don’t come home to roost. 

Robert Blau  




Editors, Daily Planet: 

I live near the Albany Bulb and the racetrack. I have followed and photographed the work of the artists at the Bulb and hang out at the Albany Bulb beach. The other day I was there around sunset and took the road through the parking lot at the back of the racetrack. On the edge of the 80-foot cliff going down to the bay are some old gnarled trees. From behind the trees you get a spectacularly wonderful view of the bay and the Golden Gate Bridge. This view was lit up by a fantastic red sunset. It was stupendous and I went back several times to try to photograph the scene. It is difficult to photograph and I am still working on it.  

Then reading the last issue of the Daily Planet, I see that there is a proposed plan to build a big shopping mall right in this area. I was astonished that this was even being considered. Why would a shopping mall be placed on the one of the most beautiful locations along the shore of the East Bay? Do we need more shopping? Is there not enough shopping along San Pablo and the towns both North and South. Costco is a few blocks away. There are two Targets within two mile of the track There is a big shopping mall in El Cerrito. I understand that Albany will be hurting for tax income if the track closes. If the race tracks quits taking gamblers money and Albany has less revenue it will be a big temptation to move in on those open bits of ground—the race track, and the race track parking lots—to create places to buy more stuff.  

We don’t need more stuff. We do need a shoreline developed for use of local people for recreation, boating, sports, birds and for art creation as at the Bulb. This shore presents a unique opportunity to make the coastline usable by the people. We already have a huge freeway separating the city and the people from the shore, and a noisy railway system cutting through the city. These were mistakes of the past. 

Planning the proper use of what remains of the shoreline and increasing access to this shore is an essential task for the growth of the East Bay. Development of the race track and Bulb area for shopping malls and hotels would be a huge step backward, a return to the times of the Berkeley dump and the Albany Landfill. Garbage would be replaced by more “garbage shopping.” Should we give up our shoreline to support more consumerism??? 

Dan Robbin 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

We need outlaw places. Places where dogs run free and surprises happen. Unexpected lizards scurry from sun-warmed rocks, rebar juts, unreinforced climbs home our reflexes, hummingbirds flash and loop, goldfinches and house finches (”California redheads”) summer, sweet alyssums startle our noses, and art happens, like it or not. 

I am afraid that the state would herd the lizards into an enclosure and the people into an official LIZARD VIEWING AREA, establish lanes for migrating birds, control all dogs, and shrink-wrap our souls. 

We need outlaw women who speak the truth and change the world: Cindy Sheehan, Rosa Parks, Margaret Sanger, Amy Goodman ... Some of us don’t need to take back the night because we never lost it. 

We need outlaw men unafraid to be outed as nice guys. They get to love plants and animals and women and other guys just as they are and would never join an army to kill them. 

Ruth Bird