The Week

Thousands gathered to watch the outdoor broadcast at UC Berkeley’s Sproul Plaza of the 
          inauguration of Barack Obama.
Steven Finacom
Thousands gathered to watch the outdoor broadcast at UC Berkeley’s Sproul Plaza of the inauguration of Barack Obama.
 

News

Stimulus Plan Approved, Berkeley Unified to Get $4 Million

By Riya Bhattacharjee
Wednesday January 28, 2009 - 03:24:00 PM

The $819 billion federal economic recovery package that the House approved Wednesday (today) will inject California’s public school system with nearly $10 billion in federal aid over the next two years, providing funds for scholarships, child-care development, at-risk children, Head Start, school renovations and other programs. -more-


UC Student Murder Suspect to Request Bail Again

By Riya Bhattacharjee
Tuesday January 27, 2009 - 06:05:00 PM

Alameda County Superior Court Judge Morris Jacobson scheduled a bail motion for former Berkeley City College student Andrew Hoeft-Edenfield—accused of murdering UC Berkeley nuclear engineering student Chris Wootton in May—for Feb. 2. -more-


2020 Vision to Launch Citywide Equity Task Force This Week

By Riya Bhattacharjee
Tuesday January 27, 2009 - 06:06:00 PM

The 2020 Vision, initiated in June as a collaboration between the City of Berkeley, the Berkeley Unified School District and community organizations to close the achievement gap in the schools, will launch an All City Equity Task Force during a three-day retreat at the Berkeley Yacht Club starting Thursday. -more-


Downtown Plan Draft EIR Now Available for Comment

By Richard Brenneman
Tuesday January 27, 2009 - 06:04:00 PM

The first draft of the key regulatory document required before the city and UC Berkeley can sign off on a new downtown plan is now available online. -more-


AC Transit to Consider Service Cuts and Fare Increases

By J. Douglas Allen-Taylor
Tuesday January 27, 2009 - 11:28:00 AM

Two and a half months after local voters passed a $48 million parcel tax increase designed to shore up AC Transit’s financial base, the bus district board is now considering service cuts and fare increases that voters hoped the passage of Measure VV would stave off. -more-


Berkeley Council To Consider Condo Conversion, Sunshine Law and City Manager's Salary Increase

By J. Douglas Allen-Taylor
Monday January 26, 2009 - 05:22:00 PM

The Berkeley City Council takes up—once more—the complicated issue of modification of its condominium conversion law, raising the salary of the city manager and the progress of a city sunshine ordinance on Tuesday, 7 p.m., at Old City Hall, 2134 Martin Luther King Jr. Way. -more-


Planning Commission Tackles West Berkeley

By Richard Brenneman
Monday January 26, 2009 - 05:21:00 PM

Planning commissioners have a single topic on Wednesday night’s agenda: their ongoing effort to implement a City Council directive to create more flexibility in West Berkeley’s zoning rules. -more-


Key Chu Ally Named Interin Chief of LBNL

By Richard Brenneman
Monday January 26, 2009 - 05:21:00 PM

UC President Mark Yudof named a key ally of new U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu to fill the secretary’s former post as head of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. -more-


City Releases Pools Draft Master Plan, Asks Community to Weigh In

By Riya Bhattacharjee
Friday January 23, 2009 - 05:07:00 PM

The public will be able to comment on the Berkeley citywide pools master plan—out today (Friday), a week later than it was originally scheduled to be released—starting Saturday at a community workshop at the James Kenney Recreation Center. -more-


Woman Initially Charged in Shooting Has Been Released

By Richard Brenneman
Friday January 23, 2009 - 07:40:00 PM

While a Berkeley man has been charged with murder following Tuesday’s death of the victim of a Jan. 11 West Berkeley shooting, a 47-year-old woman originally charged with the shooting has been released. -more-


