Public Comment

Letters to the Editor

Thursday June 12, 2008 - 10:48:00 AM


Editors, Daily Planet: 

Pretty good election results. 

Mal Burnstein 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

In the District 4 Assembly races, Nancy Skinner received 10,904 votes; between Jan. 1 and May 17, her campaign spent $206,484, for a total of $18.94 per vote. For Kriss Worthington, the numbers are 5,559 votes, $98,907 spent, for a total of $17.79 per vote. Tony Thurman: 4,345 votes, $138,500 spent, for a total of $31.88 per vote. Phil Polakoff: 2,997 votes, $223,463 spent, for a total of $79.56 per vote.  

Make of it what you will. 

Jack Sawyer  




Editors, Daily Planet: 

I was surprised to pick up your latest issue and read in the first sentence of your lead piece that Loni Hancock and Nancy Skinner had just been elected to the state Senate and to the state Assembly, respectively. While I guess we all have to face the fact that we currently have a one-party system in Berkeley and the East Bay (if not the State), I was nonetheless surprised that a well known Berkeley journalist would, with this choice of words, reveal her complete comfort with that situation and all that it means to the loyal opposition. 

Dennis White 


EDITOR’S NOTE: The article should have stated that Hancock and Skinner won the Democratic primaries, earning their party’s nomination for the November election.  




Editors, Daily Planet: 

The “Deafghan Kabob” mentioned in the May 29 article about the recent armed robberies in Berkeley is actually De Afghan Kabob House. If the guy’s been robbed, I thought he should at least get credit for his delicious food and gracious hospitality. If you go there around 2 or 3 p.m. when it isn’t busy, you’ll think you’re in someone’s home being treated like royalty. 

It would be a bargain at twice the price.  

Carol Beth 





Editors, Daily Planet: 

On Saturday Hillary Clinton endorsed Barack Obama by delivering a well-composed civics lecture—somewhat cold, instructive, rigid. It said what she was required to say, but without spontaneity or heart. What might she have said? When the first boos were heard, she should have shouted, “Stop! I hear some of you booing—just stop it—those boos will elect John McCain. If you believe in me, if you share my hopes and dreams, then you will work as fervently and tirelessly for Barack Obama as you have for me, because he shares those hopes and dreams as deeply as anyone in this hall.” And later, when a lone woman’s voice called out “I love you” she could have said, “Thank you, I love you all—and so does Barack.” Despite her admonition not to look back, her constant iteration of “18 million votes” seemed calculated to do just that. I was troubled by her inability to rise to that crucial moment of concession and give more freely of herself—and I think that shows again the difference between them. 

Jerry Landis 





Editors, Daily Planet: 

There are very few Americans, who also are elected officials, that have the courage and speak the truth to the illegal deeds of President Bush. Dennis Kucinich is a national hero. Bill O’Reilly, you’re nothing more than a muckraker and a disenfranchised human being. The devil has visited your soul, and anger and hate and lies are venom he lets spring from your mouth. 

Yeah Dennis, Barbara Lee! 

Gene Dussell 





Editors, Daily Planet: 

This started out as one simple question, but more intruded: 

1. What happened to Doonesbury and Boondocks ? (This one you can probably answer). 

2. Why do we still have the cumbersome, expensive, and absurd system of primary delegates to select our presidential candidates instead of one national primary? And where did the “superdelegate” concept come from? 

3. Where have all the good times gone? 

I don’t know either. 

Ruth Bird 


EDITOR’S NOTE: The Boondocks strip was retired by its creator, Aaron MacGruder, a couple of years ago as he shifted his focus to the animated television series. Garry Trudeau has been on sabbatical for a few months, thus Doonesbury has been in re-runs. Trudeau will begin producing new work sometime in the next weeks. As for the other questions, you’re on your own. 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

I am writing this letter to express my sincere thanks and appreciation for Berkeley Technology Academy Principal Victor Diaz and the staff at B-Tech. 

Victor has managed to assemble a through, professional, caring group of teachers, counselors and support staff who in my opinion have no equals in the Berkeley Unified School District.  

