Letters for January 9, 2008 

Readers sound off on Celiac Disease, global warming, free speech, and Schilling Gardens

"Sliced Dread," Feature, 10/17

Your Article Changed My Life

You do not know how much it means to me that you printed the long article on Celiac disease. I have been ill since college but had also been seeing doctors for my short attention span since a child and it took your article to realize that I was a Celiac! My life has been given back to me — I was so fatigued after having a baby that I was too tired to even figure out what was wrong anymore. The only problem is that I'm disappointed that the doctors didn't catch it fifteen years ago, I feel like I missed so much those years because I was always tired. Your article changed my life. Thank you.

Jen Komaromi, El Cerrito

"Smoke, But No Fire" and "The Plot to Enslave and Destroy the White Race," Letters, 12/26

You Ran These Letters The Wrong Week

What useful purpose could be served by your publishing these two lame letters as the only responses to your feature on global warming? Maybe if they were spoofs they would at least be funny, but no such luck. The first, with its claim that global warming is being used by "dogmatists" to "shut down the white man's civilization," bolstered by reference to an accord of dissenting climate scientists that does not exist, should rather have been included with your favorite letters of 2007 collection of bizarre rants. The second is even worse, since its jumble of comments, incorrect on almost every point (take, for example, the statement that "the warmest years in recent times were in the 1930s"), is confusing enough that some readers might actually wind up accepting the author's conclusion that we might just as well not worry about it. Being an avowed amateur is no excuse for conveying erroneous and easily-corrected information — and what about your editors' role in broadcasting unfounded doubts about a very serious subject?

We are deeply indebted to the dedicated scientists around the world who have been studying earth, ice, sea, and air in an attempt to understand global environmental changes. They have published a flood of findings in peer-review journals in recent years that have spilled out into the popular press. Here are a few accessible sources: Science Daily, based on data dating back to 1850 from the World Meteorological Organization, concluded that the top eleven warmest years on record have all been in the last thirteen years, with 2007 likely to join the list. In 2005, and again in 2007, the Academies of Science of the United States, United Kingdom, China, Russia, Japan, Germany, France, Italy, Canada, India, and Brazil signed the "Joint Science Academies' Statement: Global Response to Climate Change" affirming unequivocally that the global climate has been warming over the last fifty years due predominantly to increased greenhouse gas concentrations caused by human activities. The "Fourth Assessment Report" of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is an important collation of the findings of this international body's working groups over many years.

Global warming is arguably the greatest challenge humanity has ever faced. Let's put heads, hands, and hearts together to do our best to turn things around.

Shams Kairys, Kensington

"Friends in High Places," Water Cooler, 12/12

How Dare You

I am a builder with a project adjacent to Lake Merritt in the pipeline awaiting approval. I am also a beneficiary of a paradigm which encourages friends and allies of our industry to come and testify whenever a colleague's project is before a commission. This model, perfected by our industry in San Francisco where I also build, counterbalanced opposition to projects very successfully over the last twenty years. What angered me most about your hit piece was that my testimony, had I been able to attend the planning commission hearing, would have tainted the process since I speak with an Irish brogue. How dare you, under the guise of freedom of the press, constrain and impugn my rights to free speech.

Ritchie Hart, San Francisco

Save the Park

The very same things that make this parcel valuable to the developers (that it is four blocks from the 19th Street BART station, upcoming Bus Rapid Transit-BRT, and a half-block from the lake and separated bikeway) also make it valuable to the city as a transit-oriented park.

As the citizens of a progressive and forward-thinking city, we need to consider our transit modes in the future: many more of us will be taking BART/BRT, and riding bicycles. There will also be more residents in downtown nearby. Thus we need to enhance and acquire existing green spaces for park use, such as the Schilling Gardens parcel, that are near transit.

The Schilling Gardens could be an attractive and valuable park and a piece of the economic development puzzle, considering this park is proximate to downtown office buildings. Organizations and companies wishing to locate in downtown Oakland will enjoy having a beautiful space nearby to host banquets, meetings, and other functions.

As a city we must find the will and the way to acquire this parcel with redevelopment or general fund money, bond money, and/or philanthropic funds. It would be a mistake to destroy a historic, existing green space for a project that doesn't even have "affordable" inclusionary housing units.

Chris Kattenburg, Oakland

Of Course it's Coordinated

Despite the paranoia that the "process had been stacked," many of us in the neighborhood welcome this project and gain nothing personally for speaking in favor of it. And so what if there's a "coordinated campaign to speak in favor of this project"? There's clearly an equally coordinated campaign against it — as is their right. The city turned down the donation of Schilling Gardens for sound economic reasons. Let a private developer bring more vibrancy to our already urban neighborhood along with the economic benefits of development.

Steve Rochon, Oakland

Letters Policy

Please provide your full name, address, and daytime phone number, although we'll only print your name, city, and affiliation. Send letters to Letters@EastBayExpress.com or Letters, East Bay Express, 1335 Stanford Ave., Emeryville, CA 94608. Letters are edited for length and clarity.

Clarification

Accompanying our recent article about high school parties that get out of hand, we ran some photographs from a recent Berkeley High School gathering at Blakes on Telegraph. This party was not mentioned in our story. Use of these photographs may have suggested to some readers that the event at Blakes was unsupervised or problematic, which was not the case. We regret having created any impressions to the contrary.

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