Public Comment

Letters to the Editor

Friday November 10, 2006


Editors, Daily Planet: 

On election night I attended Tom Bates’ victory party at Cafe de la Paz. It was not my victory party. It was Tom’s. And, it turns out, it was Raudel Wilson’s. I like Raudel, but I didn’t endorse him for City Council. Because I attended that party, that fact seems to be unclear.  

On another note, it was a pleasure to be with so many friends as the returns came in, gratifying as they were. 

Linda Maio 





Editors, Daily Planet: 

Perhaps the majority of your readers do not know that the Berkeley Chamber of Commerce and the Berkeley Chamber of Commerce Political Action Committee are two separate entities. The PAC is an affiliate of the Berkeley Chamber but have their own governing body, budget, and set of rules separate from the Berkeley Chamber. 

The majority of the members of the Berkeley Chamber of Commerce are the people that serve you coffee in the morning or repairs your car or fixes your computer. There are even members who can give you a massage to relax you from the stresses of the day. Most of these members are just trying to make a living in a town they love. 

For over 100 years the Berkeley Chamber of Commerce has been helping small to midsize companies reach for the American dream of owning a business. There are plenty of networking opportunities and business tools that members can avail to help their business. It hasn’t always been easy with the business climate in Berkeley, but the Chamber is always willing to listen, learn, and assist its members.  

The PAC has no direct relationship with the everyday operations of the Berkeley Chamber. Businesses and individuals that join the Berkeley Chamber do so because the chamber is more about business in Berkeley and not about politics in Berkeley. For the 35 or so people that gathered in front of the Chamber offices last Wednesday (much less than the 125 intimated in the article by Judith Scherr) to protest actions of the PAC, it would have probably been more productive to meet with the chairperson and/or board of the PAC not the Berkeley Chamber of Commerce.  

It’s great that we can live in a country where we can protest whom we want and discuss issues in a constructive and non-violent manner. Let’s just make sure we are talking about the right issues and identifying the right groups. 

Richard Hom 

Chamber Member 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

The elections of Daniel Ortega in Nicaragua and Tom Bates in Berkeley share a common thread. These two victors with long left-wing credentials teamed with their traditional opponents to win votes. 

Ortega’s running mate was the former Contra Jaime Morales. During Ortega’s first stint as president his government confiscate Morales’s sprawling estate. After the Nov. 5 vote Vice-President Elect Morales was asked in a Univision Interview how he could run with the man who took his house. Morales answered, “That happened in revolution. I was caught in a huge wave of change.” Morales went on to say, “Ortega is no longer a Marxist he is a pragmatist.” Allegedly, Ortega’s favorite song is Frank Sinatra"s “My Way.” 

Bates obtained the endorsement of the Berkeley Democratic Club that has long opposed most all of what Bates has traditionally stood for. But then these seem to be times for “pragmatism.”  

Ted Vincent 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

I just read P.M. Price’s column (“Confronting the Role Models of Halloween Gangsters”), and I must say I share your feeling of being disturbed. And, unfortunately, it’s worse than you might think. What we are seeing is the manifestation of the “divide” part of “divide and conquer” being played out by our children. The power of “discourse” that surrounds us and informs the “norms” we live by is manufactured to separate us (the workers of the world) from each other so that we will be easier to control. From the immigrant debate that propagates nationalism (and normalizes racial tension), to the depiction of endless violence in the permanent “underclass” that is created by neo-liberal capitalism, we are being fed a world-view that pits us against each other and not against the ones who perpetuate this insanity, the ones with the real influence to do something about it, the ones who would make war a perpetual necessity. Yet, as Michel Foucault would say, the power is everywhere, and we are participating in the empowering of these false descriptions of ourselves by acting them out. Take the power back, be the change you seek in the world.  

Amor Vincit Omnia 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

It is very odd that the opponents of Proposition H in the Nov. 7 election chose to identify themselves as they did in the ballot arguments. It does seem to indicate they were looking for “pizazz” to bring attention to themselves. But I would also say it was downright rude, and unseemly, to use Meleia Willis-Starbuck’s name in this way. I would recommend that people try to consider common decency in identifying themselves in a public document. I would further recommend that the City Clerk be more cognizant of these issues, and not allow people to personally identify themselves this way. To discuss the concerns about local crime in an argument is one thing, but to personally adopt someone else’s tragedy as a personal identifier, that goes beyond what is decent. 

The twist here is that Mr. Tilleman is using (and I mean using) Meleia’s name to oppose a proposition that she would have undoubtedly endorsed. How insensitive and cruel is that, to her name and memory, and to those who love her. The further irony is that the argument that global issues should not be linked to local politics is made absurd by the fact that it is the culture of punitive aggression that lies at the heart of the violence we experience in our lives locally, here and now. It is all connected. 

