"Inside the Friendzone," Music, 5/23
Imperialist and Privileged
I am writing to say that Rachel Swan's continued misappropriation of Main Attrakionz, and the local hip-hop scene in general, is not appreciated.
In this story she goes on about the "white privilege" dynamic and invokes a series of tropes that depict Friendzone as opportunists benefitting from Main Attrakionz in a predatory and imperialist fashion. Such a claim is not only plausible, but also expected, given the relationship between hip-hop and issues of race. However, the fact that Ms. Swan made no effort to ask Squadda or Mondre [the members of Main Attrakionz] what they thought is the only imperialist and privileged thing I see happening. She fails to value the most important input of all on the matter: that of the Main Attrakionz themselves.
Had this been an isolated incident it would be excusable, but at this point it is obvious that Ms. Swan does not have the best interest of Oakland's vibrant rap scene on her agenda. I personally contacted her no less than a dozen times pitching stories on the Main Attrakionz throughout 2011, and she only responded to me once. And her response was "admittedly sent in error." Ms. Swan should not be allowed to write about what we do. She is reckless, uneducated, and clearly harbors some kind of personal bent against Friendzone in the least — and perhaps more of us.
Zachary G. Moldof, San Francisco
"A New Vision for Alameda Point," Eco Watch, 5/23
The Traffic Question
I'm writing to explain more about how relocating the proposed VA facility somewhere else in Alameda Point could reduce traffic-related impacts. This is a fair question that merits a clearer response. The current proposed location for the VA facility would be in the middle of the open space expanses, where the wetlands and waterfowl are located and where there are currently proposals to create parkland and a wildlife refuge. The presence of high volumes of traffic cutting through these open space expanses (to reach the VA facility) would adversely impact (via noise and exhaust) the waterfowl that now use these open expanses as habitat and would fragment and visually degrade the parkland potential of these open expanses. In contrast, moving the proposed VA facility to where the Berkeley Labs had been proposed (near Seaplane Lagoon) would keep the road and traffic out of these open space expanses, thereby avoiding the traffic- and road-related adverse impacts on waterfowl and park usage. It is correct, however, that even with this alternative VA location, attention would still need to be given to the impacts of getting VA facility employees and users into Alameda and out to Alameda Point.
Paul Kibel, Co-Director
Center on Urban Environmental Law at Golden Gate University School of Law
"Pirate Radio Goes Legit," Feature, 5/16
What About 104.1?
The paper is called the East Bay Express! How could you not mention the pirate radio station in Berkeley? 104.1 FM serves the entire East Bay. Tune in on the airwaves or go to the website to catch the stream.
Melinda Zapata, Oakland
"Unclean Hands at the Gill Tract?," Eco Watch, 5/16
UC and Big Ag
I would like to bring up another point: If the university made $182 million dollars off of its patented technologies alone, why was an 82-percent student fee increase narrowly averted (by student protests) last year? The university claims that these funds are in some part put back into the general fund. However, with the continuous increases in tuition, my faith in the truth of this claim is quite withered.
In response to the question of intellectual responsibility, it is a tall and unfounded claim to say that basic research is wholly question- and not profit-driven. The fact that some of the researchers are cited as the inventors of the technology patented points directly to the profit motive.
For me, the real crux of the argument is that the researchers have repeatedly insisted that their research has nothing to do with genetic modification of organisms and the agendas of big agribusiness, despite the fact that they must know what their research has been applied to and helped create in the past. Whether or not they agree with the agendas of agribusiness is not really the pertinent question at hand. The pertinent question is whether or not what they create is used by big agribusiness, and while the researchers claim that what they create does not support big agribusiness, a look at the patents and invention rights shows a much different story.
Kelly Jewett, Berkeley&
"Boozing at the Ballpark," Last Call, 5/16
The Good Old Days
I gave up on the A's when Lew Wolff said he wanted to go to Fremont. I do attend every Raiders' game, though, and they have essentially priced alcohol out of the game-day equation. I'm forced to consume mass quantities before I go inside. If I'm not mistaken, the beer prices are about $8.75 and if you can find the Budweiser, I think it's $5, but why bother? The lines are hella long, you miss half the quarter, and they'll only sell you two at a time. I'll stick to the cocktail stand in section 106, where my seats are. Those ladies have been pouring there for over fifteen years and can they make a drink. Best bang for the buck. Ah, the good old days, when they served you beers at your seat and you could get buckets of beer at the concession stands for $3.75. Hey, wait a minute, these are the good old days!