Study Session, Forum Planned for Berkeley High Redesign Plan

By Riya Bhattacharjee
Friday January 23, 2009 - 10:21:00 AM

The proposal for the Berkeley High School redesign—which has generated controversy so far but has been moving at a brisk pace since it was first unveiled in November—is scheduled for public discussion twice in the next two weeks to give the community and district officials a chance to comment on its strengths and weaknesses. -more-


Berkeley, County Face Growing Budget Problems

By J. Douglas Allen-Taylor
Wednesday January 21, 2009 - 07:28:00 PM

With the national, state, and local economies continuing to tank and the California State Legislature and Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger stalled on how -more-


The Public Eye: Mayor Bates: Raise City Manager Salary to $232,020 (And Counting)

By Zelda Bronstein
Wednesday January 21, 2009 - 07:34:00 PM

In a nod to the country’s economic turmoil, President Barack Obama's first public act in office Wednesday was to freeze the salaries of high-paid White House aides who make over $100,000 a year. -more-


Berkeley Students Celebrate as President Obama Takes Office

By Riya Bhattacharjee
Wednesday January 21, 2009 - 07:35:00 PM

For the 3,500 Berkeley High School students who watched the presidential inauguration unfold Tuesday morning, the steps of the Community Theater could have very well been those of the U.S. Capitol—their solemn expressions and sporadic bursts of laughter capturing one of the greatest moments in the nation’s history. -more-


Building Heights Trigger Commission Questions

By Richard Brenneman
Wednesday January 21, 2009 - 07:35:00 PM
Downtown planner Matt Taecker tells planning commissioners about the impacts of proposed new high rises on the city center.

One of Berkeley’s two new planning commissioners last week proposed a move that would scrap outright the key compromise of the downtown plan shaped by a now-disbanded citizen committee. -more-


News Analysis: The Inauguration: Dr. King’s Dream Come True?

By Matthew Taylor
Wednesday January 21, 2009 - 07:43:00 PM
More than a million people came to the National Mall in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday to witness the inauguration.

“Directly in front of us is a pool that still reflects the dream of a King, and the glory of a people who marched and bled so that their children might be judged by their character’s content,” President-elect Barack Hussein Obama proclaimed from the Lincoln Memorial, two days before his inauguration. Standing amid a shivering yet rapturous sea of countless thousands who clung to the President-elect’s every word like a comforting mug of hot cocoa, I couldn’t help but wonder: Does this moment represent the fulfillment of Martin Luther King Jr.’s dream? -more-


First Person: Inauguration Brings 4.8 Million Partygoers

By Rio Bauce
Wednesday January 21, 2009 - 07:44:00 PM

As many watched the inauguration of the 44th president of the United States Barack Obama from their homes, I spent the morning and afternoon at the site of the event. Excited as ever to have a seat behind the capitol pool in the “Silver” section, I arrived shortly after the 9 a.m. opening of the gates. Expecting slight amounts of waiting and inconvenience, I rode up the escalator out of the Federal Center Metro Station in downtown Washington D.C. -more-


LBNL: Move West Berkeley Biolabs to New Building on Hill

By Richard Brenneman
Wednesday January 21, 2009 - 07:41:00 PM
Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory wants to consolidate lab operations now in West Berkeley with other research in this proposed new General Purpose Laboratory building above Strawberry Canyon.

While Planning Commissioners are revising the West Berkeley Plan to attract new biotech labs, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) wants its own biolabs out of the neighborhood. -more-


‘Smart Growth’ Proponents Tighten Grip on Commission

By Richard Brenneman
Wednesday January 21, 2009 - 07:42:00 PM

Roia Ferrazares is off the planning commission and, for the moment, no one is willing to say why—at least on the record. -more-


Zoning Meetings Turn Monthly, Kashani Condos Back on Agenda

By Riya Bhattacharjee
Wednesday January 21, 2009 - 07:43:00 PM

Berkeley’s Zoning Adjustments Board— which will now meet only one Thursday of the month instead of two because of the scarcity of new projects in the city’s Planning and Development Department—is scheduled to vote Thursday on whether to approve real-estate developer Ali Kashani’s five-story mixed-use project, a proposal to build 98 condos, 7,770 square feet of ground-floor commercial space and 114 parking spaces on a 43,210 square-foot lot. -more-