On behalf of the Willis-Starbuck family, I would suggest that the City of Berkeley, the media, and other public entities not allow such a mis-usage of personal identification to be used in the future. 

Meg Starbuck 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

George Beier thought he could buy the election. Then he learned the hard way that it was never for sale. 

Anthony Sanchez 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

Your Nov. 3 article on the KPFA board elections muddies the reality of an already complex situation. First, the Alliance for a democratic KPFA slate, of which I am part, is a group of individuals who joined together because there was an existing slate, Concerned Listeners. The Alliance is not the product of any other group, much to one such group’s dismay, People’s Radio. The Alliance has had its own set of problems in this election as a result of PR’s meddling, which has caused a great deal of confusion for both voters, and apparently, your reporter. 

Concerned Listeners, on the other hand, was formed by members of KPFA’s staff going to the Wellstone Democratic Renewal Club. Although quoted, the reporter excluded what I stated was most important: It is completely improper for staff, which have their own designated seats on the board, to be involved in the formation of a slate of listener candidates. To turn to any political party to form a such a slate is beyond the pale as no political party should be involved in the governance and setting of policies of any media outlet. 

Your overall portrayal of the Alliance as a group which wants to micromanage and determine programming is an inaccurate characterization. As a former radio programmer and program director, I have been outspoken in the dangers inherent in such detailed involvement, as have others on the Alliance slate. I do, however, firmly believe that the board has a role in asking for a timely review of the programming grid, funding surveys of what Bay Area radio listeners would like to hear, directing the station manager to implement changes reflective of such a survey, and provide funding, through the budget process, for adequate training for volunteer programmers to produce listenable radio programming. We live in a progressive area and a station providing programming outside what is heard on mainstream media should be thriving. This is not the case with KPFA and listener numbers are actually dropping. 

KPFA and Pacifica have been struggling internally and with listeners for many years. There has been a revolving door of short-term and interim station managers. There are factions, feuds and outright fights that include throwing chairs at station meetings. Innuendo, rumors and more divisiveness is not the solution.  

Sasha Futran 

KPFA Local Station Board Candidate 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

Judith Scherr’s Nov. 3 article on the 2006 election unfortunately left out some key elements of this year’s election process. Ballots went out the membership before listeners had the chance to listen to the candidates. As someone who was involved in the KQED election with Sasha Futran when she was a member of the KQED board, I would have to say that the KPFA election process was much less democratic than at KQED. The rules were the same for all candidates at KQED and the voices of all the candidates were on KQED FM in a unbiased manner. This again was not the case in the KPFA election. The election officers also prevented me from running as a listener candidate although I have not produced any programming since last October. This follows up on the undemocratic banning of the KPFA Labor Collective from even submitting proposals for labor programming. The same person Tracy Rosenberg, who supported the banning of the Labor Collective proposals being accepted in the KPFA program council was then appointed by Les Radke to conduct a democratic election. This appointment of a biased election officer to run the election at KPFA has only added to the twisting of the democratic process at KPFA. 

Confidential files from Pacifica were released by someone with access to these documents from the staff to taint the election. KPFA Election officer Tracy Rosenberg and Pacifica Election officer Les Radke both have ignored these flagrant election violations which were aimed at harming Sasha Futran and the Alliance For A democratic KPFA slate and putting the integrity of the election in jeopardy. 

One reason that some of the long time staff at KPFA are concerned about the election of Futran is that she is very knowledgeable about radio having been a radio host and manager at other stations around the country.  

Lastly is a serious financial crisis brewing at KPFA and Pacifica and the declining level of listeners combined with increased donations from those contributing $500 or more while $25 donations are decreasing bodes great danger for KPFA. The recent fund driver was more than $100,000 below the goal and this is again a sign of increasing unhappiness with programming that is not relevant to more and more people.  

KPFA needs to be revitalized so it becomes a beacon for change and a voice for people struggling in Northern California for justice, human rights and equality. A vibrant and exciting KPFA is within our reach and we hope to make these changes to make full use of this invaluable cultural and news resource. 

Steve Zeltzer 

San Francisco 





Editors, Daily Planet: 

Despite the defeat of Proposition 86 (the tobacco tax), the American Cancer Society remains committed to preventing lung cancer and disease, discouraging the next generation from smoking and reducing tobacco use across the nation. 

I’d like to remind your readers that Thursday, Nov. 16 is the 30th anniversary of the Great American Smokeout. Tobacco is still the leading cause of death in our nation, accounting for one out of every three cancer deaths in California every year. Today, an estimated 45 million U.S. adults smoke despite the known associated health risks. 

