The Week

 

News


Local News Round-Up: Reports from other sources

Monday February 23, 2009 - 10:33:00 AM

Tuesday -more-


Planners Continue Work On West Berkeley Zoning

By Richard Brenneman
Tuesday February 24, 2009 - 04:05:00 PM

Planning commissioners will take a break from their rewrite of the Downtown Area Plan Wednesday night when they return to their revisions of West Berkeley land use rules. -more-


Environmental Review Hearing Moves Downtown Plan Closer

By Richard Brenneman
Monday February 23, 2009 - 06:32:00 PM

With the struggle to shape the future of downtown Berkeley entering its final months, planning commissioners are moving closer to finalizing their own vision. -more-


WORTH READING: from other sources

Sunday February 22, 2009 - 10:18:00 AM

UCB's deal with Dow Chemical produces questionable research about termite control. -more-


City Alarmed by Police Impounding Cars of Undocumented Immigrants

By Riya Bhattacharjee
Saturday February 21, 2009 - 05:14:00 PM

Community organizers met with Berkeley city officials on Thursday to discuss concerns about the Berkeley police seizing cars of undocumented immigrants, which they said had generated fear among some Latino families. -more-


City Council to Consider Rescinding Ban on University Avenue Fast Foods

By J. Douglas Allen-Taylor
Friday February 20, 2009 - 04:29:00 PM

A moratorium on new fast food restaurants and convenience stores along a portion of University Avenue in downtown Berkeley may soon be lifted. The Berkeley City Council is scheduled to consider a Planning Commission recommendation to lift the ban Tuesday night, Feb. 24. -more-


AC Transit Supporters Seek to Stop MTC’s Shift of Federal Recovery Funds from Local Transit Agencies

By J. Douglas Allen-Taylor
Friday February 20, 2009 - 04:29:00 PM

Officials and supporters of AC Transit are mobilizing opposition to a proposal before the Metropolitan Transportation Commission that they feel could siphon away federal stimulus money from the East Bay bus agency. -more-


Berkeley Unified School District Facing State Cuts in New Budget

By Riya Bhattacharjee
Friday February 20, 2009 - 09:07:00 AM

The state budget approved by lawmakers on Thursday to close California’s $42 billion budget deficit will impose billions of dollars in cuts on public education, leading to larger class sizes in grades K-12, fewer programs in arts and music and teacher lay-offs, officials said. -more-


Golden Gates Fields Fate Uncertain; Corporate Owner’s Stock Plunges

By Richard Brenneman
Friday February 20, 2009 - 09:06:00 AM

After failing to raise enough cash to reorganize, the owners of Golden Gate Fields face the threat of liquidation—leaving the future of the Albany race track in doubt. -more-


Toward a Sustainable Planet

By Becky O'Malley
Thursday February 19, 2009 - 10:08:00 AM

What’s with the blank front page? readers may ask. Well, what local community papers like the Daily Planet have always done, which metropolitan dailies have never done, is report in depth on local news. The fine essay Ben Bagdikian contributed to the Planet about a year ago, reprinted below, explains why this is important for democracy. -more-


The Planet and Democracy

By Ben H. Bagdikian
Wednesday February 18, 2009 - 06:57:00 PM

This commentary was originally published in the Daily Planet on Dec. 21, 2007. Bagdikian, a Berkeley resident, is former dean of the UC Berkeley School of Journalism, former editor of the Washington Post, and the author of The New Media Monopoly. -more-


With Local Journalism in Peril, Planet’s Owners Seek Solution

By Richard Brenneman
Wednesday February 18, 2009 - 06:57:00 PM

Confronted with the same harsh economic realities as other American newspapers, the owners of the Berkeley Daily Planet are seeking a new business model to keep community papers alive. -more-


Citizens Turn Up the Heat On Pacific Steel Again

By Riya Bhattacharjee
Wednesday February 18, 2009 - 07:03:00 PM

Community members will take to the streets once again Saturday to protest what they called toxic emissions from the West Berkeley-based Pacific Steel Casting Company, following the publication of a report by USA Today last December which identified three Berkeley schools in the top 1 percent of the country’s most at-risk sites for exposure to dangerous toxic chemicals. -more-


