Letters for the week of October 6-12, 2004 

Quibbles about housing and transit, thoughts on hip-hop emcees and slang, and a whole lot of feedback about Mike Seely's anti-pop-star screed.

"Pixar Foes Turn Tables on E'ville," City of Warts, 9/15

Unless you like commuting ...
As executive director of East Bay Housing Organizations, I wanted to comment on one of the issues raised in Chris Thompson's article about development in Emeryville, specifically the issue of jobs-housing linkage fees and their relative importance as a planning and economic development policy.

The mismatch between job creation and housing is one of the major problems facing communities in the East Bay and throughout California. As a result, jobs-housing linkage fees have evolved as a relatively common strategy to address this imbalance and are considered a central component to smart growth development. Seventeen Bay Area cities -- including Oakland, Berkeley, San Francisco, and Palo Alto -- have adopted fees. These cities have embraced jobs-housing linkage because of the urgency of the Bay Area's affordable housing crisis and because they recognize that creating housing affordable to the local workforce helps reduce traffic congestion and improves the quality of life in our communities and the region.
Sean Heron, executive director, East Bay Housing Organizations, Oakland

Learn some manners
Way to go, C. Thompson. Do you treat all your neighbors with the same venom? Perhaps before you attempt to earn a livable wage you should learn some manners. Your religion divides the community. Leave that to GW.
C.J. Koss, Emeryville

"Crackin' Nutz," Feature, 9/15

Neva a bitch thang
I am a Female Emcee and part of the group Wasaname An Em' ... Our group album is set to drop in a month and we recently gained financial backing for our project and promotions so it bout to be crackin' ... Anyhow, I wanted to voice that your article was good but I feel as though you are leaving out a vital aspect of female emceein' ... I do not rap about killin' and rappin' Bitches up in bags or beatin' their asses ... Hip Hop to me is a whole different ballpark ... right now it's not enough tight female emcees out there on the undaground for us ta be talking bout' fuckin' each other up! ... The article does not address those female emcees who have good shit to say, "an' I ain't soft." I choose not to focus on the shit that fucked my past up ... I choose to jus love dis' Hip Hop, live dis' HIP HOP, an' blow the fuck up! ... For example, if I were to compare my flow to a major artist I would say, Kanye West/Talib Kweli/Lady bug/Lauryn Hill types of lyricist cuz I sing also on the tracks to smooth shit out ... Your article does not touch on the positive aspects to being a tight-ass female emcee ... We ain't all had it hard, although I did, and all Hip Hop artists don't have to talk about havin' it hard ... In my rhymes I talk about how tight I am ... I am more of a battle rapper, I think ... I realized the variety in Hip Hop, but when you talk about females spittin' you ain't talkin' about anything nice and I jus' couldn't let your article go without saying something ... I personally like being around my male Hip Hop counterparts cuz they do respect me and it is neva a Bitch thang and they ain't soft either cuz we got each otha's back.
Simone Nia Rae, Oakland

"The Politics of Hyphy," Close 2 tha Edge, 6/30

Suitable for framing
I don't know if you are aware of this, but a member on MySpace.com posted your article. I just personally wanted to send you a quick e-mail to say thank you for representing the bay. I've noticed that over the years Bay Area slang has been used over and over by outsiders who have no problems passing it off as their own. I think what sent me over the edge was when Usher came out with a song called "Pop Your Collar." I almost threw up! I just sat there in the car in utter disbelief. How someone could "jack" something like that, pass it off as their own, and actually feel good about themselves is beyond me. Could you tell me where your article was originally printed? I know it sounds silly, but I would like to frame it and hang it in my house for people to read.
M. Patterson, Santa Clara

"Careening out of Control," City of Warts, 9/8

BRT beats BART
Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) has been very effective. Los Angeles currently has five BRT routes similar to San Pablo. Wilshire BRT has attracted 45,000 riders per day, and adding the existing service, the total ridership equals our highest carrying BART line. Its total cost per mile was under 1 percent of BART. Because of its success, LA is installing over twenty BRT routes. Additionally, LA plans to upgrade portions of BRT routes into Busways.

Yes, many have raised objections because of lanes being taken away from autos. In the last twenty years, despite expanding our roadways at great expense, congestion has tripled, so BRT is an excellent alternative. On downtown streets in Seattle, Portland, SF, and LA where traffic and passenger interchanges are heavy, busways are commonly used to improve transit access and operation. Most take existing lanes where a busway could serve as well and cost far less.
Roy Nakadegawa, BART director, District 3, Berkeley

"Hate Them Now," Music, 9/15

Just like high school
Reading through Mike Seely's "Hate Them Now" brought me back to my high school years, when displaced anger and hormonal frustration inspired poorly written diatribes which were shared with gusto in my sophomore English class. I understood the motivation for such works and at least took solace in the fact that no one would ever have the misfortune of seeing them in print. But now I have found Mike Seely. God help us all. I admit that his opinions are not completely without merit. Fred Durst is an abomination, and Jimmy Buffett is physical proof that evil walks among us. That said, Seely's article is arrogant, badly written, and hardly worthy of your pages. Please get some decent rock critics so I can carry the Express around without embarrassment.
S. Rayn, Oakland


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