My son has been enrolled in the BUSD since pre-school. It has been a very frustrating and difficult journey for us. I was asked to leave his fourth grade class for questioning the teacher about why there were so many students in her class that were “out of control.” All of the “out of control” students were African American males. We have gone from school to school, classroom to classroom constantly having to endure teachers who treated African American children like they were from another world, males in particular. We have endured the frustration of not having teachers who look like us, or could even begin to relate to our children. We have endured being constantly told about the problems of the achievement gap by persons who either helped to create it or benefited from it. 

I have endured being talked to by teachers about my son as if I were another child, or as if I was stupid and really didn’t understand what was going on around me. Little did they know there were times when I was calculating in my head how much jail time I may get if I just decided to beat this person down right here in the school. This is the frustration of an African American parent in the Berkeley Unified School District. 

That was all before coming to B-Tech. 

The first time I saw Victor, I thought. “That’s the principal, he looks like one of the kids!” Looks are very deceiving, Victor and the staff have in my opinion worked wonders with this school, the teachers are a constant reminder to our children of what they can achieve in life. Victor and the staff really care about our kids and it is apparent every time I walk through the door. The Staff are always happy to see parents and treat us like family. Even my son, who has hated school since the fourth grade and has presented the B-Tech staff with lots of challenges, wants to go to college! Thanks to Mr. Rashad’s classes, he wants to run his own business. Thanks to the tough love from Pastor Mike, he understands what responsibility really is. Thanks to Nancy for being the hardest working woman in the BUSD. Thanks to Ms. Martinez and her ‘Dailys’ for teaching my son how to write a paragraph that makes sense (he hates to write.) 

Thank you to the entire staff for believing in the greatness of our children. 

Before I met Victor, my motto was “I’ve never met a principal that I didn’t want to punch in the face.” 

Kathy Dean 

B-Tech parent 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

Jeff Ogar (“Torturing the Facts,” Letters, June 5) ends his rebuttal of Doug Buchwald’s defense of the Memorial Stadium oaks against the proposed athletic training center with a jumbled paraphrase of a well-known Ronald Reagan quote, “Mr. Buckwald, cut down those trees!” A less fault-ridden rendering would be, “When you’ve seen one wall, you’ve seen them all.” 

Dave Blake 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

The threat of global warming is finally taking its place among the many concerns and challenges facing our world today. However, the measures being taken to limit global warming pollution through means such as cap and trade are faced with surprising opposition. It’s important that we look to strong senators like Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein to lead the way as we fight global warming. 

We need to cut carbon emissions by 80 percent before 2050 and the only way we can make that happen is with public support and commitment to our goal. We can bring about change through direct, resolute action, and for this we need everyone’s support. 

Ruby Salvatore 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

Regarding Conn Hallinan’s piece (June 5-11) on the probability of the Bush/Cheney combine starting another war, this time with Iran, I think there is no doubt that something will happen either in the hope that the White House can remain in Republican (read Criminal) hands or toward suspension of the fall election and, at the same time, the Constitution. I have firmly believed, ever since May of last year, when the White House promulgated National Security Directive 51, that something will happen when the time was ripe. If we haven’t learned it yet, we should understand that these people will stop at nothing. NSD 51 is something we should all pay some attention to. I recommend looking it up on your favorite search engine, if only to be prepared for an event in the nature of a putsch by the Bush-Cheney crowd in September or October. If it is not a new war, it will be a staged catastrophe. In either case, our democracy will be at the most serious risk yet. 

Allen Harrison 

Point Richmond 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

I watched the leader of a dance troupe teach a simple dance with sticks to a mixed group of kids and adults at the Chocolate and Chalk Festival last weekend. After about 10 minutes of enthusiastic practice they were ready for a run-through. Then a tall gentleman appeared and abruptly yanked two boys out of the set, with complete disrespect for their time and the leader’s effort invested. But—Dad Wants to Move On. 

Dick Bagwell 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

I agree that Berkeley and Richmond residents should keep abreast of changes to the shared Burlington Northern Santa Fe and Union Pacific mainline right-of-way. (The former Santa Fe main between Novartis and Orchard Hardware is finally becoming a trail.)  

It isn’t clear what work is proposed. For example, all the grade crossings mentioned in the article—Gilman, Camellia, Cedar, Hearst, Virginia, Addison and Bancroft—are already four tracks wide and have been recently rebuilt. The underpass at Ashby is five tracks wide and University, 40th, and Buchanan clear four tracks wide. It is mostly now a two track mainline on a four track wide right-of-way. Much of the third and fourth tracks are missing or in disrepair but that’s between intersections—not at the at-grade crossings or separated grade crossings. (65th is the only exception I see in person or on Google Maps, satellite view—it is three tracks wide.)  

