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THE NEWLY RENOVATED Good Shepherd Church at Ninth Street and Hearst Avenue will hold a public birthday celebration Aug. 11.  
          See story Page Three.
THE NEWLY RENOVATED Good Shepherd Church at Ninth Street and Hearst Avenue will hold a public birthday celebration Aug. 11. See story Page Three.
 

News

UC Students Bear Brunt Of Local Budget Impact

By DAVID SCHARFENBERG
Friday August 01, 2003

UC Berkeley students will pay 30 percent more in fees, but local schools and government will escape relatively unscathed under a final budget approved by the State Assembly Tuesday, officials said.  

The Assembly passed the nearly $100 billion spending package on a 56-22 vote just two days after the State Senate approved a similar document. Gov. Gray Davis is expected to sign the budget, a month overdue, Saturday afternoon. 

But California still faces a $7.9 billion shortfall next year, leaving municipal and university officials concerned about the possibility of heavy cuts in 2004-2005 and beyond. 

Biggest loser among agencies with local ties this year is the nine-campus University of California, taking a $410 million cut—$111 million more than Gov. Davis had recommended in his May budget proposal.  

The additional cut, anticipated by UC number crunchers for weeks, triggered a 5 percent fee hike for students at all nine of the university’s campuses. The jump comes on top of a 25 percent increase approved by the UC Board of Regents last month. 

UC Berkeley undergraduates who are residents of California will now pay $5,858 per year in fees, while resident graduate students will fork over $6,169. 

“This fee increase is deeply regrettable but given the magnitude of cuts we are taking, it is unavoidable if we are to protect the quality of the student instructional program,” said University of California President Richard Atkinson in a statement announcing the jump. 

In general, financial aid will cover the fee hikes for students from families with an annual incomes of $60,000 or less. But students said the increase will hit middle class pupils hardest.  

“The fees are going to have the strongest effect on students who are, for one reason or another, not eligible for financial aid,” said Gustavo Mata, a fourth-year undergraduate at UC Berkeley who serves in the student government. “It’s really detrimental.”  

The university—which has seen state funding dip 13.6 percent since 2001-2002—also took heavy cuts in administration, libraries, research and outreach to traditionally low-performing high schools. The budget also delays the opening of the 10th campus in Merced a year to the 2005-2006 school year. 

City budget manager Paul Navazio said the legislature hit Berkeley with a $2.1 million cut from its projected $280 million budget. The city had already budgeted for about $400,000 of the cuts, he said, leaving Berkeley with a $1.7 million shortfall. 

Cuts include small reductions in law enforcement grants, transportation projects and health programs, but most of the $1.7 million comes from a one-time, $1.2 million cut in vehicle license fee revenues that the state has pledged to repay in 2006. 

Navazio worried aloud about the state fulfilling its promise to pay back the $1.2 million. But assuming that the cut is truly temporary, he said the city should be able to avoid any significant new pain this year by dipping into a $6 million reserve, continuing its hiring freeze or putting off street and sidewalk repairs for a year. 

Still, with state legislators facing a shortfall of at least $7.9 billion next year, Navazio said Berkeley may fare worse in 2004-2005. 

“The city, in one way, dodges the bullet—but only because [the Legislature is] reloading,” Navazio said. 

“The future is not bright for us,” said Berkeley Mayor Tom Bates. 

Berkeley already faces a 2004-2005 shortfall of about $10 million, regardless of what the state legislature does, and city officials are weighing a series of politically dicey options for closing the gap: chopping programs, cutting worker pay—which would require union approval—and asking the voters for millions in new taxes through a 2004 ballot measure. 

Navazio said the city will conduct a $25,000 public opinion poll this fall to see if the measure has “a snowball’s chance in hell” of passing in tough economic times. An 11-member mayoral task force on revenue—composed of local business leaders, members of a citizen budget commission and others—will also weigh in on the issue. 

If City Council decides to go forward with the measure, members will have to decide whether to place it the on the March or November 2004 ballots. A March vote would be advantageous because it would come before City Council takes up the 2004-2005 budget in June, Navazio said. But, under state law, a March ballot measure would require a two-thirds vote, while a November initiative would require only a simple majority. 

Eric Smith, associate superintendent of business and operations for the Berkeley Unified School District, said Wednesday that he had not yet had time for a detailed reading of the state budget, which slashed about $2 billion from K-12 education statewide. 

But Smith said an initial examination didn’t reveal anything particularly damaging to the local schools. 

“At first blush, I don’t think we’re going to be significantly penalized,” he said. 

Teri Burns, deputy superintendent for government affairs with the California Department of Education, said education “fared very well” statewide considering the overall magnitude of the shortfall. 

She said the heaviest cuts came in maintenance, instructional materials, summer school, reading programs and teacher training. 

State Assemblywoman Loni Hancock (D-Berkeley) was one of 45 Democrats in the Assembly who joined with 11 Republicans to pass the budget Tuesday. 

She’s not pleased with the final product. 

“I feel that this was a dreadful budget that we passed,” she said, lamenting the UC fee hikes and cuts in family planning services. 

Hancock said she would have preferred a budget that raised taxes on the wealthy and preserved government programs. But she said a state requirement that two-thirds of the legislature approve the budget allowed the Republican minority to hold out against tax hikes. 

“Essentially it was a budget written by Republicans that we ended up agreeing to,” she said. 

Henry Brady, a professor of political science and public policy at UC Berkeley, said locals will not begrudge Hancock, a staunch liberal, for approving a budget that cut social services. 

“I don’t think in a place like Berkeley she’s hurt at all,” he said. “She has a very safe seat. People know her incliNations.€  

 

 

 

 


Berkeley This Week

Friday August 01, 2003

FRIDAY, AUGUST 1 

Mayor’s Task Force on Permitting at 8:30 a.m. on the 6th floor of City Hall, 2180  

Milvia St.  

Women in Black Vigil, from noon to 1 p.m. at UC Berkeley, Bancroft at Telegraph.  

wibberkeley@yahoo.com  

548-6310, 845-1143. 

Meditation, Peace Vigil and Dialogue, gather at noon on the grass close to the West Entrance to UC Berkeley, on Oxford St. near University Ave. Sponsored by the Buddhist Peace Fellowship. 496-6000, ext. 135. www.bpf.org 

SATURDAY, AUGUST 2 

Free Emergency Preparedness Class on Light Search and Rescue, for anyone who lives or works in Berkeley, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at 997 Cedar St., between 8th and 9th Sts. Register on-line at www.ci.berkeley.ca.us/fire/oes or by calling 981-5506. 

Native Plant Restoration sponsored by the Citizens for the Eastshore State Park and California Native Plant Society. Meet at 9:30 a.m. at the large bird sculpture at the west end of Buchanan St., Albany (west of I-580 and immediately north of Golden Gate Fields parking lot). Bring work clothes, boots, and gloves as well as sunblock and water. For more information, call Sarah Ginskey, 558-8139 or Tina Gerhardt, 848- 0800, ext. 313. 

Tomato Tasting at the Farmers’ Market, Center St. at MLK, Jr. Way, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Free samples of a range of tomato varieties, cooking demonstrations begin at 11 a.m. 548-3333. www.ecologycenter.org 

Sick Plant Clinic UC Botanical Garden experts diagnose your plant woes the first Saturday of every month from 9 a.m. to noon at UC Botanical Garden, 200 Centennial Dr. 643-2755. www.mip.berkeley.edu/garden 

Summer Maintenance for Year-Round Garden Beauty  

A free lecture demonstration at 10 a.m. Discover how simple garden-maintenance techniques during the summer can help your garden to be healthy and beautiful all year long, including mulching, watering, fertilizing, and deadheading. At Magic Gardens 729 Heinz Ave.  

520-6927. 654-2484. 

SUNDAY, AUGUST 3 

KPFA Free Speech Radio Benefit for KPFA's New World Center, and welcoming Gus Newport, our new General Man- 

ager, and former Mayor of the City of Berkeley. Film screening of “Straight Outta Hunter’s Point” and performances by Emmit Powell and the Gospel Elites, Gregory Joe Bledsoe and the Source of Light. From 7:30 to 10 p.m. at Roundtree’s, 2618 San Pablo Ave. Cost is $12 adults, $10 seniors and children. For tickets and information call 848-4300 or 848-6767, ext. 634. 

Tibetan Buddhism, Barr Rosen- 

berg on “Path of Heroes,” at 6 p.m. at Tibetan Nyingma Institu- 

te, 1815 Highland Pl. 843-6812. www.nyingmainstitute.com 

Eckhart Tolle Talks on Video Free gathering at 7:30 p.m. to hear the words of the author of “The Power of Now” at the Feldenkrais Ctr., 830 Bancroft Way. 547-2024.  

MONDAY, AUGUST 4 

Art is Peace presents “The Inkwell Communiques” Based on a true story of one artist taking on several agencies of the government over the course of three presidential reigns. August 4 and 5 at 7:30 p.m. on Berkeley Rep's Thrust Stage. A benefit for Amnesty International's peace action campaign. A $20 donation is suggested. Reservations required, visit www.Frantix.net or call 415-621-1216. www.upontheseboards.org/forthcoming/inkwell 

Berkeley Biodiesel Cooperative Orientation at 7:30 p.m. for those interested in making biodiesel welcome. Call for location. 594-4000 ext. 777. biobauerx@hotmail.com  

National Organization for Women, Oakland/East Bay Chapter meets at 6 p.m. in  

the Boardroom of the Oakland YWCA, 1515 Webster St. Assemblywoman Loni Hancock will speak on how the California GOP budget proposals affect women. 287-3948. 

Berkeley CopWatch meets at 6 p.m. at 2022 Blake St. Volun- 

teers needed. For information call 548-0425. 

TUESDAY, AUGUST 5 

Tomato Tasting at the Farmers’ Market, Derby St. at MLK, Jr. Way, 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. Free samples of a range of tomato varieties, cooking demonstrations begin at 11 a.m. 548-3333. www.ecologycenter.org 

Berkeley Camera Club meets at 7:30 p.m., at the Northbrae Community Church, 941 The Alameda. Share your slides and prints and learn what other photographers are doing. Monthly field trips. 525-3565. www.berkeleycameraclub.org 

St. John’s Prime Timers meets at 9:30 a.m. at St. John’s Presbyterian Church, 2727  

College Ave. We offer ongoing classes in exercise and creative arts, and always welcome new members over 50. 845-6830. 

WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 6 

MeetUp for Howard Dean, at 7 p.m. at two Berkeley locations, Berkeley Public Library, 2090 Kittredge St. and Au Coquelet, 2000 University Ave. at Milvia. 843-8724. 

Botanical Garden Twilight Tour: Seasonal Highlights at 5:30 p.m. at the UC Botanical Garden, 200 Centennial Drive. Admission is $5. Registration required. 643-2755. www.mip. 

berkeley.edu/garden 

Berkeley Peace Walk and Vigil at the Berkeley BART Station, corner of Shattuck and Center. Vigil at 6:30 p.m. followed by Peace Walk at 7 p.m. www.geocities. 

com/vigil4peace/ vigil 

Berkeley Communicators Toastmasters meets every 1st and 3rd Wednesday at 7:15 p.m. at Hide-A-Way Café, 6430 Telegraph Ave. For information call Fred Garvey, 925-682-1111, ext. 164. 

Amnesty International Berkeley Community Group meets at 7 p.m. at the Berkeley Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, 1606 Bonita Ave., at Cedar St. 872-0768. 

South Berkeley Mural Project Community members in South Berkeley are coming together to create a neighborhood mural on the side of the Grove Liquor Store on the corner of Ashby Ave. and Martin Luther King, Jr. Way. Meet at 7 p.m. at Epic Arts Studios at 1923 Ashby Ave. For further information call 644-2204. 

Introduction to Reiki Energy Healing, a free lecture by Tarra Christoff, MA, Reiki Master/ 

Teacher, at 6:30 p.m. at Phar- 

maca Integrative, 1744 Solano Ave. 527-8929. 

Free Feldenkrais ATM Classes for adults 55 and older at 10:30 and 11:45 a.m. at the Jewish Community Center, 1414 Walnut at Rose. For 

information call 848-5143.  

Community Dances, traditional English and American dances, 8 p.m. every Wednesday, $9;  

7 p.m. first Sunday, $10. Grace North Church, 2138 Cedar St. 233-5065. www.bacds.org 

THURSDAY, AUGUST 7 

Grizzly Peak Flyfishers meets at the Kensington Community Center, 59 Arlington Ave. A fly tying demonstration for beginners will be held at 6:30 p.m.; a light dinner will be available for a modest price at 7 p.m.; meeting begins at 7:30 p.m. Grizzly Peak Flyfishers is a non-profit, dedicated to conservation, education and fishing. For information contact rorlando@uclink4. 

berkeley.edu  

Rock Climbing 101, an introduction, at 7 p.m. at REI, 1338 San Pablo Ave. 527-4140. 

Lawyers in the Library at  

6 p.m. at the North Branch, 1170 The Alameda 981-6250. 

ONGOING  

Vista Community College Program for Adult Education (PACE) Enrollment through Sept. 6. PACE is a college alternative for adults with job and family responsibilities. Enrollment in American Sign Language classes is also being accepted. For information call 981-2864 or 981-2800 or email Marilyn Clausen at mclausen@peralta.cc.ca.us  

Community Food Drive Make a cash or food donation to the Safeway/ABC7 Summer Food Drive, benefiting the Alameda County Community Food Bank and its 300 member agencies. The food drive will help thousands of local low-income children who lose access to school meal programs during summer vacation. Now through Aug. 9, put nutritious, nonperishable food donations in the red food collection barrels in all Alameda County Safeway stores or make a cash donation at Safeway check-out stands. For more information or to sign up to host a barrel, call 834-3663, ext. 318 or visit www.accfb.org  

Summer Science Weeks at Tilden, for ages 9 - 12, Aug. 4 - 8, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. in Tilden Park. Different topics daily, including pond and stream, reptiles and amphibians, dinos, astronomy, rainforests. Cost is $150 for Berkeley residents, $166 for non-residents. Financial assistance available. Registration required, call 636-1684.  

Institutes for Educators: Gold Rush to the Golden Gate, Aug. 4 - 9. Join us on a journey through the SF Bay watershed, from the foothills of the Sierra to the Bay. Along the way discover how you can integrate watershed concepts and Bay curriculum into your teaching. Each day will have on-the-water experiences, expert speakers, and hands-on activities. The program will also introduce educators to habitat restoration and ways to incorporate service learning projects into their work. Network with other Bay Area educators and receive a wealth of resource materials. Cost is $195. Contact Save the Bay for more information, 452-9261. devo@savesfbay.org, www.savesfbay.org 

Free Energy Conservation Retrofits for Berkeley Residents CA Youth Energy Services is a nonprofit sponsored by the City of Berkeley that trains and employs high school students to provide conservation retrofits. Work includes weatherstripping, replacing lightbulbs with CFLs, cleaning refrigerator coils, replacing faucet aerators and showerheads with low-flow devices, installing earthquake preparedness measures, and a comprehensive audit. Available to home owners and renters. Call for an appointment, 428-2357. 

Free Energy Bill Payment Assistance The City of Berkeley has money to help low-income households in Berkeley, Emery- 

ville and Albany pay their gas and electric bills. For applications and more information, contact the Energy Office at 644-8544. TDD: 981-6903. www.ci.berkeley.ca.us/energy 

CITY MEETINGS 

Landmarks Preservation Commission meets Monday, August 4, 7:30 p.m., at the North Berkeley Senior Center. Gisele Sorensen, 981-7419. www.ci.berkeley.ca.us/commissions/landmarks 

Fire Safety Commission meets Wednesday, August 6, at 7:30 p.m. at the Emergency Operations Center, 997 Cedar St. David Orth, 981-5502. www.ci.berkeley.ca.us/commissions/firesafety 

Community Environmental Advisory Commission meets Thursday, August 7, at 7 p.m., at 2118 Milvia St. Nabil Al-Hadithy, 981-7461. www.ci.berkeley.ca.us/commissions/environmentaladvisory


The Best Laid Plans

Becky O’Malley
Friday August 01, 2003

Sometimes a picture really is worth 1,000 words. The picture below confirms the worst fears of Berkeley’s small but vigorous group of urban design watchers, who think that the recent spate of Big Ugly Buildings is the product of a sinister cabal composed of the City of Berkeley’s Planning Department staff, private developers, and UC’s planning staff. And here they all are, in a photo taken in May at UC’s Faculty Club, at the banquet of the Northern California chapter of the American Planning Association, celebrating an award to the city of Berkeley for its infill housing program. 

Barrett’s April cover letter applying for the award said that: 

“The mixed-use projects included in this submittal, both designed and built, are all located on transit corridors or in the downtown. They incorporate appropriate densities, open space, reduced parking and affordable units among other sustainability principles. These projects are excellent models for, and examples of, smart growth principles." 

She further claimed that,  

“The City has successfully developed these plans and projects with a high degree of citizen involvement and engagement by appointed and elected officials, an enlightened development community, financial tools that help facilitate affordable housing, and a performance-based zoning ordinance. All of these ingredients provide a successful recipe for high density, infill housing projects which embody many of the best practices for sustainable development.” 

The Gaia Building (all electric heat) is one of the 22 allegedly exemplary projects celebrated in this submission.  

Another choice bit of self-congratulation from Barrett: “There has always been generous public dialogue and input from citizens in developing plans and ordinances, and in response to development proposals. Developers have worked with neighbors and staff to design projects that are appropriate for their location.” 

Perhaps the neighbors of Kennedy’s latest project would like to comment on this statement.  

Mark Rhoades, the city’s Current Planning Manager, said in a letter to city staff announcing the award: “Many people in Berkeley don't believe that the city's progressive attitude toward housing and social equity will ever equate to slowing down development in our greenbelts, suburban, and exurban fringe. This kind of recognition is proof otherwise.” 

Maybe we’ve missed something, but we’re still not clear how this award proves that 22 Big Ugly Buildings in Berkeley, mostly containing small expensive apartments for well-heeled singles, will slow down development on the exurban fringe, which is still, as it has always been, mostly single family homes. What it does prove is that planners, as always, are their own biggest fans, and that they have little interest in annoying citizen opinions to the contrary. 

 

Becky O’Malley is Executive Editor of the Daily Planet. 


Arts Calendar

Friday August 01, 2003

FRIDAY, AUGUST 1 

FILM 

Czech Horror and Fantasy on Film: “The Pied Piper” at 7:30 p.m. and “Who Killed Jesse?” at 9:30 p.m. at the Pacific Film Archive. Cost is $4 members, UC students, $5 UC faculty, staff, seniors, disabled, youth, $8 adults. 642-0808. www.bampfa.berkeley.edu 

Disinformation Film Series: “Brothers and Others,” a film on the plight of people of Arab descent in the U.S. since 9-11 and the impact of illegal detentions on peoples’ lives, at 7:30 p.m., at Fellowship Hall, Cedar and Bonita. Followed by a discussion with immigration attorney Nancy Hormachea. Donations requested. 528-5403.  

MUSIC AND DANCE 

Young Musicians Program Final Recital at 7:30 p.m. at Hertz Hall, UC Campus. 642-2686. 

Italian Art Songs, Isabelle Metwalli, soprano, and Trevor Ste- 

phenson, harpsicord, at 8 p.m. Chamber Arts House, 2924 Ash- 

by Ave. Suggested donation $10. 

California Music Festival presents an evening of chamber music at 8 p.m. at the Julia Morgan Center for the Arts. Pre-concert lecture at 7:15 p.m. Tickets are $12-$18, available from 925-798-1300. www.juliamorgan.org 

Jerry Garcia’s Birthday Bash, Rex Foundation Fundraiser, with Sun Masons, Savant Guard, and Seconds on End at 9:30 p.m. at The Starry Plough. Cost is $5.  

841-2082. www.starryploughpub.com 

Savoy-Doucet Cajun Band, Louisiana’s premiere band at 8 p.m. at Freight and Salvage Coffee House. Cost is $18.50 in advance, $19.50 at the door. 548-1761. www.freightandsalvage.org 

Brothers Antonio and Man- 

uel de la Malena in a evening of flamenco, dinner shows at 6 and 9 p.m. at Cafe de la Paz, 1600 Shattuck Ave. Cost is $27-$55. For reservations call 843-0662. www.cafedelapaz.net 

Anzanga Marimba Ensemble with Julia Tsitsi Chigamba and the Chinyakarae Dance En- 

semble at 8 p.m., at La Peña Cultural Center. Cost is $10 in advance, $12 at the door. 849-2568. www.lapena.org 

Mitch Marcus Quintet, original compositions, at 8 p.m. at the Jazzschool. Cost is $10. 845-5373. www.jazzschool.com 

Machel Montano and Xtatik 5.0, with Tropical Vibrations, at 9:30 p.m., at Ashkenaz. Cost is $20 in advance, $25 at the door. 525-5054. www.ashkenaz.com 

Jackie Ryan at 9:30 p.m. at Downtown, 2102 Shattuck Ave. 649-3810. 

Beneath the Ashes, To See You Broken, The Diskords, Secret Janet at 8 p.m. at 924 Gilman St. Cost is $5. 525-9926. 

SATURDAY, AUGUST 2 

CHILDREN 

Storytelling for children ages 5 to 9 at 11 a.m. at Barnes and Noble. 644-0861. 

FILM 

The Inquiring Camera: “Tie Xi Qu: West of the Tracks - Part One: Rust” at 7 p.m. at the Pacific Film Archive. Cost is $4 members, UC students, $5 UC faculty, staff, seniors, disabled, youth, $8 adults. 642-0808. www.bampfa.berkeley.edu 

READINGS AND LECTURES 

Bay Area Poets Coalition holds an open reading from 3 to 5 p.m., at the West Branch Berkeley Public Library, 1125 University Ave. Free. 527-9905. poetalk@aol.com 

MUSIC AND DANCE 

UC Berkeley Summer Symphony, under the direction of Alexander Kahn, Mei-Fang Lin and Kumiko Takahashi, at 8 p.m. at Hertz Hall, UC Campus. Free, donations welcome. 701-6590. www.geocities.com/summersymph2003. 

Gale Dobson Sextet, celebrating the release of her new CD “Parallel Reflections,” at 8 p.m. at the Jazzschool. Cost is $12-$18. 845-5373. www.jazzschool.com 

Victoria Williams and Mark Olson and the Creek Dippers at 7:30 p.m. Cost is $12. Carmel- 

ized at 10:30 p.m. at The Starry Plough. Cost is $5. 841-2082.  

www.starryploughpub.com 

Son de Madera and Son Borikua perform Afro-Caribeño music at 8 p.m., at La Peña Cultural Center. Cost is $12. 849-2568. www.lapena.org 

Houston Jones, acoustic americana, at 8 p.m. at Freight and Salvage Coffee House. Cost is $16.50 in advance, $15.50 at the door. 548-1761.  

www.freightandsalvage.org 

The Savoy-Doucet Cajun Band at 9:30 p.m., dance lesson with Diana Castillo at 8:30 at Ashkenaz. Cost is $18 in advance, $20 at the door. 525-5054. www.ashkenaz.com 

Joshi Marshall at 9:30 p.m. at Downtown, 2102 Shattuck Ave. 649-3810. 

