Just deal with it, baby!
I don't like the way Al Davis runs the Oakland Raiders on or off the field ("Just Sue, Baby," April 10). Davis is an anachronism with an ego the size of Nebraska, and everything about the Raiders is designed to feed that ego. He also insists on maintaining an atmosphere of paranoia that would make the CIA proud. The tendency to sue at first provocation is also grossly counterproductive.
That said, the current mess that embroils the Raiders, the city of Oakland, and Alameda County is as much the fault of Oakland City Hall and Alameda County as it is Davis'. The Chronicle's Glenn Dickey, a consistent Davis critic, pointed out that for much of the past six years, Oakland politicians in City Hall have treated Davis rather shabbily and have brought the ire of the Raiders upon themselves -- needlessly.
To begin with, it was Oakland and Alameda County who first filed suit against the Raiders in early 1998. Davis doesn't let such things go unanswered so he (naturally) countersued.
Originally, the Coliseum was managed by the Coliseum Commission, an independent body whose members didn't kowtow to political whims of City Hall. George Vukasin, the former head of the commission, was a man who could smooth over problems and maintain a working relationship with Oakland's pro teams. Even a prickly man like Al Davis could work with Vukasin.
Oakland and Alameda County abolished the commission in favor of the Joint Powers Authority, whose members were politicians, including then-Supervisor Mary King and City Councilmember Ignacio De La Fuente. The JPA was all about politics; its members politicked nonstop because their self interests dictated that. King and De La Fuente spent an entire year bashing the Raiders deal as part of their campaigns for mayor, and both publicly trashed Al Davis. Would anybody really expect Davis to work with them after listening to their insults for a year?
When Oakland sued the Raiders, it also cut to nil the budget of the Oakland Marketing Association, the group organized to sell Raiders tickets. That didn't exactly improve relations.
It's not only the Raiders who have been alienated by the JPA. A's owner Steve Schott declared, after his attempt to sell the A's fell through, that he would never attend another meeting with King and De La Fuente present. Warriors owner Chris Cohan also publicly stated his distaste for the two. Raider executive Bruce Allen noted that both the A's and Warriors were involved in lawsuits with the JPA.
Al Davis is not an easy man to deal with. However, Davis is the Raiders' owner, a situation unlikely to change considering that Davis won't sell the team and is likely to be around for years to come. That means that Oakland had better learn to deal with Davis.
Tom Ryugo, Berkeley
A crummy job
I was fascinated to read about the propaganda tactics of the Palestinians supporters on the UC campus (7 Days, April 17). The women dressed as widows were a very nice touch. It would have been even more effective had the pro-Israel side joined the masquerade and shown up dressed as their counterpart victims. But I can see how it would be difficult to come dressed as a bag of blown-apart body pieces.
The use of the phrase "ethnic cleansing" to describe Israel's self-defense, however, is beyond even the most hollow of laughs. And, by the way, it might have been a good idea for your writer to put that phrase in quotes -- unless, of course, he subscribes to such a notion. If so, then I suggest he take just a cursory look at some population and infant mortality figures for the Palestinians. These will show that infant mortality rates for Palestinians are much lower than for the other Arab nations, thanks mostly to free Israeli health care. They will also show the Palestinian population skyrocketing since the state of Israel was declared. If the Israelis are trying to wipe out the Palestinians, they are doing one crummy job.
It would be so nice if anyone on the anti-Israel side of this debate had ever ingested any information brought to them by any source other than the Palestinians themselves, or by Berkeley's own Radio KPLO.
Maureen Ustenci, Berkeley
It ain't over yet
The purpose of this letter is to provide the public with information relative to statements made by County Superintendents Jordan/Cooperman/Ruby during the recent election to the Alameda County Board of Education, Area One (7 Days, March 13).
In June 2001, Superintendent Jordan filed false charges against me with the Hayward police department, and later with the Alameda county sheriff's department, alleging I made a threat against her personally, which was not supported by the findings of either agency. In July 2001, Ms. Jordan's husband, Mr. Cooperman, followed up with an editorial in the Oakland Tribune that contained a vicious litany of unsubstantiated hearsay, racially tinged allegations, and innuendo, including an alleged arrest in the city of Berkeley. This was a complete falsehood and not supported by any documented report on file with the city of Berkeley police department or contained in any documents.
These actions were designed to portray me in the role of a racially derogatory stereotype. Moreover, it followed in the Jordan/Cooperman tradition of removing black elected officials from public office.
In January 2002, I filed a formal complaint with the Alameda County DA for violations of the California Education Code Section 7054 which prohibits, among other things, the use of public resources, including equipment, "for the purpose of urging the support or defeat of any ballot measure or candidate, including, but not limited to, any candidate for election to the governing board." In a recent 7 Days article, Jordan/Cooperman admitted they used County Office of Education equipment/Internet resources for political purposes. By doing so, they provided an unfair advantage to my opponent.
The sole intent of the election was for Jordan/Cooperman/Ruby to use the county superintendent's position, title, and resources to slander me and otherwise defame my character. The Jordan/Cooperman/Ruby team designed a campaign to ensure the voters couldn't tell the difference between a local school board and a county school board.
In other words, let's bamboozle the voters and slander the incumbent.
Alameda County Board of Education, Berkeley
Seven Days - December 9, 6:10 PM
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