Public Comment

Letters to the Editor

Tuesday October 23, 2007



Editors, Daily Planet: 

Tuesday night I attended a meeting sponsored by Councilmember Darryl Moore ostensibly about issues in West Berkeley, but precipitated by strong neighborhood opposition to the West Berkeley Business Alliance’s proposed Business Improvement District (BID). In addition to hearing from the WBBA and many concerned residents, there were also presentations by select city staff including City Manager Phil Kamlarz, Department of Public Works Director Claudette Ford, the police chief and a representative from Mental Health Services. 

Phil Kamlarz gave an update regarding property tax revenue, listing where the bulk of city expenses are allocated. Predictably, the theme was how little money is left over to address basic services like more than one evening beat cop for West Berkeley, graffiti abatement, illegal dumping and public works maintenance. He neglected to mention all the other sources of revenue the city receives—think business licenses, building permits and the traffic tickets and fines. He also did not address how money is managed or what commitment there has been to fiscal responsibility. 

The Department of Public Works director proceeded to concede they do the best they can with budget and resources they have. She then suggested we help out, by getting up on a Saturday morning to assist in cleaning out the storm drains. As I understand things, she was suggesting her customers get up and take care of a service they have already paid for! This after my neighbor shared with the audience her experience making 14 phone calls to get a street light changed. 

What is crystal clear is the fact that if every business in West Berkeley managed their finances the way the city does (especially labor costs) there would not be enough solvent business to even suggest a BID. 

Why doesn’t the city focus on a performance improvement plan before they jump on the CBD/BID bandwagon? Why should their average to poor performance be rewarded with more money and assistance from an outside entity? I would like to know how they intend to fulfill their commitments for general service before entertaining any “special” benefits. 

Maresa Danielsen 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

The 15 or so developers and property owners who, along with the City of Berkeley, recently launched an undemocratic power grab disguised as an “improvements district” in West Berkeley couldn’t have done it at a worse time. Telegraph and downtown Berkeley, ably represented by just such business improvement districts, are still pounding their high chairs over—you guessed it— homelessness, cleanliness, safety, and crime. 

I loved going to the fraudulent “town hall” meeting, however, to celebrate the citizens who noticed their city representatives were in bed with developers and educated the neighborhood, which, with relative courtesy considering what was being proposed, refused to be told by the city-paid facilitator that they were not allowed to discuss the outrageous attempted theft of their money and their right to a say over their own neighborhood and its future. 

You can’t have it both ways; city staff can’t tell one neighborhood that business improvement districts, or BIDs, are so ineffective that we need new anti-homeless laws to jail the poor, while telling another neighborhood that they are better than sliced bread. 

West Berkeley, the oldest, most economically productive neighborhood with the hottest art and the deepest roots, deserves more respect than this. City staff and politicians show up in our neighborhood to spread a facade of fake inclusion over a decision made long ahead of time in some private room. Maybe next time, instead of the stock speeches about how helpless they are due to budget constraints, etc., they should sit down, dial back their prejudiced facilitator, and listen to a neighborhood that really knows how to take an imperfect world and make it work. 

Carol Denney 





Editors, Daily Planet: 

I have been a volunteer literacy tutor with Berkeley schools over a span of thirty years. This experience, coupled with my skills and interests as a CPA, with an MBA from Berkeley, continue to make me particularly fascinated by the rigor of Reading Recovery’s data evaluation. The positive results continue to keep me involved with Reading Recovery students and teachers in Berkeley. Concerned by the misconceptions presented in the letter to the editor on Oct. 16, I am writing this response to provide links to help readers get the facts about Reading Recovery. 

Reading Recovery was evaluated along with other reading programs for early readers to determine what programs work best. The What Works Clearinghouse, a branch of the United States Department of Education, found that Reading Recovery was the most effective program that they reviewed. ( 

Until another early literacy intervention is proven to be more effective, I’ll remain supportive of Reading Recovery.  

I regularly review the additional research links at the Reading Recovery Council of North America web site ( Following are some of these links, relevant to the Oct. 16 commentary. 

In North America 75 percent of the children who complete their series of lessons, 12-20 weeks, reach classroom averages ( This was also our data in Berkeley last year even though most of the children served were poor and/or were English language learners. 

