Letters for the Week of September 5 

Readers sound off on youth curfews, Tom Bates, and Prop 32.

Page 4 of 5

Don't waste your vote!

Steve Koppman, Oakland

"Playing with Ourselves," Culture Spy, 8/15

An Interplay Enthusiast

What a great article! 

I've been doing InterPlay since 1998 or so. The first time I came to a class I felt relieved, like I'd come home. It was exactly what I'd been looking for.

From the start, a lot of the exercises were easy and fun. Or sometimes, deeply revealing and moving. And the first year or two, a few of the exercises were quite challenging, and I thought I wasn't doing them "right." But in every class, the leaders would say to everyone, "You can't do InterPlay wrong — however you doing it, that's the right way." And the atmosphere in every InterPlay class I've ever attended is so positive and playful.

Some of the benefits:

InterPlay has made my writing more fluid and fun. Also I've become a lot more playful, and more easygoing and trusting of life and of myself: that I am "good enough" just like I am. 

Several of the InterPlay forms have come in very handy in everyday life. For a quick break from computer work, I'll do the three-breath song, the InterPlay breathing or a "shake it all out" thing we do. Just yesterday, I noticed I was feeling fragile. So I did a one-arm dance and allowed a little song to come out, and then did a little free writing about a big trip I'm taking. Five minutes later, I was feeling so much better! Plus I got a simple insight which continues to relieve a lot of stress for me about a project I'm involved in.

Meg MacLeod, Asheville, North Carolina

"The High Costs of Outsourcing Police," Feature, 8/8

Spitting in the Wind

Ironies abound. If my memory serves me, the original legal challenge that broke residency requirements originated when Berkeley was sued to "diversify" its then-mostly white force. The litigants won the case and then they got their way codified by the statute that currently applies.

The issue of pensioners moving out of the area where they earned it is metastasizing rapidly. It might even be close to a majority of them who are fleeing not just their localities but California in general. The left got its way, taking over the state by sheer weight of numbers through uncontrolled immigration. Now the fiscal meltdown proceeds as the takers swamp the makers. (And wait until you see what California's new "cap and trade" is going to do to what's left of our tax base).

Even if you dislike such a point of view, at least recognize all of us outside the top One Percent have been sold out by a hellish collection of "bipartisan" policies: The "free trade" deals (actually investor protection schemes designed to make it safe to ship the jobs out) financial deregulation, and ultimately simple non-enforcement of the law. Alleged liberals like Joe Biden voted for whole pile and now complain about the consequences. Academic types who whine about tax rates are a laugh, when the overwhelming force driving inequality is globalization itself. But we can't tax imports because that would hurt the state religion of "free trade."

Hope and change? I think about this a lot. Recognize that what has been realized is exactly what Bill Bradley named the policy when he called out Al Gore at the Apollo in 2000: abandonment. There is no investment adequate to re-employ those damaged by the outsourcing and investment policies that I would call anti-American. We are left to consider what can be done with the cash flow that still trickles down. (If you want a breath of fresh air on the subject please consult the Solari.com site hosted by Catherine Austin Fitts, whose financial forecasts have proved stunningly accurate — and are curiously absent from any media sources, save for late night talk radio and Berkeley's own KPFA). Ms. Fitts speaks of "community economics," which isn't much more complicated than trying to keep as much cash flow in your local economy as you can. It would be a big help to get people to give up their dope (or at least grow their own?) and spend the money locally. Follow the example of AgLink.com, where they're matching local producers with school lunch programs. It wouldn't hurt the folks still fortunate to get in on a union-protected deal, public or not, to start thinking about the consequences of their consumption and investment decisions (Ms. Fitts says that the PERS fund managers told her that disinvestment in America would be the trend in the 21st Century).

When I was studying for an economics degree, the professors taught "diversification" as a holy doctrine, and what could be more "diversified" than spreading investment the world over? Now the global economy turns out to be our tar baby, where each local outbreak threatens to turn into a systemic contagion — necessitating, you guessed it, another bailout scheme to protect the people who caused the problem in the first place. I would say leaving this situation in place while worrying about where the police choose to reside is pretty much like spitting in the wind.

Mark Talmont, Berkeley

"Dianne Feinstein Targets Tule Elk," Eco Watch, 8/8

Parks are for the People

What are cows doing in a national park? Who intended grass to be eaten by cows instead of elk? God put the elk she created on this land. Humans put the cows there. Cows are man-made hybrids of an ancient beast God put in Europe. National parks are public property of the people of the USA, just like the wildlife, which has been there for millions of years.


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