Loss of services

I JOIN my friends Dorrit Takach, Juelle-Ann Boyer, Sharon Ball, Carol Norberg and Nancy Freedom in mourning the closure of Oakland's Women's Choice Clinic and the subsequent loss of crucial services for women.

WCC staff served low-income women with serious health care needs despite picketers who harassed and threatened them and despite delayed payments by Medi-Cal.

Now chronically late and eventually frozen payments for services already rendered closes the oldest feminist reproductive health clinic in the country.

Linci Comi, who has guided this clinic for well over 30 years, has been a leader in the abortion rights community and a provider of feminist, empowering reproductive health services. We are saddened that she will no longer be providing her smart, sensitive, savvy and caring services to women.

We've escorted clients into this clinic or used its services or learned to become health care providers or marched for Choice next to Linci Comi. Now we want to help her.

Women's Choice Clinic is legally required to maintain medical records for seven years. They need storage/office space for that.

If you have that space or want to contribute toward its rent or just thank her, e-mail womenschoiceclinic@gmail.com. Lend a hand. Send a buck. Shed a tear.


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Barbara B. Ellis

Past Coordinator of Oakland/East Bay NOW

El Cerrito

Reform foreign aid

IN LINE with my Christian faith, I agree with the necessity of reforming the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 ("Clergy join fight against world poverty," April 2).

I believe that God intends that everyone in His creation should be able to experience prosperity and well-being, not just a few, nor should prosperity and well-being be achieved at the expense of others.

U.S. foreign aid programs currently provide significant benefits to poor and hungry people around the world: enabling millions of children to receive an education, reducing infant mortality through immunizations, empowering women heads of households through provision of job skills and micro enterprise loans, providing improved seeds and farming techniques for farmers, and increasing life expectancy for HIV/AIDS patients from antiretroviral medicines. Funding for these poverty-focused development programs must be continued and even increased.

Beyond this, reform of the Foreign Assistance Act must align U.S. aid, trade, migration, energy and environmental policies to promote sustainable development that reduces global poverty. Current aid policies that are exacerbating poverty in developing nations must be reformed.

To the maximum extent possible, emergency food assistance should promote regional purchase and distribution of food, rather than shipping U.S. grown commodity crops which can undermine indigenous food production capacity and increase dependency.

That the U.S. economy is in turmoil, and that we face the prospect of large budget deficits makes it imperative that foreign assistance be reformed to be truly effective, but not used as reasons for pulling back.

Randall Chang

San Francisco

Incorrect on tea party

THE APRIL 8 Oakland Tribune has the article " 'Tea Party' aims to draw angry taxpayers," by Lisa Vorderbrueggen. She wrote: "The original tea party, of course, was in 1773 when American settlers, angered over a new British tax on tea, boarded ships anchored in the Boston harbor and dumped the tea cargo into the water."

This is simply not correct. The true story is rather complicated, involving the East India Company, the company's franchise to sell tea in the American Colonies, the reduction of tea duties, eliminating colonial tea wholesalers, Dutch tea smugglers and taxation without representation.

The bottom line, however, is quite clear: The famous Boston Tea Party was not triggered by the British government increasing the tea tax.

Frederic F. Hollister

Alameda