Full Text

Jakob Schiller:
          
          Captain Gary Cates participates in the Berkeley Fire Department’s May 28 wildfire training.
Jakob Schiller: Captain Gary Cates participates in the Berkeley Fire Department’s May 28 wildfire training.
 

News

Berkeley Unified Launches Study Of Long-Term Funding Needs

By MATTHEW ARTZ
Tuesday June 01, 2004

Berkeley Unified is about to go where no school district has gone before. Come Tuesday the district will seek to wean itself from state dependency and embark on a mission to turn school funding upside down. 

Known in the education business as an “adequacy study,” the district, with the help of community members and education experts, is setting out to examine the essential components of a good education, determine its price, and then figure out how to pay for it. 

The goal is to determine the district’s needs and expenses and plot a course for securing funds so that Berkeley Unified isn’t at the mercy of California’s diminishing education resources, said Lawrence Picus, a professor at the University of Southern California and a participant in Tuesday’s community forum. 

The call for an adequacy study gained momentum during community debate over asking voters for an extension of the district’s signature parcel tax—Berkeley Schools Excellence Project (BSEP)—which funds programs that state money can’t provide. 

With most community members pushing a new long-term tax measure, Superintendent Michele Lawrence insisted the district should only request a two-year tax until it undertook a new round of strategic planning. 

If the projected 18-month project is a success, the district will have a consensus on its education program and transparency on its costs as it gears up to ask voters to renew the BSEP measure in 2006.  

Transparency could be key for the district. Lawrence has talked about restructuring the $10 million BSEP tax to give the district more flexibility in how it spends the money. With the district contemplating a two year tax, expected to range from $6.5 to $9 million to supplement BSEP, the 2006 tax measure could hit $20 million. 

“Every place in the country that has performed an adequacy study has asked for more money,” said Picus. 

Most recently, Picus and a partner were paid $400,000 to perform a court-ordered adequacy study for the state of Arkansas. Until now, such studies have been only performed on the state level, where lawmakers have greater leverage to raise revenue.  

In Arkansas, Picus recommended $800,000 in tax hikes for new education spending. The state legislature has so far appropriated half that amount. 

Picus, who is interested in leading the Berkeley effort, insisted, that even though the district lacks the power to tax, the study could help it sort out its educational priorities. 

Lawrence has neither settled on a facilitator nor a price tag for the endeavor. 

Starting in the fall she will appoint a task force of community members, finance experts and educational leaders to begin reviewing the district’s organizational structure and educational program. 

The concept has widespread support among active parents, many of whom are anxious to delve into the district’s curriculum after three years where the district’s budget deficits took top priority. 

After numerous cuts, Berkeley Unified goes into fiscal year with its first balanced budget since 2001, but the cuts have taken their toll. 

“The situation right now is pretty severe,” said Jay Nitschke, a parent who is helping to organize Tuesday’s meeting. When his third grade daughter entered kindergarten the average class size for fourth and fifth grade classes was 26 students. Today those same classes average 32 students, with several classes combining students from different grades. 

Nitschke hoped the effort would lead to improved cooperation with the city and UC and not necessarily result in a tax hike. 

While, every community member interviewed supported Lawrence’s initiative, some feared that a task force selected solely by the superintendent could fall prey to entrenched interests.  

“Hand picked groups that merely represent only a small subset of groups are not good and we have had that in the past,” said Derrick Miller, a parent who expressed interest in serving on the task force. 

Another interested parent, Laura Menard, said school board members should also be able to appoint task force members. 

Change doesn’t come easy to the district. When Lawrence arrived in 2001, many parents grumbled when she changed the district’s culture of school site independence and consolidated more power at the board level. 

For the new effort to work, Menard said Berkeley Unified would have to reform the curriculum and toughen academic standards. 

“This has tremendous potential, but only if we go through a preliminary process and have a conversation that is going to be painful for the community,” she said. 

Trina Ostlander, director of the Berkeley Public Education Foundation, the sponsor of Tuesday’s event remains optimistic that the district can pull it off. “Nobody knows if this is doable for one community in an anti-tax state, but if they can do it in Arkansas they ought to be able to do it in Berkeley,” she said.  

 

 


Budget Cuts Bring Fire Season Hazard

By RICHARD BRENNEMAN
Tuesday June 01, 2004

Heading into the earliest fire season in recent memory in the wake of three increasingly dangerous years, Berkeley firefighters have good reason to worry. 

“Because of overall reductions in firefighting capacity at the state and federal levels, there’s an increased potential of more fires getting bigger,” said Deputy Fire Chief David Orth. “There’s a lot of concern.” 

In an e-mail to firefighters across the state about the recently declared season, state Office of Emergency Services Fire and Rescue Branch Chief Kim Zagaris warned Monday that “all indications are that it will be as severe as the last four.” 

Coupled with recent announcements that the U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management have ended their air tanker contracts, “it appears to be another tough year for firefighters on the line,” he warned. 

The federal tanker fleet was grounded on May 10 at the urging of the National Transportation Safety Board following their investigations into three deadly tanker crashes in the western United States between 1994 and 2002.  

“The shortage of heavy air tankers may increase the likelihood of emerging fires escaping the initial attack,” Zagaris wrote, “resulting in the need for more firefighters.” 

Orth said air support will become available in June through a contract with the California Division of Forestry (CDF). “But if bigger fires erupt in other parts of the state, they’ll be pulled away to work on them. Air support is critical for containment in the early phase of a fire. It’s going to be a lot harder if we don’t have reliable tanker support.” 

CDF maintains two air tankers at Hollister that will become available June 1, and three more in Santa Rosa that come on line later in June. All five planes have just been equipped with more powerful engines and their tank capacities increased by half. 

Statewide, the Division of Forestry also maintains 370 engines and has the authority to call on 689 more from local agencies, Orth said. 

Supplementing the engines are CDF hand crews, who wield axes, chainsaws and shovels to slash firebreaks along the perimeters of conflagrations. They’re staffed by adults from the state prison system and older offenders from the California Youth Authority.  

“Statewide, there are now a total of 194 hand crews, staffed by 4,300 prison inmates and CYA wards,” Orth said. But recent state cuts include the closing of several California Youth Authority fire camps, where young offenders train in firefighting skills and respond as needed to blazes around the state. 

“The state has been supplying fewer wards to the camps,” Orth said, “so the Bay Area will have access to only five hand crews instead of the seven we’ve had in past years.” Orth blamed the local crew reductions on lower numbers wards assigned to the CYA camp at Ben Lomond in the Santa Cruz Mountains. 

With the start of fire season earlier this month, the first sign of blaze in the Berkeley Hills will draw “a full assignment” from the BFD, including three engines, a ladder truck, a wildland truck, an ambulance staffed by two firefighters and a chief—a total of seven vehicles and 15 firefighters. 

Oakland would send three more engines, with more—depending on the fire’s location—coming from El Cerrito, Orinda, the Alameda County Fire Department and the CDF. 

“In some areas of the hills a fire report would bring 15 to 20 engines during fire season, compared to as few as a single engine out of season,” Orth said. “The massive response is designed to prevent a recurrence of the events of ‘91,” when a massive blaze swept through the Oakland and Berkeley hills, engulfing hundreds of homes. 

“The CDF has asked to be called from the start if a structure of car fire threatens vegetation,” he said. “And this year, for the first time, CDF has given us the authority to ask for air support directly, rather than wait ‘til CDF crews arrive on the scene so they can then call for the tankers.” 

On hot days when the wind blows from the east and fire danger soars, Berkeley will begin keeping an engine patrolling the hills, two on days when the danger is critical. Unlike other engines, the pump-and-roll units can keep pumping from a hydrant as they roll along a fireline—helping in fast-moving hill fires. 

Critical days may also see an additional firefighter joining engine crews, Orth said. 

“It’s wait and see for now,” he said. “The weather has been extremely nice. Our peak fire danger usually lasts a month around October, though we expect two months this year.” 

To prepare for the tough times ahead, Berkeley’s firefighters have been honing their skills in a series of drills, with the most recent exercise conducted Tuesday afternoon in Tilden Regional Park’s Equestrian Camp. 

Wildland 2004, a joint exercise for Alameda and Contra Costa county departments featuring a controlled burn, will be conducted June 29 and 30 at Camp Parker near Dublin.›


Vera Casey’s Son Returns to Berkeley To Rescue Day Care Program Founded By His Mother

By MATTHEW ARTZ
Tuesday June 01, 2004

When Dan Casey came to Berkeley last month to visit his ailing father, he discovered that the Board of Education had delivered a death sentence to the Vera Casey Center, the pioneering day care program his mother established 32 years ago at Berkeley High to provide support for school-aged mothers and care for their babies. 

Upon hearing the news, Casey promptly set up shop in a Berkeley hotel and began work to save the center and his mother’s legacy. 

Now, after weeks of crunching numbers and talking to dozens of child care experts—many of them former contacts of his mother, who died 20 years ago—Casey says he has a business model that can operate the center at no cost to the school district, which spent $75,000 this year to cover the program’s deficit. 

Casey’s credentials make his plan tough to ignore. The Harvard Business School graduate and Anchorage, Alaska businessman has managed millions in public and private funds, and previously served as commissioner of the Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities. 

“Obviously this is an emotional issue for me,” said Casey who painted the center’s walls before it first opened in 1972, and, several years later as an economics major at UC Berkeley, helped produce a report on the financial value of keeping student mothers in mainstream schools—a concept pioneered by Vera Casey. 

Still, he said, “If I had found that this wouldn’t have paid for itself I wouldn’t be doing this. It just quickly became clear that there is an economic model that works.” 

Casey proposes to boost enrollment for community members and charge them higher fees to help subsidize the student mother program. 

His plan, however, faces stiff competition and some unlikely skeptics. 

The Vera Casey Center Board of Directors, a natural ally for Casey, feels he has ignored them, according to David Hench, the husband of a board member. 

“The board is concerned that Dan Casey is coming in from Alaska and asserting authority he doesn’t have,” said Hench, who added that Casey had not yet met face-to-face with a single board member. 

“He’s creating a lot of angst that is unnecessary,” Hench said. 

After the school board voted last March to eliminate the center effective June 19, community members huddled to find an alternative service provider for pregnant and parenting and students at Berkeley High. 

Their solution was to bring in Berkeley Head Start—the federal child care program for poor families—to run the Vera Casey Center with a guarantee that Head Start would accept the students’ children and the Berkeley High Health Center would assume the support services for the student mothers. 

The two programs don’t have a history of collaboration, and vying for the center hasn’t improved relations. 

Casey charged that District Preschool Director John Santoro had been pushing Head Start, which contracts to the district’s preschool program, into the center long before the board cut funding for program.  

“He started going around saying Vera Casey was dead meat,” Casey said. 

Pamm Shaw, executive director of Berkeley Head Start, said the two centers had never understood each others’ programs and that Vera Casey Center management had rebuffed her previous offers to work together. “I’m sorry for the families that it’s been so political,” she said. “I don’t think it needed to be this way.” 

With the Vera Casey Center set to shut down, Superintendent Michele Lawrence plans to present her preferred choice to the school board June 9. Although she wouldn’t disclose which plan she favored, Lawrence said Casey’s numbers were “still speculative.” 

Teaming with Berkeley Head Start has obvious advantages for both the district and the federal day care program. 

After years of bailing out Vera Casey Center debts, the district would be out of the child care business and free from any financial liability. Federal head start grants would pay to care for the children at the center across the street from Berkeley High and the state CAL-SAFE grant would pay to provide more extensive services for the children and counseling for the parents at the high school health center. 

For Head Start, occupying the Vera Casey Center would give it a prime location with a bargain basement rent.  

The program is vacating its Emeryville location where it pays $20,000 for one classroom and continues to pay $50,000 for three classrooms in a building on San Pablo Avenue. 

Head Start would only pay $4,500 for the 34-child capacity Vera Casey Center, which is owned by the Vera Casey Foundation, a nonprofit with strong connections to the First Presbyterian Church. While Head Start is restricted to serving only 86 children in its infant and toddler program, reduced rent would allow it to spend more money on amenities like equipment, supplies and staff benefits, Shaw said. 

What Head Start can’t provide, according to Vera Casey supporters, is the combination of child care and parent services all under one roof. 

Dealing with high school mothers takes special skills and every professional says it makes a big difference to have staff that’s primarily focused on that mission, Casey said.  

That was his mother’s philosophy, he said, when she worked to make Berkeley the first school district in California to provide infant care and counseling for student mothers.  

Vera Casey was an unlikely reformer. Born into a strict Virginia home, she became a teacher late in life. While working as a home economics instructor at the former continuation high school in Berkeley, she realized that many of her chronically absent students were parents. To get them into class, Casey set up a day care program through the First Presbyterian Church adjacent to the school. 

Later she determined that the mothers should be able to attend the regular high school, so she raised money to buy the future Vera Casey Center on Martin Luther King Jr. Way next to Berkeley High School. 

Praised as a national model, which included vocational training for the mothers, the center was a springboard for a state grant program, enacted by former governor Ronald Reagan, to fund similar programs. The grants helped support the center as it transformed itself from a primarily volunteer to a professional staff. However in recent years the funding has stagnated while labor costs have skyrocketed. 

To make the center financially solvent, Dan Casey proposes to serve 14 community children (six part time, eight full time) at prices 25 percent above what the center had been charging. The added revenue coupled with other grant money he plans to seek would allow the center to hire an additional instructional assistant, and free up the district’s CAL-SAFE program coordinator Katharine Sullivan to do outreach. 

Previous plans to save the program, Casey said, took a “nail biter approach,” trying to shift around vacations and cut services. “I said let’s see if we can’t make this thing comfortably work. There’s a big market for day care and it won’t go away next year.” 

The center started serving community members three years ago as a means to break even and to compensate for a decline in teenage pregnancy. Berkeley was recently acknowledged for having the lowest teenage pregnancy rate in the state, and of the 11 children at the center, only three are the children of students. Nine current students are known to be pregnant. 

Still the transition to a combination student and community day care center didn’t go smoothly, and was further hampered last September when the district—expecting to close the program—forbade new clients even though the center had a 15-family waiting list. 

“They would have broken even this year, but the district was gearing the program down,” said Arlyce Currie, program director of Bananas, an Alameda County child care support agency. 

But not everyone is confident that Casey’s plan could work. Paul Miller, executive director of Kidango, the second largest nonprofit infant day care provider, is closing a center in San Mateo county next month that served student mothers and community members in the Sequoia School District. 

“Dan Casey has a good strategy, but I don’t think it will win the day,” he said. Kidango runs other programs similar to Vera Casey in Fremont, Newark and New Haven and they are all losing money, Miller said. 

The culprit is that state government has woefully underfunded the grants, said Miller. Since 1981, in adjusted dollars, state grants to nonprofit child care centers have fallen 30 percent. 

Marcy Whitebook, director of the Center for Child Care Employment at UC Berkeley, said the state system has stacked the deck against programs like Vera Casey. For years, she said, publicly subsidized programs paid higher salaries thanks to state grants, but now the grants are worth less, and centers, in order to qualify for the state subsidy, must meet stringent ratios of care workers to children—criteria that profit centers are not required to meet. 

“It’s an irrational and inequitable system,” she said. “The subsidized center that serves the poor has to meet a higher level of staffing and gets less money to do it.” 

This year, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s proposed budget includes a generous 1.84 percent cost of living expense for the state grant, but over the long run Miller doesn’t think that will be enough. 

“The governor and Legislature have to understand that either they’re willing to pay for the service, or they’re willing to let teen parents drop out of school,” he said. 

 

 


Berkeley This Week Calendar

Tuesday June 01, 2004

TUESDAY, JUNE 1 

Funding Excellence in Public Schools: New Possibilities A community forum with Michele Lawrence Superintendent, Berkeley Unified School District and Lawrence Picus, Director, Center for Research in Education Financing, University of Southern California School of Education at 7:30 p.m. at Longfellow Middle School Theater, 1500 Derby St. 

Breaking the Ice, with Doron Erel discussing how a team of Israeli and Palestinian non-climbers journeyed to the ends of the earth and reached the summit of an un-named peak in Antarctica, at 7:30 p.m. at the Berkeley Jewish Community Center, 1414 Walnut St. 848-0237, ext. 112.  

An Evening with Tom Sinestra on the best Bay Area outdoor adventures at 7 p.m. at REI, 1338 San Pablo Ave. 527-4140. 

Baseball for Beginners and Diehard Fans with Jeff Lichtman, El Cerrito resident and author of “Baseball for Rookies.” Special guest will be former major league player, Pumpsie Green, the first African American to play on the Boston Red Sox. At 7 p.m. in the El Cerrito Library, 6510 Stockton Ave. 526-7512. 

Phone Banking to ReDefeat Bush on Tuesdays from 6 to 9 p.m. at Cafe de la Paz, 1600 Shattuck Ave. Bring your cell phones. Please RSVP if you can join us. 415-336 8736. dan@redefeatbush.com 

American Red Cross Blood Services Volunteer Orientation from 9:30 a.m. to 11 a.m. at its office 6230 Claremont Ave., Oakland. Advance sign-up needed. 594-5165. 

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. 

Organic Produce at low prices sold at the corner of Sacramento and Oregon Sts every Tuesday from 3 to 7 p.m. A project of BOSS Urban Gardening Institute and Spiral Gardens. For more information call 843-1307. 

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.  

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. 548-3991. www.berkeleycameraclub.org 

East Bay Theology on Tap meets to discuss “The Catholic Imagination of J.R.R. Tolkein” with Fr. Ayres at 7 p.m. at 4092 Piedmont Ave. Contact Norah at St. Leo the Great 654-6177. 

WEDNESDAY, JUNE 2 

Walk Berkeley for Seniors meets every Wednesday, rain or shine, at 9:30 a.m. at the Sea Breeze market, just west of the I-80 overpass. Everyone is welcome, wear comfortable shoes, sunscreen and a hat. 548-9840. 

Berkeley Path Wanderers Association Walkers meet at 10 a.m. at Live Oak Park, Walnut St. and Berryman Path, for a 2 hour walk through the beautiful paths in Berkeley. The walk will feature uphill and then downhill walking. 981-5367. 

Berkeley Communicators Toastmasters meets the first and third Wednesdays of the month at 7:15 a.m. at Mediterraneum Caffe, 2475 Telegraph Ave. For information call Robert Flammia 524-3765. 

“Seeds of Deception” with author Jeffrey Smith discussing efforts to keep genetically modified foods out of Alameda County’s ecosystems and food supply, at 7 p.m. at Café de la Paz, 1600 Shattuck Ave. Dinner at 6 p.m. Cost is $15. 843-0662. 

Fun with Acting class meets at 11 a.m. at the North Berkeley Senior Center. Free, all are welcome. 985-0373. 

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

com/vigil4peace/vigil 

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

THURSDAY, JUNE 3 

Morning Birdwalk from 7 to 9:30 a.m. at Tilden Nature Area. For information, or to reserve binoculars, call 525-2233. 

Community Meeting on the City Budget at 7 p.m. at the Northbrae Community Church, 941 The Alameda. Sponsored by the City Manager’s Office. 981-7000. 

Quit Smoking Class offered by the City of Berkeley for residents and employees on Tuesdays from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the Alta Bates/Herrick Campus, 2001 Dwight Way. To register, call 981-5330. 

Environmental Monitoring in India with Madhu Dutta, Anne Leonard and Denny Larson. The 1984 Union Carbide disaster in Bhopal has led to community monitoring of local industries. At 7 p.m. at the Ecology Center, 2530 San Pablo Ave. 548-2220, ext. 233. www.ecologycenter.org 

Albany Library Annual Prose Night Open readings at 7 p.m. in the Edith Stone Room, 1247 Marin Ave. 526-3720, ext. 20. 

Berkeley Farmer’s Market with all organic produce at Elephant Pharmacy parking lot, 1607 Shattuck Ave., at Cedar from 3 to 7 p.m. 548-3333. www.ecologycenter.org 

Friends of Faith Fancher, luncheon and celebration of Faith’s life at Scott’s Seafood Restaurant, Jack London Square, in a benefit for the new Breast Health Center at Alta Bates Summit. For tickets and reservations call 204-1667. 

“Why You Should Give a Damn About Gay Marriage” with Davina Koltulski at 7 p.m. at Changemakers, 6536 Telegraph Ave. 655-2405. 

“She Who Creates” A logo painting workshop with Shiloh McCloud from 6 to 9 p.m. at Belladonna, 2436 Sacramento St. Cost is $40, materials $20. 883-0600. www.belladonna.ws 

FRIDAY, JUNE 4 

“Ancient Wisdom for Racial Healing” A workshop with Aaeeshah and Kokomon Klottey from 1 to 5 p.m. at Naropa University Oakland, 2141 Broadway. Cost is $30-$50. 835-4827, ext. 19. 

By the Light of the Moon Open Mic and Salon for Women hosted by Karen Broder, at 7:30 p.m. at Changemakers Bookstore, 6536 Telegraph Ave. Cost is $3-$7 sliding scale. 482-1315. www.changemakersforwomen.com 

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. 

SATURDAY, JUNE 5 

Ladybirds and Ladybugs We’ll collect and release as many adult and larval forms as we can find. We’ll talk about the good these beetles do and learn about the ones who have turned to the dark side. From 10 a.m. to noon at Tilden Nature Center. 525-2233. 

Ponds are Places Where Babies Grow Up Meet nymphs, naiads, larvae and the real “Phantom Menace” as we look at pond creatures with the 14-power Discovery Scope. From 2 to 4 p.m. at Tilden Nature Center. 525-2233. 

Sick Plant Clinic The first Sat. of every month, UC plant apthologist Dr. Robert Raabe, UC entomologist Dr. Nick Mills, and their team of experts will diagnose what ails your plants. From 9 a.m. to noon at the UC Botanical Garden, 200 Centennial Dr. Free. 643-2755. 

Good Night Little Farm Rain or shine, the animals on the farm need to be fed and tucked in for the night. Round up the chickens, slop the hog, feed the cows and say “sleep tight.” Wear boots if you’ve got them. For all ages from 3 to 4 p.m. at the Tilden Little Farm. 525-2233. 

Make a Cornhusk Doll Bookmark at the Albany Library from noon to 2 p.m. Free and open to all ages. 1247 Marin Ave. 526-3720, ext. 20. 

Berkeley Poetry Festival and Community Fair from 11:15 to 5 p.m. at Civic Center Park, with live music, and a poetry slam from 2 to 4 p.m. www.mothershen.com 

LeConte Elementary School Yard Sale from 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at 2241 Russell St. Great furniture, gear, plants, etc. and food and beverages, and a good way to support our public school. To donate items in advance, call 649-0419. 

Berkeley Historical Society Walking Tour of the city’s corporation yard and the Berkeley Lawn Bowling Club led by Patrick Keilch, Deputy Director of Berkeley’s Public Works Dept. 848-0181. www.ci.berkeley.ca.us/histsoc/ 

Carpentry Basics for Women A two-day introduction to basic carpentry tools and skills for women with little or no pre-vious hands-on experience. After a morning lecture and demonstration, you will build your own bookshelf unit (materials included with class fee). Students are asked to bring their own hand tools. From 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Building Education Center, 812 Page St. Cost is $225. 525-7610. 

Pee Wee Basketball for boys and girls ages 6 to 8 is offered by Berkeley Youth Alternatives every Saturday from 10 a.m. to noon at 1255 Allston Way. Fee for six week session is $25 for residents, $35 for non-residents. 845-9066. sports@byaonline.org 

ProArts Open Studios with over 160 participating artists in Berkeley and around the East Bay. For a list see www.mesart. 

com/openstudiosPA.jsp 

Artists for Change Fundraiser to benefit John Kerry for President and MoveOn.org from 6 to 8 p.m. at Nexus Gallery, 2701 Eighth St. Light refreshments and live music. Cost is $25.  

Benefit for Berkeley Liberation Radio 104.1FM at 8 p.m. at The Longhaul Info Shop, 3124 Shattuck Ave. 595-0190. 

"Green Threads in the Urban Fabric," a walk exploring nature in the city, restored creeks, and planned restoration from El Cerrito to Berkeley. From 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Meet at El Cerrito BART for the 5-mile hike (includes fording creeks and climbing Albany Hill) ends at North Berkeley BART. Bring water, snacks, and sun protection. Sponsored by Friends of Five Creeks and Greenbelt Alliance. 848-9358. www.greenbelt.org, f5creeks@aol.com  

Drip Irrigation A do-it-yourself class covering benefits, supplies and tools needed. Taught by John Bauer, and held at a home-owner installed drip irrigation site in North Oakland. Cost is $15-$25. To register call 548-2220, ext. 233. 

Light Search and Rescue Class offered by the City of Berkeley from 1 to 5 p.m. at 997 Cedar St. To register call 981-5506. 

Propagating Natives with Cuttings from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Regional Parks Botanical Garden, Tilden Park. Cost is $40-$45, advance registration recommended. 845-4116. www.nativeplants.org 

REI Service Project at Dry Creek Pioneer Regional Park, Hayward, from 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Pre-registration recommended. 527-4140. 

Stem Cell Research and Advocacy Conference Leaders in stem cell research and policy will speak about the California initiative to support stem cell research and offer practical ways for promoting this measure. Sat. and Sun. in the Pauley Ballroom, UC Campus. Open to the public. Full details available at www.fisca.info  

Women’s Fitness Day at the YMCA of Oakland with free fun activities for the entire family from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., 1515 Webster St. 451-7910. 

California Writers Club (last meeting of the season,) meets at 10 a.m. with readings by three student winners of the Fifth-Grade Writing Contest at Barnes and Noble, 2352 Shattuck Ave. www.berkeleywritersclub.org 

Vocal Jazz Workshop with Richard Kalman from 12:30 to 2:30 p.m. followed by jam session, at the Albany Community Center. 1249 Marin Ave. 524-9283. 

Primordial Meditation with Peter Kingsley at 7 p.m. at Belladonna, 2436 Sacramento St. Cost is $15. 883-0600. www.belladonna.ws 

Yoga for Seniors at the Berkeley City Club, 2315 Durant St., on Saturdays from 10 to 11 a.m. The class is taught by Rosie Linsky, who at age 72, has practiced yoga for over 40 years. Open to non-members of the club for $8 per class. To register call 848-7800. 

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. 

SUNDAY, JUNE 6 

Neotropical Migrants Birdwalk from 8 to 10 a.m. Up close views of birds from far away. Learn their habits and habitats, and stay for a great cup of coffee that’s for the birds-- shade tree coffee plantation birds, that is; pastries too. Cost is $5-$7. Registration required. 525-2233. 

Laurel Canyon Hike The heart of our park is this wooded canyon. We’ll see birds, blooms, berries and learn the role that each plays in the life of this place. Some steep parts, so wear good walking shoes. From 1 to 3:30 p.m. at Tilden Nature Area. 525-2233. 

Mini Gardeners “Farm Tales” We’ll make up stories about our garden and the animals that live there, then make drawings and paintings to go along with them. For ages 4-6 accompanied by an adult, from 2 to 3 p.m. at Tilden Nature Area. Cost is $3-$4. Registration required. 525-2233. 

Rosa Parks School 7th Annual Ice Cream Social including ice cream, food, games, quilt raffle, silent auction, and talent show, from noon to 4 p.m. at Rosa Parks Elementary School, 920 Allston Way. 644-8812. 

