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Jakob Schiller 
          Laura Moriarty, deputy director of Small Press Distribution, stands among the stacks of books housed in the company’s West Berkeley warehouse on Monday afternoon.
Jakob Schiller Laura Moriarty, deputy director of Small Press Distribution, stands among the stacks of books housed in the company’s West Berkeley warehouse on Monday afternoon.


Connecting Small Presses With Readers for 35 Years By MATTHEW ARTZ

Tuesday December 07, 2004

Small Press Distribution (SPD) is celebrating its 35th year as the nation’s only non-profit book distributor. 

“It’s one of the great resources in publishing,” said Robert Gluck, a poet and novelist, who has relied on SPD to distribute his works nationally since 1973. 

On Saturday Gluck was one of several authors to read from his latest work at SPD’s open house, which let dozens of local literature fans peruse its shelves of 250,000 volumes in search of books that can’t be found elsewhere. 

“This place is such a treasure,” said Dan Fisher, a local poetry writer. “Every small press book you could imagine is here. Even at Moe’s or Cody’s, it’s hit or miss.” 

SPD’s central mission is to get books of literary merit into bookstores, libraries and college reading lists by working as a distributor/wholesaler for over 500 small publishers.  

Since bookstores don’t have the resources to negotiate with multitudes of independent publishers, SPD gets books from the printer to the consumer.  

“If we didn’t exist these publishers wouldn’t sell books and then they wouldn’t exist,” said SPD Deputy Director Laura Moriarty. 

She said that currently the organization, comprised of six paid staffers and about eight volunteers, distributes 13,000 titles to bookshops and libraries in 36 states. SPD, which has a budget of just over $1 million, collects fees from publishers, but makes most of its money from sales, Moriarty said.  

SPD got its start when Peter Howard the owner of Serendipity Books and five independent Northern California publishers decided to join forces to get the work of local poets into book stores. 

The first employees stored the books in Serendipity’s retail store on shelving they built themselves, said Victoria Shoemaker, one of SPD’s founders and a former president of the board of directors. SPD has since moved several times before settling down at its current location in a West Berkeley warehouse. 

Over the years, the organization has distributed the works of Berkeley poets Devorah Major, Lyn Hejinian and Leslie Scalapino and served as a farm team for bigger publishing houses by distributing the early works of prominent authors like Michael Ondaatje, author of The English Patient. 

SPD has expanded from distributing solely poetry to other forms of literature and some non-fiction, which now accounts for about 40 percent of its sales, Moriarty said. 

As the organization matured it took on more publishers, but never turned a profit. Shortly after Howard decided to divest himself from the venture in 1979, SPD registered as a nonprofit, enabling it to qualify for state and federal grants which combine for about 25 percent of its funding.  

Public funding has helped keep the organization afloat in a publishing world that has been marked by increasing consolidation of publishers and book shops, making it increasingly difficult for distributors to find retail outlets for independent publishers. All of SPD’s early competitors have gone out of business, Shoemaker said. 

She added that in the past decade membership in the American Booksellers Association has dropped from 3,600 to 1,800 stores as chains pushed out independent shops.  

“Independent stores are our most reliable customers, so when they fold it makes business a lot harder,” Shoemaker said. Among SPD’s biggest customers, she said, are the New York Public Library and St. Marks Bookshop in New York. 

For small literary publishers who are more concerned with having their authors read than turning a profit, SPD provides an invaluable service. 

“We’d be nowhere without them,” said David Buck, editor of Tripwire, a Bay Area-based literary journal that SPD has sent to independent bookstores across the country and to a literature class at the University of Maine. 

Tobin O’Donnell, a founder of Low-Fidelity Press in San Francisco, said bigger distributors repeatedly rejected his firm’s books before he turned to SPD. “They just seemed excited that there was a new press that was publishing quality work,” he said. 

Moriarty, however, said SPD rejects about three times as many publishers as it accepts—about 100 rejections a year—either because they don’t find literary merit in their books or they simply can’t add to their roster. 

For writers like Gluck, who specializes in novels on romance and sexual obsession, SPD gives him an outlet in an industry that largely ignores mid-level novelists. 

“With the consolidation of publishers, the industry stopped caring about fiction because they didn’t think it was profitable,” he said. “SPD is essential for writers like me who have an audience of around 5,000 readers.” 

Cole Swensen, a poet and creative writing professor at the University of Iowa, doesn’t earn a living from her writing distributed by SPD, but is happy to know her works are on book shelves in cities across the country. 

“At times I’ve seen my writing in stores, and I think, wow, I had no idea they carried me here,” she said.

Five-Story Project Proposed For San Pablo Avenue Site By RICHARD BRENNEMAN

Tuesday December 07, 2004

A controversial development project on San Pablo Avenue, first proposed in 1999 and then abandoned amid neighborhood opposition a year and a half ago, has taken on new life with a different developer. 

Berkeley’s Zoning Adjustments Board will consider Thursday the proposed 34-unit, five-story residential and commercial condominium project at the site of a former gas station at 2700 San Pablo Ave. 

City Planning Department staff are recommending approval. 

Just 17 months ago, neighbors defeated a similar rental project for a four-story 35-unit residential and commercial project at the same site, proposed by developer Patrick Kennedy’s Panoramic Interests and Jubilee Restoration, run by the Rev. Gordon Choyce. 

The new proposal calls for 18 one-bedroom apartments, 12 two-bedroom units and four street-level lofts (four live/work and one residential) in a 40,161-square-foot structure with 38 ground-floor parking slots. A cafe is planned for the ground floor corner at the intersection of San Pablo Avenue and Derby Street. 

Because the ground floor lofts include a second, residential level, they are counted as two-story units, and the developer is seeking approval of the project at five stories as a concession for offering inclusionary units affordable to families with incomes earning from 80 to 120 percent of area mean income. 

Six of the units, including one of the ground floor lofts, will be inclusionary units, affordable to low-income tenants, said Berkeley Senior Planner Greg Powell. “There will be affordable units on all floors and distributed throughout the building,” he said. 

The use permits and plans for the earlier projects were packaged with the land, and bought by the new developer, Curtis & Partners, LLC, of San Francisco, headed by Charmaine Curtis. A former executive with San Francisco developer AF Evans, Curtis started her own company earlier this year. 

Because of the additional floor and other changes, the project requires a modification to the previously issued use permit. 

“I became involved in the project after a friend told me about the site, and I contracted Patrick Kennedy. I’ve been working on it for nine months now,” Curtis said. 

She has a purchase agreement for the property, which has not yet closed. 

The project is her first since leaving AF Evans. “I’m focusing almost exclusively on entry-level urban infill projects,” she said, “and I hope to do more in Berkeley.” 

ZAB will consider a modification of the existing Kennedy/Choyce permit to accommodate the new design for the site from David Baker & Partners, a San Francisco architectural firm. Powell said the plan is more interesting than the previous plans. “David Baker does good buildings, and the individual units are bigger than before,” he said. 

Under the Permit Streamlining Act, ZAB has to act at Thursday’s session unless the developer agrees to an extension. 

Douglas Press, whose day job is serving as a lawyer for the state attorney general’s office, filed a lawsuit against the previous project in August 2002, along with three other area residents. 

“I’ve not received any notice on the new project, although I’d assume the city would realize I was an interested party,” Press said Monday. “What does it take to be known by the city as an interested party?” 

Powell said the city wasn’t required to notify Press because he lives more than 300 feet from the project, but “it probably would’ve been a nice thing to do.” 

He said that, in addition to mailings, posters were installed around the project area to notify residents. 

Press said his objections to the original project were raised by the project’s size, density and potential impacts on the surrounding community. “Our concerns were such things as increased traffic, shadow impacts and water concerns.” 

Helga Alessio, another of the litigants, said she wouldn’t contest the current project. 

“I fought for four years through two lawsuits, and I just don’t see any realistic chance of fighting it this time. I’ve given up on democracy in this city,” she said. “I’m very disillusioned by the process and I put way too much energy into it.” 

Panoramic originally acquired the property in 1998 and the original Kennedy/Choyce plans called for a 48-unit building, until they were scaled down to 35 by the time the City Council voted their approval on July 23, 2002, despite two petitions signed by more than 400 residents. 