Reading Recovery helps to reduce the achievement gap by rapidly increasing the achievement of the lowest literacy performers. Results are similar across diverse settings and population attributes of gender, ethnicity and income ( 

Reading Recovery’s sole mission is to provide high-quality intervention for the lowest first grade readers so they can catch up with their classroom peers in less than 20 weeks. Reading Recovery teachers take the children with the lowest literacy skills as required by the national Standards and Guidelines ( 

These facts, and the joy I get seeing the children who had the lowest literacy skills learn to read and write with enthusiasm, make me a strong advocate of Reading Recovery. 

Susan Lewis 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week (IFAW) is coming to UC Berkeley, Oct. 22-26. In Orwellian fashion reactionary pundit David Horowitz claims this campaign is to promote “academic freedom” and “women’s rights.” As part of the actions for this week Horowitz has called for college Republicans to sit-in at Women’s Studies departments and demanded these departments sign on to his petition “Calling on Feminists to End Their Silence on the Oppression of Women in Islam.” 

Horowitz’s newfound concern about women brings to mind how the Bush Administration bamboozled some women’s rights organizations into supporting the invasion of Afghanistan because it would “liberate women” from oppression and the burqa. The result? In today’s Afghanistan fundamentalists fill parliament and the burqa is ubiquitous – women risk being beaten if they appear in public without it. And in Iraq, the brutal U.S. occupation has strengthened religious authority and honor killings are on the rise. If David Horowitz really cared about the status of women under Islamic fundamentalism, he would be protesting at the White House. 

Of course, David Horowitz has no problem with a Christian brand of fascism, nor do IFAW crusaders ex-Senator Rick Santorum, a Christian fundamentalist who opposes abortion, contraception, equates homosexuality with bestiality and promotes the teaching of intelligent design as science. Or Robert Spencer, author of Religion of Peace?: Why Christianity Is and Islam Isn’t. Or Ann Coulter who says of Muslims, “We should invade their countries, kill their leaders and convert them to Christianity.” 

Contrary to wishful thinking, ignoring these people will not make them go away. Their campaigns have serious consequences. Horowitz’ spawned the “Students for Academic Freedom,” who take notes and record lectures to harass professors who stray from the status quo. Other activities are “games” like “Catch an Illegal Immigrant” on campus. Progressive professors Ward Churchill and Norman Finklestein were recent Horowitz targets who were first hounded and then fired. IFAW demonizes Muslims for the purpose of building support for the open-ended “War on Terror,” which is really an open-ended war for empire. IFAW lies that the only options we have are either Muslim fundamentalism or US imperialism. Another world and another way is possible. There is an urgent need to politically confront, and deeply expose IFAW’s heinous (and fascist) agenda, to defend real academic freedom and critical thinking, and to struggle for a world where all women and men can truly be liberated human beings. 

Reiko Redmonde 

Revolution Books 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

Unfortunately, I could not attend Saturday’s public workshop in regard to future downtown development in Berkeley, but as a 12-year resident of this city, I feel obliged to voice some of my concerns. 

I have just read Mr. Will Travis’ letter/commentary to other DAPAC members, the subject of which is Downtown Land Uses And Urban Form, and I feel the need to voice some dissent. 

Yes, very tall buildings do create wind tunnels, cast shadows and generally limit light and access to sky-scapes. Many of us do find these human created tall structures to be problematic at times. Many of us would prefer to not live in neighborhoods that are dominated by their height. Many of us visit the financial district of San Francisco, marvel at the tall buildings, and return to our abodes, located in parts of Berkeley that reflect a more human scale. Many of us do not find urban parks sandwiched between skyscrapers to by much of an amenity. Yes, to some of us, maybe many of us, those tall buildings seem ugly. They seem cold. That is an aesthetic judgment made by some of us, maybe many of us, and it is a judgment that is certainly worthy of consideration. 

I walk a lot in downtown Berkeley, and when I see all the vacant and underutilized buildings that exist now, I have a difficult time in understanding the need to build more and more, bigger and bigger. And yes, I understand the concerns of creating more housing, especially more affordable housing in Berkeley. Yes, I understand the need to limit sprawl and develop workable transit systems that are not totally automobile dependent. I fully support plans to reduce waste, and minimize our collective carbon footprint. 