ProArts Open Studios with over 160 participating artists in Berkeley and around the East Bay. For a list see www.mesart.com/openstudiosPA.jsp 

Dragonflies of the Bay Area from 9:45 a.m. to 12:45 p.m. at the Regional Parks Botanical Garden, Tilden Park. Cost is $25-$30, advance registration recommended. 845-4116. www.nativeplants.org 

Free Sailboat Rides between 1 and 4 p.m. at the Cal Sailing Club in the Berkeley Marina. Bring warm waterproof clothes. www.cal-sailing.org 

Peace Empowerment Process A two-day training from 1 to 4 p.m., with the second session on June 13, at the Berkeley Fellowship of Unitarian Universalists, Bonita St. at Cedar. Siding scale donation sof $10-$25, no one turned away. to register call Carolyna at 527-2356, or Cynthia at 528-5403. 

“The Patriot Act” with Sanjeev Bery, of the American Civil Liberties Union, at 9:30 a.m. at Unitarian Universalist Church of Berkeley, 1 Lawson Road, Kensington. 525-0302.  

A Taste of Albany A culinary tour of the town from 5 to 9 p.m. Tickets are $20-$25. for information call 525-1771. www.albanychamber.org 

Aquatic Celebration at the Downtown Berkeley YMCA, with mind-body classes in the Shallow Pool, including water Pilates and water yoga. To register call 665-3258. 

Boadecia’s Reunion Party for all who met their sweetie at the bookstore at 3 p.m. at Boadecia’s Books, 398 Colusa Ave. at Colusa Circle, Kensington. 559-9184. www.bookpride.com  

Tibetan Buddhism, with Syliva Gretchen on “Managing Pain Through Meditation” at 6 p.m. at the Tibetan Nyingma Institute, 1815 Highland Pl. 843-6812. www.nyingmainstitute.com 

ONGOING 

Volunteer Coaches Needed for Twilight Basketball for the 13-15 year-old division on Saturdays at 5 p.m. beginning June 26. Please call Ginsi Bryant at 981-6678. 

Vista College Study Abroad in Mexico Live with a family and learn language skills in a two-week session in July in Guadalajara. For information call 981-2917 or visit www.peralta.cc.ca. 

us/interntl/studyabr.htm. 

Berkeley Video and Film Festival is calling for entries. The deadline for last call is July 10. For information please call 843-3699. www.berkeleyvideofilmfest.org 

Radio Summer Camp, four day sessions from June 4 through Sept. 6. Learn how to build and operate a community radio station. Sponsored by Radio Free Berkeley. 625-0314. www.freeradio.org 

Interesting Backyards Do you have a really cool backyard project or unusual sustainable living practice that you’d like to share with others in the East Bay? Consider becoming a stop on the 5th Annual Urban Sustainability Bike Tour on Saturday, July 31. Past sites have included features such as graywater systems, chicken coops, bee hives, solar installations and permaculture gardens. For information call Beck at 548-2220, ext. 233. 

Summer Reading Games at the Albany Public Library, from June 14 th through August 14th. For information call 526-3700. 

CITY MEETINGS 

Council Agenda Committee meets Tues. June 1, at 2:30 p.m., at 2180 Milvia St., Sherry M. Kelly, city clerk, 981-6900. www.ci.berkeley.ca.us/citycouncil/agenda-committee 

City Council meets Tues., June 1, at 7 p.m in City Council Chambers, Sherry M. Kelly, city clerk, 981-6900. www.ci.berkeley.ca.us/citycouncil 

Commission on the Status of Women meets Wed., June 2, at 7:30 p.m., at the North Berkeley Senior Center. Ruby Primus, 981-5106. www.ci.berkeley.ca. 

us/commissions/women 

Fire Safety Commission meets Wed., June 2, at 7:30 p.m. at the Public Safety Building, 2100 Martin Luther King Jr. Way, 2nd floor. David Orth, 981-5502. www.ci.berkeley. 

ca.us/commissions/firesafety 

Community Environmental Advisory Commission meets Thurs., June 3, at 7 p.m., at 2118 Milvia St. Nabil Al-Hadithy, 981-7461. www.ci. 

berkeley.ca.us/commissions/environmentaladvisory 

Housing Advisory Commission meets Thurs., June 3, at 7:30 p.m., at the South Berkeley Senior Center. Oscar Sung, 981-5400. www.ci.berkeley.ca. 

us/commissions/housing 

Public Works Commission meets Thurs., June 3, at 7 p.m., at the North Berkeley Senior Center. Jeff Egeberg, 981-6406. www.ci.berkeley.ca.us/commissions/publicworksˇ


Harvard’s Know-Nothing Sounds the WASP Alarm

By Nicholas von Hoffman Featurewell
Tuesday June 01, 2004

Sam Huntington rides again! 

Sam is the Harvard professor who, from time to time, puts on his Paul Revere costume and gallops across the country warning his fellow white Protestant citizens that the others are coming. This man is nobody to shrug off. What he says gets listened to in the think tanks, and that gets the op-ed types running to their keyboards, tapping out the kink in the reactionary party line. Pay attention to Sam. He is a heavyweight. 

In 1993, he hoisted his lantern to let the country know of the growing danger from Islam. In an article entitled “The Clash of Civilizations,” he put America on notice that the ragheads are coming, the ragheads are coming. In short order, he predicted, we would be inundated by the backward, bigoted sons of the camel. It might be something of an understatement to say that Sam hit the bull’s-eye with his intellectual form of high-brow hatred. Popularized simplifications of Sam’s Crusader cry issued forth from every pore of the media beast day and night. 

In his new book, Who Are We? The Challenges to America’s National Identity, Sam—his tricornered hat squarely planted on his block head—has lifted another one of his warning lanterns: This time, the Hispanics are coming. In a recent issue of Foreign Policy magazine, the professor previewed some of the arguments in his book. “The single most immediate and most serious challenge to America’s traditional identity,” he writes, “comes from the immense and continuing immigration from Latin America, especially Mexico.” And what, may we ask, is America’s traditional identity which is being so dangerously challenged? It is “the product of the distinct Anglo-Protestant culture of the founding settlers. Key elements of that culture include the English language, Christianity, religious commitment; English concepts of the rule of law … dissenting Protestant values of individualism, the work ethic … the duty to try to create a heaven on earth….” 

According to Professor Huntington, Hispanics are having none of that; instead, they harbor an “Americano Dream,” a term coined by Lionel Sosa, a Texas businessman. But our Cantabrigian nightrider says that the Americano Dream is all bullocks. “There is no Americano dream,” he writes. “There is only the American dream created by an Anglo-Protestant society. Mexican Americans will share in that dream and in that society only if they dream in English.” 

Hispano-phones are learning English, and Professor Huntington knows perfectly well that they are. Indeed, he is at pains to tuck in the facts about Hispanics learning English in this hysterical call to his fellow Anglo-Saxons. He cites a study which found that “more than 90 percent of the U.S.-born people of Mexican origin spoke English fluently.” He concedes that the available evidence shows that Spanish-speaking immigrants are learning English in patterns similar to that of previous arrivals from other places, but he is spooked anyway. Why? The increasing frequency of bilingual persons. It used to be considered rather a plus if a person spoke two languages, even at Harvard, and I guess it is still as long as one of the languages isn’t Spanish. Otherwise, the day may come when “those aspiring to political office might have to be fluent in both languages. Bilingual candidates for president and elected federal positions would have the advantage over English-only speakers …. English speakers lacking fluency in Spanish are likely to be and feel at a disadvantage in the competition for jobs, promotions or contracts.” As a consolation prize, such persons might consider applying for membership in WASP-only country clubs, or one might trip over to Berlitz and aprender how to hablar un poquito Splanglish. 

To repeat, all of this would be nonsense if Professor Huntington didn’t carry the clout he does. The man moves the people who move the masses, and you know hOw dumb They are. He has to be refuted, and repeatedly so. Such drivel. In a time when people in India, China, Russia, Romania, Poland, Chile, Indonesia and everywhere else are learning English like crazy, at the very moment when English has become the lingua franca of the planet, a relatively small number of Mexicans, Puerto Ricans and Cubans are going to plop down and refuse to learn it? I don’t think so. 

Professor Huntington fears a Hispanic “takeover.” He says it’s already happening, and not just in Miami. “Demographically, socially and culturally, the reconquista—reconquest—of the Southwest United States by Mexican immigrants is well underway.” This is one Harvard professor who has eaten too much locoweed. “Many Mexican-American immigrants and their offspring [snotty word, eh wot?] do not appear to identify primarily with the United States,” he writes. This is an observation which has been and still is made of members of more than one non-Spanish-speaking ethnic and/or religious group. It was something said of Roman Catholics for decades, and it is said of some Jewish people and their affiliation with Israel today. In both instances, the nation has not fallen to pieces. 

Our Ivy League Know-Nothing’s article contains an arresting section on “regional concentration”—by which he means, I think, that they are clannish and stick together, a characteristic noted in Jews, Italians, Poles and Algonquins (both the Native American kind and those who take tea at the hotel of the same name). “Hispanics … have tended to concentrate regionally: Mexicans in Southern California, Cubans in Miami, Dominicans and Puerto Ricans in New York. The more concentrated immigrants become, the slower and less complete their assimilation,” the man says, at the same time he complains that “Mexicans and other Hispanics were also establishing beachheads elsewhere.” Please note the use of the word beachhead, defined in the Oxford English Dictionary as a “fortified position of troops landed on a beach”—i.e., the little bean-eaters are invading us. The crack about the Puerto Ricans, whom he accuses of establishing one of those “beachheads” in Hartford, Conn., is particularly ungracious given that it was Samuel P. Huntington’s white, Protestant, Anglo-Saxon forefathers who invaded Puerto Rico, occupied it and wallowed in cheap peon labor. Finally forced to grant these colonials American citizenship, Americans like Professor Huntington are now bitching their heads off because Puerto Ricans do what other Americans do—move from one place to another. 

Professor Huntington is haunted by the prospect that Spanish-speaking arrivals may not care to ape his Anglo-Saxon ways. He wants to be their role model and is afraid they may reject him. The “takeover” of Miami drives him nuts. He says that a Spanish-language television station in Miami is No. 1 in the market and quotes with dread a bumper sticker asking: “Will the last American to leave Miami please bring the flag.” He cites with grave concern that in 1998, “’Jose’ replaced ‘Michael’ as the most popular name for newborn boys in both California and Texas.” Perhaps we should encourage parents of Hispanic extraction to name their sons Samuel. 

The professor takes note of a bundle of Hispanic cultural and character defects, such as “the mañana syndrome,” “little use for education,” “acceptance of poverty as a virtue” and “lack of initiative, self-reliance and ambition.” There is also a lack of blue-eyed blondes, but the Sage of Cambridge doesn’t discuss that. 

He doesn’t exactly cotton to any Hispano-phones, but Mexicans really worry him: “No other immigrant group in U.S. history has asserted or could assert a historical claim to U.S. territory. Mexicans and Mexican Americans can and do.” This is a Banquo’s-ghost séance: The man is spooked by the knowledge that the United States took the entire Southwest from Mexico, and he fears that many Mexicans want it back or—since they know the same history he does—that they may regard what the U.S. calls the border as a legal fiction, merely a line drawn on a map. If that’s the case, then perhaps while American Anglo-Saxonia alternates between anger and panic at the vast number of illegals setting up shop in the U.S.A., Mexicans see it differently. They may see it as simply moving around their own country. However they see it, Professor Huntington is convinced they are conspiring to form some kind of “Republica del Norte” in the American Southwest. Paul Revere, get on your nag and spread the alarm. One if by land, two if by sea—and in the case of Spanish speakers, it’s both, since they enter by water and by land. 

Similar things were said and feared about German-speakers in the last part of the 19th century: Laws were passed forbidding the teaching of German, for it was an established fact that the Teuto-phones were taking over cities like Cincinnati, St. Louis, Milwaukee, and even San Antonio and Austin. The Germans were more highly organized than present-day Hispanics but, like them, even though united by language, they were divided by much else, and in due course the German threat evaporated. 

Professor Sam seems to be full of such forebodings. I doubt anyone can give him much comfort, but he may take some solace in an aphorism (probably erroneously attributed to Philip II of Spain) which says that “English is the language of shopkeepers, French is the language of reason, Italian is the language of love, and Spanish the language of God.” 

 

Nicholas von Hoffman is a former columnist at the Washington Post. He now writes for the New York Observer, where this column first appeared.  

ˇ


Council Takes On Unions, University

By MATTHEW ARTZ
Tuesday June 01, 2004

Two mammoth battles highlight tonight’s (Tuesday, June 2) City Council meeting.  

In closed session, the city will continue to try to squeeze concessions out of its unions to help balance a $10 million budget shortfall. Later, city staff will present an overview of its response to UC Berkeley’s Long Range Development Plan, which the city fears could cost it millions in additional services it provides for the university. 

In the never ending battle with UC over tax-and-services issues, the city has gotten some legislative help. Last week, by a vote of 59-12, the State Assembly passed Assemblymember Loni Hancock’s (D-Berkeley) AB 2902 legislation to require fair compensation to cities from public agencies like UC Berkeley. The bill now goes to the State Senate for consideration. 

In cases where UC expansion and development has environmental impacts, Hancock’s bill would prevent UC from saddling the city with the costs of mitigating the impacts without holding a public hearing and entering into “good faith” negotiations. 

To squeeze more money out of the university, Berkeley is scheduled to release June 14 the draft of a $50,000 report it commissioned to determine the true costs UC places on city services. Assistant City Manager Arrietta Chakos wouldn’t divulge the report’s contents, but said the tally was in the millions. UC currently pays the city approximately $500,000 to offset city expenses for sewers, public safety and other services. 

At tonight’s council meeting, Chakos will present an overview of the city’s response to the university’s Long Range Development Plan. Among the criticisms: that the plan’s Draft Environmental Impact Report fails to properly mitigate the impact of 2,500 new parking spaces near the main campus and 100 new housing units on its Hill Campus, and that the plan underestimates the impact of its transportation policy and relies on “continuing best practices” that don’t comply with state environmental law. 

Also at tonight’s meeting, a group of Berkeley residents will give a presentation highlighting what the UC plan, if implemented, would mean for different neighborhoods. 

On the labor front, time is running out for a deal with city unions. After the unions rebuffed a city demand for a three percent salary giveback, the city is now asking them to defer three percent of their cost of living increase—about $1.2 million—for the coming year.  

The proposal is essentially a one-year fix. For the following year, city workers would be slated to receive their accumulated cost of living increases over the past two years. Since the city would still be facing a budget deficit for fiscal year 2006, it’s likely the two sides would have to negotiate a second deal the following year. 

Should the unions refuse, the city is threatening to raise the $1.2 million by closing essential services one day a month.  

With the city required to finalize its budget later this month and a 30-day notice mandated before the city can institute its first shutdown, tentatively scheduled for the first week of July, something has to give soon. 

So far it hasn’t been the unions. 

“No one has agreed to change the overall salary structure,” said Eric Landes-Brenman, of the Public Employees Union Local One. 

Rich Chan, shop steward for the International Brotherhood of Engineering Workers Local 1245 said the city has rebuffed his union’s compromise proposals—including voluntary time off—which Chan says is in violation of the labor agreement’s “meet and confer process.” “Right now they’re only discussing mandatory time off and a three percent salary reduction for this year,” he said. 

Most unions potentially have something to gain from the three percent deferral. The city has hinted that the concession could prevent anticipated layoffs this year. In addition, since essential services like police and fire would have to work in the event of monthly closures, mandatory time off would cost non-essential employees 4.67 percent of their salaries to make up the difference. 

“The city’s proposal is a gruesome treatment of employees,” said Councilmember Kriss Worthington. “Police and fire have by far the most generous contracts and they’re exempt.” 

On the other side of the budget balancing equation, the council will receive ballot language for four tax measures totaling $8 million dollars. The proposals include $1.2 million for paramedic services, $1.9 million for the public library, $2.2 million for youth services, and a $2.7 million Utility Users Tax that would go into the general fund. 

The city dumped a $1.2 million clean water tax after councilmembers didn’t show much support for it at last week’s meeting. 


Police Blotter

By RICHARD BRENNEMAN
Tuesday June 01, 2004

Shooting Victim Gives Cops Silent Treatment 

Berkeley Police were summoned to Kaiser’s Oakland emergency room in the wee hours of Thursday morning. They found a gentleman with a gunshot wound who would only volunteer that he’d been ventilated outside a Berkeley liquor store on Allston Way. 

Pressed for details, he clammed up. 

 

Assault with a Deadly Brolly? 

Police are calling it an assault with a deadly weapon, and so it seemed to the woman riding her bicycle along Grant Street near Channing Way at 9:30 Thursday morning. 

When one member of a band of three teenagers laid into her with an umbrella, the others grabbed her bike, according to Berkeley Police spokesperson Officer Joe Okies. 

The hapless cyclist sustained no serious injuries in the dustup. 

 

Gun-toting Bandits Rob Woman 

Two young males, one packing a piece, accosted a woman on Gilman Street near Fifth Street about 6 p.m. Thursday. When they demanded cash, she complied. 

 

Arc Sparks Spark Traffic Snarl 

A fire engine and police rolled to a report of power lines arcing on College Avenue Thursday night, halting traffic between Garber and Russell streets from 9:13 to 9:39 p.m. 

The problem resolved, patrol cars and fire engines departed and traffic resumed.H


Sports Obsession Drags Love Through Extra Innings

From Susan Parker
Tuesday June 01, 2004

Baseball season is in full swing and my friend Laurie is once again worried about her relationship with her boyfriend, Mark. He has satellite hook-up and a television or radio in every room of his house so that he can listen to and watch games after work and all through the weekend. When he gardens and barbecues in his backyard he carries a transistor radio with him, and he wears a walkman while he jogs. On his drive to work he listens to KNBR in his car, and on his desk in his cubicle he has a small radio that he keeps tuned to KFRC. CBS Sportsline is bookmarked on his computer so that he gets up-to-the-minute scores on games not broadcasted locally.  

On their first date Mark told Laurie about his sports obsession. “I’ll be unavailable during the baseball playoffs, the World Series, March Madness and anytime UCLA plays Cal,” he explained to her. “And I’m never available during Monday night football games.” 

“Maybe you’re just too unavailable,” she said. “Maybe we should forget this whole thing.” 

“That’s not necessary,” he told her, “because I don’t like hockey or golf except when Tiger plays, or tennis except when Serena and Venus are on the court. And I never watch wrestling or soccer. For instance, I’ll be free during the World Cup and all of the Olympics.” 

But those statements turned out to be false because Mark becomes distracted by anything that resembles a competition. Although he said he didn’t follow hockey, he lied. When the Sharks recently made the playoffs he suddenly began calling them, “HIS Sharkies.” He was inconsolable after their defeat by Calgary, but bounced back after victories by the Giants and As.  

Their dating schedule follows a pattern dictated by the NBA, NFL, PGA and the National and American Baseball leagues. To a lesser extent it is governed by the Women’s Pro Tennis Circuit and anything that has to do with the Pac Ten. When nothing else is available, he watches “Survivor.” 

If Tiger’s swing is off, if Shaq gets injured, or Barry Bonds goes into a slump, well then, their love life is in trouble too. This business with Kobe Bryant has been especially distressing. It affects him not just physically, but mentally as well. He claims that his concentration will be off “…until that mess in Colorado is straightened out.” 

“But that could take years,” she protested. 

“I know,” was his sad response.  

When the last ball is served and the final match point made, he will surf the channels, frantically looking for a new event. When desperate, he is known to watch drag racing, figure skaters, and SUV commercials. He has a special fondness for cheerleaders and female wrestlers. She once caught him, on an especially dreary February afternoon, intently viewing the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show.  

So now Laurie is steeling herself for baseball season, as she has every year since meeting Mark. She is aware of what might happen if the As and Giants continue to do well on the field. It will mean missed important social engagements, and fights about when they will see each other. And it’s not just the home teams she’s concerned about. She needs to know Dusty Baker’s schedule as well as that of the Yankees. 

“Dusty Baker?” I ask when I see her for lunch on a day when both the As and Giants are playing afternoon games. “Who’s Dusty Baker?” 

“He coaches Chicago,” she says sadly. “but he used to manage the Giants.” 

I nod as if I know what she’s talking about. “And the Yankees?” I say. “I thought Mark hated the Yankees.” 

“He does,” confirms Laurie. “But that just means he has to root for whoever goes against them.” She has a far-off look in her eyes and I wonder if she is going to cry.  

I reach across the table and hold her hand. “It’s okay,” I reassure her. “I know you can get through this.” 

“Yes,” sighs Laurie. “I suppose I can.” 

 

 

 

 


Letters to the Editor

Tuesday June 01, 2004

DOWNTOWN 

Editors, Daily Planet: 

Having followed all the meetings of the downtown development task force and attended the last one, I found the recommendations in the task force report to be well thought out and attentive to all points of view. The report suggests ways of developing the area under study as a cohesive, integrated whole, that will make our downtown an attractive place to be, and will serve the various needs of our community. The report offers recommendations and not any type of requirements. As such, they should be presented to developers as representing the consensus of a broadly based group of Berkeley citizens. 

In particular, I believe the “green” development recommendations, including a pedestrian plaza, and the daylighting of Strawberry Creek, are important for the success of our downtown in the future. These features will have multiple benefits, including a boon to downtown businesses, a healthier environment, and a wonderful civic space for Berkeley’s citizens to gather in, share events in, and simply enjoy. As our city continues to become more urban and developed, it is important that we remember to provide access to nature, and the relaxation and sense of well-being that it can provide. 

Including public art along with these “green” elements, as also recommended by the task force, will create a vibrant city center that reflects our values in terms of both nature and culture. The combination of a daylighted creek on Center Street, a pedestrian plaza, a “green” hotel, public art, and the future Brower Center two blocks away, could even make our downtown a destination point for environmental conferences and eco-tourism. Berkeley deserves no less. 

Fran Segal 

 

• 

BETH ISRAEL 

DEMOLITION 

Editors, Daily Planet: 

Regarding the article in May 18-20 edition about the unauthorized demolition of the Congregation Beth Israel building at 1630 Bancroft Way: We would like to clarify that neither of us, either individually or collaboratively, is in any way associated with the demolition of Congregation Beth Israel’s building, or with their current building project. We were the architects for Beth Israel when previously developing the plans for building a wooden synagogue which would have “re-built’ an historic Polish synagogue destroyed in the Holocaust. Beth Israel, however, chose not to continue that project, and our work with the congregation ended when that project came to an end. We are not currently their architects, and are in no way involved with their choices, either in terms of the demolition of the existing structure, or in their current building plans. 

The article and fact that the construction was red-tagged by the city imply a failure by the congregation to adequately address the permit issues involved in demolishing their existing building. When we were involved as the architects for their previous project, we strongly advised that they carefully address the historic nature of their then existing structure, and informed them of the approaches and procedures necessary to obtain a required demolition permit. If the congregation has proceeded in its current actions without heeding our advice, and without our current involvement, it would be unfair for that failure to reflect badly on our professionalism as architects. Should you write and publish any follow-up articles on Beth Israel’s demolition or subsequent building, we would appreciate if you would make it clear that we are no longer associated with this project. 

David Finn, David Finn Architects 

Tomas Frank, Frank Architects 

 

• 

WHAT WAS THE POINT? 

Editors, Daily Planet: 

I am disturbed by the article on the demolition of the Beth Israel synagogue. There are very few facts presented in the story and the tone is strikingly negative. The author, Richard Brenneman, suggests that there is something seriously shady going on. An 83-year-old building suffering from severe dry rot and fungus that had been condemned as unsafe and seismically unsound by the city for over 10 years was finally torn down. The building owners had permission to rebuild on that site, but allegedly did not have permission to tear it down. Although not granted the status of a landmark, the owners did not get the seemingly required permission from the Landmarks Preservation Commission. Hmm. If there is a story here, if there is a reason to suspect foul play as the headline suggests, the information necessary to demonstrate it was not contained in the article itself. 

As a 30-year resident of Berkeley, I would be interested in a story that explained the process of building permits in this city. I would not have thought you needed a separate demolition permit if  

you have a permit to rebuild. I would not have known that you needed permission from the Landmarks Preservation Commission to demolish any building more than 40 years old. I did not even know there was a Landmarks Preservation Commission. I would be interested to hear more about what they do. I would also be interested in a story that taught me something about the diversity of our city. Who is this community of Orthodox Jews? How did Berkeley, of all places, come to house the largest Orthodox congregation in the East Bay? 

As I said, I am disturbed by the article. There is negative innuendo in almost every paragraph and very little information. The Berkeley Daily Planet should be a forum for learning about our community not slandering the people in it. 

Juliet Stamper 

• 

LAKOFF LECTURE 

Editors, Daily Planet: 

As an officer of the Wellstone Democratic Renewal Club, I would like to respond to the concerns raised by Erica Grevemeyer about how we dealt with an unruly audience member at the public lecture by George Lakoff given under our sponsorship last Friday. 

The young man was, along with others, sitting on the stage because the meeting was quite packed. He was therefore in close physical proximity to Dr. Lakoff. So we were particularly concerned after two outbursts on his part. We asked a trained facilitator to sit next to him to try to quietly talk him down and we also asked a few club members to sit around him. 

The audience was becoming increasingly impatient with him and our efforts to calm him were not successful. Our club members then ushered him out with great care and with no violence at all. 

I am mindful of Ms. Grevemeyer’s concerns and I urge her to carefully consider our concerns for the safety of Dr. Lakoff and the success of our meeting. Incidents like this are perhaps the most difficult part of putting on public meetings and dealing with them is an art. We think that we did pretty well, but we are new at this game and would appreciate any advice from those with experience in dealing with this kind of situation. 

Jack Kurzweil 

Treasurer, Wellstone Democratic Renewal Club 

 

• 

UNIVERSITY TRAFFIC 

Editors, Daily Planet: 

When I saw the news of Professor Zelnick’s tragic death I wondered how long it would take before someone rhetorically linked it to some broad criticism of the university. There’s the answer—less than one week—in the letters column of the May 25-27 Daily Planet. Bruce Loeb writes about how the campus is now “grotesquely overbuilt” and a “neverending commotion” and says Professor Zelnick’s death is “a sorry indicator of the state of UC Berkeley.” 

Before the university’s critics nod their heads sadly, let’s consider the context. 

Professor Zelnick was killed by a private delivery truck while crossing a roadway that has existed since the 19th century. That road has been re-designed over the years from a major vehicle thoroughfare to a comparative backwater in terms of non-pedestrian traffic. An adjacent parking lot was removed in the 1980s in favor of lawns and pedestrian space. 

The site where Professor Zelnick died is busy with pedestrians and flanked by the university’s oldest building (South Hall) where librarians are educated, a three-story circa 1931 building that now houses philosophers, the 1914 Sather Campanile, and extensive lawns and walkways. 

It is hard to imagine a spot on campus more removed in appearance, use, or character from the 21st century excesses Mr. Loeb criticizes. 