UC Berkeley Wants to Buy Golden Bear Building

By Richard Brenneman
Wednesday February 18, 2009 - 06:47:00 PM

UC Berkeley is buying the Golden Bear, the University Avenue building that sparked a major political battle 40 years ago and continues to rumble today. -more-


No More Youth Parties at Gaia Arts Center

By Riya Bhattacharjee
Wednesday February 18, 2009 - 06:56:00 PM

Berkeley developer Patrick Kennedy announced at the Berkeley Zoning Adjustments Board meeting last week that the Gaia Arts Center in downtown Berkeley will stop renting out space for youth events in light of a series of out-of-control parties there, with the most recent one leading to shots being fired in its aftermath three weeks ago. -more-


Police Blotter

By Ali Winston
Wednesday February 18, 2009 - 06:54:00 PM

Sexual predator at large -more-


Fire Department Log

By Richard Brenneman
Wednesday February 18, 2009 - 07:04:00 PM

Unfalse alarm -more-


Farrakhan in Oakland to Address Grant Shooting

By J. Douglas Allen-Taylor
Wednesday February 18, 2009 - 06:49:00 PM

National Nation of Islam leader Minister Louis Farrakhan came to Oakland this week to lend his powerful voice to the rising chorus of protest in the death of Oscar Grant III, telling an overflow audience of more than a thousand at West Oakland’s Olivet Missionary Baptist Church on Tuesday night that “Oscar Grant’s assassination stirred up something that was building in Oakland for a long, long time.” -more-


Little Action Taken After Chaotic BART Board Meeting

By J. Douglas Allen-Taylor
Wednesday February 18, 2009 - 06:49:00 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 last week on the controversy itself, instead spending most of their time answering immediate audience concerns and, in some cases, responding to repeated audience participation. -more-


Just Four Candidates Left for AC Transit Board Seat

By J. Douglas Allen-Taylor
Wednesday February 18, 2009 - 06:48:00 PM

The AC Transit Board of Directors has pared down the list of candidates to four finalists of the original 17 who sought to fill the remaining two years of the term of former AC Transit at-large board member Rebecca Kaplan. -more-


School Board Approves BHS Redesign Plan

By Riya Bhattacharjee
Wednesday February 18, 2009 - 06:56:00 PM

The Berkeley Board of Education voted 4 to 1 last week 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-


Commission Expands Downtown Area for High-Rise Construction

By Richard Brenneman
Wednesday February 18, 2009 - 06:58:00 PM

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


Office Vacancies Climb, But Retail Remains Solid

By Richard Brenneman
Wednesday February 18, 2009 - 07:02:00 PM

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


Zoning Board Allows Thai Temple To Continue Sunday Brunch

By Riya Bhattacharjee
Wednesday February 18, 2009 - 07:03:00 PM

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


In memory of Jengyee Liang, 1983-2008

By Shirley Rivera
Wednesday February 18, 2009 - 06:51:00 PM

Jengyee Liang, UC Berkeley alumna, died on Nov. 10, 2008, near her hometown of Huntington Beach. The daughter of Mr. Tom Y. Liang and Mrs. Jan C. Liang, Jengyee was born in Fountain Valley on Feb. 18, 1983 and grew up in Huntington Beach with her parents and her two older brothers, Albert J. Liang and Ben J. Liang. Family and close friends surrounded her when she passed after her three-year struggle with lupus. -more-


Mexico’s First Black President

By Ted Vincent Special to the Planet
Wednesday February 18, 2009 - 06:17:00 PM

Barak Obama admires Abraham Lincoln. Vicente Guerrero, Mexico’s first black president, was his nation’s Lincoln. In 1829 he issued Mexico’s slavery abolition decree (which led a few years later to Texas slave holders taking Texas out of Mexico). -more-


Opinion

Editorials

Newspaper or Journal of Opinion? That’s a Good Question

By Becky O’Malley
Wednesday February 18, 2009 - 06:12:00 PM

In the last issue of the Planet, reader Terry Doran asked some interesting questions which are central to our ongoing discussion of the future of the news. Here’s his letter again: -more-


