To the Editor:
Thank you for you coverage of the disturbing, pending displacement of the south Berkeley business of Betty Gray, the long time proprietor of "Alice's Relaxing Bath."
Your feature reported the facts well: Mrs. Gray successfully started her bath accessory business eight years ago, moved off welfare (before much heralded reform) and raised six children on her own.
With gentrification, her reward is an eviction notice from her landlord and a ho-hum, “such is the price of progress” response from City Hall.
Anyone familiar with Betty knows that her business is much more than selling bath soaps. Her business is, in fact, a cover for her true calling: affirming, cajoling, advising all who walk through her door. You don't leave 'Betty's Relaxing Baths' without a taste for her gritty defiance to life's challenges, a sense of one's own worth, and an uplifting feeling that we are all our brothers' keepers.
She is the publically-espoused, civic-minded, risk-taking, entrepreneurial presence that is the true anchor of neighborhoods.
So, the city fathers and mothers fiddle, the Lorin district is made safe for Starbuck's, while its longtime heart and soul slips away.