Steven Finacom 

 

• 

DOGGY JAIL 

Editors, Daily Planet: 

Reading Susan Parker’s essay (“On Drugs and Dogs and Dumb Questions on a Corner,” Daily Planet, May 18-20) reminded me why Berkeley is the political laughingstock of the nation. She seems to insinuate that her live-in attendant is somehow a victim of a cruel system which treats animals better than humans. I must ask why Ms. Parker affords herself the privilege of a car ride across town to a safer neighborhood but makes poor Andrea run a gauntlet of crack dealers and undercover cops at the corner liquor store. As an Alameda County tax payer (and probably a close neighbor of Ms. Parker) I can only wish that when next Andrea gets busted, she’ll be put away for much longer time. Maybe she’ll get around to quitting smoking. At the very least, she’ll get some exercise walking home from BART since Ms. Parker can’t be bothered to give her a ride home from jail. As for Ms. Parker’s errant dog Whiskers, I believe I may now know who has been defecating on my front lawn in the wee hours of the night. For the little dog’s sake, next time Ms. Parker chooses to scoff at the law let’s hope Officer Friendly finds her before I do. Otherwise, it’ll be doggy jail for sure. Among the many egregious iniquities of our society, dogs are not allowed ride BART unattended, and even with four legs it’s a long walk back to the Parker place. 

Gus Hulderman 

North Oakland 

 

• 

DERBY FIELD 

Editors, Daily Planet: 

Anyone with a young soccer or baseball player in the family knows that sports recreation fields are in short supply in Berkeley. That’s why I applaud the Berkeley School Board’s plan to use its land at Derby and MLK for a multi-purpose athletic field, including a plan to accommodate the Tuesday farmers’ market.  

For our family and for dozens if not hundreds more Berkeley families this plan is a three-fer. Less driving to ball fields in Alameda and Oakland, a chance to watch the Berkeley High baseball team play on a decent field, and more opportunities to shop at the farmers’ market after games or practices. 

I urge the City Council to get behind this plan for Berkeley families and Berkeley kids. 

David Fogarty 

 

• 

FIRE STATION 

Editors, Daily Planet: 

It is really very simple: They promised us eight and are now offering seven. 

When we taxpayers generously passed Measure G 12 years ago, what we had said “yes” to was, among other things, to retrofit all our seven existing firehouses, plus build another multi-jusridictional firehouse, which would total eight fire houses. But in the interim, although we were promised eight, we are now being offered just seven. 

The proposed new hills firehouse has been quite a hot topic. The reason for this is that in District 6, Betty Olds’ district, Station No. 7 has yet to be retrofitted, and the push by Councilmember Olds and others has instead been to just “hurry up and build a new fire house.” For years I have been totally puzzled by all of this, because my “yes” vote, as I just said, was apparently totally baited and switched since 1992. 

All the new firehouse would do is move the crew and materiel from Station No. 7 up the hill to the new proposed site. No additional city fire personnel would operate the new house, we’d have essentially the same level of protection as we have now. And this would cost the whopping amount of at least $5 million. This has become much too complicated. But, as I’ve always said about Berkeley, “If it can be complicated, why make it simple?” 

Another crucial point is the finances of all this. Shouldn’t Berkeley be trying to save every possible penny at this time of desperate fiscal straits? The savings of not paying interest on the $5 million could be much better spent elsewhere, don’t you think? 

All I’m asking is that if you also voted in favor of Measure G back in 1992, expecting that an eighth, truly inter-city, multi-jurisdictional firehouse be built in addition to our current seven firehouses, please let the mayor and City Council know your opinion. When voters approve of a bond measure and are willing to put up the money, voters should be able to trust that our elected officials respect our will and thereby earn our trust. Once this trust is broken, no one should ever assume that we voters would ever trust the city again by voting in favor of any future bond proposal. 

Doris Nassiry 

 

• 

CLARIFICATION, PLEASE 

Editors, Daily Planet: 

So let me get this straight. Max Anderson, chair of the Rent Stabilization Board, responding to John Koenigshofer’s criticisms of Berkeley’s rent controls, believes Mr. Koenigshofer’s status as a landlord and realtor discredits these criticisms (“Rent Board Chair Chides Control Foe’s ‘Rant,’” Daily Planet, May 25-27). Are we then to believe that Mr. Anderson’s status as chair of the Rent Board discredits his own support of the program? 

Mr. Anderson also thinks means testing tenants to determine whether they should benefit from rent control is an “Ashcroftesque invasion of privacy.” If he is to be logically consistent about means testing, Mr. Anderson must also be opposed to requiring that taxpayers, students applying for financial aid, and welfare recipients disclose information about their assets and income to qualify for the benefits of tax credits and deductions, student loans, and subsidized housing respectively. 

I am neither a landlord nor a tenant. But as a Berkeley voter, I am puzzled and worried by Mr. Anderson’s reasoning. I look forward to clarification. 

Keith Winnard 

 

• 

ROSA PARKS TURNOVER 

Editors, Daily Planet: 

Your poorly informed article on Rosa Parks (“Rosa Parks School Faces Hugh Turnover,” Daily Planet, May 25-27) was completely shocked me and some other parents. I’ve got to say, you need to talk to more than a small self-appointed group of people with an axe to grind who claim they represent concerned parents and teachers. Well I’m a concerned parent too and no one asked me my opinion or a lot of other folks as well. 

By the way, what is the point of the article? Try to make more parents and kids leave the school? Why do you think these changes are being made— just randomly? Wouldn’t it be worth it to speak to a few other folks in the district and, well, find out. Ms. Herrera did not comment because she is under legal obligation not to comment until this whole thing is over. You neglected to mention this. 

I’m a parent at the school and have been following the changes that have been going on over the last six years of my participation there as my daughter and son have been attending. We’ve gone through four principals until Ms. Herrera arrived. We now have a focus, a direction and some clear standards to follow. 

These changes did not all come just from Ms. Herrera but from the observations of both the principle, the superintendent and other educational experts who observed, over a period of many months, the teaching in individual classrooms. Recommended changes to improve the learning environment for ALL the kids were made from these observations. Unfortunately, some teachers did not want to make these changes and may have not been prepared for the recommendations but something needed to happen and they were completely included in this process over the last year. 

As for the school, testing and the learning environment. If anything, the behavior and treatment of ALL the kids has been more even and consistent than it has ever been. And, we there is a greater commitment to getting all kids up to their grade level and not just push them through without the skills they need to succeed. We need to know what kids are learning, what they are not and get them what they need. What’s wrong with this? 

It’s time to put the gossip, criticism behind us and move forward and get Rosa Parks happening again. Look into the facts and start moving forward. What good is this going to do for the teachers and families remaining in the school? I challenge the critics to find out what really happened and why and to make some really valuable recommendations on what should happen to bring kids up to grade level, improve performance and to create improved behavior at the school. 

As a committed parent, I have positive hopes for the future. I would like to see improvements in the science program and other programs and I hope to see this school improve over the next three years until my son moves on to middle school. I know there are other parents who are equally committed to the school and will be staying on. 

Let’s move on together and make Rosa Parks a success for all the kids. 

Steven Donaldson 

 

• 

SCHOOL TAXES 

Editors, Daily Planet: 

I am single, retired and living on fixed income. And while I strongly believe education and schools are important, asking me to pay more taxes when so much of my property taxes already goes for schools is not a small burden. 

When the BSEP issue first came up, we as a community agreed that libraries, music and small classes were a priority. Then the remainder should to individual schools for each school to allocate. That costs us over $11 million a year. Since then, we have voted to give the school district over $250 million for new school construction, and $4 million a year to maintain that construction. 

The new construction looks great, but is it being properly maintained, I wonder? I am concerned about the repeat flooding at newly renovated Malcolm X. The roses planted by volunteers at Willard are gorgeous, but the sides of the school on Derby and Stuart are neglected and need care. That new lawn in front of King was just planted last year, and now they’re tearing it up again to put in irrigation. Isn’t that somewhat backwards and a waste of money? I wonder, is all the money BUSD is getting being put to good use? We were promised small class sizes and the promises have not been kept. 

I find it rather curious that the Superintendent has called for another community forum, so we can again discuss what the components of an excellent education, and again endlessly discuss what our resources are. Weren’t there at least two prior such forums? I don’t recall hearing a peep about the results of the prior forums and discussions. 

What strikes me is that despite all this money BUSD as received, our community’s level of satisfaction, as reported in the latest poll taken by BUSD, is only at 40 percent, no better than 14 years ago, before all this money. At my age, I know that money isn’t the solution for everything. 

Maybe before I’m asked to pay more school taxes, I’d like to know that the school taxes I’m already paying are being used efficiently and effectively. 

S. Corcosˇ


A Worker’s Views on the Budget

By PATRICK K. McCULLOUGH
Tuesday June 01, 2004

For me, awaiting the new city budget is a lot like waiting to read the book based on the lousy movie. The really awful part is that I had the same feeling watching a spark ignite the worn gas line in my ’75 bug, and again after W’s Sept. 12 speech. Disastrous aftermaths often develop from similar avoidable beginnings; there are remarkable parallels between the war against terrorism and Berkeley’s war against the budget crisis.  

Both crusades are so well titled, so well framed, that to most of us, it seems unreasonable, even irresponsible for a person to say, no, I have another option, or, no, I am against it. No person that you or I am comfortable talking with actually wants more death or financial collapse, and this factor is exploited by the emergency mongers who constantly remind us that in times of fearful crisis, people must be prepared to do unusual things, things we might otherwise be ashamed of doing. Fearful crisis will allow a person justification for brutally eliminating the enemy. It will make one re-examine their well-reasoned position; it can destroy you if you stand in the way. It is a catalyst of such immediacy and influence that its authors cannot necessarily control the change. It is a sort of functional autonomy. 

The executives seem so earnest and so pressed, so without options, so having no solution except THE solution, that we empathize and come to refer to them personally as Dick and George and Condie, and Phil, and endorse their struggle as they valiantly set to slay demonic hordes allayed against the innocent; hordes unknown as enemy, maybe unknown unto themselves, unknown to taxpayers, but demonic the same: Muslims, Darkies, Unions. 

Never mind that the people charged with intelligently forecasting and planning do claim to have been caught by surprise, also there is blind acceptance that those that reaped great benefit from the very thing they now attack—oil suppliers, military alliance, salary and benefits—are so terribly needed and are not the least bit self-serving, and are not using the cover of the crisis to settle old scores and make advantage. You can take this to the bank: The executives responsible will be unscathed by the crisis and will soon enjoy the greatest retirement benefits taxpayers can provide.  

There are many people who not only see through the b.s., but also will tell the world of the news they’ve found. Unfortunately for progress, we find that messages from these enlightened ones are habitually downplayed as the ruminations of impractical dreamers, malcontents, and counter-culture types. The situation had even caused me to wonder if there was some mass hypnosis causing once thoughtful people to abandon complex reasoning and seek peace in expedient simplicity. Never mind if truth is apparent—increasingly if you are trying to sell a proposition, socioeconomic or cuteness status of the proponent is as often the determinant of what is acted on as any. White collar trumps blue collar; big salary people are more right than littler salary people; labels are product. Just as some viruses infest only healthy hosts, crass demonizations have been fixed on every progressive function Berkeley is known for: liberals are too vague, affordable housing is unaffordable, Nader is too divisive, Black Rep and curb cuts are too expensive, commissions are too bothersome, teachers are too pushy, university too big, social agencies too ineffective, and those greedy powerful unionized city workers … well, they’re fairly employed. 

For years I have pointed out to several city officials that they have wasted a lot of money by hiring contractors and incompetents (whose work we often have corrected) and violating our contract and classification system to perform telephone and electrical work when the city communication techs and electricians of IBEW Local 1245 do the same things better and at long-term savings. The response has been to obfuscate, stall, ignore our rights, and then layoff because of a false schemed lack of work and funding. Kind of what happened to the UN peacekeeping force. 

It would signal that a new day has come if the proposals by the workers are implemented. There is still opportunity that together--taxpayer and taxpayer funded—we will rescue our perhaps last chance to get it right. Getting it right requires acknowledging the truth, which is that workers have expended several hundreds of unpaid hours attempting to resolve the budget crisis situation. I am one of many city employees who feel special indebtedness to this city for its place in the civil and human rights struggles and, though I live in Oakland, consider Berkeley’s problems as my own. Giving back to the city is something I and many workers aim to do everyday, so don’t take a lack of agreement with the city manager’s/budget oversight committees’ ultimatums as an affront to Berkeley’s generosity. We have been helping and are trying to overcome the resistance from obstinate administrators so we can help more. They have told us it is all political and that appearances require workers seem to contribute in the way the executives and council have selected. The truth is political posturing makes us gag and workers contribute proportionally far more than the high-paid executives contribute and have far less left over. We have feelings too and have been pummeled by false characterizations, misrepresentations, blanket accusations, and the stunning silence of the city manager’s failure to defend scapegoated workers who got less benefit from their meager labor contracts than his executive team gets. The administration’s refrain, even when there was plenty of time, has been they don’t have sufficient time remaining to evaluate our proposals. If I paid property taxes in Berkeley I would demand the decision makers use a little more of the reserves for this next fiscal year so that layoffs and program cuts can be prevented while benefits of the workers’ proposals are realized, and seriously evaluate the workers’ proposals and implement them immediately. Trust the workers and they will soon show you what true cooperation among people who appreciate and like each other can produce. 

I’ve empirically proven to myself so many times that optimism is the attitude that rewards itself. But hey, I’m the kind of person who believes that a sincere apology, reparations, and new leadership can prevent the loss of American lives in Iraq and make us safer at home.  

 

Pat McCullough is an employee of the City of Berkeley and an Oakland resident. ›


Clothing Drive

Nancy Wogan
Tuesday June 01, 2004

Clothing Drive 

 

In their Afghanistan clothing drive, 

The Quakers of “Friends” ask no symbols 

On the donated hats, 

The t-shirts, the sweaters. 

 

No slogans or smiley faces, 

Nor deer on the Norwegian cardigans. 

 

The Moslem children are to get plain colors. 

Green if possible. 

Not red, white or blue. 

 

I fold by daughter’s purple old nightgown 

In a paper bag I’ll carry in next Sunday 

 

It was never her favorite 

Like the long one 

With Snoopy on his doghouse 

Ready to fight the Red Baron. 

 

But perhaps some 9-year-old Afghan girl 

Might dream in its flannel 

Might like to dream in its soft folds.  

 

Oh Osama girl, stay asleep in your bed. 

The Red Baron snoops over Iraq instead. 

 

Nancy Woganô


Angry at Planning Staff? Don’t Waste Your Energy

By ROBERT LAURISTON
Tuesday June 01, 2004

In recent contributions to an e-mail discussion of University Avenue zoning reforms among city officials, staff, and interested citizens, Planning Commissioner Tim Perry (Councilmember Margaret Breland’s appointee) blamed Berkeley’s “public culture” for the anger and intemperate remarks directed at staff during last week’s Planning Commission hearing. Saying that he’s “convinced staff does their best to treat the community and housing producers (a.k.a. ‘developers’) equally,” Perry called for neighbors to treat staff with more respect. 

Perry’s right to lament these lapses of civility, but by blaming “public culture” for its own character (a circular argument) he’s begging the question. Why are people angry? Because a handful of pushy developers keep circumventing popular local development controls intended to preserve Berkeley’s unique character and throwing up inappropriate, out-of-scale buildings. Planning staff are a handy target for this anger, since it’s their job to enforce the zoning code—but they’re not the root of the problem. 

Staff not only don’t treat developers and neighbors equally, they can’t. A special relationship between staff and developers necessarily arises because, especially on large and potentially controversial projects, they meet many times over many months, sometimes years. There’s no way to avoid that, so the law provides a balancing role for the public. 

In Berkeley, that public role is currently inadequate. This results in a constant stream of controversial projects, angry neighbors, and contentious hearings. 

This stream does not run through a political vacuum. Some people in town, including some staff and appointed and elected officials, benefit from the status quo through increased departmental or tax revenue, campaign contributions, or jobs, or favor construction of large buildings for ideological reasons such as a belief that they help the homeless or reduce development of open space and farmland in places like Brentwood. 

How does this political tendency play out? Staff, through inaction, selective enforcement, and creative interpretation of the zoning code, city plans, and state law, and under constant pressure from developers, frequently promote projects that flout the regulations intended to preserve neighborhood character and prohibit out-of-scale buildings. Appointed and elected officials—despite protestations of reluctance, expressions of sympathy for neighbors’ objections, and minority votes to the contrary—more often than not approve such projects. And at all levels, any attempt to reform the zoning code to plug loopholes are thwarted by inaction, obstructionism, and vague, ambiguous legislation that provides new loopholes. 

For example, the University Avenue Strategic Plan approved in 1996 contains a detailed description of how large buildings were to be restricted to certain major intersections, with the rest of the street limited to three-story buildings with ample setbacks and stepbacks. But, by failing to draft the zoning code revisions necessary to implement that plan, staff effectively vetoed the measure. 

Whether this was a conscious or deliberate decision is debatable. There’s a virtually endless backlog of such work, and neither the Planning Commission or City Council put pressure on staff to make this particular task a priority until a few months ago, when the Tune-Up Masters proposal highlighted the gap between the official plans and development reality. 

On the other hand, now that it is a priority, staff have produced one draft after another that effectively perpetuate the current loopholes but fail to implement the explicit and detailed provisions of the UASP. Can even the most reasonable and disinterested observer see that as anything but a deliberate attempt to dump the democratically developed and approved plan with one that allows the continued construction of sore-thumb buildings? Neighbors have a right to be angry. 

Nevertheless, it’s not only uncivil but a waste of political capital to direct anger at staff. No proposal by planning staff can take effect without the support of a majority of the members of the Planning Commission. Since each City Council member appoints one commissioner, they’re the ones who are ultimately responsible. 

Angry? The upcoming City Council election provides the proper forum to express it. Get out and work to elect people whose Planning Commission appointees won’t vote to make Berkeley look like Walnut Creek. 

 

Pro-democracy activist Robert Lauriston lives in South Berkeley.


Readers Respond to Pagan Parade Coverage

Tuesday June 01, 2004

Editors, Daily Planet: 

I appreciated that your paper’s coverage of the Berkeley Pagan Parade (“Pagans on Parade Cavort in Downtown Berkeley,” Daily Planet, May 18-20). However I felt that focusing at least half of the article on a little Christian group giving out water, and not on the actual Pagans (which, by the way, should be capitalized out of respect, just like Christianity and Hinduism) and what their parade was even about. Turning one of the few times in a year that (minority) Pagans can come into the spotlight into yet another excuse to write about (dominant) Christians is very unfortunate. Not only that, but the article not-so-subtly compares the gentle Christian act of giving water to hypothetical Pagan orgies and animal sacrifice; this is downright insulting innuendo, and utterly unprofessional in the extreme.  

Also, why must Pagans “cavort” when they have a parade? If it were a Catholic parade, would your journalists say they were “cavorting”? Or imply that one should expect to see Jews being tortured (as they were by Catholics centuries ago)? Of course not! And why? Because such innuendoes would be very offensive and insulting to Catholics. Yet your paper seems to think it’s perfectly fine to say and imply similar things to Pagans. 

Please show our religion the same respect you show the dominant ones in our country and keep these things in mind when your paper next covers a Pagan activity. 

Brett Lowry 

 

• 

Editors, Daily Planet: 

I assume Richard Brenneman’s article on the Interfaith Pagan Pride Parade and Celebration was an attempt to narrate a visitor’s experiences of the festival. However, Mr. Brenneman did resort to gratuitous negatives and common biases in order to define the event. I quote “paganism... nowhere defined in event literature,” “no animals (or humans) were offered up as sacrifices,” and “no temple prostitutes and no orgies” and “only equivalent of the “All-Seeing Eye was the tripod-mounted video camera... atop the tower of old city hall,” and “promoters of ...legalized prostitution (itself a fine old pagan tradition) were restricted to...the elevated plaza...” 

My impression of the event was entirely different. I read the program guide and found a wealth of information. I saw a wholesome celebration of interfaith groups, good selection of arts and crafts, plus marvelous music performances. The “all-seeing eye” happened to be Berkeley Community Media, Berkeley’s own cable TV station, which filmed the festival from various locations including the old city hall tower. Also, proponents of the Berkeley ballot measure on prostitution were not part of the approved pagan pride event, though I did see one unauthorized petition gatherer walking from the adjacent Farmer’s Market into the festival.  

There is already too much divisiveness in the world to add “paganism in Berkeley “ to the roster. I hope the Berkeley Daily Planet will do a followup story, an interview with an event representative, or a retraction regarding the above article. A follow-up would be an ideal opportunity for Berkeley’s premier voice to dispel prejudice and inform the public about modern neo-paganism. 

Gianna Ranuzzi 

 

• 

Editors, Daily Planet: 

My father, Phillip Potter of the Balitmore Sun, brought me up to respect the profession of journalism, and used to revile “yellow sheet journalism” as an insidious betrayal of the public trust. Your recent article, “Pagans on Parade Cavort in Downtown Berkeley,” is a fine example of the worst sort of journalism. I was there for the entire day, and note that almost every word of Richard Brenneman’s article was spurious, inciteful, and devoid of truth. In this day and age of Christian and Islamic fundamentalism, hate mongering and violence, the last thing we need is journalistic religious intolerance. You owe the organizers of the event, the participants, and the community an apology. Shame on you. 

Susan Potter 

 

• 

Editors, Daily Planet: 

As a dedicated reader of the Daily Planet I’m ashamed, disgusted and most of all insulted by your horrible, poorly researched article about The Interfaith Pagan Pride Parade. As an independent paper you require the support of your community, and you managed to disrespect a large number of us with this article. If you continue to publish this kind of garbage your going to see your support base start slipping away. I will never read the Daily Planet again, you are a disgrace to Berkeley and all that it stands for. Fundamentalist would be (and I’m sure are) proud! 

With regret and disdain, 

Caitlyn Powell 

 

• 

Editors, Daily Planet: 

I am personally offended by the article by Richard Brenneman on Pagan Pride Day in Berkeley. I am a Pagan myself and attended the event. I found it peaceful and a celebration of religions that are fairly new and religions that predate Christianity and not the prostitution peddling festival of tax evasion evil that Mr. Brenneman made it out to be. The way the article was written reveals his ignorance and bigotry of the pagan community. 

I was really offended by his contrasting of the Christians who dispense free water (which was much appreciated) and the vendors at the event. He made no mistake portraying the scene like the pagans are a bunch of tax evading, religion peddling misfits and the water dispensing Christians as an island of righteousness in a sea of sinfulness. 

I will not put up with this and will be distributing the article among other pagans as far as I can reach. I will be encouraging them to not read the Berkeley Daily Planet and it’s affiliates until a full page apology is made. 

I have to congratulate Mr. Brenneman and the Berkeley Daily Planet on offending an entire religious community that practices nothing but love of each other, the earth and love of peace with his venom. If that’s what was intended, it has been done. 

Stephanie Jones 

 

• 

Editors, Daily Planet: 

Regarding your article on the Pagan Parade: What a poor excuse for journalism. And, to assign blame where blame is due, what a lazy, irresponsible editorial choice to allow this story to run as written. Certainly the cynical, world-weary, sarcastically tongue-in-cheek ap-proach to writing has its place, and one has to look no further than the East Bay Express and the Bay Guardian to find countless examples of this style, in which informative content is wholly subsumed by attitude. Until now, I’ve viewed the Daily Planet as a publication with a sincere interest in serving the Berkeley community. Mr. Brenneman’s approach to his reportage of the parade, however, reveals a complete lack of interest in his subject matter, as well as an arbitrary, mean-spirited willingness to cast the volunteer efforts of a large group of community-minded participants in a negative light. 

As someone who has regularly volunteered my own time as a professional musician to help with fundraising events for the Parade, it pisses me off no end to see the efforts of a talented, hard-working community of people dismissed out of hand as nothing more than selfish, immoral, parasitic indulgence. I pity the journalist who refuses to do even the minimum of research on his subject in order to free his sarcastic “wit” to function unencumbered by the facts. Brenneman is no Steve Rubenstein or Dave Barry, but if that’s the type of writing he aspires to, maybe you should give him a column — that way, your readers won’t mistake him for an actual reporter. 

Mark Ungar 

San Francisco 

 

• 

Editors, Daily Planet: 

I found your article “Pagans on Parade” by Richard Brenneman to be really lame and disrespectful. Why does he delight in criticizing the hard work and positive energy of others? Here we have a group of people singing, dancing, drumming, and adding beauty to Berkeley, and the only good thing he has to say is about someone who wasn’t part of the event (the Christian dispersing water). As a pagan, and a druid, I found his denegration of the celebration of my faith to be completely inappropriate. Does he walk by Bar Mitzvahs and find things to mock about the celebrants? Get a clue, dude! 

Here’s hoping he sleeps well at night with the comforting thought that 1,500 witches are pissed off at him. 

Sweet dreams! 

Kira Westfall 

 

• 

Editors, Daily Planet: 

I was shocked that a city with the reputation for fairness that Berkeley used to enjoy would cover an event as all-inclusive and supportive of minorities as the Pagan Pride Parade with such poor journalism and unfairness. 

A large portion of the feature was devoted to how Christians were dispensing “the living water” of Christ, while nowhere did the Planet’s intrepid reporter get to the heart of what paganism is all about. 

An article of this nature might have been appropriate on the op-ed page, or better yet in a Christian newspaper. The Planet is apparently turning Moonie. 

John Koenig 

former Berkeley resident 

 

• 

Editors, Daily Planet: 

I was extremely disappointed by the May 18 article by Richard Brenneman entitled “Pagans on Parade Cavort in Downtown Berkeley.” I have never attended the parade. I heard about the event on KPFA and in the SF Bay Guardian. I support events that attempt to build bridges between spiritual communities, particularly in these extremely troubled times. I was hoping to read a comprehensive article in your paper describing the events of the day. Instead I found an article that was heavily biased and extremely disrespectful in tone. 

Except for his section on the Christian group, Mr. Brenneman repeatedly utilized gross stereotype to frame his so-called report. I was touched and enjoyed the reporter’s description of the Christian group offering water. Curiously there were no other attempts to personalize other less mainstream participants at the parade. I can only assume that Mr. Brenneman was unable to maintain the objectivity required of a reporter when he went on this assignment. I am puzzled that his editors were unable to recognize the manifest problems with this story. I hope that in the future the Daily Planet will be more careful about whom they assign to write and edit such stories. Please let me know how the Daily Planet intends to proceed in this matter. Thank you. 

Megan Evart 

Concord 

 

• 

Editors, Daily Planet: 

Becky O’Malley’s editorial, “Seeing Ourselves as Others See Us” in the May 25 edition, cuts to the crux of the matter. The point of Richard Brenneman’s piece “Pagan’s Parade...” in fact was to “poke gentle fun” at those with whom your paper does not purportedly agree on a religious basis. But his piece—however innocently intended—had missed its mark, as did her support for it. 

What makes Garrison Keillor’s prodding at Lutherans, Unitarians, Catholics, etc., humorous and effective is that Keillor makes his living as a humorist. Perhaps more importantly, Keillor makes clear his own beliefs in God, and with his one foot on that ground, he allows an audience or a reader see him as a part of his joke, rather than apart from it. 

Mark Twain’s letters regarding Mormons and Christian evangelicals to the journal Alta California were simply that: letters.  