Demonstrators Jam Oakland Streets In Second Round Of Oscar Grant Protests

By J. Douglas Allen-Taylor
Thursday January 22, 2009 - 11:56:00 AM

More than a thousand protesters jammed the amphitheater at Frank Ogawa Plaza in front of Oakland’s City Hall Jan. 14 and then marched seven blocks to the Alameda County Administration Building and the Alameda County Courthouse, all part of the continuing demonstrations in the aftermath of the New Years Day shooting death of 22-year-old Hayward resident Oscar Grant III by BART police officer Johannes Mehserle. -more-


Families March in Honor Of Martin Luther King Jr.

By Riya Bhattacharjee
Wednesday January 21, 2009 - 07:41:00 PM

A small but dedicated crowd came to Jefferson Elementary School in North Berkeley early Monday morning to make the short trek over to King Middle School for Berkeley’s first-ever march to celebrate Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday—at least in recent history. -more-


High School Performance Data Worry School Board

By Riya Bhattacharjee
Wednesday January 21, 2009 - 07:38:00 PM

There were few bright spots in the overview of the Berkeley Unified School District’s high school student data for 2009 at the Berkeley Board of Education meeting last week, especially not the challenges posed in analyzing the test results. -more-


Chef Ann Cooper to Leave Berkeley Unified in June

By Riya Bhattacharjee
Wednesday January 21, 2009 - 07:40:00 PM

Berkeley’s self-named “renegade lunch lady,” Ann Cooper, will leave her position as Berkeley Unified School District’s nutrition services director and move to Colorado at the end of the school year to work with a school district there, Berkeley school officials confirmed Tuesday. -more-


5 New Portables for Berkeley High

By Riya Bhattacharjee
Wednesday January 21, 2009 - 07:40:00 PM

Five new portable classrooms will be added to the six already on the grounds of Berkeley High School by fall to combat overcrowding in the existing classrooms. -more-


UC Workers Take Over Regent's Office to Demand Pay Raise

By Riya Bhattacharjee
Wednesday January 21, 2009 - 07:42:00 PM

More than 60 UC service workers belonging to AFSCME Local 3299 took their fight for higher wages and contract renewals to the office of the chair of the UC Board of Regents, Richard Blum, in downtown San Francisco last week, leading to the arrest of at least 19 workers. -more-


John Allen Brown, Jr. 8/3/35 - 12/4/08

Wednesday January 28, 2009 - 01:02:00 PM
John Allen Brown, Jr. 8/3/35 - 12/4/08

John Brown, longtime student supervisor at Berkeley High School and Berkeley Adult School, passed away December 4, 2008 after a brief and sudden illness. -more-


Police Blotter

By Rio Bauce
Wednesday January 21, 2009 - 07:36:00 PM

Robbery -more-


Fire Department Log

By Richard Brenneman
Wednesday January 21, 2009 - 07:40:00 PM

Bug Bomb Blast -more-


Opinion

Editorials

Putting On a Top Hat

By Becky O'Malley
Wednesday January 21, 2009 - 06:27:00 PM

We all compared notes on when we first started to cry during the inauguration. Friends at both of the TV-watching parties I went to on Tuesday morning were well-supplied with Kleenex, luckily, since I’ve never mastered the grandmother trick of carrying a little hankie at all times. For me, it was Aretha’s hat that did it. -more-


