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Comment Archives: stories: News & Opinion: Letters

Re: “Letters for January 19

Mr. Fenton, I agree that it is inappropriate to throw redevelopment funds at a new baseball stadium. On the other hand, legally the City does not have the ability to use the funds for education.

Posted by Lawngun on 01/24/2011 at 2:42 PM

Re: “Letters for January 19

Totally agree with Mr. Hahns letter re: eminent domain. Please forward to him as well

Regards,
Oakland resident

Posted by Oakhills on 01/21/2011 at 4:22 PM

Re: “Letters for January 12

Hey Luke Macaulay,

Why is Albert Lord, CEO of Sallie Mae receiving a bonus of $225 million and being sued by his own shareholders?

http://www.allbusiness.com/legal/trial-pro…

Posted by Kylemccarthy on 01/21/2011 at 2:51 PM

Re: “Letters for January 12

Luke doesn't understand the issue. The whole point of Charlie Mintz' article was to point out the lack of consumer protection for student loan borrowers. Every other type of debt -- yes, even taxes -- can be discharged. The adversary proceeding in bankruptcy -- which ostensibly would alleviate a bankrupt person from his or her student loan -- has been construed very strictly by conservative federal judges, leaving only those who are completely disabled to be free from such an onerous debt. Luke also doesn't seem to realize that the amount of these loans exponentially grows. My original principal was $30,000. Now Sallie Mae wants $100,000. I don't have a graduate degree, just a vocational one. The abuse needs to stop. That's the point of the article.

Posted by In Debt to My Ears on 01/21/2011 at 1:18 PM

Re: “Letters for January 12

Further, what this Luke goody two shoes seems to miss completely is that student loans have no consumer protections. Student borrowers have been stripped of basic rights all others have, such as bankruptcy protection and requirements of ethical collection. It's no holds barred.

Posted by Cindy Warner on 01/21/2011 at 1:17 PM

Re: “Letters for January 12

About student loan crisis and Luke's letter, continued.

This Luke person seems to have completely missed the point on the human rights violations of the Department of Justice. He has no idea what it's like to be defenseless and fight two aging male attorneys as adversaries in bankruptcy court when I have no attorney of my own.



I am writing my Congressman Pete Stark about the abuse of power by the Department of Justice's Douglas Chang and his bill collector contractor, Mike Cosentino of Alameda. I am listing the following.



My platform this go-round though is human rights abuses of the D o J in San Francisco. I am complaining to Senator Boxer and Congressman Stark of ass clowns Chang and Cosentino, so I need to know what governmental agency will look into abuses by the Department of Justice.

how they waited a year to respond, until my case had been closed with their own default;

how the feds used two ass clown old men to fight a defenseless fifty year old white woman;

how they used the bankruptcy as an excuse to go after my laptop and harddrive;

how Cosentino muttered under his breath he was going after my wedding ring although Cosentino and Chang each wore none (wedding rings are protected by law);

how the perverts threatened a physical exam when in thirty years physical disability had never been an issue, no kind of disability whatsoever . . .

how Cosentino muttered under his breathe about all the (quote) crap I had been reading, referring to Alan's book and all the unemployment reports and national debt reports.

how that pervert Cosentino copied all my blogs which were public and published and used them as evidence and then used character assassination in his briefs and notified my main professional contacts of the bankruptcy . . . the SF Opera and even the SF ballet.

Posted by Cindy Warner on 01/21/2011 at 1:14 PM

Re: “Letters for January 12

I see you got a letter this month about your story from November where you featured my plight in the student loan crisis article. Who is this Luke Macauley loser who wrote in? I never said "they are coming to get me" as he quotes. I don't have a spending problem and need no debtors anonymous counseling, I live like a nun, literally. Poverty and chastity, at my mother's house, I don't even have a car as I am a bike commuter . . . I have no substance issues at all and my medical clinic says I am in good health, great health even at 51.



I did just receive my first post-adversary proceeding bill and the bill collectors called my home on New Year's Eve, anonymously--leaving only a first name and a phone number.



They want 36 thousand in principal, that much again in interest and then fifty percent more of the principal for collection fees for a total of ninety eight thousand.



