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Jakob Schiller: 
          Chuck McNally, who was fired from the Berkeley Bowl last year during a union organizing drive, fought his case and will receive a monetary settlement from the store as part of a deal signed between the Berkeley Bowl and the United Food and Commercial Workers Butcher’s Union Local 120.?
Jakob Schiller: Chuck McNally, who was fired from the Berkeley Bowl last year during a union organizing drive, fought his case and will receive a monetary settlement from the store as part of a deal signed between the Berkeley Bowl and the United Food and Commercial Workers Butcher’s Union Local 120.?


Berkeley Bowl Employees Win Right to Unionize By JAKOB SCHILLER

Friday August 06, 2004
Jakob Schiller: 
              Chuck McNally, who was fired from the Berkeley Bowl last year during a union organizing drive, fought his case and will receive a monetary settlement from the store as part of a deal signed between the Berkeley Bowl and the United Food and Commercial Workers Butcher’s Union Local 120.?
Jakob Schiller: Chuck McNally, who was fired from the Berkeley Bowl last year during a union organizing drive, fought his case and will receive a monetary settlement from the store as part of a deal signed between the Berkeley Bowl and the United Food and Commercial Workers Butcher’s Union Local 120.?

More than a year after the organizing started, and nine months after they lost an initial vote to verify the union, Berkeley Bowl employees have won. 

In an agreement reached earlier this week between the Berkeley Bowl and the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Butcher’s Union local 120, the store agreed to officially recognize the union as the employees’ representative in a collective bargaining agreement. The agreement did not involve a vote but was instead negotiated privately between the two s ides.  

As part of the settlement, Berkeley Bowl is also required to “make whole” Arturo Perez and Charles McNally, two workers who were fired during the union organizing drive, “for any loss of wages or benefits they suffered as a result of our terminat ion of them.” Both workers filed unfair labor practice charges with the local National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) because they said they were fired for union organizing. 

“It’s a big step, but there is still a lot of work to do,” said Heine Aridmendi, a worker in produce. Workers now have to sit down with the union and the store and work out a contract, a process that can be drawn out if both sides can’t agree on the terms. 

When contacted, representatives from Berkeley Bowl refused to comment. 

Beside s agreeing to bargain and settling with McNally and Perez, the store is required to post a notice to employees informing them of the settlement and agreeing not to engage in the same behavior that originally forced the union to file the unfair labor prac ti c e charges. 

The settlement agreement comes just days before an administrative law judge was originally scheduled to hear a complaint issued by the NLRB concerning a list of unfair labor practices filed against the store by the union. The unfair labor pr actices included McNally and Perez’s case as well as a number of other claims that the store illegally tried to insure the union lost the vote. 

The NLRB’s decision to issue a complaint meant they found enough evidence to proceed with the union’s clai m and put it before a judge. The complaint was also attached to a bargaining order which would have forced the Berkeley Bowl to bargain while the complaint was adjudicated, a process that can take months. 

According to the union, a bargaining order is rar e ly is sued and was a sign of the severity of the store’s actions during the union drive. Michael Leong, assistant regional director for the local NLRB told the Berkeley Daily Planet when the order was issued that such a step can only be taken when there i s enou gh evidence to prove there is no way to hold another election that would be fair. 

Employees said they are enjoying their win but have already started think about how to ensure they are able to negotiate a fair contract.  

“I feel it’s important th at both sides bargain in good faith and that both sides remain diplomatic,” said Kevin Meyer, a checker at the store. It’s important “that we realize that it’s not adversarial and that we need not only to improve the conditions for the workers but als o to improv e the store as a whole.” 

Workers are also trying to make sure everyone understands the importance of participation in the union. Employees want to make this union stick, unlike a previous union which was decertified at the old Berkeley Bowl b ack in the 1 980s after only one contract term. 

“The important thing is to further cultivate and foster that solidarity that management thought they crushed and use that unity to come out with a good contract that benefits every worker in the store,” said Me yer. 

For McNally and Perez the win is bittersweet. Both said their back-pay settlements (which can’t be discussed because of a privacy clause) will help financially but don’t make up for the illegal actions the store used to fire them. According to the u nio n’s la wyer, David Rosenfeld, neither one is being offered his job back. 

“I really didn’t win, my feeling is that they just paid me off,” said Perez. “They don’t want to feel like they lost. They don’t want to think that I won.” 

”It’s not about a set tlem ent, it’s about justice. Now everybody knows about the Berkeley Bowl and how they work. They would rather lose a million dollars than give the employees benefits.”  

Perez was originally fired because the store alleged he stole garbanzo beans. Employ ees i mmediat ely rose to his defense, countering that he was fired because he was an outspoken union supporter in the store’s produce section. Since being fired, Perez has struggled to support his family, including his wife who needs expensive me dication for h er heart condition. With the help of the union he was hired on as a traveling butcher and now makes union wages. 

In the meantime however, he continued to support the Berkeley Bowl employees and insists that the win means more for them. 

“T he most importa nt for t hing for me is to help [the employees] get a union,” said Perez. “That’s why I got involved.” 

McNally was fired months before Perez, back in June of 2003 for allegedly bribing someone to beat up a fellow worker. Both the union an d fellow employe es disputed the claim, calling McNally a well-known peace activist. They also pointed to the fact that like Perez, he was one of the more vocal supporters of the union. 

Like Perez, McNally said he thinks the win is more important for wor kers sti ll at the store. 

“I think it means a closing of chapter in my and Arturo’s struggle at the Berkeley Bowl,” said McNally. “At the same time it means that we are going to move on and back up the workers that much more.” 


Reports Cite Chill Between Developer, UC Prof Backer By RICHARD BRENNEMAN

Friday August 06, 2004

The alliance between Berkeley’s most controversial developer and the city’s biggest backer of high-density residential buildings has reached an impasse, according to Berkeley City Councilmember Dona Spring. 

Spring said reports have reached her indicating that David J. Teece, a wealthy UC professor and entrepreneur, has withdrawn from backing new projects from Patrick Kennedy and his Panoramic Interests corporation and instead teamed up with Hudson McDonald LLC, a corporation created last October by two former Kennedy affiliates, Christopher J. Hudson and Evan McDonald. 

Kennedy, reached by the Daily Planet Thursday, at first said, “I have nothing to say to you,” then reconsidered. “Go ahead and ask your question.” 

Asked if Teece had severed connections with Kennedy on any further projects, the developer said, “I’m not at liberty to talk about any of my business ventures.” 

Repeated calls to Teece’s office and home phones went unanswered. The secretary at his campus office said Thursday that she had delivered a reporter’s request for a call to the entrepreneurial academic, who was traveling outside the country.  

Developer Hudson requested questions via e-mail, which were submitted early Thursday. He responded, in part: “Hudson McDonald LLC is happy to discuss any of its projects that are completed or are currently under construction. It is generally our policy not to discuss the specifics of our business.” 

Evidence of the realignment may be found in the corporate records for the limited liability corporation formed to develop a proposed high density residential and retail complex at 1950 Martin Luther King Jr. Way. 

According to documents filed with the California secretary of state, the original legal agent for 1950 MLK LLC was Patrick Kennedy. But a check late last month showed a new legal agent—Anne Misaka, who, according to documents filed with Alameda County Recorders Office, holds Teece’s power of attorney. State records also list her as chief financial officer of Teece Investment, one of the UC professor’s many business interests. 

Misaka’s address on the filings—2000 Powell St., Suite 510, of Emeryville—is also the same address and suite cited in filings for the Teece Family Foundation, David J. Teece, CEO. 

The 1950 Martin Luther King Jr. Way property first came into play when developer Avi Nevo’s Aldar Investments bought the property in February, 2001, for $2,650,000. Fourteen months later, 1950 MLK LLC bought the property for $5,700,000, with Kennedy listed as the corporate agent. 

Kennedy announced plans for a five-story, 190-unit apartment on the site, which long housed Grand Auto Supply. The move prompted howls of protest from neighbors and PlanBerkeley.org, who oppose tall, high-density developments along the University Avenue corridor. 

Berkeley City Councilmember Spring said Teece split from Kennedy in the wake of repeated leaks and mold infestation problems at two downtown Berkeley apartment/retail structures, the Gaia Building and the Berkeleyan. 

Kennedy has filed suit against the contractors for both buildings, and papers filed in connection with the Gaia Building place losses at more than $10 million on a structure that cost $12 million to build. 

The split marks the end of a financial juggernaut that literally transformed the face of a city.  

Over a five-year period, the Association of Bay Area Government’s Finance Authority for Nonprofit Corporations backed the Kennedy/Teece partnership by underwriting $72,130,000 in mostly tax exempt bonds, some carrying premium AAA ratings and the rest rated AA. 

The funds were available because ABAG had had found that the city lacked sufficient affordable housing for low-income renters. To obtain the funds, Kennedy had allocated 20 percent of the units in each new project for tenants earning well below the regional median income.  

In chronological order, according to ABAG’s website, the interagency group authorized bond issues—largely tax exempt—for the following Kennedy/Teece projects: 

• $6,000,000 issued on April 1, 1998, for the Berkeleyan. A recorded loan agreement shows that Teece had lent Kennedy $50,000 to initiate the project two years earlier. 

• $4 million on May 18, 1999, to fund the ARTech Building. The corporate address for ARTech Building, LLC, is Suite 510 in Emeryville, the office that houses several of Teece’s corporations. Patrick Kennedy is listed as managing member of the LLC.  

• $15,365,000 on July 25, 2000, for the Gaia Building. Recorded documents list Kennedy, Teece and Reid Martin—former owner of the site—as principals. 

• $10,445,000 on April 4, 2002, for the Acton Courtyard Apartments, with Teece listed as an investor in multiple documents. 

• $8,290,000 on May 1, 2003, to refinance the Berkeleyan, retiring the original issue of five years earlier. 

• $18,000,000 on Dec. 12, 2003, to fund the Fine Arts Building, another Kennedy/Teece project. 

• $6,210,000 on Dec. 12, 2003, to fund the Darling Florist Building. Kennedy and Teece are listed as principals of Touriel Building, LLC, developers of the project. 

• $9,820,000 on Dec. 12, 2003, to fund the Bachenheimer Building. Recorded documents list Kennedy and Teece as principals of the loan recipient, Bachenheimer Building, LLC. 

Each building was formed as a separate limited liability corporation, affording investors protection against losses greater than their investments. Investors can be individuals, partnerships, trusts, estates, corporations, associations, and other limited liability companies. 

The paper trails documenting the projects’ ownerships sometimes took Byzantine turns, illustrated in the case of the new Fine Arts Building. 

The corporate entity for the property, 2471 Shattuck LLC, is named for the property’s address. Corporate filings with the California secretary of state list two members—Patrick Kennedy as manager and Teece Irrevocable Trust No. 3, represented by Norman Laboe, a San Francisco attorney. 

A 2002 ABAG application for conduit financing on the project listed additional members: David J. Teece, “an equity investor living in Berkeley,” and Panoramic Interests employees Evan McDonald and Christopher Hudson. Another 2002 document describes Teece and Kennedy as “key principals.” 

The LLC invested $5 million in the project, against the $18 million in ABAG sponsored bonds. 

For Acton Courtyard Apartments, LLC., documents Kennedy filed in 2002 with the secretary of state list Kennedy, Jubilee Restoration, Inc., and Endurance Investors, LLC, as members. 

ABAG documents list the LLC’s owners as Kennedy, Jubilee and Teece (“an equity investor living in Berkeley”). 

Oddly, despite a rule that all corporations doing business in California must file with the secretary of state, that office reports no records of an Endurance Investors, LLC. But a clue comes from the entity’s address as listed in the documents: 2000 Powell St., Suite 510, in Emeryville—the same address listed by the Teece Family Foundation Teece Investment CFO Anne Misaka. 

Teece’s multi-million-dollar consulting firm, LECG, which is incorporated in Delaware, is housed in an office building on the same floor. The firm’s filings with the California secretary of state list David J. Teece as the firm’s legal agent, with an address of Suite 600 in the 2000 Powell St. building—the same suite and address listed on LECG’s website for their Emeryville office. 

Jesse Arreguin, director of Associated Students of the University of California’s City Affairs Lobby and Housing Commission and a Berkeley Housing Advisory commissioner, has been an outspoken critic of the way student tenants have been treated at the Gaia Building and the Berkeleyan. “I am very concerned about the mismanagement of these properties and the violation of tenants rights,” he said. 

Panoramic Management, the Kennedy firm which operates his apartment/retail buildings, demands that tenants sign documents giving him the right to take monthly rents directly from their bank accounts—depriving them of the option of staging a rent strike. 

“Teece is a professor of the University of California, and he’s supposed to be looking after the welfare of students—yet he’s involved with a developer who treats his tenants unfairly,” said Spring. 

Tenants have complained about construction noise and mold smells emanating from their apartments, and Spring said tenants have told her that extra water charges are imposed on renters who keep complaining about problems at the buildings.

Plans for Massive Richmond Casinos Move Forward at Civic Center Meetings By RICHARD BRENNEMAN

Friday August 06, 2004

Richmond residents turned out in force for two separate meetings at the Civic Center Wednesday night, each dealing with sites for proposed casinos that could turn the East Bay into a haven for gamblers. 

At the Memorial Auditorium, representatives of the federal Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) ran a three-hour scoping session on plans to install a massive 225,000-square-foot in economically stricken and unincorporated North Richmond. 

The 173-member Scotts Valley Band of the Pomo tribe has teamed with a Florida development firm to float plans for a casino tribal chair Don Arnold has predicted would generate $366 million a year in local revenue and create 4,500 new jobs, 2,200 in the casino and 2,300 in local businesses serving the Las Vegas style gaming palace. 

The second meeting, just across the street at the Richmond Public Library, dealt with the status of the Navy’s cleanup of its former refueling base at Point Molate—where a politically connected Berkeley toxics cleanup expert hopes to build yet another, more spectacular casino complex. 

Earlier Wednesday, Sacramento BIA spokesperson Kevin Bearquiver told the Daily Planet that the developer had teamed up with Guidiville Rancheria band of Pomos—which then made the initial approach to the BIA to start the approval process rolling for the Point Molate site. 

“They’re a lot further away from approval” than the North Richmond site, Bearquiver said. 

The Scotts Valley Band casino would house 2,000 slot machines—the most of any gambling parlor west of Las Vegas—plus table games and the inevitable steak house and buffet, plus 3,500 parking spaces. 

Arnold, the head of a landless band of Pomos displaced from their lands in 1958 and relocated by the BIA, is backed by Noram-Richmond, LLC, one of the Maitland, Florida, companies created by Alan Ginsburg, the head of North American Sports Management—a firm which has emerged as a major force in Native American gambling from Florida to Washington state. 

NSV Development, another Ginsburg firm, purchased a 30-acre site adjacent to Parr Boulevard in January. 

Wednesday night’s BIA hearing was a scoping session designed to gather community comments for use in preparing the Environmental Impact Statement on the proposal, said meeting chair and Sacramento BIA Environmental Protection Specialist William C. Allan. 

“The decision will be made by the assistant secretary of Indian affairs based on the environmental impact report, economic and environmental analyses and other factors,” Allan said. 

Physician Henry Clark was first to take the podium. A member of the Environmental Justice Council, the North Richmond Advisory Council and other civic organization, Clark praised the casino as means to improve the quality of life for North Richmond residents by generating jobs and protecting the community from other, more harmful projects. 

Saying he had no evidence of any harmful effects, he said the casino “would be a good project, providing jobs, beautifying the neighborhood and helping the community. Our biggest problem is crime related to drug dealing, and not any casino.” 

Jerry Overaa, co-owner of Overaa Construction, a 97-year-old Richmond firm, questioned “a new Gold Rush” that would place three casinos (the third being the San Pablo Casino) within four miles of each other. 

Overaa was the first of several casino critics to cite statistics of increased crime and family problems associated with casino development. 

Florence Reed Randall, like most of the speakers from North Richmond’s African American community, enthused about project. 

Looking at the tribal chair, she implored, “Mr. Arnold, tear down that trash out there and build us something we can be proud of,” though she did add “please keep your promise” about giving jobs to the community. 

She ended by asking Arnold, “If you put up a quarter machine, please put up a sign: Florence’s Quarter Machine.” 

Most North Richmond residents who spoke scoffed at the notion that the casino could bring problems. 

“A casino can only bring good because of the jobs it would bring,” said Lee Jones, a retired UC Berkeley employee who’s lived in North Richmond for the past four years. “I haven’t read anything that says a casino would bring anything negative,” Jones said, calling the proposal “a godsend.” 

Annie Lee Meredith, a 52-year resident, said, “I am pretty sure there will be a job or part-time job available” for everyone who wants one. . .Everyone I’ve talked to in the community is for it.” 

Ohlone tribal elder Alex Ramirez, who retired from California and moved to Costa Rico 14 years ago, spoke against the casino, citing the dangers of gambling addiction. A gambler himself, he said that before a casino was allowed, the community should “educate the people first with a sense of value” so wage-earners wouldn’t “put your children last in your paycheck.” 

Cara Gregg, a part-owner of Overaa Construction, rattled off a long list of statistics citing increased rates or crime, drunk driving, divorce, child and spousal abuse and other social problems documented following the introduction of casino gambling in jurisdictions across the country. 

Many proponents challenged critics by citing the long neglect of the area by governmental agencies and demanding they offer up something else in place of the casino to make their denunciations credible to the community.  

Meanwhile, in the library across the street, few new details were offered about plans for the $700 million resort planned by Upstream Development, Inc., headed by Berkeley toxic cleanup expert Jim Levine. 

Officials who said they would name the tribe “within a week” obviously hadn’t heard of Bearquiver’s statement.›

Formerly Incarcerated People Fight for Their Rights By JAKOB SCHILLER

Friday August 06, 2004

Star Smith saw her life collapse a few years ago when her partner walked out on her. She was left with a small child and nowhere to go. She immediately applied for welfare and tried to get a job, but hit a brick wall because she had a drug felony conviction on her record.  

She struggled and was able to make it for a time, but her drug conviction came back to haunt her when she applied for financial aid to go to school and was shot down again. 

“What do they want from me? I served my time, I’ve been clean for years,” said Smith, exasperated and in tears. 

Listening to Smith at Oakland’s First Unitarian Church last Saturday was a group of elected officials, community leaders and several hundred community members. They sat shell shocked, fighting back their own tears, as speaker after speaker told stories about how the system has failed to re-integrate “formerly incarcerated people” in any sort of meaningful way. That’s the name event organizers, a group called All of Us or None, prefer to “ex-offenders.”  

The forum, called “The Peace and Justice Community Summit,” was co-sponsored by Alameda County Supervisor Keith Carson. 

All morning and into the afternoon, the group listened attentively to the message speakers asked them to take back into the community and to the state Legislature: the effort to stop the general disenfranchisement of those formerly incarcerated when they return to their communities, which is accompanied by astonishingly high recidivism rates. 

Among those from Berkeley who attended were City Councilmembers Kriss Worthington and Betty Olds, school board member Terry Doran and boona cheema, executive director of Building Opportunities for Self Sufficiency (BOSS).  

According to statistics provided by All of Us or None, 70 to 90 percent of those formerly incarcerated are unemployed in California. The repeat offense rate is currently up to 64 percent. 

To reduce these numbers, All of Us or None has come up with a two tier strategy. They start in the prisons by advocating for fair treatment and training for prisoners. But the majority of the work is done outside, as they try to change policy and law that will help those formerly incarcerated transition back.  

Saturday’s event was the first step in what the groups expects to be a long road towards their eventual goal of legislative reform. By inviting community leaders and elected officials, they hoped to communicate their strategy and increase their lobby power. 

“Why do we constantly cut off our nose to spite our face? What we’ve come here today to do is to ask you when is enough, enough,” said Dorsey Nunn, the founder of All of Us or None. “When will the community forgive us and allow us back in?” 

All of Us or None identified 10 primary goals for the organization but came to Saturday’s meeting to ask for help with four in particular. Those included: an end to discrimination in public employment, benefits and housing services against people with juvenile and adult criminal records; for California to opt out of the welfare and food stamp ban for those convicted of a felony; the implementation of a Bill of Rights for children of incarcerated parents; and a ban on “the felony box” for public employee applications—the requirement that the applicant divulge whether he or she has committed a felony. 

With these targeted goals, All of Us or None hopes to provide formerly incarcerated people with real opportunities to succeed when they get out instead of the $200, bus ticket and referrals currently given to released prisoners. 

According to All of Us or None, 1,500 people are scheduled to return to Alameda County this year alone. 125,000 people return to their communities statewide each year.  