Cartoons

Bush's Departure

By Justin DeFreitas
Friday January 23, 2009 - 10:12:00 AM

The Second Coming

By Justin DeFreitas
Thursday January 22, 2009 - 12:41:00 PM

Obama's Burden

By Justin DeFreitas
Thursday January 22, 2009 - 03:48:00 PM

Hopeful in Berkeley

By Justin DeFreitas
Thursday January 22, 2009 - 03:46:00 PM

Shovel-Ready

By Justin DeFreitas
Thursday January 22, 2009 - 03:46:00 PM

The Pottery Barn Rule

By Justin DeFreitas
Thursday January 22, 2009 - 03:47:00 PM

Public Comment

Letters to the Editor

Wednesday January 21, 2009 - 06:28:00 PM

BRITISH SPELLINGS -more-


Letters to the Editor

Monday January 26, 2009 - 02:39:00 PM

THANK YOU, RICHMOND -more-


Charrette Meets All Stakeholders’ Needs

By Marie Bowman
Wednesday January 21, 2009 - 06:29:00 PM

It’s time to take a look at the charette’s results. The team of 21 representatives (BUSD architects, sports field specialist, staff, warm water pool swimmers and community members) meet to review the Berkeley High School South of Bancroft Master Plan and the adaptive re-use and rehabilitation of the BHS original gym, including the warm water pool. -more-


Oakland Needs Visionary Leadership

By Akio Tanaka
Wednesday January 21, 2009 - 06:30:00 PM

Recently I had a chance to revisit Chicago and marvel at her waterfront: Lincoln Park, Grant Park, Burnham Park—miles of waterfront parks accessible to all Chicagoans. Then I learned on an architectural boat trip on the Chicago River that the waterfront park system was due mainly to the vision and courage of one man, Montgomery Ward. -more-


Maio, Broadbent Deny City Air Pollution

By Maggie Liftik
Wednesday January 21, 2009 - 06:30:00 PM

Berkeley Councilmember Linda Maio and Bay Area Air Quality Management District Executive Director Jack Broadbent’s Jan. 7 letters to the editor demonstrate their willingness to deny the seriousness of the air pollution in Berkeley schools and neighborhoods. Immediately taking a defensive stance instead of resolving to research and resolve the problem (unlike public officials in other states cited in the articles), both Maio and Broadbent argue that the recent USA Today report is based on flawed data. This is not true. -more-


One, Two, Three . . . Many MLKs

By Charles Heffernan
Wednesday January 21, 2009 - 06:31:00 PM

My family showed me Martin Luther King, Jr. as if he were reflected in a racist fun-house mirror, but the traditional view of MLK taught at my public high school and reinforced in mainstream media also misrepresents King’s multifaceted contribution. The circumscribed tale of MLK’s civil rights journey from the bus boycott to the civil rights bills implies that racism was essentially eradicated and downplays his increasing focus on class and poverty as well as his criticism of the Vietnam war. This congratulatory narrative remains more palatable to those uninterested in confronting more subtle contemporary racism, and reassures elites interested in maintaining the status quo regarding the economy and foreign policy, while depriving those working for social justice of a historically meaningful portrait. -more-


KPFA: Putting Money Before the Mission

Wednesday January 21, 2009 - 06:31:00 PM

By Richard Phelps -more-


A New Economy Has Already Begun

By Paul Rockwell
Wednesday January 21, 2009 - 06:36:00 PM

Olivia Caldwell is a young, single mother who lives in Oakland, a city wracked by unemployment, foreclosures, escalating high school dropout rates, and violent crime. Olivia herself served time for petty theft. -more-


Barbara Lee on Gaza: Too Little, Too Late

By Henry Norr
Wednesday January 21, 2009 - 06:37:00 PM

Last week Rep. Barbara Lee issued a press release about the situation in Gaza. “I mourn the tragic loss of innocent lives in Gaza and Southern Israel, and am deeply concerned by the ongoing and escalating humanitarian crisis,” it began. The statement went on to call for an immediate ceasefire and for intensive U.S. efforts to alleviate the humanitarian crisis and to promote a two-state solution. -more-


Taking Disaster Preparedness to The Next Level

By Norine Smith, Charlotte Nolan and Lynn Zummo
Wednesday January 21, 2009 - 06:47:00 PM