But there has got to exist a way in which to do that, that pleases our senses. Light and air, a sense of space and openness, many of us need this in order to flourish. Some of us even think that we can find this in some urban environments. Maybe if our mass transit systems were better developed throughout the entire region, the concept of density could be shouldered by all of our communities. Maybe downtown areas with beautifully designed and realized three or four story buildings would suffice. 

We need urban planning that meets this earth’s needs and meets our human needs. Not every urban environment must look like Manhattan, just as not every urban environment must look like Berkeley. 

I send a genuine thank you to all the citizens who have donated countless hours, attempting to envision our downtown of the future. I am sure that it has been an arduous task. But please do not dismiss the specific aesthetic concerns of some of us citizens, like myself, who are sensitive to the scale of our environments. 

Diana Rossi 

A Berkeley resident, artist and mother 





Editors, Daily Planet: 

People are capable of great sacrifice for a higher purpose. All through history, there are examples of this phenomenon, whether the higher purpose is a religious or cultural ideal, or some seemingly moral value. Masses of people are known to make collective sacrifices and to do things that with hindsight, from the perspective of more enlightened times, are considered stupid, if not evil.  

At this moment in history, the bill of goods we’re being sold is that we have to sacrifice our city for global warming. We are suppose to accept two 19-story buildings, five 16-story buildings, multiple 10-story buildings, and unlimited eight-story buildings for the betterment of our world.  

But instead, there are a lot of other things that need to be done before we sacrifice our city. For example, we stand with other older, built-out, already high-density cities, e.g. Oakland and San Francisco, in being given unfair housing allocations by the Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG). Pressure needs to be put upon ABAG to change the allocation formulas so that cities with vacant and highly underutilized land carry their fair share and increase production. There are other things as well that can be done, and need to be done, and haven’t been done. 

Rather than sacrificing our city, I think we need to make city life exceptionally appealing. 

And plunking down a cluster of towers in the middle of Berkeley is not appealing. A recent series of covers on the New Yorker magazine illustrated the human cost of such structures.  

A vertical design solution is no better, and instead far worse, than a plan more horizontal in dimension and design. For the life of me, I cannot understand why revitalization of the downtown does not include the very short distance between the Downtown BART station and the Ashby BART station. Investing horizontally and not vertically would mean rejecting out of scale development and instead revitalizing with human-scale, preservation-sensitive design. Such a plan would spread more equitably the housing and businesses that support community life.  

Any plan should be sensitive to the topography of the land to enhance our sense of where we are. People should be able to know where they are by looking east and seeing the Berkeley hills and looking west and seeing water. This is Berkeley. It is not Anywhere, USA.  

I want a Berkeley solution. I don’t want lazy thinking that adopts some other city’s solution because it has currency. I want us to figure this out.  

Janice Thomas 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

How pleased I was to read about the use of the Reading Recovery Program in the Berkeley Schools. I became familiar with that program as a PhD student in early literacy development at USC in the ‘80s. What impressed me about the program, and was emphasized in your article was that it was applied very early with children struggling to learn to read rather that waiting until academic failure, social isolation, and discouragement have set in. Contrary to Jean Clyde’s Opinion comments (Oct. 19) that teaching “guessing” is detrimental to learning to read, I am convinced of the opposite. Namely, that “predicting” is the best tactic for learning to read. Try this little example: The dog went into his dogh_____. To “sound out” o-u-s-e is unnecessary, and children who learn to read by this kind of tight phonic approach get so slowed down that by the time they have sounded out the letters or a word they have forgotten the meaning of the first part of the sentence. No wonder so many children taught by a rigid phonics method “read” without comprehension! Another example: The d_g is chewing on a b___. One does not need to sound out d-o-g to know dog or to sound out b-o-n-e. Reading the word comes from the child’s knowledge of spoken language. I’m not saying don’t teach phonics. It is very helpful to know consonants (and relatively easy to learn). However, vowels (especially in English) for many children are a confusing hindrance. Reading requires the strategies of guessing/predicting AND some sound/letter knowledge. Another plus of the Reading Recovery Program is the one-on-one student/coach relationship it establishes. Not all children learn well in even a small group; some absolutely need one young beginning reader pared with an experienced reader side by side. As for economy, much better to invest the money now than later in years of far less successful remediation. 

