Letters to the Editor

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If anyone knows about discriminatory housing practices, it would be Helen Sause ("The facts about Measure A," June 26). For years, she worked for the San Francisco Redevelopment Agency. "Redevelopment" was the successor term to "urban renewal," and, whatever the term, those theories of land development produced racially discriminatory events such as the mass dislocation of African-Americans in San Francisco’s Fillmore District, the subject of an excellent PBS documentary, and racially exclusionary public housing projects such as Cabrini Green in Chicago.

If the land development theories that Sause advocates lived up to the promises, then we should expect to see no automobile gridlock in San Francisco (or Manhattan), MUNI trains and buses that always run on time, consistently clean, safe and uncrowded BART trains, and an ample supply in San Francisco (and Manhattan) of affordable multifamily housing. But we don’t.

The reality about Measure A, in contrast to Sause’s purported "facts," is that over the past several decades, any developer serious about building affordable multifamily housing could have bypassed Measure A under state law, by submitting a density bonus application to the city of Alameda. Until just recently, none ever did.

And as an aside, Alameda has steadily grown more racially diverse since Measure A was approved by voters.

Sause steadfastly refuses to acknowledge both of these points, despite seeming to appear otherwise very knowledgeable about these matters. I don’t know what her ulterior motive is, but Alameda residents would be wise to take her comments with a large grain of salt.

David Howard


I just wanted to let you know that I appreciated Gil Michaels’ recent column ("How to Practice Spiritual Fundamentalism," July 10). It is rare to see a clear dispassionate exposition of the history of the term.

It’s too bad that one extreme, Professor Eliot’s "social work Christianity," was answered by another extreme, "The Fundamentals." To me, both miss the point: Eliot forgets that without loving God and his Creation, our basis for loving others will quickly erode to narcissism; "The Fundamentals" reduce Christianity to a set of doctrines (which is legalism), forgetting that Christianity and all true religion is concerned primarily with the state of our hearts, and our relationship with God and other people, not doctrine.

Another extreme is that of "materialist fundamentalism," which asserts that matter is all that exists, that the transcendental is an illusion, that consciousness is simply a story we tell ourselves, and that our reality is merely the result of a long series of accidents. A point of view with a very sad, lonely ending.

In the Episcopal-Anglican tradition, we deliberately follow the "via media," taking the extremes seriously, but striving to find a middle way which balances them. If you’d like to see this in action, I invite you to visit Christ Episcopal Church at Grand and Santa Clara and spend some time with us.

Charles Rogerson, Ph.D.

The Alameda Sun also received a copy of City Manager John Russo’s reply to Norman La Force’s letter.


Mr. La Force:

Thank you for once again sharing your policy views with the level of dignity, circumspection, and regard for the truth for which you are well known both within the environmental community and among Bay Area policy makers in general.

John Russo, City Manager