Brothers Antonio and Man- 

uel de la Malena in a evening of flamenco, dinner shows at 6 and 9 p.m. at Cafe de la Paz, 1600 Shattuck Ave. Cost is $27-$55. For reservations call 843-0662. www.cafedelapaz.net 

Plan 9, Penis Flytrap, Proud Flesh, Free Verse, The Pox at 8 p.m. at 924 Gilman St., an all-ages, member-run, no alcohol, no drugs, no violence club. Cost is $5. 525-9926. 

SUNDAY, AUGUST 3 

FILM 

W. C. Fields: “It’s a Gift” at 5:30 p.m. at the Pacific Film Archive. Cost is $4 members, UC students, $5 UC faculty, staff, seniors, disabled, youth, $8 adults. 642-0808. www.bampfa.berkeley.edu 

READINGS AND LECTURES 

Last Word Poetry, at 7 p.m. at Pegasus Bookstore, 2349 Shattuck Ave. 649-1320. 

MUSIC AND DANCE 

Midsummer Mozart Festival Serenade for Winds in C Minor, Violin Concerto No. 3 in G Major, featuring violinist Dorota Anderszeuska, and Symphony #35 in D Major. Conducted by Berkeley resident George Cleve at 7 p.m. at St. John’s Presby- 

terian Church, 2727 College Ave. Cost is $28. 415-292-9620. www.midsummermozart.org  

Young Musicians Program Final Concert at 3 p.m. at Hertz Hall, UC Campus. 642-2686. 

Bay Area Latin Jazz Legacy Series with Insight and Latin Jazz Youth Ensemble of San Francisco. Panel at 6 p.m., concert at 7:30 p.m. at La Peña Cultural Center. Cost is $10. 849-2568. www.lapena.org 

Live Oak Concert, with Sol- 

stice, a female a cappella sextet, at 7:30 p.m. at Berkeley Art Center. Cost is $10, BACA members $8, Students and seniors $9. Children under 12 free. 644-6893. www.berkeleyartcenter.org 

Music of Kenneth Gaburo Experimental music, theater, and text at 8 p.m. at CNMAT, Center for New Music and Audio Technologies, 1750 Arch St. Cost is $5-15 sliding scale. 

Forward Kwenda with Eric Azim, mbira master from Zimbabwe, at 8 p.m. at Freight and Salvage Coffee House. Cost is $16.50 in advance, $17.50 at the door. 548-1761.  

www.freightandsalvage.org 

Christy Dana Quartet, trumpet originals and new takes on jazz standards, at 4:30 p.m. at the Jazzschool. Cost is $10-$15. 845-5373. www.jazzschool.com 

Nejad, Persian poetry and traditional improv/jazz music at 8 p.m. at The Jazz House. Cost is $13. 649-8744. www.thejazz- 

house.org 

For the Crown, In Control, Modern Life is War, Dragnet at 5 p.m. at 924 Gilman St. Cost is $5. 525-9926. 

MONDAY, AUGUST 4 

READINGS AND LECTURES 

Neil M. Levy will read from his new book, “The Last Rebbe of Bialystok,” at 7:30 p.m. Black Oak Books. 486-0698.  

www.blackoakbooks.com 

Poetry Express, open mic from 7 to 9:30 p.m. at Priya Restaurant, 2072 San Pablo Ave.  

MUSIC AND DANCE 

California Music Festival, with cellist Christine Walevska and pianist Del Parkinson, at 8 p.m. at the Julia Morgan Center for the Arts. Tickets are $12-$18, available from 925-798-1300. www.juliamorgan.org 

TUESDAY, AUGUST 5 

FILM 

The Inquiring Camera: “Ah! The Hopeful Pageantry of Bread and Puppet” at 7:30 p.m. at the Pacific Film Archive. Cost is $4 members, UC students, $5 UC faculty, staff, seniors, disabled, youth, $8 adults. 642-0808. www.bampfa.berkeley.edu 

READINGS AND LECTURES 

“How to Get Your Novel Published,” hosted by James Rollins of The New York Times, Alan Jacobson of USA Today, and Kurt Bryan, suspense author, at 7:30 p.m. at Barnes and Noble. 644-0861. 

“Galapagos: Land of Enchantment,” lecture and slide-show by Susanne Methvin at 7:30 p.m. at Easy Going Travel Shop and Bookstore, 1385 Shattuck Ave. at Rose. 843-3533. www.easygoing.com 

Harry Potter Discussion Group at 7 p.m. Black Oak Books, 1491 Shattuck Ave. 486-0698. www.blackoakbooks.com  

Berkeley Summer Poetry, with Lynn Breedlove, from 7 to 9 p.m. at the Mediterranean Cafe, 2475 Telegraph Ave. Free, open mic, poetry, prose, short fiction, amateur and advanced artists welcome. 549-1128. 

MUSIC AND DANCE 

California Music Festival, Olivia Stapp directs opera scenes at 8 p.m. at the Julia Morgan Center for the Arts. Tickets are $12-$18, available from 925-798-1300. www.juliamorgan.org 

Mimi Fox, solo guitar, at 8 p.m. at Downtown, 2102 Shattuck Ave. 649-3810. 

Top Dog Run and Rumen Shopov & Friends at 8:30 p.m., at Ashkenaz. Balkan dance lesson with Lise Liepman at 7:30 p.m. Cost is $10. 525-5054. www.ashkenaz.com 

WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 6 

FILM 

Excess Evil: “Rosemary’s Baby” at 7:30 p.m. at the Pacific Film Archive, with Larry Cohen in person. Cost is $4 members, UC students, $5 UC faculty, staff, seniors, disabled, youth, $8 adults. 642-0808. www.bampfa.berkeley.edu 

Hip Hop Film Fest at 6 p.m. at La Peña Cultural Center. Cost is $5 per film. For film schedule call 415-285-1416. www.lapena.org 

READINGS AND LECTURES 

Sue Fishkoff will discuss “Rebbe’s Army: Inside the World of Chabad-Lubavitch,” at 7:30 p.m. Black Oak Books. 486-0698.  

www.blackoakbooks.com 

Berkeley Poetry Slam Chicken Grease! a hip-hop slam hosted by Nazelah Jamison and Karen Ladson, featuring Clare Lewis, at 8:30 p.m. at The Starry Plough. Cost is $7, $5 with student i.d. 841-2082. www.starryploughpub.com 

MUSIC AND DANCE 

California Music Festival, “Die Fledermaus,” directed by Olivia Stapp, conducted by Monroe Kanouse, at 7:30 p.m. at the Julia Morgan Center for the Arts. Tickets are $18-$25, available from 925-798-1300. www.juliamorgan.org 

Kenny Cahn, country and western with a touch of city and eastern, at 8 p.m. at Freight and Salvage Coffee House. Cost is $15.50 advance, $16.50 at the door. 548-1761. www.freightandsalvage.org 

Stella Chiweshe from Zimbabwe at 9 p.m., at Ashkenaz. Cost is $12 in advance, $14 at the door. 525-5054. www.ashkenaz.com 

Jules Broussard and Ned Boynton at 8 p.m. at Down- 

town, 2102 Shattuck Ave. 649-3810. 

Second Shot, Green Hell, The Caps, Stigma 13 perform punk rock at 9:30 p.m. at Blakes on Telegraph. Cost is $6. 848-0886. www.blakesontelegraph.com 

THURSDAY, AUGUST 7 

FILM 

The Inquiring Camera: “Trial” and “The Lost Film” at 7:30 p.m. at the Pacific Film Archive. Cost is $4 members, UC students, $5 UC faculty, staff, seniors, disabled, youth, $8 adults. 642-0808.  

www.bampfa.berkeley.edu 

Fragments From the War on Terror “Metal of Dishonor,” a film by the Depleted Uranium Education Project, at 6:30 p.m. at the Berkeley Public Library, 2090 Kittredge. A free film series co-sponsored by Berkeley Peace Walk and Vigil. For more information see www.geocities. 

com/vigil4peace/vigil 

Hip Hop Film Fest at 6 p.m. at La Peña Cultural Center. Cost is $5 per film. For film schedule email info@HipHopFilmFest.com or call 415-285-1416. 849-2568. www.lapena.org 

READINGS AND LECTURES 

Mystery Night, with authors Kent Gilmore, Max Isaacson and Katherine Shephard at 7:30 p.m. at Barnes and Noble. 644-0861. 

Joe Anastasi, Global Leader of Deloitte & Touche’s Forensic Investigations practice, looks at corporate crime in “The New Forensics: Investigating Corporate Fraud and the Theft of Intellectual Property,” at 7:30 p.m. Black Oak Books. 486-0698. www.blackoakbooks.com 

MUSIC AND DANCE 

California Music Festival, “Die Fledermaus,” directed by Olivia Stapp, conducted by Monroe Kanouse, at 7:30 p.m. at the Julia Morgan Center for the Arts. Tickets are $18-$25, available from 925-798-1300. www.juliamorgan.org 

The Reverend Screaming Singers, Joe Rut, and Sophie at 9:30 p.m. at The Starry Plough. Cost is $5. 841-2082.  

www.starryploughpub.com 

Keni El Lebrijano, flamenco guitar, at 8 p.m. at Downtown, 2102 Shattuck Ave. 649-3810. 

Mitch Greenhill and Mayne Smith, traditional music duo, at 8 p.m. at Freight and Salvage Coffee House. Cost is $15.50 advance, $16.50 at the door. 548-1761. www.freightandsalvage.org 

AT THE THEATER 

Berkeley Music Theater Company, “Oliver!” Lionel Bart’s musical will be performed Aug. 1, 2, 8 and 9 at 8 p.m. at Albany High School, 603 Key Route, Albany. Tickets are $15 general, $10 seniors, students, and low-income. 524-1224. 

“Nothing is Sacred,” one woman comedy play by Erica Sodos, Aug. 1 and 2, at 8 p.m. at The Jazz House. Cost is $10-$15 sliding scale. 649-8744. www.thejazzhouse.org 

Oakland Summer Theater, “The Death and Life of Sneaky Fitch,” Aug. 1, 2, 3, 8 and 9, Fri. at 8 p.m., Sat. at 3 and 8 p.m., Sun. at 5 p.m. Tickets are $10 in advance, $12 at the door, $8 seniors and students, $5 on Sun. Chabot School Auditorium, 6686 Chabot Rd. To reserve tickets call 597-5026. 

Shotgun Players, “Mother Courage and Her Children,” by Bertolt Brecht, translated by David Hare, directed by Patrick Dooley. Runs Saturdays and Sundays at 4 p.m. in John Hinkle Park, until Sept. 14. No show Aug 9. Show Sept. 13 is at Live Oak Park, Shattuck and Berryman. Free. 704-8210.  

www.shotgunplayers.org 

Young Actors’ Workshop, “Animal Farm,” Opening Night Benefit, August 1 at 7 p.m., August 2 at 8 p.m. and August 3 at 2 p.m. at Live Oak Theater, 1301 Shattuck Ave. Tickets are $12, $10 for seniors and students. Opening Night is $40 in advance, and $45 at the door. For reservations call 232-7346. 

EXHIBITIONS 

ACCI Gallery, “Taste and Touch,” Members Exhibition with artists Toby Tover-Krein, Ellen Russell, Jean Hearst and Biliana Stremska. The exhibition runs to Aug. 11. Gallery hours are Mon. - Thurs., 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., Fri. 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Sat. 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. 1652 Shattuck Ave. 843-2527. www.accigallery.com 

Addison Street Windows, “Windows” An all-media ex- 

hibit by San Francisco Women Artists, through Aug. 11. 2018 Addison St. 658-0585.  

The Ames Gallery, “Conversations with Myself” Works by Barry Simons. Paintings and collages incorporating the artist’s original poetry. By appointment or chance. Exhibition runs until Aug. 15. 2661 Cedar St. 845-4949. www.amesgallery.com  

Berkeley Art Center, 19th National Juried Exhibition: “Works on Paper” runs Aug. 6 to Sept. 13. Berkeley Art Center in Live Oak Park, 1275 Walnut St. Open Wed. - Sun. noon to 5 p.m. Admission is free. 644-6893.  

www.berkeleyartcenter.org  

Berkeley Historical Society, “Focus on Berkeley” A photography exhibit by the Berkeley Camera Club, Berkeley High School students and community photographers in celebration of the City’s 125th Anniversary. Exhibition runs until Sept. 13. Berkeley History Center, 1931 Center St. 848-0181. 

Berkeley Public Library, “The Lighter Side of Crop Circles,” photographs by Ben Ailes. Runs until Aug. 30. First Floor Catalog Lobby, 2090 Kittredge at Shattuck. 981-6100.  

Graduate Theological Union Library, “Hand-crafted Books by Bay Area Artists” Each book is accompanied by a statement addressing the issues and process involved in the creation of the work. Exhibition runs until Sept. 30. Graduate Theological Union, 2400 Ridge Rd.  

649-2541. 

Kala Art Institute, Kala Fellowship Exhibition, Part II The Kala Fellowships are awarded annually to eight innovative artists working in printmaking, book arts, video and digital media. Runs until Sept. 6. Call for gallery hours. 1060 Heinz Ave. 549-2977.  

www.kala.org 

A New Leaf Gallery, “Four Elements of Sculpture: Fire, Air, Water and Earth,” Exhibition runs to Aug. 31. 1286 Gilman St. Call for gallery hours. 527-7621. www.sculpturesite.com 

Red Oak Realty “Mixed Media,” by Stan Whitehead. Reception for the artist on Aug. 8, 6 to 8 p.m. Exhibition runs through Oct. 23, Mon. – Sat., 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. 1891 Solano Ave. 527-3387. 

Slater/Marinoff & Co., “All Animal Art” Forty photographers and artists have donated works to help fund the costs of the Milo Foundation’s work in finding homes for abandoned dogs and cats. Exhibition runs until Aug. 31. Hours are Mon. - Sat. 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Sun. 11:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. 1823 Fourth St. 548-2001.


Berkeley Schools Unsafe, Mismanaged, Says State

By DAVID SCHARFENBERG
Friday August 01, 2003

The Berkeley schools are unsafe, poorly managed, and fail to address the needs of minority and special education students, according to a sweeping new state study. 

The 740-page report, compiled by the state’s Fiscal Crisis & Management Assistance Team (FCMAT), finds problems ranging from uncertified fire extinguishers, to payroll failures, to a special education program which “has been seriously undersupervised and is out of compliance with many state and federal mandates.” 

According to the report’s findings, “the district is having some difficulty meeting basic legal and professional standards.” 

School district officials said the FCMAT report is fair and accurate, but downplayed its importance and insisted that progress is being made in many areas. 

“There are no significant surprises here,” said Superintendent Michele Lawrence. “We really have made some significant headway.” 

The study was funded through a September 2002 bill, authored by former State Assemblywoman Dion Aroner (D-Berkeley), that forgave a $1.1 million fine the school district owed the state for filing late paperwork in 2000, and poured $700,000 of it in into the FCMAT report. 

The bill requires the district to spend the remaining $460,000 to implement the study’s recommendations over the next two years. In December FCMAT must file the first of four bi-annual reports on the district’s progress. 

The report, compiled between February and May 2003 and released by the district this week, found a host of problems with the district’s special education program. Shortcomings included 189 individual education plans for special education students that were out of compliance with state and federal law, a lack of adequate teacher training and the absence of a basic manual on special education.  

Julia Epstein, communications director for the Berkeley-based Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund and parent of two children at Berkeley High School, said the report points to serious failings. 

“FCMAT’s blistering report on special education will not surprise parents of children with disabilities who have struggled to get access to appropriate services in Berkeley,” she said, in a statement. “For a community that prides itself on inclusion and diversity and calls itself progressive, it’s hard even to come up with a scathing enough adjective for Berkeley’s public school record on students with disabilities.”  

Ann McDonald-Cacho, whose son will be a senior at Berkeley High School this fall, said the sheer volume of problems in the special education program is overwhelming. 

“The state of affairs is that there are so many things to be fixed, it’s hard to know how long it could possibly take, because you can’t put energy into all things at once,” she said. 

But McDonald-Chaco said there appears to be a will among district leaders to address the problem.  

Ken Jacopetti, director of special education for the Berkeley schools, said the district is making a concerted effort to improve. A comprehensive review of compliance procedures is underway and a full audit of the program is due in early-September, he said. 

In addition, the district is taking steps to better integrate special education students into regular classrooms, he added. 

The FCMAT report also criticizes the Board of Education for failing to provide the district with a clear vision, particularly around the “achievement gap” that separates white and Asian students from blacks and Hispanics. 

Board of Education Director Nancy Riddle said the focus should be on pouring over student achievement data and making sure that money is spent on programs that actually work to close the gap, rather than initiatives that just “feel good.” 

The report, authored by FCMAT and four subcontractors, also finds consistent problems with school safety, an issue that has plagued the district for years. Poor security lighting, fire drills that are not properly conducted or recorded, and unsupervised adults on campus who go unchallenged by school staff, are all cited in the study. 

Board of Education Director Shirley Issel said the school safety problem is, in part, a cultural one. Berkeleyans like to have open campuses that welcome parents. 

“We choose to have our campuses that way and we’re uncomfortable with—you go to the office and check in—because that seems too structured,” she said. “But I think that’s important for student safety.” 

The report focuses on another cultural problem—something it labels “the Berkeley way.” Parents and staff at each school, according to the study, are bent on autonomy and shun attempts at centralized control. As a result, according to the study, curriculum and teaching vary widely from school to school. Centralization, the report concludes, “is necessary to provide direction and accountability.”  

Lawrence, who has been criticized for consolidating power in the superintendent’s office, said she welcomed the study’s findings. 

“That has been my consistent message to my community and to our personnel—that we have to create a unified school district that celebrates the independence of our schools but is linked by common values, common objectives,” she said. 

Kalima Rose, a parent activist and senior associate at the Oakland-based PolicyLink, which focuses on community engagement in public life, said parents would be happy to engage in a centralized process if problems were clearly laid out and the community was engaged in solving them. But absent that process, she said, school sites have resorted to their own devices.


Letters to the Editor

Friday August 01, 2003

GREEN RESPONSE 

Editors, Daily Planet: 

In response to Norman Solomon's commentary (July 29-31 edition), let me make this clear: The Green Party is working on a viable electoral strategy for the 2004 presidential race. We are a grassroots party so this is taking time. 

We care about our impacts and are taking that into account as we work on our strategy. We are considering the effects of our campaigns on the country as a whole. 

Budd Dickinson,  

Member of Alameda County Green Party County Council and alternate delegate to the Green Party of the US  

Coordinating Committee 

 

• 

ADULT SCHOOL 

Editors, Daily Planet: 

I want to add my opposition to that of Joyce Barison (Letters, July 29-31 edition) to the proposed move of the Berkeley Adult School. The negative impact on the neighborhood of the proposed move is more than valid, no matter how much the school board denies it.  

My opposition, however, stems from the impact on female students if the school is moved to a less lit, less foot-traffic location. Certainly, the present University Avenue location provides more safety for female students attending early evening and night classes. In addition, seniors from nearby Strawberry Creek Lodge have protested the proposed move for safety and transportation reasons. With the increasing ineffectiveness of taxi scrip, will their pleas for a  

single bus-accessible adult school location be ignored? 

From what I’ve read of the proposed move, it appears to be mainly for the convenience of the administrative wing of the BUSD. The impact of the proposed move on students, the citizens they serve, seems to be falling on deaf ears.  

Will our progressive-led council be responsive to students or condone an elitist land grab by the BUSD?  

Maris Arnold 

 

• 

STUDENT FEES 

Editors, Daily Planet: 

One-third of the undergraduate students accepted this year to UC Berkeley are transferring from one of California’s public two-year community colleges—many others accepted directly from public high schools are from low-income and/or immigrant families and/or are children of single parents with or without college diplomas.  

Some of these students join the largest housing co-operative, founded at Stiles Hall in 1933—University Students Co-op Association. There are now 17 group-living facilities that house 914 students; in addition, there are three apartment complexes, housing 380 students. The $1,400 last-minute increase in fees is a burden on these UC students, as it is on so many others.  

Why target UC and Cal State students while putting off or eliminating an increase in fees for owners of motor vehicles? Republican state legislators propose to cut UC’s budget by $400 million. Meanwhile, Republican Vice President Dick Cheney, who incidentally holds two degrees from a public university, wants to eliminate the inheritance tax, and would pay $327,000 less tax under national legislation proposed by the Republicans, according to calculations by Bloomberg News on Cheney’s 2001 tax return.  

I do not accept criticism of UC Student Regent Matt Murray, who wisely voted against the increase. At the same time, the 120 students currently enrolled in community colleges around the state who earned UC eligibility in high school and who were promised enrollment at the soon-to-be-completed UC Merced should be redirected to one or other of the UCs.  

The severity of the crisis is such that Vista Community College in downtown Berkeley should be closed altogether.  

Richard Thompson 

 

• 

TOTAL INFORMATION 

Editors, Daily Planet: 

John M. Poindexter is the highest-ranking member of the Reagan Administration to be found responsible for the Iran-Contra scandal. (The Administration secretly contravened Congress and gave money to the terrorist Contras, fighting in Nicaragua; the funds came from the sale of high-grade weapons to Iran after its fundamentalist rebels took over Iran’s government, and captured and held the U.S. Embassy in Teheran for 444 days.) 

The full story never has come out because the release of presidential papers from the Bush Sr. and Reagan aministrations has been suppressed by the current president, Bush Jr. 

Poindexter surfaced again last year as the Bush Administration’s nominee to run the Total Information Awareness database that would keep track of all Americans, supposedly looking for terrorists. In response to objection by more reasonable advisors, the name was changed to the Terrorist Information Awareness database. Now, this criminal is being proposed to head government-sponsored internet gambling, where people bet on terrorist activities. 

The absurdity of this Administration matches its cynicism. There are few powers in the world that are more threatening to our liberty and democracy. 

Bruce Joffe 

Piedmont 

 

• 

WASTE OF TIME 

Editors, Daily Planet: 

There is something that people need to understand: what the SAT tests are and what they aren’t. After learning from a recent letter to the Daily Planet that UC President Richard Atkinson wants to continue using the SAT I as a primary evaluation of pre-college “achievement” I was appalled. This year I will be going into my senior year at Berkeley High School and after taking the SAT I twice, the SAT II six times, and spending countless hours studying, I learned what the SAT tests really are. 

First, the SAT test is a reasoning test; it is meant to measure how effective a student is at figuring things out. The SAT test does very little if anything to test “actual” understanding. In fact, the math and verbal sections contain knowledge that should have already been learned by sixth or seventh grade. It is a test of how well a student is able to break apart the intricate puzzle that the test makers create to seemingly befuddle the already overworked eleventh graders who are forced to take it. 

When the Regents decided that they will not count the SAT II Subject tests (this is discussed in the aforementioned letter) as twice that of the SAT I, they insured that students will be judged as much on “actual achievement” as how well they can work through an onerous maze of multiple choice questions. 

On the other hand, the SAT IIs are subject tests and evaluate, relatively accurately, the knowledge of students. The ineffectiveness and fallacious nature of the SAT I was especially obvious when an applications officer from a small private college named Lewis and Clark said that he and his colleagues had rejected an applicant who scored a 1590 on the SAT I (ten points less than perfect), because they “weren’t sure whether he would graduate high school or not.”  

