Letters for December 8

Readers sound off on our use of TECHNICOLOR, recovered memories, and a new A's stadium.

“Aggregates,” Museums & Galleries, 10/27

Don’t Dilute Our Trademark

We represent Technicolor Trademark Management, the owner of all trademark rights throughout the world to TECHNICOLOR, and write regarding the East Bay Express‘ misuse of TECHNICOLOR in connection with an article appearing in the October 27, 2010, Wednesday Edition under the headline “Stratigraphic Aggregates…,” by DeWitt Cheng. A copy of the article containing the misuse is attached for your convenience.

Our client is the owner of numerous United States trademark registrations on TECHNICOLOR, the oldest being Reg. No. 267,288 dated February 18, 1930. TECHNICOLOR is one of the most famous trademarks in the world, and has been recognized as identifying goods/services originating with our client. The Associated Press Stylebook recognized throughout the new business as the standard arbiter of style and the exclusive reference on matters governing usage of words, phrases and punctuation, references “Technicolor” solely as “A trademark for a process of making color motion pictures.”

More significantly, TECHNICOLOR is never to be used as a synonym for “multicolor” or the like, as by doing so, the integrity of TECHNICOLOR as a trademark is being weakened.

Please help us preserve our client’s trademark by using it properly. We therefore request that you immediately agree to refrain from the misuse of TECHNICOLOR in the future. We will assume for the present that your misuse was only as a result of inadvertence, and now that you have knowledge of our client’s substantial rights in and to the TECHNICOLOR mark, you will act accordingly.

Please confirm that you have notified your editors, writers, and all other appropriate staff members and freelance contractors as to the proper use of TECHNICOLOR, and that you will make sure that TECHNICOLOR is only used: (1) in the corporate sense to refer to our client, (2) in its correct trademark sense, e.g. TECHNICOLOR film processing, or (3) in reference to films made with the TECHNICOLOR film process and, most importantly, never as a synonym for “multicolor” or the like.

Assuming that you will cooperate with us in effecting a prompt resolution of this matter, we wouldd regard this matter as closed.

Peter M. Eichler

WEISS & MOY P.C.

Attorneys and Counselors

Scottsdale, AZ

“Hello…Wanna Give to a Good Cause?” Feature, 11/3

Fired for Not Being Trained

In reference to your story on street canvassers for nonprofits, I have this to say: As someone who briefly did telemarketing for Peace Action West, I survived a scant three weeks in their office doing evening calls for $8.00 an hour, before taxes. I was rated on how much I could pull in during the night, with a culmination of what I did for the week, and how I progressed. I was rated on credit card pulls, not promised checks. Given that my training hadn’t progressed to credit card dialogue and how to make that happen, my demise there was predicated on what I did not know or learn from them — I hadn’t gotten that far in my training. I ultimately felt like I was raising funds not for the cause of PAW, but for the permanent employees who worked at PAW. I agree that working for nonprofits in an age of chronic unemployment, and decreasing funds, monies are in dire need. But let’s face facts: Those who try and do the work are ultimately fired for not reaching quotas, and that stress combined with the state of living in the Bay Area just creates an atmosphere of distrust for anyone who puts themselves out on the street, or on the phone cold-calling those who don’t want to be reached. There is a certain mentality that can do that kind of work — I was not one of them.

R. J. Dobrane, Oakland

“Cuts and Dueling Protests at KPFA,” Culture Spy, 11/10

More at Stake Than KPFA

What is at stake in the conflict at KPFA? It is not the continued existence of the Morning Show. It will be back with new hosts. It is not the competence of the hosts. By all accounts, they did a fine job. It is not whether there will be local programming at KPFA. Local programming has been a mainstay of the Pacifica Network and will continue to be.

What is at stake is the financial viability of the Pacifica Foundation, and its ability to manage the stations in the network. That viability depends on the ability of each of the stations to raise sufficient money to meet payroll and expenses. That hasn’t been happening at KPFA for at least two years.

The board in 2009 mandated reductions in staff that the management at the time didn’t make and the ED didn’t enforce. The cash reserves of KPFA, about $800,000 dollars in 2009, are now gone. The board has again this year observed that reductions had to be made, and our executive director is seeing to it that it happens.

She has the unanimous support of the board for the principles that she laid out for the reductions, respect for seniority, the best interests of KPFA and the network, maintaining the programming grid where possible, and keeping the strongest possible skill set at the station.

The Pacifica Foundation owns the licenses for all five stations. Should one station failing to meet its expenses drain the resources of the network past what can be sustained by the remaining stations, the entire network will be bankrupt and the fate of all five stations will be in the hands of a bankruptcy court judge. The board has the responsibility of seeing to it that that doesn’t happen.