Here in Berkeley, boona cheema said her organization has seen an enormous increase in the number of formerly incarcerated people seeking services because they have no other resources. 

“I would say that 25 to 30 percent [of those served by BOSS] are ex-offenders,” she said. “We have no choice but to engage now and start building alliances with folks that are doing programs for that target [population]. That’s our next wave of homelessness, the shelters are already shifting,” 

For Supervisor Carson, who has worked with All of Us or None since its inception back in 2002, the choice was obvious when he looked at the statistics. 

The current program “is not making us any more safe,” he said. “Any reasonable person [who has seen the statistics] would say, ‘what do we need to do to get it under control?’” 

After several hours of dialogue, elected and community leaders convened in a closed session to come up with their suggestions about how to move forward. After an hour of discussion they presented the main group with a list of primary goals. 

Veronica Arabia, 20, said the event gave her hope. Arabia, who was released from a California Youth Authority (CYA) detention center just recently, is struggling to make her way after two terms behind bars.  

She’s glad All of Us or None is looking to create reform inside the prisons and CYA because she says they’re full of problems. She knows, because while she was in CYA she lost her unborn child after several months of pregnancy because of medical negligence. 

Now that she’s out, she’s been struggling with a drug problem and trying to find a job. She says the day she got out, people on her bus were talking about getting high and she had to struggle to resist. She recently secured a job and is receiving help with her drug problem, but knows that without increased support for the years to come, it will be a continual struggle. 

“I think it’s really messed up that they release us and expect us to make it,” she said, after months or years behind bars and with few or no options to return home to. But, “I don’t want to give them that control of my life ever again. I’m more determined…I don’t want my daughter’s loss to be in vain.” 

“I just want to live normal, I want to be normal.”?

State Toxics Experts Analyzing Report on LBNL Contamination By RICHARD BRENNEMAN

Friday August 06, 2004

The California Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) has launched a six-to-nine-month study of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory’s (LBNL) report on hazardous materials in the soils and groundwater near the lab. 

LBNL’s Corrective Measures Study, the basis of the state review, is currently on file for public inspection at the Berkeley Public Library and at the DTSC’s file room at 700 Heinz Ave. in Berkeley. 

Initial studies in 1991 and 92 found 174 containers, tanks and locations where releases of hazardous substances may have occurred. Eight involved radioactivity and the others involved non-radiological hazardous materials. 

Further studies, released nine years later, determined that only 45 of the sites required further action—concentrations at the other 121 sites being deemed so low as to not require remediation. 

The Corrective Measures Study was launched in June, 2002.  

While public comment won’t be formally solicited until after the agency completes its report, DTSC spokesperson Angela Blanchette said the department will accept public input during their review, and may address issues raised during the process. 

Lora Barrett, the agency’s public participation specialist, can be reached at lbarrett@dtsc.ca.gov or on a tolll-free line at 866-495-5651. 

The DTSC review will determine if the lab’s report is complete and technically accurate. During the next phase, state toxics experts will: 

• Prepare a statement describing the basis of its preferences for site remediation;  

• Prepare an environmental impact document as required by the California Environmental Quality Act; 

• Revise the Corrective Action Section of LBNL’s Hazardous Waste Handling Facility Permit originally issued in 1993. 

When all three documents have been prepared, DTSC will formally solicit public comment, which may be lodged during the following 45 days. 

Berkeley’s Second Homicide Follows 14 Days After First By RICHARD BRENNEMAN

Friday August 06, 2004

Two weeks to the day after Berkeley’s first homicide of the year, a 64-year-old South Berkeley man was gunned down Sunday evening in his apartment at 1820 Alcatraz Ave. 

Samuel Anderson, 64, was killed by a bullet that passed through both arms and his to rso, according to the Alameda County Coroner’s office. 

Mario “Tiptoe” Jackson, the year’s first homicide victim, was gunned down on July 18 behind his grandmother’s apartment at 1317 Ashby Ave.—only seven blocks from the scene of Sunday’s murder. 

City o fficials have posted a $15,000 reward for information leading the arrest and conviction of Jackson’s killer. 

Multiple calls flooded city 911 dispatchers starting at 8:31 p.m. Sunday, said Berkeley Police spokesperson Officer Joe Okies. 

Police arrived mo ments later and began a search, eventually discovering Anderson’s body. Police initially withheld his name pending notification of next of kin, then released it when they determined he had no living relatives. 

Detectives believe the killing may have resulted from a case of mistaken identity. 

Anyone with information on either homicide is urged to contact Berkeley homicide detectives at 981-5741 or by e-mailing tips to police@ci.berkeley.us. Callers and e-mailers may remain anonymous, Okies said. 

Sunday’s murder also prompted a Thursday night community meeting at the South Berkeley Senior Center called by South Berkeley City Councilmember Maudelle Shirek and Berkeley Police. 

A similar meeting followed the Jackson shooting. 

Cities, County Look to November Vote for Funds By J. DOUGLAS ALLEN-TAYLOR

Friday August 06, 2004

California cities and counties have been tightening their belts over the last decade, partly due to raids on their treasuries by the state government. Now, with an historic local-state tax revenue agreement in place and the state’s fiscal year 2004-05 bu dget passed and signed by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, local governments find they must also hold their collective breaths until November. That’s when California voters will decide on a state constitutional amendment—Proposition 1A—that would put restraint s on the ability of the state to shift tax money away from cities and counties.  

“For Alameda County and most of local government, at least it gives us some predictability,” said Alameda County Supervisor Keith Carson (D-Berkeley-Oakland), who was part o f the recent budget negotiations between local leaders and representatives of the Legislature and the governor’s office. “It helps us to do better planning.” 

Carson said the roots of the local-state fiscal problem go as far back as 1992 to the administra tion of Gov. Pete Wilson. “Historically what’s happened is that every single year since then, we’ve put our budget to bed in June, and [the state has] come back much later—sometimes October or November—and taken out money, and we’ve had to reopen up our p rocess and further cut our programs. Not knowing from year to year how much the state was going to take, you don’t know how to budget.” 

The problems deepened in 2002, following the energy crisis, when the projected state budget deficit ballooned to as hi gh as $22 billion. For local governments, the hits from state takebacks became enormous. In the upcoming fiscal year, the City of Richmond will lose $1.6 million in expected state revenue, Berkeley will lose $1.9 million, and Oakland will lose $6.2 millio n. Those losses have already been built into the respective cities’ budgets. 

But in May, Gov. Schwarzenegger announced an agreement worked out with representatives of local governments, including the League of California Cities, in which the local govern ments pledged not to fight $1.3 billion in budget cuts for fiscal year 2004-05, and again in 2005-06. Local government leaders also dropped their support for Proposition 65, which would have blocked the state from taking the $1.3 billion this year and nex t. In return, the governor pledged his support for Proposition 1A in November. 

Under that proposed constitutional amendment, the Legislature could only borrow a limited amount of money from local governments—not seize an unlimited amount outright—could o nly do so twice in a 10-year period, and would have to pay the money back to local governments before borrowing any more. 

Carson thought that was a good trade. 

“Proposition 65 was just going to be headed up by cities, counties, and special districts,” h e said. “We now have the governor and the Democratic members of the Legislature all speaking with the same voice with local government of the importance of the passage of Proposition 1A.” Carson’s chief of staff, Rodney Brooks, said that according to repo rts from Alameda County’s state lobbyist, the “overwhelming majority of the Legislature will be supporting the initiative.” 

That overwhelming majority won’t include at least one local legislator—Loni Hancock (D-Berkeley)—who said she would remain neutral on Prop 1A, calling it “one big diversion” from the need to raise revenues and saying it locks in inequities between local sales and property taxes. 

“If we don’t raise revenues, this state is going to cut, and nip, and tuck until we can’t provide a qual ity of life for anybody,” Hancock said. “1A is a little better than 65 was. It has more flexibility. But it still would put in the state constitution totally inappropriate things like the mix of property and sales tax. It locks in the fiscalization of lan d use by keeping in perpetuity and unchangeably the current incentive for cities to get retail as the major source of their financial security, as opposed to building housing. 

“We should have just defined what revenues should be permanently set aside for cities, and just done that by statute. 

“I think it’s a good thing that the cities have some revenues that the state doesn’t take. That part of [the deal] is fine. I think there should have been more flexibility.” 

But Berkeley’s budget director was pleased with the deal. 

“It stabilizes our fiscal situation, if the proposition passes in November,” Tracy Vesley said. “We lose $1.9 million to the state in ‘05 and ‘06, and 2006 will be another significant deficit year for the City of Berkeley. But by 2007, we will no longer have to transfer that $1.9 million to the state. And through this agreement, the state will reimburse us $1.7 million in lost vehicle license fees from 2004. With that combination, 2007 will definitely be a better year if this whole pac kage comes to fruition.” 

Vesley cautioned that beyond 2007, Berkeley is still facing a structural budget deficit based upon possible rising costs of the California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS). “So we’ll still see some budget concerns in 2008, albeit not as significant as ‘05 and ‘06.” 

Meanwhile, according to Supervisor Carson, the local fiscal bleeding for this year hasn’t stopped, even with the local-state budget deal in place. Carson said that the state legislature is currently debat ing implementation bills to the state budget that could cost county government an additional $15 million from the loss of jail booking fees and reimbursement for mental health services. Carson, who serves as the chair of the County Supervisors Budget Comm ittee, says he has “already called for an emergency meeting of department heads as soon as we know what those new numbers are.”›?

Serial Armed Robber Sought: by Richard Brenneman

Friday August 06, 2004

Berkeley Police are seeking the public’s help in identifying the gunman who has robbed at least 13 business in Berkeley and North Oakland during the past month. 

BPD spokesperson Office Joe Okies said, “Typically, the suspect enters the business, threate ns the clerk with a gun and demands money from the cash register. 

The robber, classified by police as armed and dangerous, is a thinly built 6’ to 6’3” African American about 25 to 35 years old with short cropped hair, typically wearing t-shirts or spor t s jerseys over blue jeans. 

Anyone with information on the crimes should call the BPD Robbery Detail at 981-5742 or e-mail tips to police@ci.berkeley.ca.us. Anonymous information is welcomed. 

—Richard Brenneman

Briefly Noted

Bay City News and City of Berkeley press release
Friday August 06, 2004

Jury Finds Beretta Not Responsible For 

1994 Gun Fatality 

An Alameda County Superior Court jury on Monday found that gun makers Beretta U.S.A. are not responsible for the death of a 15-year-old Berkeley boy killed in a gun accident 10 years ago. 

In the wrongful death suit brought by Griffin and Lynn Dix for their son Kenzo, the prosecution alleged that the Berkeley High School ninth-grader died because his friend and neighbor Michael Soe didn’t know the gun was loaded when he pointed it at Kenzo. 

This was the third time the case has been tried. Jurors in the first trial in 1998 decided by a 9-3 margin that Beretta wasn’t responsible for Kenzo’s death, but an appellate court granted the Dixes another trial because of alleged jurors misconduct. 

The second trial ended in a mistrial last Dec. 23 with jurors deadlocked 6-6 following three weeks of evidence and arguments and four days of deliberations. 

Both sides said on Wednesday that they were pleased with some aspects  

of the trial. 

Jonathan Lowy, co-counsel for the Dixes and senior attorney at the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence, said that while the family is disappointed with the verdict, they are pleased the trial has been able to draw attention to issues with weapons manufacturing. 

Lowy said that numerous gun manufacturers have begun making and selling guns with internal locks—devices “which would have prevented the death of Kenzo Dix and will prevent deaths in similar instances in the future.” 

“When the Dixes filed this suit there were no pistols being made in this country with internal locks and Beretta and other manufacturers ridiculed the idea. Today even Beretta is advertising a model with an internal lock,” Lowy said. 

Additionally, Lowy said that California has enacted a law mandating chamber-loaded indicators, which alert users that a round of ammunition is in the chamber. 

He said the enactment of this law is “largely because of the Dixes’ efforts.” He also said the indicator, like the internal lock, will help to save lives in the future. 

As for the Dixes’ future, Lowy said they are considering whether to appeal the jury’s decision. 

Whether or not they decide to appeal Lowy said, the primary purpose of the lawsuits has been to try to save lives and spare the suffering of other families. 

“They have accomplished this much more than many lawsuits that have had more success in the courtroom,” Lowy said. 

Beretta attorney Craig Livingston expressed sympathy for the Dixes, but said he was satisfied by the jury’s decision. 

“No one, particularly Beretta, has ever suggested that this case was anything other than a parent’s worst nightmare for Mr. and Mrs. Dix. But this was a lawsuit in which the Dixes claimed that Beretta’s firearm caused their son’s death. And that simply wasn’t true, and that’s what the jury concluded.’’  

Livingston disagreed with the idea that the trial is responsible for the trend toward manufacturing guns with internal locking devices. He said the trend is a recent development in the industry, driven in large part by legislation that started in Maryland, where Beretta is based. 

—Bay City News 


West Nile Virus Found in Berkeley 

The presence of West Nile virus was confirmed for the first time in Alameda County today, public health officials reported. 

Three dead birds found in Alameda County have tested positive for the virus. A barn owl and an American crow found in Livermore tested positive, as did an American crow from Berkeley. 

The dead birds reportedly were submitted on July 22, July 27 and July 28 by the Alameda County Mosquito Abatement District to state officials for processing. The Center for Vector-borne Diseases at the University of California, Davis confirmed the presence of the virus today. 

“Despite these findings, the human risk from West Nile virus still is relatively low in Alameda County. By maintaining our sensitive early warning system, we can keep the public well-informed as we monitor the level of human risk in our county throughout the summer and fall,’’ said Alameda County Health Officer Dr. Anthony Iton in a prepared statement. 

The virus is transmitted to humans and animals through mosquito bites. The mosquitoes are infected when they feed on infected birds. 

Most individuals infected with the virus experience no illness, officials say. About 10 to 15 percent have moderate symptoms and less than 1 percent develop serious neurological illness such as encephalitis and meningitis. The elderly and those with compromised immune systems are more susceptible. 

To date, West Nile virus has not been found in humans or mosquitoes in Alameda County. 

“Many city agencies have been preparing for the arrival of West Nile Virus for months. The most important step that residents can take now is to protect themselves from mosquito bites,” said Dr. Poki Stewart Namkung, health officer for the City of Berkeley.  

The public can report birds (crows, ravens, magpies, sparrows, jays) that have been dead for less than 48 hours and show no signs of decomposition to the California Dept. of Health Services' toll-free hotline, 1-877-WNV-BIRD, or use the online reporting form on CDHS’ website www.westnile.ca.gov.  

For information about WNV visit the City of Berkeley at www.cityofberkeley.info/publichealth or contact the City of Berkeley advice nurse at 981-5300. For information about mosquito control, contact the Alameda County Mosquito Abatement District at 783-7744.  


—Bay City News and City of Berkeley press release

An Interview With Michael Lysobey,Democratic Delegate from Berkeley By CHRISTOPHER KROHN

Special to the Planet
Friday August 06, 2004

Sitting far from the main stage and stretching out seemingly forever up the Fleet Center embankment, the 502-person California delegation at the Boston Democratic Convention was impressive in size, even if it was but a distant speck in the context of the swing state mania now sweeping the party. To put it bluntly, the California delegation was not very celebrated at this particular convention. Since the Golden State is not a swing state—Kerry leads by more than 10 points here—the royal treatment was rese rved for Ohio, Pennsylvania, New Mexico, and Iowa. These state delegations were treated with kid gloves during convention week 2004 and were seated almost on top of the speaker’s platform. All of these states are running neck-in-neck in the Bush-Kerry po l ls, and the DNC wanted to send these delegates home feeling like the outcome of the presidency is up to them.  

Some might even say Californians were shunned, but that’s not really the case. The money and people-power California has been providing for t he 21 swing states is enormous. In fact, speaking to California delegates were party favorites like the Rev. Jesse Jackson, Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack, and Sen. Ted Kennedy. They all clearly understand California’s 55 electoral votes as well as its strategic imp ortance.  

Kennedy offered an impassioned, energetic address at the delegation’s breakfast meeting on the last day of the convention. He said a Kerry presidency will take California “very seriously. California represents the future of this country, it’s a special place,” said the one-time presidential candidate and senior senator from Massachusetts. Present at this gathering was Berkeley Kerry delegate, Michael Lysobey, a lawyer and father of a 3-month old girl. The Daily Planet caught up with Lysobey to find out what it was like being a delegate from the now politically lonesome state of California. 


Daily Planet: How did you get to become a delegate for John Kerry? 


Michael Lysobey: My big issue is foreign policy, and last summer I looked at the fiel d of candidates. I felt like we couldn’t have another four years of Bush, so I helped start a group, East Bay for Kerry. I’ve been working on Kerry’s campaign since the beginning. I then ran as a delegate for Kerry last spring, and here I am. 


DP: What ha ve Democrats said that impressed you…any speeches you particularly liked?  


ML: The speech President Carter gave I thought was most powerful. He comes across with moral authority. I think he’s regarded across the board for his honesty and integrity…and he sp oke about how foreign policy needs to be fixed. For him to say President Bush has erred and his misleading the country has left him unable to lead the nation…it’s important for people to hear that. Clinton too was awesome. (Illinois Senate candidate) Bara ck Obama gave an important speech. 


DP: Would you be a delegate again? 


ML: In a heart beat. To me this is truly the democratic process at work…to back someone I believe in personally, to campaign for him and then to end up here gives me hope in the democ ratic process. 


DP: Why is this convention even important? Didn’t everyone know Kerry was going to win the nomination, wasn’t it a done deal? 


ML: It’s a done deal that he’s the candidate, but it’s not a done deal that he can win the presidency. We need t o be here so he can win the presidency. 


DP: What did you do as a delegate in Boston? 


ML: The one thing you have to do is vote for the nominee. You also get special training as a delegate to see what you can do during the campaign…how to be a bett er camp aigner. We have a writer’s bureau, for example. We write op-eds for Kerry and send them to people in swing states so they can use them as templates to write their local newspapers. 


DP: You out there partying every night with delegates? 


ML: Not r eally. They work you pretty hard. There’s stuff going on all the time. I wake up early. 


DP: What’s the most difficult part of being here? 


ML: I have a 3-month old daughter and a wife and it’s hard to leave them. 




Maxine Waters: Seasoned Leader or Leftist Pariah? By CHRISTOPHER KROHN

Special to the Planet
Friday August 06, 2004

Maxine Waters has represented South-Central Los Angeles (includes Gardena, Inglewood, Lawndale, and Hawthorne) for seven terms in the U.S. House of Representatives. She has one of the most liberal voting records in Congress. When Gary Webb of the San Jose Mercury News wrote about the CIA-backed Contra crack cocaine link between Central America and South-Central Los Angeles in the mid-1980s, she held town hall meetings to investigate and took a leading role in searching out the truth. When Haiti’s President Jean-Bertrand Aristede was taken to the Central African Republic recently (Waters says “kidnapped”) she was one of a handful on a plane bound for Bangui, the capital, to rescue the deposed leader. In fact, she was arrested in front of the White House recently while advocating for justice for Haitian refugees and the restoration of democracy in Haiti.  

Waters is in favor of opening full diplomatic relations with Cuba, and she is certain the constitutionally elected president of Venezuela, Hugo Chavez, will win a plebiscite vote later this month. She was a leader in Congress in denouncing South African apartheid, and has been an outspoken critic of George Bush’s war in Iraq. She has called for redirecting money used in the government’s “war on drugs” towards treatment and prevention programs. After the 2000 election debacle in Florida, Congresswoman Waters was named chair of the Democratic Caucus Special Committee on Election Reform. She is also a member of the Judiciary Committee and the Financial Services Committee in Congress. Waters was born in St. Louis, Missouri and is the fifth of 13 children. She graduated from California State University at Los Angeles , began her public service as a teacher in the Head Start program and later served for 12 years in the California State Assembly. 

The Daily Planet caught up with Congresswoman Waters in Boston after a breakfast for California delegates. Former San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown had just given a rousing speech on what the Democrats need to do to win in November. Just “register more voters,” he said.  

Waters talked mostly about what has been a major passion for her during her seven terms in the House of Representatives, foreign affairs. In particular she spoke at length not only about the war in Iraq, but about how a Kerry-Edwards foreign policy might address the ongoing US policy crises in Venezuela, Haiti, and Cuba. 


Daily Planet: With respect to the war in Iraq and the lack of clarity in the official Democratic Party Platform, shouldn’t there be a stronger statement, a plan of some kind, to bring U.S. troops home? 


Maxine Waters: I never had great expectations for the party platform. It is simply a relic of the past, as Willie said this convention is. The platform does not speak to issues that address the concerns of most of the people who make up the Democratic Party. It’s something that’s done that must not be controversial, it must not raise too many questions, it must not challenge the nominee in any way. So I don’t pay any attention to the platform. 


