Letters for December 31 

Readers sound off on nonprofit fund-raising, the Matches, ferries, and our ads.

"Super Fans," Music, 11/26

It's About the Music

Thanks for the write-up about the super fans. Any web site bringing attention to our amazing local scene is alright with me. The new Loquat album is particularly wonderful, and it's good to see them getting the exposure they deserve.

Still, I thought that the Matches' portion of the article was a bit lacking. Dreamy eyes might be important to some fans (and I don't mean to put down the fan profiled), but I'm more about musicianship. In fact, I feel that the Matches' music is really missed in the article. Their thoughtful songwriting, crisp production, and energetic shows is what does it for this fan, anyway.

Tyler James, San Francisco

It's About the Music, Part II

I just wanted to say that your article on Super Fans was really interesting. I loved hearing all the different fans talking about the bands that drive them from here in our Bay Area. It was great to hear such glowing remarks about Loquat, a band I just recently heard about and have been meaning to check. The only thing that surprised me was that Super Fan you chose for the Matches was from Belgium. Wow! They've come a long way from the four guys who used to play shows every couple of weeks for the same bunch of fans in a converted warehouse-y space called iMusicast. I've been a longtime fan (and recently, friend) of those great guys. I'm glad they have such devoted fans all the way in Europe. I wished there could have been a bit more about their music mentioned, maybe from the Belgian fan or another fan from here in their hometown. All in all, I really liked your piece and the unique points of view from the fans. Thanks again.

Ana Gabriela Hernandez-McKig, Berkeley

"Park Versus Ferry," Eco Watch, 11/26

A Waste of Millions

Good summary of the status of the Berkeley Ferry. It is always worth reminding us how expensive and ineffective the ferry will be.

Still, ferries are worth having as quality-of-life amenities, if not for solving transportation problems. As such they should not be subsidized at higher levels than other public transit modes that cover the same route.

The environmental case for avoiding the Gilman or Buchanan sites has been seriously overstated. Of course ferries can disturb birds, but the hard data does not support any significant effect on the bird populations due to intermittent transit of ferry boats. There are other good reasons for favoring the Berkeley Marina sites over the Eastshore State Park sites, mainly politics, land ownership, and the existing mix of waterfront uses.

Of the two Berkeley Marina sites, there is one important fact that you seem to have backward: It is the fishing pier site, not the site near the Doubletree hotel, that would have the most significant negative impact on recreational marina users. Windsurfers, kayakers, and small-boat sailors will not be affected at the Doubletree, but access to the bay may be seriously restricted if these users have to compete with ferry commuters for parking near the fishing pier.

The Doubletree site also has the advantage of being potentially far less expensive than any of the other alternatives for a number of technical reasons, especially the shared use of the dredged marina channel and breakwaters.

It makes no sense to spend millions building a second harbor and dredging a second channel that will parallel the existing marina infrastructure.

Paul Kamen, Naval Architect, Berkeley Waterfront Commission

Questionable Choices

What type of ferries were assumed by the study? Some types, though more expensive upfront, ride high in the water and do not require such significant dredging. Are the new ball fields with their lighting at the foot of Gilman without impacts to the birds? There is direct freeway access at both Buchanan and Gilman from those two sites, unlike the Berkeley Marina which will bring large volumes of traffic through the Eastshore State Parklands along University Avenue. Also, there are seismic issues for the Berkeley Marina that make it a questionable choice, including that the access to the pier is likely to collapse. Finally, there is no additional development potential at the Berkeley Marina, unlike several of the other sites including Buchanan, which limits the economic benefits of the location.

Jay W. Claiborne, Berkeley

"Aquarium Age," 11/19

Astrology Without Ass

I really appreciate having Aquarium Age on the last page. Sometimes I have a hard time finding it and have to cut out all the adult ads next to it. It is such a pleasure to open up the weekly and find Aquarium Age article easily without offensive ads next to it. Having the article next to Mind, Body, Spirit is the perfect place for it.

J. Thompson, Berkeley

Stork Club ad, pg. 39, 11/19

We're Not Emo Turkeys

I am a Native American social worker and health educator and was disturbed when I noticed an ad in the Nov. 19-26, 2008 issue of your paper on page 39 that says "Sad Thanksgivings are for Indians and Emo Turkeys." I am appalled that in this day and time, Indians are still the brunt of sick jokes almost any time of year but especially during Thanksgiving. Racism and ignorance is not what is shocking — what is upsetting is that a progressive paper such as the East Bay Express would allow an ad to be published that depicts Indians as "sad" and compares us to "emo turkeys." The truth is that Indians in this country are sad that our land was taken, our culture is made mockery of, the environment is being destroyed, our treaties disregarded, our health is suffering from unnecessary health disparities, and racism toward us goes unchecked and published in respectable newspapers like the East Bay Express. I expected more from a paper I have read almost every week for over twenty years! As for the Stork Club in Oakland — the ones who placed the ad — shame on you! I suggest rather than go there and "party like a pilgrim" like the ad suggests that instead we BOYCOTT THE STORK CLUB or call them @ 510 444-6174 and let them know that there is no excuse or tolerance for outright racism in Oakland or anywhere. To all of my relatives of the four sacred colors — the black, red, yellow, and white — I ask you to respond in some way and to use this as a lesson for your children, co-workers, family, and friends that what we all want is to live in peace. It is easy to find ways to love and honor each other. Maybe the person [pilgrim?] who wrote the ad was drinking too much of the alcohol they serve and suffered from a bout of ignorance. And to the artist Craig Lima — lets give him credit too for being a tool and a fool in this endeavor. I believe our Native American community deserves an apology.

Diane Williams, Oakland


In our December 24 story about the growing maturity of youth fiction ("Sex and Drugs and Violence — Oh My!"), we misspelled the name of author Cassandra Clare.

We failed to credit Jay Youngdahl as the author of the December 24 column "Saving Paradise Is a Noble Effort."


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