Letters: March 15

Homelessness and Telegraph Avenue

Lynn Yu’s column  (“Talking on Telegraph. Stop,” March 7)  came from a place of such privilege that it rendered the whole article ridiculous. The piece uses the same rhetoric as 19th century British imperial policy. To assume that Telegraph’s ‘potential’ is to gentrify it into some UC outdoor mall is to completely marginalize every non-student who uses the space.

Yu asks what we should to do with the homeless population, as if we mostly affluent students who count our stay here in semesters have more right to Telegraph than the folks who’ve lived and worked on the street for decades. For someone who claims to be sensitive to the homeless, she’s quick to dehumanize them, treating them as obstacles to be pushed out of sight and mind instead of people with rights. It’s a discourse that ultimately does nothing to address the structural problems that create homelessness and instead does everything to benefit the landlords and developers who make millions by ‘cleaning up’ places like Telegraph. As for student safety, Yu’s argument again reveals class prejudice. It seems we’re more likely to be assaulted in the Greek system than on the sidewalk.

There’s a Berkeley beyond UC Berkeley. Yu needs to check her privilege before she keeps doing developers’ marketing for them.

— Jay Scherf,
UC Berkeley student

In defense of Rand Paul’s filibuster

Connor Grubaugh’s criticism of Senator Rand Paul’s filibuster (“Filibuster is still foul,” March 11) fails to understand the fundamental function of the U.S. Senate. It is not meant to be another majoritarian legislature like the House of Representatives. If that were the case, why establish a second legislature at all? Rather, the Senate’s function, as seen in the recent filibuster, is to protect minority opinions from being drowned out by the tyranny of the majority.

Nevertheless, the filibuster doesn’t empower the minority opinion to domineer the whole legislative process. As we saw last Wednesday, Senator Paul’s stand eventually ended, and John Brennan was confirmed. Yet, the filibuster still functions as a critical platform for minority opinions to be heard. In the case of Senator Paul, he brought the issue of drone strikes to greater prominence in public discourse, and Brennan is now CIA director. This is a win-win situation. Would Connor prefer Brennan receive a free pass without a mention of the pressing issues facing his office?

— Casey Given,
UC Berkeley alumnus, former Daily Cal columnist

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