The Week

Berkeley High Students Fight to Block Education Cuts
                                          More than 600 students from Berkeley High joined their peers from across the state in Sacramento last week to protest Gov. Arnold Schwarzenneger’s proposed education cuts.
Mark Coplan
Berkeley High Students Fight to Block Education Cuts More than 600 students from Berkeley High joined their peers from across the state in Sacramento last week to protest Gov. Arnold Schwarzenneger’s proposed education cuts.
 

News

Candidates Face Immigration, Education, Healthcare Questions

By Judith Scherr
Wednesday May 28, 2008 - 06:40:00 PM

The questions posed to Senate and Assembly candidates at Tuesday evening’s forum presented by the Berkeley Organizing Congregations for Action came from real life. -more-


Lone Gunman Strikes Again

By Richard Brenneman
Tuesday May 27, 2008 - 04:34:00 PM

The masked takeover bandit dubbed “the Lone Gunman” has pulled off at least two more armed robberies in Berkeley, police announced. -more-


Massive Manhunt Closes Highway 13

By Richard Brenneman
Friday May 23, 2008 - 02:16:00 PM

A massive manhunt in the Berkeley hills Friday afternoon closed Highway 13 along Tunnel Road as officers searched for two men who carjacked a San Ramon man in Oakland. -more-


UC System Workers Vote to Strike

By Bay City News
Friday May 23, 2008 - 04:40:00 PM

Thousands of patient care and service workers for the University of California system announced today (Friday) they plan to strike as soon as June 2 because they feel their wages just don’t cut it. -more-


Berkeley High Students Take Stand Against Immigration Raids

By Riya Bhattacharjee
Friday May 23, 2008 - 05:02:00 PM

What seemed like typical lunch-time ruckus to visitors at Berkeley High School Thursday was in fact an act of solidarity with immigrants across the nation. -more-


Riders Speak Out Against Possible AC Transit Fare Hike

By J. Douglas Allen-Taylor
Friday May 23, 2008 - 05:04:00 PM

AC Transit bus district directors took their first steps this week towards a possible fare increase this fall, holding a public hearing on the issue Wednesday at Oakland City Hall. -more-


Big BANG Labor Boom: Union Vote Set for Bay Area Papers

By Richard Brenneman
Friday May 23, 2008 - 05:07:00 PM

Media mogul Dean Singleton’s union-busting moves at his Bay Area newspapers have hit a major roadblock—a regional unionization vote scheduled for next month. -more-


Incumbents Lead Fund-Raising in Oakland Council Races

By J. Douglas Allen-Taylor
Friday May 23, 2008 - 05:07:00 PM

In the tightly contested June 3 races for the Oakland City Council, incumbent councilmembers are predictably winning the important fund-raising battles, with 5th District Councilmember and Council President Ignacio De La Fuente leading the way. -more-


Downtown Plan Hits Rough Waters in Planning Commission Discussions

By Richard Brenneman
Thursday May 22, 2008 - 04:27:00 PM

The curtain went up on the Downtown Area Plan’s second act Wednesday night, with a sharply divided Planning Commission headed for a rewrite. -more-


Hancock Leads Chan in Large Contributions

By J. Douglas Allen-Taylor
Thursday May 22, 2008 - 09:31:00 AM

With 14th District Assembly-member Loni Hancock pulling away in last-minute large campaign contributors over her rival for the Democratic nomination for the State Senate District 9 seat, former 16th District Assem-blymember Wilma Chan, and a controversy brewing over an anti-Hancock campaign mailer sent out by urban casino interests, the two campaigns traded charges last week over hypocrisy in their fund-raising strategies. -more-


Jump in Willard Suspensions, State Questions Discipline Data

By Riya Bhattacharjee
Thursday May 22, 2008 - 09:35:00 AM

According to recent published reports about violence and suspension rates in California public schools, Berkeley’s Willard Middle School reported one of the highest violent-suspension rates in the Bay Area last year. -more-


Berkeley Teen Arrested in Durant Avenue Murder Case

By Riya Bhattacharjee
Thursday May 22, 2008 - 09:36:00 AM

Berkeley resident Nathaniel Freeman, 19, was arraigned last week for the murder of Oakland Parks and Recreation employee Maceo Smith, who was shot to death in broad daylight one block south of the UC Berkeley campus earlier that week. -more-


Casino Tribes Target Hancock in Mailer

By Richard Brenneman
Thursday May 22, 2008 - 09:37:00 AM

A political hit piece targeting state Senate hopeful Loni Hancock, ostensibly from a band of educators, was bankrolled by casino-owning bands of Native Americans attacking an outspoken foe of Bay Area tribal casinos. -more-