While objectivity is a goal difficult to achieve by any writer, it is the goal of a journalist. Based on previously authored articles, I’ve been under the impression that Mr. Brenneman is a journalist, and therefore, follows basic journalistic principles. One of which is to offer a fair and balanced report. 

Brenneman’s Pagan article had other intentions and was inappropriate for the main body of your newspaper. Its placement did nothing short of alienating a harmless group of people at a harmless gathering. The article would have better served the readership as an editorial opinion, a review or column. 

For Brenneman to willingly show bias in an inappropriate format is self-indulgent. To then to be supported by a top executive, whose tone is to trivialize the matter, is patronizing, and it leaves the Berkeley Daily Planet and its journalists suspect in their endeavors to serve the community as something more than just a self-aggrandizing vehicle for advertisers. 

Bob Ferrer 

 

• 

Editors, Daily Planet: 

I read an article that greatly disturbed me, and I wanted to bring this to your attention. 

There was a gathering In Berkely, and it was covered and written with such disdain for the Pagan Society, I and my fellow sisterhood and brotherhood of witches and pagans are appalled, that you would allow this inflammatory article to be written. I understand freedom of speech, however this goes far beyond that, and I would only hope you will take a closer look at this article and justify why you would think this article was written fairly and without prejudice. 

I am proud to call my self a Witch.. I am Pagan, and I for one take extreme exception to your article sir. Who ever wrote this should indeed be careful that they have not set them selves up for slander and libel. 

Freedom of Religion, means all religions... 

Safyre Witch 

 

• 

Editors, Daily Planet: 

I’m certainly enjoying the flap over the humorous coverage of the pagan/interfaith parade. I believe we readers are entitled to assume that the pagans, if sincere about defending their dignity should insist that the writer, Richard Brenneman, be either ritually cursed, sent to hell, or burned at the stake. 

Carol Denney 

 

ô


Bagdikian’s Long Journey to Journalistic Heights

By Dorothy Bryant Special to the Planet
Tuesday June 01, 2004

The most dramatic story in Ben Bagdikian’s life was not his role in obtaining, publishing, and reporting on the Pentagon Papers in 1971. It was a story he was not able to report (until his 1995 memoir Double Vision) because he was too young—10 days old in 1920—when his parents and four sisters fled Marash, Armenia, on foot, climbing over snow-covered mountains to escape the Turks during a great Armenian genocide.  

Thinking the new baby was dead, his father dropped him in order to catch his mother who had fainted. Ben hit the snow, cried out, and was picked up again. After more narrow escapes, the family made it to America when Ben was four months old and settled in Stoneham, Mass. There his father (who had taught at an American University in Armenia) became pastor of a Cambridge Armenian Congregational Church.  

Despite the loss of his mother to tuberculosis three years later, Ben says that, compared to immigrants with no contacts, no English, and few skills, his English-speaking family had a fairly “easy entreé into middle-class American life,” and he grew up as “an Armenian overlaid by, of all things, the culture of New England Yankees.” 

Although there were family feasts where relatives told stories in Turkish or Armenian, Ben—a fiercely “American” kid who “always wished they’d serve hot dogs and stuff like that instead of stuffed eggplant”—understood neither language. “I picked up a little Turkish when I was staying with my grandparents, but lost it all. Or thought I did.”  

A few years ago, his wife Marlene and he traveled to Marash.  

“One night we found ourselves wandering in a dark and gloomy district that made me more and more uneasy. We had to get out of there, but how? I saw a man in a tan uniform—some official or policeman, I hoped—walked up to him, and out of my mouth came, ‘Can you tell us how to get a cab?’ In Turkish! I was astonished. Somewhere, back in my brain, bits of the language still lived.” 

The plan was for Ben to become a doctor, but when he graduated from Clark University (after serving as editor of the college newspaper), he needed to earn money for medical school. As a pre-med student, he had to take many chemistry courses. He went to apply for a job as a chemist. “Come back in an hour.” During that fateful hour, he wandered into the offices of the Springfield Morning Union, found that they could use a reporter, and never looked back. 

During World War II, he married while serving as a navigator in the Army Air Corps. He and his wife Betty had two sons, Chris (1944) and Eric (1951), before their marriage ended. By 1947 he was working as a reporter and Washington bureau chief for the Providence Journal-Bulletin. In 1956, he won an Ogden Reed Fellowship for a year in Europe, then in 1957 took the risky assignment of covering the Southern Civil Rights scene along with black reporter Jim Rhea. He left the Journal-Bulletin in 1961 and began freelance reporting. His first book, In The Midst of Plenty (1964), came out of articles written after spending time with poor Appalachians, bean pickers in Florida, old people “warehoused” in Los Angeles, men in flop houses in Chicago.  

Later, a similar experience, having himself smuggled into a maximum security prison as an inmate, led to his book Caged: Eight Prisoners and their Keepers (1976).  

“I was only there two weeks, but I’ll never forget how quickly the outside world disappears. A depression settles over everyone. Once, when we were brought out of our cells, I looked into a wall-mirror to check out who was nearby. I saw a guy I didn’t know. Who was that? It was me! That look, that careful, dead, expressionless look had already made me a stranger to myself.” 

I asked Ben if such experiences with the poor and the imprisoned led to his life-long concern for the deprived, the less educated. He nodded. 

“And a couple of earlier influences. There was my Uncle Fred, a mechanic with a great zest for life. He bought me my first ice cream soda, took me around with him, out of that up-tight world of the ‘preacher’s son.’ That was a terrible burden, everyone watching and judging to see how ‘good’ I was—and I wasn’t good! Yet within that uptight world was the deep concern for values. Every night we had a Bible reading, all together, the family. Sounds dreary, and sometimes it was. But, you know, after years and years, the theology, the dogma falls away, and what’s left is ‘Do unto others—’ and the Beatitudes. You know, in the ethics class I have at Berkeley, I asked my graduate students, where they got their sense of right and wrong. And most of them went back to early religious training—Christian, Jewish, Muslim, whatever—and they said the same thing, that in adulthood the theology dropped away, but the moral teachings stayed with them.” Ben laughs. “Marlene says all that King James Bible reading shows in my writing style.” 

By 1967 Ben was with the Washington Post as assistant managing editor for national news (1970), where his adventures with the Pentagon Papers hit the headlines in 1971. “It was a tricky spot to be in. I was covering the story, but I was instrumental in getting the papers, so I was part of the story as well. I believe a reporter should stand outside the story and report it accurately, but in some cases, that’s not possible. It’s like walking a tightrope.”  

Ben has won so many awards that articles about him no longer bother to list all of them. I asked which were his favorite awards.  

“I was part of a group Pulitzer, but what I value more is the Pulitzer I didn’t get. I was one of two finalists during that fellowship year 1956-57 in Europe. I had helped cover the Israeli/Egyptian war, giving the point of view of leaders but also of ordinary citizens on both sides; that’s what made our reports different. Another award I value is the Peabody I got in 1951 for criticizing leading TV and radio commentators. And I treasure the James Madison Award from the American Library Association, Coalition on Government Information in 1998.” 

In 1976 Ben joined the faculty of the UC Graduate School of Journalism, where he taught until 1991, serving three years as dean (1985-1988). His major publishing event of those years was The Media Monopoly in 1983. In that book he described the dangers of media ownership by only 50 companies. Media Monopoly went into five more editions—1987, 1990, 1993, 1997, 2000. Then in January 2004 The New Media Monopoly came out.  

“It wasn’t my idea. The publisher said I had to do a new edition because so much has changed. So the seventh edition is really 90 percent new. From 50 companies, ownership of media has shrunk to just five or six. But there’s an even bigger difference. In 1983 each company wanted a monopoly over just one medium—say magazines, or newspapers, or television. Now, these few companies try to control all media, so that the TV you watch, the radio, the newspaper, the magazines, the movies, the books—might all be owned and controlled by one corporation—Fox or Murdock or Disney. And these companies promote a far-right slant. What they have managed to do in 25 years is to shift what used to be called the ‘nutty right’ to the center. And the left has been pushed off the edge completely.” 

Is there hope in the Internet?  

“Yes. There’s lots of junk on it, but it’s still an outlet for an independent with no money but plenty of ingenuity and skill, like MoveOn.org. It’s not controlled by the corporations. Not yet. But the FCC, which is supposed to protect independent media, is Bush-appointed, and not a bit friendly.” 

What about print media? Name some of the ones that are holding firm against the move to the right. 

“Well, you know, I think you have to read the New York Times every day. There’s been a big change in the last five years. It’s not so wedded to the establishment. And there’s the Nation, the Progressive, Extra, alternative radio, the New York Review of Books. And it’s a good idea to read Time and Newsweek, so you get a view of the total picture most magazine readers are getting—and even those two have been pretty dismayed at the right lately.” Ben laughs. “I occasionally look at the National Review too, and the Weekly Standard—I think you have to know what the right is thinking.” 

I asked, what if I work at a full-time job and have a family and a house to keep up and friends, and a need to relax and watch TV a little. But I’m determined to squeeze out an hour a day to stay informed. What should I read? 

“Hmmmm. Okay. The Nation, Newsweek, the Progressive. And, of course, the Berkeley Daily Planet. It’s a really great local paper!” 

Lest the reader decide that, in my admiration for Ben, I am buttering him up inexcusably, let me conclude by telling his dirty little secret, the revelation of which is sure to infuriate him. Ben is not his real first name. His mother had him christened Ben-Hur, yes, after the monumentally schlocky best seller that spawned some even more tasteless movie spectacles. 

“To my knowledge,” Ben murmurs, “it was her only lapse of literary taste.” 

 

Ben Bagdikian will read from The New Media Monopoly at 7:30 on June 4 at Cody’s Books on Telegraph.


Giorgi Gallery Exhibits Big Work by a Tiny Artist

By JULIE ROSS Special to the Planet
Tuesday June 01, 2004

The Giorgi Gallery on Claremont is currently showing an exhibit of Evelyn Glaubman’s work from 1990-2000. Evelyn Glaubman is Vista College’s—and Berkeley’s—premiere art teacher and has more devoted students than the Pope has bishops. One other thing to note about the artist when viewing this show is that she is a tiny, diminutive person who creates BIG WORK! The Giorgi’s walls are barely big enough to contain it and each piece needs a much larger space.  

In this work the “message” is the art—or some of it. What I liked about these pieces is the unifying single most clear message: We Want Our Freedom! From the debasement of our freedoms by “technology” imprisoning us to the Statue of Liberty reduced to holding up a No Parking sign, each piece dramatizes our loss of freedom. (Because these pieces were done in the prior decade, the freedoms at stake pale before what is going on today—which won’t be lost on you and perhaps makes it all the more chilling). 

For me, the best is the piece “American Gothic,” a huge work with many levels (both in references, meanings and superimposed layering including external ropes criss-crossing Mom and Pop further imprisoning them and creating a three dimensional work of depth). They are a new “American Gothic,” not the folksy couple we knew struggling (together) with their pitchforks to contain our vast land, but a man and a woman who cannot make a relationship together. They are badly injured, particularly Pop, with his injured macho.  

All the works are created from recycled materials including paper towels, Truitt & White rulers, and the whole “Billboard” series is done on the backs of billboards! 

Glaubman’s work is the most interesting show the Giorgi has yet produced. 

 

Evelyn Glaubman Exhibit shows May 20-June 6 at the Giorgi Gallery, 2911 Claremont Ave. at Ashby Avenue. 848-1228.ø


Arts Calendar

Tuesday June 01, 2004

TUESDAY, JUNE 1 

READINGS AND LECTURES 

Charles Purdy discusses “Urban Etiquette” at 7:30 p.m. at Cody’s Books. 845-7852. www.codysbooks.com 

MUSIC AND DANCE 

Burke Schuchmann, cellist and Lois Brandwynne, pianist, chamber music at the Berkeley City Club. 236-5717. www.berkeleycityclub.org  

Édessa at 8:30 p.m. at Ashkenaz, with a Balkan dance lesson with Nancy Klein at 7:30 p.m. Cost is $9. 525-5054. www.ashkenaz.com 

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

www.thejazzhouse.com 

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

Tiempo Libre, Afro-Cuban jazz, at 8 and 10 p.m. at Yoshi’s at Jack London Square. Dance floor open. Cost is $10. 238-9200. www.yoshis.com 

WEDNESDAY, JUNE 2 

EXHIBITION OPENINGS 

“We Hold the Rock” a exhibition of photographs featuring Native American activism at the Free Speech Café, Moffitt Library, UC Campus.  

“Transition/Exploration,” works by five Bay Area artists at A.C.C.I. Gallery, 1652 Shattuck Ave. Gallery hours are Mon.-Fri. 11a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sat. 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. 843-2527.  

READINGS AND LECTURES 

“MoveOn’s 50 Ways to Love Your Country” a panel discussion on taking politics on the road at 7:30 p.m. at Easy Going Travel Shop and Bookstore, 1385 Shattuck Ave at Rose, 843-3533. 

James Lee Burke at 7:30 p.m. at Black Oak Books. 486-0698. www.blackoakbooks.com 

David Bacon describes “The Children of NAFTA: Labor Wars on the U.S./Mexico Border” at 7:30 p.m. at Cody’s Books. 845-7852. www.codysbooks.com 

“Seeds of Deception” with author Jeffrey Smith discussing efforts to keep genetically modified foods out of Alameda County’s ecosystems and food supply, at 7 p.m. at Café de la Paz, 1600 Shattuck Ave. Dinner at 6 p.m. Cost is $15. 843-0662. 

Berkeley Poetry Slam with host Nazelah Jamison and Karen Ladson at 8:30 p.m. at The Starry Plough. Cost is $7,  

$5 with student i.d. 841-2082.  

www.starryploughpub.com 

MUSIC AND DANCE 

Songwriter Showcase with Emily Fox, Adam Varona, Mike Rofe, Robyn Harris and Jason Broome at the 1923 Teahouse at 8 p.m. Suggested donation of $5. 644-2204.  

www.epicarts.org 

Keyser Soze and Beautiful Losers at 9 p.m. at Ashkenaz. Cost is $9. 525-5054. www.ashkenaz.com 

ICE, Improvised Composition Experiment open jam at 8 p.m. at The Jazz House. Donation $5. 649-8744.  

www.thejazzhouse.com 

The Key of Z: Experimental Instruments, and the Music They Make, with the New Zealand ensemble From Scratch, at 7:30 p.m. at the Pacific Film Archive. Sponsored by Amoeba Records. 642-1412. 

Whiskey Brothers perform old time and bluegrass at 9 p.m. at Albatross, 1822 San Pablo Ave. 843-2473. www.albatrosspub.com 

Jules Broussard at 8 p.m. at Downtown. 649-3810. 

Jump/Cut, modern jazz ensemble, at 8 p.m. at Jupiter. 848-8277. 

Don Braden’s Organ Quartet at 8 and 10 p.m. at Yoshi’s at Jack London Square. Cost is $10-$14. 238-9200.  

www.yoshis.com 

THURSDAY, JUNE 3 

EXHIBITION OPENINGS 

“High Fiber” an exhibit exploring the intersection of digital technology and fiber-based artworks, at Kala Art Institute, 1060 Heinz Ave. Gallery hours are Tues.-Fri. noon to 5:30 p.m., Sat. noon to 4:30 p.m. 549-2977. www.kala.org 

THEATER 

“Primo” a play by Ed Davidson, on the last days of Holocaust author, Primo Levi, at 7:30 PM Berkeley Richmond Jewish Community Center, 1414 Walnut Street. Cost is $15-$20. 925-798-1300. 

READINGS AND LECTURES 

Word Beat Reading Series at 7 p.m. with featured readers Mishell Erickson and Kat Hash, followed by an open mic, at Mediterraneum Caffe, 2475 Telegraph Ave., near Dwight Way. For information call 526-5985 or 205-1749.  

Randall Sullivan describes his work as “The Miracle Detective: An Investigation of Holy Visions” at 7:30 p.m. at Cody’s Books. 845-7852.  

www.codysbooks.com 

MUSIC AND DANCE 

Ballet Frankfurt, William Forsythe’s celebrated troupe performs as part of their first US tour outside NY in over 15 years at 8 p.m. at Zellerbach Hall, UC Campus. 642-9988. www.calperfs.berkeley.edu  

Summer Noon Concert with the Jackie Payne and Steve Edmonson Band at the Berkeley BART. Sponsored by the Downtown Berkeley Association. 

Rose Street House of Music celebrates its 6th Anniversary at 7:30 p.m. with Irina Rivkin, Lisa Sanders and Kim Baker. call 594-4000, ext. 687 for location. www.rosestreetmusic.com  

Mark Growden at the 1923 Teahouse at 8 p.m. Suggested donation of $7-$10, no one turned away for lack of funds. 644-2204.  

www.epicarts.org 

The Bills, folk roots from Canada, 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 

Flamenco Sur at 8 p.m. at La Peña Cultural Center. Cost is $13-$15. 849-2568.  

www.lapena.org 

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

George Pederson and His Pretty Good Band at 9 p.m. at The Starry Plough. Cost is $5. 841-2082.  

www.starryploughpub.com 

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

Odd Shaped Case at 8 p.m. at The Jazz House. Sliding scale donation $8-$15. 649-8744. www.thejazzhouse.com 

Airto Moreira’s Jam Band at 8 and 10 p.m. through Sun. at Yoshi’s at Jack London Square. Cost is $10-$20. 238-9200. www.yoshis.com 

FRIDAY, JUNE 4 

EXHIBITION OPENINGS 

“The Renowned Photography of Margaretta K. Mitchell” reception for the artist from 6 to 8 p.m. at Schurman Fine Art Gallery, 1659 San Pablo Ave. Exhibition runs to June 30. Gallery hours are Wed. - Sat. 2 to 6 p.m., Sun. 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. 524-0623. 

California College of Art Alumni Exhibition at 5212 Broadway, Oakland, through June 10. 594-3788. 

THEATER 

Berkeley Rep “Master Class” with Rita Moreno at The Roda Theater. Runs through July 18. 647-2949. www.berkeleyrep.org 

Impact Theatre “Money and Run” an action serial adventure with different episodes on Thurs., Fri. and Sats. Runs through June 5 at La Val’s Subterranean, 1834 Euclid. For tickets and information call 464-4468. www.impacttheatre.com 

New Shakespeare Co., “Hamlet” directed by Stanley Spenger, at 8 p.m. at Berkeley Art Center, through June 5, no show June 3. Tickets are $10-$12. 234-6046. www.geocities.com/spoonboy_sf/hamlet.html 

California Shakespeare Theater, “Comedy of Errors,” Tues.-Fri. at 7:30 p.m., Sat at 8 p.m., Sun. at 4 p.m. at the Bruns Memorial Amphitheater, through June 27. Tickets are $13-$32. 548-9666. www.calshakes.org 

READINGS AND LECTURES 

Ben Bagdikian describes “The New Media Monopoly” at 7:30 p.m. at Cody’s Books. 845-7852. www.codysbooks.com 

“The Spoken Word Show” with films by David Michalak and stories by Dean Santomieri at 8 p.m. at The Jazz House. Suggested donation $8-$15. 649-8744. www.thejazzhouse.com 

MUSIC AND DANCE 

The Potential Jazz Ensemble and MLK Jr. Middle School Jazz Band perform at 7:30 p.m. at King Middle School Auditorium, 1781 Rose St. at Grant. Admission is free but donations gratefully accepted in support of the school music program. 

Berkeley High School Jazz Band’s Final Concert at 7 p.m. at the Little Theater, Allston Way, Berkeley High Campus. Tickets are $3-$10. www.berkeleyhighjazz.org 

Berkeley Public Library Jazz Festival with the Tammy Hall Trio at 8 p.m. in the Reading Room at 2090 Kittredge. Free. 981-6100. 

SambaDá, Brazilian dance music, at 8 p.m. at La Peña Cultural Center. Cost is $8-$10. 849-2568. www.lapena.org 

Stompy Jones performs East Coast Swing and Lindy Hop at 9:30 p.m. at Ashkenaz. Swing dance lesson with Nick and Shanna at 8 p.m. Cost is $13. 525-5054. www.ashkenaz.com 

Norton Buffalo and friends, harmonica and acoustic trio, at 8 p.m. at Freight and Salvage Coffee House. Cost is $16.50 in advance, $17.50 at the door. 548-1761. www.freightandsalvage.org 

The Ex-Boyfriends, Bitesize, Robosapien at 9:30 p.m. at The Starry Plough. Cost is $6. 841-2082. www.starryploughpub.com 

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

Happy Turtle, jazz trio, at 7:30 p.m. at Nomad Cafe, 6500 Shattuck Ave. 595-5344. www.nomadcafe.net 

Paintbox, Look Back and Laugh, Cropknox, Ballast 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 Cuts, rock and roll from Oakland, at 6 p.m. at Oakland Museum of California, 10th and Oak Sts. Cost is $5-$8. 238-2200. www.museumca.org 

André Sumelius’ LIFT, drummer from Finland, at 8 p.m. at Jupiter. 848-8277. 

SATURDAY, JUNE 5 

CHILDREN  

Los Mapaches at 8 p.m. at La Peña. Cost is $8 for adults, 43 for children. 849-2568. www.lapena.org 

“Wild About Books” storytime with Cric Crac Storytelling Troupe and stories from Jamaica at 10:30 a.m. at the Berkeley Public Library, 2090 Kittredge St. 981-6223. 

How to Make a Pop-Up Book with author Lulu Hansen at 3 p.m. at Eastwind Books of Berkeley, 2066 University Ave. 548-2350. books@ewbb.com 

THEATER 

Wilde Irish Productions, “Eclipsed” by Patricia Burke Brogan, at 8 p.m. at the Berkeley City Club, 2315 Durant Ave. Runs Thurs.-Sat. at 8 p.m., Sun. at 2 p.m. through June 27. Tickets are $15-$20. 841-7287. www.wildeirish.org 

FILM 

International Media Festival on Disabilities from 1 to 9 p.m. at La Peña. Cost is $5-$10. 849-2568. www.lapena.org 

MUSIC AND DANCE 

Berkeley Public Library Jazz Festival with Mary Watkins Trio at 8 p.m. in the Reading Room at 2090 Kittredge. Free. 981-6100. 

Bella Musica Chorus with the Prometheus Symphony Orchestra at 8 p.m. at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, 114 Montecito, Oakland. 525-5393. info@bellamusica.org  

Pacific Boychoir performs Bach’s Cantata 150 at 7 p.m. at Firts Presbyterian Church, 27th and Broadway, Oakland. Tickets are $15, available from 866-486-3399. www.pacificboychoir.org 

José Luis Orozco at 10 a.m. at La Peña, in a benefit concert for BAHIA, Inc. 849-2568. www.lapena.org 

Chelsey Fasano and Helen Chaya, singer-songwriters, at 7:30 p.m. at Nomad Cafe, 6500 Shattuck Ave. 595-5344. www.nomadcafe.net 

Benefit for Berkeley Liberation Radio 104.1FM at 8 p.m. at The Longhaul Info Shop, 3124 Shattuck Ave. 595-0190. 

“Hooray For Hollywood” Alameda Civic Light Opera features dinner and a floorshow with songs from Hollywood blockbuster movies along with movie-themed live and silent auctions, at 6 p.m. at the Alameda Elks Lodge. Tickets are $55. 864-2256. www.aclo.com  

Might Prince Singers and Talk of Da Town, roots of a cappella, at 8 p.m. at Freight and Salvage. Cost is $17.50 in advance, $18.50 at the door. 548-1761.  

www.freightandsalvage.org 

African Folk Night with The Nigerian Brothers and DJ Omar at 9:30 p.m. at Ashkenaz. Drum circle with Pope Flyne at 9 p.m. Cost is $13. 525-5054. www.ashkenaz.com 

Jenna Mammina at 8 p.m. at the Jazzschool. Cost is $12-$18. 845-5373. www.jazzschool.com  

Wayward Monks, jam band jazz, at 8 p.m. at The Jazz House. Cost is $8-$15 sliding scale. 649-8744. www.thejazz- 

house.com 

7th Direction, Hyim and the Fat Folkland Orchestra, Shantytown at 9:30 p.m. at The Starry Plough. Cost is $7. 841-2082. www.starryploughpub.com 

Times 4, jazz funk quartet, at 8 p.m. at Jupiter. 848-8277. 

Embrace the End, Animosity, Lifelong Tragedy at 8 p.m. at 924 Gilman St., an all-ages, member-run, no alcohol, no drugs, no violence club. Cost is $5. 525-9926. 

SUNDAY, JUNE 6 

CHILDREN 

“The World in my Neighborhood: Celebrating the Bay Area’s Cultural Heritage” Family Day at the Phoebe A. Hearst Museum from 1 to 4 p.m. with music, arts and demonstrations. Cost is $1-$4. 643-7648. http://hearstmuseum.berkeley.edu 

THEATER 

“Primo” a play by Ed Davidson, on the last days of Holocaust author, Primo Levi, at 7:30 PM Berkeley Richmond Jewish Community Center, 1414 Walnut Street. Also June 3 and 6. Cost is $15-$20. 925-798-1300. 

FILM 

International Media Festival on Disabilities from 1 to 9 p.m. at La Peña. Cost is $5-$10. 849-2568. www.lapena.org 

READINGS AND LECTURES 

Christie Mellor discusses child-rearing in “The Three-Martini Playdate: A Practical Guide to Happy Parenting” at 4 p.m. at Cody’s Books on Fourth St. 559-9500. www.codysbooks.com 

Poetry Flash with contributors reading from “So Luminous the Wildflowers, An Anthology of California Poets” at 7:30 p.m. at Cody’s Books. Donation $2. 845-7852. www.codysbooks.com 

MUSIC AND DANCE 

Berkeley Public Library Jazz Festival with the Dee Spencer Trio at 8 p.m. in the Reading Room at 2090 Kittredge. Free. 981-6100. 

Bella Musica Chorus with the Prometheus Symphony at 3 p.m. at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, 114 Montecito, Oakland. 525-5393. info@bellamusica.org  

Piedmont Choirs Spring Sing at 3 p.m. at the Kofman Theatre, 2200 Central Ave. Alameda. Tickets are $10-$12. 547-441. www.piedmontchoirs.org 

Hip Hop Circus benefit for Camp Winnarainbow at 8 p.m. at Ashkenaz. Cost is $10-$1000. 525-5054. www.ashkenaz.com 

Jazzschool Advanced Jazz Workshop at 4:30 p.m. at the Jazzschool. Cost is $10. 845-5373. www.jazzschool.com  

Art Lande Quartet at 4:30 p.m. at the Jazzschool. Cost is $12-$18. 845-5373. www.jazz- 

school.com  

Americana Unplugged: The Saddle Cats, traditional bluegrass, at 5 p.m. at Jupiter. 848-8277. 

Swinging on the Home Front, a cabaret and sing-along salute to the great songs of WWII, at 2 p.m. at Oakland Museum of California, 10th and Oak Sts. Cost is $5-$8. 238-2200. www.museumca.org 

Za’atar, music of the Jews of Arab and Muslim lands, at 8 p.m. at Freight and Salvage Coffee House. Cost is $16.50 in advance, $17.50 at the door. 548-1761. www.freightandsalvage.org 

MONDAY, JUNE 7 

READINGS AND LECTURES 

Actors Reading Writers “Surprising Loves: Art and Romance,” at 7 p.m. at Berkeley City Club, 2315 Durant Ave.  