The City of Berkeley has long taken a leadership role and committed substantial resources to creating strong community disaster response capabilities. Over 40 neighborhood Cache groups [groups that collect and store supplies for emergencies] have been certified and supplied and members trained by the City. Other such groups are organizing or wish to do so, and would benefit from assistance. -more-


Global Warming is Over

By Steve Tabor
Wednesday January 21, 2009 - 06:48:00 PM

It’s barely three years since Al Gore put global warming on the map with his video, An Inconvenient Truth. Global warming was barely on the public radar before then. Recent events show that we have made significant progress on the issue. Despite the despair in much of the media, echoed in the pages and on the web screens of the Planet, it’s very clear that due to concerted effort both nationally and worldwide, we’ve turned the corner on global warming and are now moving the other way. -more-


Berkeley Library Obfuscation Misleads Commissioners, Public

By Gene Bernardi
Wednesday January 21, 2009 - 06:48:00 PM

The Berkeley Public Library’s (BPL) response to questions asked by the Peace and Justice Commission (P&J) included some very misleading answers. These were regarding the library’s request for a waiver of the Nuclear Free Berkeley Act. -more-


The Berkeley Public Library and RFID-nomics

By Jim Fisher
Wednesday January 21, 2009 - 06:50:00 PM

The radio frequency identification checkout system (RFID) at Berkeley Public Library needs more money. Yes, even before the system has been paid, some of the equipment is so deteriorated that it needs replacement. But the principal reason is that the original vendor, Checkpoint Systems, has abandoned the RFID maintenance market and sold its client base to another company. The library wants to spend more money for a maintenance contract and equipment from the new vendor. The sticking point is that the new vendor, 3M, does not comply with the Nuclear Free Berkeley Act, and so a waiver is needed for the library to proceed. -more-


Columns

Dispatches From the Edge: Awards for the Year That Was

By Conn Hallinan
Wednesday January 21, 2009 - 06:52:00 PM

Who’s On First Award? to U.S. intelligence for its analysis of al-Qaeda. According to CIA Director Michael Hayden, the organization is growing stronger and preparing to launch attacks in Africa, Europe and the Arabian Peninsula. He said there was a “bleed out” from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, with al Qaeda operatives spreading into North Africa, which they could use as a springboard for attacks on Europe. -more-


UnderCurrents: Oakland’s Test in the Aftermath of Oscar Grant’s Death

By J. Douglas Allen-Taylor
Wednesday January 21, 2009 - 06:50:00 PM

It is somewhat ironic, isn’t it, that it is the City of Oakland that is mostly being tested in these days following the shooting death of Oscar Grant, more so than the Bay Area Rapid Transit District, the BART Police Department, or the Alameda County Office of the District Attorney. -more-


Wild Neighbors: Parrots in Berkeley: The Readers Respond

By Joe Eaton
Wednesday January 21, 2009 - 07:27:00 PM
Berkeley mitred parakeet among persimmons.

Last week’s column, about Berkeley’s flock of parrots (or, depending on the source, parakeets or conures) drew a gratifying response. There are lots of keen observers out there, and I appreciate all your messages. Although some mysteries remain, it’s now possible to make a positive identification of the birds, map their cruising range, and draw a composite picture of their daily routine. -more-


East Bay Then and Now: Kingman Hall: a Microcosm of 20th-Century Berkeley History

By Daniella Thompson
Wednesday January 21, 2009 - 07:06:00 PM
Kingman Hall today. The arched loggia has been enclosed in glass, and front-yard parking is now the norm.