Lawsuit Seeks Halt in Planned Cuts To Medi-Cal

By Angela Rowen, Special to the Planet
Thursday May 22, 2008 - 09:38:00 AM

More than 6.5 million elderly, disabled and low-income people statewide—about 774,000 in the Bay Area—will soon have an even tougher time finding doctors, dentists and pharmacists who will provide care for them, unless a coalition of healthcare pro-viders and recipients are successful in a motion filed last week in Los Angeles Superior Court to block the state’s planned 10 percent cut in Medi-Cal payments. -more-


UC Student Fall Likely Accidental Death

By Riya Bhattacharjee
Thursday May 22, 2008 - 09:42:00 AM

Autopsy results from the Alameda County Coroner’s Office show that UC Berkeley anthropology student Alan Kaname Hamai, who fell from the third-story roof of his apartment building a day after he graduated, died as a result of unforced trauma from a fall, authorities said Tuesday. -more-


B-Tech Senior Surrenders to Police Two Days After Shooting

By Riya Bhattacharjee
Thursday May 22, 2008 - 09:44:00 AM

A Berkeley Tech senior turned himself in to the Berkeley Police Department (BPD) Saturday and is being held at the Alameda County Juvenile Hall for shooting a fellow student, authorities said. -more-


Berkeley Students Lead State Students at Capitol Rally

By Riya Bhattacharjee
Thursday May 22, 2008 - 09:59:00 AM

More than 600 students from Berkeley High School joined their peers from across California at the student rally in Sacramento last week to protest Gov. Arnold Schwarzenneger’s proposed education cuts. -more-


Council Delays Choosing Ballot Measures

By Judith Scherr
Thursday May 22, 2008 - 09:45:00 AM

The Berkeley City Council paid some $16,000 for advice it considered Tuesday night, but—at least for now—ignored. -more-


Reader Report: Planting Community

By JoAnn Conrad and the BCC Urban Anthropology Class
Thursday May 22, 2008 - 09:46:00 AM
Urban Anthropology class members work on a streetscape project.

All winter, every Saturday morning, our Urban Anthropology class at BCC has studied the historical and cultural development of the social space we inhabit—Urban Space. We’ve studied the ways in which we are shaped by the nature of place: the political, economic, social, environmental, cultural aspects of urban life. The City of Berkeley itself was one of the main focuses of the course. -more-


Alta Bates Nurses Get City Support

By Judith Scherr
Thursday May 22, 2008 - 09:46:00 AM

Tuesday evening some two dozen Alta Bates-Summit Medical Center nurses rallied at Civic Center Park before walking across the street to the City Council meeting, where the council voted unanimously to support them in their contract fight with Sutter Health, Alta Bates-Summit’s parent corporation. -more-


Barbara Lee Asks USDA to Oppose Apple Moth Spray Plan

By Judith Scherr
Thursday May 22, 2008 - 09:48:00 AM

Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Berkeley-Oakland, has added her voice to those calling for a halt to plans to spray for the light brown apple moth (LBAM) until health and environmental studies are done. -more-


AC Transit Delays Decision on Purchase Of Controversial Van Hool Buses

By J. Douglas Allen-Taylor
Thursday May 22, 2008 - 09:50:00 AM

In what may be a sign of growing political sensitivity over AC Transit’s controversial relationship with the Belgian-based bus manufacturing company Van Hool, transit directors last week failed to approve a request by AC Transit General Manager Rick Fernandez for a no-bid contract to purchase 19 60-foot, articulated Van Hool buses. -more-


Fleeing Motorcyclist Strikes Bus, Bicyclist

By Riya Bhattacharjee
Thursday May 22, 2008 - 09:51:00 AM

The California Highway Patrol (CHP) is investigating a hit-and-run incident in which a motorcyclist collided with an AC Transit Bus and a woman bicyclist on Ashby Avenue Sunday night. -more-


Bus Rapid Transit May Be Headed For November Vote

By Richard Brenneman
Thursday May 22, 2008 - 09:52:00 AM

Berkeley voters could be the ultimate decision-makers when it comes to the shape of an upgraded bus service for the city. -more-


Reader Report: Requiem for a Berkeley Strip Mall

By Rob Browning, Special to the Planet
Thursday May 22, 2008 - 09:54:00 AM
Robert Bechtle’s “’60 Chevies” depicting the parking lot of U-Save on University and old Grove, the sight of proposed development that promises to bring back a grocery store to the corner in the form of Trader Joe’s.