DP: Willie Brown did say that the convention as it is done now has become a relic of the past. How do you think the convention should be done? 


MW: I think Willie opened up a challenge this morning: to begin to think about what you really do to begin to engage people. How do you expand this party? How do you tap into people in a real way…that this (convention) is kind of maybe artificial, that it doesn’t work anymore. Does it talk to young people who are in the hip-hop community? Those are questions that I think have to be on the table. 


DP: If Maxine Waters were writing the platform, with respect to the war, what do you think would be a realistic position that all 50 states could get on board and pass? 


MW: Not so much if I was writing the platform, but as an elected official who cares very much about the direction of this country as it relates to foreign affairs, I think our nominee is challenged with the problem of having to fashion a way for him to stop this war and to bring our men and women home. Say what you will, he must fashion a strategy to do that, and he must learn to articulate that. I think the support is there for that kind of vision, and I am going to continue to push for that. 


DP: What do delegates have, coming away from this convention and moving toward the general election in November? There is simply no guarantee, from the delegates I have talked to, that John Kerry and John Edwards are going to bring the troops home. They don’t have a plan. What do progressives get out of this convention concerning the war? 


MW: That’s our challenge. We have got to nudge and push and fight within our party and with our nominee to make this happen. This attempt to make this party more centrist, more a party that does not talk about the hard issues, of playing to one side or the other… That’s what leadership is about. Leadership has to figure that out. We have to push him (Kerry) to some leadership about how we wind out of this war in Iraq. It has to be done no matter what is said or not said in the platform. 


DP: Any chance he will address withdrawal from Iraq in tonight’s acceptance speech? 


MW: You know I do not have any great expectations that he’s going to surface all of a sudden and surprise us that he’s got a strategy. But I do think the more progressives talk to the media and say that’s our goal, the more possibility we have that it will be a reality before November. 


DP: Do you think Kerry/Edwards will do the right thing in Venezuela, Haiti, and Cuba? 


MW: I think these issues—Haiti, Venezuela, and Cuba—have not been on the minds of the people who are running. I don’t think they are well versed in these issues. I think right now they have been advised what to say and right now our nominee basically said half of the right thing on Haiti, that he supports the democratically elected president. Then he says, but I will do nothing to return him. Well, he is trying to be on both sides on that. We know that they’ve already demonized [President Hugo] Chavez [of Venezuela.] Chavez is going to win on the 15th, no matter what the CIA has done to undermine that government, he’s going to win! As for Fidel, already what the Bush administration is attempting to do to attract the Cuban vote is backfiring. We should be taking advantage of the fact that Bush has come up with policies that are going to hurt families in Cuba…that he is going to deny them the ability to see their loved ones and to travel and to do the remittances in ways that will support people who are poor. So I think we have some opportunities here, on the Cuba issue. I think Chavez is managing to show that he can defy the great efforts of the United States and the CIA, and with Aristede the Lavalas Party is resisting the puppet government in Haiti. The events are going to overtake the Bush administration. 


DP: What do you think are the chances that a Kerry-Edwards administration would return Aristede to Haiti and restore diplomatic relations with the government of Fidel Castro? 


MW: I believe with such a short period of time left in the term of Aristede a structure of fair elections is not going to happen for a while. Some of us are pushing it sooner than later, so that we can get the international elections community involved in designing what this elections process will be. I don’t think we will have an opportunity before his [Aristede’s] term runs out, but I do think that by the end of his term we can have an elections structure in place to make sure the Lavalas Party is involved and that they have an opportunity to win these seats just like the opposition. It’s important that Aristede remain alive and offer some leadership to the Lavalas Party. With respect to Cuba, I think strangely enough the conservative farm community and agricultural community, and those people who see trade as a great possibility, are going to be in the leadership in helping to normalize relations with Cuba. It’s very interesting the so-called Lefties have been on the point of trying to do this, but really it has been this conservative movement of the agriculturalists that has moved it to where it is now, where we have some trade going on.ô

COMMENTARY Searching for the Democrats: Candidate Kerry By BOB BURNETT

Special to the Planet
Friday August 06, 2004

This is the last of three articles summarizing my impressions of the Democratic convention. Here I compare John Kerry to George Bush (Kerry’s speech is at www.johnkerry.com/pressroom/speeches/spc_2004_0729.html). 


Several weeks ago I heard political co lumnist Molly Ivins, interviewed on NPR. A caller inquired whether she thought President Bush was stupid. Ivins responded to the effect that she didn’t, but rather that she thought of him as someone who has a narrow set of interests. She observed that Bu s h is interested in politics, and therefore highly motivated as a campaigner. Unfortunately, she quipped in her characteristic Southern drawl, his interests do not extend to governance. 

I mention this because while presidential campaigns often deterior a te into popularity contests, they should be about who can actually do the job. If voters had studied Bush’s record before 2000, we would have seen that he had little apparent interest in governance; his executive experience, both in the private sector a nd a s governor of Texas, was as someone who served primarily as a figurehead, rather than as a hands-on boss. 

So, when voters decide whether we will cast out ballots for George Bush or John Kerry, we should be making a determination as to which candidate can actually get things done. After the Democratic convention we know a lot more about John Kerry, and we already know a lot about George Bush—more than we want to know—so here’s a little quiz: Which candidate is most likely to accomplish these things? Withd raw troops from Iraq while providing a lasting framework for peace; strengthen homeland security; revamp intelligence services; rebuild global military alliances; participate in global treaties protecting the environment and worker rights; reduce th e budg et deficit; create decent jobs; provide comprehensive health-care insurance; guarantee a woman’s right of choice; and protect civil liberties for all citizens (to mention just a smattering of the important issues in this election). 

The Kerry progr am, “to make America stronger at home and respected in the world,” is a blending of key national security initiatives and a new populism. Kerry seeks to convince the electorate that he will be a better commander-in-chief than Bush, “I will restore trust a nd cred ibility to the White House,” and that he will represent all the people, not just the rich and powerful. 

Most readers will remember the famous Who anthem of the ‘60s, “We Won’t be Fooled Again,” which contains the sardonic line, “Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.” How do we know that John Kerry will actually be different from George Bush, that he will be, as he claims, “the real deal”? I believe we can find the answer by looking at three aspects of his campaign: who his advisers are, what h e says, and what his reputation is. 

George Bush relies upon guys like Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, and John Ashcroft; his campaign adviser is Karl Rove and his wife is Laura Bush. John Kerry relies upon folks such as John Edwards, Max Cleland, and Teddy K ennedy; his campaign adviser is Mary Beth Cahill, and his wife is Teresa Heinz Kerry. One of the most interesting comparisons is that of the two wives: Laura Bush appears content to silently support her husband and to suppress her own opinions (such as fa voring a woman’s right of choice). Teresa Kerry is an outspoken environmental activist and champion of women’s rights. In summary, Kerry surrounds himself with strong people who have genuine liberal credentials. 

John Kerry has based his campaign not only on a sensible foreign policy, to restore “America’s respect and leadership—so we don’t have to go it alone in the world,” but also on strengthening the social fabric that supports our democracy: “It is time for those who talk about family values to s tart valui ng families.” In the long run, Kerry’s speech may be remembered not for its specific initiatives, but for the fact that he urged Democrats to reclaim core American values and symbols: love of country, the American flag, patriotism, “Honor thy fathe r and thy mother,” “hard work and responsibility,” “opportunity for all,” and religious faith. Indeed, historians may cite his speech for one particular line, “I don’t want to claim that God is on our side. As Abraham Lincoln told us, I want to pray humbly that we are on God’s side.”  

A sociologist once remarked that there are only three kinds of politicians: prophets, radicals, and bureaucrats. Using this categorization, George W. Bush belongs in the middle category, as he is a conservative, theocr atic radical, someone who has taken very extreme ideas—going it alone in the world, looting the nation’s future, crushing the barrier between church and state—and ruthlessly pursued them. 

Democrats need a candidate who will both identify Bush’s radicalis m and rally the party. When Kerry launched his acceptance speech with the words, “I’m John Kerry and I’m reporting for duty,” he signaled that he is ready to lead the party with the same fighting spirit that characterized his resistance to the war in Vietnam. America stands at the brink of the most dangerous period our nation has experienced since the Civil War, and this election will probably determine the course of our democracy for decades. Democrats need a fighter to lead them, and John Kerry appears to be the ma n for the job. 





Special to the Planet
Friday August 06, 2004

So, you invited a bunch of Democrats to town. They came, they convened, and they went. Was it successful? Did the Dems do what they needed to do? Where do they go from here? Here are some observations by a totally non-objective bystander about where the Democrats came from, where they were at the Boston convention, and where they are going next.  

What yardstick are successful conventions judged by? It seems to be a moving one. Some say network coverage: only three prime time hours for this one. Some say it is the absence of major gaffes: none here. Others will talk about the “bounce” factor: Zero to eight percentage points for Kerry, depending upon which poll is used. Here are some good, some bad, and some ugly interpretations of what actually happened last week in the former English colony. (Apologies to Sergio Leone.) 


The Good 

• Virtually everyone—delegates, protesters, swing Boston voters, everyone—fell into line behind the former “presumptive nominee,” now nominee, John Kerry. Unity like this has not been seen within the party in over 50 years. 

• Since the rhetorical/charisma bar was set so low for nominee Kerry, he just about hit a home run…okay, okay he wound up on third base and really did, at least, hit a triple, unlike some Bushes of a bygone era. 

• No Democratic Party food fights were in evidence on the convention floor this week. There was only one minor protest—Medea Benjamin’s “No War in Iraq”—and it was covered up fast by party officials. 

• No street demonstrations to speak of, which means, can you spell N-Y-C? 

• A Band of Sisters has become a major force within the Democratic Party and it was evident in a big way at this convention. Nancy Pelosi could be next speaker, Emily’s List continues to be a powerhouse funder for women candidates, and there are now nine female senators. Rising female star to watch: Jennifer Granholm, governor of Michigan 

• The democratic wing of the Democratic Party is alive and well represented by: Rep. Dennis Kucinich, Rev. Jesse Jackson, Rev. Al Sharpton, Rep. Maxine Waters, Rep. Barbara Lee, and yes, even Tom Hayden was seen rabble-rousing inside and outside of the convention. Illinois Senate candidate Barack Obama should be a part of this group, but is not…yet. 

• In his acceptance speech John Kerry did not back away from the war Ronald Reagan called “a noble cause.” He owned up to the fact that Vietnam was bad, real bad for this country. 

• The Vets for Peace Convention, Boston Social Forum and “Take Back America” seminars drew hundreds of party activists, loyalists and malcontents. They focused on how to lobby Kerry once Bush gets his walking papers back to Crawford. 


The Bad 

• A potential crisis was averted in Teresa Heinz Kerry’s “shove it” remark to a conservative newspaper editor from Pittsburg. Shelf life of comment: 18 hours. 

• Looking very un-presidential, Kerry’s “bubble boy” picture (in clean room garb) ran in the local papers for two days, hearkening back to Michael Dukakis’s photo in a tank. Kerry’s advisors were holding their collective breath for days. 

• The lavish, at times gluttonous, Democratic Party party scene was doing its best to out-republican the Republicans’ penchant for conspicuous consumption. 

• Demo platform statement was a somewhat useless all-things-to-all-people document, going all the way from embracing SUV drivers to wishy-washy language on the war in Iraq. 

• Convention looked good on television, but was anyone watching? 


The Ugly 

• Kerry rushed through his acceptance speech because network TV was pulling the plug at 11 pm…preposterous! 

• Carole King and Willie Nelson are great, but come on! How is the party ever going to attract the under-40-somethings? New, younger blood is badly needed in the Dem Party...both Maxine Waters and Willie Brown talked this one up. 

• Kerry unveiled no plan to withdraw U.S. troops from Iraq; this is potentially his greatest post-convention mine field with swing as well as base voters. 

• Insecurity x fear = secure insecurity. Are Dems falling into the Bush trap on questions of war an d peace? If the thousands of police and Fort Fleet Center security were any indication, the only fear we have to fear is our own collective ability to define what real security is. So far we are looking pretty afraid, but it’s not clear of what. Politicia ns like power and the more our constitutional rights are eroded the more powerful a few become, and the more difficult it is to wrest back our rights. This was in evidence everywhere in Boston: more than 3,000 cops with water canons and helicopters and only five convention-related arrests in five days. Thank goodness the “cage,” the so-called “free speech” area, was roundly criticized and ignored by all serious protesters. One hopes New York City was watching. 


Penultimate Pundit Ponders Interconvention Tension By PETER SOLOMON

Friday August 06, 2004

It’s a tough game, newspaper reporting, especially when you want to be meaningful. But sometimes you get lucky.  

This morning, sitting at a bus stop near our office, I recognized—despite a clever disguise—none other than Mark Chain, the Penultimate Pundit.  

“Waiting for the 43?,” I asked, sitting down next to him. But the sharp-eyed analyst remembered me. 

“You’re with the Daily Planet,” he snapped. “You don’t take buses any more than I do.” Clearly, he was working undercover, seeking an ordinary citizen. However, after some flattery, he reluctantly agreed to an interview, on the condition that I not reveal his disguise. 

DP: You seem a little low. Do you have the interconvention blues? 

MC: No—it’s a good time of year pundit wise. We have post-convention momentum or “bounce,” and preconvention excitement, and razor thin margins and last minute voters and all that stuff we keep barrels full of.  

DP: And how do you see things?. 

MC: Too close to call.  

DP: Neck and neck? A dead heat? A real race? 

MC: Did I say that? No. Too close to call. You want to know why it’s too close to call? 

DP: Why is it too close to call? 

MC: That’s a good question. It’s too close to call because otherwise there wouldn’t be any need for strenuous, costly campaigning, with lots of premium priced cash-only newspaper and television advertising, no need for extensive coverage brought to you by, and—worst of all—no need for pundits. Even a subpundit can figure this out, so we always say it’s too close to call. 

DP: So you’re not blue. How about the Greens? 

MC: Greens are best cooked as lightly as possible. Boiling can wash away important nutrients. 

DP: No. I mean the party. 

MC: Oh, they’re a dead giveaway at a party. If you see chunks of iceberg lettuce with orange colored sauce on it, get out—you’re in the wrong place. And if they’re serving that little frizzly stuff that sticks in your throat, they probably expect you to write a big check. 

DP: No, no. I mean the Green Party—they back Ralph Nader. 

MC: Don’t show on my radar screen, I can tell you that. Let me check—Vegetarian Party, Prohibition Party, American Independent Party, Peace and Freedom Party, Hopewell Party of Eight. . . nope. Did you know that if Ralph Nader’s middle initial was “X” his name would be a perfect anagram for Red Phalanx? 

DP: Did you know that if you take the “n” out of “pundits” it’s a perfect anagram for “stup. . . “. . 

MC: But we never take the “n” out – we use as many n words as we can; it’s part of the Pundits’ Creed. 

DP: The Pundits’ Creed? 

MC: Well, since you asked 

Nonvoters need new names 

Never negate nuclear neighbors 

nor nonplus nubile naysayers..  

Not nodding, not napping 

Never nugatory. 

Nimbly neologizing!  

Pundits! Pundits! Rah! Rah! Rah! 

DP: I think that’s my bus coming. 
















David Teece: Big Building Backer, Academic Guru, Political Power Player and a Corporate Tycoon By RICHARD BRENNEMAN

Friday August 06, 2004

The New Zealand government calls him an “economics rock star” and Accenture, the global management consulting and outsourcing giant, named him one of the world’s top 50 business intellectuals. 

To businesses across the globe, David J. Teece is a powerful advocate for hire, heading the Law and Economic Consulting Group, LECG, a prestigious consulting firm based in Emeryville with powerful connections and top-notch talent. 

In his native New Zealand, he’s the man behind a $400 million venture capital firm partly funded by Bahraini petrodollars from an Islamic bank and the head of a sports clothing manufacturer. 

In academic circles, he’s best known as a leading light of UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business, where he holds the Mitsubishi Bank Chair in International Business and Finance and serves as director of the Institute of Management, Innovation and Organization. 

In Russia, he’s been honored for his central role in founding that nation’s first major league academic business school at the University of St. Petersburg. 

And in Great Britain, according to a December, 1999, New Yorker article, Teece is credited as a key figure behind Prime Minister Tony Blair’s economic policies. 

But for those who live and work in Berkeley, one of Teece’s least-known roles literally overshadows all the rest, transforming the face of a city. 


The Kennedy Connection 

Before today, anyone who entered “Patrick Kennedy” “Teece” and “Berkeley” into Google would discover that, after searching its 4,285,199,774 cyber pages, the Internet search engine responded: “Your search did not match any documents.” 

But consider the case of the Fine Arts Building, the nearly completed pale pastel green pseudo-Moderne structure at the corner of Haste Street and Shattuck Avenue. 

Though signs on the property refer to Panoramic Interests, Kennedy’s development company, the property is owned by 2471 Shattuck LLC—the initials meaning “limited liability corporation,” a partnership arrangement in which the partners have the legal protections of corporate investors who can’t lose more than the amount of their investments. 

The California secretary of state’s office is the official repository for corporate and partnership filings. An online check with their database reveals that 2471 Shattuck LLC is headquartered at 1910 Oxford St. No. 505 in Berkeley, and that the corporate legal agent is Patrick Kennedy. 

Only in the corporate statement of information, a document not available online, does the Teece name appear. 


A Matter of (a) Trust 

2471 Shattuck LLC, the document reveals, is managed by Kennedy, and the sole listed member is Teece Irrevocable Trust No. 3—irrevocable trusts being legal instruments which allow the wealthy to avoid inheritance taxes on their estates. 

Trustee for the trust is Norman Laboe, a San Francisco attorney with offices at 1 Post St. His firm, MacKenzie & Albritton, represents major corporate clients, including telecoms—frequent seekers of Teece’s sympathetic advice (Teece has been an outspoken proponent of deregulation). 

David J. Teece and his trust have provided the connections, cash and insight that led to the erection of Fine Arts Building and other controversial structures—two of them, the Gaia Building and the Berkeleyan, just a walk across Oxford Street from the UC campus.  

But the Kennedy/Teece connection, rumored to be strained in recent months, has lapsed, according to City Councilmember Dona Spring and other sources, and save for his already existing involvements in Kennedy projects, Teece has reportedly switched allegiances. 

Teece’s new partners, they say, are Chris Hudson and Evan McDonald—former Kennedy staffers who launched their own firm last October. What the loss of his principal backer means to the controversial Kennedy remains to be seen. 


From Kiwi to Bear 

Teece grew up in Nelson, New Zealand, and attended Waimea College before starting his economics studies at Canterbury University in 1967, earning both a bachelor’s degree and a master’s in communication. 

He moved to the United States to earn his doctorate at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. 

After teaching at Stanford from 1975 to 1982, he became, at 34, a full professor at UC Berkeley in 1982. 

According to his resume as posted on UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business web site, Teece serves on the board of The Atlas Funds and has also served on the boards of Giltronix Inc. (1985-90) and Innovative Concepts Inc. (1989-92). 

Teece remains closely involved with his native land. In 2001, he and two fellow New Zealanders funded and founded the Kiwi Expat Association for business and professional experts, and he is active in the New Zealand Trade & Enterprise Silicon Valley Beachhead Advisory Board. 

According to the New Zealand Herald, Teece also holds a majority interest in Canterbury International, a manufacturer of Rugby jerseys.  


Venture Capitalist 

But his most substantial ties come through I-CAP, New Zealand’s largest venture capital firm, which Teece and two partners founded in 1999. 

Short for International Capital Partners Ltd., the Auckland-based I-CAP currently manages some $400 million in funds from office in New Zealand, Emeryville, Great Britain and Bahrain, according to the firm’s website (www.i-cappartners.com). 

I-CAP boasts an exceptionally well-connected advisory board. Consider Mike Moore, who has served as both New Zealand Prime Minister and as director-general of the World Trade Organization—which he headed at the time of the Seattle riots four years ago. Ruth Richardson is a former Minister of Finance and Graham Scott once served as treasury secretary. The board’s lone American is Teece’s UCB colleague Professor Laura Tyson, former national economic advisor to the Clinton Administration. 

I-CAP manages five funds, including one based in Ireland—i-cap private equity fund plc. 

The Kuwait Finance House-Bahrain, founded in 2002, is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Kuwait Finance House, a $3 billion bank founded on the principles of Shari’ah (Islamic law). The Bahraini bank put up $100 million for I-CAP ’s New Zealand Australia Private Equity Fund, which finances growth and expansion for companies whose endeavors are compliant with Islamic law. 


