Letters for the week of May 29 to June 4 

There's more to Hayward than mullets and muscle cars; why does that guy Derf have a problem with my white ass?

Bongless, but stylish
I'm 21 years old and I receive the Express at my job. I like the articles, so when it comes in I read it from front to back. Recently, you wrote an article ("Best Place to Spot a Real Mullet," May 8) which stated that Hayward was a "fashion time capsule" out of reach of the "stylish Bay Area." If, for any reason, you think that muscle cars and mullets are the only thing Hayward is about, then you must have not ever gotten out of your car. Hayward has a lot to offer -- more than people will give credit to because they are so busy swallowing on Berkeley.

People in Hayward spend their free time out on Telegraph with their thumbs in their asses because they are told that it's a cool place to hang out, not because it's actually a nice place. I have been to Berkeley. It's nothing but homeless people and idiots swearing that they're alternative due to their address. Don't get me wrong, you can buy a bong at a great price, but doing something interesting is next to impossible. So you write your article -- like most other people -- that Berkeley is so great and we should all flock out there and be hip and fashionable and forget one of the greatest places to live in California. We don't have beaches, bong shops, or tourist attractions, but what we do have is our own style, and our style is never truly appreciated because of articles and people like you.
Lawrence Jackson, Hayward

Too hip for the room
Harrumph. "Not everything on the site is clever" ("Best Political Haiku," May 8) -- well, where's your local political satire site, hmm?

Was "The Osbrowns" too edgy? Are you miffed that we scooped you on the OMI Web site illiteracy? Well, this isn't the first time we've been too hip for the room. But we need to set the record straight. Most of the haiku on our site has been kindly contributed by non-KIJE folk, including two of the examples you cited.

Yes, there is dissent in Oakland, and it manifests itself in the ancient art of haiku.
The KIJE Project, home.att.net/~lieutenantkije

No mere amateurs
We're very pleased that Express readers voted the Aurora Theatre Company the "Best Amateur Theater Company" (May 8). However, the Aurora does not qualify as an amateur theater. We pay our staff and we always have; we have had a contract with the Actors' Equity Association (the actor's union) since our first season in 1993. Amateurs do art for love; we think artists should eat, pay their rent, and clothe their bodies, so we do art for love and money.


Barbara Oliver & Tom Ross, Aurora Theatre Company, Berkeley

Hey, Shirley can afford it
7 Days (May 1) failed to give the whole picture regarding the Berkeley Party and its effect on affordable housing. Two of its founding members, Carrie Olson and Howie Muir, have done more for affordable housing than many in this City. They have been systematically scrutinizing various new development projects in an attempt to ensure that the number of affordable units promised is actually delivered. Some of the problems uncovered by them are truly scandalous. For example, in one of the biggest downtown housing developments in which the developer promised nineteen affordable units, city staff signed off on twelve affordable units. In addition, the city staff incorrectly signed off on the definition of affordable units for this project to be "those affordable to fifty to one hundred percent of the average median income." This definition of allowing affordable units to be defined as one hundred percent of the average medium income (AMI) was a change that Mayor Shirley Dean made when she had the council majority '94-'96 for the benefit of a major campaign contributor. When the progressives on the council regained the majority, they changed the definition of affordable units to be no more than eighty percent of AMI.

I support the Berkeley Party's goals of having more clear and fair processes in city government. Members of the party have requested that notices to the public list the number and the degree of the affordability and units, not as a scare tactic but to assist the community in actually getting them.
Dona Spring, Berkeley City Councilmember

We're on Jesus' team
I commend Chris Thompson for highlighting such a worthy church as Acts Full Gospel ("Preaching Prosperity," April 24). But I must say, to uplift one church you do not have to downgrade another. Allen Temple Baptist Church is not in competition with any church. After all, we are all on the same team with the same agenda: saving souls for Jesus Christ. Philippians 2:2 says: Be of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind.
Inez Diane Cox, Oakland

What an ass!
Gee, I'm sure glad Derf showed me how darn funny is it to be white, middle-class, suburban, and recently laid off ("The City," April 17). You know, the idea that I might have to sell my house, uproot my family, and leave the area I grew up in was kind of bumming me out. Now I know that my predicament can be a source of amusement. Boy, do I feel better. Let's face it, nobody would dare poke fun at black or Mexican or Asian suburban, middle-class folks (yes, they do exist!) who may have lost their jobs because of the current recession. But, if you're white, hey, no problem. Would you cut me some slack if I lived in the city, in Berkeley or Oakland? Maybe being an upper-class white guy would do it, since he seems to have an issue with being middle-class. You know, all of my Filipino, Hispanic, black, and Asian coworkers -- many of whom also lost their jobs -- were very sympathetic to my situation, as I was to theirs. Why do they have less of a problem with my whiteness than Derf (who, I will bet, is white)? What an ass!
Matt Bowyer, Walnut Creek

Corrections
The 1983 photo of Jeane Kirkpatrick in our May 15 cover story ("The Unreal David Brock") was shot by Jane Scherr for the Daily Californian.

Judge Jonathan Lew ("Drugstore Cowboys," May 22) is a state employee, unaffiliated with the Oakland Superior Court.

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