Letters to the Editor: Theft of Conservative Publication Criticized

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When I first came to UC Berkeley, I thoroughly agreed with all the "underdog" clubs supporting Palestine, minority rights, and all the other groups rooting for the "oppressed" against the "powerful." But having now experienced a campus where these groups are the powerful and seeing their treatment of the smaller groups like the Berkeley College Republicans, I can only say that I was wrong ("Copies of California Patriot Stolen; Publication Staff Allegedly Harassed," Feb. 27). It doesn't seem to matter what you believe in anymore, just the number of newspapers you can steal and opponents you can slander. Thanks Berkeley, I've learned a lot.

Trevor Mayple

UC Berkeley student

Theft of publications or any interference with the access of individuals or groups to freedom of expression is unconscionable behavior ("Copies of California Patriot Stolen; Publication Staff Allegedly Harassed," Feb. 27). Such actions are completely antithetical to the values that form the foundation of our democracy, and such actions are particularly egregious in an educational setting. Over the past few years, there have been several instances of this behavior. These acts diminish our community. Despite heightened attention by the campus police and the Office of Student Life, we have not yet been able to identify the perpetrators. We will continue to do our utmost to identify those responsible, and we will bring criminal and student charges to bear on those individuals.

Robert M. Berdahl

UC Berkeley Chancellor

I find it interesting that at the "University of Free Speech" students steal 3,000 copies of a magazine because they disagree with its message ("Copies of California Patriot Stolen; Publication Staff Allegedly Harassed," Feb. 27). So let me get this straight: Here at UC Berkeley you can say whatever you want, but only if you agree with the liberal left? I know that most of the campus does not agree with what we Republicans say, but for crying out loud, let us say it.

Bret Manley

Berkeley College Republicans

executive vice president

When I heard that 3,000 California Patriots were stolen from the Berkeley College Republican office in Eshleman Hall, I originally thought it funny ("Copies of California Patriot Stolen; Publication Staff Allegedly Harassed," Feb. 27). After thinking about it however, the idea of stealing a campus publication began to disgust me. In fact, the very reality that the Berkeley College Republicans organization received threats based on some of the magazine's content is absurd. Despite that the Patriot represents a view that deviates from the Berkeley norm, people with those views have every right to express them.

Liberalism (the Patriot's opposition viewpoint and the Berkeley norm) is supposed to stand for tolerance. It seems ironic that the people who are supposed to be the most tolerant become the most intolerant when you disagree with them. If the content of a campus publication is not to one's liking, rather than destroying the forum, use it to express your own opinion. I am disgusted that the most progressive university in the nation still does not understand the meaning of free speech.

Daniel Frankenstein

ASUC senator

ASUC Accessibility

I agree with Howard Chong's opinion questioning the accessibility of ASUC information ("Students Deserve Freedom of Information in ASUC," Feb. 26). I only get to know about ASUC's current agenda through The Daily Californian.

I learned that the agenda for the weekly senate meeting is posted on the second floor of Eshleman Hall, but do we have to go all the way down there and up just to see a plain list of agendas (with no further information)? Also, the ASUC Web site is not linked from other sites within the university, it assumes you know the URL, and when you finally reach it, it may not be operating at all.

It shouldn't take much to improve all of this. ASUC can set up bulletin boards at accessible places and post

agendas along with any relevant information. In fact, why doesn't ASUC make use of the boards already found on Sproul Plaza?

While improving the Web site, ASUC should publicize the Web site itself. It should be linked from often visited university Web sites. ASUC should make efforts to get information on paper and disseminate it.

Making information accessible is not placing it so only to be found by luck, but is placing it within an easy reach of constituents' hands.

Takeshi Akiba

UC Berkeley student

Retrograde Taxes

I understand that Berkeley is trying to build a road to hell based on good intentions and my tax dollars ("Controversial Proposals to Be Expected On Fall Ballot," Feb. 26). I personally have no problem with this-it could stand to be a tad warmer here in the winter. We have enough roads already, however. If the council is so dead set on spending other people's money, I will be happy to donate my hard-earned cash toward a mass transit system to send the entire council to its well-deserved Pitchfork Utopia. Who's with me?

Bill Gregory

Berkeley resident

ASUC Elections

The League of Women Voters of Berkeley, Albany and Emeryville would like to add its perspective about the cost of ASUC elections to the discussion ("ASUC Lacks Adequate Funds For Upcoming Elections," Feb. 22). The league provides for the security of the ballots and the voting process, and the number of polling places and the hours of operation directly affect the complexity of the job. Since the league began assisting with ASUC elections in 1979, the job has expanded a great deal and so far electronic solutions have not resulted in smoother or faster elections.

In 1990 the election took three days, with seven campus-polling places open for 126 poll hours. Ballot counting took two days. Last year there were fifteen polling places, with day and evening hours, for a total of 313 poll hours. Ballot counting took three days. This year another campus polling place has been added. The increase in the number of polling places and the hours that they are open raises the cost of the election.

For many years the league has recommended that the number of polling places be reduced and the election be held in two days. ASUC should find new ways to increase the low voter turnout rather than to continue increasing polling sites and hours. It is too late to make major changes in the election this year but ASUC needs to begin a dialogue with its constituents about increasing voter participation and controlling costs next year.

Nancy Bickel

and Jane Coulter

League of Women Voters

Saving Energy

Thank you for running the excellent article on reducing air conditioning energy use by planting trees and lightening roofs and pavements ("Trees Shown to Reduce Energy Consumption in Large Cities," Feb. 20).

I wanted to comment that while planting trees will reduce your house's or building's air conditioning energy consumption in the long run (when the tree is large enough to provide measurable shade), the best way to avoid the next energy crisis is to take the steps that can be completed in the short term-like re-roofing your house with a lighter-colored material, or a solar-reflective coating.

And of course, there are lots of other ways to reduce your energy use. See http://savepower.lbl.gov/ for more suggestions.

Thanks again for reporting on our urban heat islands reduction work, a 15-year research and development effort we're very proud of.

Allan Chen

Lawrence Berkeley National

Laboratory energy analyst

Watch for Smearing

So far the campaign for state assembly has been a nice, clean race. The candidates have stuck to the issues. But we are getting down to the final days of the campaign. Usually this is when campaigns become rather unpleasant.

Fingers are pointed and (often unfounded) allegations are made, without the electorate having the opportunity to check out the facts. Let's keep an eye out for the negative campaigners.

If we don't like their tactics, we should not vote for those candidates on March 5.

M.H. Jones

Berkeley resident


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