And to all the ex-smokers in our community: Congratulations on your success in living a tobacco-free life! You have greatly reduced your risk of diseases such as cancer, heart disease and lung disease—not to mention reducing your community’s exposure to the hazards of second hand smoke. I commend your achievements and hope you will join us in celebrating 30 years of the Great American Smokeout! 

To assist people who still smoke and double their chances of quitting for good, the American Cancer Society has developed resources such as and the toll-free number 1-800-ACS-2345. Both are accessible 24/7 to help smokers manage a plan to quit. 

Janice Woodward 

Director of Community Services 

American Cancer Society,  

East Bay Metro Unit 





Editors, Daily Planet: 

Many thanks to U.S. Storage at the southwest corner of Shattuck and Ward, for brightening my walk home. These good folks transformed a four-story box warehouse into a whimsical deep sea aquarium, with metallic fish and sea horses swimming among the reeds (watch out for that shark rounding the corner from Ward!). Above them, half-way up, the surface of the sea laps gentle waves, and above the waves, seagulls fly. At the very top is a strip of blue sky, with more seagulls magically perched at rest. 

I smile every time I pass by, and these days that’s something to be grateful for. 

Dorothy Bryant 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

Well, well...after the election it appears we’re all still riding on the Bates Express. But the good news is that a heck of a lot more people have realized that the train doesn’t stop at their station anymore—it just speeds right by. We all need to work together to make sure we aren’t shut out of our local government anymore. Keep in touch with people across the city and in other districts than yours; share your experiences and learn about their issues. That is how we will win the next election two years from now. 

Doug Buckwald 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

I believe I can state, without fear of contradiction, that Mrs. Dalloway’s Literary and Garden Arts Store on College Avenue is one of Elmwood’s greatest treasures. This unique, utterly charming book store, now celebrating its second birthday, was the brain child of its owners, Marian Abbot Bundy and Ann Leyhe, Both admirers of British novelist Virginia Woolfe, they chose the name, “Mrs. Dalloway,” who, if you read the book, loved flowers. Entering this store is a joyful experience, thanks to the taste and imagination of the two charming women who have fashioned a marvelous display of best selling books, on the right side, while on the left side there are gorgeous books on gardening, as well as exotic plants. The walls are decorated with lovely pastel watercolors by Berkeley Artist, Annette Goldberg. Wicker chairs are an invitation to wile away pleasant hours perusing a book or two. When I enter this sunny store, I sometimes feel I’ve been transported to London’s “64 Charring Cross Road,” the site of a tender memoir of some years ago. During the first months of its opening, I brooded that Mrs. Dalloway’s might not make a go of it, recalling that Avenue Books, a former tenant, failed, like so many other book stores. But I need not have worried. In past months, the store has become a veritable bee hive of activity—readings (I.e, Mary Gordon), a lively, jam-packed reception for the opening of the Annette Goldberg exhibit, and just two nights ago, a “Decca” Mitford program, with Barbara Oliver reading the Mitford letters. Pick up a list of coming events at the store (or, of course, refer to the Berkeley Daily Planet calendar) and see the marvelous books to be discussed in coming weeks. 

Will Mrs. Dalloway’s Literary and Garden Arts succeed where so many other book stores have failed? I believe it will, because this is a neighborhood store, unique to Berkeley, cherished by faithful readers and informed people who want to preserve old traditions. We’re lucky to have such a store! 

Dorothy Snodgrass 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

I was astonished to read that Rob Browning had received a citation for parking slightly on a sidewalk. Perhaps the Berkeley police department is overcompensating for its prior impotence, to wit:  

During UC’s construction of the new dorms at Units I and II, a private food-vending truck serving the construction workers regularly parked squarely across a crosswalk, blocking the wheelchair curb-cut, in a red zone on Dwight Way near Benvenue. The proprietors opened a service window on the street side of the truck, from which they served patrons lined up in the traffic lanes of Dwight Way. They also set up a little condiment table in the middle of Dwight Way. This novel mid-street restaurant, which everyone could see violated a variety of laws (they also had no vending permit), and was very dangerous both for pedestrians and motorists on Dwight Way, happily raked in the bucks during the lunch hour, five days a week, for about eleven months. 

During all this time, it seems that not a single parking enforcement officer nor police officer witnessed the operation, although I and others notified the police department, the city managers’ office, and several council members about it many times—in addition to university officials. It finally ended when I drew it to the attention of a passing Berkeley police officer who happened to be a new recruit to the police department. This helpful rookie did not understand that he was not supposed to enforce any traffic or parking laws that interfered with UC projects or activities (construction, special events, football games, etc.). He immediately instructed the vendor to move into a location on UC property a few feet away, where it operated during the rest of the construction project. It was an obvious, safe location, off the commons, that I and others had suggested eleven months before. 

