Where is the compassion?

Recently, I spent one night sleeping on the sidewalk. I did it as a show of solidarity with homeless residents and in protest of the upcoming mass eviction of dozens of residents of an abandoned landfill, the Albany Bulb.

I couldn't sleep most of the night. Although I was with a large group, I felt insecure. My sore throat threatened to get much worse from sleeping in the cold. I was worried that police would cite or arrest me. In the middle of the night, I had to go to the bathroom, but all of the businesses were closed. The next morning, my whole body ached. I was smelly, tired and wanted to brush my teeth.

These are the details of how just one night affected me -- even though I had every advantage. Bulb residents will not fare nearly as well. They will lose most of their belongings and their pets.

They will be cited, arrested and harassed. They will spend some nights alone, vulnerable to assault. Every day will be a struggle for survival, with no energy left to search for a way out of homelessness.

To alleviate the inevitability of homelessness under the city's current eviction plan, Albany offers to pay for several months of FEMA-style dormitory trailers in a waterfront parking lot. These funds could go a long way toward permanent, affordable housing but, adding insult to injury, that won't happen.


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The Sierra Club and Citizens for East Shore Parks claim this action is necessary to make a park. Parks should be about building community and bringing diverse members of society together. The proposed "park" will not be such a space. It will forever be a reminder of our society's callous disregard of human suffering and unwillingness to care for one another.

Megan Sallomi

Berkeley

Sallomi is a law student at Cal and a member of Share the Bulb.

Recall spurred by ambition

This is in response to Josh Richman's recent article in the Times about the 2003 California gubernatorial recall, "Was it a total waste to have a recall?" While insightful, the article fails to mention how it got bankrolled and who was behind it.

The recall of then-Gov. Gray Davis was started by a few Republicans. Rep. Darrell Issa, who became a candidate for governor, partially financed the recall in the amount of $2 million. He dropped out of the race when Arnold Schwarzenegger, who had star power, came in. Issa said Schwarzenegger's name on the ballot assured him enough qualified candidates would seek the office.

Schwarzenegger entered the race because of Issa's efforts to make the recall election happen, because, according to Issa, Davis lied about the California state budget figures.

Keep in mind that voters elected Davis for a second term in November 2002. Apparently, Issa did not accept the democratic process and wait until 2006 to run for governor the right way.

In short, if we want to blame anyone for the increased budget problems in California from 2003 to 2010, it would be appropriate to point the finger at Issa.

John Turner

Berkeley

Mallard, don't make up 'facts'

I don't mind if the Times carries comics on the right politically or on the left -- I only ask that they be clever and are interestingly drawn. Mallard Fillmore is neither.

Also, it is flat-out wrong in its assertion that the Arctic Sea ice is growing. That is completely untrue. It is true that the sea ice in the Antarctic has been growing somewhat, though the land ice has been shrinking.

None of this contradicts global warming, however, as can be easily explained if you check out a number of scientific websites, including PBS.

If you want to be a climate change denier, you have that right, but you do not have the right to make up your own facts.

Bill Mayer

Berkeley

Irresponsible GOP radicals

If President Barack Obama actually loved this country, and took seriously his vow to protect and defend the Constitution, he ought to be more than willing to give the Republicans in Congress anything they wanted to keep the Republican-led government shutdown from destroying the United States and its carefully balanced 200 years of constitutional government.

Obama ought to be more than willing to give in to the unprecedented and extreme Republican demands, even if it means the destruction of his most cherished piece of legislation, the Affordable Care Act.

Would anyone who actually loved this country be willing to see it demoralized or destroyed by those radical congressional Republicans acting simply for their own ideological or political advantage?

I mean, who's being irresponsible here?

Michael Steinberg

Berkeley

Albany Bulb celebrates art

I propose that the Albany Bulb be declared that most unusual of parks -- one that fosters great urban walking, with and without dogs.

I propose it be a place that celebrates, as it does, some of the best sculpture art in the Bay Area and a place where a set number of people can live and camp in peace, as long as they adhere to the rules of peaceful coexistence.

There is no other place like it that I know of and I believe some of the folks living there contribute to its upkeep and character and to the pleasure for the rest of us visiting there.

Sara DeWitt

Berkeley

Don't evict at Albany Bulb

Regarding your recent article about people living at the Albany Bulb, I am very disturbed to read that there are efforts to evict them.

I find the Bulb a unique and fascinating place, where the detritus of our urban environment -- ugly, grotesque stuff, such as concrete, rebar, etc. -- has been transformed by artists into wonderful and inspiring art. Some of the artists are the people who live there.

And, of course, trees, bushes and grasses have been growing over the years. It is an ugly place becoming a beautiful place.

I live in a nice home in a nice neighborhood, but I realize that not everyone in this world is like me. Some people don't fit in to our world. Some people can't get jobs and can't afford an apartment. What kind of society are we that we would force them out of the homes they have created?

I fervently wish the powers-that-be will allow this beautiful place to remain and to evolve.

Kathleen Whitney

Oakland