Retrofitting stadium was essential

Overall, Jon Wilner's June 25 series on Cal athletics facilities financing offered balanced coverage of a complex topic.

I appreciate that the reporting made clear we had no choice when it came to retrofitting Memorial Stadium after members of the UC regents directed the campus to retrofit or move out. It is also worth noting that we examined the possibility of playing elsewhere, but other venues presented disqualifying financial challenges.

Simply retrofitting the stadium, without other improvements, certainly would have lowered the price tag. However, a retrofit-only project could not have been funded through philanthropy, and using state money or student fees was not an option.

So, we went beyond a retrofit and improved the facility with new amenities and premium seating that offer value to donors, fans and sponsors and support seat sales through the Endowment Seating Program. Although that program has yet to live up to our expectations, that does not mean it has failed. Seat sales have already generated sufficient funds to cover interest expenses for approximately 20 years, providing us with ample time to assess and, if needed, adjust a much-improved financial model.

Sandy Barbour

Berkeley Barbour is director of athletics at UC Berkeley

Leaking, spying is nothing new

I know firsthand about surveillance.


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My true story: During World War II, my stepfather served as assistant ambassador to Germany and my mother was German-born. We learned after the war that our home phone had been tapped. Mother was not political, she had lady friends. My sister was embarrassed, she had boyfriends. The stepfather seldom used the phone and I was a teen, not yet into dating.

But, still, how dare the State Department, or whoever gave the order!

One day, my stepfather drove me through a ritzy neighborhood near our hometown of Bethesda, Md. He stopped by a mansion and said the owner had been paid big-time by the Russians for secret material. He said he could have done the same, but would not.

Leaking information, spying, covert activities, acting counter to or beyond our government's rules and constitutional rights is deplorable -- but, really, nothing new.

Claire J. Baker

Pinole

Oakland A's deserve a decent stadium

The Oakland A's could have been in Fremont in a new, baseball-only venue if it weren't for a group of shortsighted people and the now-defunct NUMMI plant who vehemently opposed the move.

They claimed it would cause major traffic congestion and crowds of unruly fans. Very frankly, Fremont screwed-up, big time. The A's would have sold out and brought additional revenue and jobs to a city feeling the affects of the NUMMI plant debacle.

That non-move will keep the A's in Oakland to share a dilapidated football stadium with the Raiders. Lew Wolff, the A's owner, has a right to move his team, and I don't blame him because Oakland has done absolutely nothing to accommodate the A's.

San Jose isn't the answer because Mayor Chuck Reed is a typical blowhard politician who is suing Major League Baseball over the A's interest in a potential move there. Reed really doesn't care that the San Francisco Giants' minor league farm club, the San Jose Giants, have played there for years and the Giants have the territorial rights.

Bottom line: The A's are a great team and deserve a new stadium.

Don Crotts

San Leandro

SB 492 would help fill provider gap

When Obamacare begins in January, California is expected to have 7 million new patients who finally have access to quality health care they deserve.

There is a serious shortage of doctors to handle the influx. State Sen. Ed Hernandez has proposed a package of bills to ease the shortage by allowing trained medical professionals, including optometrists, nurse practitioners and pharmacists, to help provide quality care.

SB 492 would allow doctors of optometry to treat patients directly and help fill the provider gap. As a doctor of optometry, I am often a gateway to health care for my patients. I urge our local legislators to allow me to use my tools and training to help provide quality care to Californians.

Christopher Gee

Livermore

Gee is a member of Alameda and Contra Costa Counties Optometric Society.