Letters for the week of April 5-11, 2006 

How Oakland is like Mexico. How Alameda is not like Staten Island. How LA is not like Nicaragua. How Berkeley is like Oakland.

"Road to Nowhere," Feature, 3/1

South of the Border, Down Alameda Way
I would like to thank the Express for the article regarding the "Road to Nowhere" and the politicians (e.g., Don Perata) who reward their political contributors and friends with taxpayer-funded projects. Multiply this incident by 100 and you can begin to see how California can have high taxes and underfunded school classrooms at the same time. Hopefully articles of this type will help to stop this type of "corruption," and we won't end up with a Mexico-type democracy, where government corruption is an accepted fact of life.
Paul Davis, Oakland


"Smoke (and Mirrors) on the Water," Cityside, 3/8

Cost It Out
Thanks for the refreshingly critical article about ferry service. The ferry system is a prime example of a romanticized transit system that cannot justify the cost of the subsidies. At a time when resources are scarce, there needs to be more cost-benefit analysis of huge funding measures that allocate public dollars to programs that benefit very few.
Steven D. Ross, Berkeley, member, American Institute of Certified Planners


"Feelin' Their Thizzle," Feature, 3/15

The Cocaine Importing Agency
I found your article to be quite readable and informative. But I take issue on page 21 when you dismiss the idea that the CIA would intentionally spread crack as a "spurious conspiracy theory." There's a lot of documentation that points to it being conspiracy fact, yet you give no reason why you think the allegation is without merit.

A good place to find out why so many people call it the Cocaine Importing Agency is here: http://www.disinfo.com/archive/pages/dossier/id38/pg1/index.html

Also, North Korea and Mexico are supposedly behind the toxic manufacturing of methamphetamine, but not Ecstasy?
Niles Dolbeare, Point Richmond

EDITOR'S NOTE
The clause you are objecting to was inserted by Express Editor Stephen Buel, who worked at the San Jose Mercury News when it published the stories that first made this assertion. While the Merc proved that two men who supplied cocaine to an LA drug dealer directed some portion of their proceeds to the CIA-backed Contra Rebels, the insinuation that this constituted a government-orchestrated plan to unleash crack in Black America was and still is a "spurious conspiracy theory." It is sad that this notion still lives on despite the utter lack of evidence offered by the Merc's greatly flawed series.


"High Society Lowdown," Feature, 3/22

Here's How You Market A Former Women's Club
I read with great interest Eric Rubin's High Society Lowdown.

As the President of the Berkeley City Club, founded in 1927 and whose home is an architectural treasure designed by Julia Morgan, we have the greatest empathy for the Bellevue Club's plight.

Indeed, we have also had to face the challenge of modernizing the Club's original mission — to serve the interests of women in the 1930s — to provide benefits that suit our vibrant community in the 21st century.

Today, the Berkeley City Club is focusing on serving the interests of Berkeley's young professionals and families while, at the same time, ensuring that our longtime members can still enjoy activities that were the magnet for them. We have added amenities such as Internet access, complimentary Peet's coffee, updated hotel rooms, and a reciprocal arrangement with UC Berkeley's Recreational Sports Facility. We have also added more special events, such as Robert Burns Night, The Bay Area Salon series, and seasonal cocktail parties and concerts. Also, our five-lane, Olympic-style, indoor pool is still one of the best secrets in Berkeley.

We are blessed to have an active board of directors and a great working relationship with the Landmark Heritage Foundation, which is committed to the maintenance and preservation of our historic clubhouse. To help assure our continued success, we have developed relationships with civic groups, local businesses, and other facilities, and it is exciting to see the activities blossoming under the sponsorship of our members.

Change is challenging! However, there is still a place for club activities in our society. I encourage your readers to take a virtual tour of our club at www.berkeleycityclub.com.
Rosemary Mucklow, President, Berkeley City Club, Berkeley


"Brass Monkeys," Music, 3/1

Different Class
Hey ... what's the deal? Is Aidin Vaziri from the Chron secretly writing for you guys now? 'Cos somebody is smoking crack.

Please ... don't mention the Arctic Monkeys in the same breath as Pulp. I have seen Pulp more than once. I have seen the Arctic Monkeys. And I would rather give some "actual" monkeys my $15 than have to listen to the Arctic Monkeys again. That is all. I bid you good day.
Erik Kolacek, Alameda

CORRECTIONS
We misstated the first name of À Côté's bartender in "Stirring Renditions" on 3/22. He is Mikey Moreno, not Mark.

We also incorrectly referred to the author Markos Moulitsas Zúniga throughout the books section article "All But the Shouting" on 3/29. His surname is Moulitsas, not Zúniga.

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