Public Comment

Last-Minute Election-Related Letters to the Editor

Monday November 03, 2008 - 01:31:00 PM


Editors, Daily Planet: 

Russ Mitchell's stance on Measure GG sounds convincing, but maybe it's because he slaps us with a giant red-herring: Why should the City of Berkeley drain its sales tax coffers to fund $14 million worth of emergency services for UC Berkeley? 

It's a just question, but I do want to point out something very important: It's not like we're getting nothing in return for the funding that the university gets from city taxes. UC Berkeley's police and fire departments do respond to emergencies off campus. (UC Berkeley PD for instance has a one-mile radius jurisdiction surrounding all university property—this includes a huge percentage of the city and surrounding areas.) 

Hypothetically, if Russ could get his way and stop the city from funding the university's emergency services, it's a good bet that a good portion of that money would have to go straight to Berkeley police and fire. Personally I don't consider this an unreasonable alternative, but it's unreasonable to expect that removing university emergency services funding would have no negative impact on the city. 

I think a better argument for or against GG would be based on the question as to whether it provides funding for city disaster preparedness or for university disaster preparedness. I have not yet delved into the text of the measure to find out which is the case, but surely it's an important factor the Berkeley voter should consider when making his or her decision. 

Tom Slankard 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

When looking at the ballot and the candidates for District 4 I sadly did not find the "embarrassment of riches" a recent letter writer found. I found embarrassment, but no riches. But I guess that really applies to the whole ballot and not just to District 4. 

Frank Greenspan 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

Prop. 8 is an initiative that promotes discrimination, division and hate. Prop. 8 is not about the love and the sanctity of marriage; it is a spiteful and vindictive initiative being forced on the majority of Californians by a minority of religious extremists. 

The church isn't supposed to be involved in politics but look who is financing Prop. 8. Follow the money. Fundamentalists and evangelicals and out of state anti-abortionists and anti-gay forces are spending a large amount of money to pass this measure 

There is nothing altruistic and loving and sharing about Prop. 8, and isn't that what marriage is all about. 

Everyone is free to marry who they want, but not if Prop. 8 passes and religious ideologues get their way. No on 8. 

Ron Lowe 

Nevada City 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

I hope you beautiful American people choose hope instead of fear ! 

As a strong believer in Jesus, I am appalled that the “religious right” have been so fervent in their fear-mongering about Barack Obama, as they were here, when a younger Kevin Rudd challenged Bush supporter John Howard for prime minister last year, and won. 

Like there, lies were told, negative hate filled accusations made, but the Australian people rose above all that, and joined the 21st century. I hope you do the same! 

Geoff Hinds 





Editors, Daily Planet: 

Up to now I have been willing to give Rob Wrenn the benefit of the doubt. I presumed that he had not read the BRT draft EIR and therefore was merely mistaken about the claims he made for AC Transit's proposal. After reading his commentary in last week's Planet, however, I have come to the conclusion that Mr. Wrenn is deliberately attempting to deceive the public about BRT. Mr. Wrenn says in his commentary that "the BRT EIR estimates that BRT will increase bus ridership by between 56 percent and 76 percent." This is a flat-out falsehood. 

I refer Mr. Wrenn and other interested parties to the chart on page 3-28 of the draft EIR. As a result of BRT, AC Transit systemwide boardings are projected to increase between 2.8 percent and 6.2 percent, depending on which BRT alternative is chosen. 

The overall East Bay transit picture is even worse. Because some BART patrons would switch to BRT, thus DEcreasing BART ridership, overall transit ridership in the East Bay is projected to increase just 0.7 percent to 1.4 percent—no more than 5,000 riders per day. 

Finally, Mr. Wrenn once again tries to paint all BRT opponents with the same broad brush. If you're against this BRT proposal, he says, it's because you're anti-transit or too selfish to put up with minor traffic delays. This is as insulting as it is wrong. There is another, very compelling, reason to be against this BRT proposal. BRT as currently proposed (and documented in the draft EIR) would do almost nothing to increase transit use and would cost a staggering $250 million. Any public official who would vote to spend taxpayer money on such a boondoggle should be removed from office. 

Jim Bullock 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

A resident of District 6 informed me that she received the latest mailing from candidate Susan Wengraf that shows the other candidate, Phoebe Sorgen, in front of the marines' station and the price tag of $250,000 across her chest, with a note identifying her as candidate for District 6.  

The resident thought that this is not only a really low blow, but borders on defaming or character assassination. Of course, seeing that it was received Thursday there is very little time or venue for a response. 

Akio Tanaka 





Editors, Daily Planet: 

We have raised our family and lived in Albany for 35 years and this is the most responsive and dedicated City Council Albany has ever seen! Because of Robert Lieber’s work with the Easy Bay Mayors we do not have to endure being sprayed with pesticides for the light brown apple moth. We value Robert’s contributions and his experience as health professional and a person with great vision. We also feel that if Albany is to have a voice in the greater Bay Area community we must have an elected mayor who can serve a standard term of office and thus we urge a yes vote on Measure Y. We also endorse Leo Panian and Ellen Toomey, new and enthusiastic candidates for City Council who will bring fresh ideas to our city. 

Carol Ginsburg and Joe Como  




Editors, Daily Planet: 

James Cleveland's "Time for a Change in Albany" commentary last week was surly and quite the contrary to real Albany values. It sounded more akin to McCain and Palin's "Country First." While I am a supporter of the candidates endorsed by Congresswoman Lee, Assembly Member (and soon to be State Senator) Loni Hancock, EBRP Director (and soon to be Assembly member)—Lieber, Panian and Toomey, I respect the other candidates willingness to serve. Mr Cleveland commentary did them a disservice. I trust the citizens of Albany will cast their votes for who they believe best shares their individual values and hopes for the future of the city we all value. 

David Madson