The SAT I is not only a waste of time, but it focuses on the wrong areas of applicants. Students should be accepted because of an obvious will to learn, a want to make a difference, and a desire to become mentally stronger. No single test can predict this, and that’s what people need to understand.  

Eli Weissman 

 

• 

FOR DEAN 

Editors, Daily Planet: 

Progressives are supporting Howard Dean’s candidacy for President, even though he does not claim to be a programmatic progressive, because he has been an outspoken opponent of Bush’s unjustifiable and terribly costly invasion of Iraq and his outrageous tax cuts for the wealthy. Dean has the intelligence, honesty, integrity, and energy to defeat Bush and to stand up to the right-wing minority that is disregarding the democratic process in order to claim power it can’t win at the polls, now in California as well as in Florida in 2000 and in the attempt to unseat Bill Clinton. Howard Dean’s positions can be found on his campaign Web site, www.DeanforAmerica.com. 

Charlene Woodcock 

 

• 

MISQUOTE 

Editors, Daily Planet: 

In “Budget Impasse Threatens City” (Daily Planet July 4) the article attributes to me a statement which says that I “warned that the school (Vista Community College) may have to close its doors in September or October.” I neither said nor implied that this would happen. Visa Community College and all other Peralta colleges (College of Alameda, Laney and Merritt) will remain open, even in the face of the state budget crisis. 

I want to assure our students and our community that Vista is here to stay. Peralta trustees are committed to keeping all Peralta colleges—College of Alameda, Laney, Merritt and Vista Community College—open and running. They are doing everything possible to ensure that all Peralta colleges are able to meet students’ needs. 

Shirley Fogarino 

Public Information Officer, 

Vista Community College 

 

• 

NEED FOR DETOX 

Editors, Daily Planet: 

Our community recently lost an addict in recovery to a violent death—in layman’s terms, a man who was working to turn his life around was murdered on the streets of Oakland. 

Terry Wafer made the courageous decision to change himself when he came to Options, an alcohol and drug recovery center here in Berkeley. Mr Wafer made great progress in his recovery, but hit a bump in the road to his sobriety that many in recovery experience. He relapsed. Unfortunately, there is no detoxification center in Alameda County that Options could send him to. Our staff grieves Terry’s passing—we grieve for all those who were “caught up” in the events leading to Mr. Wafer’s demise. The consensus among our staff is that Terry Wafer is a good man who made a mistake. He needed more help. He needed a detox center. 

Alameda County responds to our budget crisis with disproportionate cutbacks to medical and social programs that serve East Bay residents who are working to develop life skills to internalize their locus of control. You don’t have to be an actuary to understand that our decisions to roll back the Alameda County social safety net will multiply the actual costs to our community. 

Neal Rockett 

Oakland 

 

• 

MISTAKES MADE 

Editors, Daily Planet: 

Mistakes must have been made, I feel, regarding the infamous boosting out of the good doctor Donald Sebanc from Sather Gate Mall (Daily Planet, July 29). 

That area needs modest but firm anchors of long standing. If the doctor is being vindictively punished by some hidden bureaucrat or is just the victim of the usual Berkeley snarling red tape and often anti-business scowling and frowning, we may never know. 

It sounds as though the city of Berkeley, which I love deeply, owes an apology to the doctor, at the very least...emphasis on “very.” 

Terry Cochrell 

 

 

• 

HIT AND RUN 

Editors, Daily Planet: 

If a hit and run driver is caught, the person that sold them their car should be held responsible. 

Bicycles are “legal” vehicles and have the same rights and responsibilities on the road. 

All bicycles should have identification numbers, if not licenses, warning devices, lights visible as required. Pedestrians and bicyclists should be required to wear light colored clothing at night.  

Charles Smith


City Manager Asks District To Halt Franklin School Plan

By RICHARD BRENNEMAN
Friday August 01, 2003

Is the Berkeley School District trying to pull a fast one on City Hall? 

City Manager Weldon Rucker thinks so, and he’s fired a warning shot across the district’s bow in a letter to the Berkeley Unified School District’s Office of Facilities Planning. 

Rucker’s July 29 letter asks the school district to hold off on their plan to move the Berkeley Adult Unified Adult School from its present location at 1222 University Ave. to the now-empty Franklin Elementary School at 1150 Virginia Ave.  

The reason? Rucker says the move is part of a broader plan that includes relocating school district’s headquarters from the old city hall building to the University Avenue site, construction of a new transportation facility at a district-owned site at 1325 Sixth St., and moves of other district functions. He cites two school district studies that seem to say just that. 

Since the Adult School move is just one part of a broader plan, Rucker said the district should abandon their Proposed Mitigated Negative Declaration (MND) on the Adult School move and submit their overall plan in its entirety, rather than piecemeal. 

The California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) “requires that an agency that proposed to undertake a project disclose and analyze the full impact of the project,” Rucker wrote to Gary Moriarty, senior project manager for 3D/International, the consulting firm retained by the school district’s Office of Facilities Planning to prepare the declaration. 

“I urge the District to withdraw the proposed MND and circulate a revised environmental documents that discloses and analyzes the full scope of the project,” Rucker concluded. 

BUSD Facilities Planning Manager Lew Jones disagreed. “The evidence is clear” that the adult school move to Franklin School is a stand-alone project, he said. “We don’t have definitions yet of each of the other projects, and each of them has to be studied.” 

Jones said the city manager’s comments will be considered along with the statements of neighbors and others who have commented on the proposal.  

The school board has two sepate actions to consider. First is to rule on the MND, and then, if the document is accepted, to move forward on the adult school relocation. 

If the city decides to challenge the board, they would have to do so in the courts, Jones said. 

The fates of the Franklin School and University Avenue sites have stirred considerable controversy among neighbors, who have been circulating petitions urging the district to hold off until the district can draft a detailed environmental impact statement on the net effect of the district’s proposed moves. 

The BUSD’s March 2003 Facilities Construction Plan outlines a series of projects, including those outlined in Rucker’s letter. 

Because the city and district are separate, autonomous agencies, there is some question as to just how much the city can do to delay the adult school move. 

Rucker wants a detailed environmental impact statement that pulls together the implications of the whole series of moves suggested in the school district’s construction plan.


Voting and Democracy: The Challenge Ahead

By DON HAZEN AlterNet
Friday August 01, 2003

The trustworthiness of our nation’s voting system is the essential link to hopes for fairness, social justice and the future of our country. If Americans are excluded from voting or feel their votes don’t or won’t be counted, their investment in their communities and society is dramatically eroded. With corruption in our elections, the country can be dominated by an unrepresentative minority and our aspirations for a healthy democracy thwarted. 

After the 2000 election debacle in Florida and other states, the very nature and competence of our voting system was called into question. All measure of voting security irregularities were documented, including suspicion of fraud, voter roll purges, language barriers, obstacles to disabled voters and insufficient or undertrained staff. 

To address these formidable problems, the Help America Vote Act (HAVA) was passed by Congress after much struggle. But the passage of the Act was just the beginning. Its implementation, which falls on the states, is being contested across the country. To help protect the future of voting, especially for those who have historically been shut out, engagement with and monitoring of the implementation of HAVA is essential to ensure the success of a new system. Voting fairness is a crucial issue for all of us working for change. 

The advent of electronic voting has also introduced a host of new problems that have recently been dramatically exposed. The companies developing and installing these machines are owned, to a large extent, by Republicans and conservatives. There are not enough checks and balances on these companies, which continue to insist that the code in their machines is proprietary. The situation increasingly suggests the privatizing of our election process and the removal of the transparencies and non-partisan involvement of public servants that has provided the public with some confidence that the system is fair. 

The problems with touchscreen voting machines and the lack of a voter-verifiable paper trail is currently a hot topic. Traveling the Internet like wildfire, the story has recently broken through to the New York Times, NPR and CNN. Fear of computerized voter roll purging and the manipulation of election results has caused tremendous anxiety among election reformers as well as computer professionals. Perhaps just as alarming, some paranoid writers have suggested that the next election is all but lost due to the new technology. 

The problem with this worst-case thinking is that it creates the potential for self-fulfilling prophesies, due to its negative impact on would-be voters, especially young people and those already alienated. Fearing conspiracy, more and more voters succumb to cynicism, give up on the system and stay home on Election Day. And who benefits from a shrunken electorate? Conservatives and the current administration. Since right-wing views represent a distinct majority the more people who don’t vote (more than 100 million in the U.S.) the more likely that Bush & Co. will prevail and the conservatives will stay in power. 

So we have a challenge ahead of us. We must push hard on the reform opportunities. It is important to have new machines in place by 2004 to restore confidence and not discourage more people from voting. We must ensure that other potential reforms included in HAVA will be implemented, resulting in more competent staffing at the polls, making it harder to purge voters and easier for everyone, including the disabled, to vote. At the same time we must insist that voting machine manufacturers sell systems that support voter-verified individual ballots and an accurate ballot audit trail—while being cognizant that some of this technology may not be ready and that paper, in the past, has been the source of significant instances of fraud and abuse as well as being problematic for the blind. 

Don Hazen is executive editor of AlterNet.


Good Shepherd Church, Berkeley’s Oldest, Turns 125

By MEGAN GREENWELL
Friday August 01, 2003

In 1877 a women’s sewing society began collecting funds to build an Episcopal church in West Berkeley. Today, the Episcopal Church of the Good Shepherd remains in its original building at 1823 Ninth St. It is the oldest continually occupied church in Berkeley. 

On Aug. 10, Good Shepherd will celebrate its 125th anniversary, which coincides with the founding of the city of Berkeley. In recognition of the special day, the congregation will hold a special worship ceremony and a community party, and the mayor plans to declare Aug. 11 “Good Shepherd Day.” 

But the real celebration, congregants say, is the recent completion of phase one of a renovation process to upgrade the structure of the classic carpenter gothic building and make it more attractive to passersby and members alike. 

The bulk of the funds raised for the renovation project—a capital campaign brought in $70,000—went toward replacing leaky gutters, enhancing the building’s structural foundation, and making other small repairs to ensure the safety and solidity of the historic church building. But on the occasion of its anniversary, Good Shepherd also received an aesthetic makeover, taking on a new coat of brightly colored paint. 

“Cars and bikers and pedestrians have been stopping to look since we got the building painted,” said Jane Redmont, the communications director for the church’s anniversary and remodel. “Those bright colors do make a difference.” 

Redmont added that the attendance at Sunday morning worship services since the building was painted has consistently been three or four people more than the church’s average—a major gain considering the congregation is comprised of about 50 people. 

But attracting new people to participate in church activities is not a new goal for Good Shepherd, whose motto is “Welcoming, thoughtful, progressive.” 

An item from the Berkeley Advocate newspaper in October 1877 noted that “an Episcopal interest is springing up and attracting many of various shades of belief,” a quote that rings true for many involved in the congregation, who emphasize their welcoming attitude to people invested in, questioning, or doubting their faith. 

“The members range widely in their relationship to certain doctrinal statements,” Redmont said. “More than many other churches there is room at Good Shepherd for questioning and seeking.” 

With this encouragement of participation from people of all faith backgrounds comes an emphasis on maintaining a diverse congregation. Though the members are predominantly white, the group has a wide age range, as well as variances in gender, sexual orientation, and social class. Congregants include artists, students, business administrators, a yoga teacher, restaurant staff, and unemployed people. 

“On a Sunday morning we typically have at least two Ph.Ds and one homeless person in the church,” Redmont said. 

Church member Barry Hathaway said that the diversity at Good Shepherd make it a welcoming place to be. 

“It’s a great group of fascinating people,” he said. “The variety gives it spirit.” 

Good Shepherd is a unique church not only because of its diverse congregation. Unlike most Episcopal mission churches, the congregation’s vicar, Kathleen Van Sickle, is not a priest, but rather a deacon who works 65 percent time as the primary administrator and pastor of the church. Van Sickle has been at Good Shepherd since 1987, and says she enjoys the opportunity to be an integral part of the community. 

“We love our little congregation,” she said. “But we’re not here for ourselves. We’re trying to show with our lives and our worship and everything we do that the Gospel is there for all.” 

The senior warden of the church, Laura Peterson, recognizes Good Shepherd’s role as a part of the West Berkeley neighborhood where it sits. Peterson, who lives just two blocks away on Seventh Street, said the church has an opportunity to help not only its members but also the community. 

“It’s important to be able to get the neighbors together as community center,” she said. “It’s nice to be a place that people look to to come together.” 

To that end, Good Shepherd puts on a monthly meal for the homeless population and hosts occasional events that are specifically pegged as community-oriented. During the war in Iraq, the church held weekly prayers for peace that were Christian-oriented but welcoming to people of all faith backgrounds. 

“We’re all about getting as many people as possible involved in everything we do,” Peterson said. “We see our mission as not just about our members but for everybody in the world around us.” 

 

Good Shepherd will host a special Anniversary Liturgy on Sunday, Aug. 10 at 10:00 a.m. A barbeque party will take place at the church following the service at 11:30 a.m. 


Vancouver to Cuba: Council on Vacation

By DAVID SCHARFENBERG
Friday August 01, 2003

It’s Tuesday night. Do you know where your City Council is? 

Summer is here, and Berkeley’s top politicians are taking their annual warm weather break—leaving City Council chambers empty until a new season of Tuesday night meetings begins Sept.. 9. 

Councilmembers Gordon Wozniak and Linda Maio are already thousands of miles from the headaches of local government. Wozniak is taking a bike trip on Prince Edward Island in Canada and visiting a daughter in Maine, while Maio is in the midst of a lengthy vacation with stops in Cuba, New York City and Italy, according to aides. 

But others are staying closer to home. 

“I lead a boring life, what can I say?,” said Councilmember Kriss Worthington. 

Operating on a councilmember’s modest annual salary of $25,000, Worthington said he just doesn’t have enough money to afford a big trip. 

“The stereotype is, as an elected official, you get rich from all the bribes,” he said. “[But] if you don’t take those bribes—I’m actually much poorer as an elected official than I was decades before that.” 

Worthington said he will while away the summer hours organizing a local 40th anniversary celebration of the civil rights movement’s March on Washington, featuring Martin Luther King Jr.’s famous “I Have A Dream” speech, and pursue the more mundane task of cleaning his apartment. 

“Compared to all the political battles, cleaning your apartment is actually a nice, boring thing,” he said. 

Councilmembers said coping with a $9 million budget shortfall this year—closed with a selective hiring freeze, tax hikes and cuts—made for tough times at City Hall. 

But the city’s top politicians, and their aides, said a new truce between the moderate and progressive factions on the council, facilitated in large part by Mayor Tom Bates, made for a much more civil debate this year than in the past. 

“The sense of people working together up here is just wonderful,” said Maio aide Brad Smith. 

But with an $8 to $10 million deficit looming next year, no one is looking forward to the fall. 

“I’m afraid we’re going to have to take a look at more cuts next year,” said Councilmember Miriam Hawley. 

In the meantime, Hawley is working her way through Tony Hillerman’s latest mystery, “The Sinister Pig,” and planning for a two week trip to Vancouver with a stop in Seattle. 

Hawley said she plans to visit the recently-opened Peet’s Coffee in Seattle—patronizing a chain, with Berkeley roots, that has just made a small dent in the heart of the Starbuck’s empire. 

Mayor Tom Bates was in Sacramento this week, waiting for his wife, State Assemblywoman Loni Hancock, to escape the legislature’s budget quagmire. 

“Free Loni!,” he cried Tuesday afternoon in a telephone interview with the Daily Planet, just hours before the Assembly, in a marathon session, passed a long overdue, $100 billion budget. 

Bates said the lengthy budget fight had already scotched plans to visit Hancock’s father, a Unitarian minister who lives in the Transylvania section of Romania—the birthplace of the Unitarian movement. 

But the mayor said he planned a week’s vacation with his wife at Lake Tahoe to rest up for this fall’s political season. 

Councilmember Betty Olds said she has no travel plans and will, instead, focus on tidying up her garden and enjoying the pleasures of summer in the city. 

“It’s certainly a restful time in Berkeley,” said Olds. “It’s foolish for people to leave Berkeley in the summertime when life is so quiet and serene, when the university really isn’t operating. 

“The students aren’t here,” she said. “You can find a parking place.”


Police Arrest Suspect in Easiley Murder

Friday August 01, 2003

Berkeley police arrested a man in Concord Wednesday whom they suspect was responsible for the shooting death of 19-year-old Ronald Easiley Jr. 

Easiley was killed on the morning of Jan. 14 in the area of California and Harmon streets. He was Berkeley’s first homicide of 2003. 

Berkeley police arrested Christopher Farley Patrick, 21, at an apartment complex at 2751 Monument Blvd. in Concord at about 6:10 a.m. Wednesday. Patrick was sleeping and was taken into custody without incident, according to the Berkeley Police Department press release. Patrick was booked into the City of Berkeley Jail. 

Berkeley police had the apartment building under surveillance after receiving information that Patrick may have been staying in the apartment complex in Concord. 

Police spotted Patrick as he entered an apartment. They assembled their Barricaded Subject Hostage Negotiation Team, obtained a search warrant and, with the support of the Concord Police Department's SWAT team, arrested Patrick, according the department release. 

“We were confident that Patrick was locked down in that apartment,” said Lt. Allen Yuen of Berkeley’s Special Enforcement Unit in a statement. “We did not want him to slip away again.” 

Yuen said, “He had no idea we were there until we were inside the apartment.” 

 

— Daily Planet Staff


The Theft of Your Vote is Merely a Microchip Away

By THOM HARTMANN AlterNet
Friday August 01, 2003

Are computerized voting machines a wide-open back door to massive voting fraud? The discussion has moved from the Internet to CNN, to UK newspapers, and the pages of The New York Times. People are cautiously beginning to connect the dots, and the picture that seems to be emerging is troubling. 

“A defective computer chip in the county’s optical scanner misread ballots Tuesday night and incorrectly tallied a landslide victory for Republicans,” announced the Associated Press in a story on Nov. 7, just a few days after the 2002 election. The story added, “Democrats actually won by wide margins.” 

Republicans would have carried the day had not poll workers become suspicious when the computerized vote-reading machines said the Republican candidate was trouncing his incumbent Democratic opponent in the race for County Commissioner. The poll workers were close enough to the electorate—they were part of the electorate—to know their county overwhelmingly favored the Democratic incumbent. 

A quick hand recount of the optical-scan ballots showed that the Democrat had indeed won, even though the computerized ballot-scanning machine kept giving the race to the Republican. The poll workers brought the discrepancy to the attention of the county clerk, who notified the voting machine company. 

“A new computer chip was flown to Snyder [Texas] from Dallas,” County Clerk Lindsey told the Associated Press. With the new chip installed, the computer then verified that the Democrat had won the election. In another Texas anomaly, Republican state Senator Jeff Wentworth won his race with exactly 18,181 votes, Republican Carter Casteel won her state House seat with exactly 18,181 votes, and conservative Judge Danny Scheel won his seat with exactly 18,181 votes—all in Comal County. Apparently, however, no poll workers in Comal County thought to ask for a new chip. 

 

Startling Results 

The Texas incidents happened with computerized machines reading and then tabulating paper or punch-card ballots. In Georgia and Florida, where paper had been totally replaced by touch-screen machines in many to most precincts during 2001 and 2002, the 2002 election produced some of the nation's most startling results. 

USA Today reported on Nov. 3, 2002, “In Georgia, an Atlanta Journal-Constitution poll shows Democratic Sen. Max Cleland with a 49 percent-to-44percent lead over Republican Rep. Saxby Chambliss.” Cox News Service, based in Atlanta, reported just after the election (Nov. 7) that, “Pollsters may have goofed” because “Republican Rep. Saxby Chambliss defeated incumbent Democratic Sen. Max Cleland by a margin of 53 to 46 percent. The Hotline, a political news service, recalled a series of polls Wednesday showing that Chambliss had been ahead in none of them.” 

Just as amazing was the Georgia governor’s race. “Similarly,” the Zogby polling organization reported on Nov. 7, “no polls predicted the upset victory in Georgia of Republican Sonny Perdue over incumbent Democratic Gov. Roy Barnes. Perdue won by a margin of 52 to 45 percent. The most recent Mason Dixon Poll had shown Barnes ahead 48 to 39 percent last month with a margin of error of plus or minus 4 points.” 

Almost all of the votes in Georgia were recorded on the new touchscreen computerized voting machines, which produced no paper trail whatsoever. And nobody thought to ask for a new chip, although it was noted on Nov. 8 by the Atlanta Constitution-Journal that in downtown Atlanta’s predominantly Democratic Fulton County “election officials said Thursday that memory cards from 67 electronic voting machines had been misplaced, so ballots cast on those machines were left out of previously announced vote totals.” Officials added that all but 11 of the memory cards were subsequently found and recorded. 

Similarly, as the San Jose Mercury News reported in a Jan. 23, 2003 editorial titled “Gee Whiz, Voter Fraud?” “In one Florida precinct last November, votes that were intended for the Democratic candidate for governor ended up for Gov. Jeb Bush, because of a misaligned touchscreen. How many votes were miscast before the mistake was found will never be known, because there was no paper audit.” (“Misaligned” touchscreens also caused 18 known machines in Dallas to register Republican votes when Democratic screen-buttons were pushed: it's unknown how many others weren't noticed.) 

Apparently, nobody thought to ask for new chips in Florida, either. 

In Minnesota, the Star Tribune reported just a few days before the election (Oct. 30, 2002) that, “Dramatic political developments since Sen. Paul Wellstone's death Friday have had little effect on voters’ leanings in the U.S. Senate race, according to a Star Tribune Minnesota Poll taken Monday night. Wellstone’s likely replacement on the ballot, former Vice President Walter Mondale, leads Republican Norm Coleman by 47 to 39 percent—close to where the race stood two weeks ago when Wellstone led Coleman 47 to 41 percent.” 

When the computerized machines were done counting the vote a few days later, however, Coleman had beat Mondale by 50 to 47 percent. If Mondale had asked for new chips, would it have made a difference? We’ll never know. 

One state where Republicans did ask for a new chip was Alabama. Fox News reported on Nov. 8, 2002 that initial returns from across the state showed that Democratic incumbent Gov. Don Siegelman had won the governor’s race. But, overnight, “Baldwin County took center stage when election officials released results Tuesday night showing Siegelman with 19,070 votes—enough for a narrow victory statewide. Later, they recounted and reduced Siegelman's tally to 12,736 votes—enough to give Riley the victory.” 

What produced the sudden loss of about 6,000 votes? According to the Fox report: “Probate Judge Adrian Johns, a member of the county canvassing board, blamed the initial, higher number on ‘a programming glitch in the software’ that tallies the votes.” All parties were not satisfied with that explanation, however. Fox added: “The governor claimed results were changed after poll watchers left.” 

It turns out the “glitch in the software” in Alabama was discovered by the Republican National Committee's regional director Kelley McCullough, who, according to a story in the conservative Daily Standard, “logged onto the county's municipal Web site and confirmed that [incumbent Democratic Governor] Siegelman had actually only received 12,736 votes—not the 19,070 the Associated Press projected for him. A computer glitch had caused the error. The erroneous tally would have put Siegelman on top by 3,582 votes, but the corrected one gave Riley a 2,752-vote edge.” 