The lawsuit followed a month later. 

Litigant Howie Muir also co-wrote an unsuccessful November 2002 ballot measure that sought to restrict the height of new buildings in the city and was the plaintiff in another suit challenging the city’s approval of a 40-unit low-income senior housing project at Sacramento Street and Dwight Way. 

At the time he filed suit, Muir lived a block-and-a-half up Derby Street from the project site; today he lives in Nevada City in the Sierra Madre, though he’s keeping tabs of developments in Berkeley. 

“Basically, the courts have held that because Berkeley is a charter city, staff is not bound by the West Berkeley Plan, the General Plan or any similar documents,” Muir said, “and the City of Berkeley has not demonstrated good stewardship for its citizens when it comes to land use. 

“The rules of the game in Berkeley are not published, and consequently they’re not accessible to the general public and are prone to manipulation by developers,” he said. 

“No one begrudged the idea of having low-income housing there. It was the sheer bulk of the project, and the way it ignored the context of the surrounding area of one- and two-story buildings.” 

At the time Kennedy and Choyce killed the project, litigant Julie Dickinson told the Daily Planet that neighbors would have accepted a three-story project, blaming Kennedy for his refusal to consider neighborhood pleas for a smaller building. 

“It was way too out of scale for the neighborhood,” she said. 

Monday DIckinson said she and other neighbors will challenge the project at Thursday’s meeting. 

“We wish we could’ve had some impact on the design. We’re glad to see condos and affordable housing, but there’s been no Environmental Impact Report. no discussion of the ramifications of actual construction in a neighborhood where parking is already difficult,” she said. 

Dickson said she was also concerned about the possible release of toxins released into the soil by leaking tanks from the gas station that stood on the site, and she says the ultimate goal of neighbors is the creation of a San Pablo Avenue are plan. 

City Manager Issues Rosy Budget Update, With Warnings By MATTHEW ARTZ

Tuesday December 07, 2004

An unexpected surge in tax revenues on property transfers could erase more than a quarter of the city’s projected $7.5 million deficit next year, according to a first quarter budget update released by the city last week. 

The report, recapping the city’s fiscal performance from July through September, shows that the Real Property Transfer Tax is running 33.7 percent above projections in the adopted budget. That would amount to about $2 million in unbudgeted revenues if the trend continues through the final three quarters, City Manager Phil Kamlarz wrote. 

However, the report also contained some troubling news. Revenue from parking fines, which for years has lagged behind expectations in contributing to the city coffers, is 6.3 percent lower ($585,000) than projections and parking officers have written two percent fewer tickets than during the same time period last year. 

Also the fire department spent 42 percent of its overtime budget in the first quarter. Kamlarz wrote that the department anticipates exhausting its entire overtime by the end of December, which is only halfway into the fiscal year ending in June. Projections show fire department overtime expenditures costing the city an extra $400,000 to $600,000. 

“We’ve been slammed with a lot of vacancies,” said Deputy Chief David Orth. 

In September the department had 18 firefighters on leave and seven job openings, he said. Six newly trained firefighters will begin work by Christmas. Because of additional retirements in December, Orth added, the department would have to hire more firefighters and probably wouldn’t be able to straighten out its overtime budget until June. 

Last June, the City Council approved the current 2005 fiscal year budget that closed a $10.3 million deficit in the city’s general fund. 

Overall, the city spent approximately 23 percent of its budget in the first quarter, essentially in line with projections. 

Although the city’s general fund is balanced for the current fiscal year, two special funds require emergency action, according to Kamlarz. Measure B, a fund supported by sales tax revenues, is in deficit and will require a mid-year $2 million cut in spending. The public works and transportation departments use the fund and are working with the city manager to identify expense reductions, Kamlarz wrote.  

The Central Services Fund, an internal services fund for mail delivery and in-house printing services, currently has a shortfall of around $240,000, according to Tracy Vesely, the city’s budget manager. 

While it’s too early to gauge how much money city taxes will generate this year, Kamlarz wrote that most are tracking close to budget estimates. First quarter returns for the hotel tax, utility users tax and interest income are on target, Kamlarz wrote, although year-end projections showed them coming in at a combined $573,000 below budget forecasts. The business license tax showed a low first quarter return, but Kamlarz wrote he thought it would track even with budget assumptions by the end of the fiscal year. 

Projecting city revenues has proven a difficult task for city officials. Last year, the city underestimated property tax revenue by $363,071 and property transfer tax revenue by $3.3 million, while overestimating income from the sales tax by $964,892, the hotel tax by $331,389, interest income by just over $1 million and parking fines by just under $2 million. 

With Berkeley still unable to collect its budgeted revenue from parking fines, Kamlarz wrote that the city was considering several reforms, including improving officer training, developing an employee recognition program to improve morale, adding field supervision, increasing officers’ hours and changing enforcement plans for parking meters. 

Kamlarz is scheduled to present a mid-year report in February that will include proposals for using unanticipated revenue such as the property transfer tax intake for critical projects and asking the council to approve mid-year expenditure reductions in operating funds running a deficit.›

Roberts Center Critics Appeal Project Approval By RICHARD BRENNEMAN

Tuesday December 07, 2004

Critics of the Ed Roberts Campus recently approved by the Zoning Adjustments Board (ZAB) for South Berkeley have appealed the Nov. 15 decision to the City Council. 

Stressing that they don’t want to stop or delay the project, neighbors Erica Cleary, Kathleen Croker, Robert Lauriston and Julie Twichell are challenging the way city staff and ZAB conducted the approval process. 

The Ed Roberts Center, to be built at 3075 Adeline St. at the site of the South Ashby BART on the east side of Adeline Street, will provide education, training and other services for the disabled. It’s named after the founder of Berkeley’s Center for Independent Living. 

Lauriston said the approval was in clear violation of the California Environmental Quality Act provisions that call for a 20-day period where the public can review all the relevant documents before a decision is made on the project. 

In the case of the Ed Roberts Campus those documents included an environmental impact statement (IS), a mitigated negative declaration (MND) and 21 separate documents referenced therein. 

Documents are to be posted at two places, the Berkeley Public Library and the city Permit Center. 

“They were four days late in posting the IS and MND and all the documents at the Permit Center and they never made the referenced documents available at the library. That meant that people who worked during the day had no access to the critical documentation,” Lauriston said. 

In addition, he said, “ZAB didn’t really fulfill its responsibility to deal with obvious omissions and errors in the impact statement.” 

Though not cited in the appeal, Lauriston said the city had said that the project, a modernistic glass-fronted design neighbors have said looks like an airport terminal, conflicts with the existing historical resources in a turn-of-the 19th century neighborhood. 

Lauriston and his friends also contend that the plan as approved violates the city zoning ordinance because it didn’t include use permits for some of the center services and business in a project that lies in a commercial zone on the west and in an R# residential zone on the east. 

“Those variances would also serve the useful purpose of further highlighting that the set of concessions granted to this project are as extraordinary as the project itself. . .and do not set a precedent for other projects,” Lauriston wrote.›

A Daily Planet Holiday Invitation

Tuesday December 07, 2004

For the holidays we at the Daily Planet want to give our readers an issue of their own. If you have a story you want to tell about something in the East Bay, about one of your favorite things, a recollection, or anything else you have wanted to see in the Planet, this is your chance. Send us your stories and poems and we will turn over our Dec. 24 issue to you. Get submissions to us by Friday, Dec. 17 for consideration.  

You can send items to us by e-mail at holiday@berkeleydailyplanet.com, or by mail at 3023A Shattuck Ave. 94705.e

Kerry Captured 90 Percent of Berkeley Vote By ROB WRENN

Special to the Planet
Tuesday December 07, 2004

John Kerry won 90 percent of the votes cast for president in Berkeley, while George Bush won the support of only 6.6 percent of Berkeley’s voters.  

Kerry received 54,409 votes, the highest number received by a Democratic presidential candidate in Berkeley in at least the last 30 years. 

While final certified results are not available in every state yet, it appears that Berkeley ranks number three among cities with populations of 100,000 or more nationwide in the percentage of votes cast for Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry. Among these larger cities, only Detroit, Michigan and Gary, Indiana (population: 102,746) provided higher percentages for Kerry. 

