Letters to the Editor: Clippinger Has Unique Clairvoyance



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I never thought I'd read a column like Ross Clippinger's in The Daily Californian ("Behind the Badge," Jan. 27).

I'm a sergeant at the UC Police Department and I'd like to thank you for putting it out there the way you did. You realize you will now be the latest target for those ever so rational Letters to the Editor. You have a unique filter with which to view certain events that, in reality, probably makes you a more credible observer, but will also be the very thing some people will use to label you less so.

Your perspective is an interesting example of the evolution of the law enforcement profession - you being the child of both a father and mother with a badge. For so long it was just the father as our example of a law enforcement family. Of course, this change should make perfect sense to me. I was part of the first wave of women to enter the profession.

I also have a somewhat unique perspective on this job, having gone to school here during the real riot years. When they did my background for the position at UCPD, I was always crossing my fingers that no one would review any archive photos and find my artsy mug in the crowd shots. It's a bit ironic to be on the other side of things like that now. Trust me though, we're not nearly as nasty, bad as some folks would make us out to be.

Sgt. Sara Ferrandini


UC Police Department

Columnist Illustrates the Irony of Police Work

As a parent and UC police officer, I just wanted to thank Ross Clippinger for his refreshing Jan. 27 article ("Behind the Badge"). Working in Berkeley, I am often amazed at the negative environment that my peers and I face on a continual basis.

When I raised my hand and took the oath to serve and protect, I never thought in my wildest imagination that I would face in person and in the press, the amount of hostility, disrespect and police-bashing that goes on in this community.

I was in Barrows Hall during the takeover and witnessed the actions of the "peaceful" demonstrators. Throughout their vulgar tirade, I kept reminding myself that yes, these kids are part of the community I promised to serve. And heaven forbid, should I respond to a call where any of them were seriously injured or a victim of a violent crime, as usual, I would be compassionate, caring, professional, respectful and treat them in the same manner as I would anyone else. Ironic, isn't it?

Detective Chris Bowers


UC Police Department

Bicycle Plan Suffers From Muddled Oversight

The city's plan to modify streets for faster and safer bicycle travel sounds like a promising idea ("Committee Approves Bicycle Plan", Jan. 25). However, the people developing it seem a bit unclear on the concept.

The article quotes Hank Resnick of the city's bicycle subcommittee, as saying that a 1977 plan "has not been even remotely successful" because "there are more cars in Berkeley than ever before." But that seems like the wrong criterion - especially if (as Resnick also told you) the project's goal is "to improve bicycle traffic, not impede cars."

Our region's population has ballooned since 1977, so one would expect to find a lot more cars on Berkeley's streets. There are probably a lot more bikes, too (especially since BART has gradually improved bike access for commuters from other cities). So what? Our bike plan's success should be judged by how it affects biking conditions.

And to that end: Whoever designed the traffic circle illustrated beside the article has evidently never ridden a bike. I would hate to find myself riding a bike into one of these narrowed intersections at the same time that a car approached - squish city! In real life, the curb corners would probably be square and intrusive - not the nice, round recessed ones shown in the drawing.

Let's hope these new "Bicycle Boulevards" end up better designed than that awful traffic circle.

Tom Brown

Berkeley resident

Fight Song is Music, Not Doctrine

Considering that the "California Indian Song" was written almost a century ago at the height of jingoism in American history, it isn't surprising that its lyrics dispute the ideal of diversity we all strive for at UC Berkeley today. Hopefully, four years of education and living in the environment of Berkeley teaches us that a bloody conquest for imperialism and racial superiority is an outdated practice best left behind in the last century.

But if any Berkeley student is ignorant and immature enough to actually carry through on the notions in "Indian Song," then maybe an education at the most diverse institution in the country misses the point. We (hopefully) learn to be independent thinkers here at Berkeley and part of that education is not being easily manipulated by a college fight song, to see its faults from 100 years ago, and hopefully not act upon the lyrics of the song.

If we really need the official stamp of approval from an organization that earlier this year hung an effigy of an "Indian" above Bancroft Way for all to see, then the goal of independent thought really is not being met here. We are all aware of how wrong the lyrics of the song are; at the same time, we should not need the student government to tell us right from wrong, especially on an issue as patently obvious as "scalping blockheads."

A Berkeley student can see how disgusting the lyrics of "Indian Song" are, without the assistance of the ASUC or political correctness and, hopefully, that "California Indian Song" is just that - a song.

Alex Orquiza


UC Berkeley student

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