Letters for July 8 

Readers sound off on our story on a Richmond park, Juneteenth, and plural marriage.

"A Park Grows in Richmond," Feature, 6/10

More, Please

This is a great story FOR OUR TIMES and the only disappointment was that I could have kept on reading more!! It's been a long time since my eyes didn't glaze over trying to slog through yet another East Bay Express feature story. Please, more on this story and more from this writer!

Blake Coffey, Oakland

"Audacity and Hope," Culture Spy, 6/10

Our Legacy Is Strong

The editors of this newspaper may think it's OK to allow a writer who failed to come up with an original/creative/independent thought to produce an article filled with misinformation, slogans, stereotypes, and political buttons, but it's not.

For starters, the Berkeley Juneteenth Festival committee was founded by RD Bonds, a well-respected businessman in the south Berkeley community who in the 1970s owned, among other businesses, a book store located directly across the street from old Merritt College on Martin Luther King Jr. Way (formerly Grove St.), which sold black books and newspapers, including Black Panther newspapers. RD Bonds, a community activist, believed in giving back to the community and improving the image of the black community by promoting the black experience in a positive light. The celebration of Juneteenth in Berkeley was an idea which RD thought filled this need. RD left a strong legacy of community service, and since his death in 1995 countless volunteers have stepped up to keep the momentum of the Berkeley Juneteenth Festival going. The assumption that the Berkeley Juneteenth committee is clueless and careless about what the city wants from us is far from the truth. Year after year, we have risen to the challenge of dwindling resources, gentrification, neighborhood rifts, and a changing political climate. Yet another hurdle that had to be overcome was changing the day of the event from Father's Day. The Berkeley Juneteenth Festival is a much-needed and wanted event that is a staple for the black community and well-attended by the entire community. We are proud of our following and equally proud of the fact that attendance over the years has been continuous, steady, and strong.

What the writer calls "cracker jack bands" is a cornerstone of our belief that the BJF should be used as a vehicle to showcase up-and-coming acts, and provide them with the opportunity to show the community what they got. However, we are proud of the fact that in prior years, local talents, like John Handy, Faye Carol, and Pharoah Sanders have graced our stage.For future reference, a writer who incorrectly reports the date of an event she's writing about weakens her own credibility.

Delores Cooper Edwards, Berkeley

"The New War on Gay Marriage," Full Disclosure, 6/10

Don't Ignore the Future

In your June 10 edition, Robert Gammon wrote, "To most gays and lesbians, the polygamy argument is an offensive canard." Instead of taking offense, they ought to reply thoughtfully.

Many same-sex-marriage proponents have no wish for polygamy. But they are part of a movement, and that movement has no consensus on monogamy. For example, Jay Newberry writes, "Marriage does not have to be a monogamous relationship. What's monogamy got to do with marriage?" (SF Bay Guardian, July 2, 2008; Newberry clearly supports same-sex marriage.) Proponents of same-sex marriage can't expect the polygamy argument to go away until they make solid replies. Part of a solid reply is explaining why views like Newberry's will not prevail.

Also, Ted Boutros thinks that worries about polygamy are illegitimate because his clients aren't claiming polygamy as a right. That's ignoring the future, which might well include other clients making claims that cite same-sex marriage in support of polygamy. Similarly, Boutros notes that no court has called polygamy a right. Has the absence of precedent prevented people from asserting rights, and later finding courts that will agree with them?

Carl Anderson, Oakland

Another Form of Bigotry

Why do supporters of same-sex marriage get apoplectic whenever someone brings up plural marriage? ("To most gays and lesbians, the polygamy argument is an offensive canard designed to demonize them....") How am I demonizing or harming anyone by marrying whomever I choose? If we believe in marriage equality, then it includes those who wish to enter into plural marriage. Those who oppose plural marriage are just as bigoted as those who oppose same-sex marriage.

Mark Johnson, Berkeley


In our July 1 restaurant review of the Mayflower in Berkeley, the food item depicted in the picture was the "veggie mango chicken," not the "veggie fish."


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