Letters for September 12-18

“Spare an Education?” Feature, 8/15


Tax Us, Please
California schools, roads, parks, etc., could all regain their prime status of the 1950s and 1960s with one simple change. We should go back to the tax codes of the years when schools and infrastructure were first in the nation. Californians (and other Americans) need to eliminate the “no taxes” mantra. Public services cost, and we should be paying.

Joanne Sandstrom, Oakland

Not Local Enough
As an alumna, I was surprised that your article about the rising costs of college ignored Mills College, one of the East Bay’s great educational resources. Instead, your writer focused on two Catholic colleges and two Peninsula schools. East Bay readers would have been better served with truly local information, or national information about private college costs for comparison.

Jessica Hilberman, Oakland

Wrong Numbers
Your article on costs of attending public universities in California misstates the tuition and fees charged by them and by other institutions. Although Cal estimates that the total cost of attending exceeds $20,000 per year, only $7,800 of that is fees. The major cost is housing. Thus, much of the solution lies in reducing housing costs.

Gordon Danning, Berkeley

Pricey Housing
Your article on rising college costs fails to separate out the tuition and fees from housing costs, which makes useful comparisons difficult, and hides what may be an issue worth its own reporting. Housing “on-campus” at UC Berkeley is generally much more expensive than housing in the community, even factoring in the costs of going to Blondie’s every night. Is this true at Stanford, or UMich, or UVA? How much of the increase in costs at UC Berkeley is due to increased housing costs, versus increased “fees”?

When I started at UCB in 1984, fees were about $1,500 a year, but housing in the dorms was over $6,000. From $7,500 to $20,000 from 1984 to 2007 is a lot, but how much of that is paying for Berkeley’s housing construction boom of the ’90s versus paying for the legislature’s neglect of education?
Anthony Argyriou, Alameda

Jeremy Singer-Vine responds
While housing costs are rising, student fees are rising at a higher rate. Between academic year 2000-01 and 2006-07, Cal’s room and board — which the university does not disaggregate — rose roughly $4,400, a 51 percent increase. Student fees, meanwhile, rose by $3,700, a 91 percent increase.

“Not Dead Yet,” Water Cooler, 8/22


Gonads Intact
Thanks for the excellent article about the Northern California Media Workers Guild battle with Dean Singleton’s MediaNews empire. Just one complaint about the headline: Gelded?

Ouch! (said in high-pitched voice). We hope we’re not being overly sensitive, but that stung (to say the least).

We assure you that the guild is fully intact — despite the pronouncements of MediaNews executives. We’re committed to continuing to represent our members at the Singleton newspapers. And we’re eager to welcome the fine folks at The Contra Costa Times into the fold.
Michael Cabanatuan, president, Northern California Media Workers Guild, San Francisco

“Dellums’ Scarlet Letter,” News, 8/15


Forgotten Dream
[Barbara] Lee, Dellums, and company have forgotten Martin Luther King Jr.: “It’s not the color of our skin, it’s the content of our character.” If they represent the best the “progressives/socialists” have to offer, Animal Farm will become a closer reality. Thank you, EBX, for telling the unbridled truth. Chauncey Bailey RIP.

Frank Christensen, Oakland

Treat Pols Fairly
The shock and tragedy of Bailey’s murder allegedly done by members of Your Black Muslim Bakery was heartfelt by most individuals in the Bay Area, and politicians as well. I think it rather sick for the Express to attempt to somehow put the death of Bailey on politicians such as Lee or Dellums instead of on the actions of a sick group of people who committed this act.

Politicians write letters and support for a lot of businesses and institutions that they find out later went the wrong way. If they don’t write these letters, let’s acknowledge what will happen when a publication like the Express gets word then writes a demeaning article about the failure of a politician to support a community institution. Of course politicians in retrospect made a crucial mistake by supporting what appears to be a criminal institution — however, the main fault should lie at the foot of law enforcement and the institutions that should have held them accountable.

The Express should go through its own archives from 2002 and begin identifying all these individuals who were aware of the wrongdoings at the bakery and in a position to address these issues, particularly from the law enforcement perspective. Attempting to somehow dump the Bailey assassination and tragedy onto the lap of Ron Dellums is a big stretch and seriously unfair.

There is genuine distrust of the white “system” by the black community and black politicians alike, and news media with its sick myopic approach to black politicians tends to make us even more paranoid. The process in a sense is what continually allows organizations within the black community to navigate between the cracks and often maintain no-longer-warranted legitimacy. This happens because as we see in this article, a mayor with decades of good service and integrity can by sleight of hand and one minor degree of association be categorized with murderers and assassins instead of being seen as one of the many whose good intentions were exploited.
Malik Russell, Oakland

“Economic Improvisation,” Music, 8/22


Survive and Prosper
So is the question one of stick to one style and die, or open things up so there can still be a venue for that particular style of jazz? Come on. To ask that a place close down to make a statement, to show that they won’t acknowledge something of the tastes of those within the community, is ridiculous. If you’re a small-enough space that doesn’t need many people to keep the doors open, so be it, and the small spaces are an important part of any city’s scene. But it seems that this is another matter altogether. A business either survives or dies on its choices, and fans of any music have to either understand that or remain confused and/or bitter about the reality around them.

Yoshi’s survival means that they will be able to do many of the things they’ve done for years, and in the end, the people benefit on all sides.
Cornelius Delro, Detroit

Yoshi’s May Succeed
It’s a gutsy expansion, but I think it can work. There’s more competition in SF, but Yoshi’s is a recognized brand name and that’ll give them a certain level of trade from opening day forward. As far as some Bay Area musicians being rankled, well, too bad. You can pout about having limited access to venues, or you can wail about having no venues. They can always open their own clubs if they find the current scene lacking — or is that a risk none of them can stomach?

Dan Berkes, San Francisco

Crossover Appeal
The correct name of the band mentioned in the third paragraph is Orquesta La Moderna Tradici√≥n, not Orquesta La Moderna. (I’m the pianist with the band, which was formed here in Oakland in 1996 and has a Web site at Danzon.com.) It was a treat to see the band mentioned in a positive light, and while hardcore jazzers might dispute its relevance to Yoshi’s, the music we play often appeals to a crossover audience, not just to dancers.

Bob Karty, Oakland

Letters policy
We love letters. Please provide your full name, address, and daytime phone number, although we’ll print only your name, city, and affiliation. Send letters to [email protected] or Letters, East Bay Express, 1335 Stanford Ave., Emeryville, CA 94608. Letters are edited for length and clarity.

Who/what: Taxes|education|Chauncey Bailey|Ron Dellums


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