In Richmond, I think public officials and voters who are helping fund the proposed improvements should keep pushing for a more logical connection between BNSF and UP near Hensley not down at Regatta. 

National issues—such as “buy local,” “Buy American,” and the trade imbalance with China are the root cause of the local traffic.  

Wayne B. Wood  





Editors, Daily Planet: 

Concerning Justin DeFreitas’s cartoon depicting Hillary Clinton’s “loss” in your June 5 edition: You and your cartoonist have a First Amendment right to be rude, sexist, and offensive, so I won’t object to this obnoxious work on these grounds—however, it seems to me the bottom line for cartoons is that they are suppose to be funny or witty—this one is neither. It is sophomoric and mean spirited and not funny. I question your judgment for running such trash.  

David Bunnell 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

The debilitating effects of old age are said to be off set by an increase of wisdom. Actually, what passes for wisdom is demonstrably simple: No matter what happens, old folks have seen or experienced something like it before. In other words, the wisdom of old age consists of ignoring the singularity of events while soaring aloft to see every thing connected with everything. Thus, the Iraq quagmire is like Vietnam, the White House under Bush resembles the Nixon White House and, most alarmingly, the multitude of domestic and foreign problems the USA encounters today was prefigured in the deterioration that led to the disintegration of the USSR, so says yours truly, octogenarian. 

The USSR bankrupted itself struggling desperately to match the U.S.A.—nuclear sub for nuclear sub, ICBM for ICBM—in the arms race. Many credit President Reagan’s Star Wars program, although conceived in scientific fantasyland, with winning the race by hastening the USSR’s fiscal disabling. They simply spent more than they had on military technology. Now, we’re doing exactly what our erstwhile superpower nemesis did: squandering our national treasure in profligate and wasteful military spending.  

Next year’s federal budget calls for $1.449 billion in military spending, a staggering 54 percent of the total (War Recourses League). Meanwhile, extravagance and thievery abound. Senator Carl Levin recently warned of a crisis in Pentagon cost overruns: “…major programs…ballooned $295 billion over initial budget estimates…” (New York Times, June 4).  

The arms race ended almost two decades ago leaving us the world’s lone superpower, militarily without peer. And yet we spend nearly as much on our military as the rest of the world combined.  

My octogenarian wisdom tells me that we’re in a period that mixes features of Watergate’s “Follow the money!” with Toynbee’s (1889-1975) notion of history’s cyclical nature. The difference between Them and Us is that we stupidly continue to equipped ourselves to fight an enemy that no longer exists. 

Thus, the road we’re on, similar but not the same as the one the USSR followed, will take us to the same place, bankruptcy.  

Marvin Chachere 

San Pablo 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

As members of North Oakland Cohousing, who are steadily working to build a cooperative, multigenerational, environmentally sound and sustainable community, we were surprised to see our name and private e-mails published in the Berkeley Daily Planet. We remain committed to our vision of creating a way of housing people that is about being good neighbors. Included in our vision is working to decrease our carbon footprint by sharing resources, reducing waste and conserving energy. Just as important, we are committed to strengthening the social bonds that make for a community that is child and family friendly, where people can age in place, and where all kinds of households can flourish. Trying to put our ideals into practice, navigating real estate development in a highly politicized climate and dealing with a rapidly changing market has been a steep and challenging learning curve for us. We have faced some complex and difficult situations and we care deeply about working on our project in a socially responsible way. We want to be part of solutions to challenges faced by urban neighborhoods. 

After closing our membership for several months to do internal work, we are planning to reopen and start holding orientations. We invite households of all kinds who want to join us in creating cooperative, safe and friendly housing that balances community and privacy. If you believe that we are working on something that interests you and you want to find out more about our goal of building an urban, green and neighborly community, check out our website and come to an information session. We’ll look forward to seeing you. 