Ben Cohen explains “50 Ways You Can Show George the Door in 2004” at 12:30 p.m. at Cody’s Books. 845-7852. www.codysbooks.com 

Dale Maharidge interviewed over one hundred Americans to write “Homeland” at 7:30 p.m. at Cody’s Books. 845-7852. www.codysbooks.com 

The Last Word presents poets Sparrow 13 and Maw Shein Win at 7 p.m. at Pegasus Bookstore, 2349 Shattuck Ave.  

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

MUSIC AND DANCE 

Frankye Kelly sings Gershwin at 8 and 10 p.m. at Yoshi’s at Jack London Square. Cost is $10. 238-9200. www.yoshis.com 

ô


Hummingbirds Are Not as American as You Think

By JOE EATON Special to the Planet
Tuesday June 01, 2004

You can’t take anything for granted anymore. Hummingbirds, for instance—like the Bay Area’s permanent-resident Anna’s, spring-nesting Allen’s, and migrant rufous. There are about 340 living species of these small, hyperactive, nectar-feeding birds, and they’re all found in the Western Hemisphere. Their greatest diversity is in the Central American and northern South American tropics, leading biologists to conclude that the family evolved there before colonizing the temperate regions. Hummingbirds were always thought to be as American as succotash, or ceviche. 

Not so, says ornithologist Gerald Mayr of the Senckenberg Research Institute in Frankfurt. Hummingbirds are from Germany. 

In a recent issue of Science, Mayr described a 30- to 34-million-year-old fossil discovered in a clay pit in the German state of Baden-Wurttemberg. The tiny skeleton is almost identical to that of a modern hummingbird. Its needle-like beak is more than twice as long as the skull; its wingbones are modified for hovering flight. Mayr named his find Eurotrochilus (“European hummingbird”) inexpectatus. 

Inexpectatus is an understatement. “My mind is a little blown,” commented one American biologist. 

Hummingbirds, like most small, delicate-boned vertebrates, have not left an extensive fossil record. The oldest unequivocal hummingbird remains, from Central America, date back a mere million years. Mayr has claimed other specimens from 49-million-year-old deposits in Germany and 30-million-year-old sites in the Caucasus as protohummers, but these are less complete than Eurotrochilus and appear to have been in some ways more like swifts than modern hummingbirds. 

The new discovery seems to clinch the case for the European ancestry of hummers. As counterintuitive as it seems, that shouldn’t be too much of a shock, though. Many organisms evolved in one continent, migrated to others, then died out in their original homeland. Horses and rhinos began as native North Americans; not to mention camels. There was a lot of traffic over Beringia and other ancient landbridges. 

You might wonder how the founders of the American hummingbird lineage made it across the North Atlantic. No problem. When the dinosaurs were wiped out 65 million years ago, Eurasia and North America were still united in the supercontinent Laurasia, the northern counterpart to Gondwanaland. While tectonic rifts then opened up in the Arctic regions, broad land corridors still connected North America with Greenland, Greenland with Scandinavia and Scotland. The last such link, the DeGeer Landbridge, was not broken until 36 million years ago. There were lots of potential flight paths for early hummers. And the higher latitudes were pretty balmy, with broadleaf forests growing almost as far north as the pole. 

Mayr hasn’t speculated in print as to why hummingbirds would have gone extinct in the Old World. But they may have left tantalizing clues to long-vanished partnerships with flowering plants: what naturalist Connie Barlow has called “ghosts of evolution.” 

Plants pollinated by hummingbirds share a number of characteristics. 

Many have tube-shaped flowers, to accommodate a hummer’s long beak and probing tongue. Some, like fuchsias, have pendent flowers; if your pollinator can hover, there’s no need to provide a perch. Red is a prevalent color. Insects are blind to red, but hummers and other birds are ultrasensitive to that end of the spectrum. On Santa Cruz Island off the Southern California coast, the yellow-blossomed bush monkeyflower is pollinated only by bees, while the red island monkeyflower attracts hummingbirds. Experiments with other monkeyflower species have shown that small mutations in the genes that control flower color can have dramatic effects on pollinator preference. 

Compared with insects, hummers don’t seem to have much of a sweet tooth. The nectars of the flowers they service have relatively low sugar concentrations, in the neighborhood of 20 percent, mostly sucrose. And since birds have a limited sense of smell, hummer-pollinated flowers tend to be unscented. 

Hummingbirds aren’t the only avian pollinators, of course. Other families—the sunbirds of Africa and Asia, the honeyeaters of Australia and the South Pacific—have made their own arrangements with flowering plants. But none of these birds have evolved the ability to hover by rotating their wings in a figure-eight pattern. Only hummingbirds can do that. 

Gerald Mayr points out that a handful of Old World plants—an East African bellflower, a Himalayan impatiens, some Asian members of the heath family—have flowers that look as if they evolved to attract hummingbirds. I was able to find a picture of one of these, a Southeast Asian shrub called Agapetes serpens. Its flowers are tubular, pendent, and fire-engine red. Any hummer would love them. Mayr thinks bees may have taken over the pollinator role for these plants after the extinction of Eurasian and African hummingbirds. 

My trusty Hortus Third, the one-volume encyclopedia of plants cultivated in North America, says Agapetes has been grown in California. So it’s highly probable that somewhere, in someone’s garden, a California hummingbird—Anna’s or Allen’s, rufous, Costa’s or black-chinned—has nectared at an Agapetes, and an old partnership has been renewed. 


Police About-Face On Decades-Old Cop Killing Charges

By RICHARD BRENNEMAN
Friday May 28, 2004

Though Berkeley Police Tuesday were trumpeting the arrest of a former Black Panther as a key figure in Berkeley’s first cop killing, by the next morning the tone was considerably less triumphant. 

Don Juan Warren Graphenreed was arrested in Fresno Tuesday on a no-bail warrant for murder and conspiracy to murder in the Aug. 20, 1970, slaying of Officer Ronald T. Tsukamoto. 

But in a Wednesday morning press conference in front of the Ronald Tsukamoto Public Safety Building on Milvia Street, BPD spokesperson Officer Joe Okies told reporters that his department and the Alameda County District Attorney’s office had made “a joint decision not to charge” Graphenreed with either crime. He remains a suspect. 

Okies said the “cold case” reinvestigation initiated two years ago would continue. Though he allowed that detectives under Lt. Cynthia Harris had identified multiple suspects in the killing, Okies said “I can’t comment on the number.” 

News of the sudden switch from arrest to non-arrest didn’t reach Mayor Bates in time to stop the release of a written statement by his chief of staff at 2:27 p.m. Tuesday—more than four hours after the press conference. 

“I join the entire Berkeley community in applauding our police department for their hard work, dedication, and perseverance in this case. I am pleased that the police have apprehended one of the suspects in the terrible crime and look forward to the day when all the perpetrators have been arrested and convicted,” said the mayor in the formal announcement. 

Ten minutes later, a follow-up e-mail arrived from the mayor’s chief of staff announcing, “DeVries, Cisco, would like to recall the message, ‘Statement from Mayor Bates on Arrest of Supect in Officer Tsukamoto killing.’” 

Thirteen minutes later came yet another e-mail from DeVries, affirming the recall, with the added comment, “Obviously, circumstances have changed and it is no longer relevant.”  

Officer Tsukamoto had been wearing his badge less than 10 months when he stopped a motorcyclist for making a U-turn on University Avenue about 1 a.m. on that fateful August day almost 34 years ago. 

He was talking to the cyclist when a man in a long, dark coat approached him. The two spoke briefly, then the man pulled out a pistol and fired twice. One round missed but the other struck the young patrolman in the eye, killing him instantly. 

Police immediately launched a massive investigation, but there had been no arrests until Monday.  

Tsukamoto was born behind barbed wire on July 29, 1942, in the Tule Lake Segregation Center—five months and 10 days after President Franklin D. Roosevelt had ordered the internment of 120,000 Americans of Japanese ancestry, two-thirds of them U.S. citizens. 

The family moved to West Berkeley after their release. The young would-be officer graduated from Berkeley High School in 1960 and attended Oakland City College, Contra Costa City College and San Jose State University before joining the Berkeley Police Department as its first Japanese-American officer.  

“We were raised here in Berkeley” said his older brother, Gary Tsukamoto, who talked to reporters on the sidewalk near the press conference site. “He always wanted to be a policeman. My parents were totally in shock when he was killed.” 

Tsukamoto said Berkeley police had contacted him Friday to let him know they had a suspect in the murder. “It’s surprising they would release him,” he said. “I would like to hear first-hand what is happening.” 

After the press conference, the slain officer’s brother was able to meet with detectives.  

Graphenreed, 55, was occupying a jail cell in Fresno at the time of his arrest, awaiting trial on burglary charges. Okies said Wednesday he’ll be sent back. 

Detectives and D.A.’s investigators had questioned Graphenreed “several times over the past few days,” Okies said. “The investigation will continue. Viable leads have been found, and investigators will take it from there.” 

The investigation had been reopened two years ago when detectives began a review of cold cases, Okies said. 

Though then-Berkeley Police Chief Bruce Barker blamed Black Panthers and other militants for stirring up mentally unstable people with their violent anti-police rhetoric, Okies yesterday declined to comment on any possible connection to the Panthers or other militant groups.›


University Avenue Strategic Plan Nears Final Stage

By MATTHEW ARTZ
Friday May 28, 2004

Ready or not, here come new zoning regulations for University Avenue. 

At a heated fifth, and second-to-last, public hearing Wednesday, a majority of the Berkeley Planning Commission signaled it was content with bulk of the current staff proposal and proposed amendments that would potentially increase the size of new developments on University. 

Meanwhile, the big picture remained nearly identical to the start of the process in February: The staff still recommended buildings that would range from three to five stories depending on their location and various incentives offered to developers; residents griped that the prescribed buildings would be too bulky and would encroach on adjacent neighborhoods; developers complained that new restrictions would cease future construction, and planning commissioners bickered amongst themselves.  

Before the night was over, one commissioner left without warning, and a second left after an argument with a fellow commissioner. 

What has changed is that now the commission has one last meeting—June 9—to hammer out all its loose ends and make a final recommendation to the City Council.  

The deadline would give the council an opportunity to enact the new zoning before its summer recess. After years of complaints from residents that zoning rules on the city’s major east-west route allowed for bigger and bulkier buildings than called for in a 1996 strategic plan, both the council and the Mayor’s Task Force on Permitting and Development concluded new rules should be expedited so no additional developments are allowed to be submitted under the current guidelines. 

Still, some commissioners thought they needed more time and a different process. 

“This is a charade,” declared Commissioner Zelda Bronstein. “It’s completely unrealistic for this commission to put to the City Council a viable, realistic and well thought out plan.” 

She wanted to form a working group of commissioners, staff, residents and developers to talk through unresolved zoning issues. 

Evan MacDonald, a developer formerly of Panoramic Interests, and Robin Kibby, a resident who wants to limit the size of new developments, both welcomed the suggestion. 

Five of Bronstein’s colleagues on the commission did not.  

“This has not been a charade,” replied Commissioner David Taab. “I don’t want this to be railroaded. I want the commission to vote on it.” 

Commissioner David Stoloff concurred, saying that the public hearings had offered plenty of dialogue and that the commission had “covered quite a lot of territory.” 

Bronstein never asked for a vote, but bad blood from the heated exchange apparently carried over into the next discussion. 

During a debate on granting developers bigger concessions if they supplied more commercial parking, Bronstein pressed Commission Chair Harry Pollack to explain his support for the larger concession proposal.  

She asked if Pollack’s position was based on testimony given minutes earlier from Chris Hudson, a developer, and after Bronstein continued to insist on an answer, Pollack replied, “Zelda, you know what, it’s time to behave.”  

Bronstein walked out while her ally on the commission, Gene Poschman, muttered, “We sure don’t know what we’re doing about parking.” 

Bronstein’s premature departure marked the second consecutive meeting that a planning commissioner left early after a squabble with a colleague. Two weeks ago, Commissioner Rob Wrenn left after Commissioner Jerome Wiggins blasted a commission task force on the proposed UC hotel and convention center for not having representatives from South Berkeley.  

With Bronstein gone, and Wiggins having left a few minutes earlier, commissioners Taab, Stoloff, Pollack and Tim Perry recommended that staff consider increasing the amount of total space a developer could win from offering street improvements and increased concessions given to developers for building more commercial parking and bigger retail spaces.  

Originally, staff had proposed granting developers incentives that would add up to no more than 0.3 percent of the floor area ratio of the lot. While commissioners threw out different proposals before settling on 0.5 percent, Commissioner Susan Wengraf complained, “We’re just picking numbers out of a hat. It’s crazy.” 

Residents who have fought to limit the sizes of new developments were disheartened by the turn of events. 

“We got squashed like a bug,” said Kristin Leimkuhler, who had worked over the past two weeks, at the request of city staff and the commission, to devise three-dimensional designs of buildings under the current zoning proposal. 

For Robin Kibby, who works with Leimkuhler as part of PlanBerkeley, the visuals demonstrated that months of debate hadn’t changed much on University Avenue. 

“We entered this process so we wouldn’t be looking at big box buildings and that’s exactly what this has produced,” she said. 

The staff’s zoning proposal does shrink the base size of buildings along University. In terms of housing capacity, buildings on the north side of the avenue—where generous setbacks are required so buildings don’t shadow neighboring dwellings—housing capacity would be reduced 40 percent on most of the avenue and 24 percent at intersections targeted for retail growth. On the south side—which has a less generous 20-foot setback—housing capacity would decrease 23 percent on most of the avenue and remain unchanged on the targeted intersection. 

But several residents feared that when developers employed a state law that lets them builds 25 percent more housing space for projects that include affordable housing—as all large Berkeley developments must—they will end up with more boxy buildings that rise to four and five stories tall. 

Developer Chris Hudson offered a solution. Insisting that the current staff plan would make private development unfeasible, he suggested that the city drop its requirement to house low-income tenants in 20 percent of units in all new apartment buildings with more than four units. Without the requirement to create below market housing, he said, developers wouldn’t need to use the state density bonus to make a profit. 

“If you want three and four story buildings, promote market rate housing,” Hudson said.  

In response to concerns raised at the last meeting, city staff set height standards of 55 feet (five stories) for buildings, such as a senior home, that would be exempt from the new zoning rules. In addition, Berkeley Current Planning Director Mark Rhoades pledged to rework various incentives offered to developers so the additional building space they receive would be proportional to whatever “public amenity” they provided. o


Council Negotiates Longs Drugs, Prepares November Ballot Measures

By MATTHEW ARTZ
Friday May 28, 2004

The City Council Tuesday breathed new life into a proposed Longs Drugs store downtown, but warned the national retailer that it wouldn’t get the alcohol permit it’s demanding unless it yielded to city demands for a substantial produce department and strict limits on the sale of beer and wine. 

“We need to get some real concessions,” Mayor Tom Bates said after the council voted 5-4 (Bates, Shirek, Olds, Hawley, Wozniak, yes) to set a public hearing on the project for July 16. 

Also Tuesday the council ordered the city manager to draft five tax measures for the November ballot and further fine-tuned a measure that would make Berkeley the first city to publicly finance elections. 

The council vote on Longs came despite a recommendation from City Manager Phil Kamlarz to uphold a unanimous decision of the Zoning Adjustment Board last February denying a beer and wine license for the proposed shop at 2300 Shattuck Ave.—700 feet from Berkeley High School.  

Longs has insisted it won’t occupy the abandoned storefront without a license to sell beer and wine. Opponents of the plan, including members of the school board and Police Chief Roy Meisner, have argued that the store would potentially sell alcoholic beverages to high school students and increase crime in the downtown.  

Councilmember Linda Maio agreed with their concerns and reiterated the pressing need for a downtown grocery store. “I think having a liquor outlet at all there is a big mistake,” she said. “Longs wouldn’t add anything in terms of goods and services we don’t have in the downtown.” 

Bates, though, said a public hearing would give the city a chance to push for a larger produce section and possible limit on alcohol sales. 

Jim Novosel, the project’s architect, said after the meeting he wasn’t sure what types of concessions the mayor had in mind, but that Longs would soon contact Bates’ office. 

Bonnie Hughes, who opposes Longs, was surprised that Councilmember Maudelle Shirek—who passed on her initial opportunity to vote before siding in favor of a public hearing—backed the drug store. 

“Maudelle needs to come around. I don’t think she paid much attention,” Hughes said.  

When asked about her vote after the council meeting, the 92-year-old councilmember said Longs, which won’t sell malt liquor, wouldn’t carry the type of alcohol that tended to cause crime.  

“Maybe we can work out something,” Shirek said. “What we need a good food store downtown.” 

 

Budget and Ballot Measures 

City Manager Phil Kamlarz recommended Tuesday the City Council place a 1.5 percent Utilities Users Tax hike on the November ballot. The estimated $2.7 million tax increase on water, telephone, cable and gas and electric bills, he said, would expire after five years and serve as a bridge to preserve vital city services through 2009, Kamlarz said. 

Among the services the tax revenue could spare include $1.3 million for a fire truck company, $200,000 for programs at senior centers, $400,000 to fund community nonprofits, and $1 million to fill seven vacant police officer positions. 

The tax, which would go to the General Fund and require approval from a simple majority of voters, would take the place of a proposed fee increase for 911 services, the city dropped after learning of lawsuits over the fee in other jurisdictions. 

If voters approved the tax, and maintained program cuts, the city would be in line for a budget surplus in fiscal year 2007, when the governor has pledged to repay cities money lost from the repeal of the Vehicle License Fee increase and begin restoring other revenues the state has withheld to during its budget crisis. For Berkeley, that could mean an influx of $3.8 million in state money. 

The council asked the city staff to draft language for the Utilities Users Tax, a $1.9 million tax for libraries, a $1.2 million tax for paramedic services, a $1.6 million tax for youth services, and a $1.2 million tax to fix storm drain and clean water in creeks that run above ground. 

Mayor Bates said he would likely recommend leaving one tax proposal off the ballot and that the storm water measure “is a candidate.” 

Bates also touted a survey conducted last week by the Board of Education, which found that in addition to strong support for a new school tax, 77 percent of voters questioned supported the library tax, 72 percent supported the paramedic tax, and 68 percent supported the clean storm water tax. 

However, Paul Goodwin, the author of the survey which interviewed 600 likely voters, had earlier cautioned about reading anything into the city results because the survey lacked concrete information about how much money the measures would raise or specific services they would provide. 

One tax proposal that definitely won’t be in the November ballot is a 10 percent hike on the off-street parking tax proposed by the Transportation Commission. By a 5-3-1 vote (Worthington, Spring, Breland, yes, Shirek, abstain) the council rejected the $600,000 tax that would have been slapped on parking lot users.  

Councilmember Miriam Hawley said she was sympathetic to the concept, but that $600,000 was not enough money pursue a public campaign. 

 

Campaign Finance Reform 

Amid some confusion, the council voted 6-2-1 (Hawley, Olds, no, Shirek abstain) to accept recommendations from the Fair Campaign Practices Commission and add a few of their own to a proposal ballot measure to publicly finance all elections. 

The system would create an election fund from which eligible candidates could receive a set amount of money in return for agreeing not to raise additional funds. Candidates who didn’t qualify by demonstrating a base level of support or opted out of the system would be bound by the current rules forbidding contributions from businesses and limiting individual contributions to $250. 

The recommendations included strict penalties for candidates who violate the new rules, and a means to redistribute campaign allocations in the event that a large number of candidates run and the election fund doesn’t have enough money to fund them at the prescribed rate. 

Should the council opt not to place a measure on the ballot, the Berkeley Fair Election Coalition (BFEC) has promised to take a nearly identical reform plan to voters. During the debate, BFEC representative and UC Berkeley student Sam Ferguson was called on repeatedly to explain various facets of the plan to the council. 

Betty Olds, an opponent of taking the plan to voters this year chimed that “If I was working against this for the election I would play a tape of this meeting and show how confused everybody is.”g


Berkeley This Week

Friday May 28, 2004

FRIDAY, MAY 28 

City Commons Club Noon Luncheon with John M. Letiche, Prof. of Economics on “An Appraisal of Putin’s Works.” Luncheon at 11:45 a.m. for $12.50, speech at 12:30 p.m., at the Berkeley City Club, 2315 Durant St. For information and reservations call 526-2925 or 665-9020. 

Literary Friends meets at 1:15 p.m. at the North Berkeley Senior Center to discuss Remembering Mother and Father. 232-1351. 

Folk and Radical Politics Extravaganza, a benefit for Project X, with music by Folk This!, The Molotov Mouths, Samsara, and Sean Corkery at 7 p.m. at AK Press Warehouse, 674A 23rd St., Oakland. Donation $8-$20. 208-1700. www.akpress.org 

Kol Hadash the Bay Area’s only Jewish Humanistic Congregation meets at 7:30 p.m. for Shabbat, the fourth Friday of every month, at the Albany Community Center, 1249 Marin Ave. 428-1492. www.kolhadash.org 

Signature in -Lieu of Filing Fee Opens for candidates running for local office in the City of Berkeley. Forms may be obtained from the City Clerk, 2180 Milvia St. 981-6900. www.cityofberkeleyinfo.elections 

SATURDAY, MAY 29 

Chocolate and Chalk Art Festival along the sidewalks of Solano Ave. 527-5358. www.solanoave.org 

Berkeley Fire Station Open House from 1 to 4 p.m. at Station 6, 999 Cedar St. Tour the station, see a safety presentation, and historical display and enjoy hot dogs and cake. Families and children especially welcome. 981-5506. 

Bay Street Emeryville Arts and Music Festival from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. A portion of the proceeds benefit Anna Yates Elementary School Library Project. 655-4002. www.baystreetemeryville.com 

Guided Trails Challenge Hike in Claremont Canyon from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Snakes alive, this canyon is crawling with them! Learn to identify the harmless and poisonous species of serpents in the area. To register call 525-2233. 

Meet My Tarantula From the ferocious to the friendly, meet the arachnid that you will learn to love. At 2 p.m. at Tilden Nature Center. Registration Required 525-2233.  

Permaculture Community Design and Group Processes Integrating permaculture principles we’ll discuss working in groups, group consciousness and process, the art of facilitation, design charettes, networking strategies, community building exercises. Resources will be provided for connecting with and plugging into local permaculture community working groups. From 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Ecology Center, 2530 San Pablo Ave. Cost is $10 EC members, $15 general, no one turned away for lack of funds. 548-2220, ext. 233. 

Berkeley Copwatch Know Your Rights Orientation Join us for this hands-on workshop including: what rights we have when we are stopped by the police, what to look for when someone else is stopped, keeping safe while observing police and more. From 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at 2022 Blake St. This event is free, wheelchair accessible and open to the public. Donations accepted, but no one turned away. 548-0425. 

Vegetarian Cooking Class from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the First Unitarian Church of Oakland, 685 14th St. at Castro. Cost is $30. To register call 238-5004. compassionatecooks@yahoo.com 

SUNDAY, MAY 30 

Fire: Friend or Foe? From 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at Tilden Nature Center, Tilden Park. Tour a fire engine, meet Smokey Bear, and learn how fire is fought, as we explore the dangers and benefits of fire. 525-2233. 

History and Mystery of Redwoods from 12:30 to 2 p.m. at Tilden Nature Center, Tilden Park. Find out more about California’s State Tree – its history, growth and presence in the Bay Area. We’ll also take a walk to the “moon.” 525-2233. 

Bay Street Emeryville Arts and Music Festival from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. A portion of the proceeds benefit Anna Yates Elementary School Library Project. 655-4002. www.baystreetemeryville.com 

Holistic Meditation with Ramon V. Albareda, Jorge N. Ferrer, and Marina T. Romero, from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. at 830 Bancroft Way. Cost is $50. To register call 650-520-1123. holisticmeditation@hotmail.com 

Tibetan Buddhism A panel discussion on “Mother of Wisdom, Explorations into the Prajnaparamita” at 6 p.m. at the Tibetan Nyingma Institute, 1815 Highland Pl. 843-6812. www.nyingmainstitute.com 

MONDAY MAY 31 

Beginner’s Birdwalk from 8:30 to 10:30 a.m., at Tilden Nature Center. Spring migrants are here and the woods are filled with bright color and song. Binoculars available for loan. 525-2233. 

Environmental Education Center Open House, in Tilden Park, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. with a variety of activities, homemade ice cream, the great potato chip taste off, and more! 525-2233. 

Holiday Pond Plunge at 2 p.m. at Tilden Nature Center. With dip-nets and magnifiers in hand, we’ll discover the “denizens of the deep” – amphibians, insect larvae and more. For ages 4 and older. 525-2233. 

Pentecost: Sacred Circle Dance at 7 p.m. at St. Cuthbert’s Episcopal Church, 7900 Mountain Blvd., Oakland. StCuddy@aol.com 

Baby Yoga at 11 a.m. and Yoga and Meditation for Children at 2:45 p.m. at Belladonna, 2436 Sacramento St. 883-0600. www.belladonna.ws 

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

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, JUNE 1 

Funding Excellence in Public Schools: New Possibilities A community forum with Michele Lawrence Superintendent, Berkeley Unified School District and Lawrence Picus, Director, Center for Research in Education Financing, University of Southern California School of Education at 7:30 p.m. at Longfellow Middle School Theater, 1500 Derby St. 

Breaking the Ice, with Doron Erel discussing how a team of Israeli and Palestinian non-climbers journeyed to the ends of the earth and reached the summit of an un-named peak in Antarctica, at 7:30 p.m. at the Berkeley Jewish Community Center, 1414 Walnut St. 848-0237, ext. 112.  

An Evening with Tom Sinestra on the best Bay Area outdoor adventures at 7 p.m. at REI, 1338 San Pablo Ave. 527-4140. 

Baseball for Beginners and Diehard Fans with Jeff Lichtman, El Cerrito resident and author of “Baseball for Rookies.” Special guest will be former major league player, Pumpsie Green, the first African American to play on the Boston Red Sox. At 7 p.m. in the El Cerrito Library, 6510 Stockton Ave. 526-7512. 

Phone Banking to ReDefeat Bush on Tuesdays from 6 to 9 p.m. at Cafe de la Paz, 1600 Shattuck Ave. Bring your cell phones. Please RSVP if you can join us. 415-336 8736. dan@redefeatbush.com 

American Red Cross Blood Services Volunteer Orientation from 9:30 a.m. to 11 a.m. at its office 6230 Claremont Ave., Oakland. Advance sign-up needed. 594-5165. 

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. 

Organic Produce at low prices sold at the corner of Sacramento and Oregon Sts every Tuesday from 3 to 7 p.m. A project of BOSS Urban Gardening Institute and Spiral Gardens. For more information call 843-1307. 

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.  

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. 548-3991. www.berkeleycameraclub.org 

East Bay Theology on Tap meets to discuss “The Catholic Imagination of J.R.R. Tolkein” with Fr. Ayres at 7 p.m. at 4092 Piedmont Ave. Contact Norah at St. Leo the Great 654-6177. 

WEDNESDAY, JUNE 2 

“Seeds of Deception” with author Jeffrey Smith discussing efforts to keep genetically modified foods out of Alameda County’s ecosystems and food supply, at 7 p.m. at Café de la Paz, 1600 Shattuck Ave. Dinner at 6 p.m. Cost is $15. 843-0662. 