As the Murdoch-owned Daily Standard noted, “If it hadn’t been for one woman, the Republican National Committee's regional director Kelley McCullough, things might have gone terribly wrong for [Republican Gubernatorial candidate] Riley.” 

Similarly, in Davison County, South Dakota, the Democratic election auditor noticed the machines double counting votes (it's not noted for which side) and had a “new chip” brought in. 

 

Hacking Democracy? 

This is just the tip of the iceberg of ‘00 and ‘02 election irregularities, as reported by www.votewatch.us. Either the system by which democracy exists broke that November evening, or was hacked, or American voters became suddenly more fickle than at any time since Truman beat Dewey. 

Maybe it’s true that the citizens of Georgia simply decided that incumbent Democratic Senator Max Cleland, a wildly popular war veteran, was, as Republican TV ads suggested, too unpatriotic to remain in the Senate, even though his Republican challenger, Saxby Chambliss, had sat out the Vietnam war with a medical deferment. 

Maybe, in the final two days of the race, those voters who had pledged themselves to Georgia’s popular incumbent Governor Roy Barnes suddenly and inexplicably decided to switch to Republican challenger Sonny Perdue. 

Maybe George W. and Jeb Bush, Alabama’s new Republican governor Bob Riley, and a small but congressionally decisive handful of other long-shot Republican candidates around the country really did win those states where conventional wisdom and straw polls showed them losing in the last few election cycles, but computer controlled voting or ballot-reading machines showed them winning. 

Perhaps, after a half-century of fine-tuning exit polling to such a science that it’s now used to verify if elections are clean in Third World countries, it really did suddenly become inaccurate in the United States in the past few years and just won’t work here anymore. Perhaps it’s just a coincidence that the sudden rise of inaccurate exit polls happened around the same time corporate-programmed, computer-controlled, modem-capable voting machines began recording and tabulating ballots. 

But if any of this is true, there's not much of a paper trail from the voters' hand to prove it. 

You’d think in an open democracy that the government—answerable to all its citizens rather than a handful of corporate officers and stockholders—would program, repair and control the voting machines. You’d think the computers that handle our cherished ballots would be open and their software and programming available for public scrutiny. You’d think there would be a paper trail of the actual hand-cast vote, which could be followed and audited if there was evidence of voting fraud or if exit polls disagreed with computerized vote counts. 

You'd be wrong. 

 

Upsets In Nebraska 

It’s entirely possible that Nebraska Republican Chuck Hagel—who left his job as head of an electronic voting machine company to run as a long-shot candidate for the U.S. Senate—honestly won all of his elections. 

Back when Hagel first ran for the U.S. Senate in 1996, his own company’s computer-controlled voting machines showed he’d won stunning and unexpected victories in both the primaries and the general election. The Washington Post (1/13/1997) said Hagel’s “Senate victory against an incumbent Democratic governor was the major Republican upset in the November election.” According to Bev Harris, author of “Black Box Voting,” Hagel won virtually every demographic group, including many largely black communities that had never before voted Republican. Hagel was the first Republican in 24 years to win a Senate seat in Nebraska. 

Six years later Hagel ran again, this time against Democrat Charlie Matulka in 2002, and won in a landslide. As his Website says, Hagel “was re-elected to his second term in the United States Senate on November 5, 2002 with 83% of the vote. That represents the biggest political victory in the history of Nebraska.” What the site fails to disclose is that about 80 percent of those votes were counted by computer-controlled voting machines put in place by the company affiliated with Hagel: built by that company; programmed by that company; chips supplied by that company. 

“This is a big story, bigger than Watergate ever was,” said Hagel’s Democratic opponent in the 2002 Senate race, Charlie Matulka (www.lancastercountydemocrats.org/matulka.htm). “They say Hagel shocked the world, but he didn't shock me.” 

Is Matulka the sore loser the Hagel campaign paints him as, or is he democracy’s proverbial canary in the mineshaft? Between them, Hagel and Chambliss’ victories sealed Republican control of the Senate. Odds are both won fair and square, the American way, using huge piles of corporate money to carpet-bomb voters with television advertising. But either the appearance or the possibility of impropriety in an election casts a shadow over American democracy. 

“The right of voting for representatives is the primary right by which all other rights are protected,” wrote Thomas Paine over 200 years ago. “To take away this right is to reduce a man to slavery.” 

That slavery, according to Hagel's last opponent Charlie Matulka, is at our doorstep. “They can take over our country without firing a shot,” Matulka said, “just by taking over our election systems.” 

Revolution by control of computer chips? Is that really possible in the USA? 

 

Who's Counting the Votes? 

“Imagine it's Election Day 2004,” says U.S. Congressman Rush Holt, also a scientist with a Ph.D. in physics who knows more than a little bit about both politics and computers. “You enter your local polling place and go to cast your vote on a brand-new touchscreen voting machine. The screen says your vote has been counted. As you exit the voting booth, however, you begin to wonder. How do I know if the machine actually recorded my vote?” 

It's a question that probably hasn't occurred to many Americans, even those who used the touchscreen machines particularly notable in states where there were “upsets” and “glitches” in the 2002 election. But it occurred to Congressman Holt, and after looking at the law, the voting machines and the companies that produce them, he concluded that, “The fact is, you don't [know if the machine actually recorded your vote].” 

Bev Harris has studied the situation in depth and thinks both Congressman Holt and candidate Matulka may be on to something. The company with ties to Hagel even threatened her with legal action when she went public about the company having built the machines that counted Hagel's landslide votes. 

In the meantime, exit-polling organizations have quietly gone out of business, and the news arms of the huge multinational corporations that own our networks are suggesting the days of exit polls are over. Virtually none were reported in 2002, creating an odd and unsettling silence that caused unease for the many voters who had come to view exit polls as proof of the integrity of their election systems. 

As all this comes to light, many citizens and even a few politicians are wondering if it's a good idea for corporations to be so involved in the guts of our voting systems. The whole idea of a democratic republic was to create a common institution (the government itself) owned by its citizens, answerable to its citizens and authorized to exist and continue existing solely “by the consent of the governed.” 

However, the recent political trend has moved us in the opposite direction, with governments turning administration of our commons over to corporations answerable only to profits. The result is the enrichment of corporations and the appearance that democracy in America has started to resemble its parody in banana republics. 

Further frustrating those concerned with the sanctity of our vote, the corporations selling and licensing voting machines and voting software often claim Fourth Amendment rights of privacy and the right to hide their “trade secrets”—how their voting software works and what controls are built into it—from both the public and the government itself. 

 

Secret Software 

“If you want to make Coca-Cola and have trade secrets, that's fine,” says Harvard’s Rebecca Mercuri, Ph.D., one of the nation’s leading experts on voting machines. “But don't try to claim trade secrets when you're handling our votes.” 

The window into who owns whom among the various companies—most of which are not publicly traded—is equally opaque. One voting machine company was partially funded at startup by wealthy Republican philanthropists who belong to an organization that believes the Bible instead of the Constitution should govern America. Another is partly owned by a defense contractor. Even the reincarnation of a company that helped Enron cook their books has gotten into the act. 

“There are several issues here,” says reporter Lynn Landes, who has written extensively about voting machines. “First, there's the issue that the Voting Rights Act requires that poll watchers be able to observe the vote. But with computerized voting machines, your vote vanishes into a computer and can't be observed.” 

To solve this, many are calling for a return to paper ballots that are hand-counted. It may be slower, but temp-help precinct workers may even cost less than electronic voting machines (which are a multi-billion-dollar boon for corporate suppliers), and will ensure that real humans are tabulating the vote. 

“Second,” says Landes, “there’s the issue of who controls the information. Of all the functions of government that should not be privatized, handling our votes is at the top of the list. This is the core of democracy, and must be open, transparent, and available to both the public and our politicians of all parties for full and open inspection.” 

Although Rush Holt is suggesting there be stringent standards, he hasn’t gone so far as to say corporations shouldn’t process our votes. But why not? Most government functions—from our courts to our fire departments—run fairly smoothly, despite carping from the extreme right wing. Increasingly, people across America are demanding that—like in other democracies around the world—our system of voting should be publicly owned. 

Another point Dr. Rebecca Mercuri raises is that the Help America Vote Act (HAVA)—passed after the 2000 election—calls for the President to appoint, as the Act states, “with the advice of the Senate,” members to “an independent entity, the Election Assistance Commission.” The commission is then to create “the Election Assistance Commission Standards Board, the Election Assistance Commission Board of Advisors...and the Technical Guidelines Development Committee” to establish standards and oversee compliance of the law by voting machine companies. 

“But the commission has not yet been established,” says Mercuri, even though billions in federal dollars have been distributed under HAVA for states to buy electronic voting machines and license their software from private corporations. “As a result,” Mercuri says, “there are currently no meaningful federal standards for voting machines. Many of the machines used in 2002 were built to industry guidelines that many question and were established in 1990.” 

And those standards are problematic. In the course of researching “Black Box Voting,” Harris did a Google search on one of the voting machine companies, Diebold Election Systems, and found it maintained an open FTP site on the Internet apparently through the 2002 election. In it, she located computer code used to tabulate elections and, apparently, actual vote count files that could be downloaded or even replaced by any visiting hacker. 

A Web site for the New Zealand news publication The Scoop has published Diebold's files on the Internet, producing lively discussions among computer enthusiasts and scientists who have apparently (and perhaps unlawfully) cracked the company's various codes. 

The Scoop also performed a statistical analysis comparing American polls and computer-controlled voting machine results. In many states there were no variations. In a few, however, they found that “the Republican Party experienced a pronounced last minute swing in its favour of between 4 and 16 points. Remarkably this last minute swing appears to have been concentrated in its effects in critical Senate races (Georgia and Minnesota) where [the Republican Party] secured its complete control of Congress.” 

 

Purging Voter Rolls 

While corporate bungles or the potential for outright vote fraud are a concern of many opposed to electronic voting machines, another issue of concern is the concentration of voter rolls in the hands of partisan politicians instead of civil servants. 

In most states, local precincts or counties maintain their own voter rolls. Florida, however, had gone to the trouble before the 2000 election to consolidate all its voter rolls at the state level, and put them into the custody and control of the state's elected Secretary of State, Katherine Harris, who was also the chairman of the Florida campaign to elect George W. Bush. 

As described in disturbing detail in the documentary “Unprecedented” and in Greg Palast's book “The Best Democracy Money Can Buy,” Harris spent millions to hire a Texas company to clean up the Florida list by purging it of all convicted felons—using a list of felons who lived in the State of Texas. 

One of the legacies of slavery is that a large number of African Americans share the same or similar names, and sure enough, when the Texas felon list was compared with the Florida voter list over 94,000 matches or near-matches were found. Those registered Florida voters—about half of them African Americans (who generally vote Democratic)—with names identical or even similar to Texas felons were deleted from the Florida voter rolls, and turned away from the polls when they tried to vote in 2000 and in 2002. 

Now, under HAVA, states across the nation are consolidating their voter lists and handing them over to Harris’s various peers to be cleaned and maintained. 

Another concern is Internet voting, since it’s impossible to ensure its accuracy. Imagine if all the time a voting machine was being used, it also had its back door open and an unlimited number of technicians and hackers could manipulate its innards before, during and after the vote. 

Activists suggest this is one of the reasons it’s dangerous that so many electronic voting machines today are connected to company-access modems, but it’s an even stronger argument against the very core of democracy—the vote—being handled out in the public of cyberspace. 

Nonetheless, the Pentagon is moving ahead with plans to have a private corporation conduct Internet voting for overseas GIs in 2004, and many fear it’ll be used as a beta test for more widespread Internet voting across the nation. While many Americans think the ability to vote from home or office over the computer would be wonderfully convenient, the results could be disastrous: Even the CIA hasn’t been able to prevent hackers from penetrating parts of its computer systems attached to the Internet. 

 

 

Votes Are Sacred 

On most levels, privatization is only a “small sin” against democracy. Turning a nation’s or community’s water, septic, roadway, prisons, airwaves or health care commons over to private corporations has so far demonstrably degraded the quality of life for average citizens and enriched a few of the most powerful campaign contributors, but it hasn't been the end of democracy. 

Many citizens believe, however, that turning the programming and maintenance of voting over to corporations that can share their profits openly with politicians (or, like Hagel, become the politicians), puts democracy itself at peril. 

A growing number of Americans are saying our votes are too sacred to reside only on “chips,” and that it’s critical that we kick corporations out of the commons of our voting, and that we make sure we have a human-verifiable vote paper trail that goes all the way back to the original hand of the original voter. 

If there are chips involved in the voting process, these democracy advocates say, government civil service employees who are subject to adversarial oversight by both parties must program them in an open-source fashion, and in a way that produces a voter-verified paper trail. 

Anything less, and our democracy may vanish as quickly as a network of modem-connected election-counting computers can reboot. 

 

Thom Hartmann is a nationally syndicated daily talk show host and the author of “Unequal Protection” and “The Last Hours of Ancient Sunlight,” among other books. 


Where Hollywood Stars Live Compound Lives

From Susan Parker
Friday August 01, 2003

The headline in today’s East Hampton Star screams out at me. Renee Zellweger’s $2.15 million house in East Hampton may be haunted! But further down in the article it says that Renee isn’t worried. She never stays there anyway. 

It’s day 25 of my stay at the William Flanagan Memorial Creative Person’s Center in Montauk, New York and now I have ghosts to worry about too. It’s bad enough that there is constant sand between my toes and a whirl of mosquitoes buzzing around my head, but Renee’s house being haunted? It’s just too much. I decide to get out of my “creative persons” paranoid rut by taking a site-seeing tour.  

I’m the only person on the county bus. The driver is so happy to see me that he gives me a running commentary as we barrel eastward on Highway 27 toward the old Montauk Point Lighthouse.  

“Alec Baldwin has a compound here,” he tells me. “See the house on the hill? That’s Dick Cavett’s. And the big house next to it? That’s his too. Robert De Niro lives over there and Bianca Jagger lives down that road. Roy Scheider’s place is on the other side of the highway. You know who he is don’t you? Jaws.” 

Ah, yes Jaws. Another thing to worry about. I guess I won’t be going into the ocean this week. It’s too rough anyway.  

The bus driver drops me off at the lighthouse and gives me 10 minutes to walk around. I approach the entrance but am stopped by a woman sitting in a kiosk. “Six dollars,” she says.  

“I’m only walking to the lighthouse and back,” I say. ”I have to get back on the bus in 8 minutes.”  

“Sorry,” she answers. “It’ll cost you six bucks.” 

I look at the lighthouse from the kiosk. I walk slowly to the bus and get on. “What do you think?” asks the bus driver. “Gives you a creepy feeling being all the way at the very end of Long Island, doesn’t it?”  

“Yes,” I agree.  

But the creepy feeling is not enough to keep me from going back to the lighthouse the next day. I have looked at a map and discovered that it is a five mile beach walk from the lighthouse to the village of Montauk. I talk to one of the artists at the center and he gives me some advice. “You can walk it,” he says. “But the tide has got to be just right and you’ll have to climb a lot of rocks. You’ll know you’re halfway when you reach the Andy Warhol Compound. Pack a lunch, take plenty of water and wear sturdy shoes.” 

I am intrigued. In the East Bay we don’t have “compounds.” We live in apartments, condos, cottages and houses. I imagine tall, weird buildings made out of bizarre materials and strange, wild people running around in costume on the beach. Maybe if I walk by slowly and smile they’ll invite me to their party. 

But when I finally make it to the Warhol beachfront property I am surprised, and pleasantly amused. It is not the avant garde warehousey place I have envisioned. Indeed, it is a stately white New England-looking farmhouse, with multiple wings, green shutters and a grandmotherly atmosphere. There is no one there to invite me to a party. 

I keep walking and thinking. Perhaps the William Flanagan Memorial Creative Person’s Center could be classified as a compound. There is more than one building on the property. There are people of no blood relationship living together here, five artists per month plus two caretakers. When I get back to Oakland, where I live with my disabled husband, his two unrelated attendants, a little dog, a big bird and a sometimes visiting child, I think I’ll start calling my little Victorian house on Dover Street a compound. I like the sound of it. 

 

Oakland resident Susan Parker spent the month of July in Montauk, New York as the guest of the Edward F. Albee Foundation. For information on this artist residency program visit www.pipeline.com/~jtnyc/albeefdtn.html.


Berkeley Veterinarian Retires, Gives Up Poodles for Paddles

By MEGAN GREENWELL
Friday August 01, 2003

For 34 years, Dr. Charlie Berger has been taking care of Berkeley pets—4,600 of them, to be precise. 

On Thursday, Berger tended to his last patient, ending an era for himself and the animal owners who love him. In the years since Berger first began the Campus Veterinary Clinic at 1807 Martin Luther King Jr. Way, he has seen the field of veterinary medicine undergo a transformation that redefined the way he provides medical care for animals. 

Nowadays, he says, pets that visit his clinic have available a level of treatment comparable to that of their animal owners. 

“It has been a field that was widely explored,” Berger said, looking around at the medical instruments and jars of pills and ointments that line the shelves of his examination room. “It’s a different practice now than it was 

when I began.” 

But for Berger—who has spent extensive time in the wilderness of Alaska and the Yukon—being a veterinarian is about the personal interactions with the animals to whom he tends. He says that working with animals was a natural career choice—“Put simply, I like and respect animals more than I do people”—though he never thought he would end up caring for domestic pets for the bulk of his career. 

“I was going to do it for two years,” he said. “I don’t know what happened.” 

Berger was born in a Brooklyn apartment house where his contact with animals was limited. Seeing pictures of wildlife in other places and hearing about them in books, he said, encouraged the “pictures in his mind” that led him to begin to study animal life and medicine. 

With a veterinary degree in hand and experience as a zoologist, Berger initially came to Berkeley in 1969 after he was drawn by the beautiful women he had seen on a visit to the area. He bought the clinic on what was then 

Grove Street and opened a practice, attracting area families who sought a family veterinarian for their beloved pets. 

He married one of the beautiful women, then found another when the first left him. Today, he is married to a third wife, a psychotherapist who helps in the clinic and coordinates his schedule. 

“People with pets in Berkeley love this man,” said his wife, Erin Donahue. “He’s been there for pets being born, pets dying. He’s been a part of their lives.” 

Over the years, Berger said the idea that has kept him going is the exploration of the interactions between humans and animals. 

“That very primitive relationship transcends everything—race, economics, intelligence, gender, education,” he said. “A relationship that progressed from man and hunter to more parent and child is such a social commentary.” 

Now Berger is hanging up his stethoscope in favor of time spent studying animals of a wilder variety. He and Donahue will move permanently to their vacation home in Vermont, but Berger will spend much of his time traveling to the wilderness areas he loves—Alaska, the Arctic, and the Yukon. He will coordinate commercial canoe trips and wildlife expeditions and focus on his photography and his writing. 

“Some people do yoga, and some go to church,” Berger said. “I poo-pah both of those. For me, an early morning canoe through the lily pads on the Spatsizi River [in British Columbia] is what gives me life. I’m lucky that I’m going to get to spend my time doing that.” 

Berger said that the idea of retiring occurred to him only recently in realizing that he is growing older. In recent months he has been to too many friends’ funerals and wants to enjoy his life while he can. 

“Two wives have left me, my [physician] died, and my accountant absconded,” he said. “It makes you think. There are still a lot of rivers I want to canoe while I’m able.” 

The animal owners that have depended on Berger’s services over the past 34 years say his retirement is well-deserved but that they will miss his services and gentle bedside manner. 

“I’ve been taking my pet to Dr. Berger since 1966,” said Kay Eisenhower. “He’s outlived two husbands. He’s absolutely wonderful—a genius with animals. It is so sad that we are losing him.” 

Berger himself often appears nonplussed by the sadness over his departure. 

“I feel like I’m in an open casket with all these women coming by and crying,” he said. “And I’m trying to tell them I’m not dead yet.”


That Old Brown Magic: Word Games

J. DOUGLAS ALLEN-TAYLOR
Friday August 01, 2003

Intellectuals usually make poor politicians because they are prone to muse publicly about the political process, revealing far too much about its true inner workings and, too often, their contempt for both the process and the general population.  

To survive and prosper, after all, the magician must not be tempted to explain the trick whilst he is in the midst of tricking us. That Jerry Brown—who, I am sure, would dearly want to be remembered as an intellectual—continues to survive as a politician is a tribute either to his considerable political skills or else to our failure to pay attention to what the little man behind the curtain is actually saying.  

In May, following a period in which he said very little in public up here in Oakland about the situation surrounding the state takeover of the Oakland public schools, the mayor traveled down to the Los Angeles Bar Association to tell the L.A. lawyers, in part, what he thought about the situation surrounding the state takeover of the Oakland public schools.  

“Now in Oakland,” Brown explained, in a revealing passage that has to be read twice over, at least, to appreciate how much it reveals, “we had a little problem. The Oakland Unified School District made some improvements and they did a pretty good job, but they spent $100 million they didn’t have… So now there’s a bill and the school district’s going to get $100 million. So when someone says: What do you think about this horrible thing? [the ‘horrible thing’ presumably being the state legislation to allow the state superintendent to take over the Oakland schools], I say, What do you mean? We spent $100 million we didn’t have and now we’re getting a fresh 100 million to start all over again and we get to throw the superintendent out and get a new one, called the state administrator. And we don’t have to have a school board. So I figured that’s a win-win for everybody. Except the school board…”  

And except for Oakland citizens, who must continue to pay for a public school system that no longer has to be accountable in any way to Oakland citizens. But let’s not be picky.  

The more interesting part of the mayor’s statement is his math on the $100 million. Presuming that the Oakland School Board actually spent $100 million that it didn’t have (former Superintendent Chaconas and present school board members have consistently disputed that figure), the $100 million reimbursement from the State of California comes in the form of a loan, not a gift. At some point in the near future it will have to be repaid, which means that at that future point, Oakland-generated money which might be going towards present services will instead be going to service past debt.  

This would seem to be “win-win” only for those who do not see themselves as blending their long-term futures with the future of Oakland, and do not plan to be here when the piper must be paid.  

Or are we being picky again?  

In any event, the mayor, in his springtime L.A. Bar Association address, went on, at some length, to explain some of the politicians’ tricks to the assembled lawyers, for those who might want to take up the craft themselves:  

“There’s a law we passed while I was running for reelection [for California governor],” the mayor explained, “that said every high school will establish strict graduation standards, and no student can graduate without meeting them. So I took out an ad… The ad said we solved the problem of standards and slack performance in schools, because now we have graduation standards...Well that was 1978 and of course, Deukmejian had an education program, Wilson had something, Gray Davis has these exit exams and now even George Bush has a ‘no-child-left-behind’ with the same kind of idea: standards examination. The point I want to make is that if you’ve got a problem, you can milk that thing a long time.”  

I would have thought that he was referring here only to other politicians, but the mayor keeps bringing the subject back to himself.  

“When my father was running for District Attorney of San Francisco in 1943,” Mr. Brown continued, warming to the subject, “he had a slogan [that] said: ‘Crack Down On Crime. Pick Brown This Time.’ I tell you I’ve been using that slogan. I find it still works. Everybody keeps making similar claims: ‘...if you elect me you’re going to crack down on crime’... Between reducing crime and improving education, you can keep that going a long time.”  

The trick for the astute politician, if I am understanding the mayor right, is not to actually solve any of these problems, but to keep up the nice slogans while spending the hundred millions that happen to come your way.  