Penny Scott 

North Oakland Cohousing 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

As 35-year Berkeley residents and homeowners, my wife and I started using the neighborhood pools two years ago to regularly attend Senior Water Aerobics classes. These classes have meant so much to both of us as they enable us to exercise in a supportive environment with other seniors and truly give a good workout to our aging bodies whose joints cannot take the impact of exercising otherwise. We urge our City Council to support a November bond measure to repair our aging neighborhood pools. The health and well being of our adult citizenry deserves it. The youth of our enlightened city deserves to enjoy these pools and learn water safety and life-saving skills.  

We understand there are competing needs in tight economic times. However, the health and well-being of your citizens need to take an important place in your decision making process. Again, we urge you to support this bond measure.  

Howard and Cindi Goldberg 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

I am a concerned 50-year Berkeley resident, homeowner and user of Berkeley city pools.  

Myself and many other seniors make all year round use of the pools for our mental and physical well being we support the bond measure that we hope will be on the ballot in the fall to repair our city pools. 

R. Hansen 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

I find it odd that someone like Michael Yovino-Young would so carefully count the number of people on buses from his office on Telegraph and miss so many totally empty automobiles on the same street. Why, it looks like just about the entire right-hand lane in each direction is devoted to totally empty automobiles! They are just sitting there, blocking traffic all day long. How could he have missed that? 

Even the automobiles that have people in them, and are moving, rarely come anywhere near being full. There are trucks, having dropped off some or all of their load, which are traveling on those streets. Why are they not equally a problem? Even if an individual automobile is full, there is so much distance between every two vehicles that the street is almost empty most of the time. 

My experience has been different than Mr. Yovino-Young’s. I see the buses on Telegraph gaining ridership steadily in the past year, since the service was installed. It may be that I am just seeing what I want to see. But no doubt that is true of Mr. Yovino-Young as well. 

Bruce De Benedictis 





Editors, Daily Planet: 

The article on improving rail service to the Oakland Port suggests problems where none exist. Until a few years ago there were four active railroad tracks through Berkeley. Two of these tracks are now unused. So what is being proposed is simply an upgrade and return to service of existing tracks next to the two now in service. The article implies that a mile long train is something new and unusual. The typical freight train has been a mile long for more than 50 years. We will benefit from rehabilitation of the railroad in several ways. The chances of the Capitol Corridor passenger trains being on time will improve. To the degree that truck traffic is diverted to the railroad, I-80 will be less congested. Trains will not have to wait, sending diesel exhaust into the air, to get through the bottleneck between Richmond and Oakland. 

Joe Magruder 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

Planning for public transportation improvements in an urban area should have two goals: One, get those who commute into the urban area out of their cars, and two, improve around-town transit for the people who already live in the urban area. 

BRT does not get Berkeley to either of these two goals. 

BRT will not help get commuters out of their cars, as it parallels an existing and very good mass transportation route, BART, from San Leandro to Berkeley. It does not address the commuters who drive into Berkeley from the north, or east, where there are no good public transportation options. 

BRT does not help those of us who live here get around town. In fact, by lengthening the distance between stops on Telegraph, it will make public transportation worse for those who want to travel that local route. 

Real solutions would include working regionally to provide real mass transit solutions to the commuter cars that flow into Berkeley, such as a BRT from Orinda/Lafayette and San Rafael to the UC Campus, and provide a network of smaller local buses (such as the Emery-Go-Round) that get the locals out of their cars. 

I realize that the money offered to AC Transit is hard to turn down, but unfortunately BRT will not do anything to address Berkeley’s significant car problems. 

Anne Wagley 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

I was disappointed to read the article in the June 5 edition of the Berkeley Daily Planet regarding the Berkeley Community Media (BCM) studio as it does not accurately report the position of the staff and management of BCM. There is little reference to the progress made between BCM and the school district in that the lighting system within the studio can remain and therefore the issue resolved. The negative tone in the article derived from the quotes of a few disgruntled producers does not reflect the positive growth that BCM has experienced since its inception. It may help to understand the history of our situation when BCM was originally asked to relocate until the superintendent realized our value to the community and the complexity of making a change. BCM was granted a compromise that was gratefully accepted and to date includes the resolution of our lighting grid. 

I was surprised that the article cited an evaluation of diminished production from a former member who admittedly has not been at BCM for over four years which is in contrast to my opening statement which heralded the activity at BCM by its current membership. The reality is that April of 2008 was a record-breaking month in the use of BCM’s facilities by the community. In this area of media, Berkeley Community Media is known and well-respected nationwide and we are proud to bring Berkeley into the spotlight with such a dynamic resource as public access television. 