Cartoons

State Worker Layoffs

By Justin DeFreitas
Wednesday February 18, 2009 - 06:40:00 PM

Public Comment

Letters to the Editor

Wednesday February 18, 2009 - 06:16:00 PM

MISSED OPPORTUNITY -more-


Readers Respond to Herskovits’ Israel-Palestine Commentary

Wednesday February 18, 2009 - 06:17:00 PM

Editors, Daily Planet: -more-


Blockade Harms U.S. More Than Cuba

By Margot Pepper
Wednesday February 18, 2009 - 06:13:00 PM

The U.S. blockade is causing more economic damage to the United States than it is to Cuba. A December letter signed by a dozen leading U.S. business organizations, including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, urged then President-elect Barack Obama to initiate the process of scrapping the 47-year old embargo. The letter pegs the cost to the US economy at $1.2 billion per year, an estimate made by the International Trade Commission in 2001. More recent sources put the projected 2009 loss at $3.6 billion annually in lost sales. -more-


Berkeley Remembered

By Deborah Loreen Foster
Wednesday February 18, 2009 - 06:14:00 PM

History denotes sculptures from ancient times to present as having significant meaning to the peoples and cultures of that time, often commemorating heroes and capturing history. Centuries later, we still have a glimpse into their past. Chiseled into stone, metal, clay and wood, even into the sides of mountains, is the artistic equivalent to the historic written word, communicating to future generations of all languages a vision of the past. -more-


Grant Apologists Are Loud, But Wrong

By David Jackson
Wednesday February 18, 2009 - 06:15:00 PM

Just had the opportunity to read J. Douglas Allen-Taylor’s Jan. 28 column in the Daily Planet (“Justice Coalitions Fracturing in Oscar Grant Case”) about the BART Police officer’s accidental shooting of the convicted criminal Oscar Grant on New Year’s Day. -more-


Public Space on Center Street

By Jim Novosel
Wednesday February 18, 2009 - 06:15:00 PM

This city planner did not give “thumbs down to closed Center Street” at the Feb. 4 city Planning Commission. I have desired the creation of a major public gathering space in the heart of our downtown since working on the citizens’ 1984 Outline for a Downtown Plan and the City’s 1990 Downtown Plan. Now, more than ever, I believe that with the new downtown plan, the creation of such a wonderful urban space is inevitable. And consensus from both the DAPAC and Planning Commission is that it will be on Center Street between Shattuck and Oxford. -more-


What’s Next in Afghanistan?

By Ralph E. Stone
Wednesday February 18, 2009 - 06:15:00 PM

President Obama recently announced that he is sending 17,000 more troops to Afghanistan. But he is still faced with a decision about what to do long term in Afghanistan and with worldwide terrorism. If there is one point of agreement between Republicans and Democrats, it is that the U.S. war in Afghanistan was a legitimate response to the Sept. 11 attacks, mainly aimed at bringing Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda to justice—unlike the invasion and occupation of Iraq, which was bogus, based on the Bush administration’s falsehoods regarding Iraq’s possession of weapons of mass destruction and Saddam Hussein’s links to al Qaeda. -more-


Of Councils, Courts and a Failure to Communicate

By Steve Martinot
Wednesday February 18, 2009 - 06:16:00 PM

Let’s go over what is at stake in the cell phone antenna permits that City Council has approved for UC Storage and the French Hotel. First, there is the question of health protections against possibly injurious technology. And second, there is the question of representation. -more-


Columns

Undercurrents: Limited Scope, Limited Results in BART Investigation

By J. Douglas Allen-Taylor
Wednesday February 18, 2009 - 06:07:00 PM

Late in last week’s chaotic BART meeting, BART Board Director Tom Radulovich made a point that almost certainly got overlooked by most of the meeting’s observers, especially since the boardroom had virtually cleared by then. Radulovich said that he wanted BART staff to make available to the public the “scope of work” which BART has given the law firm of Meyers Nave in its investigation of the New Year’s Day events on the Fruitvale BART platform. Those events included the shooting death of Hayward resident Oscar Grant by BART police officer Johannes Mehserle. -more-


Dispatches From The Edge—Gaza: Death’s Laboratory

By Conn Hallinan
Wednesday February 18, 2009 - 06:46:00 PM

It was as if they had stepped on a mine, but there was no shrapnel in the wound. Some had lost their legs. It looked as though they had been sliced off. I have been to war zones for 30 years, but I have never seen such injuries before. -more-


Green Neighbors: The Richmond Chainsaw Massacre, Part One

By Ron Sullivan
Wednesday February 18, 2009 - 06:23:00 PM
This photo shows a flourishing native-plant understory.

