Letters for September 16 

Readers sound off on Grind Time, marijuana and cancer, and Monica Ung.

"It's a Grind," Culture Spy, 8/26

Grind Time Googleability

I really enjoyed this article. I'm a big supporter of Grind Time and watch all the battles. I hope this helps bring more attention to the entire scene. Is there a reason why I can't do a net search for this article anymore? My job focuses on search-engine optimization so I am always interested in things of that matter. I noticed a few days ago I was able to find this article by doing a Google search, but now it's not showing up anymore. No matter what I search. Do you know why this is happening and is this error correctable? It would be in your best interest as well as Grind Time's who can use the article as a wonderful source of information and promotion. Hopefully this gets a response and this can be fixed. Thanks!

Maren Sagat, Oakland

"A New Front in the War Against Pot?" News, 8/26

Behind the Ball

Californians will rightly greet the environmental bureaucrats' Prop. 65 warnings about marijuana and cancer with the same concerned yawn they give to the myriad other Prop. 65 warnings that litter our gas stations, dry cleaners, factories, TV studios, etc. It should be a source of embarrassment to the Prop. 65 panel that their warnings about marijuana have been contradicted by a brand-new study finding that moderate marijuana smoking is associated with a 62 percent reduced risk of head and neck cancer. The latter is just one of several new studies indicating anti-carcinogenic properties of the cannabinoids in marijuana. It should come as no surprise to Californians that our public health bureaucrats are once again behind the ball.

Dale Gieringer, Oakland

"Monica's Victims," Feature 8/26

Dig Deeper

You have spent a lot of ink writing about Monica Ung and my response is "Why all of the clamor?" What she is doing and has done in Chinatown and throughout Alameda County is no surprise. Chinatown and its "immigrant" population has always received special favors from the city, county and others. They advertise in Chinese language-only newspapers, they hire illegal immigrants which means that they do not pay taxes or Social Security, they have hidden assets that are never reported for tax purposes, they pay with cash in order to not leave a paper trail, most have ties to China in an effort to gain as much control of American real estate as possible, and they are not "team players." The union is all upset because they feel that they are not getting their fair share of all of the construction work being given to NBC. Anytime they are at the forefront of a fight you can believe that it is not about the workers but about the survival of a weakened union. Take a hard look around Chinatown and dig deeper than Monica Ung and you will find many more just like her. If you want to do an exposé take it to the limit and expose Chinatown for what it is, a money laundering, illegal immigrant breeding ground of corruption and tax evasion. Where are they getting seed money for all of this construction? Where do their workers come from? Much time is spent looking at Hispanic illegal immigrants while Chinese and Southeast Asian illegal immigrants are here in large numbers as well. As long as that is the case the Monica Ungs of the world will continue to extort hard work for little pay from them. But I do not feel for workers like Ricky Lau because those same construction sites never advertised or allowed men and women of other races to work on those multimillion-dollar projects, which were being built with taxpayers' money. How many unemployed construction workers would have loved to have had an opportunity to make $25 an hour during these hard times? Ricky Lau didn't make $60 an hour, but would that same Ricky Lau have asked why there were no black or Hispanic people on the site? I think not. This "close-knit community" protects and looks after its own at the expense of others as they bypass tax laws, labor laws, anti-discrimination laws, and other laws, which would have made them pay their fair share of taxes, institute fair hiring practices, etc. Where was the union years and years ago to fight this type of corruption? There seems to be a "hands off" attitude by city and county officials when it comes to Chinatown. Perhaps "outing" Monica Ung will begin the type of investigations that should have been going on for a long time.

Lorene Flintroy, Berkeley

"Nestlings," Visual Arts, 8/26

That's Real Color!

Thanks for writing the review of the Swarm show. For the record, none of the water in the bags is dyed! It is unaltered Oakland Estuary water and the findings are plastics that have washed up at the estuary.

I am pasting in my project description. It can also be read right outside the project room.

"Being overly curious and having my studio in Jack London Square has led me to the waterway and compelled me to experiment with what is there, the tides, the salty water, and the tremendous washing up of plastic. Who is throwing this plastic in the water? Is it simply floating in from the bay? How can we prevent it from getting into the waterways? It breaks into tiny particles that resemble zoo plankton. How toxic are these synthetic crumbs?

Unlike glass which also litters the shore way, it does not turn into sand.Plastic turns into plastic. Its haunting presence reveals a colorful disturbance.This project is an assemblage of water and plastic found at the Oakland Estuary since June 2009, I have collected these items once or twice a week during varying tides, at edge of the water as well as on the shore banks. The process is endless."

Reenie Charrière, artist


In our September 2 story "Paper View" about a juried art show at the Berkeley Art Center, we noted that the Oakland Museum of California is closed. We also should have noted that the museum will reopen next May, following a planned renovation.


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