Kerry won 94 percent of the vote in Detroit and 92 percent in Gary, Indiana. Over 80 percent of the population in both cities is African-American. A major exit poll found that nationally, 88 percent of African-Americans voted for Kerry. In its support for Kerry, Berkeley edged out Washington D.C., another city with a large African-American population, where 89 percent voted for Kerry. 

Among cities with a majority of white residents, there is no question that Berkeley ranks number one in the nation in support for Kerry. 

Many observers have noted that Kerry was strongly supported by urban voters, while Bush drew his support primarily from rural and suburban areas.  

In New York City, voters favored Kerry over Bush by a 3 to 1 margin. In Boston, the ratio was about 3.5 to 1. It was 4 to 1 for Kerry in Philadelphia; 4.5 to 1 in Chicago, and better than 5 to 1 in Cleveland. But this pales in comparison to Kerry’s victory in Berkeley, where he received almost 14 votes for every vote cast for George Bush. Detroit, with close to 16 to 1, and Gary with a ratio of slightly more than 14 to 1, surpassed Berkeley. 

Berkeley also outdid San Francisco and Santa Cruz, both progressive-leaning California cities where Republicans are a small minority; in both cities, Kerry garnered 83 percent of the vote. And the percentage of the vote for Kerry here was higher than in other traditionally left-voting cities with major universities such as Cambridge, Massachusetts and Madison, Wisconsin. 


Nader rejected 

The key to Berkeley’s ranking near the top of cities supporting the Democratic candidate in this year’s presidential race was a shift away from voting for Ralph Nader and third party candidates.  

As the table that accompanies this article shows, GOP unpopularity is nothing new. Republican presidential candidates have not been popular in Berkeley in recent elections, though Bush’s percentage this year represents an all-time low point for GOP presidential candidates. 

What has changed is that there has been a sharp drop in the vote for Ralph Nader. In 1996, Nader came in second with almost 14 percent of the vote; while in 2000, he again came in second with a little over 13 percent of the vote.  

This year, Nader was not on the ballot, though he was running as a write-in candidate. The total write-in vote for president, not all of it for Nader, was 1.4 percent in Berkeley. Green Party candidate, David Cobb, got 1 percent.  

Clearly, a majority of the 7,100 Berkeley voters who supported Nader in 2000 decided to vote for Kerry this time around, even though California was considered to be a safe “blue” state. Revulsion against the Bush presidency certainly was at the heart of this shift. There are about 4,700 registered Green voters in Berkeley and it’s a safe bet that a large majority voted for Kerry. 

Bush was massively unpopular throughout Berkeley. He lost every precinct by huge margins. His very best precinct, where he managed a mere 15 percent of the vote (100 votes) was located in Fraternity Row. 

As for the precinct with the smallest number of Bush voters, the prize goes to precinct 431 in the LeConte neighborhood west of Telegraph where only 10 people voted for Bush. That precinct is home to Berkeley Mayor Tom Bates. 

For the smallest percentage of Bush voters, the prize goes to precinct 870 in the heart of South Berkeley, where the 19 votes for Bush amounted to only 2 percent of the 943 votes that were cast. 

While Berkeley has been sharply divided geographically in recent local elections between “progressive” areas in the flatlands and close to campus, and “moderate” areas in the hills, the differences in voting in national elections are very small.  

District 3 (South Berkeley and LeConte) was Kerry’s best district. Voters there were for Kerry over Bush by 93 percent to 3 percent. District 8 (mostly east of College including the hills above Claremont Ave.) was Bush’s best district. Voters there were for Kerry over Bush by 87 percent to 10 percent. Whatever their differences on rent control or other local issues, Berkeley voters share a strong dislike for Republicans in general and George Bush in particular. 

Up until the 1990s, Republican presidential candidates managed to score in the low double digits in Berkeley. Ronald Reagan received 9,844 votes, or 16 percent of those cast, in his successful 1984 bid for re-election. But since 1984 support for the Republican party has declined in Berkeley. 


Turnout up in Berkeley 

There was a jump in turnout in Berkeley compared to the last two presidential elections. 60,818 voters cast ballots in Berkeley this year, an increase of 11.2 percent over the 2000 election when George Bush won his first term in office. Turnout was higher than in any election since 1984. In both 1984 and this year, the presence of a right-wing Republican incumbent in the White House galvanized Berkeley’s left-of-center voters and resulted in high turnout. 

Some of this year’s increase in turnout is probably due to growth in Berkeley’s population since 2000, but most of it is attributable to a higher percentage of Berkeley’s voters going to the polls.  

Measuring and comparing turnout in Berkeley elections is complicated by the fact that voter rolls, especially in student areas, have tended to contain substantial numbers of voters who no longer live at the addresses where they are listed.  

According to the official statement of the vote recently posted on line by Alameda County’s Registrar of Voters, 77.3 percent of Berkeley’s registered voters turned out. But among people who actually still live in Berkeley, turnout was probably well over 80 percent.  

One student dormitory precinct reported that 726 of 1,246 registered voters voted, not a very impressive turnout in a hotly contested election. A close inspection of the voter list for that precinct would probably find a substantial number of names of former residents of that precinct’s high rise dorm. 

Absentee voting was also way up in Berkeley. In this year’s election, 37.2 percent of all the votes cast were absentee ballots. In the 2000 election, only 17.8 percent were absentee votes. 

Voting absentee was more common in the hills than in Berkeley’s flatland neighborhoods. In Council District 6, which includes the northeast Berkeley hills, 45.7 percent of the votes cast were by absentee ballot, while in Council District 2 comprising the southwest portion of Berkeley, 35.4 percent voted absentee.  

Absentee voting was least common in student areas, and especially in dormitory precincts, where in some cases fewer than 10 percent of votes were cast absentee.  


In an upcoming issue, Rob Wrenn will report on and analyze the results of local races in Berkeley, including the hotly contested tax measures.  

Hancock Fears New Hacking Bill May Go Too Far By J. DOUGLAS ALLEN-TAYLOR

Tuesday December 07, 2004

A Southern California State Senator, reacting to last fall’s UC hacking incident, wants to repeal current California laws allowing state agencies to release social security numbers and other personal data to public and private sector researchers. 

State Senator Debra Bowen (D-Redondo Beach)—who has in the past authored laws restricting the use of Social Security numbers by businesses and government agencies—introduced SB 13 on the first day of the new legislative session this week. 

But a spokesperson for State Assemblymember Loni Hancock (D-Berkeley)—who has been working on this issue since the UC Berkeley hacking incident surfaced last month—says that while Hancock supports efforts to provide more security for personal data, “we don’t want to put a chill on needed research projects.” 

The sharing of Social Security numbers with private researchers by California public agencies became a political issue last fall when a hacker broke into a UC Berkeley computer that contained personal information of more than 600,000 California In Home Supportive Services (IHSS) workers and clients. The private information—including Social Security numbers, birthdates, and telephone numbers—had been placed on the computer by a Connecticut-based researcher working under contract with the state of California. 

Under current California law, state agencies may share such personal information with researchers, but the researchers must block out the information before placing it in a computer database. In this case, the personal information was not blocked out. 

No evidence has been presented that the hacker ever obtained the Social Security numbers or other private information on the hacked UC Berkeley computer.  

However this week, officials of the Department of Social Services announced that the state will spend close to $700,000 to mail warning notices to all 1.4 million individuals whose names and personal information were provided to the researcher. Last month, Assemblymember Hancock had called upon DSS officials to do such a mailing after DSS had decided to only do a media release and a web posting. 

As far as Bowen’s bill banning the dispersal of personal information to researchers, a release sent out by the State Senator’s office said the proposed bill would prevent state agencies from turning over personal information to anyone “unless it is required by law for law enforcement purposes.” 

Saying that Social Security numbers are “the one key criminals need to unlock someone’s entire financial history,” Bowen said that “the responsibility for safeguarding or removing [the numbers] shouldn’t have been on the researcher, it should have been on the state.” 