Our southside sidewalks are also regularly blocked by discarded furniture and trash, which sometimes remains for months; this is also illegal obstruction of the sidewalk but results in no action. 

Therefore, I humbly suggest two ways in which Mr. Browning might avoid future tickets: First, he might obtain a UC staff or UC construction sticker for his van, or perhaps even a CAL Bears sticker might do. This should protect him against parking citations. Second, he could camouflage his van with old furniture and garbage. This should render it invisible to city staff. Good luck, Mr. Browning. 

Sharon Hudson 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

North Shattuck is already overcrowded. The surrounding residential areas already suffer from traffic congestion and lack of parking.  

I live 2 blocks away from the site of the prospective plaza, and I (and my neighbors) constantly feel the negative impact of the businesses on North Shattuck. Parking is, at best, difficult, but on weekends and around Christmastime and on street-sweeping days and during Live Oak Park events, parking is horrendous. 

I hope that the city does not approve this frivolous project. This money can be better spent so that it benefits those in need. 

Debbie Dritz 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

Well, ain’t that swell? They’re building a prototype newer, safer hydrogen bomb—right here in our li’l ol’ East Bay, heart and soul of the U.S. peace movement. Say the old ones won’t do—wear and tear of time, chemical aging--very sophisticated stuff. We know best, not for the masses. Not certain how they would perform—function or not. Allows the boys to make a “realistic,” reasonable demand. What a stake Livermore and environs has in this election, hey? Comrade Vonnegut, would you please join us in this discussion? 

Arnie Passman 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

Carlyle had it right: “War is a quarrel between two thieves too cowardly to fight their own battle; therefore they take boys from one village and another village, stick them in uniforms, equip them with guns, and let them loose like wild beasts against each other.” 

Six out of 10 voters polled at election sites said it’s time to get out of Iraq. Democrats who now control the House and Senate have to come up with a viable exit strategy from Iraq, a timetable for bringing home the troops and develope a plan to clean up the mess Bush and Republicans have left in Iraq. 

The war has created a terrorist breeding ground in the Middle East that has to be dealt with and can’t be allowed to spread into the rest of the area. 

Ron Lowe  

Grass Valley 



Editors, Daily Planet: 

I have helped organize and worked to elect the “Concerned Listeners” slate for the KPFA board and I’m insulted and shocked by the lies and misinformation that People’s Radio and their slate, “Alliance for a Democratic KPFA,” have spread about our candidates and collective. 

The Concerned Listeners group has been characterized as a “Democratic Party front” because members of the Wellstone Democratic Club have been involved in organizing the slate. I have also been a part of the organizing committee from the earliest meetings along with many others from diverse activist backgrounds including folks from Wellstone. Never has the Democratic Party been discussed. None of the candidates on the slate are members of the Wellstone Democratic Club. One candidate used to work with one of their committees but is currently registered Green. Most outrageous may be the sectarian notion that the fine activists from Wellstone shouldn’t be included, in fact welcomed, in the KPFA listener community and the progressive left of the Bay Area. 

I’ve heard our slate referred to as the “corporate” slate. Then why would Pratap Chatterjee of Corpwatch and Kevin Danaher of Global Exchange endorse our slate? As someone with the class struggle in my veins who has stood side by side in the struggle with several members on the Concerned Listeners slate, I find this characterization of our candidates insulting. 

The attacks on Sarv Randhawa have been particularly personal and the lies spread about this kind and gentle man are shameful. It’s ironic that in today’s political climate the People’s Radio supporters have falsely accused the South Asian man on our slate of being violent… A blatant lie. 

Finally, as a longtime union activist and a shop steward, I am most offended by the anti-worker attitudes of the Alliance slate. They show disdain for the workers of KPFA and the extraordinary work they do. KPFA has been on in my household since my parents got a radio in 1950. I listen to KPFA 3 to 5 hours a day. I also follow the mainstream press and to equate the two is ridiculous. KPFA’s programming has been referred to as “low budget NPR” or a repetition of the “AP wire service.” That’s a straw man. The fact is, the coverage and information on KPFA is completely different from PBS and the corporate media. KPFA is a lifeline for me and thousands of other activists. I went into the streets in ‘99 in support of the work of the people who staffed the station. 