Some have attempted to make the salary of the national staff, consisting of an ED, a CFO, two accountants, an administrative assistant, two part-time technical workers, and an affiliates station coordinator, an issue. Or the in-person meetings of the board now costing half of what they cost for the previous six years. This level of staffing the salaries and the expenses are minimal in managing a $12 million dollar/year enterprise. To the extent that this accusation stems from a desire to have no national collective supervision, and ultimately no network but a collection of five independent stations, this is misguided both in purpose and strategy. The times require a national network, and the outcome of bankruptcy hearings will not be five progressive stations running their own affairs, but more likely two commercial stations and three new Christian radio channels.

KPFA has been a bulwark of the network in the past. The farsightedness of the leadership created and then supported the growth of the other stations. The network has been a strength for all of us, recently when money had to be transferred from KPFT to pay salaries at KPFA, and in the past when contributions from the other stations kept KPFT on the air.

I ask that you support the Pacifica National Board and its executive director, Arlene Englehardt, in maintaining the financial viability of the Pacifica Foundation and its ability to manage and develop the network.

George Reiter

Chair, Pacifica National Board

Houston, TX

“Top Ramen for Life,” Feature, 11/10

Find Alternative Payment Methods

Hundreds of thousands of families are plagued with the prospect of paying tens of thousands of dollars for college. In order to pay for these expenses most of these families acquire burdensome student loans, all in the name of receiving “higher education,” which may not even yield to substantial employment opportunities following graduation.

The government and higher institutions must stop shackling its youth under the pretext of “student loans.” I propose making Zac Bissonette’s book called Debt Free U: How I Paid for an Outstanding College Education a must read for all students entering college.

Stop catering to credit card companies and loan services. Get educated on the alternative ways of paying for higher education.

Paul Nnaoji, Moraga

“Biking to the City,” News, 11/10

Biking for Beer

This is AWESOME! I suspect many, many people will jump at the chance to ride across the bridge. Right now, many businesses are supported by consumers who rent bikes at the wharf and ride to Sausalito. They either come back by ferry or ride back. This new proposed bridge path very well may create new opportunities and possibilities for tourism and positively affect Yerba Buena and Treasure islands as well as West Oakland and E-ville. I would love to ride my bike from Oaktown to SF to catch a beer.

Vince Rubino, Oakland

“Voters Did Understand Ranked Voting,” Seven Days, 11/17

Ranked-Choice Voting Will Help Democrats

Kamala Harris and Jerry McNerney won BECAUSE we modernized to RANKED-CHOICE VOTING. Because of IRV/RCV, the higher turnout in Oakland and San Leandro, mostly Democrats, tipped the balance for Rep. McNerney. McNerney should acknowledge this and be an advocate for IRV modernization nationwide.Kamala Harris also owes her victory to higher turnouts in SF, Berkeley, Oakland, and San Leandro because we are still the first cities in the state to modernize to IRV elections. What this demonstrates is that the cities that use RCV in 2012 will also have a disproportionate/greater effect in statewide/regional elections because of higher voter turnout. Alameda County was a leader for RCV-capable voting equipment, so hopefully every city in the county will allow IRV modernization before 2012. Hopefully Debra Bowen, Jerry Brown, and McNerney will fund RCV machines state-/nationwide so that other cities will not have to wait four-plus years like we had to. The more progressive cities will probably modernize first, boosting Democrats on a much wider scale in 2012.

Sennet Williams, Berkeley

“What About the Crust?” Letters, 11/17

You Go Girl

YES to WHOLE GRAIN. Would love the choice.

GO GIRL.

GOOD LUCK.

Marcia Flannery, Oakland

“Oakland Fights to Keep A’s,” Seven Days, 11/24

How Can You Justify the Expense?

Reading Robert Gammon’s report on a new Oakland A’s stadium was an experience in the surreal. Ten years ago I would have expected such speculation, but we are now two years into a severe “economic downturn.” It is incomprehensible that anyone would ever build or fund a new stadium anywhere in the country. For thirty years millions of people have been sleeping in cars and on the street and in the bushes. Others are being foreclosed, job or no job. Unemployment is 12.5 percent, and state economic planners are predicting that will continue until 2015. Gammon’s article is written as if we can party like it’s 1999.

Every level of government is bankrupt or nearly so. Citizens doing real work are being laid off or forced to take a pay cut. The Oakland A’s are playing games, not doing anything worthwhile. Ongoing drug scandals have converted pro sports into a cruel joke. There is no justification for spending public money on the pro game. Sports were developed for children and that’s where the interest should remain.

The use of redevelopment funds for this would be especially loathsome. The redevelopment game was established in the 1950s to provide decent housing for the poor. At least that was the sell point. The law has been abused for two generations now, with funds being squandered on ballparks, “market rate” housing, office buildings, convention centers, and commercial malls. It’s time for a change.

The EBX needs to start focusing on the needs of the community and on a real politics that serves the citizenry. I know that would be a bold move, but it just might rejuvenate journalism in the East Bay, and we all need that.