The senator added that while the Department of Social Services “may have had the authority to hand 600,000 names and Social Security numbers to the researcher, that doesn’t mean it was a smart thing to do. The state needs to take a hard look at its laws on data sharing, because most of those laws were written decades ago.” 

But Assemblymember Loni Hancock chief of staff Hans Hemann says that might go too far. 

“One of the fears that we have is that we don’t want to kill research projects that are going to give us important information,” Hemann said. “The state has data of various types of things that does need to be researched, and we just need to make sure that there are policies in place and enough security measures taken that these breaches don’t occur. But I’m sure that Senator Bowen is going to take that into account. 

“Loni wants to make sure that we have statewide protocols and procedures in place so that when people are using confidential identifying data for research, that information cannot be used for purposes of identity theft. We haven’t seen Senator Bowen’s bill yet, but we certainly are in favor of adopting such protocols and procedures that still allow research to continue.” 

Hemann said one of the problems with redacting Social Security numbers before giving data to researchers is that researchers need a tracking number to identify individuals in a data set. “I think what DSS did was rather than going in and creating 1.4 million new distinctive tags for each client or worker, they just sent along the Social Security number,” Hemann said. “If I recall correctly, in one of the briefings DSS representatives said that we could have and yeah, maybe we should have, included a different identifier with each of the clients.” 

He said that this is one of the problems which state and university officials are attempting to work out. 

Hemann said that since the hacking incident, Hancock’s office has been working with the Health and Human Services Agency and the Department of Social Services “to try and come up with a better mechanism so that data doesn’t get released. They have put together a task force to try to set standards so that these types of breaches don’t happen again. UC Berkeley is going through a similar review of their policies. Apparently when they looked at this project they viewed it simply from the individuals’ perspective—are there any concerns with the interviews that were going to take place between the researcher and the individuals—and they didn’t think about doing a review of the identifiable personal information. Of course, they now realize that they were lacking.” 

Hemann also gave insight into how the Social Security numbers and other personal information may have ended up on the UC Berkeley computer despite state policies prohibiting that practice. Hemann said it was his understanding that the IHSS data was placed by the private researcher on her own computer, which was then connected to the UC Berkeley system. 

“There was one point where she was having the computer installed on campus and had the university employee strictly followed the protocol and asked all the right questions, the data would not have been put in an area that would have been so vulnerable,” he said. “There was one question they failed to ask.” The question left unasked was whether the personal information had been redacted. 

Meanwhile, no arrests have been made in the Aug. 1 hacking incident that highlighted the problem in the first place. A spokesperson for the Federal Bureau of Investigation office in San Francisco said that the FBI has an “ongoing investigation” in the matter. The spokesperson said no further details on the pending investigation could be released at this time. 


New Council to Choose Vice-Mayor Rotation By MATTHEW ARTZ

Tuesday December 07, 2004

Mayor Tom Bates has backed off, in the face of City Council opposition, from proposing that Councilmember Linda Maio succeed Maudelle Shirek as vice mayor when the new council convenes today (Tuesday), his chief of staff said Monday. 

Councilmember Betty Olds, a moderate, was preparing to stand by her three most progressive colleagues, Kriss Worthington, Dona Spring and Max Anderson, to keep Maio from being selected as vice mayor. 

The vice mayor is a ceremonial post responsible only for running meetings when the mayor is absent. But with several councilmembers—namely Worthington and Maio—seen as possible contenders for a mayoral bid in 2008, opponents to the nomination said they feared that the title could have given Maio a leg up if she chose to run. 

After former vice mayor Maudelle Shirek lost her reelection bid to Anderson last month, Mayor Tom Bates proposed that the council name Maio, a close ally of his on the council, as her successor. Spring responded with a competing item on Tuesday’s agenda calling for the vice mayor position to be rotated among council members as was the practice prior to the council’s electing Shirek to the post in 1996. Under Spring’s proposal councilmembers would receive either three or six-month terms as vice mayor. 

Shirek lobbied for the position in 1996, arguing that she had the longest tenure on the council. With Shirek gone, there is no one member with seniority. Maio, Spring and Olds are the longest serving members now, all elected in 1992. 

“Going back to the rotation system seems to be the most politically fair option,” Spring said. 

Before Monday’s turnaround by Bates, Maio had said she was honored that the mayor had nominated her, but that she wouldn’t want to pick a fight with colleagues over the position. She said she agreed with the four councilmembers opposing her nomination that “being vice mayor would definitely help position a person for a mayoral run.” 

Cisco DeVries, aide to Mayor Bates, said Monday that in the face of the substantial opposition, the mayor planned to propose a variation of a rotation system, proposed by Spring, instead of pushing for Maio to gain the title. 

Bates has also nominated her and Councilmember Gordon Wozniak to sit on the council’s agenda committee, which screens items before they reach the full council. Neither nomination has sparked opposition.  

Also on Tuesday’s agenda are scheduled votes on whether to accept a memorial sculpture honoring Berkeley native and former Sierra Club President David Brower and whether to allow UC Berkeley to build a pedestrian bridge over Hearst Avenue. 

The 175-ton, 20-foot high sculpture commemorating Brower was commissioned by Brian and Jennifer Maxwell, owners of Berkeley-based Power Bar Inc. After San Francisco rejected the sculpture, the Maxwell estate offered it to Berkeley and found a receptive host in Mayor Tom Bates, who has lobbied to find a home for it on Berkeley’s Marina. 

Last month a panel of the city’s Civic Arts Commission voted 6-2-1 to recommend that the city accept the sculpture, designed by Finno-American sculptor Eino, but attached several conditions. Among the commission’s requests were that the sculpture not include a replica of Brower scaling the massive stone and bronze globe and that the city consider other locations for it. The sculpture is currently disassembled in a San Francisco warehouse. 

Brower, born in Berkeley in 1912, died in 2000. 

Critics had argued that the sculpture’s bulk and Brower’s position scaling the globe weren’t an appropriate memorial to the environmentalist’s legacy. 

Also, after postponing a vote twice this year, the council will consider UC Berkeley’s construction of a pedestrian footbridge 21 feet above Hearst Avenue. The bridge would connect La Loma Dormitory on the north side of Hearst Avenue with the rest of the Foothill Housing Complex on the south side of the street. Currently no disabled students live in La Loma, UC officials say, because the area’s steep slope hinders the mobility of students who use wheelchairs. 

UC Berkeley has sought a city variance to build the bridge over city airspace since construction began on the residential community in 1988. Now the university is offering the city $200,000 in pedestrian improvements and final say over the bridge design. 

Some residents who live north of the campus oppose the bridge, which they argue would do little to help disabled students, since most would still choose not to live in the hills, and say that residents would still face the dangerous intersections on Hearst since the bridge would only be available for students. 

The councilmembers will review a survey of their top priorities for the coming year which was taken at the request of the city manager last month. Seven councilmembers participated, three of whom are no longer on the council. 

Among the items topping the list were construction of athletic fields near Gilman Street, a new police dispatch system, improving the city’s business climate, how to spend more than $3 million in parking improvements owed the city by Vista Community College, a pedestrian safety plan, and the planned downtown hotel/conference center. 

However two councilmembers, Kriss Worthington and Dona Spring, chose not to participate in the survey because they were unsatisfied with the list of priorities presented by the city manager and maintained that the vote should have been taken by the newly elected council. 

Setting priorities is the first step for department heads to craft their budgets for the next fiscal year. 

“If you ask the people of Berkeley what the city’s priorities should be, this list is a joke,” said Worthington, who said affordable housing and public safety should have been options. 

Maio said the city might want to change its approach to priority setting to make sure that the concerns of all councilmembers are considered. “If people aren’t going to participate maybe this isn’t the way we should do it,” she said.?

BUSD Classified Employees Ask To Reopen Contract By J. DOUGLAS ALLEN-TAYLOR

Tuesday December 07, 2004

The Board of Education of the Berkeley Unified School District (BUSD) will consider a proposal at this Wednesday night’s board meeting to reopen collective bargaining agreement with its classified employees. 

The meeting will be held at 7:30 p.m. at the Old City Hall on Martin Luther King Jr. Way. 

