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Jakob Schiller:
          BACK TO THE BOOKS...
          George Derk, a UC Berkeley sophomore who has yet to declare a major, carries a load of his books up to the register at the UC Berkeley bookstore on Wednesday afternoon. UC has been hit hard by state budget cuts this year, driving up student fees. See story, Page Nine.
Jakob Schiller: BACK TO THE BOOKS... George Derk, a UC Berkeley sophomore who has yet to declare a major, carries a load of his books up to the register at the UC Berkeley bookstore on Wednesday afternoon. UC has been hit hard by state budget cuts this year, driving up student fees. See story, Page Nine.


New Hurdles Ahead For East Bay Casino Deals: By RICHARD BRENNEMAN

Friday August 27, 2004

Two major stumbling blocks landed in the paths of would-be East Bay casino developers this week, the first in the form of legislative resistance to an exclusive Bay Area franchise the governor wants to award a San Pablo casino and the second in the form of a legal motion to block a major casino at Point Molate.  

Defeat of the San Pablo pact, signed Monday by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and representatives of the Lytton Band of the Pomo Tribe, would seem to be good news for would-be developers of gambling palaces at Point Molate and North Richmond. 

The governor’s deal, a political hot potato handed to lawmakers at the last minute, has generated strong opposition from Democrats and some Republicans in the state Assembly and Senate and its fate remains uncertain as the Legislature’s session nears its end today. 

Berkeley Assemblymember Loni Hancock has emerged as an outspoken foe of the San Pablo plan, and intends to submit a state constitutional amendment that would end such last-minute casino bombshells by requiring that lawmakers be given at least 60 days to study casino agreements before voting on them. 

Reached on the Assembly floor Thursday, Hancock said “So far, no news is good news. It looks like they haven’t got the support for it, so during the b reak we’ll be able to consider all of these contracts and the direction they would take the state.”  

ChevronTexaco, owner of the Bay Area’s largest refinery, located at Point Richmond, recently presented Richmond City Councilmembers a counter offer to th e casino proposal offered by Berkeley developer James D. Levine. 

The oil company and the Ione Band of Miwoks—a tribe, unlike the Lyttons, with historic roots in the East Bay—followed up Tuesday by filing a motion in Contra Costa County Superior Court see king a temporary restraining order that would block next week’s planned Richmond City Council vote on the Levine accord. 

A special hearing on the motion is scheduled for 11 a.m. Monday in Department 22 of the Contra Costa County court. 

Both Levine and C hevronTexaco would guarantee access for the Bay Trail through the site and preserve open space as park land, but Levine’s offer could fatten the city’s coffers far more than the petro-giant’s pitch. 

Key documents detailing plans for the San Pablo and Poi nt Molate casinos entered the public record over the last week, one the compact signed by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and the other a detailed contract with the City of Richmond offered by a would-be Berkeley casino developer. 

Though reduced from a bigger-than-Vegas 5,000-slot-machine monster to a more Sin City-sized 2,500-slot gambling palace, Schwarzenegger’s plans for Casino San Pablo still face a rocky road before state legislators. 

The other agreement, presented by James D. Levine and his Upstream P oint Molate L.L.C., outlines the proposed conditions the Richmond Council will consider if and when they vote on plans for a major gambling waterfront resort on a former Navy fuel depot. 

But Levine’s proposal, as well as plans for another casino in North Richmond, could be torpedoed in the increasingly unlikely event legislators did approve Schwarzenegger’s pact with the Lytton Band of Pomo tribespeople for the 2,500-slot machine casino in San Pablo. It guarantees a ban on other casinos within a 35-mile radius—effectively handing the Lyttons a Bay Area casino monopoly. 

While typical legislation is subjected to committee and fiscal reviews in both the Assembly and Senate, lawmakers were told they would have their first and only say on the governor’s Lytt on accord and four other casino pacts when they come up for a floor vote. 

But the real question in the East Bay is what will happen to two other casino proposals currently under consideration in Richmond and North Richmond. 

Berkeley developer Levine and partner John Salmon are forging ahead with their plans for a Point Molate casino, and the Scotts Valley Pomo Band are continuing to push their Sugar Bowl Casino in North Richmond. 

Levine’s proposal includes an operating contract with Harrah’s Operating Company, a subsidiary of Harrah’s Entertainment—a firm with 67 years’ experience in the gambling business. 

Starting from a single bingo parlor in Reno, Harrah’s has branched out both nationally and internationally, becoming the first New York Stock Excha nge issue devoted entirely to gambling. The company maintains a strong position in tribal gambling operations. 

The Lyttons’ San Pablo casino would be jointly operated by the Maloof family—a clan that owns a casino in Las Vegas and the Sacramento Kings of the NBA and gives generously to the GOP—and the Wintun Band of the Rumsey Tribe, operators of the Cache Creek Casino in western Yolo County. 

The Scotts Valley Band has reached an agreement with Florida investor Alan Ginsburg’s North American Sports Mana gement to run their proposed casino in North Richmond. 

On another casino front this week, foes of a tribal casino in Rohnert Park lost their bid to oust two City Councilmembers who voted for a tribal casino that promised the city $200 million paid out ov er 20 years. The duo successfully prevailed in a recall election Tuesday by 55-to-45 and 56-to-44 percent margins. 

Two other councilmembers who voted for the casino face anti-gambling challengers in November. 

In other Northern California casino news, th e Santa Rosa Press Democrat reported Tuesday that two tribal groups have signed an agreement with a prominent Sonoma County Native American family to building a $70 million, 1500-slot casino in Cloverdale on land already held in trust by the Bureau of Ind ian affairs.›i

Albany Chamber Fears Impact of Mall At Golden Gate Fields: By RICHARD BRENNEMAN

Friday August 27, 2004

Though only a handful of Richmond Chamber of Commerce members turned out for a meeting last week on a Canadian developer’s plans for a massive shopping mall at Golden Gate Fields, those who spoke were decidedly cool on the plan. 

Magna’s maxi-mall, plann ed for a little used 45-acre parking lot, would provide 600,000 to 800,000 square feet of retail space in a scenic location—which area merchants fear will kill businesses already reeling from a troubled economy. 

While Magna had held a series of community meetings seeking input on a then ill-defined mall proposal, Albany Chamber President Sherman Linn said that nothing as large as the scale now being floated by the project’s developer—which amounts to a six-to-eight-Costco-sized project—had surfaced durin g those sessions. 

Despite repeated approaches by James Carter, the chamber’s executive director, “there’s been no indication they’re willing to divulge anything about their plans,” Carter said. 

Carter said he feared that another mall in the area would d eepen the adverse impacts on local businesses that followed the opening of the El Cerrito Plaza, when “we were hard hit. 

“It’s not very likely it’s going to have a positive impact on our community. . .it’s something we perceive as a potential threat to o ur existing business district.” 

Caruso didn’t return a call from the Daily Planet, nor did the Canadian offices of Magna. 

A Los Angeles Police Commissioner as well as a developer, Caruso is also a major political contributor, heavily favoring Republican s. His biggest donation, $100,000 on June 21, was made to the Progress for America Voter Fund, a conservative “527 group” which is running spots supporting the re-election of President George W. Bush. 

Magna Entertainment Corp., the Canadian racing firm t hat owns the track and is North America’s largest operators of race tracks, has selected Caruso Affiliated Holdings, a controversial Los Angeles developer, to build the complex. 

Firm president Rick J. Caruso generated considerable heat in Los Angeles for building The Grove, a mega-mall adjacent to Los Angeles’s venerable Farmers Market, which draws more annual visitors than Disneyland. 

Jorge Sandoval, who’s owned Walker’s Pie Shop on Solano Avenue for the last 19 years, said “I don’t think Albany needs one of those,” especially with parking already difficult on a street noted for its eateries and shops. 

The longest-term business owner on Solano, Sandoval said that after the El Cerrito Plaza opening, “some of our businesses on Solano really got hurt, including ourselves. We can’t compete with mall restaurants with big parking” and linked to chains that buy supplies in vast quantities at deep discounts. 

Paul Revenaugh, owner of the Sunny Side Cafe on Solano, said he would not have opened his business a year ago had he known of plans for the Magna mall. “If it opens, we’ll see ‘For Lease’ signs up and down Solano,” he said. “It’s really a question of survival for small businesses.” 

Chamber Executive Director Carter, who’s leaving his post in October aft er three years on the job, said he’d been required “to keep my tongue kind of stapled for the last few years.” He unstapled it at the close of the discussion. 

“I think this is a very bad idea. It could be the death knell for a lot of our businesses, espe cially on Solano. 

“People seem to want to turn the East Bay into another L.A., where every five minutes along the freeway there’s another mall, and small businesses in the surrounding area have gone belly-up. 

“How are we going to compete marketing our b usiness district against a giant mall? And the whole political shape of our community is going to change.” 

Two City Council candidates also appeared at the forum, Richard Cross, a mall opponent and Alan Riffer, who said he remains open to considering dev elopment at Golden Gate Fields. Riffer also said he’d heard “a lot of good things about Caruso.” 

Incumbent Councilmember Jewel Okawachi, who spoke to a reporter after the meeting, said she was also keeping an open mind about the proposal. 

Okawachi had b een at a niece’s wedding in San Diego during an Aug. 21 press conference where a rival said she supported the project. 

“I still don’t know enough the project to make up my mind,” she said. 

Even Chamber President Linn acknowledged that the city needs mor e sales and property taxes, both of which would flow from a new multi-million-dollar regional shopping center. 

“There are some big box stores that wouldn’t be compatible, but we have to be open,” Linn said, citing the chamber’s recent support for the new Target store along the eastern side of the Eastshore Freeway at Buchanan Street. 

“Target will be a good neighbor,” he said, citing the projected $400,000 annual sales tax revenues and the store’s recent job fair at a local school. 

“They don’t devastate a community the way a Wal-Mart does,” Linn said. 

Carter cited another threat on the horizon—Proposition 68, which if approved by voters in November would authorize slot machines at race tracks and strip local communities of control over development at t rack sites, even if the racing is shut down. 

Magna’s Northern California expansion plans also include a major new racing facility in Dixon in Yolo County on 260 acres adjacent to Interstate 80.  

After the business session ended, seats in the Albany Comm unity Center filled as the crowd arrived for the second half of the meeting—presentation of two Citizen of the Year Awards. 

Linn and Assemblymember Loni Hancock presented the adult award to Joan Larson, reeling off a long list of organizations she’s devo ted her energies to—from Friends of the Library and Meals on Wheels to the Albany Historical Society and the Albany Education Fund. 

Councilmember Akkan Maris presented the Young Person of the Year to Briana K’Burg, a graduate of Albany High School and pr esident of the school’s Leos Club. Her causes include the Berkeley Food Pantry, leadership of the Relay for Life Team, Friday Night Live, working to improve landscaping on the Albany Blub and numerous others. The award came just before she leaves for Gonz aga University, where she’ll attend on a Dean’s Scholarship and one from the Albany Lions.›

Sherry Kelly to Retire as City Clerk: By MATHEW ARTZ

Friday August 27, 2004

Berkeley’s top dispenser of public information released some news this week that seemingly no one wanted to hear: She’s calling it a career. 

Sherry Kelly, 57, Berkeley’s city clerk since 1993, will retire effective Dec. 3, after she sees the city throug h one last election. 

Kelly, who has garnered great praise from both residents and city officials for her devotion to transparent government and willingness to burn the midnight oil, said she needed to spend more time with her husband, who retired three y ears ago. 

City Manager Phil Kamlarz said a search for her replacement will begin soon and that Kelly’s top deputy Sara Cox will be a candidate for a promotion. 

Weldon Rucker, Kamlarz’ predecessor, called Kelly, “One of the hardest working people I’ve ev er met. It’s going to be a huge loss for the city,” he said. 

“Sherry’s done a terrific job,” said City Attorney Manuela Albuquerque. “On the tech front to have all the public documentation on the web, it’s a quantum leap from where we were before.” 

T hou gh Kelly’s pending retirement was common knowledge around city hall, neighborhood leaders were surprised and saddened. 

“I have so much respect for her,” said Marie Bowman, president of Berkeley Alliance of Neighborhood Associations. “She instilled so muc h trust in that office.”  

As city clerk, Kelly has been responsible for managing city documents, researching inquiries, recording City Council and commission happenings and managing elections—a particularly time consuming chore in a city with numero us el ected offices and a penchant for citizen-intiated ballot measures. 

Her work to get city government information online, including council agenda packets and live streaming video of City Council meetings, was recognized by the Society of Professional Journalists, which last year named Kelly a recipient of the James Madison Freedom of Information Award. 

In October the city is scheduled to release an online City Council archive chronicling every council action since the start of the 20th century. A si milar interactive database for other city departments is due out within a year. 

“I think people can’t make good decisions without being well informed and they can’t be well informed unless they have the facts,” Kelly said. 

Getting information to the pub lic, h owever, has never been a nine-to-five job for Kelly, who is known to arrive at city offices by 7 a.m. and stay past 9 p.m. 

“She’s always the first car in the lot, I’m probably the second,” Kamlarz said. 

It’s been that way since Kelly, a San Diego-native, arrived from Martinez where she served as deputy city clerk and assistant to the city manager. Before that she had stints as a sales analyst for a pharmaceutical company and a load administrator for a bank. 

“I liked Martinez,” Kelly said. “But I though t Berkeley might have more resources to get information to the public”. 

She was in for a rude awakening. Much like the present, 1993 was an era of tight city budgets and Kelly was hard pressed to maintain services with a skeletal staff and outdat ed compu ters. 

Compounding her early challenges, within a few months after she took office, the mayor resigned and she had to handle a public hearing on panhandling that drew national attention. Her first election included 68 candidates and a city-wide run-off for mayor. 

“If I had known it was going to be that bad, I probably wouldn’t have taken the job,” she said. 

Kelly tackled those challenges the same way she handles her current workload: She worked a prodigious amount of overtime. 

“There’s always more you can do,” she said. “It just depends on how you define yourself.” 

Kelly’s penchant for late nights and some automatic-locking doors have left her trapped in City Hall more than once, and nearly stranded her one Christmas Eve. 

While preparing to bring a b ox full of work home with her on the night before Christmas, Kelly tried to exit City Hall via the stairwell only to find that the doors had locked from the inside. 

“For the next two hours I was screaming and pounding on doors hoping somebody w ould let me in,” she said. “I knew my husband wouldn’t even look for me until Christmas morning.” 

Finally convinced there was no security guard to heed her call, Kelly escaped through an unlocked door in the basement where earlier that day construction c rews were removing asbestos. “At that point I figured asbestos or not, I’m taking my chances,” she said.  

Kelly will not be a stranger in city hall after her retirement. She plans to work as a consultant and has already discussed possible projects with K amlarz. 

“I need to keep active and busy,” she said. “This has been my life for so many years.”àv

School District’s New Teachers Learn the Ropes: By MATTHEW ARTZ

Friday August 27, 2004

Sharon Zinke has spent her last 38 years teaching kids, but on Tuesday she looked like a cat just delivered from the shelter as she tiptoed through empty hallways searching for her first new classroom in over a decade. 

“I’m so lost here,” said Zinke, a recently hired sixth grade special education teacher at Martin Luther King Jr. Middle School and the self-proclaimed “most experienced new teacher in the Bay Area.” 

Even though Zinke was grading homework before most of her fellow Berkeley Unified rookies saw the light of day, she is part of a wave of fresh blood at the district—the largest class of new teachers to hit Berkeley Unified in several years. 

When all of the paperwork is completed, Berkeley expects to hire 60 new teachers this year—about 10 pe rcent of the entire staff, said Pat Calvert, the district’s human resources director for teachers. 

The hiring frenzy comes mainly from improving district finances. Unlike in recent years when budget deficits forced the district to increase class size and shed teacher positions, Berkeley Unified goes into 2004 with its books balanced and its coffers full enough to replace departing teachers. 

Adding to the increase in job openings were a spike in teacher-requested leaves of absence and about a dozen new positions created by higher-than-anticipated enrollment, a new algebra program and an additional social science requirement in the high school. 

This year’s class, which assembled at an orientation session Tuesday at King Middle School, could be the first wave of new hires if voters pass an $8 million tax measure on the November ballot. The initiative would reduce class sizes to 2001 levels and add 59 teacher positions, according to district estimates. 

Calvert, who has two file drawers full of applicatio n s, is confident that the district won’t soon suffer from a lack of qualified candidates. “Berkeley is still a draw,” she said. “People want to come here to work.” 

Perhaps no new teacher has traveled as far to join the district as Joseph Omwamba. Last y ea r the veteran instructor was teaching English in his native Kenya to students who sat with their hands folded on their desks. This year he will teach Swahili and English to Berkeley High students who have garnered a less obedient reputation. 

“I think it’s more fun when students talk back, because then you know when they understand and when they don’t,” said Omwamba, who got a taste of the American education system several years ago in Hayward. 

Another new teacher making an unusual transition is Mikk o J okela. His desire to teach in his adopted hometown led him to resign from the prestigious Piedmont Unified School District to take a job at King Middle School teaching humanities. 

Although they come from different backgrounds, Omwamba and Jokela shar e on e common bond that make them more attractive to the district: neither is white. 

While not fully reflecting Berkeley Unified’s student diversity, among the roughly 40 teachers at Tuesday’s orientation were five African Americans, several Asians and a woma n wearing a Muslim headdress. 

To bolster their ranks, Calvert said the district planned to develop a minority recruitment program this year. 

Demographic and statistical information on the new hires hasn’t been compiled yet. Calvert estimated that the average new teacher has between zero and five years experience and all are credentialed, although she guessed about six would be working on an emergency credential. 

If past trends hold, the new teachers will remain in the district for between 15-20 y ears, she said, although it’s unclear if average tenure for new teachers has dropped since the local real estate market started surging over the past decade. 

While several young teachers feared home prices could one day force them from the district, most said they flocked to Berkeley for the same reasons the city attracts so many outsiders 

“Here it seems like I’ll have a lot of opportunity to give a progressive education that asks critical questions and is critical of our history,” said Chris Young, a w orld history teacher at Berkeley High. 

Zeike, who’s taking a pay cut to join the district, decided to leave her job in a Hayward elementary school when budget cuts would have doubled her workload and forced her into two district schools. 

“There wouldn’t have been enough time to work with the kids,” she said. Zinke is close to King Principal Kit Pappenheimer and said she was happy to be closing her career out in a district that wasn’t rolling over to education bureaucrats. 

“I feel at home in Berkeley,” she sa id. “In Hayward they’re doing what they’re afraid they’re supposed to be doing, Berkeley still respects personal judgment.”›

Protesters Stream into Manhattan for GOP Convention: By CHRISTOPHER KROHN

Special to the Planet
Friday August 27, 2004

They keep coming, but will they have a place to protest? 

