Public Comment

Letters to the Editor

Tuesday August 17, 2010 - 02:28:00 PM

What Christians Know about Islam; Some Questions about the Fall School Bond Measure; Gay Marriage; Eyesore On Telegraph; Correcting My Mistake;Dorothy Bryant’s Letter on Mental Health 

What Christians Know about Islam 

Christians probably know about as little about Islam as can be know. When we really think about it we realise how ignorant we are of both their religion and the people. About all we've ever heard has been the very negative and uncomplimentary propaganda by so-called Christians and Christendom and the Western enemies of Islam 

What good have you ever heard from the West about the Muslims? Honestly now, how much good have you ever heard about the Arabs, even before they became famous for their oil? I think the horrible impression that most people have had of the Arabs stems from the Crusades. 

What little they remember is that the Muslims were some kind of fierce cruel warriors who the so-called "Christian Crusaders" had to fight to so-call "free" the Holy City, using just as much cruelty against the Arabs as the Arabs were accused of using against Christians. So it's about six of one and half-a-dozen of the other, only the cruelty of one was done in the name of Christ, sad to say, which is even worse, whereas the Arabs were really defending their homeland in the name of God. 

"Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that. Hate multiplies hate, violence multiplies violence, and toughness multiplies toughness in a descending spiral of destruction…."Martin Luther King, Jr., 

Ted Rudow III,MA 


Some Questions about the Fall School Bond Measure 

Unlike Measure C, which was an attempted accounting scheme to move money into the General Fund, the school board is asking for $210,000,000 to make improvements to the school facilities. As a resident and parent, it's obvious that some of the infrastructure is downtrodden and needs support. 

As a taxpayer who will have to fund these bonds over the next 10 years, I think we also need an honest dialogue( unlike Measure C) about the terms of the bond and the arrival at a 210 million dollar number without an adjoining construction bid or audited list of improvements. 

Most government bonds just throw a big number out there as a slush fund- and seem obligated to use the entire amount regardless of the original need. Questions for the School Board are: 

- 210 million dollar request is from what source?
- What's the punch list of improvements requested or needed- in horrific detail
- what are the terms of the bond and interest rate. Who is the underwriter and are they donating to the measure's campaign in the Fall.
-which facilities are in need of immediate repair and need the bond money up front as opposed to a tax which would be cheaper by almost 30-40% in the long run. Can the "bond" be smaller so the total payment is less?
-list of contractors and construction firms. Was this open bid? Were minority firms involved in the bid process? This is an opportunity to employ local firms- are any involved?
- Berkeley BUSD website has a bond proposal detailing in gory detail who and what is eligible for the assessment but not much on the accounting of the projects. It is also interesting to note that commercial business( what's left of it in Berkeley) is charged 33% more per square foot than residents. Last I checked, businesses were not the primary beneficiary. Why punish businesses when the City has a legendary problem attracting employers into the area? 

Berkeley as generous as it is, also should get VALUE for each dollar borrowed and paid back. A flat out "Hail Mary" bomb toss by the district means waste and lost opportunity elsewhere. Consider that an economical dispersement of 210 million could be used for more than school facilities but saving pools, Iceland, parks and other civic facilities. 

Residents and taxpayers need to understand that borrowing money has consequences, most of them beneficial to the moneylenders who were most probably bailed out by taxpayer money 2 years ago. Value for the tax dollar is usually heresy for Berkeley voters, but in today's economy I hope we can set the expectation that people actually care where and who gets all this money. 

Justin Lee 


Gay Marriage 

It is particularly amusing to hear some who choose to deny gays a "marriage"label, using the argument that a child needs a mother and a father. 

Sorry guys, gays have been creating families as successfully or as challenging 

as those of heterosexuals for some time now, and of course will continue to do so with or without the blessings of a "marriage" label. 

Gerta Farber 


Eyesore On Telegraph 

Among the several eyesores along Telegraph Avenue, none is more unsightly than the empty lot at the corner of Haste Street, former site of the old Berkeley Inn, which once housed 77 units of low cost apartments. This ugly lot, now encased in a formidable iron fence, adjoins a tattoo and piercing store with a bold mural along its wall. There are several signs, in and near the lot proclaiming "Drug free zone." This makes me wonder if this valuable piece of property is also a "Tax free zone" Who IS paying the taxes? 

To my original letter to the Planet a few years ago, voicing my concerns, Carol Denney very obligingly responded with a history of the Berkeley Inn, saying that it had been deliberately burned down, thanks to the "moderate" majority on the City Council, thus depriving low income citizens affordable housing. That's rather hard to believe, but whatever the circumstances that resulted in this God-forsaken lot standing within a few blocks of the University of California, I would hope that the present City Council or powers that be take whatever action is needed to do away with this hideous fenced-in lot, an affront to Telegraph Avenue and, for that matter, to Berkeley itself! 

Dorothy Snodgrass 


Correcting My Mistake 

I wish to apologize to Kriss Worthington for a mistake I make. A letter in the 8/12 online issue from David Joseph noted that Kriss Worthington had indeed spoken of the suspicious death of Nicholas Bailey at the Anna Head parking lot at the City Council. I mistakenly had said that he did not. I certainly did not make this mistake on purpose. Please accept my apology. 

George Beier 

Dorothy Bryant’s Letter on Mental Health 


It was a joy and a pleasure to read her incisive comments, good writing and level-headed attitude. I might as well say it always is. Thank you, Ms. Bryant, and thank you, Daily Planet, for your providing a forum for community input. 


Trish Thomas