Public Comment

Letters to the Editor

Tuesday November 20, 2007

veterans day 

Editors, Daily Planet: 

Written on Veterans Day 2007 

“Time will not long remember us.” A. Lincoln, Gettysburg Address 

This letter addresses the grove of trees near Memorial Stadium Berkeley. 

We write this letter to remember the Veterans of WWI—especially those Cal graduates who served this country and are remembered at Memorial Stadium Berkeley. We note that the stadium, and the grove of trees surrounding it, are there for this purpose: to be a memorial. Mindful of the past and remembering these and other veterans, we decry the high human cost of all wars. We also decry removal or defacement of memorials to these veterans. 

So that these Cal graduates and veterans may be remembered, we urge that this grove of trees near Memorial Stadium not be removed to suit the University’s “immediate” and current priorities. 

Krishna Seshan,  

Veteran for Peace, Class of 1975 

Darwin Poulos, 

Class of 1982 

Roy Nordblom,  

Former Marine and  

Veteran For Peace 

Los Altos 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

Each year the Housing Advisory Commission (HAC) makes funding recommendations to the City Council for Housing Urban and Development, Community Development Block Grant funds for various community services such as: 

Public/Community Facility Im-provement, i.e., accessibility; Emer- gency Shelter Services, i.e., facility improvement; Housing Services, i.e. accessibility, emergency home repair and emergency relocation. 

Part of the process of making funding recommendations is receiving feedback from the community. In the past, public hearings conducted by the HAC and City Council have been our main sources of community input. 

This year the HAC is distributing a short survey to better understand our entire community’s views on the funding we oversee. The one page form offers an opportunity to prioritize the type of projects to be funded, to comment on currently funded projects and to give your suggestions about unmet needs in the com-munity. 

If you’d like to take part in the survey, you can fill out a form at any Berkeley public library, the Housing Department on the second floor of City Hall, 2180 Milvia Street or online via the City of Berkeley Housing Department home page: Default.htm. Choose either the RFP link or the direct link to the HAC survey in the same box. 

There is also a direct link from the RFP page to the HAC survey as well: 

Vincent Casalaina 


Housing Advisory Commission 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

As I was locking my bike to a signpole in downtown Berkeley today, two policewomen got out of their car which they’d just parked next to the pole. The told me that I “might or might not get a ticket for doing that.” I’ve been riding a bike in Berkeley for 35 years and had never heard that, so I exclaimed in amazement “You mean it’s illegal to do this?” They said yes, and added that it made it hard for them to get out of their car. 

We live in a town with a lot of cyclists and nowhere near enough bike racks. Global warming and the need for alternative fuels and means of transportation are uppermost in the media and people’s awareness. Given all that, doesn’t it seem insane to have a law which discourages bike riding? 

Carol David 



warm pools 

Editors, Daily Planet: 

Master Bates’ latest public display of moral fecal matter re: his refusal to let disabled and senior users of the warm pool speak early in the agenda is yet another disclosure of what the man’s all about.  

His manic emphasis on the city’s green proposals reveals still another pattern as well. Democratic Party (read DLC) strategy for the ’08 elections is to brand themselves as environmental leaders and throw a few eco-bones to the faithful who, apparently, can’t think of who else to vote for.  

The trade-off for the eco-bones will be DP support for reconfiguring the Middle East under various spins; growing income disparities that won’t bring forth legislative calls for progressive tax legislation; loss of single payer health care; the continued herding of minority youth into the prison system. Indeed, our very own Loni Hancock voted for the last round of prison construction funding in Sept. But maybe we’ll all have solar panels.  

The solutions are out there. One tiny example: Berkeley could have installed portable toilets for the homeless and others who need them years ago. But with a smiley green face, the Democrat political class will do what they can to maintain the status quo. To deeply challenge it would mean losing their jobs. 

Maris Arnold 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

Pacific Steel Casting, the long-time East Bay polluter and Berkeley embarrassment, lost a major consolidated small claims action in court this week. They now owe tens of thousands of dollars in damages to the plaintiffs who have been affected for years by Pacific Steel’s runaway pollution. This significant loss in court will open floodgates of litigation against Pacific Steel from the thousands of residents who have had to put up with the nuisance for decades. Health data is being collected to assess the damage from Pacific Steel emissions, and community testing continues to reveal dangerous levels of emissions. Pacific Steel will of course throw a lot of money at their high-priced lawyers and a PR firm to try to weasel out of the whole thing, or spin it in a way that is somehow profitable to the family that owns this private company. Mayor Bates and Council member Linda Maio, will probably still continue their hand waving, and somehow try to appear concerned but be unable to do anything about it. And of course, Pacific Steel will play every trick in the book, even continue to play the “race” card and claim this is a fight between black residents and Latino workers or some other such nonsense. But no amount of spinning can hide the truth: Pacific Steel Casting is a nasty polluter that has poisoned a neighborhood for decades, and now they have to pay for it. Watch closely, they just might slip out of town and leave the city of Berkeley with its very own toxic superfund site. For a list of public information sources about Pacific Steel pollution, health problems, or legal issues, contact 

Andrew Galpern 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

Ken Bullock dismisses Mary Zimmerman’s Argonautika as “a banal pastiche.” Even the wonderful Atley Loughridge gets the stick: “badly miscast as Medea.” If, on the strength of this, you’re tempted to pass it up, read Robert Hurwitt’s review (“sheer genius”) in the Chronicle (9 November). If you can’t get to Argonautika at the Rep, he says, you should head east to catch it there. My vote’s with him: this is a terrific production and a great ensemble. Don’t miss it! 

John Parman 



Editors, Daily Planet: 

These days, the line between entertainment and seriousness is hopelessly blurred ... Has it always been so? I think not. Modern media in its need for viewership and readership, i.e., to make a profit, makes wankers of us all. It’s almost impossible to resist. Barry Bonds, the Reiser thing, is Gore too fat? Superficial conflict after superficial conflict ... all entertaining us ... all addicting us to the next day’s scandal. In the olden days when Paul Revere rode around announcing the approaching Brits ... and when Lincoln delivered the Gettysburg address, etc. ... the line between entertainment and seriousness wasn’t blurred. Oh, to turn to days of yesteryear, when out of the west came the hoof beats of the mighty horse Silver and the Lone Ranger (if memory serves) screamed “Hi-Oh Silver Away!” ... But, alas, those days are gone forever, as Tonto knows. 

Robert Blau  




Editors, Daily Planet: 

State of Republican politics. GOP presidential candidate Fred Thompson says he would have sided with Terri Schiavo’s parents and kept their brain-dead daughter alive. 

Republican presidential contender Mike Huckabee doesn’t believe in evolution, the basic principle in nature. 

Front-runner Rudy Giuliani says if he were president he would select anti-abortion Supreme Court Justices in the mold of Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas and John Roberts. 

Candidates Mitt Romney and John McCain are anti-abortionist and pro-war as ever. What an oxymoron: Save the fetuses and squander adult lives. 

Ron Lowe  

Grass Valley