According to organizers in New York City for the Republican National Convention, thousands of activists from all over the country have been working for months to bring hundreds of thousands of pro testers to the Big Apple for anti-Bush marches, rallies, music, teach-ins and parties.  

More than a thousand Bay Area protesters are expected to be in New York, according to one prominent Berkeley organizer. But a major snafu seems to be occurring. The largest planned and permitted march was rebuffed in two New York City courtrooms this past week.  

As the Daily Planet went to press the protest situation was fast coming to a head. It is yet unclear if a large sanctioned rally will take place anywhere in Manhattan during the four-day convention—the main protest group is still rejecting the official protest site along the city’s Westside Highway—or whether an unsanctioned, illegal gathering will take place on Sunday in Central Park after the march. 

As usu al, Bay Area organizers are figuring prominently in the logistical operations of these planned large-scale protests, but so far things are not going so smoothly. 

First, on Tuesday the group International A.N.S.W.E.R.—Act Now to Stop War and End Racism—was denied a permit to use the park for a rally of up to 75,000 people. Then on Wednesday the week-long demonstration umbrella organization, United For Peace and Justice (UFPJ), was denied use of Central Park for an even larger planned anti-Bush protest. 

“Essentially the judge said we were too late,” said Oakland resident and UNFPJ steering committee member Andrea Buffa. Speaking from the group’s New York office Buffa said, “We’re disappointed, the First Amendment applies to the entire U.S., but we need to move ahead. We will work with the police and we will have a legal march to Madison Square Garden beginning on Sunday morning at 10 a.m., assembling at the corner of 14th Street and 7th Avenue (in Manhattan).” 

And where will the rally be after the march? “That’s what we are in negotiations with the police about right now,” Buffa said. 

Not In Our Name, another prominent Bay Area organization with a national following, may be taking a different tack. Media coordinator for the group and Berkeley resident A iMara Lin, speaking outside the courthouse just after the judge handed down the second decision not allowing protesters to use Central Park, was less conciliatory. 

“Not In Our Name says we have a legitimate right to be in Central Park on Aug. 29. The per mit battle is not over,” she said. “It is a personal choice for folks whether to participate in an act of Civil Disobedience.” 

UFPJ’s Buffa said, “Many of our constituent groups cannot risk arrest, many immigration groups who plan to participate, for exa mple…going to Central Park will not be part of our march.” 

The collective agendas of all groups seem to be pro-peace, pro-immigrant, anti-racist, and pro-labor. Their main goal, stated over and over in interviews, is to protest the policies of the past f our years of an unpopular president. But because of the restrictions being placed on protesters by the police, there may be fissures developing within the various groups represented. 

“New York City officials are sowing tremendous fear and confusion about protesting in this city,” said Berkeley resident Bob Wing, who is editor of the monthly anti-war newspaper War Times. Wing is also the co-chair of United for Peace and Justice. Speaking from New York, Wing said NYC’s police force seems to be mirroring th e Bush administration’s “politics of fear,” and they are doing it with the help of the local media. 

“The parallel here is Arabs as terrorists and dissenters as anarchists,” Wing said. “The (New York) Post even ran a story about how the Weather Undergroun d has reemerged for these protests…even the (New York) Times has run two front page stories about how anarchists are coming to destroy the city.” 

Wing, clearly frustrated with New York City officials said, “Sunday is the day everybody has agreed they wil l work with and mobilize for…this is scheduled to be the largest (protest) event and it doesn’t even have a site.” 

Medea Benjamin of Code Pink and San Francisco’s Global Exchange (which operates a fund-raising retail outlet in Elmwood), is already on the ground in New York. Reached by cell phone Thursday in New York’s Union Square she says she hasn’t seen heavy police presence (like that in Boston) yet. 

“At our rally this morning we had about 15 Code Pink women, and at first there were no police, but later ten motorcycle cops showed up, but they were light and relaxed,” she said. 

On Wednesday a group of four Code Pink women were arrested when police “stormed into the (Sheraton) hotel room we were renting, when they unfurled a banner [out the window] across the street from Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s press conference.” 

According to Benjamin the banner read, ‘Welcome Protesters. Where? Central Park.” 

Benjamin herself was not arrested in this incident. The four women arrested have been released. A Bay Area woman was kept overnight, according to another Code Pink spokesperson, Danielle Ferris of New York City.  


Voter Packet Goes to Press After Judge Rejects Challenge: By MATTHEW ARTZ

Friday August 27, 2004

Berkeley’s voter information packet is ready for printing after Superior Court Judge James Richman dismissed complaints Thursday challenging the wording of two controversial ballot initiatives. 

Authors of a ballot measure to liberalize the city’s marijuana laws and a measure to create a Tree Board to protect public trees both protested that the City Council had approved ballot titles designed to undermine support for their initiatives. 

Tree Board author Elliot Cohen further charged that the city attorney’s analysis, included in the voter packet, offered misinformation. 

Among his litany of complaints, Cohen argued that the city had overstated the measure’s cost, refused to consider potential savings and used “alarmist language” to frighten voters that the initiative would increase the risk of fires. 

However, state election law required Cohen to provide “clear and convincing” evidence that the ballot measure language was false or misleading, a standard Judge Richman ruled Cohen failed to meet. 

The ballot titles, which voters will see on their touchscreen machines, became embroiled in controversy this summer when the City Council spontaneously decided to review the language for three measures they opposed. 

Judge Richman denied the request of marijuana advocates to revert to the original draft. That version placed the measure’s most controversial provision—a by-right use permit to cannabis clubs—at the bottom of the ballot statement rather than the top. 


LeConte Neighbors Fume Over Stolen Endorsements: By MATTHEW ARTZ

Friday August 27, 2004

Several officers of the LeConte Neighborhood Association have accused one of their own members of misrepresenting the group’s positions on ballot arguments set to be delivered to Berkeley voters. 

They say Jim Hultman exploited lax state election laws and, without their permission, signed the group up to ballot arguments opposing five controversial initiatives.  

Most egregious, said LeConte President Karl Reeh, is that the group is listed as opposing a proposal to publicly finance city elections and a library tax. Reeh said board members never voted on campaign finance and, although they oppose the library tax, some members objected to harsh language in the ballot argument. 

The rebuttal Hultman signed on behalf of LeConte against the library tax charges that the venerable institution is mismanaged. 

“He had no authority to say that on our behalf,” said LeConte Secretary Patti Dacey. “I read the library argument and I was appalled. I like the way the library is managed.” 

Hultman, however, insists he did nothing wrong and contends the neighborhood backlash is being orchestrated from City Hall where politicians are especially protective of the initiative to publicly finance elections. 

“The mayor is putting pressure on them to get our name off the ballot argument,” he said. “Public campaign financing is his baby and he can’t stand that his own neighborhood group opposes it.” 

Reeh said that the mayor’s office has not contacted the group since it appeared as an opponent to campaign finance reform. 

Much to the displeasure of neighborhood groups, the city is seeking four tax measures that would raise an estimated $8 million to help plug projected budget deficits in its general fund and special funds including those for libraries and emergency medical services. Publicly financing city elections would pluck an estimated $500,000 a year from the city’s general fund, but isn’t officially a tax. 

Hultman, who sits on the LeConte board but isn’t an elected officer, was one of several members of neighborhood groups to sign ballot arguments both as individuals and on behalf of their organizations.  

As part of its fight against new city taxes and spending programs, the Berkeley Alliance of Neighborhood Associations (BANA) has urged neighborhood groups to depart from past tradition in which neighborhood leaders signed ballot arguments as individuals and instead take a united stand. 

Not only does it send a stronger message of neighborhood opposition to city tax hikes, but procedurally it’s very easy. 

To assign himself as LeConte’s official spokesperson, all Hultman had to do was check a box that he was signing on behalf of a group, and then sign a separate consent form that he was a “principal” of the group. No proof of his standing with the group or outside verification was required. 

“It seems anybody can sign something on behalf of anybody. That’s pretty outrageous,” said Dacey, who along with Reeh and LeConte board member Rob Wrenn requested that City Clerk Sherry Kelly remove LeConte from the contested ballot arguments.  

Wrenn sent an e-mail to Kelly’s office with copies sent to Cisco DeVries, Mayor Bates’ chief of staff, and councilmembers Linda Maio and Dona Spring, sparking claims from Hultman and others that politicians were pressuring LeConte leaders to backtrack from their opposition to public campaign financing, a charge rejected by the mayor’s office. 

“We were not involved in this discussion with LeConte,” said DeVries, who was out of the country on vacation when the e-mails were sent. 

Councilmember Dona Spring challenged all of the ballot arguments with neighborhood or block group endorsements. 

“I don't believe that very many of these block groups or neighborhoods actually took positions on the ballot measures,” she wrote in an e-mail to Kelly. 

But City Clerk Kelly, in consultation with the city attorney’s office, determined state law gave her no power to review the matter. The election code, she said, only requires that someone signing a ballot argument on behalf of a group be “a principal” but doesn’t define the term. 

“I have to take their word for it,” Kelly said. “Someone else has to challenge them.” 

State election law allows a 10-day window for legal challenges to ballot arguments, but Reeh said by the time LeConte learned of its right to sue, it didn’t have enough time or will to mount a challenge. 

Hultman, however, insisted he would have prevailed in court. Given just two days to conduct a vote in time to be included on ballot arguments, he forwarded an e-mail from BANA asking for a vote on the tax measures, in which the measure to publicly finance campaigns was also included. 

“Everyone came back opposed to everything,” he said. “Public financing was included. It’s a tax, it’s coming out of the general fund.”  

Although it’s shrouded in controversy, the rushed Internet vote taken by the LeConte board—their standard practice when time restraints prevent a face-to-face meeting—appears to have been among the most democratic among neighborhood groups that went on record opposing some of the tax hikes. 

Greg Harper, head of the Southwest Berkeley’s Stanton Street Neighborhood Association, which is listed on the ballot argument opposing the library tax, said he never officially polled his members. “My neighbors trust me to act for them. We don’t get together,” he said. 

Claremont-Elmwood Neighborhood Association (CENA) board member Mort McDonald, said his group didn’t take a formal vote either, though he added CENA president Dean Metzger had asked members if anyone was opposed to joining BANA against the tax hikes.

Shirek Seeks Union Support For Possible Write-In Bid: By J. DOUGLAS ALLEN-TAYLOR

Friday August 27, 2004

Veteran Berkeley District 3 City Councilmember Maudelle Shirek is keeping her options open for a possible re-election campaign, despite the fact that she was disqualified earlier this month from the November ballot for failure to provide the proper number of qualified nomination signatures. 

Shirek reportedly won a dual endorsement recommendation from the Alameda County Service Employees International Union when she showed up last weekend at a candidates’ meeting of the labor group to seek their support. The SEIU dual endorsement also went to Berkeley Rent Stabilization Board Chair Max Anderson, who will appear on the November ballot as a District 3 City Council candidate. 

Neighborhood organizer Laura Menard and political newcomer Jeffrey Benefiel are also running for the District 3 seat. 

The recommendation now goes to the Alameda County Central Labor Council, which will conduct candidate interviews for all Alameda County political races in mid-September. A source at the Central Labor Council said that while the council tends to follow the recommendations of local unions in candidate endorsements, those endorsements are not automatic. 

The SEIU recommendation was first reported earlier this week in other area newspapers and was confirmed by Anderson. 

Neither Shirek, members of her staff, nor representatives of SEIU Local 790 returned several calls concerning the story and rumors that Shirek has been considering conducting a write-in campaign for her seat. However, candidate Max Anderson confirmed that Shirek attended the SEIU meeting and asked for the union support. He said she did not mention a possible write-in campaign.  

By law, candidates cannot officially begin running a write-in campaign until at least 57 days before the election. For the Nov. 2 election, that would not occur until the second week in September. 

“We’ll have to just wait and see,” Anderson said, concerning a possibly Shirek re-entry into the race. “I’m going to run the same type of race as I’d always planned.” He expressed concern that “with Laura Menard in the race,” Shirek’s re-entry might “split the progressive vote,” possibly allowing the more moderate Menard to win. 

Anderson had announced his intention to run for the District 3 seat before Shirek was disqualified. In an earlier interview, he had told the Daily Planet that he was running for the seat, and not specifically against Shirek.

Bay Area Coalition Finds Hope, Fear in Haiti: By JUDITH SCHERR

Special to the Planet
Friday August 27, 2004

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti — Courage, integrity, rage; hunger, disillusionment, fear—a group of mostly Bay Area human rights workers and journalists found it all, here on this embattled island, where once-enslaved people rose up 200 years ago to found the pro ud independent black nation of Haiti. 

Among the dozens of people interviewed on the streets, in jail, in union halls, in homes, at demonstrations and at spiritual events, we found unbridled hope and deep discouragement, bravery and dread; we witnessed dr ums and dance that filled people with the spirit of life and we heard testimony after testimony of family members charred or riddled with bullets in sordid death.  

Courage incarnate. That’s Annette Auguste, sitting in the crowded visitors’ cell at the pr ison in Petionville, on the outskirts of Port-au-Prince. Her brown eyes gleaming, the prisoner lent her strength to the group that squeezed into the space around her. “I am not afraid,” the folksinger and Lavalas activist said. “I have too much support. T hey won’t do anything to me.” 

Lavalas is the political party of deposed President Jean-Bertrand Aristide, the former priest whose theology and political goals have been directed at empowering the poor and voiceless. On Feb. 29, according to accounts writ ten by the exiled leader, Aristide was forced out of the country by U.S. officials. The State Department version says that, in response to his call for help, the U.S. facilitated Aristide’s escape from a country in turmoil.  

Port-au-Prince resident Wilfred Lavaud talked about the arrest of his wife Sò Anne, a folk singer and Lavalas supporter. “On May 10, the American military came into the house at one in the morning and said they had information that Sò Anne attacked their forces and had large guns in the house,” said Lavaud. Weapons were not found and a judge declined to prosecute the activist on the original charges. Yet Sò Anne, like still uncounted numbers of Lavalas supporters, remains in custody without precise charges and without a trial date.  

This, of course is in stark contrast to last week’s trial of Louis Jodel Chamblain. Chamblain is a leader of “rebel” forces that brutally took over portions of Northern Haiti at the beginning of the year. This group continues to control parts of Haiti ne ar the Dominican Republic border, according to UN officials. Chamblain had been found guilty in absentia for the murder of an Aristide ally in 1993. Under Haitian law, the “rebel” leader had the right to a retrial on his return to Haiti. Chamblain was acquitted in a retrial that lasted one day only. (He remains “jailed”—he has a single cell at the woman’s prison—on other charges.)  

Haiti’s U.S.-backed interim Prime Minister Gerard Latortue has called the rebels “freedom fighters;” on Aug. 15, a group of 150-200 “rebels” was permitted to march through the streets of Port-au-Prince carrying their weapons. (A United Nations spokesperson said the peacekeeping organization didn’t stop them because their job is to support the Haitian police, not intervene on t heir own.)  


A People’s Politician 

Integrity. Our politicians throw the word about until it pops like a plastic bubble.  

Meet Jean Charles Moïse, mayor—I should say former mayor—of Milot, a northern rural district of some 50,000 inhabitants. The area a bounds in coconut palms, avocados and passion fruit; groves of banana trees line its narrow roadways. The 30-something father of four is among the more than 400 mayors and countless other local elected officials across the country booted out of office alo ng with Aristide, creating chaos throughout the tiny nation.  

Of peasant stock, Moïse grew up in Milot, where, at great financial sacrifice, his parents sent him and his three sisters to school. As a young man, Moïse began to organize fellow peasants int o the Peasant Organization of Milot to help them get title to the land that they share-cropped. He ran for mayor in 1995 promising to enforce Article 74 of the Haitian Constitution, which says that local government has the right to redistribute local gove rnment-owned land. (Most of the so-called landowners didn’t have legal title to the land they claimed—it actually belonged to the government; they held it as a result of favors from the Duvalier governments.) Moïse was elected mayor in 1995 with 85 percent of the vote and again in 2000 with 70 percent.  

The popularity of the mayor of Milot was evident on Aug. 14, when he appeared in public for the first time in months at a pro-Lavalas protest march that drew more than 2,500 participants. Cheered loudly by supporters, the mayor stayed at the march only briefly, surrounded by the group of human rights workers in bright orange shirts, who believed their presence would help Moïse stay safe. As popular as the Lavalas partisan is with his community, he has an gered Haiti’s elite over the years by his tireless work for land reform and his penchant for calling for locals to plant crops for their consumption rather than devoting the soil to export products such as tobacco. He is the subject of frequent threats against his life and property.  

While the Aug. 14 march was a time for many to put their fears aside, don their Aristide t-shirts and protest publicly against the government they say is unconstitutional, many stayed away, some in hiding, others too afraid to demonstrate their Lavalas loyalty in public. In Port-au-Prince, I spoke to one radio journalist who had worked in the north, but now hides in the densely populated capital. There it’s easier to be anonymous, he said, noting that he never sleeps in one home for long.  

Many people have been traumatized by the violence that characterized—and continues to characterize—the Aristide opposition. Lavalas supporters in Cap Haitian, a northern city near Milot that ranks second in population after Port-au-Princ e, put together a “Caravan for Justice,” to memorialize the places where people were killed and homes and institutions burned by rampaging “rebel” forces Feb. 22.  


A Traumatized and Angry Witness 

The airport, courts, a radio and TV station, police stat ions, a prison and a number of homes were among the charred and bullet-ridden sites where people had died. While viewing the burned-out remains of a small fleet of school buses, Lavalas supporters leading the caravan found one reluctant witness who, after some persuasion, agreed to speak on condition of anonymity.  

His job was in the school bus yard. When rebels came and destroyed the nearby courthouse and prison, they also incinerated at least six school buses, used to pick children up in the countryside. The program instituted by local Lavalas officials had cost parents only 250 gourdes (about $7) a year.  

“Now we can’t do anything,” said the man, a Lavalas supporter who went into hiding for several months after Feb. 22. “The new government doesn’t give us anything.”  

This now unemployed father was at the site that day with others who were trying to see if any of the badly charred buses could be restored. “The children need to go to school,” he said, as tears began to run down his cheeks. He steppe d away from the reporters and human rights workers to recover his composure, then continued speaking, taking aim at the U.N. “They are not there for protection. Maybe they are there to protect the government.”  

The day preceding the caravan, the Bay Area group met with a number of mothers and fathers whose children had been killed or who were in hiding and women whose husbands were dead or in jail. I asked many of them if they were going to seek justice from the police or the courts and without exception, people seemed to find the question bizarre. “There’s no justice, no one to go to,” said the mother of Jean Pierre Elipha, an 18-year-old killed by the rebels.  