But then, I’ve never been much of an intellectual, so this is probably going way over my head.  

“Mercy,” as my old editor, Jim French, used to say.


Berkeley Artists’ Exhibition Captures Visions on Paper

By PAUL KILDUFF Special to the Planet
Friday August 01, 2003

How does an artist confront the challenges of capturing reality on the most ephemeral of media? The Berkeley Art Center answers that question next week when it unveils a national juried exhibition, “Works on Paper.” 

Of 25 Bay Area artists represented in the works of contemporary drawing, painting, photography, printmaking, mixed media and digital images, seven are from Berkeley. 

While most of the artists are seasoned veterans of the art world, exhibiting is a new experience for Berkeley watercolorist Haseoo Pyun, who emigrated from South Korea in 1998 and has lived in Berkeley three years. Her first-ever submission to a show is the image of Lake Tahoe she calls “Serenity.” 

Pyun, whose favorite watercolor subjects include penguins and the Golden Gate Bridge, says she wants people to appreciate the beauty of her work. 

“I didn’t put any specific meaning in my art. I don’t want to define art. I don’t want to limit the meaning. People have their own perspective,” says Pyun who began painting watercolors about two years ago. She says the process helps her concentrate. “When I draw or paint I can totally focus on one subject. That’s the main reason I started.”  

Pyun, who first sketches her subjects on location then paints them later at her studio, said being picked for the show was “a great honor.” 

A more whimsical take on watercolors at the exhibit is provided by Berkeley artist Irene Dogmatic in her brightly colored “Harlequin Romance.” A play on words, just about everything in the painting is “harlequin something or another,” says Dogmatic. There are harlequin ducks, harlequin lilies, a harlequin Great Dane, and the two main figures in the painting are dressed in harlequin clown suits.  

“I’ve done a lot of work around the concept of romance, “ says Dogmatic. 

Another of her word play paintings, “Significant Otters,” depicts a pair of the critters kissing. She also paints large canvases often with a political theme and has a thriving side business doing realistic portraits of pet owners’ beloved dog and cats. She executes her colorful, highly patterned paintings in either watercolor on paper or acrylic on canvas. 

Dogmatic, who received her undergraduate degree in art from Cal in the early 70s, came up with her last name, an alias, during the correspondence art movement that flourished from the early 70s to the late 80s. Correspondence artists would write each other for ideas for their various projects and would always use a pen name. “It was sort of like the Internet, but it was through the mail,” says Dogmatic. 

When Esquire magazine published an article about the movement in the early 70s featuring Dogmatic and her paintings, the name stuck. She says the name also works well for her because she’s always used a lot of canine imagery. 

Another Berkeley exhibitor, photographer Pamela Cobb, specializes in landscape-based shots of rock formations. Cobb travels the deserts of the American Southwest in search of images to capture. 

A first glance at her three-by-four-foot black and white photograph “Capital Reef Canyon” reveals what seems to be an abstract creation, but it’s a real view shot from beneath a cavern’s rock overhang in Utah. A broad band of sky broken by the image of a mountain top in the distance divides the image’s upper third—the massive rock face overhead—from the lower third, the rubble on the cavern floor. 

“You can’t really tell what it is or where it is and that’s what appealed to me about the point of view,” says Cobb who describes her work as “looking for abstraction in the landscape and then photographing it as it is. I’ve removed the context just by my point of view. It’s real, it exists, but it’s also abstract and sort of inconclusive what you’re looking at.” 

A graduate of the California College of Arts and Crafts, her work has appeared throughout the Bay Area as well as in Maine, Chicago and Philadelphia. 

Over 650 artists from across the country submitted 2,500 slides of their work to be considered for the juried exhibition, now in it’s 20th year. Marian Parmenter, Director of the San Francisco Museum of Arts (SF MOMA) Artists’ Gallery at Fort Mason, whittled that number down to 49. Each artist has one piece in the show.  

“I do this all the time all over California and this was a particularly exciting show,” says Parmenter. “It was incredibly diverse and very challenging and the work was of such a high caliber it was really, really hard to choose.” 

Parmenter says she wasn’t looking for anything in particular when judging the artwork. “When there’s that much work you don’t try to have a theme. It doesn’t seem quite fair,” she said. Parmenter did have her favorites though, noting that the photography submitted was “extremely strong.” She said she also felt compelled to include some “very funny dog pictures. I couldn’t resist.” 

Because the art is chosen blindly, Parmenter didn’t have any information about the artists. 

While Parmenter didn’t know that many of the artists in the show are from the East Bay, she isn’t surprised. About half of the 1,200 Bay Area artists she works with at the Artist’s Gallery (an outlet for artists to rent out their work) live in the East Bay.  

The other Berkeley artists in the show are Timothy Andrew Phelan, Pamela Blotner and Barbara Kronlins. Other East Bay artists exhibiting works are Alva Svoboda, Shane Weare, Arngunnur Yr, Katherine Westerhout, Soffia Saemundsdottir, Othmar Tobisch, Margaret Chavigny, Michele Nye and Mary Ann Hayden of Oakland; Brooke Barer of Richmond and Albert Edgerton of Piedmont.  

A reception for the artists and the announcement of awards will be held at the Center Sunday, Aug. 10, from 2 to 4 p.m. The show opens for public viewing this Wednesday. 

The Berkeley Art Center is located at 1275 Walnut St., Berkeley. Admission is free. 

For more information, call the center at 510-644-6893 or visit their Web site, www. berkeleyartcenter.org. 


Berkeley Art Briefs

Friday August 01, 2003

Ashby Arts District Fundraiser 

The Transparent Theater will play host to a unique fundraiser this weekend—an effort to create a new arts district in South Berkeley. 

Epic Arts Studio, which operates the performance space, is staging the Saturday and Sunday concerts as a benefit for the newly-designated Ashby Arts District. 

Epic Arts has initiated formal partnerships with La Pena Cultural Center and The Jazz House to collaborate on future programs and encourage other artistic venues to participate in Ashby area events. 

The effort to create the arts district scored a major victory earlier this week when Berkeley Mayor Tom Bates issued a city proclamation recognizing the project. Now the only hurdle for Epic Arts coordinators is the fundraising process. 

“We realize that there are many communities operating side by side that often never interact,” said Epic Arts community organizer Tanya Hurd. 

“Through collaboration of events and programs we can bridge gaps between organizations and the communities they serve.” 

—Megan Greenwell 

UC Summer Symphony Concert  

The UC Berkeley Summer Symphony will present a free concert in Hertz Hall on the UC Berkeley Campus at 8 p.m. Aug. 2. 

The orchestra, directed and funded entirely by UC Berkeley students, is the summer extension of the UC Berkeley Symphony Orchestra. Orchestra members include members of the UC Berkeley Symphony, the San Francisco and Oakland Youth 

Symphonies, and other musicians from around the Bay area. 

This year's music directors are Alexander Kahn, doctoral student in music history and literature, Mei-Fang Lin, doctoral student in composition, and Kumiko Takahashi, recently graduated with a B.A. in music. 

This summer, the orchestra will be performing Smetana's The Moldau, Beethoven's Violin Concerto, and Chaikovsky's Fifth Symphony. The soloist in violin concerto will be Julieta Mihai, a Romanian violinist who has just completed a DMA in violin performance at the University of Illinois.  

For details, visit www.geocities.com/ 

summersymph2003 or call 510-701-6590. 

—Daily Planet Staff


Summer Noon Concerts in Downtown Berkeley

Friday August 01, 2003

The Downtown Berkeley Association (DBA) presents Summer Noon Concerts 2003, a unique series of nine free concerts, Thursdays at noon in June & July, beginning June 5th. From Rhythm & Blues to Brazilian capoeira, these concerts at the Downtown Berkeley BART Plaza (Shattuck Ave. at Center St.) are a showcase of the culturally rich performing arts in Berkeley. This outdoor summer celebration of Berkeley-based musicians & dancers is just a small sampling of the performing arts happening nightly in clubs, cafes, schools, theaters and concert halls in Downtown Berkeley. 

 

On Thursday, June 5th, our concert series opens with Rhonda Benin and Soulful Strut performing some of the best in R & B, with a splash of jazz and a solid helping of the blues. Soulful Strut appears regularly at many Bay Area nightspots such Enricos Sidewalk Café and Restaurant. 

 

On Thursday, July 31st, our concert series closes with SoVoSó, a highly visual and imaginative a capella ensemble that sings a compelling mix of jazz, gospel, rhythm and blues, world, pop, and improvisational music. The ensemble is made up of former members of Bobby McFerrin’s Voicestra, and McFerrin says, “SoVoSó is tight, soulful, and a whole lotta fun.” 

 

This event is easily accessible by transit and there is one hour free parking daily from 9 am to 5 pm in Center Street Garage. Seating will be available. 

 

For a complete schedule of entertainers for the Downtown Berkeley Summer Noon Concerts 2003 visit the Downtown Berkeley Association website at www.downtownberkeley.org


Sather Mall Upgrade Ousts Doctor

By MEGAN GREENWELL
Tuesday July 29, 2003

Confusion over lease deadlines and a proposed upgrade of the Sather Gate Mall on Durant Avenue, near Telegraph Avenue, have left one longtime Berkeley optometrist without an office. 

Dr. Donald Sebanc, who has operated out of the city-owned space at 2446 Durant Ave. since 1972, marked his last day in his office Monday by packing up display cases of eyeglasses and chatting with student workers after he and city officials failed to negotiate a lease extension for the space. Sebanc is vacating the location, but he did not leave without a fight. 

Sebanc has provided optometry services to Berkeley residents for the past 31 years. Though he has many regular clients who buy corrective lenses from his shop, much of his work is provided pro bono for people who cannot afford glasses, he said. Sebanc also operates a branch location of his office in Oakland, but said that 70 percent of his business comes from the Sather Gate Mall store. 

“I guess this is it for me,” Sebanc said Monday as he stacked boxes in a corner of his former office. He said he’ll try to relocate his office, but doubted that he could find a new place for the $1,000 monthly rent he paid for the Durant Avenue location. 

When Sebanc’s lease expired in 2000, the city of Berkeley provided him with a new lease contract: a guaranteed five-year period with the possibility of an additional five-year option. Three weeks later, Sebanc said, he received a revised contract proposal, this one granting him only a two-year lease with a possible three-year additional option. 

“They cut my lease in half without giving me any reason or notifying me in advance,” Sebanc said. “I don’t know what happened to the lease that we had agreed upon.” 

Sebanc read the revised lease proposal, but said his attorney advised him not to sign and date it until he received an official copy. When Sebanc finally did receive the official contract, he said, it was six months too late to apply for the three-year lease extension. 

A letter from city officials to Sebanc said that his optometry shop, which has been open Monday through Friday from 1 to 8 p.m., was hurting the business of neighboring stores because it wasn’t open on Saturdays and thus was not drawing shoppers who might be attracted to visit other area stores on weekends. Additionally, one letter said, city officials want to “spruce up” the Sather Gate Mall by putting in more aesthetically pleasing storefronts. 

But some of Sebanc’s customers questioned why the city would single out the optometrist’s office under its renovation plans for the area. 

“The space two doors down has been vacant for four years,” area resident Rajeev Ranjan said. “Why don’t they focus on that rather than evicting longtime business owners?” 

Ranajan said he has been coming to Sebanc for 10 years. 

“He’s a great optometrist—really cares about his patients,” he said. “It’s a shame to see him go.” 

Sebanc said that upon learning of his eviction from his current office, he tried to secure a lease on the storefront two doors down, but found the city’s lease on the space was too expensive. 

“It was a slightly bigger store than what I have now,” he said. “But it was for $2,700 a month. In here I paid $1,000.” 

When he received an eviction notice last February, Sebanc sought legal help to challenge the ruling. He said he was surprised to see that he was being evicted because he had been told at a neighborhood association meeting just two weeks earlier that nobody would be evicted from their space. 

“Hallie Llamas [a capital planner with the city of Berkeley] came and told us to work out as a group what hours we would all be open,” Sebanc said. “Then I got the eviction notice and [City Manager Weldon] Rucker told me she didn’t have the authority to make that statement. If they had just gotten me the packet on time none of this would have happened.” 

Llamas and other capital planning staff members did not return phone calls seeking comment yesterday. The city manager’s office referred all calls to capital planning.


Berkeley This Week

Tuesday July 29, 2003

TUESDAY, JULY 29 

Wellstone Democratic Club “Progressive Democrats and the Gubernatorial Recall” at 7 p.m. at the First Congregational Church, 27th and Harrison Sts., Oakland. Speakers include Margaret Hanon Grady, California Labor Federation, AFL-CIO; Tim Wohlforth, Wellstone Democratic Renewal Club, Coordinating Committee; and Jerry Fillingim, Political Director, SEIU 535. For more information call 733- 0996 or e-mail democraticrenewal@california.com 

St. John’s Prime Timers meets at 9:30 a.m. at St. John’s Presbyterian Church, 2727 College Ave. We offer ongoing classes in exercise and creative arts, and always welcome new members over 50. 845-6830. 

Berkeley Camera Club meets at 7:30 p.m., at the Northbrae Community Church, 941 The Alameda. Share your slides and prints and learn what other photographers are doing. Monthly field trips. 525-3565. www.berkeleycameraclub.org 

WEDNESDAY, JULY 30 

Twilight Tour: Godwanaland and Beyond, Jeff Parsons leads a tour of the collections focusing on plants from the Southern Hemisphere at 5:30 p.m. at the UC Botanical Garden, 200 Centennial Drive. Free for members, $5 for non-members. Reservations required. 643-2755. www.mip.berkeley.edu/garden 

Berkeley Peace Walk and Vigil at the Berkeley BART Sta- 

tion, corner of Shattuck and Center. Vigil at 6:30 p.m., Peace Walk at 7 p.m. www.geo 

cities.com/vigil4peace/vigil 

South Berkeley Mural Project Community members in South Berkeley are coming together to create a neighborhood mural on the side of the Grove Liquor Store on the corner of Ashby Ave. and Martin Luther King, Jr. Way. Meetings are held every Wednesday night at 7 p.m. at Epic Arts Studios at 1923 Ashby Ave. 644-2204. 

Community Dances, traditional English and American dances, 8 p.m. every Wednesday, $9. 7 p.m. first Sunday, $10. Grace North Church, 2138 Cedar St. 233-5065. www.bacds.org 

Free Feldenkrais ATM Classes for adults 55 and older at 10:30 and 11:45 a.m. at the Jewish Community Center, 1414 Walnut at Rose. 848-5143. 527-5332. 

THURSDAY, JULY 31 

The Sustainable Business Alliance will offer a networking event and presentation on The Natural Step at 6 p.m. at the Gaia Building. Cost is $7 for members, $10 for non members. For more information call 282-5151 or visit www.sustainablebiz.org 

“Coalinga Huron Berkeley House at Berkeley” Nancy Mellor will talk about her work with rural, usually minority, students who come to Berkeley for the summer to study, at 7 p.m. at Berkeley Friends Meeting, 2151 Vine St. Almost all of these students are enrolled in, or have completed college, defying the national and state norms. For information contact Sue Friday, 705-7314. www.quaker.org/berkmm 

Open General Meeting of the United Pool Council at 7 p.m. at Redwood Gardens, 2951 Derby St. Berkeley City Council has given us the green light to keep the pools open all year, only if we meet their challenge to raise $60,000 by October in new revenues at the pools. Please join us as we launch the Swim Berkeley campaign for year-round aquatic programs. For information call Karen 548-3860. 

FRIDAY, AUGUST 1 

Mayor’s Task Force on Permitting at 8:30 a.m. on the 6th floor of City Hall, 2180 Milvia St.  

Women in Black Vigil, from noon to 1 p.m. at UC Berkeley, Bancroft at Telegraph.  

wibberkeley@yahoo.com  

548-6310, 845-1143. 

Meditation, Peace Vigil and Dialogue, gather at noon on the grass close to the West Entrance to UC Berkeley, on Oxford St. near University Ave. Sponsored by the Buddhist Peace Fellowship. 496-6000, ext. 135. www.bpf.org 

SATURDAY, AUGUST 2 

Free Emergency Preparedness Class on Light Search and Rescue, for anyone who lives or works in Berkeley, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at 997 Cedar St., between 8th and 9th Sts. Register on-line at www.ci.berkeley.ca.us/fire/oes or by calling 981-5506. 

Native Plant Restoration sponsored by the Citizens for the Eastshore State Park and California Native Plant Society. Meet at 9:30 a.m. at the large bird sculpture at the west end of Buchanan St., Albany (west of I-580 and immediately north of Golden Gate Fields parking lot). Bring work clothes, boots, and gloves as well as sunblock and water. For more information, call Sarah Ginskey, 558-8139 or Tina Gerhardt, 848- 0800, ext. 313. 

Backyard Graywater Treatment Wetlands The Guerrilla Graywater People present a day-long, hands on workshop on designing and building small-scale graywater treatment wetlands. These systems use recycled materials and simple tools to create small wetlands that treat the water from a sink or shower for use in your garden. You will learn basic plumbing skills, methods of wastewater treatment, what plants to use in different situations, and how to design a graywater treatment wetlands for your home. We will be constructing a small treatment wetlands at a house in North Oakland. Cost is $15-$25, no one turned away for lack of funds. Call for location and more information 428-2354.  

Tomato Tasting at the Farmers’ Market, Center St. at MLK, Jr. Way, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Free samples of a range of tomato varieties, cooking demonstrations begin at 11 a.m. 548-3333. www.ecologycenter.org 

Sick Plant Clinic UC Botanical Garden experts diagnose your plant woes the first Saturday of every month from 9 a.m. to noon at UC Botanical Garden, 200 Centennial Dr. 643-2755. www.mip.berkeley.edu/garden 

Summer Maintenance for Year-Round Garden Beauty  

A free lecture demonstration at 10 a.m. Discover how simple garden-maintenance techniques during the summer can help your garden to be healthy and beautiful all year long, including mulching, watering, fertilizing, and deadheading. At Magic Gardens 729 Heinz Ave. 520-6927. 654-2484. 

SUNDAY, AUGUST 3 

KPFA Free Speech Radio Benefit for KPFA's New World Center, and welcoming Gus Newport, our new General Man- 

ager, and former Mayor of the City of Berkeley. Film screening of “Straight Outta Hunter’s Point” and performances by Emmit Powell and the Gospel Elites, Gregory Joe Bledsoe and the Source of Light. From 7:30 to 10 p.m. at Roundtree’s Museum and Restaurant, 2618 San Pablo Ave. Cost is $12 adults, $10 seniors and children. For tickets and information call 848-4300 or 848-6767, ext. 634. 

Tibetan Buddhism, Barr Rosen- 

berg on “Path of Heroes,” at 6 p.m. at Tibetan Nyingma Institu- 

te, 1815 Highland Pl. 843-6812. www.nyingmainstitute.com 

Eckhart Tolle Talks on Video Free gatherings, at 7:30 p.m. to hear the words of the author of “The Power of Now” at the Feldenkrais Ctr., 830 Bancroft Way. We will meet on the first and third Sunday of each month. 547-2024. EdShorelin@aol.com 

MONDAY, AUGUST 4 

Art is Peace Presents “The Inkwell Communiques” Based on a true story of one artist taking on several agencies of the government over the course of three presidential reigns. August 4th and 5th at 7:30 pm on Berkeley Rep's Thrust Stage. A benefit for Amnesty Interna- 

tional's peace action campaign. A $20 donation is suggested. Reservations required, visit www.Frantix.net or call 415-621-1216. www.upontheseboards.org/forthcoming/inkwell 

Berkeley Biodiesel Cooperative Orientation at 7:30 p.m. for those interested in making biodiesel welcome for new member orientation. Some technical questions can be answered. Call for location. 594-4000 ext. 777. biobauerx@hotmail.com  

National Organization for Women, Oakland/East Bay Chapter meets at 6 p.m. in the Boardroom of the Oakland YWCA, 1515 Webster St. Assemblywoman Loni Hancock will speak on how the California GOP budget proposals affect women.  

Berkeley CopWatch meets at 6 p.m. at 2022 Blake St. Volun- 

teers needed. For information call 548-0425. 

ONGOING  

Vista Community College Program for Adult Education (PACE) Enrollment through Sept. 6. PACE is a college alternative for adults with job and family responsibilities. Enrollment in American Sign Language classes is also being accepted. For information call 981-2864 or 981-2800 or email Marilyn Clausen at mclausen@peralta.cc.ca.us  

Community Food Drive Make a cash or food donation to the Safeway/ABC7 Summer Food Drive, benefiting the Alameda County Community Food Bank and its 300 member agencies. The food drive will help thousands of local low-income children who lose access to school meal programs during summer vacation. Now through August 9, put nutritious, nonperishable food donations in the red food collection barrels in all Alameda County Safeway stores or make a cash donation at Safeway check-out stands. For more information or to sign up to host a barrel, call 834-3663, ext. 318 or visit www.accfb.org  

Marine Biology Classes for ages 5 to 7, Tues. July 29 through Fri. Aug. 1 from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. at the Shorebird Nature Center, 160 University Ave, at the Berkeley Marina. Adults must accompany 5 year olds. Cost is $45 for four days. To register call 644-8623. www.cityofberkeley.info/marina 

Summer Science Weeks at Tilden, for ages 9 - 12, August 4 - 8, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. in Tilden Park. Different topics daily, including pond and stream, reptiles and amphibians, dinos, astronomy, rainforests. Cost is $150 for Berkeley residents, $166 for non-residents. Financial assistance is available for low-income families. Registration required, call 636-1684.  

Institutes for Educators: Gold Rush to the Golden Gate, August 4 - 9. Join us on a journey through the SF Bay watershed, from the foothills of the Sierra to the Bay. Along the way discover how you can integrate watershed concepts and Bay curriculum into your teaching. Each day will be filled with on-the-water experiences, expert speakers, and hands-on activities. The program will also introduce educators to habitat restoration and ways to incorporate service learning projects into their work. Participants will network with other Bay Area educators and receive a wealth of resource materials. Cost is $195. Contact Save the Bay for more information, 452-9261. devo@savesfbay.org, www.savesfbay.org 

Free Energy Conservation Retrofits for Berkeley Residents CA Youth Energy Services is a nonprofit sponsored by the City of Berkeley that trains and employs high school students to provide conservation retrofits. Work includes weatherstripping, replacing lightbulbs with CFLs, cleaning refrigerator coils, replacing faucet aerators and showerheads with low-flow devices, installing earthquake preparedness measures, and a comprehensive audit. Available to home owners and renters. Call for an appointment, 428-2357. 

National HIV Testing Month The City of Berkeley offers free HIV testing. Drop in Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. and Wednesdays 6 to 8:30 p.m., during July, at 830 University Ave. at 6th St. For other days and times call the HIV Testing Information Line at 981-5380.  

