Public Comment

Letters to the Editor

Friday May 07, 2010 - 02:04:00 PM

Mother's Day really was in its origin an antiwar day, an antiwar statement. Julia Ward Howe was sickened by what had happened during the Civil War, the loss of life, the carnage, and she created Mother's Day as a call for women all over the world to come together and create ways of protesting war, of making a kind of alternate government that could finally do away with war as an acceptable way of solving conflict. Countries used to go to war just for pride over some incident because they were offended or one king made a bad remark about another king. 

But in modern years, recent years, they go to war for commercial reasons, they're trade wars. Nearly every one of America's wars were for some kind of trade advantage or money or for territory-which of course were always fought under different excuses, even as far back as the Civil War. Before every war, there's a long period of mental conditioning and psychological preparation. You never saw how self-righteous nations can get just before a war! So righteous and so convinced that they are right and the other fellow's the criminal, the devil who needs to be conquered! "FROM WHENCE COME WARS?" 


Ted Rudow III,MA 



After months of negotiating with Chevron under the facilitation of Oakland mediator Randy Wulff, of Wulff, Quinby & Sochynsky, the City of Richmond negotiating team struck a proposed deal regarding taxation at about 6:30 PM yesterday (Thursday) evening. The details will be reduced to writing, made public today and agendized for the City Council to publicly debate and consider at a special meeting on May 11. 

The negotiating team included City Manager Bill Lindsay, Finance Director Jim Goins, City Attorney Randy Riddle and City Councilmembers Jim Rogers, Jeff Ritterman and me. We were acting under instructions provided by the entire City Council on May 4. 

The underlying foundation of the proposed 15-year agreement is to provide a long term level of certainty for both Chevron and the City. The City’s objective was to both substantially increase revenue from Chevron and be assured that Chevron would not attempt to reduce it such as it has done with the Chevron-sponsored ballot measure for which it has been collecting signatures. 

For Chevron’s part, it wanted assurances that the City would not continue to mount or support ballot measures to raise Chevron’s taxes, such as with Measure T or the measure to remove the cap that the City Council has placed n the November 2010 ballot. 

See the story in Thursday’s Wall Street Journal that describes the dueling ballot measures that would be withdrawn under the proposed settlement. 

I’m glad I participated in the exercise, which was about as unpleasant as anything I can recall. I frankly wanted to gag when it was all over, but I believe the resolution is the best thing for the City. 

Tom Butt 

City Councilmember, Richmond 


Dirty Oil Measure on California Ballot  


As a resident of Berkeley, I am disgusted and saddened that Texas oil giants have succeeded in placing a dirty energy measure on our state ballot. 

The tragedy unfolding in the Gulf makes it clearer than ever just how costly our dangerous addiction to dirty fossil fuels really is. 

Clean energy has been a bright spot in the economy and this deceptive initiative will kill investments and jobs. Not to mention that our dirty air is killing us – the nation’s 10 smoggiest counties are all in California. 

Following this Gulf oil spill disaster, does California really want to let Texas oil companies gut our clean energy and clean air laws? 


Tom Tomkinson 



Boxer’s Support of Berkeley Ferry Project is Disappointing 


I was disappointed to learn recently that Barbara Boxer is requesting a $2.5 million earmark to begin construction of a Berkeley to SF ferry system. Once again big money talks. This ferry proposal is a boondoggle that will only benefit the wealthy at great taxpayer expense. More importantly, this unnecessary amenity will continue to degrade the environmental and aesthetic quality of the Berkeley shoreline. Backers of the ferry project are trying to convince people that a ferry system is necessary for earthquake preparedness and will facilitate travel to the city. In a very limited sense this may be true. But the project cannot be justified on the basis of cost effectiveness or overall effectiveness in addressing these concerns. Backers ignore the fact that the Oakland ferry system is hemorrhaging financially and requires constant infusion of public monies. We're talking about money that could otherwise support health care, education, and keeping violent criminals behind bars. It's a shame this misguided and unneeded project can't just die a dignified death but it's such a convenient vehicle for designers, consultants, contractors, and politicians to sup at the public trough. 


David Daniels