Public Comment

Letters to The Editor

Tuesday May 18, 2010 - 10:33:00 PM

Home Services Crucial; Gulf Disaster; A 50th Anniversary at the Newman Center; Don't be Fooled by PG&E; Clean Up, BP; Gulf Disaster; Oil Takeover; Tea Party; Greed and Oil; End Political Parties; BRT Proponents Have Their Facts Wrong; Gestapo Epithets; Action Alert: Sleep-Out Protesting Schwarzenegger’s Deadly Cuts; Radical Republicans Doomed; Zionism; Local Likudnik Nutcases & Group Generalizations; More about Israel; Stop the Dirty Energy Proposition; PG&E Smart Meters 

Home Services Crucial 

As part of his budget plan, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has proposed eliminating In-Home Supportive Services, the state's fastest growing social services program, which pays caregivers to help the disabled and the frail elderly. Nearly half a million disabled Californians get subsidized home care. 

Without the services, many current clients would be forced to move to skilled-nursing centers that accept Medi-Cal patients. At an average expense of $55,000 a year, nursing homes cost five times as much per person as an In-Home Supportive Services client. The number of skilled-nursing center beds has dwindled through the years as the service's success has grown at helping the elderly continue living independently. 

I was thinking about California being on the brink and going bankrupt. They can't go on robbing the poor and helping the rich, and get away with it. And that's exactly what this California economy has been doing for years. California kept borrowing money and selling bonds, then borrowing more money and all that kind of stuff. 

Well, people will trust you so long, and then they quit trusting your ability to ever pay it back. So if you keep living on borrowed money, there comes a day when you have to pay it back when those bonds begin to come due. So we've been robbing the poor. 

Well that's what happened to California. It's been going on for years and now California is $20 billion in debt and going up 

Ted Rudow III,MA 


Gulf Disaster 

What a heartbreak for the gulf coast region to have yet another man made disaster hit 

gain. I ask you all to respond to this catastrophe with urgent courage and both face and tell the truths that business as usual is not working and more of the same kind of energy extraction coupled with the to big to fail apparatus built to support this ongoing madness is leaving in it's wake death, destruction and misery. 

Please think about the definition of insanity which is doing the same thing over and over again but expecting a different outcome. 

Tzena Bell 


A 50th Anniversary at the Newman Center

To state that at 10 a.m. mass this past Sunday, May 16th at Newman Hall, "the joint was jumping" is hardly an appropriate way to describe the normally reverent atmosphere of this Holy Spirit chapel.But this was no ordinary Sunday!No indeed, it was a celebration of Father Al Moser's 50th anniversary as a Paulist priest.Not surprisingly, the church was jam packed, attesting to the popularity of this gentle, unassuming man. 

As he walked down the aisle, followed by several clergy members, there was a five minute ovation followed by thunderous applause.Father Al appeared overcome as he stood at the altar, looking out at the huge crowd, and observing the large number of past and present clergy, seated to his right.Mastering his astonishment, he introduced his fellow priests, including Father Bernard Campbell, pastor and a student minister.He then introduced relatives who had come out from Dayton, Ohio for this memorable occasion.Mass was then celebrated with stirring music provided by the choir under the direction of Colleen Lenord, Music and Liturgy Director. 

A very modest man, Al felt called upon to give a brief summary of his life before coming to Newman.So we learned that from 1943 to 1945, he served with the U.S. Army in the Infantry Division.Next, on a G.I. bill, he earned a degree in English from Xavier University in 1950.He then went to Fordham University.He later studied Latin and Theology at St. Paul's College in Washington, D.C. and was ordained by Cardinal Spellman. 

Following Mass, there was a joyous reception in the upstairs Court Yard, with balloons, small children, refreshments and long lines of people waiting to offer their congratulations to the guest of honor who was obviously still dazed at so much attention. 

In 1982, Father Al was sent to Newman Hall and has since spent more than half his priesthood in Berkeley. A familiar figure to people entering the church, he greets parishoners with a smile andwarm handshake.How lucky we 

at Newman and Berkeley are to have this dear, dear man! 

Dorothy Snodgrass 


Don't be Fooled by PG&E 

Please don't be fooled by PG&E's Prop 16 ads calling it a "right to vote" act.PG&E funded this initiative to amend the State Constitution for the benefit of their monopoly ? their motivation is not altruistic. Consider why they are spending $35 million of our ratepayer money to fund it. 

