Mind-set must be put on trial

It is the sick mind-set of George Zimmerman, that sees all black men as inherently criminal, that must be put on trial.

That way of thinking must be challenged if we are to make any progress on the deep-rooted racism that infects our nation. In the tragic and poisoned atmosphere of racism that still haunts this nation, the trial of Zimmerman for the murder of unarmed teenager Trayvon Martin, somehow managed to turn a young black victim into a perpetrator and a perpetrator into a victim.

President Obama said of the slain teenager, that "could have been me 35 years ago." Certainly that reality gives the president the moral standing to conduct a national dialogue on race that is so sorely needed. This is a time for presidential leadership.

David Glick

Berkeley

Good riddance to post office

I'm confused about the protests over the sale of the Berkeley historic post office building.

Are the protesters assuming that any buyer would demolish the building? I would think that any developers would preserve as much of the original architecture as possible, which would reflect similar projects in nearby towns such as Petaluma, etc.

I would look forward to a creative use of this historic space, such as restaurants and fine craft shops. If they are protesting the ending of the use of the site as an actual post office, then I am really confused.

I have lived in Berkeley for many years, raised my daughter here, and whenever possible, shop locally. But I have to say that one of my least favorite experiences over the years has been doing business in that place, when other options were not available.

I vividly recall having to sit endlessly in that dark, dingy waiting area to be "served" by surly clerks who act as if they wouldn't treat people with respect if their lives depended on it.

Good riddance postal service!

Jack Lieberum

Berkeley

Case began 200 years ago

The Zimmerman case started well before George Zimmerman got out of his car to follow Trayvon Martin. It started more than 200 years ago, and today an African-American mother still needs to teach her son what to do if stopped by the police.

The facts of being black in America are very different from the facts of the Zimmerman trial. Following the trial testimony and applying the law -- and only the law -- not guilty on the basis of self-defense was a reasonable conclusion.

But those are not the facts being demonstrated against in the streets. The facts behind the demonstrations are that a white man shot an unarmed black teenager and got away with it. The Zimmerman case simply gave the still-festering issue of racism an object to posit the anger and despair.

Let's not vilify the trial participants. Rather, let's understand the problem we unfortunately still have in America and channel our passions into understanding what we still need to do.

Stanley Wulf

Berkeley

Commission overreaches

In response to the July 22 Times editorial on the California Coastal Commission's inability to levy fines, it needs to be pointed out this editorial is, to put it mildly, misleading.

While it does correctly point out the CCC lacks the power to fine violators, the editorial would have a reader believe the CCC is a weak and helpless bunch of poor public servants.

Before supporting any legislation to allow the CCC to punish violators with fines, I urge people to research the epic history of lawsuits resulting from the CCC's overreaching.

In case after case, the CCC is being hauled into court by landowners who cannot obtain permits for even modest projects (see Nollan vs. CCC) or pushed to the point of shutdown (Lawson's Landing) -- all at the expense of California taxpayers.

In my opinion, this is not the spirit of the Coastal Acts of the 1970s. There is a better, less contentious manner in which to responsibly oversee and manage our beautiful coastline.

In its apparent unchecked endorsement of the CCC, the editorial also states, "Grass roots Californians know building houses and hotels up and down the coast is not in the state's long-term interest." Last time I checked, no one, grass roots or otherwise, thinks mass coastal development is the right course of action.

On the other hand, many people should be asking why this taxpayer-funded agency feels some compulsion to repeatedly trample private property rights.

Please do your homework before you endorse handing the California Coastal Commission any additional power.

Michael Spight

El Cerrito

Advocating self-censorship

This responds to the July 21 guest editorial in the Times by William Drummond, "Live media coverage encourages rabble without a cause."

When the media in a distant plutocracy ignore ongoing protests, Americans assume the newscasters and journalists are following dictates of the state. When I read Drummond's opinion piece I was dismayed to see a journalist advocating self-censorship.

I sent a copy of the editorial to my friend Maurice Isserman, a professor of history at Hamilton College in New York state, to get his views on the piece. He said, "If the media fails to reward drunken revelers disrupting ball games, nothing is lost; if it fails to cover political protests, even disruptive or obnoxious protest, it potentially undercuts democratic expression and exchange."

Many Southern newspapers felt civil rights protests in the late 1950s and early '60s were inherently misguided and subversive and, therefore, either ignored them, or made no effort to cover them objectively.

A bad precedent is set whenever the media decides to selectively cover political protests.

Jim Beller

Albany

Attacks on BART workers

As a disabled union carpenter, I deeply resent Tom Barnidge's attacks on unionized BART workers (Times, June 27 and July 16).

I subscribe to the Times for the local news, the TV listings and the sports page. As a class-conscious worker, I know better than to expect the truth from the bourgeois press in general, and from the Bay Area News Group in particular.

You can look for a union label on the Times. You won't find one. The owners of this paper have a history of union-busting.

Truth is class-based. What is "true" for the corrupt, warmongering, capitalist ruling class is not "true" for the multiracial working class: the class with a future as the only social force that can liberate humanity from capitalism in its death agony and open the road to socialism and a classless society free of all forms of exploitation and oppression.

Victory to the BART and AC Transit workers. Those who labor must rule. Workers of the world unite!

Paul Maunu

Richmond