Letters for the week of January 14-20, 2004 

Dr. DeBerry is quite humane and Soulbeat is sorely missed. But Judge Conger could shove off and Chris Thompson should wise up.

"Dental Damnation," Bottom Feeder, 12/24

His patients get the best
I am a patient of Dr. DeBerry. He is very competent, but most important, he is the most humane dentist I have ever met. He has not only done very good work, but he has never caused me pain, and he has made dentistry unfrightening.

The article about him by Will Harper is unfair. Dr. DeBerry is being vilified for staying home with his disabled wife and the inconvenience that entails, and for not turning away a homeless man in need. That is disgusting and you should be ashamed. His practice is criticized based on the experiences of one patient who was unhappy with the fit of her dentures. You could find a similar case for any dentist in the USA.

Dr. DeBerry is extremely knowledgeable and careful. He knows more about the materials he uses than I expected a dentist to know. Science is my life, and I would know if he were inaccurate. He has made sacrifices to take care of his family, but his patients get the best dentistry in Berkeley.
Cliff Hersh, Berkeley

"Soul on Thin Ice," Bottom Feeder, 11/12

Speak out for Soulbeat
Soulbeat TV has been around for 25 years and has been a strong voice in the black community. I am disheartened that someone who apparently has not seen Soulbeat in a while speaks so negatively about the only black-owned TV show in the nation. BET does not speak to the common man about local issues that affect Oakland, Berkeley, or other cities in the East Bay area. We as a black people need to speak out on issues that affect the black community. Soulbeat has been this vehicle and I have enjoyed and received vital information from the station.

Many in my community feel, as I do, that Soulbeat is the soul for many people who feel large businesses like Comcast are raping and disrespecting the Soulbeat viewership. If we as a people truly value freedom of speech, we need to speak out in support of Soulbeat. This station's voice and its people should not be silenced.
C. Washington, Oakland

"The Greatest Show on Dirt!" Feature, 12/10

Judge Julie Conger is unfit to serve
A few years back, my partner and I bought a house near Highland Hospital. We started experiencing garbage dumped on our property, the same type every day. We finally caught someone in the act, but the person had no remorse. Our complaints to the OPD and DA's office fell on deaf ears. We attempted to get a TRO but were unsuccessful, even though the harassment had escalated to serious property damage against my partner's automobile. My partner complained to the live-in landlord of the offending tenant. After she had complained three or four times over that many months, the landlord got a TRO against my partner, which [Judge Julie] Conger then upheld for the maximum three years. The "witnesses" consisted of the person who for two years had dumped garbage on our property as well as other crimes, the then live-in girlfriend of the landlord whom my partner spoke to for a few seconds on one occasion, a former neighbor of ours from TWO YEARS EARLIER who had to be told by the OPD to not let her dog bark all night, and two personal friends of the landlord who were involved in the car repair business that he conducted out of his home.

We never got a chance to present rebuttal testimony. Conger promised she would hear that at a later date, but she never did. My partner has had to spend thousands of dollars appealing this to appellate courts. Judge Julie Conger is unfit to be on any bench or governmental body. She issues injunctions like water mainly to promote her own ideological agenda, which is white self-hate and gun control for noncriminals.
Michael P. Hardesty, Oakland

"How to Stop Obesity: Advertising," City of Warts, 12/17

Advertising is not enough
I object to the tone of Mr. Thompson's article. He seems to believe that all overweight people are in that condition because they are lazy, burger-chomping couch potatoes. It is obvious that he has never been in the position of struggling to lose weight.

I have been trying for years to lose weight. I have done everything by the book: reduced-calorie regimens with many vegetables, and vigorous weight training/cardiovascular exercise. At the very minimum, I walk vigorously forty minutes per day. However, I still have had great difficulty in losing weight. I am very angry when I am told, "Oh, you just need to eat less" by skinny people who mindlessly gulp down burgers and shakes while I carefully watch everything I eat, feeling like I'm starving. More and more Americans are following the "advertising" that Mr. Thompson suggests, attempting to eat a low-fat diet -- yet more are gaining weight. Weight loss is not as straightforward as he thinks.

Perhaps Mr. Thompson is one of those skinny people who believes that any overweight person simply watches too much TV and eats too many Fritos. How can he believe this? We are daily bombarded by messages, especially from movies and TV, how BAD and UNFASHIONABLE it is to be fat. From an early age, fat children are mercilessly tormented by their classmates. Such social pressures are already strong "advertising." Do you really think that people are simply ignoring these messages and choosing to inhale Twinkies? People don't want to be fat, yet many of us are overweight no matter what we do. It is inane for Mr. Thompson to believe that further research is unnecessary. Research and education are two sides of a coin: We need to educate the public on how to live healthier lives, and we need the science to back it up.
D.A., Berkeley

CORRECTION
In our January 7 article, "She, Too, Has a Dream," we misstated the date of the Making the Dream Real Celebration in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day. The event is Monday, January 19, 10 a.m. to noon, at the Taylor United Methodist Church, 1188 12th St., Oakland. For further information, visit AHC-Oakland.org or phone 510-652-5530.

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