The new frontier for community media centers is rapidly changing in light of the digital age and Berkeley Community Media has the vision and tools to move into this new arena. It is a true benefit that support from the city and school district has enabled BCM to evolve from its humble beginnings to operating as one of the most successful access stations in the country. What was not stressed in the article is how appreciative BCM is to the City of Berkeley and Berkeley Unified School District for allowing the growth of our services and programming to continue. We understand Berkeley High’s immediate need for at least 10 new classrooms, and that this compromise is a real sacrifice on their part as well. BCM looks forward to providing the City, BUSD and the community with the best in public access television. 

David Jolliffe 

Executive Director 

Berkeley Community Media 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

On June 13, I will end my long journey with Berkeley Unified School District when my younger daughter graduates from Berkeley High School.  

Part of me wants to be like Robin Williams’ Aladdin character when released from his lamp—I feel like shouting “I’m outta here!” But listening to Mollie thank her CAS staff and teachers “for allowing this community to exist and all of your hard work to create an environment that has helped all learning styles by not just reading out of a textbook,” I was grateful. While my husband and I would like to feel we played some role when Mollie joins her sister Megan (BHS 2005) at UCLA next fall, BUSD teachers deserve a large dose of the credit.  

My daughters spent their entire schooling in Berkeley public schools. Oxford, Longfellow, Willard and BHS teachers have pushed, prodded and encouraged them along with their classmates to succeed. This was done often under conditions that those outside of the field of education would not tolerate.  

My concern now is for the parents about to enroll their children in our schools. Will they have the same enrichment opportunities my girls received? Will budget cuts increase class size, slash programs and drive dedicated teachers into other occupations? I will continue to vote for school bond measures because I don’t believe you ever finish paying for your child’s education. But more importantly I will support candidates that make educating our children their top priority and encourage all parents to do likewise. 

Susan Brahan 





Editors, Daily Planet: 

I have become virtually a daily user of the Willard School pool. Were it not for this pool near my residence, I’d have little movement or aerobics save walking. My days of running for 40 years accumulated too much impact, so swimming is my God-sent exercise and enjoyment. Willard is affordable, I’m on a limited retirement, and it is accessible to me. Across this city there are hundreds like me, from baby boomers to the elderly. There are hundreds of infants, students, and summer camp children who all require and deserve the maintenance of our pools. And in addition, do not forget, there are those whose conditions are such that they could not keep active without the warm pool. 

It is incumbent upon the mayor and City Council to enable the community to give its strong approval to a bond issue to maintain all the pool facilities including the warm pool. They are not luxurious, we do not seek that. No, but they provide a life-giving spa and enable us all, young or old, to keep our bodies and minds vital. 

It is as clear as the pool water that we need the council’s support for our buoyancy. It is our life support system. 

With their help we will continue to be a vibrant community. We citizens, we people, all create new cells everyday, but piping, circulators, holding capacity of pool surfaces, and wearing surfaces where we, as well as the small children walk, need attention, care, and sometimes replacement. 

And when the council has put this on the ballot, the buck doesn’t stop there—we’ll need the mayor and council to stand by the call for all to vote for this funding. It is a vote for all, to have future health and well being. 

Wattie Taylor 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

On Monday, June 9, the Berkeley City Council Agenda Committee held a secret and possibly illegal meeting that I attended only on a hunch that it was happening. 

Neither the meeting itself nor the agenda were posted on the city’s website as is the norm and the expectation. When I asked the acting City Clerk Deanna Despain about this, she brazenly accused me of being in error. However, the absence of this information on the city website was seconded by Councilmembers Wozniak and Spring. Councilmember Spring actually needs up-to-date and accurate website material to do her council work since her disability usually requires her to work from home. 

If this were a one-time slip-up I would not have been so chagrined. However, I and many other citizen activists have been encountering many instances of incompetence and rudeness from the city clerk’s office. This is an important city office vis-à-vis the public as it is the gateway for the dissemination of information. My fear is that the current attitude and errors reflect a new in-your-face trend on the part of our city government.  

I hope that City Manager Phil Kamlarz will take steps to ensure and restore competence and good community relations in the city clerk’s office.  