Free Energy Bill Payment Assistance The City of Berkeley offers funds to help low-income households in Berkeley, Emery- 

ville and Albany pay their gas and electric bills. For applications and more information, contact the Energy Office at 644-8544. TDD: 981-6903. www.ci.berkeley.ca.us/energy 

CITY MEETINGS 

Landmarks Preservation Commission meets Monday, August 4, 7:30 p.m., at the North Berkeley Senior Center. Gisele Sorensen, 981-7419. www.ci.berkeley.ca.us/commissions/landmarks


Architects Designed ‘Fireproof’ Buildings After 1923 Disaster

By SUSAN CERNY Special to the Planet
Tuesday July 29, 2003

On Sept. 17, 1923, a disastrous wildfire swept down from the north Berkeley Hills and destroyed more than 500 buildings; most of them were homes. After the fire, there was some interest in using building materials that would be more fireproof than a wood-frame house covered with wood shingles—and for a time wood shingles were even banned.  

Although most new construction after the 1923 fire (just like after the 1991 Oakland Hills fire) consisted of stuccoed exterior walls over a wood frame, several buildings were constructed of “fireproof” materials. Among these was the Second Church of Christ, Scientist at 1521 Spruce St. (1926) designed by Henry Higby Gutterson, and a house, located at 1512 La Loma (1924), designed by John Ballantine, an architect who had worked in Gutterson’s office and had lost his home in the fire. 

Both buildings are built from unusual concrete blocks manufactured in Carmel by the Carmel Thermotite Company. Gutterson used these blocks for the Flanders Mansion in Carmel in 1925. (The Flanders mansion is now a city-owned cultural center.) One of Gutterson’s earlier Berkeley designs, the home of Raymond T. Framer, on Marin Avenue, had employed a hollow-brick wall construction not dissimilar to that chosen for the Flanders home, the Second Church and the Ballantine House. 

In both the Flanders Mansion and the Second Church the architect used a cavity wall system not common in California. The blocks were bonded by grout and bound by special metal ties for structural and seismic stability, the building material professed to be “waterproof, fireproof and practically everlasting.”  

The Thermotite concrete blocks have a surface quality and color, as well as a particular size, that makes them look much more like stone than what one thinks of as “concrete block.” All three buildings have the general feeling, ambiance and simplicity of a old English cottage.  

The Second Church of Christ, Scientist is an outstanding example of the mature work of architect Henry Gutterson, who graduated from the University of California in 1907 and then attended the l’Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris. The church is significant for its architectural simplicity and the use of natural materials in an elegant way; it demonstrates the transition from the Period Revival Style toward modernism. Its style is generally Spanish Revival with details borrowed from the Renaissance. The church illustrates how well a rather large building can fit quietly into a residential neighborhood.  

1512 Buena Vista (which is currently for sale) is an example of the early work of John Ballantine, who graduated from the university in 1919 and worked in Gutterson’s office until 1924 when he opened his own office. The U-shaped main house and the cottage are set around a garden courtyard giving the impression of a village square. The simple buildings are enhanced by small-paned leaded windows, hood molding over the doors and windows and a gray slate roof. Ballantine designed many houses during his 40-year career. 

Susan Dinkelspiel Cerny writes this in conjunction with the Berkeley Architectural Heritage Association.


Letters to the Editor

Tuesday July 29, 2003

RETHINK SCHOOL MOVE 

Editors, Daily Planet: 

I am a resident on Kains Avenue between Cedar and Virginia. I have just become aware of the proposal to move the Berkeley Adult School and have volunteered to be active in helping to avert a terrible disaster. 

I have taken a petition around to my neighbors on Kains and talked to people on Virginia. Everyone with no exception is against, very against this proposal. The neighborhoods surrounding the school are small residential neighborhoods that are quiet and use their on-street parking as a necessity of life. The school at present is in a commercial neighborhood. Making this switch will be extremely difficult for all concerned. The school is in a good location at present. I am sure there are creative ways to remodel without having to move the school to a location that will cause a hardship on the existing community and is not wanted. 

This situation has to be carefully evaluated before any steps are taken. When all of the residents are opposed and concerned it demands the attention of the School Board and the School District. 

We are concerned about the traffic, the noise and the use of our streets for parking from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. five days a week, plus half a day on Saturday. We are concerned about adding 1,200 more people and possible vehicles to our neighborhoods on a daily basis. 

We are asking for more time to deeply consider all the hardships involved in this proposal. We are very concerned. 

Joyce Barison 

 

• 

SUPPORT DEAN 

Editors, Daily Planet: 

Progressives are supporting Howard Dean’s candidacy for president, even though he does not claim to be a programmatic progressive, because he has been an outspoken opponent of Bush’s unjustifiable and terribly costly invasion of Iraq and his outrageous tax cuts for the wealthy. Dean has the intelligence, honesty, integrity and energy to defeat Bush and to stand up to the right-wing minority that is disregarding the democratic process in order to claim power it can’t win at the polls, now in California as well as in Florida in 2000 and in the attempt to unseat Bill Clinton. Howard Dean’s positions can be found on his campaign Web site, www.DeanforAmerica.com. 

Charlene Woodcock 

 

• 

MISCONDUCT 

Editors, Daily Planet: 

The commentary by Sharon Hudson “Citizen Voices Can Influence ...” in the July 22 issue of the Planet does an excellent job of describing the misconduct of the city. The situation is close to anarchy and lawlessness. An office to be blamed for this situation is the Planning and Development Department, in particular the zoning, with staff such as Mark Rhoades. He was named “a duplicitous insect” by one of the readers of this newspaper a few months ago. The Planning Department breaks the zoning laws and ordinances in favor of developers or corporations. The City Council, the city manager and the city attorney are aware of this misconduct; however, they usually defend the Planning Department. At best, the City Council denies any knowledge of the Planning Department misconduct. Perhaps this is a common trend in the United States: Administrations lie, misconduct, mislead, breach the laws, but no one resigns, gets impeached or reprimanded.  

Some recent misconduct, among many, by the Planning Department and some of the city staff have to do with the Sprint antennas at 1600 Shattuck Ave. The story started in July 2002 and continues. In the past few months Sprint has taken many illegal steps while the Planning Department has ignored such steps, and in many cases has supported them. For instance, according to the Berkeley Telecommunications Ordinance, when applying for a permit, wireless providers must provide engineering calculations that show planned wireless facilities comply with all FCC requirements. Sprint never provided such calculations. They did so a week after the Zoning Board public hearing. When this was brought to the attention of the city, the Planning Department, in support of Sprint, wrote in the Action Calendar of April 1, 2003, that “the engineer ... presented information from the report verbally, to the ZAB on the Dec. 12, 2002 meeting, but neglected to leave a copy with the ZAB secretary. A copy was faxed to the office the following week.” This is a lie. The audio-tape of the ZAB meeting is available; engineering calculations were not presented in the meeting. Besides, the law requires that such calculations be available at the time of application in July 2002, not during the ZAB meeting in December. 

This is only the tip of iceberg; there are many other instances that some city staff have broken the laws and let Sprint do the same. Law is meaningless in Berkeley. We only hear superficial gestures by the mayor who is asking the city attorney to write an ordinance for stealing free newspapers. This is not necessary, Mr. Bates. People, except you and a few, do not steal newspapers. 

When it comes to laws, this is what the city is telling Berkeley citizens: “Yes, the city is breaking the laws. If you have resources, go ahead and sue the city.” I agree with Sharon Hudson, who wrote: “Get involved now.” Yes, people should get involved and united to file law suits against the city and remove corrupt staff members. 

Afrida Freeman 

 

• 

TITLE 

Editors, Daily Planet: 

In October, when California voters decide on the governor’s political future, they must also concern themselves with the integrity of electronic (touch screen) voting machines that many will likely use. Current touch-screen voting machines do not provide a paper trail to assure voters that their votes are being recorded correctly. A recent advisory task force convened by Secretary of State Kevin Shelley examined the issues relating to current and pending purchases of touch screen electronic voting equipment in California. While all committee members agreed that voters should receive a verifiable audit to ensure their ballot has been accurately recorded, they could not agree on a timetable for implementing these changes. The majority wanted the new rules to apply to equipment purchased in the year 2007 and beyond, with allowance for older equipment to be modified by 2010. Other members insisted that the Voter Verifiable Audit Trail (VVAT) be implemented immediately.  

Secretary of State Shelley is asking for public comment before making a final decision on Aug. 1. It is imperative that California voters demand that all electronic (touch screen) voting machines to be used in the recall ballot measure and in the 2004 elections have a verifiable paper trail. We cannot repeat Florida’s mistakes!  

The integrity of your vote is at stake. Send your comments to elections@ss.ca.gov.  

Further information is available at www.workingassets.com/radio.  

Josephine Arasteh 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Musician’s Three Bands Groove to African Beat

By FRED DODSWORTH Special to the Planet
Tuesday July 29, 2003

“There’s no doubt about it, what we are hearing is African music because it’s in your blood. It’s in everybody’s blood,” said Babá Ken Okulolo. 

In the early seventies Okulolo was a superstar bass player in his homeland of Nigeria with a recording contract on EMI and one of the best-selling albums in Africa. He frequently jammed with Ginger Baker from the British supergroup Cream and with Fela Kuti, one of Africa’s first superstars to break into the American pop market. Today Okulolo, a North Oakland resident, has three bands—Kotoja, the West African Highlife Band, the Nigerian Brothers—and lives with his wife and two sons in North Oakland.  

“Everything originally is from Africa. All those things just went away from Africa then came back again,” he said, explaining the unexpected similarities between the tuning of Japanese koto, the American blues pentatonic scale and traditional African melodies. 

“The first time I heard James Brown, back in Nigeria, I thought he was a guy from the eastern part of Africa because he had that beat and that culture and that powerful, forceful personality,” Okulolo continued. “He speaks very strongly in his music.” 

In Nigeria his band, Monomono, was one of the first groups to fuse African music with American pop. It became a very successful and influential band in Africa. 

“We called this kind of music Afro-Rock,” recalled Okulolo. “It was modern. It was authentic. It had the influence of jazz, highlife and a little bit of juju music—indigenous music.” 

As a child Okulolo learned to keep musical time by playing in sync with his village elders.  

“You got to learn how to keep your time, keep the meter and keep it locked when you’re young,” he said. “As village boys we all went through this routine of playing with our elders. They give you a bell to keep it steady and if you miss it, they’ll pop you on the head.” 

He said, laughing easily, “So you are there, you’re learning it. You’re hearing all the things they’re doing and there are a lot of things crisscrossing that are likely to throw you off, but you got to keep on doing it. You got to be on it. I went through all that and most African musicians went through that period of initiation they carry with them. It’s embedded in your soul.” 

Today Okulolo’s music fits sweetly and neatly under the World Music umbrella, although each of his bands has a distinctive sound and style. 

Kotoja, which in the Yoruba language means “Let’s be friends,” is a pop and Afro-beat big band with up to 12 members. Founded in 1985, shortly after Okulolo moved from Nigeria to the Bay Area, most of Kotoja’s music is sung in English. In the early 1990s Putumayo World Music launched both the band and the Putumayo label with a best-selling Kotoja album, which was followed by a second album shortly thereafter. 

“It’s one of the last standing African bands in the Bay Area,” said Okulolo. “Many other bands have come and gone, but after 17 years we’re still performing.” 

While Kotoja has some American members, the West African Highlife Band is an all-African quintet that Okulolo spun off in 1996. Like Kotoja they play feel-good songs with a strong and complex rhythmic structure, but their dance music is reverently authentic to the “highlife” style and is sung in several African languages.  

Okulolo’s most traditionally African band is the Nigerian Brothers, which he formed in 1998. The band members are essentially the same as the West African Highlife Band, but the Nigerian Brothers only play indigenous folksongs with modern acoustic accompaniment. 

Living in the East Bay with two nearly adult children, it would be impossible for Okulolo not to be well versed in hip-hop, the mass-culture music du jour. 

“I like hip-hop because it’s a way of this generation to express their inner feelings,” Okulolo said. “They are pissed off with the world in general, not only their parents. Society has put them in a particular box where they need to explode out, and this is the only way they can do it. They are very, very bitter. They don’t take life as anything. Just live and let die kind of thing. It’s a shame that it’s come to that situation and frustration, most of it is frustration. They have nothing to do, nowhere to go, no future, nothing to look up to.  

“I like all kinds of music that makes a political saying or that speaks to the people. That’s what musicians are for, to be able to recognize what’s going wrong in society and talk about it and bring it out.” 

The musicality of hip-hop doesn’t impress him, he said. He thinks it’s too rhythmic and too simplified.  

“There’s not much music in there; it’s just grooves,” Okulolo said. “You just have a drum machine and a keyboard and a mike. It doesn’t really take musicianship. But what they say, the way they rhyme is incredible. They can put so many words into a beat and make it rhythmic without falling out or getting all over the place. I think it’s very incredible. It’s something that I really admire them for.” 

Okulolo has little respect for what oozes out of the radio today.  

“There is no new music per se,” he said. “Everything sounds recycled to me. They’re just putting old wine in a new bottle. It’s a problem. You don’t hear [complex melodic and rhythmic music] because of commercialism. Everybody’s trying to make money. If you play that kind of thing you just go hungry. You do it for the love of it, not to make money, then you can experiment with stuff. The good music that lasts forever is the experimental ones. All the commercial ones, they come today and tomorrow, they are gone, something else takes over.” 

 


Arts Calendar

Tuesday July 29, 2003

TUESDAY, JULY 29 

FILM 

Sarunas Bartas: “Freedom” at 7:30 p.m. at the Pacific Film Archive. Cost is $4 members, UC students, $5 UC faculty, staff, seniors, disabled, youth, $8 adults. 642-0808. www.bampfa.berkeley.edu 

Fragments From the War on Terror “In Shifting Sands,” (2002) Scott Ritter, UNSCOM Chief Weapons Inspector, at 6:30 p.m. at the Berkeley Public Library, 2090 Kittredge. A free film series co-sponsored by Berkeley Peace Walk and Vigil. For more information see www. 

geocities.com/vigil4peace/vigil. 

For information on the film see www.seaswap.org/2003/ritter 

“The Chinatown Files,” a doc- 

umentary of seven Chinese immigrants and Chinese Americans who faced persecution during the McCarthy period, at 7 p.m., at the Rockridge Library, 5366 College Ave. Screening is part of a joint campaign of the ACLU and Amnesty International to prevent Patriot Act II and repeal Patriot I. For more information call 288-7432.  

READINGS AND LECTURES 

Josh Furst reads from his new collection of short stories, “Short People,” at 7:30 p.m. at Cody's Books. 845-7852. www.codysbooks.com 

Berkeley Summer Poetry with Steven Johnson Leyba from 7 to 9 p.m. at the Mediterranean Café, 2475 Telegraph Ave. 549-1128. 

MUSIC AND DANCE 

Andrew Carrier and the Cajun Classics perform at 8:30 p.m. at Ashkenaz. Cajun dance lesson with Cheryl McBride at 8 p.m. Cost is $9. 525-5054. www.ashkenaz.com 

Mimi Fox Solo Guitar at 8 p.m. at Downtown, 2102 Shattuck Ave. 649-3810. 

WEDNESDAY, JULY 30 

FILM 

Excess of Evil/Restoration Pleasures: “The Night of the Hunter” at 7:30 p.m. at the Pacific Film Archive. Cost is $4 members, UC students, $5 UC faculty, staff, seniors, disabled, youth, $8 adults. 642-0808. www.bampfa.berkeley.edu 

“The Weather Underground” documentary showing, benefit for Jericho Movement and Friends of Marilyn Buck, at 7 p.m. at Landmark’s Shattuck Cinema, 2230 Shattuck Ave. 843-FILM. www.LandmarkTheatres.com 

SF Jewish Film Festival, “My Life Part 2” at 11:30 a.m. at Wheeler Auditorium, UC Cam- 

pus. 925-275-9490. www.sfjff.org  

READINGS AND LECTURES 

Arthur Phillips discusses his new novel, “Prague,” at 7:30 p.m. at Cody's Books. 845-7852. www.codysbooks.com 

Wendy Pearlman discusses her interviews with Palestinians in her new book, “Occupied Voices: Stories of Loss and Longing From the Second Intifada,” at 7:30 p.m. at Black Oak Books. 486-0698. www.blackoakbooks.com 

“Return to Germany?” An evening with authors remembering their pasts in Hitler’s Germany, at 7:30 p.m. at Easy Going Bookstore, 1385 Shattuck Ave. at Rose. 843-3533. www.easygoing.com 

Berkeley Poetry Slam with host Charles Ellik, featuring Julia Serano, at 8:30 p.m. at The Starry Plough. Cost is $7, $5 with student i.d. 841-2082. www.starryplough.com 

MUSIC AND DANCE 

California Music Festival at 8 p.m. at the Julia Morgan Center for the Arts. Tickets are $12-$15, available from 925-798-1300. For information on the performances see www.juliamorgan.org 

Young Musicians Program Composition Recital at 3 p.m. at Hertz Hall, UC Campus. 642-2686.  

Gator Beat performs a blend of Louisiana Cajun and zydeco at 8:30 p.m. at Ashkenaz. Cajun dance lesson with Patti White- 

hurst at 8 p.m. Cost is $9. 525-5054. www.ashkenaz.com 

Open Road, bluegrass and mountain music, at 8 p.m. at Freight and Salvage Coffee House. Cost is $15.50 in ad- 

vance, $16.50 at the door. 548-1761 www.freightandsalvage.org 

Third World with MC UC BUU perform at 9:30 p.m. at Blakes on Telegraph. Cost is $5. 848-0886. www.blakesontelegraph.com 

THURSDAY, JULY 31 

FILM 

Restoration Pleasures: “Casa- 

nova” at 7:30 p.m. at the Pacific Film Archive. Cost is $4 members, UC students, $5 UC faculty, staff, seniors, disabled, youth, $8 adults. 642-0808. www.bampfa.berkeley.edu 

SF Jewish Film Festival, Johnny & Jones” at 1 p.m. “Monsieur Batignole” at 6 p.m. at Wheeler Auditorium, UC Campus. Call for additional films and times. 925-275-9490. www.sfjff.org  

READINGS AND LECTURES 

Stephen Lestat, formerly homeless in Berkeley, will read from his recent book, “Punk Chicken and Other Tales” at 7:30 p.m. at Cody's Books. 845-7852. www.codysbooks.com 

MUSIC AND DANCE 

Summer Noon Concert Downtown with SoVoSó, a cappella ensemble, at the Berkeley BART Station. Seating available. Sponsored by the Downtown Berkeley Association. 549-2230. 

Brothers Antonio and Man- 

uel de la Malena in a evening of flamenco, dinner shows at 6 and 9 p.m. at Cafe de la Paz, 1600 Shattuck Ave. Cost is $27-$55. For reservations call 843-0662. www.cafedelapaz.net 

“Revision,” Ailey Camp students perform at 7 p.m. in Zellerbach Hall, UC Campus. Admission is free. 642-9988. 

Early Music Concert with Isabelle Metwalli, soprano, and Trevor Stephenson, harpsicord, at 8 p.m. at the Albany United Methodist Church, 980 Stannage Rd. Suggested donation $15. 547-7974. 

California Music Festival at 8 p.m. at the Julia Morgan Center for the Arts. Tickets are $12-$15, available from 925-798-1300. www.juliamorgan.org 

Spank and Solarz from Groove Complex perform at 9:30 p.m. at Blakes on Telegraph. Cost is $5. 848-0886. www.blakesontelegraph.com 

Denny Heines, world guitar, at 8 p.m. at Freight and Salvage Coffee House. Cost is $15.50 in advance, $16.50 at the door. 548-1761 www.freightandsalvage.org  

Eric McFadden Trio and Bonepony perform at 9:30 p.m. at The Starry Plough. Cost is $6. 841-2082. www.starryploughpub.com 

FRIDAY, AUGUST 1 

FILM 

Czech Horror and Fantasy on Film: “The Pied Piper” at 7:30 p.m. and “Who Killed Jesse?” at 9:30 p.m. at the Pacific Film Archive. Cost is $4 members, UC students, $5 UC faculty, staff, seniors, disabled, youth, $8 adults. 642-0808. www.bampfa.berkeley.edu 

Disinformation Film Series: “Brothers and Others,” a film on the plight of people of Arab descent in the U.S. since 9-11 and the impact of illegal detentions on peoples’ lives, at 7:30 p.m., at Fellowship Hall, Cedar and Bonita. Donations requested. 528-5403.  

MUSIC AND DANCE 

Young Musicians Program Final Recital at 7:30 p.m. at Hertz Hall, UC Campus. 642-2686. 

Italian Art Songs, Isabelle Metwalli, soprano, and Trevor Stephenson, harpsicord, at 8 p.m. Chamber Arts House, 2924 Ashby Ave. Suggested donation $10. 

California Music Festival presents an evening of chamber music at 8 p.m. at the Julia Morgan Center for the Arts. Pre-concert lecture at 7:15 p.m. Tickets are $12-$18, available from 925-798-1300. www.juliamorgan.org 

Jerry Garcia’s Birthday Bash, Rex Foundation Fundraiser, with Sun Masons, Savant Guard, and Seconds on End at 9:30 p.m. at The Starry Plough. Cost is $5.  

841-2082.  

www.starryploughpub.com 

Savoy-Doucet Cajun Band, Louisiana’s premiere band at 8 p.m. at Freight and Salvage Coffee House. Cost is $18.50 in advance, $19.50 at the door. 548-1761.  

www.freightandsalvage.org 

Brothers Antonio and Man- 

uel de la Malena in a evening of flamenco, dinner shows at 6 and 9 p.m. at Cafe de la Paz, 1600 Shattuck Ave. Cost is $27-$55. For reservations call 843-0662. www.cafedelapaz.net 

Anzanga Marimba Ensemble with Julia Tsitsi Chigamba and the Chinyakarae Dance En- 

semble at 8 p.m., at La Peña Cultural Center. Cost is $10 in advance, $12 at the door. 849-2568. www.lapena.org 

Mitch Marcus Quintet, original compositions, at 8 p.m. at the Jazzschool. Cost is $10. 845-5373. www.jazzschool.com 

Machel Montano and Xtatik 5.0, with Tropical Vibrations, at 9:30 p.m., at Ashkenaz. Cost is $20 in advance, $25 at the door. 525-5054. www.ashkenaz.com 

Jackie Ryan at 9:30 p.m. at Downtown, 2102 Shattuck Ave. 649-3810. 

Beneath the Ashes, To See You Broken, The Diskords, Secret Janet at 8 p.m. at 924 Gilman St. Cost is $5. 525-9926. 

SATURDAY, AUGUST 2 

CHILDREN 

Storytelling for children ages 5 to 9 at 11 a.m. at Barnes and Noble. 644-0861. 

FILM 

The Inquiring Camera: “Tie Xi Qu: West of the Tracks - Part One: Rust” at 7 p.m. at the Pacific Film Archive. Cost is $4 members, UC students, $5 UC faculty, staff, seniors, disabled, youth, $8 adults. 642-0808. www.bampfa.berkeley.edu 

READINGS AND LECTURES 

Bay Area Poets Coalition holds an open reading from 3 to 5 p.m., at the West Branch Berkeley Public Library, 1125 University Ave. Free. 527-9905. poetalk@aol.com 

MUSIC AND DANCE 

UC Berkeley Summer Symphony, under the direction of Alexander Kahn, Mei-Fang Lin and Kumiko Takahashi, at 8 p.m. at Hertz Hall, UC Campus. Free, donations welcome. 701-6590. www.geocities.com/summersymph2003. 