The request to reopen negotiations was made last month by Berkeley Council of Classified Employees (BCCE) field representative Richard Hemann in a letter to BUSD Superintendent Michelle Lawrence. BCCE, Local 6192, represents 360 instructional assistants and office workers in the school district. 

The BCCE-BUSD contract was approved by the board in April and runs through June of 2007. 

Representatives of the BCCE were not available for comment. 

In other action, the board will be asked to approve Berkeley High School’s revised Site Plan for 2004-05.  

Site improvement plans are required by the state superintendent’s office for all California public schools receiving state funds. Among other things, these plans track pupil achievement and progress toward meeting academic goals, progress in reducing dropout rates, expenditures per pupil and types of services funded, and progress toward reducing class sizes and teaching loads. 

Plans from all of the district’s schools were originally submitted to the board last June, but were sent back for improvements. 

Last month, the board accepted the revised school site plans from most of the schools in the district, but only after severely criticizing several of the plans, and after receiving assurances from Superintendent Lawrence that changes will be made in the future in the way the site plans are developed. 

Revised site plans are yet to be received by the board for Willard Middle School and Berkeley Alternative High School. Those will be brought before the board at its Dec. 15 meeting. 

In addition, even with all current board members returning for the new term, Wednesday’s agenda calls for the board to reorganize itself for the coming year, including selecting new officers. 

Meanwhile, the Board of Education has announced that it is presently soliciting applicants for membership on the BUSD Youth Commission, Facilities Safety and Maintenance Oversight Committee, the Peace and Justice Commission, and School Construction Oversight Committee. Participation on the committees are open to parents, students, and community members as well as all BUSD staff members who do not have conflicts of interest with the respective committee. Applications are available online at www.berkeley.k12.ca.us/SB/SB_advisory.html.›

Education Foundation Newsletter Wins Award for Excellence By J. DOUGLAS ALLEN-TAYLOR

Tuesday December 07, 2004

A Berkeley non-profit foundation set up to promote excellence in local schools has received that distinction itself—an award from the Public Education Network in Washington D.C. for Excellence in Communication. 

The Berkeley Public Education Foundation (BPEF) received this year’s Carmen A. Sarnicola Award for its fall 2003 newsletter in a national competition with 1,600 school districts in 33 states. The newsletter is distributed to households and businesses in Berkeley. 

BPEF was formed in 1983 with the stated mission of “restoring excellence in Berkeley public schools” in the wake of the cutbacks caused by the passage of Proposition 13. It’s main project is to provide classroom grants to teachers and volunteers. Other foundation projects include the Berkeley High School Health Center, the Berkeley Teachers’ Center, and the Longfellow Theater Capital Campaign. 

The Public Education Network is a national organization of local education funds. 

—J. Douglas Allen-TaylorC

Letters to the Editor

Tuesday December 07, 2004


Editors, Daily Planet: 

The premise of your article “Two Groups Battle for KPFA Listener Board” by Jakob Schiller (Daily Planet, Dec. 3-6) is incorrect and therefore the whole article is based on a lie. The LSB does not order time changes for Democracy Now or any other program. The board merely affirms the democratic decision by the Program Council that moves Democracy Now to prime time in the morning and now to rebroadcast in the evening.  

Also, the article fails to note that electing the ‘pro-staff’ slate would replace the leadership on the board and all black leadership—the PNB director, the treasurer, the secretary, and the chair of the Outreach Committee (Tenderloin summit manager).  

If we cannot rely on Berkeley print media to be fair and balanced...who can we rely on? 

Warm regards, 

LaVarn Williams 

KPFA LSB Ttreasurer  




Editors, Daily Planet: 

Mr. Rumsfeld’s military strategy in Iraq started with shock and awe and evolved into a long hard slog implementing, without intending to, a perversion of the Powell Doctrine: Invade with underwhelming force and don’t worry about exiting. 

Currently, Mr. Rumsfeld, ever the loyal minister, prepares for an election in Iraq on schedule, because “an imperfect election is better than no election.” Having learned nothing from Powell, a general who was once a hero, Mr. Rumsfeld cannot be expected to learn from the situation in the Ukraine where we see evidence that an imperfect election can be very, very bad.  

Marvin Chachere 

San Pablo 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

Why are confederate cult Christians bragging about the rape of Fallujah? 

“American troops took Fallujah by storm this week,” bragged the evening news. “Airplanes strafed insurgents and tanks rolled through the streets.” 

Why would people who actually call themselves Christians want to make the rape of Fallujah sound like a good thing? You would think, after reading the teachings of Jesus every day like they claim to do, that they would have the good grace to shut up about it. 

Every night before we go to bed, let us take a minute to pray for George Bush’s dead...in Afghanistan, Israel, New York, Iraq, Palestine, Sudan, Nigeria, Columbia, Arlington... 

Last week a friend of mine found the decomposed body of a poverty-stricken and ill old man in her back yard—where he had gone to curl up and die. 

     America can—and must—do better. 

Jane Stillwater 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

I admire both Bob Burnett and the Daily Planet for being willing to seriously consider the evidence of voter fraud. At a time when most of the major media (even the Bay Guardian) are unwilling to look at this evidence, this is a vital public service. 

The fact that all of the evidence gathered so far does not add up to 3 million stolen votes is not enough to dismiss the charges of voter fraud. It would be a miracle if an underfunded and ignored group of bloggers could have found every single example of fraud. No one expects the police to catch every single criminal. The most plausible conclusion is that what we found so far is just the tip of the ice berg. 

I found Burnett’s suggestion that the exit poll discrepancy was produced improper sampling of the suburbs and exurbs to be plausible. But Is there any evidence to back it up? If so, I would appreciate it if the Planet would publish it. If this is only a speculation, it is still more plausible that voter fraud is what made the difference, for there is, as Burnett points out, plenty of evidence for that. 

I also agree with Burnett that the Democrats would have better luck if they energized their base, rather than tried to appeal to the center. But that doesn’t mean that Bush actually won this election. 

Teed Rockwell 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

On Bob Burnett’s conclusions that Bush won because the Republicans did a good job at getting out the vote, I just don’t get it. Elections are won by the candidate who gets the most votes, not a subjective opinion about how skillfully a campaign was run. The fact that the Republicans ran a good campaign is not evidence that they got more votes. The only way to know who got the most votes is to count the votes. 

Lynn Davidson 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

P. Levitt’s Nov. 23 reply suggests a misunderstanding of my Nov. 19 letter, and of other things. Allow me to clarify. 

Levitt says he’s “saddened to see our downtown movie theaters become less vital than Emeryville’s because it is too difficult to develop viably in Berkeley.” That’s odd: Berkeley’s last repertory theater (the Fine Arts) recently died because the city’s most vigorous developer handily tore down its building. 

If Berkeley’s first-run theaters are losing business to Emeryville—which I doubt—it’s likely because the latter offers much easier parking. Plus, maybe a place to get a bite after 9 p.m. 

UCLA’s moviegoing district really has declined, though—depressing nearby businesses and real estate. The New York Times attributes this (in a Dec. 1 article) solely to limited parking. 

Levitt also says he’s baffled by how one would define “a reasonable population size” for Berkeley. An easy answer would be some 102,000 to 117,000 people—its range over the last 35 years. 

I value living in a community small enough that city department heads return citizens’ phone calls. Since Levitt says he’s lived in Berkeley for 20 years, I bet he appreciates the same things I do. I don’t want to live in a big city run by an unresponsive machine. Aggressively growing the city’s population won’t spread its benefits, only destroy them. 

Over the Oakland border, mayor Jerry Brown is struggling to add 10,000 new residents to that city’s population of 400,000. Maybe Berkeley should add a proportionate 2,500 new residents. 

Beyond that, let’s help Jerry out by “franchising” Berkeley’s attractions into North Oakland and other neighboring cities. Probably I should volunteer in Oakland schools, and Levitt should keep an eye on the Richmond City Council. Some other Berkeley resident needs to open a tofu stand in El Cerrito. 

Levitt writes that “UCB’s population will continue to grow...We can only respond responsibly by planning well for that which is inevitable.” But that’s defeatist talk, and redundant besides. 

