News

Office Vacancies Climb, But Retail Remains Solid

By Richard Brenneman
Tuesday February 17, 2009 - 05:58:00 PM

If housing is a bust, offices and commercial rentals aren’t far behind. -more-


Commission Expands Downtown Area for High Rise Construction

By Richard Brenneman
Tuesday February 17, 2009 - 01:46:00 PM

A proposal to dramatically expand the section of downtown Berkeley where high rises could soar hit a rough spot last week. -more-


More Bad News For The News Biz

By Richard Brenneman
Sunday February 15, 2009 - 04:49:00 PM

The California newspaper business continued its precipitous descent into an ever-growing pool of red ink last week, beginning with news of further layoffs. -more-


ZAB Allows Berkeley Thai Temple To Continue Sunday Brunch

By Riya Bhattacharjee
Friday February 13, 2009 - 05:40:00 PM

Mango sticky rice and pad Thai aficionados in the Bay Area can finally breathe a sigh of relief. -more-


Chaotic BART Board Meeting Ends With Little Movement On Police Issues

By J. Douglas Allen-Taylor
Friday February 13, 2009 - 05:39:00 PM

In a chaotic, unruly, and frequently disrupted special meeting held in part to move forward on the Oscar Grant controversy, members of the BART Board of Directors took virtually no action Wednesday on the controversy itself, instead spending most of their time answering immediate audience concerns and, in some cases, responding to repeated audience participation. -more-


School Board Approves Berkeley High Redesign Plan

By Riya Bhattacharjee
Friday February 13, 2009 - 08:49:00 AM

The Berkeley Board of Education voted 4-to-1 at a public meeting late Wednesday evening to approve the Berkeley High School redesign plan, as recommended by Berkeley Unified School District Superintendent Bill Huyett and Berkeley High principal Jim Slemp, which aims to help close the achievement gap. -more-


Local News Round-up: reports from other sources

Friday February 13, 2009 - 02:50:00 PM

Friday -more-


City Council Passes on Parking Meter Decision

By J. Douglas Allen-Taylor
Wednesday February 11, 2009 - 07:15:00 PM

Caught between the need to find new sources of revenue because of the failing economy and state cutbacks and the overwhelming opposition of Berkeley neighbors and business owners, the Berkeley City Council postponed on Tuesday an ambitious project to add parking meters along long stretches of San Pablo Avenue and Gilman Street, one block areas of 9th, 10th, and Camelia streets in West Berkeley, and along Adeline Avenue and Shattuck Avenue in the vicinity of the Ashby BART Station and Berkeley Bowl. -more-


DA Moving Ahead With Charges in BART Shooting Protests

By J. Douglas Allen-Taylor
Wednesday February 11, 2009 - 07:21:00 PM

A volunteer attorney with the San Francisco Bay Area Chapter of the National Lawyers Guild says that, while charges have been dropped for many of the individuals arrested in recent Oakland protests over the shooting death of Hayward resident Oscar Grant by a BART patrol officer, the Alameda County District Attor-ney’s Office is moving forward with between six and seven cases, at least three of them felonies. -more-


Mario’s La Fiesta Restaurant Leaves Telegraph After 50 Years

By Riya Bhattacharjee
Wednesday February 11, 2009 - 07:24:00 PM

For half a century, Mario and Rosalinda Tejada have brought a little bit of Mexico to Telegraph Avenue by serving authentic, inexpensive meals to more than three generations at their restaurant, Mario’s La Fiesta. -more-


Obama Justice Dept. Moves to Keep Moth Spray Secret

By Richard Brenneman
Wednesday February 11, 2009 - 07:22:00 PM

For one prominent Bay Area attorney, the bloom is already off the Obama rose. -more-


New State Law Strikes at Heart of Berkeley Development Fights

By Richard Brenneman
Wednesday February 11, 2009 - 07:32:00 PM

(Editor’s note: This is the second of two articles on major changes in California development law.) -more-


Café Provides a Fresh Start For County Foster Youth

By Kristin McFarland
Thursday February 12, 2009 - 11:22:00 AM

For 19-year-old Tony Montoya, working in Oakland’s Fresh Start Café is more than just serving coffee and sandwiches. It’s an opportunity to get a boost out of state-funded foster care and into an independent life. -more-


Elephant Pharm Transfers Prescriptions to Longs Drugs

By Riya Bhattacharjee
Wednesday February 11, 2009 - 07:08:00 PM

Elephant Pharm, which closed stores in Berkeley, San Rafael and Walnut Creek on Feb. 3 and filed for chapter 7 bankruptcy, has transferred all its prescriptions to Longs Drugs, which was recently acquired by CVS Caremark. -more-


Stadium Gym Moves Ahead; New Athletic Site Proposed

By Richard Brenneman
Wednesday February 11, 2009 - 07:05:00 PM

While work on the new gym at Memorial Stadium moves ahead, UC Berkeley is calling for an architect to design another athletic project. -more-


James Schevill, 1920-2009

By Dorothy Bryant Special to the Planet
Wednesday February 11, 2009 - 07:03:00 PM
James Schevill and his golden retriever Emily Dickinson, circa 1980.

