Full Text

Jakob Schiller
          UC Berkeley computer science expert David Wagner highlights some of the potential vulnerabilities in the proposed federal overseas absentee electronic
          voting system he says should be abandoned.
Jakob Schiller UC Berkeley computer science expert David Wagner highlights some of the potential vulnerabilities in the proposed federal overseas absentee electronic voting system he says should be abandoned.


UC Expert Urges Defeat Of Feds’ E-voting System

Tuesday January 27, 2004

Washington should abandon a new Internet-based system designed to facilitate voting for American citizens overseas, declared a panel of top computer experts—including UC Berkeley professor David Wagner—in a recently issued report.  

Wagner—along with Aviel Rubin, an associate professor of computer science from John Hopkins University, David Jefferson, from the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and Barbara Simons, a Bay Area technology consultant—say the Secure Electronic Registration and Voting Experiment (SERVE) has several important security risks and should not be used to tally votes during trial runs that are set to take place during the upcoming primary and general elections. 

Mandated by Congress and overseen by the U.S. Department of Defense’s Federal Voting Assistance Program , SERVE was designed to eliminate problems associated with the absentee ballot process that proponents say continually disenfranchise voters. 

But the authors of the Jan. 21 report say the new technology, while well intentioned, poses a series of severe risks. 

“Broadly, SERVE poses a much larger chance of election fraud than anything we have today,” said Wagner, a computer security expert. 

The firestorm over touchscreen voting systems identified a number of serious risks associated with computer voting. SERVE, say the authors, intensifies those risks by introducing using the Internet and personal computers.  

“Because SERVE is an Internet and PC-based system,” the authors say in their report, “it has numerous other fundamental security problems that leave it vulnerable to a variety of well-known cyber attacks…any one of which could be catastrophic.” 

Threats include insider attacks, denial of service attacks, spoofing, automated vote buying, and viral attacks.  

According to Barbara Simons, attacks could disenfranchise large sections of the 100,000 U.S. citizens (registered in seven states and currently residing in 50 countries around the world) who are scheduled to use SERVE in this year’s elections. 

“[The Internet and PCs] were never designed to be secure,” said Simons.  

In the report, the authors briefly describe the history of the Internet, stressing that its original construction did not emphasize security. Security barriers have been built to guard certain transactions, they said, but not Internet voting. 

“For all the importance of security today, the Internet has no general security architecture; in fact it is well known to be full of general vulnerabilities,” they wrote. 

As a result, attacks can be launched by someone with a relatively low skill level, and in a way that is unnoticeable. “These attacks can be perpetrated from everywhere; it could be some teenage kid, political party, political opponent, etc.,” said Simons. 

Unlike other Internet transactions, such as e-commerce and e-banking—both of which the report says are relatively secure—the e-voting process poses unaccountable security risks. 

People “assume that voting is comparable somehow to an online financial transaction, whereas in fact security for Internet voting is far more difficult than security for e-commerce,” they write.  

Additional e-voting risks include the inability to confirm correct transactions because of voter anonymity rules. Unlike e-commerce, where a customer can double-check transactions by referring back to receipts or order statements, a voter has no way to confirm that a choice was tallied correctly. 

As with touchscreen voting machines, voters using SERVE will receive confirmation that their vote was received by the polling place where they vote. But how the vote was counted can’t be confirmed because it would breach privacy rules. 

Any number of possible attacks could produce a vote switch, Simons said. A virus received by the PC could easily switch the selection after it was confirmed by the voter but before it was sent. The vote would be tallied and the virus could erase itself, leaving no trace. 

“Viruses and worms go around every week, and virus check software only works on known viruses,” said Simons. 

A denial of service attack would simply overload the election web server with junk e-mail, preventing it from counting votes. 

In their report the authors diagram the skill level needed to create all the different attacks and their possible severity. Most range from low to medium skill level and all result in large-scale disenfranchisement. 

Accenture, the company in charge of SERVE’s design, stresses that the report is only a minority report, part of a larger analysis also conducted by six other people, none of whom have yet issued their own reports. 

At least one of the other participants in the program, Michael Alvarez, a political science professor at Cal Tech, supports the project and says its design will help alleviate other, more severe problems that plague the absentee system. 

“The way in which overseas people vote is an arcane voting system, it’s disenfranchising,” said Alvarez.  

He said absentee ballots often arrive late at polling places or get jumbled in with an accumulating bundle of bulk mail that eventually is postmarked after the deadline. Small errors that are usually caught at the polling place, he says, also continually disqualify ballots.  

Criticism of SERVE, founded or not, he says, is directed at the wrong place.  

“We are not following the problems that already exist,” he said, and cited SERVE as a possible solution. 

He also stresses SERVE as a pilot program, meant to test results. One hundred thousand voters out of an estimated six million people living overseas, he says, is a small enough group to mitigate any kind of major interference.  

But it’s still too many for Simons, who points out that the 2000 general election was decided by a precipitously small number. She, along with Wagner, also stresses the importance of realizing that the technology has severe security problems that can’t be corrected with existing measures. Regardless of the security devices put in place by Accenture, there will be holes. 

“That’s the most disappointing part,” said Wagner. “After a lot of effort [to explore the system’s possibilities] we found that it is just not a possibility. It would require major changes to the architecture of the Internet and PCs. 

“We’re not saying that Internet voting is some evil that should never be used. The technology just isn’t ready yet.” 

Another concern cited by the authors is SERVE’s future expansion. They worry that once the system is adopted it will expand, increasing the dangers associated with it. 

The report has boosted the issue into the public forum, seemingly more quickly than the controversy surrounding touchscreen voting machines—an issue which hasn’t received much coverage until recently.  

Tellingly, the New York Times editorialized last Friday for Congress to suspend the program: 

“The intentions behind the Pentagon’s plan, the Secure Electronic Registration and Voting Experiment, are laudable…but the advantages of the Pentagon’s Internet voting system would be far outweighed by the dangers it would pose.” 

At the end of their report the authors praise the project’s directors, who they say have done everything in their power to ensure a secure system. 

“[The project managers] have been completely aware all along of the security problems we have described here, and we have been impressed with the engineering sophistication and skill they have devoted to attempts to ameliorate or eliminate them.” 

But, said Wagner, “They are in a tough position—they’ve been told to solve an un-solvable problem.”

Arts Calendar

Tuesday January 27, 2004



Alternative Visions: “Double-Edged Sword” at 7:30 p.m. at the Pacific Film Archive. Cost is $4-$8. 642-0808. www.bampfa.berkeley.edu 


Chalmers Johnson introduces “The Sorrows of Empire: Militarism, Secrecy, and the End of the Republic,” at 7 p.m. at Cody’s Books on Fourth St. 559-9500. www.codysbooks.com 

Robert Guter, Shawn Casey O’Brien and Jean Stewart read excerpts from “Voices from the Edge: Narratives about the Americans with Disabilities Act” at 4 p.m. at Maude Fife Room, Wheeler Hall, UC Campus. sschweik@uclink4.berkeley.edu 

Kim Addonizio introduces her new book of poetry, “What Is This Thing Called Love” at 7:30 p.m. at Black Oak Books. 486-0698. www.blackoakbooks.com 

The Whole Note Poetry Series with HD Moe reading poems from Maui at 7 p.m. at The Beanery, 2925 College Ave., near Ashby. 549-9093. 


Ensemble Vermillian with Frances Blaker, recorders, Barbara Blaker Krumdieck, baroque cello, and Katherine Heater, harpsichord, performs chamber music from 17th century Germany by Buxtehude, Biber, Kinderman and others at 8 p.m. at St. Alban’s Episcopal Church, 1501 Washington Ave. at Curtis in Albany. Tickets are $18 general, $15 students and seniors. 559-4670. 

Austrian Musical Evening, with Gabriele Sima, Kammersangerin and Adalbert Skocic, cello at 8 p.m. at International House, Piedmont Ave. at Bancroft. Tickets are $25. 642-9460. 

Tee Fee Swamp Boogie at 8:30 p.m. at Ashkenaz. Dance lesson with Annie Marie Howard at 8 p.m. Cost is $9. 525-5054. www.ashkenaz.com 

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

Dayna Stephens House Jam at 8 p.m. at The Jazz House. Donation $5. 649-8744.  


Jazzschool Tuesdays at 8 p.m. at Jupiter. 848-8277. 



Preschool Storytime, a program introducing books and music to promote early literacy skills, at 7 p.m. at Berkeley Public Library West Branch, 1125 University Ave. 981-6270. 


Addison Street Windows, “Aerial Views and Bead Forms,” paintings by Audrey Wallace Taylor and sculptures by Jenny Cole. Reception for the artists from 6 to 9 p.m. at 2018 Addison St. 981-7533. 


Film 50: Edison to Early Griffith at 3 p.m. and Works by Nam June Paik at 7:30 p.m. at the Pacific Film Archive. Cost is $4-$8. 642-0808. www.bampfa.berkeley.edu 


Ted Roszak, author of “The Devil and Daniel Silverman” at 7:30 p.m. at the Berkeley Richmond Jewish Community Center, 1414 Walnut St. 848-0327, ext. 112.  

Vincent Sarich and Frank Miele talk about “Race: The Reality of Human Differences” at 7:30 p.m. at Cody’s Books. 845-7852. www.codysbooks.com 

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

Berkeley Acdemic Quiz Bowl at 7 p.m. at Barnes and Noble.  

Charlene Sprenak discusses “Missing Mary: The Queen of Heaven and Her Re-Emergence in the Modern Church” at 7:30 p.m. at Black Oak Books. 486-0698. www.blackoakbooks.com 


Wednesday Noon Concert with Garrett McLean, violin, Hannah Eldridge, violin, Andrew Strauss, viola, Alexandra Roedder, cello and Inning Chen, piano, perform Dvorák, Piano Quintet in A, at International House, Piedmont Ave. at Bancroft. 642-4864. http://music.berkeley.edu 

Dance Theater of Harlem, at 8 p.m., Zellerbach Hall, UC Campus. Tickets are $32-$52, available from 642-9988. www.calperfs.berkeley.edu 

Za’Atar plays Jewish music of Arab and Muslim lands at 8 p.m. at Ashkenaz. Cost is $18.  

525-5054. www.ashkenaz.com 

Sam Bevan Trio at 8 p.m. at Jupiter. Cost is $10. 848-8277. 

Country Joe Mc Donald, Carol Denney and friends at 8 p.m. at Freight and Salvage Coffee House. “Shelter from the Storm” fundraiser for community groups advocating for the homeless. Cost is $15.50 in advance, $16.50 at the door. 548-1761. www.freightandsalvage.org 

4th Avenue Jones at 9:30 p.m. at Blakes on Telegraph. Cost is $6. 848-0886. www.blakesontelegraph.com 



Oxford Elementary School, Fifth Grade, “Yo soy un Americano,” a celebration of Mexican American history as told through the eyes of a Mexican American grandmother and her grandson, Carlos, at 9 a.m. at 1130 Oxford Street. For more information, please call Ms. Inniss at 644-6300.  


Victor Sjostrom: “The Girl from the Marsh Croft” at 7:30 p.m. at the Pacific Film Archive. Cost is $4-$8. 642-0808. www.bampfa.berkeley.edu 


Chris Dresser, Richard Rhodes and Mark Schapiro discuss “Living with the Genie: Essays on Technology and the Quest for Human Mastery” at 7:30 p.m. at Cody’s Books. 845-7852. www.codysbooks.com 

Ant Farm: Guided Tour at 12:15 and 5:30 p.m. at Berkeley Art Museum, 2626 Bancroft Way. 

Joan Steinau Lester discusses her biography of Eleanor Holmes Norton, “Fire in My Soul” at 7:30 p.m. at Black Oak Books. 486-0698. www.blackoakbooks.com 

Word Beat Reading Series with Charles Curtis Blackwell and Mark G. at 7 p.m. at Mediterraneum Caffe, 2475 Telegraph Ave. 526-5985.  


Dance Theater of Harlem, at 8 p.m., Zellerbach Hall, UC Campus. Tickets are $32-$52, available from 642-9988. www.calperfs.berkeley.edu 

Jessica Lurie Ensemble at 9:30 p.m. at The Starry Plough. Cost is $8. 841-2082. www.starryplough.com 

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

Mas Cabeza at 8 p.m. at Jupiter. 848-8277. 

Magic City Chamber of Commerce plus Steven Yerky 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 

The Serna Band at 9:30 p.m. at Beckett’s Irish Pub, 2271 Shattuck Ave. 647-1790. www.beckettsirishpub.com 



Rainy Day Stories at 10:30 a.m. at Barnes and Noble. 644-3635. 


Mann’s World: “Devil’s Doorway” at 7:30 p.m. and “Winchester ‘73” at 9:10 p.m. at the Pacific Film Archive. Cost is $4-$8. 642-0808. www.bampfa.berkeley.edu 


Faulkner Fox discusses “Dispatches From a Not-So-Perfect Life: Or How I Learned to Love the House, the Man, the Child” at 7 p.m. at Cody’s Books on Fourth St. 559-9500. www.codysbooks.com 


Dance IS Movement, featuring Company C, Ophelia’s Stage Dance Company, Berkeley Ballet Theater Youth Company, CSU Hayward, Berkeley High and others at 8 p.m. at Julia Morgan Center for the Arts. Tickets are $10-$15 available from 925-798-1300. 

Dance Theater of Harlem, at 8 p.m., Zellerbach Hall, UC Campus. Tickets are $32-$52, available from 642-9988. www.calperfs.berkeley.edu 

Hamsa Lila performs acoustic trance music at 9 p.m. at Ashkenez. Cost is $15. 525-5054. www.ashkenaz.com 

Flautas Internacionales with The Snake Trio at 8:30 p.m. at La Peña Cultural Center. Cost is $12 in advance, $14 at the door. 849-2568. www.lapena.org 

Cascada de Flores, traditional music from Cuba and Mexico’s Gulf coast 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 

ROVA Saxophone Quartet performs post-bop free jazz and avant garde at 8 p.m. at The Jazz House. Sliding scale donation $10-$15. 649-8744.  


Friday Afternoon Hang jam sessions from 5 to 7 p.m. at the Jazzschool. 845-5373. www.jazzschool.com 

Jackpot, Rich McCully Band, John Blaylock at 9:30 p.m. at The Starry Plough. Cost is $6. 841-2082.  


Maseo at 9 p.m. at Shattuck Down Low, 2284 Shattuck Ave. Cost is $15. 548-1159. www.shattuckdownlow.com 

Joshi Marshall & Friends at 9 p.m. at Jupiter. 848-8277. 

A Kimbo, Plot to Blow Up the Eifel Tower 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. 

Mystic Roots at 9:30 p.m. at Blakes on Telegraph. Cost is $7. 848-0886. www.blakesontelegraph.com 

Gaucho at 9:30 p.m. at Beckett’s Irish Pub, 2271 Shattuck Ave. 647-1790. www.beckettsirishpub.com 



“Closely Watched Trains,” a film about a train dispatcher in a German-occupied Czech town in 1942, at 8 p.m. at the Long Haul, a reading room, library and community center in South Berkeley located at 3124 Shattuck Ave. Wheelchair accessible. 540-0751. www.thelonghaul.org 

“Viva Chile M...! “ A tribute to the life and work of Fernando Alegría at 4:30 p.m. at La Peña. Cost is $14. 849-2568. www.lapena.org 

Mann’s World: “Naked Spur” at 7 p.m. and “The Tall Target” at 8:50 p.m. at the Pacific Film Archive. Cost is $4-$8. 642-0808. www.bampfa.berkeley.edu 


Authors Dinner in support of the Berkeley Public Library Foundation at 7 p.m. at the Berkeley Public Library. 981-6115.  


Dance IS Story, featuring Dohee Lee, Fellow Travelers Perfromance Group, Berkeley Ballet Theater Youth Company, Mills College, Berkeley High School and Castlemont High School at 8 p.m. at Julia Morgan Center for the Arts. Tickets are $10-$15 available from 925-798-1300. 

Dance Theater of Harlem, at 2 and 8 p.m., Zellerbach Hall, UC Campus. Tickets are $32-$52, available from 642-9988. www.calperfs.berkeley.edu 

Magnificat Early music with Warren Stewart, director, at 8 p.m. at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church, Ellsworth and Bancroft. 415-979-4500. www.magnificatsf.com  

Oakland Symphony Chorus Discovery Day, a sing-along of Mozart’s C Minor Mass, at 9 a.m. at St. Peter’s Episcopal Church, 6013 Lawton Ave, in Rockridge. Tickets are $25 in advance, $30 at the door. 207-4093. www.oaklandsymphonychorus.org 

Oakland Opera Theater and Lotus Tribal Belly Dance present “Beneath the Veil: An Undulating Evening of World Fusion Beats and Belly Dance” at 8 p.m. at Oakland Metro, 201 Broadway, Oakland. Tickets are $10. 763-1146. www.oaklandmetro.org  

“Heroes: The Power of Art in Young People’s Lives” a showcase of the work of children in arts programs in Oakland. From 7 to 9 p.m. at First Congregational Church, 2501 Harrison St., at 27th St. Donations at the door benefits youth programs. 444-8511, ext. 15, www.artsfirstoakland.org 


Baksheesh Boys and Brass Meangerie at 9 p.m. at Ashkenaz. Balkan dance lesson with Lise Liepman at 8 p.m.Cost is $13. 525-5054. www.ashkenaz.com 

ROVA Saxophone Quartet performs post-bop free jazz and avant garde at 8 p.m. at The Jazz House. Sliding scale donation $10-$15. 649-8744.  


The Stacks, Flair, The Mitts at 9:30 p.m. at The Starry Plough. Cost is $6. 841-2082. www.starryploughpub.com 

Warren Gale Quartet at 8 p.m. at the Jazzschool. Cost is $10-$15. 845-5373. www.jazzschool.com 

Fred Randolph Jazz Trio at 9:30 p.m. at Albatross, 1822 San Pablo Ave. Cost is $3. 843-2473. www.albatrosspub.com 

Laura Sawosko and Tree Leyburn at 7:30 p.m. at Nomad Cafe, 6500 Shattuck Ave. 595-5344. www.nomadcafe.net 

Dancing the Refugee Home A Benefit Concert with Wing It! Performance Ensemble at 7:30 p.m. at Mudd 100, Pacific School of Religion, 1798 Scenic Ave. This concert benefits Enver Rahmanov, Wing It! member and PSR seminary student, and refugee from the former Soviet Republic of Turkmenistan. 814-9584.  

Lou and Peter Berryman, folk music’s funniest folks, at 8 p.m. at Freight and Salvage Coffee House. Cost is $17.50 in advance, $18.50 at the door. 548-1761. www.freightandsalvage.org 

Pansy Division, Subincision, Readyville 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. 

The Fourtet, jazz piano quartet, at 9 p.m. at Jupiter. 848-8277. 

KGB at 9:30 p.m. at Blakes on Telegraph. Cost is $7. 848-0886. www.blakesontelegraph.com 



Stephen A. Fisher, “Perspectives” photographs with recurring compositions opens at the Community Art Gallery, Alta Bates Medical Center, 2450 Ashby. Through March 26.  

Margaret Herscher Memorial Exhibition opens at the Kala Art Institute, 1060 Heinz Ave. A life celebration of Margaret’s work will be held from 2 to 4 p.m. Exhibition runs to Feb. 5. 549-2977. www.kala.org 


Shabbat Family Art Workshop with Errica Glass from 2 to 4 p.m. at the Berkeley Richmond Jewish Community Center, 1414 Walnut St. Cost is $5-$10. Supplies included. 848-0327, ext. 112. 

Bandworks at 2:30 p.m. at Ashkenaz. Cost is $4. 525-5054. www.ashkenaz.com 


Victor Sjostrom: “The Sons of Ingmar, Parts 1 and 2” at 5:30 p.m. at the Pacific Film Archive. Cost is $4-$8. 642-0808. www.bampfa.berkeley.edu 


Rinzler’s Return, a workshop on getting published, with editor Alan Rinzler, at 3 p.m. at Cody’s Books. 845-7852. www.codysbooks.com 

Poetry Flash with David Biespiel and Thom Gunn at 7:30 p.m. at Cody’s Books. Donation $2. 845-7852. www.codysbooks.com  


Dance IS Social Change featuring Big Moves, Dance Access/KIDS!, Rebecca Salzer Dance Theater, Our Thing Performing Arts Company, Sarah Luella Baker, Destiny Arts, and Omphalos Dance Theater at 2 p.m. at Julia Morgan Center for the Arts. Tickets are $10-$15 available from 925-798-1300. 

