As the debate over replacement construction of Berkeley’s South and West branch libraries continues to slide into personal attacks, I hesitate to enter the fray again. However, Bradley Wiedmaier’s opinion piece about the South Branch library seems to contain some serious errors which demand correction. I don’t know Wiedmaier and don’t want to impugn him or his motives, but I think his information is wrong. -more-
On May 12, the New York Times did a very curious thing.
In an article entitled “Indian and Afghan Leaders Forge Deeper Ties in Meeting” by Alissa J. Rubin and Sanger Rahimi, the newspaper failed to mention that during his visit to Afghanistan, Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had endorsed peace talks between the Taliban and the government of Hamid Karzai. -more-
On May 11 two citizens’ groups sued the City of Berkeley over proposed zoning that would radically restructure West Berkeley. The Sustainable West Berkeley Alliance (SWBA), an organization of Berkeley residents and businesses, and the Council of Neighborhood Associations (CNA) filed their suit in Alameda County Superior Court under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). -more-
In a memo sent to Planning Department staff on May 3 and forwarded to the Planet this evening, City of Berkeley Director of Planning Dan Marks announced that he’s retiring effective July 1, 2011. -more-
Given the number of lawsuits against the City of Berkeley at any given time, it probably seems odd that the library lawsuit would generate so much controversy. Just yesterday, a new lawsuit was filed against the City, and a decision is expected in yet another by next week. It’s almost like a judicial cycle of life in Berkeley – a cycle fed by a Council majority that seems unwilling or unable to follow the law. In this regard, the Concerned Library Users (CLU) lawsuit about the misuse of Measure FF funds is not unusual in the way the City works. What is unusual is the vitriol being slung by a small group of people, who want to bypass an election. -more-
At the end of his term, former Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger appointed a new member of the UC Board of Regents. Governor Schwarzenegger appointed David Crane, a multi-millionaire investor and former advisor with deep political and business connections to the former Governor. The UC Student Association is opposed to the appointment of David Crane. -more-
The families of Shane Bauer and Josh Fattal issued the following statement today: -more-
Thursday, May 12, is “Bike to Work Day” nationally, and there is always a particularly robust East Bay set of activities.
Those who bicycle to work regularly, and those who travel to their job on two wheels for the first time or just for the day, can take advantage of a variety of services, prizes, and benefits. -more-
Amyris, Inc., the creation of UC Berkeley bioengineer Jay Keasling and his students, has issued its latest financial filing, the 10-K form required by the Securities and Exchange Commission of all publicly traded corporations.
But before we get down to the dollars and sense, we’ll begin with a mystery. -more-
Press Release: Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory Names Six Finalists for Possible Second Campus Location
Following an extensive evaluation, the University of California, manager of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab), released a list of six potential sites for the Lab’s proposed second campus. -more-
Discussion of the large Acheson Commons housing development proposed for Downtown Berkeley occupied the attention of Berkeley’s Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) at their May 5, 2011 regular meeting.
The proposed project, which occupies most of the rectangular block bordered by University Avenue, Shattuck, Berkeley Way, and Walnut Street, includes the removal of two older brown shingle apartment buildings, additions on top of two existing landmark buildings and a third, undesignated, older structure, conversion of the landmark Acheson Physician’s Building to housing, and one entirely new construction structure.
The development would also wrap around three sides of the five story Bachenheimer Building, which Peterson designed several years ago and which Equity Residential owns. -more-
A plan opposed by low-income public housing residents of Berkeley to privatize and sell their longtime public housing units, has moved forward with the latest effort to find a buyer for Berkeley's 75 public housing units. -more-
The life of über-scholar and cellist Aaron Benavidez, just named the top graduating senior at the University of California, Berkeley, is nothing short of dramatic – from his impoverished and turbulent childhood in California’s Central Valley, to playing the cello in Europe’s elite concert halls, to finding his “Ithaca” in the field of sociology. -more-
U.C.'S Godzilla Crane—a Looming Presence over Teley—Pokes Its Nose Over Saturday’s ASUC Hip-hop Fest in People's Park
This university crane—a city block in length— swiveled its way into People's Park for Saturday's ASUC's annual hip-hop event. -more-
Once again, East Bay MUD’s more than two million water customers in the East Bay are facing a rate hike. This time, the staff proposal is for a six percent across-the-board increase in water rates. EBMUD’s explanation is, essentially, that we customers have been too good at saving water. As a consequence, the water district has been getting less revenue, while its costs haven’t decreased accordingly.-more-
Two University of California at Berkeley graduates who have been detained in Iran for more than 21 months will stand trial today on espionage charges, according to their families. -more-
Claremont Branch Library renovation and construction is now underway. Fine Line Construction was awarded a $3,300,000 contract for the branch improvements, which began May 3, 2011. Construction is slated to last 9 to 12 months and branch reopening is anticipated for first quarter 2012. -more-
On my way to not-so-near-by El Cerrito's Guitar Center on San Pablo Avenue to update my reporting gear, I stopped off at Barnes & Noble last week. -more-
On April 26, 2011, as I reported in the April 27th Planet, a group of about 60-70 supporters of demolishing and rebuilding the South and West branches of the Berkeley Public Library held a rally on the steps of City Hall during a Council meeting.
This was under the auspices of a group calling itself “New Libraries Now”. Dave Snyder from the Berkeley Public Library Foundation emceed the event and introduced speakers, including three members of the Berkeley City Council. All three, along with a fourth member, Darryl Moore, stood at the top of the City Hall steps by the podium holding signs supporting the rally and calling for “new libraries now.”
Councilmembers Linda Maio, Max Anderson, and Laurie Capitelli spoke at the rally.
Some of their quotations have been misreported in other media. I also quoted some of their remarks in my article, but not their complete statements. Since then, a number of people have asked me if there is a complete transcript of their remarks.
Below is a transcript [made from a recording.] There was an individual heckler yelling about the City budget during the rally, so at a few points the yelling or crowd applause made words or phrases in the Councilmember comments inaudible. Those points are indicated. Otherwise, this is a transcript of their full remarks. -more-