Gale Dobson Sextet, celebrating the release of her new CD “Parallel Reflections,” at 8 p.m. at the Jazzschool. Cost is $12-$18. 845-5373. www.jazzschool.com 

Victoria Williams and Mark Olson and the Creek Dippers at 7:30 p.m. Cost is $12. Carmel- 

ized at 10:30 p.m. at The Starry Plough. Cost is $5. 841-2082.  

www.starryploughpub.com 

African Drum Workshop with Wade Peterson. Beginners from 10 to 11:30 a.m., experienced from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., at The Jazz House. Cost is $15-$25, and advance registration is encouraged. 533-5111. 

Son de Madera and Son Borikua perform Afro-Caribeño music at 8 p.m., at La Peña Cultural Center. Cost is $12. 849-2568. www.lapena.org 

Houston Jones, acoustic americana, at 8 p.m. at Freight and Salvage Coffee House. Cost is $16.50 in advance, $15.50 at the door. 548-1761.  

www.freightandsalvage.org 

The Savoy-Doucet Cajun Band at 9:30 p.m., dance lesson with Diana Castillo at 8:30 at Ashkenaz. Cost is $18 in advance, $20 at the door. 525-5054. www.ashkenaz.com 

Joshi Marshall at 9:30 p.m. at Downtown, 2102 Shattuck Ave. 649-3810. 

Brothers Antonio and Man- 

uel de la Malena in a evening of flamenco, dinner shows at 6 and 9 p.m. at Cafe de la Paz, 1600 Shattuck Ave. Cost is $27-$55. For reservations call 843-0662. www.cafedelapaz.net 

Plan 9, Penis Flytrap, Proud Flesh, Free Verse, The Pox at 8 p.m. at 924 Gilman St., an all-ages, member-run, no alcohol, no drugs, no violence club. Cost is $5. 525-9926. 

SUNDAY, AUGUST 3 

FILM 

W. C. Fields: “It’s a Gift” at 5:30 p.m. at the Pacific Film Archive. Cost is $4 members, UC students, $5 UC faculty, staff, seniors, disabled, youth, $8 adults. 642-0808. www.bampfa.berkeley.edu 

READINGS AND LECTURES 

Last Word Poetry, at 7 p.m. at Pegasus Bookstore, 2349 Shattuck Ave. 649-1320. 

MUSIC AND DANCE 

Midsummer Mozart Festival Serenade for Winds in C Minor, Violin Concerto No. 3 in G Major, featuring violinist Dorota Anderszeuska, and Symphony #35 in D Major. Conducted by Berkeley resident George Cleve at 7 p.m. at St. John’s Presby- 

terian Church, 2727 College Ave. Cost is $28. 415-292-9620. www.midsummermozart.org  

Young Musicians Program Final Concert at 3 p.m. at Hertz Hall, UC Campus. 642-2686. 

Bay Area Latin Jazz Legacy Series with Insight and Latin Jazz Youth Ensemble of San Francisco. Panel at 6 p.m., concert at 7:30 p.m. at La Peña Cultural Center. Cost is $10. 849-2568. www.lapena.org 

Live Oak Concert, with Sol- 

stice, a female a cappella sextet, at 7:30 p.m. at Berkeley Art Center. Cost is $10, BACA members $8, Students and seniors $9. Children under 12 free. 644-6893. www.berkeleyartcenter.org 

Music of Kenneth Gaburo Experimental music, theater, and text at 8 p.m. at CNMAT, Center for New Music and Audio Technologies, 1750 Arch St. Cost is $5-15 sliding scale. 

Forward Kwenda with Eric Azim, mbira master from Zimbabwe, at 8 p.m. at Freight and Salvage Coffee House. Cost is $16.50 in advance, $17.50 at the door. 548-1761.  

www.freightandsalvage.org 

Christy Dana Quartet, trumpet originals and new takes on jazz standards, at 4:30 p.m. at the Jazzschool. Cost is $10-$15. 845-5373. www.jazzschool.com 

For the Crown, In Control, Modern Life is War, Dragnet at 5 p.m. at 924 Gilman St. Cost is $5. 525-9926. 

MONDAY, AUGUST 4 

READINGS AND LECTURES 

Neil M. Levy will read from his new book, “The Last Rebbe of Bialystok,” at 7:30 p.m. Black Oak Books. 486-0698.  

www.blackoakbooks.com 

Poetry Express, open mic from 7 to 9:30 p.m. at Priya Restaurant, 2072 San Pablo Ave.  

MUSIC AND DANCE 

California Music Festival, with cellist Christine Walevska and pianist Del Parkinson, at 8 p.m. at the Julia Morgan Center for the Arts. Tickets are $12-$18, available from 925-798-1300. www.juliamorgan.org 

AT THE THEATER 

Berkeley Music Theater Company, “Oliver!” Lionel Bart’s musical will be performed July 31, Aug 1, 2, 8 and 9 at 8 p.m. at Albany High School, 603 Key Route, Albany. Tickets are $15 general, $10 seniors, students, and low-income. 524-1224. 

Oakland Summer Theater, “The Death and Life of Sneaky Fitch,” August 1, 2, 3, 8 and 9, Fri. at 8 p.m., Sat. at 3 and 8 p.m., Sun. at 5 p.m. Tickets are $10 in advance, $12 at the door, $8 seniors and students, $5 on Sun. Chabot School Auditorium, 6686 Chabot Rd. To reserve tickets call 597-5026. 

Shotgun Players, “Mother Courage and Her Children,” by Bertolt Brecht, translated by David Hare, directed by Patrick Dooley. Runs Saturdays and Sundays at 4 p.m. in John Hinkle Park, until Sept. 14. No show Aug 9. Show Sept. 13 is at Live Oak Park, Shattuck and Berryman. Free. 704-8210.  

www.shotgunplayers.org 

 

Young Actors’ Workshop, “Animal Farm,” Opening Night Benefit, August 1 at 7 p.m., August 2 at 8 p.m. and August 3 at 2 p.m. at Live Oak Theater, 1301 Shattuck Ave. Tickets are $12, $10 for seniors and students. Opening Night is $40 in advance, and $45 at the door. For reservations call 232-7346. 

EXHIBITIONS 

ACCI Gallery, “Taste and Touch,” Members Exhibition with artists Toby Tover-Krein, Ellen Russell, Jean Hearst and Biliana Stremska. The exhibition runs to Aug. 11. Gallery hours are Mon. - Thurs., 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., Fri. 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Sat. 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. 1652 Shattuck Ave. 843-2527. www.accigallery.com 

Addison Street Windows, “Windows” An all-media ex- 

hibit by San Francisco Women Artists, through Aug. 11. 2018 Addison St. 658-0585.  

The Ames Gallery, “Conversations with Myself” Works by Barry Simons. Paintings and collages incorporating the artist’s original poetry. By appointment or chance. Exhibition runs until Aug. 15. 2661 Cedar St. 845-4949. www.amesgallery.com  

Berkeley Historical Society, “Focus on Berkeley” A photography exhibit by the Berkeley Camera Club, Berkeley High School students and community photographers in celebration of the City’s 125th Anniversary. Exhibition runs until Sept. 13. Berkeley History Center, 1931 Center St. 848-0181. 

Graduate Theological Union Library, “Hand-crafted Books by Bay Area Artists” Each book is accompanied by a statement addressing the issues and process involved in the creation of the work. Exhibition runs until Sept. 30. Graduate Theological Union, 2400 Ridge Rd.  

649-2541. 

Kala Art Institute, Kala Fellowship Exhibition, Part I The Kala Fellowships are awarded annually to eight innovative artists working in printmaking, book arts, video and digital media. Part I features the work of May Chan, Taro Hattori, Amanda Knowles and Andrew Mamo. Runs until July 31. Call for gallery hours. 1060 Heinz Ave. 549-2977. www.kala.org 

A New Leaf Gallery, “Four Elements of Sculpture Fire, Air, Water and Earth,” Exhibition runs to Aug. 31. 1286 Gilman St. Call for gallery hours. 527-7621. www.sculpturesite.com 

Red Oak Realty “Mixed Media,” by Stan Whitehead. Reception for the artist on Aug. 8, 6 to 8 p.m. Exhibition runs July 31 through Oct. 23, Mon. – Sat., 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. 1891 Solano Ave. 527-3387. 

Slater/Marinoff & Co., “All Animal Art” Forty photographers and artists have donated works to help fund the costs of the Milo Foundation’s work in finding homes for abandoned dogs and cats. Exhibition runs until Aug. 31. Hours are Mon. - Sat. 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Sun. 11:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. 1823 Fourth St. 548-2001.


Elmwood Neighborhood Takes Heist in Stride

By DAVID SCHARFENBERG
Tuesday July 29, 2003

When Alex Rincon runs across College Avenue to do his banking at the Wells Fargo branch in the Elmwood section of town, he tries to make it in the late afternoon. It’s not that the lines are shorter or the service is friendlier that time of day. “I just try to pick a time when it seems like they won’t get robbed,” said Rincon, a manager at Your Basic Bird pet shop. 

Rincon explains that most holdups at the bank, like the recent heist Friday, seem to happen in the morning or early afternoon. 

Janet Dunlap, manager of The Trading Post, a jewelry and pottery store just a few doors down from Wells Fargo, at 2959 College Ave., has a different piece of advice. She says customers who find themselves in the bank during a robbery should skeedaddle before the police arrive. 

“If you’re in the bank when it gets robbed, get out before they lock you in half the day [to take witness reports],” she said. 

Robberies at the local bank, which gets hit two to three times per year, according to police, seem to have little effect on the business owners, employees and residents of the tree-lined Elmwood district, with its cafes and book stores. 

“Now, it’s just like earthquakes—I just go, ‘Oh, another one,’” said Tim Bonfield, who has worked at Bolfing’s Elmwood Hardware for seven years. 

Berkeley Police Department spokesperson Officer Mary Kusmiss said the College Avenue Wells Fargo is not the only local bank susceptible to holdups. Robbers frequently hit Berkeley’s downtown banks, she said, because thick pedestrian crowds and the Downtown Berkeley BART station can make for an easy escape. 

There is no train station near the Elmwood Wells Fargo, and the foot traffic isn’t as heavy. But Kusmiss said the bank may be attractive to robbers because it sits on the corner of Ashby Avenue, a major east-west thoroughfare. 

Chris McGoey, a Los Angeles-based security consultant who grew up in the Bay Area, disagreed. He said Ashby Avenue, with its traffic and distance from the closest freeway is probably not a significant draw. 

He said robbers likely take a host of other considerations into account—from the security at the bank, to the number of one-way streets in the area, to their own familiarity with the district. 

“They usually know the neighborhood,” he said. “They want to feel comfortable. They know someone who lives there. They know the back streets ... It’s all about escape.” 

Whatever the reasons, the locals say they are accustomed to the robberies, and are not terribly concerned for their own safety. 

Adam Broner, who lives nearby and banks at the Elmwood Wells Fargo, said he was more worried about the tellers who have to deal with the stick-ups. 

“It’s a shame,” he said. “They’re all so nice.” 

Tony Nero, who lives around the corner on Benvenue Avenue, said he was more concerned about the periodic street muggings in the neighborhood. 

“It makes me more nervous when people with guns go after individuals,” he said. 

But not everyone was so nonplused. Meghan Tiernan, a landscape architect who works nearby and walks to Elmwood to get lunch and do her banking at Wells Fargo, said the bank robbery, combined with the occasional leaflet warning of local muggings, would make her “think twice” and “look around” when she was in the area. 

The Friday morning holdup took a bloodier turn than most. After receiving a report of an armed robbery at 10:06 a.m., Oakland and Berkeley police traced the suspect to the 2200 block of Haste Street, 15 blocks away, and, after a confrontation, three officers fatally shot alleged robber Glennel Givens, 27, of Oakland. Givens was pronounced dead at Oakland’s Highland Hospital at 11:37 a.m. 

But just a couple of hours after the robbery, blocks from the somber site of the fatal shooting, it was business as usual in the Elmwood. College Avenue was bustling. The restaurants and cafes were filled at the peak of the lunch hour. And the Wells Fargo itself bore few signs of the heist—just a pre-printed sign that read, in a pleasant looping font: “Attention customers! We are temporarily closed due to a robbery and will re-open as soon as possible ... We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.” 

 

 


Message for LBNL: Consider Alternatives to Creek Infill

Tuesday July 29, 2003

The following letters were addressed to Jeff Philliber, environmental planning coordinator, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory: 

 

I am writing on behalf of the Ecology Center in Berkeley to provide comments on the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory’s Notice of Preparation, Draft Focused, Tiered Environmental Impact Report on the Construction and Operation of Building 49 and G-4 Parking Lot. 

The Ecology Center strongly objects to this project in its current form. Particularly problematic is the portion of the project that would dispose of excavated soil by filling in the riparian corridor known as “Cafeteria Creek.” The project appears to be in violation of Berkeley’s Creek Ordinance and would destroy sensitive riparian  

habitat for wildlife such as deer and bird species, and remove large, mature native trees. Cafeteria Creek is a rare and valuable stretch of unaltered riparian habitat and an important and natural tributary to Strawberry Creek. 

We believe that the proposed building site would produce excessive amounts of soil because of the steep slope on which the building would be constructed. We suggest that LBNL choose another, flatter site that does not require excavating a hillside, and that would generate less soil. Further, we suggest choosing a different method for soil disposal, such as delivering it to a disposal company for reuse as clean fill. 

Additionally, the area to be filled by the parking lot includes several coast live oaks, supports considerable bird life and is threaded with deer paths. We would suggest that LBNL find alternatives to building another parking lot. Rather than relying on increased parking capacity and increased single occupancy vehicular traffic to meet transportation needs, we would suggest increasing carpooling efforts and providing increased shuttle services. 

Since there are feasible alternatives to destroying this riparian corridor, we ask that you revise your project plan accordingly. 

Martin Bourque 

Executive Director 

Ecology Center 

 

• 

I am writing on behalf of the Friends of Baxter Creek (FOBC), a 950-member-plus organization whose mission is to preserve, restore, protect and advocate for Baxter Creek and neighboring watersheds. FOBC believes that protecting creeks is essential to the livability of our community. Our Web site can be found at http://www.creativedifferences.com/baxtercreek.  

FOBC objects to the proposed project to construct an office building and parking lot and dispose of the fill from construction by burying a natural-flowing creek. People who know the creek say that it runs much of the year, that its banks are densely vegetated with riparian plants and mature coastal live oaks, and that it supports abundant wildlife by providing water, shade and food, and creating a natural habitat corridor. As we understand it, the project is proposed on a steep slope that would necessitate substantial grading and fill, and could likely create soil instability and drainage problems in the area.  

Environmental analysis of the project should emphasize the many benefits to wildlife that creeks and the surrounding natural areas provide. To cite just a few examples, migrating songbirds use creeks in urbanized areas to stop and refuel. In its Water Quality Control Plan for the San Francisco Bay (Region 2) published June 21, 1995, the California Regional Water Quality Control Board, San Francisco Bay Region, states that the two most important types of wildlife habitat are riparian and wetlands habitats. According to the California Oak Foundation, many species of animals rely on oak woodlands for their sustenance.  

FOBC believes that alternatives exist to the proposed construction and fill in the creek and destruction of adjacent oak woodlands. Sites that have existing buildings capable of being renovated or expanded, or sites that would involve less grading and destruction of vegetation and wildlife should be chosen over a site with a natural-flowing vegetated creek and surrounding habitat corridor.  

Caitlin Smith 

El Cerrito 


Babá Ken’s Desert Island Mix

Tuesday July 29, 2003

When asked to choose his favorite music, Babá Ken selected the following albums: 

“The first one I would take,” he said, “not to lose my roots, is my traditional music, but I don’t think you can find it here. [We’re] a minority tribe and we’re not many in the world. I can count the musicians from that area on the fingers on my hand. I have some stuff [sung by] my elder brother. There was just two of them and they sing these weird harmonies and very intricate rhythms you won’t believe. You can’t even notate it. 

“I would take a highlife album from Chief Steven Osita Osadebe. 

“Then I will take a jazz album from John Coltrane. Any of them but the earlier albums were really good. He started listening to the African horns from the northern part of Africa. He started listening to that and his latest albums were really way out there. People couldn’t understand what he was doing. I like that. That’s visionary. He really trip and take his mind somewhere else, out of this world.  

“Next would be a Stevie Wonder album. His inner vision‚ is so deep, [also] ‘Songs in the Key of Life’‚ that’s an evergreen for me, I can hear it everyday. 

“And I would take a Fela album, any of them but mostly the earlier ones. Before he died he was going off his head, I mean he was going wild for me. Because of his arrangements and his knowledge between the African rhythm and the western rhythm and jazz and the groove, a very strong groove—because I’m groove oriented.  

“I also like Hawaiian music, it’s very soothing. 

“And that’s about it for me because with that selection everything is in there for me.”


Senior Centers Adjust For Boomer Influx

By DAVID SCHARFENBERG
Tuesday July 29, 2003

Juggling parking problems, budget woes and a Baby Boomer population surging toward old age, the city of Berkeley is considering a series of changes at its three senior centers—some of them provoking concern among current elderly users. 

Proposals range from offering more yoga classes, to kicking off a singles club, to renaming the North Berkeley Senior Center the “Lifelong Living Center,” according to a draft reorganization plan put together in the city’s Health & Human Services department in April.  

Most seniors said they welcome these overtures to the aging Boomer set. But many say they have not had enough input on the reform plan.  

Others have grumbled about the push to rename the centers and objected to a plan to move the Meals on Wheels program from the North Berkeley to the West Berkeley Senior Center, where parking is more plentiful. 

“Why should North Berkeley be set free and we [get] punished?,” asked Marion Barlow, 74, a regular at the West Berkeley Senior Center. “Parking here will be ten times worse if we bring the program here.” 

Lisa Ploss, the city’s senior programs administrator, said the dozen vehicles used for Meals on Wheels, which feeds about 240 homebound seniors in Berkeley, Albany and Emeryville, can create gridlock in the North Berkeley Senior Center lot - prompting calls for the move. 

But Ploss emphasized that the Meals on Wheels proposal, like all the ideas in the reorganization plan, is preliminary and requires more input from Berkeley’s seniors. 

Rose Kennedy, a member of the West Berkeley Senior Center Advisory Council, said input is what has been missing. 

“None of the seniors have been involved in the planning,” she said. 

Ploss acknowledges that the city has done a poor job of communicating with the elderly community about the proposed changes. 

“Obviously, we haven’t done this as well as we could have,” she said. “I take responsibility for that.” 

The communication gap has helped fuel rumors, entirely untrue, Ploss said, that the West Berkeley Senior Center is closing.  

Ploss also ruled out a much-maligned proposal, included in the April reorganization plan, that called for West Berkeley seniors to take a bus to the South Berkeley Senior Center every day for lunch. 

Ploss said she is working on a survey, to be distributed at the senior centers in several weeks, that will give the city a broader sense for what programs work and what changes participants would like to see. She added that staff will also meet directly with seniors at each center to discuss the proposals. 

Berkeley’s senior centers, operating on a $2.2 million annual budget, serve 3,000 to 4,000 people per year. 

Ploss said the major motivating factor behind the reorganization plan was the Baby Boomers’ steady march toward old age. According to 2000 U.S. census data, the number of people over 65 in California is expected to jump 172 percent, over the current total of 3.5 million, in the next 40 years. In Berkeley, the 65-plus population will increase by 153 percent in the next eight years alone, according to census projections. 

“We need to start figuring out how to reach that population,” she said. “The challenge is being respectful to the [older] population that has really built these centers.” 

Scott Parkin, spokesman for the Washington, D.C.-based National Council on Aging, said senior centers around the country are wrestling with the question of how to attract a generation that has embraced everything from exercise to botox in an effort to escape old age. 

“The image has been that senior centers are for older, more senior people,” he said. 

Experts say senior centers around the country have changed their names, redecorated and built workout facilities in a bid to win over the “new senior.” But change is not always a good thing, warns Paul Kleyman of the San Francisco-based American Society on Aging. 

“All aging is local,” he said, paraphrasing former Speaker of the House Tip O’Neill, who famously said “all politics is local.” 

Kleyman said makeovers, including movie clubs and trips to vineyards, have tended to be more successful in upper-income areas, and less successful in more traditional, low-income settings. 

The North Berkeley Senior Center is in an affluent part of town, but the south and west Berkeley centers are not. 

Ploss said the city will be careful to build on the strengths of the current centers—including the computer lab at South Berkeley and the line dancing and gardening at West Berkeley—as it eyes reform. 

But funding is sure to play a role in any overhaul. The senior centers escaped the budget ax this June, when City Council closed a $9 million deficit with a selective hiring freeze, tax hikes and cuts. But the financial picture will only get worse next year, when the city will take on an additional $8 to $10 million shortfall. 

“Next year is looking a lot more concerning,” Ploss said.


Greens Can Impact Politics If They Pick Battles Carefully

By NORMAN SOLOMON AlterNet
Tuesday July 29, 2003

“The Green Party emerged from a national meeting ... increasingly certain that it will run a presidential candidate in next year’s election, all but settling a debate within the group over how it should approach the 2004 contest,” the Washington Post reported on July 21. The Green Party promptly put out a news release declaring that Greens “affirmed the party’s intention to run candidates for president and vice president of the United States in 2004.” 

That release quoted a national party co-chair. “This meeting produced a clear mandate for a strong Green Party presidential ticket in 2004,” he said, adding that “We chose the path of growth and establishing ourselves as the true opposition party.” But other voices, less public, are more equivocal. 

Days later, national party co-chair Anita Rios told me that she’s “ambivalent” about the prospect of a Green presidential race next year. Another co-chair, Jo Chamberlain, mentioned “mixed feelings about it.” Theoretically, delegates to the national convention next June could pull the party out of the 2004 presidential race. But the chances of that happening are very slim. The momentum is clear. 

Few present-day Green Party leaders seem willing to urge that Greens forego the blandishments of a presidential campaign. The increased attention—including media coverage—for the party is too compelling to pass up. 

In recent years, the Greens have overcome one of the first big hurdles of a fledgling political party: News outlets no longer ignore them. In 2000, the Green presidential ticket, headed by Ralph Nader, had a significant impact on the campaign. Although excluded from the debates and many news forums, candidate Nader did gain some appreciable media exposure nationwide. 

Green leaders are apt to offer rationales along the lines that “political parties run candidates” and Greens must continue to gain momentum at the ballot box. But by failing to make strategic decisions about which electoral battles to fight—and which not to—the Greens are set to damage the party’s long-term prospects. 

The Green Party is now hampered by rigidity that prevents it from acknowledging a grim reality: The presidency of George W. Bush has turned out to be so terrible in so many ways that even a typically craven corporate Democrat would be a significant improvement in some important respects. 

Fueled by idealistic fervor for its social-change program (which I basically share), the Green Party has become an odd sort of counterpoint to the liberals who have allowed pro-corporate centrists to dominate the Democratic Party for a dozen years now. Those liberal Democrats routinely sacrifice principles and idealism in the name of electoral strategy. The Greens are now largely doing the reverse—proceeding toward the 2004 presidential race without any semblance of a viable electoral strategy, all in the name of principled idealism. 

Local Green Party activism has bettered many communities. While able to win some municipal or county races in enclaves around the country—and sometimes implementing valuable reforms—the Greens stumble when they field candidates for statewide offices or Congress. 