Berkeley Communicators Toastmasters meets the first and third Wednesdays of the month at 7:15 a.m. at Mediterraneum Caffe, 2475 Telegraph Ave. For information call Robert Flammia 524-3765. 

Fun with Acting class meets at 11 a.m. at the North Berkeley Senior Center. Free, all are welcome. 985-0373. 

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 

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

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.  

THURSDAY, JUNE 3 

Morning Birdwalk from 7 to 9:30 a.m. at Tilden Nature Area. For information, or to reserve binoculars, call 525-2233. 

Community Meeting on the City Budget at 7 p.m. at the Northbrae Community Church, 941 The Alameda. Sponsored by the City Managers Office. 981-7000. 

Quit Smoking Class offered by the City of Berkeley for residents and employees on Tuesdays from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the Alta Bates/Herrick Camopus, 2001 Dwight Way. To register, call 981-5330. 

Environmental Monitoring in India with Madhu Dutta, Anne Leonard and Denny Larson. The 1984 Union Carbide disaster in Bhopal has led to community monitoring of local industries. At 7 p.m. at the Ecology Center, 2530 San Pablo Ave. 548-2220, ext. 233. www.ecologycenter.org 

Albany Library Annual Prose Night Open readings at 7 p.m. in the Edith Stone Room, 1247 Marin Ave. 526-3720, ext. 20. 

Berkeley Farmer’s Market with all organic produce at Elephant Pharmacy parking lot, 1607 Shattuck Ave., at Cedar from 3 to 7 p.m. 548-3333. www.ecologycenter.org 

Friends of Faith Fancher, luncheon and celebration of Faith’s life at Scott’s Seafood Restaurant, Jack London Square, in a benefit for the new Breast Health Center at Alta Bates Summit. For tickets and reservations call 204-1667. 

“Why You Should Give a Damn About Gay Marriage” with Davina Koltulski at 7 p.m. at Changemakers, 6536 Telegraph Ave. 655-2405. 

Tea Dancing and Dance Lessons with Barbara and Jerry August from 2 to 4 p.m. at the Hillside Club, 2286 Cedar St., Costis $5, includes refreshments. 925-376-6345. 

“She Who Creates” A logo painting workshop with Shiloh McCloud from 6 to 9 p.m. at Belladonna, 2436 Sacramento St. Cost is $40, materials $20. 883-0600. www.belladonna.ws 

ONGOING 

Volunteer Coaches Needed for Twilight Basketball for the 13-15 year-old division on Saturdays at 5 p.m. beginning June 26. Please call Ginsi Bryant at 981-6678. 

Vista College Study Abroad in Mexico Live with a family and learn language skill in a two-week session in July in Guadalajara. For information please call 981-2917 or visit www.peralta.cc.ca.us/interntl/studyabr.htm. 

Berkeley Video and Film Festival is calling for entries. The deadline for last call is July 10. For information please call 843-3699. www.berkeleyvideofilmfest.org 

Radio Summer Camp, four day sessions from June 4 through Sept. 6. Learn how to build and operate a community radio station. Sponsored by Radio Free Berkeley. 625-0314. www.freeradio.org 

Interesting Backyards Do you have a really cool backyard project or unusual sustainable living practice that you’d like to share with others in the East Bay? Consider becoming a stop on the 5th annual Urban Sustainability Bike Tour on Saturday, July 31. Past sites have included features such as graywater systems, chicken coops, bee hives, solar installations and permaculture gardens. For information call Beck at 548-2220, ext. 233. 

Summer Reading Games at the Albany Public Library, from June 14th through August 14th. For information call 526-3700. 

CITY MEETINGS 

Council Agenda Committee meets Tues. June 1, at 2:30 p.m., at 2180 Milvia St., Sherry M. Kelly, city clerk, 981-6900. www.ci.berkeley.ca.us/citycouncil/agenda-committee 

City Council meets Tues., June 1, at 7 p.m in City Council Chambers, Sherry M. Kelly, city clerk, 981-6900. www.ci.berkeley.ca.us/citycouncil 

Commission on the Status of Women meets Wed., June 2, at 7:30 p.m., at the North Berkeley Senior Center. Ruby Primus, 981-5106. www.ci.berkeley.ca. 

us/commissions/women 

Fire Safety Commission meets Wed., June 2, at 7:30 p.m. at the Public Safety Building, 2100 Martin Luther King Jr. Way, 2nd floor. David Orth, 981-5502. www.ci.berkeley. 

ca.us/commissions/firesafety 

Community Environmental Advisory Commission meets Thurs., June 3, at 7 p.m., at 2118 Milvia St. Nabil Al-Hadithy, 981-7461. www.ci. 

berkeley.ca.us/commissions/environmentaladvisory 

Housing Advisory Commission meets Thurs., June 3, at 7:30 p.m., at the South Berkeley Senior Center. Oscar Sung, 981-5400. www.ci.berkeley.ca. 

us/commissions/housing 

Public Works Commission meets Thurs., June 3, at 7 p.m., at the North Berkeley Senior Center. Jeff Egeberg, 981-6406. www.ci.berkeley.ca.us/commissions/publicworks 

ô


Builders, Environmentalists Spar Over Toxic Richmond Site

By RICHARD BRENNEMAN
Friday May 28, 2004

A major residential and biotech research complex proposed for the Richmond waterfront has pitted a coalition of activists and neighbors against a developer who offers a healthy boost to the city’s stricken tax base. 

Throw in chemically contaminated soil, rumors of radioactivity and view-threatening high-rise condo towers, and a classic confrontation shapes up. 

On one side are Russ Pitto (a Marin County developer whose Simeon Residential Properties and Simeon Commercial Properties development firms are major players in the Bay Area and Colorado real estate markets) and Cherokee Investment Partners (specialists in cleaning up and developing “brownfield”—contaminated—property). 

On the other side are a collection of East Bay activists and neighborhood groups worried about pollution, radiation, and high-rise development. 

“There’s a lot of contentiousness going back and forth between the developer and some of the neighborhood groups,” said Caron Parker, the Richmond Planning Department associate planner charged with conducting the project’s environmental review. 

The review under the California Environmental Quality Act is only the first stage toward approval of what Pitto hopes will be a 1,330-unit complex of owner-occupied high-rises, mid-rises, and townhouses and rental loft apartments to be constructed on a 40-acre site west of I-580 southwest of Meade Street at the Bayview Avenue exit. 

The site earlier housed the Stauffer Chemical and Zeneca Inc. manufacturing sites. Stauffer refined sulfur from iron pyrites on the site, the source of the major soil contaminants. Among the other confections whipped up on-site by Stauffer were nitric acid, herbicides, fungicides, insecticides and a potpourri of other industrial compounds. Zeneca brewed up pharmaceuticals. 

Zeneca, the last owner before Cherokee Simeon, spent $20 million on site restoration, neutralizing acidic chemicals in the soil, capping the site with uncontaminated soil, and building an underground barrier to block contaminants from leaking to the bay. 

With the UC Berkeley Richmond Research Station its neighbor to the northwest, Pitto had initially obtained clearances to build a biotech research park on the site, but his plans changed with the post-9/11 market collapse, when the need for space evaporated. 

“Phase one of the project includes a 16-acre life sciences research center, and we’ve already put $16 million into that,” Pitto said. The project includes a pair of nicely landscaped buildings, and “we already have approval to two more 90,000-square foot buildings.”  

With the switch to residential use, a whole new set of concerns surfaced, based on round-the-clock occupancy as opposed to the typical, 40-hour-a-week presence of workers. 

“Everything’s on hold right now,” Parker said. “The Regional Water Quality Control Board has the final say on whether the site is suitable for residential use, and nothing can move forward till they make their ruling.” 

An earlier water board approval had been torpedoed by the state Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC), which issued a stinging letter April 6 citing 10 “fatal flaws” in Pitto’s proposal. 

Barbara J. Cook, DTSC’s Berkeley-based chief of Northern California coastal cleanup operations, told a reporter she had retracted the letter, which had been written after Cherokee Simeon had submitted the wrong document. 

“We have the latest document now, and are conducting a joint review with the Regional Water Quality Control Board and we will make our recommendation based on that,” Cook said. 

Worries about on-site radiation surfaced after January, 2001, when the U.S. Department of Energy released a five-page list of sites covered by the Energy Employees Occupational Illnesses Compensation Act of 2000. 

That law provides funds to people who contracted illnesses working at sites where radioactive substances were produced or treated. There, next to last among the California entries, was Stauffer Metals, Inc., of Richmond—listed as both an “atomic weapons employer” and a Department of Energy Site. 

Communities for a Better Environment (CBE), a politically potent statewide coalition with offices in Oakland and Huntington Park, based their opposition to Pitto’s research park plan on the federal listing. 

Pitto then hired MACTEC Development Corporation to conduct a radiological survey of surface soils at the site, which turned up gamma radiation levels no higher than typical background counts. CBE withdrew their opposition, but concerns still remain in the community—and CBE has taken renewed interest in the site now that residential use is planned. 

If the DTSC and the water board approve on-site housing, the project must then complete Parker’s environmental review and obtain clearances from the city Design Review Board, Planning Commission and the City Council before Pitto can start preparing the site. 

Before he gets there, Pitto will have to overcome formidable opposition, judging by the turnout at a preliminary organizing meeting held Sunday in the Richmond Annex home of Patricia Leslie and Karl Smith. 

Among those on hand were City Council candidate Gayle McLaughlin, Mary Selva (Vice Chair of the Richmond Annex Neighborhood Coalition and chair of the groups Planning and Zoning Committee), Athena Honore of the North Richmond Shoreline Alliance, Dr. Henry Clark of the West County Toxics Coalition, Kaiser Permanente cardiologists Dr. Jeff Ritterman, and representatives of the Sierra Club and Greenpeace. 

Selva said the Panhandle Annex Neighborhood Council and Citizens for the East Shore State Park have also declared their opposition to the development project. 

Another well-organized foe, Bay Area Residents for Responsible Development, has been taking a leading role in efforts to mobilize opposition, said Norman LaForce, chair of the East Bay Public Lands Committee of the San Francisco Bay Sierra Club chapter. 

LaForce says that among other concerns, he is worried about the pets of project residents—cats and especially dogs are very hard on wildlife—and the addition of 3,000 or so frequent visitors to the sensitive Bay Trail environment.  

Pitto’s plans include restoration of Stege Marsh between the residential development and the Bay Trail hiking and biking path. Pitto said that his company is “spending $5 million on a two-year clean-up that will start in September and then break for the nesting season of the Clapper Rail,” an endangered bird that nests in the march. “The East Bay Regional Parks District has already signed off on the cleanup, and when its completed, they’ll manage the marsh, with the costs of management and maintenance paid by us.” 

Preliminary plans call for three 18-story high-rises at the northeast corner of the site, adjacent to the existing life sciences buildings, with the remainder of the project consisting of buildings of three to seven or eight stories. 

Projected prices for the owner-occupied units range from $260,000 for entry-level units to $650,000 for the townhouses closest to the shoreline, Pitto said. 

While the Sierra Club is waiting until after Parker’s draft Environmental Impact Report is ready before commenting on the project as a whole, “we’re definitely opposed to 18-story buildings right on the waterfront,” said Jonna Papalefthimiou, conservation manager for the Sierra Club’s San Francisco Bay Chapter. 

“There’s definitely room for 3,000 more residents in Richmond, but that site may not be appropriate,” she said, noting that besides impacting sensitive waterfront, “the history of the site is long and toxic.” 

Robert Cheasty, chair of Citizens for the East Bay Shore Park, an alliance of concerned citizens, the Sierra Club, the Audobon Society and Citizens for the Albany shore, said “We want a state park along the bay shoreline, a pearl necklace of open spaces to preserve for the generations to come. We’d like to see a 500-foot swath that’s free of development.” 

Cheasty’s group opposes the residential project both for its impact on sensitive shoreline and for its impact of the viewlines of other area residents. “We’ve had shoreline fights in Albany, Emeryville, Richmond and Berkeley, both to preserve the shoreline and to protect public access,” he said. 

Another source of opposition cited by Selva and other project foes is the project’s separation from BART and other mass transit services. Pitto counters by offering to provide regular shuttle service to BART similar to the shuttle UC Berkeley now provides between their nearby research and the downtown Berkeley BART station.  

“We’re also talking about park-and-ride in conjunction with bus service,” the developer said. 

Asked about concerns his high-rises might block the views of residents to the east of the site, Pitto concedes that his current plans for the site may undergo alteration after the city begins its review process. 

Cherokee Simeon Ventures won’t be constructing the actual housing units. “We’re getting the entitlement for the 1,330 residential units. We’ll develop streets, infrastructure, parks, utilities—everything but the buildings,” Pitto said. “We’ll sell the neighborhoods, segmented by product types, so we can get five or six builders working at one time. We’ll be spending about $40 million for infrastructure, and we’ll very tightly control the architecture. We have our own design review process builders must follow before they can ever take their plans to the city.” 

Planner Parker expects a lot more sturm und drang before the final curtain falls. 

“There were more than 30 speakers at first planning commission study session March 30, and it lasted over four hours,” Parker said. “There’s a lot of contentiousness, and its a very complicated project.” ô


Search For New UCB Chancellor Narrows to Eight Finalists

Friday May 28, 2004

UC Berkeley Chancellor Robert Berdahl is on his way out. But according to UC officials, the university has still not chosen his replacement. 

Berdahl, who has been chancellor at Berkeley for seven years, is scheduled to leave in June, but might have to stay on briefly if a new chancellor is not hired before then.  

According to Paul Schwartz, spokesperson for the UC Office of the President, the candidate pool has been narrowed to eight finalists. Schwartz said the panel assigned to the search hopes to narrow that to one final selection within the next four to six weeks and then have UC President Robert Dynes take that recommendation to the Board of Regents. When the university originally announced the panel to find the new chancellor, President Dynes said the committee had hoped to bring a recommendation to the Board of Regents by April.  

“The priority for us is to get the best person possible, not hit a pre-determined date,” said Schwartz.  

Although the UC system, Berkeley included, has been in the spotlight because of budget cuts, Schwartz said cuts have not either interfered with the search or delayed it.  

“Other institutional leaders are well aware of the financial problems facing the state and their impact on UCs,” said Schwartz. “Nevertheless, we feel that we’ve gotten a healthy pool of candidates. The search is running smoothly, but sometimes these things take more or less time than anticipated.” 

Marie Felde from the Public Relations office at UC Berkeley said not knowing who the new chancellor will be has not disrupted anything on campus. She did say that there is “a great deal of interest, not surprisingly,” as to who the new chancellor will be. 

 

—Jakob Schiller


Open Houses Mark Fire Department’s Centennial

Friday May 28, 2004

The Berkeley Fire Department kicks off the start of its 100th birthday festivities with a Saturday open house at Station No. 6, 999 Cedar St. 

Similar fetes will be held later at each of Berkeley’s other fire stations. 

Saturday’s festivities run from 1 to 4 p.m. and feature station tours, firefighting demonstrations replete with ladders and hoses, an appearance by Sparky the Dog, and a historical display. 

Free barbecued hot dogs will be cooked up for all comers and served along with birthday cakes. Also on offer for younger visitors are free fire hats and balloons. 

The next open house will be held at Station 5, 2680 Shattuck Ave., on Saturday, June 12, followed by Station 1, 2442 Eighth St., on June 26.  

 

—Richard Brenneman


Fallout From Deadly Apartment Fire Haunts Honduras

By PETER MICEK Pacific News Service
Friday May 28, 2004

SAN FRANCISCO—“Accident or intentional?” asks the front page headline in El Bohemio News, a local Spanish-language weekly, about a deadly Honduran prison fire. The photo shows tattooed dead bodies lining a yard with police officers in blue jeans standing above them. 

News of the grisly incident and what it may say about the region’s hard-line anti-gang campaigns is important to all U.S. Latinos and especially to Central American immigrants, says Eber Huezo, editor of the weekly El Salvador Día a Día, based in Los Angeles. The fire has drawn extensive coverage in U.S. Spanish-language media, Huezo says.  

The fire, which killed 104 people, occurred May 17 in a single, overcrowded cellblock of San Pedro Sula state prison, 180 kilometers north of the Honduran capital Tegucigalpa. The cellblock isolated alleged members of the gang Mara Salvatrucha 13 from other inmates. 

Whether or not the blaze was set intentionally—investigators suspect an electrical short circuit, but survivors say other inmates set the fire with gasoline while guards stood by—the fire has triggered new scrutiny of aggressive Central American gang-fighting policies that leaders have modeled on New York City’s “zero tolerance” approach. 

Observers ask whether authorities’ zeal to stamp out gangs has led to a dangerous dehumanization of suspects that is fueling human rights violations. NGOs allege the anti-gang crusade has legitimized and encouraged a shadowy, extra-judicial system of punishment operating in Central America’s streets and prisons.  

“In part, (the fire) could be an accident. On the other hand,” Huezo says, ensuring inmates’ safety and getting to the bottom of the blaze “is the responsibility of the prison authorities.” Noting that the government is investigating whether guards fired at inmates to keep them from escaping the burning cellblock, he adds: “I think that this case requires much investigation.”  

It was not an isolated case. In April 2003, at a different Honduran prison, nearly 70 people died in a fire that authorities say was triggered by gang fighting. The Associated Press reports that, as in the recent blaze, only suspected gang members in a single cellblock were killed.  

Some 100,000 people in Honduras are in gangs, according to official estimates. The largest gangs also operate on the streets of Los Angeles, home to some 1 million Central Americans, many part of the exodus triggered by Central America’s wars in the 1980s. 

In the 1990s, the United States began to deport alleged gang members in large numbers as their prison terms ran out. Ongoing deportations are at the root of Central America’s gang problem. Young people who are deported find few employment opportunities or educational and training resources in Central America, especially when families remain behind.  

Gangs in countries like Honduras, Nicaragua and El Salvador maintain webs of connection to the United States to gain experienced members and funding, says Marvin Ramirez of San Francisco’s bilingual weekly El Reportero.  

Four nations —El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua and Guatemala—recently coordinated strict laws against gang members. Critics say the laws threaten civil liberties and stifle forms of lawful dissent and assembly by outlawing gang membership and some public gatherings. The Honduran laws, passed last year, established a minimum sentence of 12 years for gang members. 

Hondurans can be arrested simply for having certain tattoos now, says Huezo of the El Salvador Día a Día newspaper.  

Thousands of gang members left Honduras after anti-gang laws were passed in August, according to Honduran President Ricardo Maduro, who was elected on his “zero tolerance” platform. Mexican authorities say some Central Americans fleeing the hard-line anti-gang regime have entered Mexico, joining the flow of migrants trying to cross the U.S.-Mexico border.  

Central America’s prison population has swelled. San Pedro Sula state prison, where the recent fire occurred, was filled to more than double its 800-person capacity. The burned cellblock was meant to house 50 prisoners, but contained 186.  

Honduran anti-gang tactics have drawn international scrutiny because of assassinations by death squads similar to those employed in the 1980s “dirty war” against supposed leftists, according to an investigative series by veteran journalist W.E. Gutman published in Los Angeles Spanish-language daily La Opinión.  

Gutman’s investigations detail how top-ranking Honduran police and security officials accuse one another of allowing death squads to operate or abetting their activities. Suspected human rights violators, however, are rarely brought to justice, the article says. 

Bruce Harris, director of Casa Alianza, a network of shelters that rehabilitate street children regionwide, is quoted as saying that links between Honduran security authorities and extra judicial executions are no longer “rumor, but a verifiable fact.” Casa Alianza reports that between January 1998 and February 2004, 2,200 people under the age of 23 were killed in Honduras, most shot in the head, execution-style.  

One La Opinión article quoted Honduran columnist Billy Peña from the El Tiempo newspaper: “The extra judicial executions are becoming as common as pan con mantequilla (buttered bread).”  

 

Peter Micek works for NCM, an association of over 600 print, broadcast and online ethnic media organizations founded in 1996 by Pacific News Service and members of ethnic media.


Bush Plan for a Self-Governing Iraq Rings Hollow

By WILLIAM O. BEEMANPacific News Service
Friday May 28, 2004

President Bush implied that Iraq would be “free and self-governing” in his speech before the Army War College on May 24, 2004. But the speech is a thin fabric of insubstantial promises. None of the points are new, and all of the implied efforts have failed to date. 

The five points President Bush presented, as cited in his speech, are: 

• Hand over authority to a sovereign Iraqi government. 

• Help establish security. 

• Continue rebuilding Iraq’s infrastructure. 

• Encourage more international support. 

• Move toward a national election that will bring forward new leaders empowered by the Iraqi people. 

A careful examination of these points demonstrates how hollow they are. 

In the president’s first point, it is unclear what the term “sovereign govern ment” means. A sovereign government would have the independent power, for example, to order foreign troops off its soil. Clearly, after June 30, the United States armed forces —138,000 of them—will still be in Iraq. British Prime Minister Tony Blair has i nsisted that the transition government will have full power to eliminate these foreign troops from Iraqi soil—but does anyone really believe that they would do so, with the United States controlling the ongoing political process? 

Blair’s statements, furt hermore, are not binding on the United States; his announcement can only be seen as a public relations fiction. One must assume that the transitional government will be sovereign in name only. 

The second point, seeking to help establish security, is a go al that has already failed. It is difficult to imagine how the United States could improve on its execrable current record. For 14 months, Americans have been killed by snipers and suicide bombers at the rate of more than one every day. Mistaken attacks on civilian populations have been common. Part of the reason is the nearly complete lack of preparation of American forces. Almost all U.S. troops in Iraq are fighting forces. Military intelligence, military police and civil affairs officers—all essential for security—are in short supply, according to commander Gen. John Abizaid. Knowledge of Middle Eastern culture and language is virtually non-existent, and very few troops have been trained in the basic skills needed to carry out security operations. 

Rebuilding Iraq’s infrastructure is the one area where some success has been achieved by the American occupation administration. However, the development has largely been carried out by highly compensated American contractors. When unemployment in Iraq runs at 50 percent, it is hard for Iraqis to watch imported Korean workers—whose foreign origin is difficult to disguise—taking jobs that many Iraqis could do themselves. After World War II, successful rebuilding of Germany and Japan was tied to the use of German and Japanese workers and industrial firms—a strategy almost entirely avoided in Iraq. 

As for encouraging international support for the transition to a “free and self-governing” Iraqi state, President Bush has failed so far. On the CNBC cable network immediately following the speech, Sen. Joseph Biden of Delaware, the minority leader of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, pointed out that the president had yet to really “pick up the phone” and insist that European leaders help in the transition. It is unclear how this support will now be garnered.  

Finally, the “move toward a national election” is in reality a slow and painful crawl that is likely never to reach its goal. Many suspect the White House, despite Bush’s disclaimers, will establish a puppet regime governed from the U.S. Embassy. Why else would one appoint strongman ambassador John D. Negroponte and a 1,000-person staff, the largest embassy staff in the world? The “move” toward elections will likely involve a set of figureheads on June 30 who will provide the semblance of independence until after the U.S. elections in November. Then a sham election in January 2005 will bring a known American ally to power. The U.S. Army will stay on to guarantee this person’s rule. The United States wi ll perfectly recreate the political structure of British colonial rule from the early 20th century.  

If Iraq is to be “free and self-governing,” then America must be willing to relinquish control of the nation to the Iraqi people. This means that Preside nt Bush must be prepared to accept scenarios that may be detrimental to his political future: Shiite leadership, a federated state, a parliament and a military hostile to the United States—all of these are possibilities. They are the bitter pills the pres ident must be willing to swallow if the words of his speech are truly sincere. 

 

William O. Beeman teaches anthropology and is director of Middle East Studies at Brown University. He is author of the forthcoming book, Iraq: State in Search of a Nation (Pr aeger, 2004).›E


BUSD Taps New Deputy Superintendent From Coalinga

Friday May 28, 2004

The Berkeley Unified School District named Glenston Thompson as its new Deputy Superintendent Tuesday. 

Thompson, who has 13 years of experience in public school finance—most recently as the assistant superintendent of business services in Coalinga, Calif.—will become the district’s top business official and second-in-command to Superintendent Michele Lawrence. 

He inherits a district that has made strides in upgrading its data processing and budgeting systems and is now preparing a two-year strategic planning process to reassess district priorities and finances. 

In a prepared statement, Thompson, the former chief executive director of administrative support services for the San Francisco Unified School District, said he was excited to return to the Bay Area and assume the Berkeley job. 

“At this juncture, Berkeley Unified School District presents real opportunities and challenges,” he said.  

Thompson replaces Eric Smith, who was widely credited with helping guide the district through the district’s recent fiscal crisis. Smith left the post after a year, citing personal reasons. 

Thompson’s boss in Coalinga, Superintendent Pat Lewis, was pleased for Thompson, but sorry to see him go. “He has been a valued asset to our organization,” she said. “Berkeley is fortunate to have him on their team.” 

 

—Matthew Artz


Is Stem Cell Research A New Bay Area Revolution?

By RAYMOND BARGLOW and MARION RIGGS Special to the Planet
Friday May 28, 2004

There may be a new revolution brewing in the Bay Area, but this time it’s taking place not in the streets but in the laboratories. Advocates of stem cell research suggest that we stand at the threshold of biomedical breakthroughs that may transform modern medicine. At the forefront of this effort are universities like Stanford and UCSF, and local companies like Geron. Stem cells hold promise for curing such devastating illnesses as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, juvenile diabetes, MS, ALS, paralysis, and some forms of cancer and heart disease. 

The healing potential of stem cell research—as well as its ethical and political dimensions—will be the subject of the First International Stem Cell Action Conference (www.fisca.info) at the UC Berkeley campus on June 5-6. The conference, held in Pauley Ballroom, will bring together scientists, bio-ethicists, patient advocates, and interested citizens, providing the public with the opportunity to learn more about stem cell research and the policy challenges it faces. 

The research currently stands at the center of a nationwide and worldwide debate. Proponents of stem cell research, including patients and their families who stand to benefit from its discoveries, advocate it passionately. Don Reed, a conference organizer from Fremont whose son was paralyzed in a football accident, believes that the research is safe and ethical, and that it might lead to a cure for his son Roman, enabling him to walk again. “There are millions of folks in wheelchairs whom this research could benefit,” he adds. 

Richard and Debbie Arvedon, who will be coming to the conference from Hartford, Conn., have a daughter with juvenile diabetes. Embryonic stem cells could possibly be developed into insulin-generating cells to cure her illness. Arvedon was a civil rights organizer in the South in the ‘60s, and now he’s engaged in a new cause, advocating on behalf of the research. 

Stem cells are the raw material, so to speak, from which all of the body’s mature, differentiated cells are made. They give rise to pancreatic cells, blood and heart cells, brain cells, liver cells, etc. Tissue formed from embryonic stem cells might help repair damaged and diseased organs, or provide an alternative to organ transplants.  

One source of embryonic stem cells is somatic cell nuclear transfer (SCNT), popularly known as “therapeutic cloning.” This technique inserts the genetic material from a patient’s cell, such as a skin cell, into an egg cell to create transplantable stem cells that the patient’s body won’t reject in a therapy. 