Emeryville Cash Cow 

But it’s the Emeryville consulting firm that’s been Teece’s biggest cash cow. As of Dec. 31, 2003, according the firm’s annual report filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Teece owned outright 1,288,125 shares of stock worth $38,641,181 at the New Year’s Eve closing price of $22.89 per share. 

He also held exercisable stock options worth $8,228,750 and held options on another 515,625 shares which he could exercise within 60 days of Feb. 27, 2004. 

In addition to stock—listed on NASDAQ as XPRT—Teece collected a handsome paycheck for his LECG chairmanship in 2003 totaling $2,405,255 in salary, bonuses and other compensation. He collected another $669,109 five months ago.  

By the end of March, LECG boasted 752 employees and independent contractors with exclusive relations to the firm, and had opened new offices in London, Brussels and Madrid. 

One of his best known consultants is I-CAP board member Laura Tyson, and last month the firm announced the addition of a bevy of new experts, including Dr. Richard Schlamensee, dean of the Sloane School of Management at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a member of the President’s Council of Economic Advisers under the first George Bush, as well as other experts with high level federal and private experience. 

According to a July 29 web report posted by the American Prospect magazine, Tyson is one of Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry’s three key economic advisors. 

A one-time skeptic of the free trade agenda, she has become a born again free trader and a critic of infusing environmental concerns into the agenda of the World Trade Organization, reports Matthew Yglesias. 

His report quotes Tyson as telling members of the National Democratic Institute that “a Kerry-Edwards Administration will continue the great American tradition of leading the way on global economic integration.” 

Though the current share value hovers around $16, in part because of a series of recent acquisitions, Teece remains one of the wealthiest of Berkeley residents. 

Until the second quarter of 2003, LECG was a limited liability corporation, which meant that the company paid no corporate income taxes. 

Another corporate affiliate is LECG Funding Corporation.  

Both the consulting and funding firms are Delaware corporations, with Teece as legal agent with an address of 2000 Powell St., Suite 600, in Emeryville. 


Home Enterprise 

According to LECG’s 2003 annual report, Teece also owns a 40 percent share of Enterprise Research Inc. A search of the Internet turned up no information on the business, and a check of the California secretary of state’s corporation registry listed the business as an active corporation with a mailing address that turns out to be Teece’s home above the Claremont Hotel in the Berkeley Hills. 

Financial transactions on Teece’s Berkeley Hills properties have involved: 

• The Teece Irrevocable Trust No. 3 (administered by San Francisco attorney Laboe);  

• The Defined Benefit Pension Plan of Enterprise Research; 

• The Money Purchase Pension Plan of Enterprise Research; and 

• Teece Investment (managed by CFO Misaka from a fifth floor office in the Emeryville building which also houses LECG). 

As of 2003, Misaka also holds the professor’s power of attorney in financial affairs and litigation.  

The County Assessor’s office values Teece’s Tunnel Road property at $1,676,181, with structures alone valued at $918,792. An adjacent lot is valued at $593,406. 

There’s also a Teece Family Foundation incorporated in December 1998, also headquartered in the Emeryville building next door to Teece Financial. 

According to published accounts, Teece was one of five present and former Haas professors who gave the school a combined $1 million in 200O to use in attracting top students. 


Political Power Player 

Teece and his spouse, Leigh, are deep-pocket political contributors. From 1999 to 2003, they gave $27,756 to the congressional campaigns of Republican Tom Campbell (now Dean of UCB’s Haas School of Business), $5,000 to the unsuccessful 2000 bid by Republican Claude Hutchinson to unseat Walnut Creek Congressional Rep. Ellen Tauscher, $2,500 to the Republican National Committee and $750 to George W. Bush’s 2000 presidential campaign. 

Recent state level contributions included $2,500 for the Don Perata Committee, $100 for the 2000 school voucher referendum, $770 for the Republican Lincoln Club of Northern California and $1,000 for the Phillips for Assembly committee. 

Interestingly, he listed his occupation as a self-employed developer for his Perata donation, as a consultant for Enterprise Research for the school voucher campaign and as a UC professor for his Lincoln Club largesse. 

The Teeces also gave the maximum allowable $1,000 to Berkeley City Councilman Gordon Wozniak for his campaigns in the 2002 election and run-off. 

But their most memorable contribution was an event the Teece’s threw at the Tunnel Road estate for Shirley Dean in October, 2002. Guest of honor for the political soiree was Oscar/Tony/Emmy-winning actress Rita Moreno, who received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from George Bush on June 23 of this year. 

Teece is one of a number of local individuals and organizations—including Panoramic Interests—who hold a combined $240,000 note on Berkeley’s Eco House. Teece and Panoramic each lent $10,000, and Zoning Adjustments Board member and realtor Laurie Capitelli and his spouse Marilyn lent $15,000. 

In making his donations, Teece variously describes himself as a UC professor, a self-employed Berkeley developer and as a consultant for Enterprise Research. 


Expert Witness, Corporate Advocate 

Like many academics, Teece also generates income from offering his expertise to lawyers. He played leading roles in two major cases involving corporate giants. 

The recording industry giants sought him four years ago when they launched their war on Napster, the free music-sharing program that 17 corporations from A&M Records to Warner Bros. Records feared would fatally impact CD sales. 

U.S. District Court Judge Marilyn Hall Patel cited Teece’s testimony repeatedly in ruling for the recording giants. 

Teece also provided critical testimony earlier this month in a federal anti-trust case federal case challenging Oracle software’s fight to devour PeopleSoft. 

Justice Department lawyers argued that the merger would reduce the number of companies providing high-end software for running major corporate and institutional financial and human resources divisions from three to two. 

While the feds argued that a costly takeover would lead to higher prices, Teece disagreed, telling the court such a move would be “so fundamentally contrary to the economics of this industry” that a price hike “would be shooting themselves in the foot.” 

Tobacco peddlers R.J. Reynolds and Philip Morris retained Teece to defend their business practices when they were sued in late 1999 by 40-year-old terminally ill lung cancer victim Lesley Whiteley. In March 2000, jurors awarded her $1.72 million in compensation and $20 million to punish Big Tobacco.  

The companies appealed, and in April of this year, the state Court of Appeal sent the case back for retrial in San Francisco Superior Court. 

Teece and his colleagues at his UC Institute of Management, Innovation and Organization issued a series of manifestos in the wake of the 2000 state electric crisis calling for downsizing and streamlining regulations and regulators and a return to market pricing. 

Teece’s expertise also won him a seat on the board of directors of Atlas Assets, Inc., the investment arm of Oakland-based Golden West Financial Corp., parent of World Savings & Loan. 

His involvement led to troubles for the firm after the Securities and Exchange Commission passed a requirement in 2002 mandating that the majority of directors in a fund consist of individuals without a financial involvement. 

Because one of Teece’s family trusts held a quarter-million dollars worth of shares, the feds determined a year later that Atlas was in breech of regulations. 

According to SEC filings, Teece sold his shares on July 29, 2003, but nine months’ worth of investor dividends were embargoed in an escrow account until the legal snafu was resolved.?

UnderCurrents: The Amazing Ending to the Brown-Barzaghi Story by J. DOUGLAS ALLEN-TAYLOR

Friday August 06, 2004

Last week, we talked about how Mayor Jerry Brown got himself stuck on the Tarzaghibaby…that dilemma in which he was running for California attorney general while dragging the sexual harassment of his longtime aide and confidante, Jaques Barzaghi. This we ek: the miraculous unstucking. 

On Saturday, July 17, the Oakland Tribune headlined the story: “No Charges In Mayoral Aide’s Dispute.” Four days earlier, “Aisha Barzaghi [the wife of Mayor Brown aide Jacques Barzaghi] called 911 and told police her husban d had tried to push her down a flight of stairs during a heated argument,” the Tribune reported. “At the mayor’s direction, police Chief Richard L. Word personally responded to the Barzaghi home…along with…Word’s chief of staff, and two officers and anoth er sergeant.” 

“Barzaghi didn’t get any special treatment, I made sure of that,” the Tribune quoted Mr. Brown as saying. (Yes, of course. Every accused wife batterer in Oakland gets the personal attention of the police chief.) Anyway, no charges were file d, we were told, because Mrs. Barzaghi declined to do so, and it was determined by police that she had no injuries. 

On the following Tuesday, July 20—a week after the alleged incident at the Barzaghi house—the Tribune reported that Mr. Brown had fired Mr. Barzaghi, the man who had been his friend, advisor, confidante and constant companion for 30 years. And thus, quite miraculously, the single greatest impediment to Mr. Brown’s 2006 run for California attorney general had been swept away. Amazing. 

In ea rly 2001, you might remember, Mr. Barzaghi had been suspended for 17 days by the city and forced to take counseling courses because of his sexual harassment of city employees, some of which allegedly took place during a trip to Mexico City. But he remaine d—for all outward appearances—in the mayor’s confidence, keeping his city job, continuing as the mayor’s bodyguard and aide, and continuing to live in the mayor’s Second Street home, staying there after the mayor later moved out to live with his girlfrien d over on Telegraph Avenue. 

That’s where the problem came in. Mr. Brown couldn’t bring that baggage with him into the attorney general’s election. But dumping Mr. Barzaghi now—this close to the election—would have looked like mere political expediency fo r Mr. Brown. And politicians can’t afford to look expedient. 

Thus, the domestic dispute incident at the Barzaghi home seemed like a miracle—a gift from the political gods to Mr. Brown. Sexual harassment is bad, but wife-beating is badder. By firing Mr. B arzaghi after accusations of attacking his wife, it wiped away any stain Mr. Brown might have had for not firing him immediately after the sexual harassment findings. And so an issue which seemed likely to sink Mr. Brown’s chances for attorney general sud denly was no more. 

You might think I’m cynical, but me, I’m suspicious of political miracles. And so, a couple of concise questions. 

Who called the mayor, and when? 

The Tribune reports that Aisha Barzaghi called 911 and then, sometime later, Chief Word personally responded “at the mayor’s direction.” So who called Mr. Brown, and when? Mrs. Barzaghi? Mr. Barzaghi? Someone in the police department? It’s perfectly understandable—given Mr. Barzaghi’s volatile nature, his political connections, and the fact that he legally carries a concealed pistol—that police would want to be extra cautious in responding to a domestic violence call to his home. But why, then, wouldn’t the police themselves contact their chief directly? Mystery. Mystery. 

How did the repor ters find out, and when? 

The domestic violence incident at the Barzaghi house took place on Tuesday, July 13. The article didn’t appear in the Tribune until Saturday, the 17th. If the Tribune reporters discovered the incident on their own, why did it tak e them so long to either discover it or to report the story? And if somebody called them, who? And why? Another mystery. 

In any event, it has not taken long for the subtle spin to begin. On July 25, the Los Angeles Times reported the Barzaghi firing unde r the clever headline “That Was Zen, This Is Now.” 

“Neither Brown nor Barzaghi has spoken publicly about the split,” the Times story goes. “Friends said that Brown, who has announced plans to run for state attorney general, could no longer afford to have his old friend on the city payroll. He had already suspended Barzaghi once and reduced his salary after a sexual-harassment allegation [emphasis added].” The Los Angeles newspaper quoted an unnamed “mutual friend in the Oakland arts community” (who might that be?) as summing up the best possible case for the mayor, stating that “as a result of the Mexico fallout, Jacques’ influence was already seriously weakened. The domestic problems were the final blow.” 

Add this all up, and it sounds like instead of Mr. Brown covering up a political scandal, it appears as if he took prudent, measured steps to solve an escalating problem, ending with the reluctant firing of an old friend when the situation finally went over the top. 

But those of us who were hanging a round Oakland City Hall in 2000-01 might find the Times analysis a little puzzling. Mr. Barzaghi kept a low profile after the sexual harassment scandal, true, but where is the evidence that his influence over the mayor was “seriously weakened?” The report s I was getting at the time were that the Brown/Barzaghi alliance was pretty much business as usual. 

Regarding the “revelation” of Mr. Brown being the one to mete out the discipline back in 2001: The Tribune reported in the summer of 2001 that it was for mer City Manager Robert Bobb who wrote the suspension letter to Mr. Barzaghi, with no mention of Mr. Brown. 

As to the reduction of Mr. Barzaghi’s salary…well, that’s a more difficult one to figure. In December of 2000, around the time the harassment char ges were swirling, the San Francisco Chronicle reported that “officially, Barzaghi is Brown’s ‘senior adviser’ and co-director of the city’s craft and cultural arts department, for which he is paid $114,000 a year.” In August of 2001, in its article revea ling the Bobb suspension letter, the Oakland Tribune reported that “Barzaghi currently earns $126,000 a year as Brown’s senior adviser, but Brown said this week his salary is being re-evaluated now that his role in the Craft and Cultural Arts Department i s only informal.” That fits in with my memory of that time, from a phone call to the City of Oakland Personnel Department, that Mr. Barzaghi actually got a raise following the harassment charges. In any event, by December of 2001, Chronicle columnist Chip Johnson wrote that Barzaghi had left the Craft and Cultural Arts Department, and was working as “director of building and planning” in the mayor’s office at a salary of $118,000 a year. Quién sabe? On this point, confusion continues to abound. Both the O akland Tribune and the Los Angeles Times now report that Mr. Barzaghi was making $89,000 a year at the time of his firing last month; the Chronicle puts his final salary at $114,000. 

We might have been able to check up on Mr. Barzaghi’s actual salary dur ing these periods except that—just before the events that led to Barzaghi’s firing—the City of Oakland ended its long-time policy of revealing the salaries of individual employees. How fortuitous for Mr. Brown… 

Anyway, we are left with three possible exp lanations of the events surrounding the firing of Mr. Barzaghi. One is that this all a terrible Greek tragedy played out as described in the press…the mayor—reluctantly—forced by circumstance to fire his old friend after giving him several chances. Or you can take the view that Mr. Barzaghi was set up—by the mayor himself, or someone close to the mayor—in order to get Mr. Barzaghi out of the way in time for the AG’s race.  

The third possible explanation? That there is no split at all—that the whole Secon d Street incident was planned by Mr. Brown and Mr. Barzaghi together, and that the two men will re-emerge publicly as friends following the 2006 elections. No charges were filed against Mr. Barzaghi, after all, and therefore he will apparently suffer no h arm from the domestic violence accusations. In fact, the whole incident enhances his carefully cultivated macho image. 

Miracle, set-up, or conspiracy. Either way, a sticky problem is removed, and Bro’ Brown is free of the terrible trap of the Tarzaghibaby. Amazing. Truly amazing. 


From Susan Parker: A Tireless Disabilities Advocate Ships Out

Friday August 06, 2004

When my husband had a bicycling accident 10 years ago and became wheelchair bound, unable to move below the shoulders, besides going crazy I also went in search of help. I didn't know anyone personally with his kind of injury, C-4 quadriplegia. I had find advice and resources any way that I could. It wasn’t easy. 

The hospital released Ralph from rehab nine weeks after his accident. An electric wheelchair was on order and he was sent home in a manual chair, with instructions that I was to move him up and down every 20 minutes so that he wouldn’t get sores from sitting in one position for too long. With no use of his arms or legs, he could not go anywhere without my muscle power. We immediately began looking for an electric wheelchair to rent while we waited.  

Miraculously, I found a rental place not far from our home. Grandmar is a company located in Emeryville that provides new and used home medical equipment. I was told that they were the experts, particularly in repairs, and that I should check them out. 

John Cains, the quirky, irascible proprietor of Grandmar, came to our home immediately and assessed our situation. He was able to provide Ralph with a temporary electric wheelchair. Grandmar is not an authorized vendor for Kaiser, so we paid for the rental out of pocket.  

Two months later, when Ralph’s wheelchair finally arrived, we spent many frustrating days traveling to Kaiser’s Vallejo Rehabilitation Center in order to get him seated in the chair comfortably. But these visits proved fruitless. Without the use of back muscles, and with constant spasms that jerked his body around in his new chair, the specialists could not keep him straight. Finally, we went back to Grandmar for help. 

John was able to customize special pads and blockers to keep Ralph upright in his chair. I could take Ralph’s wheelchair to John without a referral, unlike Kaiser’s vendors. Instead of waiting days for an appointment, he was able to help us, sometimes within minutes, always within 24 hours. There were no layers of administrative bureaucracy to go through, and Grandmar is open on Saturdays. I push Ralph’s wheelchair into the massive, cluttered warehouse where an always-on-duty mechanic evaluates and gives an estimate as to how long repairs will take and what it will cost. 

For the past 10 years we have used the services of Grandmar. In the meantime wheelchair vendors for Kaiser have changed several times. Last week, when Ralph got stuck in a railing at a local movie theater, and the controls of his wheelchair were damaged, I took his chair to Grandmar. As usual, I left it there and came home, expecting a call within 24 hours. But after three days, and Ralph unable to get out of bed, I called them. And that’s when I heard the news: John Cains was dead. His six-year fight with cancer was finally over. A loyal and tireless disabilities advocate, John will be missed. 

What will happen to those of us who have come to depend on his services? I don’t know. It took five days to get an appointment with the Kaiser vendor. I drove the wheelchair down to the shop in San Leandro. When no one called me on the status of the chair, I called them. I was referred back to Kaiser. I left messages and talked with several people. I was told that the paperwork had become confused, that the vendor was at fault, that someone at Kaiser was out sick, and that someone else was on vacation. Kaiser has a message on every department’s answering machine that says, “If this is an emergency call 911.” To John Cains, it was always an emergency. But to the Kaiser bureaucratic behemoth it’s just a man with a broken wheelchair who can’t get out of bed. 

Letters to the Editor

Friday August 06, 2004


Editors, Daily Planet: 

In regard to concerns expressed about Berkeley High School (Letters, Daily Planet, July 30-Aug. 5), I checked with staff about the assertions in the letter. Here is the correct information.  

1) The new high school building conforms to or exceeds the latest energy efficiency codes, and did not double energy use at the site. Reducing energy costs is a priority of the district, and many district buildings recently went through a thorough energy audit. 

2) A pool cover was ordered for the new pool, and in fact was delivered on Aug 2. Now that we have it we are scheduling the installation.  

Thank you for your concern about the Berkeley public schools. 

Mark Coplan 

Public Information Officer 

Berkeley Unified School District 





Editors, Daily Planet: 

The new Jean Gray Hargrove Music Library is indeed a wonderful addition to the UC campus and the Berkeley community. As you reported in the July 30-Aug. 5 edition, Hargrove magnanimously gifted $4 million of the library’s $13 million total cost. 

It might also be of interest that Hargrove was for many years one of Berkeley’s largest landlords (including my own, in the 1980s) and if not for rent control possibly could have afforded the entire $13 million herself. 

In any case, Hargrove’s generosity should be commended and perhaps other Berkeley landlords will follow her lead by contributing a portion of their rental profits to the betterment of our fine city. 

Marty Schiffenbauer 



Editors, Daily Planet: 

Apparently, the Kerry machine has concluded that for Kerry to win, he must come on as more wisely militaristic than Bush, e.g. next time we invade a country, we’ll have U.N. backing. We got the snappy Kerry salute, for starters.  

Whether Kerry’s stance is genuine or pol-acting, he is, nonetheless, manipulating lies and fear, as does Bush. It’s clear that there’s little fundamental difference in foreign policy between the two. We’ll be getting guns from Kerry. Are progressives to vote for him in the hope he’ll deliver the butter on domestic issues?  

Lesson from Vietnam: Johnson’s War on Poverty was wrecked because of the increased war budget. It has been said that the biggest mistake is to jump the chasm in two leaps, which is what Kerry is.  

Maris Arnold  





Editors, Daily Planet: 

Let croissants and brioche reign on Solano. It will be a struggle but I can make it past 12 chairs. 

The Zoning Adjustments Board did not ignore the community. Using their e-mail address posted on the La Farine door, I mailed my family’s approval. I suggest another variance allowing sidewalk tables. Why should I have to go to France? 

Sam Craig 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

Regarding the La Farine permit, I wish people would get their facts straight. The Zoning Adjustments Board did not grant a variance. We granted a use permit as outlined in the zoning ordinance for Solano Avenue (Sec. 23E.60.090.C) which I participated in writing almost 20 years ago. That section of the ordinance outlines very clearly under what circumstances a use permit may be granted to exceed the quotas. My colleagues on the board take their charge very seriously and this use permit (not variance) passed unanimously. The City Council refused to consider it further. 

In the larger context, it would appear that there exists a small minority of disgruntled individuals who will misrepresent and manipulate the rules to their own end. They show little respect for the public process impugning others motivations in order to deflect attention from their own duplicitous behavior. The rest of us must suffer through protracted and costly proceedings that strain the resources of both the staff and community volunteers. This kind of behavior affects every citizen of our community.  