Twelve or 14 years before I moved to central Berkeley, Allen Ginsberg was in the neighborhood one rainy night “shopping for images” at the U-Save Market when he came upon Walt Whitman “poking among the meats” and Federico Garcia Lorca “down by the watermelons.” -more-


Same-Sex Marriage Decision Greeted with Cheers

By Riya Bhattacharjee
Thursday May 22, 2008 - 09:56:00 AM

As news of the California Supreme Court’s 4-3 decision affirming same-sex marriage broke last week, gay and lesbian couples in Berkeley declared victory. -more-


First Person: The Meaning of Marriage for Everyone

By Pamela Brown
Thursday May 22, 2008 - 09:58:00 AM

What if you couldn’t marry the person you love? Can you remember your wedding day? I can… -more-


Opinion

Editorials

Editorial: Time to Get Ready to Vote: Endorsements

By Becky O'Malley
Thursday May 22, 2008 - 09:38:00 AM

We’re down to the wire on the June election. June election? What election, you might be saying right about now. Wasn’t the primary in February? -more-


The Editor's Back Fence

The Editor's Back Fence

By Becky O'Malley
Tuesday May 27, 2008 - 12:06:00 PM

In today's experiment, the executive editor will answer a couple of letters. We've been longing to try this ever since the paper was started. For years letters to the editor and the editor's often sarcastic replies were the centerpiece of the much-enjoyed Anderson Valley Advertiser. The Greater Berkeley Area takes itself more seriously than the Anderson Valley, so what he did there might not work here. But occasionally we get letters that deserve an answer, serious and not-so-serious. -more-


Cartoons

Constitutional Amendments

By Justin DeFreitas
Thursday May 29, 2008 - 03:19:00 PM

Begging for Oil

By Justin DeFreitas
Thursday May 22, 2008 - 05:15:00 PM

Public Comment

Letters to the Editor

Thursday May 22, 2008 - 09:41:00 AM

WATER USE -more-


Letters to the Editor

Tuesday May 27, 2008 - 02:05:00 PM

Commentary: NoCoho at the 'Kingfish': Anatomy of a Deception

By Bob Brokl
Tuesday May 27, 2008 - 04:08:00 PM

A group of well-intentioned individuals (North Oakland Cohousing) with a laudatory goal—creation of a cohousing community in the heart of Oakland’s Temescal District—partners with local entrepreneurs of several controversial projects. -more-


Commentary: Proposition 98 Would Deeply Subvert California’s Future

By John English
Tuesday May 27, 2008 - 04:09:00 PM

Our state and our cities and counties are again in grave peril. At the November 2006 general election hugely harmful Proposition 90 failed by just a slim margin. Now the same greedy special interests are back with something even worse: Proposition 98. -more-


KPFA: The Alternative Home Shopping Network?

By Richard Phelps
Thursday May 22, 2008 - 10:04:00 AM

Recently Michael Eric Dyson spoke in Oakland about the Jeremiah Wright controversy. He is a dynamic and entertaining speaker. KPFA recorded his speech. Has KPFA played it on the air for our listeners? No! KPFA management has played a portion of it to promote it for sale! -more-


BRT: It’s Big, It’s Boondogglicious — Let the Voters Decide!

By Gale Garcia
Thursday May 22, 2008 - 10:05:00 AM

Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) is AC Transit’s plan for a massive project including Telegraph Avenue and parts of Shattuck Avenue in Berkeley. Two traffic lanes would be allocated to AC Transit buses, forcing all other vehicles (cars, bikes, trucks, motorcycles) to share just one lane each way. Most of the parking on Telegraph would disappear, to the chagrin of the local merchants. -more-


In Support of Kriss Worthington

By Ruth Michaels and Sydney Vilen
Thursday May 22, 2008 - 10:06:00 AM

Berkeley Needs Fiscal Responsibility

By Barbara Gilbert
Thursday May 22, 2008 - 10:08:00 AM

At a time when Berkeley residents are economically very insecure, and homeowners are extremely worried about the impact of declining home values and retirement assets, the city of Berkeley is proposing to increase local real property taxation. It will also be asking voters to re-authorize several special taxes previously approved. -more-


Celebrating Objectors and Resisters

By Bob Meola
Thursday May 22, 2008 - 10:12:00 AM

What if they gave a war and nobody came? What if they gave a war and nobody paid for it? What if civil resistance was used for the good of our community? -more-


