Public Comment

Letters to the Editor

Wednesday March 02, 2011 - 01:54:00 PM

Caring; Rights and Duties; Good Will; Arpeggio;Response to a Response on the Library Demolition; West Berkeley Zoning; Security Council Veto 


On Mental Illness: Caring for A Mentally Ill Family Member" could have as easily been titled, "On Physical Illness: Caring for A Physically Ill Family Member," or "On Disability, Caring for A Family Member with a Disability." 

Similarities abound. The seriousness of each comes into play, the more serious each, the greater the need. 

Harold A. Maio, retired Mental Health Editor  



Rights and Duties 

It is time to add social studies to the pre-k and elementary school curriculum and continue such studies all the way through college. When people demand their rights, they forget that rights imply duties. People who understand their duties towards others are not likely to be antisocial. At this time of confusion and trouble if we start interactive training to educate students in the mutual relationship of rights and responsibilities we might get a new kind of harmony in society. It seems that a majority of children or students have no knowledge of their duties towards others but they know how to ask for their rights. I think it goes both ways. The attitude of caring and sharing comes with real knowledge about give and take. 

Romila Khanna  



Good Will 

I was shocked to hear of the recent controversy regarding a Goodwill store moving into a location on Solano Avenue. While I no longer live in Berkeley, I did in the early seventies as a student at UC, and again from 1979-1993 as a working adult. First of all, a large thrift store (Salvation Army, possibly) resided further down on Solano Avenue for well over twenty years. I shopped there from the 1970s through the 1990s. It didn't seem to negatively impact the neighborhood. Secondly, I am a working adult who regularly shops in thrift stores, and most of the customers are not homeless - and the ones who are homeless deserve a place to shop like everyone else. Thrift stores not only make sense in these difficult economic times, but they're the ultimate in recycling and being green, which I thought Berkeley was all about. Solano Avenue should be welcoming Goodwill with open arms! 

Mal Schoen  




The photos of the Arpeggio tell all, especially the interior shot. What an offensive, ugly piece of archaic crap! 

Laurie Miller 



Response to a Response on the Library Demolition 

I found last week’s letter from Linda Schacht to be almost incomprehensible. She seems to be responding to a commentary in the February 16 issue of the Planet about the demolition of the South and West Berkeley Branch Libraries, without understanding the content. 

The commentary, “The Demolition of Branch Libraries – Not What the Voters Approved” was most informative. Measure FF certainly did not mention demolitions. None of the campaign literature ever mentioned the possibility. Is it actually legal to use bond funding for projects about which the voters were misled? 

It doesn’t surprise me that the City was less than honest in conducting the public process. I think that the City regards neighborhoods in South and West Berkeley as opportunity sites, rather than vibrant communities, filled with history and character. 

As for the rest of the Schacht narrative, I have to question if she is the one who is “seriously paranoid.” 

Casey Silva 



West Berkeley Zoning 

Thanks, for the great reporting and editorializing about the City Council's West Berkeley zoning debacle. 

I think the way Bates is running Berkeley is how things are working all over the country. How can it be that the citizenry is represented by people who not only seem to prioritize the profit interests of developers but who blithely ignore, um, facts? How can a real city be run by guestimates and hunches based on nothing more than sound and fury? 

More and more lately, I find myself reflecting on my dated memories of Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland. I read it as a child and have not read it since. But now I am wondering: is it a child's book? Or was Lewis Carroll really just describing how goofy life can be? City Council hearings ring like Mad Hatter Tea Parties to me. And I frequently find myself wondering if I have stepped through a looking glass and entered an alternate universe where up is down and down is up. Or, to put it another way, Tom Bates' Berkeley. 

Maybe the world always worked this way. Maybe there were always humans around grasping for more than they need in the now, afraid to trust that we can create a fair, just world for all. I'm not very hopeful about how things are going, in Berkeley or in the world in general. Although it was thrilling to see the people bring about some change in Egypt, and my heart and soul is focussed on the Wisconsin State Capitol, I am afraid dark forces rooted in greed are slowly taking over the land . . .and I hear myself thinking such thoughts and I remember images from the Harry Potter series. It feels like Lord Voldemort and the Deatheaters are taking over. And then I think of the weird cultural trends of vampires and zombies and I wonder if our common imagination is simply mirroring the ugly truths unfolding all around us. And I hear myself think these thoughts and I want to say 'Stop the world, I want to get off'. 

Thanks for the good work the Daily Planet does. 

Tree Fitzpatrick 

Security Council Veto 

Everyone now knows that the U.S. vetoed the Security Council resolution that would have condemned Israel's West Bank settlements as illegal. Once again the U.S. is Israel's lackey. The veto makes a mockery of Obama's 2009 Cairo speech where he called for an independent Palestinian state and a freeze of Israeli settlements. The Palestine Papers show the Palestinians humiliating themselves by offering enormous concessions in private with the Israelis willing to concede little or nothing. This shows that Israel has no intention in continuing peace negotiations leading to an independent Palestinian state. Clearly, Israel’s ultimate goal is to take over the entire country and to drive out the non-Jewish population. This was made clear when in 1948, when Menachem Begin declared, "The partition of the Homeland is illegal. It will never be recognized. The signature of institutions and individuals of the partition agreement is invalid. It will not bind the Jewish people. Jerusalem was and will forever be our capital. Eretz Israel (the land of Israel) will be restored to the people of Israel. All of it. And forever.” This leaves the Palestinians no choice but to unilaterally appeal to the international community for recognition of an independent state with the 1967 borders. 

Ralph E. Stone