I would urge voters to support candidates this November who will respect the process created by a neighborhood created plan. 

Laurie Capitelli 

Member, Zoning Adjustments Board 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

It is important to correct the mischaracterization of ABAG’s projections and the lack of affordable housing in Berkeley and in the region. Gale Garcia’s claim that Berkeley’s population is decreasing is not accurate (Letters, Daily Planet, July 30-Aug. 5). It should be noted that the 2000 Census places Berkeley’s population at 102,743. Current 2004 California Department of Finance projections show Berkeley at 104,300 and ABAG’s projections place residents in Berkeley at 106,100 by 2005. Long term ABAG growth projections, which are recognized for their accuracy and consistency, show Berkeley experiencing steady paced growth, increasing a modest 12 percent over the next 20 years. 

The Bay Area’s housing shortage is well documented. By all accounts growth is and will continue to be an issue that we must confront. ABAG’s interest is assisting cities and counties address that growth in the most desirable way for the region. At the heart of ABAG’s projections and the challenge that local housing projects try to address is that growth must be smart and sustainable. As Garcia noted, many new projects are happening on major arteries that cross through Berkeley and surrounding communities. These projects are a part of major redevelopment of under-utilized sites that offer access to all forms of transit. They are denser mixed-use development projects sponsored by many public and private partnerships to better meet the need for housing closer to job centers and transportation alternatives.  

For insight into regional housing needs and jobs-housing balance, we recommend that readers visit ABAG’s website at www.abag.ca.gov for projections, data, and overviews of regional and local housing projects. 

Scott Haggerty, ABAG president 

Alameda County supervisor 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

A key component of our occupation of Iraq is dispensing humiliation to the Iraqis. Part of the humiliation comes in the form of air strikes on houses of “suspected militants.” A house is blown up, people run in panic like ants with their nest stepped on. Throwing their arms to the sky, they vow revenge. Ergo, more suicide bombers.  

The suicide bombers and beheaders of civilians in Iraq represent an extreme version of Islam, much as Pol Pot in Cambodia represented an extreme version of Communism. The rise of the vengeful Cambodian was greatly aided by the resentment he could tap into because of our carpet bombing of his country. Now, our displays of air power and other military might in Iraq breed people who give as bad a name for Islam as Pol Pot gave to Communism. We react to the Iraq extremists with brutal repression, and the cycle repeats.. 

In the humiliate-your-enemy scenario nobody wins. Just look at Israel. 

Ted Vincent 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

  The Kerry/Edwards ticket shows great promise. They could rid us of the most radical, possibly the most dangerous administration in American history, and return us to a path of hope and prosperity once again. Yet, as a lifelong Democrat, I’m underwhelmed by my party’s platform and by its direction. Less than a week after the Democratic National Convention, it’s apparent that I’m not alone. The “bounce” in the polls is barely measurable. 

  Senator John Kerry and his colleagues helped George Bush go to war in Iraq—handing al Qaeda a golden opportunity to not only recover from defeats in Afghanistan and elsewhere, but to unite America’s enemies worldwide against us. With notably few exceptions, Democrats in the Senate ignored evidence of duplicity and followed an ignoramus who squandered the goodwill and sympathy for America inspired by the 9/11 tragedy. 

  I would like to think that what is done is done and since everyone makes mistakes, we should move forward with determination never to repeat those same errors. Senators Kerry and Edwards could move us forward, but do not seem so inclined. Neither has ever apologized for being duped by George Bush and his henchmen, nor have they announced any intentions to either reverse course or at least deviate from what our former allies fear to be a policy of world domination.  

  In short, if the Kerry/Edwards ticket appears to be just a watered down Republican ticket, they may not win the election. In 2000, George Bush beat Al Gore without even winning the popular vote—it was that close. Bush is now a self-styled “wartime president” who has fired up his base with his assaults on reproductive rights, taxes, the environment, worker rights... 

  Victory in the 2004 election will go to whoever gets out the vote. That means firing up the party’s base as George Bush is doing, as John Edwards did with his “two Americas” message, and as Howard Dean did when most Democrats were afraid to take on George Bush at the beginning of the primary season.  

  I am part of the Democratic base, and it pains me to admit that I’m still searching for leadership less than a week after my party’s national convention. I like almost everything about Kerry and Edwards: Their personal stories, their values, their families, their voting records—even their appearances (best hair counts), and I’ll probably vote for them. But too many have told me that they may or may not vote—“It depends on what I’m doing that day.” Yah, the Democratic ticket is more likable, but not that much different from the Republican ticket. 

  John and Theresa Heinz Kerry, John Edwards, Bill and Hillary Clinton, Jimmy Carter, Barack Obama, Al Gore and Sharpton, Max Cleland, 12-year-old Ilana Wexler... we Democrats have a proud heritage of knitting together a colorful tapestry of talented, imaginative, progressive individuals who build dreams and cultivate hope for all—not just a paying majority. Lead and we will follow. Follow and Bush will have four more years to dismantle progress in America. 

Bryan Sheridan 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

I love our small world. My mom sends me copies of the Daily Planet, so I can keep up with what’s important while I am temporarily perching in North Carolina. Pretty neat to read a column by Peter Sussman in your paper. 

In response to his article, to his second point: “Can it (Fahrenheit 9/11) sway the undecideds?,” I’d like to say that it may well be swaying more than just those sitting on the fence. I’m currently working at Ft Bragg, N.C., “Home of the Airborne” and U.S. Army special Operations Command (Read “Special Forces”). In the old downtown, we have a new, avant garde movie house. They took a gamble, and brought Fahrenheit 9/11 to town. Not only did it play to packed houses, most of the men in the audience had military haircuts. Many of the women did, too. A few would leave the theater, muttering things like, “It’s biased,” or “He wasn’t ever in the Army,” but most did not. 

Fayetteville is a place where those of us of any other political stripe than conservative Republican are reminded daily that we are not OK. If Michael Moore’s movie can play this well in a town as dogmatically pro-administration, then it should soar everywhere else. It’s touching the conscience of far more than the undecided. 

Karl Davis 

Mobilized Reservist 




Editors, Daily Planet:  

As I write this e-mail, bulldozers and steam shovels are busy shoving thousands of cubic yards of dirt around on the precipitous hillside site of the future Berkeley Fire House Station 7 (Shasta and Park Hills Drive). 

These machines and workers have just recently removed completely the two dozen huge trees that previously anchored this steep hillside, on top of which sits a huge water tank holding millions of gallons of water. 

Without the trees, any observer can easily see the precarious position of the water tank, as well as the absence of ANY flat space onto which to build the planned three-story new firehouse. 

Moreover, a rumor abounds that the planners have abandoned the notion of building a mandatory retaining wall to hold back the hillside, and are planning only to “add a lot of dirt and tamp it down.” 

The idea of the firehouse on this site has long been controversial because of the site’s unsuitability and risk of seismic landslides; if the retaining wall is also abandoned, the safety of local residents, firefighters, and those they plan to serve, will be placed at an even greater and unacceptable risk. 

Russ Henke 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

Berkeley’s “Woman’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF),” whoever they are, published its 10-point Israeli/Palestinian peace plan in the July 30 Daily Planet. Just one quick look reveals that this is a pro-Palestinian group, and not a pro-peace group, as advertised. For example, WILPF calls upon the U.S. to withdraw all financial aid from Israel unless it complies with its demands. WILPF does not perhaps realize that the U.S. is the largest single donor nation to the U.N.’s Palestinian refugee organization (UNRAW). Otherwise, I am sure such a peace-loving group would call for a withdrawal of that support until the Palestinians give up their war of terror. And why can’t WILPF call Palestinian violence against civilians “terrorism”? Instead, they refer to the violence as mutual “hostilities,” as if there is some sort of moral equivalence between those who are terrorists and those who fight terrorists. WILPF demands that Israel cede its right of self defense to U.N. peacekeepers. But Israel has viewed with horror what happens to some people who have been left to the tender mercies of U.N. peacekeepers. Would WILPF mourn if Israelis suffered the same fate as Bosnia’s Muslims at Srebrenica or Rawanda’s Tutsis when both were deserted by U.N. peacekeepers? Perhaps the members of WILPF are too young to remember that the immediate cause of the 1967 Six Day War was Egyptian dictator, Gamal Nasser’s, illegal order to UN peacekeepers to leave the Sinai Desert (which separates Israel from Egypt) so that the Arab armies could destroy the Jewish State and “throw its people into the sea.” The U.N. simply complied and skulked away, leaving Israel to face the combined Arab armies alone. Or perhaps WILPF does not realize that U.N. peacekeepers are even now supposed to patrol Israel’s northern border with Lebanon, but they have stood aside and given complete autonomy over the area to Hizbollah. Or perhaps WILPF is unaware that Israel faces automatic opposition in the U.N. by the majority Arab and “nonaligned” bloc, and therefore is not allowed to sit on the U.N. Security Council, or on many of the U.N.’s other bodies. Despite having one of the most fiercely independent and fair judiciaries in the world, Israel is even forbidden to have a permanent judge sit on the International Court in the Hague. This is one more reason why Israel chose not participate in its recent kangaroo hearing. 

Maybe I should have my wife sign this letter, “An International Woman for a Better Peace.” But I am not a hypocrite, and would not hide my arguments behind a seductive “women’s peace” moniker. 

John Gertz 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

I would never have known about Medea Benjamin and the “Code Pink, End the Occupation of Iraq” banner had it not been for the Daily Planet’s July 30-Aug. 5 edition. 

Just who was it that decided that the major networks—ABC,CBS and NBC—would only show one hour of the Democratic National Convention and not even one hour on of the night of the keynote speech, and who allowed them to do this? 

Although if George W. Bush is allowed to continue for four more years I am sure we will not get even one hour if there is a convention in 2008. 

I was disappointed that John Kerry’s position on the Bush war is to continue having the war continue. When he protested the war in Vietnam it was in part, he said, because the president and the government lied to the American people, and because the war could not be won. This is the same reason that I and others are opposed to the Bush war today. 

Max Macks 

P.S.: Perhaps your colleague Richard Brenneman could reassign someone else to write the Police Blotter while he writes a a book that might be called, Funny Muggings I Have Known. 

I don’t think the person who has had his wallet or purse taken by force feels very relieved. However, “relieved” seems to be Brennenan’s term for this criminal act. 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

I see that Sanne DeWitt is up to her usual tricks, equating opposition to the policies of the right wing Israeli government with either opposition to the Jewish State or anti-Semitism, or both (Letters, Daily Planet, July 27-29). 

I grew up during the Nazi years. Those Jews who could read the writing on the wall tried to escape, but few countries would take them, certainly not this country. When the Jews were being exterminated and the allies did little or nothing to stop the slaughter. So I accept the necessity for the creation of the State of Israel, despite the obvious problems it created in the Arab world. 

During those years, when Passover came, we used the Ceder to talk of oppression, not just that suffered by Jews, but by anyone. Those ceders continued till I stopped attending any religious rites. But the point is that we did expect the Jews, who had been victims of the worst oppression in history to learn to be better than their oppressors; so when we see the Jewish State acting to oppress its Palestinian neighbors or, even worse, it’s Arab citizens we are more offended then if any other country had done the same thing. It is as if we (as a people) learned nothing from the horror. 

That’s not “chutzpah” but rather the only way humankind will ever advance and end the vicious cycle of suicide bombings, retaliatory killings (of civilians as well as “fighters”), ad nauseum. There is plenty of blame to go around, but it is a true cop out to excuse atrocities by the Israeli government on the ground, as Sanne did, that Jews are “like everybody else.” Others do it so why can’t we? Not a formula for ending conflict, let alone acting rationally. 

And I would note that the Israeli’s have been doing just that for a long time, and still the suicide bombers come. When will they realize that they are doing something fundamentally wrong and self-defeating, as well as immoral (as immoral as the bombers). 

Mal Burnstein 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

This is in response to Mayor Bates’ request for donations for full public financing of elections for mayor, City Council, school board and auditor. 

I am amazed at the timing of this request. With the city’s infrastructure crumbling, streets in disrepair, school grounds unattended, budget cuts, etc., this is to me the worse time to ask more money from overburdened taxpayers. 

I am retired and living on a small pension and own a house which I can barely maintain and wonder how I will manage to pay for the three increased taxes that are on the city ballot this year. I also wonder about the city’s priorities having noticed several new roundabouts in my neighborhood which are expensive to build and maintain. Next to them is my neighborhood school ground full of weeds and has been neglected for years due to cuts in the schools’ budget. 

I am sure city council members, mayor, school board members and auditor would love to have this public financing approved by the voters and since the majority of Berkeley voters are not homeowners, this proposal may be approved. I do feel it is an injustice to homeowners and I am concerned that many opportunists will take advantage of this free money to run for elected office. 

At the federal and state level, this proposal would work well against vested interests. At the local level, however, these pressures are less of a threat and full public financing can lead to encourage fraud and capricious applicants. 

Andree Smith 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

Over the years, I have enjoyed walking by the garden at Willard, watching the roses bloom, the native bees dancing on the lavenders and salvias. So, it was an unhappy day when the John Deere tractor arrived and started taking out the new fence that was just installed a year ago, and turning one part of the garden into dry dust. 

Last Saturday, some parents were doing plant rescue, digging up bulbs, plant divisions and taking cuttings. I noticed the deep brown of rich organic soil. What is happening? I asked. I was told the school district was pulling out plants (a beautiful bunch grass with full head of seed) to widen the sidewalk (whatever for), a lawn and a border of day lilies and agapanthas. 

Don’t shopping centers have enough agapanthas? The school district must be foolish with money to waste it so liberally. And sadly for education, the schools invariably choose the mundane. 

Raymond Piagorsky 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

Caltrans, while working on construction on the span of the Bay Bridge, has unearthed several remains of the Ohlone people on Yerba Buena Island. It wasn’t the first time. In the fall of 2002, other Ohlone people remains were also discovered during a pre-work exploration. During that time, Caltrans has been trying to work with the Ohlone people to find an arrangement on where the remains will be reburied without affecting the building of the bridge. 

Now it is happening again. By not wanting to delay the construction of the span until they resolve these issues with the Ohlone people, Caltrans has shown it is not concerned about respecting the dead. Perhaps it is due to the fact that the Ohlone people are not being federally recognized that Caltrans can ignore the remains of their ancestors and continue to work on the span. 

Billy Trice, Jr. 





Editors, Daily Planet: 

“The California Tiger Salamander and its habitat are a critical part of California’s natural heritage that will be preserved for future generations.” 

This is a direct quote from Kassie Siegel, the attorney for the Center for Biological Diversity. How many millions of dollars has she and other eco-lawyers received from law suit settlements with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service regarding listing species under the Endangered Species Act of 1973 and the following legal fee recovery legislation in 1976? 

Who pays the eco-lawyers these millions? 

The U.S. Government (us poor taxpayers). 

So far our government has given billions to these eco-lawyers and these eco-freak organizations for the past 25 years under the false premise that we were saving these precious weeds, fish, birds, bugs, frogs, insects, etc., from extinction. If you frighten, harass, injure, kill, take, etc., in any way any endangered species you may go to jail for up to one year and pay a fine up to $50,000. Some developers have paid over $1 million in “settlement fees.” 

What a bunch of crap! 

We never address problem issues like the 17,000-plus murders that have occurred in Los Angeles County alone since 1990. 

Under the guise of issues like the environment, toxics, malpractice, workers comp, personal injury, sexual harassment, etc., lawyers with insatiable greed for our money made our life very expensive. 

Sidney Steinberg 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

During this 50th anniversary of Thurgood Marshall’s victory in “Brown v. Board of Education” I am saddened at how inequality of U.S. public education continues and even worsens as the gap widens between the rich and the working poor. 

While engaged in the Brown case, the Supreme Court did not question the premise that under the Constitution public education must be equal for all. At question was only whether or not education can be equal under racial segregation. The right to equality was a given. 

But obviously, unequal funding cannot produce equal public education. Present funding of a child’s school—proportional to the poorness or costliness of his home and/or its neighborhood—ignores the “given” in Brown, that constitutionally, U.S. public education must be equal. Today’s public education funding should face court challenge; it is as unconstitutional as segregation. 

Single-payer universal health care is a popular demand. Why not single-payer equally-funded public education? 

Along with unequal funding a widely encouraged stumbling block to equal public education is the Parent Teachers Association, whose richer chapters do not share with poorer schools the funds they raise. This inequity needs remedy. 

In poor neighborhoods parents have little free time to volunteer. Monetary evaluation of volunteer work could implement equalization of the disparity of greater donated time in the more leisured neighborhoods than at poorer schools. The latter could use compensating dollars to hire aides, buy supplies, etc. 

Judith Segard Hunt 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

The latest click up the color-coded alert ladder, the sixth, brings to mind the tale of Chicken Little.  

Why were the hen, the duck and the turkey so easily taken in? They should have asked for more evidence before rushing off to warn the king that the sky was falling. The acorn that hit C. L. on the head might have been thrown by the cunning ol’ fox (al Qaeda). Besides, a more careful investigation might have revealed that the acorn, “chilling in its specificity”, was over three years old (before 9/11/01). 

Given that an acorn’s fall is, like an earthquake, both inevitable and unpredictable, two lessons emerge from applying the Chicken Little parable to the realities of homeland security. The first is, as FDR put it, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself”. And the second can be expressed rhetorically: Why do we have so little respect for our enemies that we believe they (al Qaeda et al.) do not know that we know what they’re up to? 

Like the barnyard birds we seem willing to follow the fox into his den. For, if the purpose of our enemy is to frighten us then they can read in our color-coded alert ladder just how well they’re succeeding, they don’t need any more suicidal operatives. 

Marvin Chachere  

San Pablo?

COMMENTARY 350,000 Pounds of ‘Spaceship Earth’ By PETER SELZ

Friday August 06, 2004

The proposed David Brower Memorial Sculpture is simply preposterous. The time of bronze statues of generals on horseback disgracing our parks is long behind us. Now, it is proposed that the City of Berkeley accept a huge bronze statue of David Brower cli mbing a globe. This monster will weigh 350,000 pounds. It is to be 20 feet high and 15 feet wide and will withstand “any ground motion, even an earthquake.” It is to be made of Brazilian blue quartzite with bronze pieces in clusters to represent the seven continents with a bronze likeness of David Brower trying to scale the globe. It is named “Spaceship Earth,” a name coined by Buckminster Fuller, who would surely turn in his grave. It is the work of a retrograde Finnish sculptor, Eino, a longtime friend of Brian Maxwell, the founder of Powerbar, and will be offered by Maxwell’s widow to the City of Berkeley. It is to be erected at the traffic circle at the end of Spinnaker Way and thus dominate the great view to the Bay. The area is already blemished by the horrible “Guardian,” which was plopped down one dark night without approval of the Civic Art Commission. 

Among the citizens of Berkeley there are few who are more deserving to be remembered than David Brower. A truly significant environmentalist, Bro wer should be remembered by an environmental artwork. There are a good number of wonderful environmental artists, whose works tread lightly on the earth, and whose work could be integrated in the land, possibly in César Chavez Park. For example, Andy Goldsworthy has been commissioned to create a work for the garden of the de Young Museum in Golden Gate Park, which, like much of his work, will heighten the visitors’ awareness of the beauty of nature, something which would have been close to David Brower’s heart. A competition for a work by environmental artists could be announced. 

An even more appropriate memorial would be to ask the Maxwell family to direct funding for a David Brower Memorial toward the desirable project of daylighting Strawberry Creek o n Center Street, something that would give a beautiful core to the city. David Brower remembered having played on Strawberry Creek as a child, and was instrumental in opening the creek in what is now Strawberry Creek Park. The opening of the creek in Cent er Street was strongly recommended by members of the UC Hotel and Conference Center Citizens’ Task Force this spring. The segment of the creek is very close to both the Powerbar Building and the site where the David Brower Center will be built. What an appropriate memorial this would be to the memory of this great environmentalist to be enjoyed by the citizens of Berkeley! 


Peter Selz is the founding director of the Berkeley Art Museum and a former curator of New York’s Museum of Modern Art.

COMMENTARY Medea Benjamin Should Have Chosen A Better Venue for Protest By CAROL DeWITT

Friday August 06, 2004

I’ve met Medea Benjamin. She is dedicated, hard working, selfless, courageous and inspiring. I usually have the utmost respect for her and find myself in agreement with her. However, I do not feel that it was productive or appropriate for her to attend t he Democratic National Convention with the intention of being an issue-provoking and disruptive influence.  