A second source of embryonic stem cells is in vitro fertilization (IVF), which typically results in the production of excess embryos. Tens of thousands of these embryos are routinely destroyed in IVF clinics after couples finish their treatment. Instead of having these embryos go to waste, scientists propose to use stem cells derived from them in their research to deepen human understanding of diseases process and to find cures. 

However, the religious right, which is notoriously influential in Washington these days, regards embryonic stem cell research as tantamount to murder. In 1991, President Bush issued an executive order severely limiting federal funding for research using stem cells derived from left-over frozen embryos in fertilization clinics. At the behest of the current Republican administration, embryonic stem research has also been neglected by the National Institutes of Health. 

Religious conservatives hold that the research is wrong for the same reason that abortion is wrong: Every human embryo—even one that is only a few days old and microscopically small—has an inviolable right to life. On the other hand, those who favor the right to have an abortion and the right to do the research do not attribute full personhood to the embryo. Hence there exists a natural alliance between pro-choice and pro-research advocates. 

Joining the anti-abortionist opposition to the research are some leftists, who give expression to a widespread public concern that stem cell science may be harnessed to the harmful aims of reproductive cloning and eugenics. The latter fear is fed by horrific visions of cloned babies born into brave new worlds, as in the movies Godsend and Attack of the Clones. But therapeutic cloning (serving medical purposes) is quite distinct from reproductive cloning (to produce a baby), and hence provides scant supplies for these science fiction scenarios.  

Does research of this kind merit the considerable economic investment that it requires? It can be argued that public health and preventive measures are today neglected and should be medicine’s highest priority. For instance, the social/environmental factors that contribute to diabetes’ increase over the past two decades need to be addressed. Yet anyone who has seen a child suffering from diabetes surely hopes also that a medical remedy will be found. 

And that remedy should be available to every person who needs it. Federal funding for stem cell research can best insure that the research is properly overseen, serves the common good, and is not held back by patent and other proprietary interests. 

The Cures for California campaign, a sponsor of the First International Stem Cell Action Conference, has gathered over one million signatures to place the California Stem Cell Research and Cures Initiative on the November ballot. The initiative authorizes state bonds to provide 295 million dollars per year over the next 10 years to stem cell research within the State of California. The state will benefit from royalties that result from the research, and the interest and principle payments on the bonds will be postponed for the first five years. Thus, the initiative is designed to protect and benefit the state budget. This initiative will be discussed at the FISCA conference in Berkeley, June 5-6. 

 

Information about the conference is available by telephone at 595-5551 and on the web at www.fisca.info. Registration for the conference is required. 

 

Raymond Barglow, Ph.D. lives in Berkeley and is a member of the Wellstone Democratic Renewal Club. Marion Riggs is the founder of the Student Society for Stem Cell Research. 

 




Letters to the Editor

Friday May 28, 2004

DERBY FIELD 

Editors, Daily Planet: 

I was pleased to learn that plans for a baseball and sports park are finally moving forward. It has been at least seven years since this was first proposed. 

The benefits of a real park far outweigh the perceived negatives. The fire trucks and ambulances will find a new route that will go through residential streets, but they will eventually go through them on every call they make. The farmers’ market will have a much more appropriate setting for their natural products than a street. 

The original plans were designed to support other sports besides baseball, such as soccer and softball. There are many other sports the current “field” is being used for, including women’s rugby, and women’s and men’s lacrosse, among others. 

I am a resident of the neighborhood, and have lived in Berkeley over 30 years. Dealing with parking and traffic comes with living in a city. The current building has homeless people in and out of it. The streets around it serve as an overnight campground. Demolish that eyesore that was “East Campus” and let’s build the best possible park we can. 

Bart Schultz 

 

• 

PRESERVE ALBANY BULB 

Editors, Daily Planet: 

The East Bay Regional Park System, and its bay, and its rules do not belong to “state and local park officials.” They belong to the people of the Bay Area. At hearings held by these officials, hundreds of people testified in favor of designating certain hill and water areas in this six million strong, densely populated urban complex for walking dogs off-leash. 

For 20 years now dogs and their humans have been walking together in harmless joy and harmless freedom on the wild, rip-rap seaward edge of an obsolete dump—and watched it slowly turn into a wonderful, zany, awkward, gracious place to roam. Albany Bulb is the only welcoming untrammeled, exhilarating bit of bay shore in or near the population centers of Oakland, Berkeley, Richmond and Alameda with shoreline paths and a small bounded beach for dogs to romp. Crowded, cramped and ugly, the district’s “dog-run” at Point Isabel is more like a prison exercise compound than a land and seascape. 

I am 77 years old. My housemate is a dog. I cannot drive the freeway to the sour wasteland of Point Isabel or some place (not yet discovered!) a hundred miles to the south. For 40 years I helped fight the battle to secure more of the bay for public access. Public access means access to the Bay Shore too. 

Now the Albany Bulb, this tiny, man-made bit of joy and freedom, has been sequestered—not for a supermarket, or a heliport, a junior college, or a racetrack—but by ecological purists who should be fighting more important and less discriminatory battles. 

Off-leash dog-walking, in one tiny, funky area in a sweep of what must be about a hundred miles should not be too much to ask. 

Ariel Parkinson 

 

• 

THE SCOOTER WAR 

Editors, Daily Planet: 

The Daily Planet’s May 14-17 issue carried some great letters about the omnipresent motorized scooters, now spreading like fleas over the city. For $800 one can annoy an entire neighborhood, day or night. I have had several too-close encounters with these often recklessly and dangerously operated modern instruments of citizen torture. One tried to run me down in the street; others, sped up and down the sidewalks, narrowly missing pedestrians. Another was observed on a pedestrian path next to very young children and woman with baby carriages. Officers on the beat need new ordinances to help them deal with these pests. Some effective controls are needed now. 

Arthur Eaton 

• 

BROWER CENTER 

Editors, Daily Planet: 

Our representatives should not be giving away something valuable for nothing. Apparently, they have decided that the Brower Center, with new Section 8 housing, is worth giving away the city-owned land at Oxford between Allston and Kittredge. In exchange, the city will get parking spaces which will generate revenue, hopefully at the same level as the current parking spaces generate. That revenue, will, of course, not be available when construction is being done. 

In the mid-19th century, San Francisco had a school at Fifth and Market streets, the Lincoln School. It still owns the land where Nordstroms and the San Francisco shopping center now sit. The city granted a long-term lease to the developer of that building and now the San Francisco school district receives regular rent for that land. A large lot on Oxford Street across from the UC campus will always be valuable. The city should keep its ownership interest in the land. Taxpayers of Berkeley paid for that land and the city representatives should preserve that asset. Every year when the San Francisco school district gets the check for the “Lincoln School” rent, thanks go to the far-sighted officials who resisted the calls to sell the land. 

With luck, in the next century, Berkeley’s officials will thank the forward looking officials from 2004 who preserved the city’s asset so that it will continue to generate revenue for important city programs. 

By the way, if housing is to be built, why not build housing that firefighters or police officers or Berkeley High teachers could buy and live downtown? Being employed, they will not qualify for low-income housing, but they still deserve to live close to their job and there is an advantage to the city to having these city workers live and own property downtown. The city would even get property tax from those new homeowners. 

William Flynn 

 

 

• 

QUARTER MEAL 

Editors, Daily Planet: 

I read the article in the Daily Planet about the Berkeley Quarter Meal program being bailed out but I think you may have missed an even bigger story. Just who are the people involved in serving the meal in People’s Park. You state that they belong to the Dorothy Day house but the man I talked to serving food said he wasn’t with them and he and his friends just took over for the Quarter Meal when it seemed to them that no one else was going to feed people.  

I asked him how much they got paid for their services and just laughed and said, “I wish!!!.” The food is outstanding. The day I ate there they were serving a choice of barbecued beef, roast lamb, Fried chicken, real mashed potatoes with roast garlic, three different salads, asparagus in lemon butter, desert and juice! 

I don’t eat that well at home let alone expect to be served that kind of high quality food at a homeless meal. The following week I had dinner at the Quarter Meal to compare the two and it was really bad. 

So who are these people, why are they doing this and why isn’t the city racing around to find these cooks funding? They have been serving these meals in the parks for weeks. Does the Berkeley Food and Housing Project expect these fine folks to keep this up for a year? 

What’s going on here? 

Virginia Minton 

 

• 

THANK YOU 

Editors, Daily Planet: 

The Oxford Elementary School Parent Teacher Association would like to convey a great big THANK YOU to the Berkeley community for their support of the Oxford Elementary School raffle, held in May. It is amazing how generous Berkeley, Oakland, El Cerrito and Albany businesses are in support of such endeavors. Nearly 60 businesses, individuals and organizations made contributions to make our fundraiser a success, a fundraiser that supports our librarian, gardening program and classroom field trips. Without this incredible community, our kids would not have some of these opportunities. Thanks! 

Kim Smith 

President, Oxford Elementary School Parent Teacher Association 

 

• 

UNDUE SYMPATHY 

Editors, Daily Planet: 

I found Jakob Schiller’s article (UC Lecturer’s ‘Intifada’ Comment Brings Death Threats, Daily Planet, May 25-27) to be unduly sympathetic to Hatem Bazian’s point of view, and insufficiently aggressive in challenging his attempts to explain away his comments. 

What he said at the anti-war rally was this: “Are you angry? [Yeah!] Are you angry? [Yeah!] Are you angry? [Yeah!] Well, we’ve been watching Intifada in Palestine, we’ve been watching an uprising in Iraq, and the question is that what are we doing? How come we don’t have an Intifada in this country?” 

Oh, but he now says he believes in non-violence, and he meant only an Intifada in a political sense? Give me a break. 

Tom Freeman 

 

• 

DOWNTOWN CREEK 

Editors, Daily Planet: 

On May 20, more than 40 individuals—including Mayor Bates, Councilmember Dona Spring, representatives from the University of California and the Berkeley business association, as well as interested members of the community—visited San Luis Obispo to gather information about how the city’s downtown creek and plaza project benefits their downtown economy and how a similar vision could be achieved in Berkeley. 

We heard from all parties in SLO that their downtown environment is greatly enhanced by their open creek and pedestrian plaza. In fact, it is one of the main draws to downtown, which currently has no retail vacancies! David Garth, president of the Chamber of Commerce, David Romero, mayor of San Luis Obispo and Kenneth Schwartz, vice mayor, all credit the creek and plaza for making the downtown a special attraction which benefits local businesses tremendously. 

Berkeley could realize a similar vision with a Strawberry Creek Plaza on Center Street. The cost of daylighting the creek is actually not so great, especially considering the alternative cost of ongoing expensive repairs to the existing crumbling underground culvert and the economic benefits that would be returned to businesses with a pleasant creek and plaza giving people more of a reason to stay and enjoy Berkeley’s downtown district. 

The social, economic, and environmental benefits that could be realized in the heart of downtown Berkeley in the near future are enormous. The city 

and UC should seize this opportunity and form the necessary partnerships to make this positive and achievable dream a reality. 

Kirstin Miller 

Program Director, Ecocity Builders 

 

• 

W’S VERNAKULUR 

Editors, Daily Planet: 

He said “nukiler” when he meant “nuclear.” 

He said “calvary” when he meant “cavalry.” 

What is this man doing in the White House? 

Dorothy V. Benson 




Continuing the Contentious Dialogue On Sophistry, Ideology

By JUSTICE PUTNAM
Friday May 28, 2004

I couldn’t agree more with Max Anderson’s assessment of the ongoing national and local political sophistry (“Rent Board Chair Chides Control Foe’s ‘Rant,’” Daily Planet, May 25-27). His own contentious diatribe is a prime example of the same sophistry he so deliciously condemns. He takes John Koenigshofer to task for supposedly misleading that he is a “...landlord and realtor who works out of George Oram’s firm, one of Berkeley’s largest real estate interests.” Mr. Anderson wisecracks facetiously that “...perhaps modesty prevented Mr. Koenigshofer...” from such a revealing label. If Mr. Anderson were not so inept in his own “... Ashcroftesque invasion of privacy...” he would have revealed that Mr. Koenigshofer and this writer organized and held the first public call for Richard Nixon’s impeachment, in of all places, Yorba Linda, Cal. He would have revealed that Mr. Koenigshofer holds a degree in creative writing from San Francisco State University, that he is an artist of considerable depth, a fabulous poet and an engaging storyteller. Mr. Anderson would have also revealed that Mr. Koenigshofer forsook an internship at A.C.T. as a playwright to attend to his dying mother. That he requires a hip replacement from decades of fence building, landscape construction and gardening that gave him the courage to purchase his first project with a couple of credit cards and an unflagging endurance. Perhaps Mr. Anderson’s own physicality and ailments is derived from his longtime position as “...chair of the Rent Stabilization Board,” or other supine endeavors. 

One thing is for sure: Labels never tell the whole story of a person. I doubt that viewing Mr. Anderson adjudicate from that same chair tells his whole story. Or does it? It might if the world is as starkly delineated as Mr. Anderson and his ilk envision: landlord = evil, anti-property = blessed.  

But the world is not so finely divided. I sincerely doubt that Mr. Koenigshofer advocates that the Rent Stabilization Board illegally violate its “...requirements of the ordinance and the associated regulations,” but to change those requirements and regulations. Laws can be changed. The implementation of rent control is after all, an example. But no matter how well meaning a law, a law may not be perfected or fair. Rent control, again, is an example. Just as an unfettered, unregulated marketplace can be and is unfair, so is the hyper-regulated, class-orientated municipal decree. 

As seemingly difficult as it is for Mr. Anderson to believe, Mr. Koenigshofer is “...unwilling to sacrifice... character... on the alter (sic) of economic greed.” One would expect the ideologues of the Rent Stabilization Board and those who benefit from its decrees to be just as unwilling.  

 

Justice Putnam is a poet and singer/songwriter. He resides in Berkeley and does not own property.›


University Avenue Strategic Plan Should Benefit All Berkeley Citizens

By JUDY STAMPS
Friday May 28, 2004

University Avenue is the most important traffic corridor in Berkeley. As such, decisions about its development should not be controlled by the opinions of highly vocal minorities with vested interests in the outcome of these decisions. Berkeley currently has an opportunity to make plans that will benefit all of its citizens, not just those individuals who are directly and immediately impacted by development along University Avenue. For these reasons, I urge the citizens of Berkeley to contact the Planning Commission, and urge them to adopt the recommendations of the University Avenue Strategic Plan. 

The University Avenue Strategic Plan was developed as a result of lengthy discussion involving all of the parties with potential interests in University Avenue: commercial developers, residents, advocates of low income housing, city planners, small business owners, and any other group with a conceivable interest in development in this area of the city. The plan they developed carefully balanced all of these interests, and provided a blueprint for a new University Avenue that will be an asset to the entire city. The plan provides for large numbers of attractive new housing units, new retail and commercial units to attract small business to the area, and urban designs that encourage foot traffic and that enhance, rather than detract, from the quality of life of residents living in all of the neighborhoods adjacent to University Avenue. 

It should now be apparent that development in the absence of the University Avenue Strategic Plan has been a disaster. The new monolithic apartment buildings that have sprung up along the avenue fail with respect to all of the goals of the University Avenue Strategic Plan. First, the apartment units they provide are unattractive to tenants. These buildings have been unable to rent all of their units, and the turnover on these units is very high, despite advertisements indicating that most of the apartments are designed for long-term tenants (“professionals”), as opposed to students. Given the dire housing shortage in Berkeley, it is obvious that prospective tenants are “voting with their feet”; they did not come to Berkeley to live in huge, monolithic apartment blocks, and they have no interest in doing so. 

The situation with respect to retail units in the new developments is even more of a disaster. Instead of designing units that are attractive to small business owners, developers have designed ground-floor retail units that have remained vacant, months to years after the buildings were constructed. Building retail units that nobody wants to rent runs absolutely counter to the objective of increasing opportunities for small business along University Avenue. In addition, a long row of “for rent” retail units is unlikely to encourage foot traffic along the avenue. 

Finally, as the members of the Planning Department must be aware, years of research in urban design shows that the visual impact (“threat”) of buildings is a direct function of their height and mass, and people much prefer buildings that are in scale with their surroundings, as opposed to buildings that loom over and dominate them. Current development along University Avenue allows for building designs which are not just unattractive, but which discourage people from using them for any purpose: housing, retail, or even “window shopping” by passersby. In contrast, the University Avenue Strategic Plan, which was developed in light of this research, allows for grouped clusters of higher four-story buildings at “nodes,” surrounded by areas with lower development, and provides for building designs which are non-threatening, and which blend into surrounding neighborhoods. The result is a plan which, if implemented, would lead to development that is attractive to long-term renters, small businesses, and pedestrians. In addition, even for those who refuse to abandon their cars, this plan would produce a visually appealing “gateway to Berkeley” for everyone driving along University Avenue on their way in and out of the city. 

Given the time, expertise and input from all relevant parties that went into the development of the University Avenue Strategic Plan, I am alarmed to hear suggestions that many of its provisions may now be abandoned, as a result of pressure from special interest groups of one sort or another. I urge in the strongest possible terms that the planners not bow to vocal or powerful special interests, but instead take all possible steps to implement the provisions of the University Avenue Strategic Plan, to the benefit of all of the citizens of Berkeley. 

 

Judy Stamps is a Berkeley resident. 

 


A Patient’s Perspective

By CHARLES A. PAPPAS
Friday May 28, 2004

As a medical cannabis patient (quadriplegic) fortunate enough to have a doctor’s recommendation for the past five years, I feel compelled to comment on recent developments in our community regarding the cultivation and dispensing of medical marijuana. On April 27 our City Council unfortunately tabled proposed amendments to the previous 2001 medical cannabis initiative. Their lack of decision has prompted a voter initiative drive and the rights of patients like myself have been overlooked and ill-served. I believe this process can be avoided with reconsideration by the Berkeley City Council.  

The facts of the matter are that initiative preparation, signature gathering and the expense and resources needed require much time and energy. Because the three existing Berkeley medical dispensaries (and their patients) are the prime initiators for this project, the needs and servicing of patients are strained. I praise these organizations for their continued operation as well as a past record of success deserving recognition. They have proposed reasonable amendments the City Council has chosen not to consider: a 72-plant limit for indoor cultivation, a peer review committee to help regulate and oversee existing and new dispensaries, and zoning considerations that would provide city sanctioning for the dispensaries. I worry that a protracted voter initiative struggle and further ballot measure campaign will negatively affect myself and other patients. 

Opposition to the amendments by the City Council were based on a lack of information and fear of increased crime. While 72 plants sounds like a great many, that is already the limit in neighboring Oakland. The limit is 99 in Santa Cruz, and there is no limit in San Francisco. What this number of plants might produce as well as how many times a year is surely both relative and debatable. Producing 18 pounds worth $90,000, thereby a cause for crime concern could be possible, but not probable at very many locations in Berkeley, most certainly not residential ones. Such an operation would be more suited to warehouses in Oakland and San Francisco. The 72-plant limit is primarily to protect patients already over the existing 10-plant limit in Berkeley. I most strenuously object to embedding medical cannabis with increased crime. One day a few weeks ago three banks in Berkeley were robbed so what should be done? If Police Chief Roy Meisner deserves commending for our lower crime rate, I think he is off base suggesting the increased plant limits may mean increased crime. And I seriously doubt the armed robbery mentioned at the City Council meeting was related to medical cannabis. Three years ago when there were problems at the then University Avenue dispensary, the now existing dispensaries were instrumental in it’s shutdown and ceasing of operations, also acknowledged by the City Council and police chief. 

The adoption of the amendments would ease patients’ concerns and help to provide a continued secure dispensing of medical cannabis. The proposed relocation of one dispensary, Cannabis Buyers Cooperative of Berkeley has been particularly disconcerting to patients, the City Council, and neighbors of the proposed new location. As Councilmember Kriss Worthington stated, the adoption of the amendments should not be related to the contentiousness surrounding CBCB’s move. With all due respect to council members Shirek and Breland, citing the arrested victims of the war on drugs, whether black or white, does not seem just cause for limiting or ignoring the needs and rights of medical cannabis patients. Because my own mother has the same response I can appreciate Margaret Breland’s faith in her doctor and his prescriptions, but medical cannabis is most definitely an alternative for so many. Councilmember Dona Spring best understood the importance of patients’ relief from pain. 

Three weeks ago before the City Council met, a Daily Planet front page story characterized the voter initiative as “threatening” the council to adopt the medical cannabis amendments. I believe “challenge” is more appropriate. Our elected city officials should reconsider these amendments. Their adoption would help provide continued safe and secure access for medical cannabis patients to their medicine by increasing the number of plants we may grow, and by officially mandating the city working with and sanctioning existing medical dispensaries. Finally, because of missing regulation and federal opposition these measures are necessary to help implement Proposition 215, approved by 86 percent of Berkeley voters. 

 

Charles Pappas is a Berkeley resident.  

 

 

 




Traveling Jewish Theatre’s Impressive ‘Dybbuk’ Presents a Bit of a Problem

By Betsy Hunton Special to the Planet
Friday May 28, 2004

The Traveling Jewish Theatre has come to Berkeley’s Julia Morgan Theater, bringing along with it Dybbuk—which is one chunk of a play—and two gifted actors. In the course of the evening Karine Koret and Keith Davis successfully play roles that run from a nice young couple happily celebrating the Sabbath together, to ones embodying possession by supernatural and terrifying spirits. In between they each portray a dazzling variety of ages and characters as well as an enormous emotional range. It is a very impressive pair of performances. 

Corey Fischer, director and co-founder of the Traveling Jewish Theatre, credits Bruce Myers as one of the people who inspired him to develop the idea of reimagining the Jewish storytelling tradition. Myers “reinvented” Dybbuk for modern audiences from the 1920 original play by S. Ansky. In both versions, the play has had international success starting from its premiere in Vilna, Lithuania. The present adaptation has been performed in England, France, South America and India and has been the basis for several operas, ballets and modern dances. 

The dybbuk is a concept coming from the Kabbalah, which my dictionary defines as “an occult religious philosophy (some centuries old) developed by certain Jewish rabbis, based on a mystical interpretation of the scriptures.” In this play, the dybbuk is an agonizing—seemingly evil—spirit which possesses the young woman after her lover’s death and “must be exorcised by religious or magical ceremonies.” 

What is confusing for someone unfamiliar with this centuries-old lore, is that the spirit which is so overwhelmingly painful for the young woman appears to be that of her dead lover. (You’d expect better of him). Whatever the religious significance of this portrayal, the exorcism is a terrific scene which most actresses would kill to play. Karine Koret makes the most of it, yet without any sense of over-dramatizing. There’s no artificiality in her performance—any of her performances.  

Keith Davis has as wide a variety of parts as does Koret, running from the adoring lover of a woman betrothed to another man, to the woman’s father, to the spiritually exhausted rabbi who must summon the vitality to assist in the exorcism; he does equally well by all the roles. What is key to the story is his character’s intense religiosity, again a Kabbalah-based situation. 

And that appears to be a major issue for the audience. Although it is certainly possible for someone with little or no knowledge of Kabbalah or, for that matter, even Conservative Judaism, to enjoy the play, such ignorance does generate a number of significant unanswered questions. For example, are the two main characters happily united in death at the end? They’re happy all right, and united, but are they alive or dead? And the delightful beginning of the play—which is a Shabbat Dinner between the two would-be lovers—is this the happy ending they reach if or when they die? Is this a picture from the future and are they supposed to be married? Or is it just a portrayal of the grace that exists between them?  

All in all, this production presents something of a problem. The performances are excellent, the staging is first-rate (the lighting design is particularly effective) but, unlike many of the Traveling Jewish Theatre’s productions, to fully comprehend it requires a degree of knowledge about Judaism that may be missing among the general population.›


Arts Calendar

Friday May 28, 2004

FRIDAY, MAY 28 

CHILDREN 

Springtime is a Buzzzz! with storytelling at Barnes and Noble at 10:30 a.m. 644-3635. 

THEATER 

Berkeley Rep “Master Class” with Rita Moreno at The Roda Theater. Runs through July 18. 647-2949. www.berkeleyrep.org 

Impact Theatre “Money and Run” an action serial adventure with different episodes on Thurs., Fri. and Sat. at 8 p.m. Runs through June 5 at La Val’s Subterranean, 1834 Euclid. For tickets and information call 464-4468.  

www.impacttheatre.com 

New Shakespeare Co., “Hamlet” directed by Stanley Spenger, at 8 p.m. at Berkeley Art Center, through June 5, no show June 3. Tickets are $10-$12. 234-6046.  

www.geocities.com/spoonboy_sf/hamlet.html 

Traveling Jewish Theater, “Dybbuk” at 8 p.m. at Julia Morgan Theater. Tickets are $22-30. 925-789-1300.  

READINGS AND LECTURES 

Poetry Flash with Peter Streckfus and Ilya Kaminsky at 7:30 p.m. at Cody’s Books. Donation $2. 845-7852.  

www.codysbooks.com 

Alexandra Fuller describes life in Africa in “Scribbling the Cat” at 7:30 p.m. at Cody’s Books on Fourth St. 559-9500. www.codysbooks.com 

Dyke Open Mike at 7:30 p.m. at Boadecia’s Books, 398 Colusa Avenue at Colusa Circle, Kensington. To sign up for a 5-10 minute slot, call Jessy 655-1015.  

www.bookpride.com 

MUSIC AND DANCE 

Berkeley High “Dance Projects” at 8 p.m. at the Florence Schwinley Little Theater, Allstaon Way. Tickets are $5-$10. 

Oakland Opera Theater “Akhnaten” by Philip Glass at 8 p.m. at Oakland Metro, 201 Broadway. Tickets are $15-$27. Also Sat. at 8 p.m. and Sun at 2 p.m. 763-1146.  

www.oaklandmetro.org 

Caminos Flamencos with Yaelisa with dinner and dessert at 6 and 9 p.m. at Cafe de la Paz, 1600 Shattuck Ave. Tickets are $42-$52, show only $17. 843-0662.  

wwwcafedelapaz.net 

Folk and Radical Politics Extravaganza, a benefit for Project X, with music by Folk This!, The Molotov Mouths, Samsara, and Sean Corkery at 7 p.m. at AK Press Warehouse, 674A 23rd St., Oakland. Donation $8-$20. 208-1700. www.akpress.org 

Alfredo Muro, Peruvian guitar virtuoso, at 8 p.m. at La Peña Cultural Center. Cost is $12. 849-2568.  

www.lapena.org 

Professor Terry’s Circus Band Extraordinaire at 8 p.m. at Freight and Salvage Coffee House. Cost is $16.50 in advance, $17.50 at the door. 548-1761.  

www.freightandsalvage.org 

Beausoliel with Michael Doucet at 9:30 p.m. at Ashkenaz. Cost is $20. 525-5054. www.ashkenaz.com 

Ben Reebs at 7:30 p.m. at Nomad Cafe, 6500 Shattuck Ave. 595-5344.  

www.nomadcafe.net 

Fountain Street Theater Band, Sign for Stereo, Surf at 9:30 p.m. at The Starry Plough. Cost is $5. 841-2082. www.starryplough.com 

Scavengers, The Plus Ones, Jericho, Deadley Weapons 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. 

