Letters for the week of December 28, 2005-January 3, 2006 

Playing Green Acres in the backyard, victimology in the public schools, dirty politics in the neighborhood, and cryogenics in Soviet Oakland.

"Endangered Species," Feature, 11/30

When chickens lie down with ducks
A couple of comments on Jonathan Kauffman's article about avian flu.

Firstly, as a responsible journalist, Mr. Kauffman's most important duty is to prevent hysteria. Before providing information about the 1918 pandemic, it should have been made abundantly clear that the virus that wiped out millions IS NOT the same virus found in stricken birds (or people) today. Yes, it is an avian flu, but not H5N1. While this point is made later in the article, scaring the bejeezus out of folks before presenting facts makes Mr. Kauffman's article a little too sensational; perhaps fit for the Enquirer. How about reassuring people by mentioning all the advances in medicine that exist here in 2005, which would have saved many lives, had that same flu broken out today?

That being said, the people most in need of being taken out back and slapped shitless are Mateo Rutherford and Jim Montgomery, the guys playing Green Acres in Berkeley. These folks, professing love for their animals (up until slaughter), are doing a great disservice to genuine practitioners of animal husbandry. While ducks and chickens may both be birds, that's where the similarities end. Ducks paddle around in the water and hang out with ... ducks. Chickens scratch in the dirt and hang out with ... chickens. Why? Because that is what Mother Nature intended. Yes, these animals can coexist in a harmonious fashion, with the help of humans.

Personally, I own reptiles. The lizard and snakes are different species -- they are kept apart. The frogs live together in my planter. See a trend??? Keeping different species in close contact can be harmful. Bacteria and viruses that exist symbiotically with one species may kill another.

Passing off the information provided to him by the USDA as a plot to destroy backyard farmers is just toooooo far a stretch. All of the information is backed up by UC Davis. There isn't a university more dedicated to health and well-being of animals in this state.

Rutherford and Montgomery's (and all the backyard fowl owners who agree with them) refusal to follow the clear protocols set up is what will bring about the demise of organic chicken farming, creating a point in time where backyard keeping of chickens and ducks will be banned and someone will come around and kill their little friends to control an outbreak.
Christine Miller, Point Richmond


"Teachin' Tookie," East Side Story, 11/23

Victims of victimology
I know this is a bit late, but I just read the story about the "Tookie teach-in" on your Web site and it makes me want to puke. I'm from Berkeley, and I had to endure more than my share of "teach-ins" during my public school career. This kind of white-guilt liberalism has a symbiotic relationship with the aggressive victimology of some "ethnic" advocacy groups in the Bay Area and also in my new home, New York (hello, Sharpton!). I'm all for peace and justice and learning history; I'm not in favor of blindly throwing support behind the liberal cause of the month. It's unfortunate that schoolkids have to be exposed to this kind of manipulation, but I don't think they need protection -- I just hope they read widely and realize that what they're taught in school isn't necessarily true.
Jonah Ewell, New York City


"Thanks for Nothing," Cityside, 11/30

She's no angel
Concerning Robert Gammon's article on Nancy Nadel: Some corrections are in order. Nancy is not fighting development in Oakland; in fact, her district gets the lion's share of the development money. This is verifiable.

Concerning her push for "affordable housing," the expression itself is misleading. It is intended to give the impression that low-income people (read: uneducated minorities) can afford to live in these cheesy, penitentiary-sized slums of the (near) future. In fact, a person has to be entry-level middle-class to afford them. I am white and college-educated, and they are far beyond the reach of my income.

Oakland should be renovating old structures around the city, instead of racing to build a lot of new ones. Why? Because it is, in most cases, cheaper; it gives a disincentive to large development corporations from carpetbagging in our town; and it preserves the character and charm of Old Oakland, which was once considered a beautiful city for its architectural highpoints. These local treasures are now fast disappearing, (no) thanks to Nancy and the rest.

Nancy has supported a number of oversized projects in her district; when members of the community protested, she used her flunky Joel Tena to try to big-foot dissent, using tactics unethical and dirty in the extreme. The many sordid examples are too numerous to review here. Nancy is not a PC angel. People who know her call her two-faced and sneaky; I've seen nothing to contradict their judgment.

To Robert Gammon: Check your "facts."
James J. Fenton, Oakland


Thaw him out
Ron Dellums looks like a sure winner for mayor of Oakland except for one important fact. The cryogenic enthusiasts who froze him when his favorite form of government, Soviet communism, failed in 1989, failed also at this time to thaw him out completely. One of his campaign supporters should donate an electric sleeping blanket to help him thaw out -- although most Oakland voters will probably not notice the difference.

After years of Lionel Wilson and Jerry Brown, who can tell if any Oakland mayor is awake, let alone frozen?
Martin Easton, Clayton


"Hyphy vs. Thizzin'," Close 2 tha Edge, 11/2

Hella bootsie
Man, you hella bootsie, you tryin to compare two things that got shit to do with music from a musical, commercial standpoint. Please shut the fuck up slaughtering the character of our slang and Bay Area credibility all on the Internet; hyphy isn't a dance or a music style and thizzin' ain't neither. And you think they go hand in hand you got self-esteem issues and you must need a drug in you to have some nuts. I'm hyphy sober. Do yo research before you go makin' posts on the WORLD WIDE WEB to represent a whole fuckin' culture that you ain't a part of. Get the fuck outtahere dog.
james, via the Internet

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