Public Comment

Letters to the Editor

Thursday February 11, 2010 - 09:48:00 AM


Editors, Daily Planet: 

Reban Tranter, a former director of ABAG (Association of Bay Area Governments) accuses Steve Martinot of demonizing ABAG “in the fashion of the Tea Party brigades” and Sarah Palin, thus name-calling in exactly the fashion he deplores. 

But Mr. Martinot’s commentary, “The Theory of Urban (Un) Development” (Jan. 26) struck me not as some kind of witch-hunt but as a reasonable response to one of the bludgeons that the city has been using against our flatlands neighborhoods in order to force greater density on our already crowded environment: the Regional Housing Needs Allocation (RHNA). 

Having the dubious pleasure of reading the city’s 2009-2014 Housing Element, I am newly awakened to the controversy over this assessment, which the City planners themselves dispute. On page 44 and 45 of the Nov. 18, 2009, draft of the Housing Element, they write that “the city believes the number of people in group quarters is almost twice what was estimated … by ABAG. … While the university led to a higher RHNA allocation, the city gets no credit in the RHNA process for the housing provided by the university … The city … believes group quarters completed in this next RHNA cycle should be credited towards meeting the city’s RHNA goals.” 

The determination of the RHNA number is not the only problem raised in the Housing Element, but that discussion will have to wait until I’ve finished my reading. If anyone would like to join me in studying this document, give me a call. I know, there’s the 450 page DEIR of the West Berkeley Project too, and the council probably won’t listen to us even after we’ve caught up with staff’s voluminous paperwork. 

Once upon a time the City Council relied on its educated, involved citizenry for our input on policy issues. Not anymore. Now we are treated with contempt and ignored like recalcitrant children. Respectable people including professionals are subjected to name-calling. 

Toni Mester 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

The Berkeley City Council may be placing too much credence and importance on a single, recent pool survey—to the virtual exclusion of earlier findings—in deciding the fate of pools in Berkeley. This could backfire badly. 

The recent city staff pool survey was flawed in several ways. First, the respondents were purposely skewed to reflect likely June voters—not Berkeley residents as a whole. Nearly 70 percent of survey respondents were over 50 years old while the reverse is true—around 70 percent of Berkeley citizens are under 50 years old. The same skewing occurred in regards to race, gender, home ownership, length of residency, income, etc. Distorting survey participation towards likely June voters may be politically expedient in the short-term but risks disenfranchising, misrepresenting and under serving a majority of Berkeley citizens in the long-term.  

Two, the choice of language, sequence, details, etc. used to describe pool alternatives and services (“attributes”) in the survey certainly shaped results. The lack of question order rotation, bottom-line emphasis on cost—versus “value”—and uneven description of the alternatives was leading and misleading 

The third flaw was setting up a “false choice” in the survey that insinuated that the two plans described were the only options available and that one of these must be voted on in June versus at a later date.  

Last but not least, the survey was shown to only one group of the broader swim community—those most strongly aligned to the Warm Pool and King Pool—for feedback and input prior to distribution. It’s no coincidence that the poll validated that group’s plans and desires. 

It’s not whether we like or dislike this poll, it’s how much stake we put in it in combination with other factors. The results were confusing, contradictory, and at marked variance with other cities’ experiences, common wisdom of pool management, and previous swim surveys conducted in Berkeley—as recently as last year regarding the Warm and King pools. Nobody wins if a badly designed poll is exaggerated in any direction. 

The recent city pool survey was not a complete waste and there was some valuable information in it—but perhaps not where people readily think. The city staff and City Council should use extreme caution in over-interpreting these results to the public or the pool bond measure in June could surprise many. 

Charles Banks-Altekruse 




Editors, Daily Planet:  

I’d like to clarify a few things in Riya Bhattacharjee’s article of Feb. 2 under the title “Neighbors Emerge Victorious...”. This article also discusses the Zoning Board’s approval of a proposal to build a 6,478-square-foot home with a 3,394-square-foot enclosed garage underneath it at 2707 Rose St., in which neighbors were certainly not victorious. 