War and Race

By Marvin Chachere
Thursday May 22, 2008 - 10:14:00 AM

The older I get the angrier I become when word merchants—politicians, newscasters, advertisers, pundits of all sorts—twist words to hide reality and manipulate perceptions. Two words in particular, like grains of sand in my shoe, hurt ever more acutely these days. They are “war” and “race.” -more-


Berkeley, Land of the Anti-Union Progressive

By Dave Blake
Thursday May 22, 2008 - 10:15:00 AM

Last week I began outlining why our progressive local power structure isn’t really progressive anymore. The hardest pill for me, as a long-time progressive, to swallow was the betrayal of the Berkeley Bowl workers. -more-


Ask the Auditor, Tell the Auditor

By Ann-Marie Hogan
Thursday May 22, 2008 - 10:11:00 AM

Does the city manage your tax dollars well? What performance audits should the Berkeley city auditor’s office conduct next year? Should the auditors set up a confidential ethics line or whistleblower hotline for employees? These are some questions I’d like you to help me answer. -more-


Assembly District 14 Candidate Statement: Tony Thurmond

Thursday May 22, 2008 - 10:33:00 AM

Our communities and our state need help. California is off track, and we simply can’t wait or hope for someone else to fix the problems. -more-


Assembly District 14 Candidate Statement: Nancy Skinner

Thursday May 22, 2008 - 10:37:00 AM

California is in crisis. We need courageous and effective leadership to fight for a California that: -more-


Assembly District 14 Candidate Statement: Kriss Worthington

Thursday May 22, 2008 - 10:38:00 AM

Acknowledging my 40 years of progressive activism, when Jerry Brown was running for Attorney General he was asked “Would you say you have been a progressive Mayor of Oakland?” His answer: “We can’t all be Kriss Worthington.” -more-


Assembly District 14 Candidate Statement: Phil Polakoff

Thursday May 22, 2008 - 10:40:00 AM

I am running for Assembly to help build a healthier California… to reform our healthcare system, clean up our environment, support our schools, make our communities safer, and build a strong local economy. -more-


Oakland City Council District 1 Candidate Statement: Jane Brunner

Thursday May 22, 2008 - 10:40:00 AM

I am proud of what I have accomplished as the Councilmember representing North Oakland, but there’s much still to be done. That’s the reason I am running for re-election June 3. -more-


Oakland City Council District 1 Candidate Statement: Patrick McCullough

Thursday May 22, 2008 - 10:43:00 AM

I’m seeking election because the needs of Oakland residents, particularly in North Oakland, haven’t been met by the incumbent and I’m sure my presence on the City Council will lead to improvement. -more-


State Senate District 9 Candidate Statement: Wilma Chan

Thursday May 22, 2008 - 10:44:00 AM

I am running for the state Senate seat being vacated by current Senator Don Perata. My priorities are education, environmental justice, access to healthcare and good jobs. -more-


State Senate District 9 Candidate Statement: Loni Hancock

Thursday May 22, 2008 - 10:45:00 AM

As your state senator, I will use my experience in local, state and national government to continue to fight for universal healthcare, strong environmental protections, campaign finance reform and better schools. I have spent many years working with people in Berkeley and the Bay Area for responsive government and social justice—serving as one of President Clinton’s top education officials, two terms as the first woman elected as mayor of Berkeley, eight years on the Berkeley City Council and three terms in the state Assembly. -more-


Columns

Dispatches From The Edge: Bullets and Ballots from Beirut to Bolivia

By Conn Hallinan
Thursday May 22, 2008 - 10:00:00 AM

May has been a month of upheaval, from the streets of Beirut, where the Bush Administration appears to have miscalculated disastrously, to Santa Cruz Province in Eastern Bolivia, where a continent’s new political realignment is trying to checkmate a slow motion rightwing coup. -more-


Undercurrents: Confusion Over Dellums’ Proposed Police Increase Tax

By J. Douglas Allen-Taylor
Thursday May 22, 2008 - 10:02:00 AM

Oakland Mayor Ron Dellums working on a ballot initiative to increase city taxes to support a 50-officer increase in the Oakland Police Department over and above the currently authorized 803? -more-


About the House: Using Wooden Retaining Walls in Your Home

By Matt Cantor
Thursday May 22, 2008 - 10:28:00 AM

Ours is an fluid landscape and all its houses, merely mobile homes. For those of us who live in the hills, it seems as though we live upon soils that have long been bored with their current circumstances and long to see the world. They just won’t stay put. -more-