Tedi Siminowsky 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

In regards to Judith Scherr’s Oct. 19 article I first must voice my objection to the use of “pro-war groups” to describe the people who were there to show their support for our troops and to keep the anti-war groups from future vandalizing the Marine Officer Selection Office which the Daily Planet keeps referring to as a Marines Recruitment Office. Everyone seems to think that the staff of this office is out to grab children off the street and force them to sign up for the Marines. If you go to the URL which is posted right on the window it will take you to the site that explains all about becoming an officer. The men and women that they are looking for are college graduates and post-graduates for Officer Candidates School, not high school students. These men and women are intelligent enough to make their own decisions on this matter without the interference of third parties.  

As one of the pro-troop supporters that were in attendance on Wednesday I am bothered by your reference to the comment that our group was mostly male. Although over 50 percent of the group was male there were a great many women......most being mothers and many being military mothers such as myself.  

I saw no mention in this article of the knife which was dropped by one of the anti-war people after they tried to infiltrate the pro-troop side which had been done repeatedly throughout the rally. Besides the one flag burning that you mention someone from the anti-war group also tore up a flag and threw it down on the ground plus another woman was carrying the flag upside down which is a sign of distress. I see no mention of the vulgarities and obscene gesturing that all these peaceful people were making. The men who were on the Harley-Davidson’s were all Vets...some were from the Patriot Guard Riders, a group which was started to keep demonstrators away from the funerals of our sons and daughters who have given their lives so that people such as those anti-war groups and reporters have the rights to do what they do. The gunning of the engines was done to drown out the profanity and insults from the anti-war groups side of the street. Code Pink organizer Zanne Joi took credit for the fact that that the Officer Selection Office was closed that day but no mention was made that they were at a Career Day function which had been scheduled well in advance of this protest. It would be wonderful if we lived in a peaceful world without war and no need for a military but as that is not now possible what does Code Pink, the other anti-war groups and the Berkeley Daily Planet think would happen if we didn’t have a military? I really I appreciate you must report the news but I would like to request that you do so fairly and unbiased as the news should be.....a source of information and not opinion.  

Debbi Dresser 





Editors, Daily Planet: 

If the Daily Planet were a true tabloid, there would be a 32-point headline reading “Berkeley Central Planning sucker punches the DAPAC dreamers (again).” My thanks to Zelda Bronstein for bringing up this Tuesday’s City Council Item 33 for the city to accept as its own, a report written by and for the developer of the Downtown Convention Center and Hotel to justify a $15 million rebate of hotel taxes; funds earmarked for downtown improvements, and in particular to make Center Street more pedestrian-friendly.  

As my comments to the meeting focused on Neighbors for a Livable Berkeley Way’s efforts to reserve the ugly backside of the Golden Bear for family housing, I did not have time to mention the proposal from the Planning, Housing, and Economic Development Departments that is making its way through various Commissions to cap affordable housing in-lieu fees for all buildings over five-stories. These in-lieu fees were going to fund a few crumbs of affordable housing in the downtown and provided much of the ‘public benefit’ justification for not only the much reviled point towers, but even their evil little sister, the eight-story Gaia-like mid-rises.  

Hopefully these two proposals will cause some DAPAC members to reconsider their support for vastly increased density in the downtown. It has been inspiring to watch the DAPAC work earnestly to plan for a more livable and inclusive downtown livable downtown, but push has come to shove, and, surprise, development interests have decided that the cost to their profits is simply too high, and they have gotten their civil servants to remind us all that citizen plans are nothing but a mid-summer’s night dream when real money and power are involved. 

Stephen Wollmer 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

Your Oct. 19 article about Pacific Steel Casting was misleading and inaccurate, and failed to highlight the ongoing toxic emissions problems created by the notorious east bay polluter Pacific Steel Casting. Residents in Berkeley and Albany are still affected daily by the toxic emissions from PSC and have reported adverse health affects caused by the pollution. 

What your article didn’t say: 

1. The report was prepared by the company after they were allowed to conceal emissions with new equipment. 

2. The report’s questionable results are based in part on old data from 1989, and poorly estimated data rather than actual continuous source monitoring data. 

3. Rather than testing the air and fallout in the neighborhood, the report relies on limited company based tests and a computer model to guess at health risks. 

