Letters to the Editor

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Death of Oakland Reporter A‘Chilling Reminder’

The murder of Chauncey Bailey in broad daylight in Oakland yesterday was not only an act of brutality and immorality, but an assault too on civic institutions we cherish. Bailey was a reporter and editor with deep roots in Oakland and the nation's proud black journalistic professional societies. From all accounts, he long practiced what he passionately believed in—free speech, and fulfilling the public's right to know the truth.

In many repressive parts of the world where such rights are not protected by law that mission can be a dangerous one. In 2006 alone, 55 journalists were killed while practicing this skill in places as varied as Central Asia and the Middle East, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists.

While the full reasons behind Bailey's execution-style killing are yet unknown, it seems clear that it represents not only a tragic new example of the escalating wages of violence in Oakland. It also is likely a chilling reminder that in America, too, truth seeking requires vigilant protections.

Neil Henry

Interim Dean of UC Berkeley

Graduate School of Journalism

Group’s Frozen Assets Prevent Helpful Services

What the federal government is doing to the Berkely Patient's Group is rotten! They have frozen their assets at the same time their taxes were due, and the same goes for their Los Angeles sister club, depriving the state and it’s taxpayers of thousands of dollars. Not only that, Berkeley Patient's Group is a safe haven for folks who can’t afford “real medicine,” and they provide outpatient care to people dying of aids, parapalegics, and folks who are too old or blind to leave their homes! And it ‘aint just smokin’ people! There are countless ways to use marijuana; tinxtures, balms, oils, edibles, vaporizers which, done properly produce no smoke! Not to mention Berkeley Patient’s Group provides free acupuncture, massage therapy and meeting groups for people who just need to let it out. They have a common room where patients (many of whom are homeless) can spend their entire day off the streets with free food, free coffee, tea and water, free use of products to use their medicine in a way that works for them, live music, movies, special events and the list goes on! Plus, Berkeley's population voted over 80 percent in favor of medical marijuana, and the mayor himself supports the cause! The Berkely police department even supports it, because it’s what their constituents want! That’s why it’s legal in California! Now the federal government wants to say what is and what isn’t in a state where the federal government is the farthest thing away from any local reality or need! And, the protests outside of the courthouse are not one-time rallies, they are going on every day! Berkeley Patient’s Group workers are working for free, and on their days off they are going to the courthouse! Do me a favor folks, speak up and send the issue some support!

This is wrong! People want it! And if drug companies can sell us products that cause bleeding, open sores, erectile dysfunction, paranoia and rare occurences of death, then we can support something that many us do anyway!

Eric Witkowski

New York

Tuition Increase is a Barrier to Education

I am outraged at the proposed tuition increases at the University of California. The tuition at our public universities is already much too high. If Canada, England, Cuba and Venezuela can provide free university educations for their people, why can't we do it here in the United States? The high cost of education here in the United States makes it very hard for middle class and low income people to attend university. And when kids leave college, they owe a bundle.

Here, tuition increases at the state universities and community colleges have increased steadily, until now the UC deans want to charge $43,000 a year to go to a public professional school, like law or business.

While we are raising barriers to education here in the United States, we are importing professional people educated at free or low cost universities in India, China, the Philippines and elsewhere to fill our professional jobs here.

There is something wrong with this picture. Who benefits? Big business hiring cheap foreign labor? Those greedy deans and regents—instead of comparing their salaries with other industry leaders’, they should be comparing them with school teachers. These deans and regents are employed in the public sector, and should be loyal to the people they educate, not to their business buddies.

Margot Smith

UC Berkeley alumnus

California Legislators Deserve to be Replaced

Now is the time to begin finding candidates to replace California legislators, not extend term limits. Your state senator and assemblymember failed to gather sufficient support to enact a timely budget. Their failure had a domino effect on all counties, cities and districts within the state, delaying many budgets.

These legislators failed to accomplish any competitive re-districting. These legislators failed to adopt or maintain a governmental agency as the single-payer of all Californian’s medical and dental bills. These legislators failed to adopt meaningful corporation reforms. These legislators failed to make eco-fuel available, for their eco-friendly government vehicles.

Elect replacements that just-say-no to campaign donations from lobbyists, political action committees and unrestrained corporation CEOs.

John Bauer

Martinez, Calif.


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