The “small group of neighbors” Riya mentions in fact included at least 28 who wrote letters opposing board approval and several who testified similarly at the hearing. These people were asking, minimally, for a continuance so that more information on the project could be provided. Many who took the time to write only learned of the project a few days before the hearing. They expressed concern at the placing of such a large building in a neighborhood of much smaller and often historically significant homes. Some also questioned a notification process that left so many nearby residents in the dark; for example, one of the project notification posters was put up in a carport on a dead-end street under a “no trespassing” sign. Some were concerned about a staff report that contained significant flaws. Why, for instance, weren’t “story poles” that would provide a real physical outline of the structure and which are required by the city for other new construction, required here? These would have given the neighborhood a better idea of the height and mass of the building. 

To put this project into context, Alameda County records show that, out of more than 17,000 single-family homes in the City of Berkeley, only 10—one out of 1,700—are larger than 6,400 square feet. Only two of these were built after 1942, and only five are in North Berkeley. The proposed structure, especially if one includes the square footage of the large garage, will be one of the largest homes ever built in this city. Surely such a unique project in a historic neighborhood deserves a more thorough review that takes account of the concerns of those who will live with it for a long time. 

Susan Nunes Fadley 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

The planned Kapor house is obviously not reaping any sympathies from the neighborhood with its monster Big Mac/K-Mart look. 

But since the wise Permit Board called for the parties to compromise, here is my suggestion for the Kapors to buy back some sympathies: Both Big Mac and K-Mart, we know, allow the use of their restrooms to the passing public. Since many hill pedestrians will pass closely by their house, they would appreciate access to a restroom, especially on the arduous way back up. I am serious! What a truly crowning philanthropic act that would be! Particularly as so many public restrooms are closing. Nothing fancy needed, of course —even a clean, functioning Port-a-potty would do, whose architectural match, by the way, should be no problem at all! 

Juergen Hahn 



Editors, Daily Planet: 

Just a note to applaud the recent changes to your website publishing schedule. It’s great to see the site being updated daily, sometimes several times a day. It’s become a part of my regular, through-the-day reading along with other regularly-updated news sites. I’m now checking in on the Berkeley Daily Planet three to four times a day, rather than once a week. 

Many thanks for all your hard work! 

E. Busch-Wheaton 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

I am writing to express my support for the Aquatic Park Preschool, the Ecole Bilingue de Berkeley, and to those of us in West Berkeley who are enthusiastic about the revitalization of our neighborhood. Over the past several years, we have applauded the opening of new restaurants, small shops, and entertainment venues near where we live. Now, we have even witnessed the reopening of Black Oak Books in the heart of West Berkeley! These felicitous changes are difficult to reconcile with having the Berkeley Patients Group (so-called) as neighbors. 

My wife and I had the misfortune, for several years, of renting a cottage on Wallace Street that directly abutted the east property line of the BPG. We were plagued by the disrespect shown by its clients to their residential neighbors.  

If you want to draw your own conclusions, we invite you to linger on the sidewalk in front of BPG for a hour or so. Do so during their business hours after dark, and imagine yourselves as neighbors. Listen to all the guys revving up their twin-OHC engine muscle-cars, usually with glass-pack mufflers (designed to make noise). Listen as they sit in their cars for five minutes with their engines idling. Listen to the maddening amplified low-frequency noise entering the sound space from the trunk-installed sub-woofers of “boom cars.” Listen to the cross-parking lot shouted conversations of clients.  

Lastly, think “aesthetics.” Do you want to have in your community a facility with a concertina wire protected chain-link fence? Do you want to share space with an enterprise, the outside of which, rife with galvanized garbage can planters, resembles nothing so much as the parking lot of a “reptile-farm” or of a tractor-haul arena along some rural southern highway. 

For years, the residents of West Berkeley, to no avail, having been trying to get rid of its chronic air pollution that comes from Pacific Steel. Let BPG move next to PS, forming a tidy package of offensive air, noise, and aesthetic insult. 

Peter Hubbard 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

Thank you for the recent article alerting readers that the Berkeley Adult School is once again in jeopardy due to proposed budget cuts. One of the largest programs at the school, the division which serves senior citizens and disabled adults, is especially vulnerable. Through this unique program, nearly 100 classes are offered in 20 community settings throughout Berkeley, providing opportunities for social interaction and learning in a variety of ways.  

  In the Lifelong Learning division, for example, students over 55 can pursue better health through swimming, aerobic exercise, dance, tai chi, and yoga classes. Mental acuity can be maintained through classes in world literature, drama, poetry, current events or Spanish. Art and music classes help to enrich students’ lives as well as providing outlets for self-expression. 