4. Every day PSC is in operation, they continue to release Arsenic, Benzene, Cadmium, Chromium, Copper, Formaldehyde, Flourene, Mercury, Nickel, Manganese, Phenol, and Toluene (page 22 in the report). 

5. PSC failed to do any community health survey, even though residents in Albany and Berkeley have reported health problems caused by the emissions. 

6. Recent independent air quality tests have shown unhealthy levels of Nickel and Manganese in the neighborhood. 

7. Mayor Tom Bates and Council Member Linda Maio have known about Pacific Steel Casting for more than a decade, and have failed to stop this notorious east bay polluter. 

8. Kids and older residents are most vulnerable to the toxic emissions produced by PSC. Within a few block of PSC are day care centers, parks, churches, and a senior center. 

Who are you going to believe? The company doing the polluting? Their PR firm? The politicians who are afraid to do anything? Or the people living and working in the area who have problems with their health? 

Pacific Steel Casting is a bad neighbor, a major East Bay polluter and cannot be trusted. We all wish they would stop hiding behind workers and start telling the truth. 

Andrew Galpern 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

It’s all too often that I read news reports of loss, tragedy, corruption and violence. The media seems to feed off these stories and their audience responds shaking their head and discussing the demise of the country and the world we live in. Even reading through the letters to the editor it seems the majority has a problem or some negative tone. Truth be told I believe the world is what we make of it. I recently had a discussion with my fiancé about how positive thinking yields positive results. We were on College Avenue shopping and the CAL fans were flocking to the stadium. She said to me “we’ll never find a parking space” but me being the eternal optimist, I assured her there would be a space and in fact it would be right next to the local merchant we were in route to see and that there would be change in the meter to pay for our visit. As we inched along College Avenue she said, “OK, I believe you.” Two doors down we found our spot just as described, change in the meter and all. So perhaps there is something to this Law of Attraction and we should all take the time to turn our focus to what is working and what is positive. So next time you’re ready to rip on someone for their inadequacies or blog about the horrible injustices of the world, just maybe you’ll pause and be reminded of what you’re thankful for.  

Jason Bradley 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

We the members of BNAFU are asking the City Council and the mayor, in particular, not to sell out South Berkeley citizens. We ask, instead, that the Council uphold the decision of the Zoning Adjustments Board to deny Verizon’s application to install more antennas in South Berkeley. Twice the ZAB has opposed the installation of 12 additional antennas in our already inundated South Berkeley neighborhood.  

As a threat to the city, Verizon is suing in Federal Court to mandate 12 antennas at UC Storage, 12 antennas at the French Hotel in North Berkeley, and another group of multiple antennas in West Berkeley, at 2002 Acton St. The Verizon suit also demands the elimination of our city ordinance governing the installation of cell phone antennas throughout the city. 

BNAFU learned on Sunday that the City of Berkeley has yet to respond to the lawsuit filed by Verizon. Instead, Berkeley City Attorney Manuela Albuquerque and Kirk Trost, a Sacramento public interest attorney hand-picked by her, are working with Verizon attorneys, all of whom are pressuring the City Council to reach a “behind closed doors” settlement. Citizens, including BNAFU, are being kept out of this negotiation process entirely. This action could result in a mockery of the entire concept behind a public hearing, if before this hearing, decisions have already been negotiated for us.  

BNAFU is a group of approximately 150 citizens from all over Berkeley. Our group has spent the last two years educating ourselves about cell antennas and RF radiation. You may contact us at Following the “Precautionary Principle,” we are trying to slow down a city decision-making process so that an equitable and safe system of cell antenna placement can be developed. We ask the city to resist the intimation it is facing. We ask to be genuinely included in the city’s decision-making process.  

1. Please attend Tuesday evening’s Final Public Hearing, 7 p.m., at Old City Hall to support the ZAB and the neighborhood.  

2. Make three phone calls to three council members: Tom Bates (981-7100), Linda Maio (981-7110), Darryl Moore (981-7120). 

Tell your councilmembers not to sell out to Verizon, and not to sign off on any agreement without the full public participation and consent of Berkeley citizens. Legally, the City Council has until Nov. 6 to respond to the Verizon suit. We are asking councilmembers: Demonstrate your leadership! Show your independence! Don’t sell us out! 

