D. Cloudwalker 
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Recent Comments

Re: “What Is Killing the East Bay's Soul Food Restaurants?

This article was sad. I wish everyone who had a passion and a dream to start a business based upon that passion, was able to succeed. One thing that the article, as well as some of the comments suggest, is that the development of a restaurant business needs to be done in a well-informed way, with awareness of what kind of food will appeal to those who can afford to pay to have it in a restaurant, and what kind of physical atmosphere and location will be workable. The article speaks of some of these restaurant owners wishing that they'd get more support from "non-African-Americans." Have they asked themselves what they've done to attract "non-African-Americans"? Have they spent enough time investigating what "non-African Americans" want in a dining experience? In one black-owned cafe near Park Blvd that I patronized a while back, I discovered a rack stocking a Black newspaper celebrating the racist Louis Farrakhan. After waiting an unusually long time to receive a mediocre sandwich on white bread, I talked to the owner about the paper and in defending the newspaper it was clear he didn't care much about offending "non-African-AMericans" --so why should I care about supporting his restaurant? I never returned. In another black-owned cafe on Martin Luther King, I looked at the menu, containing misspellings, handwritten on cardboard with a black felt pen. I ordered a taco and received a tiny lukewarm corn tortilla with a tiny splash of iceberg lettuce and unripe tomato on a dollop of refried beans, served on a thin nearly unusable paper plate, and sat to eat it in the dreary establishment featuring damaged linoleum, walls lacking anything attractive to look at, and had the overall feel of eating out of the back of a warehouse. LIkewise, one commenter tells about sitting in a restaurant with mismatched chairs and peeling paint. How much more can you do to chase away potential customers?

I would also say it's safe to assume that those who are going to spend to go out to eat, want a pleasurable experience, and will be very unlikely to patronize a dining spot in a "troubled" location where they may encounter drug dealers, drunks, or other persons unpleasant to interact with. Many of us in the Bay Area are also very health-conscious, and when I think of healthy food, "Soul Food" isn't one of the categories coming to mind. When I think of "Soul Food" I think spicy and meat-centered, a plate of things with too much original color lost, the vegetables either too heavily cooked or not recognizable, or all overpowered by a smothering gravy. I like my vegetables steamed, bright with their original color. I like subtle tastes, not things heavily spiced. That's my idea of healthy food.

Posted by Deborah Cloudwalker on 07/09/2009 at 3:32 PM

Re: “Racial Tensions Boil Over at Berkeley High

This article didn't mention one of the central issues involved, namely, that we as a society have double standards regarding use of offensive language. If you're part of group A, it's okay for you to use these offensive words. If you're part of group B, it's considered racist for you to use those words and in most cases you will experience severe consequences for doing so. However, our entire national justice system is built , not upon the principle that certain rules or laws apply only to certain people or groups or skin colors, but rather upon the principle that we apply the same "rules" to everyone, something that common sense dictates as well. It's natural for people to find it offensive as well as unjust that some types of people are punished for the use of language that other types of people see no consequences for using. Schools and employers need to start applying the same standards to everyone, in situations like this. Either everyone can use these words, or no one can. Rules and laws should not vary depending upon one's skin color.

Posted by Deborah Cloudwalker on 06/19/2009 at 7:50 AM

Re: “The Scavenger's Manifesto

Coming across some "free" item that I can actually use while going through my normal daily routine has always been a happy event, but it doesn't happen very often. Usually the freebies that I come across are of no use to me, and I decided a while ago not to keep things that I use less frequently than once every 10 years. The questions this article opens up, are such as these: How much of your time will you spend to save $5 or 10? Is an item more valuable or useful just because it comes at free or low cost? If you can't pass up taking things from free piles, will you eventually find all the rooms in your house turning into storerooms for unused goods, featuring narrow 14 inch pathways through each room and mounds on all sides threatening to collapse on and bury you alive? On the surface, scouting for freebees sounds like a good idea, but unless you live in a warehouse and have lots of free time during which to fill it, you'll soon hit limits when scavenging. YOu'll run out of space to store all the wonderful bargains. Three hours will turn to four in searching to save $15 on a blouse and if you value your time at your normal hourly wage rate you could have saved $80 or $100 by buying a brand new one 4 hours ago. I know a man whose weekends are dedicated to hitting one garage sale after another. The tub in the second bathroom of his house is nonfunctional due to being piled three feet high with an odd assortment of never used items, and he was unable to have repairs done on the furnace in his house because there was no way to get within 10 feet of it, due to the enormous pile of goods stored in his basement. His life mantra is "A vacuum will be filled", whereas the mantra I'd prefer to hear him try out is, "IF you love something, let it go."