While the stories of violence, death and destruction were tragic, the group found comic relief in one Frederick B. Cook. The balding white man, always accompanied by a quiet Haitian, was first spotted taking pictures of the Bay Area group as we observed a demonstration in support of Sò Anne. That was in Port-au-Prince. Several days later at the demonstration in Cap Haitien, Cook came up to former Oakland-now-Port-au-Prince resident, filmmaker Kevin Pina and engaged him in conversation. The man, whose card indicated that he was with the State Department, was happy to talk to journalists present, but refused to talk on the record. He said his purpose in being at the demonstration was to protect our group; if anything happened to one of us, it would create a lot of paper work for him.  

The last morning of our stay, the journalists and rights workers decided to do some tourism and ride horses up the mountain to the almost 200-year old Citadel, built to keep the region safe from Napoleon’s army. At the top of the steep climb, we weren’t alone with our horses and guides: there was Frederick B. Cook, his quiet companion and about two dozen Chilean U.N. forces.  

And later in the day, when we took the 18-passenger plane back to Port-au-Prince, Mr. Cook and friend were in the front seats. While his omnipresence became a joke among the rights workers and journalists, it underscores the arrogant attitude our nation projects, which is in stark contrast to the Haitian warrior-heroes we met: people like Sò Anne, Jean-Charles Moise and the man at the bus yard.  



City Staff Urges Approval Of 9-Floor Seagate Project: By RICHARD BRENNEMAN

Friday August 27, 2004

Plans for the 115-foot tall, 186,151-square-foot nine-story Seagate Building will go to the Zoning Adjustments Board for a second public hearing on Sept. 9, following an earlier session held Thursday night. 

City staff has urged adoption of the controversial project, which includes 149 residential units, 12,067 square feet of ground floor space for the Berkeley Repertory Theater, 5769 square feet of ground floor retail and three floors of underground parking. 

One major question remains to be decided, said city Senior Planner Greg Powell.  

“The application was presented as a rental contract,” he said, “but the applicant has said they are considering doing it as condos.” 

The project entails demolition of four buildings from 2041 to 2067 Center St., between the City Center Garage and the Wells Fargo Annex, including two structures currently used by the Berkeley Rep, one building used by Vista Community College and a Ritz Camera store. 

The new structure’s address would be 2065 Center St.  

While the city’s General Plan limits downtown buildings to five stories, the building gained two more floors under the cultural facility density bonus by providing space for Berkeley Rep. 

The other two floors were awarded because Seagate guaranteed it would offer 23 units at rates affordable by low- and lower-income tenants (respectively those earning 81 percent and 50 percent or less of the Oakland metropolitan area median income). 

The development by Seagate Properties, Inc., of San Rafael would rival the Gaia Building as the tallest structure built in the city in recent decades. 

City Manager Phil Kamlarz and staff had been working with the developer Darrell de Tienne for more than two-and-a-half years before the project was first unveiled publicly at a meeting of the Civic Arts Commission Feb. 25. 

Though the commission voted to endorse the project, members voiced frustration at receiving the plans only two days before their scheduled vote. The proposal went before the commission to receive their blessing on the cultural density bonus. 

Two commissioners, Bonnie Hughes and Jos Sances, dissented, saying they were reluctant to hand control over one of the largest performance spaces in the city to a well-funded group at a time when other organizations are struggling to find performance venues.  

Under their lease with Seagate, Berkeley Rep is obligated to hold its own public performances in the building 48 days a year and to make the space available to other non-profit arts groups for another 52 days a year and submit annual documentation that they are fulfilling their obligation. 

Berkeley Rep will bill the nonprofits according to a fixed schedule, 26 days billed at actual operating costs excluding rent, one fourth at half actual costs excluding rent and the remainder at a quarter of costs excluding rental.  

Project developer Seagate is a privately held five-member partnership with extensive real estate holdings in the Bay Area and apartments in Colorado. Berkeley holdings listed on their website include the 12-story Wells Fargo Building at 2149 Shattuck Ave. (site of their local office), and structures at 1950 and 2039-2040 Addison St., 2055 Center St. (slated for demolition to build the 9-story building) and 1918 and 1936 University Ave. 

The proposed Mitigated Negative Declaration calls for approval if the developer fulfills a list of requirements, including providing housing and space required for the cultural and low-income housing bonuses, minimizing noise, dust and other impacts during construction, and installing 74 bicycle stalls for residents and another eight for shoppers and users of the Berkeley Rep space. 

The city’s proposal also requires the developer to pay $15,000 toward construction of a downtown Berkeley BART bike facility and another $15,000 to upgrade traffic signals at both ends of the block. 

A similar traffic signal fee is being imposed on the new Vista College Building rising just across Center Street from the Seagate site.


Friday August 27, 2004

Carjack Victim Sodomized 

Berkeley Police are seeking two men who sodomized a motorist they carjacked late Tuesday evening near the corner of Fourth Street and Channing Way, said BPD spokesperson Officer Joe Okies. 

After forcing the victim to drive out of the area, “basically they forced him into the back seat and forced him to orally copulate them as they sodomized him,” Okies said. 

The suspects are two white males between the ages of 25 and 35, one described as stocky and the other as slim. 

Okies declined to give further information about the case, which is still under investigation. 


Police Find Shooting Victim 

Officers responding to reports of shots fired near the intersection of Sixth and Page streets discovered a bleeding man on a porch at 900 Bataan Ave., a block and a half from the reported location of the shots. 

The 43-year-old victim, bleeding from several gunshot wounds in his neck and torso, was rushed to Highland Hospital and taken into surgery for treatment of wounds that are reportedly non-life-threatening. 

Officer Okies said investigators have found no evident connect between the shooting and an earlier incident that evening in which a man reported being beaten by a racially mixed group. 


Forgot Zip Code? 

Fellow pedestrians noted something odd about one of their number as they strolled along 10th Street near Gilman Street last Thursday afternoon. Inadvertently or otherwise, the 40-something gentleman clad in khaki and a tan-brimmed hat was exposing part of his anatomy normally unseen on Berkeley Streets save when the Xplicit Players are abroad in their full, fleshy splendor. 

He had vanished by the time Berkeley’s Finest arrived. 



Two Gunmen Get Cash 

Two men, each armed with a handgun, approached a pedestrian near the corner of Parker and Fulton streets shortly before 1 a.m. last Thursday and demanded his wallet. The victim wisely consented. 


Rat Pack Slash Attack  

A group of five or six young men approached another man near Willard Middle School shortly after 1 a.m. last Friday, one of them carrying a knife. The victim was beaten and sustained a non-life-threatening wound, for which he was treated at a local hospital. 


Young Robbers Arrested  

Berkeley Police arrested two juveniles after an aborted strong arm robbery at Hearst and McGee avenues early Tuesday evening. 


Masked Gunman Gets Cash 

A masked gunman confronted a pedestrian near the corner of Howe and Ellsworth streets about 7:30 Sunday evening and demanded cash. The victim opened his wallet and the bandit fled in a car. 


Ash Tray Equals Deadly Weapon 

Police are seeking a 28-year-old Berkeley woman on assault with a deadly weapon charge after she bashed a gentleman with a heavy glass ashtray Monday night. Police declined to give out further details of the incident. 


Shoplifter’s Dumb Move 

A man confronted by a security guard at the Shattuck Avenue Long’s Drugs on suspicion of shoplifting turned a boost into something more serious when he brandished a knife. 

The 36-year-old knife-flashing booster was provided with new accommodations at the city pokey. 

It was the second knife incident at a Shattuck Avenue drugstore in less than a week. On the 19th, another man brandished a knife at a security guard at the 1451 Shattuck Ave. Walgreens. The 38-year-old suspect was still in jail when his fellow knife-wielder arrived.e

New Home for North Berkeley Farmers Market: By LIZ FOX

Friday August 27, 2004

Shoppers gather around Chris Boswell, a chef at Chez Panisse Cafe, to sample fresh bruschetta at the grand opening of the North Berkeley Farmers Market at Shattuck Avenue and Rose Street. The Thursday afternoon market is a program managed by the Berkeley Ecology Center.

Sunday Memorial Honors Reginald Zelnik,UC Historian and Key FSM Supporter: By RICHARD BRENNEMAN

Friday August 27, 2004

a Friends and family of renowned UC Berkeley historian and Free Speech Movement supporter Reginald Zelnik will gather for a memorial service Sunday at 11 a.m. in the Faculty Glade outside the Men’s Faculty Club. 

Zelnik, internationally famous for his studie s of Russian and Soviet history, died in a May 17 accident when a delivery truck backed over him as he strolled across the campus. 

The memorial, sponsored by UC’s Institute of Slavic, East European and Eurasian Studies and the Department of History, will be opened by Martin Jay, Chair of Berkeley Department of History, followed by recollections from leading current and retired faculty from Cal, Stanford, Yale, the University of Pennsylvania and New York University and Lynne Hollander Savio, Free Speech Movement activist and spouse of the late Mario Savio. 

Following their talks, there will be an open mic for 15 minutes, followed by closing remarks from Vartan Gregorian, president of the Carnegie Corporation of New York.  



Deep Budget Cuts Scar New UC Academic Year: By J. DOUGLAS ALLEN-TAYLOR

Friday August 27, 2004

A spokesperson for the University of California at Berkeley said that the university has “hit bottom” with this year’s budget and will begin to turn itself around with the aid of the Higher Education Compact signed earlier this year by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and the heads of the UC and California State University systems. 

But the compact is not legally binding, and its terms could be changed in future state budgets either by the Legislature or by the governor. 

Student fees across the entire UC system have been rising dramatically in the past two years, according to UC Berkeley Director of Media Relations Marie Felde. The fees have jumped 60 percent from $2,100 a semester to $3,365 a semester for California residents in the past three years. In roughly the same period, state general fund monies to UC Berkeley plummeted, dropping from $514 million in 2003-03 to $437 million in 2004-05. 

As one result, Felde said, “non-faculty employees have not had any raises for three years. In this region, with the current economy, that’s hard. People have felt that.” 

The largest decline in UC Berkeley’s budget this year was in the area of research, which was dropped from the 2004-05 budget altogether, but was later restored, 10 percent lower last year. Nonacademic programs suffered a six percent cut, while academic programs lost 2.25 percent in funds. 

General fund support to the statewide UC system dropped from $3.1 billion in 2002-03 to $2.7 billion in 2004-05. 

Last May, UC President Robert Dynes and California State University Chancellor Charles Reed agreed not to oppose proposed severe cuts in the universities’ budgets in exchange for Gov. Schwarzenegger’s agreement to a Higher Education Compact to stabilize future state funding. 

In exchange, Schwarzenegger agreed to support a 3 percent state general fund increase to both UC and CSU in 2005-06 through 2006-07, jumping to a four percent general fund increase from 2007-08 through 2010-11. 

Under the compact, undergraduate student tuition at both university systems would be capped at raises of an average of 10 percent for the next three years. 

The agreement was called “inexcusable,” “despicable,” and “embarrassing” by John Vasconcellos, the outgoing chair of the Senate Education Committee. Vasconcellos was particularly concerned that the compact did not address the problem of thousands of UC-eligible California students who were scheduled to be turned away from the university system this year because of budget cuts. 

One portion of the university’s budget agreement has already hit a stumbling block: Earlier this month, a California Superior Court judge in San Francisco issued a preliminary injunction against the raising of UC fees this fall for 3,000 professional school students who enrolled prior to 2003. Those fee increases would have averaged a 30 percent jump from last year. Judge James L. Warren said that student plaintiffs attempting to halt the fee hikes had “demonstrated a substantial likelihood of success on the merits” in a case which is scheduled to go to trial this fall. UC is appealing the judge’s ruling. 

The Higher Education Compact has been compared to a similar agreement between the governor and California city and county leaders, but it differs in one significant way: Enforcement. Earlier this year, California city and county leaders agreed to proposed cuts in state funding in return for Schwarzenegger’s support for a constitutional amendment to protect them from funding cuts in later years. That constitutional amendment is scheduled to go before California voters in November as Proposition 1A. The Higher Education Compact has no such funding protection mechanism for the state’s university system, relying instead, on both the governor’s word and his ability to get his budge through the Legislature in future years.

A Citizen’s Guide to Absentee Ballots: By JUDY BERTELSEN

Special to the Planet
Friday August 27, 2004

The Nov. 2 presidential election is about two months away. What can we do to make sure our votes are counted?  

We hear news every day about the well-documented flaws and weaknesses of paperless touch-screen voting technology. Many people are aware that if they cast their votes on a paperless voting machine there will be no physical paper record to be used in a recount. And how will registrars of voters hand count a sample of the votes to check against the electronic totals, as required by law?  

Althoug h our California Secretary of State Kevin Shelley has taken courageous steps to improve security for the November election, the paperless machines will be in many voters’ polling places, including Alameda County.  

And then there is all the speculation ab out possible catastrophic events on election day: snafus at the polls that might make it impossible for many to vote, terrorist attacks on election day, etc., etc.  

What’s a voter to do?  

Here are some specific steps one you can take both to maximize th e likelihood that your vote will be counted for the candidates and issues you support, and to strengthen election day procedures for everyone:  


To Protect Your Vote 

Cast a recountable paper ballot. Either vote absentee, or request a paper ballot in your polling place on election day. 

In California, you cannot be required to vote on a paperless electronic machine. You must be provided a paper ballot if that is your preference. If you vote absentee, you will avoid possible long lines and will take pressu re off of the polling places on election day. 


Absentee Voting  

An absentee ballot is a “voter-verified” paper ballot: it is a paper document that you fill out (and sign the envelope). After being counted, your absentee ballot will be retained by the Reg istrar of Voters in the pool of paper ballots to be randomly sampled as a check against the machine totals. And it will be available for hand count, should the machine totals be questioned. If you vote on the paperless electronic machine, there will be no thing to hand count, should the electronic totals be questioned. Urge everyone you know to request an absentee ballot.  


How to Cast an Absentee Ballot 

Your absentee ballot will be mailed to you in the month before the election. Your completed absentee b allot must be received by the Registrar of Voter by the close of voting: 8 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 2 (not just postmarked) or it will not be counted. You may mail your ballot to the Registrar of Voters, hand deliver it to the office, or turn it in to any po lling place in your county on election day before the polls close. 

Be sure to sign your absentee ballot envelope. Registrar of Voters staff check for signatures and will throw out any ballots that do not include the signature. This step assures that each voter casts only one ballot. Once your envelope is received and checked off, it is opened and your ballot (which of course does not have your name) is retained for counting. 

Be sure your signature matches the one the Registrar of Voters has on file for you. If you can’t remember how you signed your registration card, you can do one of two things: Either re-register and keep a copy of your registration so you’ll remember how you signed, or go to the office and ask a staff member to show you the signature they have on file. You can do this when you turn in your ballot—just be sure not to sign the ballot envelope until you see the signature they have on file. Do this well in advance of election day to avoid long lines or delays. 

If you are registered in a nother city or state, either re-register here or apply for an absentee ballot now. If you are a resident of a swing state, you may wish to consider registering and voting absentee from that state. You’ll need to contact your home county Registrar of Voter s indicating your wish to vote absentee.  

What are the swing states? The polling data keep changing. Here is a list of 22 possible swing states: Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Louisiana, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nevada, New Hamp shire, New Mexico, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin. 


If for any reason it is not possible for you to register and vote absentee in your home state, you can register here if you claim California as you r domicile. At the time you register, you can request to be made a permanent absentee voter.  


What More Can I Do? 

• Plan to take election day off from work or school and volunteer your time to help the election go smoothly. Election day poll watching/mo nitoring activities are currently being planned throughout the country. Visit the websites www.votewatch.us and www.votersunite.org for information about how to take action. You can volunteer to serve as a poll worker for the Registrar of Voters office (272-6971). If you are a techie, consider joining VerifiedVoting.org’s Tech Watch project: http://vevo.verifiedvoting.org/techwatch. 

• Locally, encourage voters to vote absentee. Distribute a simple and clear brochure about absentee voting (why, how, when, etc.). In Alameda County a copy of such a brochure is available from East Bay Votes; telephone them at 834-4180, or look for their website which will be up soon. 

• Urge everyone you know who has not voted absentee to request a paper ballot at the polls on election day. In California, this is permitted by the Secretary of State. You cannot be required to vote on a paperless electronic machine in California. You must be provided a paper ballot at the polling place, if that is your preference.  




Getting Involved Before November 2: By BOB BURNETT

Special to the Planet
Friday August 27, 2004

In 2000, in the critical 10 weeks before the presidential election, there was nothing like the surge of political energy that has rippled through Berkeley in recent days. 

Of course, four years ago we didn’t understand how awful George W. Bush really is; most of us dismissed him as a travesty, rather than a menace. And, most voters were not enthused about the robotic Al Gore; we were prepared to vote for him, and perhaps donate money to the Democratic Party, but not to work for him. Four years of the Bus h administration has changed all this. 

Recently, everyone I’ve talked to has been eager to defeat Bush. (Not all are enthusiastic about Kerry, but they are united in their anti-George passion.) 

The question is, what can people do between now and Tuesday, Nov. 2? How can we best expend our money, time, and energy? Here are a few ideas, with emphasis on time and energy. 

First of all, we have to be sure that we vote and that everyone in our extended family also votes. Online voter registration is available at www.ss.ca.gov/elections/votereg1.html. For those who don’t have Internet access, voter registration forms can be found at the county Registrar of Voters Office (Alameda County Courthouse, 1225 Fallon St. Room G-1, Oakland), offices of the Department of Motor Vehicles, Berkeley city clerk’s office, public libraries and post offices.  

For those who expect to be out of town on Nov. 2 or who don’t trust the new touch-screen voting machines, you can vote by absentee ballot by going to www.acgov.org/rov/absentee.htm, sending in the request form on the back of your sample ballot, mailing a letter to Registrar of Voters at P.O. Box 24424, Oakland, 94623, or calling 663-8683. 

Most of the Berkeley activists I’ve talked to are focused on getting out the vote (GOTV); some on maximizing the vote in the Bay Area, which will ensure that the Democrats carry California, and others on tipping the balance in swing states. 2004 GOTV campaigns seem to have four phases: registering voters, convincing them to vote against Bush, getting them to the polls, and then ensuring that their votes count.  

Locally a number of organizations are committed to all these activities. Among these are the Wellstone Democratic Renewal Club found at www.democraticrenewal.us/index.htm, the East Bay Democrats at www.ebaydemo.org, and the United Democratic Campaign of Alameda County, 791-2179. If you are a student, or member of the UC community, you might contact Campus Democrats at http://campusdemocrats.org, Cal Berkeley Democrats, www.caldems.com, or California Young Democrats, www.YoungDems.org. 

