Letters for the week of June 6-11, 2002 

Bias and media conservatism, Best Of and reader consideration, Ozzy Osbourne and crass vulgarity.

Please help
Your article on Doc's Pharmacy ("Compounding Guilt," May 22) raises interesting regulatory questions, and I hope that an incident like this never, ever happens again. By any account, the saga is a tragedy. My heart goes out to any lives touched by this. I am familiar with one of those lives because Mrs. Sheets was a coworker. She is now a widow with two small children (three and six years), carrying on with great fortitude. We have set up a trust fund for her children's education, and invite anyone to contribute.

Make checks payable to:

The Sheets Children's Fund
Account 1290004572
California Bank and Trust
1277 Treat Blvd., Suite 120
Walnut Creek, CA 95696

Anonymous donors should indicate this desire on the check.

David M. Burk, Berkeley

What happened to libel, scorn, and dishonesty?
"The Unreal David Brock" (May 15) seemed well-researched, well-documented, and well-written. It appeared to be fair, honest, open, and balanced. I fear you have no future in American journalism.


Tom Murray, Mesa, Arizona

Forget the snail, remember the slime
The evidence that condemned Anita Hill in the court of public opinion always seemed a bit suspect. On the other hand, it's unfortunate that Bill Clinton's character and history supported even some of the wilder accusations against him. Brock has done us a serious injustice by falsely imputing ill to Anita Hill, by covering for Clarence Thomas, and by smearing red herrings all over Bill Clinton's already slimy trail.


Julie Duiker, Austin, Texas

On the other hand
If the Washington Times is archconservative, does that mean the Express is archliberal? I detect a tone of bias in your writing.
Lowell Bike, Washington, D.C.

Maybe the East Bay needs a Times of its own
Gosh, what a surprise. You mean to tell me that conservatives are not allowed to practice free speech? ("Unlikely Heirs to the Free Speech Movement," May 15) In the Bay Area? I guess free speech only applies if the speech revolves around pet liberal subjects. I love the Bay Area, but I find it disgusting that conservative thought is, in effect, mute.
Dave Barr, Little Rock, Arkansas

I've cast my last vote
I was disappointed to see that once again there were no descriptions of the readers' choices in the Best of the East Bay (May 8). This is a glaring omission in a section that most readers look forward to all year.

While I appreciate the Express staff's expertise, I also look to this issue as a chance for the community of the East Bay to say what they think is "the best." I would like to know more about the favorite Chinese restaurants or bookstores chosen by popular vote, not just those favorites of your editorial staff.

Considering the lack of coverage of readers' choices in this issue, I can tell you that it is very unlikely that I will take the time to fill out a "Best of the East Bay" ballot in the near future.
Marie Spark, Alameda

You pitched a one-hitter
Just a quick note of thanks for giving El Farolito its due acclaim. Work forces me to live in both Berkeley and West Hollywood -- where I can't find a burrito to save my life, might I add -- and upon every return to the East Bay I must make a trip to the Lighthouse, if only to drink the avocado salsa. (Insider tip: For $1.50 they'll fill a cup to take home). Not as good as the two 24th Street locations in the Mission, but it will do. Good job.

All and all, the issue was right on. Hotsy-Totsy, Mod Lang, even the Sound Well. But Extreme Pizza? Please, stop insulting your readers. There is only one pizza that deserves "best," and they even know about it in Chicago ... and all agree. I am sure you wish to "mix it up," but please. Extreme Pizza? More like Extreme Abdominal Pain from the haphazard mix of toppings they throw at you. I'd maybe have mentioned LoCoCo's for some spice or the Cheese Board's daily specials, but there is only one Zachary's. Come now ... you know that.
Ryan Troy, Berkeley and Los Angeles

Artists can be punctual
I was very excited to see the Best Artisan category listed in the Best Of issue (May 8). I was especially thrilled that it was Addison Endpapers. I have always admired the enormous talent of these three women, their ability to reinvent their storefront, and the generous way they overlook imitators. They are true artisans in the best sense, which brings me to the reason for writing.

