Letters to the Editor: Housing Woes Top Parking Needs

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I read Aaron Walburg's assessment of the campus parking situation, and while I respect his opinion, I find his argument specious ("Parking Lot Protester Ignores Faculty's Needs," Aug. 11).

Although he is correct to note that parking is very difficult, does he really believe that preserving - or even expanding - the Underhill Parking Lot is a solution to this problem? The Underhill location is much better suited to housing construction than to a traffic-creating parking structure.

I have a deeper concern about his statement that he "would currently prioritize parking above student housing." I find it sad that so many faculty and staff on this campus seem to believe that parking spaces are more critical to the university's mission than classroom, laboratory, student housing, and office spaces, especially given the upcoming enrollment boom.

Walburg wonders why anyone works at the university, given that there is no free parking. Personally, I wonder why any student decides to enroll at UC Berkeley given the cost of housing. Of course, if students stopped coming to UC Berkeley, that would effectively solve the parking problem - Walburg and myself would be out of our jobs and wouldn't need to park at the university.

Michael Sinatra

uc Berkeley employee

Lab Story 'Grossly Inaccurate'

The National Academy of Sciences' Research Council report that the U.S. Department of Energy labs -including the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory-will never be free enough of radioactive debris to be released on unrestricted public use evoked the usual dodges from the lab ("Los Alamos Unsafe for Public Use," Aug. 11).

Lawrence Berkeley officials' statement that the lab has far more difficulty securing federal funding for environmental cleanup because it has not received "superfund" status is a grossly inaccurate statement.

The Lawrence Berkeley lab received "superfund" status in 1998 and is eligible for the Superfund National Priorities List for cleanup funding. It qualified as a "superfund" site because of the amount of tritium in the ambient air at the Lawrence Hall of Science and the campus' Melvin Calvin Lab, which is located close to a day care center.

The tritium release is three times background and exceeds the Environmental Protection Agency's cancer risk screening concentration level.

The lab's statement is particularly disingenuous because Lawrence Berkeley lab officials, with the cooperation of the Environmental Protection Agency, are fighting tooth and nail to prevent the placement of the Lawrence Berkeley lab on the very list that would guarantee it federal funding for cleanup.

What is needed in order to determine whether the lab should be on the list for cleanup funds is a comprehensive and independent sampling plan without a predetermined outcome, which would include all parts of the Lawrence Berkeley lab, such of the Melvin Calvin and Donner Labs on the main campus.

Gene Bernardi

Berkeley resident

Sonnet Spotlights Problems

Among the bribe-o-cratic lords of earth

The bribe, dear student, long ago replaced

Such antique terms as merit, work, or worth,

Which, spurn'd, adjourn'd as bribery was embraced.

And so with those the regents now anoint:

The bribe-o-crats consider it a gag

To serve our U for any other point

Than access to the bribers' stash of swag.

They bribe to hire, bribe to make you stay,

A bribe's held out in every hand you shake,

They bribe you six or seven times a day;

You're frown'd upon if not upon the take.

They bribe you half a million to retire,

The clerical they simply yawn and fire.

Johnathan Petty

uc Berkeley student


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