Letters for the Week of May 11, 2016 

Readers sound off on Donald Trump, the minimum wage, and Oakland's proposed coal terminal.


"My Lunch with Donald Trump," Feature Story, May 4

Thanks for nothing, Miller

Nick Miller's lunch with Trump? Whether or not one supports Trump's candidacy, Miller's lengthy screed — mistitled as having lunch with the man — was as uninformative as anything ever written about him. Miller made no bones about being fervently opposed to Trump, even noting that he wore a black hoodie to the event, probably to make visible his oppositional stance to everyone present.

Miller's position is clearly revealed when he suddenly drops the statement (at the bottom of the third page): "Ridicule aside, the Trumpsters I met ... were by no means stupid. These women were articulate, armed with data and examples, and they launched them with vitality, and even good humor," but immediately dismissed that observation by proclaiming that "they're wildly misinformed."

Thanks for nothing, Miller. If you felt the need to attend the event and then write this article, you'd have done better to have it be printed as an op-ed, rather than presented as a journalistic report.

Nicola Bourne, Berkeley

Trump ain't so bad

The extreme reaction to Donald Trump by supposed progressives is both hilarious and infuriating. If you are really progressive, you should realize that Trump would be a substantially lesser evil than Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, or any other Tea Bagger, religion-pusher, or even establishment Republican. The main reason that the Republican establishment hates Trump is that he's not conservative enough, and they've said so publicly. Yes, Trump is obnoxious and grossly egotistical; does not speak or act with the maturity, diplomacy, or restraint required of an elected official; makes openly racist and sexist comments (as opposed to the coded racism and sexism of the rest of the party), etc. But Trump also opposes hideous trade policies like NAFTA and the TPP, has publicly maintained that the Iraq War was a bad move that destabilized the entire region, and has said that he'd much rather do business with Russia than fight it. These are much better positions than those taken by other Republicans on these huge and very important issues.

People on the left who are so freaked out about Trump should quit obsessing on superficialities and focus on the real issues. ... If you're actually progressive, the least of evils of the Republicans who tried to get the nomination is clearly Trump.

Jeff Hoffman, Berkeley

What a narcissist

This writer sees nothing but his own limited narcissism. Trump has completely upset and unraveled the Democrats, progressives, Socialists and Communists, all Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders supporters. He is bringing to the Republican Party a new wave of members. These are the ordinary Americans that have been left behind by the Socialists that run the Democratic Party. Sure, there are goofy things going on with Trump. But there are worse things going on with President Barack Obama, Hillary and Sanders.

Jerry Udinsky, Berkeley


"Two Minimum Wages to Appear on Berkeley Ballot," News, May 4

Berkeley doing it right

Thank you for your coverage of Berkeley's efforts to lift up its workers to $15 an hour. Berkeley is one of the few cities in the country to support a $15 minimum wage. The measure that Berkeley City Council passed would indeed be one of the fastest wage schedules in the entire nation for all its adult workers. Approximately ten cities have passed a $15 wage schedule, and almost half get to $15 slower than the City of Berkeley will. For David Fielder to claim that Berkeley is lagging behind and that the Berkeley City Council is lying is disingenuous at best. In fact, Berkeley would be above Oakland's 2019 minimum wage by approximately $1.50 and would be $3 above the state's new minimum wage. ...

Councilmember Laurie Capitelli did the right thing in coming up with a compromise and valuing everyone's work equally. As a result, Berkeley City Council voted on an amended wage schedule that would get all workers to $15 one year earlier. I hope that the people of Berkeley will see Capitelli's consensus-building proposal for what it is–a way in which to lift up our low-wage workers.

Bob Laird, Berkeley

Berkeley doing it wrong

Writing as a labor organizer in Berkeley, I was delighted to read the well balanced article by Darwin BondGraham on the Berkeley minimum-wage issue. I don't think that many voters realize how conservative the majority of the Berkeley City Council members are. They repeatedly claim that small business cannot afford a substantial hike in wages for the city's poverty wage workforce. Yet in San Francisco and Emeryville, minimum hourly wages will climb to $15 an hour in 2018. In fact, prior to the election of Tom Bates as mayor, Berkeley enacted a living-wage ordinance that applies to employees who work in businesses that are on city property. Their wages exceed $15 an hour.

Clearly, the legislative bodies in San Francisco and Emeryville do not listen only to the Chamber of Commerce. They are also interested in what the public thinks. But that is not the case in Berkeley. Although Berkeley enjoys a reputation as a very liberal city, the lack of empathy by the current electeds for low-wage workers, and working people general, is extraordinary.

Harry Brill, El Cerrito

Oh, privileged activists

Funny how all of the older "activists" in Berkeley never mention anything about the inequality of the property taxes being levied on ridiculously appreciated legacy homes due to Proposition 13. That is quite a privilege, yet there is nary a mention of it. Most would find that rather hypocritical, and it would be interesting to watch a local initiative try to recoup some of that so we could all observe this hypocrisy out in the open.

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