The other slate calls the staff “entrenched” and “dead wood” and behaves like your nightmare boss. I ask anyone reading to imagine doing their own job with a group of micro-managers, who don’t know what it takes to do your job and have no respect for the craft, telling you what you should do and how to do it. That’s how members of the current board have acted and that’s the attitude of People’s Radio and the Alliance slate. 

Finally, as a singer songwriter and cultural activist I have to say the other side’s hostility toward cultural programs and programmers is sad. I deeply appreciate and depend on access to KPFA’s airwaves, the only station supporting musicians like me. There is no revolution without singing and dancing.  

I urge KPFA members to support the Concerned Listeners slate and check out the website,  

Jon Fromer 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

After reading and then rereading Becky O’Malley’s winded editorial regarding the District 7 district debate and council race, I came to the conclusion that Ms. O’Malley is not a frequenter of Telegraph Avenue, despite the fact she has much to say about the issue. Though she tells tales of living on Telegraph as an undergraduate and starting a business in the area, it is obvious that the Telegraph that Becky O’Malley is remembering is one of the past, and, like so many Berkeleyans, she is out-of-touch with the situation on the avenue today. The very fact that Ms. O’Malley can say, “The majority of the stores on Telegraph evoke what’s left of the counter-culture, which inevitably attracts young people whose brand of nostalgia includes deliberate, self-conscious anti-social street behavior” shows that she is not a citizen who spends much time on the avenue. The issue with street behavior is really dependent on a handful of problematic and anti-social individuals in serious need of intervention, not the general “young people” who frequent the avenue. As a woman who lived through the golden hippie age of Telegraph, I would think Ms. O’Malley would be less inclined to judge and blame the general “young people” who visit or live in the area, perhaps remembering what it was like to be a part of that counter-culture once. Ms. O’Malley goes so far as to say, “Today the newest tenant (of Telegraph) is a tattoo parlor, and is it any surprise that there are surly tattooed and pierced kids on the street, some of whom might even use rude language and sit defiantly in doorways displaying their piercings?” It is obvious, once again, that Ms. O’Malley knows nothing firsthand about Telegraph’s current situation. Those “tattooed and pierced” individuals are actually the paying customers who frequent Telegraph, dropping about $60 for a piercing and often hundreds for a tattoo; these are not surly individuals leering out of store doorways, these are today’s patrons. These are not abusive people; the small number of problematic individuals neglected by the city mental health system and continually falling through the cracks of the criminal justice system are the abusive people. And, by the way, there is a vast difference between abusive behavior and free speech. 

Counter-culture is the only separation Telegraph has from any other street in Berkeley—as a veteran of the 1960s Telegraph, Ms. O’Malley should be a little more open minded and accepting of that counter-culture. Finally, she refers to there being “too many nasty fast-food places” on Telegraph, which only further proves how out of touch Ms. O’Malley is with the avenue. Besides a Subway on Bancroft and Telegraph and a Noah’s Bagels on Durant and Telegraph, I can’t even think of a fast-food chain that exists on upper Telegraph Avenue. Maybe if Ms. O’Malley actually visited the avenue now and then she wouldn’t make these kinds of mistakes in her haughty editorials. 

Faith Gardner 

District 7 Resident and Telegraph Avenue employee 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

A new Trader Joe’s would be great for Berkeley families for several reasons:  

1. Decrease overall Berkeley traffic. Although traffic would probably increase locally near the MLK/University Avenue intersection, overall traffic may decrease across town as fewer people would have to drive to get groceries. Currently, once a week I drive several miles across town to El Cerrito Plaza to shop at Trader Joe’s (TJs). I never shop at the other stores there in that plaza, just TJs. If we had a TJs in Berkeley, I could walk there most of the time. I already walk daily with my toddler to the various local parks and I could stop there on my way home to pick up a few needed items. There are so many people living nearby (esp. Cal students) who would also walk to the store. I certainly would be happy to use less gas and pollute less to get my groceries. I already walk to the post office, restaurants, and other stores. It would be so great to be able to walk to TJs too. 

2. Increase the availability of inexpensive organic food to people living in Berkeley. TJs sells many organic foods, and their foods are wholesome and minimally processed (if at all) and the prices are fantastic. What a great resource for Berkeley families! 

3. Increase tax revenue for Berkeley. TJs does very well and would be a big tax boom for Berkeley. If local people are worried about the homeless, tax revenue from TJs would add funds to Berkeley to help the homeless.  

4. Increase housing availability. Although the units proposed above TJs are one-bedrooms, they would be perfect for college students, young adults, visiting scholars from Cal, etc. This would relieve the overall housing problem in Berkeley, freeing up other apartments for families. The proposed housing is so close to UC Berkeley, BART, many bus lines, downtown. What a great location! 

