Public Comment

Letters to the Editor

Friday April 20, 2007


Editors, Daily Planet: 

Dave Farias (March 23) wrote to you about a dear friend of mine, Lonnie Torres, being falsely accused of being a serial rapist. His letter speaks for me as well. Where is the apology? Where is the article announcing how he was wrongly accused? His name was slandered in the papers. Thank God not in the hearts and minds to those who know him best! And as for the officer who was falsely awarded, I hope it was revoked! As an avid reader of your paper I am still waiting for the correction to be printed as well as many others who have stood behind Lonnie knowing (without a doubt) of his innocence.  

Kathy Jo Martinez 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

Richard Brenneman’s April 13 story, “UC-BP Debate Reveals Two Cultures Schism,” stated incorrectly that UC Berkeley Chancellor Robert “Birgeneau hired two faculty members specifically to work on the EBI proposal,” and identified them as Chris Somerville and his wife, both eminent plant biologists at Stanford University. Somerville, who collaborated with UC Berkeley faculty to put together the successful proposal to BP, is a Visiting Research Scientist at LBNL and not a member of the UC Berkeley faculty or a UC Berkeley employee. 

In addition, there is an error of omission. Brenneman quoted Academic Senate chair William Drummond’s Feb. 15 speculation, “I doubt if we get a preview of the contract.” Brenneman omitted the fact that four Academic Senate committee chairs were subsequently invited not only to preview the contract, but to provide input before any contract is signed. We request that you run corrections in your paper to set the record straight. 

Robert Sanders 

Manager of Science  


UC Berkeley Office of  

Media Relations 



Editors, Daily Planet: 

In the article “Divided Commission Landmarks Iceland,” Richard Brenneman stated “Ben Anderson, the architectural consultant hired by Iceland’s owners, portrayed the venerable structure as an undistinguished hodge-podge of Art Deco and Streamline Moderne styles, much of it with little character or articulation.” 

I want to clarify what I said, and object to this interpretation as to the way that I portrayed Berkeley Iceland. 

My presentation included the assertion that at the north and south elevations, where the connection to the street is made up of the landscaped berms, that as landscape elements these berms do not show any real articulation to create a sense of “place” in the site as it meets the street, and that they are too steep to be easily occupied.  

However, my commentary on the building itself was not that it is undistinguished or had little character or articulation, but rather that it develops it’s character through the utilization of two sets of architectural language: “streamline moderne” and “art deco”. I referred to Berkeley High School as an example of a building which combines these two styles gracefully by separating them on to different surfaces, while Berkeley Iceland combines these two elements on top of each other, at the west entry, which results in the two elements competing for the viewers eye. 

Please make these corrections, and thank you for your time on this article. 

Benjamin Anderson 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

With independent book stores failing like most memory and history, it is with great joy that I report the resurrection of The Book Zoo. This hallowed, deliciously atavistic curio revived the early ’60s feel over the cobblestones back in that Japanese restaurant-fronted Fondue Pot mall south of Blake on Telegraph. The Book Zoo, with more head and book room, but with the same warmth, is now just south of Alcatraz, at 6395 Telegraph in Oakland (654-BOOK).  

Take a load off and spend some time there, and encourage the tireless efforts of co-owners Eric and Nick. Readings take place all the time. A recent one was with Jerry Beisler, author of The Bandit of Kabul, a tale of the ’60s-’70s Asian hippie trail, published by our own Regents Press. 

Arnie Passman 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

The April 6 article (“BUSD Weighs Options for Surplus Properties”) states that the Berkeley High School tennis courts are being considered for surplus property by the school district. At the present time BHS uses the portable classrooms on Washington School’s campus across the street from BHS. Until now, those portables housed the elementary school’s Extended Day Care program. The program had to move into the main building. Speaking for myself—I work as a movement teacher at Washington—it doesn’t seem fair to either the program or the classroom teachers who must now share their spaces. Instead of considering the tennis courts as surplus property, why isn’t the BUSD considering erecting some portables on that site? 

Ruth Bossieux 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

The shock, the drama, 

Iraq, Osama... 

Barack Obama 

For President. 

O.V. Michaelsen 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

Barbara Epstein’s recent letter reminds me of why some of us left the Left. 

First, are we supposed to refrain from attacking someone because they are female or some other PC category? 

Second, I have heard hosts over the years endorse many marches on KPFA. 

I wasn’t even aware of this gag rule until I read Marc Sapir’s op-ed. KPFA’s gavel to gavel coverage of many peace and civil rights marches over the years could certainly be taken for endorsements. 

Third, Lilley has been outspokenly hostile to the democratic participatory changes at KPFA. Every one knows that she is the choice of the entrenched staff hostile to any real change at KPFA. 