Arts & Events

Arts Calendar

Thursday May 22, 2008 - 10:16:00 AM

MONDAY, MAY 26 -more-


Solo Show ‘No Child ...’ at the Berkeley Rep

By Ken Bullock, Special to the Planet
Thursday May 22, 2008 - 10:19:00 AM

Singing “Trouble in Mind,” an old janitor with a pushbroom introduces himself and the school he’s sweeping up, Malcolm X Vocational High in the Bronx, and a cast of characters who range from a broker-turned-new teacher (“she saw an ad in the IRT, offering a lifetime of glorious purpose”) to various “at-risk” African-American and Latino students, their driven principal and the visiting teaching artist for a drama project, Nilaja Sun. -more-


Wilde Irish Hosts Benefit to 'Save Tara'

By Ken Bullock, Special to The Planet
Friday May 23, 2008 - 03:30:00 PM

Berkeley’s Wilde Irish Productions is banding together this Wednesday with the Irish arts community in a benefit to ‘Save Tara,’ the legendary hill in Ireland, “one of the most culturally and archaeologically significant sites in Northern Europe,” threatened by a new motorway. -more-


Comedian Roche Preforms Disabled Film Fest Benefit at Redwood Gardens

By Ken Bullock, Special to the Planet
Thursday May 22, 2008 - 10:21:00 AM

I never talked about my appearance until I got on stage. Pretending I was normal, it took a long time faking to make it,” said David Roche, the facially disfigured inspirational comedian, who will perform a benefit show, The Best of David Roche, Thursday May 22 at 7 p.m. in the Redwood Gardens Community Room on Derby for the upcoming SuperFest International Disability Film Festival. “I found out disfigurement, and carrying around feelings of inadequacy, are fairly normal experiences.” -more-


Green Neighbors: Cottonwood: A Roadsign Back East in the West

By Ron Sullivan
Thursday May 22, 2008 - 10:31:00 AM

I trust most of us aren’t fool enough to go hiking the range in the hot spell we’re enduring as I write this. It’s the stuff of the grimmest neo-Old West movies: merciless sun, tantalizing shimmer of mirage (“Don’t you listen to him, Dan/He’s a devil, not a man/And he paints the desert sand/With wa-ater…”), hot wind blowing dust from the east; wait, haven’t we done that rather recently? -more-


Moving Pictures: Indiana Jones Loses His Footing

By Justin DeFreitas
Thursday May 22, 2008 - 10:22:00 AM

If the Indiana Jones films were never exactly realistic, they were at least grounded; they were rooted in archaeology, in the earth—in the discovery of things ancient and mysterious, yes, but always terrestrial. Jones himself was grounded too, an unlikely hero by turns deft and incompetent, benefiting from equal doses of intelligence and dumb luck. And that made him all the more charming and his adventures all the more appealing. For the wide-eyed child in the audience, there was no need to conjure images of outer space, of aliens or monsters or supernatural powers; all you needed was a hat, a jacket and a rope. The fantasy was all the more effective for containing the illusion that it was within reach. -more-


Books: Pat Cody’s Adventure

By Dorothy Bryant, Special to the Planet
Thursday May 22, 2008 - 10:25:00 AM

Sick and tired of bad news? Longing to read something uplifting? Not feel-good sentimentality or fantasy but the story of a crisis faced with integrity, resourcefulness, and unity by victims who win, not a fairy tale “victory” but understanding and progress and influence beyond what anyone expected? That’s the story I just finished reading in DES Voices: From Anger to Action by Pat Cody. -more-


Chora Nova Presents Brahms at First Congregational Church

By Ken Bullock, Special to the Planet
Thursday May 22, 2008 - 10:27:00 AM

Chora Nova, under the artistic direction of Paul Flight, will present Brahms’ German Requiem in a rarely performed chamber setting, along with the composer’s “Four Serious Songs” and his short choral piece, “Begraebnissgesang,” 8 p.m., Saturday, May 24, at the First Congregational Church, Dana and Durant streets. Tickets are $10-18, available at the door or at www.choranova.org. -more-


About the House: Using Wooden Retaining Walls in Your Home

By Matt Cantor
Thursday May 22, 2008 - 10:28:00 AM

Ours is an fluid landscape and all its houses, merely mobile homes. For those of us who live in the hills, it seems as though we live upon soils that have long been bored with their current circumstances and long to see the world. They just won’t stay put. -more-


Community Calendar

Thursday May 22, 2008 - 09:53:00 AM

MONDAY, MAY 26 -more-