I know a TJs would increase traffic for those living on Berkeley Way, but is it realistic for them to expect a quiet street forever when they live one block from a major thoroughfare in an urban environment? It’s time for Berkeley to think long term. Let’s have a Trader Joe’s and new housing at MLK and University Ave. It’s good for Berkeley. I urge Berkeley residents to write the Zoning Adjustments Board or attend the Nov. 9 meeting to support the approval of plans for a new Trader Joe’s. 

Andrea Jones 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

As a resident of the Trestle Glen area and someone who patronizes Lakeshore Avenue businesses several times a week, I’m horrified to think what traffic and parking will be like once Trader Joe’s moves into the old Albertson’s on Lakeshore. The parking situation only recently improved because Albertson’s closed, which caused me to breathe a sigh of relief, not missing that old, outdated store one bit. But anyone who lives in the area can clearly see that on any Saturday when the Farmer’s Market is open, the two story Albertson’s parking structure and virtually all other street parking for blocks is completely full. Add a store like Trader Joe’s to the mix and parking and traffic will be, simply, a nightmare. 

I’ve recently noticed that City Council candidate Pat Kernighan is taking credit for bringing Trader Joe’s to this location, so I stopped by her campaign office the other evening and asked her campaign workers to explain where everyone is supposed to park once Trader Joe’s comes to Lakeshore. One woman explained that the solution to the parking problem is better enforcement, by marking tires, writing tickets and towing cars. This heavy-handed approach didn’t work when Albertson’s tried it several months prior to their closing, and it won’t work now. All it will accomplish is to alienate and further frustrate the Oakland residents who need to frequent the area. 

However, the bigger issue is that Lakeshore Avenue works, just as it is. We have a phenomenal Farmer’s market, a soon-to-reopen Safeway just around the corner on Grand Avenue, a local Asian market just next door to Pete’s Coffee, a natural foods store, Arizmendi, Starbucks, and on and on. And if that’s not enough, the new Farmer Joe’s that recently opened on Fruitvale is just minutes away, with tons of ample parking, and they open earlier than Berkeley Bowl and stock an amazing array of products, organic produce, deli and prepared foods, etc. The Lakeshore neighborhood shopping area is vibrant and alive and, if anything, it would make more sense to raze Albertson’s and create more parking, which is so sorely needed. 

In all fairness, I’m a Berkeley Bowl shopper, but that being said, I’ve learned which days and times are best for me to shop there and not be overwhelmed by their own shopping problems. And as much as I love Berkeley Bowl, when I heard a rumor that they were approached to come into the Lakeshore location, my reaction was the same as it is for Trader Joe’s. Berkeley Bowl would not enhance Lakeshore. I fully realize that Trader Joe’s is the chichi thing to do, especially with so many well-heeled residents in the area, but come on … the seeming advantages of bringing a store with such an incredible draw to Lakeshore are greatly exaggerated and will ultimately destroy the wonderful ambiance that we already have. Lakeshore works.  

No thanks, Pat Kerhighan, and no thanks Trader Joe’s. Lakeshore is better off without it. 

Lisa B. Lee 






Editors, Daily Planet: 

In the guise of some sort of “gift” to upper middle class professionals who can’t afford million dollar starter homes, the Berkeley Property Owners Association has presented Berkeley voters with an opportunity to participate in demographic mischief right here in our town in the form of Measure I, which would remove 500 affordable rental units from Berkeley’s ever dwindling supply. How thoughtful.  

For only $400,000, Berkeley renters could leap from their $1,200 one bedroom apartment to the same apartment, now called a “condominium,” and pay $3.250 per month for the same digs. Wow. Such a deal.  

Of course, sitting renters would not be able to qualify for such largesse as their incomes fall far short of conventional lending industry standards. $3,250 monthly payments require an annual income of more than $85,000, and $85,000 is almost three times the median renter household income according to the most recent census. 

Over 100 middle income rental units were recently converted in Oakland. Less than five percent of the tenants in residence, many of whom had lived in these previously affordable apartments for over a decade, could afford to triple and even quadruple their monthly payments for housing. And, the approximate 60 percent African-American tenant residents—all middle class working people—have virtually disappeared, scattered across northern California. A vibrant friendly community hacked to pieces by the condo kings. A kind of ethnic cleansing 2006, reminiscent of the urban renewal/negro removal of the ’60s. 

I expect the citizens of Berkeley will have the decency to reject this abominable initiative. 

And by the way, Mr. and Mrs. BPOA, on your way to the bank, would you please take that sharp stick and poke me in the other eye? 