Jim Schevill—poet, playwright (stage and radio), biographer, novelist, critic, editor, teacher, producer, administrator, and loyal friend to many—was born in Berkeley. -more-


Injured Child Will Receive Temporary Home Schooling

By Riya Bhattacharjee
Wednesday February 11, 2009 - 07:06:00 PM

The Malcolm X Elementary School kindergartner hit by a truck on Jan. 30 on her way to school in South Berkeley was released from Children’s Hospital in Oakland last week and will be home-schooled for at least two weeks starting this past Tuesday, said Berkeley Unified School District spokesperson Mark Coplan. -more-


Police Blotter

By Ali Winston
Wednesday February 11, 2009 - 07:07:00 PM

Prostitution sting -more-


Fire Dept. Log

By Richard Brenneman
Wednesday February 11, 2009 - 07:07:00 PM

Berkeley firefighters haven’t had any serious flames to battle in recent days, but several beneficiaries of their services were on hand Friday when badges were pinned on three newly promoted members of Berkeley’s bravest. -more-


17 Candidates to Vie for AC Transit Board Seat

By J. Douglas Allen-Taylor
Wednesday February 11, 2009 - 07:06:00 PM

The AC Transit Board of Directors has begun the process of filling the remaining two years of the term of former At Large Board member Rebecca Kaplan, who resigned from the board after her election last November to the At Large Oakland City Council seat. -more-


Berkeley Teachers Protest Lack of Contract

By Riya Bhattacharjee
Wednesday February 11, 2009 - 07:09:00 PM

Berkeley public school teachers took to the streets after class Tuesday to protest what they said was the 194th day that their union, the Berkeley Federation of Teachers, has been without a contract with the Berkeley Unified School District. -more-


New Deal Civil Works Project Remembered in Berkeley

By Steven Finacom Special to the Planet
Wednesday February 11, 2009 - 06:54:00 PM
Harry Brill stands next to the stone carvings proclaiming the work of the Federal Civil Works Administration inset in a low wall adjoining the Codornices Park tennis courts, just north of the Berkeley Rose Garden.

In 1934, during the Great Depression, a group of Berkeley’s unemployed left a poignant message to the future in a local park. -more-


In Light of State Budget Mess, School Board Says ‘Prepare for the Worst

By Riya Bhattacharjee
Wednesday February 11, 2009 - 07:08:00 PM

With the Berkeley Unified School District facing nearly $9 million in cuts over the next two years from California’s worsening economic crisis, the Berkeley Board of Education cautioned the public last week that the time has come “to prepare for the worst.” -more-


Landmarks Commission: Secretary Bids Adieu; New Elmwood Marquee Approved

By Riya Bhattacharjee
Wednesday February 11, 2009 - 07:10:00 PM

Terry Blount, the first person to be hired by the city to be exclusively the secretary of the Berkeley Landmarks Preservation Commission, left his position Friday to become the new planning manager for Martinez in Contra Costa County. -more-


Judge: Oakland Must Repay Measure Y Money

By J. Douglas Allen-Taylor
Wednesday February 11, 2009 - 07:09:00 PM

An Alameda County Superior Court judge tentatively ruled this week that Mayor Ron Dellums “Augmented Recruitment Program of 2008” was an “impermissible use” of Measure Y violence prevention funds, and that the money spent on that program must be paid back. -more-


Planners Give Thumbs Down to Closed Center Street

By Richard Brenneman
Wednesday February 11, 2009 - 07:10:00 PM

Planning commissioners sailed through two sections of the downtown plan last week, in the process diluting a call for a Center Street pedestrian plaza. -more-


Merchants Unhappy With ‘Riots’ at Gaia Building

By Richard Brenneman
Wednesday February 11, 2009 - 07:11:00 PM

Downtown Berkeley merchants are tired of the Gaia Building—or at least the series of disturbances stemming from wild parties held there by the business owned by the building’s former owner and a partner. -more-


Thai Temple Brunch Dispute Returns to Zoning Board

By Riya Bhattacharjee
Wednesday February 11, 2009 - 07:12:00 PM

The nearly year-long zoning battle over Sunday brunch at the Berkeley Thai Temple may finally come to an end Thursday when members request a permit modification from the Berkeley Zoning Adjustments Board that would allow the temple to sell food weekly instead of only three times annually. This proposal has sparked much opposition from a group of neighbors. -more-