Letters for the Week of July 21 

Readers sound off on Oakland police, the Berkeley Bowl, Mandela Foods Co-op, and that cover.

Page 3 of 5

Charley Custer, Redway

Taking Away Rights

Every liberty that is taken away from people who think they are free, without asking, by due process of law, finds many other citizens like me who are loath to give up the things that we could freely do and receive, while we were about our liberties, not without a fight. The number of angry disillusioned citizens whose ability to trust in government has been undermined increases every day. We are lucky, so far, that mankind is more disposed to suffer evils, while the evils are sufferable. However, all history shows those with eyes to see, that within human societies there is a weight in numbers that can break the camel's back. A critical number of citizens loathing losses of some liberty that can tip the scale of justice, which is balanced on the perceptions of those who are being governed. Then the people rise up to put down the unwarranted invasions into society's greatest sovereign sphere of action by right of conquest and constitution secured to "WE THE PEOPLE."

Thomas Jones, Weston, Oregon

"Oakland's New Sewer Fees Penalize Water Conservation," Eco Watch, 6/30

Piling On the Little Guy

Here's a repeat of my e-mail to each of the council members: Besides protesting the alarmingly high percentage increases you are proposing to implement over the next three years (because you think you can get away with them and because of the way I know the way this city sloshes funds around between departments as it sees fit, —particularly when funds are otherwise tight), let me copy you about the reprehensible pretense about equity you all generally give lip service to by quoting from my e-mail to Nate Seltenrich at the East Bay Express:

"Thank you so much for your information in the June 30, 2010 edition of the Express about the disproportionate, inequitable allocation of Oakland sewer fee charges between larger and generally more affluent property owners and we smaller and generally more conservative water users.

"This sort of disproportionate, discriminatory imposition on the smaller guy is a rife expedient that Oakland politicians, (and those at the more "elevated" — term not used as any sort of compliment! — levels of government exploit ALL THE TIME), out of expedience and out of savvy to hold at bay their generally more outspoken and more campaign-funding-generous political supporters."

Sad to say, Oakland politicians — notwithstanding all their politically correct oratory — are just as cynical and self-serving as the rest of their ilk.

Michael Sachs, Oakland

"Factories for the Future," Small Business Monthly, 6/30

Jobs Must Be Protected

The West Berkeley Artisans & Industrial Companies (WEBAIC) was gratified to see the front page article, "Factories for the Future," acknowledging the value of manufacturing in today's society. While other cities are now energized to reinvigorate their manufacturing base, Berkeley's farsighted, community driven, West Berkeley Plan implemented industrial protection policies in the Nineties that have assured the present, successful mixed-use economy and culture in West Berkeley. By providing an adequate and affordable land base for the industrial production, distribution, and repair (PDR) sectors, the industrial protection policies addressed the three components of true sustainability — economy, environment, and equity — through:

Contributing mightily to local economies through taxes and the deeply interconnected network supply chains, providing the bulk of family-wage jobs to those without a college education (23% of all jobs in East Bay shore cities), and providing valuable goods and services (bakeries, recycling, food & produce distribution, building and solar contractors, printers, auto repair, machine shops, cabinet makers, engravers, scientific glass blowers, caterers, etc.,) to the local and regional populace.

With about half of West Berkeley employment in the industrial and arts sectors and the other half in scientific, technical, professional, service, and retail, the success of this envisioned mixed-use policy is revealed. Not mentioned in the article, but highly relevant to the topic, is the ongoing multi-year community effort in Berkeley, initiated by WEBAIC, to maintain West Berkeley's successful industrial protection zoning policies in the face of forces seeking their dismantling. Hausrath Economics' 2008 report commissioned by the Metropolitan Transportation Commission, Goods Movement/Land Use Project For The San Francisco Bay Area, quantified in detail the projected growth of these industrial Production, Distribution, and Repair (PDR) activities, the growing demand for these "goods movement" lands, and the serious, negative consequences to the economy, environment, and equity of the region resulting from East Bay shore cities not preserving this land.

The study's central conclusion is: Due to local municipalities allowing their industrial "goods movement" PDR lands to be converted to more highly capitalized housing, office, retail, and R&D uses, the industrial companies that depend on these lands are either being forced out of business or pushed over the passes into the Central Valley, resulting in: "87,100 fewer goods movement industry jobs in East Bay shore cities by 2035; fewer good-paying blue/green collar jobs in proximity to the urban workforce residing in the central Bay Area, particularly jobs for workers with less than college educations; an additional 347,900 truck vehicle miles traveled per day on regional highways in 2035; higher emissions of greenhouse gases and criteria pollutants, including VOCs, CO, NOx, SO2, PM2.5, and PM10; greater auto-truck interactions; increased health risks in the I-580 corridor; higher costs of goods and higher cost of living overall in Bay Area; greater pressures on agricultural lands; and fewer opportunities to work near places of residence." The Report concludes with a request for "initiatives to support industry's role in more balanced smart growth" due to "a dispersed goods movement/industrial land use pattern being contrary to the region's Smart Growth Vision."

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