Dance Theater of Harlem at 3 p.m., Zellerbach Hall, UC Campus. Tickets are $32-$52, available from 642-9988. www.calperfs.berkeley.edu 

Live Oak Concert with BACH: Baroque and Classical Harmonies at 7:30 p.m. at Berkeley Art Center. Cost is $9-$10. 644-6893. www.berkeleyartcenter.org 

Miles Graber and Arkadi Serper in a concert for two pianos, four hands at 4 p.m. at Crowden School, 1475 Rose St. Tickets are $12, free for children. 559-6910. www.crowdenschool.org 

Jewish Love Tales and Songs with Maggid Daniel Lev at 7 p.m. at Chochmat HaLev, 2215 Prince St. at Fulton. Admission is $10. 704-9687. www.chochmat.org 

Domingo de Rumba Community participatory event for those who want to play, sing or dance, at 3:30 p.m. at La Peña Cultural Center. 849-2568. www.lapena.org  



Last Word Poetry Series with Mark States and Paradise at 7 p.m. at Pegasus Books, 2349 Shattuck Ave.  


“Sweeter Than Roses” with Andrew Lawrence-King, baroque harpist, Zoe Vandermeer, soprano, and Joanna Blendulf, cello at 8 p.m. at Trinity Chapel, 2320 Dana St. at Durant. Tickets are $12-$18. Reservation suggested. 549-3864.  



Tuesday January 27, 2004

Due to an editing error, the lead headline in Friday’s Daily Planet incorrectly stated that, at the request of Mayor Tom Bates, the Berkeley Planning Commission had voted to delay creation of a task force to examine the proposed UC hotel complex proposed for downtown. 

The planners did, in fact, establish the panel, and have set a schedule of meetings, where citizens can see and hear the proposals and offer comments.  

The first session is scheduled for Wednesday, Feb. 18, from 7 to 10 p.m. at the North Berkeley Community Center, 1901 Hearst Ave. (at Martin Luther King Jr. Way). 

Future meetings will be listed in the Daily Planet’s Berkeley This Week calendar.

Council Gets First Look At ‘05 Budget Proposals

By J. Douglas Allen-Taylor
Tuesday January 27, 2004

Berkeley City Council members get their first look at City Manager Phil Kamlarz’ 2004-05 city budget proposals during a 5 p.m. working session tonight (Tuesday, Jan. 27), with votes on three specific cost-cutting measures scheduled for the 7 p.m. regular meeting. 

Councilmembers are also set to vote on North Berkeley neighbors’ appeal to stop the proposed placement of a Sprint cellular antennae facility in a commercial building on the corner of Cedar Street and Shattuck Avenue. 

The city manager’s proposals include a 20 percent reduction in all city departments as well as a controversial idea to eliminate some of the city’s commissions and consolidate others. And while Mayor Tom Bates earlier suggested a tax measure on the November ballot as a possible alternative, Kamlarz was more definitive. In his Budget Status Report to be released tonight, Kamlarz writes, “While the city council did not pursue a special tax measure in March, a November 2004 ballot measure is needed.” 

But Berkeley’s budget deficit continues to be a moving target. In his report, Kamlarz puts the shortfall for the upcoming fiscal year beginning in July (2005) at $8 million—the low end projections during last November’s debate over the since-discarded fire parcel tax. However, in a press release issued Monday announcing the Budget Status Report, Kamlarz estimates the “projected budget gap” as “up to $10-$12 million.” 

Kamlarz’ proposals are only the first step in a procedure scheduled to end with the adoption of the 2005 budget sometime in June, and the council will not vote on the proposals tonight. 

At its 7 p.m. meeting, councilmembers will consider two budget reduction proposals from the city manager’s office: one authorizing the city manager to open negotiations with the city’s labor unions over cost-cutting measures, another to look for savings by restructuring the police department’s PERS contributions. PERS restructuring is not expected to affect how much police officers actually receive from the retirement system. 

A third proposal from councilmembers Gordon Wozniak and Miriam Hawley would allow fellow councilmembers to voluntarily turn back their automatic cost-of-living raise this year. 

Tonight’s vote on the Sprint cellular facility stems from a two-year struggle by neighbors to prevent three antennae from being placed on the rooftop of a commercial building at Cedar and Shattuck, with related equipment in the basement. 

Sprint says the facility is needed to improve cellular phone coverage in North Berkeley, and is permissible under the city’s Wireless Telecommunication Facility Ordinance. Neighbors have argued that Sprint cellular coverage in the area is fine, and that the new facility poses a health hazard. 

Federal law places health issues of cellular phone antennae under the jurisdiction of the Federal Communications Commission, and Berkeley officials can’t consider the issue. The council held a public hearing on the neighbors’ appeal at last week’s meeting. 

Councilmembers have also scheduled consideration of a report from members Linda Maio, Miriam Hawley, Gordon Wozniak and Betty Olds on a controversial plan to provide free, no-limit, exclusive on-street parking spots for the city’s parking enforcement staff near the Ashby BART station. 

At the council’s request, the four-member subcommittee met last week with enforcement staff representatives and BART-area merchants and neighbors. The subcommittee is expected to present a compromise proposal at tonight’s meeting. 

The council will also discussion extension of the Bay Trail to the Berkeley Marina, pulled from the consent calendar last week by Councilmember Dona Spring because of her concerns about the plan’s proposal to cut nearly 100 trees.

Special Education Report Raises Hope for Reforms

By Matthew Artz
Tuesday January 27, 2004

Like many parents of Berkeley special education children, Maya MacArdle has had to scratch and claw to make sure her son Anthony received the education she thinks he deserves. 

Now, thanks to a special report commissioned by the Berkeley Unified School District, proposed changes could help make the task easier for her and less costly for the district. 

District Director of Special Education Ken Jacopetti estimates that by reforming the system and providing better training, the district might reduce the $1.1 million they spend on sending some special education students out of the district, and prevent some hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal expenses that in past years have gone to defend the district in due process hearings. 

As the system now stands, “it takes constant baby-sitting on our part because everyone [in the district] is so overworked,” MacArdle said. “I don’t know of a single parent not pulling their hair out.” 

When Anthony MacArdle, who is diagnosed with autism and cerebral palsy, first entered kindergarten, his propensity to flail his arms around and hit people had school officials pushing to banish him to a segregated special education class. After she fought off that plan, she grappled with the district over an instructional aide who often showed up late and unprepared. 

Eight years and three due process hearings later, Anthony is happily enrolled in general education classes at King Middle School with the help of an instructional aide and his mother, along with other parents of special education parents, hope that years of struggling against the district bureaucracy is finally paying dividends. 

Last Wednesday, the school board enthusiastically accepted the report it commissioned calling for the overhaul of special education—which administrators acknowledged has failed some children and ballooned budget deficits. 

“We cannot continue to operate the way we are,” said Superintendent Michele Lawrence. “The dysfunction especially in the budget process for special education is like mistletoe: It will consume and eat the tree and we’ll all die.”  

Special education students range from those diagnosed with autism or Down Syndrome to those with less serious learning disabilities and behavioral issues. Some are included in general education classes, but many are segregated—depriving them of opportunities to learn beside their peers and costing the district a chance to better allocate its limited resources. 

Though report authors Kathleen Gee of Sacramento State University and Diane Ketelle of Mills College didn’t crunch numbers, they recommended reforms that could ultimately trim some of the $14 million spent annually on special education, $7.9 million of which comes from the district’s already tapped general fund. 

The biggest problem, Ketelle said, was that the district viewed special education not as services within the regular school curriculum but as a separate place inside the school. 

To ensure that struggling students received assistance, Ketelle said Berkeley pushed them into special education—often segregating them from classmates and erecting walls between the special education department and the rest of the schools. She said Berkeley High School provides the worst example, often relegating special education students to “a school within a school,” but district elementary and middle schools face similar problems to varying degrees. 

The authors said that mindset has swelled the ranks of Berkeley’s special education students to 1,128—roughly one out of every 10 students—and spawned an inefficient web of services, including 52 teachers and 124 instructional aides, many providing one-on-one service. 

Ketelle and Gee called for reassigning many of those students, most notably the 191 assigned to special day classes, mostly students diagnosed with behavioral disorders, to general education classrooms with instructional aides inside to help them and other students.  

“They need to rethink the organization of their services to put more resources and efforts into instruction and fewer kids into special education,” she said, recommending reassigning some one-on-one aides to classrooms where they could assist several students during a lesson.  

Gee said that returning the bulk of special education students to regular classes will require extensive training for all teachers and aides to tailor classroom instruction to meet their needs, a process Lawrence said is already underway. 

More training could also save Berkeley some of the $1.1 million it currently spends to send 47 of its special education students to private academies with staff qualified to handle severely disabled children, often those with autism or behavioral disorders. 

To implement the classroom reforms, Gee and Ketelle call for structural changes to the special education department.  

First and foremost is a plan already being implemented to shift responsibility for special education student assessments from district managers to schools sites. Last year, state auditors found Berkeley Unified had mothballed around 300 student assessments and had failed to update students’ individual education plans, putting the district out of compliance with state law, and vulnerable to costly lawsuits. 

“If the school doesn’t take ownership for assessing the child, it goes to the district office and falls into a black hole,” said Director of Special Education Ken Jacopetti, who found the district 240 assignments behind when he assumed his job in September. 

He is acting on Gee and Ketelle’s recommendation to reform Student Study Teams in district schools, so students that are struggling in their general education classes can get early intervention and needed services without being assigned to special education. 

Support within the schools varies, the report said, with some doing a fine job at integrating special education students and teachers into the school and others lagging behind. 

The disparities in services are apparent to Lena Willis who is eager to move her five-year-old autistic son from Rosa Parks to Leconte after he cycled through seven instructional aides in his first five months of school.  

“At Leconte they have people manage the aides so they have a plan to work with the classroom teachers. At Rosa Parks the aides are thrown into the classroom and they get commands from three or four different people and ultimately quit,” she said. 

Berkeley’s problems are not unique, said Wendy Byrnes, a parent advocate with the Disability Rights Education & Defense Fund. “This is endemic of systemic problems across the board; it happens in a lot of places.” 

Like other districts, Berkeley gets little help in shouldering the burden of special education costs. This year the federal government will cover just 16 percent of all costs, though the 1975 Individuals With Disability Education Act had promised federal reimbursement of 40 percent. California exacerbates the money crunch by capturing federal dollars and funneling them to its own special education mandates.  

This year the state is expected to take the estimated $74.5 million growth in federal aid earmarked for special education in California and put it towards the $107.4 million the state is required to supply districts in cost of living and growth adjustments. 

Berkeley Unified officials pledged Wednesday to change their entire philosophy towards integrating special education students into their schools, which MacArdle believes will enrich the lives of other children as much as it has for Anthony. “He’s more motivated around typical peers. When he’s in an environment with only disabled kids, he just sits around and doesn’t do much,” she said. “In the regular class he’s stimulated to do his best.”

Homeland Security Rules Snarl Musicians’ Schedules

Tuesday January 27, 2004

Berkeley flamenco aficionados anxiously anticipating last weekend’s dual performances by renowned guitarist Paco de Lucia found out they’re going to have to wait until March for rescheduled shows. 

The reason? The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) denied de Lucia and his troupe entry visas . 

The world’s most famous flamenco guitarist, de Lucia had to reschedule several performances on his upcoming U.S. tour—including two at Berkeley’s Zellerbach Hall—when DHS flagged his Cuban bass guitarist, Alain Rodriguez, for an additional security check.  

That action grounded the rest of the nine-member band even after approval from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Department (formerly known as Immigration and Naturalization Services) and the American consulate in Madrid. 

Canceled tour dates have been rescheduled and event promoters have scrambled to make sure that the group will indeed receive visas. Unfortunately, they say, there’s been no direct communication with the Department of Homeland Security and the going has been slow. 

A spokesperson for DHS said privacy laws may be at fault, because the agency can’t release information about individuals and their visa applications to third parties.  

The cancellation isn’t a one-time phenomenon for the performing world, neither in Berkeley nor across the country. According to Scott Southard, director of International Music Network, DHS checks have been forced cancellations and delays of hundreds of concerts across the country since 9/11, resulting in the loss of millions of dollars for promoters.  

Southard, who represents the top four most popular groups from Cuba—including the Afro-Cuban All Stars, the Buena Vista Social Club, renowned jazz pianist Chucho Valdez and singer Cecilia Cruz, along with other popular groups around the world—has canceled or rescheduled over 200 shows since the Department of Homeland Security was created.  

He said 50-60 groups are denied entry each year, and other groups refuse to come because they won’t deal with the hassle of applying. 

“I’ve calculated the total economic value in ticket sales and other revenue lost and it’s around $10 million,” said Southard. And that’s just from the show’s he’s promoted. 

“My agency only represents a small number of artists, the numbers easily go into the tens of millions of dollars since the founding of the Department of Homeland Security.” 

Chucho Valdez, a Southard client who is an iconic figure in the American Jazz scene, has been denied a visa three times, he said. One denial came when he wanted to attend the Latin Grammy Awards, where he was up for an award. Valdez won, but couldn’t claim his prize in person. 

Lucia’s bassist, who carries a Cuban passport but is a legal resident of Spain, has been stopped multiple times. He was denied last year when traveling with Cecilia Cruz, an ardent anti-Castroist. 

“We know what side of the political spectrum he resides on,” said Southard. Yet he still can’t get in. 

Artists repeatedly denied entry come from countries high on Homeland Security’s terrorist country list, including Cuba, several countries in the Middle East, and North Korea. 

Britian’s Guardian newspaper reported Monday that five members of a Church of England girls’ boarding school were branded potential illegal immigrants and banned from a U.S. tour that included a concert at San Francisco’s Grace Cathedral. School headmistress Mary Steel called the refusal “barmy” and lodged a protest with American ambassador William S. Farish.  

Cal Performances, the agency which promotes shows at Zellerbach Hall, recently had a close call with the Masters of Persian Classical Music—again because one person was flagged. 

“I don’t know if the Department of Homeland Security knows that affect this process if having on business,” said Hollis Ashby, associate director of Cal Performances. 

She says that de Lucia’s cancellation forced her organization—which has a budget separate from the university’s—to hire a half-dozen people for two days to call everyone who had tickets to the sold-out shows. Still more expense went into rescheduling the shows, which are now set to take place March 4 and 5. 

Ashby said the lack of recourse is especially frustrating. Because DHS won’t respond to their requests, they can only communicate through elected representatives. Ashby says she plans to contact Rep. Barbara Lee with her concerns. 

Southard said the only way his office receives information is when the State Department—specifically the Cuban desk—intervenes. Thus far, he said, the process has been slow but he credits the State Department with being helpful. 

Both Southard and Ashby say they’re frustrated with the process but resolved to cope, and if they have to start working six months earlier to ensure artists will be granted visas, so be it. They hope that, in return, the results are predictable. 

“We’re not going to let the Department of Homeland Security hold us back in doing the programs we do so well,” said Ashby.

Berkeley Musicians Unite For Benefit For Homeless Union Shelter Program

Tuesday January 27, 2004

Berkeley musicians Carol Denney, Country Joe McDonald, Buzzy Linhart and the Big Few, Will Scarlett and others will take the stage Wednesday night for the Shelter from the Storm benefit concert at the Freight & Salvage Co. to honor the Berkeley Homeless Union. 

The Homeless Union is an advocacy group for the homeless which successfully negotiated with Mayor Tom Bates to open a new emergency shelter at St. Mark’s Church during the winter’s coldest and rainiest months. The Homeless Union will be celebrating that agreement along with years of work at the benefit, which gets underway ay 8 p.m. at 1111 Addison St. 

Slated to open in a week, the shelter will be staffed by people from the Dorothy Day House and volunteers from the Berkeley Homeless Union. Debbie Moore, a member of the Homeless Union, said the new facility will be an enormous improvement over the encampments set up in years past to protect the homeless who have had nowhere to go as other shelters fill up. Those camps, which she said usually serve up to 75 people, were impromptu and often cleared out by police—as was last year’s, across from City Hall in Martin Luther King Jr. Park. 

Campers there had some shelter, but were still outside, exposed to the elements—which Moore said often leads to sickness and, sometimes, death. 

Denney, Country Joe, Buzzy Linhart and the Big Few, and Will Scarlett—who will play with Marc Silber and Steven Mann—will share the stage Wednesday with Bones and Yukon Hannibal and the X-plicit Singers, drawn from members from the X-plicit Players, Berkeley’s well-known naked street theater group. 

Mayor Bates will appear too, handing out awards to homelessness activists including Osha Neumann, Charles Gray and Marc Weinstein. 

The show is dedicated to Berkeleyans who passed away recently, including Fred Lupke, Ray Reese, Kevin Freeman and Father Bill O’Donnell. Proceeds will pay for immediate needs, including more sleeping bags, blankets and rain ponchos. 

For more information contact Debbie Moore at 848-1985 or debbiemoore@xplicitplayers.com.

UC Students Sue Governor, Challenge Funding Cutbacks

Tuesday January 27, 2004

Opponents of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger have petitioned the California Supreme Court to invalidate his executive orders lowering the Vehicle License Fee increase and cutting $148 million to education and other programs. 

The petition argues that the governor violated the California constitution by overriding the legislature in determining how state money is spent. 

“There was no hearing, no process about what should be cut. We didn’t think that was a fair process,” said Liz Geyer, executive director of the University of California Student Association, which joined the petition along with four UC students and civil rights advocacy groups Equal Justice Society and Californians For Justice.  

At issue is the governor’s November executive order lowering the vehicle license fee that was to provide money for cities and counties. To help restore funding to localities, Schwarzenegger declared a fiscal emergency in December, cutting $148 million, including $24 million from UC and CSU outreach programs that offer programs for poor and minority high school students to help them qualify for a state university. 

The petitioners, united in their determination to preserve outreach, contend Schwarzenegger could not lower the Vehicle License Fee when the state lacked the money to offset the cuts. 

“The governor’s director of finance clearly lacked authority under California constitutional and statutory law to offset the license fee decreases by imposing $148 in budget cuts without legislative approval,” said Warrington Parker III, an attorney with San Francisco law firm Heller, Ehrman White & McAuliffe, which represents the plaintiffs free of charge. 

H.D. Palmer, Department of Finance spokesperson, insisted that Schwarzenegger violated no laws and would not have considered the measures had he not been assured he was on firm legal ground. Former Gov. Gray Davis invoked similar privileges in 2001. 

The plaintiffs filed the petition directly with the state Supreme Court to seek a quick resolution, said attorney Nicholas W. van Aelstyn, acknowledging it would be “unusual” for the court to hear the case. 

The court can choose to make the governor respond to the petition, deny it or send it to a lower court. A decision is expected sometime this week.

Berkeley Briefs

Tuesday January 27, 2004

Historical Society Seeks Bohemians 

In preparation for a spring exhibit on early Berkeley Bohemians, the Berkeley Historical Society is looking for help from families with longtime roots in the community. 

The exhibit focuses on artists, poets, writers, musicians, photographers and other creative folks who lived in Berkeley between 1890 and 1925. 

Along with profiling some famous and not-so-famous local Bohemians, the society is researching neighborhood activities and social events of the era related to the Bohemian theme.  

Because ordinary Berkeley families often gave parties featuring musical and dramatic presentations in their backyards and living rooms, the society is asking for those with families here then to check their photo albums and records for any photos or personal accounts of these activities. 

Relevant photos and documents can be scanned and returned to their owners. 

Anyone with possible submissions should contact Ed Herny, co-curator of the exhibit, at 415-725-4674 (cell) or by e-mail at edphemra@pacbell.net. 



UC Wins Lab Contract Extension 

As expected, the University of California has been granted a one-year contract extension to manage Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, lab officials said this weekend. 

The announcement comes as the U.S. Department of Energy finalizes a schedule for competitive bidding among universities and corporations for management of the Berkeley lab as well as UC-managed nuclear weapons labs Lawrence Livermore and Los Alamos. 

Los Alamos has been beset by scandal in recent years, prompting President Bush to sign legislation last fall opening all UC contracts to bid. 

The law allows the DOE to grant UC a second one-year contract extension for LBNL. 

UC officials have expressed their intention to bid for LBNL, which performs unclassified, general science research. Most experts assume they have the inside track considering the close links between lab staff and UC Berkeley faculty. 

—Matthew Artz 



Planners to Hear Bus Proposal 

Berkeley Planning Commissioners will hear an AC Transit proposal Wednesday that could significantly change bus service in downtown and South Berkeley. The meeting begins at 7 p.m. at the North Berkeley Senior Center, 1901 Hearst Ave. 

As part of its East Bay Bus Rapid Transit project (BRT), AC Transit wants to construct bus-only lanes and light rail-like station structures along an 18-mile corridor from downtown Berkeley to Bay Fair BART. Possible plans include a pedestrian/bus mall on upper Telegraph Avenue just outside the UC campus. 

AC Transit is seeking Planning Commission feedback for inclusion in an Environmental Impact Report being prepared for the project. 

—J. Douglas Allen-Taylor 



Police Get Money To Fight Drunk Driving 

Drunk drivers will soon have plenty to fear when they cross into Berkeley. The Berkeley Police Department announced last week it had received a $222,185 federal grant to step up its drunk driving enforcement. 

