Letters for March 16 

Readers sound off on Fruitvale, Hate Man, and OpenTable.

"Hate Man," Feature, 3/2

He'll Hate Me

Fantastic article on Hate Man, extremely well written and a perceptive portrait. Possibly the definitive word on Hate Man. Though he'll hate my guts for voicing a positive.

Ace Backwords, Berkeley

A Failed Parent

According to your reporters, Mark Hawthorne "can't understand how others operate without" his worldview. Maybe it's because so many of us are committed to not becoming child-abusing, trashcan-scrounging homeless people. Like other Berkeley narcissists,Hawthorne places loyalty to his dogma ahead of responsbility for the emotional well-being of his offspring. He said he has "not solved" his relationships with his kids. What would happen if he behaved the way successful parents behaved, rather than persisting in his old conduct and expecting new results?

David Altschul, Berkeley

"Fruitvale the New Hipster Hangout?" News, 3/2

Espresso with a Side of Tamales

Steps to gentrification:

1. Initial exploration. ("Great find!")

2. Spread the word. ("Man, it's the place to hang out!")

3. Deny desire to live or work there. ("Too different," "Don't know anyone there," etc.)

4. Trickle of "urban pioneers" move in, accompanied by a few coffeehouses, boutiques, etc., owned by new residents or "outsiders." ("Gee, you can live in bigger places cheaper, and there are even a new coffeehouse serving espresso with a side of tamales.")

5. Area starts "looking familiar." ("It's like living in South Campus but ... different.")

6. Newcomers displace old-time residents ("This place seems to welcome everyone.")

7. Oakland's newest Temescal. ("Oakland's next Gourmet Ghetto.")

From step 1 to 7 may take 10-15 years.

Al Sargis, Oakland

Journalistic Dribble

I just lost so much respect for the Express reading this absolutely reprehensible piece of journalistic dribble. Seriously, the only angle that you can think about in the Fruitvale is the fact that white people and privileged college students like to go there to consume the "exotic other"?! What about writing about the organizing going on in the community to stop the gang injunctions, or any of the many positive, community-oriented things that happen there every day. But no. Because people of color only exist to make white folks' lives more colorful and interesting, right? Because that is definitely the vibe that I get from this piece of trash. This writer needs to seriously re-examine his/her priorities and attitudes and stop being so absolutely offensive, culturally ignorant, and paternalistic towards an entire neighborhood. There is no excuse for this. Ugh.

Amy Ortiz, Oakland

Good Grief

I think people need to calm all the anger down. The article was clearly very basic and had no intention of exploring gentrification, race relations, or being a Pulitzer Prize-winning article. It's just tacos, college students (not described as white), and thrift stores. Good grief!

Andunett Langhum, St. Louis, MO

Our Culture Isn't a Toy

I am a current Cal student who was born and raised close to Fruitvale (around Garfield). I've worked there, marched there, held events there, organized there. Every day I walk around campus and have to deal with students just like the ones interviewed in this article. I'm baffled at how they can point out the lack of job opportunities in the community and not realize the social implications — that the people in Fruitvale are struggling. Do they not want to do something about that? They can become allies, join in the fight against gang injunctions, help revitalize the community in a way that does not strip the community of its power.

But no, they choose to walk away at the end of the day and say it's not their problem. Not to mention how they exotify the Fruitvale culture, how they straight-up called it a novelty. Our culture is not a toy, it is our way of life.

Stephanie Hoang, Berkeley

"Blame It On the Pop," Music, 3/2

Peanut Butter Disappointment

I agree 100 percent. If anything, you are being generous. "That's the beauty of wax, ya'll! You never know what's going to happen!" (Said verbatim four-plus times in a two-hour set). You really do never know. Peanut Butter Wolf seemed to be drunk judging by the way he shouted random banter at three times the sound level of the music, Dâm-Funk was forced to do more than his share of the show. Good songs played incoherently and the beat was getting dropped every two or three minutes. I had my dancing shoes tied up tight and I was pretty disappointed that nothing powerful materialized.

Brian Isett, Berkeley

"The Battle for the Lab," News, 3/2

Go Richmond!

I personally think Richmond can be a great incubator. I have friends working at SunPower. This area (close to Richmond Field Station) is really nice — great access to the Bayshore Trail (very safe), and restaurants are plentiful up and down San Pablo Avenue. As long as you aren't heading in to the Iron Triangle, this area of Richmond is really nice. I'm pulling for Richmond!

Bryant Ames. El Cerrito

Go Alameda!

Alameda is a much safer place to walk, jog, ride your bike, or park your car near the lab than Richmond, Oakland, Berkeley, or Emeryville. And a shuttle bus could easily take lab workers and visitors to the fine, reasonably priced restaurants throughout Alameda. Alameda is a logical choice for the future of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.

Carol Gottstein, Alameda

"Police Targeting Oakland's Black Venues?" News, 2/23

Not Surprising

You really have to understand the history between black communities and law enforcement and the white community. For some reason people don't believe those issues still exist. Well, they do. But when you are closed-minded and unable to accept the history of your race, you always display the flaws of others while hiding your own.


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