Letters to the Editor

Tuesday June 15, 2004


Editors, Daily Planet: 

I recently signed a copy of the ad supporting Rosa Parks School. I made the mistake of signing without carefully reading the full text of the ad. Had I done so, I would not have signed. 

While I support and applaud the efforts of the circulators to improve the image of our school and to recruit families to the school, I do not believe that it is appropriate to promise specific things, such as a science fair. A science fair may be desirable, but the decision to have a fair rightly lies with the entire school community; teachers (especially the science teacher), parents and principal. 

Our school is hopefully coming out of a period of distrust and in order for healing to take place, all voices must be heard and decision s must be based on a transparent process. If a decision has already been made that there will be a science fair, it was made in private and with no transparency. Such a lack of process will not help. 

Joseph Brulenski 

Rosa Parks School teacher 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

I like the Berkeley Daily Planet, and pick it up on the days it comes out. However: I walk in the morning for exercise, and on corners where the Berkeley Daily Planet is in boxes, on Tues. and Fri. the old Daily Planets are i n the trash receptacle nearby. At Derby and College, I often pick up 10-17 old Planets and recycle them in the paper bin our co-op received from the City of Berkeley. 

Berkeley has been a leader in recycling. Would it be so difficult for the person who pu ts those old Planets in the trash to put them in the truck and take them to the paper recycling bin that you, I hope, have near the place where the papers are printed? 

Julia Craig 



Editors, Daily Planet: 

I’m against any casinos, Indian or not. From the tone of Richard Brenneman’s article (“Richmond Plans Massive Casino on the Bay,” Daily Planet, June 11-14), he is also against casinos. However, I fail to understand the relevance of the reference to Donald Rumsfeld in the very first sentence. Former Defense Secretary William Cohen’s part in the casino effort seems to stand on its own, so I wonder at the relevance of Donald Rumsfeld to this discussion. 

Vince Swanson 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

Thank you, Richard Brenneman, for your coverage of the possible casino at Winehaven on Point Molate. Anyone who has not seen this enormous crenelated brick building should go look. It is one of the most amazing buildings in the Bay Area and the views aren’t bad either. Across the street is a group of worker’s cottages, one of the last cohesive groups of such buildings. All are listed on the National Register of Historic Places which hopefully might save them. 

Some issues, such as this casino and also the three 18-story residential towers p roposed on the bay side of the Bayview exit off 580, have impacts that are regional and not just local. (Thank you for that article also.) Yet only the Richmond City Council has direct control over them. Competition for the almighty tax dollar has the po tential for some serious planning mistakes. Where is regional land use planning? I believe there isn’t any.  

Susan Cerny 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

Your recent article on Point Molate in Richmond was apparently based upon confidential infor mation recently revealed to a small group representing the Sierra Club, the Audubon Society, Save the Bay and Trails for Richmond Action Committee. As an attendee, my impression was that the developers were making an honest attempt to receive feedback fro m the environmental community in order to more carefully tailor the project to meet those concerns before going public. The article seems to suggest that developers and politicians are devious. The one thing that is clear from your article is that certain members who are thought of as spokespersons for the environmental community are devious, dishonest and lacking in moral turpitude. The pity is the actions of perhaps one person will raise doubts about the honesty of the other groups at the meeting and the environmental community in general. So much for trying to build trust. Public beware.  

David Dolberg  

Vice chair,  

Trails for Richmond Action Committee 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

The Daily Planet’s recent article about the proposed development of Point Molate has several factual errors and the author uses descriptive adjectives that seem to slant the article towards a specific audience. 

I am always concerned when I read articles that have easily verifiable errors stated as fact. It makes me wonder about the validity of the rest of the article that is not as easily verifiable. 

In particular: 

1. The caption under the photo states “A large casino has been proposed for this ridgetop site on Point Molate in Richmond where the Navy once stored underground fuel containers.” 

To begin with, the Navy never owned the ridge and no casinos have ever been proposed for this location. All development has always been slated for the flat area at the bottom of the slopes. Chevron has always owned the ridge. 

Secondly, the Navy never “stored” fuel tanks. These tanks were the storage vessels. 

2. The property was purchased by the Santa Cruz Oil Company in November of 1941 and not “early 1941” as stated. 

3. The Navy didn’t latch onto the site until June 25, 1942 and not later in 1941 as the article states. 

4. Significantly more than eight miles of underground pipes have already been removed with another 16-18 miles of pipes remaining, so the statement that “The site was criss-crossed with eight miles of fuel lines” seems to be in error. 