This Luke person seems%

Posted by Cindy Warner on 01/21/2011 at 1:06 PM

Re: “Letters for the Week of November 10

It is disappointing that, after being presented with extensive information refuting the caldera and catastrophic slope instability theories put forward by Save Strawberry Canyon, Georgia Wright continues to spread inflammatory misinformation about the geology and slope stability of the Lawrence Berkeley National Lab site.
The geology of the lab has been studied for over a century -- by academics, the USGS, and even a former UC Berkeley doctoral student whose non-caldera doctoral thesis was signed by one of the Save Strawberry Canyon activists, retired professor Garniss Curtis. The stability of the site has also been studied for decades. The available data indicate the stability of the lab site is the same or greater than the surrounding residential areas in the Berkeley Hills, and that the lab has further improved this stability through engineering.
The Lab has been open and transparent with all available studies and findings concerning the geology and stability of the site. At a public meeting of the Lab’s Community Advisory Group on July 8 attended by Ms. Wright, a Lab geologist shared and reviewed some of the data underlying the conclusion that the caldera premise is neither supported by experts nor supportable by the geologic record. Further, the data shows that the Lab site is as or more stable than the surrounding Berkeley Hills (the presentation and full video of the meeting are available at http://www.lbnl-cag.org/Content/10003/Meet…). At the same July 8 meeting a presentation was made (also available at the above link) by a geotechnical engineer with Alan Kropp and Associates about how we go about building on our site. He examined fault rupture, ground shaking, ground failure and landsliding, and explained measures taken to understand the specific site and to ensure construction of safe buildings. To ensure all available data was accessible to the public, following the July 8 meeting, the Lab posted on its website all of the hundreds of geotechnical reports and geologic bore logs in its possession resulting from the Lab’s investigations from the 1940s to the present: https://sites.google.com/a/lbl.gov/berkele…. These facts are unassailable.
In stark contrast Ms. Wright provides no serious data to support the caldera and catastrophic slope instability theories and continues to raise the Hayward Fault as a reason for halting any proposed construction -- a concern of equal pertinence in any and all construction in the East Bay Hills. While the Lab does not propose building on the active Hayward Fault, new construction near it will use engineering practices that closely follow the California building code with its robust legal standards that have incorporated the lessons learned from earthquakes around the world.

The leadership at Berkeley Lab knows something about science, with a history of 11 Nobel laureates and three percent of the membership of the National Academy of Sciences currently working at the Lab. While experts can debate technical points, and new information regularly causes scientists to deepen their knowledge and revise their thinking, Ms. Wright’s contentions go beyond technical debate. Save Strawberry Canyon’s website alleges that landslides from the Lab will slide down the hill onto homes and dorms on the campus. Setting aside that such instability would be present even if the Lab did not exist, and that the Lab has improved the stability of many slopes, there is no evidence in the geologic record that the catastrophic landslides envisioned by Save Strawberry Canyon have occurred in at least many thousands of years, during which tens of Hayward Fault earthquakes have occurred.
In a time where the world’s most respected climate scientists are under attack and where the existence of evolution is questioned, it is sad to see a local version of that anti-science approach in Berkeley. Berkeley Lab is engaged in some of the best, most respected, most needed research being done anywhere in the world to address climate change and other pressing problems of our age. While we recognize and appreciate our deep community support for the work we do -- some 4,000 guests enthusiastically visited the Lab at a recent open house. -- we also recognize we will probably continue to have a small number of local opponents, including Georgia Wright. But as someone famously said, while people are entitled to their opinions, they are not entitled to their facts -- or to disseminate alarming misinformation without having the record corrected.
We welcome differences of opinion and discussion, but if our society is to continue to thrive, the discussion needs to be based on facts. We encourage any interested parties to review the information on the Save Strawberry Canyon website as well as the information on the LBNL Community Advisory Group website and our own website, www.lbl.gov, and to draw their own conclusions regarding the facts. If you have questions, please let us know.
Thank you for this opportunity to respond.

Posted by Jeff Miller, Public Affairs, Berkeley Lab on 01/18/2011 at 4:46 PM

Re: “Letters for January 5

D. Gordon, you stated, "The incest survivors I know, and unfortunately there are many of them, had very specific memories long before they went to therapy. The memories were not vague and they were and are very painful." It seems, thus, that you're decrying Ms. Maran's rejection of the majority of recovered memories cases with your awareness of incest victims with long-term, active recall of their abuse -- two very different categories or experiences. As the mother of a child who was raped for years by her step-father (the only "father" she ever knew), and the former-sister-in-law of a woman who is still (at 50) unaware of being raped by a relative, I absolutely believe that victims can recall their abuse from very young ages and can repress or even not understand their childhood abuse.

