Letters: June 18 – June 24

Health care article uses biased language

The recent article “Up to 92 percent of Californians under 65 covered by Obamacare, study says” (June 18) described the anticipated health care coverage increase under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. The article referred to the proposal by the pejorative “Obamacare,” which title follows from the narrative that President Obama is foisting the law on the American people. The article also included a comment by the Berkeley College Republicans leader although the subject was a research summary. Please present the news without unnecessary bias.

— Gregory Kalkanis

City planning department’s schemes, goals are flawed

I must compliment the media connections of the Department of Planning and Development for putting the burning issue of the vacant lot on the corner of Haste and Telegraph before us again. While playing music on the corner where the incense guy usually is (he’s taken the Monday off), I got into a video televised in the evening news last year. So I’m cosmically connected, if not a definable business person, though I’m better known that way in Harvard Square, where I lived for 15 years before coming to Berkeley in 1990.

It seems to be forgotten just how dingy the intersection used to be before the fire that destroyed the old hotel in the early ’90s. Concrete valleys tend to hold in exhaust fumes, and the bus traffic used to be particularly intense there. With the space open, the gases flush up toward People’s Park. Amoeba, eat dust!

I also have cosmic connection or more with the megalith being constructed by the university on what was a parking lot dating to American Indian times at least, if not beyond. While I was passing through one early evening, a university guy was discussing with a grounds guy the pruning of the fabulous tree that was once the center point of the lot. I was noticed overhearing, and “ka-ching” to the fellow’s eyes came the look like a slot machine bingo. The edifice will soon pour several hundred people into the zone.

Since the sidewalk routinely gridlocks on nice weekends and is busy most of the day, I wonder how “improvements” will improve business. Total gridlock?

You’ll notice as you pass down Telegraph that the vacant lot allows a nice view of the old mural across the street. There was a time when those were recognizable people on the scene. The vacant lot also allows a little sunlight in the windows of the guy who owns the lot and lives next door, I believe. No doubt a multistoried affordable housing joint’s dumpster at his door will improve his life. Waiting list beginning. With a version of Half Dome to one side and a magnet for People’s Park rats to the other, maybe he’ll move to the hills, and genuine real estate people can put in towers like the Department of Planning and Development keeps trying to surround the Downtown Berkeley BART Station with.

— Fred Spaceman Long