Public Comment

Letters to the Editor

Tuesday September 21, 2010 - 04:45:00 PM

Pool Politics Revealed

Normally Daily Cal news items are made available through the Google news search. However a recent news story, "Election Politics May Have Swayed Council Pool Vote", which did see print on paper and is archived online does not appear in the Google news search. Since websites can control accessibility though Google news, it would seem that the Daily Cal is keeping the story from appearing in search results. That story reveals that two city council members voted against the Worthington-Wozniak compromise because they didn't want Kriss Worthington to have a success before the election. So two city council members, George Beier does not tell their names, voted against children in an attempt to sabotage Worthington's re-electability. Those two council members should oust themselves from office immediately. Playing politics with youth recreation is revolting. Those two council members are in support of Beier obviously, who is running in unity with Wozniak; yet the vote was against a compromise Wozniak co-created. Lastly, in an issue separate from the pool, Beier was invited to the People's Park committee meeting this week, and he did not show up, even though he is running on a platform to change People's Park.

Nathan Pitts 


We'll never advance to the summit
By allowing our standards to plummet.
Some want a theocracy.
We're a democracy,
Freedom of faith, but not FROM it.

Ove Ofteness 


The Poor 

The ranks of the working-age poor climbed to the highest level since the 1960s as the recession threw millions of people out of work last year, leaving one in seven Americans in poverty. 

The overall poverty rate climbed to 14.3 percent, or 43.6 million people, the Census Bureau said Thursday in its annual report on the economic well-being of U.S. households. The report covers 2009, President Barack Obama’s first year in office. 

The poverty rate increased from 13.2 percent, or 39.8 million people, in 2008. Poverty rose among all race and ethnic groups, but stood at higher levels for blacks and Hispanics. The number of Hispanics in poverty increased from 23.2 percent to 25.3 percent; for blacks it increased from 24.7 percent to 25.8 percent. The number of whites in poverty rose from 8.6 percent to 9.4 percent.—Child poverty rose from 19 percent to 20.7 percentReporting from Los Angeles and San Francisco —  

On the other hand, smashing the record for the most money ever donated by a candidate in a political election, Republican Meg Whitman has written her gubernatorial campaign a $15-million check that brings her personal stake in the race to $119 million. Neither side is really concerned about the poor and needy. They is concerned for its own interests, and especially for the lifestyle of its rich people.  

Although the world envies that lifestyle, much of it is based on greed and selfishness. 

Ted Rudow III,MA 



Brown Nostalgia 

There's a bit of nostalgia in a desire to see Jerry Brown return to a place of prominence in the state government. So many Californians look back fondly on the days when Brown fascinated and infuriated us with his quirky habits, frequent philosophizing, and uncanny ability to shake up politics as usual. 

But nostalgia alone is not why California needs him to be the next governor. He is by far the best, smartest and most experienced person for California’s top spot. 

Brown has no "moonbeam" view of how to fight California's many problems now that he’s been the mayor of Oakland. In that capacity Brown was brought face to face with a city in turmoil. As governor Brown would excel with managing California's abundant resources. 

His record of defending the environment, supporting needed regulation on industry, and supporting civil rights would serve him well. Here's supporting Jerry Brown in the race for governor. 

Ron Lowe  


Berkeley’s Planning Department 


I wish I could gouge taxpayers and residents by pulling obscure laws and regulations out of nowhere like the Planning and Building Dept. of Berkeley. 

After noticing an oddity in my yard, I had a plumbing specialist video my sewer lateral. Apparently it was damaged beyond repair and leaking sewage. My quote for fixing this was around 2400 dollars-but not all of this was going to the parts and labor of repair. That's right, the City Planning Dept. gets to scalp $500 out of the bill. The latest addition of $150 was called a "load of BS" by the contractor.
The Clerks at the Planning Dept., running out of things to do in a huge recession and falling tax revenue, are making nonsense up to cover their budget holes and save their increasingly worthless positions on the payroll.  

Recently, due to "environmental concerns", all new home sales have to prove that they have a new sewer lateral to the main. Obviously, raw sewage running into the ground would be a concern for groundwater and pollution-hence most homeowners should probably choose to replace the old ceramic pipes with plastic ones. The onus, of course, is on the homeowner to foot the bill from the house to the city line. Not cheap. 

With out of pocket cost of near 1700 dollars, one would think that the City would waive it's typically trite fee gouging to encourage all homes to update as it's A BENEFIT TO EVERYONE TO HAVE A MODERN SEWER CONNECTION. Poo in the water table is a BAD THING.

It's good for you.
It's good for me.
It's good for the City.
It's good for all the little creatures in the soil.

The City touts the new regulation as mandatory and for the "environment" in their paperwork.What is increasingly clear is that the City has "OFAP" syndrome-that's Obsessive Fee and Permit Syndrome. Making homeowners pay $500 for a piece of paper and a clerical stamp of approval is called Civic-Sanctioned-Stealing. They make up a regulation-we follow it-we pay them the right to follow their regulations. The City does almost ZERO to earn $350 in a "permit" and $150 dollars in an Inspection "Certificate." The contractor digs the hole, lays the pipe, connects to the main line and does a DVD show and tell to the clerks at City Hall. After watching the home movie, the Contractor has to pay the blackmail fee of $500 to the City. The cost is passed to the homeowner.  

I have to say this is an egregious example of municipal blackmail-they don't even send an inspector. This is an order of magnitude worse than the "fee " the City gets to allow a new water heater to be installed. Both Water Heater and Sewer Lateral fees are just checks sent into the event horizon called The City of Berkeley. You never pay their "professionals" to come and look at the work, because they DO NOT BOTHER. As if they would know what a good sewer lateral looked like in the first place-or if a new water heater would blow up my house. They don't-I've seen them in action. They walk around, mumble, collect the check and sign you off. 

You would think water heaters(energy saving), sewer laterals, roofs and so on would benefit the overall health of the City enough to waive excessive fees to do these upgrades. No, the City has a captured audience and is balancing their excessive pensions and salaries off of higher taxes, fees, tickets, "upgrades" through backdoor taxes. One has to wonder how the brainiacs at City Hall think they can recoup lost revenue in this economy by killing development, improvements and remodeling through obscene and petty fee overload. I know of at least 2 jobs that just got killed because the Planning Dept is smoking fee, variance and permit crack cocaine by the kilo. One set of owners just wants to leave the City. 

If the City's 14 million dollar budget hole isn't bad enough, killing business will sink the putt on their books. It's time for Berkeley to cut internal costs and stop ripping everyone off. 

Mathew Parker