I am anti-war and to a certain degree I agree with her viewpoint of bringing our troops home. And I support rights of free speech. But I feel that Benjamin made a mistake in choosing to express this particular opinion at the DNC in the manner she chose. I believe Benjamin is an ethical, principled person with strong values and integrity and I do not accuse her of being on an ego trip at the DNC, attempting to draw attention to herself, Global Exchange and Code Pink. However, I think that Benjamin did herself, Code Pink and their supporters a disservice by her intentionally provocative actions at convention.  

There are plenty of forums to confront leading Democratic contenders for office over policies and issues. Rightly, at this convention all protesters were limited to areas outside the convention hall.  

Apparently, Benjamin does not understand that party conventions are pretty much carefully orchestrated pep rallies intended to galvanize unanimity and supporters for a concerted final three-month campaign effort to beat the opposing party’s candidates.  

The convention is not the time or place for turmoil over divisive issues. The fact of these times is that the Bush administration aggressively waged war against a country that has not attacked us. Great and grievous damage has been done. Over 1,000 American’s have lost their lives in this ill-conceived war as well as uncounted thousands of innoc ent Iraqi citizens who were first victimized by Saddam and then by our bombs. We lost heroes, Iraqi losses are shamefully depersonalized as collateral damage. We “broke it” and we cannot just withdraw and leave even worse damage and chaos than before Bush declared war and dropped bombs on this long suffering country.  

It seems obvious that we should not have sent troops and war to the beleaguered citizens of this ill-run and ill-fated country. But now we must deal with the situation that exists. We have turned loose radically different and violently opposing factions within this country that under Saddam were at least held at bay. Surely, Saddam was not such a world threat that removing him from power was worth sacrificing that entire country and all of it’s citizens to depose him. Now, we are obligated to foster rational transfer of control to internal authorities who have a chance at internal peace and stable reconstruction before withdrawing. If we don’t then we have truly sacrificed and wasted thousa nds of lives to merely remove an evil despot, but left the people and country worse off than when he was in control.  

I believe that Kerry understands this and will work toward peace and reconstruction within Iraq. Bush has deeply alienated the rest of the world and solutions in Iraq must include support from the UN and our allies. This support will not be given to Bush who stupidly and arrogantly squandered the enormous worldwide support for America after 9/11. Kerry will greatly renew the faith of our allies and only Kerry can succeed in reestablishing world trust and regain the worldwide support needed to rebuild Iraq.  

The stakes in many areas are extremely high this election. There are only two possible winners in Nov. There are huge distinctions between the parties and candidates. The best chance we have for decreasing the continuing deaths and rationally ending our military involvement is to eliminate Bush from the equation. I can’t for the life of me understand why Benjamin would try, in anyway, to impede or thwart the replacement of Bush with Kerry who has a desperately needed and much more thought out, rational, fair, open, honest, balance and intelligent agenda.  


COMMENTARY Time to Hit the Streets By LIZA GRANDIA

Friday August 06, 2004

“Drop dead!” “No way!” “Ha! Are you kidding?” “What? Are you crazy?” “Are you a Republican?” “I’m not a hippie!” “I hate him!”  

These were among just a few of the many insults I received while doing volunteer petitioning to get Ralph Nader as an indepen dent candidate on the ballot in California.  

If all the people who insulted the Nader petitioners this weekend would simply redirect that energy to get out in the streets themselves, then Kerry would have a much better chance of getting elected. Rather t han vilifying Nader, it would be far more strategic for the Kerry supporters to start by targeting all the Democrats who voted for Bush in the 2000 election.  

Take a look at the numbers. Seven to eight million registered Democrats voted for Bush in the l ast election. Nader, by comparison, got a little less than three million votes. Of the Nader voters, 38 percent said they might have voted for Gore, 25 percent would have voted for Bush, and the rest wouldn’t have voted at all. That means that more tha n t wo thirds of Nader voters would not have voted for Gore anyhow.  

“But, what about Florida?” an angry man demanded of me on Saturday. Polls there show that 250,000 self-identified Democrats voted for Bush and just 97,000 voted for Nader.  

It’s fantas y to assume that everyone who voted for Nader would have otherwise voted for Gore or even would have voted at all. Rather than reflecting on why the election even came that close at all, or questioning the disenfranchisement of thousands of African-Americ an v oters, liberal Democrats found it easier to turn Nader into a scapegoat. Sure, we’re all frustrated at Bush’s coup d’etat, but unfairly blaming Nader isn’t going to get Kerry elected.  

Though largely ignored by the media, Nader is now running a savv y campaign to siphon more votes from Bush than from Kerry. Remember, there are a lot of Buchanan Republicans who are unhappy about American jobs going overseas because of the corporate-driven trade policies of both parties. Nader strikes a chord with them. As Tarek Milleron wrote for Commondreams.org, “For Nader, this is not a year for super rallies….this will be the year of Elks Clubs, the garden clubs, meetings with former Enron employees, the veterans groups, [and] Walmart employees.” What’s more, Nade r’s s taff is sending free, weekly briefings to the Kerry campaign on issues.  

I’m an unrepentant Nader supporter because, to me, he’s a modern prophet who speaks truth about the corporate occupation of Washington. This weekend many people said to me, “N ot thi s time.” But if not now, then when? Democracy can’t rest. Nader’s my great hope for pressuring the Democratic Party to return to its progressive roots. Don’t we all want our Democratic Party back from corporate money? Don’t we all want a party that is pro-peace? Don’t we want a party that stands up for workers, consumers, minorities, women, immigrants, farmers, the rural poor, the urban poor, and everyone else who formed the historic base of the party?  

On Berkeley streets this weekend, I had some good c onversations with dozens of heartfelt Nader supporters who nevertheless felt they had to vote for Kerry. I respect their choice. But I gave them this advice: “Do what you think you must. But don’t just give your vote away! At least write the Democ rats a l etter saying you’re undecided unless Kerry changes his position on Iraq [or fill in your issue]. Take advantage of the third-party pressure and make them earn your vote!”  

And if you were one of the Kerry supporters who growled, shouted or rolle d your ey es at a Nader petitioner this weekend, I challenge you to channel that energy more constructively. Go out on the streets yourselves and talk to some Bush supporters. Dialogue with an undecided voter. Better yet, register new voters. Convince som eone who h as given up on the electoral process to vote again—there are over one hundred million out there. Stop stewing over Nader and hit the streets!  



Shotgun Stages Brecht Play in Bucolic Setting By BETSY M. HUNTON

Special to the Planet
Friday August 06, 2004

Patrick Dooley, the Shotgun Players’ founder and Artistic Director, is determined not to do Shakespeare in John Hinkle Park. “Anything,” he says, “But not Shakespeare. Not in the park.” He seems to feel—with some justification—that it’s an idea that’s become a little tired with overuse. 

Instead, it looks like his group might be starting a “Brecht in the Park” tradition. Last summer’s production of Bertolt Brecht’s Mother Courage was so successful that it seemed an obvious choice to follow it this year with another one of the playwright’s recognized masterpieces, The Caucasian Chalk Circle. But so far no one’s promising anything about next year…except that Shotgun will be there with another free production.  

The title and essential device of this year’s play is based on a very old Chinese work similar to the Biblical tale of Solomon and the two mothers. In this case, the judge places the baby in a circle drawn with chalk and decrees that whoever pulls the baby away from the other will get custody. The two women are the self-centered wife of the deceased governor who forgot to take her infant with her when she fled an insurrection, and a humble maid who saved the child at great cost to herself. 

For Cliff Mayotte, this year’s director, The Circle is “really good theater.” He’s fascinated by Brecht’s ability to “tell a really good story” while at the same time keeping the audience aware that “this is a story being told.” Mayotte goes on: “Brecht didn’t want the audience to forget for a minute that they’re sitting in a park listening to a story being told.”  

Even now, more than 50 years after the play was first performed as a student production in Minnesota, and long after it has been admitted to the ranks of accepted masterpieces, it seems an idea that borders on absurdity: one so radical that it is bound to be self-defeating. After all, hasn’t the nineteenth century concept of “the willing suspension of disbelief” always been the absolute definition of the theatrical experience? 

Not any more.  

It’s one of the ways in which Brecht broke with standard theatrical tradition. The very idea that the audience should remain conscious of the artificiality of the drama’s presentation can still seem radical. But a presentation like the one in John Hinkle can make the idea very persuasive. (And when you think about it, isn’t it a much more straightforward concept?) 

In fine old theatrical tradition, Mayotte has taken the limitations of his situation and turned them into the production’s great strengths. In what could be viewed as pure grandiosity, Brecht’s script calls for a cast of around 60 characters (he leaves the exact number a little vague). Mayotte dismissed the idea as “to me, at least, theatrically uninteresting”—as well as requiring far more actors than the company could afford. He actually uses only 10, which includes pressing the two musicians (Dan Bruno and Josh Pollock) into double duty.  

While many productions require actors to perform more than one role, what is innovative, and effective in The Circle is that many of these transformations occur on stage, with the deliberate—almost ceremonial—passage of the character’s role from one actor to another. Once the initial shock is over, it becomes an important part of the presentation of the two main characters, providing opportunities for different aspects of their roles to be developed.  

Again, it’s a distancing technique which fits ideally into Brecht’s intent. He was totally determined that his audience never lose sight of the fact that they were being presented with a story, not a slice of life. One thing that is not clarified in the otherwise helpful program is that, according to Cliff Mayotte, the two acts overlap in time, with Act Two starting over on the Easter Sunday when the Governor is assassinated, setting off the main storyline of the play. 

The three actors who play the maid, Grusha, are (in sequence) Karla Acosta, Trish Mulholland, and Sofia Ahmad. Each brings to the role different intelligence and shadings appropriate to the different parts of Grusha’s journey. The other main character, Azdak, the drunken and dishonest judge, is first played by Trish Mulholland, and then by John Thomas. During the trial scene, Andrew Alabran assumes the role. 

It’s a fascinating play with some very fine acting and a totally terrific job of staging. Only be sure to pay attention or you might get lost.

Putting Up the Produce of Summer’s Fruitfulness By SHIRLEY BARKER

Special to the Planet
Friday August 06, 2004

In this season of mists and mellow fruitfulness that we call our Berkeley summer, there may be little to do in the garden beyond watering. In contrast, the kitchen can be a hive of activity. 

In mid July and on into August the Gravenstein apples start to fall, just in time for the blackberries glistening through the hedges. Transformed into pies and crumbles, both make wonderful summer eating, combined or separately. The dark crimson nectarines are still hard, yet not too hard for nocturnal fruitarians. Each morning shows one or two de-fleshed pits hanging among the leaves. Never mind, there are enough and to spare this year for the opossum and her family. Still, one does not want the tree stripped before enjoying at least some of its lusciousness. When the nectarines barely yield to pressure, I twist them off the branches and bring them indoors to ripen in a few days. These three fruits ripening in unison are in the same family, Rosaceae. 

How can one prolong their perfumed bounty into the cooler months? Freezing would be the ideal choice where electricity is cheap, stable and environmentally correct. Drying is an option, not a thrilling one, if only our summer climate were one of hot dry days and warm dry nights. In order to hold on to fruit flavor, ca nning, or more accurately bottling, might do. This has its hazards, requiring time without distraction, sleight of hand, a consideration of acid balance, and the pros and cons of hot water baths. Over all this hangs the specter of botulism. 

My own soluti on is to make jams, jellies and chutneys, as these seem safe enough when properly sealed in sterilized jars after what seems hours of boiling and lots of sugar. 

An exception is made for apple sauce, which tastes best when fresh, and Gravensteins make the best. Cut up the apples into chunks, removing stalks and cores and leaving them unpeeled. Put them in a microwave-safe bowl, with some brown sugar (rapadura if you can find it), a little water, and cinnamon to taste. Microwave this, covered, for a few mi nutes, stopping to stir now and then. It is wonderful eaten straight away, for breakfast, or later on in the day, chilled, with something barbecued, such as sausages or chops. 

For the blackberries, I am willing to slave over a hot stove. Admittedly, no b erry can rival in taste a raspberry eaten straight from the cane, slightly warmed by the morning sun. Strawberries, including the tiny woodland or Alpine, play in the major berry league. Blackberries still remain my favorite. Reliable, pest-free, tolerant of neglect to the point of abuse, they just go on and on, year after year. I bow down to them in gratitude, eager to prune them down to the ground just when I’m in need of winter exercise, clipping their streamers in summer while filling pails with their fruit. Raspberries on the other hand require precision pruning twice a year and constant moisture. Even then, their output is casual, to say the least. As for strawberries—fusspots all. 

So for me, the thought of wintry days ahead is simply not to be borne without a row of pots of blackberry jam in full view on the kitchen shelf. A freshly made buckwheat crepe in January, with butter and blackberry jam, warms soul as well as body. If one does not mind their numerous seeds, it is a simple matter to rinse the berries, add an equal volume of granulated sugar, and boil it all up for twenty minutes or so. Then one pours the jam into hot sterilized jars, and seals the jars with sterilized lids. To sterilize, the jars are heated in a low oven, and the lids are covered with cold water and brought to a simmer. By the time the berries have turned into jam, jars and lids will be ready. 

If you would rather do without seeds, blend the raw fruit and press it through a strainer before measuring the sugar and boiling. Blackberry jelly is another way to achieve seedlessness. Here, one simmers the raw fruit until it is very soft and juicy. Then one hangs it up in cheesecloth (dampened and then wrung out) to drip into a basin beneath. Next day one measures and boils until it starts to jell. There is always some loss of flesh in these seedless methods, and jelly takes considerably more fruit than does jam. 

These activities are but preliminaries leading up to the nectarine. My nectarine tree grew from what I remember as the stone of a peach, casually discarded earthwards. I was amazed not only that it germinated spontaneously, and tolerated a shift of location at the wrong time of year, not only that it produced one fruit in its third year and a huge amount in its fourth, but that it is not a peach at all. What a lot one can learn from a garden. Unbelievably, it is indeed possible that a peach stone will grow into a nectarine, and vice versa. Nectarines are said to do better than peaches west of the Rockies. Could it be th at the peach I ate was an easterner, and decided to encourage its Berkeley offspring to be a nectarine? Is this nectarine like a traveler in foreign parts who doffs his natural garb in order to blend into and survive a new culture? No one seems to know ho w or why this shape-shifting occurs. Environmental pressure is always a possible factor in morphological or behavioral change. Botanically, peach and nectarine are identical, for the nectarine is a peach without a fur coat. Both, taxonomically, are Amygda lus persica (formerly Prunus persica). Their origins are as misty as our summers, for they have been so long in cultivation that they have never been found in the wild. Darwin concluded that their ancestor was the wild almond of Persia. It is for this rea son that they now have their own genus, shared with the almond.  

The opossum went on eating the nectarines until something had to be done. I tried jam, and the result was syrupy. Peaches and nectarines lack pectin. Blackberries and apples have plenty, an d apples are often used as a source. The addition of pectin alters flavor, so I thought about putting them up in a light syrup. John Seymour, in his book The Self-Sufficient Gardener, recommends baking the whole fruits in a covered bowl in a moderate oven for forty minutes. Then one crams them into hot sterilized jars and tops these up with boiling syrup before sealing with the usual lids and rings. After all that, my nectarines had become an unpleasant liverish maroon and looked distressed. To be on the safe side, I refrigerated them when they were cold. 

With nectarine jam a failure and bottling an incertitude, I was now at a loss for ideas. By that time the opossum and I and a few friends had eaten our way through the entire crop. It was astonishing ho w quickly it went. Perhaps that is the only way to enjoy these fleeting exotics, food of the gods. 

Still, even without nectarines, the colors of fruitfulness now gleam from my kitchen shelf, purple and amber, crimson and rose. I had not been looking forward to toiling in my kitchen in midsummer’s heat. On a misty Berkeley morn, it isn’t half bad. If only there was time to sit and gloat. I see from my window that the Seckel pears, a late and admirably trouble-free variety, are ripening fast. One pear has a little bite taken out of it. 



Arts Calendar

Friday August 06, 2004



Summer Group Exhibition, photography and paintings by Heather Hiett, Melissa Erickson, Eleni Rovers, and Judy Poldi. Reception form 7 to 9 p.m. at Artbeat Salon and Gallery, 1887 Solano Ave. 527-3100. 

American Craft Council 29th Annual San Francisco Show at Fort Mason Center, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Fri. and Sat., Sun. to 5 p.m. Admission for one day is $10 and $18 for a two-day pass. 1-800-836-3470. www.craftcouncil.org/sf.shtml 


Actors Ensemble of Berkeley “A Delicate Balance” by Edward Albee. Fri. and Sat. at 8 p.m. at Live Oak Theatre, 1301 Shattuck at Berryman, through Aug 14. Tickets are $10. 649-5999. www.aeofberkeley.org 

Alameda Civic Light Opera “Bye Bye Birdie,” directed by Frederick L. Chacon. Fri. and Sat. at 8 p.m. Sun. at 2 p.m. to Aug. 22. Kofman Auditorium, 2220 Central Ave. in Alameda. Tickets are $23-$25. 864-2256. www.aclo.com 

Contra Costa Civic Theatre “My Fair Lady,” directed by Michael Manley, through Aug. 14, Fri.-Sat. at 8 p.m., selected Sun. at 2 p.m. Contra Costa Civic Theatre, 951 Pomona Ave, El Cerrito. Tickets are $12-$20. 524-9132. www.ccct.org  

Shotgun Players “The Caucasian Chalk Circle” Sat. and Sun. at 4 p.m. in John Hinkel Park, Southampton Ave., until Aug 29. 841-6500. wwwshotgunplayers.org 

Woodminster Summer Musicals, “The Will Rogers Follies” at 8 p.m., Fri.-Sun. in Joaquin Miller Park, 3300 Joaquin Miller Rd., Oakland. Also Aug. 12-15. Tickets are $19-$31. 531-9597. www.woodminster.com 


Luchino Visconti: “Rocco and His Brothers” at 7:30 p.m. at the Pacific Film Archive. Cost is $4-$8. 642-0808. www.bampfa.berkeley.edu 


By the Light of the Moon with Karen Broder at 7:30 p.m. at Changemakers Books, 6536 Telegraph. Sliding scale $3-$7. 655-2405. www.changemakersforwomen.com 


Dr. Abacus, Shelley Doty, Julie Zielinski at 9:30 p.m. at The Starry Plough. Cost is $7-$10. 841-2082. www.starryploughpub.com 

The Vowel Movement A BeatBox Showcase hosted by Andrew Chaikin and Tim Barsky at 8:30 p.m. at Ashkenaz. Cost is $10-$12. 525-5054. www.ashkenaz.com 

Snake Trio at 8 p.m. at La Peña. Cost is $12 in advance, $14 at the door. 849-2568. 

Mario DeSio at 7:30 p.m. at Nomad Cafe, 6500 Shattuck Ave. 595-5344. www.nomadcafe.net 

Lowen & Navarro, contemporary folk duo, at 8 p.m. at Freight and Salvage. Cost is $15.50- $16.50. 548-1761. www.freightandsalvage.org 

Jessica Jones at 8 p.m. at The Jazz House. Cost is $8. www.thejazzhouse.com 

Syncrosystem Afro-Latin and Gypsy at 8 p.m. at Jupiter. 848-8277. 

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

Danny Caron in a special evening of blues and jazz at 9 p.m. at Downtown. 649-3810. 

“The Knockout” with DJ’s Marc Stretch, Ross Hogg and others, at 9:30 p.m. at Shattuck Down Low, 2284 Shattuck Ave. Cost is $5-$10. 548-1159.  



“Dwelling” Sculpture as Architecture, Architecture as Sculpture opening reception from 2 to 4 p.m. at A New Leaf Gallery/ 

Sculpturesite, 1286 Gilman St. exhibition runs to Oct. 3. 525-7621. www.sculpturesite.com 

“In Search of the Lost Alphabet” photographs of Mali, Egypt and Saudi Arabia, by Mamade Kadreebux. Reception from 1 to 3 p.m at the African-American Museum, 659 14th St., Oakland. 


Luchino Visconti: “Days of Glory” at 5:30 p.m. “Bellissima” at 7 p.m. and “Senso” at 9:15 p.m. at the Pacific Film Archive. Cost is $4-$8. 642-0808. www.bampfa.berkeley.edu 


Bay Area Poets Coalition holds an open reading, 3 to 5 p.m., on the front lawn at 1527 Virginia St., cross street is Sacramento. 527-9905. poetalk@aol.com 

Pacific Coast Historical Society Reunion with a lecture by Kevin Nelson, author of “The Golden Game: The Story of California Baseball” at the Oakland Museum, 1000 Oak St. Free with museum admission. 238-6305. 