  For adults with disabilities, classes include wheelchair basketball, a choir for visually-impaired adults, and many communication classes that emphasize daily living skills. The music and art classes held in nursing homes bring great joy to frail elderly students and show that learning can occur at any age. 

  Although classes such as these have been an integral part of the Berkeley Adult School for decades, the program is now imperilled because most of the classes are not career-oriented and do not train students specifically for future employment. However, most of the older adult students have already been in the work force for many years, have contributed greatly to our society, and they should now be given every opportunity to enjoy the wonderful educational opportunities offered by the school. It would be a tragic loss if this vital program should become a victim of future budget cuts.  

Diana Perry 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

That old 1965 Golden Oldie began with, “Laugh, laugh, I thought I’d die.” So now the readers are supposed to pay the tab for your incompetence ? 

Oh, I forgot the owner’s Mom is a rightwinger who denounced Obama. Good God, call the PC Police. Or at least Chris Daly. 

Johnny Carson had a great line in spring, 1981, “I just heard that there was a shortage of IRS agents. That’s the worse news since Hitler had a shortage of storm troopers.” That says it all. 

But maybe now there will plenty of IRS to make the misnamed Daily Planet pay up. Talk about getting hoisted by your own petard! 

But you could try the tactics of the Bay Guardian. Use the state to put your competitor out of business. Becky and Bruce B. would make a great crybaby duet. 

Al Blue 





Editors, Daily Planet: 

So, you admit that you knew the office was a dingy little place run by a right-wing anti-Obama person that had a deceptive website. You’ve known there were problems since October. But you still gave them your business. 

And now, when you get burned, you complain in a bitchy article designed to make you look like a victim. You knew the facts and you acted stupidly.  

You got what you deserve. 

Maybe Allen-Taylor can put you in touch with his good friend Ron who can help you not pay your taxes. 

Javier Melendez 



Editors, Daily Planet: 

Whatever became of Spring Mansion? “Neighbors Riled About Plans to Develop Spring Mansion (Planet, Feb. 23, 2007). ” 

Brian R. Foust 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

For the last 20 years I have made Bekeley my home, a city that I love for its diversity and traditional tolerance of other cultures and of differing view points and/or paradigms. Several years ago, however, there was a shift in the way that drug charges were handled, however, changing from the “harm-reduction model” to one of “zero tolerance.” The result has been devastating to the lives of many Berkeley citizens. 

  For this reason, drug charges that had previously been, in most cases, reduced to a misdemeanor, have been treated as felonies, and the number of people violated at some point during their probation or parole has tripled. Many of these offenders are placed into mandatory drug programs for six months to a year. The rate of recividism alone should tell people that this approach is not effective and is actually clogging up our court system and jails. 

  Whatever happened to the harm-reduction model? It was so much more reasonable, practical, and effective. People who want to use drugs will use them, regardless of whether or not they are against the law. The only people who are helped by programs are people that want to be helped... who enter drug programs of their own initiative. Why do we keep wasting tax payers dollars on ineffective policies? Is it just to “look” like a hardline has been taken against drugs? Who are we trying to impress? 

  Perhaps the biggest part of the drug probem is the stigma attached to drug use, the potential legal difficulties that arise from being prosecuted for drug charges, etc. Maybe America should look at the outcome of other countries who have tried a different approach—such as Amsterdam—and follow suit. 

Karen Baker 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

The recent news that the East Bay Bus Rapid Transit project has been allocated another $15 million in the federal 2011 budget confirms what most of us already know: that building modern, efficient urban transit systems is right in line with the administration’s priorities. We can therefore move forward with confidence that further Small Starts funding will be forthcoming. 

Not only that, this welcome funding decision underscores a fiscal irony: compared to the far less functional “rapid bus plus” plan—nearly a “no-build” alternative—the full BRT project is actually the cheaper alternative when it comes to local funding. While RBP technically qualifies to apply for Small Starts money, its very lack of significant incremental benefits makes the project “score” far lower—almost certainly too low to gain any federal grants. We would therefore have to raise local funds to install RBP—a highly unlikely prospect when AC Transit is unable even to maintain recent service levels. 

Finally, we should not forget that “money attracts money.” The City of Oakland, in planning for its own portion of the BRT project, is increasingly interested in expanding it to include a “complete streets” approach: leveraging BRT with other available grants to pay for utility, pedestrian and streetscape improvements along the route. Taking that approach in Berkeley would help to overcome fear-based objections raised by some local merchants and businesses: BRT can help attract funding for the improvements we need to make their business districts more attractive to visitors and shoppers. 