Michael Barglow 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

Are you busy Saturday? What am I saying? Of course you are. We all are. Who would we be if we weren’t busy? And there’s so much going on. Lemme see…you might have a soccer game, or need to go grocery shopping. You might need to work on the garden or the house. You might need to clean your place or do a wash. You might have a fall wedding or reunion or a party you were invited to. You might need to go down to Fourth street for something, or to the gym. Or take the kids to the movies. You might have to work too. Or study. I bet there’s also some garage sales or craft sales, and there’s the Ashby Flea Market and don’t forget the Berkeley Farmers’ Market! 

But if you didn’t make any plans to do anything yet, maybe you’ll be able to go to San Francisco for the anti-war demonstration at Civic Center. I understand if you can’t though. As I imagined, you’re probably busy or just plain run down from your week. Or maybe you have a young child and the wheel is broken on the stroller. Or maybe you don’t like to stand on your feet very long, or worse, stand on the BART. Maybe you don’t like crowds. 

Actually, maybe demonstrations just aren’t your thing. You don’t relate to the people there and you feel kind of vulnerable being ‘political’. Maybe your boss or company or hometown and parents are a bit more conservative than liberal you in the Bay Area. Maybe the war will just go away on its own. 

Also, if it’s really nice out, I imagine you were considering taking a walk, or a hike, or a drive to Napa, or maybe even making it a beach day! And if it’s not nice, and it’s rainy, you wouldn’t want to go to the demonstration anyway. You could get wet and sick, and you can’t afford to do that, you’re too busy to risk getting sick.  

So that’s cool. Don’t worry about it. Other people will go and you can maybe see it for a flash on the evening news. But one thing please, check out Please, do that. 

Gala Blau 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

The Berkeley Public Library really out did itself today! At their free noon concert in the Art and Music Room, they presented the Baguette Quartette, a San Francisco Bay Area group performing Parisian Cafe Music, music heard in Paris between 1920 and 1940 on street corners, in cafes, and in dance halls. Led by accordionist Odile Lavault, these talented musicians played valses musettes, tangos, fox trots, marches and familiar songs. The music was so infectious, one couple jumped up and performed a tango. Truly, we were all transported to Gay Paree, if only for 45 minutes. How lucky we are to have a library that continues to offer outstanding, imaginative programs—free. 

Dorothy Snodgrass 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

Melanie Morgan and KSFO vs. Code Pink. Sounds like some Friday night wrestling match up. Have you ever noticed how lost the far right and the far left would be without each other? Imagine each not having the other to hate, fear, and despise… 

For the rest of us who live somewhere in the living moving middle, we can, for example, respect and appreciate the military, and be strongly opposed to this war. We can respect, love, and appreciate this country, and be strongly opposed to its mistakes, excesses, and sins against others.  

Of course, for people on the edge, the far left or far right cliff of political persuasion, what I just said is proof of ignorance, or cowardice, or even worse, proof of being a traitor, either to this country, or to the earth or humanity. 

Thanks a lot, my sometimes extremist associates, for all the pain and fear and rage and occasionally simplistic certainties through which you see the world that we all share. 

OH, what’s that you say, I’m guilty of it too? Sure! That’s the point, see, we all are…got it? 

Michael Steinberg 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

For 30 years I’ve been hearing all the worthless “solutions” to the homeless problem. None of them have worked. They’re all useless. The homeless problem continues to get worse and worse every year. So here’s another very obvious solution to the homeless problem that you probably haven’t read about in any of your fine Bay Area publications for the last 30 years. A solution that is guaranteed to inspire countless indignant letters to the editor in this fine publication (and be sure to mention all those knee-jerk buzzwords like “racism” and “xenophobia” and “etc.” that we’ve already heard a million times before): Let’s get the estimated 20 to 30 to 40 million illegal immigrants out of the American homes that they are presently illegally occupying. And let’s get American citizens into those homes. OK? There it is. And now, let your brilliant rebuttals begin.  

Ace Backwords 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

Many criticize AC’s operating large articulated 1R buses saying they are not needed for they see only a few riders using it. They do not realize that as buses approaches its terminus, for the 1R is Berkeley, generally the ridership begins to drop off. If one rode the 1R over the total route one will experience there are sections where the 1R has a full load and many times with standees. 