UCB’s growth can ultimately be controlled by riding herd on Sacramento to repeal UC’s archaic constitutional exemption from local planning regulations. The UCB campus is already one of the nation’s largest universities. It, too, needs to start “franchising” some of its prestige to other UC campuses whose host cities can better accommodate physical expansion. 

Levitt laments that “vigorous dialogue so quickly disintegrates into name calling.” That’s curious: He kicked off this exchange by dismissing existing residents as NIMBYs, and their dwellings as “urban blight, existing eyesores.” 

How shortsighted! California’s vernacular structures—which the late design historian Reyner Banham celebrated as “Dingbat Architecture of Freewayland”—are to be cherished. 

Finally, Levitt writes that architects and developers should not be viewed as “outside interlopers.” I disagree. Developers do nothing that government couldn’t do for itself—that is, they build stuff. By privatizing this basic function, they accumulate huge amounts of money. 

Then they distort the political system by playing kingmakers. Then they distort it further, calling in their chits by demanding zoning changes to make it easier for them to build still more stuff. Lastly, they have the gall to claim that this isn’t corporate welfare, but a public service! 

As for Berkeley’s crybaby architects, I’ll say it again: If they had any real talent, they’d have commissions. 

Marcia Lau 


Opposition to Ed Roberts Campus Masked in Historic Design Complaint By SUSAN PARKER

Tuesday December 07, 2004

I read in this very paper that the proposal to build the Ed Roberts Campus, the South Berkeley facility that will house a consortium of organizations serving the needs of the disabled, could be held up due to challenges from the California Office of Historic Preservation.  

Apparently, the state office does not concur with the city’s determination that the project will have no impact on historical resources in the area. Approval by this agency is critical in order for the project to receive federal funding.  

At a recent meeting of the Berkeley Zoning Adjustment Board, representatives from the neighborhood, which is located on the east side of the Ashby BART station, turned out again, as they have been doing for the past several years, to protest the presence of the center in their community. 

I did not attend the meeting, but I have attended many past meetings regarding this issue. At other gatherings homeowners in the quadrant bordered by Ashby and Alcatraz avenues, and Martin Luther King Jr. Way and Shattuck Avenue, protested that the proposed project would cause parking and noise problems. They suggested that it be built on the other side of Martin Luther King Jr. Way, by the MacArthur BART station, or somewhere else, just not near them. 

They argued that someone other than the City of Berkeley owned the airspace above the BART station, that cars with disabled plates and placards would suck up all their parking spaces, and that people in wheelchairs could be victimized by criminals and transients who hang around the transit hub and its adjacent parking lot. They suggested that housing disability-oriented organizations in one building smacked of ghetto-ization, and that BART is not wheelchair friendly and therefore having the campus built over the station would not be of much use to people traveling there from other parts of the East Bay. 

I don’t recall anyone saying that the building design did not fit in with the historic nature of the neighborhood, but now this is being used as another possible excuse for holding up the project. “We have a wonderful diversity of designs in our neighborhood,” someone said at the recent Zoning Board meeting. “The one thing we don’t have is anything that resembles this design. It doesn’t fit in.”  

I don’t live very far from this part of South Berkeley. A quick walk up the street from my house puts me in the neighborhood and has me passing the hideously purple Black Repertory Theater, the ugly South Berkeley United States Post Office, a variety of apartment buildings, washhouses, cleaners and pizza joints, a church and the turreted building across the street that houses Marmot Mountaineering and several other businesses. Residents are right on when they say there is “a diversity of designs” in this community. It looks a lot like all the other neighborhoods that surround it, including mine. 

I sympathize with the home owners. I don’t like the inconveniences that construction causes. I put up with a similar situation in that Oakland Children’s Hospital is less than two blocks from my house and often in the throes of remodeling. But you know what? I wouldn’t deny the people who use that facility a parking place in front of my home. And I wouldn’t have the gall to say that the hospital takes away from the historic ambiance of my neighborhood, even though it is big and ugly and it has a helicopter landing pad, and my house is an adorable, perky 1907 Victorian. 

I think it’s time that the people who live near the proposed building site of Ed Roberts Campus fess up. They just don’t want it in their neighborhood, and they will clutch onto any excuse not to have it. NIMBYism is alive and well in a lot of places, including this self-proclaimed, liberal-leaning, historically modified South Berkeley ‘hood. 


Tuesday December 07, 2004

Felon Bites Cop 

When police arrived at a residence in the 2100 block of Allston Way in response to a complaint of domestic abuse, one officer got more than he bargained for. 

Their arrival was sparked by an out-of-state call from the partner of the 22-year-old man who reported being abused by the suspect, said Berkeley Police spokesperson Officer Joe Okies. 

On arrival, the combative suspect sunk his teeth into one of the officers, adding a felony charge of assaulting a police officer to the charge of domestic abuse. 


Brick Assault Report 

A 61-year-old Berkeley man told police Thursday that he’d been struck in the head by a brick on Ashby Avenue near the intersection of San Pablo Avenue on the afternoon of Oct. 24. He was unable to offer a description of his assailants. 


Prostitution Sting 

Police arrested five women in a South and West Berkeley prostitution sting last Thursday. 


Rat Pack Robbers 

Officers arrested three suspects ages 23, 25 and 28 in two downtown Berkeley robberies early Friday morning. Another, younger, suspect remains at large. 

In the first incident, the quartet accosted a 29-year-old man on Shattuck Avenue near the Kittredge Street intersection about 1:52 a.m. and knocked him down and proceeded to kick him as they robbed him of his watch and jacket. 

In the second incident 20 minutes later, the quartet braced a 20-year-old woman near the corner of Shattuck and Allston Way and tried to grab her purse, succeeding after a brief tug of war. 

Officers conducting a search of the nearby area eventually nabbed the trio, who are facing charges of robbery and assault with a deadly weapon causing great bodily injury. The latter charge stems from the kicking attack, said Officer Okies. 


Steals on Wheels 

A man in his late teens to early 20s flashed a pistol at 50-year-old woman just as she extracted her cash from an autoteller machine just outside the Wells Fargo Bank in the 1000 block of University Avenue. 

The bandit escaped with the cash via bicycle. 


Stop Leads to Bust 

When police questioned a 20-year-old spotted near the corner of Channing Way and Atherton Street at 1:06 a.m., they quickly discovered three things: He was carrying stolen property and burglary tools, and was thus in clear violation of his probation from an earlier offense. 

He was escorted to new quarters, where he will have ample time to ponder his fate.›

Fire Department Log By RICHARD BRENNEMAN

Tuesday December 07, 2004

Fireplace Ash Triggers $1.1 Million Blaze, Destroys Cragmont Ave. Home 

Flames ignited by a box of fireplace ash placed under a wooden deck destroyed a million-dollar home in the Berkeley hills Sunday morning along with contents valued at $120,000. 

Deputy Fire Chief David Orth said the owner of the house at 524 Cragmont Ave. had cleaned out ashes from a fireplace fire from the night before and stored them in a box under the deck. 

“He was sitting at his computer when he saw smoke,” Orth said. “He evacuated himself and a tenant.” 

Within minutes, the flames had spread from the deck to another deck above and had penetrated the home bursting through two floors and on through the roof in multiple places. 

The home was fully engaged when engine crews arrived, and they battled the flames for more than two hours before bringing them under control at 11:48 a.m., Orth said. 

“We went through a lot of air bottles fighting that one,” said Orth. “There were heavy winds blowing right before the fire, but fortunately they’d died down. Otherwise we might’ve had real problems,” he said. 

The owner of the home, a writer, was distraught about the loss of manuscripts, Orth said.  

Mattress Gone, Home Saved 

A frayed electrical cord ignited a mattress in the rear of a home at 2531 Dana St. shortly before 8:25 a.m. on Nov. 29. The alert homeowner spotted the smoke and called the fire department. 

A few quick spritzes from a fire extinguished snuffed the flames, which were fully controlled a few short minutes later. 

Loss was mainly confined to the mattress, Orth said. 


One Remodel Leads to Another 

Residents of a home at 1480 Ninth St. had stowed most of their belongings in their converted garage for remodeling, but had forgotten to shut down their wall heater. Sometime in the cold night hours before 2:31 a.m. Saturday, the heater kicked in, igniting belongings stored next to it. 

