Chancellor's comments, UC Stadium project

Chancellor's comments, UC Stadium project,

Editors, Daily Planet:

Don’t be fooled by the recent UC offer to downsize the garage under the Maxwell Field (Daily Planet, July 3). The offer came on the heels of Chancellor Birgeneau’s annual meeting with the Staff Assembly Committee at which, in his opening remarks, he mused about why the city would waste all that money (on a lawsuit) because, as he stated in typical UC arrogance, “the sports facility is only delayed. It will be built.” Ignoring the issues, Birgeneau dismissed critics by claiming there is only one reason for the project; “to get our athletes out of an unsafe structure.”

Appealing to our sympathies, he used “safety” to obfuscate the real issues; traffic, night-light pollution, the views from Strawberry Canyon, the reduced landscape, the trees. Besides, I work in another of UC’s “unsafe structures,” the Edwards Track, built of concrete pillars that may fall in the next quake, but I guess a bunch of gardeners are a lower priority than a bunch of marketable footballers.

Hank Chapot

Bikes in Berkeley CA - letter to Editor

Berkeley Daily Planet


Editors, Daily Planet:

I understand Michelle Lerager’s consternation over Berkeley police actions toward bicyclists (Aug. 7). It is strange that they would crack down on erratic cycling when there are thousands of irresponsible, dangerous and selfish automobile drivers on our streets.

The bicycle is only a threat or traffic nuisance if you drive a car. Few pedestrians will complain about bicycles, and those only because some cyclists are so intimidated by cars that they ride on sidewalks, an activity cycling activists condemn. The truth is, most bicyclists have drivers licenses, most know how to drive a car and are aware of the rules of the road.

In fact, bicycle advocates in the late 1890s went to court repeatedly to gain recognition as vehicles. Even the Supreme Court decided that yes, bicycles are entitled to the road, and are subject to all rules therein. So, why do we ride so crazily? Well, first, we aren’t given our rights by the steel and glass monsters we share the road with, and second, we have this little problem of maintaining our forward momentum.

I demand cars give up road space to everyone else, and if I could have one exception to the rules of the road governing bicycles, I would fix the state vehicle code and solve Michelle Lerager’s problem by passing legislation that says STOP equals YIELD for bicycles.

Hank Chapot