When putting up candidates in those higher-level campaigns, the Greens usually accomplish little other than on occasion making it easier for the Republican candidate to win. That’s because the U.S. electoral system, unfortunately, unlike in Europe, is a non-parliamentary winner-take-all setup. To their credit, Green activists are working for reforms like “instant runoff voting” that would make the system more democratic and representative. 

In discussions about races for the highest offices, sobering reality checks can be distasteful to many Greens, who correctly point out that a democratic process requires a wide range of voices and choices during election campaigns. But that truth does not change another one: A smart movement selects its battles and cares about its impacts. 

A small party that is unwilling to pick and choose its battles—and unable to consider the effects of its campaigns on the country as a whole—will find itself glued to the periphery of American politics. 

In contrast, more effective progressives seeking fundamental change are inclined to keep exploring—and learning from—the differences between principle and self-marginalization. They bypass insular rhetoric and tactics that drive gratuitous wedges between potential allies—especially when a united front is needed to topple an extreme far-right regime in Washington. 

 

Norman Solomon is co-author of “Target Iraq: What the News Media Didn’t Tell You.”


Temple Going Up but Questions Remain

By PAUL KILDUFF Special to the Planet
Tuesday July 29, 2003

Construction on a 32,000-square-foot synagogue has begun on Oxford Street behind Codornices Park, but not without some still unanswered questions about the project’s financing. The size and location of Congregation Beth El’s future home has pitted a very vocal neighborhood group against the congregation since the building was first proposed on the historical site two years ago. 

Chief among the concerns of some neighbors is whether the congregation will be able to raise the estimated $8.5 million needed to complete construction when they haven’t sold their original temple at Spruce and Arch. The asking price for the building is $4.5 million.  

Plans for the three-acre parcel that formerly housed the Chinese Christian Alliance’s modest church call for a synagogue, chapel, administration offices and a nursery school. When finished the building will be comparable in size to the nearby Safeway at Shattuck and Rose. Right now work crews are busy drilling holes on the land for the building’s geo-thermal system.  

Beth El president Harry Pollack, who is also a city planning commissioner, denied the congregation is having any trouble either selling their original temple or raising funds to build the new one, but declined to discuss any details. “You don’t talk about potential buyers while you’re in negotiations or while you’re busy marketing it,” said Pollack. “I’m not going to talk about the marketing for the newspaper.” 

Pollack also refused to comment on whether Congregation Beth El member dues had been increased substantially to help pay for the new temple. 

According to a recent report in the Northern California Jewish Bulletin, the cost of the new temple has risen to $11 million. In March 2002 the congregation’s newsletter, The Builder, indicated that contributions for the project were not at the level expected. According to the newsletter, the drive to raise $3.2 million from congregants was $1.3 million short, and only about half of the full dues paying members had pledged the asked-for $5,000. The November 2002 issue of the newsletter states that the board is addressing the issue of membership retention and reported it had fallen from 630 to 447.  

While questions persist about the financing of the new temple, David Dempster, a member of the Live Oak Codornices Creek Neighborhood Association (LOCCNA) said Beth El is living up to its end of the settlement agreement, which the organization signed with the temple a year and a half ago, allowing the project to go through.  

A key to this agreement is that Congregation Beth El agreed to daylight the remaining portion of Codornices Creek—one of the most open creeks in the east bay—on the site if money can be found to pay for it (estimate of the cost is $500,000 ). Original plans for the temple called for its parking lot to be built on the north end of the site, covering up the creek that runs next to Berryman path, a public walkway. LOCCNA protested the plan, and the parking lot and driveway were moved south of the stream. Terms of the agreement state that Congregation Beth El cannot develop the northern portion of the property.  

Currently, about 300 feet of the creek on the property that had always been open (about a third of the creek on site) is being restored. Restoration includes the planting of native plants such as willows and dogwoods and the addition of a series of step pools. It is hoped that the step pools will make it easier for steelhead trout, a form of salmon, to climb up stream to a potential spawning habitat with cooler water and more vegetation just east of the site. The fish have been spotted recently downstream to the west toward the Bay. Before many creeks leading from the Berkeley hills to the Bay were culverted (put underground in cement passageways) in the late 1940s, steelhead trout were commonly seen swimming upstream in them.  

Juliet Lamont, an environmental consultant who lives one block east of the construction site, was initially upset when crews cleared 20 mature trees on the once heavily wooded site during the initial groundbreaking a year and a half ago. But she concedes that Beth El had a right to take them out, as Berkeley does not have a tree protection ordinance.  

Another issue LOCCNA is concerned about, Dempster said, is overflow parking onto Oxford Street, when there is an event that attracts 150 or more people at the temple. Congregation Beth El has yet to submit a parking plan for such events. Any such plan would have to include a combination of valet and satellite parking—access to a parking lot nearby with a shuttle to and from the lot. Prior to opening the building a parking plan must be submitted.  

Despite the signing of the agreement, there is still lingering resentment from some neighbors over the use of the space for such a large building. “I feel that from the very beginning the city dropped the ball in not buying that as a park. It was an ideal place and had lots of beautiful greenery and now it’s gone,” said Ruth Jennings, 87, who’s lived just north of the site since 1965. “I think what they’re trying to do on this property is much too big for the property. The traffic is going to be enormous and all the activities at night are going to completely change the neighborhood.” 

Still, despite the fact that her next-door neighbor moved out because of the new building, Jennings is staying put. 

“I’m not going to be run out of my home,” she said.


Reagan No Hitler Says UC GOP Group

By MEGAN GREENWELL
Tuesday July 29, 2003

A UC Berkeley study and accompanying press release that focused on defining the psychology of social conservatism has infuriated conservatives across the country and prompted a demand for an apology from the Berkeley College Republicans. 

The College Republicans issued their request for a formal apology on Friday, five days after the original press release, entitled “What Makes 

Conservatives Tick,” appeared on the UC Berkeley home page to celebrate the release of a 37-page study that set out to explain underlying motivations common to all conservatives. 

The release was written by senior public information representative Kathleen Maclay but was approved by Berkeley associate professor of public policy Jack Glaser, who co-wrote the study with John Jost of Stanford University, Arie Kruglanski of the University of Maryland, and UC Berkeley visiting professor Frank Sulloway. 

At the heart of the current controversy is a paragraph that many conservatives charge equates former U.S. President Ronald Reagan with Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini as political conservatives. The paragraph reads, “Disparate conservatives share a resistance to change and acceptance of inequality, the authors said. Hitler, Mussolini, and former president Ronald Reagan were individuals, but all were right-wing conservatives because they preached a return to an idealized past and condoned inequality in some form.” 

The study, which involved 88 sample works and 22,818 participants, found several main psychological factors that are shared traits among political conservatives. These traits include fear and aggression, intolerance of ambiguity, avoidance of uncertainty, and the need for cognitive closure, 

according to the press release. 

“The main finding was that conservatives tend to see the world more in black and white,” Glaser said. 

“[The press release] did not just misrepresent political conservatism, it misrepresented historical facts,” said Andrea Irvin, the president of the Berkeley College Republicans. “The likening of Reagan to Hitler is ridiculous to us.” 

But Glaser said the release does not equate Hitler and Reagan if read carefully and emphasized that he would not have approved the media relations release if he had read the paragraph as drawing that analogy. 

“It says at the beginning of the first sentence that these are ‘disparate conservatives,’” Glaser said. “I would not compare Reagan and Hitler. That is offensive to me, and that’s not what it said, but if someone just glossed over the words instead of reading it carefully I can see how they might have thought that.” 

The press release has since been removed from UC Berkeley’s home page and has been modified slightly. The release and study are still available through the Web site’s news center. 

On Friday, the Berkeley College Republicans sent a formal request for an apology to Maclay’s office. The group also posted a response article on the Web site of its monthly journal, the California Patriot. 

“This release is a political tool by the university,” said Amaury Gallais, the Bay Area Chair of the California College Republicans, in the article. “No conservative values are respected, only criticized.” 

Although the College Republicans’ main concern was with the press release that accompanied the formal study, Irvin and other group members also took issue with some conclusions drawn about conservatives as a whole in the report. The California Patriot article goes on to question Glaser’s claim that conservatives possess less “integrative complexity than others,” stating that many see that particular comment as “another attempt by the university to push a liberal agenda.” Many College Republicans were also concerned that because Berkeley is a public institution, public funding may have been used to support what they see as a biased study. 

“There is a definite political lean to the study,” Irwin said. “It felt like it painted a poor picture of political conservatism as a whole. They were trying to condense it into a study that paints being conservative as psychologically inferior.” 

But Glaser said that his study was designed only to find key similarities 

among a group of people, not to portray that group as inferior or identical 

to each other. 

“None of the information that is in the study is earth-shattering,” Glaser said. “Among any group of people there are interesting consistencies among people’s motivations.” 

Since the study was released early last week, Glaser and Maclay have 

attracted national attention from conservative pundits and media organizations. The National Review posted an opinion column listing concerns about the press release, and the controversy has been featured on the Wall Street Journal’s online opinion page. California Patriot editor-in-chief Steve Sexton appeared on Fox News Radio Monday night, and Hovannes Abramyan, the author of the Patriot article about the press release, made an appearance on news channel MSNBC. 

“When I approved the press release I wasn’t being too media-savvy,” Glaser said. “I did not predict this outrage.” 

 

 

 

 


Former Ambassador Furious White House Outed Spouse

By HOWARD ALTMAN Featurewell.com
Tuesday July 29, 2003

Joe Wilson is on the phone with some serious allegations about the people who work for the president. 

Joseph Wilson IV, the former ambassador to Gabon and the man who told the world the Bush administration certainly should have known better about Saddam Hussein’s efforts to purchase uranium in Niger, wants to talk about how denizens of 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. revealed his wife’s secret life as a CIA operative. 

“If what Novak said is accurate, it is a breach of U.S. national security and a violation of American law,” says Wilson, referring to Robert Novak and his July 14 Chicago Sun-Times column headlined “The Mission to Niger.” Novak wrote that Wilson’s “wife, Valerie Plame, is an agency operative on weapons of mass destruction. Two senior administration officials told me his wife suggested sending Wilson to Niger …” 

Novak’s column, in essence, says that Wilson’s trip to Niger was set up without CIA director George Tenet’s knowledge. And, that Wilson’s findings—that the British claim about Hussein purchasing uranium yellowcake was based on a forged document—were inconclusive. But, in Novak’s attempt to spin this story on behalf of the White House, all of Plame’s contacts and missions were compromised. Not surprisingly, Wilson is irate. 

He’s already contacted the FBI and CIA and asked for investigations. Wilson tells me he will let the investigators figure out who outed his wife. But, while he doesn’t know for sure who leaked to Novak, Wilson’s pretty sure he knows where they work. 

“I have every reason to believe, from what people have told me, that it was people at the White House.” 

Wilson, by the way, does not hold Bush accountable for the leak. “I don’t think the president—I can’t imagine the president would have anything to do with this,” Wilson says when I ask him if Bush should be impeached if he is linked to the leak. “This is not the sort of thing he or his family—I knew his family since [the time I was] his father’s ambassador to Gabon—would do.” 

Wilson tells me he blames “political operators operating below [the president’s] particular screen” for blowing his wife’s cover. And, though on July 6 he wrote in a New York Times editorial that “… I have little choice but to conclude that some of the intelligence related to Iraq’s nuclear weapons program was twisted to exaggerate the Iraqi threat,” Wilson doesn’t blame the president for the infamous 16 words in his January State of the Union speech. (That passage—”The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa”—helped Bush justify war in Iraq.) 

Though two administration officials have now apologized for ignoring CIA warnings that the Niger uranium tale was bunk, Wilson apparently doesn’t believe the president’s actions are on par with staining a blue dress. 

“I don’t see how [Bush’s words are] impeachable. The president acted on good faith. The president is badly serviced by senior people around him,” says Wilson, who’s unwilling to name names. Well, was Bush truthful to the nation? 

“I don’t believe the administration adequately explained how much [the occupation of Iraq] will cost or how long it will take,” he says, adding that this nation should think about being over there for “five, 10, 15, maybe 20 years.” 

“Yes,” I nudge, “but was the administration truthful?” 

“I think the administration had its ideas on what it wanted to accomplish,” he answers. 

I push once more about Bush’s veracity. 

“Put it this way,” he says, relenting. “It is not really something I can answer. It will be determined through the process of an ongoing debate and, ultimately, at the ballot box.” 

Wilson, who has repeatedly stated that the outing of his wife was a “shot across the bow” at anyone else considering coming forward with damning information, tells me that potential fellow whistleblowers are already starting to reach out “indirectly” to express concerns about the consequences of releasing information they might have. With the president due in town today, I ask Wilson if he has any message for him. 

“No,” he says. “I have no message for him.” 

Who knew what? 

And when? 

The questions we were asking the Nixon administration, we are asking again, 30 years later. 

Now, it’s who knew that Niger was a lie? When did they find out? Who knew about the leak? When did they find out? 

Wilson, I think, is being a little too kind to Bush. 

These are very serious questions. 

Especially now that we are looking at a decade of paying with blood and money to do in Iraq what we could be doing here. Rebuilding cities. Establishing democracy. 

Especially when the administration, exposed for lying to the public, compromises national security just to get back at the whistleblower who called the White House on its lie. 

With so many lives on the line and so much money at stake, these questions make Watergate seem almost trivial. And Monicagate? Feh. Yet Nixon resigned and Clinton was impeached. 

It is time, President Bush, to answer these questions. 

And, if you knew about the leak and knew about the lie, it is time for you to go. 

Howard Altman is editor of The Philadelphia City Paper.


Berkeley Housing Program Captures Planning Honor

By MEGAN GREENWELL
Tuesday July 29, 2003

The city of Berkeley won the 2003 Distinguished Leadership Planning Award from the California Chapter of the American Planning Association (CCAPA), the group announced last week. 

Berkeley won the award for its Infill Housing Implementation Program, which is a city-coordinated effort to increase the amount of infill development to provide creative and affordable housing options. Infill planning is defined as redevelopment within existing developments, a concept that CCAPA coordinator Jon Akana said is important for urban areas. 

“Berkeley has a great model for urban planning,” Akana said. CCAPA awards coordinator Brian Smith cited Berkeley’s “sustainable development policies and examples of successful higher density infill development downtown and along major transit corridors,” as the factors that set the city’s program apart from other city planning projects. 

Winners of the CCAPA competition were selected from organizations across the state which were nominated by a member of the city’s planning group. 

Berkeley’s team included Vivian Kahn, Carol Barrett and Greg Powell from the city’s Planning and Development Department, Tom Lollini, UC Berkeley assistant vice chancellor for physical and environmental planning, Kevin Hufferd, a UC Berkeley capital projects senior planner, and developer Patrick Kennedy, the CEO of infill development company Panoramic Interests. 

“The Berkeley program is the product of very innovative team members,” Akana said. 

The award will be presented to the city of Berkeley at CCAPA’s state conference in Santa Barbara in September. 

The award submission from the city included examples of 22 infill housing projects, all of which are currently under construction or were completed within the last few years and all of which lie along major transit corridors. Such projects included an Affordable Housing Associates completed at 2517 Sacramento St. as well as several Panoramic Interests projects. 

“Panoramic Interests is the most aggressive infill housing developer, so much of their work provides good examples of what we’re promoting with affordable housing options,” said Mark Rhoades, city planning manager. 

 


This Sunday Brunch Fit to be Thai’ed

By ZAC UNGER Special to the Planet
Tuesday July 29, 2003

I’ve always held a fairly dim view of foreign countries. It’s not that I begrudge them their right to do whatever it is that foreign countries do, it’s just that I’ve never had the burning impulse to be a part of it. Oh, don’t tsk-tsk me. I’ve done my share of traveling to exotic land. It’s just that my share happened to be rather small. One. And my wife and I did have a great time when we went to China a few years back. We hiked along the Tibetan border (I suppose I could say we trekked, but I can’t bring myself to use that word). We let the bliss of sheer confusion wash over us as we boarded buses to places unknown and slurped down soups full of delightful mystery meats that made us ill. 

I wouldn’t mind getting out a little, but I’ve been so thoroughly sold on the wonders of America, that I’m playing catch-up seeing all that this country has to offer. No doubt the Alps are magnifique, but the Rockies are pretty darn amazing and you don’t have to take a red-eye to get there. I’m still searching for the majesty of my first purple mountain, and until I stumble on that icon of American wilderness, I’d better keep to the wide open West before I head for lands unknown. 

If it’s culture you want (and I happen to want it in very, very small doses) there’s really no shortage of exotica right here at home. As far as I can tell, “culture” seems to mean food, knick-knacks and people in funny hats, all of which we have in abundance. The always-intriguing Berkeley Bowl offers vague and mildly threatening vegetables from all 14 continents plus Southern California. And within walking distance of my home I can experience Anatolian appetizers, Congolese drumming, Falun Gong breathing exercises and Brazilian hand-springing and backflipping. I couldn’t point out Anatolia on a map, but my, what wonderful boreks they have! In fact, Berkeley is so rich in foreign culture that when I began to have misgivings about the Tibetan mobile that I failed to buy while I was over there, I just went out and bought myself one on University Avenue. 

So imagine my delight when I discovered a rich little slice of Southeast Asia right here at home: Sunday brunch at the Thai Temple, on Russell Street off of Martin Luther King, Jr. Way. I’m not sure how it got started or who runs the show over there, but apparently every Sunday the local Thai community cooks a massive amount of incredible food and sells it to the adoring public. It’s all very exotic and confusing, just chaotic enough to be invigorating, just sanitary enough not to give you a tapeworm. 

Like any good foreign trip, brunch at the Thai temple starts off with a currency exchange. You plunk down your money and get little plasticky chips in exchange. Then you trade those chips for different food items, each of which is worth a different, often inscrutable amount. The drinks can be paid for with real money except of course, when they can’t. Then you use chips. How exhilaratingly disorderly! When you’re done you can trade the extra chips back for real money if you want to wait in line. I recommend going with a bunch of friends, buying a gigantic pile of chips Vegas-style, then hiding the extras in your socks so that you’ll be forced to come back next week to spend them. 

The food, needless to say, is spectacular. It’s deep fried and greasy and way too spicy to be forking down at 10 in the morning. No banana pancakes with whipped cream here, you fat Americans. Those of us who have gone native start our Sundays with green papaya salad and kleeplamduan. And since the Thai Temple is a foreign country (by my standards at any rate), the normal rules of behavior do not apply. Overeating is sanctioned, you’re encouraged to order something you’re scared of, and please feel free to eat off your friends’ plates as if they were your own. 

I’m sure they’re making money hand over fist and isn’t it just fantastic? We’re being fleeced and we love it! We’re on vacation! We’re spending quaint foreign currency that doesn’t look anything like our own! I don’t know what they’re doing with all the money but I can tell you that they’ve got a bunch of giant watering troughs full of lily pads and goldfish, and if that’s not a worthwhile expenditure in these troubled times then I sure don’t know what is. Also, sometimes they have monks there, and that can’t be cheap. 

So if you’re going to stay stateside for a while—and let’s face it, I will—there’s no better bang for your buck than the Thai Temple. Brunch is Sundays from 10 to three-ish, or thereabouts. It’s located on Russell above MLK. You can’t miss it: Just follow the tourists. 

 

 


Opinion

Editorials

Berkeley Leads Bay Area Cities In Number of ‘Green Businesses’

By DAVID SCHARFENBERG
Friday August 01, 2003

According to the latest figures from the Bay Area Green Business Program, Berkeley leads the region by a long shot in certified environmentally-friendly businesses. 

A total of 27 restaurants, auto repair shops, dentists and other businesses have taken steps to conserve water and energy, recycle and prevent pollution, earning certification as an official “green business” from the program, operated by the Association of Bay Area Governments. 

Oakland ranked second with 17 certified businesses, followed by Concord, in Contra Costa County, and Novato, in Marin County, with 15 each. 

“Berkeley businesses have really stepped up to the plate,” said Pamela Evans, director of the Alameda County Green Business Program, the local wing of the broader Bay Area program. “Their combined efforts have ensured that tons of waste are diverted from landfills, fewer dangerous chemicals are drained to the Bay and thousands of dollars are saved due to energy and water conservation measures.” 

The broader program, launched in 1996, includes six of the nine Bay Area counties—Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Napa, Santa Clara and Sonoma. San Francisco County is expected to join by year’s send or early in 2004, according to Ceil Scandone, regional coordinator for the program. 

Art Ratner, owner of Art’s Automotive on San Pablo Avenue, said “a swarm” of city and county officials descended on his shop in 2000 when he decided to certify as a green business. 

“They find things in your business that you are not even aware of,” he said. 

Ratner said the shop moved to water-based solvents, ratcheted up its water conservation efforts and hastened the shift to low-energy light bulbs as a result of the process. 

Ratner said the green business seal makes a difference to about one in 50 customers. 

“It’s one more reason [to patronize the shop]—and that suits me fine,” he said. 

Jennifer Cogley, eco-business coordinator for the city of Berkeley, credits Thimmakka’s Resources for Environmental Education, a non-profit based in both Oakland and Los Angeles, for the recent rise in the town’s certified green business numbers. 

The non-profit’s Greening Ethnic Restaurants program has attracted a host of new businesses to the certification process since March 2002. 

“Our success is built on conducting language- and culture-specific outreach to minority ethnic businesses, a hard-to-reach population,” said Ritu Primlani, who heads Greening Ethnic Restaurants. “We help to create a model that says that environmentalism isn’t just for people who are fluent in English and can afford it.” 

Primlani projects that, over the course of five years, the first 30 Bay Area restaurants her program has helped certify, in Berkeley and beyond, will redirect solid waste from landfills to recycling equivalent to 22.8 Boeing 737 aircraft filled to a maximum capacity of 79 tons. 

For a list of green certified businesses, see the Bay Area Green Business Program’s web site at www.abag.ca.gov/bayarea/enviro/gbus/.


Police Blotter

By DAVID SCHARFENBERG
Tuesday July 29, 2003

One finger, fifteen dollars 

A man, apparently using nothing more than an outstretched finger, stole $15 from a pizza shop late Thursday night, according to police. 

Berkeley Police Department spokseperson Sgt. Steve Odom said a man in his early-30s entered Extreme Pizza at 2352 Shattuck Ave. at about 11:30 p.m., left and returned 30 seconds later, demanding that employees and customers get down on the floor as he stole $15 from the tip jar. 

The robber, described as 5 feet 9 inches, with a medium build, wearing a dark sweatshirt, had a hand in the right pocket of his sweatshirt and was apparently using an outstretched finger to create the appearance of a gun, Odom said. 

As he made his way out the door, an employee said, “You better put the money back.” 

“You better get out of my way,” the robber said, fleeing the scene, according to Odom. 

Police had no suspects as of Monday afternoon. 

Durant Avenue beating 

Two men beat an acquaintance on the 2500 block of Durant Avenue late Thursday night, according to police. 

Berkeley Police Department spokseperson Sgt. Steve Odom said the group got in a verbal altercation, with all three parties “trash-talking,” when one of the men punched another in the face. 

The third man then worked with the puncher to shove the victim to the ground, according to police. The two assailants proceeded to kick the victim in the face and body, Odom said, fleeing when a witness told them the police were arriving. 

Investigators did not have the alleged attackers in custody as of Monday afternoon.