Jeffrey J. Carter 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

I am a student a UC Berkeley and a member of the online social network named Facebook. I had thought that this site was created to be an open and safe form for students to network, collaborate and discuss politics. According to the USA Today, it is described as an “avenue” for student activism. Recently student members of this site have seen a change in the site by an infusion of political ads and monies with election. 

I created a Facebook group to challenge and ask some questions of a local Berkeley politician George Beier who is running for City Council in District 7 of Alameda County. It was called “Who Is George Beier? Kinda Creepy.” I critiqued his Facebook campaign and offered suggestions on how he could improve it. I also said a number of positive things about his ideas and proposals. Mostly I questioned why in his profile he did not bother to tell students who he was or why they should trust him. There was no mention of any of his political credentials. 

This Facebook group was just beginning to pick up membership when it was deleted apparently because it was “abusive and violated the terms of service.” I know that my Facebook group has not been the first deleted for political content such as this nor is there any count or understanding of just how widespread a problem of censorship like this is. 

The original reason that I launched this Facebook group is because I was very surprised that his over- saturation campaign on Facebook had not created a backlash manifested by a swarm of Anti-Beier groups. The only group involving Beier I found was a memory-site dedicated to the original group that had been shut down for the same reason as mine: it invited criticism and discussion of his political merits. 

I am shocked that Facebook has transformed itself into such a political beast but doesn’t not allow students/members to rally against political candidates that they don’t like. Especially when these candidates are pumping tons of money into Facebook to appeal to voters. It just doesn’t seem democratic at all. It made me think: what else are they hiding? 

The ironic thing is that at about that time I was doing my absentee ballot, this group I had created was shut down. I actually had voted for him because I agree with a lot of the things that he says and stands for. Isn’t that a democratic irony if you’ve ever heard one? 

The irony of this situation is that at UC Berkeley forty years ago the Free Speech Movement was a result of students wanting to freely express their political beliefs and not being able to. This movement resulted in a conflict between Governor Reagan and the demonstrators that arguably propelled Reagan to the Whitehouse. It’s funny that George Beier and Facebook is essentially trying to limit this same type of political discussion through the new phenomena of online social networks. 

Also Berkeley has the fortune having a highly vocal bunch of College Republicans that cling to and cherish the principles of the Free Speech Movement due to their small minority status on campus. They were recently featured in the Wall Street Journal for their activities and robust presence. 

Nathan J Danielsen 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

Berkeley as a “sustainable city” is a worthy ideal. But, despite the development hype, we have a long way to go. Large buildings which are not “green” or psychologically appealing are not enough to make us a sustainable city. According to Randy Hayes, Oakland’s former sustainablity czar, cities need the ability to grow at least one third of their own food. Where are the gardens in our new, bulky, unattractive buildings? Where are our green spaces? A recent report on the devastating effects of a major earthquake pointed out that transportation would be severely affected. When the trucks no longer roll in with food from other areas, where will be our gardens to grow food? Mayor Bates said that new buildings were required to have set asides for gardens, but that these could be on the roof. A few planters on roofs will not feed a city. 

Sustainability also requires that our aquifers be replenished. Without porous surfaces, water is not absorbed into the earth. Our new monoliths do not have gardens with drainage. We are becoming a concrete jungle, not a living ecosystem. 

A sustainable earth requires birds, bees, and butterflies. Where are Berkeley’s bird/bee/butterfly gardens? A sustainable city would not have its creeks buried under conrete--made into roadways for cars. 

A sustainable city is probably a city with a soul. A concrete jungle deadens the spirit. A concrete jungle cannot sustain a neighborhood or build community. A concrete jungle further estranges our youth from any connection with a living world. A child who has never experienced a butterfly or a bee cannot be expected to care about polar bears or ancient forests. 

As citizens, we need to support the effort to truly become a sustainable city. Part of that effort will be putting pressure on our city government to pay less homage to the developers and more homage to the earth which sustains us. 

L. Darlene Pratt 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

As a 15-year resident it boggles my mind that in Berkeley, where we pat ourselves on the back for being so green (which is wonderful, by the way), we allow cardboard candidate and proposition signs to stay on telephone poles etc., for months without any thought to removing and recycling them. It was very important to put them up, sometimes dozens for the same person/concern per block, but then no one ever takes the time to remove them. There they stay until the rain forces them into our drainage system clogging up both our sewers and the bay or until spring when they mercifully fall down when it gets windy. I have seen some last more than a year! This is an awful eye sore and inconvenience. I suggest that campaigns be required to set aside funding to pay anyone who wants to go and get these signs and bring them to the originating campaign headquarters. At a quarter per sign I suspect we won’t see a single one on election day plus two. Other than the Democrats taking over Congress this would be my second favorite result of the election. 

