Letters to the Editor

Tuesday January 03, 2006


Editors, Daily Planet: 

I was surprised and pleased to find the recent commentary on Mrs. Sheehan in the Daily Planet. Especially surprised, for I lost hope for my hometown of Berkeley years ago due to the prevalent so-called liberal cant. But it is evident some Berkeleyans have a brain, and even if just a transient college student, the author of this piece has earned a hearty “bravo.” It was a balanced piece, and did not take cuts at the grieving mother but instead gave her credit exactly where it was due. 

Don Teeter  





Editors, Daily Planet: 

Never mind impeachment; FISA calls for five years in prison. Our slogan should be “Five more years.” I’m sure the striped suit will fit him as well as the uniform he wore to celebrate “Mission Accomplished.” 

Gilbert Bendix 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

John Kenyon’s piece on Point Molate was wonderful. Thank you for publishing articles such as this. Indeed, it is soon to be a vanished landscape, a landscape of romantic decay perhaps, but quiet, and the views are glorious. It should be part of the East Shore Park system. As Kenyon suggests, go now, especially in a storm when clouds make silver-gray patterns on the water, before it becomes a brightly lit hotel-casino, surrounded by paved parking lots and all the weeds are gone.  

Susan Cerny  




Editors, Daily Planet: 

I read in the Daily Planet that the Berkeley City Council is studying wireless Internet for Berkeley. 

Won’t wireless Internet give us cancer, like wireless cell phone antennas? 

Myrna Sokolinsky 



Editors, Daily Planet: 

The article entitled “Fee Increases Impact Peralta Community Colleges” (Daily Planet, Dec. 23), which states that there was a 1.33 percent decline in enrollment throughout the California Community College system, should not be a big surprise to either faculty nor students nor the Board of Governors for the California Community Colleges as a decline in enrollment was predicted when fees were increased. On Nov. 4, 2003, the Board of Governors issued a report which said that 175,000 community college students were being denied access because of the increase in tuition. The actual resulting “missing students” reported in your article (314,000) almost doubles that predicted amount. Kin Kwok, a Laney College art student, created “The Missing Student Project.” An exhibition of this work which was displayed in Sacramento as a protest to the rise in tuition is on display at the June Steingart Gallery at Laney College. I urge all who are interested in student activism, creativity and art to attend this important exhibition which runs until Jan. 24. 

Meryl Siegal 

Laney College English instructor 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

Columnist P.M. Price suggests that people would have more “sympathy” for multiple-murderer Tookie Williams if the media would only publish more cute photos of Tookie as a little boy. Well, how about more photos of the four murder victims, lying in pools of their own blood as they’re dying, as Tookie laughs and brags about it. How about photos of the victim’s family and the years of agony they endured. We’ve seen plenty of photos of cute little Tookie in the media. But we haven’t seen too many photos of the victims and their families, have we?  

Peter Labriola 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

We write to express our vehement opposition to the proposal put forward by Council member Betty Olds that would eliminate 499 square feet of by-right additions above the first floor. 

This change to city law would be deeply disturbing on many levels. We believe that ending by-right additions would effectively strip every single homeowner in Berkeley of an important right with minimal notice and virtually no consultation. Other likely effects are: slowing the already glacial pace of the permit process, raising the cost of permits, adding more workload to the overburdened Planning Department and transferring even more power away from owners to self-serving neighbors. Requiring an AUP for every addition will mean young families or people with older parents will be forced to wait, sometimes for years, for their permit to add a small amount of needed space. 

The ending of by-right additions would be a negative, backward looking attempt to freeze a status quo in Berkeley that is idealized by some, mainly those who happened to have purchased their property before their neighbors did. Reality and the experiences of a great many people show that the AUP process in Berkeley is badly broken. In theory having all parties consult and agree on every project sounds grand, however, in practice the AUP process tends to pit neighbor against neighbor in a bitter, drawn out struggle that in some ways seems to be encouraged and exacerbated by the City’s Planning Department. Many people nowadays, unfortunately, are too quick to hire lawyers and to cynically manipulate the public consultation process so as to cause maximum damage and pain when a project is built that is not to their liking.  

If there are specific abuses, why not address them directly? We all know that views are a difficult issue; however, it is obvious that no one person can “own” a view and that views must in some sense be shared. We know that is easy to say and hard to do, but we believe it can be done. It would be a bad idea to end this important safety valve in the building permit process. 

Aleyda and Alan Swain 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

I am a Berkeley High grad (1977), and proud of it. Ms. Carolyn Sellers’ comparison (Daily Planet, Dec. 27) of her apparent dream life in 1967 and the nightmare she envisions Berkeley being today reveals that she is out of touch with the possibilities of today’s Berkeley and blind to the deprivations of her glory days in the mid-1960s. 

A few comparisons: 


Then: A mostly segregated school system. 

Now: A district trying hard to bridge the achievement gap. 


Then: Land adjacent to the bay used as a dump. 

Now: Parks from the bay bridge to Richmond. 


Then: Oscar’s was fine dining 

Now: Are you kidding? 


Then: The Berkeley Gazette opposed “fair housing” laws and school integration 

Now: The Daily Planet, Internet and other entities give a voice to many viewpoints. 


Ms. Sellers, cheer up. Even though parking can be hard to find in our wonderful town, positive changes (and parking spots) are present if you have an open mind and awareness of what is around you. 

Paul Lecky 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

Your holiday issues were a warm, welcome break 

(more rich than Virginia Avenue chocolate cake) 

from the pleonastic ranters whose blame- throwing threnody 

rebukes Palestinians or scolds Patrick Kennedy. 

David Altschul 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

Arnold was absolutely correct on the recent nurses flap. No wonder that California is the first in the nation to mandate nurse staffing by state law. No other state is that ridiculous. Such assignments should be between a hospital and the nurses, not Sacramento. Hospital people know how to run hospitals, not politicians. The nurse’s union was so brazen that they took the dispute to the firmly-in-pocket Legislature to establish feather bedding as state law, and Gov. Davis, of course, signed it. At the same time it is a sop to the litigation locusts. If anyone dies in a hospital, they can whip out their form lawsuit and say it was because five not six nurses were on duty. The state law says so. California voters are the world’s dumbest.  

W. O. Locke.