PG&E is falling behind in meeting state adopted goals for clean energy, and they want to stop competitors from doing a better job. To really appreciate how egregious this misuse of our initiative process is, read the letter to PG&E's CEO from eight of our legislators asking them to stop promoting Prop 16 in the public interest ( 

Linda Phillips Blue 


Clean Up, BP 

I expect for BP all others involved in the Gulf Oil Spill to be held accountable for every dime of clean-up and necessary protection to the environment IF IT TAKES EVERY PENNY THEY HAVE OR EVER WILL MAKE! These off-shore rigs are like 3 Mile Island, a disaster just waiting to happen. It should NEVER be allowed to happen again off our shores. I'm tired of huge corporations doing whatever they want with no regulating. NO MORE DEEP WATER DRILLING!! 

Barry Wolfe 


Oil Takeover

Regarding the devastating oil take-over of the Gulf of Mexico and probably the Atlantic coastal waters, I have read comments made by many intelligent, aware, concerned Americans. In my attempt to write my own comment, I realized that those to whom these comments are addressed ARE NOT LISTENING. 

Therefore, what we are most likely leading up to in this country of educated, aware, intelligent and sincerely concerned individuals [being threatened by the greed of corporate profit-driven GREED] REVOLUTION. Yes, revolution, as we cannot and will not allow this insanity to continue indefinitely. 

If you continue to NOT LISTEN to us, [we who are paying your way with our blood, sweat and tears], there will, sooner or later, be a REVOLT. 

And know this: That your illicit wealth and power will not protect you from the devastation that your illicit decisions and practices would eventually wreak - if we did not revolt against your insanity. 

Caroline Attri 


Tea Party  

Letters from Tea Party patriots are all pretty much the same. Most letters from Tea partiers sound like Glen Beck, Fox News and Rush Limbaugh regurgitation. They use the same worn out sound bites. The Tea Party movement has a disconnect with reality or they don't stray far from Fox News. 

Case in point: The U.S. economy is on the verge of collapse, going down the tubes. Just the opposite is the truth. 

Business is picking up, Obama's stimulus plan is working, GM has already paid its Bailout money back five years early and last month saw a major jump in job numbers. 

Tea Party activists throw in the obligatory "loss of liberties" to prove their upside-down worldview. What loss of liberties are they talking about? Tea Partiers can still write their irreconcilable tripe in any newspaper in America. 

Glen Beck, Rush Limbaugh and Sarah Palin are still making scads of money and spewing out their nonsensical drivel. I continually pushed the limits and still have the same liberties I had 20 years ago. 

Tea Party regulars talk about legislative gridlock: They should know, being a wing of the GOP, the perennial party of gridlock and obstruction. 

And these Jonny-come-latelys' rant "we want our country back". What, so they can give the country back to the Bush-Cheney crowd. I'm sorry, but what a joke these Tea partiers are. 

Ron Lowe 


Greed and Oil

COME ON! What is it going to take to make you see that this greed is shortsighted and misguided! We need to get off oil dependency and onto environmentally safe sources of energy.It is corporate greed that keeps this from happening.Don't the people who work in these companies have children?If they do, what kind of life do they want for them? What kind of future?????? 

Arlene Shmaef 


End Political Parties 

I am ready for the end of political parties in California, aren't you?I don't have to REGISTER AND VOTE to know that our state is in good hands, with NO pesky independent candidates ON the ballot. PROP 14 will let us choose amongst the two most well-funded candidates in the fall.They have my interests at heart, and yours too, right? 

And why should LAURA WELLS be running FOR GOVERNOR!She's not an insider!She's not a millionaire corporate executive, or a movie star, either.She's a GREEN PARTY member, running in this June's PRIMARY ELECTION.Her thinking makes her different from other candidates.If you go to you may be shocked by what she's talking about and who has endorsed her. 

Leslie Dinkin 

BRT Proponents Have Their Facts Wrong 

Maybe Mark Twain didn't make the famous comment about lies ("lies, damned lies, and statistics") but he should have. AC Transit has used statistics and omission of relevant details to obfuscate the facts about their BRT proposal, apparently confusing some well-meaning environmentally-friendly citizens. So I suggest that Mr. Nakadegawa (author of a recent Berkeley Daily Planet Opinion piece) and other BRT proponents forget statistics and look at the raw numbers in the BRT Draft Environmental Impact Statement. 

On the very first page of the DEIR, the Abstract, it states that the difference in transit trips per day between the most successful BRT build alternative and the "no-build" alternative is 9,320 transit trips per day. This number is repeated in the chart on pages 3-28. You may argue with the methodology of the people who created this projection if you like but this, like it or not, was their projection.

