Washington name is evidence of racism

I read the recent letter urging the owner of the Washington Redskins not to change the team's name.

The letter writer purports to speak for a lot of non-Native Americans and nonminority people. He claims that Redskins is not a racial slur. It clearly is and the NFL would not consider approving franchise names that slurred gays, immigrants or Asians even though, as the writer mentioned in his letter, these terms are historical and are in use today.

Yes, the University of Illinois did drop its use of Chief Illiniwek and Stanford dropped the name Indians. Others have followed suit.

The letter writer shows his color, complaining that the black majority of Memphis City Council members had the name plates of three parks with the name "Confederate" removed.

Native Americans suffer greatly from institutional racism. The name Redskins is an example of the acceptance.

Peter Stensrud

San Leandro

Change the track on Cal football

Like many others, Times columnist Jon Wilner is right to want to hold Cal Athletic Director Sandy Barbour responsible for the perfect storm of problems with Cal football.

The total debt -- construction costs plus interest -- for the new facilities comes to about $1.25 billion, based on the university website.

The team performance ranks at the bottom and now we see the total academic failure of the program, which has a 44 percent graduation rate.

Yes, Barbour is one of the people responsible for this. However, simply firing her will not change the core problem: the win-baby-win identity of the program that is completely out of touch with the culture and mission of UC Berkeley, and which has driven Cal football into this pit of problems.

It's time to make the change to an academics-first football program. Like Stanford or Northwestern, Berkeley should make academics the one inviolable priority for football.

When the football program proudly represents the best academic tradition of Cal and regains the support of the students, alumni and the players, Cal football will finally have a chance to sort out its problems and create lasting solutions.

But this will take leadership from the top at UC Berkeley.

Hank Gehman

Berkeley

JFK assassination theories outlined

I was pleased to see the Nov. 17 article, which presented alternative theories to who shot President John F. Kennedy.

It seems most big news sources are sticking to the theory of the lone gunman, Lee Harvey Oswald. In the article, even your paper stated most theories have been debunked.

As time goes by, I feel the label "conspiracy theorist" has lost all credibility. Oliver Stone and others are now considered wacky, unpatriotic figures who should just go away. I think they are American heroes.

Simply watch Stone's movie, "JFK," which raises a slew of questions.

Not all the theories cited are possible, but it's clear it wasn't as simple as Oswald in the Texas School Book Depository on Nov. 22, 1963.

Greg Kozocas

Brentwood

More analysis needed about city district

Following the defeat of Oakland's special wildfire prevention assessment district, a recent article quotes City Councilman Dan Kalb stating he is going to pursue putting this on the ballot next year. Before he takes this on, I recommend an analysis of who supports this district and who doesn't.

Many of my neighbors feel that the district boundaries are arbitrary. The district does not include Crocker Highlands or Trestle Glen. Their streets are narrow with more trees than my neighborhood. I live west of Interstate 580.

I believe that the boundaries were set to include enough taxpayers who could pay for this measure, but not the entire city who may not support it. Some of us feel we were included because we were considered low-income without political voice.

I don't get much benefit from the $65 annually I am assessed. For instance, the fire department didn't complete its annual inspection in my neighborhood. If I need to contribute, I want to see some benefits for my home. Plan the district more carefully and equitably.

Midori Tabata

Oakland