Letters for the Week of June 4 

Readers sound off on Jerry Brown's proposed budget, fire hazards in Berkeley, and typewriters. Plus, the Express won nine awards for journalism excellence.


"Brown's Budget Proves He's A Centrist," Seven Days, 5/21

Writing on the Wall

You're pretending that cautious is the same thing as centrist. Brown is obviously a liberal — he has a very long career putting that trait on display. He just sees the writing on the wall here: that California's many spending programs need to be more solvent if people want them to be around for a long time, and that the state needs to be able to weather economic storms.

Solomon Kleinsmith, Omaha, Nebraska

Hurting Seniors and the Disabled

As a person with a disability who depends on In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS), I can tell you that Governor Brown's proposed cap on IHSS service hours will cause huge problems for the disabled and seniors. This proposal would limit to forty hours the amount of time that an IHSS caregiver could work for an IHSS consumer in a week. This would cause huge problems because it would force IHSS consumers to either do without needed care, or hire additional caregivers, something that is next to impossible because there is currently a severe shortage of personal care attendants, especially those who are willing to work for IHSS.

This would place many disabled people and seniors in the position of being unable to live safely in the community and being forced into nursing homes; something that is not only much more expensive for the taxpayers, but very undesirable for most people.

He is also proposing to maintain a 7 percent cut in IHSS funding that he put into effect a few years ago, when the state still had a large budget deficit. Governor Brown did that with the promise that he would restore this funding once this state achieved a budget surplus.

Now, with the release of his May revise, he is totally reneging on his promise and still wants to keep the 7 percent cut to IHSS in place. There is absolutely no reason why he should keep on hurting California's disabled and seniors, especially since this state has a budget surplus.

Thankfully, his fellow Democrats don't seem to be going along with his plans for IHSS. Senate Budget Subcommittee #3 rejected both the forty-hour cap on hours and voted to restore the 7 percent cut to IHSS. Hopefully, they will hang tough and continue to advocate for us.

Blane Beckwith, Berkeley


"A Growing Fire Hazard in the Berkeley Hills," News, 5/21

Ugliest Scenic Turnouts

These are the ugliest scenic turnouts in the west. The university needs to fulfill its legendary reputation in the field of landscape architecture and follow tried and true methods of controlling public space by studying successful turnouts around the world. You might remember view spots in the Alps, at Yosemite, and along Interstate 5 up north, in the place you took your pictures?

The Eucalyptus logs should be removed. They provide too much privacy for criminal activities. There should be trashcans. Good turnouts are paved and have a modest three- to four-foot stone wall enclosing the view site. The wall is wide enough for sitting, maybe notched with seating on the paved side, with a thirty-foot drop on the other side to deter exploration. The need for policing will diminish.

Hank Chapot, Oakland


"Vote Sbranti, Corbett, Honda, and Torlakson," Endorsements, 5/21

Democracy in Action

In your endorsements column you bemoan new voter-approved rules that you claim favor Democratic centrists, as if that's a bad thing. This is democracy in action. Have you considered the idea that East Bay voters on the whole are more centrist than you are? You seem to fear the possibility.

Harry R. Mitchell, Berkeley


"The Water Tunnel Boondoggle, Feature, 5/14

Don't Invest

Oh my god! Just came across this article. Read it and didn't understand all the particulars and myriad of entanglements. As a long-term investor I learned one thing many years ago — if you don't understand it, don't invest in it! This plan is obviously for the sellers; not the buyers. Get the hell outta here!

Byron Roberts, Stockton


"Slow Type," Feature, 5/7

Be More Creative

Good article, but I was surprised that in the discussion of QWERTY alternatives you didn't even mention the Dvorak keyboard layout. Among other things, it puts all the vowels on the home row and arranges the letters so that they're more evenly distributed. Dvorak is my preferred keyboard layout on my computer. Unfortunately, none of my typewriters have it. Even so, I find it easy to switch back and forth from QWERTY on a typewriter to Dvorak on a computer.

I do most of my writing on a computer, but I do sometimes use a typewriter, especially when writing letters. I also prefer manual typewriters to electrics.

In some ways, using a typewriter forces you to be more creative. If you're starting to type a new word and hit the wrong key on a computer, you can delete the incorrect letter and start over again. Do it on a typewriter and you either cross the letter out, erase it (which always leaves a telltale mark), take out the paper and start that page all over again or replace whatever word you intended to use with one beginning with the letter you typed. That's what happened to me when I typed a letter to a friend last year in the form of a "dialogue" between Jack Benny and his cast (she's a huge Jack Benny fan). I'd meant to type a particular word, but hit the key for a letter that wasn't in that word. I figured out what new word starting with that letter I could use instead and slightly "course corrected" the intended "conversation." I ended up adding "character bits" I might not have even thought of had I written it on a computer.

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