Steve Tabor, Oakland

Another Wasteful Development

It seems almost every Oaklander agrees that keeping the A’s in Oakland is important to the health of the city — even those of us who don’t care much about baseball are all for it!

But I am dismayed that Gammon’s article implies that “the city” is ready to plop a new stadium on “Victory Court” and therefore City Planning is moving ahead with an EIR.

There are many of us living and working in the communities of Oakland who are opposed to yet another wasteful, harmful development that only benefits the developers interested in this project, while most definitely compromising or destroying existing business, and most probably negatively compromising or destroying neighboring communities. These same developers have not adequately provided their developments in the Jack London District with leased business and housing for the many empty edifices they have constructed there, and yet this “Victory Court” proposal would keep plowing down more to plop up more!? [I know, it’s how developers make their money.]

The problems this “Victory Court” site will create, with unmanageable traffic through nearby communities, lack of existing public transportation [the Lake Merritt BART is many more blocks away than most East Bay folks consider convenient, and other public transportation would have to be developed, and we are talking about a site that is a cul de sac — few entry access points and then bound by the estuary] … to name a few.

It is very disappointing that Gammon’s article did not mention that there might be a better site — a ballpark over Interstate 980 in Oakland — that would bridge West Oakland and Downtown/Uptown Oakland, with TWO existing BART stations within short blocks of it, bus routes already in place, freeway access right there, and pedestrian goals (restuarants, shops, entertainment, etc.) already there and growing.

There are also compelling arguments advocating taking the existing Colliseum site and expanding it.

I hope that Mayor-elect Quan will change her mind when she is better informed about other possibilities that could better serve the communities she campaigned so hard in.

Those (many) of us who care about Oakland and want it to continue to become the amazing place it is, hope that fighting and succeeding in keeping the A’s here will also benefit, not further beleaguer, our communities.

Ck Kuebel, Oakland

“Eric Benet,” CD Reviews, 11/24

Hope We Did Them Justice

From the co-producer,co-writer and co-arranger of Lost in Time, Eric and I thank you! This CD was certainly a labor of love. Listening back to those great writers and arrangers G & H, Thom Bell. Man! Those guys were excellent. I hope that we’ve done them proud. It’s certainly an honor to be included with them. Thank you again! We hope that 2011 is the success we hope for.

George Nash, Jr., Los Angeles/Milwaukee

“A New Look at Recovered Memories,” News, 11/24

Your Parents’ Fault

If such memories truly can be fabricated, then that means that your parents destroyed your capacity to distinguish between fantasy and reality, which is a truly horrible thing to do to another human being.

James Pyrich, Highlands Ranch, CO

Miscellaneous Letters

The Food Modernization Act Is a Tragedy

Passage of the Food Modernization Act will destroy the family farm, and it will deprive consumers of the freedom to choose what foods they may eat.

Beneath the sugar coating of this act is an iron boot that will crush what little is left of self determination, for if you thoroughly control the food supply, you thoroughly control the masses. Some dare call it tyranny.

If enacted, the law will require all food production to be registered with the US government. Any food that is grown, sold, or processed outside of government control will be considered illegal and subject to penalty. Fees, inspections, and bureaucratic meddling will devastate small food producers. Draconian fines of up to $500,000 for a single infraction can lead to the loss of farm.

Provisions are made in the act to place farms and the food industry under the control of Homeland Security in the event of a major “contamination” or an “emergency.” The terms are not clarified, but SEC. 205 of the act defines a “foodborne illness outbreak” as “the occurrence of 2 or more cases of a similar illness resulting from the ingestion of a certain food.”

SEC. 420 provides for the proceedings of the FDA and Homeland Security to be conducted in secret “in the interest of national security.”

These are the ingredients of a tyranny.

The subtle insertion of the phrase “to harmonize requirements under the Codex Alimentarius” may be glossed over for lack of understanding. The “Codex Alimentarius” (Latin for “food book”) is a collection of international standards relating to food. It was created by the United Nations. Among its recommendations is the proposal that no herb, vitamin, or mineral should be sold for preventive or therapeutic reasons, and that supplements should be reclassified as drugs to be administered by prescription only.

Microbiologist Dr. Shiv Chopra warns that the Food Modernization Act “would preclude the public’s right to grow, own, trade, transport, share, feed and eat each and every food that nature makes. It will become the most offensive authority against the cultivation, trade and consumption of food and agricultural products of one’s choice.”

Senator Tom Coburn, MD, maintains that the act will raise food prices; add $1.5 billion to the deficit; add unfunded state mandates; and it will not increase food safety one bite.

The Food Modernization Act was approved in the Senate by a vote of 73 to 25, with 2 abstentions. The bill is now in the House of Representatives. You may still have time to inform your congressman what you think of it.

Russell Stepanchak

Columbia, PA

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