Few houses in Berkeley (or anywhere, for that matter) can boast the picturesque setting and colorful history of Kingman Hall, the student co-op at 1730 La Loma Avenue. Perched above the oak-wooded canyon of Strawberry Creek, the building overlooks a sunken garden with a creekside amphitheater. Built in 1914 for Nu Chapter of the Theta Xi fraternity, the house has mirrored the history of Berkeley over the past 95 years. -more-


Arts & Events

Arts Calendar

Wednesday January 21, 2009 - 06:57:00 PM

THURSDAY, JAN. 22 -more-


Berkeley Symphony Names Carneiro Director

By Ken Bullock Special to the Planet
Wednesday January 21, 2009 - 06:59:00 PM
Joana Carneiro

Joana Carneiro will succeed Kent Nagano as Berkeley Symphony director. The selection follows a two-year search that saw six guest conductors under consideration for the post leading the orchestra in concerts and in readings of compositions by the resident composers of the Symphony’s “Under Construction” series. -more-


OEBS Premieres Bay Area Composer’s ‘World Concerto for Cello and Orchestra’

By Ken Bullock Special to the Planet
Wednesday January 21, 2009 - 06:59:00 PM

Oakland East Bay Symphony will present the world premiere of Bay Area composer Nolan Gasser’s World Concerto for Cello and Orchestra, also performing Aaron Copland’s Appalachian Spring and Johannes Brahms’ Symphony No. 3, at 8 p.m. Friday at the Paramount Theater in Oakland. -more-


Moving Pictures: Newspaper Noir at the Castro Theater

By Justin DeFreitas
Wednesday January 21, 2009 - 07:00:00 PM
Raymond Burr, as usual, stars as the heavy in Anthony Mann's "Desperate."

The struggle of World War II and the triumph of its conclusion brought to the silver screen a vision of a nation bold and patriotic, wholesome and optimistic. From propaganda films to brassy celebratory musicals, Hollywood’s program of A-list releases rolled out a bright-eyed, rosy-cheeked presentation of Norman Rockwell’s America. -more-


Moving Pictures: The Continuing Adventures of Scott Walker

By Justin DeFreitas
Wednesday January 21, 2009 - 07:00:00 PM

Scott Walker: 30 Century Man begins by building up the myth of Scott Walker, the narrator informing us of the elusiveness of the man, including the years of silence in which the singer rarely allowed himself to be photographed, at least not without customary sunglasses and visor pulled low. But if the opening of Stephen Kijak’s film seems a bit portentous, perhaps we can afford to be forgiving, as the music he documents has that same blend of grandiosity, mystery and sweeping melodrama. -more-


Sarah Cahill Plays Music for Peace by Nine Composers

By Ken Bullock Special to the Planet
Wednesday January 21, 2009 - 07:01:00 PM

Pianist Sarah Cahill will perform “A Sweeter Music,” music for peace from nine composers, including Terry Riley, Yoko Ono, Frederic Rzewski, Bay Area band The Residents—and Berkeley’s 17-year-old composer, Preben Antonsen, with video by John Sanborn, Cahill’s husband, this Sunday at Hertz Hall on the UC campus for Cal Performances’ 20th Century & Beyond music series. -more-


‘Art’ at Alameda’s Altarena Playhouse

By Ken Bullock Special to the Planet
Wednesday January 21, 2009 - 07:01:00 PM

What do you do if your dear friend has forked out a bundle for a canvas you can only see as a phony work of art, not even decor, much less a picture? -more-


East Bay Then and Now: Kingman Hall: a Microcosm of 20th-Century Berkeley History

By Daniella Thompson
Wednesday January 21, 2009 - 07:06:00 PM
Kingman Hall today. The arched loggia has been enclosed in glass, and front-yard parking is now the norm.

Few houses in Berkeley (or anywhere, for that matter) can boast the picturesque setting and colorful history of Kingman Hall, the student co-op at 1730 La Loma Avenue. Perched above the oak-wooded canyon of Strawberry Creek, the building overlooks a sunken garden with a creekside amphitheater. Built in 1914 for Nu Chapter of the Theta Xi fraternity, the house has mirrored the history of Berkeley over the past 95 years. -more-


Community Calendar

Wednesday January 21, 2009 - 06:56:00 PM

THURSDAY, JAN. 22 -more-