Letters for the Week of September 5 

Readers sound off on youth curfews, Tom Bates, and Prop 32.

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During the project's process the community wasn't given any way to reach a consensus plan or even talk directly with the developers. Despite multiple calls for face-to-face meetings, we were split by city staff into different "stakeholder groups," which met separately until public hearings were called. Then at each and every hearing for four years, the appointed planning commission, followed by the appointing city council, voted 7-2 or 6-3 to give the big-capital developers nearly everything they wanted.

Conversely, the existing community got almost nothing it wanted.

Now Berkeley's voters have a chance to undo this travesty and send Phase Three back to the people to achieve a better outcome. Realizing that we opponents were likely to referend their decision, the council majority placed Phase Three on the November ballot as Measure T. I and many others are asking voters to say no to Measure T.

Stopping Phase Three won't stop development. It will stop only the juggernaut and high-rise labs. What most opponents want is to force the council to let us all get in the same room together. We deserve a chance to work out differences in open discussion, and revise the West Berkeley Plan by creating the consensus that power politics have denied us. Let's try again and do it right. No on Measure T.

Daniel Knapp

President, Urban Ore


"Glossary of Terms," UC Berkeley Student Guide, 8/22

What's Wrong with 'Frisco'?

What's with this random (but quite frequent) assortment of people bashing "Frisco" as a term used to refer to San Francisco? Who are you people? I have many friends born and raised in the Bay Area, most from San Francisco, who call it Frisco every once in a while. My ex in college would lovingly call out "Frisco! You know!" every time he felt like expressing his pride about something cool the city did, does, or stands for. I even have a friend from San Leandro who would say things like, "I hate driving this truck in Frisco." It's refreshing to hear this old-school term and it seems like all these transplants are anti- for some reason.

Natalie Koski-Karell, Oakland


"Why a Curfew is Still a Bad Idea," Seven Days, 8/22

It's About Safety

I think having a curfew in Oakland is a good idea and I think Robert Gammon totally misses the point. No one cares that the curfew won't reduce crime. The point is hanging out in parts of East and West Oakland late at night is a bad idea for anyone at any age. People who hang out at 98th Avenue and Edes Avenue, for example, at 3 a.m. are at very high risk of being shot at. And if you don't believe me, just look at the statistics of when and where people are shot. A great many are shot late at night and on the street. And who are being shot in huge numbers? Black and brown kids. Why? Because they're hanging out on street corners late at night and someone comes by and words are exchanged and someone pulls out a gun. And the fact that this happens all the time should be enough reason to have a curfew. Not because it doesn't reduce crime or because some black or brown kids will get profiled, but because we can save some children's lives if we can keep them off the street late at night. And how many children's lives can we save? Who knows? I think if we can save one kid's life then it is worth it.

I dare anyone who is reading this to go to Seminary at East 16th Street, or anywhere on lower 98th Avenue, or Market at 14th Street, or anywhere along San Pablo from Grand to Emeryville at 1 a.m. and just stand on the corner with a few of your friends for an hour or two and wait and see what happens. Then ask yourself, should a child be able to go hang out on one of these street corners?

I remember when I was a kid there was a curfew, many decades ago. Did it stop us from leading a life of crime? No, but we did stay indoors late at night because we didn't want to spend the night in jail.

Jay Dodson, Oakland


"Don't Be Afraid of Oakland," UC Berkeley Student Guide, 8/22

Town Pride

Thank you for your recent article concerning living in Oakland. I am a native of Oakland. As an adult I have enjoyed living in other places inside and outside of the US. I returned to Oakland in 1984 and have lived here continuously since that time. Oakland is a geographically beautiful city in addition to the fact that it is probably one of the most ethnically and culturally diverse cities in America. I have met several people of various racial backgrounds who have left the surrounding suburbs and are quite happy living in Oakland. They could have chosen to live in other areas. Oakland is a major metropolitan/cosmopolitan city with the pros and cons that go with that distinction. Oakland's physical proximity to San Francisco is without doubt a great advantage. I believe the issues plaguing Oakland are politically based. Again, thanks for your vote of confidence in The Town.

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