5. “The 22 massive underground fuel tanks” is a judgmental description that may have ulterior motives aimed at stirring up the masses against any development (Has the Planet become the mouthpiece for Chevron?). If a 50,000 barrel tank were in my own backyard I might think of it as “massive.” However, aboveground tanks on the other side of the ridge on Chevron’s property are routinely 10 times that size. By today’s standards, the Point Molate tanks are very small. 

Furthermore, no mention was made that these underground concrete tanks were designed to withstand the bombing from Japanese planes and have recently been verified and certified as being considerably stronger than designed. Structural load tests have deter mined that sealing them in place poses no environmental or health risks.  

6. The Winehaven building is actually 10 times the size stated in the article. At 198,000 square feet, it’s significance to the proposed development has a larger importance and wil l be prominently featured. Furthermore, it’s historical value will also be prominently featured. 

7. Lastly, if the Daily Planet has any evidence that Upstream Development is buying politicians in Richmond, stand up and make the accusation. Back it up with reporting forms and hard data. If you want to make backhanded suggestions that this is the case (as you have in this article) then stop calling yourself a newspaper and reserve space at the grocery store checkout counters where you can compete with the other rags that sell articles on Elvis sightings and the latest news on eight-headed babies. 

Don Gosney 

Community co-chair, 

Point Molate Restoration Advisory Board 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

On Tuesday, June 8, I was at Cesar Chavez Park with my 5-year-old year old grandson at about 7 p.m. when I had a low blood sugar reaction because of my diabetes and became disoriented. Fortunately there was someone in the area who asked my grandson if I was all right and then called 911 to get me help. Because I was disoriented I do not remember much of the incident, and I have no idea of who called 911 for me. By the time help came I had become stable, and whoever called 911 had left. I would like to express my thanks to whoever helped me.  

Eugene Turitz 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

While many who would deify Ronald Reagan praise his being “tough” against communism and terrorism, I am thinking about the 241 Marines who were killed when their barracks were bombed in 1983. President Reagan’s tou gh response was to abandon Lebanon. It is only now that we know this was a seminal event in Osama bin Laden’s career; it was the moment he saw the United States as a paper tiger. The larger-than-life image of a president who secretly sold missiles to terr orists in exchange for hostages and who used the money to conduct a war prohibited by our United States Congress deserves adulation for just one thing: the stagecraft of a Hollywood icon. 

Bruce Joffe 





Editors, Daily Planet: 

I wo uld like to thank Jakob Schiller and the Daily Planet staff for running his article “UC Hate Debate as Complex as Mideast Conflict” (Daily Planet, June 8-10) As a former member of Students for Justice in Palestine when I attended UC Berkeley, I was alarme d at the sloppy and inflammatory reporting done by the East Bay Express, and its baseless claims of anti-Semitism in SJP and pro-Palestine solidarity organizations. I was especially appalled to note the conflation of anti-Semitism and pro-Palestine activi sm, especially when real anti-Semitism is on the rise among white supremacist groups in European countries. Baseless claims such as the ones states as fact by Micki Weinberg set de-legitimate true acts of racism and discrimination, at the same time as the y quash thoughtful dissent against Israel’s many, many violations of International human rights. Thank you, Jakob, for setting the record straight.  

Meera Vaidyanathan 

member, Stop US Tax-funded Aid to Israel Now! 




Editors, Daily Plan et: 

In case there are any doubts raised by your article (“UC Hate Debate as Complex as Mideast Conflict”), prospective students and parents should know that Jewish life at Cal flourishes and that Cal is a welcoming place for Jews of all political and religious orientations. 

However I must take issue with the central assertion of those identified by the article as “pro-Palestinian.” The claim that they are working to combat anti-Semitism could be no more false than an assertion that Ward Connerly favors affirmative action. There has been no instance that any of these groups has disavowed or condemned the actions and words of their supporters who arrive at each and every event with signs and handbills that employ racist language and symbols. 

In case ther e is some confusion, a good gauge for whether actions and statements rise to the level of anti-Semitism is to remove the words “Jew,” “Zionist” or “Israel” and substitute any other racial, religious or ethnic group. If you would think twice about saying i t in public then it’s probably racism. Racism in all its forms is wrong. 