Among the Democratic Party faithful there is a debate about whether the best way to coordinate swing state GOTV is with the Democratic National Committee (DNC), www.democrats.org/index2.html, or America Coming Together (ACT), http://actforvictory.org. The buzz at the Democratic Convention was that ACT is the best place to go for coordination of GOTV in swing states, while the DNC will primarily fund national media buys. 

ACT is the get-out-the-vo te wing of America Votes, www.americavotes.org, a coalition of activist organizations dedicated to moving forward a progressive agenda, in general, and defeating George Bush, in particular. (For example, the MoveOn.org Voter Fund and the Sierra Club are m embers of the America Votes coalition.) ACT is a 527 organization that relies upon so-called soft money and, therefore, legally must operate independently from the DNC and the Kerry campaign; however, the current campaign-finance rules permit ACT to focus on turning out pro-Democratic voters. 

Many Berkeley activists plan to make the relatively brief trip to Reno, Nevada, or Medford, Oregon to work on GOTV. The ACT contact person in Reno is James Katz, jkatz@act4victory.org. The Wellstone website lists Jack Kurzweil as their voter registration contact, jkurz@igc.org. You can also sign up on the ACT website http://actforvictory.org/act.php/home/static/volunteer_form, and they will provide you with a contact person.  

Of course, you don’t have to travel to a swing state to contact potential voters there. Various Berkeley groups have launched phone or Internet-based GOTV efforts. MoveOn has started, www.moveonpac.org/donate/leavenovoterbehind.html, which coordinates with ACT. Re Defeat Bush, www.redefeatbush.com, has launched a national phone campaign aimed at unregistered women; the local contact is dan@redefeatbush.com, (415) 336-8736. Another national organization focused on unregistered women is 1000 flowers, www.1000flowers.org. A comparable group is th e Mainstreet Moms Oppose Bush, www.themmob.com, which has lots of programs (and also sells nifty political jewelry). 

Besides the campaign to corral unregistered women, there are national efforts underway to coordinate GOTV programs targeted for racial/et hnic groups. One interesting example is National Voice, www.nationalvoice.org, which works with African-American, Hispanic, Latino, Asian American and Pacific Islander, and Native American constituencies. If you want to get involved with this effort, check out www.electionmatch.org.  

Many voters are very concerned about a recurrence of voter fraud on Nov. 2. The best website I’ve found on this topic is www.blackboxvoting.org, which is run by investigative reporter, Bev Harris. (Another good reference is “How They Could Steal the Election This Time,” at www.thenation.com.) If you are an attorney and can take time to work on the protection of voting rights, contact www.johnkerry.com/communities/lawyers, Lawyers for Kerry-Edwards. 

Of course, I haven’t the space to list all the local parties planned as benefits for these or comparable groups. My point is that we are surrounded by opportunities for political action in the next 70+ days, action that we must get involved in if we are to take back our country. ›

Touchscreen Voting Allowed by Shelley

Friday August 27, 2004

Most California counties that use touchscreen voting will be able to use the electronic voting machines in the November elections, Secretary of State Kevin Shelley announced Tuesday. 

In April, Shelley had banned use of the Diebold TSx system in the four counties which used them—Solano, San Joaquin, San Diego and Kern—and decertified touchscreen voting systems in eleven other counties, including Alameda, Napa, and Santa Clara. He said that security measures were insufficient to allow the machines in the election.  

Shelly announced this week that safeguards have now been put in place for the 11 counties to allow the touchscreen voting. The counties and vendors were required to install a voter-verified paper trail or implement other security measures, such as giving voters the option of a paper ballot, have the computer source code available for independent analysis, prohibit any wireless, Internet or phone connections on the machines, and run a poll worker-training program.  

The four counties that purchased the Diebold machines are still prohibited from using them. 

Berkeleyan Moves to New Mexico to Work for Kerry: By ZELDA BRONSTEIN

Special to the Planet
Friday August 27, 2004

From now until Election Day, Berkeley resident Lynn Davidson will be going door to door in New Mexico with the League of Conservation Voters’ Environmental Victory Project in an effort to win that state for John Kerry’s presidential bid.  

The 55-year-old Davidson is an unemployed technical writer and a self-described “shy person” who has a “No Soliciting” sign on the front door of her North Berkeley home. Her only previous electioneering, she says, was a week of campaigning for Eugene McCarthy in 1968. The intensity of her newfound political activism reflects her deep apprehension about the current administration.  

“I can’t see another four years of Bush. I just think it will be the end of this country and democracy. You can do a lot more in a swing state. California is going to go for Kerry, so there’s no point in staying here, as far as I can see, working on the campaign. I’ve been involved with some organizations that are trying to work swing states from here—but there’s nothing like working face-to-face with people. You want feedback, you want to know if you’re really having an effect. You can really see it happening when you’re there.”  

Davidson starting looking for an organization to hook up with in May. In early June she went to the Take Back America in Washington, D.C. 

“All the groups were there, and they were all saying, go work in a swing state,” she says. “I was looking for groups either in Oregon or New Mexico, because those are swing states that I was interested in spending time in. I had contacts for America Votes, which is an umbrella organization that does coordination for all these groups, and the guy from America Votes referred me to these people.”  

Oregon and New Mexico are two of the five states in which the League of Conservation Voters (LCV) is running its Environmental Victory Project; the others are Florida, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania. Davidson chose to go to New Mexico because “they were ready for me” there, she says. The LCV is providing her and other volunteers free housing in “a block of cheap apartments” in Albuquerque, where their New Mexico operation is based. Plus, she says, the environment is “not like Iraq. It’s easier to talk to people about the environment because there are huge differences between the candidates.”  

The League of Conservation Voters is a national, non-partisan organization that works full-time to strengthen a pro-environmental Congress and White House. Its environmental scorecards grade elected officials. Bush is the first president who’s ever gotten an F.  

The LCV’s Environmental Victory Project is one of the so-called 527s, groups that can run partisan campaigns as long as they are not coordinated with the official presidential or party efforts.  

“We cannot coordinate in any way with Kerry or the Democratic National Committee,” says Davidson,” but we can coordinate with groups like MoveOn and America Coming Together [ACT]. In fact, we share a data base with ACT.”  

Davidson initially went to New Mexico at the end of July. She stayed for two weeks, knowing that she would return to Berkeley in mid-August when her daughter would be visiting from New York. Her idea was to test the waters. If she liked it, she would go back in late August and stay until Nov. 2—and that’s what’s she’s done.  

The Environmental Victory Project’s New Mexico office has a staff of five and, during Davidson’s first stint, about 20 volunteer canvassers. “The office is really run by a bunch of 25-year-olds,” Davidson says, “and most of the volunteers over the summer have been college interns” who are going back to college in the fall.  

If you’re thinking that this sounds like a lark, think again. Davidson and her compatriots typically work Monday through Thursday, from 1 to 10 p.m.  

“The vans pick us up, we go into the office, we’ve got paperwork from the night before.” she says. “We’re writing postcards to follow up on the undecideds we talked to the night before. There’s data entry: every time you talk to somebody, you fill out a form. So that stuff has to be entered in the computer. We have a meeting every day. Usually someone’s done research on an issue, so they make a presentation—like Kerry health care.”  

At about 4 p.m., a van takes canvassers to targeted precincts, where they work for four hours. “We’re canvassing registered voters—going door-to-door. We’re in the first stage, which has basically been I.D.ing voters—asking them who they’re going to vote for, so that later, when we’re getting out the vote, we’re not bothering Bush people. The precincts we’re going into are very mixed”—not solid working class or minority. “I go home and tally up every day, and I’ve got half Republicans and half Democrats. We carry registration forms in case somebody wants them, but we’re working from voter registration rolls. We’re asking two questions: who are they going to vote for, and which two political issues are most important?”  

What’s she’s hearing is “a lot of national security. Also Iraq, the economy, the environment, health care,” Davidson says. 

“Maybe, on a good night, I’ll get half a dozen undecided voters. I’ll knock on maybe 75 doors, maybe I’ll talk to 35 people, and maybe get five or six who aren’t totally committed.” That may sound like peanuts, but Davidson emphasizes that in 2000, Gore won New Mexico by only 366 votes.  

Friday is the day off, unless it rained on one of the regular work days. Which, says, Davidson, it did in early August (this is Albuquerque’s rainy season).  

“Saturday’s you normally do what’s called community canvass. There’s going to be more of this in the next stage, where we bring on local volunteers to canvass with us.” And Sunday’s a half day.  

“Sometimes we don’t canvass on Sundays,” says Davidson. Instead the LCVers will go out to an event. During her first stint, Vice President Dick Cheney visited New Mexico on a Sunday, and Davidson and her colleagues went out to picket him—an experience she describes as “something else.”  

“First of all, he was outside of Albuquerque in one of these exurbs called Rio Rancho—way, way out on the edge of nowhere. We were not allowed within a couple miles of the place, and you had to sign a loyalty oath to go hear him speak. He was talking at a middle school, but in order to go in there you had to endorse them.”  

Davidson says she hasn’t seen much Bush activity in Albuquerque.  

“I don’t think they’re going door to door,” she says. “We in the office are convinced that if Kerry carries New Mexico, it’s going to be because of us. I believe that—and I’m not an optimistic person….The polls are showing Kerry ahead in New Mexico.” 

But that’s no reason to relax, Davidson says, since “it’s neck and neck when I total the people I’m talking to in suburban Albuquerque.”  


For information about volunteering for the Environmental Victory Project in New Mexico, contact Olivia Stockman at (505) 244-1077 or via e-mail at olivia_stockman@lcv.org. For information about the project in other swing states, call 1-866- 528-2284 or log on to www.envirovictory.org.  





Documents Spell Out Plans |For Two East Bay Casinos: By RICHARD BRENNEMAN

Friday August 27, 2004

With the release of two key casino proposals over the past week, East Bay residents can form a clearer picture of the scope, costs and potential impacts of the major Native American gambling resorts that tribes and well-connected developers want to bring to the area. 

What follows is an overview of a developer’s proposal for a major resort/casino/shopping complex at Point Molate in Richmond and the agreement Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed with the Lytton Band of the Pomo Tribe to expand their operations at their card club in San Pablo.  


Point Molate Contract 

Berkeley developer James D. Levine’s Point Molate proposal calls for a $1 million payment to the city for rights to purchase and lease the land until Jan. 15, 2006, and the same amount for every year the city extends the agreement until a final sale is approved. 

When the sale goes through, Upstream, Levine’s company, would provide an initial payment of $20 million—minus amounts paid out previously to hold the land—and submit a $30 million promissory note payable at $2 million a year. 

Once the deal closes, Upstream would transfer its rights to the Guidiville Band of the Pomo Tribe, and the property would become a federal reservation if approved by the Bureau of Indian Affairs. 

While the tribe is not bound by city codes and the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), before transfer to the Guidivilles Upstream would submit plans to the city for building, planning and environmental review. 

The accord calls for preserving “a reasonable amount of the natural and scenic qualities”—at least 100 acres, most set aside for wildlife protection—and preserving the landmarked 220,000-square-foot Winehaven building, which would become the casino. 

The project would include 150,000 square feet of showroom and conference space, 1,100 hotel rooms and 300,000 square feet of retail space 

Should legal or economic realities bar tribal gambling on the site, Levine would have the right to consider other uses for the site and submit an amended agreement. 

While law enforcement would fall primarily under the jurisdiction of tribal police and ambulance service would be provided by the tribe through a private firm, fire services would be provided by the city, with the tribe building a fire station on site and providing all necessary equipment. The agreement calls for one city fire captain and three firefighters per shift to be paid for by the city. 

The tribe would cover the costs of city emergency service staff required for special events staged at the site. 

As compensation for city services the tribe has agreed to pay the city an additional $8 million a year for the first eight years after gambling operations commence and $10 million annually thereafter. 

On areas controlled by the tribe or casino manager, the tribe would pay the city $10 per day per hotel room in lieu of occupancy tax, up to $5.25 per square foot of retail sales space per year to cover lost sales tax revenues and an additional annual fee based on construction costs. 

For areas not under direct tribal or casino control, the hotel fees would be $7 a day and the retail space surcharge would be up to $7.50 per square foot to cover lost sales tax revenue. 


Lytton Agreement  

Schwarzenegger’s pact with the Lytton Band of the Pomos, along with four similar agreements he signed with other tribes Monday, is posted on the chief executive’s website. 

Casino San Pablo has already received federal recognition as a Lytton reservation, but needs state approval to expand the operation to a full scale casino. 

The compact, which runs through Dec. 31, 2025, allows the tribe to install the card and machine games normally found in Nevada casinos while barring roulette and dice games, a statewide rule. The agreement also allows the tribe to negotiate a separate compact allowing off-track betting on horse races—which would put the San Pablo casino into direct conflict with Golden Gate Fields. 

The 2,500-machine limit applies only until Jan. 1, 2008, when the tribe would be allowed to renegotiate the number “based on market conditions and the off-reservation effects” of the casino on the surrounding community. 

The quid pro quo is a guaranteed quarterly payment to the state of one in every four dollars the operators win, with the numbers verified by an independent auditor. 

The key selling point for the tribe—a ban on all other casino-style gambling, tribal or non-tribal, within 35 miles of the San Pablo casino—remains intact, and the accord gives the tribe the right to enjoin any casinos a governor might authorize. 

If another governor-approved casino opens nonetheless, the tribe can stop all payments until the other operation ceases or agrees to share its revenues with the Lyttons. 

The agreement also allows the tribe to cancel the pact if Proposition 68 passes in November, and full-scale non-Indian casinos are allowed. The tribe could also continue the agreement, but stop paying its 25 percent win share to the state.  

The Lyttons also agreed to pay $3 million into a fund to be shared out among non-gambling tribes. 

Schwarzenegger’s pact requires the Lyttons to prepare a tribal environmental impact report detailing the casino’s impacts. The tribe would then negotiate mitigations of off-reservation impacts with the city and county, agreeing to reimburse local agencies for police, fire and other public services. 

The tribe also agreed to waive sovereign immunity and accept binding arbitration to insure that mitigations are fulfilled and to comply with San Pablo municipal building codes. 

Cell Phone Police Column Gets ‘Interesting’ Reactions: J. DOUGLAS ALLEN-TAYLOR

Friday August 27, 2004

A recent column on cell phone policing in an Oakland neighborhood got some interesting reactions. Let us sort through them, in the hopes of finding some clarity on the subject. 

The police cell phone column triggered a Jim Herron Zamora article in the San Francisco Chronicle, in which Mr. Zamora wrote that “a community anti-crime group has come to the aid of the cash-strapped Oakland Police Department and made it easier to contact officers by buying a special cell phone for a police team in North Oakland.” I thought it was a bad idea, because it appeared to favor members of the donating group over others. 

In response, someone forwarded me two e-mails circulated to the OPD@yahoogroups.com newsgroup, one written by Shattuck Neighborhood Crime Prevention Council Chair Don Link, another by Mr. John Cascio, who was mentioned in the Zamora article as the initiator of the cell phone purchase. 

“I suspect [Mr. Allen-Taylor] wrote [the column] without doing his homework,” Mr. Link writes. “At least one other reporter for a major newspaper in our area wrote in to suggest that this was probably the problem with his article’s intent and mistaken conclusions. Those who rise to the top ranks of journalism get their facts right, do all of the background homework needed, and then get it right in their stories. We can hope that he will learn from this experience and do more preparation.” 

“It is interesting how facts change and stories twist as tales get re-told,” Mr. Cascio writes in his e-mail posting. “Particularly when it is reporters, responding to and spinning something that another reporter published. To set the record straight… The expected use of the phone is for internal [police] communications. ... No one in the [Beat 8 Neighborhood Crime Prevention Council] expects to get the cell phone number.” 

But the question is not what the NCPC expects will happen, but what the police expect will happen. To that, we return to Mr. Zamora’s article: 

“The cell phone…will make it easier for residents to update officers about crime problems…,” the article reads. “The phone number will not be released to the general public but will be shared with community groups or crime victims who are on the lookout for specific suspects or activities, said Lt. Lawrence Green, who oversees patrols and crime reduction teams in North Oakland.” 

After I received Mr. Cascio’s e-mail, I passed it on to Mr. Zamora, who interviewed both Mr. Cascio and Lt. Green for the Chronicle article. “I’m not sure exactly what Mr. Cascio means by the term ‘internal,’” Mr. Zamora writes me back. “My impression from police is that the phone would not be used exclusively for officer-to-officer conversations.” But perhaps this will turn out to be one of those he-said-she-said kind of mysteries that never get solved. 

Not so are some of the assertions of Sam Herbert, a South Berkeley resident whose letter appeared in the Aug. Daily Planet. 

In the original column, I wrote that my vision of “community policing” was of police officers getting out of their cars, walking a beat on foot, and getting to know the neighborhood and the neighbors. “It is understandable that Mr. Allen-Taylor longs for a simpler time, when individual officers had the luxury of time and limited responsibilities, and could reasonably expect to be able to meet and greet each resident in their district by name,” Ms. Herbert writes, adding that “[b]y contrast, current beat assignments involve responsibility for densely-populated urban communities, and cover geographical areas too extensive to cover on foot.” 

Poor, naive, unhomeworking Mr. Allen-Taylor. Except that the Oakland Police Department actually does manage to get out of its police cars and patrol some districts on a more personal basis. Some districts. As recently as two years ago, I watched OPD officers regularly patrol the downtown area—Broadway and Franklin between, roughly, 15th Street and 19th Street—in midday, on foot. As recently as a month ago, I watched OPD officers regularly patrol the Fruitvale Transit Village plaza area in the late afternoon, on bicycles, slowly. In both instances, I watched the patrol officers chat with merchants and passersby, seemingly without discrimination, establishing exactly the type of neighborhood repoire which Ms. Herbert believes only happened in a “simpler time.” 

Such daylight, foot-or-bike patrols might have a positive effect along the high-crime, International Boulevard corridor between 82nd and 98th avenues. But if any such patrols have been held out there, I haven’t seem them. Instead, in the past year or so, the OPD has concentrated on traffic stops in that area as one crime prevention measure (see “Operation Impact”), a policy which has led to some disturbing results. 

Ms. Herbert also writes that she is “particularly offended by the libelous assertion [in the Allen-Taylor column] that ‘the Oakland Police Department plays favorites in whom it responds to.’” 

Does the Oakland Police Department discriminate? As if we needed another one, this week brings another example. On Tuesday, the Oakland Police Department’s Racial Profiling Task Force released results of a six-month RAND Corporation-conducted study which found “evidence of racial bias in certain traffic enforcement actions by police” as well as “mixed evidence of [racial] bias in [traffic] stop decisions.” 

