Letters for the week of October 2-8, 2002 

Laughing through the sadness of 9/11, drinking by the dock of the bay, making the best of a bad situation, and reporting 25-year-old news.

Thanks for zigging when others zagged
What a coup you pulled with your alternative display of opinionated articles coming out smack-dab on the morning of September 11 ("Everything Has Changed, Nothing Has Changed"). I had been dreading the drama of the day -- the buildup was bad enough, and had vowed not to listen to the news or get a newspaper. But I picked up the EBE anyway, wondering if I would be able to get through a 9/11 article without shedding Pavlov's-dog tears. What a surprise to find that I had intellectual brothers and sisters bold enough to strike a cynical chord in the face of forced morality. I particularly liked Chris Thompson's "9/11: Get Over It" and by the time I got through "The Morlocks Take an Early Lead" I was laughing. Yes, right there on BART, I laughed, on what was supposed to be a very sad day. I grabbed more copies of the EBE and gave them to my colleagues at work who had also put blinders on for the day. For what is the use of planned crying? I can cry any day of the year about so many tragedies, and I still get choked up at the mere reference to 9/11. But there is another emotion there too: anger. Every day I see more bad news headlines generated by the Bush administration. It is so frustrating to watch US foreign and domestic policy grow ever more twisted and destructive. Grief over the death of innocents is one issue. Declaring war on countries is another. I am so glad that the EBE does not, like the corporate-controlled media, seek to link the two in a manipulative attempt to justify Bush's wars.
Heather Merriam, Berkeley

Cheers to you
Excellent, excellent article ("Get Over It," September 11). Have been saying this for a while now (not quite as eloquently as you did!). Really, that millions of people starved last year in Africa is a much worse story to tell -- but somehow we don't hear about it in the US. Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, and Ashcroft are very scary men -- and the fact that they're not too bright just makes my hair curl. They're going to milk this 9/11 stuff until the next election -- because, heaven forbid, if you don't agree with the masses somehow you're not an American!!!
Carmel Manion, Redwood City

Would you like fries with that Lotto ticket?
Unfortunately, you mistook the Seabreeze as a place to eat ("On the Dock of the Bay," September 4). Over the years, we have learned to focus exclusively on the hand-cut fries and the chicken wings, crisp and juicy. It's one of the most exclusive places in town for cold pitchers after work. Also seems to have an above-average run of winning Lotto tickets.

The 'Breeze received a death sentence when the Port of Oakland closed the adjacent "marina" for a far-future redevelopment. I thank you for noticing an Oakland original.
Shepherd B. Goode, Berkeley

Speaking my single mind
Please spare us all the woeful hand-wringing about Harrison Park ("Field of Bad Dreams," September 4). The park has been a much-needed addition to a community that doesn't come close to having enough field space to meet the active recreation needs of its children and adults. The park has 30,000 visitors a year. And the skate park will be a welcome and healthful alternative to skaters who are currently skating in parking garages and in the streets.

Other sites that have been proposed, the Albany Plateau and East Campus, have been met with an equal level of opposition, only on different issues. While the air quality at the Albany Plateau isn't in question, this site has been damned as a place for playing fields because the place is supposedly too cold and windy and the kids playing there would scare away all the animals who have grown to love this former garbage dump. East Campus, another site where we tried to build playing fields, lost out to neighborhood opposition.

"Fielding was heavy-handed, overbearing, single-minded, and shortsighted during the entire process." What does this quote by ex-councilmember Dianne Wooly mean? That 48 board and commission hearings along with numerous environmental and planning studies over three years was some sort of "rush to judgment" as the article implies? Did she want another two or three years to make up her mind?

The air quality issue was certainly brought to the attention of both the skater and athletic communities prior to the acquisition of the property and development of the park. Those of us who pushed for this park, most of whom had children who would use this park, felt the development of the park was a better alternative for our children than no park. We recognized that this land wasn't located in a redwood forest, but we couldn't find land we could use that was. If those people who are so concerned about all this would support playing fields in locations like Tilden Park and East Campus, perhaps we wouldn't have to be building them in industrial neighborhoods and on windy plateaus.
Doug Fielding, "heavy-handed, overbearing, single-minded" and proud of it, Berkeley

It's the same phenomenon, only with a different name
Your article about "The New University Underclass" (August 28) is most interesting, sad, unjust, exploiting, and so on. However, the article is reporting what has been going on for at least 25 years.

When I was slogging through in academia administration, 85 percent of all full-time faculty jobs were held by tenured professors. The other 15 percent were a mix of assistant or associate professors who were or were not on tenure track. Colleges and universities were working (then) to get these high-paid tenured professors into administration. In this way, adjunct faculty or nontenured assistant professors could be hired for much less pay.

However, of all the teaching faculty, nearly 50 percent were part-time teachers. At San Jose State, for example, 43 percent of all teaching faculty were adjunct. Then there were college teachers in the night-school colleges. All of these teachers taught one course per semester and received the same benefits adjunct faculty receive now: namely, none.

As you said, however, this problem has not kept universities from contributing to the glut by graduating hundreds, if not thousands, new potential faculty. "Of course," you may say, "what are these full-timers going to do otherwise?"
Gordon R. Cavana, Berkeley

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