This was the second time I’d seen the same stunned, stoic, pale, pained reaction to revisiting a restoration site. -more-


East Bay: Then and Now—Berkeley’s City Hall Was Inspired by a Mairie on the Loire

By Daniella Thompson
Wednesday February 18, 2009 - 06:21:00 PM
Old City Hall was renamed the Maudelle Shirek Building in March 2007.

On June 27, 1908, at the laying of the cornerstone for Berkeley’s new City Hall, University of California president Benjamin Ide Wheeler delivered the keynote address. His was no florid speech politely suitable to the occasion. On the contrary. Wheeler seized the moment to “flay the politicians,” as the San Francisco Call reported the following day, and “then asked citizens to take a more active part in municipal affairs.” -more-


About the House: The Good Old Days

By Matt Cantor
Wednesday February 18, 2009 - 06:20:00 PM

I’ve long observed (with some glee) that houses and their owners tend to be alike in notable ways and that this only increases over time. -more-


Arts & Events

Arts Calendar

Thursday February 19, 2009 - 02:40:00 PM

THURSDAY, FEB. 19 -more-


The Musical Offering: ‘All the Elements of Civilization’

By Ken Bullock Special to the Planet
Wednesday February 18, 2009 - 06:44:00 PM
The Musical Offering remains a gathering place for those interested in good food and fine music.

When I was a student here, in the early ’50s,” said concert pianist Daniell Revenaugh, over a cup of soup in the Musical Offering Cafe, “there were four or five record stores on Telegraph Avenue and around the university that featured classical music—and a couple of them were real meeting places, like the coffee houses of old London. This is the only place like that left.” -more-


‘An Evening with Stew’

By Ken Bullock Special to the Planet
Wednesday February 18, 2009 - 06:42:00 PM

Stew, the contemporary troubadour whose Tony, Obie and New York Drama Critic Circle Award-winning musical, Passing Strange (now a Spike Lee film), debuted at Berkeley Rep in 2006, will return to play an unusual solo concert Friday at the Oakland Metro Operahouse. -more-


Impact Stages ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ at La Val’s

By Ken Bullock Special to the Planet
Wednesday February 18, 2009 - 06:46:00 PM

“What fools these mortals be!” When The Bard’s famous fairy trickster—aka Robin Goodfellow—utters this verse in otherworldly weeds, maybe to the strains of Mendelssohn, outdoors in an amphitheater some August night, the audience, well-conditioned, knows just where it is and what he is saying. -more-


On DVD: 'Bottle Rocket,' 'Magnificent Obsession,' 'Europa' and 'The Derek Jarman Collection'

By Justin DeFreitas
Thursday February 19, 2009 - 08:37:00 AM

Bottle Rocket -more-


East Bay: Then and Now—Berkeley’s City Hall Was Inspired by a Mairie on the Loire

By Daniella Thompson
Wednesday February 18, 2009 - 06:21:00 PM
Old City Hall was renamed the Maudelle Shirek Building in March 2007.

On June 27, 1908, at the laying of the cornerstone for Berkeley’s new City Hall, University of California president Benjamin Ide Wheeler delivered the keynote address. His was no florid speech politely suitable to the occasion. On the contrary. Wheeler seized the moment to “flay the politicians,” as the San Francisco Call reported the following day, and “then asked citizens to take a more active part in municipal affairs.” -more-


About the House: The Good Old Days

By Matt Cantor
Wednesday February 18, 2009 - 06:20:00 PM

I’ve long observed (with some glee) that houses and their owners tend to be alike in notable ways and that this only increases over time. -more-


Community Calendar

Wednesday February 18, 2009 - 06:50:00 PM

THURSDAY, FEB. 19 -more-