While only 35 percent of Oakland residents are African-American, the report concluded that “[w]hen officers reported knowing the race of the driver in advance, 66 percent of the drivers stopped were black, compared with 45 percent when the police reported not knowing the race of the driver in advance.” In addition, the RAND report concluded that African-American drivers were more likely to have stops lasting 10 minutes or more, were more likely to be pat-searched for weapons following a traffic stop, and were twice as likely to be subject of a probable cause search than “similarly situated” white drivers. For those who think that the officers were justified in such higher-than-usual “probable cause” searches of black drivers because it’s mainly black folks who are running around town robbing and murdering, think again. “Only 18 percent of the searches resulted in an arrest,” the RAND report said, “casting doubt on either the officers’ reporting of probable cause or on the reasons a probable cause search was conducted.” 

This comes on the heels on allegations raised last May by Relman & Associates of Washington, D.C., the organization charged with independently monitoring the Oakland Police Department’s compliance with the “Rider lawsuit” reforms [you may remember that in early 2003, the OPD settled a lawsuit by some 100 Oakland residents charging that Oakland police officers had either beaten them, stolen from them, or forged evidence against them]. In its May report, the Relman group noted their concerns about streetside strip searches of “young men” being conducted by Oakland police officers, including allegations “that officers pulled down their pants and underwear, exposing their buttocks and genitalia to passers-by.” “In our professional experience,” the monitors wrote, “such searches are unnecessarily humiliating and dehumanizing (sometimes intentionally) and can immediately alienate citizens and destroy community respect for its police department.” You are free to use your own imagination as to either the race or the color of those young men. 

Perhaps the real problem in this homework thing—as raised by Mr. Link—is that we are reading from different books.›

Letters to the Editor

Friday August 27, 2004


Editors, Daily Planet: 

Your article (“Governor’s San Pablo Casino Deal Fulfills Hopes of GOP Operatives,” Daily Planet, Aug. 20-26) is accurate in most regards, however, you relied on the Village Voice, who made an error of omission. 

My company IKON did not pay a “fine” to the New York State Temporary Commission of Lobbying. We settled the matter with no admission of violation of the law.  

The issue at hand was a First Amendment issue—the commission claimed that we could not run newspaper and television ads regarding casino gaming even though we had never contacted or spent any money on contacting elected officials in any branch of government. 

We believe our activities were protected under our First Amendment rights. We recognized litigation would be long and expensive and elected to settle for convenience—again, the settlement document specifically contains no admission of violating the law. 

The settlement was paid entirely by Trump Hotel and Casino Resorts. I would have preferred to litigate as I said to the press at the time.  

I would ask you to clarify this in all fairness. 

Roger Stone 


P.S.: If you are going to cite my “dirty tricks” for Richard Nixon, also acknowledge my role as regional political director for Ronald Reagan and my role as senior consultant to George Bush Sr.’s 1988 California campaign. Perhaps a little more rounded profile... 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

Bravo on your “Welcome Back to Berkeley” issue, particularly Joe Eaton’s article “Worshipping at City’s Literary Shrines.” Your readers might also check out the Berkeley Public Library-produced “Fiction Set in Berkeley,” a compendium of fiction, mysteries, science fiction, and children’s fiction set all or in part in Berkeley. Reference copies are available in all five Berkeley Public Library branches, and at the Berkeley History Room at the Central Library.  

Sayre Van Young 

Berkeley Information Network/Berkeley History Room 

Berkeley Public Library 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

Thank you for publishing Helen Rippier Wheeler’s superlative article “Coming Upon August 26” (Women’s Equality Day). Wheeler’s article is a comprehensive and inspiring reminder of how far women have come and of how much we have yet to accomplish—among these are the assault weapons ban, basic health coverage and decent housing. 

Nancy Ward 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

The charge of racism leveled at the School Board is offensive. The City of Berkeley is 12 percent African American according to the last census, yet Berkeley High serves a 40 percent African American student body. This remarkable demographic transfer occurs largely because BUSD has voluntarily chosen not to enforce residency requirements for enrollment. No other school board in the region or state has acted with such genuine interest in promoting diversity over the financial interest of its own taxpayers. The education gap would virtually disappear but for the school board’s generosity. To then accuse this liberal body of racism is uninformed. 

David Baggins 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

There is a valley in El Sobrante with a strange geography—it is hidden from everyone but its immediate neighbors. They can look down into the steep, bowl-shaped valley of Garrity Creek. When in the valley, the houses seem to disappear. It is very quiet and secluded, with vast trees, a few horses, and in the sky overhead a hawk or two circling. It’s as if time has stopped. 

When the Friends of Garrity Creek heard that a housing development was planned here, we looked into the valley structure. We found documents showing it is composed of watery, unstable soil, and that documents the developer submitted to the county were inaccurate. 

When the county did their study, it showed this place as a safe place to build. 

We protested at the county planning hearings and later to the Board of Supervisors. We discovered and introduced important new evidence. 

The Board of Supervisors decided for an environmental impact report, to research this area thoroughly. 

For this, the developer has filed suit against the county. 

The Friends of Garrity Creek are proud and grateful that the Board of Supervisors has stood up for honest development. We hope that they will not let this latest move by the developer intimidate them. 

Gwynn O’Neill 





Editors, Daily Planet: 

It is refreshing to read your Letters to the Editor section. You provide equal opportunity of expression to all sides of each issue. Today this sort of free speech is all too lacking in this supposedly liberal and progressive community. I am reminded of Bob Dylan’s song, “I Shall Be Free No. 10,” where he states, “Now, I’m a liberal, but to a degree. I want ev’rybody to be free, but if you think that I’ll let Barry Goldwater move in next door and marry my daughter you must think I’m crazy! I wouldn’t do let him do it for all the farms in Cuba.” I believe Dylan was trying to make a point that any philosophy fails when it ignores the very basis of its foundation. That is all too often the prevailing sentiment in this town. “Each of us has the right to free speech as long as that speech agrees with mine.” Again, thank you for moving beyond that mindset. 

This brings me to a recent letter from Michael P. Hardesty. Mind you, I did not read the previous letter from Dan Spitzer to which Mr. Hardesty referred, and can only guess what its subject matter was. What stuck me were Mr. Hardesty’s own words. He stated, “…any dissent from the AIPAC [whatever that is] party line is verboten to the totalitarian mentality represented by people like Spitzer.” He then closes his tirade with, “Maybe the BDP should return the favor and spare us any future letters from Spitzer.” This doesn’t sound very much like a liberal or progressive sentiment? 

His letter may not have ruffled any old Left feathers, but it did ruffle one Right feather. 

Joseph W. Adams 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

Thanks again, Daily Planet, for being there when it counts! Your article last Friday detailing the governor’s connections to Republican interests in the massive casino proposed for San Pablo under Indian guise was a wake-up call! 

The cities of the East Bay have cooperated mightily with their state legislators in recent years to cut crime and rebuild San Pablo Avenue as an attractive boulevard with new landscaping and apartments to support neighborhood commerce. AC transit has joined in investing in faster bus service. San Pablo is becoming a vital spine supporting livable neighborhoods on both sides and transit and walking become viable options for young, old and workers, service may evolve into frequent streetcars. 

This planning and effort by our representatives is beginning to bear fruit in Emeryville, Berkeley, Albany, El Cerrito and Richmond. 

The arrogance of the governor deciding to preempt local land use plans with a plan to reward Republican money with the largest urban casino franchise must be stopped in the State Legislature next week! If we should want a casino in the Bay Area, there are sites identified that will not jeopardize neighborhoods or environmental treasures (Treasure Island and one of the Richmond sites).  

We hope concerned citizens in the San Pablo corridor will assemble after work Friday at the casino to discuss how best to accomplish this. 

Drive, if possible, to experience traffic impacts to Casino San Pablo on San Pablo Avenue in the town of San Pablo with a “Not Here, Gov.” sign. 

Horst and Eva Bansner 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

Where is the justice in not permitting Berkeley citizens to vote for Councilmember Shirek due to misunderstandings, paperwork snafus, sneaky legislation and who knows what underhanded manipulations? This is an outrage. Please correct this gross error. Continuing review of Shirek incident cannot hurt and I appreciate all you’ve printed so far; frankly, one ‘smells a rat.’ Do keep up the good work, please. 

Terry Cochrell 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

Bush and Cheney have the advantage of incumbency at a time when our country is at war with terrorists. Consequently, to win in November, John Kerry and John Edwards need significant support from the approximately 50 percent of disaffected voters who fail to go to the polls. This non-voting silent majority has grown justifiably cynical as our democracy lapses into a plutocracy in which only billionaires and millionaires can meaningfully participate. Thus far in the campaign, Kerry and Edwards promise programs and reforms that energize Democratic party loyalists, but politics as usual will not bring the usual non-voters to their cause.  

Now is the time for Kerry and Edwards to take on the real issues: the byzantine complexity and unfairness of the IRS code for individuals and corporations; the absence of universal government-supported medical and dental care; and forfeiture of the legislative process to paid lobbyists. As matters stand, those with little income need to hire a tax preparer, which they can ill afford, to receive the credits, benefits and exemptions to which they are entitled. The middle class pays the way for the super-rich ( which Bush refers to as his political base) and corporations receive a virtual free pass. 

We are on the edge of a political abyss; only support from the non-voting silent majority can save us. Arise and vote! 

Michael S. Esposito 





Editors, Daily Planet 

Point Molate is a spectacular shoreline site where public access and open space should be a priority (“Casinos, Mall and Politics Mix at East Bay Meetings,” Daily Planet, August 17-19). 

Save The Bay supports the Richmond community’s own vision as expressed in the Point Molate Base Reuse Plan, including public shoreline access, a Bay Trail segment, and a public shoreline park. This plan was the result of a citizen’s Blue Ribbon Committee convened to create a vision for the property after the Navy decommissioned it in the 1990s. It also allows for limited development that would be confined to already-built areas, is comparable with existing public use areas, and preserves the registered historic buildings on the site. 

Save the Bay is working with Richmond residents who want their unique and beautiful shoreline areas to be enjoyed by everyone, with public destinations for families, and protection of the site’s unique resources and habitats. This is a priority for our 10,000 members and supporters. 

Save The Bay has not endorsed any private purchase or development of Point Molate. We encourage the City of Richmond to consider any proposal for Point Molate carefully, in an open public process, to ensure that the Base Reuse Plan’s vision will be guaranteed and implemented for the benefit of the entire community. 

David Lewis 

Executive Director, Save the Bay 


Parents and Friends Decry Willard Garden Changes

Friday August 27, 2004


Editors, Daily Planet: 

The following is a letter sent to Superintendent Michelle Lawrence of the Berkeley Unified School District: 

For over a decade, the Willard Greening Project, led by Yolanda Huang, has involved the PTA, neighbors, local nurseries and most of all Willard Students in transforming the once-barren campus. Yolanda wrote the original grant that brought to the BUSD funds to develop Willard’s and several other district schools’ garden projects, where kids grow, prepare and eat fresh produce. 

And for years she and the PTA have labored virtually unfunded and with almost no BUSD help to beautify the front of the school. They’ve enriched and mulched the soil, installed drip irrigation, and dared to plant exuberant roses to soften the look and tie the school to the surrounding neighborhood. 

Sure, they needed help with weeds, and there were some design issues. So last February, when the district finally decided Willard needed sprucing up, PTA president Catherine Durand asked to be part of the Site Committee—which would sign off on the plans—but oddly, neither she nor Huang were included. 

Now, using disabled access as a rationale, but I think more likely in the pursuit of a commercial style, sanitized mow-and-blow look, hundreds of thousands have been spent in the tightest budget times in history. A full-size tractor has criss-crossed two thirds of the site, ripping out beautiful healthy plants and reversing years of hard-won soil building. 

Frankly, I doubt the district would dare to treat its other garden project stalwart, the well known Alice Waters, or her volunteers, this way. 

I gather that, now that most of the damage has been done, the tractor has stopped. This is a good start. I strongly urge the BUSD to contact Yolanda and the Greening Project, and involve them in deciding what comes next. 

Donna Mickleson 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

Mark Coplan’s Aug. 20 letter justifying the destruction of the Willard garden contains many inaccuracies. 

The issue of handicap access is a fabrication to justify the destruction of the Willard Garden. The actual architectural plans calls these “maintenance paths.” And these maintenance paths have always existed. There was no need to remove all plants. There is no legal requirement for handicap access through the front gardens.  

For BUSD to suddenly profess such ardent support of handicap rights is curious indeed. Certainly, BUSD didn’t drive a tractor through Alice Water’s garden last summer, during the King renovations.  

Nor was “handicap access” through the front garden ever mentioned until the public voiced its opposition to the destruction of the Willard garden. 

The destruction of the garden is wrong and BUSD needs to make amends. 

Yolanda Huang 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

When I walked by Willard Middle School, as I often do on my lunch hour from work, I was shocked to see the bulldozers and sickened to see my favorite field of dreams—tall and ethereal, where I could always see the kids at lunch, yet their privacy to play pirate games, tag, hide and seek or quiet time was not compromised—literally uprooted. 

What disturbs me mightily is the concept that amends can be made after destruction and that the evolutionary past (such as decade-plus natural soil enrichment by integrated pest management and natural mulching and composting) can be “restored” immediately—with $$$. 

Money doesn’t fix everything. As Shakespeare said in Macbeth: “What’s done cannot be undone.” 

The problem is a philosophical one from the world of physics: What does “the same” mean? 

Is it the same thing to put in a Little League field and lawn (calling it a green space) and uproot the 100-year-old continuously cultivated Gill Tract? Is it the same thing to put in a lawn at Willard where native grasses, plants and trees vied for space and made their own natural compromises and peace over time, creating truly organic beauty? 

What’s done cannot be undone, only “‘mitigated.” Try telling a kid you’ll “mitigate” the death of a beloved pet by buying another one. Is it “the same”? 

What we have here is colossal arrogance, colossal insensitivity, and, worst of all, a colossal failure of imagination. Why not ask Andronico’s if a few parking spaces can be rented and reserved for Willard parents at certain times of day? Why not look around the neighborhood and see if any other creative solutions are available? 

Imagine if the Willard Greening Project, with its saint-like Yolanda Huang (modern day St. Francis of Assisi at least) had been allowed to keep organically evolving with the blend of community control other school gardens (Albany Middle School, MLK Middle School) are allowed to have, and a different, nearby but offsite parking solution had been found. 

What about the disabled community of students, parents, teachers and administrators that attend or relate to Willard? What do they say? Are they feeling like PC scapegoats or do they truly want and need that access that is now the fall back position of justification used by the BUSD? Please speak up now as to how you want to see that space fit your needs. Gardens (and access to Willard) are for everyone because they excite all of the five senses we humans possess. 

The answers to the questions Why Why Why are not good enough. It is important to be able to admit a mistake has been made. Not Yolanda Huang’s understanding of why, but rather the act of non-organic destruction itself. 

An admission a mistake has been made by the BUSD, an agreement that Cinderella can go to the ball as well as her wealthy sister...now that is a mitigation that leaves hope for a return to the kind of organic process the Willard Greening Project has been greenlighted on all these years since its inception and loving care by all hands-on parties. 

Wendy Schlesinger, 

Chairman, Gardens on Wheels  


Co-founder, Ohlone Greenway,  

People’s Park 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

Berkeley Unified School District, instead of apologizing, has instead been defending its destruction of our beautiful Willard garden. The school district claims the destruction was approved by the Site Committee. In February the Willard PTA wrote a letter asking to be included, asked that the construction planning process allow for fuller and more thoughtful community input. BUSD did not respond to the letter. The PTA was ignored. 

The second justification for the destruction of the garden is handicap access. Why does there need to be another path, when there is a perfectly good sidewalk, and BUSD is widening the sidewalk to provide better access. It doesn’t make sense. 

I urge everyone to continue calling the school district until the school district agrees to work cooperatively with the Willard Greening Project to protect and fully restore our garden. 

Catherine Durand 

Past President, Willard PTA 

Many Treats Await Live Theater Lovers: By BETSY M. HUNTON

Special to the Planet
Friday August 27, 2004

So, this being the Daily Planet’s annual celebration of the opening of the new year at the university, it’s more than appropriate to remind anybody who has forgotten—or to tell anybody who doesn’t know—about the really good deals the Berkeley theaters put on for what we blithely call the “young adult community.” (Although whoever decided that the 18-to-35-year-old demographic fits neatly into one huge lump of togetherness obviously had to be under the influence of something not awfully legal). 

But one thing that all of you people do share, is your desirability. The Theater Wants You! They want your bodies there in the audience. People in theater know that if they don’t get you hooked on their product now, while you’re still open to new tastes and ideas, there won’t be any theater at all after a few more decades. No audience equals no theater. Gone. Poof. Shut down after all these centuries. 

And movies just don’t do the same thing. (Think of it: Movies can be great, all right, but nothing ever changes. And there is always the presence of the camera, almost openly commenting upon the action. Every single performance of a live drama is somewhat different than it was the night before. Every single production differs from any one that has ever been done previously. It’s alive). 

When you trek down into the black basement under La Val’s Pizza Parlor, about half a block up Euclid Avenue from UC’s North Gate, you can find plays produced by Impact Theater that are deliberately chosen to appeal to precisely your group: 18 to 35-year-olds. (Not, mind you, that there is any age discrimination practiced by the company, and there are usually a few people of—uh—more “maturity” to be found in the audience). So far, most of the plays have been very funny indeed—and there certainly is nothing wrong with that.  

Christopher Morrison, one of the three original founders, along with Josh Costello (now directing in Los Angeles), and Melissa Hilman (now artistic director), says that when they founded Impact Theatre in 1996, they purposely intended to create a theater for the now more widely-recognized-critical 18-to-30-year-old demographic.  

While many other small companies have served time in La Val’s basement on their way to more pretentious quarters, Morrison says he wants to stay right there; he delights in the fact that people feel they can bring a mug of beer or a piece of pizza downstairs to consume during a performance. It’s exactly the atmosphere they had hoped to establish from the very beginning. 

And cost? The tickets are cheap and even free on certain nights.  

So what’s happening is that almost every theater company in town has worked out some way to make their performances financially accessible to the young adults whose lifetime devotion they’re yearning to hook. It’s very common for productions to go on in full bloom for a couple of weeks before the official “Opening Night.” The difference in performance between the two periods is usually imperceptible. And the tickets are cheap during that time. 

The Shotgun Players who, after years of the usual vagabond route from one temporary spot to another will be opening up the first theater of their own on Ashby Avenue in the coming weeks, are finishing a no-charge performance of Brecht’s great The Caucasian Chalk Circle in John Hinkle Park on Aug. 29. They don’t charge for seats at any of their productions—at least for this year. They just pass a hat at the end of their performances. 

They do good work; give them a try. 

Don’t forget your age and/or your student status. Both are groups that often have special rates.  

