Letters for the week of June 20, 2007

Readers comment on our food coverage, Don Perata, the UC Regents, guns, hos, ice cream, and gore.

“Numbers Game,” 5/30

No evidence of bias
Your report on the biased city contracting study was provocative. Is there even a shred of evidence that any firm was denied an opportunity to compete because of race, gender, or national origin? No evidence has been produced thus far.

The city council chooses all contractors for the city. Obviously it is not a perfect process, but I would appreciate learning the name of any company that won city business as the result of bias. If there is one, it should be named.

Is there one company that lost out on a city contract because of bias? None has been named so far.

For the last eight years, both the city manager and the assistant city manager in Oakland have been African Americans. Has anyone ever complained that they acted with bias? Have they themselves ever alleged they denied minority businesses the opportunity to bid on city contracts?

The answer is no because the leadership of the city has acted ethically and with a real commitment to diversity. Those who say otherwise are mistaken.
Jerry Brown, California attorney general, Oakland

“Raising the Barstool,” On Food, 6/6

A Hobnob fan
I like the great decor of the restaurant. The food is great — my favorites are the artichoke and the fish and chips; My husband likes the regular french fries (they provide a large serving) and the draft beer. What is fun is watching Mike the owner toss the bottle like a baton or mix the drinks with four bottles in his hands — entertaining, and the drinks were great and perfectly mixed. Oh, try the desserts. They are tiny but so luscious!

Sophie T. Serrato, J.D., Oakland

“Living Large,” Feature, 5/23

Not a Perata fan
Wow, what an interesting article. What’s really sad is that he will continue doing this (yes, it’s legal, but is it moral?).

Cindy Harris, Novato

“Unproven Allegations,” Letters, 5/30

Disingenuous letter
To say in the letter [by UC Associate Vice-President Michael Reese] that “UC Retirement Plan’s assets today would be approximately $2.7 billion lower had the regents not taken action to reduce the risk profile of the UCRP through its investment policy changes in 2000 but had remained in a traditional sixty-forty S&P 500/Lehman Aggregate mix” is disingenuous to the history of the previous Board of Regents and the former UC Treasurers’ and staff.

The investment history of the historic UC Board of Regents and the Treasurer’s Office was the envy of most investment organizations over many a year. Our major funds returns were consistently in the top quartile of returns. The asset mix and its subtle changes over the years and the range of securities owned — bond substitutes in the 1970s, international and private equity in the 1980s and ’90s, 0 percent US and Canadian bonds that locked in 8-to-10 percent compound returns for twenty-plus years, emerging markets in the 1990s and TIPs in the late 1990s — were leading-edge, and gave the funds not just extra diversification but higher returns. We even gave UC Google as a private equity investment in 1999. The wise investment philosophy and its successful implementation are the reasons why the historic Regents investment return record not only met the fund’s needs but exceeded them. Hence, the fund’s surplus.

Unfortunately, UC’s Retirement Plan has been in the bottom quartile of major fund returns every year for the past five years ending June 2006, as several highly regarded studies show and was cited in the main article. Hence, the underfunding risk.

In closing, I was called by a UC lawyer several weeks ago and told not to speak to reporters even though I disclosed, when asked, that I had been called by one. I also was told by a regents legal representative recently that due to my testimony in the fall of 2006, when deposed, in a regents legal case against Time Warner, that my testimony won the university $250 million.

Let’s stick to the facts and move forward to ensure the university’s well-being.
Patricia A. Small, UC treasurer emeritus, Berkeley

“Has OMI Gone Soft?” City of Warts, 5/16

Training, not shooting
Mr. Thompson, I appreciate you shedding light on the current issues at OMI; however, I don’t appreciate the cartoon associated with your article. The sketch that depicts OMI children carrying sniper rifles was completely uncalled for. Firearms have not and will never be part of the curriculum at OMI. The goal of OMI since the day Jerry Brown founded it was to send kids to COLLEGE, not to train them how to shoot a gun. The military framework that Mr. Brown designed into OMI was to provide and teach leadership and self-discipline.

Chris Tallerico, Richmond

“Female MCs Battle ‘Hos,'” Close 2 tha Edge, 5/16

It’s about the degradation
It’s not hos that female MC’s are battling, it is being called hos, treated like dirt, the devaluation of females. Not against hos any more than they are against hip-hop. Just against degradation. Thanks for the article.

Max Dashu, Oakland

“We All Scream,” On Food, 5/23

The hairy eyeball
Great write-up about Clancy’s. I work in San Leandro and checked it out on Wednesday afternoon, and just for the hell of it, I asked the old guy where the ice cream was made — he gave me the same weird nonanswer, and his wife gave me the hairy eyeball! I for one was not exactly charmed by the pair of them, so I won’t be back, but I wanted to let you know you exactly conveyed the mood of the place.
Lisa Tsering, Oakland

“Icky Fiction,” Books, 5/30

Gore with a point
I regret that you missed The Greatest Show on Earth (Novel of the Year 2006 — 3:AM Magazine). Perhaps it was just too troublesome. You know, the gore with a point?


Daniel Scott Buck, Portland, Oregon

Please provide your full name, address, and daytime phone number, although we’ll only print 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.

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