But as the niece of a woman who had sudden, therapy-driven claims of recalling being sexually-abused by her father (such recall occurring after his death), and the sister of a man who has suddenly recalled (or newly-categorized) the emotional abuse of his parents while reading a book on the subject, I also absolutely believe that most people who experience the recall of abuse during therapy (professional or self-help) are being led to, misinterpreting or even concocting these memories as an easy way to explain why their lives are so screwed-up.

Posted by leilah on 01/06/2011 at 10:41 PM

Re: “Letters for January 5

@ D. Gordon: It's unclear from your letter whether you've read "My Lie"; I have, and I can assure you that it does NOT deny the reality of childhood sexual abuse, including incest; in fact Maran carefully documents its existence, as well as the existence of FMS, and tries to present a balanced perspective. I, too, found her a pretty susceptible character, but she's admitted her errors and tried to atone for the damage they did her family.

(One other thing to think about: Due to editorial and lay-out considerations, a two-hour interview, for example, can result in a 300-word article. What remains in the published interview is usually the editors' responsibility, not the subject's.)

Posted by Stella on 01/06/2011 at 4:17 PM

Re: “Letters for January 5

"...please STFU and keep your bigoted opinions to yourself...".

Definition of bigot: "a prejudiced person who is intolerant of any opinions differing from his own".

Posted by Lawngun on 01/05/2011 at 8:57 AM

Re: “Letters for January 5

Tweetin? I find it quite handy to have several Twitter accounts in addition to @NAME. I use @NAMErobme to let people know when I am away from home. @NAMEchowinchowout lets everyone know what I just ate and how things worked out.

Posted by Lawngun on 01/05/2011 at 7:45 AM

Re: “Letters for December 22

Tweeting is brilliant. Especially when one is brilliant enough to tweet one's location around country -- like the letter writer above. Nothing like telling the world that one is out of town. A cyber invitation to steal one's earthly possessions. Yes, tweets are awesome.

Posted by Lawngun on 12/23/2010 at 4:17 AM

Re: “Letters for December 22

Regarding Richard Register's assertion that the electric car is land and energy squandering disaster.

I've been wondering what the argument against the electric card would be from the new urbanist/smart growth ideologues. Now I know.

The problem, Mr. Register is this: what if I don't WANT to raise my family in a compact in-town apartment? Even though you say that I should?

The automobile affords the individual - that is, the "people" for whom Mr. Register wishes to design cities - great personal liberty. The sort of personal liberty that ideologues like Mr. Register would deny "people" by telling them how they should live.


Posted by mowster48ba on 12/22/2010 at 4:55 PM

Re: “Letters for December 15

Lawngun, your questions have really brought up an issue: How could the county more effectively educate about ranked-choice-voting./IRV?

What we should be doing is a big educational outreach to explain to newcomers to our county: This is a totally different election system than most of the world so far. Instead of outreaching to die-hard supporters and those who don't give a heck who they vote for, in RCV elections candidates most be very broadly focused, to be supported by the most possible people.

But most major politicians have been too busy to digest all of this, so they were scared of IRV modernization. But when Perata finally takes it seriously, he also will see that including more voters (per election) in the final decision is THE path to better govt.

So I would suggest that IRV-education budgets should be more directed to politicians than to voters, because the voters have had more time to understand. Seriously, most elections I know seem very overworked, they don't have time to on newspaper website comment forums to discuss the details.

Posted by s williams on 12/17/2010 at 2:25 PM

Re: “Letters for December 15

Also, I think that the main reasons so many people voted to approve it in Oakland-it was a huge landslide- is that the local newspapers and public leaders presented overwhelming logic that this is better. Many of the local population came here because the east bay seems to be the peace capital of the world.

Many local voters are heartbroken that the political system is so money-dominated that neocons could get in power again, all over bad election procedures. Many Oakland and Berkeley voters wanted to set an example for the world of how to fix bad political systems. The Express, Daily Californian, Tribune, Daily Planet, ...-local papers had a huge influence of educating the public about a detailed strategy for solving election problems.

