Letters for the week of December 30-January 5 

Readers sound off on the best movies of the year, Oakland's proposed affordable housing fee, and voting in Hayward

Page 4 of 6

Finally, my own credentials as an environmentalist are as follows: I volunteered literally thousands of hours as a campaigner for Earth First! and also worked for Greenpeace. I have put my body and life on the line in civil disobedience actions and have voluntarily been arrested for true environmental causes, such as opposing development. I am an active member of national and international environmental groups like Center for Biological Diversity, Rainforest Action Network, Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, and local groups such as Save the Bay and San Bruno Mountain Watch. In stark contrast, I challenge Mr. Gammon to provide his credentials as a "true" environmentalist who can say that others of us are not.

Mr. Gammon and the Express owe an apology to us true environmentalists and to the Earth itself and all that lives here. A true environmentalist opposes development unless the environmental benefits of it substantially outweigh its major harms. Development in our world is just a euphemism for destruction — in the case of the Berkeley project, destruction of the sky and of the natural world by consuming more oil and water. True environmentalists oppose this destruction.

The affordable housing issue should be dealt with by economic means, such as government subsidies. (Traditional Native Americans and other traditional indigenous people have it right: No one can own land. The concept of landlords is just an immoral and needless holdover from feudalism that is at the root of the affordable housing problem.) This social problem should not be dealt with by destroying natural views or by bringing in even more population and cars to our downtown areas and by consuming even more water. This is how a true environmentalist thinks.

Jeff Hoffman, Berkeley


"CTRL-SHFT," Art, 12/16

What About Older Artists?

This is all very great for young, female graduates, and I'm happy for them. However, let me speak up for the older, mature female artists who did not have the benefit of today's insights and novel attitudes towards female art and artists. What about those of us who somehow navigated a tougher system several years ago but yet manage to hang on to our art practice? What about those of us who somehow manage to balance motherhood and their art? Who somehow manage to work for their basic survival needs (and their family's) and still do their art? Who have had to keep a day job and still do their art? Whose art has never been significantly recognized or validated by the art world, and who still keep going? Is today's inclusivity focused only on the young and upcoming? Is the concept of doing art minus the driving ambition of attaining rock star status such a dismal place to be?

Janine Barrera Castillo, Vallejo


"No Place to Go," News, 12/9

Punx for Poop!

I had J.C. Orton's famous lentil soup recently. I don't know what we here in B-Town would do without his dedication in at least the last fifteen years or so that I'm aware of. I've been homeless — on and off again — for seven or eight years or so in the last fifteen. I think the city should double the existing number of bathrooms, use security cameras, and get at least as many existing bathrooms to be open more or less for 24 hours. Author Allie George mentions Berkeley's historic People's Park. Gardening at People's Park is also akin to "picking up poop constantly," and picking up garbage or repairing the garden from vandals, close to half of whom are mentally ill. Others are simply not considerate of the park since both the city and the UC Berkeley administration consistently stigmatize it and do anything they can to further disenfranchise an environment open to low-income and mentally ill people and students. Those expensive French public toilets are much needed in Berkeley. I think a big concert fundraiser at the Greek Theatre with Green Day (local), Primus (local), Rancid (at least partially local), and Neurosis (local) — you know, Punx For Poop! — should solve the finances.

I guess I should like to add that I have a master's degree in urban studies and that my volunteering with 924 Gilman (then also known as the Gilman Street Project) between 1989 and 1995 saw many fundraisers. Also, I'm dim on the history of local punks doing civic fundraisers of the kind as so suggested, (at least outside of grassroots projects/activism/phenomenology). "Punx for Poop" could be a first of its kind here. I believe the city should seriously consider the idea.

Darin Allen Bauer, Berkeley

It's the Homeless People's Fault

Why should one red cent go to fixing or installing any toilets for people who make them filthy? Many of the homeless have little respect for private property. I propose having the very people with ample time on their hands clean their own mess. Of course they won't, so have petty criminals do the work for them. Homeless people are used to having others do their dirty work.

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