When an Orchestra is Biased, We Who Pay the Pipers Should Call the Tune

By Becky O'Malley
Wednesday March 02, 2011 - 12:19:00 PM

So, is it okay to censure and/or boycott arts organization on account of “political” questions? A friend forwarded Chronicle music critic Joshua Kosman’s gutsy column twitting the Vienna Philharmonic for continuing to limit most of their hires to white guys in a world where female and non-white musicians are increasingly prominent.

In my knee-jerk liberal innocence, I assumed that the sender agreed with the sentiments express therein. I posted the link in The Editor’s Back Fence space last week, and I forwarded it to a list of my musical friends. Well, it seems that the male sender wasn’t quite on the same page—he followed up with a letter explaining from his perspective the justifying rationale for the Vienna orchestra’s hiring polices, and pointing out that they do now have a couple of women in the group, including one in a leadership role.

But my musical friends—at least those who wrote back—didn’t agree with him. Oddly enough, those who answered were all women. I’ll quote them without names because they weren’t intending to write for publication, -more-


Cartoon Page: Odd Bodkins, BOUNCE

Tuesday March 01, 2011 - 11:14:00 PM

Public Comment

Letters to the Editor

Wednesday March 02, 2011 - 01:54:00 PM

Caring; Rights and Duties; Good Will; Arpeggio;Response to a Response on the Library Demolition; West Berkeley Zoning; Security Council Veto -more-

New: Sierra Club Unfairly Bashes Richmond for Alleged High Solar Permit Fees

By Tom Butt, Richmond City Councilmember
Wednesday March 02, 2011 - 08:16:00 PM

The Sierra Club study of commercial solar PV system permit fees by Kurt Newick cited in “Fees for business solar power units vary widely” (Mike Taugher, Contra Costa Times 2/27/2011) is both misleading and misplaced, and it unfairly and inappropriately targets Richmond as having the highest permit fee in Contra Costa County. -more-

How a Public Process Led to New Designs for the South and West Branch Libraries

By Judith Epstein
Wednesday March 02, 2011 - 12:50:00 PM
West Berkeley Library Design: View of University St. Entrance

In 2008, Berkeley voters passed Measure FF “to renovate, expand, and make seismic and access improvements at four neighborhood branch libraries.” In his impartial analysis of the measure, the City Attorney wrote, “Current plans for renovation include restoration and refurbishment of historic features at the branch libraries as part of any renovation.”

Yet, sometime after the passage of Measure FF, plans to demolish and rebuild the South and West Branch Libraries surfaced. Both of these libraries have historic features, and their proposed demolitions triggered an Environmental Impact Report – a public process required under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA).

Few people would claim that the branch libraries aren’t in need of improvement, in particular, the South and West Branches, which have been historically neglected by the City of Berkeley. While the Claremont and North Branch Libraries have been carefully and beautifully maintained, the South and West Branches have not fared so well. Ironically, the City’s pattern of poor treatment of these libraries is being used as reason to demolish them. In an excellent commentary in the February 16, 2011 edition of the Berkeley Daily Planet, Gale Garcia questioned the social justice of neglecting buildings in less affluent neighborhoods, which leads to the idea that demolition is the only viable alternative. Sometimes it’s not. -more-

Letter to the Berkeley City Council Re West Berkeley Rezoning

From Mary Lou Van Deventer,Member of the Board of Directors, Former President, on behalf of the Northern California Recycling Association
Wednesday March 02, 2011 - 02:17:00 PM

When the zoning changes now called the West Berkeley Project were begun, the Planning Department said it simply wanted “flexibility” to negotiate with landowners in developing their properties. The West Berkeley Plan itself wouldn’t be changed. Planning staff said that was their “mantra.” Industry would be protected. -more-

RE: South and West Berkeley Branch Libraries and Zoning Ordinance amendment to allow development flexibility for existing public libraries.

By Carole Davis Kennerley
Wednesday March 02, 2011 - 01:03:00 PM

Editor's Note: This letter was addressed to the Berkeley Planning Commission and copied to the Daily Planet.

As a long-time resident of South Berkeley, a former member of the Berkeley City Council and Vice Mayor, parent and grandparent, I ask that you support approval of the proposed zoning ordinance amendment. I also want to take this opportunity to express my strong support for the Berkeley Library plans for all four branch libraries. I strongly support the demolition and renovation plans for South and West Branch libraries.

As you are aware the Berkeley voters overwhelming approved the Measure FF directing the City of Berkeley to issue general obligation bonds not to exceed $26 million dollars to renovate, expand, and improve four (4) neighborhood branch libraries, but not the central library. When these libraries are renovated and rebuilt, they will be brought up to code standards and fully be able to provide services to Berkeley's diverse population. -more-

On Wisconsin

By Ron Lowe
Wednesday March 02, 2011 - 02:58:00 PM

Before this subject fades into the twilight let's get the facts straight. -more-

Pepper Spray Times

Grace Underpressure
Tuesday March 01, 2011 - 11:09:00 PM

Editor's Note: The latest issue of the Pepper Spray Times is now available. -more-

Institutionalized Hate in Berkeley

By Jim Harris
Wednesday March 02, 2011 - 01:15:00 PM

“A deputy attorney general in Indiana was fired Wednesday after he tweeted that police should 'use live ammunition' against labor union protesters in Wisconsin, The Indianapolis Star reported.” -more-