Alan Tobey 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

In the recent article about the tragic payroll fraud, there was a sentence about Ellen Norgren, reading “the Planet’s publisher saw her there not long ago reading right-wing political tracts and denouncing Obama’s health care plan.” That’s not news, that’s an ad hominem attack. It is lowbrow, low-quality journalism like this that makes being a Planet supporter difficult. Act as a real newspaper, not a forum for ranting, and I think the paper’s fortunes will improve. 

Bryce Nesbitt 





Editors, Daily Planet: 

It was sad to read about the passing of another long-time prominent Berkeley activist, Tom Condit. I knew Tom from the late 1950s when I first met him at a Socialist Party convention in Chicago of which we were both members at the time. When I moved to the Bay Area in 1960, we both belonged to the SP Local which played a significant part in Berkeley radical politics at the time. I also remember Tom as an IWW branch secretary in San Francisco during the mid-1960s. Tom was a democratic socialist for most of his adult life and chose to express that advocacy through the Peace and Freedom Party as a candidate and organizer. He and his wife Marsha Feinland were the anchors of the PFP in Alameda County that helped hold it together all these decades. He was also a tireless participant in the labor, antiwar, and civil rights movements. Wherever there was a demonstration, rally, march, or important community meeting, one could always count on Tom to be there. He was also a gentle and personable chap with a warm sense of humor and had an encyclopedic knowledge of socialist ideas and movements. My condolences to Marsha, their son, and other family members.  

Harry Siitonen 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

I just read the two op-eds in your Jan. 28-Feb. 3 issue regarding development in downtown Berkeley. I lived in Berkeley the first five years I lived in the Bay Area and it remains my favorite city here, so I felt I had to comment after reading the two columns. 

I moved to Berkeley from a liberal area of Chicago. I lived in Chicago without a car, and figured that since Berkeley was more progressive than where I came from, it would have good public transit and I wouldn’t need a car. Boy, was I surprised! While Berkeley was more progressive in many other ways, people here worshipped their cars compared to Chicago, and the public transit was more like the suburbs than the city of Chicago. So I understand the attitude of people in Berkeley regarding parking. 

  That said, I was dismayed that both columns regarding downtown development were obsessed with the parking issue. A progressive position is that we need to get people out of cars and onto public transit, biking, and walking. Driving contributes to immense environmental and ecological harm, including destruction of ecosystems from extraction, oil spills— which are now so common they occur almost daily—toxic pollution from refining, and of course air pollution from burning gasoline, including global climate change. Complaining about lack of parking is anti-environmental. A progressive position would be that private motor vehicles should be removed from the city and replaced by much more public transit. 

  The claim by Christopher Adams, that he cannot live without his car, was especially galling. I lived quite well in Berkeley and north Oakland using my bicycle and public transit. While the public transit could and should have been much better, I was able to buy all of my groceries using these modes of transit, mainly using a backpack. Requiring a car is either a state of mind or a lifestyle that one chooses, but there is no such inherent requirement. 

  Please print some opinions contrary to those crying about lack of parking. It is really offensive to read those complaints when driving is contributing to so much environmental and ecological harm and destruction. 

Jeff Hoffman 

San Francisco 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

Who is responsible? The newspaper boxes are gone! They have gone and done it again. 

Where? The busy northwest corner of Shattuck and Cedar. That’s Andronico’s corner, where several bus routes stop, U.S. mail box, bench.  

What could be a better location for newspaper boxes, from perspectives of both readers and publishers?  

When? For as long as I have lived in North Berkeley, there has been a row of boxes containing a variety of periodicals—some free, some requiring coins. I relied on them for the Daily Cal, East Bay Express, and Business Woman, as well as Sunday newspaper editions. And sometimes for the Berkeley Daily Planet. 

How come there’s one box left? It contains free advertisements for expensive rentals.  

Special treatment? Instead of removing the boxes, there should be an addition of a freebie, namely, the senior centers monthly schedule/newsletter. 

Speaking of the Berkeley Daily Planet and senior centers: Many seniors are unable and or unwilling to pay $2 for an issue at a senior center. There seems to be some confusion about this process. If Planet and senior center managements could get together and clarify that this is a requested contribution and provide a foolproof container into which money can be deposited (i.e. accessible only to he who picks up the cash promptly), it would make more sense. At present, volunteers and some seniors are silenced and stymied. 