The grant, part of $35.2 million in traffic safety grants distributed to California cities last year, will pay for two officers two nights per week, devoted solely to driving under the influence enforcement as well as eight DUI sobriety checkpoints. 

—Matthew Artz 

Letters to the Editor

Tuesday January 27, 2004


Editors, Daily Planet: 

I am a concerned citizen who has consistently opposed the Shasta Road fire station. That battle has apparently been lost and the city has the court’s blessing to spend Measure G funds on this project. Positions on both sides of this issue became entrenched and arguments justifying the project took on a life of their own and had to be defended in order to prevail in court. Now that the issue is settled and in light of the budget crisis facing the city, the current administration should face up to some realities.  

(1) This is not an additional fire station and there is no reason to expend $369,000 to seismically upgrade or maintain the current Station No. 7 which will be no more than a warehouse on a very expensive lot in a residential neighborhood.  

(2) This project is not multi-jurisdictional and neither the size of the proposed facility nor its nearly $5 million budget is justified.  

I found it almost laughable that the city was expending funds on outside attorneys to defend the “additional” fire station, while debating the rotating closure of existing fire stations. The arguments of the opponents of the Shasta Road station were drowned out by parochial politics, but that doesn’t mean that their arguments weren’t valid. For example, we did identify a recently completed fire and police station project in Marin County that was larger in size than the proposed Shasta Road station and cost about half as much as we are budgeting. Since money—or the absence of it—is now an issue, maybe the current administration will reconsider its alternatives. It may be appropriate to replace the current Station No. 7 with a new facility on Shasta Road, but the new station should be recognized for what it is in its simplest form. It is a $5 million garage with living quarters for its three man crew. Debt service costs on even $4 million at 6 percent are equivalent to funding at least two city employees. The administration should consider reducing both the size of this project and the number of city layoffs necessitated by the impending budget crisis.  

Walter Geist 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

Let’s see: UC Berkeley’s campus development plan calls for “a return to open grassy spaces and a move to preserve the original buildings in the campus’s core” while the city of Berkeley seems hell-bent on the opposite: tall, dense, new buildings with no setbacks or open space and the destruction of landmark structures. But then, of course, UC is correct in assuming that the ugly new buildings, dorms, and downtown hotels it wishes to build anywhere off-campus will be welcomed by the current crop of city politicians and planners. 

I especially like their plan to replace Evans Hall with two smaller twin structures on the grounds of clearing a better view of the Golden Gate Bridge, while simultaneously planning a hotel at the west edge of the campus which would block it. 

Carol Denney 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

You know the city is badly in the red when they’re handing out $270 tickets for riding a bicycle on the sidewalk in downtown Berkeley. Luckily there are only a few Berkeley cops who are so lacking in a sense of fairness and justice to give out one of these offensive tickets (and they know who they are), and only one miserable judge who will uphold them. A word to the wise: If you get one of these tickets, either pay it right away and complain to the city council, or fight it all the way down the line, because the judge won’t reduce the fine, which is a travesty considering it costs more than a bicycle. He probably owns stock in Chevron. 

Sean McGuire 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

The fact that Instant Runoff Voting (IRV) will save the city millions of dollars over the years and eliminate the need for a December runoff is a big bonus. We will be able to make our democracy stronger while at the same time saving money. How often does that happen? 

However, saving money is not the reason I am supporting Measure I. I would be perfectly willing to pay extra money to have a stronger democracy. The most important reason for supporting IRV is that it will hold our elected officials more accountable to the people who elect them. And it is irrespective of which end of the political spectrum one sits. 

A Democrat or Republican who consistently wins with 55 percent will think twice about selling out to their corporate sponsors when their first-choice votes are 30 percent and the Green or Libertarian second choices give them the extra 25 percent to win the majority. 

They will realize that a small shift to the third party could send them packing. No longer will candidates be able to take the votes of certain communities for granted. They will actually have to pay attention to their constituents. 

The problem is not that we have too many political parties, it’s that we don’t have enough. 

Yes, Measure I will save millions and that’s great, but more importantly it will bring substantive, responsive representation to our city. 

Jonathan Pilch 



Editors, Daily Planet: 

North Berkeley urgently needs a functioning fire station that is also comfortable for the firefighters who work there. But the current design has over 3,000 square feet devoted only to living space for three firefighters. 

Measure G will pay for such a building, but where is the money for upkeep and maintenance of such a structure? And where is the common sense? Just because the money is available doesn’t mean it should be squandered unnecessarily. 

Cindy Fulton  




Dear Berkeley City Council and Mayor Bates: 

Rumor has it that Mayor Bates has suggested that the city parking patrol employees that work out of the Adeline Street office be given reserved parking spots. Before this decision is made I ask that each of you please drive by our small commercial district and walk around for a while. If you do, you will notice that this area is far from being a vital and functional commercial district for the neighborhood. And that taking away 20 of the parking spaces in this area will do little to attract new businesses. In fact, it will only highlight the city’s lack of concern and respect for this neighborhood. 

Recently a new business, Spud’s Pizza, applied for a use permit to run a sit-down restaurant on Adeline and Alcatraz. They were initially turned down for not providing off-street parking, and have been forced to lease parking at a nearby location. I find this hypocritical and without good reason. Day time parking is much more congested then evening parking, and yet the city would like to take 20 of the parking spots. 

This is only one of many decisions that are made that effect our neighborhood in a negative manner. How many of you have walked down Adeline between Alcatraz and Ashby or down Sacramento between Alcatraz and Dwight in the last year. Please do—you will notice that what these commercial districts need is city policies that encourage economic development by new business that are vital to a healthy neighborhood. You are the only people with the power to turn this neighborhood around, and the only reason that it fails to be a safe enjoyable and integral part of our lives. I am certain that if the city council and mayor made it a priority to turn Southwest Berkeley around that it would be done in five years. I am also certain that their are a myriad of excuses why not.  

Karl McDade 


Editors, Daily Planet: 

The president who fabricated war in Iraq supposedly to bring democracy to that country is opposed to elections there. 

Bush’s so-called Healthy Forests Initiative allows increased clear-cutting of our dwindling resources. 

His so-called Clear Skies Initiative weakens air pollution standards. 

“No child left behind” actually means that all children are left behind to pay back his borrowing on the national debt that gave tax breaks to his very rich backers. 

Now he wants to excite us with his vision of going to Mars, while at the same time the director of NASA canceled the scheduled maintenance of the Hubble Space Telescope. If new batteries and gyros are not installed as planned, the most productive scientific instrument ever built will cease functioning, thereby wasting our expensive investment and squandering our opportunity to learn more about the universe. 

It’s time to replace this twisted administration. 

Bruce Joffe 






Dear Werner Hertz, Candidate for KPFA Listener Board: 

I support you and will vote for you. I’ve been working on getting the KPFA program council to have guests on at least once a day that teach people how to impeach their president and his administration—it’s the everyday woman and man’s constitutional duty and democratic right to know. KPFA has been conducting programming on a neo-con neo-liberal, “need to know” militarized basis it seems to me—just like the mainstream press as far as actually indirectly discouraging specific and doable action that listeners can take to strengthen their democracy and, therefore, personal lives. It’s amazing the resistance that I’ve come up against at KPFA. Egos and personalities at KPFA are like deep fog banks clouding the clarity of the momentum needed to rise up against this despot, Bush. The program council is deficient currently in their commitment to teaching listeners about democratic process and the options open to them as U.S. citizens who matter—even in FCC legal indirect ways. We are not powerless as individuals or as a united group. We have been denied and need education as a group. However, KPFA current program council stands in the way of uniting those opposed to Bush policies from taking correct direct action to see that Bush is removed from office via impeachment. I’m afraid I can’t believe that KPFA staff and volunteers actually assume that the public already knows how to impeach their despotic president. It’s ridiculous to assume this and is against all my street experience. All I’ve been asking for is that someone be allowed on KPFA air several times a day as a guest who will, in about 30 seconds, describe the constitutionally encouraged process of impeachment against a clear criminal despot, Bush. Who to call: our federal representatives. What to tell this representative when we get her or him (or intern) on the phone, which is all quite simple but not known by most who want Bush out. Not a single KPFA producer has responded at all to my many dozens of reasonable, directed and very timely pleas. What are they waiting for on this most timely of matters—coordinating specific public response to erosion of our democracy? 

It’s much harder, friends from former communist Eastern Bloc countries say, to unseat a presumptuous despotic dictator than it is to prevent one in the first place. This should be obvious to KPFA producers and leadership, who one would think, could see the danger of a dictator having control of a vast military that is the largest, best-funded and most manipulative and manipulatable by a despot in the world. A lot to unseat without constitutional protections and a lot to rise up against eventual eastern-block style community informants thanks to revived provisions this year that were thought to be effectively killed last year in both the Patriot Act and Homeland Security Department discussions in Congress. Please help. Let me know your opinions on this matter.  

Sincerely yours,  

Frank Snapp 



Stephen Wollmer
Tuesday January 27, 2004


Editors, Daily Planet: 

I draw your attention to a disturbing trend in the development feeding frenzy the City of Berkeley is suffering under—the incredible shrinking retail/commercial component of everyone’s favorite development misnomer: mixed-use. This trend may have escaped the notice of our Planning Department and its boards, but it is clear that developers who pay close attention to their return on investment are no longer willing to devote more than a fig leaf of square footage to space that will remain vacant or need to be rented to a charity case nonprofit. No, they have recognized that the real value of the retail/commercial space in mixed-use development is its near miraculous ability to slide oversized developments through the planning process, rather than in any economic return to them or for some “public purpose” in return for the significant zoning concessions granted to mixed-use developments. 

A case in point is the latest mutation of Panoramic Interests’ 1950 MLK project—now re-titled and re-oriented as 1885 University Ave. Proposed originally as a 119,280-square-foot mixed-use development with 191 dwelling units and 5,000 square feet of retail/commercial space, it is has metastasized into a 158,860-square-foot project with 179 dwelling units and 4,500 square feet of retail/commercial space. This “right-sizing” (to bring back a hated term from the ‘90s) has the effect of reducing the residential/commercial ‘mix’ from a laughable 4.2 percent to a derisory 2.8 percent. To get a sense of what this project will look like and how it will dominate the neighborhood, the next time you are eastbound on University Avenue and need to wait at the MLK stoplight, envision the Golden Bear development up the street at Milvia and University transported to your immediate left—because Panoramic Interests’ new project has the same square footage and footprint as the Golden Bear, but regrettably will not have either its honesty nor its charm. 

If the residential component of the current litter of mixed-use developments were evaluated as purely residential developments, they would need to conform to R3 zoning, with real setbacks, reasonable building heights, and meaningful detriment impact standards and findings. Even with the state-mandated density bonus of 25 percent a R3 development would provide the neighborhood, the city, and the region the housing it needs—without the ugliness of yet one more hulking structure presenting a vacant storefront with a perpetual ‘For Lease’ or ‘Available’ sign in the window as its smirking nod to the concept of mixed-use. We probably need more housing, but we certainly have no need for additional retail or commercial space. Furthermore, whatever need for such space that does arise over the next few decades can easily be accommodated by renovating today’s distressed and vacant inventory. There is no requirement in city or state law to approve a mixed-use proposal when there is no need for additional retail or commercial space. Just because a developer makes a proposal for a mixed-use project under the zoning code does not require approval by ZAB or the city council—a permitted use is not a by right entitlement—demand that our city begin to show some discretionary oversight over the development process. 

Stephen Wollmer

Commentary: City Can Get Better Government for Less Money

By JOHN SELAWSKY and Nancy Bickel
Tuesday January 27, 2004

Measure I, on the March 2 Berkeley ballot, promises to save the city hundreds of thousands of dollars while expanding our democracy and saving voters the inconvenience of a December runoff election. Measure I will give Berkeley the option of enacting Instant Runoff Voting (IRV) at some point in the future if the city council determines it will not cost more money and is feasible.  

Measure I addresses several problems with December runoff elections used in Berkeley: They are expensive for taxpayers, they contribute to very low voter turnout, and they undermine campaign finance reform. According to the Berkeley city attorney, a citywide runoff costs $300,000 and a district wide runoff $100,000—and that’s just for a runoff by mail. That money could go to pay for social, health and other services that are threatened with cutbacks. 

Moreover, turnout in Berkeley’s December runoffs has declined for all eight runoffs since I986 by an average of 28 percent. Minorities, students, and low income voters are disproportionately hurt. This is not good for democracy. 

December runoffs also undermine campaign finance reform, because candidates must raise money for two elections, instead of one. The purpose of the runoff—to ensure majority support for elected officials—is sound, but the defects outlined above undermine this worthy goal. 

Some say we should abolish December runoffs, or move the runoff to February, or reduce the amount of votes needed to 40 percent. Unfortunately, all of these would create additional problems, such as the possibility of electing candidates who do not have the support of a majority of voters, or having even lower voter turnout in February.  

There is a better solution. Instant Runoff Voting achieves the goal of a runoff election—majority rule—without the cost and hassle of a second election. Here’s how it works. 

IRV is much like the December runoff, except that voters select their runoff choices ahead of time. Voters select their favorite candidate, and then indicate their runoff choices by ranking candidates: first, second, third. If a candidate receives a majority of first choices, she or he is declared the winner. If not, the candidate with the fewest votes is eliminated, and a runoff round of counting occurs immediately using voters’ “runoff” rankings. Your ballot counts for your top-ranked candidate still in the race. Runoff rounds continue until there is a majority winner. 

In many ways, the “instant” runoff is not much different from the “delayed” December runoff—except that voters indicate their runoff choice at the same time as their first choice, so they don’t need to return to the polls if no candidate receives an outright majority. By doing it all in one election, we not only produce majority winners, we save millions of tax dollars over time. We also avoid the considerable headaches of a second election in the middle of the busy holiday season. 

Moreover, with IRV candidates have incentive to court the supporters of other candidates, asking for their second or third rankings. Successful candidates usually win by building coalitions, not by tearing down their opponents through negative campaigning. That’s good for democracy too. 

Voting with IRV also takes away the “spoiler” effect. If IRV had been used in the 2000 presidential election, the 100,000 Ralph Nader voters would have had the option of ranking their second/runoff choice. Undoubtedly thousands of them would have chosen Al Gore, and Gore would be president right now.  

San Francisco passed IRV recently, and it will be used for the first time in the November 2004 elections. Oakland and San Leandro have passed measures similar to Measure I. IRV also is used to elect the president of Ireland, the mayor of London, and the president of the American Political Science Association (and they know a thing or two about elections). 

Measure I will not implement instant runoff voting, it simply will give us the option of using IRV at a future date if the city council determines that it will not cost more than the current system and is feasible from an election administration standpoint. IRV makes good fiscal, practical and democratic sense, Vote yes on Measure I this March.  


John Selawsky is president of the Berkeley School Board. Nancy Bickel is president of the League of Women Voters of Berkeley, Albany and Emeryville.

Commentary: Corrie ‘Parable’ Evokes Spirited Replies

Tuesday January 27, 2004

Editors, Daily Planet:  

I am outraged by John Gertz’ latest attack on our city council (“A Parable for Councilmembers,” Daily Planet, Jan. 23-26). Its offense: daring to request an investigation into the death of Rachel Corrie. The young Corrie was crushed to death by an armored, U.S.-made Caterpillar bulldozer as she nonviolently placed her body in front of Palestinian homes the Israeli army was demolishing. After running her down, the army driver reversed and backed up over Corrie’s still-living body. Only days ago, Tom Hurndall, another young international, died from wounds inflicted when the Israeli army shot him as he was escorting a Palestinian child to safety in the occupied West Bank. 

Why would Gertz smear Corrie after her death? Why would he attack our city council for requesting an investigation of her killing? What does he want covered up?  

In Israel/Palestine, the systematic military violence of occupation harmonizes with the indiscriminate hatred of suicide bombings in a symphony of carnage and revenge. Courageous, big-hearted people worldwide are putting themselves in harm’s way because our nation does nothing to stop the bloodshed.  

To the Berkeley City Council: You have the support of Jews everywhere who do not accept oppression in our name. 

Glen Hauer 

Jewish Voice for Peace 


Editors, Daily Planet:  

In his recent open letter John Gertz condemns the five councilmembers who approved a resolution calling for an independent U.S. investigation into the slaying of Rachel Corrie, a 23-year-old American college student who was crushed to death by an Israeli bulldozer as she tried to nonviolently block the demolition of a Palestinian physician’s home. (The Israeli military had rapidly concluded that there was no culpability on the part of the military involved). Mr. Gertz creates a muddled parable, wherein Berkeley becomes a racist southern city and Rachel a war criminal, to express his pain as a Jewish resident that there was no similar call for an investigation into the deaths of American citizens, including Jews, who have been among the victims of the atrocity of suicide bombings. This notwithstanding that for every suicide bombing there is swift and sweeping retaliation by the Israeli government, including military incursions into Palestinian cities and extrajudicial executions of suspected militants, in the course of which scores of innocent Palestinian civilians are also killed.  

There is another kind of pain that many Jewish Americans feel, different from that described by Mr. Gertz. Old enough to remember and join the jubilation when the State of Israel was born, I have had to come to terms with the reality that Israel has become something other than the noble and besieged little country in the region. In reality it is now a formidable nuclear power and the fourth most powerful military in the world that has laid siege for over 36 years to an impoverished and defenseless civilian population. Thousands of innocent Palestinian civilians have been killed by the Israeli military, including hundreds of children. Land and water has been stolen, and more than 3,500 homes have been demolished, leaving an estimated 16,000 Palestinians homeless. (Statistics from B’Tsalem, Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories.)  

This is the nightmarish landscape where Rachel Corrie took her nonviolent stand against injustice. She paid with her life. This is the woman whom John Gertz, in his foolish parable, likens to a fictional “Richard Corrie,” a soldier “who had taken part in the Mai Lai massacre and would certainly have faced court martial had he lived …” What hysteria could have lead the good Mr. Gertz to smear the memory of this young American woman, crushed to death in the flower of her idealism? 

Avraham Burg is a member of the Israeli Knesset, and the former chair of the Jewish Agency for Israel. In a recent essay for Ha’aretz, Israel’s leading newspaper, Burg warned that the end of Zionism is near because the Israeli nation today rests on “foundations of oppression and injustice…There may yet be a Jewish state here, but it will be different sort, strange and ugly.” He concludes that “crying out [against Israeli oppression] is a moral imperative” and calls upon “Israel’s friends abroad—Jewish and non-Jewish” to help Israel move toward peace and justice. 

 I am profoundly appreciative that councilmembers Linda Maio, Kriss Worthington, Margaret Brelund, Maudell Shirek and Dona Spring had the courage to act on this moral imperative in demanding an independent U.S. investigation into the slaying of Rachel Corrie. In so doing they join, among others, Representative Barbara Lee, co-sponsor of House Concurrent Resolution 111, Amnesty International, and the Green Party. They give us cause for hope. 

Carol Sanders 


Editors, Daily Planet:  

A recent opinion piece in the Daily Planet excoriates me and four of my city council colleagues for a vote we made on Sept. 9, a vote that raised issues around the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The piece offers me the opportunity to let readers know what actually happened the night of the council vote.  

Berkeley’s Peace and Justice Commission had requested that the city council go on record in support of a congressional resolution (HR111), signed by over 40 members of Congress, including our own Barbara Lee. The resolution asked the U.S. government to conduct an independent investigation into the death of Rachel Corrie, an American peace activist who had been killed by an Israeli bulldozer. The Israeli government had conducted an investigation but would not release the report, not even to Rachel Corrie’s parents. My colleagues and I supported the request.  

Another motion, which I seconded, supported additional investigations of all American deaths in Israel, as requested by some members of the community. That motion was withdrawn when it became clear it would not pass. With hindsight, I now realize that what was needed that night was not a motion to investigate deaths, but one condemning all of the deaths and human rights violations in this war of rage and retribution. I take heart in supporting those who continue to stand for and engage in constructive Israeli-Palestinian dialogue, those who actively seek rapprochement and better understanding between the two peoples, those who are sowing the seeds of a just and peaceful solution to this painful and destructive conflict.  

Linda Maio 

Berkeley City Council 


Berkeley’s Etude Club Marks a Century of Music

By KATY WILSON Special to the Planet
Tuesday January 27, 2004

Celebrating its 100th anniversary this month, Berkeley’s Etude Club is renewing its dedication to music performance and appreciation and to the encouragement of young musicians. 

“This anniversary is a testament to the enduring power of music, and it provides a fascinating window on the past,” says Janet Weinstein, club president.  

The Etude Club began Jan. 29, 1904, when six women gave a dinner party and performed a musical program afterwards. Opportunities for women to perform in public were slim at the time, and the evening was so inspiring that the women established a formal group to promote the study and performance of music. Members are either musicians or the ever-important associates, the listeners. 