Leave percentages aside and look at these numbers (all from the DEIR):
2025 transit trips per day WITHOUT BRT: 659,800
2025 transit trips per day WITH BRT: 670,100
9,320 additional transit trips per day with BRT
$250 million in construction costs.

Regarding energy savings, on page 4-152 the Draft EIR states that "The energy impacts of the Build Alternatives as compared to the No-Build Alternative would be negligible."

The DEIR has the following to say about auto and bus emissions: "The increase in bus emissions would be offset by the decrease in emissions from fewer automobiles in the corridor under the Build Alternatives." (p. 4-135). According to the chart on p. 4-131, levels of pollutants in the East Bay in 2025 will be virtually identical whether or not BRT is built.

To Mr. Nakadegawa and other BRT proponents I ask this question: Are you serious in your contention that this is a cost-effective way to increase transit ridership, reduce energy use and decrease pollution? The Draft EIR clearly states otherwise. Do you have other scientific studies of this specific BRT proposal (not BRT as a concept and not BRT in some other metro area) which contradict the Draft EIR? If so, please list your source so the rest of us can read it. Until you do, I contend this proposed project is a boondoggle, plain and simple.

I do not question the need for more and better public transportation in order to reduce greenhouse gases. More and better public transportation is going to cost taxpayer dollars and I am willing to pay those taxes. What I am adamantly not willing to do, however, is waste taxpayer money. 

Jim Bullock 


Gestapo Epithets 

I just got another e-mail from a (former) friend who has been on my case for a long time because I support justice in Palestine. Ho-hum. I'm used to that. But this time instead of labeling me as being antisemitic as usual, he tried something new and called me "Gustapo Girl". 

Calling ME a member of the Gestapo just because I support justice for small-potato Palestinians is ludicrous, considering that Israeli fundie wingnuts are in control of the fifth-largest army in the world, have extensive prison camps, are armed with thermo-nuclear and are threatening to drop the Big One on Iran. 

We have far more serious things to worry about now -- such as the oil spill, the stock market and the hemorrhaging job losses -- to be calling ME the "Gestapo". 

Jane Stillwater 


Action Alert: Sleep-Out Protesting Schwarzenegger’s Deadly Cuts  

The Disabled People Outside Project is currently putting together a sleep-out to protest deadly cuts to the disabled, elderly and children in California. We are asking the community for their support in this effort to a face on those who the governor would leave out in the cold. E-mail your support to 

Dan McMullan
Disabled People Outside Project


Suggest that you have some coffins lined up too. My options are to live in my subsidized housing unit until I begin to rot. Then my neighbors will call for help when the smell interrupts their neighborhood harmony. 

Maggie Dee 


Radical Republicans Doomed

"One fifth of the people are against everything all the time" - Robert Kennedy. Republicans of 2010 have put a new spin on this statement. "All" 41 Republicans are against all of President Obama's domestic proposals all the time with an end game of bringing about Obama's failure. Doesn't that mean that America will fail? 

Well, it's not going to happen! Much like President Clinton put Republicans in their place, Obama will do even better and skuttle the Republicans within an inch of their life. 

Americans will bury Republicans at the polls if they keep up their "do nothing" thing. America is not a "do nothing" nation. This GOP strategy flies in the face of everything that America stands for. 

Who are today's radicals - The John Boehners' (R-OH) and Mitch McConnells' (R-KY) and Republican naysayers. 

Ron Lowe 



ms. o'malley, 

how much i've enjoyed seeing your personal failure. 

as your reach becomes ever smaller, your anti-zionism grows. how very interesting. 

the fact is, the majority of the jewish people, americans in general and most of congress supports israel right to exist as a jewish state with defensible borders. 

you live in a bubble, surrounded and supported by a few hundred berkeley nuts. your blind and unfair criticism of israel puts you in the company of the worlds most criminal inhabitants. you can be sure that if the jihadists grown in power with the help of an iranian nuclear weapon that their liberal friends in berkeley and around the world will be be in their crosshairs soon after israel. in other words, you are hastening your own demise. 

enjoy clinging to your bully pulpit. 

jonathan wornick
Jonathan Wornick is Councilmember Gordon Wozniak's appointee to the City of Berkeley Peace and Justice Commission. 


Local Likudnik Nutcases & Group Generalizations 

Jonathan Wornick's letter is pathetic. If the BDP is so irrelevant and has few readers then why does he waste his time writing to it ? 

What does he have against proper capitalization ? 

