Letters to the Editor

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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

The Alameda Sun received a copy of this letter.

Mayor Gilmore and City

The Sierra Club opposes the inappropriately named "Alameda Open Space Fiscal Responsibility Measure." It is nothing of the sort. In reality, it is intended to gut the citizens’ initiative and to prevent the people of Alameda from realizing the promise that you all made to the citizens and taxpayers of Alameda that the Neptune Cove property was to become part of Crown Beach Regional Park. It adds more stink to the entire stinky rezoning of that property for the benefit of a private developer.

The measure really should be called the "Doc Russo Poison Pill" because that is what is really is. Its purpose is to make it impossible for the Park District to acquire the property and to kneecap the people of Alameda’s clear clarion call to include that property in the Crown Beach Regional Park.

The measure has two fundamental flaws. First, the provision that allows you to suspend the people’s initiative is a devious subterfuge to amend the people’s initiative and is illegal. The citizens’ initiative had no provision for its suspension or delay in going into effect, and the "Doc Russo Poison Pill" does just that. Whether it is contingent on a party filing suit is immaterial. The Poison Pill allows for a change in the people’s initiative when that change was not written in that initiative.

Second, the provision that would require the purchaser of the property to pay the city all attorneys’ fees, costs, and damages from a lawsuit brought challenging the people’s initiative is clearly intended to block the East Bay Regional Park District from acquiring the property because it would make it unreasonably expensive.

This provision is, in reality, an invitation to the General Services Administration or Tim Lewis Communities to sue. Essentially, the city is saying: Sue us! We know no one else can pay those costs. And when the suit is over, we will cut a deal with you so you can keep or get the property for cheap by waiving our costs and damages for you. This is just more stinkiness that has characterized the entire approach that city council have taken towards thwarting and resisting the will of the people in Alameda to include this property in the Crown Beach Regional Park.

The Sierra Club urges you to purge this ordinance from the books for the city’s own health. Do you want yet another lawsuit over this issue?

Norman La Force, Legal Chair Sierra Club, San Francisco Bay Chapter