Letters for the week of August 27-September 2, 2003 

Thanks for my recent promotion. Thanks for paying some attention. No thanks for misportraying students. No thanks for the California recall.

"Losers Weepers," The Coleman Chronicles, 8/20

Please send the Kleenex. The Wite-Out's in the mail.
I was pleased to read of my promotion in the Coleman Chronicles of the Express, but upon arriving at work I found it wasn't true -- I'm still the editor of the Berkeley Voice, not the Contra Costa Times. The article Chris Thompson refers to appeared only in the Voice.

This is an especially important distinction in order for the promised box of Kleenex to be properly delivered. Send it to:

Berkeley Voice
4301 Lakeside Drive
Richmond, CA 94806

I am fond of floral prints. I'll return the favor by sending the Express a bottle of correction fluid.

Oh, and thanks for reading the Berkeley Voice!
Eric Kurhi, Berkeley

Alas, our reliance upon the Nexis database contributed to this careless error. The archived version of Kurhi's article made it appear that it was published in the Times and not the Voice, and prominently referred to him as "the editor." Still, we should know better, shouldn't we?

"Murder in Pod B, Cell 9," Feature, 7/30

This senseless death should be treated like murder
Thank you for the article about Kevin Freeman. I was beginning to wonder when you would cover this horrible and outrageous event. I have a good friend who frequently winds up at Santa Rita, sometimes in the mental unit, for various harmless infractions. There is such a difference between cruel and violent criminals and nonviolent lawbreakers.

Captain Hagan and any other people who allowed this murder to happen fall into the first category and should be facing murder charges. Kudos to Kriss Worthington for caring about this injustice. Please do a follow-up!
Laurie Bagley, Richmond

It isn't the first time
Thanks so much for writing this story. I was a student at GTU in 1999 and was familiar with the local street people. When I heard there had been a death at Santa Rita I wanted to know the circumstances, and which homeless person had died. At that time, I also worked as a chaplain intern at Santa Rita jail. While I was there, we had one death that I knew of -- a woman detoxing in the bunk quarters. Apparently her body lay there several hours while they waited for the coroner. Needless to say the other women were traumatized and concerned for their own health and welfare. I called KTVU to see if someone would do a story, but got no response. Different circumstances, but I believe it is important to put names and faces to people who suffer from negligence while incarcerated. Usually we hear the horror stories of the crimes, not the horror stories that go on inside.

Again, many, many thanks for your story. I continue to work with prisoners on a volunteer basis; I also teach high school and plan to use your story in my social justice class. (Hope that's okay.)
Laura Witter, Kentfield

You have our permission to reprint the article for use in your classroom.

"Jerry's Kids," Feature, 7/23

Right about the school, wrong about the students
I would like to comment about your article. A lot of what you wrote I believe to be true. I am a parent of one of the students who attend OMI. I read your article and had mixed emotions.

What bothered me in particular was the picture you painted of these kids. I believe that your description of these kids was totally off-base. Most are well-behaved. I did not like the fact that you called these kids ghetto kids and disciplined problem kids. My daughter does not fit into either of those categories. I was very offended by your description of these children. I do not stand alone in my thinking. A lot of parents are upset. This school was supposed to be for kids who were having some difficulties in academics, but not because they were problem children: it was because they needed more help and their parents and/or previous teachers could not provide it. I think you ought to choose your words a little more carefully, because you have offended a lot of people.

I sent my daughter to OMI because I am a single parent whose time is limited and my daughter needed a more structured school environment. Not because she has no home structure, which was another description you gave that I feel is way off base. Sure, there are bound to be a few rotten apples, but that does not mean that all these children are problem kids. Just be careful in what you say from now on, because people may want to bring forth a lawsuit for defamation of character if that's possible.

I thought your article hit the target as far as the problem at OMI, but I also thought you made the students of OMI look bad, and that's not fair to them.
LaTonia Mason, Alameda

"Gary for Governor," Feature, 8/6

Our fruits are riper than their fruits, thank you
Congratulations on a job well done. As a native Californian, I agree that those Floridian folks are getting a fat head. It's definitely time to remind people which side of the country the fruits and nuts have rolled over to.

So, yeah, totally give Gary Coleman a go. Woo-hoo! This is gonna be the best $1.71 ($60 million divided by $35 million) I ever spent.
Bruno Farragut, Alameda

It would be funny if ...
Is this candidacy for real? Do you need a campaign adviser? I work cheap. I definitely have some ideas that could contribute greatly to this ... "campaign."

Enquiring minds want to know.

Regardless, thank you for the very amusing article. Would be funnier if I didn't ultimately have to think about how serious the entire situation is.
Doug Ricketson, Pinole

Yeah, wouldn't it?


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