Damphibians, Mission Players at 9:30 p.m. at Blakes on Telegraph. Cost is $7. 848-0886.  

www.blakesontelegraph.com 

Green & Root at the 1923 Teahouse at 8 p.m. Suggested donation of $7-$15, no one turned away for lack of funds. 644-2204.  

www.epicarts.org  

Jyemo & The Extended Family conscious dance music, at Shattuck Down Low, 2284 Shattuck Ave. Cost is $7. 548-1159.  

The Supplicants at 8 p.m. at Jupiter. 848-8277. 

Shimshai and the Natural Mystiquensemble at 9 p.m. at Studio Rasa, 933 Parker St. 843-2787.  

www.studiorasa.org  

SATURDAY, MAY 29 

EXHIBITION OPENINGS 

“Wind and Water” kinetic and water-driven sculpture. Reception from 2 to 4 p.m. at A New Leaf Gallery/Sculpturesite, 1286 Gilman St. Runs through Aug. 1. 525-7621.  

www.sculpturesite.com 

“We Hold the Rock” a exhibition of photographs featuring Native American activism at the Free Speech Café, Moffitt Library, UC Campus.  

“American Masala” photographs from the Visual Storytelling class, UC School of Journalism. Reception from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at Photolab Gallery, 2235 Fifth St. 644-1400. 

“Dancing with the Tree of Life” open house and reception at 5 p.m. at Belladonna and the Color of Women Gallery, 2436 Sacramento St. 883-0600. www.belladonna.ws 

THEATER 

Traveling Jewish Theater, “Dybbuk” at 8 p.m. at Julia Morgan Theater. Tickets are $22-30. 925-789-1300.  

FILM 

“Harold and Maude” 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 

READINGS AND LECTURES 

Matthew Sharpe reads from “The Sleeping Father” at 7:30 p.m. at Cody’s Books. 845-7852.  

www.codysbooks.com 

MIUSIC AND DANCE 

Caminos Flamencos with Yaelisa with dinner and dessert at 6 and 9 p.m. at Cafe de la Paz, 1600 Shattuck Ave. Tickets are $42-$52, show only $17. 843-0662.  

wwwcafedelapaz.net 

Audrey Auld, Australian country singer/songwriter, at 2 p.m. at Down Home Music, 10341 San Pablo Ave., El Cerrito. 525-2129. 

Ali Akbar College of Music with Smt. Lakshmi Shankar, vocals, Pandit Swapan Chaudhuri, table, and Pansist Ramesh Misra, sarangi, at 7:30 p.m. at Wheeler Auditorium, UC Campus. Tickets are $15-$50, available from 415-454-6264. www.acteva.com/go/aacm 

Kugelplex performs Klezmer at 9:30 p.m. at Albatross, 1822 San Pablo Ave. Cost is $3. 843-2473.  

www.albatrosspub.com 

Tim O’Brien, mountain music at 8 p.m. at Freight and Salvage Coffee House. Cost is $18.50 in advance, $19.50 at the door. 548-1761.  

www.freightandsalvage.org 

West African dance Music at 9:30 p.m. at La Peña Cultural Center. Cost is $12. 849-2568. www.lapena.org 

Crazy Brother Resistance with Jouvert at 9:30 p.m. at Ashkenaz. Cost is $17. 525-5054.  

www.ashkenaz.com 

Vaughn-Lee Stephens Group at 8 p.m. at The Jazz House. Donations of $8-$15 suggested. 649-8744.  

www.thejazzhouse.org 

JRhonda Benin and Soulful Strut at 8:30 p.m. at Downtown. 649-3810.  

Samantha Raven at 7:30 p.m. at Nomad Cafe, 6500 Shattuck Ave. 595-5344.  

www.nomadcafe.net 

Bay Area Ska All Ages Show at 9:30 p.m. at The Starry Plough. Cost is $8. 841-2082. www.starryplough.com 

Fingertight, Thought Crime at 9:30 p.m. at Blakes on Telegraph. Cost is $10. 848-0886. www.blakesontelegraph.com 

Artimus Pyle, Sunday Morning Einsteins, Born/Dead 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. 

Exegesis at 8 p.m. at Jupiter. 848-8277. 

SUNDAY, MAY 30 

EXHIBITION OPENINGS 

“Tilden Visions” Reception for artist Sheila Sondik, a mixed media specialist, from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m. at the Environmental Education Center, Tilden Park. 525-2233. 

THEATER 

Traveling Jewish Theater, “Dybbuk” at 2 p.m. at Julia Morgan Theater. Tickets are $22-30. 925-789-1300.  

MUSIC AND DANCE 

Chamber Music Sundaes with musicians from San Francisco Symphony performing Dvorak, Bartok and Hummel 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. 

Early Music with Dan Winheld, lute, vihuela, steel string guitar, Miguel Fuenllana, Jean Paul Paladin, John Johnson, and Anthony Holborne at 7:30 p.m. at Berkeley Art Center. 644-6893. 

Harp Music from Around the World with the Bay Area Youth Harp Ensemble performing traditional music from Greece, Cuba, Argentina, Scotland, the Philippines, North America, Turkey, Afghanistan and more, at 4 p.m. at St. Mary Magdalene Church, 2005 North Berryman St. Tickets are $5-$15. 548-3326. 

Novello Quartet performs Haydn’s op. 50 string quartet, on period instruments at 4 p.m. at Skyline Community Church, 12540 Skyline Boulevard, Oakland. Tickets are $15. 531-8212.  

www.skylineucc.org 

Meta Man at the 1923 Teahouse at 8 p.m. Suggested donation of $7-$15, no one turned away for lack of funds. 644-2204.  

www.epicarts.org 

Americana Unplugged: Pete Madsen at 5 p.m. at Jupiter. 848-8277. 

Sambada and Soul Majestic at 9 p.m. Ashkenaz. Cost is $12. 525-5054. www.ashkenaz.com 

The Pit of Fashion Orchestra at 8:30 p.m. at Downtown. 649-3810.  

MONDAY, MAY 31 

MUSIC AND DANCE 

Al Molina’s “Latin Jazz Sextet” at 8 and 10 p.m. at Yoshi’s at Jack London Square. Cost is $10. 238-9200.  

www.yoshis.com 

ACME Observatory Contemporary Performance Series Concert, featuring Ignaz Schick, electronics and turntables, solo and in a trio with Tom Djll, trumpet, and Matt Ingalls, clarinet, at 8:15 p.m. at The Jazz House, 3192 Adeline at Martin Luther King Jr. Way. Admission is free, donations accepted. 649-8744. http://music.acme.com 

TUESDAY, JUNE 1 

READINGS AND LECTURES 

Charles Purdy discusses “Urban Etiquette” at 7:30 p.m. at Cody’s Books. 845-7852. www.codysbooks.com 

MUSIC AND DANCE 

Burke Schuchmann, cellist and Lois Brandwynne, pianist, chamber music at the Berkeley City Club. 236-5717. www.berkeleycityclub.org  

Édessa at 8:30 p.m. at Ashkenaz, with a Balkan dance lesson with Nancy Klein at 7:30 p.m. Cost is $9. 525-5054. www.ashkenaz.com 

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

www.thejazzhouse.com 

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

Tiempo Libre, Afro-Cuban jazz, at 8 and 10 p.m. at Yoshi’s at Jack London Square. Dance floor open. Cost is $10. 238-9200. www.yoshis.com 

WEDNESDAY, JUNE 2 

EXHIBITION OPENINGS 

“We Hold the Rock” a exhibition of photographs featuring Native American activism at the Free Speech Café, Moffitt Library, UC Campus.  

“Transition/Exploration,” works by five Bay Area artists at A.C.C.I. Gallery, 1652 Shattuck Ave. Gallery hours are Mon.-Fri. 11a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sat. 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. 843-2527.  

READINGS AND LECTURES 

“MoveOn’s 50 Ways to Love Your Country” a panel discussion on taking politics on the road at 7:30 p.m. at Easy Going Travel Shop and Bookstore, 1385 Shattuck Ave at Rose, 843-3533. 

James Lee Burke at 7:30 p.m. at Black Oak Books. 486-0698. www.blackoakbooks.com 

David Bacon describes “The Children of NAFTA: Labor Wars on the U.S./Mexico Border” at 7:30 p.m. at Cody’s Books. 845-7852. www.codysbooks.com 

“Seeds of Deception” with author Jeffrey Smith discussing efforts to keep genetically modified foods out of Alameda County’s ecosystemas and food supply, at 7 p.m. at Café de la Paz, 1600 Shattuck Ave. Dinner at 6 p.m. Cost is $15. 843-0662. 

Berkeley Poetry Slam with host Nazelah Jamison and Karen Ladson at 8:30 p.m. at The Starry Plough. Cost is $7,  

$5 with student i.d. 841-2082.  

www.starryploughpub.com 

MUSIC AND DANCE 

Songwriter Showcase with Emily Fox, Adam Varona, Mike Rofe, Robyn Harris and Jason Broome at the 1923 Teahouse at 8 p.m. Suggested donation of $5. 644-2204.  

www.epicarts.org 

Keyser Soze and Beautiful Losers at 9 p.m. at Ashkenaz. Cost is $9. 525-5054. www.ashkenaz.com 

ICE, Improvised Composition Experiment open jam at 8 p.m. at The Jazz House. Donation $5. 649-8744.  

www.thejazzhouse.com 

The Key of Z: Experimental Instruments, and the Music They Make, with the New Zealand ensemble From Scratch, at 7:30 p.m. at the Pacific Film Archive. Sponsored by Amoeba Records. 642-1412. 

Whiskey Brothers perform old time and bluegrass at 9 p.m. at Albatross, 1822 San Pablo Ave. 843-2473. www.albatrosspub.com 

Jules Broussard at 8 p.m. at Downtown. 649-3810. 

Don Braden’s Organ Quartet at 8 and 10 p.m. at Yoshi’s at Jack London Square. Cost is $10-$14. 238-9200.  

www.yoshis.com 

THURSDAY, JUNE 3 

EXHIBITION OPENINGS 

“High Fiber” an exhibit exploring the intersection of digital technology and fiber-based artworks, at Kala Art Institute, 1060 Heinz Ave. Gallery hours are Tues.-Fri. noon to 5:30 p.m., Sat. noon to 4:30 p.m. 549-2977. www.kala.org 

THEATER 

“Primo” a play by Ed Davidson, on the last days of Holocaust author, Primo Levi, at 7:30 PM Berkeley Richmond Jewish Community Center, 1414 Walnut Street. Cost is $15-$20. 925-798-1300. 

READINGS AND LECTURES 

Word Beat Reading Series at 7 p.m. with featured readers Mishell Erickson and Kat Hash, followed by an open mic, at Mediterraneum Caffe, 2475 Telegraph Ave., near Dwight Way. For information call 526-5985 or 205-1749.  

Randall Sullivan describes his work as “The Miracle Detective: An Investigation of Holy Visions” at 7:30 p.m. at Cody’s Books. 845-7852.  

www.codysbooks.com 

MUSIC AND DANCE 

Ballet Frankfurt, William Forsythe’s celebrated troupe performs as part of their first US tour outside NY in over 15 years at 8 p.m. at Zellerbach Hall, UC Campus. 642-9988. www.calperfs.berkeley.edu  

Summer Noon Concert with the Jackie Payne and Steve Edmonson Band at the Berkeley BART. Sponsored by the Downtown Berkeley Association. 

Mark Growden at the 1923 Teahouse at 8 p.m. Suggested donation of $7-$10, no one turned away for lack of funds. 644-2204.  

www.epicarts.org 

The Bills, folk roots from Canada, 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 

Flamenco Sur at 8 p.m. at La Peña Cultural Center. Cost is $13-$15. 849-2568.  

www.lapena.org 

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

George Pederson and His Pretty Good Band at 9 p.m. at The Starry Plough. Cost is $5. 841-2082.  

www.starryploughpub.com 

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

Odd Shaped Case at 8 p.m. at The Jazz House. Sliding scale donation $8-$15. 649-8744. www.thejazzhouse.com 

Airto Moreira’s Jam Band at 8 and 10 p.m. through Sun. at Yoshi’s at Jack London Square. Cost is $10-$20. 238-9200. www.yoshis.comô


Beans: An American Staple That Altered The World

By Shirley Barker Special to the Planet
Friday May 28, 2004

Legumes are such an important partner of grains as a source of complete protein that one wonders how Europeans managed before the advent of foods from America. Although every continent seems to have indigenous legumes and pulses, Europe has only one bean, the fava or broad bean, Vicia faba. Historians have documented an increase in human populations in Europe after the arrival of beans from the Americas. These beans are often called French, having been introduced into Europe by French explorers in Canada. 

Whether called American, French, string, snap or green, beans in the genus Phaseolus require the warmer months for growing. Sown too early, they will not germinate. Once the earth warms up in May, timing in Berkeley is not critical. From now until July they will produce a lavish crop. 

Starting beans in little pots makes it easier to keep watch and re-sow if germination fails. Pre-soaking the seeds speeds germination. The soil is dampened and never watered until the beans fully emerge. They bend their stalks to force their way through the earth. Give shade in extremely hot spells. Transplant to the ground when true leaves appear. Pole beans require wire support to climb up. Although they are said to be less prolific than bush beans, they are productive for longer, and a healthy plant will be bountiful. 

Bush beans can give a quick fill-in crop after early potatoes have been dug and before fava beans go in, because favas need cool weather, fittingly for their origins. In Berkeley they are sown in mid-October and start to produce edible pods in April. By May the pods fill out and must be shelled. Favas must be cooked, and are delicious as a side dish, in sauces, and in salads. They do well in soups, purees and stews. They can cause a troublesome blood disorder in people of Mediterranean heritage. Everyone else can enjoy their sweet, nutty taste safely. 

Legumes are also an important component of crop rotation because of their ability to fix nitrogen from the air by nodules on their roots, clearly visible on an uprooted fava bean plant. For early farmers this meant an increase in crops to the acre, allowing more frequent intercropping and fewer fallow seasons. Not just better food, but more of it, was apparently the reason for the population increase. We can do the same in our vegetable gardens by planting legumes in a different spot each growing season. Dried beans of all kinds store well, so plant extra for winter nutrition. 

Peas, in the same Fabaceae family (formerly Leguminosae), may have been the source of a “pease pudding” jingle, but the bean is the stuff of legends. Kentucky Wonder is just one of many good candidates for Jack’s beanstalk and the downfall of a giant. Local nurseries carry a wide variety of seeds and seedlings. Farmers’ markets often sell unusual kinds ready to plant. The Scarlet Runner, a perennial, is spectacular in flower, coarse and hairy in the pod. In fact most varieties of green bean need a little help to be appetizing, even if only a few drops of tamari or some toasted cashews. The tiny narrow French haricot vert is perhaps the exception, with a naturally delicate flavor. The French serve it alone as a separate course where, along with their incomparable butter, it can be appreciated without distraction. As with all things French, this is the bean at its most exquisite.  

For those who benefit from the health-giving properties of spices, Monisha Bharadwaj has a worthwhile recipe for “string bean stir-fry,” Farasbean Bhaji, in her book The Indian Spice Kitchen. This beautiful book is packed with information about the exotic spice plants and delectable dishes of India. It is available from Cody’s on Fourth Street. The following has been adapted from that recipe. It seems that even a continent well supplied with indigenous legumes just loves those American beans. 

 


UnderCurrents: Tracking Down the Rats of America’s Intolerance

J. DOUGLAS ALLEN-TAYLOR
Friday May 28, 2004

The exterminator receives a call to return to the scene of recent work. Upon arrival, he is confronted by the angry customer. 

“I thought you said that once you killed the rats, they ain’t coming back,” the woman scolds him. 

“That’s true, ma’am,” he answers. 

“Then what’s that I keep hearing?” she asks, pointed an accusing finger at the baseboard. 

He listens for a moment, intently, to the sound of furtive scurrying from behind the walls, then rises to confront her, thoughtfully. “Puppies,” he answers, without blinking. 

Having loudly announced the ridding the premises of the beast, it becomes difficult to explain its continuing presence. 

America was founded on the principle of freedom of religion, we are told, and, thus, religious intolerance does not exist between our shores. And so, in the midst of the Iraqi sinkhole, Americans continue to vehemently deny that which is readily apparent to everyone else. 

The country’s founders never actually declared religious intolerance abolished, of course. Instead, they opted for a level playing field. “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof” they declared in the first sentence of the Bill of Rights. Under that big tent, they figured, the various denominations could duke it out on equal terms. 

Except, as in Orwell’s Animal Farm, some of the animals were ink-quilled in as more equal than others. In America, the ban on prohibiting the free exercise of religion was gotten around by the convenient artifact of labeling other beliefs as “Not Religion.” 

And so came the Africans to America—in chains—with their religious practices older than Christianity and Judaism combined, beliefs more complicated than those which only recognized a monotheistic god, poles apart from either Abraham’s covenant or redemption through the blood of the Christ. Alarmed that these captives might organize around their various African religions to win their freedom, the slavers and slavemasters set out to attack those religions on all fronts. At times, they used the same familiar battle terms handed down from the old Christian wars against the ancient European pagans. Witchcraft, the German-based term that had devolved by the 1600s into a widely-accepted pejorative, was applied to the distinctly non-German beliefs and practices of the Mende and the Wolofs brought to American shores, in the process becoming as American a tradition as, well, apple pie. The Salem witch trials—from which, after all, comes our modern political term “witch hunt”—began in no small part with the charge that Tituba, an African servant-woman from Barbados (a “witch,” in the formal indictment) had introduced the devil and all his worship to two young Christian girls. To this day, in many circles, African spirit-practitioners still carry the label “witch doctors.” 

In time, as more Africans were kidnapped and brought to America, the elder African religious beliefs grew important enough to make themselves a particular target of denigration. Voodoo, based upon the Ewe and Fon words for spirits and deities of all types, became synonymous with wild, insane practices suitable for all ridicule. “Deceptive or delusive nonsense,” the American Heritage dictionary still carries it as one definition, also describing voodoo as the “animism and magic of slaves from West Africa.” The god of Christianity performs miracles. The practitioners of vodún must, alas, resort to magic. We all know the difference. The use of the term voodoo as an object of ridicule still has applicability in American belief and language, to this day. 

Meanwhile, of course, ridicule of the descendant beliefs of European paganism continues, unabated, down to the present. 

Having thus had long practice against the more ancient African and European pagan beliefs, many Americans find an easy transition to the dissing and dismissing of the more modern Islam. 

In World War II, despite our avowed enmity toward the godless bolsheviki of the Soviet Union, America had no trouble drawing distinctions and lining up side by side with Russia in our battle with the Germans, the Italians, and the Japanese. Attacked at Pearl Harbor, we did not send B52s over Moscow. 

But somehow, in a fit of collective confusion following Sept. 11, 2001, America ended up invading the nation of Iraq. We have since more or less come to our senses, and the majority of Americans look upon the earlier Bush administration assertions—Hussein was in close cooperation with Al Qaeda, and helped (in some way) in the World Trade Center and Pentagon attacks—as both self-serving and more than a little shabby. Still, it raises the question, why was America so willing to send our troops to make war on such shaky grounds? 

There were winks and hints all along, of course. On Sept. 16, 2001, less than a week after the terrorist attacks, President Bush pronounced terrorism “a new kind of evil. … And the American people are beginning to understand. This crusade, this war on terrorism is going to take a while.” The use of the term “crusade”—a reminder of the late Christian wars to take the Holy Land “back” from the Muslims—was later withdrawn by Bush aides and treated as an unfortunate error. The president is prone to errors, true, but generally in the direction of obfuscation, rarely towards clarity. This reference more looks like a designed notice to the radical Christian right as to where we were going, and why. Gird your loins, boys and girls. We’re marching on Jerusalem, again. The beachhead will be Baghdad. 

Last year Lt. General Jerry Boykin, the deputy undersecretary of defense for intelligence, a veteran of the Somalia campaign and one of the men charged with leading the pursuit of Osama Bin Laden, was more clear, quoted at various times as saying that Islamic terrorists hate Americans “because we’re a Christian nation, because our foundation and our roots are Judeo-Christian ... and the enemy is a guy named Satan. … We in the army of God, in the house of God, kingdom of god have been raised for such a time as this.” Talking about what gave him confidence in a battle with a Somalian Muslim commander, Boykin explained, “I knew my God was bigger than his. I knew that my God was a real god and his was an idol.” 

The general’s words, from all I can gather, have never been retracted, or officially repudiated. 

It does not even take a good ear to hear the sound of scratching feet, scurrying around in our collective closet. The rats of our religious intolerance remain.


Opinion

Editorials

Editorial: Back in the Big Muddy

Becky O'Malley
Tuesday June 01, 2004

Casual conversations with strangers can be more revealing than stories on the nightly news. A Berkeley friend, a motherly lady in her fifties, started chatting with her seatmate on a bus a couple of weeks ago. He was an army officer, a personnel specialist in a big infantry unit down South somewhere. He said his job is dealing with “bereavements”—supporting families of service people who have died on duty. My friend, who comes from a military family herself, was shocked at what he told her: that in the last few months, out of every 100 deaths he’s worked on, 14 have been suicides. That’s not an official Army statistic, he emphasized, just his estimate, but in his opinion, based on about 20 years experience in the military, the suicide rate has gone up dramatically since the Iraq invasion. 

One detail he revealed to her was that families are not usually informed that their loved one committed suicide unless they ask. Suicide, like much else in the bureaucratic world of the armed forces, has a special code number. The information the family initially receives doesn’t contain the suicide code, so the family must dig, must ask the right questions, to get the cause of death. He told my friend of one particularly harrowing case: A soldier committed suicide in Iraq, and his buddy sent his wife an e-mail apologizing for not seeing the symptoms in time to prevent the death. The wife had not been told that her husband had committed suicide, and so was doubly shocked when she found out. 

The officer said that there’s a big internal controversy in the army right now about how such cases should be handled. Even though he has a strong personal belief that the practice of concealing suicides is wrong, he’s afraid to say so publicly. But he’s distressed.  

It’s hard to confirm what this officer believes to be true using official or unofficial sources. For one thing, army personnel are warned not to reveal any information of this kind. The friend who told me this story got her informant’s phone number, so I called him, told him I was writing this, asked him to tell me more. Of course he wouldn’t say anything. It is against the rules, and he clearly feared the consequences of sharing his anxieties about his job with a motherly woman on the bus. As he probably should.  

We’ve read in the New Yorker and other publications about some harrowing cases of how things seem to be badly wrong in Iraq. What we won’t necessarily read about is the terrible toll this is taking on ordinary American service men and women, who know it’s a mess but don’t know what they can do about it. A very few, like the guy who blew the whistle on the prison torturers, might summon the courage to back up their convictions about what’s right and wrong by speaking truth to power and taking the consequences . Others, perhaps, see only suicide as their path out of the morass. 

On the Memorial Day weekend, as this is being written, it’s the duty of those of us at home to think about our fellow Americans in Iraq who are caught up in a situation not of their own making and can’t escape. Most of them joined the armed forces out of a real desire to serve their country, and never anticipated that they would become an army of occupation in an increasingly hostile Middle East. They were told, and believed, that the Iraqi (and Afghani) populations would welcome them as the liberators of Europe were welcomed after World War II.  

Even arch-conservatives like Pat Buchanan now accept the awful reality that our American troops have been led, once again, into the Big Muddy, potentially even deeper, if that’s possible, than in Vietnam. Pat and his gang probably didn’t learn all the words to Pete Seeger’s Vietnam-era song about the captain who tried to lead his troops into a swamp and almost drowned them all, but here’s the key verse, as pungently adapted by Scots folkie Dick Gaughn: 

 

“Captain, sir, with all this gear 

No man’ll be able to swim.” 

“Sergeant, don’t be a Nervous Nellie,” 

The Captain said to him. 

“All we need is a little determination; 

Follow me, I’ll lead on.” 

We were neck deep in the Big Muddy 

And the damn fool kept yelling to push on. 

 

In the song, all versions, the captain drowns, the sergeant turns the troops back just in time, and they are saved. Somewhere in our armed forces today there’s a non-com like Seeger’s sergeant, or an officer like the youthful John Kerry, who will be courageous enough to tell Americans that it’s time to get our men and women out of the swamp. The officer on the bus, who confessed his doubts to a motherly acquaintance, was taking a first hesitant step on the path back to solid ground.  

—Becky O’Malley›


Editorial: Start Running Now

Becky O'Malley
Friday May 28, 2004

The next Berkeley City Council race should be shaping up right about now. The first of a series of important dates for potential candidates is today, May 28. This is the first day to take out petitions to file as a candidate without paying a fee. Ordinarily, a candidate running for local office in the City of Berkeley is required to pay a filing fee of $150 at the time he or she takes out nomination papers. However, instead of paying all or part of the fee, a candidate can get signatures of support from up to 150 Berkeley registered voters. Each valid signature reduces the filing fee by $1. The city clerk’s office at City Hall (2180 Milvia St.) has the petition forms, which must be filed at least 15 days prior to the close of the nomination period, which closes Friday, August 6. Candidates who pay the fee can wait until then to file, though they also must collect some signatures to be eligible. The city clerk’s office has ample information on all this in the form of a pamphlet and on the city’s website. 

Only one incumbent (Hawley) has announced her intention of retiring as yet; two candidates have spoken of seeking her seat. As far as the public is aware, the other three incumbents (Breland, Shirek, Olds) are still in the race. However, people who live in those districts should be exploring the possibility of candidacy should their councilmember drop out before August.  

An incumbent’s late departure from the race gives insiders, especially insiders supported by the incumbent, a better chance to succeed. This motivates incumbents who want to continue to retain influence over government to delay announcing that they’re not running as long as possible. This makes it hard for ordinary citizens who don’t like the way things are going in government to consider running for office. Berkeley’s habit of choosing the mayor and councilmembers from the inside track like this has not produced good government lately. 

There’s no better illustration of what’s wrong in Berkeley than the ongoing machinations around the Planning Commission. The commission has recently been packed, by both Mod and Prog mayor and council members, with advocates of super-density, much to the alarm of neighbors of University Avenue and residents of West Berkeley. The crowning outrage was Councilmember Margaret Breland’s unceremonious dumping of West Berkeley Planning Commissioner John Curl—an artisan who supports the West Berkeley Plan—in favor of an outspoken proponent of redeveloping the area which the plan now reserves for light manufacturing and arts. A cursory analysis of the large percentage of mega-developer money in Breland’s campaign contributions in the last two elections could have predicted this outcome, of course, but it’s disheartening to citizens who participate in planning processes in good faith. 

That’s why the question of her replacement, if any, is one that citizens of her district should start taking seriously, and now. Even if Breland runs, University Avenue and West Berkeley residents might want to oppose her. And if she doesn’t run, as seems likely, they should certainly find the right replacement. At least one potential candidate, Peralta College Boardmember Darryl Moore, has spoken privately about his desire to succeed Breland, and he might be a good choice, but district residents should leave nothing to chance, and particularly nothing to back room deals in which they can’t participate. 

Residents of the other two possibly contestable districts might take the same advice. They shouldn’t just sit around waiting to find out who’s going to run, they should be proactively seeking candidates who represent their interests, in case vacancies “turn up” just before the August filing date, as they have a habit of doing. Be prepared, as the Boy Scouts and Tom Lehrer used to say. 

 

—Becky O’Malley›