Letters for September 29 

Readers sound off on Che Guevara, the death penalty, Macbeth, and double standards.

Page 4 of 7

Nor do the police in many Bay Area cities do much about crimes against whites as many a white crime victim could testify.

"Anti-racism" has long been the last refuge of the scoundrel.

Michael P. Hardesty, Oakland

Miscellaneous Letters

Tumults Troubling Telegraph Worsen

It wasn't many years ago when Mayor Bates, spurred by beleagured Telegraph Ave.merchants, took a twilight walking tour of the troubled district.

Cody's was extant, and compared to the present troubled scene, the mayor's stroll was a cake walk after which he offered to fix the merchant's complaints.

Those complaints centered on the general deteriorating conditions on lower Telegraph, the last straws on the camel's back after more than thirty years of violent changes, as the avenue struggles for its survival.

Years later, the fix the mayor promised has yet to gel, and, if anything, conditions have worsened. Entropy has the area in a choke hold.

Coming on the heels of numerous violent incidents at People's Park, a near riot occurred outside Raleigh's on Telegraph, Aug. 28. It involved more than twenty punch-drunk late night revelers encamped on two city-installed benches.

The drunken late-night fistfight banged up against Raleigh's plate glass windows and Raleigh bouncers and a female bartender went out to quell it.

No sooner had Raleigh's defenders emerged, then the crowd converged on them, pushing, shoving, and punching. One of the assailants used a motorcycle helmet on Raleigh personnel, drawing blood.

When a BPD officer arrived, or, perhaps because of that arrival, the ruffians fled.

The assailant with the helmet, although escaped, was later identified and Raleigh's filed an assault complaint.

Not more than minutes later, another fracas erupted outside Ameoba across the street; but the officer was busy writing the Raleigh's report in her vehicle.

After being alerted to the new eruption, the officer stayed put. I'll check it out, she said.

Another squad car passed Amoeba, eye-balled the dangerous scene, and drove on.

According to the first officer on the scene, there were three armed robbery cases underway.

"We consider guns a priority over fists," she explained.

Menacing, sidewalk-blocking "scenes" have been developing for months, after dusk, on the Ave; and the hangers-on seem to have established beach heads outside Blake's, Raleigh's, Amoeba, and the Caffe Mediterraneum.

Such events raise the question of whether the ave is being hung out to dry and if so who or what is responsible.

Ted Friedman, Berkeley

Perata Doesn't Believe in Accountability

Don Perata's newest TV ad "I Believe in Oakland" fails to mention that Don does not believe that the community should oversee the Oakland Police Department. He also does not believe that Oakland needs an Ethics Commission, which, come to think of it, shouldn't come as much of a surprise, should it?

He has gone on record as saying that the Citizens' Police Review Board (CPRB) isn't necessary because of the oversight of Federal Judge Thelton Henderson. Well, the Judge has just indicated that if the OPD doesn't get its act together soon, after 8 years of inadequate efforts to reform itself, he may place the Department in receivership! And the real question is, "Who will oversee OPD once the independent (and costly) monitors' tenure ends?" Maybe he could figure out how to save the millions of dollars in lawsuits paid by taxpayers every year, much more costly to the city than the annual CPRB budget.

Don — you may be surprised to discover that we do believe in Oakland — an Oakland that does not relinquish oversight of its police to Internal Affairs, and an Oakland whose police department no longer requires the City to spend several million dollars for Independent Monitors who report to a Federal Judge about the progress, or lack thereof, in implementing mandated reforms. But we don't believe in a Mayor who would turn the police accountability clock back over 40 years because he is beholden to the Police Officers Associations who generously support his bid for Mayor.

If you believe in Oakland, as Don does, ask him why the Oakland he believes in doesn't include civilian oversight of its police department.

Rashidah Grinage, Oakland

Marijuana: A Growth Industry for Berkeley?

On November 2, Berkeley voters will decide whether or not to enable a vastly expanded marijuana industry in Berkeley, when they vote on Measure T.

This is a very complicated subject, so a bit of background is required. In 1972, state voters rejected Proposition 19, which would have legalized all marijuana cultivation and use (recreational and medical) despite federal law prohibiting same. In 1996, state voters approved Proposition 215 legalizing medical marijuana cultivation and use despite federal prohibitions; after many legal events and enforcement actions, the federal legal parameters around marijuana enforcement within states are still murky. Meanwhile, in Berkeley, in 2001 the Berkeley City Council passed legislation (BMC 12.26) implementing Proposition 215 and medical marijuana rules at the local level; then, in 2004, Berkeley voters rejected Measure R, an initiative that would have expanded the medical marijuana arrangements allowed under BMC 12.26; Measure R was subsequently re-submitted to and passed by the voters in 2008 as Measure JJ, and its provisions were incorporated into the Municipal Code. Measure JJ: allowed unlimited outdoor cultivation of marijuana so long as only ten plants are visible from other property; eliminated numerical limits on marijuana controlled by a marijuana collective; created a Peer Review Committee to assist in regulation; deputized Peer Review members to provide immunity from federal prosecution; confirmed that no use permit is required for residential cultivation; and established that marijuana dispensaries are permitted as a matter of right as a Retail Sales Use, with no use permit or public hearing

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