Today the Etude Club continues, meeting monthly for a program of music performed by members, with tea and conversation following. The club encourages students to continue their pursuit of music and promotes musical development through an annual scholarship competition each spring, open to students in Alameda and Contra Costa counties. 

An Etude Club program today might look like the Feb. 26, 1914 program, which featured works by Beethoven, Mozart, and Mendelssohn. But other pieces heard recently at Etude were actually written during the Club’s lifetime. Among them: Francis Poulenc’s lyrical 1962 Sonata for clarinet and piano; the virtuosic 1939 Scaramouche for two pianos by Darius Milhaud; or Hubert Ho’s Tremble (2003) for flute and piano, performed with the composer at the keyboard. 

Over the past 100 years, Etude Club has felt the brush of history. “Our archives provide a wonderful glimpse into the last century,” says Joan Goodman, Etude historian. The club survived the 1906 earthquake, two world wars, and the turn of the millennium. It saw the 1918 Spanish flu epidemic claim the lives of several members. World War I found Etude Club members active outside music, with a table at the Twentieth Century Unit of the Red Cross making surgical dressings. 

When the 1923 fire broke out in central Berkeley, it happened to be an Etude meeting day. Past president Eda Cooper recalled that the door suddenly burst open mid-program and a voice shouted, “Berkeley is on fire! Go home immediately.”  

By 1931 the club had raised enough money to purchase its own piano, paying the then princely sum of $1,800 to Sherman Clay for a Steinway grand. Many card parties and extra performances were held to pay off the balance. And by 1946 the club was meeting at its current location at the Hillside Club on Cedar Street. Members are faithful, with one 98-year-old member writing this winter to say she regretted she would not be renewing her membership; attending meetings had become difficult.  

Times have changed. “Our members no longer attend in white gloves or arrive by streetcar or horse-drawn carriage,” says Goodman, “but our commitment to music remains the same.” Etude Club will be commemorating its centennial through the remainder of 2004. 

For additional information on joining the Etude Club or attending one of its programs as a guest, call 559-3959.

Architectural Surprises Await in the ‘Flatlands’

By JOHN KENYON Special to the Planet
Tuesday January 27, 2004

Berkeley’s Flatland, the gently sloping East Bay Shelf between, say, Martin Luther King Jr. Way and the water-edge, has never been famous for distinguished architecture. Most of it, apart from a handful of surviving Victorians in Oceanview—the original water-based settlement—is an uneventful mix of modest bungalows ranging from “Sub Craftsman” to “Plebian Ranch,” and made bearable here and there by surviving old trees and the city’s generous street-tree program. Friends or relatives from distant places might be driven slowly around the UC Campus or along Grizzly Peak for the views, but only a dedicated urban geographer would wish to be exposed to San Pablo Avenue or any stretch of the bland streets on either side. 

In recent years, the one dramatic intervention into this visual limbo is developer Denny Adams’ Fourth Street, that designer paradise of elegant shops and cafes that has become Berkeley’s Second Downtown. But now, here and there, are signs of architectural life in the residential flatland itself. Some are modest—a vine trellis here, a nice paint job there, or a cluster of nicely rehabbed dollhouse Victorians—but others are bold, novel, and happy to be admired. 

Drive along Ninth Street just south of Gilman, and you might notice, across the humble back-gardens and garages, a striking little studio tower rising behind a bungalow somewhere on Tenth Street. Drive back to Berkeley up Hollis, past Emeryville’s proud parade of industrial conversions, and you will come face to face, right at the turn to Berkeley’s Seventh Street, with two gleaming metallic live/work twins that challenge every cherished notion of desirable siting. Some of these new structures are detached houses, others second-floor additions, but all have in common freedom from the sort of “contextualism” that is, all to often, timid conformity to the prevailing neighborhood look. 

Here are six easy-to-find examples, all but one located in Berkeley: 


1025 West Place, Albany (off Posen). The urbane, strangely monumental house is a total surprise at the top of an alley-like dead-end street opposite St. Mary’s Campus. It skillfully exploits a quiet private lot, the back garden quite hidden from public view. The dominant walls—roofs hidden behind parapets—give it a very European or Latin American look. 

755 and 801 Folger St. (between Hollis and Seventh). These almost identical “live-work” buildings both match and improve their tough industrial setting—a contextual triumph for once! Above an office and an artist’s studio are elegant “high tech” apartments with lofts. The deep blue privacy wall and the shaggy trees have already softened the “metal shed” aesthetic. 

1406 Tenth St. (just south of Camellia). Mentioned above, this little tower built over the back portion of a late 1940s bungalow is an independent living unit with a view-loft above, clever color and a matching pitched roof link these quite dissimilar structures together and enliven the whole street. 

1265 Monterey Ave. (east side, north of Hopkins). This very suburban brick bungalow was the last house you’d expect to sprout a spirited “functionalist” expansion—mainly a north-facing double-studio for the occupants. However, a matching roof-slope, some changes to the existing frontage, creative use of color and a remarkable garden have pulled the whole gutsy thing together. 

1010 Cedar St. (just below San Pablo Avenue). A studio with a “barrel vault” roof and a view balcony in back creates a useful third level on this gently expanded old house. Despite the low-key wood boarded exterior, the city gave the owner a hard time for not “fitting in.” 

1813 Ninth St. (north of Hearst). Almost hidden behind an old red-painted cottage, this small, willfully picturesque house splits a largish back yard into three intimate outdoor areas. Bold stucco features, horizontal boards, exposed rafters and an additive-looking “shed” recall earlier Bay Region design. 

“Essential Berkeley” began around the magnificent hillside site of the UC Campus. Thus, almost all the local work of famous Bay Region architects is in this privileged area, along with hundreds of other delightful “view homes.” In contrast, the Flatlands—the busy traffic grid with its sea of humble dwellings on identical lots, seems boring if not ugly, and hardly gets a mention in architectural guidebooks. 

Encouraging, then, to see these modest demonstrations of lively professional design popping up in the city’s “forgotten half,” and likely to increase in number as the cost of building in the woodsy hills becomes astronomical.

UC Hotel Panel Moves Ahead After Mayor Seeks a Timeout

By J. Douglas Allen-Taylor
Friday January 23, 2004

The Berkeley Planning Commission’s examination of the proposed UC Hotel-Conference Center-Museum Complex project was thrown into temporary confusion early this week when Mayor Tom Bates formally asked the panel to delay creating the project task force Bates himself had sought less than two months ago. 

“While the proposal [for a 20-member task force to examine the hotel/conference center proposal] has considerable merit,” Bates wrote in a Jan. 20 letter to the commission’s four-member hotel complex subcommittee, “I believe it is premature to initiate at this time. ... I would prefer to see major decisions [on the project] be made as part of an overall framework and not done piecemeal. We risk setting up a confusing and cumbersome process that endangers the success of the hotel/conference center project.” 

Bates chided the task force proposal for “not address[ing] the role of the Zoning Adjustments Board and the Design Review Committee in reviewing the project.” Noting that “the city and the university are currently engaged in negotiations,” with a UC/city joint draft proposal expected “in the next month or two,” he “respectfully request[ed]” that the task force “not make decisions about the review process” until then. 

Last November, Mayor Bates formally recommended to the that “council direct the Planning Commission to examine the [hotel complex project] and report back to Council no later than May 2004 with preliminary recommendations.” Bates wrote that a Planning Commission Task Force was mandated by the city’s General Plan, and noted that Planning Commission Chair “has activated this provision [of the General Plan] and is working to schedule the first task force meeting.” 

The issue was left in limbo after Planning Commissioner Rob Wrenn, the Commission subcommittee chair, made adjustments and clarifications to a proposal he had written setting out guidelines for creating the UC Hotel task force. 

Bates aide Cisco DeVries said he couldn’t answer for the mayor and said he’d pass on the revisions to Bates, now in Washington, D.C. for a meeting of the National Conference of Mayors. 

At the beginning of last Monday’s subcommittee meeting in which the mayor’s letter was released, Wrenn said subcommittee members “understand that we are not trying to supercede ZAB,” adding that his adjustments to his proposal made it plain that the task force “is going to be looking at the front end of the project while it’s in its first stages, while ZAB and Design Review will be involved once concrete proposals have been presented to the city. We [the task force] are not going to be part of that end of the process.” 

Wrenn called the dispute a “misunderstanding by Mayor Bates” of the task force’s role in the development of the hotel complex. After the meeting, he said the Planning Commission “has a role in the hotel complex development, and we can’t just be told to stand to the side while all of this goes through.” He said holding off on an examination of the project at this point would essentially mean that the Planning Commission would have no role in shaping the development. 

Asked if he thought his proposed clarifications would satisfy the mayor’s concerns, Wrenn said “I hope this resolves it, but I don’t know.” He said he plans to move the task force plan forward. 

DeVries and Planning Commission Chairperson Zelda Bronstein held a brief, animated discussion over the mayor’s request outside the elevator shortly before the Jan. 20 subcommittee meeting. Bronstein declined to comment on the content of the discussion, but she was heard making the point to DeVries that she believed she had activated the task force at the city council’s official request and in full compliance with the city’s General Plan. 

UC Berkeley proposed the hotel/conference center/museum complex for a downtown Berkeley block at the edge of the campus bounded by Shattuck Avenue, Oxford Street, Center Street, and University Avenue. 

The university contends the project is exempt from Berkeley’s zoning ordinances and review—a claim that is reportedly the subject of some of the negotiations between the university and city officials.  

Kevin Hufferd, who is managing the hotel complex project for the school, says he is not participating in those negotiations, but calls them “sensitive.” 

In response, councilmembers unanimously authorized creating the planning commission’s hotel complex task force on Dec. 9. 

Since then, a subcommittee consisting of Commissioners Wrenn, Bronstein, Gene Poschman and Susan Wengraf has met with an ad hoc group of interested Berkeley citizens almost weekly in a second floor conference room of the Berkeley Planning Department. Participants have discussed a wide range of topics, including traffic mitigation issues, community accessibility, benefits and detriments to the city, and possible proposals to turn Center Street into a pedestrian mall and to open the currently closed Strawberry Creek in that block. Mayor Bates and UC Project Manager Hufferd regularly attend and give updates to participants. 

Wrenn sent out a memo last week outlining a plan to formalize the ad hoc nature of the task force, offering a detailed list of what the task force will look at, setting out a meeting timetable, and calling for the nomination of “about 20 people” to serve on the task force—subject to the planning commission ratification. In response, Bates requested that the task force be put on hold. 

Participants at the Jan. 20 subcommittee meeting nominated close to 25 people representing architectural, ecological, business, transportation, and labor interests for planning commission approval at their Feb. 18 meeting.

Berkeley This Week

Friday January 23, 2004


City Commons Club Noon Luncheon with Chi-an Hu, Visi- 

ting Professor, International Law, UCB, on “China’s Role in the United Nations.” Luncheon at 11:45 a.m. for $11.50 - $12.50, speech at 12:30 p.m., at the Berkeley City Club, 2315 Durant St. For information and reservations call 526-2925. 

Docent Training for Berkeley Historical Society, from 1 to 4 p.m. in the Veteran’s Memorial Building, 1931 Center St. 848-0181. 

Literary Friends meets from 1:15 to 3 p.m. at the North Berkeley Senior Center. We will discuss the Women’s Movement during the past century. For information call 232-1351. 

Berkeley Chess Club meets Fridays at 7:15 p.m. at the Berkeley City Club, 2315 Durant Ave. Players at all levels are welcome. 652-5324. 

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. People of all traditions are welcome to join us. Sponsored by the Buddhist Peace Fellowship. 655-6169. www.bpf.org 

Overeaters Anonymous meets every Friday at 1:30 p.m. at the Northbrae Church at Solano and The Alameda. Parking is free and is handicapped accessible. For information call Katherine, 525-5231. 


Free Emergency Preparedness Class on Fire Supression for anyone who lives or works in Berkeley, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Fire Department Training Center, 997 Cedar St. Register on-line at www.ci.berkeley.ca. 

us/fire/oes or call 981-5506. 

Winter Bird Walk Join Chris Carmichael, Associate Director of Collections and Horticulture, and expert birder Dennis Wolff on a morning walk from 9 to 10 a.m. to discover the Botanical Garden’s bird life. Heavy rain cancels. Cost is $10, members free. Registration required. 643-2937. Botanical Garden, 200 Centennial Drive. http:// 


Winter Color in the Garden 10 a.m. at Magic Gardens, 729 Heinz Ave. 644-2351. 

Cerrito Creek Work Party Help remove blackberries and plant trees on Cerrito Creek north of Albany Hill. Meet at Pacific East Mall, 3288 Pierce St, El Cerrito at 10 a.m. For information email f5creeks@aol.com  

Kids Garden Club Experience the water cycle through our watershed model and see how water effects our garden and you. From 2 to 4 p.m. at Tilden Nature Area, in Tilden Park Cost is $3. Wheelchair accessible. 525-2233. tnarea@ebparks.org   

Salamander Saunter We’ll look for wet weather animals, learn the difference between newts and salamanders, and see what they are doing at this time of the year. From 2:30 to 4 p.m. in Tilden Nature Area, in Tilden Park. 525-2233. tnarea@ebparks.org 

Berkeley Copwatch Orientation: Know Your Rights! Join us for this hands-on workshop including: What rights we have when we are stopped, what to look for when someone else is getting stopped, keeping safe while observing police and more. From 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at 2022 Blake St. This event is free and open to the public. 548-0425. 

Share Your Gear Party Your recycled sports equipment can help keep children playing. Donations accepted from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Sports4Kids Swap Shop, 2095 Rose St., between Shattuck and Henry. 868-1591. 

Bauman College Open House Visit the new Berkeley campus and learn about classes in holistic nutrition and culinary arts, 3 to 6 p.m. at 901 Grayson St., at 7th. 800-987-7530.  

Veg 101: Compassionate Living Workshop A one-day workshop introducing the many reasons why vegetarianism is a healthy, environmental, and compassionate diet. From 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the Berkeley Public Library Main Meeting Room, 3rd floor, 2090 Kittredge St. 925-487-4419. www.generationv.org/veg101  

Yoga for Seniors at the Berkeley City Club, 2315 Durant St., on Saturdays from 10 to 11 a.m. Open to non-members of the club for $8 per class. For further information and to register, call 848-7800. 

Pet Adoptions, sponsored by Home at Last, from noon to 5 p.m., Hearst and 4th St. 548-9223. 

Car Wash Benefit for Options Recovery Services of Berkeley, held every Sat. from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Lutheran Church, 1744 University Ave. 666-9552. 


Introduction to Homebrewing Biodiesel Learn the basics of making biodiesel, and see the whole process from testing the veggie oil, brewing the bio- 

diesel, washing it, filtering it, and putting it in your vehicle. Bring a dish to share for a potluck lunch. From 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Cost is $10-$20 sliding scale. RSVP by email to jenniferradtke@yahoo.com for directions and more details.  

Berkeley City Club free tour from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Tours are sponsored by the Berkeley City Club and the Landmark Heritage Foundation. Donations welcome. The Berkeley City Club is located at 2315 Durant Ave. For group reservations or more information, call 848-7800 or 883-9710. 

Tibetan Peace Ceremony at 6 p.m. at the Tibetan Nyingma Institute, 1815 Highland Pl. 843-6812. www.nyingmainstitute.com 


Fitness for 55+ A total body workout including aerobics, stretching and strengthing at 1:15 p.m. every Monday at the South Berkeley Senior Center. 981-5170. 

Tea at Four Enjoy some of the best teas from the other side of the Pacific Rim and learn their cultural and natural history. Then take a walk to see wintering birds and dormant lady- 

beetles, from 4 to 5:30 p.m. at Tilden Nature Area, in Tilden Park. Registration required. Cost is $5 for residents, $7 for non-residents. Wheelchair accessible. 525-2233. 

Berkeley CopWatch organizational meeting at 8 p.m. at 2022 Blake St. Join us to work on current issues around police misconduct. Volunteers needed. For information call 548-0425. 


Tuesday Morning Birdwalk at Tilden’s Inspiration Point from 7:30 to 9:30 a.m. Call if you need to borrow binoculars. 525-2233. 

“Fly the Friendly Skies under Ashcroft” Refuse and Resist’s monthly meeting at 6 p.m. at the Claremont Branch Library, 2940 Benvenue Ave. 704-5293. RNRBAYAREA@yahoo.com 

“How to Save for Your Children and/or Grandchildren’s Education: College Planning 101” at 7:30 p.m. at the Berkeley Richmond Jewish Community Center, 1414 Walnut St. Cost is $5. 848-0327, ext. 112. 

“We Are Called: Vocation in a Swiftly Changing World” a three-day conference at Pacific School of Religion, with lectures, workshops, creative worship and conversations with scholars, pastors, community organizers and artists on issues of faith and vocation. For a complete schedule please see www.psr.edu or call 849-8239.  

“Tu B’shvat: An Awakening” Explore passages that shed light on the development of rituals and meanings related to Tu B’shvat, with Avital Plan, from 7:30 to 9 p.m. at the Berkeley Richmond Community Center, 1414 Walnut St. Cost is $5. 848-0327, ext. 112. 

“Judaism, What is it all About?” an interactive lecture series with Rabbi Judah Dardik, at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesdays at Beth Jacob Congregation, 3778 Park Blvd., Oakland. 482-1147. www.bethjacoboakland.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. 234-4783. 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. 

Tuesday Tilden Walkers We are a few slowpoke seniors who walk between a mile or two each Tuesday, meeting at 9:30 a.m. in the Little Farm parking lot. To join us, call 215-7672.  


Forum on Land Use in Berkeley, from 7 to 9 p.m. in the Fireside Room, St. John’s Presbyterian Church, 2727 College Ave. We will have the opportunity to speak with Dan Marks, Director of Planning, Steve Barton, Director of Housing, and various commissioners to discuss current land use issues and Berkeley’s future as it relates to land use. Sponsored by BANA/CNA and the Berkeley Party. www.berkeleycna.com, www.berkeleyparty.com 

“Shelter From The Storm: A Benefit for the Homeless” with Country Joe McDonald, Carol Denney, Buzzy Linhart & the Big Few, Will Scarlet with Mark Silber & Steve Mann. Mayor Tom Bates will give awards to homeless activists. At 8 p.m. at Freight & Salvage, 1111 Addison St. Cost is $15.50. 548-1761. debbie-moore@xplicitplayers.com 

“Wesley Clark and Environmetal Sustainability” with Susan Andres, Executive Director for the Farallones Marine Sanctuary at 7 p.m. at the Rockridge Library, 5366 College Ave. Sponsored by East Bay for Clark.  

Gray Panthers General Meeting, “Think Globally, Act Locally” with Peace and Justice Commissioner Elliot Cohen on how local actions can affect national policy, at 1:30 p.m. at the North Berkeley Senior Center. 548-9696. 

“Perspective on 9/11: Exposing the Lies of the Official Story” a free multimedia presentation by Ken Jenkins at the Fellowship of Humanity, 390 27th St., Oakland. 415-721-2844. 

“Jews of the Bay Area,” with Fred Rosenbaum, author and historian, from noon to 2 p.m., at the Berkeley Richmond Jewish Community Center, 1414 Walnut St. Bring your own lunch; coffee and tea provided. Cost is $5. 848-0327, ext. 112.  

Berkeley Peace Walk and Vigil at the Berkeley BART Sta- 

tion, corner of Shattuck and Center. Vigil at 6:30 p.m. followed by Peace Walk at 7 p.m. www.geocities.com/vigil4peace/vigil 

Free Marketing Workshops, sponsored by Sisters Headquarters, for women entrepreneurs, every Wed. from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at 643 17th St. Oakland. For information call 238-1100. 

Prose Writers Workshop We're a serious but lively bunch whose focus is on issues of craft. Novices welcome. Experienced facilitator. Community sponsored, no fee. Meets 7 to 9 p.m. at the Jewish Community Center, 1414 Walnut, at Rose. For information call 524-3034. 

Berkeley CopWatch open office hours 7 to 9 p.m. Drop in to file complaints, assistance available. For information call 548-0425. 

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. For information call 848-0237.  


Travel 2004: A Panel Discussion Learn how to travel the world with ease at 7:30 p.m. at Easy Going Travel Shop & Bookstore, 1385 Shattuck Ave. 843-3533. 

Going to Extremes: From El Capitan to Everest with Jonathan Chester, at 7 p.m. at REI, 1338 San Pablo Ave. 527-4140. 


Young People’s Symphony Orchestra misses its alums! As our nation's second oldest youth orchestra, based in Berkeley, YPSO is in possession of a treasure trove of memorabilia dating as far back as 1936. To preserve and share these photographs, letters, programs and other interesting materials YPSO is creating a Digital Online Museum. If you participated in the Young People’s Symphony Orchestra please contact David Davis at davisde@yogashorts.com or 543-4054. 

