Letters for the Week of June 18

Readers sound off on what's poisoning the bees, public urban gardens in Oakland, women in jazz festivals.

“What’s Poisoning the Bees,” Feature, 6/04

Seeds of Our Own Destruction

Spokespeople for Bayer, Monsanto, and Syngenta are the ultimate brownnosers. Maybe they have seen documents not for meant for public consumption, maybe not. But if they were to turn into whistleblowers, chances are pretty good that they would never get another job.

The stupidity and utter ignorance of these companies is they have no moral problem killing their own children for money. After the bees are gone they will still be discussing whose fault it was. It is now of the utmost importance that these companies find within themselves a moral conscience, and that killing every living thing on this beautiful planet is not profitable. And it is time for us, consumers of these seeds of our own destruction, to say no.

Steve Deutsch, Berkeley

Need an Explanation From Regulators

With evidence mounting of the detrimental impact of systemic pesticides on bees mounting, US regulators have to do a better job explaining why this effect is not considered “a substantial likelihood of serious, imminent harm,” or why the EPA does not generally consider the impact of pesticide mixtures on bee health.

Deniza Gertsberg, Editor in Chief, GMO Journal, East Brunswick, New Jersey

Hit Polluters In Their Pockets

It would seem reasonable for the beekeeper to sue the corn planter. Hit the polluters in their pockets, and they will eventually change their ways.

Bill Blank, Chaffee, Missouri

“DINOs Block Progressive Legislation Again,” Seven Days, 6/04

Tearing Party Apart

I spent almost forty years working with the legislature for local governments: cities, counties, and public transit. My real-world experience is that the legislators in the middle are the ones who actually get things done. Democrats and Republicans put together compromises that were/are good for all of California. Legislation is the art of the possible.

DINO name-calling is no more helpful than the RINO (Republican in Name Only) name-calling that has torn that party apart. I sure don’t want to see the same thing in my party.

Ed Gerber, Oakland

Don’t Be An Outlier

Wow. This journalist is sooo far left that he thinks “centrist” is a dirty word! Has he ever taken a statistics course? He thinks one can only be a good person if he is in the left 20 percent of the bell-shaped curve. It was pushing it to paint the One Percent as evil, but the eighty percent?By the way, my wife’s employer left California, and the whole US, because the taxes are too high here. Does this person think it a good idea to increase corporate taxes when everyone acknowledges that corporate taxes are too high?

What motivates someone to hate the vast majority of fellow citizens, and think they are all wrong? I was with the Moonies once for a while and they managed to control my every minute and brainwash me, of sorts, so I thought they had a reasonable worldview. I believe people at the extremes (left or right) typically live in a kind of isolated world (usually self-imposed) where most of their peers enable the same extreme views, to the point where extreme seems normal, and outsiders seem bad or stupid. Don’t be an outlier. Get out and meet the rest of the citizens.

Gary Baker, San Leandro

Need Forum for Ideological Diversity

Really. Less of the ideological bullying, more of the problem-solving in a way that’s respectful of all the stakeholders, please. Being the lefty counterpart to the Tea Party is not useful or worthy of respect.

From the Express’ About Us page: “…just as these East Bay counties are very different from the rest of the San Francisco Bay Area, the East Bay Express is a very different paper. From the international populations that make Oakland and Richmond so dynamic, to the ideological diversity that separates Berkeley from Walnut Creek, our readers are united by their love of a region that is second to nowhere in beauty, livability, intellectual firepower, and cosmopolitan charm.” And yet, where is the forum for that “ideological diversity,” or even respect for it?

Mary Eisenhart, Oakland

“Oakland Slow to Okay More Public Urban Gardens,” News, 6/04

Can’t Get Anywhere Without City Hall

Welcome to trying to get anything done that involves the city when you don’t have influence at city hall. What Jane Brunner and Nancy Nadel did was not much different from what Desley Brooks and Larry Reid did, but City Auditor Courtney Ruby accused them of violating separation of council and administration. You often can’t get anywhere without the backing of a councilmember. No mention of it, but I’m surprised none of the food groups ran into another obstacle: the city charter and union contract prohibition on outsourcing any services that can be done by city employees and requiring that the workers all be paid union scale and benefits. That doesn’t work so well when a PTA wants to remove a small section of schoolyard asphalt and put in a garden but is not allowed to do so because OUSD doesn’t have employees available and the PTA can’t pay union scale to volunteers to do the work. I’m not talking about totally repealing the charter prohibition of outsourcing. But it should be changed to allow outsourcing to volunteers and nonprofits.

Len Raphael, Oakland

Support for Farming

I strongly support efforts to increase farming in Oakland as a major part of our focus on food justice. As mayor I will expedite the approval process and help identify publicly and privately owned land that can be used for food production.

Dan Siegel, Oakland

“Are Jazz Festivals Excluding Women?,” Music, 6/04

Understood and Championed

Bravo once again to Ellen Seeling, my hero. She has had the courage to both speak up and make the changes she wants to see happen. I have lived 35 professional years of the kind of disparity she talks about, and it’s nice to be finally understood, and championed. I’m ever grateful.

Jan Leder, Dobbs Ferry, New York

Powerful Voice

Ellen, you are a constant inspiration to women and girls and I love and support with all my heart your very positive, well-directed messages to the Bay Area music scene. I don’t know why we don’t see a dramatic change in the balance of women musicians being acknowledged. It just does not make sense. Keep it moving, baby! I want you to know that I am so very proud of all that you do to be a powerful voice for all of us.

Tami Ellis, Elk Grove

Need Women Front and Center

I appreciate Ellen and others who take the lead in this area. I book the Temescal Street Fair and other events and I make sure women are front and center. There are many wonderful women jazz and Latin acts, but we need affirmative action to make sure they are hired and featured. I’m so tired of the old, “well, we tried hard but just couldn’t find any women.” Here are some names: Amikaeyla, Linda Tillery, Rebeca Mauleón, Jackeline Rago, Michelle Jacques, Rita Lackey, Carolyn Brandy and Ojalá, Lisa Ferraro and Erika Luckett, Rhiannon … and the list goes on.

Karen Hester, Oakland

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