Gordon Gladstone 

Berkeley Hillel, Israel Initiatives Coordinator 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

As a longtime Berkeley resident, I have learned to be greatly proud of what this place truly represents. I have seen and experienced the sensitivity to respect the original ancient people of this country and continent. This city was this first one to straighten out the Columbus holiday issue, among other significant and end less good deeds to protect the Native American culture. 

However, I am completely taken aback by an insensitive Telegraph Avenue vendor whose permit to sell his self-made products allows him to offend the Native American spirituality, the only we continue to have. 

He is currently selling a t-shirt lampooning the “Native American Spirit” cigarette brand. The logo shows a dignified Native American in full regalia smoking his Kalumet, the most ancient symbol of peace and an important part of this land’s spi rituality. The t-shirt depicts the logo with a water glass pipe smoking marijuana, instead of the sacred pipe with pure tobacco as it must be. The letters of the logo are replaced by “The Original American Stoner.” 

When I first saw this desecration, my f irst reaction was to politely inform the vendor of how disrespectful his t-shirt is. He refused to understand me, then as I walked away, he shouted the four letter word at me. 

Since then, I avoid walking the sidewalk where his vending table is located. I find it very difficult and painful to learn that his business is protected by a City of Berkeley vendor’s permit, which allows him to desecrate my religion. 

Bernardo S. Lopez 




Editors, Daily Planet: 


Our nation has been shamed. We have been misled into a bad war, “preemptive” of imagined threats, promoted dishonestly to the American people and to the Congress and to nations once our friends. A war conducted truculently in the face of sober world skepticism, lacking planning and man power to assure a peaceful outcome, at a cost of thousands wounded and killed and of treasure still uncounted. And at the cost of precious status in the eyes of the people of the world, for many of whom we once stood “a shining city upon a hill.” Before t hem we now stand shamed, for some even an object of hate, at a cost of security lost.  

Morris Berger 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

Regarding Kenneth Theisen’s June 11 commentary piece (“U.S.-Mexico Border Patrol Abuses Greater Than Abu Gh raib”): 

Operation Gatekeeper needs stronger enforcement and the adults taken into custody need to be prosecuted for trespass, destruction of private property and any other crimes they commit. Their children should be returned to the Mexican government. I t’s their problem, not ours.  

Regardless of their motives, some of which are also illegal in nature, this continuation of illegal entry into our country must not be tolerated. The illegal are breaking American laws without penalty, yet an American citize n breaking the same law is prosecuted. Why???  

If illegals die in their attempt to illegally enter our country, it’s unfortunate. However, I do not believe any American citizen is forcing them to enter our country illegally. If they choose this method in stead of using the proper processes already in place, then let them be responsible for the consequences. It is not the fault of the INS. Why can’t Mr. Theisen and other bleeding hearts focus their efforts on the needy inside our country? I haven’t even ad dressed the illegal entry into our country by “terrorists.” I pray that if anyone in the U.S.A. is harmed by persons who have entered illegally, let it be Mr. Theisen or the other anarchists who agree with his doctrine. 

I’d love an answer to my two quest ions. 

Ron Wagner 





Editors, Daily Planet: 

Absolutely ridiculous article (“UC Lecturer’s ‘Intifada’ Comment Brings Death Threats,” Daily Planet, May 25-27). First of all, he didn’t say “political intifada.” I heard an audio recording of the event. But more importantly, he didn’t mean it in a political sense, either. It strains common sense to think that he was talking about some sort of benign political realignment by using that word, especially since he explicitly related it to the Palestinian intifada and claimed that it would be more “radical” even than the murder and terrorism going on in Israel. 

I also find it rather sad that Mr. Schiller blindly accepted and parroted Bazian’s silly claim to multitudes of death threats. Death t hreats are illegal. One might think that just maybe if someone was getting deluged with serious threats of harm, he would report them to the police and they would be investigated. But of course, actually looking into such a thing to see if there was any credibility to the those claims would be too taxing for Mr. Schiller, I suppose. By the way, saying someone ought to be shot in the head, while not a particularly nice suggestion, is not a death threat. I strongly suspect that most of the claimed “threats” against Bazian were of this degree, if not much less.  

This is truly the worst sort of shoddy reporting. The article failed to look at Bazian’s dissembling with any kind of critical eye. You have effectively become a mouthpiece for his lies. Congratulations.  

Russell Wardlow