Anyway, the situation is this: You’ve stepped into a hotbed of first-rate live theater. Maybe it’s the influence of the University’s excellent drama department; maybe it’s the fact that we share a pool of talent with San Francisco. Quite possibly it’s the presence of a large, well-educated populace. Whatever the reason, we’re spang in the middle of a first-rate, and growing, live theater scene. At least one new theater company has been opening in this area on a yearly basis. And most of them survive.  

Even more to the point, they’re leaning over backward trying to get you into their audiences. Give them a break, won’t you? 




Lakeshore Shakespeare Festival Presents Superb ‘Twelfth Night’ Free in Oakland: By BECKY O’MALLEY

Friday August 27, 2004

There’s still time to catch one of the very best cheap theater events in the East Bay this weekend. The San Francisco Shakespeare Festival has two remaining performances of Twelfth Night as its Free Shakespeare in the Park production in Oakland’s Lakeside Park, on the shores of Lake Merritt. It’s a rollicking comic tale of mistaken identity and misplaced love. 

Free Shakespeare in the Park can always command the services of the Bay Area’s finest actors because they love the chance to do Shakespeare. This year’s festival features several experienced actors from the 2002 and 2003 seasons: Alexandra Matthew as Viola, Stephen Klum as Feste, Julian Lopez-Morillas as Sir Toby Belch, Alex Moggridge as Sir Andrew Aguecheek, Christina Vecchiato as Fabian, and Jack Powell as Malvolio. Newcomers include Joe Wyka as Orsino, Mia Tagano as Olivia, Michael Craig Storm as Sebastian, and Andrew Harkins as Antonio. Music is provided by a three-piece on-stage ensemble, including sax, guitar, and piano. 

Seeing Julian Lopez-Morillas in the rich character role of the roguish Sir Toby is an experience not to be missed. He was one of the founding members of the Berkeley Shakespeare Festival, which had fifteen splendid summer seasons at John Hinkel Park before moving to the ‘burbs and becoming the more pretentious (though not necessarily better) California Shakespeare Festival. Over the last 20 years or more, Lopez-Morillas has routinely gotten rave reviews for appearances with all of the best theater companies in the Bay Area and throughout the state. He now teaches acting and directing—in between gigs—at San Jose State, so making time to work with Free Shakespeare is a real labor of love for him. 

The stage area is a lawn near the park’s wildlife sanctuary. It can be reached via Bellevue Avenue, off Grand Avenue. AC Transit buses No. 58 and No. 12 come close, as does BART at the 19th Street station. Bring a blanket to sit on, and picnic food and drink if you want. Hats and/or sunscreen are optional but strongly recommended. Oh, and the actors will pass the hat, so you really should bring some money, if you can afford it. Maybe what you spent on your last movie… 

The performances this weekend are Saturday, Aug. 28, and Sunday, Aug. 29, at 4 p.m. If you miss these, you can still catch the September performances in San Francisco at the Presidio, on the Main Post Lawn, from Sept. 4-26, Saturdays, Sundays, and on Labor Day (Monday, Sept. 6), all at 7:30 p.m. For more information, visit www.sfshakes.org, or call the information line at (415) 865-4434. 

Great Performers Reanimate Regional Jazz Scene: By IRA STEINGROOT

Special to the Planet
Friday August 27, 2004

The Bay Area jazz scene, often lethargic if not moribund, picked up in the summer months with some great performances that also stretched the envelope. At Yoshi’s, David Murray played his usual spectacular saxophone, but in the context of a jazz plus Guadeloupean gwo-ka drums unit. Also at Yoshi’s, saxophonist James Carter was exceptional playing the music of Gypsy guitarist Django Reinhardt. Jazz seniors, the Heath Brothers, performed at a benefit for Berkeley’s Jazzschool and erased all questions of age with the diamond-like brilliance of their playing. Bassist Percy Heath, Tuskegee Airman and last surviving member of the Modern Jazz Quartet, played a pizzicato cello version of Charlie Parker’s Yardbird Suite that was as accomplished as Rostropovich and as rollicking as Elmer Snowden. 

Hopefully the fall will provide just as much great jazz and just as many surprises. The two most promising sources of the best jazz locally over the next few months are Yoshi’s and the 22nd Annual San Francisco Jazz Festival. Two performers have just been added to the Yoshi’s calendar for brief engagements in September. Jazz/cabaret singer Jane Monheit appears at the club on the 9th and 10th followed by trumpeter Wallace Roney on the 11th and 12th. Both players evince a knowledge and respect for classic jazz styles and performers without allowing their personal voices to be subsumed in the past. Indeed, Roney is one of the last and youngest musicians to have apprenticed in the bands of Art Blakey, Elvin Jones and Dizzy Gillespie, groups in which journeymen became masters. 

In November, jazz legend Jackie McLean brings his alto to Yoshi’s in the company of the Cedar Walton Trio from the 9th to the 14th. McLean was playing with Sonny Rollins when they were both in their teens. He and Walton played in different editions of Blakey’s Jazz Messengers. Walton is one of the greatest hard bop pianists. Later in the year, Yoshi’s will host two top Latin jazz musicians: Cuban bebop trumpeter Arturo Sandoval from Nov. 16 to 21 and Argentinean jazz saxophonist Gato Barbieri, famous for mixing folk instruments and free jazz, from Dec. 9 to 12.  

The SF Jazz Festival runs from Oct. 15 to Dec. 11 with more than three dozen performances, all of which have something to recommend them. The ones that look best to this old jazz fan are: 

• A tribute to tenor sax legend Lester “Prez” Young with clarinet virtuoso Don Byron and drummer Jack DeJohnette. There is not enough space to say all that should be said about Prez, but he recorded some hauntingly beautiful performances on an old metal clarinet and perhaps Byron, who performs everything from klezmer to Ellington to Raymond Scott, will evoke that (Herbst Theatre, 7 p.m., Oct. 17). 

• The Rite of Strings with guitarist Al Di Meola, bassist Stanley Clarke and, most notably, French violinist Jean-Luc Ponty, who is rarely seen in the Bay Area (Masonic Auditorium, 8 p.m., Oct. 22). 

• The music of composer/ pianist Thelonious Monk in memory of soprano saxophonist and Monk alum Steve Lacy featuring free jazz trombonist Roswell Rudd. Rudd and Lacy performed Monk’s music together in the early 1960s (Palace of Fine Arts, 7:30 p.m., Oct.28). 

• Master guitarist and accompanist extraordinaire Jim Hall with his trio. Hall has given phenomenal support on everything from Ella Fitzgerald ballad sessions to an album of Sonny Stitt and John Lewis playing Charlie Parker tunes (Herbst Theatre, 7:30 p.m., Nov. 4).  

• For lovers of Latin jazz there are two key events: the great Cuban pianist Gonzalo Rubalcaba, one of Dizzy Gillespie’s many protégés, (Herbst Theatre, 8 p.m., Nov. 5) and the conga kings featuring two Machito alums, Candido Camero and “Patato” Valdez (Calvin Simmons Theatre, 7 p.m., Nov. 7). 

• The Queen of R & B and just as great a jazz singer when she chooses, Etta James, who has been a giant since she pleaded Dance with Me Henry in the Fifties (Masonic Auditorium, 8 p.m., Nov. 6). 

• You can count the greatest jazz vibraphonists on one hand and one of them is Gary Burton, technically gifted, conceptually original and emotionally nuanced (Herbst Theatre, 8 p.m., Nov. 6). 

• Finally, a 100th birthday bash for stride pianist-organist-composer-singer-bandleader-actor-comedian Fats Waller, a giant in girth and genius, featuring vocalist Ruth Brown; ragtime/stride pianist and master of the upright organ Dick Hyman; Mike Lipskin, student of Waller’s friend and fellow stride pianist Willie the Lion Smith; and piano legend Jay McShann. McShann is not only a major stride stylist in his own right, but Charlie Parker’s first boss in the last of the great big bands to come out of Kansas City (Davies Symphony Hall, 7 p.m., Nov. 7). Bon temps rouler  


Arts Calendar

Friday August 27, 2004



Luchino Visconti: “Death in Venice” at 7 p.m. and “The Innocent” at 9:30 p.m. at Pacific Film Archive. Cost is $4-$8. 642-0808. www.bampfa.berkeley.edu 


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 

Butoh & Action Theater Performances at 8:30 p.m. Fri. and Sat. at Temescal Arts Center, 511 48th St. at Telegraph, Oakland, near MacArthur BART. Tickets are $15-$20. 601-7494. www.temescalartscenter.org  

Impact Theatre, “Fluffy Bunnies in a Field of Daisies” a sexually-honest comedy, opens at 8 p.m. at La Val’s Subterranean Theater, 1834 Euclid, and runs Thurs. - Sat. through Oct. 2. Tickets are $10-$15. 464-4468. www.impacttheatre.com 

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 

Solo Opera “The Old Maid and the Thief” at 8 p.m. at Dean Lesher Center for the Arts, 1601 Civic Drive, Walnut Creek. Also Sat. at 8 p.m. and Sun at 2 p.m. Tickets are $20-$25 available from 925-943-7469. 


Julia Vinograd at 7:30p.m. at the Book Zoo. Open mic will follow. 2556 Telegraph Ave., #7. 883-1332. 


Bay World, a celebration of world music in the Bay Area, produced by Iluminado Yaya Maldonado, with performances by Unity Nguyen, Omar Ait Vimoun, and Reunion Boricia, at 8 p.m. at La Peña Cultural Center. Cost is $10. 849-2568. www.lapena.org 

Trevor Dunn, Ches Smith and Heather Greenlief at 8 p.m. at The Jazz House. Donation $8-$15. www.thejazz- 


Dub Congress with Dub FX at 9:30 p.m. at Ashkenaz. Cost is $13. 525-5054. www.ashkenaz.com 

Tom Rush, New England folk singer, at 8 p.m. at Freight and Salvage. Cost is $20.50 in advance, $21.50 at the door. 548-1761. www.freightandsalvage.org 

Rock the Plough with ArnoCorps, The Rulers, El Faye at 9:30 p.m. at The Starry Plough. Cost is $6. 841-2082. www.starryploughpub.com 

Wayne Wallace Quartet at 9 p.m. at Downtown. 649-3810. 

Henry Kaiser, guitarist, at 7:30 p.m. at Nomad Cafe, 6500 Shattuck Ave. 595-5344. www.nomadcafe.net 

Animal Liberation Orchestra at 9:30 p.m. at Shattuck Down Low, 2284 Shattuck Ave. Cost is $5-$8. 548-1159. www.shattuckdownlow.com 

Will Bernard & Motherbug at 8 p.m. at Jupiter. 848-8277. 

Lights Out, The Physical Challenge, Countdown to Life at 8 p.m. at 924 Gilman St. Cost is $5. 525-9926. 



Shakespeare Festival, “Twelfth Night” at Lakeside Park, Oakland, Sat. and Sun. at 4 p.m. Free. 415-865-4434. www.sfhshakes.org 


“California and the Vietnam Era” an exhibition of more than 500 artifacts, photographs and documents with film clips, oral histories and music, opens at the Oakland Museum of California. www.museumca.org 


Luchino Visconti: “The Innocent” at 5 p.m. and “The Damned” at 7:30 p.m. at the Pacific Film Archive. Cost is $4-$8. 642-0808. www.bampfa.berkeley.edu 


Rhythm & Muse returns with a Neruda Centennial Tribute Open Mic. Open mic sign-up 6:30 p.m., reading/performance 7 p.m. Admission free. Piano & 2 mics available. Berkeley Art Center, 1275 Walnut St. 527-9753. 

Mitali Perkins introduces her new novel for teens, “Monsoon Summer” at 4 p.m. at Cody’s Books on Fourth St. 559-9500. 

The Great Night of Rumi, a celebration of the poetry of Jelaluddin Rumi at 8 p.m. at Freight and Salvage. Cost is $18.50 in advance, $19.50 at the door. 548-1761.  



Folksong Concert a benefit performance for the Friends Committee on Legislation with Janet Smith, Will Scarlett, Steve Mann, Catherine Lucas and others, at 7 p.m. at the Friends Meeting House, 2151 Vine St. Donation $10-$15. 848-7357. 

San Francisco Lyric Chorus sings choral works by Joseph Jongen, Charles Marie Widor, Pyotr Tchaikovsky and Sergei Rachmaninoff at 8 p.m., Lafayette-Orinda Presbyterian Church, 49 Knox Drive, Lafayette. Cost is $20 at the door; $17 in advance and for seniors. 849-4769. www.sflc.org 

Jyoti Kala Mandir with a selection of Indian classical music at 7 p.m. at Live Oak Theater, 1301 Shattuck at Berryman. Tickets are $10-$12.  

Jr. Reid, Reggae from Jamaica, at 9:30 p.m. at Shattuck Down Low, 2284 Shattuck Ave. Cost is $20. 548-1159. www.shattuckdownlow.com 

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

The Mind Club at 8 p.m. at Jupiter. 848-8277. 

West African Highlife Band at 9:30 p.m. at Ashkenaz. African dance lesson with Comfort Mensah at 9 p.m. Cost is $13. 525-5054. www.ashkenaz.com 

Julio Bravo, traditional Peruvian songs, at 8 p.m. at La Peña Cultural Center. Cost is $15. 849-2568. www.lapena.org 

Industrial Jazz Group at 8 p.m. at The Jazz House. www.thejazzhouse.com 

Pete Best Experience, Some Girls at 9:30 p.m. at The Starry Plough. Cost is $6. 841-2082. www.starryploughpub.com 

Deanne Witkowski, with Anton Schwartz, at 9 p.m. at Downtown. 649-3810. 

The Phenomenauts, The Pepperminds, Strt Sprx at 8 p.m. at 924 Gilman St. Cost is $5. 525-9926. 



Luchino Visconti: “Ludwig II” at 5:30 p.m. at the Pacific Film Archive. Free screening. 642-0808. www.bampfa.berkeley.edu 


“An Evening in Russia” Berkeley Music Cooperative Players perform the music of Prokofiev, Rachmaninoff, and Shostakovich at 7 p.m. in the Valley Center for Performing Arts, Holy Names College, 3500 Mountain Blvd., Oakland. Tickets are $5-$20 at the door. 845-2232. 

Flamencos for Peace and Freedom with Yaelisa, La Monica, La Fibi, Felix de Lola & Nina Menendez, Jason McGuire & Ben Woods, at 8 p.m. at La Peña. Benefit for MoveOn.org and theKerry/Edwards campaign. Donation $23 in advance, $25 at the door. 849-2568. www.lapena.org 

Israeli Folk Dancing with Allan King at 1:30 p.m. Ashkenaz. A benefit for Israeli Dance Library in Tel Aviv. Cost is $10. 525-5054. www.ashkenaz.com 

Scott Amendola, Ben Goldberg and Devon Hoff play interpretations of Thelonius Monk at 8 p.m. at The Jazz House. Donation $8-$15. www.thejazzhouse.com 

Peppino D’Agostino, one-man guitar ensemble, at 8 p.m. at Freight and Salvage. Cost is $16.50 in advance, $17.50 at the door. 548-1761. www.freightandsalvage.org 

Americana Unplugged: The Whiskey Brothers at 5 p.m. at Jupiter. 848-8277. 

Rankin Joe, reggae, at 9 p.m. at Shattuck Down Low, 2284 Shattuck Ave. Cost is $15. 548-1159.  



“Sephardic Horizons” a collection of art work from a 14th century Hanukkah lamp to contemporary photographs by D.R. Cowles, opens at the Judah L. Magnes Museum, 2911 Russell St. 549-6950.www.magnes.org 

CCA Faculty New Work at the Oliver Center, California College of the Arts, 5212 Broadway, Oakland. Gallery hours are Mon.-Fri. 8 a.m.-noon, 1-4:30 p.m. 594-3600.  


“Cathedrals, Crop Circles and Sacred Space” a slide lecture by British author, Freddy Silva, from 7 to 9 p.m. at 1744 University Ave. Tickets are $10-$20. 845-1767. 

Poetry Express Theme Night poems on bravery and courage from 7 to 9:30 p.m., at Priya Restaurant, 2072 San Pablo Ave. berkeleypoetryexpress@yahoo.com 


Claudia Villela with Guinga at 8 and 10 p.m. at Yoshi’s at Jack London Square. Cost is $10-$16. 238-9200. www.yoshis.com 



Shotgun Theatre Lab “The Faith Project” runs Tues. and Wed. at 8 p.m. to Sept. 15 at The Ashby Stage, 1901 Ashby at MLK. Free with suggested donation. 841-6500. www.shotgunplayers.org 


Cajun Film Night at 8 p.m. at Ashkenaz. A benefit for Ashkenaz. Cost is $10. 525-5054. www.ashkenaz.com 

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


“The Gastronomical Tourist” with author Arthur Bloomfield at 7:30 p.m. at Easy Going Travel Shop & Bookstore, 1385 Shattuck Ave. 843-3533. 


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

Jazz House Jam, hosted by Darrell Green and Geechy Taylor at 8 p.m. at The Jazz House. Donation $5. www.thejazz- house.com 

Concert for Amaly featuring John Santos and the Machete Ensemble at 8 and 10 p.m. Yoshi’s at Jack London Square, through Wed. Cost is $10-$15. 238-9200. www.yoshis.com 



“Community” works by Sonya Derian, John Kenyon, Ira Lapidus, Biliana Stremska and Vee Tuteur opens at ACCI Gallery, 1652 Shattuck Ave. 843-2527. www.accigallery.com 

“Construction/Paintings and Mixed Media Collages” by Gerald Huth opens at the Berkeley YWCA, 2600 Bancroft Way. 848-6370. 

“Metal Art 2004” an exhibition of wearable, ornamental and artistic metal art opens at Oakland Museum of California, 1000 Oak St. 834-2296. 


Performance Anxiety: “Vito Accondi” at 7:30 p.m. at the Pacific Film Archive. Cost is $4-$8. 642-0808. www.bampfa.berkeley.edu 


Berkeley Poetry Slam with Nazelah Jamison and Karen Ladson at 8:30 p.m. at The Starry Plough. Cost is $5-$7. 841-2082. www.starryploughpub.com 


Gerald Landry and the Lariats at 8:30 p.m. at Ashkenaz. Cajun/zydeco dance lesson at 8 p.m. Cost is $9. 525-5054. www.ashkenaz.com 

Improvised Composition Experiment open jam session at 8 p.m. at The Jazz House. Cost is $5. www.thejazzhouse.org 

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

Whiskey Brothers at 9 p.m. at Albatross, 1822 San Pablo Ave. 843-2473. www.albatrosspub.com 

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

Wes “Warmdaddy” Anderson at 8 and 10 p.m., Wed. and Thurs. at Yoshi’s at Jack London Square. Cost is $12-$18. 238-9200. www.yoshis.com 



“Time and Place” Kala Fellowship Exhibition, Part II, featuring Paul Cantase, Elizabeth D’Agostino, Eunjung Hwang, and Joan Truckenbrod. Reception for the artists from 6 to 8 p.m., at Kala Art Institute, 1060 Heinz Ave. Runs to Oct. 2. 549-2977. www.kala.org 

“Construction/Paintings and Mixed Media Collages” by Gerald Huth. Reception for the artist from 5 to 7 p.m. at the Berkeley YWCA, 2600 Bancroft Way. 848-6370. 