Bill Feinstein 




Editors, Daily Planet:  

Many people say that Anna’s Jazz Island is good for our community and good for the revitalization of our downtown. It seems a church and upscale dining hall is really preferred by city staff and our City Council. Perhaps someone can explain to me why it is that when I moved my Anna’s Jazz Island to the Gaia Building to be part of a cultural center, instead I share the facility with a church from Atlanta. At their website they say: “Jesus came to re-create—to make this world, and to make Berkeley, good once again” ( My entrance is often covered by a huge double marquee that states: CHRIST CHURCH OF BERKELEY, WORSHIP SERVICES 10:30 AM SUNDAYS. Both the musicians and patrons have been offended and troubled by all this. I would also like to know why, instead of cultural use, the theater in the building did not have a single night of weekend cultural use for the community in October. We are still being overwhelmed by rowdy private parties. The Berkeley City Council is deciding on the use of the Gaia Building on Tuesday, Nov. 14 at 7:30 p.m. Perhaps they can explain it all then. And perhaps they can also explain how we can survive in this situation. 

Anna de Leon 

Anna’s Jazz Island 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

Remember when you (only half-seriously) extended an invitation to Jon Carroll to switch steeds when the Chronicle cut his columns back from daily to however many he does now? Well, who you really ought to woo is Mark Morford (he’s in Datebook Wednesdays and Fridays). God, how I love that man. I mean, whoa, is he totally awesome or what? He’s the only reason I have a limited sub. Certainly not for Jon Carroll (who’s column I barely scan since he came out posterior-smooching for Arnold, or the scandal-mongering, or the less than incisive news analysis. And on the issue of subscriptions, if I can subsidize a corporate hag like the Chronicle I can certainly donate to our beloved local midwife. I so appreciate that you always let us have our say. Thank you.  

Pamela Satterwhite 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

A few months ago somebody threw a rock and smashed the front picture window in my house as I was sitting behind it. It was frightening to me, and it was expensive to have repaired. It took the police over an hour to respond. Tonight some kids broke two glass aquariums that I had put in my driveway. When I called the police, first I was put on hold. When I finally got through to the police, I was quizzed by the dispatcher as to whether I had actually seen the kids break the aquariums (no, but I heard breaking glass, and when I went out, there was a kid standing beside it—it seems elementary, doesn’t it?). Once again, it took the police over an hour to respond. By that time I was seeing a client and could not talk to the officer. 

I had been hoping that a patrol car could respond quickly; what was my neighborhood patrolman doing that was so goshdarned important that he couldn’t come? We are completely at the mercy of these vandals. What will it take to get good police service in Berkeley? Now that the elections are over, I dare say I won’t be able to get any politician to respond. 

Jenifer Steele 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

I teach dance at Cragmont School in Berkeley, and my children attend John Muir School. Here are a few of the wonderful things your votes for Measure A will continue to support: 

• A group of second graders in dance today, asked by their teacher why it’s important to work as partners with people you don’t know well: 

“If you work with someone different, you learn about them and they learn about you.” 

“If you can’t dance with them, how can you understand them?” 

“It makes less fighting.” 

“You learn to be nice, kind” 

• Kids playing music for kids who dance to other kids’ poetry 

• Schools and class sizes small enough that everyone on campus knows everyone else, so that every child feels seen, known, supported 

• Librarians, makers of magic and weavers of worlds, people who can rattle off 400 childrens’ book preferences off the top of their heads, chuckling at each one’s ideas and originalities 

• A fourth grade group, talking about ideas for choreography about the UFW movement: 

“Well, when we could show the dances we made last week {short pieces based on words like skip and jump}, because Cesar Chavez’ ideas were about freedom and independence. When we made those dances, we were free to choose the ideas and we worked on them independently.” 

• Coach Don Burl, Art Teacher Joe McLain, and hundreds of other superb teachers whose artistry, skill, and dedication are breathtaking. 

Thank you, thank you, thank you. 

Valerie Gutwirth 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

The Justin Online Military Oral History Collection is seeking the stories of Military Veterans, Merchant Mariners, War Industry Workers, CCCers, and all others who supported the troops on the Home Fronts during World War II, the Cold War, Korea, Vietnam and all other eras, including memorials from families, for publication to this online historical resource. If you would like to participate please send your stories, with name, rank, unit and locations and dates of service if known, to James F. Justin CCC Museum, PO Box 5, Woodbury NJ 08096 USA or e-mail to 

James Justin 


Holiday Haiku 

by Carol Denney 

ceramic santas 

sitting in a discount bin 

where is my hammer