Internment a stain on nation

This letter refers to the Sept. 20 letter by Fu-Tung Cheng, "Preserve site as a memorial."

The internment of Americans of Japanese heritage during World War II was a serious violation of our Constitution; a stain on our nation.

It should be taught in the schools and recognized in society at large. Cheng is right to ask for that recognition in making the former Mabuchi florist shop an internment museum.

It's the least we can do in recognition of the illegal and abusive treatment the Japanese citizens and others of Japanese heritage suffered. We owe them that. We also need to teach the history as a lesson in tribal and racial prejudices.

R.C. Marsh

Albany

Facts on Israel prove otherwise

It's usually useful to support statements with factual information from experts.

In Evie Groch's Sept. 20 letter, "Accusation is misguided," she states the non-Jews in Israel have "full civil rights and privileges." I'm amazed that Groch is not aware of what really goes on in Israel.

According to the Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel (www.adalah.org/eng), "There are more than 50 Israeli laws that discriminate against Palestinian citizens of Israel in all areas of life, including their rights to political participation, access to land, education, state budget resources, and criminal procedures. Some of the laws also violate the rights of Palestinians living in the 1967 OPT (Occupied Palestinian Territories) and Palestinian refugees."


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By the way, I have been to Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories.

Karen Platt

Albany

State's algebra success story

Contrary to the common narrative of public education failure, California has made large and measurable gains in the most pivotal math class of all -- the rigorous world-standard eighth- and ninth-grade Algebra I.

The Algebra I test (CST) is standardized, with the same level of difficulty every year, and an accurate measure of student performance.

In 2003, 151,714 eighth-graders took Algebra I and 29 percent (or 59,168) were proficient or advanced. In 2013, 269,519 eighth-graders took Algebra I and 50 percent (or 134,759) were proficient or advanced.

In 2003, 187,396 ninth-graders took Algebra I and 19 percent (or 35,605) were proficient or advanced. In 2013, 234,830 ninth-graders took Algebra I and 25 percent (or 58,707) were proficient or advanced.

Check this by Googling "star results," click on the year, and view the report for California as a whole (don't select county or district).

Although there is clearly room for improvement, California students and teachers have, contrary to most media portrayals, made massive gains in algebra performance over the last decade, despite being almost last in per-pupil spending. The corporate-driven portrayal of educational failure is false.

John Irminger

Albany

Obamacare worth a try

You have printed several letters predicting dire consequences if Obamacare goes into effect and urging repeal of the Affordable Care Act.

It is strange that Canada and the Western European democracies, which have had universal health care for years, have somehow managed to avoid Armageddon. In those countries, health care is a right enjoyed by all their residents, and no one is denied access to doctors and hospitals because of a pre-existing condition.

Having to file for bankruptcy, because of debt due to a medical condition, is unknown there. Contrast this with the United States, where millions of residents do not have insurance and cannot afford medical care.

One thing you can be sure of, however, is that those people who are most vocal against universal health care in this country have excellent health insurance themselves, generously subsidized by others. Yet they would deny basic health care to their less-fortunate fellow Americans.

Let's give the Affordable Care Act a chance. It is the right thing to do.

Edmund Langley

El Cerrito

Blake Estate deserves care

I worked for the Kensington Fire Department for 27 years. We would inspect the Blake Estate every year for fire and safety hazards.

It was such a pleasure to do these inspections because we could wander through most of the house where the University of California president resided. We were always accompanied by a staff member and were able to see the entire estate.

The students of Cal's Horticultural Studies tended to the grounds, that contained plants and trees from throughout the world. The students took exceptional care and everywhere you looked you were able to see exotic plants. It was beautiful!

It is a tragedy to see this beautiful mansion go unused and in disrepair. The university can't afford to let this magnificent home go unattended. They are spending $10,000 per month to rent a home for President Janet Napolitano when they should spend that money to upgrade this beautiful home.

I hope the university restores this wonderful place.

Samuel L. Treese

Benicia

Treese is a retired Kensington fire chief.

Differences in bad behavior

In his Sept. 13 letter, Michael Solarz takes exception to my focus on the Israel/Palestinian issue and challenges me to compare the injustices I see there with those occurring in Syria and Egypt.

In Syria, Bashar Assad's brutal assault on his rebellious people is not being supported by U.S.-supplied F-16s, attack helicopters, cluster bombs, white phosphorus, and political cover of the type Israel has received in its assaults on civilian populations in Gaza, the West Bank and Lebanon.

In Egypt, the generals have not yet used these most lethal U.S.-supplied weapons on their civilian population; they are probably quite capable of doing so. Our government should have immediately cut off all military aid to Egypt after the coup. It is worth noting, however, that Israel and its partisans in Washington, D.C. tend to be supportive of the generals.

Neither Syria nor Egypt exhibits good behavior. But unlike Israel, neither is illegally occupying the territory of another people.

I am not a citizen of either Syria or Egypt, but a citizen of the United States. That is the government on which I would hope to exert some influence, perhaps by expressing my opinions.

I believe Solarz urged me to discuss Syria and Egypt because he has no substantive rejoinders to the comments I have made about Israel/Palestine.

Larry Waldron

Berkeley

We must care for homeless

Thank you for the article, "Council approves clearing the Bulb."

The elephant-in-the-room question for the righteous powers that be is, "Where do these people -- all 70 of them -- go once they are evicted?"

These precious human beings have no place to lie down at night if those with nice homes decide it doesn't matter where they go. They have a home and safety and don't care if poor people don't.

I overheard a homeless man ask a police officer where he could legally lie down at night. The policeman said he didn't know where, but the homeless man was trespassing and needed to move on. The poor man looked tired. Where would he go?

Eleanor Newman

Concord