Barbara Gilbert 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

I am a member of the multi-city group that opposed the antennae at Kensington’s Colusa Circle. I truly wish Mr. Bryce Nesbitt had engaged us earlier instead of listening to our info listserv during these past months and then writing a letter afterwards accusing our group of wealthy, well-connected NIMBY-ness regarding opposing cell antennae (Daily Planet, June 5). 

We were actually a bunch of people acting in a grassroots way—learning how to contact government people, studying issues, creating materials, etc. We made it up as we went along, no “privileged” strings were pulled. Elbow grease and sturdy shoes, not “connections,” got the 900 flyers and posters out to every household in the 1,500-square-foot area around the proposed installation (after our postings were mysteriously removed from all the poles in Berkeley, El Cerrito and Kensington). It was an extremely stressful, jarring, and arduous experience that I wouldn’t wish on anyone. The only role that money played in our project is that indeed we had the luxury of taking ridiculously high amounts of time away from our work and free time to devote to information-gathering and distribution. That said, I wish comparable opportunity for everyone. 

I’m aware of environmental and other kinds of racism and classism and have been active in working against it on many fronts for years. As Mr. Nesbitt knows, I was the person to bring the issue up at the KMAC meeting. I and others are not opposed to all antennae, but definitely to ones that, among other things, beam unsafely at close range into people’s apartments next door (as this installation did) in any neighborhood. 

I would be interested in activity and dialog about sharing the burden of cell transmission more fairly, as well as in declaring a moratorium to study safety parameters, installation policy, equitable distribution and other issues. At KMAC I publicly pledged to support to more region-wide organizations that provide information and resources to less advantaged neighborhoods so that unsafe, nonconforming and unfair installations don’t happen there either. 

If Mr. Nesbitt and others care to have a conversation about this, or also have relationships with non-cell company organizations who are looking to study installations policy and perhaps equalize the burden, I for one would be very interested in engaging with them. 

Mary Ford 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

I speak for the tenants of Strawberry Creek Lodge here on Addison Street, three blocks from the West Campus pool. 

This pool and the water aerobics class operating all through the winter months have offered us a chance to exercise in water on a daily basis. 

We need the City Council to support the repair work necessary to maintain this free and wonderful service for us “seniors,” “elders” or whatever name you want to call us old folk! 

Nance Wogan 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

The Food and Agriculture Association (FAO) of the United Nations is meeting this week to address the growing global food crisis. The United States delegation, led by USDA Secretary Ed Schafer, is proposing that the world adopt Genetically Engineered (GE) crops as a silver bullet solution. However, Secretary Shafer’s GE “solution” is little more than a thinly veiled attempt at subsidizing biotech corporations and advancing the genetic contamination of organic and non-GE crops in famine stricken countries. 

GE crops are untested and unwanted by the majority of the planet’s population. Dozens of countries around the world currently ban the cultivation of any genetically engineered varieties as they have yet to be proven safe for the environment or for human consumption. Additionally, GE crops have not been demonstrated to significantly increase yield, but rather force farmers onto a deadly spiral of agrochemical and corporate patent monopolies. 

The root cause of hunger abroad has more to do with so-called free trade agreements and market speculation, than crop yields and patented hybrid crops. GE crops will only deepen the global food crisis. Impoverished and famine stricken countries need to supported by redeveloping their food sovereignty to avoid deepening the crisis. Global security is dependent upon long-term sustainability, not short-term corporate subsidies. 

Tawnia Queen 





Editors, Daily Planet: 

On May 13 Mayor Tom Bates held his State of the City address at the Meyer Sound Studio in West Berkeley, by invitation only. Having now listened to the entire speech, I can see why he chose to exclude the public—and why he invited so many developers to what should be called his “State of Development” address. 

Like a cheerleader with stars in his eyes, Bates praised the massive condo and hotel projects he’s hoping will transform Berkeley’s downtown: “It’s going to be a hopping, jumping place. It’s going to be a legacy we’ll all be able to share in…” 

On the same day that I first heard this quixotic address, the Berkeley Voice reported that UC’s new president, Mark Yudof, might have to solve budget difficulties with “widespread layoffs.” 

The very next day, The Economist reported in an article titled “Dropping like a Brick” about the U.S. housing market, “[T]he average home is now worth 16 percent less than at the peak in 2006, and the