Fourth, many of the oldtimers at KPFA such as the (thankfully) retiring Bensky were themselves upholders of the old gag rule until it was used against them in 1999. 

They supported every purge but, surprise !, their own. 

Fifth, is KPFA supposed to an employer of the last resort for otherwise unemployable aging old lefties so they indulge their narcissism at the public’s expense? 

Sixth, are the editors not supposed to print letters that disturb the Barbara Epsteins of this world ? 

Michael P. Hardesty 





Editors, Daily Planet: 

I wish to correct just one of the many inaccuracies in Mark Sapir’s “KPFA’s Tradition of Advocacy is Threatened.” (April 6). He states: “Then this past year the core staff went out and created their own slate of listener candidates for the station board. . . .” This is untrue. In the fall of 2005, I was among a group of KPFA listeners who started meeting to express our dissatisfaction with a local station board that spent a lot of time in useless squabbles, in trying to micro manage the station and in attacking staff, rather than what we considered the role of a community board - supporting the station, helping to raise money and increase listenership. To find out more about what was happening on the board, we invited a few of the current local station board members who we heard were dissatisfied to meet with us, as well as some staff. Subsequently, we invited a few of them to join our efforts in forming Concerned Listeners for KPFA. 

Sapir seems to be obsessed with KPFA staff. First, he asserts (with no evidence) that “the inside core staff controls management.” Then at the end of his article he says: “Managers who attack advocacy in programming should be replaced by staff . . .” I presume that these are not the “core staff,” whoever they are. Sapir thus seeks to stir up staff divisions. This is not what KPFA needs to prosper. 

Kay Trimberger 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

There is a culture of gun violence in America that is being fostered and perpetuated (inadvertently) by a political agenda, the NRA, and gun lobby. The solution to this epidemic: Control the guns—the rest of the industrialized world has—you can’t control the lives of 300 million Americans. And let’s not lose perspective; people in Iraq live with this type of violence and worse, everyday. One hundred and seventy-eight Iraqis were killed today. 

Ron Lowe  

Grass Valley  



Editors, Daily Planet: 

The best advice I can give to my fellow citizens today is to watch C-Span. 

If you are not watching C-Span you are missing some of the best discussions of current issues, done without commercials, by top persons in their fields. 

Charles Smith 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

Intertribal Friendship House here in Oakland had just paid off all the back taxes of several years ago and now it’s no longer on the auction block. It took grassroots effort by the American Indian communities around here along with others to save the building. IFH had served the American Indian community for nearly 50 years. It sponsored meetings, dances, dinners and other events. 

It would have been a travesty if the building were to fall into the hands of real estate folks who want to use it for profit. Again, congratulations to the people who fought to keep Intertribal Friendship House open. 

Billy Trice, Jr. 





Editors, Daily Planet: 

With Earth Day fast approaching, no one should let the one-day-a-year appreciation devoted to respecting the Earth, go by. You don’t need to be an extreme activist and tree-hugging hippie to help save the planet. Just by eating no meat or less meat, you are helping the environment. This may be a solution that no one has ever brought upon you before, as I had never knew the facts either. Just by refusing to eat one pound of beef, you are saving more water than a year’s worth of showers. Why beef? Cows produce the most harmful of greenhouse gases—methane, and eat over 75 percent of the corn we produce in the United States. Corn crops are, in a sense, taking over the Earth. We need to produce more and more corn to feed the farm animals which we want to eat. 

In one day, there are 1,440 minutes. Each minute, we are destroying parts of rain forests the size of seven football fields in order to make more room for cattle grazing. Can we really afford 10,080 football fields a day in order to satisfy our beefy needs? You don’t need to be a rocket scientist to know that its bad that farm animals are using almost half of the water supply that’s used in the United States. Stop thinking “I’m just one person, even if I stop, everyone else would keep doing it,” and start thinking. If everyone thought like that, where would we be?  

Diana Shek 

San Francisco 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

Recently the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released official reports conveying that global warming a very real and urgent issue. The burning of fossil fuels for energy and transportation are effecting not only weather patterns but also heath factors in many Californians. 

Cars, coal burning power plants, cement kilns, and lumber manufacturers are the leading cause of excessive amounts of CO2 and water vapor on emissions which cause a greenhouse effect and thus cause global temperatures to rise. These emissions are also responsible for exacerbating asthma symptoms amongst children leading to more missed school days than any other cause in California. 

The Safe Climate Act would prevent the worst effects of global warming by setting science-based limits to reduce global warming pollution by at least 15-20 percent by 2020 and 80 percent by 2050. 

Andrew Klaus 

Assistant Canvass Director, 

Fund for Public Interest Research