Helen Rippier Wheeler  




Editors, Daily Planet: 

Boalt Hall’s Coalition for Diversity will host its annual Law School Admissions Workshop on Sat., Feb. 20, from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. The Coalition’s mission is to increase diversity in the legal profession.  

If you are familiar with our previous workshops, you might be wondering why the shift from fall to February workshops? The answer is that we would like to begin providing students with our great services well in advance of the law school application process so that they can feel confident and prepared when they apply. Because this is a transition year, this workshop will not include law student panels, resume and personal statement review sessions, or LSAT panels like in years past. However, the heart of program will remain intact—Anthony Solana, author of the Guide to the Law School Application Process for People of Color, will speak on how complete a successful law school application. Our full-blown workshops will resume in February 2011.  

This event is free. For those who are interested in attending, we would like them to RSVP to or at by Feb. 17.  

Joshua Johnson 




Editors, Daily Planet:  

I wish to be considered as Marcy Greenhut’s replacement on the Transportation Commission. I have served as an ad-hoc member of the Commission’s Bike and Pedestrian Sub-committee since September 2008. I have not attended a meeting in several months owing to what I feel is a deeply counterproductive direction under her leadership, and regular abuse of procedure by Ms. Greenhut. 

If appointed, I intend to offer a more thoughtful agenda, which I tried to present numerous times, but which Ms. Greenhut obstructed with counterproductive procedural nonsense, and abuse of parliamentary procedure. Specifically, I see that the City of Berkeley needs: 

1) To enact a mandatory bike helmet law for adults. 

2) To create and install signage—with Alameda County and the State of California—to remind people to look behind them or in their door mirrors, so they don’t “door” a biker. The number of near misses continues to increase from passenger and drivers. 

3) Calling for a moratorium on what you euphemistically and inaccurately call “traffic calming circles.” They don’t calm traffic; they create confusion, thereby terrorizing bikers and pedestrians in crosswalks. By now, every citizen in Berkeley has had the terrifying experience of seeing a vehicle veer toward them when they’re in the crosswalk. 

4) Tracking of accidents and subsequent injuries from car-bike collisions, and bike-door collisions. The statistics Eric Anderson provided previously were woefully inadequate and didn’t even include my accident from March 15, 2006. This requires better communications and liaison with the Berkeley police. 

5) Regular monthly meetings of this committee without fail, and remaining open to scheduling special sessions as needed. 

I am well aware that my ability to work with the committee has been seriously impaired by the efforts to defame me by Ms. Greenhut. Marcy Greenhut’s leadership has been abysmal. Most notably, she failed to have this committee meet on a regular basis and cancelled meetings when important legislations proposals were pending. Without her presence, I can imagine this committee operating more effectively. 

While I am given to understand that Max Anderson has also bought into defamatory comments about me originated by Ms. Greenhut and Mayor Tom Bates, I would foresee no difficulty in working with Mr. Anderson. Rather, I can forgive him for buying into the relentless campaign to defame, arising out of my attempt to hold the city accountable for its illegal support of the Berkeley YMCA. 

H. Scott Prosterman 




Editors, Daily Planet 

The three hikers, Sara Shourd, Shane Bauer and Josh Fattal, detained in Iran should be freed but not at the cost of forcing Iranian dissidents to return to Iran and of freeing an accused Iranian nuclear spy. Ms Shroud’s headscarf wearing mother in her videotaped appeal to the Iranian supreme ruler stated that the three “meant no harm” to the regime. The families labeled the accusation that they entered Iran with “suspicious aims” as “ludicrous.” 

  The three lived in Syria where Mr. Bauer, a self-described freelance journalist, was the perfect guest indifferent to the suffering of thousands of ordinary Syrians imprisoned and tortured by its Iranian backed dictator while writing articles critical of Israel and the United States. Mr. Bauer similarly was indifferent to the suffering of thousands of Iranians imprisoned and tortured by the brutal religious fanatics ruling Iran to whom Mr. Bauer “meant no harm.” 

Eventually the U.S. will ransom Mr. Bauer and his friends. We should not pay more than market value and demand a few imprisoned Iranians in the deal.  