How can there be a "Jewish" state where 25% of the population is Non-Jewish as in Israel ? Imagine a Christian or Gentile State here where only 1.58% are Jewish. Your putdown of Sinkinson was awesome. But the Jewish community as an entity isn't. There are in fact a good many people of the Spitzer mindset here but also a good many (Jews) who don't share that worldview. 

Where I disagree with the BDP is that I believe collective praise of a group is as racist as collective blame. It's the same mentality of tribal collectivism and though you don't intend it it comes across as very patronizing and condescending. No group as such has either a good or bad reputation. It all boils down to the individual members and that's always a mixed bag. This goes contrary to the selective PC condemnation of (some) racism but so what. 

Michael P. Hardesty 


More about Israel

Having read the Daily Planet for years; having closely followed this Middle Eastern discussion; having heard your words over and over, I can only come to one conclusion about you Becky O'Malley. 

You are uninformed, reactionary, prejudiced, and slanderous. 

The same words you use for respected members of our Jewish community, such as Jim Sinkinson, are words that aptly describe you. 

Over the years you published pure junk in your biased newspaper about Israel and the Palestinians from the likes of Berkeley Marxist Mark Sapir, Iranians, Indians, and others with built-in hatred of all that is Jewish or Zionist. In your editorial about FLAME you actually have the temerity to say "An honest look at what the government of Israel is doing"!? What do you think they are doing Becky? How about trying to protect their 5 1/2 million Jews, and 1 1/2 million well-off Palestinian Arabs (yes, Israel is a democracy) from the genocidal wishes of Hamas, Hizbollah, Syria, Iran, and others intent on wiping them from the map. 

You talk about evidence for why your publication went broke. You should be using your precious time instead for evaluating the obvious evidence for Israel's defensive behavior. It's everywhere. I do not know one Israeli anywhere, or for that matter any Jew, who doesn't pine for peace in the Middle East. Peace has never been about "settlements". This is a side issue, a mere distraction, subterfuge. It wasn't an issue before 1967 when there was no so-called "occupied territory" and it isn't an issue now. The land for peace tactic hasn't worked. In fact, it has backfired each time. Just look at Gaza or at southern Lebanon, or at the offer to give back the territories in exchange for peace in 1967 which was summarily rejected, and then followed by another Arab-initiated war a few years later. 

You want hard facts Becky? Face it, Arabs do not want an Israel in their midst. The Palestinian charter says no recognition of Israel, no negotiations with Israel, no peace with Israel. Israel doesn't show up on their maps, in their textbooks, or in their dialogue. And your writings over the years have made it clear that you don't want an Israel too. You do nothing but pick on Israel over and over again, disproportionately and obsessively. That is the only explanation for your heartless and despicable behavior. 

You have no idea what Israel is or why it exists. Read up Becky O'Malley. Here's four books you can start with: Alan Dershowitz: The Case for Israel; Daniel Gerdis: Saving Israel; George Gilder: The Israel Test; Daniel Senor: Start Up Nation. 

Barry E. Gustin, MD, MPH, MBA, MA 


Stop the Dirty Energy Proposition 

As a resident of Oakland, CA, 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 destroy our clean energy and clean air laws? I know I don't. 

Thank you for listening, 

Devan Williams 


PG&E Smart Meters 

PG&E smart meters may be smart for PG&E, but not for the public. 

I feel the same way about PG&E smart meters as I do about electronic voting machines. I do not trust them. Although I live near my poling location I vote by paper absentee ballot. The law and adequately protective sotfware has not kept up with the ever changing techology world and the even more "creative" criminal element that is always a few steps ahead of the law and protections for people. 

It is clear that there is ample evidence to indicate that as these meters now stand they are far from fair and accurate. The meter attached to my home has been a stable of reliability for generations, which also allow individuals to audit their own meter and bills for accuracy. It is clearly not farfetched to consider that PG&E could very easily "game" the electronic system to cheat every customer out of just a bit more money by fudging. You know "creatively raise everyone's rates" just enough to avoid detection. They only have to cheat everyone out of a few cents each month to make millions upon millions and this could so easily go undiscovered. 

Nor is it impossible to believe that criminal geeks could enter the system to mess with anyone targeted. I am very much against changing to smart meters until there is much more done to provide guarantees of accuracy and a totally secure system. And a way of course for independent auditors to varify that no cheating is going on. 

I do not trust PG&E, the PUC's ability to protect the public or smart meters on the market today. I urge a halt to the smart meter program. Expedience is not always a good thing. Doing it right is more important. I also have more trust in meter readers who have served utility companies just fine for generations...why take another category of American workers and put them in the unemployment lines just so PG&E can turn an even higher profit? 

Carol Gesbeck DeWitt