Scott Hunter discusses leadership in “Making Work Work” at 7:30 p.m. at Barnes and Noble. 644-0861. 


UC Berkeley Summer Symphony performs a free concert of Schubert’s Symphony No. 9 and Beethoven’s Symphony No. 8 at 8 p.m. at the Orinda Community Church, 10 Irwin Way, Orinda. 642-2678. 

Marsha Stevens, a born again lesbian Evangelist, performs her original music at 7 p.m. at the First Baptist Church of Berkeley, meeting at Loper Chapel of the First Congregational Church, 2345 Channing Way. 848-5838. www.fbc-berkeley.org 

Affro-Muzika at 9:30 p.m. at Ashkenaz. Cost is $13. 525-5054. www.ashkenaz.com 

Andrew Carrier plays acoustic Cajun and Creole music at 2 p.m. at Down Home Music, 10341 San Pablo Ave., El Cerrito. 525-2129. 

E is for Elephant, Invincible Czars, Enac Enac at 9:30 p.m. at The Starry Plough. Cost is $6. 841-2082. www.starryploughpub.com  

George Kuo, Martin Pahinui & Aaron Mahi, Hawaiian slack key guitar and vocals, at 8 p.m. at Freight and Salvage. Cost is $17.50 in advance, $18.50 at the door. 548-1761. www.freightandsalvage.org 

World Beat Experience with Neal Cronin at 7 p.m. at Acuppa, 3200 College Ave., corner of Alcatraz. 654-1904. 

Kellye Gray at 8 p.m. at the Jazzschool. Cost is $15. 845-5373. www.jazzschool.com 

The Jessica Jones Left Coasties at 8 p.m. at The Jazz House. Cost is $10. www.thejazzhouse.org 

Avotcja & Modupue at 8 p.m. at La Peña Cultural Center. Cost is $12. 849-2568. www.lapena.org  

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

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

Braziu at 9:30 p.m. at Shattuck Down Low, 2284 Shattuck Ave. Cost is $10-$12. 548-1159. www.shattuckdownlow.com 

Edge of the Bay, a monthly progressive music showcase at the 1923 Teahouse at 8:30 p.m. Suggested donation of $7-$15, no one turned away for lack of funds. 644-2204. www.epicarts.org 

CV1 with Clyde “The Slyde” Sutliff at 8 p.m. at Jupiter. 848-8277. 

Tom Peron and Bud Spangler Interplay Quartet at 9 p.m. at Downtown. 649-3810. 

Dekapitor, Ghoul, Mercitron, Rapid Fire 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. 



Huichol Yarn Art A workshop for the whole family on the yarn paintings of the Huichol Indians of Mexico. From 1 to 3 p.m., with storytelling at 2 p.m. at the Phoebe Hearst Museum of Anthropology, Kroeber Hall, Bancroft at College Ave. 642-3683. http://hearstmuseum.berkeley.edu 


Ian Winters Photography Exhibition reception from 2 to 4 p.m. at Nomad Cafe, 6500 Shattuck Ave. 595-5344. www.nomadcafe.net 


Luchino Visconti: “Days of Glory” at 4 p.m. and “La Terra Trema” at 5:30 p.m. at the Pacific Film Archive. Cost is $4-$8. 642-0808. www.bampfa.berkeley.edu 


Beverly Hickok reads from “Against the Current” at 2 p.m. at Changemakers, 6536 Telegraph Ave. 655-2405. 


Midsummer Mozart Festival with featured guest Jon Nakamatsu, at 7 p.m. at St. John’s Presbyterian Church, 2727 College Ave. Tickets are $28-$48. 415-627-9140. www.midsummermozart.org 

Alexandria & The Near Eastern Dance Company at 7 p.m. at Ashkenaz. Cost is $9. 525-5054. www.ashkenaz.com 

Americana Unplugged: The David Thom Band plays bluegrass at 5 p.m. at Jupiter. 848-8277. 

Los Hombres Calientes at 2 and 8 p.m. at Yoshi’s at Jack London Square. Cost is $15-$24. 238-9200. www.yoshis.com 

Clairdee at 4:30 at the Jazz- 

school. Cost is $15-$18. 845-5373. www.jazzschool.com 



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


Oaktown Jazz Workshop Benefit at Yoshi’s at Jack London Square. Cost is $35. 238-9200. www.yoshis.com 



Time’s Shadow: “Existing on Its Ruins” at 7:30 p.m. at the Pacific Film Archive. Cost is $4-$8. 642-0808. www.bampfa.berkeley.edu 


Tom Rigney & Flambeau at 8:30 p.m. at Ashkenaz. Cajun dance lesson with Diana Castillo at 8 p.m. Cost is $9. 525-5054. www.ashkenaz.com 

Jazzschool Tuesdays, a showcase of up-and-coming ensembles from Berkeley Jazzschool at 8 p.m. at Jupiter. 848-8277. 

The Jim Hurst Band, contemporary bluegrass at 8 p.m. at Freight and Salvage. Cost is $15.50 in advance, $16.50 at the door. 548-1761. www.freightandsalvage.org 

Dick Conte Duo at 8 p.m. at Downtown. 649-3810. 

Mulgrew Miller and Wingspan at 8 and 10 p.m. at Yoshi’s at Jack London Square. Also on Wed. Cost is $10-$20. 238-9200. www.yoshis.com 



Puppet Show on Bacteria at 2 p.m. at the Hall of Health, 2230 Shatuck Ave., lower level. Suggested donation $3. Free for children under 3. 549-1564. 


Exploit-O-Scope: “Polyester” at 7 p.m. at the Pacific Film Archive. Cost is $4-$8. 642-0808. www.bampfa.berkeley.edu 


Café Poetry hosted by Kira Allen at 7:30 p.m. at La Peña. Donation $2. 849-2568. www.lapena.org 

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


Jethro Jeremiah Band at 9 p.m. at Ashkenaz. Cost is $9. 525-5054. www.ashkenaz.com 

Jules Broussard, Ned Boynton and Bing Nathan at 8 p.m. at Downtown. 649-3810.  

Colcannon, Irish music, at 8 p.m. at Freight and Salvage. Cost is $15.50 in advance, $16.50 at the door. 548-1761. www.freightandsalvage.org 

The Rio Thing plays Brazilian jazz at 8 p.m. at Jupiter. 848-8277. 

Ducksan Distones with Donald Duck Bailey playing straight ahead jazz at 8 p.m. at The Jazz House. Donations of $8-$15 suggested. www.thejazzhouse.org 

Charanson with salsa lessons at 8 p.m. at Shattuck Down Low, 2284 Shattuck Ave. Cost is $5-$10. 548-1159.  



Luchino Visconti: “Senso” at 7 p.m. and “Bellissima” at 9:20 p.m. at the Pacific Film Archive. Cost is $4-$8. 642-0808. www.bampfa.berkeley.edu 


Word Beat Reading Series at 7 p.m. with q. r. hand jr. and Reginal Lockett, followed by an open mic at Mediterraneum Caffe, 2475 Telegraph Ave., near Dwight Way. 526-5985.  


Taproots & New Growth Part of the Cultivating World Music Series. Lecture and demonstration of the music and dance of Armenia, Turkey and Greece with members of Near East Far West with Souren Baronian at 7:30 p.m. at Ashkenaz. Cost is $5. 525-5054. www.ashkenaz.com 

Leslie Helpert at 9:30 p.m. at The Starry Plough. Cost is $5. 841-2082. www.starryplough.com 



Actors Ensemble of Berkeley “A Delicate Balance” by Edward Albee. Fri. and Sat. at 8 p.m. at Live Oak Theatre, 1301 Shattuck at Berryman, through Aug 14. Tickets are $10. 649-5999. www.aeofberkeley.org 

Alameda Civic Light Opera “Bye Bye Birdie,” Fri. and Sat. at 8 p.m. Sun. at 2 p.m. to Aug. 22. Kofman Auditorium, 2220 Central Ave. in Alameda. Tickets are $23-$25. 864-2256. www.aclo.com 

California Shakespeare Theater, “The Importance of Being Ernest” Tues.-Fri. at 7:30 p.m., Sat at 8 p.m., Sun. at 4 p.m. at the Bruns Memorial Amphitheater, through Sept. 3. Tickets are $13-$32. 548-9666. www.calshakes.org 

Contra Costa Civic Theatre “My Fair Lady,” directed by Michael Manley, through Aug. 14, Fri.-Sat. at 8 p.m., selected Sun. at 2 p.m. Contra Costa Civic Theatre, 951 Pomona Ave, El Cerrito. Tickets are $12-$20 available from 524-9132. www.ccct.org  

Shotgun Players “The Caucasian Chalk Circle” Sat. and Sun. at 4 p.m. in John Hinkel Park, Southampton Ave., until Aug 29. 841-6500. wwwshotgunplayers.org 

Stage Door Conservatory, “Annie” performed by local teenagers, at 7 p.m. Fri. and Sat, 5:30 p.m. Sun at Julia Morgan Center for the Arts. Tickets are $10-$20 available at the door. www.juliamorgan.org 

Woodminster Summer Musicals, “The Will Rogers Follies” at 8 p.m., Thurs.-Sun. in Joaquin Miller Park, 3300 Joaquin Miller Rd., Oakland. Tickets are $19-$31 available from 531-9597. www.woodminster.com 


Luchino Visconti: “Ossessoine” at 7 p.m. and “The Witch Burned Alive” at 9:35 p.m. at the Pacific Film Archive. Cost is $4-$8. 642-0808. www.bampfa.berkeley.edu 


Osun Festival, honoring the Nigerian River Goddess and celebrating Mother Africa and the African Diaspora. Nigerian dances and drummers at 7 p.m. at the Malong Casquelourd Center for the Arts, 14th and Alice Sts., Oakland. Tickets are $12-$15. 595-1471. 

Dave Ellis at 8 p.m. at the Jazz- 

school. Cost is $15-$18. 845-5373. www.jazzschool.com 

Ballet Counterpointe Rep of Berkeley presents “Works in Motion” Fri. and Sat. at 8 p.m. and Sun. at 2 p.m. at ODC Theater; 3153 17th St. at Shotwell, SF. Tickets are $15-$18. 415-863-9834. www.odctheater.org 

Steve Smulian, past performer with Bread and Roses, will give an acoustic guitar benefit concert, 7:30 p.m. at 5951 College Ave., College Ave. Presbyterian Church. Donation taken for community meal. 658-3665.  

Kami Nixon and Friends at the 1923 Teahouse at 8 p.m. Suggested donation of $7-$15. 644-2204. www.epicarts.org 

Jack Williams, original and traditional southern American folk music, at 8 p.m. at Freight and Salvage. Cost is $15.50 in advance, $16.50 at the door. 548-1761. www.freightandsalvage.org 

How Salsa Arrived in Cuba a dance performance by Salsa Rueda Cuba at 8:30 p.m. at La Peña. Cost is $15. 849-2568. www.lapena.org 

Tap Roots & New Growth with Jaojoby. Lecture and demonstration with Emmanuel Nado and Jaojoby at 8 p.m., show at 9:30 p.m. at Ashkenez. Cost is $15 for lecture and concert, $5 for concert only. 525-5054. www.ashkenaz.com  

The People, Sacred Journey at 9:30 p.m. at Shattuck Down Low, 2284 Shattuck Ave. Cost is $7, $5 with student i.d. 548-1159. www.shattuckdownlow.com 

East West Quintet at 8 p.m. at The Jazz House. Cost is $8-$15. www.thejazzhouse.com 

Kapunik, The Cables, Secret Synthi at 9:30 p.m. at The Starry Plough. Cost is $8. 841-2082. www.starryploughpub.com  

Joshi Marshall at 9 p.m. at Downtown. 649-3810. 

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

Broun Fellinis at 8 p.m. at Jupiter. 848-8277. 

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

Modern Life is War, One Up, Still Crossed, At Risk at 8 p.m. at 924 Gilman St. Cost is $5. 525-9926. 

Elaine Elias Trio at 8 and 10 p.m. at Yoshi’s at Jack London Square, through Sun. Cost is $12-$24. 238-9200. www.yoshis.comô

Not All Eucalypts Are Invasive Culprits By RON SULLIVAN

Special to the Planet
Friday August 06, 2004

Murray Bail wrote a novel, Eucalyptus, with a plot that hinges on one of those marry-my-daughter contests that show up in fairy tales: The successful suitor must name all the eucalypts on the father’s property, and the father has planted at least one of pretty much all of them. That’s hundreds of species —and as things get studied and shuffled, it’s hard to say how many species there are, let alone which any tree belongs to. 

Studying eucs is a good way to stay humble. The sort of person who reads articles like this probably knows that all those blue gum eucs aren’t native to California, but I’m surprised now and then by somebody who doesn’t. Blue gum shows up in Arts and Crafts décor as often as California poppies, and as emblematically. Those sickle-shaped adult leaves are pretty when cast in bronze or ceramic, true. And blue gum is a handsome tree in its proper place—which at this point is probably Tasmania. 

They grow fast, and the idea behind importing and planting them on cut-over tracts here was land speculation: buy all this cheap land with a teenager’s-beard of euc saplings on it and wait a few years to sell logging rights to your magnificent stands of valuable, legendarily durable wood. The catch was that the legends were about old-growth Tasmanian timber, and these comparatively young trees make lumber that’s hard to work with and unreliable. 

There are other eucalypts that show up here in smaller numbers, and two of the less ponderous make handsome and, as far as I can see, civilized street trees. One of them is blooming now, and if you’ve gone down the west part of Cedar Street, or Sixth or Seventh, or even on the 880 freeway in odd spots south of Oakland, you might have turned and said, “What’s that??” It’s a shortish, sturdy-trunked, roundheaded tree with dark green leaves and big, explosive fans of brushy flowers, startlingly scarlet or occasionally crimson or rosy pink. Look more closely for big brown seed capsules like thumb-sized thimbles. There are only a few around, but they’re hard to miss: Red-flowering gum, scarlet gum, Eucalyptus ficifolia or, as some are calling it lately, Corymbia ficifolia. Even “gum” is supposed to be a misnomer, as it’s a bloodwood… which doesn’t describe its pale timber, but tells who its relatives are. Of course it’s confusing; it’s eucalyptus. 

The tree is native to a very small bit of Western Australia, a 50-mile-long strip of mild-climate coast on the region’s southern tip. Because of its limited range, it’s a rare species naturally, but it’s being cultivated in Mediterranean places across the world. It looks conventionally more handsome away from home, as gardeners prune it up a bit so it’s more a tree and less an undisciplined shrub. Beauty and a good fit in the garden have saved some plants from extinction, even if it hasn’t done much for the ecosystems they were born in. 

Red-flowering gum is listed as invasive, but in a half-hearted way and in unspecified places; I’ve never seen it in wildlands here. Its roots are supposed to run deep, which would make it sidewalk-friendly and explain its ability to survive our summer drought. At home, it gets a little rain all year. 

Another eucalypt scattered across Berkeley is E. sideroxylon, red ironbark or mugga. This one is quite the contrast to Ms. Scarlet, being much more leggy and slender, and, given a good stiff wind, graceful with its weeping habit. It flowers in winter, rather less showily, waving its reddish blossoms on long flexible whips of twig. What I like best about it are its movement and color scheme. Its bark is its best fieldmark: glowing red fissures in black bark, with the look of barely cooling pig iron or crusting live lava. Contrast this with the long blue-green leaves for a very handsome, dynamic tree. Decent pruning and its naturally small size would make it a good garden tree, especially if it has room to dance. 

It’s invasive in Africa, but, like scarlet gum, not something you’ll see crowding out wild species here. The worst thing I can say about it is that it’s sometimes the victim of pruning atrocities that leave it a static, if nicely colored, mess.›

Berkeley This Week

Friday August 06, 2004


Native Plant Nursery Volunteer Drop-In Day Activities include seed collection, plant propagation and transplanting, watering, and other maintenance associated with growing native wetland plants. From 1 to 3 p.m. at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Regional Shoreline, Oakland. 452-9261, ext. 109. www.saveSFbay.org/getinvolved/restorewetlandF 

Habitat Management for Pest Control in Organic Systems This workshop will be an introduction to biological control -- an essential element of organic agriculture and gardening. From 4 to 6 p.m. at UC Berkeley Student Organic Garden, Walnut and Virginia. Donations for the garden are accepted, no one turned away for lack of funds and work trade is great. ChiefPilch@aol.com 

Melt and Pour Soap Crafting In this fun, hands-on class, learn how to melt, mix, color, scent and mold a pre-made vegetable glycerin soap base. Take home 5 awesome soaps wrapped and ready to use For ages 8 and up. From 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. at the Nova Studio, 24 W. Richmond Ave, Pt. Richmond. Cost is $35 and $15 materials fee. Please register 234-5700. 

Introduction to Drip and Sprinkler Irrigation A survey of innovative irrigation solutions that save water and money. A full range of irrigation products will be explained. At 11 a.m. at the Urba n Farmer Store, 2121C San Joaqin St, half mile from Central Ave, Richmond. Reservations requested. 524-1604. 

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. 

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. 525-5231. 


Peace Lantern Ceremony from 6:30 to 9 p.m., at the north end of Acquatic Park at the base of Addison Street, near University Ave and I-80. Japanese-style floating lantern ceremony remembering the victims of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and all wars. Shade decoration and paper crane making begins at 6:30, lanterns to be floated at sunset. All a ges welcome. Free. Wheelchair accessible. Volunteers needed. www.ProgressivePortal.org/lanterns 

Shorebird Park and Bay Trail Extension Walk Meet at the foot of University Ave. at the Shorebird Park Nature Center at 10 a.m. Sponsored by Berkeley Path Wande rers Assoc. 644-8623. 

Progressive Voter Mobilization and Job Fair from Sat. through Mon. at Cal State Hayward. For information see www.progressiveleaders.org/leadershipprograms 

Sick Plant Clinic The first Sat. of every month, UC plant experts will diagnos e what ails your plants. From 9 a.m. to noon at the UC Botanical Garden, 200 Centennial Dr. Free. 643-2755. 

Soul Food Cooking Demonstrations at 11 a.m. at the Saturday Farmers Market, Center St. and MLK, Jr. Way. 548-3333. www.ecologycenter.org 

Jessica Jo nes Workshop on Getting to Know Your Own Sound in Improvisation, from 3 to 4:30 p.m. at the Jazzhouse, 3129 Adeline. For ages 9 - 15. Cost is $5. www.thejazzhouse.com 

Walking Tour of Old Oakland around Preservation Park to see Victorian architecture. Meet at 10 a.m. in front of Preservation Park at 13th St. and MLK, Jr. Way. Tour lasts 90 minutes. Reservations can be made by calling 238-3234. www.oaklandnet.com/wallkingtours 

Oakland Heritage Alliance Walking Tour of Lake Merritt Modern from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Meet at the Lakeview branch Library, 550 El Embarcadero. Cost is $5 for OHA members, $10 for nonmembers. 763-9218. www.oaklandheritage.org 

Water Gardening for Various Environments with Karen Norman Boudeau at 10 a.m. at Magic Gardens Nursey, 729 Heinz Ave. 644-2351. www.magicgardens.com 

“Torah and Jesus” with Daniel Matt at 2 p.m. at Pacific School of Religion, 1798 Senic Ave. Part of the Dovetail Institute Conference “Rejoice in Your Choices: Finding Common Ground in Interfaith Families” 800-530-1596. 

Max Dashu Slide Show on goddesses and Women’s herstory at 7:30 p.m. at Changemakers, 6536 Telegraph Ave. Cost is $10-$15. 655-2405. 


Rally and March to Lawrence Livermore Lab on the 59th anniversary of the U.S. atomic bombings of the Japanese cities Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Meet at Jackson Elementary School at 1 p.m. Free shuttle from Dublin-Pleasanton BART. 925-443-7148. www.trivalleycares.org  

Breakfast with the Birds in Tilden Nature Area from 9:30 to 11 a.m. Bring your beverage, w e’ll supply pastries. Cost is $2. Registration required. 525-2233. 

Dog Days Hike, with your canine on a leash, from 2 to 4 p.m. at Lone Oak Picnic site at the end of Lone Oak Rd., Tilden. 525-2233. 

Green Sunday Learn more about important state proposition s and local measures that will be on your ballot in November. From 5 to 6:30 p.m. at the Niebyl-Proctor Library, 6501 Telegraph Ave. at 65th in North Oakland. Sponsored by the Green Party of Alameda County. 

Neighborhood Disaster Training for Grant and All ston Sts. from 9 a.m. to noon. Sponsored by the City of Berkeley. For information call 981-5506. 