For AC, it is impossible to change the size and frequency of buses just for the public to see buses fully utilized along all sections of its route. In addition, the ridership also varies over the course of the day and as most know it has greater use during morning and evenings where riders are going or leaving work. 

It is difficult to accommodate this changing demand, so AC usually uses the bus that can carry the peak demand for the whole day without adding or changing size of buses. Changing size of bus requires a added fleet of buses that will be used part of the day is not only very costly but it also requires added property to store them. 

Adding or changing buses for peak periods raises another problem that many are not aware of, which is when a driver is called up and assigned to drive he/she is guaranteed a full 8 hour pay even if the work is just a few hours. This is why the agency operates large buses that serves the peak period through the whole day even though much of the off peak period the buses operate with few riders. 

Another often mentioned criticism is that AC BRT only duplicates BART since it parallels BART. It is known that many transit users are willing to walk up to half mile to access a transit system if the transit system is fast, frequent and reliable. Considering this as the basis, AC BRT having 5 times the number of stops will serve over 3,000 equivalent city blocks more than BART, excluding BART and AC BRT downtown stations. In addition, most other BART stations areas are not as fully developed as those where AC BRT Stops. Comparing the systems frequency, AC BRT will operate every 3.6 to 5 minutes versus, 15-20 minutes for BART. The EIR estimates that AC BRT will actually draw 2,000-5,800 riders per day away from BART. The reason is clear, since the AC BRT operates more frequently with reliability and speed, is more accessible and will be mostly for local trips. 

Roy Nakadegawa 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

Somebody might have done a foul play on copies of Berkeley Daily Planet in two newspaper racks next to French Hotel. I usually pick a copy from the newspaper racks immediately next to French Hotel. This morning I found both racks empty. Either your delivery crew forgot to put copies of the Planet in these racks, or someone has dumped them. People in Berkeley may have adopted the habit of dumping newspapers from the Mayor who did so years ago. 

Well, I see people post signs and posters around French Hotel, but they get removed quickly mysteriously. I believe that French Hotel does not like publicity due to the Verizon plan to put 12 antennas on the roof of this hotel. In Friday’s issue of the Planet, there is a long article about Verizon. So, someone may have decided to dump copies of the Planet available next to French Hotel to keep people uninformed. 

Please have your delivery crew put copies of the Planet in the two newspaper racks next to French Hotel. 

Helen Bautin 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

Standing in the post office line, I overheard a woman confidently tell a friend, “Oh yes, gas prices will be $4 or $5 by Christmas.” How did she know, and why was she so blasé? My guess is that she heard this speculation on some talk shows or propaganda-posing-as-news programs. How did this idea get planted? My guess is that the oil companies are using slick public relations techniques to “inoculate” the public from a feeling of outrage as the prices go up, up, and up.  

Me? I am outraged at the high prices, and even more so at the craven profits these oil companies gouge out of our paychecks. Each quarter marks yet another record-breaking level of profit.  

Gasoline is needed for transportation. As such, it should be regulated as a public utility, just as bus service and subways are regulated, to control their prices and profits.  

Bruce Joffe 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

I think the best way for us to solve the crisis in education is by bringing a group of people into the field who understand the reason many students are unwilling to learn. We have failed to motivate children to become self-learners. Today’s teachers don’t have the observational skills. They do not understand a child’s mind and they are not able to leave behind their worries at home to fully be available to the child. They don’t give ample time to children to express their needs. The absence of open attention from teachers results in classroom problems. 

I don’t like to see children doing any thing out of fear of punishment or the attraction of rewards. One child told me, “You don’t give us candy. And you don’t punish us, So we don’t have to do the class work.” I decided to ignore the comment and to see what the students would do next. To my surprise, slowly but surely they all wanted to do the artwork I had proposed. I asked them later why they refused first time. Four of them told me they go to bed late watching movies and they were tired. I am of the view that children need more sleep time. Teaching is not cramming information into students. Good teaching should not ignore the needs of the taught. Every child has a different style of learning. Each child needs a different kind of motivation and a different way to help improve his or her self-esteem. Each child needs quiet moments to think and reflect. 

Let us return to quiet observation of our students. Our awareness of how to guide them on their individual paths will arise naturally from our open and sympathetic attention. 

Romila Khanna