Letters for July 29 

Readers sound off on high-density development in downtown Berkeley and our review of the Mayflower.

"Hiding in Plain Sight," Food, 7/1

It's My Fav

Wow ... I've been a patron of Mayflower since October 2007 when I first moved to Berkeley. As is my usual custom upon moving to a new city, I immediately began testing the various Chinese restaurants in the area to find my fav. I take my Chinese food very seriously.

Now, when I walk into Mayflower, I don't receive a menu, nor am I asked what I want. Instead, I seat myself and the waitress simply confirms that I'll get the same dish that I've gotten each of the 50+ times I've come in before. Less than 5-7 minutes later, I have a delicious plate of General Tso's chicken (sans broccoli, egg roll, soup, and salad, per my request).

Thank you for writing this glowing review of Mayflower. One of the things I've come to appreciate after living in Berkeley is the notion of supporting good restaurants. Your review should help Mayflower solidify its presence for years to come.

Oh yeah, I shared the review with an old buddy of mine who's in journalism school at Missouri. His reply?

He quoted this excerpt: "Holes-in-the-wall are yours until you lose them. Then you think you'll never know another. Out there in the universe they wink. To find one is a measure of belonging."

Then he proceeded to ask me, "I wonder if this woman is married yet?"Thanks!

Cedrick Andrews, Berkeley

Save the Sharks

We are absolutely appalled that you would give a good review to a restaurant that serves shark fin. Perhaps you should check out how shark fins are secured and the devastating effects on the sharks.

John MacNeil, Berkeley

"You're Not an Environmentalist If You're Also a NIMBY," Feature, 7/1

Growth Okay with Rules

Those of us who live in or near these redevelopment zones are not opposed to growth so much as growth without rules. There's a reason we voted for and have implemented such things as green building standards and rent control — we believe they make Berkeley a better place to live.  It's not development that we object to, but rather developers' attempts to use the language of smart growth to exempt themselves from affordable housing requirements and environmentally sound building processes (things developers have never wanted in the first place). What's the point of having laws and codes if the rich and politically connected don't have to follow them?

Hugh Behn-Steinberg, Berkeley

We Need to Live Within Our Resources

The choice isn't between high-density housing and anti-environmentalism — that's a false choice and a very stupid way to approach a very serious and complex problem.Decisions that development agencies in Berkeley and Oakland make do not have binding consequences for other municipalities. For example, if Oakland decided to put up high-density housing (and of course reap the tax benefits) that would not prevent the City of Napa from deciding to pave over farmland for development (and also reap the tax benefits). Both cities make their own decisions based on their own desire for tax money. It's an old game to pretend that what happens in the big cities determines what happens in the countryside, but as anyone who has lived in the countryside knows, small towns and counties desire those same development dollars and have even fewer other tax sources. So simply making cities less livable for their inhabitants does nothing to protect the larger environment.


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