Letters for January 12 

Readers sound off on goats, our movie reviews, and Berkeley libraries.

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And just because there are fewer comic book fans than, say, football fans, is no reason to diss them as "hard-core geeks" or their interest as "something frivolous." How about using those skills you learned in journalism school to come up with some creative new angle, instead of trying to marginalize those who happen to like a different form of entertainment than you do?

Oh, and by the way, it's not actually true that, "You can't really read a comic strip on a Kindle or online." Marvel, DC, and Archie offer digital comics on their web sites, and Marvel and DC have iPhone/iPad apps.

Jim Davidson, Berkeley

You Missed It

I have to say that a number of things that Chris Juricich said during his interview (which I overheard in large part, having been in the store at the time) were quite clearly misunderstood and used to illustrate points to which they do not apply.

As an example, his description of the decline in sales of the standard-format comic in favor of trade paperback and hardcover collections is used by the writer as a reason for the store's trouble, when in fact Comic Relief's very identity is tied up in marketing comics in book format. The store's full name is "Comic Relief, the Comic Bookstore," not "the Comic Book Store." Get the difference? You quoted that, but missed its import. Comics as books. Comics in book format — it's what Comic Relief does.

James Friel, Oakland

"Against Immigrants, Not Latinos," Letters, 12/15

Why IDs Matter

The purpose of increasing cooperation of individuals with Oakland Police seems quite clear to me. Whether or not some crooks leave their ID at the scene of the crime, the individuals who need to be encouraged to cooperate are: (1) Victims. Fear of being treated like a suspect makes anyone afraid to report a crime.

(2) Witnesses: Many witnesses will not speak out, again because of fear. (3) Bystanders: Maybe not actual witnesses, but they saw something that might be helpful, such the license plate of a car fleeing the scene. Without ID, they have to protect themselves rather than help the police and the victims. Many people, especially immigrants, are quite afraid of the police. Other people, such as homeless, may be less fearful, but in the homeless life, ID is one of the earliest things lost or stolen, and one of the hardest to replace. Without ID, many services are closed to someone in need. Since the rumor is that Homeland Security is going to start requiring two forms of government issued ID in 2011, even Mr. Nnaoji's Town of Moraga may find it needs to issue municipal ID so its residents can cash a check or use a credit card.

I would prefer that we live in the trusting times of the 1930s and 1940s, when there was almost no requirement for ID except as proof of age to collect Social Security, but this is seventy or eighty years later.

Theolinda Knight, Berkeley

"Hello ... Wanna Give to a Good Cause?" Feature, 11/3

Psychological Problems?

I liked Mintz's article on the student loan issue.  One thing I thought was lacking is that it seems like many of the debtors seem to need some help in learning how to manage their lives, courageously facing their current situation and fears and working through personal issues. It would have been good to have mentioned sources for help to do damage control and solution seeking, instead of showing and perpetuating a kind of victimization.

The issue may be bigger than predatory lending, and deal with psychological factors.  McCarthy and Warner's fears are bigger than their debt, as he can't even bear to look at the amount he owes and she talks about how "they're going to come get me." It may be more productive for them to try and find solutions instead of continuing to live it such utter fear and continuing to play the victim. There are groups that support that, and it would have been cool to have seen some mentions of these as places for people to go.  I think people like Warner and McCarthy may benefit from support groups like debtors anonymous or others.

Luke Macaulay, Berkeley


In the 12/22 news story "The Electromagnetic Menace," we stated that the El Cerrito City Council had withdrawn its approval of a proposed cell phone tower at Camp Herms. In fact, the city has neither approved nor denied T-Mobile's application.

Miscellaneous Letters

University Fat-Cats

Dear Dean Edley:

When I went to law school I was taught that rule of law was designed to serve societal sustainability.

Your public rapaciousness in threatening to litigate if you ONLY get a 6-figure pension asks taxpayers to believe as a matter of equity that your annual new Lexus benefits us more than a paid faculty position at the law school or any other UC institution.

Today's paper quoted you as rationalizing your quest by saying it "financially important to {your) family."

Three thoughts come to mind:

1) If that extra money is not used for a faculty salary or student scholarship, what makes your family more important than others?

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