Letters to the Editor 

Week of June 1, 2001

It's the Ones You Don't See That'll Get You
TO THE EDITOR:Excellent article by Jennifer Barrios on Golden Gate Fields ("All Bets Are Off," May 18), but one possible correction: I lived on Albany Hill from 1941 overlooking GGF and even was allowed on one occasion as a child to go onto the then-existing "Navy Base."

I distinctly recall the Navy occupation for, among other purposes, the assembly of a vast armada of "landing barges" and "drop-front" beach assault boats destined for the Pacific campaign against the Japanese. I never saw or even heard a hint of there being any submarines--floating, damaged, or otherwise--at anytime during WWII.
Michael Yovino-Young
BERKELEY

Time to Hit the Books
TO THE EDITOR:Thank you for the update on negotiations between the Alameda Unified School District and the teachers there ("7 days," May 4). However, the distance between the positions of the district and the union is a good deal greater than you state. Besides offering zero for next year, the district is offering ten percent retroactive to April 1, essentially one-quarter of the school year, or a two-and-a-half percent raise for this year. The teachers propose ten percent for one-half of this year, or five percent. In addition, the district is offering the children's center teachers (who are already paid less than other teachers) only 4.5 percent.

The real poison pill is in the district's proposed takebacks: removal of one preparation period per week for grades 1-3; freezing of stipends, which means that coaches and band teachers work overtime for less money; and a two-tier wage schedule which downgrades teachers who haven't completed a California credential.

You should also know that the books will not be vetted. As one CTA staffer put it, "There are no facts in fact-finding." It is up to each side to present its case to the state's "factfinder," who issues a report based on arguments heard rather than any independent investigation.
Marsha Feinland
Member, Alameda Education Association

BERKELEY

Seen One Fawn, You Seen 'Em All
TO THE EDITOR:And now we see the Express copy a past faux pas of the Monthly, i.e., switch the terms "flora" and "fauna" ("Restoring Creeks..." by Bill O'Brien, May 25). I guess the local squirrels and deer would really be up against the wall should this author take over any of the projects he describes in this issue. The Monthly still retains the championship in this arena though, by having done their thing on their cover.

Considering our region vies well for the title of "Biotech and Ecosentiment Capital of the World," I think our press should get such a basic thing as this totally under control. Hey, doesn't "flora" make you think of "flower," and "fauna" of "fawn"?
Ray Chamberlin
VIA THE INTERNET

The Natives Are Restless
TO THE EDITOR:Having had some years' experience in creek restoration here in San Francisco, I found the Sausal Creek account ("Cityside," May 25) very interesting, especially since it brought to mind issues concerning plants, people, and biodiversity found here as well.

In the first place, let me say that once a restorationist, I now consider myself a conservationist, in the sense that a restorationist, in my opinion, hopes to recreate an ecological condition of the past by his/her restoration of so-called native plants. A conservationist, on the other hand, looks at the broader picture of how evolution (including the human part in introducing so-called non-native plants) has come to a point where many animals have taken the opportunity to adapt to a broad array of plant life once not found here. And when I say adapt, I include the human animal, whose aesthetic appreciation for large trees must be acknowledged (and respected, I would hope).

As far as the others, meaning animals other than humans (why must we always place the others in a "non" category, as if they were negated by humans?), many species of butterfly, for example, have adapted to so-called non-native plants, and there exists no firm scientific basis, as far as I can determine, that these butterflies will adapt back to plants once widely established in a terrain more pristine than our present industrially degraded landscape is. Degraded terrain, similar to a raked garden, is fertile ground for so-called non-natives (oh, there's that term again!).

In my own work with young children studying nature in San Francisco urban parks, I often wonder when I read of dedicated restorationist leaders taking students, often armed to the teeth with weed wrenches, into restoration areas to eradicate weeds, how these young people respond to the usual pep talks of "natives vs. non-natives." Many of these children come from immigrant families. Since not native to the United States, do these young, impressionable minds associate themselves with somehow being bad themselves?

Oh, by the way, I once questioned a native Californian about his own indigenous roots, seeking firm ground for where the term native came from. With a sly grin reminiscent of Wile E. Coyote, he answered: "Oh, we just pushed our way into the land, replacing whoever was there before us." So much for the sanctity of what's native or not.
David Graves
VIA THE INTERNET

CORRECTION: In "Emeryville Officials Will Honor Ohlone Site Before Destroying It" ("Cityside," May 11), archeologists from Woodward-Clyde were stated to have discovered more than three hundred burials in the Emeryville shellmound. The correct figure is one hundred. We apologize for the error.

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