Annual Transbay Skronka- 

thon BBQ, experimental music, bring your own food to grill, from noon to 10 p.m. at The Jazz House, 3192 Adeline St. Donations to the Transbay calendar. 649-8744. http://music.acme.com 

Auditions for Actors Ensemble of Berkeley’s production of Noel Coward’s comedy, “Present Laughter” at 7 p.m. at Live Oak Theater, 1301 Shattuck Ave. No appointment necessary. Also on Sunday. For information call 525-1620. www.aeofberkeley.org 

Unjust Drug Laws Wage War on Women of Color fundraiser to support efforts to free Danielle Metz, a first time offender sentenced to three life sentences, at 3 p.m. at La Peña Cultural Center. Cost is $25. 849-2568. www.lapena.org 

“The Story of Meena” with Melody Chavez, author, on the woman who founded the Revolutionary Association of Afghani Women, at 9:30 a.m. at Unitarian Universalist Church of Berkeley, 1 Lawson Road, Kensington. 525-0302.  

“Crossing the Lines: Kashmir, Pakistan, India” A film by Pervez Hoodbhoy and Zia Mian, followed by a discussion with the filmmakers at 4 p.m. at 2040 Valley Life Sciences Bldg., UC Campus. Sponsored by the ASUC and the International Socialist Organization. Free. Arrive early, seating is limited. Wheelchair accessible. www.ektaonline.org 

Oakland Heritage Alliance Walking Tour of African American Oakland from 10 a.m. to noon. Tour is limited to 20 persons. Meet on the steps of the African American Museum, 14th and MLK, Jr. Way. Cost is $5 for OHA members, $10 for nonmembers. 763-9218. www.oaklandheritage.org 

Golden State Model Railroad Museum open from noon to 5 p.m. Also open on Saturdays and Friday evenings from 7 to 10 p.m. Located in the Miller-Knox Regional Shoreline Park at 900-A Dornan Drive in Pt. Richmond. Admission is $2-$3. 234-4884 or www.gsmrm.org 

Tibetan Buddhism with Lama Palzang Pema Gellek on “Yeshe Tsogyal: Liberated Woman of Tibet” at 6 p.m. at the Tibetan Nyingma Institute, 1815 Highland Pl. 843-6812. www.n yingmainstitute.com 


“Native vs Non-Native Plants” a discussion with Glenn Keator at 7:30 p.m. at Montclair Presbyterian Church, 5701 Thornhill Rd, Oakland. Donation $5. There will be a follow-up field trip on Sat. 655-6658. www.close-to-h ome.org  

Great Popular Fiction Bookgroup meets to discuss “The Bourne Legacy” at 7 p.m. at Barnes and Noble, 2352 Shattuck Ave. 644-3635. 

Sisters of Song A workshop for emerging female poets from 9 a.m. to noon through Aug. 15 at the Berkeley Richmond Jew ish Community Center, 1414 Walnut St. Cost is $50. To register call 848-0237, ext. 112. www.brjcc.org 

World Affairs/Politics Discussion Group for people 60 years and over meets Mondays at 10:15 a.m. at the Albany Senior Center, 846 Masonic Ave. Join at any time. 524-9122. 

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. 

Iyengar Yoga on Mondays from from 7:30 to 8:30 a.m. at the Berkeley City Club, 2315 Durant Ave. Cost is $12. 528-9909. gay@yogagarden.org 

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


“Wilderness Canoeing: An Expedition i n Northern Canada” a slide show and talk with Peter Kazaks at 7 p.m. at REI, 1338 San Pablo Ave. 527-4140. 

Organic Produce at low prices sold at the corner of Sacramento and Oregon Streets every Tuesday from 3 to 7 p.m. This is a project of Spiral Gardens. 843-1307. 

Writers Workshop on Writing True Crime with Aphrodite Jones at 7:30 p.m. at Barnes and Noble, 2352 Shattuck Ave. 644-0861. 

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 

Tales of Your Amazing Body at 2 p.m. at the Hall of Health, 2230 Shatuck Ave., lower level. For ages 3-10. Suggested donation $3. 549-1564. 

”The Etiquette of Illness: What to Say When You Can’t Find the Words” with Susan Halpern, social worker, psychotherapist at 7 p.m. at El Cerrito Library, 6510 Stockton Ave. Free. 526-7512.  

Locate Hidden Causes of Pain with Dr. Jay Bunker, chiropractor, from 1 to 3 p.m. at Pharmaca Integrative Pharmacy, 1744 Solano Ave. Please call ahead to sign up. 442-2304. 

St. John’s Prime Timers meets at 9:30 a.m. at St. John’s Presbyterian Church, 2727 College Ave. Blood pressure checks at 10:30 a.m. We offer ongoing classes in exercise and creative arts, and always welcome new members over 50. 845-6830. 

Berkeley Camera Club meets at 7:30 p.m., at the Northbrae Community Church, 941 The Alameda. 548-3991. www.berkeleycameraclub.org 

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.  


Update on Brazil with Amanda Aparecida Matheus, a visiting leader of Brazil’s Landless Workers, at 7:30 p.m. at La Peña Cultural Center. Cost is $5. 849-2568. www.lapena.org 

Twilight Tour “Glorious Grasses” Tour will cover cultural requirements and design uses of grasses from all over the world. Wear comfortable walking shoes. At 5:30 p.m. at the Botanical Garden, 200 Centennial Drive. Cost is $12-$17. Registration required. 643-2755. http://botanicalgarden.berkeley.edu 

Walk Berkeley for Seniors meets every Wed. 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 sh oes, sunscreen and a hat. 548-9840. 

Walking Tour of Oakland City Center Meet at 10 a.m. in front Oakland City Hall at Frank Ogawa Plaza. Tour lasts 90 minutes. Reservations can be made by calling 238-3234. 

“Catch-22” a film by Mike Nichols based on Joseph Heller’s novel, at 7:30 p.m. at the Humanist Hall, 390 27th St., Oakland. Free, donations are welcome. 393-5685. 

Berkeley Peace Walk and Vigil at the Berkeley BART Sta- 

tion, corner of Shattuck and Center. Vigil at 6:30 p.m. Peace Walk at 7 p.m. www.geoc ities.com/ 


Poetry Writing Workshop, led by Alison Seevak, an Albany poet and teacher, from 7 to 9 p.m. in the Edith Stone Room, Albany Library, 1247 Marin Ave. 526-3720. 

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


UC Botanical Garden Volunteer Information Session Learn about the Garden and the world of plants. Please join us if you like meeting people and sharing your knowledge and en thusiasm with others. An eighteen-week, fee-based training course is required. From 4 to 5 p.m. at at the Botanical Garden, 200 Centennial Drive. For more information, call Candice Schott at 643-1924. 

Twilight Tour “Habitats and Humanity in California” Le arn about the fascinating and ingenious ways the California Indians use native plants to obtain the necessities of life, including food, clothing, and shelter, medicine, and tools, at 5:30 p.m. at the Botanical Garden, 200 Centennial Drive. Cost is $12-$1 7. Registration required. 643-2755. http:// 


WomenFirst Youth Extravaganza Come get to know the organizations serving young people here in East Oakland. Meet over 20 agencies in our neighborhood that provide teen services and enjoy music, free food, free raffle prizes, and a drop-in health clinic! From 3 to 5 p.m. at the Eastmont Mall, inside the mall near the Planned Parenthood health center, 2nd floor, suite 201, 7200 Bancroft Ave., Oakland. Sponsored by Planned Parenthood’s WomenFirst program. 729-6236.  

Tales of Your Amazing Body at 2 p.m. at the Hall of Health, 2230 Shatuck Ave., lower level. For ages 3-10. Suggested donation $3. 549-1564. 

East Bay Mac User Group meets the 2nd Thursday of every month, from 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at Expression Center for New Media, 6601 Shellmound St. http://ebmug.org, www.expression.edu 


Free Summer Lunch Programs are offered to youth age 18 and under at various sites in Berkeley, including James Kenny Rec. Center, Frances Albrier Center, Strawberry Creek, Longfellow School, Rosa Parks School and Washington School, Mon. - Fri. 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. until Aug. 20. Sponsored by the City of Berkeley Health Dept. 981-5351.  

This Land is Your Land Day Camp Weekly sessions to Aug. 27 for children ages 5-12, at Roberts Regional Park in Oakland and at Tilden Park in Berkeley. Science and Nature studies with art, music, hiking, swimming, and outdoor games. From 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Cost is $245 per week. 581-3739. www.sarahscience.com 

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

Letters on the Middle East

Friday August 06, 2004

Editor, Daily Planet: 

I would like to propose, that in the spirit of honesty in journalism, you change your publication’s title to The Tuesday and Friday Berkeley and Middle-East Planet. Otherwise, please reinstate your moratorium on discussing the whole Israel-Palestine issue. This issue does not promote dialogue, merely promulgation of preformed opinions. We are unhealthily obsessed with this issue on an international scale, and honestly, for no good reason other than inertia. Fewer than one in a thousand people on this planet are Israelis, yet a quarter of the condemnations issued by the U.N. Commission on Human Rights are about Israel’s actions. Does that sound statistically belieavable to you, or does it sound like someone is blinding themselves to the rest of the world? I am not conveying any morality on this issue, I am merely pointing out an obsession. In the Middle East where, again without moral judgement, Jews and Muslims have actually been fighting and killing each other for at least the past half-century they do not desecrate each others’ graves. Yet desecration of cemetaries happens regularly in Europe. Why do they, who are not actually being killed by either Israelis or Palestinians, care so much to act so abhoringly? This whole issue serves as nothing but an emotional focal point for society to vomit up all the negativity in the world, about every possible issue, all couched in terms of this conflict. Specifically, your paper, by continuously catering to this obsession, is acting no better than any news agency that spent a year covering nothing but OJ’s trial, or the Clinton impeachment proceedings, or any other event to which the hordes of media lemmings continually flock to in intentional ignorance of the rest of this planet. The Berkeley Daily Planet likes to present itself as an independent alternative local newspaper. If you want to do something completely revolutionary and alternative, ignore this cursed issue. Coverage, no matter how pretendingly-objective, does nothing but engender more enmity between sides. I have been reading the letters to the editor for a while in various publications, and never once have I seen anyone write “Oh, that was an interesting opinion or fact that changed my view.” Every single letter is someone condemning the other side, other letter-writers, the editors, political powers that be or want to be, religions, nations, etc. Stop inducing this spouting of hatred and just please please please cover something that does not immediately make people want to (at least verbally) beat each other to death. My personal vote goes for replacing any future Israel-Palestine stories with more Boondocks strips. 

Modi Wetzler 

UC Berkeley Student 


Editor, Daily Planet: 

It was absurd enough that in a past editorial, Executive Editor Becky O’Malley stated that the Jews she respected were Israeli deserters and the likes of pro-Palestinian propagandists such as Barbara Lubin and Henry Norr (yes, dear Becky, there are indeed Jews who hate Judaism). But with her most recent screed on Israel (July 20), Ms. O’Malley leaves no doubt about her bigotry.  

O’Malley wrote that “our expectations are higher for Israel.” Is that why she excoriates Israel for defending itself with a protective wall that has already abrogated three months of potential suicide bombings? Is that why she fails to criticize Palestinian terrorist activity and the ISM members who help facilitate it? 

O’Malley goes on to say she criticizes Israel “for the same reason we tell our kids when we think they’ve made a mistake: because we care about you.” How disgustingly condescending! How reminiscent of “white man’s burden!” O’Malley, my family and friends in Israel are emphatically not your kids. They are fighting for their lives against Islamicist forces of ignorance and murder. As the editor of a newspaper, it is not your right to tell anyone else how to defend themselves against those who are pledged to destroy them—and this includes not just the likes of Hamas but the very elected government of the Palestinians. 

Finally, O’Malley joins Palestinian propagandists when she opines that anti-Semitism also means hatred of Arabs. Common use of language has become the definer of terms in today’s world. If you ask for the definition of anti-Semitism in the West, Asia, Africa or even the Arab world, is there any doubt that 95 percent of those queried would define the term as “hatred of the Jewish people.” 

I find it interesting that in what is supposed to be a paper focused on local events, O’Malley and the Daily Planet should place such constant emphasis on the Israeli/Palestinian issue with an incessant pro-Palestinian perspective. And hopefully by now, any realistic reader should understand this is a reflection of the prejudice of Ms. O’Malley and her publication. In this case, Ms. O’Malley, the term anti-Semitism is all too applicable. 

Dan Spitzer 


Editor, Daily Planet: 

Your editorial comment “Talking about what pictures say” on July 20, 2004, was an excellent example of someone who doesn’t realize how deeply partisan—and negative toward Jews—she really is. First, drop the smokescreen about Semites and Anti-Semites. We’re all Semites here, back to Jacob and Ishmael, progenitors of the Jews and the Arabs. The two peoples are siblings, alas. So when you decide which one is “oppressing” and “occupying” the other, think of it as a family squabble. No wonder the two Jewish reporters in your newsroom argue with each other as they do. To some the presence of Euro-Israeli Jews (survivors of the Holocaust) may seem to complicate this picture, but it doesn’t have to if you go far enough back in time (European Jews came from the Mediterranean following their expulsion from Spain and Portunal in the late 1400s). 

Now try elevating the scale of your thinking to consider these two groups on the same land. Both groups have been dispossessed for the last millenium or two. The Palestinians have never “owned” their land even though they’ve lived there for a long time. Palestine’s owners for the last two millienia have been the Romans, the Christians, the Arabs (Mohammedans), the Turks, the British—right up to the U.N. Partition in 1947, when the prospect of sharing the former British Mandate for the Trans-Jordan was accepted by the Jews and rejected by the Palestinians and every other Arab nation. 

The diaspora of the Jews is well known, of course. It seems the world is very comfortable with the idea of the Jews as a stateless people—as residents of some other state that may or may not choose to grant Jews full rights as citizens. You probably don’t know how recently Jews have been accorded full rights by the states in which reside as a matter of course. This has occurred only in the last century or so. So it is understandable that for centuries there has been a longing for a “home of one’s own” (Herzl’s formulation in the earliest days of Zionism) especially since the Nazis managed to kill half the world’s Jewish population. 

Since Camp David, Oslo, and Wye River, the Jews have been trying to come to terms with Palestinians on sharing their common land. In fact, most Palestinians and most Jews are ready to give it a go. But the combination of wretched Palestinian leadership, Arab intransigence, UN incompetence, and European Anti-Jewishness (they are far less subtle about it), have continued to make this impossible. Of course Israel has made mistakes, and the fence (note the difference in terminology, which you disrespect) is not the nation’s crowning accomplishment as statecraft. Fine, have a go at Sharon and his gang. You’ll have to stand in line behind many Israelis, and not a few American Jews. But what is this? Sharon, the father of the settlement movement, now wants to cut way back to the minimum needed for security, and to hand over Gaza to the Palestinians. Not perfect yet, but some progress toward the middle. 

OK, so now let’s move over to the Palestinian side to see how they’re doing at approaching some kind of middle. What’s your take on the movement? What about Yassir Arafat? How’s he dealing with this? Is he a founding father patriot or a corrupt streetfighter thug whose word means little and is now disgusting to his own people? What do you make of the Palestinian stab at self-governance under an “occupier” who pleads with the Palestinians to develop their own institutions and a viable economy so they can be something resembling a good neighbor? What about the Palestinian leadership’s refusal to admit the right of Israel to exist as a nation, for  

Jews to have their own country as the Palestinians insist for themselves? What do you have to say to the Arabs (especially Saddam Hussein and the Saudi state-sanctioned charities) who reward and encourage suicide bombers as a matter of national policy and world-political strategy? What do you have to say about the Israelis’ (the Jews’) right of self-defense against such attacks? What do you have to say about any of this, Becky O’Malley? What? I can’t hear you..... 

So now I hope you see what I mean when I say you are hopelessly one-sided. If you were not, Editor O’Malley would insist that the Berkeley Daily Planet provide equally strong criticism of the Palestinian side, and would exhort the two peoples and the whole meshpucha, including the other folks in the ‘hood, to cut the crap and figure out how to live with each other. Even Fox News does a better job of “fair and balanced” than you do. 

Fred Wittman



Editorial: Analyzing the Conventional Wisdom by Becky O’Malley

Friday August 06, 2004

One last convention retrospective, and then we’ll get down to business again. Many of the publications we read, including this one, have devoted a lot of space to analyzing the effect of the recent Democratic gathering on the political landscape. We have, however, missed getting a comment from the one person whose opinion would be most relevant: our theater critic. So I’ll just usurp her job for a moment and take a quick look at the spectacle formerly known as the Democratic National Convention. 

The Romans had a formula for keeping the masses in line: bread and circuses. Here in Northern California we’re definitely fixated on getting the best possible bread, and many of us love our circuses too. Circuses, though, have changed. The rowdy and raw circu ses of my youth, under canvas with pick-up bands, have become slickly choreographed productions with nary a hair out of place. The ultimate high-production-values circuses like Cirque du Soleil and Cavalia have substituted oohs and aahs at the lovely cost umes and elegant lighting for gasps of anxiety over apparent near misses on the high wire. Or at least that’s what I hear, because I’ve never been motivated to spend the time or money to see these events, after I took in the sanitized Ringling show at the Coliseum and was bored to tears.  

The new conventions are in the same category. The choreography is smoother every time, and for those who enjoy seeing flawless execution of well-done scripts they are probably entertaining. Las Vegas still draws big cro wds of seemingly admiring people for its shows. But I remember the days when conventions were more like sporting events, with winners and losers, and you didn’t know which was which until they were all over. Now that was exciting. 

Pundits have been shaking their heads over the big networks’ decision to run only three hours of the spectacle conventions, but who can blame them? No matter how flawless the execution, it’s still a show, after all, not a horse race. And as a show it’s notably lacking in plot. 

Much is being made in some quarters over the failure of Kerry to get any post-convention “bounce” in his poll numbers, but why should he? In the past, the sports-event conventions attracted a new audience which had previously not thought much about presi dential politics. Today’s voters, in unusual numbers, have mostly made up their minds—the Democrats weren’t about to change anyone’s vote with what went on at their convention, and the Republicans won’t either.  

In my childhood, everyone, kids and adults, gathered around the radio or the tiny television set for both conventions. In 1952 there were still some Republicans in my family, and I remember a lot of excitement surrounding the contest between Taft and Eisenhower. By the time I was old enough to vo te in 1964 the Democratic nominee was a foregone conclusion, but there was excitement generated by the efforts of the Mississippi Freedom Democrats to be seated at the convention. We went to Atlantic City for a day to support them. I saw Martin Luther Kin g having lunch in a restaurant, and went over to his table and shook his hand. In those pre-security days, we snuck onto the floor and chatted up the official delegates. The Mississippi delegates didn’t make it, and perhaps they never had a chance, even i n those days. 

I do enjoy a good speech, and this year’s Democratic convention had plenty of those. I also enjoy ballet, though it lacks the thrill of the high wire acts in the old shaky circuses. But the Democrats’ Boston ballet didn’t change many hearts and minds, and no reason it should have. Kerry’s built-in support in his natural constituency, thanks to his opponent, is already so high there’s not much room for bounce. 

How high is it? Well, ask the kids to find out. My three-and-a-half year old granddaughter was watching the convention with her mother when John Kerry came on. “He’s funny-looking,” she said. “I don’t like him. What’s he doing?” Her mother said he’s trying to beat George Bush. “Then I do like him,” said the child. 

And that’s not all. I was minding another granddaughter, just past 2 years old, and was looking at a newspaper’s convention coverage. “So,” I said, making small talk. “Who’s going to be president, do you think?” She picked up the paper and flipped through it to find the pic ture she wanted. “He is,” she said pointing. “Who’s he?” I said. “John Kerry!” she said, in a tone of what seemed like thinly veiled contempt at my ignorance. Of course, these girls move in restricted political circles, and can’t be taken as predictors of the final vote count.  

Their grandfather has always claimed that he remembers supporting Wendell Wilkie for president in 1940, when he was not yet 3, because his grandfather did. His grandfather, who was born during the Civil War, was one of the last of the old time real Republicans—he stuck with the Grand Old Party because he was a staunch anti-slavery man, which is what the party stood for in his youth.  

We’re still strongly anti-slavery, but no one on either side of our family has voted for a Republ ican presidential candidate for at least 40 years. The final outcome in November won’t be much affected by politicized families like ours, the ones who still watch part of the conventions for nostalgia’s sake. Because the lines in the sand are so deeply drawn, the race will probably be determined by the choice of a small number of people who don’t pay much attention to politics most of the time, and who probably won’t have watched either convention. And who knows how people like that make up their minds? 


—Becky O’Malley