Letters for the week of December 1-7, 2004 

A request to expand our tax inquiry. Disagreement about Julia Butterfly Hill. Praise for our coverage of Mac Dre. And we explain the stupid errors.

"A Tale of Two Houses," Cityside, 10/27

Can Berkeley be beaten?
Thank you, thank you. This is the first time that anyone has compared Berkeley property tax bills with comparable property in another city. You are on to something big, I think. How about expanding the study to the whole East Bay? I suspect there would be some amazing revelations.
Harlan Kessel, Oakland

"You Say You Want a Resolution," Feature, 11/10

Say no to whining
Thank you for taking the time and making the effort to write what I consider an inspiring article on Julia. I was sincerely inspired, and that happens very, very rarely. As you know, most of what we read or hear is either opinion/attitude or whining. I'm not sure where I'm going to go with this inspiration, but I was moved and encouraged. I'll make a point of visiting We the Planet Festival.
Robert Yanasak, Oakland

Who's more deluded?
Concerning the article about Julia Hill, I have one thing to say: If this is your idea of leadership, Bush, Cheney, and all the neocons have nothing to worry about. Let them start all the wars they want. Let's worry about trees! Really.

I don't know who's more deluded: Sam Hurwitt, or the zombie/Christians who believed Bush's lie that the economy is okay.
Andrew Laverdiere, Oakland

I feel the love
I think you did a great job of writing about Julia, her efforts, and effects! People like Julia deserve to have even-handed and appreciative articles written about them, because they are putting love and caring into action. Your article captured this, and encourages me.
Jim Freeberg, Ashland, Oregon

Stop encouraging passivity
I picked up your November 10 issue because I liked the subhead ("Stop waiting for a savior. Start doing things yourself") in your story "You Say You Want a Resolution." Sadly, Sam Hurwitt missed the point himself, as the story was mostly about Julia "Butterfly" Hill, media icon, and her inspirational works.

This is not to discredit Ms. Hill's achievements, dedication, or any other aspect of her work. But the truth is that hundreds of ordinary people, whose faces will never be on the cover of Time or even the Express, were sitting in trees, blocking roads, taking over offices, and any one of a number of other things to stop industrial logging in the Pacific Northwest before, during, and after Ms. Hill's two-year stay in a redwood tree. As an activist in Oregon in the '90s, I saw people sacrifice their careers, their safety, their relationships and, in the case of David "Gypsy" Chain, even his life fighting to preserve the old-growth forests.

Ms. Hill was very instrumental to bringing these issues to national attention, as the media icon we needed, a dedicated, idealistic and, most importantly in this case, photogenic young woman. It is sad that even somewhat alternative media outlets like the EBE can only relate to movements such as these when there is a poster girl to focus attention on.

Too many people in this culture live their lives vicariously through people they see in magazines or on TV and will never meet, as a way to divert attention from their own lives. Hero worship doesn't empower anyone, and by raising media icons you encourage passivity. The radical environmental movement was and is about anything but passivity.
C.R., San Francisco

"Requiem for a Mac," Close 2 tha Edge, 11/10

The legend lives on
Just wanted to say that out of all the articles I've read on Mac Dre, I liked yours the best. It was so real and so him, and I liked that. I appreciate it, and I'm glad someone out there thinks of him like I do. Thank you for your recognition of a Bay Area legend.
Veronica Mosqueda, San Bruno

Who was driving?
I read your article and noticed you reporting that Dubee was driving. I do not believe this is a fact, because according to a recorded telephone conversation between Dubee and a member of the Siccness.net crew, he got the call that Dre had died. Maybe you have other sources ... of that, I am unsure. But I would hate for information to be made public and have it be incorrect.
Jamie Hill, Oakland

Editor's Note
In reporting that Dubee was driving, we relied upon other published reports that we did not independently confirm. If that is now in question, we retract our assertion.

Corrections
Because of production errors last week, one page of our annual Best Records feature was missing and another page appeared twice. The entire feature appears correctly on our Web site.

A separate production error also clipped off the end of Robert Gammon's article about the FBI investigation into state Senator Don Perata. The article should have noted that Will Harper and Chris Thompson contributed to the report.

In our November 24 Bottom Feeder item about a lawsuit filed by Corvette owner Jim Metzger against a local Jiffy Lube outlet, we improperly stated the number of miles that Metzger drove his car before his engine failed. It was six thousand, not sixty thousand.

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