Performance Anxiety: “Heidi” at 5:30 p.m. at the Pacific Film Archive. Free screening. Chaplin: “Modern Times” at 7:30 p.m. 642-0808. www.bampfa.berkeley.edu 


Lunch Poems Fall Kickoff at 12:10 p.m. in the Morrison Library in Doe Library, UC Campus, with campus luminaries reading and discussing their favorite poems. Admission is free. 642-0137. http://lunchpoems.berkeley.edu 

Janell Moon will read her poems at 7 p.m. at the Albany Library, Edith Stone Room, 1247 Marin Ave. 526-3720. 

Word Beat Reading Series at 7 p.m. with featured readers Molotov Mouths followed by an open mic, at Mediterraneum Caffe, 2475 Telegraph Ave., near Dwight Way. For information call 526-5985.  

Eija-Liisa Ahtila: Matirx 212  

A dialogue with Kaja Silverman and Heidi Zuckerman Jacobson at 5:45 p.m. at Berkeley Art Museum, 2626 Bancroft Way. 642-0808. www.bampfa.berkeley.edu 


George Pederson and The ReincarNatives at 9:30 p.m. at The Starry Plough. Cost is $5. 841-2082. www.starryploughpub.com 

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

Gini Wilson, solo piano, at 8 p.m. at Downtown. 649-3810. 

Jazz Mine, string swing jazz quartet, at 6:30 p.m. at King Tsin Chinese Restaurant, 1699 Solano Ave. www.jazzmine.net 



Alameda Civic Light Opera. “Pippin,” Sept. 3, 4, 10, 11, 17, 18 at 8 p.m. Sept. 12 and 19 at 2 p.m. Kofman Auditorium, 2220 Central Ave. in Alameda. Tickets are $23 in advance, $25 at the door. Child and senior discounts. 864-2256. www.aclo.com 

Aurora Theatre Company, “The Persians” opens at the Aurora Theatre and runs through Oct. 10. Tickets are $28-$45. 843-4822. www.auroratheatre.org 

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 

Impact Theatre, “Fluffy Bunnies in a Field of Daisies” a sexually-honest comedy, at 8 p.m. at La Val’s Subterranean Theater, 1834 Euclid, and runs Thurs. - Sat. through Oct. 2. Tickets are $10-$15. 464-4468. www.impacttheatre.com 

Woodminster Summer Musicals “Flower Drum Song,” David Henry Hwang adaptation of Rodgers & Hammerstein classic at 8 p.m. at Woodminster Amphitheater in Joaquin Miller Park, 3300 Joaquin Miller Rd. Fri.- Sun. to Sept. 12. Tickets are $19-$31. 531-9597. www.woodminster.com 


“Community” works by Sonya Derian, John Kenyon, Ira Lapidus, Biliana Stremska and Vee Tuteur. Reception for the artists at 6 p.m. at ACCI Gallery, 1652 Shattuck Ave. 843-2527. www.accigallery.com 

7th International Juried Enamel Exhibition opens at the ACCI Gallery, 1652 Shattuck Ave. Gallery hours are Mon.-Fri. 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., Sat. 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. 843-2527. www.accigallery.com 


Kathleen Grace Trio at 8 p.m. at The Jazz House. Cost is $10-$15 sliding scale. www.thejazz- 


Pharma, 77 El Dora at 9:30 p.m. at The Starry Plough. Cost is $6. 841-2082. www.starryploughpub.com 

Tropical Vibrations play Calypso, Reggae and Soca at 9:30 p.m. at Ashkenaz. Cost is $13. 525-5054. www.ashkenaz.com 

The Ravines, folkadelic torch blues at 7:30 p.m. at Nomad Cafe, 6500 Shattuck Ave. 595-5344. www.nomadcafe.net 

Brian Melvin Trio at 9 p.m. at Downtown. 649-3810. 

Jose Rizo’s Jazz on the Latin Side at Yoshi’s at Jack London Square, through Sun. Cost is $12-$24. 238-9200. www.yoshis.com 

Naked Aggression, Toxic Narcotic, Midnight Creeps, New Earth Creeps at 8 p.m. at 924 Gilman St., an all-ages, member-run, no alcohol, no drugs, no violence club. Cost is $6. 525-9926. 

Kathleen Grace Trio at 8 p.m. at The Jazz House. Cost is $8. www.thejazzhouse.com 

Barbary Coast by Night Join maestro Omar for an evening of authentic music and food from Algeria. Every Sat. at 7 p.m. at Cafe Raphael’s, 10064 San Pablo Ave. El Cerrito. 525-4227. 

Beckett’s Battle of the Bands with The Fated, The Skindivers, Thriving Ivory and Walty at 6 p.m. at Beckett’s Irish Pub, 2271 Shattuck Ave. 647-1790. www.beckettsirishpub.com 




Campus Architecture Embodies Living History: By SUSAN D. CERNY

Special to the Planet
Friday August 27, 2004

The University of California’s Berkeley campus was the first for the now 10-campus institution. The state university was created after the College of Agriculture, Mining, and Mechanical Arts, established by the California Legislature in 1866, merged with a private liberal arts college, the College of California, in 1868.  

It was the board of trustees of the College of California who selected the campus site in 1860, for the “benefits of a country location.” They also commissioned Frederick Law Olmsted, America’s great landscape architect, most widely known for his work in New York City’s Central Park, to plan the new campus and design a residential neighborhood east of the college. Olmsted’s 1865 design, on axis with the Golden Gate, was asymmetrical, informal, and picturesque.  

In 1866 a trustee of the college selected the name Berkeley for the campus after Bishop George Berkeley (1685-1753) of Ireland, who had came to America to establish colleges. The last stanza of a poem he wrote is often quoted: “Westward the course of empire takes its way.” 

When the campus opened in the fall of 1873, only two buildings were complete: South Hall (which still stands) and North Hall (which was located where the Bancroft Library is today.) The university grew steadily, but not dramatically, until the 1890s. Buildings of different types had been built, but without a comprehensive plan.  

By 1895 there was not only a need for new buildings, but a philanthropist willing to pay for an international competition for a campus master plan. Phoebe Apperson Hearst, the wealthy widow of Sen. George Hearst, financed the competition.  

Architect John Galen Howard eventually became the winner and also the campus architect in 1902. He served in that capacity until 1924. Howard designed the central core of the campus as a Classic ensemble of buildings and landscape features. There is a central axis, anchored by Sather Tower, and three cross-axes. The granite-sided buildings have classic three-part compositions and are adorned by decorative detailing, some elaborate, derived from classic sources. He also preserved Strawberry Creek, the Eucalyptus Grove, and the natural glades. Howard said that Berkeley was “the greatest site for a university in the world.” 

The Hearst Greek Theater (1903) was the first of Howard’s buildings completed, and was used in promotions declaring Berkeley as “the Athens of the West.” William Randolph Hearst, son of George and Phoebe Hearst, was its sponsor. It was used for the first time on May 16, 1903, when President Theodore Roosevelt delivered the commencement address.  

The Hearst Memorial Mining Building (1902-7) was a gift from Phoebe Apperson Hearst in memory of her husband, who had made a fortune in mining. It housed the state’s first school of mining. The building, considered Howard’s finest, has recently been retrofitted and restored.  

Sather Tower, also known as the Campanile (1914), has been Berkeley’s most prominent landmark and the physical symbol of the university. The observation loggia has a classically-detailed balustrade with three open arches, inspired by the campanile in Piazza San Marco in Venice. It was financed by a gift from Mrs. Jane K. Sather as a memorial to herself.  

Doe Memorial Library (1911/1917) was conceived as the physical and intellectual centerpiece of the campus. The monumentally-scaled reading room is reminiscent of a Greco-Roman Temple. The library was sponsored by a bequest from the estate of Charles Franklin Doe, a San Francisco lumberman and manufacturer of doors and sashes, who was also a bibliophile.  

Until the 1950s new buildings were generally designed as backdrops to Howard’s classically inspired Beaux-Arts buildings. This is no longer true.  


Recommended for further reading: University of California, Berkeley, by Harvey Helfand; John Galen Howard and the University of California, by Sally Woodbridge; Berkeley Landmarks by Susan Cerny. 


Berkeley’s Cafe Culture Thrives in Many Venues: By ALTA GERREY

Special to the Planet
Friday August 27, 2004

Round tables and moveable chairs. Those are the key ingredients for a great conversational cafe. Small square tables and benches lend a studious air, and those cafes work as study halls. The greatest cafes have both aspects, and thankfully, Berkeley is blessed with some of the finest cafes ever. 

For a cafe to survive here, it helps to have a prime location, as does the Caffe Strada, on the corner of College Avenue and Bancroft Way. The ambiance under the trees is pleasant, and the crowd international; conversations occur mostly outside, while the interior tends toward serious study. The basic cafe fare of espresso drinks, juice and pastries is available, although when a construction worker came in and asked for coffee, the woman behind the counter said, “We don’t have coffee.” She neglected to tell him they do have espresso, and he left, confused. 

The original Berkeley cafe, listed for years in European guidebooks as “the gathering place for 1960s radicals who created People’s Park” is the Caffe Mediterraneum, on Telegraph Avenue near Dwight Way. When students used to ask me what they should do to become writers, I would always answer, “Hang out at the Med.” In one afternoon, 15 years ago, I saw June Jordan, Gary Snyder, Robert Crumb, Jane Scherr, John Oliver Simon, Ruth Rosen and Ishmael Reed. The Med has changed ownership these last few years and the crowd I knew there has dispersed to other cafes. There are other good cafes on all the streets bordering campus, from the International House to the Milano to Nefeli on northside. Most are clean and comfortable, and each has its own ambiance and clientele. The Musical Offering serves simple meals and is popular with professors and visiting musicians, and one can often see clumps of people wander in after a performance or lecture. 

Three-quarters of a mile from campus at Ashby and College is the well-designed Espresso Roma. The outdoor tables offer a lovely view of the hills; the center room is comfortable and tends toward conversation, with fresh salads and good soups as well as coffee and pastries. There is a room off to the side where silent people sit tapping at laptops. The Roma is one of the few that are open on holidays. 

There are also numerous Peet’s Coffee and Tea stores in the area, where the coffee is guaranteed to keep you up as late as you need to for study, and they can be found in Walnut Square on Vine Street, which was the first Peet’s location, on Solano Avenue in North Berkeley, and on Domingo Avenue by the Claremont Hotel, among other locations. I went to the one near the Claremont for a year after the Med got too funky, but in that year, I didn’t make a single friend. There are no tables, so students don’t study there, and on the benches I found conversation very limited, often abrupt. If you need a private, quiet cup, this could be the place. 

A young woman sitting near me a few weeks ago at Saul’s Deli on Shattuck Avenue complained that “Berkeley is the loneliest town on the planet!” When I asked her why she said that, she replied that she had been warned before she arrived that all people do here is read and argue, and that in fact had been her experience. “When I finish this year, I’m going home,” she told me. I suggested that she try my personal favorite cafe—Royal Coffee on College, just over the border of Oakland on 63rd Street. “If you want to meet people, just ask someone if you can sit at their table. I’ve met wonderful friends there; in fact, we know call ourselves the Royal Family.” 

Krista Rogerson, a Royal regular, had these insights: 

“People still have churches and neighborhood bars, I suppose, but since I have neither, the pull of the cafe is a strong one,” she said. “My friend Doug says he doesn’t even like the coffee, but he comes to hear the opinions of people he trusts, a kind of kamikaze intimacy.” 

It’s true that any town can be lonely, but here in Berkeley there are at least places where scholars and book lovers can sit quietly in the company of others, and where noisy politicals can holler at each other in a fairly peaceful environment, all in the same room. 




Berkeley’s Building Boomers Move In: By BECKY O'MALLEY

Friday August 27, 2004

Readers of metro dailies this week are learning what Daily Planet readers have known for more than a year. Berkeley has dramatically overbuilt its supply of luxury student housing. Chirpily cheery stories report what is, of course, good news for luxury students: prices have dropped for units boasting T1 Internet connections and free satellite TV, for students who like the in-your-face togetherness and the slick synthetic surfaces of the new units downtown, which are a lot like dormitories, but much fancier. The UC housing office reports that two-bedroom apartments now can be found for about $1,500 a month, which undoubtedly seems like a bargain to students from L.A, though the luxury buildings are asking more like $2,000. 

But there continue to be a few problems with Berkeley’s overall housing picture. The “smart growth” advocates have been telling us that such buildings would prevent urban sprawl. Cynics like former planning commissioner Clifford Fred have been heard to say that no one ever abandoned their search for a house with a yard in Fairfield in favor of a condo in Berkeley. The occupants of the new buildings in Berkeley—let’s call them our building boomers—have simply traded crowded UC dorm rooms for more spacious privately-owned dorms, and who could blame them?  

UC, never deterred from mechanistic completion of badly conceived plans, is moving forward with cramming still more grim high-rises onto their site at Dwight and College, which now resembles nothing so much as the Pruitt-Igoe public housing complex in St. Louis which was finally dynamited because it was so unpleasant to live in. A number of double rooms have been converted to triples, but the unlucky renters are still asked to pay the same price per bed. At some point, even the students with the lowest budgets are going to find other options.  

Many UC students, faculty and staff are already looking for suitable options and not finding them. The Berkeley area continues to lack housing for families with low incomes—most graduate students, a high percentage of university employees, and some junior faculty members. UC, in its infinite wisdom, is relentlessly marching forward with its plan to demolish seedy but large and inexpensive family units in Albany Village, to be replaced by fewer, smaller and more expensive apartments, plus an unneeded UC-developed shopping mall which threatens established locally-owned Albany businesses.  

And no, the new downtown buildings won’t do for families. Even if the prices and the designs were family-friendly, which they’re not, downtown Berkeley lacks most of the practical amenities which real cities have in areas where families live in apartments, notably non-boutique clothing stores and even food markets. Another cherished smart-growth theory is that if there’s a bus line the occupants won’t need to use cars. People who believe this should try a month of buying groceries for a family on the bus, a family being defined as one or two able-bodied working adults plus one or more members who are too young, old or infirm to haul their own groceries. 

And much is lost in this lemming-like rush to build big ugly boxes. UC’s Albany site will displace the Gill Tract, long-term home of outstanding research projects for sustainable agriculture. The Teece-Kennedy construction machine, dba Panoramic Interests, which gets the credit (or the blame) for much of the recent building boom, leveled the University Avenue home of one of Berkeley’s founding fathers in order to build the tenement-like structure now looming on the corner of Milvia behind Au Coquelet, as yet unrentable. 

Panoramic also demolished a historic livery stable, accompanied by legal flim-flam which convinced gullible city mothers that it wasn’t historic, to build the Gaia Building. The Gaia still bears the name of the defunct new age bookstore which the canny builder used to leverage an extra floor out of the city’s “cultural use bonus” zoning. It promptly went belly-up before moving in, and no cultural use has yet replaced it.  

A favorite trick of suburban developers is to name the project for what was destroyed to build it: “Maple Village,” where the maples were all cut down for home sites. Berkeley builders have adapted that trick to the urban setting. Panoramic’s Fine Arts building on Shattuck, featured in Thursday’s cheery Chronicle story, memorializes the now-vanished Fine Arts Theater which was eliminated to erect it. 

And what we’ve gotten in return are tomorrow’s slums. The Gaia building, already coming apart at the seams, is the subject of extensive finger-pointing litigation between the developer and his contractors, but the real loser will be the City of Berkeley, with a decaying eyesore in a prominent location. Others are similarly shoddy. 

Politicians and planners don’t seem to have learned much from the experience of the last five years. Many more Big Ugly Boxes are in the civic pipeline. The Planning Commission, the Zoning Adjustment Board and the Landmarks Preservation Commission have recently been packed with unashamed partisans of the building boom, and the bad appointments have been made by self-styled moderates and progressives alike. The upcoming City Council elections offer an opportunity for new candidates to distance themselves from past mistakes, if they choose to do so. We’ll see if they will. 








Claremont Hotel Picket Planned for Weekend: By JAKOB SCHILLER

Friday August 27, 2004

After three years of union drives, and urging a boycott of the Claremont Hotel over stalled contract negotiations, workers, union representatives and community supporters want to send a message to the hotel this weekend that they are not going to give up. 

They plan to make that statement by walking a continuous picket in front of the hotel for 27 hours beginning Friday at 3 p.m.  

According to Claire Darby, an organizer for the Oakland-based Hotel Employees and Restaurant Employees (HERE) union Local 2850, workers in the hotel spa have been unsuccessfully trying for three years to get the hotel to recognize a card check agreement that would officially allow them to be part of HERE. 

Two other departments, food and beverage and room service, had contracts with HERE which expired, and have not been re-negotiated because the two sides have been unable to agree.  

“We wanted to do a big action as a way to send a message that we are not getting tired, because that has been their plan all along,” said Darby.  

In a statement released earlier this year the Claremont said it “has been prepared to negotiate a contract with the union since August of 2001,” but “the union continues to stall at the bargaining table.”  

The Claremont recently switched owners when KSL Recreation Corporation sold the hotel to CNL Hospitality Properties Inc., an Orlando-based real estate investment trust, back in February. 

According to Darby, KSL signed a temporary agreement with CNL to stay on as the property management company but that contract expires in December.  

She said the union is hopeful that before KSL’s management contract expires CNL will force them to negotiate with the union because the union expects that whatever company takes over the contract will not want to deal with the union dispute. 

The picket starts this Friday at 3 p.m. and will run until Saturday at 6 p.m. and will take place at the Ashby entrance to the Claremont. 


Pygmy Nuthatches Find Homes in Dead Snags: By JOE EATON

Special to the Planet
Friday August 27, 2004

The neighborhood keeps changing. One of my reliable sources tells me that pygmy nuthatches—relative newcomers to the East Bay—now nest in the Berkeley hills. A checklist of Berkeley hills birds compiled about 30 years ago doesn’t include this species even as an occasional visitor. But they’ve found a niche here, especially in places with the dead conifer snags they prefer for nest sites. 

Nuthatches look a bit like miniature woodpeckers, with stout beaks for prying up bark and digging into wood, and stubby tails. Unlike woodpeckers, though, they may work head-down. The “hatch” part of the name seems to be derived from “hack,” which is what nuthatches do to seeds: wedging them into crevices and hammering them with their bills. 