Why does the writer give such a backhanded compliment to the Addisons? (S)he writes, "As with many a true artisan, (she) is a bit lax on meeting deadlines, but if you're not in a rush, the result is splendid." Most professional artisans I know (and I know many) don't miss deadlines; we can't afford to. How would we stay in business? Comments like this only serve to perpetuate the myth that artists and artisans are unprofessional flakes.
Susan Brooks, Director, Berkeley Artisans, Berkeley

What's to admire?
After reading "Planet Clair," (May 15) I'm left wondering why you laud the family situation of the Osbournes? Why should we admire constant use of obscenities? Why should we admire any of the vulgarity on the show? What is good about any of that?


Jonathan Strong, Burke, Virginia

We fund the new Germans
Thank you for Dave Gilson's article ("Jesse's Heroes," April 17). I was a child of ten or so when the Second World War ended, and I recall the term "good German" was frequently in use then. It was sarcastic, of course, referring to the German people who did not know what their government was doing. The adults around me scoffed at this alleged ignorance, and the term was used with contempt for those who remained silent while the ovens and gas chambers consumed and consumed and consumed until the numbers ran into the millions and the tens of millions.

Today I read letters from Palestine. Permit me, if you will, to quote a single sentence (chosen at random): "Yesterday, Israeli soldiers invaded Dheisheh, took over the guest house, and used the roof as a snipers' nest to shoot at children down below." (The United States, we know, supplies the tools for this work.)

I am frightened not by men reenacting the battles of German soldiers, but by those of us who sit staring at our lying television screens, and reenact the role of the "good Germans."
Name withheld by request, Oakland

A virtuoso performance
I'm the publicist for Medea, but forget that and accept my full admiration for your excellent review ("Gory Medea," May 15). It's so wonderful to read a critic who really "got" the play and the intentions of the playwrights, director, and cast. You are right about Beth Donohue. She's such an interesting actor and she is, indeed, working at the top of her form. I think Lisa Drostova is working at the top of her form, too. Thanks for all she does for theater.


Belinda Taylor, Berkeley

The malevolence of the engineers
Speaking of Berkeley traffic matters ("Walking Amok," March 27) ... the biggest daredevil thrill of all is at the intersection of Shattuck and Adeline in South Berkeley. Here, life and death are in exciting balance as pedestrians attempt to cross this paradoxically and deadly signed intersection. The intent of the traffic engineers is clearly malevolent. I've written letters and made lots of calls to the traffic department. But, gee whiz, they just don't want to deal with this apparently overwhelming problem. Meanwhile, back on the street, pedestrians risk their worthless lives. Saintly, elderly women, many of them African American, who live in that "Harriet Tubman Terrace" place, are nearby and are in danger. When the little pedestrian person lights up on the traffic signal, thus telling pedestrians that it's safe to cross; guess what, there is also a green light for autos, who continue to speed by! What's amazing is that there hasn't been a lot of squashed pedestrians.


Robert Blau, Berkeley

It's the erections, stupid
Regarding John Iverson's letter, titled "Malaria, not Erections" (April 24), how in the hell does he think Africans, Thais, and Brazilians got AIDS in the first place, if it wasn't about their erections? It does not serve anyone to pretend that Western culture is responsible for people in Third World countries getting AIDS. They are not children. A great deal of the problem lies in the sexist cultures in the Third World. Women have few rights, and certainly do not have the right to refuse sex with a husband who has engaged in sex with infected prostitutes, a practice rampant in all three countries mentioned. If Western culture is responsible for the cure merely because we have had the good sense to practice a more or less monogamous lifestyle, let the Third World learn by our example.

Michelle Blanchard, Alameda

Corrections
The Crockett post office (7 Days, May 15) was built in 1949, not 1935.

In 7 Days (May 22), we reported that the Daily Californian returned to the Berkeley campus in 1995 after 25 years; in fact, it returned in 1994 after 23 years.

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