Flames had spread to the kitchen when firefighters arrived. 

The blaze was fully controlled by 3:15 a.m. 

The homeowner received minor injuries in the incident and was treated at the scene, said Chief Orth. 

Damage to the contents—almost all of them having been moved to the garage—was estimated at $25,000, with structural damage estimated at $45,000. 


Alquist-Priolo Bars Building On Faultlines By JANICE THOMAS

Tuesday December 07, 2004

To follow-up on Charles Smith’s reflections (Letters, Daily Planet, Dec. 3-6) about policies that would effectively prohibit building on earthquake faults, there is already such a policy, a law even, voted in by the state Legislature in 1972. It is the Alquist-Priolo Earthquake Zoning Act.  

To quote from UC Berkeley’s 2020 Long Range Development Plan’s draft environmental impact report (LRDP DEIR), “The act states that prior to project approval, cities and counties shall require a geologic report defining and delineating any hazard of surface fault rupture. No structures for human occupancy may be built across an identified active fault trace. Pursuant to the act, the State of California has delineated an Earthquake Fault Zone for the Hayward fault, which runs through the eastern portion of the UC Berkeley campus. This is the only Earthquake Fault Zone within the 2020 LRDP area.”(p. 4.5-3).  

UCB’s LRDP DEIR states furthermore that “the Hayward fault is most relevant to UC Berkeley, since it passes through the eastern part of the campus, under Memorial Stadium and close to Bowles Hall, the Greek Theater, and Donner Lab.” (p. 4.5-7; emphasis added).  

Finally, the UCB LRDP DEIR cites a USGS report which estimates that of the San Andreas fault, the Hayward-Rodgers Creek fault, and the Calaveras fault, the fault with the “highest probability of generating a M?6.7 earthquake before 2032…” is the Hayward (p. 4.5-7). 

For a graphic illustration of the fault running through the stadium, go to www.seismo.berkeley.edu/seismo/tour/stadium.html. 

Despite the presence of the Hayward fault running lengthwise through the stadium, despite the likelihood of a significant seismic event on the Hayward fault, and despite the state legislature’s action to discourage building in the Alquist-Priolo Zone, the university administration stubbornly refuses to look at alternative locations to rebuild its stadium. The Strawberry Canyon location is not just anywhere in the Bay Area, or anywhere in Berkeley, it is one of the highest risk areas around. Even worse, the risks are heightened by topography that interferes with emergency response to spectators and residents alike.  

Concerned neighbors have been effectively intimidated by the pro-sports sentiment surrounding the terrific football team and superb coaching staff. Those days are over. The university needs to find a safe location that does not increase the risk of injury and trauma to spectators and the thousands of people living in the surrounding neighborhoods (plural emphasized). To rebuild at the Strawberry Canyon location is sheer madness.  


Janice Thomas lives in District 8.›

Planning Department Website Watch By ZELDA BRONSTEIN

Tuesday December 07, 2004

As I’ve previously written in the Daily Planet, some time in the past year the Berkeley Planning Department removed from its website the lists of notices of decision that document the Zoning Adjustment Board’s recent approval of use permits.  

Because a ZAB action can be appealed to the City Council only for 14 days after a notice of decision has been issued, the timely posting of NODs, as they’re popularly known, is one of the planning staff’s most important responsibilities. Formerly NOD lists were mailed out to interested parties. With the advent of electronic communication, the mailings were discontinued, and the lists were posted on the Department’s website.  

The removal of the NODs from the department website was never formally announced or explained. Indeed, well after the NODs themselves had disappeared, the heading “Notices of Decision” still appeared on the website. Now planning staff have eliminated this incongruity: as of last week, the heading was also gone.  

In the wake of this latest disappearance, I e-mailed the city’s zoning officer, Debbie Sanderson, and asked why the department couldn’t resume posting a list of current NODs on its website.  

Sanderson gave me a reply worthy of Condoleezza Rice. First she informed me that “we put [the NOD list] on the website voluntarily to make it easier for the public to track projects. It is our long term goal to put the list back on the website, as soon as we can free up a little staff time to further develop the project tracking database that we’ve created.”  

I e-mailed back wondering why, if the department really wants to make it easier for the public to track projects, planning staff couldn’t post the NODs right now. Given that the lists rarely number more than twenty addresses and dates at a time, posting any one list couldn’t require more than five minutes. Why wait until the “project tracking data base” has been further developed—an undertaking that sounds pretty ambitious?  

In reply, Sanderson thanked me for my “response” and added that “we’ll consider posting some type of NOD list.” That was it.  

Having served almost seven years on the Planning Commission, I’m aware that the Planning Department is terribly shorthanded. But what we’re talking about here is not the revision of the city’s creek ordinance or the calculation of density bonuses or the rules governing historic preservation—just a few of the complex Berkeley land use issues awaiting resolution.  

By contrast, putting the NODs on the department’s website would seem to be a simple and straightforward task. If it’s more complicated than it appears, staff should say so. Otherwise, it looks as if Sanderson and her crew want to make it harder, not easier, for the public to track projects.  

Returning the NODs to the department website would be a welcome gesture of staff goodwill and responsiveness. It would convey an attitude just the opposite of the one expressed by the statement, “we put [the NOD list] on the website voluntarily.” The message there is: We do as we please—get it?  

I’m afraid I don’t get it. City staff’s job is to help the public, not to boss it. That’s the very different message sent by the six objectives of the General Plan’s Citizen Participation Element:  

1. Ensure citizen and community participation in General Plan and other planning tasks.  

2. Improve citizen participation in relationship to the crucial decision-making bodies in land use matters.  

3. Enhance notification, information, and process for citizen input in land use matters.  

4. Improve neighborhood participation in land use planning and decisions.  

5. Increase the use of new technology for citizen participation.  

6. Improve the role of cty administrative structure and staff in relationship to meaningful citizen participation.  

Berkeleyans committed to democratic governance and concerned about local land use should put the realization of these goals high among their political resolutions for 2005.  


Zelda Bronstein is a former chair of the Berkeley Planning Commission.

Berkeley’s Rent Control Ordinance Violates the U.S. Constitution By ROBERT CABRERA

Tuesday December 07, 2004

The Taking protections of our Federal (5th Amendment) Constitution is a significant protection and the envy of people throughout the world. In an era when property in parts of the world is taken by the use of force without just compensation to those displaced, this American right created in our constitution must be applied even under the most benevolent circumstances such as the good intentions of people like Chris Kavanaugh (Letters, Daily Planet, Nov. 19-22). 

However, rather than strengthening or merely preserving these protections, the trend is towards their eventual dismantling. Without property rights freedom is meaningless. 

Let me give you a real life example of the chaos that ensues without property rights. Many years ago I met a couple who had owned what they described as a very nice house somewhere in Cuba. They had worked all their lives to own it. One day during the Cuban revolution their maid and gardener refused to let them enter the house stating that since they had toiled in it for many years it rightly belonged to them more than to the holders of the title. The couple lost the house and belongings since there was no legal recourse; seeing the writing on the wall they left the island for the U.S. 

A couple of decades later they spoke with someone who told them that the maid and gardener had been soon evicted themselves and that a Cuban functionary had taken their place. The maid and gardener apparently had no legal recourse any more than the original owners. 

Rent control is merely the chipping away of the Fifth Amendment of the US Constitution—and the chips are flying and taking us ever closer to the Third World Cuban chaos described above.  

On its face rent control is a clear violation of the Fifth Amendment which states: “nor shall private property shall be taken for public use, without just compensation.” 

Without being a lawyer, it is clear to anybody that a property placed under rent control is worth less and hence the owner is deprived of part of its value, hence it is unconstitutional under the Fifth Amendment. 

Rent control also violates another section of the U.S. Constitution (Bill of Rights) that provides in Section 10: No state shall pass any law impairing the obligation of contracts. In other words if a landlord and a tenant want to agree on a rent level and enter into an agreement, the state should not interfere. 

These basic property rights are self evident: If I own something you can't take it away from me (it is called stealing). If one person wants to voluntarily purchase a legal good or service from another, the government should not get in the way. 

