Letters of the Week: Our Readers Chime in on our Taste Issue


“Another Unnecessary Sports Expense,” Seven Days, 9/27

A Do-Over

Yep, we need to completely reconstitute the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum board, and then they need to work with the A’s to build an appropriate facility there.

Naomi Schiff

“Laney Students and Staff Express Concerns About the A’s Ballpark Plans,” Web-Only News, 9/29

These Are Valid Concerns

Concerns about the gentrifying effect of the ballpark, as well as the health of our community college system, are legitimate. The city will undoubtedly spend money on improving infrastructure and those improvements mean that working-class renters will get squeezed out by the “invisible hand of the market.” Parents will need to move further from their work, children will have to change schools, and all displaced people will be uprooted from their community of friends and neighbors. The city could ameliorate some of the stress this causes people, who are legitimately concerned, by tightening rent control.

I’ve read elsewhere that the Peralta Community College District would not be selling this public land but rather leasing it. If that were to provide a steady source of income, at a fair-market rate, I would be inclined to support a land lease. That money could certainly be used to improve the Colleges in the Peralta District.

Russell Ibrahim Blank

“Staying Power,” Taste, 9/27

‘Reinvent’ a Food Court

The reinvention of the Emeryville Public Market has been an example of exactly what not to do in development. The long loved Crispy Fry was pushed out about a year after having to move into a more expensive, smaller space, giving room to the Guitar Center. It was a slap in the face to the owners who were long-established tenants of the space and to its customers.

The Public Market has been bare for about three years now, maybe longer. The management of the redevelopment should have been fired long ago.

Trying to put upscale overpriced food in that area is a bad idea. The Public Market was a lunch spot and saw some night business, but it cannot sustain in its present form. It is too bad when a developer comes in and pushes out outstanding businesses that have faithfully paid their rent for decades just so they can “reinvent” a food court. Shame on them.

Keith Klickstein via Facebook

“Better Together,” Taste, 9/27

A Great Alternative —for Some

Co-ops are a great alternative way of doing business, particularly for younger people and single people who don’t need a rock-steady income. However, the proponents of co-ops tend to gloss over the fact that the members equally absorb risk as well as reward. In other words, there is the possibility of a delayed or reduced paycheck from time to time as demand drops or fluctuates.

For workers who need a reliable income, the top-down corporate model still works better. Also, the co-op model is ill-suited to certain businesses in which some of the workers must put in years of education and work before even starting in business. It doesn’t seem fair, for example, to pay the neurosurgeon as much as the neurosurgeon’s receptionist.

James Jazz, Jr.

Excellent Coverage of Co-ops

Thank you for your excellent coverage of the local co-operative scene. I especially liked the fact that you highlighted the co-op-to-co-op solidarity.

When Mandala opens its new store, I hope the Express does an extended coverage on the new location and couples it with a (necessarily, of course) brief history of East Bay co-operative ventures going back over 80 years or more. The Berkeley Food Coop (with three stores in Berkeley in the early ’80s, and several beyond) took the lead in pioneering such innovations as having a nutritionist on staff, using recycled bags, and selling organic foods. And it supported the workers at the Cheeseboard in the ’70s in their endeavor to buy out the couple who founded the store.

Bernard Marszalek


Our Sept. 27 Taste Feature, “Family Affairs,” credited the wrong photographer. The photo is by Kala Minko.