Support the Berkeley Public Library On-line Auction Visit www.bplf.org and bid to name a character in a work by Michael Chabon, have dinner with Elizabeth Farnsworth and Khaled Hosseini, let Bill Schechner tell your story, work with Adair Lara on a memoir, hear Maxine Hong Kingston at your book club, and much more. 981-6115. 

Learn About Howard Dean and see why he is our best bet against George Bush. Alameda County for Dean is sponsoring a series of informational gatherings at private homes throughout the county. Experienced campaign volunteers will present Dean’s positions and achievements, and can answer your questions. Call 548-8414 or go to www.eb4dean/houseparties for the time and place best for you! 

Albany Berkeley Girls Softball League offers an exciting opportunity for East Bay girls in grades 1-8 to learn softball, make friends and have fun! Registration starts in January; the season runs March 6 through June 5. For information call 869-4277. www.abgsl.org 

Creating Economic Opportunities for Women offers training programs for immigrant and refugee women. Orientations held during January, at 655 International Blvd., 2nd flr. Call 879-2949. 

Acting and Storytelling Classes for Seniors, offered by Stagebridge. Wednesdays and Fridays, at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. at Arts First Oakland, 2501 Harrison St., close to BART and AC Transit. 444-4755. www.stagebridge.org 

Acting and Improv Classes for Adults begin Sun. Jan. 25. Cost is $290 for 8 wks. On- 

going classes for children and teens. Verna Winter Studio, 1312 Bonita Ave. 524-1601. 

Tae-Bo, a cardiovascular workout composed of kick punches and stretches will be offered at Frances Albrier Recreation Center, 2800 Park St., on Tuesdays & Thursdays, 6:30-7:30 p.m., beginning Jan. 13. Cost is $20 per month or $4 drop-in. For information call 981-6640.  


Parks and Recreation Commission meets Mon., Jan. 26, at 7 p.m., at the North Berkeley Senior Center. Deborah Chernin, 981-6715. ww.ci.berkeley.ca.us/ 


Solid Waste Management Commission meets Mon., Jan. 26, at 7 p.m., at 1201 Second St. Becky Dowdakin, 981-6357. www.ci.berkeley.ca.us/commissions/solidwaste 

City Council meets Tues., Jan. 27, at 7 p.m., in City Council Chambers, Sherry M. Kelly, city clerk, 981-6900. www.ci.berkeley.ca.us/citycouncil

A Parable for Councilmembers

John Gertz
Friday January 23, 2004

An open letter to Berkeley City Councilmembers Linda Maio, Kriss Worthington, Margaret Brelund, Maudele Shirek, and Dona Spring: 


The five of you have brought pain to many Jewish members of our city with your insensitive vote this past October (you were in the 5-4 majority) to demand an investigation into the accidental death of Rachel Corrie by an Israeli bulldozer in Rafah, Gaza. You demand to know if negligence was involved (no one suspects murder). What pains us is that you explicitly have chosen to ignore the deaths of the almost 50 other Americans, most of whom were Jewish, who have been killed by Palestinian terrorists during the current intifada. You did this even though you knew that Corrie had intentionally walked into a war zone, had burned an American flag in front of reporters, and was guarding Hamas’ weapons smuggling tunnels. You knew that among the 50 Americans you ignored was Berkeley’s own Marla Bennett, who was blown to pieces as she sat eating in a cafeteria on the campus of Hebrew University. And you took this vote just hours after you learned that another Jewish American, Dr. David Applebaum, who as head of an ER unit in Jerusalem had treated hundreds of terror victims, was himself murdered along with his 20-year-old daughter. She was to have been married the following day. They were blown up in a cafe. 

I have heard all sorts of excuses as to why you chose to canonize Rachel Corrie at the expense of Marla Bennett, David Applebaum, and the others. My favorite for cynicism is that we do not need to investigate anyone else’s death but Corrie’s, since the others were victims of suicide bombings (actually many were shot, knifed, or killed by remotely detonated bombs), and by the very nature of that crime we know who did it and the perpetrator is dead. The White House used this very argument right after the Watergate break in. Burglars caught, case closed. I would think that you would want to know who indoctrinated and recruited these very young suicide bombers, and you would want to know who trained them, who chose their targets, who prepared the explosives, and who transported them to their civilian targets in Israel. Most of all, you would want to know who issued the deadly orders, and you will want to follow the chain of orders up the ladder. Oh brave city councilmembers, you will not fear to go wherever the evidence may lead, even if it is into the offices of Yasir Arafat and Hamas leader Sheik Yassin. And while you continue to spend city time and money on your Middle East foreign policy, maybe Emeryville, in its admiration of your courage, will fix our budget deficit. 

Perhaps a parable can help you understand our pain. Imagine a city of Berkeley’s size, but in Alabama. While the high school band plays patriotic tunes, and with appropriate ceremony, the mayor removes the tarp from a new marble memorial to the city’s Vietnam dead. Most in the crowd applaud, but a few notice that the stone is engraved only with the names of the white soldiers who had fallen. Blacks have been left off the memorial. Particularly troubling to some is that one of the white soldiers listed on the memorial, Richard Corrie, had taken part in the Mai Lai massacre, and would certainly have faced court martial had he lived, while one of the black soldiers, Mark Bennet, was shot while fixing the roof of an orphanage he was building in his off duty hours. One member of the city council, Linda May, who is also the local chapter president of the Daughters of the American Revolution, lamely pleads that she had received a letter from Corrie’s mother supporting the monument, but had received no such letter from Bennet’s mother. One city councilmember, Chris Worth, is quoted in the local press as saying that this omission must be all right since the blacks in town hadn’t (yet) openly revolted. Another city councilmember insisted that she had just last year approved a zoning plan for a new black church, so there is nothing wrong in honoring only white folk at this time. Yet another city councilmember insisted that he is not a racist, after all “he loved his mammy almost as much as he loved his own mother.”  

Jesse Jackson, along with five outraged members of the city council of faraway Berkeley, California show up in Alabama to protest. One city councilmember notices that the leader of the Berkeley protesters is Linda Meyer (poor sighted, he had misread the name, Linda Maio) and concludes that a Jewish conspiracy is afoot. The others nod knowingly. 

I don’t know exactly how my parable ends, except that the city’s fallen black soldiers were eventually added to the memorial. But was it because those Alabama politicians got it in the end, or did they just cave in to unremitting pressure? 

John Gertz

A Unique Blend of Baroque and Contemporary

Friday January 23, 2004

Are we standing at the pinnacle of civilization, or tumbling from the broken guardrail? While there is a lot to endure in these burdensome times (traffic, mad cows, Republicans), it is an easy and available pleasure to graze through the treasure trove of history that has accumulated in the five centuries or so while we’ve been otherwise occupied. 

Members of the ensemble American Baroque play period instruments. Period instruments, like the shawm and the viola de gamba, are sometimes found in museums. But old instruments don’t ever seem to really die, they just move into the hands of specialists who love them all over again. The baroque flute, the baroque oboe and violin, the harpsichord—these instruments sing to us from an earlier era, their graininess and hushed subtlety a bit surprising, catching us unawares. 

If something was lost as flutes began to be cast from metal, as the violin was fashioned for greater carrying power, as the piano edged the harpsichord from the stage, it was not lost forever. When the musical experiments of the 20th century got underway, these quiet survivors of bygone days were dusted off. They found new enthusiasts. They were recorded, carried around the world on concert tours. And, after a few centuries of forgetfulness, composers began writing new music for them.  

I saw American Baroque perform in San Francisco in the late ‘90s, a collaboration with the Common Sense Composers Collective. The sound of these instruments playing music written by contemporary composers was revelatory. Now they’re at it again. 

This Saturday, in Berkeley, Emeryville-based American Baroque will balance a program of 18th century composers Marais and Rameau with works by composers considerably younger: Mark Mellits, Karl Stone, and Roy Whelden (who also plays voila de gamba in the ensemble) all have pieces on the program written in very recent years. 

Whelden’s piece is based on J.S. Bach’s once-lost Goldberg Canons, discovered, with attendant excitement, in France in 1974. These are 14 very short studies, which Whelden has arranged to form an extended suite. Gonzalo Ruiz, who plays oboe with the ensemble, compares what Whelden has done to a jeweler’s task in creating settings for a string of tiny, brilliant gems. 

What many of these pieces—old and new—have in common is the musical practice known as continuo playing. One of music history’s unsolved mysteries is the lapse of improvisatory practice, once integral to western classical music, now heard almost exclusively in the jazz tradition and in folk music. In the 1600s and 1700s, any credible harpsichordist needed to be able to improvise variations from a written bass line. 

Good early music players (and American Baroque’s Katherine Shao is certainly one) have revived this tradition, bringing some of the ad-lib back into the classical music world, where it once resided. The lutist and cellist need to be similarly skilled to play this music, making something cogent and fully realized out of a simple set of prescribed pitches. 

This improvised material is known as the continuo. It is what one hears when music is performed in the true baroque tradition, surrounding and accompanying the written material. As in jazz, performances of this kind are unique, involving a set of variations that will never be heard again.  

The baroque era has come to imply, for us, something a bit straitjacketed. J.S. Bach conjures up a fellow in a powdered wig. And, in truth, contemporary performance often seems to invite something more like polite attention than delirium. Perhaps this has to do, in part, with the loss of the improvisation. Improvisation of all kinds, when carried off well, always feels a bit like dancing on the edge of a precipice. Or it may be that in our time we need an electric guitar to make us feel we are being given an urgent message. 

Still and all, the descriptions handed down to us of the music from the period we now call baroque are surprising. A French treatise published in 1702 describes the playing of Arcangelo Corelli; “I never met with any man that suffered his passions to hurry him away so much whilst he was playing on the violin. His eyes will sometimes turn as red as fire; his countenance will be distorted; his eyeballs roll as in an agony; and he gives in so much to what he is doing that he doth not look like the same man.” Thomas Mace, in 1676, described the listener’s state-of-mind as hardly less extreme: “Fervently, and zealously captivated, we are drawn into raptures.” 

Many of the members or American Baroque are also principals in Philharmonia Baroque. ASCAP awarded the ensemble an award in 2000 for Adventurous Programming. They’ve toured far and wide. All this to say it’s a top-notch group, well worth a visit. You’ll not only be hearing fine musicians and fine music. You’ll be reminded, in the best way possible, what it was to hear music played when the world was just a wee bit younger. 

American Baroque performs at 8 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 24 at St. John’s Presbyterian Church, Berkeley, 2727 College Ave., and at 4 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 25 at St. Gregory’s Episcopal Church in San Francisco. Tickets are $22 for SFEMS members and seniors, $25 for non-members, $10 for students. 528-1725 or www.sfems.org. 


Clark Suprynowicz is a composer living in Oakland. 

Arts Calendar

Friday January 23, 2004



Chinese New Year Celebration at 10:30 a.m. at Barnes and Noble. 644-3635. 


“Light my Fire,” an exhibition by 10 Bay Area glass artists. Reception from 5 to 7 p.m. at ACCI Gallery, 1652 Shattuck Ave. Exhibition runs until Feb. 21. 843-2527. www.accigallery.com 


Actor’s Ensemble of Berkeley, “Helen of Troy (Revised),” written by Wolfgang Hilesheimer, translated and directed by David Fenerty opens at 8 p.m. at Live Oak Theater, 1301 Shattuck at Berryman, and runs Fri. and Sat. evenings through Feb. 21. Admission is $10. 649-5999. www.aeofberkeley.org 

“Yellowman” by Dael Orlandersmith, directed by Les Waters, opens at the Berkeley Repertory Theater, 2025 Addison St., and runs through March 7. For ticket information call 647-2949. www.berkeleyrep.org 


Mann’s World: “The Furies” at 7 p.m. and “Side Street” at 9:10 p.m. at the Pacific Film Archive. Cost is $4-$8. 642-0808. www.bampfa.berkeley.edu 


Anne Sofie von Otter, Swedish mezzo-soprano, at 8 p.m. in Zellerbach Hall, UC Campus. Tickets are $32-$56 available from 642-9988. www.calperfs.berkeley.edu 

Berkeley High Jazz Ensemble at 8 p.m. at The Jazz House. Donation $5. 649-8744.  


Oakland East Bay Symphony with Michael Morgan, conductor performs at 2025 Broadway, Oakland. 625-8497. www.oebs.org  

Rose Street Women perform at the 1923 Teahouse at 8 p.m. Suggested donation of $7-$10. 644-2204. www.epicarts.org 

Martin Hayes and Dennis Cahill, Irish music violin and guitar duo at 8 p.m. at Freight and Salvage Coffee House. Cost is $19.50 in advance, $20.50 at the door. 548-1761. www.freightandsalvage.org 

Double Standards, jazz duo, at 7 p.m. at Nomad Cafe, 6500 Shattuck Ave. 595-5344. www.nomadcafe.net 

Microphone Mayhem at 9 p.m. at La Peña Cultural Center. Cost is $10. 849-2568. www.lapena.org 

All Ages Show with The Phenomenauts, Three Bad Jacks, October Allied at 9:30 p.m. at The Starry Plough. Cost is $7. 841-2082. www.starryploughpub.com  

Vinyl, Brown Baggin at 9 p.m. at Shattuck Down Low, 2284 Shattuck Ave. Cost is $8. 548-1159. www.shattuckdownlow.com 

The Quails perform indie-punk at 9 p.m. at Oakland Metro, 201 Broadway. Tickets are $7, available at the door. 763-1146. www.oaklandmetro.org 

Mimi Fox at 8:30 p.m. at Downtown. 649-3810. 

CV1 at 9 p.m. at Jupiter. 848-8277. 

Thriving Ivory at 9:30 p.m. at Beckett’s Irish Pub, 2271 Shattuck Ave. 647-1790. www.beckettsirishpub.com 

Evaporators, The Clarendon Hills, System and Station at 8 p.m. at 924 Gilman St. Cost is $5. 525-9926. 



Los Amiguitos de La Peña with Earthcapades at 10:30 a.m. at La Peña. Cost is $4 for adults, $3 for children. 849-2568. www.lapena.org 


“The Art of Nature” featuring Inge Behrens, Andrea Markus and Vickie Resso. Reception from 7:30 to 9 p.m. at 4th Street Studio, 1717D 4th St. Exhibition runs to Feb. 10. 527-0600. www.fourthstreetstudio.com 


Mann’s World: “Border Incident” at 7 p.m. and “The Black Book” at 8:50 p.m. at the Pacific Film Archive. Cost is $4-$8. 642-0808. www.bampfa.berkeley.edu 


Rhythm and Muse, a benefit for Berkeley Public Swimming Pools with poets Summer Brenner, Adam David Miller, Gael Alcock, Eliza Shefler, and Yassir, at 7 p.m. at the Berkeley Art Center. 644-6893. www.berkeleyartcenter.org 

Dr. Dean Edell discusses “Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Healthiness: Dr. Dean’s Commonsense Guide for Anything That Ails You,” at 7 p.m. at Cody’s Books on Fourth St. 559-9500. www.codysbooks.com 


San Francisco Early Music Society, American Baroque, presents “Uncommon Grounds” a concert of new and baroque music built over ground basses, at 8 p.m. at St. John’s Presbyterian Church, 2727 College Ave. Tickets are $22 for SFEMS members and seniors, $25 for non-members, $10 for students. 528-1725. www.sfems.org 

The Novello Quartet performs Boccherini, Haydn, and Foerster at 8 p.m. at the Northbrae Community Church, 941 The Alameda. Suggested donation $10-$20. 415-794-1100.  

Music from Around the World, a benefit concert for Middle East Children’s Alliance, featuring The Dunes, North African music with jazz/rock grooves, Pachasiku, traditional music from the Andes, and The Brass Menagerie, a Balkan brass band. At 8 p.m. at International House, Piedmont Ave. at Bancroft. Tickets are $25 at the door. 548-0542. 

Piedmont Choir performs at 3 p.m. at the First Congregational Church, 2345 Channing Way. Tickets are $10-$12. 547-444, ext. 4. 

Trinity Concerts Chamber Music with Amari Barash, Carlberg Jones, Lynn Schugren at 8 p.m. at Trinity Chapel, 2320 Dana St. 549-3864.  

Christin Hablewitz and her Musical Friends perform chamber music from classical to contemporary at 8 p.m. at Oakland Metro, 201 Broadway. Tickets are $5-10. 763-1146. www.oaklandmetro.org 

Paco de Luciá, flamenco and jazz guitar concert has been cancelled and rescheduled for March 4 and 5. 642-9988. www.calperfs.berkeley.edu 

Natural Vibrations and One Groove with guest McMarty Dread at 9:30 p.m. at Ashkenaz. Cost is $13. 525-5054. www.ashkenaz.com 

Naked Barbies at 8 p.m. at La Peña Cultural Center. Cost is $10. 849-2568. www.lapena.org 

Matt & Patti 3, improvisational world fusion music, at 8 p.m. at The Jazz House. Sliding scale donation $8-$15. 649-8744.  


The Scramblers, High Speed Scene, Good for You at 9:30 p.m. at The Starry Plough. Cost is $6. 841-2082. www.starryploughpub.com 

Quartet San Francisco at 8 p.m. at the Jazzschool. Cost is $10-$15. 845-5373. www.jazzschool.com 

International Guitar Night with Pierre Bensusan, Andrew York, Guinga and Brian Gore at 8 p.m. at Freight and Salvage. Cost is $17.50 in advance, $18.50 at the door. 548-1761. www.freightandsalvage.org 

Michael Bluestein at 8:30 p.m. at Downtown. 649-3810. 

Shelley Doty, singer, songwriter, guitarist at 7:30 p.m. at Nomad Cafe, 6500 Shattuck Ave. 595-5344. www.nomadcafe.net 

Babyland, Midnight Laserbeam, Apocalipstick, Drk Sct Lv, Giant Haystacks 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. 

Rory Snyder Group at 9 p.m. at Jupiter. 848-8277. 

Nicole McRory at 9:30 p.m. at Beckett’s Irish Pub, 2271 Shattuck Ave. 647-1790. www.beckettsirishpub.com 



Baba Ken and the Nigerian Brothers at 3 p.m. at Ashkenaz. Cost is $6 for adults, $4 for children. 525-5054. www.ashkenaz.com 


Victor Sjostrom, “The Outlaw and His Wife” at 5:30 p.m. at the Pacific Film Archive. Cost is $4-$8. 642-0808. www.bampfa.berkeley.edu 


Ant Farm: Guided Tour at 2 p.m. at Berkeley Art Museum, 2626 Bancroft Way. 

Women of Berkeley Lecture Series “Ocean View: Past and Present” with author Barbara Gates and historian Stephanie Manning at 3 p.m. at the Berkeley History Center, 1931 Center St. 848-0181. www.ci.berkeley.ca.us/histsoc/ 

“Re-Imagining Collections” a panel discussion in conjunction with the Judah L. Magnes Museum’s “Brought to Light,” featuring curators from three Bay Area museums reflecting on how to re-imagine intellectual and educational content of collections. From 2 to 4 p.m. at the Judah L. Magnes Museum, 2911 Russell St. Free with museum admission. 549-6950. www.magnes.org 

Robert Guter, Lee Williams, Jean Stewart and Marsha Saxton read excerpts from “Voices from the Edge: Narratives about the Americans with Disabilities Act” at 3:30 p.m. at La Peña Cultural Center. Cost is $5. 849-2568. www.lapena.org 

Poetry Flash with Carrie St. George Comer and Brian Teare at 7:30 p.m. at Cody’s Books. Donation $2. 845-7852. www.codysbooks.com 

Dennis E. Anderson will show slides and introduce “Hidden Treasures of San Francisco Bay” at 7:30 p.m. at Black Oak Books. 486-0698. www.blackoakbooks.com 


Live Oak Concert with Bill Ludke, piano, Elizabeth Durand, soprano, Aurelio Viscarra, tenor, at 7:30 p.m. at the Berkeley Art Center in Live Oak Park. Tickets are $8-$10. 644-6893. www.berkeleyartcenter.org 

Chamber Music Sundaes San Francisco Symphony musicians and friends perform Beethoven, Bartok, and Schumann, at 3:15 p.m. at St John’s Presbyterian Church, 2727 College Ave. Tickets are $7-$18, available at the door. 415-584-5946. 

Paco de Luciá, flamenco and jazz guitar concert has been cancelled and rescheduled for March 4 and 5. 642-9988. www.calperfs.berkeley.edu 

Piedmont Choir performs at 3 p.m. at the First Congregational Church, 2345 Channing Way. Tickets are $10-$12. 547-444, ext. 4. 

