Letters to the Editor

Friday January 06, 2006


Editors, Daily Planet: 

From the Jan. 3 Daily Planet: “[I]ncluded in the [UC] plans is a $60 million, 845-space underground parking lot ... to the north of the stadium.”  

By my math, that’s roughly $70,000 a space, so given running costs, etc., the spaces would need to rent for about $600 a month, assuming every parking space was always rented. Obviously UC is planning to heavily subsidize parking near the stadium in the new facility. Is heavily subsidized parking an appropriate use of public education funds ? 

Jon Petrie 





Editors, Daily Planet: 

I was glad to see Harry Brill and Raymond Barglow’s response to Chris Regalia’s commentary on the Berkeley Honda dispute. 

Just a couple of things to add:  

Regalia is outraged that the City Council has had the effrontery to support the strikers and the boycott. Yet in his San Francisco Chronicle column Monday, Chip Johnson noted that “the new owners have politely declined an offer by Berkeley Mayor Tom Bates to mediate the dispute.” (Bates in fact took that “neutral” stance Regalia favors by not joining the City Council when it voted in favor of the boycott months ago.) 

If they really wanted to settle with the union and were willing to work on a compromise, it seems to me that after seven months, these new owners would be eager for mediation. 

I think Don Crisato, representing the automotive engineers, told the real story of Beinke and Haworth’s strategy in another quote from Johnson’s column: “We’ve seen this before in other situations...You stall and delay, hire a bare majority, put in new work conditions. You meet once a month, two hours at a time, refuse to budge on any major issues, and drag it out until they vote out the union altogether.” 

In short, they don’t want a mediator because they don’t want a negotiated settlement. They want the union to fade away and leave the fate of the workers and their pay, retirement, and benefits entirely up to them (and their anti-union attack dog law firm, Littler Mendelson.) 

Small wonder there are twice weekly rallies, a giant inflatable rat on Parker and Shattuck, and both workers and community members approaching potential customers to take their business elsewhere.  

And a big shame they don’t really want to settle, because one thing we all agree on is that Berkeley certainly does need that sales tax. 

Donna Mickleson 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

Thank heavens someone is noticing the evaporation of police review in Berkeley. I recently had a complaint against a subject officer dismissed because he was terminated by the Police Department after the date of the police misconduct. The charter states clearly that the operative date is the date of the incident, but nobody seems to bother reading the charter anymore.  

Carol Denney 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

I keep reading in liberal papers like the Daily Planet about the “divisive immigration debate,” as if America is divided down the middle on this issue. Let me clear up this misconception. According to virtually every poll that I’ve read, the overwhelming majority of American citizens want nothing less than for our present laws of citizenship and immigration to be enforced, and for the people who refuse to obey these laws to get the hell out of our country and stay out. There is in fact remarkable consensus on this issue, more so than virtually any other major political issue. Even the latest poll in October by the PEW Hispanic Center says that 51 percent of Americans say that reducing illegal immigration is a “top priority.” Has a nice ring to it, don’t it? “Top priority.” In other words: the “debate” is over.  

Peter Labriola 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

Please be patient with this old coot from the hills of western Pennsylvania, who spent the first six grades of school in two rooms, being taught by two old maid Sunday School teachers. And I can never forgive the education system that had in mind the need to keep us dumb, and dependent on the steel mills and coal mines. 

Small town kids from heavy industry cultures have few options offered, or even mentioned. In the case of “Jack” Murtha’s constituents of today, we can only remember the good economic times. The steel mills and mines are closed, the school board is made-up of old maids and other assorted “left-behinds.” Most everyone who had any desire to learn left town as soon as possible. It is a great place to be from. 

However, Dear Editor, I congratulate you on being so astute in defining me, and so I must confess. I certainly am not literate as it concerns this confounding machine.  

I opined, after reading only the first paragraph about Murtha, and you answered. That tickled me. My first try at responding to computer talk and I got an answer. That’s progress. Do I now call myself a real quasi-progressive? Or jes’ an ol’ fool coot, living in a retirement home for retired Marines who has spent 20 years serving America as a “Bomb Disposal” fool, and another 20 years fighting the Amazon River Complex (the real ARC story) exploiters. 

The last time I spoke with any editor was 1985, when I was trying-out to be a stringer for the New York Times. He came to my Brazil office and asked me to guide him through the real dilemma about the cultural and environment. He left saying I was the most authoritative voice on the entire matter, and that there was only one man to his knowledge whose mind grasped a situation as quickly. Then he introduced me to Roger Rosenblatt, aka editor of U. S. News and World Report, plus other quasi-literate magazines. I’m kinda proud of the 20 years I spent “Up The Amazon” after retiring from American military service. The way I look at it is that, considering the sixth-grade education by evangelical lesbians, I’ve not done too shabby. 

My second book, is a 656-page history book, about people from my (and Murtha’s) home county, who built a railroad at the Brazil/Bolivia border, back in 1877-79, and whose exploits never before became known. It’s due out in about six weeks.  

My third, is, at this writing, only 500 double-spaced pages, needing to be scanned onto disc, and then I can start editing the 52 short stories, editorials, opinions and assorted memoir ramblings of a proud, old coot Marine.  

The next one, the third, is really intended to be a TV-sitcom, by “e” GUNN USMC-Ret. The opening story, already published, is “Eddikation Done Country Style.” The second story is “The Friendliest Native,” published in California, about a tiny parrot who taught me about love and loss thereof. 

So, my dear editor of the Daily Planet, what do you want to be when you grow up and ready to retire? By the way, what is the Daily Planet, a journalism or political science student newspaper? 

Keep faith in yourself, and have fun trying. 

W.L. “Bill” ADAMS 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

Due to Microsoft’s intentional proclivities to corner us into relentless upgrades, I’m afraid I am about to bid farewell to my archaic Windows 98 system, bite the bullet and make Bill Gates still wealthier. For months I have struggled with this inevitability, desperately trying to stay the course with this 5-year-old dinosaur and convince myself that it meets my needs. In fact, it almost does.  

Of course, if Microsoft would actually support these prematurely fossilized operating systems with any conviction, and the geeks writing programs would still honor them as viable, I (as well as countless others) could hold onto such battle-axes and go about our business of living, loving, etc. As it is, however, these eminently functional relics‚ are being relegated to the trash heaps of planned obsolescence faster than you can say “download that upgrade.” Thus, I have ascertained it to be virtually impossible to stay concurrent with this frenzy without enjoining myself to the latest, greatest chip, while hoping that the newest “office suite” will accommodate the growing entourage of e-mail relations I have amassed over the last few years.  

So it is with great sadness, visceral outrage, and financial pain that I am about to place my order for infinite gigabits of hard drive space, mind-bending, sight-splitting speedy processors, and more memory than I ever had. The thing is, I have also determined that I will need at least 40 hours of reinstallation time just to recreate the computer services I am now privy to. More importantly, I must confess to a relatively new pathology: “techno-obsessive disorder.” Ubiquitous and virulent, it shows no signs of mitigating its chronic, demonic effects on my fragile, soon to be senior psyche as I segue into the ethers and coffers of Microsoft’s ever more voluminous presence. Perhaps you will glimpse me, roaming the streets in the middle of the night, rambling incoherently about adware, malware, corrupt codes, missing dll’s, drivers that don’t drive and illegal operations. If we meet, please be gentle with me, dear friends. For there but for the grace of God go you, too, one day! 

Marc Winokur