Berkeley police have arrested a man they believe could be responsible for a string of arsons set in the South Campus area of the city during the past week, a police spokeswoman said today. -more-
City of Berkeley Police Department (BPD) Property Crimes detectives have arrested a man responsible for a suspicious fire in front of Sam’s Market, 2312 Telegraph Avenue. This fire was one of nine (9) fires that had been deliberately set on city property in the South Campus area since Friday, July 16th. Detectives found Travis Eugene Churchill, 25 of Berkeley in People’s Park on July 20, 2010 and took him into custody without incident. -more-
Beginning on Sunday, AC Transit changed the entire service structure of our massive system without informing the public, so there has been massive chaos for our workers and the public. AC Transit single-handedly "imposed" a non-negotiated contract on bus drivers and mechanics; they changed work schedules, service routes and responsibilities without any training for our workers. Drivers are driving routes without training, resulting in passengers having to tell them where to turn. One driver with diabetes and poor night vision has been assigned to a night shift. A senior driver who lives in Pittsburgh was reassigned to a Trans-Bay bridge route, which he has never done. A single mom with three kids in Vallejo was reassigned without notice to a 5 a.m. shift but childcare doesn't begin until 7 a.m. Naturally, she was late to work the first couple of days. Drivers are being forced to be behind the wheel for 10 hours or more, a direct violation of Department of Transportation regulations and a threat to the safety of riders. Many have been assigned to 13 hour shifts. -more-
Like most high schools, Berkeley High shuts down during the summer months. When I walked into the school last week, I found the place eerily quiet. Apart from a small summer school program, the classrooms and corridors are empty. But then I stepped into the principal’s office, discovering a beehive of intense activity there. The brand new principal, Pasquale Scuderi, is already at his post, preparing for the coming year, which will mark a major transition in the history of the school.
Especially in an era of economic crisis, the high school faces enormous challenges. Can resources be found to meet the needs of all the students, numbering about 3400, widely diverse in their family backgrounds, their motivations to learn, and their capacities to do high-school level work? Is there any way to assure educational coherence and quality, given that the high school is divided into six “small learning communities,” each with its own curriculum, employing its own pedagogy, and hungry for scarce resources?
These are among the questions that will face the school administration and the newly constituted School Site Council in the fall. I stepped into the new principal’s office and we spoke for an hour. Here is our interview, somewhat abridged for the sake of clarity.
The Berkeley City Council District 7 election race this fall will include two familiar opponents and a political newcomer. Four-term incumbent Councilmember Kriss Worthington will be facing, for the third time, Willard neighborhood resident George Beier as well as a new opponent from across Telegraph Avenue, Cecilia “Ces” Rosales. -more-
A new contract imposed on an AC Transit employees' union will be in effect until at least the end of next week after a judge delayed deciding on an injunction sought by the union today that would have blocked the contract. -more-
Police and fire officials are investigating a string of 13 arson fires on and near the University of California at Berkeley campus, police said. -more-
The City of Berkeley is offering a $15,000 reward, and Bay Area Crime Stoppers (BACS) is offering an additional $2,000 reward, for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the suspect or suspects responsible for the shooting death of Marcus Isiah Mosley Jr., 29 years old. -more-
Wall Street Crooks;Nuclear Weapons Are History;New Ghandi?; Loss of City Revenue; Deflation;;Down with Voting Machines ;Tea Party is even Worse Than You Think;End Corporate Influence;Reduce Oil Addiction through Livable Communities Act;Cell Phones;-more-
I am the neighbor to the east of Ryan Lau's property, and have been expressing my husband's and my objection to his project since, after reading Fred Dodsworth's article in the Planet, we finally became aware of what he was actually up to. I requested that this case be heard directly by the ZAB, and it shall be, this Thursday evening. I find it quite disconcerting that in the findings sent out by the planning department, which unfortunately recommend full approval of his project, that there were omissions in the package sent out to the board for review, as well as in what is posted on the ZAB website.