A Night of Egyptian Dance Music with Alexandria and the Newar Eastern Dance Company at 8 p.m. at Ashkenaz. Cost is $15. 525-5054. www.ashkenaz.com 

Hurricane Sam, boogie woogie, blues and r&b piano at 8 p.m. at Freight and Salvage. Cost is $15.50 in advance, $16.50 at the door. 548-1761. www.freightandsalvage.org 

CKW Trio, The Scott Hill Ensemble, improvisational jazz, at 2 p.m. at The Jazz House. Sliding scale donation $8-$15. 649-8744. www.thejazzhouse.com 

Claudia Villela and Ricardo Peixoto, old roots, new language at 4:30 p.m. at the Jazz- 

school. Cost is $20. 845-5373. www.jazzschool.com 



Indira Martina Mesihovic “Mind LineScapes” paintings and Jacob Stewat-Halevy, “The Myth of the Homunculi” paintings, opens at the Worth-Ryder Gallery, UC Berkeley. Reception from 4 to 6 p.m.  


Sandra Scofield introduces her new memoire, “Occaisions of Sin” at 7:30 p.m. at Cody’s Books. 845-7852. www.codysbooks.com 

“The Way Things Are” A Conversation with Huston Smith on the spiritual life at 7:30 p.m. at the First Congregational Church of Berkeley, 2345 Channing Way. Co-presented by Pacific School of Religion, First Congregational Church of Berkeley, and Cody’s Books. This is a pre-conference event for Pacific School of Religion’s Earl Lectures. $10 suggested donation at the door. For more information, call 848-3696, ext. 23. 

Bob Guter and John R. Killacky, editors, read from “Queer Crips: Disabled Gay Men and Their Stories” at 7:30 p.m. at Black Oak Books. 486-0698. www.blackoakbooks.com 

Poetry Express, featuring Avotcja, from 7 to 9:30 p.m., at Priya Restaurant, 2072 San Pablo Ave. berkeleypoetryexpress@yahoo.com 



Alternative Visions: “Double-Edged Sword” at 7:30 p.m. at the Pacific Film Archive. Cost is $4-$8. 642-0808. www.bampfa.berkeley.edu 


Chalmers Johnson introduces “The Sorrows of Empire: Militarism, Secrecy, and the End of the Republic,” at 7 p.m. at Cody’s Books on Fourth St. 559-9500. www.codysbooks.com 

Robert Guter, Shawn Casey O’Brien and Jean Stewart read excerpts from “Voices from the Edge: Narratives about the Americans with Disabilities Act” at 4 p.m. at Maude Fife Room, Wheeler Hall, UC Campus. sschweik@uclink4.berkeley.edu 

Kim Addonizio introduces her new book of poetry, “What Is This Thing Called Love” at 7:30 p.m. at Black Oak Books. 486-0698. www.blackoakbooks.com 

The Whole Note Poetry Series with HD Moe reading poems from Maui at 7 p.m. at The Beanery, 2925 College Ave., near Ashby. 549-9093. 


Ensemble Vermillian with Frances Blaker, recorders, Barbara Blaker Krumdieck, baroque cello, and Katherine Heater, harpsichord, will perform chamber music from 17th century Germany by Buxtehude, Biber, Kinderman and others at 8 p.m. at at St. Alban’s Episcopal Church, 1501 Washington Ave. at Curtis in Albany. Tickets are $18 general, $15 students and seniors. 559-4670. 

Austrian Musical Evening, with Gabriele Sima, Kammersangerin and Adalbert Skocic, cello at 8 p.m. at International House, Piedmont Ave. at Bancroft. Tickets are $25. 642-9460. 

Tee Fee Swamp Boogie at 8:30 p.m. at Ashkenaz. Dance lesson with Annie Marie Howard at 8 p.m. Cost is $9. 525-5054. www.ashkenaz.com 

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

Dayna Stephens House Jam at 8 p.m. at The Jazz House. Donation $5. 649-8744.  


Jazzschool Tuesdays at 8 p.m. at Jupiter. 848-8277. 



Preschool Storytime, a program introducing books and music to promote early literacy skills, at 7 p.m. at Berkeley Public Library West Branch, 1125 University Ave. 981-6270. 


Addison Street Windows, “Aerial Views and Bead Forms,” paintings by Audrey Wallace Taylor and sculptures by Jenny Cole. Reception for the artists from 6 to 9 p.m. at 2018 Addison St. 981-7533. 


Film 50: Edison to Early Griffith at 3 p.m. and Works by Nam June Paik at 7:30 p.m. at the Pacific Film Archive. Cost is $4-$8. 642-0808. www.bampfa.berkeley.edu 


Ted Roszak, author of “The Devil and Daniel Silverman” at 7:30 p.m. at the Berkeley Richmond Jewish Community Center, 1414 Walnut St. 848-0327, ext. 112.  

Vincent Sarich and Frank Miele talk about “Race: The Reality of Human Differences” at 7:30 p.m. at Cody’s Books. 845-7852. www.codysbooks.com 

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

Berkeley Acdemic Quiz Bowl at 7 p.m. at Barnes and Noble.  

Charlene Sprenak discusses “Missing Mary: The Queen of Heaven and Her Re-Emergence in the Modern Church” at 7:30 p.m. at Black Oak Books. 486-0698. www.blackoakbooks.com 


Dance Theater of Harlem, at 8 p.m., Zellerbach Hall, UC Campus. Tickets are $32-$52, available from 642-9988. www.calperfs.berkeley.edu 

Za’Atar plays Jewish music of Arab and Muslim lands at 8 p.m. at Ashkenaz. Cost is $18.  

525-5054. www.ashkenaz.com 

Sam Bevan Trio at 8 p.m. at Jupiter. Cost is $10. 848-8277. 



Oxford Elementary School, Fifth Grade, “Yo soy un Americano,” a celebration of Mexican American history as told through the eyes of a Mexican American grandmother and her grandson, Carlos, at 9 a.m. at 1130 Oxford Street. For more information, please call Ms. Inniss at 644-6300.  


Victor Sjostrom: “The Girl from the Marsh Croft” at 7:30 p.m. at the Pacific Film Archive. Cost is $4-$8. 642-0808. www.bampfa.berkeley.edu 


Chris Dresser, Richard Rhodes and Mark Schapiro discuss “Living with the Genie: Essays on Technology and the Quest for Human Mastery” at 7:30 p.m. at Cody’s Books. 845-7852. www.codysbooks.com 

Ant Farm: Guided Tour at 12:15 and 5:30 p.m. at Berkeley Art Museum, 2626 Bancroft Way. 

Joan Steinau Lester discusses her biography of Eleanor Holmes Norton, “Fire in My Soul” at 7:30 p.m. at Black Oak Books. 486-0698. www.blackoakbooks.com 

Word Beat Reading Series with Charles Curtis Blackwell and Mark G. at 7 p.m. at Mediterraneum Caffe, 2475 Telegraph Ave. 526-5985.  


Dance Theater of Harlem, at 8 p.m., Zellerbach Hall, UC Campus. Tickets are $32-$52, available from 642-9988. www.calperfs.berkeley.edu 

Jessica Lurie Ensemble at 9:30 p.m. at The Starry Plough. Cost is $8. 841-2082. www.starryplough.com 

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

Mas Cabeza at 8 p.m. at Jupiter. 848-8277. 


UC, Union Discuss Stalled Pact Terms

Friday January 23, 2004

After an initial, incomplete agreement last year between the University of California and the Coalition of University Employee’s Union (CUE) ended a two-year labor battle, both parties are back at the table, sitting down to the negotiate at CUE’s Berkeley offices Wednesday to hash out unresolved issues on the current contract before it expires in September. 

Angry CUE members from across the state gathered outside CUE’s Telegraph Avenue headquarters after marching from campus—part of a strategy to pressure university officials they say are dragging out the negotiations.  

“UC regularly undervalues those who support the students the most,” Amatullah Alaji-Sabrie, president of UC Berkeley’s local CUE office, told the small rally before the march. “The little people are on the march for social justice.” 

Just last May, the two sides drafted a short contract agreement after a long struggle that at one point saw several campuses across the state largely shut down after CUE members walked off the job in a three-day strike with the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) union. 

Negotiations for the initial contract dragged on for over a year-and-a-half, leaving three key issues unresolved—parking, wages, and benefits. The resulting preliminary agreement included a clause calling for further negotiations to settle on terms, hence Wednesday’s session. 

Final terms were slated to go into effect last October, and any settlement is to include payment for the intervening period. 

CUE’s pay demands include: 

•A 1.5 percent across the board cost of living increase 

• A half-step merit increase, the equivalent of a 2-3 percent raise.  

•A full step added to each classification  

They also want the university to guarantee equity pay for library assistants and police dispatchers—who they say earn less than those in the same positions at California state schools, and whose pay varies from campus to campus—and for the university to move the funds from the incentive awards program into base salary. 

Before the May settlement CUE had demanded a 15 percent pay increase over two years, compromising on a 7.5 percent increase, the first half of which they received in May. The 1.5 percent across-the-board cost of living increase plus the half-step merit increase currently on the table will translate into the remaining 3-3.5 percent. 

Parking has been a consistent issue for the union, which wants the university to adjust parking fees on a sliding scale according to each permitee’s income. During the first round of negotiations, CUE officials said without the 15 percent raise over two years. Members would lose money in the end if forced to pay more for parking. They say the current wage compromise must include negotiations over parking fees. 

As for health care, CUE officials say they’re pleased with the university’s creation of salary “bands” that adjust monthly premiums based on income. Now the union wants the university to cap any future increases and guarantee that health-care costs remain constant for the remainder of the contract. 

CUE members reported mixed feelings about the university’s recent decision to settle with the graduate student instructors represented by the United Auto Workers. 

“We are just not a priority in their budget,” said Claudia Horning, CUE’s statewide president. “We’re thrilled for [the graduate students], but we think [the university] really takes our work for granted.” 

CUE leaders say the state budget crisis gives the university a shield to hide behind, but they insist the picture is much larger. 

“We are extremely concerned about adequate wages and maintaining affordable health care for our employees, but the only way we can give system-wide raises and help shield our employees from skyrocketing health care costs is if the state adequately funds us,” said Paul Schwartz, a spokesman for UC. 

CUE recently hired economist Peter Donohue from PBI Associates in Portland, Oregon, who conducted an analysis of the university’s annual financial report for 2002-2003. According to his findings, while the university did receive a $127 million dollar cut in state funding, the system reported an overall net income increase of $1.9 billion—a 14 percent increase from 2001-2002—leading CUE to believe the university is hiding behind state cuts instead of bargaining in good faith. 

According to Donohue, only one third of CUE positions are funded by state money, figures drawn from the university budget. 

CUE members point to the pot of money called the university’s unrestricted net assets, which according to the university’s financial report totals $4.74 billion. Because these funds aren’t restricted by grant or bond rules, union officials said that could be easily be used to meet their contract demands. 

“[Their] resources are growing, why is the university saying that they facing a fiscal deficit?,” said Donohue. 

UC spokesperson Schwartz, while agreeing that allocation isn’t predetermined by an outside entity, disagrees with the union’s broader characterization of the funds. 

“Unrestricted does not mean the funds are uncommitted or available for any use,” said Schwartz. “All UC funds—restricted and unrestricted—are 100 percent committed each year to UC’s vast array of academic programs, salary and benefits programs for employees, construction projects, and countless other obligations.”  

Nevertheless, CUE representatives say they’ll continue to pressure the university to negotiate on their demands, and once contract negotiations are over for the current contract they hope they can move on to negotiating a longer pact after the current agreement expires in September. 

“I think [the solution] is going to be a combination of things,” said Margy Wilkinson, CUE’s chief steward. “The university is going to have to move into the 21st Century in its approach to labor negotiations. It will also take the commitment of clerical workers to demand what’s fair.”

ZAB Ruled Wrong Way in Approving Sprint Tower

Leonard Schwartzburd, Ph.D.
Friday January 23, 2004

Open Letter to the Berkeley City Council: 


I am writing about the issue of the RF frequency meter readings submitted as evidence in the people’s appeal from the Zoning Adjustment Board decision to grant Sprint a use permit for cellular antennas at 1600 Shattuck Ave. The appellants found data suggesting that existing levels of such radiation, even before the installation of three new proposed antennas, exceed the FCC safety standards.  

Though many people believe and scientific studies conclude that the Federal Communications Commission regulations permit imprudent levels of radiation as it is, the regulations govern and the appellants have not raised that issue. 

Questions were raised by Sprint and the consultant they paid regarding the implications of the fact that the appellants had not tested the meter used for calibration, though brand new.  

As a person trained in science myself, I recognize that the data produced cannot be considered to be conclusive. However, the data must be taken into account as it raises the reasonable question of whether or not RF radiation exceeding FCC standards at the site presently exists. The fact is that a serious question exists, and there is data that clearly supports getting it answered in a conclusive manner. 

Dr. Shahruz, who borrowed and operated the meter, testified that the more sophisticated meter available to be borrowed would have cost him $300 to calibrate. Hardly a level playing field with the resources Sprint brings to bear. 

Nevertheless, the data produced is valuable because it demonstrates the reasonable necessity that the issue of cumulative radiation levels should have been studied as part of any competent engineering study. The failure to run such studies by the firm contracted to do the report is clear evidence of the inadequacy of the study.  

The need to establish present ambient levels is a no brainer. The failure of the Sprint paid consultant is more evidence to support my belief that the author of the study was biased in favor of Sprint. The entire effort appeared to be to show that the application should be approved. This is no surprise since the cellular industry is the bread and butter of the people who contract to do these things.  

In theory, city staff should be assuring the independence and fairness of the study. It is my understanding that the firm hired, apparently using either Sprint’s own equipment or equipment funded by Sprint, conducted the study with a city staff person in attendance.  

The problem is that from the time I first discovered the Nextel stealth application, which led to a couple of communities joining together to get passage of the cellular ordinance, city staff at several levels have been consistent advocates of the cellular industry. The present study is shot through with holes and omissions. The city staff, with an agenda opposed to and flagrantly violating the ordinance passed by the lawfully superior city council, is cozy to the cellular industry and is this flawed study’s cheering section.  

It is the city’s duty to the people to study this issue in an unbiased way. I do not trust the “independent” contractor nor do I trust the city staff to protect the legitimate interests, rights and welfare of Berkeley’s citizens. I think that the city should be required to allow a representative of the people’s appellants to be present as such studies are being done. I nominate the People’s Electrical Engineer, Dr. Shahram Shahruz, to be the peoples monitor in the future. For a variety of reasons I call upon the city council to keep its covenant with the people and uphold the people’s appeal to deny the placement of the antennas in a heavily populated area very near schools, residences and otherwise heavily used areas.  

Leonard Schwartzburd, Ph.D. 


New School Assignment Plan Debuts

Friday January 23, 2004

Berkeley Unified School District unveiled a new plan Wednesday for assigning students to elementary schools that supporters hailed for expanding diversity beyond race and critics blasted as a sitting duck for a legal challenge already mounted against the district. 

If adopted by the school board, two new factors—parental income and education level—will be added to race in determining how students are placed in elementary schools.  

The proposal, four years in the making, follows the lead of districts nationwide in using socioeconomic factors to achieve school diversity, but draws the line at race at a time when California courts have interpreted state law to forbid any consideration of race in public education. 

“They’re fooling themselves if they think this thing is going to fly,” said Hastings Law Professor David Levine, who in 1999 won a federal court case that struck down a San Francisco school assignment plan that included racial quotas. “They’re just wasting everyone’s time and money.” 

School board members praised the plan at Wednesday’s meeting, but opted to delay final approval until the following meeting Feb. 4 to gauge public support. 

Last year the conservative Pacific Legal Foundation sued Berkeley Unified over its current assignment plan—which requires each school’s racial mix to come within five percent of the district-wide tally—charging that it violated Proposition 209. 

That measure, passed by voters in 1996, precludes racial preferences or discrimination in public education, employment and contracting.  

Lead PLF attorney Cynthia Jameson said she would pursue the case as long as Berkeley Unified insisted on using race as a factor. 

The PLF suit was not the driving factor behind the new plan,” Superintendent Michele Lawrence said. “I was concerned we had only considered race. I wanted to make sure we recognized other elements that make up diversity.” 

The proposal retains several features of the old plan. Elementary schools will still be divided into the same three zones, and students will still pick their three preferred schools and have priority to attend a school that a sibling already attends or that has a language program needed by the child. 

But instead of placing children into elementary schools based, in part, on self-declared race, the new system will rely on assumed diversity characteristics of a planning area where the student lives. 

Each planning area, about four to eight city blocks, will be given a value for parental income and education based on 2000 census information and racial breakdown, between white and non-white, based on multi-year K-5 enrollment.  

The planning areas will be assigned a value from 1-3 ranging from neighborhoods that tend to be more white with wealthier and highly educated parents to neighborhoods that have more minorities with poorer and less educated parents.  

Forms asking for student’s racial information will still be collected, in part, to monitor how well the system maintains racial balance at the district’s 11 elementary schools. 

Models calculated by District Admissions and Attendance Manager Francisco Martinez show the new system maintaining nearly identical levels of racial diversity while improving socioeconomic diversity. For example, Rosa Parks and Thousand Oaks Elementary Schools have similar student populations, with about 40 percent Latino students, but under the current system, Thousand Oaks, which is located in the Berkeley Hills, has about twice as many students whose parents fit into the most advantaged category and about one-half as many students who fall into the least advantaged category. 

That is significant, said PTA Council President Roia Ferrazares, because schools serving wealthier families tend to have a greater base of parents to volunteer time and fund-raise for the school. 

Other diversity factors were considered, Martinez said, including single parent status, test scores, and second language skills, but they were more didn’t provide reliable data.  

Choice would be slightly sacrificed under the new plan; Martinez estimates 67 percent of students would have received their first choice of schools this year, compared to 75 percent under the current system. 

Berkeley Unified and the PLF have been shadowboxing on school assignment since 2000. Faced with threats of a lawsuit, then-Superintendent Jack McLaughlin formed a subcommittee to devise a new school assignment plan that could pass muster with Proposition 209. The committee saw both its proposals rejected, the first by McLaughlin for recommending to keep the old system in the face of unfriendly legal decisions from the California courts, and the second by the board for excluding race entirely as a diversity factor. 

“If you look at San Francisco or Oakland or any large school district in California there has be a reversal of large scale desegregation which is not to the benefit of any student,” said Board President John Selawsky. 

Proponents of school desegregation hope the current proposal, devised in consultation with BUSD attorney Jon Streeter, can use its indirect and imperfect consideration of race to wiggle its way under Proposition 209, but Levine said legal precedent is not on their side. 

The California Supreme Court has taken a strict interpretation of 209, he said, forbidding any consideration of race. And in a similar case last year the PLF won a suit against Huntington Beach Union District for a race-conscious student transfer policy. “That slams the door on this,” Levine said. “They say no how, no way can you use race as a formula.”

Letters to the Editor

Friday January 23, 2004


Editors, Daily Planet: 

I appreciate Andrew Becker’s recent article “City Tries New Tactic With Tune-Up Masters Site” (Daily Planet, Jan. 20-22). In addition to correcting the spelling of my name (Kibby, not Kibbey) I wanted to add a point of clarification. 

At Thursday’s ZAB workshop for Tune-Up Masters, both of the “options” under consideration are at 350 percent of the General Plan density for this site, and exceed the University Avenue planning standards by one and two stories. 

The most important detail of this building is its bulk and mass (denser than Acton Court, five stories tall on a small quarter-acre site abutting a neighborhood), and there are no “options” presented which address this. 

Where’s Option 3? 

The state’s Density Bonus law is not dictating the size of this building. It’s the city’s current interpretation of the state’s Density Bonus law that is pushing these huge buildings up.  

I want a building that can have a graceful street presence as well as blend well with my neighborhood and complement existing avenue merchants. Berkeley published planning guidelines describe such a building, and I hope that we will explore this. 

Robin Kibby 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

Andrew Becker’s article on the Tune-Up Masters development was excellent. However, I did not mean to give Mr. Becker the impression that it was “at [my] suggestion” that the task force recommended an early informal ZAB workshop. It was an idea favored by Planning Director Dan Marks, everyone on the task force, and other development observers. 

Sharon Hudson 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

Ladies beware: George Bush says “I love you” but he only wants to get into our pants!  

He knows what we want to hear. His eyes brim with sincerity as he murmurs the “L” word to us and opens up his heart. During his recent State of the Union message, he was like some late-night Lothario at a singles bar, desperately trying to get laid. 

You take him home with you. And he turns out to be Ted Bundy. 

“I’ll give you schools!” says Bush. I want schools. 

“I’ll give you democracy in Iraq, good medicine and make you safe,” he says. I wanna be safe! 

And the next morning, we wake up and find that he’s gone—and so is the television set, the VCR, the Toyota, the cat and our best friend Suzie. We’re pregnant, have an STD and three of our fingers are missing. 

Ladies, beware. George Bush is the man our mothers warned us about. 