Pygmies are, no surprise, smaller than the other California species, the red-breasted and white-breasted. Their calls are different—higher-pitched peeps and squeaks rather than nasal “yanks”—and so is their behavior. It’s rare to see just one pygmy nuthatch. They’re highly social, almost always in small flocks. What’s most interesting about them is that their sociality extends to the nesting season. 

Ornithologists used to think that the family life of most birds was straightforward. A male finds a territory and attracts a female; they build a nest, she lays her eggs, they raise the kids. It was known that some males—hummingbirds, for instance—shirked nest construction and child care duties, and there were other notorious exceptions like the promiscuous prairie chickens and the polyandrous phalaropes. But the two-parent family was considered to be the norm—like an avian version of suburban life in the Eisenhower Era. 

Things proved to be a lot more complicated than that. Monitoring the actual behavior of birds, researchers found there was a great deal of extra-pair fooling around: male birds may not be the biological parents of the chicks they raise. Ducks and coots dump eggs in neighbors’ nests; swallows commit infanticide; grackles have harems; geese and gulls form same-sex pairs. And don’t even get me started about hedge-sparrows. 

One pattern that kept turning up was the presence of nest helpers—birds that aid the primary pair in defending the breeding territory and provisioning the nest. It’s more common in the tropics, especially in Australia for some reason, but occurs in a few North American birds as well: California’s own acorn woodpecker (with a particularly complex variant), the Southeastern red-cockaded woodpecker, the Florida scrub-jay, the Mexican jay, even the American crow.  

The pygmy nuthatch is part of that small group. Robert Norris, doing a field study on Inverness Ridge in Marin County in the 1950s, found that almost a quarter of nuthatch nests were attended by threesomes. The third bird, always a male, was never seen mating with the female or even coming on to her. But he helped excavate the nest cavity, feed the female while she incubated the eggs, feed the chicks, and sanitize the nest. Norris speculated that threesomes “might on the average succeed in raising more young than pairs,” although he didn’t have supporting data.  

That was before the rise of sociobiology, when scientists didn’t automatically look for genetic explanations of animal behavior. But sociobiologists had a field day with nest helpers. Once it was learned that helpers were usually related to the breeding pair, nest helping became a classic illustration of kin-selection—the notion that animals act to promote the spread of the genes they share with their near relatives. Here we had birds foregoing breeding themselves so their parents or siblings could have a successful season.  

But complications like nest-helping turned out to have their own complications. In Florida scrub-jays, helping appears to be not about perpetuating the family genes, but about waiting in line for prime real estate. Good territories are scarce in the Florida scrub, and helpers stand to inherit when the senior birds die. 

And something similar may be happening with pygmy nuthatches. It wasn’t until 1981 that anyone got around to testing Norris’s speculation that nuthatch nests with helpers were more productive than those without. In a four-year study of nuthatch nests in Arizona’s Coconino National Forest, William Sydeman found that having helpers—usually yearlings from the previous year’s brood—was a good deal for the primary pair, reducing the energetic costs of stuffing those hungry little mouths with insects. But there wasn’t a clear relationship with productivity. Nests with helpers outproduced the others in only one of the four years, which was a good year across the board. Without a direct productivity payoff, it’s hard to see how evolution could have been favoring helping behavior. 

What Sydeman suggested was that helping may be the helpers’ ticket of admission to winter roosts. Pygmy nuthatches, in northern Arizona at least, survive the cold by huddling together in tree cavities. Over 150 may share a space, stacked like cordwood. And Sydeman observed that helpers roosted with the parents they had assisted during the nesting season. There’s an obvious direct fitness value to making it through the rigors of winter. That seems to hold even in relatively mild Marin, where Norris’s nuthatches roosted in family-based winter groups. 

So helping behavior may not be as purely altruistic as scientists used to think. The whole thing should give pause to anyone looking for model family values in the lives of birds—let alone bees. 

Berkeley This Week

Friday August 27, 2004


Free Compost for Berkeley Residents from 8:45 a.m. to 2:45 p.m. Berkeley Marina Maintenance Yard, 201 University Ave., next to Adventure Playground. 644-6566.  

Young Adult Project Annual All Star Basketball Weekend Come support some of the best basketball players in Twilight Basketball from 7 to 10 p.m. Fri. and 4 to 10 p.m. Sat., at the Martin Luther King Jr. Youth Services Center, 1730 Oregon St. 981-6678. 

Tilden Tots A nature adventure program for 3 and 4 year olds each accompanied by an adult. We’ll explore the world of reptiles. From 10 to 11:30 a.m. in Tilden Nature Area, in Tilden Park. Cost is $6-$8, registration required. 525-2233. www.ebparks.org 

Caltopia 2004 at the Recreational Spots Facility and Evans Field, UC Campus. Fri. and Sat., 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. The event is free to all Cal Students, staff, faculty and the community. 

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

Women in Black Vigil, from noon to 1 p.m. at UC Berkeley, Bancroft at Telegraph. wibberkeley@yahoo.com 548-6310, 845-1143. 

Meditation, Peace Vigil and Dialogue, gather at noon on the grass close to the West Entrance to UC Berkeley, on Oxford St. near University Ave. People of all traditions are welcome to join us. Sponsored by the Buddhist Peace Fellowship. 655-6169. www.bpf.org 

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


San Francisco Mime Troupe “Showdown at Crawford Gulch” at 2 p.m. at Willard Park, Hillegass and Derby. www.sfmt.org 

Berkeley Greens Endorsement Meeting at 2 p.m. at the Grass Roots House, rear meeting room 2022 Blake St., 1/2 block from Shattuck Ave. All Green Party members who reside in Berkeley are welcome. 

Cavalia: A Magical Encounter Between Horse and Man under the big-top at Golden Gate Fields, Tues.-Fri. at 8 p.m. Sat. at 3 and 8 p.m., Sun. at 1 and 5 p.m. extended to Sept. 3. Tickets are $44-$79 available from 1-866-999-8111. www.cavalia.net 

Ancient Medicines A Tour of the Chinese Medicinal Herb Garden at 9:30 a.m. at UC Botanical Garden, 200 Centennial Drive. Cost is $12-$17. To register call 643-2755. http://botanicalgarden.berkeley.edu 

Rockin’ Solidarity Chorus meets to sing gospel, South African, folk, Broadway, Norteno from 12:30 to 4 p.m. at Laney College, 900 Fallon St., room G189. 415-648-3457. www.laborchorus.org 

Getting Started Garden Design Workshop An introduction to designing and building a green school garden from the ground up, including basic layout and elements of school garden planning,how to obtain and use recycled building materials in your garden; preparing and caring for your soil naturally and strategies for water conservation. Cost is $25. From 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at Chabot Elementary School, Oakland. To register send a check for $25 to The Watershed Project, GSGD Registration, 1327 South 46th Street, Bldg. 155, Richmond, CA 94804. 231-9430. 

Herb Walk in Strawberry Canyon Learn to identify and use many edible and medicinal plants that grow wild in the Bay Area. Meet at noon at the Strawberry Canyon Fire Trail head, below the UC Berkeley Botanical Gardens on Centennial Drive. Walk lasts about two hours. Cost is $6 to $20 sliding scale, no one turned away for lack of funds. Offered by the Pacific School of Herbal Medicine. 845-4028. www.pshm.org  

Kathmandu Nite 2004: Unity in Diversity from 6 to 10 p.m. at Holy Name University, 3500 Mountain Blvd. Tickets are $15-$20. 487-6399, 223-4641. www.nepalassociation.org 

3-Hour Quit Smoking Workshop from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the Alta Bates Medical Center, Ashby Campus, 2450 Ashby Ave. Option to use acupuncture. Follow-up class on Sept. 11 at 9:30 a.m. Sponsored by the City of Berkeley Tobacco Prevention Program. To register call 981-5330. 

Travel Careers Class at Vista Community College, from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., 2020 Milvia. Cost is $9. To register call 981-2931. 

Bringing Spirituality and Activism Together with Rev. Dr. Eloise Oliver, Ericka Huggins, Sidda Yoga, and Keith Carson, Alameda County Supervisor, from 2 to 5 p.m. at East Bay Church of Religious Science 4130 Telegraph Ave. Oakland. 420-1003. 

Sistahs Steppin’ in Pride East Bay Dyke March and Festival. March begins at 10 a.m. at Grand and MacArthur to Snow Park for the festival which runs until 6 p.m. 551-8330. www.sistahssteppin.org 

“The Cup” a film about four young monks trying to watch the 1998 World Cup tournament, at 8:30 p.m. at the Long Haul Infoshop, 3124 Shattuck Ave. 540-0751. www.thelonghaul.org  

The Birds of Home Watch a slide show of East Bay birds, then go out and find them in the field. Binoculars available. From 9 a.m. to noon at Tilden Nature Center. 525-2233. 

The Winter Veggie Garden with Novella Carpenter at 10 a.m. at Magic Gardens Nursey, 729 Heinz Ave. 644-2351. www.magicgardens.com 

Walking Tour of Old Oakland around the restored 1870s business district. Meet at 10 a.m. in front of G.B. Ratto’s at 827 Washington St. Tour lasts 90 minutes. Reservations can be made by calling 238-3234. www.oaklandnet.com/wallkingtours 

Oakland Heritage Alliance Walking Tour Broadway Meets the Water From 10 a.m. to noon. Meet at the C.L. Dellums statue in front of the Amtrack station, 2nd and Alice Sts. Cost is $5 for OHA members, $10 for nonmembers. 763-9218. www.oaklandheritage.org 

Gormet Hot Dog Adventure Annual hot dog, sausage, brat and others tasting from 2 to 4 p.m. at the Tilden Nature Center. Cost is $5-$7. Registration required. 525-2233. 

Family Festival sponsored for the NIA Collective from noon to 6 p.m. at the Big Rock area of Lake Temescal. 869-4403. www.NiaCollective.org 

Kathmandu Nite 04, “Unity in Diversity” at 6 p.m. at Holy Names University Auditorium, 3500 Mountain Blvd., Oakland. Cost is $15-$20. Sponsored by Nepal Association of Northern California. www.nepalassociation.org 

Berkeley Youth Orchestra Auditions from 8 a.m. to noon. To schedule an audition or to find out more about the orchestra see www.byoweb.org 

The San Francisco Girls Chorus Auditions for girls ages 7-12, at the Interstake Center of the Mormon Temple, 4780 Lincoln Ave. in Oakland by appointment only. For audition information or to schedule an appointment, please call 415-863-1752 ext. 327, or email info@sfgirlschorus.org 

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


San Francisco Mime Troupe “Showdown at Crawford Gulch” at 2 p.m. at Willard Park, Hillegass and Derby. www.sfmt.org 

Berkeley Architectural Heritage Association Tour of the Art Deco Harris House from 3 to 6 p.m. at 2300 Le Conte Ave. Tickets are $15, available from 841-2242 or 841-1055. www.berkeleyheritage.com/art_deco.html  

Picture Progress Silent Auction to benefit the League of Pissed Off Voters. Join us to help defeat Bush, promote democracy, and celebrate Bay Area artists, from 3 to 7 p.m. at 1306 3rd St., the old Trax Gallery space. Free admission. www.indyvoter.org 

SacredProfane Auditions from 2-4 p.m. at St Peter’s Church on Broadway and Lawton, Oakland and on Sun. from 7 to 9 p.m. Please call Rebecca Seeman at 415-602-2492 or email seeman@usfca.edu  

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

History of the Earth, a slide show at 10 a.m. at Tilden Nature Center. 525-2233. 

Kingdoms of Life, nature exploration from 2 to 4:30 p.m. at Tilden Nature Center. 525-2233. 

Oakland Heritage Alliance Walking Tour of McClymonds-Clawson from 1 to 3 p.m. Meet at Chestnut Court, West Grand Ave. and Linden St. Cost is $5 for OHA members, $10 for nonmembers. 763-9218. www.oaklandheritage.org 

“Gay Marriages” with Robert Cromey, social activist and retired Episcopal priest, at 9:30 a.m. at Unitarian Universalist Church of Berkeley, 1 Lawson Road, Kensington. 525-0302.  

Get Ready for the Breast Cancer 3-Day Learn about footwear and apparel at 10 a.m. at REI, 1338 San Pablo Ave. 527-4140. For more information on the Breast Cancer 3-Day go to www.The3Day.org or call 800-996-3DAY. 

Tibetan Buddhism with Sylvia Gretchen on “Tibetan Teachings on Death and Dying” at 6 p.m. at the Tibetan Nyingma Institute, 1815 Highland Pl. 843-6812. www.nyingmainstitute.com 


“Decriminalization of Prostitution: Paid Sexual Exploitation” a conference from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. at the Julia Morgan Theater, 2640 College Ave. Pre-registration required. 415-922-4555. conference@ 


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. 

The Committee to Elect Karen Hemphill for Berkeley School Board Kickoff Party/Fundraiser at 6:30 p.m. at La Peña, 3105 Shattuck Ave. 467-3049. 

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. 

Soli Deo Gloria will hold auditions and first rehearsal for experienced choral singers at Trinity Lutheran Church in Alameda, 1323 Central & Morton. To schedule an audition time with Artistic Director, Allen Simon, call 650-424-1242. www.sdgloria.org 

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


“Climbing Yosemite’s Big Walls: Fast & Light” a slide show with Speed Climbing World Champion Hans Florine, at 7 p.m. at REI, 1338 San Pablo Ave. 527-4140. 

“Inner and Outer Peace Through Meditation” with Marshall Zaslove at 7:30 p.m. at Barnes and Noble,2352 Shattuck Ave. 644-0861. 

Creating Economic Opportunites for Women Free orientation meetings for training programs for immigrant and refugee women in english, finance and computer skills. Also on Sept. 2, 7 and 9. 655 International Blvd., at 7th Ave., 2nd floor. To register call 879-2949. 

Kurukula Self Defense Class for Girls at 6:15 p.m. in Albany. Drop in for $15. 847-2400. www.albanykarateforkids.com  

Argosy University Open House for those interested in learning about degree programs in the fields of psychology, education or business, from 6:30 to 8 p.m. at 999-A Canal Blvd. in Point Richmond. Event is free. 215-0277. www.argosyu.edu 

Cantabile Chorale Auditions from 7 to 10 p.m. at All Souls Episcopal Church, 2220 Cedar St. To schedule at time call 650-424-1410. 

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. 

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. 233-2144. dan@redefeatbush.com 

Berkeley Camera Club meets at 7:30 p.m., at the Northbrae Community Church, 941 The Alameda. Share your slides and prints and learn what other photographers are doing. Monthly field trips. 548-3991. www.berkeleycameraclub.org 

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

Tuesday Tilden Walkers We are a few slowpoke seniors who walk between a mile or two each Tuesday, meeting at 9:30 a.m. in the Little Farm parking lot. To join us, call 215-7672 for information or check our web page, http://home.comcast.net/~teachme99/tildenwalkers.html or email teachme99@comcast.net 


WriterCoach Connection (formerly Writers’ Room) seeks volunteers for this coming academic year for Berkeley schools For information on training sessions please contact Lynn Mueller at 524-2319 or writercoachconnect@yahoo.com www.writercoachconnection.org 

Tilden Tots A nature adventure program for 3 and 4 year olds each accompanied by an adult. We’ll look for fall spiders. From 10 to 11:30 a.m. in Tilden Nature Area, in Tilden Park. Cost is $6-$8, registration required. 525-2233. www.ebparks.org 

“The Future of Food” a film at 7 p.m. at Humanist Hall, 390 27th St., Oakland. Admission is free. Part of the GMOs and Food series sponsored by GMO Free Alameda County. 527-9898. www.gmofreeac.org 

Auditions for the new Arlington Children’s Choir will be held between 4 and 6 p.m. at 52 Arlington Ave. in Kensington. Also on Sept. 8. Children, between the ages 8 and 14, who enjoy singing and performing, are invited to participate. For information and audition time call Shanti at 843-7745. 

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

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/walkingtours 

Workin’ It Awards Ceremony for the Bay Area’s working women at 6 p.m. at YWCA, 1515 Webster St., at 15th, Oakland. Tickets are $15 in advance, $20 at the door. www.workinit.org 

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

Fresh Produce Stand at San Pablo Park from 3 to 6:30 p.m. in the Frances Albrier Community Center. Sponsored by the Ecology Center’s Farm Fresh Choice. 848-1704. www.ecologycenter.org 

Fun with Acting Class every Wednesday at 11 a.m. at the North Berkeley Senior Center. Free, all are welcome, no experience necessary.  

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


Tilden Tots A nature adventure program for 3 and 4 year olds each accompanied by an adult. We’ll look for fall spiders. From 10 to 11:30 a.m. in Tilden Nature Area, in Tilden Park. Cost is $6-$8, registration required. 525-2233. www.ebparks.org 

Tilden Explorers A nature adventure program for 5-7 year olds who may be accompanied by an adult, no younger siblings, please. We’ll learn about spiders and their biology. From 3:15 to 4:45 p.m. at Tilden Nature Area, in Tilden Park. Cost is $6-$8, registration required. 525-2233. www.ebparks.org 

Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory Environmental Restoration Program Community Update at 5:30 p.m. at the City of Berkeley Planning Dept., 2118 Milvia St., 1st flr. conference room. www.lbl.gov/community/ 

East Bay Mobile Blood Drive from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Alta Bates Herrick Campus, 2001 Dwight Way. 1-800-GIVE-LIFE.  

Berkeley Farmer’s Market Shattuck at Rose, from 3 to 7 p.m. 548-3333. www.ecologycenter.org 

Kairos Youth Choir Auditions for boys and girls age 7-15. For information call 414-1991, info@kairoschoir.org www.kairoschoir.org 


Commission on the Status of Women meets Wed., Sept. 1, at 7:30 p.m., at the North Berkeley Senior Center. Ruby Primus, 981-5106. www.ci.berkeley.ca.us/commissions/women 

Fire Safety Commission meets Wed., Sept. 1, at 7:30 p.m. at the Public Safety Building, 2100 Martin Luther King Jr. Way, 2nd floor. David Orth, 981-5502. www.ci.berkeley.ca.us/commissions/firesafety 

Community Environmental Advisory Commission meets Thurs., Sept. 2, at 7 p.m., at 2118 Milvia St. Nabil Al-Hadithy, 981-7461. www.ci.berkeley.ca.us/commissions/environmentaladvisory 

Housing Advisory Commission meets Thurs., Sept. 2, at 7:30 p.m., at the South Berkeley Senior Center. Oscar Sung, 981-5400. www.ci.berkeley.ca.us/commissions/housing 

Public Works Commission meets Thurs., Sept. 2, at 7 p.m., at the North Berkeley Senior Center. Jeff Egeberg, 981-6406. www.ci.berkeley.ca.us/commissions/publicworks