Posted by Deborah Cloudwalker on 05/20/2009 at 8:14 PM

Re: “Raising the Rent at 138 Monte Cresta

As a person who for 14 years lived in a rent controlled apartment and then had to move when a disruptive neighbor moved in next door and the landlord would do nothing to resolve the situation for me, I understand the pain and resentment of the tenants in this story,and the shock and difficulty of having to move into a rental market where rents are now 50-100% more than what we have been paying. However, the tenant's pain and economic difficulties are not fairly placed at the feet of one particular property owner, the new landlord. The cost of living in the Bay Area is very high and it is difficult to make ends meet, but private property owners cannot be expected to subsidize everyone who is challenged by these circumstances. I used to think all landlords were rich and could afford to do this: now I'm a landlord, I've had tenants who make three or four times as much as I do, and I know that some property owners like myself just scrape by. Even property owners who are wealthy should not be obliged to provide economic support to those of modest means. These difficult economic issues that many face are real, are cause for national concern, but they won't be solved by requiring people to conduct business at lower than market rates. Perhaps we should all be talking about a portion of renter's rent being allowed as a deduction from gross income level on their tax returns, much as property owners can deduct mortgage interest, or making the standard deduction or single exemption much larger, or not taxing people who earn less than $30,000 per year. We can find ways to provide greater financial support to those of modest means, which we all contribute towards, rather than expecting landlords to singly take on this subsidizing effort.

As the article points out, when people can't make decent income in purchasing rental property, they will either not invest, or will not keep up their properties.

Posted by Deborah Cloudwalker on 05/08/2008 at 10:00 PM

Re: “Party 2 Nite. R U Going?

I found the teen parties article quite troubling. The article provides further evidence that there is a disturbing trend of widening acceptance of anti-social, ghetto "street" values (including the legitimization of criminal behavior) among young people. In urban ghettos, a crime-sodden and amoral culture exists, which glorifies the "gangster" lifestyle, normalizes anti-social, hostile, violent and criminal behavior, and where the voice of a sane and principled, moral adult , where it even exists, is a lone voice drowned out by lack of social and institutional support. But this problem is not confined to urban ghettos: it appears to have infected the mainstream middle class culture as middle class youth increasingly adopt the twisted anti-social values that flourish in the urban ghetto underclass. The result is a "Lord of the Flies" scenario, where all responsible adults who should have been there teaching their youngsters right from wrong, have simply vanished or become mute and spineless observers. The big, pressing question for our times is, "WHere have the adults gone?" Schools too seem to have become spineless dimwitty entities, tolerating assaults, thefts, harrassment, foul language, obscene behavior and clothing, and thus allow inadequately parented youth to spin further out of control. How long are we as a society going to sit back and let our youth spiral into increasing violence, crime, and self-destructive behavior? Is anyone going to take responsibility or is everyone going to sit back and do nothing?
This article on teen parties demonstrates that many teens think that assault is okay if someone "deserves" it, e.g. if they are a "smart ass". It demonstrates that many teens buy into a codependent system wherein paying off a thief or robber is "the thing to do" or "the way the system works." It also illustrates the essential naivette that so many youth and adults too have about their toleration of a criminal and anti-social atmosphere: that they needn't be concerned about crime, because if they are "cool" then somehow they will be immune. This illogical reasoning seems to feed into views on those who were victims: the belief that somehow they "deserved" to be victims. Mature adults understand that there is no one who deserves to be a victim.
The most disturbing part of the article was the disclosure that the teens who attended a party where a MURDER occurred have banded together in silence to shield this murderer from justice. That young people do not even realize the gravity of a murder, and feel impelled toward justice in the face of the such a serious crime, demonstrates how grave the problem is among certain youth today.
The moral development of these young people has not yet reached the point where they understand that ROBBERY IS A CRIME, ASSAULT IS A VIOLENT CRIME, or even that MURDER IS A VERY SERIOUS CRIME and that these are things that can send a person to PRISON. That so many young people are committing crimes without any crimp in their conscience, is most certainly in part a fault of parents, schools and a social system that has failed to set limits and then provide, in a regular and dependable way, CONSEQUENCES for those who choose to act in defiance of social norms. Spineless adults and the anti-social youth that they failed to guide will both be imperiled as the "Lord of the Flies" scenario escalates further & further out of control, until it reaches a place where jokes fail to reach.

Posted by Deborah Cloudwalker on 01/05/2008 at 9:24 PM

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