Jane Stillwater 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

Berkeley is facing a large budget deficit. The mayor and the city manager seem to be intent on cutting down on one of the few parts of our local system that should be completely insulated from any budget cuts—the democratic process.  

Measure J, which makes running for local office more inaccessible for non-incumbents and working people, was put on the March ballot at the mayor’s behest. This measure will invite further involvement of big money donors and consultants, which have helped degrade our state-wide and national elections. 

Now, the city manager is working on “streamlining” city commisions—i.e.: eliminating some and consolidating others. City commissions are an important method for citizens voices to be heard by commissioners and therefore by the city council. Also, the commissioners themselves add their own diverse expertise and experiences to the breadth of information the city council receives on various vital issues facing all of us. The commission system allows our elected officials to use the wonderful spectrum of voices and knowledge of our city.  

This appears to be a cynical attempt to consolidate power by current officials. I hope that we, the Berkeley voters, choose to reject such attempts to muffle the sometimes raucous sounds of democracy.  

Jesse Townley 


Disaster Council 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

I am fascinated by the outraged letters [in other papers] berating Democrats for bashing Bush for his policies. My guess is these same people had no trouble bashing Clinton for everything single thing he did. If I feel upset or uncomfortable with something President Bush has done, I ask myself, “How would I feel if Clinton did the same thing?” If I still feel uncomfortable, I object to what is happening. If not, I keep my mouth shut. 

Anne Smith 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

This article told about a woman having a hard time obtaining her driver’s license because of a name change due to her divorce and the trials and 

tribulations that she went through (“Homeland Security Foils a Fifity-ish Blonde,” Daily Planet, Jan. 16-19).  

Well, I have one better. 

In her case, her name was different due to divorce. In my case, my name was the same and did not change. My story is that I went to the DMV in Fremont to renew my driver’s license. They told me that I could not do that because the name on my Social Security Card was different than the name on my driver’s license. The name on my Social Security Card was “Bob Sparkman, Jr.” I got my Social Security Card when I was 16 and carried the same one since. The name on my driver’s license was “Robert Sparkman.” I argued with them to no avail that the names were the same that Bob meant Robert, etc. They did not care and told me it was due to the 9/11 issue. 

They told me at the Social Security office that I needed to show a document with the name “Bob Sparkman” on it and something with my “Robert Sparkman” on it. Well, since I got the “Bob Sparkman” version 42 years ago, I most certainly did not have anything with that name. I ended up driving around without a license scared of the cops on patrol for almost a year. One day I said to myself, “What if someone at the Social Security office might be more empathetic than the others have been?” I then called and they said that all I would need would be my passport and that I did not need anything with “Bob Sparkman” on it. 

After a year, I now have my new driver’s license. 

I know that we need to be protected from the terrorists, and I also think that we need to be protected from the stupidity that strolls through the DMV and Social Security offices. 

Bob Sparkman 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

The president who fabricated war in Iraq supposedly to bring democracy to that country is opposed to elections there. 

Bush’s so-called Healthy Forests Initiative allows increased clear-cutting of our dwindling resources. 

His so-called Clear Skies Initiative weakens air pollution standards. 

“No child left behind” actually means that all children are left behind to pay back his borrowing on the national debt that gave tax breaks to his very rich backers. 

Now, he wants to excite us with his vision of going to Mars, while at the same time the director of NASA canceled the scheduled maintenance of the  

Hubble Space Telescope. If new batteries and gyros are not installed as planned, the most productive scientific instrument ever built will cease functioning, thereby wasting our expensive investment and squandering our opportunity to learn more about the universe. 

It’s time to replace this twisted administration. 

Bruce Joffe 




After Lively Hearing, Council Sets Sprint Vote

Friday January 23, 2004

Tuesday’s long-delayed public hearing on Sprint Communications’ North Shattuck cellular antennae application dragged into the early morning hours of this week’s city council meeting, their decision on the controversial installation at least a week away. 

The hearing was held under Berkeley’s Wireless Telecommunication Facility Ordinance, which gives the city power to approve or disapprove new cell phone operation stations. 

Earlier that night, sitting as the Berkeley Redevelopment Agency, the council approved an extension to the ground lease for the low-income Ocean View Gardens apartments on Delaware Street—but not before bowing to tenant complaints and tacking on some oversight provisions. 

Sprint first asked sought city permission two years ago to locate three rooftop cell phone antennae and some basement hardware in a commercial building at the corner of Cedar Street and Shattuck Avenue. The company, which already has 58 antennae in Berkeley, said the new facility was needed in order to correct what they called “dead spots” and poor coverage in areas of North Berkeley. 

Though a coalition of neighbors complained that Sprint didn’t need the new station and that the proposed antennae posed a health hazard, the Zoning Adjustments Board approved the application in December, 2002.  

Then councilmembers took up the matter on appeal from the neighbors coalition, delaying a hearing until they got an independent technical evaluation. Twelve months later, at the request of Berkeley officials, San Francisco-based CSI Telecommunications produced a report concluding that Sprint’s installation complied with federal standards, and declaring that Sprint needed the facility—its only alternative—to “resolve existing coverage problems in the area.” That evaluation was the subject of much of Tuesday night’s hearing. 

After Bill Ruck, a principal engineer with CSI, explained what he called the “pretty arcane and technical” background that led to his company’s conclusion (“I can’t go into this too much, or I’ll put you to sleep,” Ruck confessed), Councilmember Dona Spring said, a little bitingly, “I want to compliment the representative for CSI for doing a very good job advocating for Sprint.” 

That pretty much set the tone for the rest of the hearing, in which two groups of neighbors spent 30 minutes apiece challenging CSI’s findings that Sprint cell phone coverage is poor in North Berkeley, charging that Sprint wanted the new station either to enhance non-verbal cell phone communications (the newly-emerging e-mail and photo by cell phone) or to make Sprint more attractive to a potential buyout by another cell phone firm, or else presenting what neighbors called evidence that area communications emissions already exceed FCC guidelines. 

Mixed in were catcalls and shout-outs by neighbors responding to various points made by the CSI engineer or Sprint officials, discussions of how dead is dead in a cell phone “dead zone,” and an admittedly arcane but somewhat entertaining cross-examination by research scientist and Councilmember Gordon Wozniak of neighbor Dr. Shahram Shahruz, who conducted radio wave level tests in the area, over the proper calibration of power level meters. 

In the end, the council remains open to any written comments which may be coming in, with their final decision to come at their Jan. 27 meeting. Mayor Tom Bates, who missed Tuesday’s meeting to attend a National Conference of Mayors meeting in Washington, D.C., can cast his vote next week after reviewing the videotape and the written record of the hearing. 

Sitting as the city’s Redevelopment Agency, councilmembers debated whether to add another 22 years to the city’s lease on the Ocean View Gardens low income housing project, from its scheduled end in 2037 on to 2059. 

Ocean View houses are currently rented to residents who are earn 50 to 60 percent of Area Median Income—roughly between $40,000 and $48,000 a year for a family of four. AF Evans Company of Oakland currently leases the site for the 62-unit complex to the City of Berkeley. 

AF Evans officials said they needed the extension to get a $4.3 million loan from the California Housing Finance Agency (CalHFA) and to prevent the Ocean View houses from reverting to market rate housing as early as 2012. 

When the council agreed to the extension, several Ocean View tenants charged that the city and AF Evans representatives had been unresponsive to complaints about alleged substandard conditions in some Ocean View units. The council then amended the lease, imposing city staff inspections of the dwellings, ordering a staff survey of tenants looking into management services at Ocean View, and making AF Evans meet with tenants on a regular basis to address issues of concern. 

Both the extension and the amendments passed unanimously. 

Following a request by Councilmember Kriss Worthington, his colleagues agreed to withhold approval of new rates for Comcast Cable pending negotiations over a revival of discount rates for low-income seniors and disabled citizens. At Dona Spring’s request, fellow councilmembers tabled approval of a plan to extend the Bay Trail to the Berkeley Marina because they didn’t see enough evidence to convince them of the need to cut down nearly 100 trees. 

For the second straight week, Councilmember Margaret Breland didn’t attend due to illness.

Governor’s Plan Poses Problems for Vista College

Friday January 23, 2004

Local community college officials fear a proposal to push 10 percent of incoming University of California and California State University freshman into community colleges will end up pushing some Berkeley students straight out of higher education. 

“We’re already bulging at the seams,” said Howard Purdue, executive vice chancellor for admissions of the Peralta Community College District—which includes Vista College in Berkeley. “If we have to accept student A, we won’t have space for student B.” 

On the surface, Peralta officials should be thrilled with Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s budget proposal. While he recommended steep cuts to UC and CSU, the governor pledged roughly $200 million in new spending on community colleges—more than enough to pay for his plan to divert about 7,000 UC and CSU students through the state’s less expensive 72 community college districts. 

But Peralta, which in addition to Vista oversees three other schools in Northern Alameda County, won’t get its fair share, said Tom Smith, the district’s associate vice chancellor of budget. 

The problem, he said, is that most of the money directed towards enrollment growth is tied to a formula that penalizes Peralta and other urban districts with stagnant populations and high school graduation rates. 

“Places where they’re building lots of houses will get the majority of this,” Smith said. “We’re not so lucky.” He estimated Peralta would net about $1 million from the budget proposal—not enough to absorb the anticipated wave of several hundred new students and still meet the needs of its core population. 

Potentially compounding the problem, said Steve Boilard of the nonpartisan Legislative Analyst Office, is that Peralta could see a disproportionate number of the new transfers, since those who are guaranteed admission to UC Berkeley as juniors could choose to attend a Peralta school to be near UC.  

“The way funding gets allocated doesn’t take into account that some districts in the system might face a bigger burden,” he said. 

Frederick E. Harris, California Community Colleges (CCC) assistant vice chancellor for finance, said the chancellor’s office was aware of Peralta’s concerns, and that “it’s definitely something we’re going to look at.” 

Smith doubted the CCC would reform its formula for distributing growth revenue this year and warned that without a bigger share of the pie, financial hardships would continue. 

Earlier this month, the CCC reprimanded Peralta and 12 other districts for allowing cash reserves to fall below five percent of expenditures. 

Squeezed between back-to-back budget cuts that reduced state funding by over $3 million and spiraling enrollment rates driven by students eager for job training and a low cost alternative to UC, Peralta dipped into its reserves to enroll 2,200 students above a state-mandated cap. 

To deal with its budget crunch, the district cut 11 percent of class offerings this fall and denied full-time enrollment to 3,000 prospective students, Purdue said. 

If Peralta, with 19,100 full-time students, is required to bump up its advanced classes for an influx of transfer students, Purdue predicted it will have to cut back on its vocational and basic skills classes, reducing access to two of its primary constituencies. 

“We’re facing decisions that have ethical and political overtones,” he said.

Immigrants Need Translators For Health; Bush Won’t Fund

By HILARY ABRAMSON Pacific News Service
Friday January 23, 2004

Tell the doctor, “It hurts, here.” Then listen to the diagnosis and instructions. Sounds simple.  

But people who live in the United States communicate in more than 300 languages, and more than 30 million residents speak little or no English. And when it comes to who should pay for medical interpreting, everyone passes the buck. Horror stories of the consequences of amateur medical interpreting abound, from violations of patient privacy to death.  

Now—as President Bush appears to be calling for dignity for immigrants with his proposal to extend temporary legal status to undocumented workers—many legal and healthcare professionals are questioning the administration’s real commitment to newcomer communities. They charge the Bush administration with weakening federal advice that guarantees medical interpreting for this population. And many doctors blame the Bush administration for failure to promote the only federal dollars earmarked for medical interpreting—matching funds to states through the federal Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). 

Former President Clinton put the civil rights of America’s burgeoning population of limited English proficient residents on the federal map in 2000, with an executive order and subsequent policy guidance guaranteeing free oral and written translation to them as patients. Although President Bush has upheld the order, his health agency has issued a new “guidance” that his administration calls “more flexible” and critics attack as a “shocking departure” from Clinton’s.  

In a recent letter to federal civil rights health officials, the National Health Law Program (NHELP), a public interest law firm, charges that by changing mandatory orders to voluntary language, the Bush guidance invites providers to disregard their interpreting obligation by stating that language assistance is not necessary in “certain circumstances.” Fifty-nine national and local health and legal organizations are on record supporting the letter.  

Gone is the Clinton guidance that said using amateurs for interpreting and translating is “life-threatening.” Critics charge that softened language in the Bush guidance opens the possibility that, for instance, a victim of domestic violence or child abuse could end up with the alleged abuser as his or her interpreter.  

Chong Choa Cha’s missing right foot is one of many examples of how the medical system can break down without professional interpreting. The 47-year-old refugee, who only speaks Hmong, is suing the University Medical Center in Fresno, Calif., for amputating his infected foot. An investigation by the state health department agreed with Cha’s story. Cha, who had no professional interpreter present, believed doctors would only cleanse his foot.  

Less dramatic encounters happen every day, with similarly profound consequences, says Barbara Reyes, president of the Arizona Interpreters and Translators Association and secretary of the National Council of Interpreting in Healthcare. In the absence of professional interpreters, “little children deliver awful news to the parent they love. Friends and neighbors hear sexual and other personal history that should be private,” Reyes says.  

Medical interpreting is a tool that doctors need and want, says Cindy Roat, co-chair of the National Council on Interpreting in Healthcare. “The patient population has changed. We need to communicate.”  

Richard Campanelli, director of the Office of Civil Rights at the Department of Health and Human Services, says the new Bush guidance offers providers flexibility and adds that the guidance “is not a regulation.” The Department of Justice (DOJ) has the lead on questions each federal agency must address in its guidance on language access, he says, and the health department follows the DOJ template.  

The NHELP letter disputes Campanelli’s claim that his agency’s guidance is in line with DOJ’s.  

Alex Acosta, assistant attorney general for civil rights at DOJ, declined to speak on the record. 

Four years ago, CMS issued a letter offering states federal matching funds for medical interpreting for Medicaid recipients and low-income children receiving federal funds. Only 10 states have applied for and received these funds, according to the NHELP, which has monitored the issue for the past decade. Besides states, the American Medical Association (AMA) has unsuccessfully urged Medicaid officials for the past three years to re-issue the Clinton-era letter and clarify what mechanism would unlock funds to states.  

The AMA warned the administration that physicians might stop accepting Medicaid patients if doctors have to bear most interpreting costs.  

“The bottom line here is that interpreting services for limited English proficient patients are mandatory,” says Mary Kahn, CMS spokesperson on language access. “Saying that interpreting is too expensive when you receive federal funds is not an acceptable excuse not to pay for it.”  

The AMA has been in contact with high-level administration representatives in the relevant agencies about the issue, says Robert Mills, AMA senior public information officer. “Unfortunately, both the (health department’s) Office of Civil Rights (OCR) and CMS keep passing the buck. CMS tells us it’s not their issue, and OCR tells us they have nothing to do with payment issues.” 

Most hospitals are aware of their interpreting obligation, but advocates say countless doctors and small clinics may not believe they have to pay for it unless threatened with state and federal enforcement. 

One longtime, high-level federal health staffer who requested anonymity characterizes Washington’s commitment to the issue this way: “Language access is not a high priority around here. The way bureaucrats know something is not high priority is when they’re told NOT to do something, like re-issuing the matching funds letter.  

“This administration will not force—or help—states provide language access.” 

PNS contributing editor Hilary Abramson has covered health care issues on a national level for over a decade.

Police Blotter

Friday January 23, 2004

Two Robbers Nabbed 

Police arrested two young men in connection with an armed robbery Thursday afternoon at Black & White Liquors at the corner of Adeline Street and Shattuck Avenue. 

According to the store clerk, who refused to give his name, three men entered the store, two brandishing guns, while the third made off with two 12-packs of beer. They raced out without demanding money, one jumping into a white Cadillac with someone waiting in the driver’s seat, the others running south with the beer down Adeline.  

Police converged on the car at Shattuck and Ashby avenues, arresting both driver and passenger, Gabriel Gutierrez, 20, and Emanuel Martinez, 18 , both of Berkeley. The other pair remains at large, police said. 


Senior Kidnapped 

A 76-year-old Berkeley resident was kidnapped at knifepoint in Downtown Berkeley Monday evening and forced to remove money from an ATM machine. Police said it was the third kidnapping in the past three months. 

The woman parked her car at Addison and Oxfords streets about 7:20 p.m., and she was getting out when a man ordered her into the passenger seat and drove her to an ATM machine at the corner of Ashby and Telegraph avenues, before leaving her unharmed in the car at Ashby Bart Station. 

Police are looking for any possible connections between this incident and the kidnapping and robbery of an elderly man in October and the kidnapping sexual assault of a woman in November, said BPD spokesperson Kevin Schofield.  

Give Me The Damn Wallet 

A mugger interrupted NFL star Keyshawn Johnson’s cell phone chat outside a South Berkeley barber shop Wednesday afternoon. 

The two-time All-Pro Wide Receiver, a frequent patron of Johnson’s House of Styles (no known relation) on the 2900 block of Sacramento Street, had stepped outside at 3:29 p.m. to handle a call, police said, when two men walked up, one carrying either a rifle or a shotgun.  

The men grabbed cash and jewelry and during the incident Johnson backed into the barber shop’s window pane, knocking it out of place. The star was unhurt and the muggers fled in a light blue ‘70s American-made car, police spokesperson Kevin Schofield said. 


Under Currents: Oakland in Tatters, Jerry Brown Raises His Aim

Friday January 23, 2004

I can’t remember who told me this story. Could have been my father—it sounds like something he would have said. Could have been something I read someplace. Anyhow, in the version I remember, a guy works for years in a warehouse, along with a lot of his buddies. All day long he tells jokes, and he has all the guys cracking up. Jokes about the boss. Jokes about their small paychecks. Jokes about how fat one of his buddies is getting. Jokes about himself. When they knock off at five o’clock every evening, they all stop at a bar a block down from the warehouse, and they drink a couple of beers apiece, and this guy is always in the center of the crowd, all his buddies surrounding him, and he’s telling jokes, and everybody’s laughing. He’s one of those natural comics. Everybody loves him. He ought to be on Comedy Central. 

And then one day the warehouse foreman retires, and the boss calls him into the office and gives this guy the job. And when he walks back out onto the floor, he’s no longer just one of the guys. Sure, he tries to be. But now he’s the one who decides who has to stay over late to load a truck, and who gets to go home. He’s the one who has to write up the reports for the guys coming in late. When work gets slow and someone has to be laid off, he’s the one who sits in the meeting with the boss, where they decide who that someone is going to be. 

This guy tries hard to be the same guy he always was. On the warehouse floor all day, and at the bar after hours, he tells the same jokes he always did, but he doesn’t seem to get the same kinds of laughs. The guys give a weak grin, just for show, and then they turn and walk away. So the guy goes home and explains the situation to his wife and asks him what’s wrong—is he losing his comic touch?—and she says, no, it’s just that when you are in charge, your jokes stop being funny. 

One has to always be careful, taking your impression of an event from a newspaper account. Being a reporter myself, I know the danger. There’s no such thing as objective, unbiased reporting. You see the world through your own eyes, and that viewpoint filters back through how you describe what you’ve seen. A word changed, here or there, and you get vastly different impressions of a scene. 

You have to be doubly careful when that scene describes something being said or done by Mayor Jerry Brown. I don’t fancy myself a Brown expert, but I’ve had the chance to interview him a time or two, and observed him from a bit of a distance during his five years or so as mayor of my native city. He’s one of the more enigmatic men you are likely to meet. I’ve watched him fumble and stumble over himself behind that deadpan delivery and wondered, is this a mind so bright and brilliant that it’s just too preoccupied with reaching that far distant mountaintop to worry about the stray trip over a pebble in its path, or is this merely clever posturing by a charlatan, a wink and a nod to the knowing while the magician dupes the rest of the crowd? Concerning Mayor Brown, there is no definitive answer. 

All that being said, even within those many Brown-as-Oakland’s-savior believers amongst us, there must have been a bit of a pause in reading Heather MacDonald’s recent Oakland Tribune account of Mayor Brown’s power-breakfast, State of the City address to members of Oakland’s Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce. I will quote liberally. 

“Mayor Jerry Brown had Oakland’s business leaders rolling in the aisles Wednesday morning as he painted a rosy picture of the state of the city,” Ms. MacDonald’s story begins. “[A]s leaders networked between mouthfuls of scrambled eggs and potatoes” the mayor delivered “punch lines.” “The crowd of business people, lawyers and public officials laughed easily at Brown’s seemingly ad-libbed jokes.” And, then, the remarkable story recounted: “As he was leaving City Hall late one night this week, Brown said he was stopped by a man who told him how wonderful downtown Oakland was, as compared with where he was from. ‘Then he told me he had just come from prison,’ Brown said, prompting gales of laughter.” 

Everybody is free to have their own interpretation of these remarks. The members of the Oakland Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce, their mouths stuffed with scrambled eggs and potatoes, had theirs. You can have yours. Here is mine. 