Introduction On July 13, 2010, the Obama administration unveiled a new national HIV and AIDS strategy, which sets a goal of reducing new infections by 25 percent over the next five years. The strategy also calls for a renewed focus on increasing access to care, with the goal of getting treatment for 85 percent of patients within three months of their diagnosis; concentrating HIV prevention efforts at the highest-risk populations, which include gay and bisexual men as well as African-Americans; and increasing education about the virus, even in communities with low rates of infection. The administration is allocating $30 million from the health care overhaul Congress passed earlier this year toward implementation of the strategy. -more-
For the past several Thursdays from noon to 1:00 pm a group of older women activists have gathered at the south-west corner of Union Square in San Francisco to protest the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. We are Grandmothers Against the War (Bay Area). We are sometimes twelve and sometimes only four or five but we plan to continue bringing our leaflets and signs every Thursday. We invite you to join us. -more-
The scheme to privatize and sell Berkeley's 75 public housing units has stalled, and currently the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has not completed its review of the disposition plan filed with HUD to dispose of Berkeley's public housing. -more-
It appears that due to serious budget shortfalls in Oakland 80 police officers will be laid off. One newscast showed a long list of police services that are expected to be severely reduced. On this list is responding to burglary calls. -more-
A while back we dropped in on a softball panel discussion about what the economic future might hold. The panelists were UC Berkeley academic economists. They glanced at a variety of topics, among them how their institution could weather the current storm, with the larger economy tanking and state support for education effectively collapsing.-more-
Today’s items: Further efforts to save PACE programs and Berkeley’s leading edge approach to marijuana regulation. -more-
Here’s one from the vaults, in honor of the recent discovery of nesting white-throated swifts at the Lawrence Hall of Science. -more-
If anyone had doubts about the outcome of recent talks between Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and U.S. President Barak Obama, they were put to rest July 13 when Israeli authorities demolished three Palestinian houses and announced the construction of 32 new homes in East Jerusalem. According to the British Guardian, “A further 48 housing units are expected to be approved next week.” -more-
Every Saturday morning, me and my granddaughter Mena do pretty much the same thing. First we walk over to Sconehenge on Shattuck and buy Mena a carrot-zuchini muffin. Then we walk up to Whole Foods on the corner of Telegraph and Ashby and get some bacon and eggs from their "salad bar" breakfast buffet. For just two or three dollars, you can pick up enough bacon and eggs to keep you going all morning. -more-
About one-third of people over age 65 report hearing impairment, hypertension, or heart disease. More than one-third of men and one-half of women over 65 report some form of arthritis. Many people have more than one condition. -more-
Well, apparently people outside of Berkeley do read the Planet online. After my last column I got an email and a phone call from someone in NACA’s Online Operations department, offering help. Of course it’s all been phone tag since then, but maybe he’ll be able to help. I did speak with a NACA negotiator last Friday, who reopened my file, but of course now I have to fax two forms I’ve already faxed previously, because apparently they start to stink like dead fish after ninety days, or something. -more-
Arts & Events
I flew back home on frequent flyer miles last week to visit my elderly mom in a small town fifty miles southwest of Pittsburgh from which there is no public transportation. It’s a sleepy, idyllic little place to retire if you have a nice big house with a shady porch, a guaranteed income, and don’t mind 10 degree weather and a foot of snow for about a quarter of the year and ninety degree heat for another couple of months. My nonagenarian mama still cleans the entire enormous house every week and forsakes the dryer to hang her laundry out on the line. She doesn’t get out much, so when I go back, we make the most of the entertainment available.-more-
"Lord help the world if everybody took to doing the right thing!" Bernard Shaw's Mrs. Warren, who cuts the figure of a self-made woman in a man's world, delivers that shot at her prudish, utilitarian daughter Vivie near the close of Mrs. Warren's Profession, now onstage at CalShakes, over the hill in Orinda. But the implications of what she says in high dudgeon ricochet ironically around the Bruns Amphitheatre. -more-
I write this having just come from the remarkable first program of the Midsummer Mozart Festival, remarkable not least of all because of fourteen-year-old Audrey Vardanega’s performance of the Piano Concerto No. 21 in C major, K.467. I don’t believe I have ever heard a teenager play with both the facility and understanding that Ms. Vardanega displayed. -more-
Home & Garden
They say there are four seasons in California: fire, slide, flood, and quake. Fire is the one that most concerns me each year, since the home that my husband and I built in 1948 above the Clarement Hotel was lost in the Firestorm of 1991. -more-
With hot, dog day summer heat replacing our usual blessed fog, Planet readers may be seeking outdoor activities and events to cool off. Listed below, but in no particular order of important or easy access, are just a few of the attractions to be had in the Bay Area, most of them free.-more-