Letters for the week of December 11-17, 2002

Yusuf Bey gets his just deserts and the taxi cabal awaits its reckoning; but Slow Wave dodges a bullet and New Age Academy gets some credit.

How you can fight Cambodian deportations
I’m writing to commend you for your article (“One-Way Ticket to Cambodia,” November 20) AND to ask you what measures, if any, you will be taking to follow up on this. I work with several Cambodian co-workers, one whose situation mirrors that of your story, and I believe that this issue warrants more attention. I would be happy to help organize a meeting and/or contact the media to bring light to this terrible problem.
Olivia Balogh, San Francisco

Editor’s note:
To help organize against the deportation of legal Cambodian immigrants, contact Cambodian Community Development at 510-535-5022, or Asian and Pacific Islanders for Community Empowerment, at 415-704-3476.

The wicked shall be judged
Mr. Joseph Stevens, aka Yusuf Bey, is finally having his day in the “People’s Court” and it could not come sooner (“Blood & Money, Part Two,” November 20). Mr. Bey loves telling his followers that “a day of judgment is about to come upon the children of the wicked!” He is way right, because his days of preying on the people of Oakland have come to an end. This fool is going to prison for a long time; end of story.

Please look into Soul Beat and its begging owner, Chuck Johnson. This guy has been panhandling the people of Oakland from the time his TV station was bailed out of debt. And his TV station is still in the hole if you hear him tell it. So this panhandler keeps on playing this game.

Be good, keep those parasites running, keep up the good fight.
David Poppy Cummings, Oakland

Please pass the salad
One of the things I was really struck by was how little media attention was focused on Mr. Yusuf Bey’s mayoral campaign outside of the Bay Area. I had moved out of the Bay Area in 1992, and do you know how much attention his race got outside of the immediate Bay Area? None. When the former Grand Dragon of the Ku Klux Klan ran for mayor of San Diego, that was national news; when David Duke ran for state office in Louisiana, that also was national news. Why so little focus on Mr. Yusuf Bey’s mayoral bid? My theory is any attack on Mr. Yusuf Bey’s campaign may have been viewed as another way of the “blue-eyed devils” keeping black men from office. If this were true, Mr. Elihu Harris would have never would have become mayor of Oakland, Mr. Willie Brown would have never become mayor of San Francisco, and Mr. Tom Bradley would have never become mayor of Los Angeles. Racism, no matter its source, is ultimately destructive.

The view of America as being a melting pot is inaccurate and outdated. In its place, I would like to offer my tossed-salad model. The tossed salad recognizes the uniqueness of each of its ingredients. If one of ingredients of the tossed salad is missing, the salad is poorer by its absence. The melting pot, however, seeks to erase the differences. I like my tossed salad. I want more ingredients: more spices, more onions, more lettuce, more peppers, more carrots and tomatoes. I want to see the time where the salad is important — not its individual parts.
Name withheld by request

My boss is an unscrupulous charlatan
The taxi industry — East Bay, or in San Francisco — is run by an unscrupulous, power-hungry cabal (“All’s Fare in Cabbies’ Union Fight,” October 9), a parasitical Mafia that thrives and fattens itself by the labors of the toiling hardworking drivers. In the case of San Francisco drivers, they have bought Willie Brown (the crookedest mayor in San Francisco’s history) and his cohorts. How do I know? I still drive a cab part-time. It is high time someone brought those charlatans to justice.
Name withheld by request

Take two Sleep-Eez and dream sweet dreams
Last night we suffered a bad dream in which our all-time favorite cartoon strip, Slow Wave, was canceled due to some grouchy letters written to the Express editor (Letters, November 27). We woke up and found to our relief that Slow Wave was still in print; however, so were the negative opinions.

We attribute these readers’ irritation to lack of sleep. Please keep printing Slow Wave so that they may be alerted to the benefits of adequate rest and perhaps be enticed into joining the fun.
Melanie Archer and Michael Knowles, Oakland

I learned so much I can’t remember it all
I attended New Age Academy for a year in seventh grade. Seeing the letters (Letters, November 13, 27), I felt that I wanted to write. Two years later, in ninth grade, I am still discovering things that I learned at New Age Academy. Gloria Cooper, Marc Bernstein, and the rest of the staff challenged and inspired me. New Age Academy was my first experience with teachers who really got to know me and cared about all of my growth, not just the intellectual. I learned more in my year at New Age than at any of the schools I went to before seventh grade. I think that the most important thing they did for me there was believe in me completely. Maybe some of the classes wouldn’t be accepted at other schools, but in dance I learned self-confidence, in language I learned to appreciate poetry in a different way, and philosophy helped me practice my critical thinking.

Of course New Age Academy is not perfect. But Gloria Cooper and the other teachers are visionaries, and the school is in many ways a model of just what learning should be.
Alicia Otis Levins, Berkeley

Bursting with ideas?
The Express is seeking experienced freelance journalists based outside of Oakland and Berkeley to pitch stories about the people and events of the Greater East Bay (including all of Alameda and Contra Costa counties). Controversy in Concord? Fracas in Fremont? All amiss in Alamo? If you’ve got a good story idea, we want to hear from you. But please get familiar with the Express before sending your ideas along. E-mail pitches, along with a description of your experience and links to published work to Michael Mechanic, managing editor ([email protected]). Pitches from PR professionals will not be considered, so don’t even bother.

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