Dan Brown 





Editors, Daily Planet: 

Please encourage all of your readers who use a payroll service to request that the service have the IRS send the client an inquiry PIN. This inquiry PIN allows the client to check their payment history online or by phone. It does not allow the client to make or change payments with this PIN. 

Clients will receive a special PIN mailing from EFTPS (IRS electronic payment system) explaining that their tax professional has requested that they receive the Inquiry PIN. The mailing will include a PIN letter and instructions on how to obtain an internet password so clients may access EFTPS online at 

California will be offering this service in the near future, where clients can go online and view their payment history. However in the short term, we encourage our clients to request from the EDD payment history on their accounts at least once a year.  

Matthew Miceli 

Walnut Creek 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

Surprisingly the Planet apparently did not give any coverage immediately to the Gates Foundation’s announcement of putting $10 billion for inoculating children throughout the world’s poorer countries. That may sound great but how will they be kept from dying in larger numbers from starvation and intestinal dysentery? Is it ethical and moral to do that to millions of children? 

Gates is trying to get other foundations to join, but I suggest that they and he should start thinking about getting healthy food and clean water programs to go with inoculating programs so that more children can have a chance to survive. I have sent several e-mails to the foundation pointing out this issue and urge any concerned readers to do the same. 

James Singmaster 





Editors, Daily Planet: 

  Our federal government, like a deer in the headlights, is paralyzed. 

  The executive branch, after eight years of the worse this country has ever seen, is headed by a smart, literate and rhetorically gifted man, half white and half African. But after a year in office there is no denying that “…the momentum of accumulating powers in the executive is not easily reversed, checked or even slowed…” (Gary Wills, “Bomb Power”). In many areas—Iraq and Afghanistan, warfare by drones, supporting Israel, torture, warrantless eavesdropping, secrecy, militarily backed imperialism—the new executive branch is not much different from the old.  

  Congress is held in contempt by more than fifty percent of the voting public. Any day on C-Span you can view political theater, comical bickering much like a school cafeteria food fight.  

  Finally, two recent decisions by the Supreme Court have all but killed responsible, representative and accountable government.  

  A year ago the Supremes reaffirmed the unencumbered right of individuals to own guns (and, by extension, pistols, rifles and AK47s).  

  Two weeks ago they outlawed all limits on corporate contributions to political campaigns. Justice Stevens said the court lost “touch with its sense of fair play.” Justice Scalia, the high priest of the court’s conservative majority, would no doubt tell Stevens that court decisions have nothing whatever to do with fair play.  

  Taken to their logical extremes these decisions converge. If carrying guns cannot be “infringed” in any way and if corporations giving money cannot be “abridged” in any way and if the court can define money as speech then it can also define firing guns as uninfringeable speech. 

  Court rulings that have nothing to do with fair play also have nothing to do with common sense. 

Marvin Chachere 

San Pablo 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

My daughter has Type 1 diabetes. She has been out of a job for a year. I pay her COBRA payments, but they are about to run out. She will be unable to get insurance with a pre-existing condition. It is NOW that we need to get health care reform. This country should be ashamed of itself for letting people suffer, not only financially but physically and mentally from lack of care. We are the only country in the developed world that has uninsured people for their health. The Republicans are nothing but nay sayers. They are despicable when they cannot think of the good of this country rather than their selfish political concerns. 

Joan Finnie 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

Our current health care system is badly broken. The U.S. lags behind Slovenia (a former Yugoslav republic!) in most health indexes, refuting naive Republican claims that “we have the best health care system in the world.” Roughly 15 percent of our population lacks any form of health insurance; in this we stand shamefully alone amongst industrialized nations. In short, we as a nation are failing badly. Health care costs now are to such a point that they threaten to bloat our deficits and contribute to crushing debts. It is somewhat counter-intuitive, but health care reform, while costly in the short term, is actually essential to reducing long-term deficits and debt. 

We stand on the brink of serious reform. The Senate has passed an imperfect but still very good bill, one which will lower costs, cover 30 million Americans and prevent insurance companies from discriminating with coverage. Only shrill obstructionist politics stand in the way. Hopefully the Democrats in congress will find the intestinal fortitude to buck the callow cable news critics and finally pass the legislation. If the House can pass the Senate bill, reconciliation procedures could be used to remedy some of the difference between the two current bills. All that matters now is the political courage to make it happen. 

Michael Taylor 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

The cost of health care has become highly unaffordable in this country