Jerry Brown ran for mayor of Oakland on three promises. He would bring and economic revival to the downtown area. He would improve the public schools. He would make our streets safer. 

Five years have passed. While there have been a few improvements here and there—and there are always a few improvements, here and there, under any administration—downtown Oakland remains pretty much the way it was left when Elihu Harris closed the door behind him. A few bright spots, but mostly a wandering wasteland without coherent plan for correction. In that same time, Oakland’s public school system is in complete disarray, seized by the State of California, threatening bankruptcy, parents and students fleeing to other systems, on the verge of losing several of its campuses. And as for our safer streets? Oakland’s murder rate is soaring, the city has become more dangerous, with whole neighborhoods at risk. It’s hard to make a case that we are better under Brown. 

But now comes the mayor, over toast and eggs, making jokes about it all with the business leaders of the city. “I guess we’re nation building there,” Ms. MacDonald quotes Mr. Brown about President Bush’s policies in Iraq and Afghanistan. “There are some blocks in Oakland that I’d like to nation build.” 

The business leaders laughed. Living on one of those blocks, and listening to the man who is responsible for our welfare, I apologize, but I don’t find it quite so funny.

Free Speech Movement Activist Finds Tarnish On Clark Kerr’s Legacy

By MICHAEL ROSSMAN Special to the Planet
Friday January 23, 2004

Public events are mirrors through which we may read ourselves. I’d like to say brazenly that the wave of eulogies following the death of the noted liberal educator Clark Kerr reminds me of what happened to the Democratic Party during his lifetime—the long slide from reaching for popular spirit to abject “centrism,” shamelessly greasing the gears of late-stage global capitalism. 

But my bravado leaks like a punctured lung. I wince with shame at how petty and mean-spirited I will seem to go against the general tide of good feeling about Kerr and his accomplishments. 

How can my grumble not be in bad taste, revealing me as a pinched creature, an old hippie still trapped in attitudes of youth, fixated on a few things that happened 40 years ago, as if they still mattered? 

In this age of Ashcroftian terrorism, every good liberal’s instinct is to bow to the story told so eloquently by the patient FOIA researcher Seth Rosenfeld. As a leading liberal reformer and president of the world’s greatest multiversity, Kerr was targeted not only by then-Gov. Reagan’s wrath, but by J. Edgar Hoover’s FBI, which secretly derailed his career and his chances for greater national influence. Kerr was thus a hero, worth remembering and mourning in a time when basic civil liberties and liberal values are again so threatened. 

All this is true enough, in its own terms; I can scarcely quarrel. Even so, some other truths should be recalled. 

For I remember what it was like, down there at Ground Zero, in the actual trenches of making history, during the Free Speech Movement in 1964. The eulogies credit Kerr with “saving us” from assault by 600 armed police, as our thousand sat around the police car we had trapped, with the civil rights worker inside, arrested for daring to set up an informational table in the plaza, right in front of the administration building. 

They don’t mention that Kerr himself had been the key architect of the prolonged despoilment of student civil liberties that brought us to this desperate gesture and condition. From 1957 on, as student activism emerged in the New Left, Kerr liberalized certain features of campus governance while overseeing increasingly strict regulation of key activities—essentially thrusting student activism off-campus just as its energies were rising. 

Caught between his younger liberal values and the business and governmental pressures to which his administration increasingly responded, Kerr’s policies were riddled with contradiction. So was the agreement he signed that night with Mario Savio as our representative. 

Every term beside our own agreement to withdraw was a betrayal: the charges weren’t dropped, the “fair” committee was completely stacked, and so on. Under pressure of the crisis, but along natural faultlines, Kerr had argued and signed in condescending ignorance and ultimately in bad faith. 

A deeper form of bad faith soon became apparent. It was bad enough that the higher administration adamantly opposed our struggle for basic civil liberties on campus. Beyond, in the eyes of the larger community, we were at the mercy of the media, which sensationalized us even more than we invited, without much bothering to report on the serious and intellectual content of our protest. 

In this inflammatory milieu, so shortly after the wane of Congressional Red-hunting, Clark Kerr was quoted in the metropolitan news as saying that nearly half of the FSM’s leaders were “followers of the Mao-Castro line,” i.e.: dirty Commies. 

Of course, this was a dirty lie, though we did treasure the one Commie highest among us, Bettina Aptheker, because she was righteously conservative and wise. But though Kerr later privately claimed he had not said this, the damage was well done, and he never bothered to retract his statement before the Public in whose name eight hundred of us eventually were arrested and many sent to jail. 

I must note that during our subsequent trial—for the first sit-in to paralyze a university’s administration—Kerr’s lawyers had to take him out into a corridor to explain the key technical point about advocacy speech, which had been a center-post of our argument since early on, but which Kerr had never clearly understood until seven months after our jailing swung the faculty decisively to support us. In this ignorance—born ultimately of distance from and contempt for students—Kerr’s manner of governing as well as a personal dereliction of duty were revealed. 

But my deeper bone to pick with him, then and since, is as an educator. 

Clark Kerr never understood that the key reason we white kids involved ourselves in the civil rights movement was not simply compassion, but our desire for learning how to be citizens, for learning democracy by exercising it. This was a species of education beyond his effective comprehension. He spoke and planned in other terms. 

Our complaint was not only that he would never meet with us directly, never talk with us nor listen to us; it was that he had no center, that he was a technocrat of the depersonalizing institution. Already his book had established him as the leading theoretician of the modern multiversity. We mocked him in song for proclaiming that “the Knowledge Industry now accounts for 29 percent of the G.N.P.” 

In retrospect, it is even clearer that during his rise and regime from chancellor of the Berkeley campus to president of the whole state university system, Kerr presided over a key transition of elite higher education—from an institution having some of the liberal and Ivory Tower qualities that we simultaneously derided and respected, into one geared increasingly and shamelessly into the dominant mechanisms of capitalist society and culture. 

I can scarcely count the ways in this brief piece, nor mourn properly at the depths to which humanistic education is being sacrificed from lower levels up in a melange of testing, pre-professionalism, “standards” and technology. But of course, all this takes office space, and I chuckle wryly whenever I pause at the stop sign outside the main entrance to the satellite Clark Kerr Campus, only half a mile from the main quads. I used to read to blind students, and grew accustomed to them on campus. 

Long before sidewalks were first ramped here to allow wheelchair mobility, Berkeley was already a national leader in mainstreaming the handicapped. A unique 58-acre campus for blind and deaf students offered them unrivaled, direct access to the full resources of the university for half a century … and oh, my, how time does fly! Midway between the FSM and now, a cruel trick was played on the deaf and blind: Their precious buildings and grounds were judged uninhabitable due to earthquake danger, far too vulnerable and too expensive to repair. 

Too bad; and whisk! off went the deaf and blind, trucked to some facility forty miles away, tucked away out of contact, out of sight, out of mind. Maybe every mind but mine? 

Who knows who remembers? No one ever talks about what happened and why. It’s not mentioned in the glossy promo lit for the Clark Kerr Campus, which houses international students and visiting scholars, and rents its facilities to endless varieties of corporate conferences and educational affairs, in gracious surroundings well-braced against temblors. Turned out to be cost-efficient after all, once the defenseless were cleared away. 

I doubt that Kerr had anything to do with this personally. His name is simply enshrined there, over a pit of silent shame. In somewhat the same style, his name is burnished now in public eulogies as a symbol of liberalism, above unmentioned pittings of shame. 

Another involves then-Chancellor Edward Strong, whom Kerr left at safe distance—without saving guidance or restraint—to complete the mishandling of the FSM affair all the way to the final dramatic assault on Mario Savio before ten thousand in the Greek Theater, which Kerr the experienced labor mediator mishandled on his own. The whole experience was ruinous to Strong, who emerged a broken man, in fair part from his abandonment by Kerr. 

Such personal costs are so far outside the usual calculus in which Kerr’s institutional accomplishments are measured, that they’d seem unsporting to mention, if abandonment were not a deep theme here. “Joy to UC,” we sang in early carol that year, “Clark Kerr has called us Reds!” 

What we could not sing was our longing for who he might have been, other than our newspaper assassin. We could hardly imagine a university president who could lead constructively, who could read the Constitution and our careful explanations for himself, and help teach the public: “Yes, these are student rights; this is how learning to be citizens makes sense.” 

There was no vision of learning, geared to deep values; only the same waving and bowing to pressures, to power. And so it was in a larger frame too. Clark Kerr’s response to our awakening in the FSM was an earnest of his response to the entire predicament of the university during a deep phase of historical transformation. He will not be remembered for promoting visions and values of education that might balance its increasing corporatization. Indeed, his failure will pass beyond mention, invisibly, for no one expects the head of a major public institution to provide this sort of leadership now. And that’s a genuine, deep shame.

Burrowing Owl Pops Up at Berkeley Marina

By JOE EATONSpecial to the Planet
Friday January 23, 2004

If you’ve spent any time at Cesar Chavez Park on the Berkeley waterfront this winter, you may have had an odd encounter: a meeting with a small brown owl, perched on a coyote bush or popping out of the riprap at the water’s edge.  

That would have been a western burrowing owl, one of the few owls that hunts by day, and the protagonist in yet another battle in the endangered-species wars. 

Biologist Steve Granholm, who monitors shoreline bird populations, tells me that a couple of the birds are spending the season along the park’s northern edge, and that others have been seen south of University Avenue and near Golden Gate Fields. 

You may have noticed the owl bobbing and bowing at you. That wasn’t a greeting—it was a sign of agitation—but it’s why the species has been nicknamed the “howdy owl.” It’s ironic, since, as ornithologist Paul Johnsgard has written, “in most western states the familiar ‘howdy owl’ is saying a long, sad farewell.” 

What the burrowing owl lacks in stature—I believe it was Carl Hiassen who described it as about the size of a beer can—it more than makes up in personality. It has fierce yellow eyes and white eyebrow and throat markings that set off its brown plumage. Male owls flare their eyebrow and throat feathers and stretch to their maximum height while cooing to prospective mates. They may also perform a circular courtship flight. 

Our local owls are only winter visitors, probably from east of the hills, although they do nest elsewhere in the East Bay. They’re unique among their family in using holes in the ground as nest sites. “Burrowing” is a stretch, though. The disjunct population of burrowing owls in Florida, where the soil can be loose and sandy, do tend to excavate their own homes. But their western cousins usually appropriate a burrow from a ground squirrel, prairie dog, or other mammal. The owls’ association with burrowing rodents is what led the Zuni Indians to call them the Priests of the Prairie Dogs. 

In our area, the original architect of a burrowing owl’s nest will most likely be a California ground squirrel. Lise Thomsen, who studied the owls at the Oakland Airport more than 30 years ago, found that owls had no trouble evicting squirrels from a desirable property. She also reported that although the birds’ diet included mice and young jackrabbits, they didn’t prey on the squirrels, even vulnerable youngsters. Insects, notably Jerusalem crickets, and small birds were on the menu as well. 

Burrowing owls also diverge from normal owl behavior in furnishing their nests. Thomsen’s owls used divots from the adjacent golf course, along with gum wrappers and other bits of litter. They’ll also bring home cow chips and dog feces, apparently to mask the smell of their nestlings from predators. Owls, perhaps fortunately, do not have a keen sense of smell. 

The owlets have a second line of defense: a distress call that bears an uncanny acoustic resemblence to a rattlesnake’s rattle. (In South America, where burrowing owls did not co-evolve with rattlers, the call hasn’t been documented). It’s accurate enough to have fooled ground squirrels, who need to have a good ear for snake sounds, and it may deter badgers and other predators. Unfortunately, it has no effect on earth-moving equipment. 

Western burrowing owls have been hard hit by the conversion of grasslands to farm fields and the extermination of the rodents that provide their housing. They’re losing ground in most of the western states, including California where they’ve been extirpated from 22 percent of their former range and are declining in another 50 percent. There have been sharp decreases in the Bay Area, much of the Central Valley, and the Southern California coast. Most of the remaining population is on private land, almost three-quarters of them on farmland in the Imperial Valley, where they’re at risk from agricultural chemicals and urban sprawl. 

The South Bay may still have about a hundred pairs. But owls don’t carry much weight in Silicon Valley. In one of those gestures corporate PR types like to brag about, burrowing owls have sometimes been relocated from properties slated for development. This may be good for the company’s image but seems to be of little benefit to the birds; one study found only one relocation in eight led to successful nesting at the new site. The owls often try to return to their now-uninhabitable homes. 

Since state status as a Species of Special Concern and inclusion in local Habitat Conservation Plans hadn’t stemmed the decline, environmental groups petitioned last April to have the western burrowing owl listed as endangered. It turned into a classic faceoff: in the owl’s corner, the Center for Biological Diversity, Defenders of Wildlife, and the Santa Clara Valley and San Bernardino Valley Audubon Societies; in the other, agribusiness and builders’ associations. 

The Farm Bureau alleged its constituents were already protecting the owls and legal requirements would be counterproductive. Madera County rancher Clay Daulton said that with “en-croaching regulations…maybe my last resort is to pave [my land] over and make some money and retire.” The state’s scientists claimed there was no good evidence that the owl was approaching extinction—although 71 percent of California’s burrowing owl population is confined to less than three percent of the state’s area, there’s really nothing to worry about. 

When push came to shove, the California Fish and Game Commission voted to deny the listing petition. “Sometimes populations relocate”, said Commissioner Bob Hattoy, a former Sierra Club executive. “We all have.” The owl’s fate is expected to wind up in court. 

Relocation is easier for politicians than for owls. But the birds have been flexible enough to use farmland and parks, and a few seem willing to entertain other alternatives. The burrowing owl that turned up a couple of years ago in the Embarcadero BART station may have thought it had discovered the Ultimate Burrow.



From Susan Parker: ‘Here’s to the Hard-Working Chambermaids and Busgirls!’

by Susan Parker
Tuesday January 27, 2004

“Ohmigod!” shouted my old friend, Ellen Porch. “Suzy Parker, you look exactly the same. Doesn’t she look the same, Mom? Look at her!”  

“Yes,” agreed Mrs. Porch, squinting over her bifocals. “Suzy Parker, you look exactly as you did 37 years ago! Why, I remember when you and Ellen were working at the motel down the street. Remember that Ellen? You were just little things. I couldn’t believe you had jobs. You were so young. So innocent. So skinny.” 

“Chambermaid Power!” shouted Ellen, raising her fist. “Remember those days, Suzy? Remember walking to work in those stupid white shoes? Remember those ambulatory stockings held up by garter belts? Those were the days, all right.” She shook her head and chuckled. 

I poured us each a glass of red wine and clinked glasses with my old friend and her mother. “Here’s to smelly polyester uniforms, sore feet and hairnets.”  

“No, seriously Suzy,” said Ellen, settling into my parent’s couch, and scrutinizing my face. “You look exactly the same.”  

“Yes,” agreed Mrs. Porch taking a sip of wine. Her hand trembled ever so slightly. 

The irony of these statements was not lost on me. I hadn’t seen either of them in 25 years. Ellen and I met when we were both 15. Our parents owned summer houses next to one another in Townsends Inlet, New Jersey.  

For several seasons we worked together, first as chambermaids, then as busgirls and finally, while in college, as waitresses. We were upwardly mobile. Our pay increased with each year. We became more seasoned, more hardened, more world-weary. Ellen went on to become a mother and a guidance counselor at a local high school. I had moved to California. Neither of us wore garter belts or hairnets or worked for tips anymore. 

Despite what Ellen and her mother had said, I knew I did not look the same. Ellen did not look the same. Her mother did not look the same. The years, the sun, the rich diets and the joys and pains of living had taken their tolls. You could see it in each of our faces, in our bodies, and in Mrs. Porch’s tremors.  

“Well, you both look the same too,” I said with as much conviction as I could. The truth was, I could probably pick them out in a police lineup, though it wouldn’t be easy. Ellen had put on at least 20 pounds since her chambermaid days and Mrs. Porch, who had at one time been very round in the middle had begun to shrink. 

“Yeah, right,” shouted Ellen with good humor. "Except now I look like Mommy did when she was my age and she looks like she’s going to disappear.” 

Mrs. Porch shook her head. “I’m not going anywhere,” she said. “I’m staying right here. Gonna finish up this wine with our old friend Suzy. Visit for a while and then go home to bed. That’ll be enough excitement for one evening.”  

Ellen patted her mother’s wrinkled hands. “Mommy doesn’t get around like she used to. Remember how she’d stand on the beach all day and watch out for everybody? Remember the Wesh kids and the Allens and the Wilers? Remember when the beach was bigger, the sand was whiter, the ocean was cleaner and there weren’t as many houses or people or trash?” 

“Yes,” I said. I poured us all another glass of wine. “And the sky was bluer.” 

“The sky was definitely bluer!” shouted Ellen and she laughed. It was the same giggle she had when she was 15 years old. I looked at her face more closely. Yes, Ellen did look exactly the same. I’d recognize her anywhere. She really hadn’t changed much, and neither had I. “Here’s to old friends,” I shouted, raising my glass again. “Here’s to hairnets and garter belts, to changing sheets and slinging hash. Here’s to hard-working chambermaids and busgirls around the world!”

Editorial: AnybodyButBushers Unite!

Becky O'Malley
Friday January 23, 2004

People from around here who went off to Iowa to stump for their candidates of choice could be feeling pretty discouraged right about now. I’m on e-mail lists for Dean, Kucinich and the Wellstone Democratic Renewal Club, so I’ve been reading about how bad some are feeling. It’s safe to say that not many Berkeleyans were trying to persuade Iowa Democrats to support caucus winners Kerry or Edwards. 

A few points to keep in mind before you feel too bad about the primaries: 

1) It’s Anyone But Bush, remember? This might explain the recent spate of letters touting General Clark which I’ve gotten from all kinds of folks: Michael Moore from Michigan, George McGovern from South Dakota, and my friends Nelle from West Virginia and Bobbie Sue from Arkansas. All of them are heartland people, natives of what we coast-dwellers call, snobbishly, the Fly-Over States. To beat Bush, we need to win these Fly-Over States. As a Fly-Over State native myself, I can’t disparage their instincts about who can win—they could be on to something that writers for The New Yorker and The Nation don’t understand. Though Clark skipped their primary, Iowa Democrats seemed to agree with Clark supporters that Dean and Kucinich don’t have curb appeal in the heartland. Even Edwards, totally discounted by the publications Berkeleyans read, did fine there. (Texan Molly Ivins says some nice things about Edwards.) 

2) Primaries are good because they keep the Democrats in front of the cameras. That’s Kevin Phillips’ idea, and it makes sense. Primaries can be bad if the candidates cut each other up too badly, but a modest show of controversy builds ratings. There’s plenty to say about Bush, and a few good topics Democrats can debate with each other without doing any harm. 

3) Unions won’t save us now. Gephardt got their support, and it didn’t do much for him. No one should count on unions alone anymore to win elections or even nominations. 

4) It really doesn’t matter which of the four remaining viable Democrats wins the nomination. It will certainly be Yet Another Boring Old White Guy (YABOWG), like all of the winning candidates in my lifetime. Turns out, though, that there’s YABOWGs and YABOWGs, and some YABOWGS (Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, Ashcroft) are a good bit worse than others. Dean, Kerry, Clark, Edwards—all pretty much cut from the same cloth, none of them all that bad, really. They all have their bad points, but let’s not talk about that, okay? Makes no difference in this race. 

5) It’s fun to vote for outsiders, and when you live in California, it usually doesn’t matter. Be glad that none of these people actually win, however. Many who know Ralph Nader think that he’s a jerk, on a personal level. I voted for Eldredge Cleaver, and it’s just as well he lost, given his subsequent political history. (Though I also supported Shirley Chisholm, and she would have made a great president. She got five percent of the vote in the 1972 Michigan primary, better than Kucinich in Iowa in 2004.) 

6) No third party is ready for prime time. Until Greens can put forward candidates who actually come from their ranks and participate in party organization, it’s dangerous to vote for them. Celebrity candidates like Ralph Nader are potential (and in his case actual) loose cannons. 

So what do we do now? Me, I’m saving my time and money for the main event. Let those who know and love the current version of the Democratic Party choose their candidate if they want, on their own time. (I trust they’re not stupid enough to choose Lieberman.) 

When the Dems make up their minds, we AnybodyButBushers in secure Northern California should consider heading off to work in those Fly-Over States which are in the swing voting category. Planes do land in mid-America, trains are possible, and chartered buses might be fun. The weather in the fall will be much nicer than it was in Iowa. We could help out the locals with basic stuff like voter registration and taking people to the polls.  

If we can’t travel, we should turn out our pockets and shake down our friends for campaign contributions, because Democrats are always behind in fundraising.  

Prayer, if it works for you, probably wouldn’t hurt either. 


Becky O’Malley is executive editor of the Daily Planet.