Leaders for local IRV like Dona Spring, Debra Bowen,
Max Anderson, Rebecca Kaplan, Kriss Worthington, Loni Hancock, Keith Carson, Tom Bates, reassured a lot of voters that this is good. Everyone who knows them trusts them. These are some of the reasons the voters passed it. There is no reason not to, and IRV has been approved in many other U.S. cities since Berkeley and Oakland took most of the initiative. L.A. is now considering IRV.

Posted by s williams on 12/17/2010 at 2:11 PM

Re: “Letters for December 15

Personally, I did not thank that the "education" budget was needed. However, some others like Perata still claimed that it wasn't enough. (he claimed not to understand, and proved it by asking not be considered as a 2nd choice, whereby he surely would have won)

I agree that it was almost completely wrong and unexplained why the Alameda County supervisors decided that 3 rankings would be enough. Besides SF, other U.S. cities that I know of allow all candidates to be ranked-London only allows two.

But people like Wozniak, who initially opposed IRV entirely ("IRV supporters were supposedly dis-honest con-men or something to that effect" in his letter) changed their minds. After a landslide victory, he studied it he announced that we would only support implementation if all candidates could be ranked. When the supervisors chose 3-rankings only, I think he still actually approved implementation.

What you should focus on is that if ALL rankings are better than SOME rankings, it is probable that SOME rankings are better than NO rankings.(one choice)

If anyone is opposed to this system, their time will be better spent calling for voters being allowed to rank ALL candidates (if they want to) instead of just 3.

The local IRV elections were such a success that you might as well expect that this may be the main political issue in 2012: when will America be allowed modern elections like the elitists in Aspen, Berkeley and SF already have?

Posted by s williams on 12/17/2010 at 1:48 PM

Re: “Letters for December 15

RCV, as adopted by the Oakland voters, worked and a Mayor was elected. Limiting each voter's choice to three candidates simplified the balloting, but did have a shortcoming. Those who selected three candidates other than Quan and Perata had no voice in the final round(s) of voting, sennet. In a traditional election, a runoff election would have been called and every voter would have had an opportunity to select one of the two, even if the choice was a "lesser of two evils".

The same effect could have been achieved by allowing each voter to rank the candidates 1 through 10. Every voter, who chose to rank all ten candidates, would have had a voice in the final round. So, by simplifiying the ballot process, voters were left out of the final decision making.

In the end, the process that voters approved was followed, so there should be no cries of "foul" from any camp. I did find it odd that the City and County had to spend so much money educating the public on how RCV works. If the public was so ignorant of the process, why did they vote to approve it?

Posted by Lawngun on 12/15/2010 at 3:51 PM

Re: “Letters for December 15

Robert, your comment does not make logical sense. What Oakland RCV proved is which candidate was preferred OVER ALL THE OTHERS, considering that each voter could only rank three candidates.

It does seem ironic that Perata could have won if only a few thousand additional people had voted for Kaplan, because it was a close election. The fact is that more people ranked Quan highest.

The goal of IRV is so that our vote can always count even if there are three or more closely matched candidates. Why should a voter' opinion be ignored just because their favorite not be in the top three 1st-choice vote category? That would eliminate small ethnic minorities, as voters often rank the candidate of their own ethnicity as first choice.

That was the problem with the old system. That's why there has never been an Asian Oakland mayor before, because she is not in the 3 largest ethnic groups. But there opinion is still worth something, and he have a better govt. now that the input of more people is being considered/counted, thanks to Ranked Choice Voting .

If you want to understant the simplicity or ranked-choice voting, search for "instant runoff voting" or DEMOCHOICE .

Posted by sennet williams on 12/15/2010 at 12:51 PM

Re: “Letters for November 31

I left both Quan and Perata off my ballot but I can tell you in no uncertain terms that I would have shown up for a runoff and was very pissed off that I didn't have a say in a runoff. Who knew, with absolute certainty, beforehand that we would be forced to choose between these two in a runoff?

I find this logic very flawed again. You write, "There's no evidence" to prove that people who left Quan and Perata off their ballots would have shown up in a runoff. So what? We don't need to prove that. What needs to be proven for your argument to make sense is the contrary - that we would NOT have shown up. You haven't shown any evidence of that and yet you confidently claim, "it seems likely that a significant percentage of these folks [we who left Quan and Perata off our ballots] wouldn't show up for a runoff election."

What significant percentage might that be? Because it doesn't include me or anyone I know.

We would have shown up to vote for the lesser of the two evils once we knew who they were.

Posted by yoyo_guru on 12/02/2010 at 7:47 PM

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