Public Comment

Letters to the Editor

Friday July 22, 2011 - 10:21:00 AM

BerkeleyBizarre; Medicaid; Paris is Burning: an Open Letter to Alameda Labor Council, AFL-CIO; 



I emailed the city asking what happened to the bus bench at Dwight and Telegraph. (People like me really need that bench when waiting for the bus.) This is the response I got: 

“Dear Ms. Gans, 

The City requested that the bus bench on Telegraph at Dwight be temporarily removed for several months in order to interrupt illicit behavior that was happening at that location. Berkeley Police and other City staff are monitoring the situation and will request that AC Transit reinstall the bench once it has been determined that doing so will not contribute to antisocial or illegal behavior in the area. We apologize for the inconvenience, and hope to restore the bench as soon as we can. 


Kara Vuicich, AICP
Associate Planner
City of Berkeley Transportation Division, Public Works Dept.” 


* * * 



I am sure many of you have been getting emails from our Congresspersons, Senate and House, asking us to sign on to letters &/or petitions which they will be giving to the President in person. This is a good effort, and I've signed everyone which has come my way.  


But there is a very serious flaw in these letters and petitions. Almost all of them tell President Obama not to cut Social Security or Medicare Good! But there is a very serious and dangerous omission. With the exceptions of Bernie Sanders and Dennis Kucinich. they do not include Medicaid in the list to tell Obama not to cut. This is a very unfortunate omission for at least 2 reasons: 


1) Medicaid is protection for the most needy in our society: the disabled, those from other countries who were not here long enough to accumulate requisite points, the sickest 

And poorest. 

2) By omitting this from the list, it can be seen as a "Green Light" to end Medicaid entirely. 


I have handled this by signing the letters and petitions and then calling the Congressional offices to point out and protest the omission. I also called Sanders and Kucinich to say thanks for including Medicaid. 


Please check out the 2 following articles, and do all you can to see that there are no cuts to any of the triumvirate: Social Security, Medicare, or Medicaid. 


Thank you for your consideration and help. 


Sydney Vilen 


* * * 



Republicans and their simple-minded pledges: GOP presidential candidates have to sign the anti-tax pledge to Grover Norquist, the anti-abortion pro-life pledge to the religious fundamentalists, and now, the new marriage pledge. Is this what America needs - a non-thinking ninny of a president indebted to extremists?  

Every elected official already takes an oath of office which takes precedence over any political or religious pledge.  

There is also the Tea Party's "Contract from America" pledge for Republican presidential candidates to sign. It's like Republicans live in an abstract world not the real world.  

Politicians owe their allegiance to the American people and Constitution and not some quasi-religious or political faction. 

Ron Lowe  


* * * 


Paris is Burning: an Open Letter to Alameda Labor Council, AFL-CIO 


I'll be marching in Oakland on Friday with you and many other progressive minded people to demand major economic and social reforms. But I am nervous if it will be nothing more than a vague protest that is lacking in specific demands. March for good jobs? Of course. But where will these jobs come from? How about demanding a massive WPA program along with other specific proposal to create good jobs? About marching in solidarity for health care? What program is being advanced? Medicare for All I hope? And achieving Wall Street Accountability? Absolutely. How about making recommendations that include criminal indictments? And what budget and tax proposals should be made? Will we be demanding an income tax that is truly progressive and a tax on profit that is really equitable? Shouldn't we also demand massive reductions in defense spending, which will make available domestically hundreds of billions of dollars annually? 


I am delighted that the Alameda Labor Council is organizing and sponsoring this important political event on Friday. By bringing disparate individuals and groups together for the Friday event, it facilitates our ability to work together. But if we don't propose and demand very specific steps that should be taken, we might be doing no more than achieving a feel good experience that creates the illusion that we are accomplishing something. I think we agree that Paris is burning. Let's work to extinguish the fire so that we can rebuild and build together a much, much better society. 


Harry Brill