From an economic standpoint, rent controls do not work. Look up rent control in the index of any Econ 101 text and you will see that it is routinely used as an example of why price controls in general do not work. Some even provide graphs to illustrate the failure. Here is an excerpt from one of these college books: “Ironically, although rent controls are often legislated to lessen the effects of perceived housing shortages, in fact, controls are a primary cause of such shortages.” 

In plain English: Rent control makes housing even more scarce. 

Rent control laws are passed with good intentions such as helping low income tenants. However since rent controls create shortages, for any given vacant apartment there will be many applicants and the landlord will invariably chose the most qualified which means that the poorest will be passed over.  

Rent control also creates the incentive for prospective tenants to pay “key money” to tenants who are about to give notice. When I lived in NYC many years ago, I gladly entered into an agreement with the departing tenant (Section 10 of Bill of rights mentioned above) to whom I paid one thousand dollars to obtain the studio apartment renting for $125 per month. This thousand dollar amount was my life savings at the time. 

The sad part about rent control is that the politicians and bureaucrats who politically or financially benefit from this failed housing policy will always want the public to focus not on the failure of rent control as public policy but on the housing provider. They will always characterize the tenant as victim and landlord as target. And since rent control is the crown jewel of Berkeley politics (tenants are more numerous that landlords), we can expect this state of affairs to continue. 


Robert Cabrera is a Berkeley resident. 

‘Play of Daniel’ Brings Medieval Liturgical Drama To Berkeley Church By KEN BULLOCK

Special to the Planet
Tuesday December 07, 2004

Combining spectacle and intimate moments of dialogue and soliloquy in song with an extraordinary processional chorus of 40, The Play of Daniel is at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church on Bancroft Way this week in a joint production by Aurora Theatre Company and Pacific Mozart Ensemble. 

The production, originally staged in the 12th century at Beauvais Cathedral in France, is back in Berkeley by popular demand after a successful 6-day run last year.  

Staged by UC Emeritus Professor Dunbar H. Ogden, The Play of Daniel makes use of different voices at different locations as well as the great chorus, moving through—and sometimes heard from outside—the sanctuary. In other words, the church becomes an instrument, with wonderful vocal effects achieved through exploiting different local acoustics. 

This outstanding—and deeply affecting—performance is the result of decades of research by Ogden (some of it summarized in his UC Press book, The Staging of The Play of Daniel in the Twelfth Century). Uncovering manuscripts of medieval liturgical dramas, Ogden discovered some had stage directions—and the directions could occasionally be traced to the particular church where the play was performed. Visiting these sites (in particular, Beauvais Cathedral, site of The Play of Daniel), Ogden discovered how the plays moved through the church, among the congregation, and how music and singing were enhanced by acoustical effects specific to the church’s architecture. 

It’s a powerful experience to hear this enormous chorus, often only a few feet away, as they wind their way through the audience, the sound of the voices surrounding the listeners, punctuated by solos from characters in the play. 

The play features the different personae from the Old Testament account of Daniel interpreting the mysterious words written on the wall at Belshazzar’s Feast, the Fall of Babylon and “Daniel in the Lions’ Den,” elaborated on by the medieval dramatists. 

Daniel the prophet, because of his divine rescue from the lions’ den and other travails, was used as figure of Christ’s resurrection (and his Harrowing of Hell) in medieval sermons and visual arts (church sculpture and stained glass windows; illuminated manuscripts). The Play of Daniel is performed during the most celebratory time of Western Christianity. 

Not like opera, oratorio, or other kinds of musical theater, The Play of Daniel is a unique combination of the performing arts with its own unity and effectiveness. There has been a tradition (or counter-tradition) of medieval music or miracle plays (like The Second Shepherd’s Play) performed at Christmas in reaction to the commercialization of the modern holiday. But none of these convey the great overall effect of the Aurora/Pacific Mozart production. 

New York Pro Musica presented a reconstruction of The Tale of Daniel (I saw it performed at Zellerbach during the 70s) that became famous and was considered ground-breaking by some, but it was more of a professional pastiche of disparate elements from different medieval sources. The staging of that play never carried the full integral power and authenticity of Ogden’s mounting of the script. 

The show features Ogden’s collaborator Henk Verhoef, visiting from Europe, singing and playing. Richard Grant, Pacific Mozart’s artistic director, presides over the voices of this “rebirth of drama in the West after the Dark Ages.” 


The Play of Daniel will be performed at 8 p.m. through Dec. 11 at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church, 2300 Bancroft Way. Tickets are $22-$25. 843-4822, www.auroratheatre.org.Ã

Holiday Spirit is Alive at Two Historic Houses By STEVEN FINACOM

Special to the Planet
Tuesday December 07, 2004

The seasonal tradition of “decking the halls” makes December a particularly colorful time to visit local house museums decorated for Christmas tours and events. 

You’ll find contrasting, but equally interesting, holiday displays at two local houses, one in Oakland and another in Hayward. 

Dunsmuir House is clearly the queen house museum estate of the Oakland area, featuring not only a four story mansion but extensive grounds which trail down along a forked creeklet south of the Oakland Zoo and just over a hill from the ceaseless roar of Highway 580. 

Walking from the north entrance down to the four-story wedding-cake white structure that sits of the edge of an enormous meadow is a trip back in time. 

Today, the refurbished and furnished 1899 mansion is owned by the City of Oakland, managed by a nonprofit, and available for both private events and public touring.  

Christmas at Dunsmuir has become an East Bay tradition, extending this year over three December weekends. 

The centerpiece of the season is the amazing house itself, from Tiffany stained glass dome to original wine cellar. Special Christmas decorations range from the whimsical—a dining table set for characters from the Nutcracker, beneath Christmas carol garlands—to the breath-taking—a 25-foot-tall Christmas tree festooned with enormous red and gold ornaments rising up through the central stairhall. 

Each room has a different decorative theme and its own Christmas tree. Look for the tree in the library that subtly changes color, the amusing “dessert tree” in the kitchen, a bathtub filled with glass “bubbles,” and a tree showered by a perpetually moving snowfall in an upstairs side hall. 

A few tips for a visit. Adult tickets are a not-inexpensive $15, but only $11 ordered in advance. (There are also senior and junior discounts.) Entry to the house itself is timed, so make sure the ticket you get at the gate reflects a workable schedule for you.  

When you tour the main house, don’t rush. The one-way route wends its way through three floors, and there’s no going back.  

Pick-up the written guide sheet at the front door, but also chat with the docents stationed throughout the house. They can share stories about the house and furnishings that aren’t written in the guide.  

When we were there upstairs foot traffic was carefully regulated but there was gridlock in the basement gift shop, which doubles as the only open exit for tour goers. 

Make sure to leave time to walk around the much less crowded grounds, where holiday carolers are also strolling. There’s an entertainment tent with various performers; on arrival, check your program for performance times.  

Children’s activities are available and the newest building on the property, an event pavilion, hosts vendors selling handcrafted jewelry, specialty foods, dolls and stuffed animals, and various other items. 

A holiday tea—an extra $23 per adult—is served in the Dinkelspiel House at the northern end of the estate, while a la carte food is available to purchase in the Carriage House at the southern end of the grounds. 

In contrast to the bustle and stately opulence of Dunsmuir House, Hayward’s McConaghy House seems an oasis of quiet 19th century tranquility for the holidays.  

Built in 1886, the two story, 12 room, home with wrap-around porch once stood in the midst of expansive farmlands, a far cry from the gas stations, strip malls, and fast food outlets that now share Hesperian Boulevard.  

The same family of Gold Rush Scottish immigrants lived there up through the early 1970s and now it’s a house museum traditionally decorated for “Christmas 1886” with appropriate ornaments and traditions.  

When we visited on a recent weekend there was only one other guest (ironically, a docent from Dunsmuir). We had a leisurely three-person tour for only $4 per adult, led by a friendly, costumed, guide. 

From the double front doors of glowing stained glass to the costumed woman playing the piano in the music parlor, the house exudes an antique festive spirit. 

During the Christmas season the house is decorated as a 19th century farm family of respectable means might have furnished it. There are several Christmas trees, tables set for elegant meals, and much assorted and colorful bric-a-brac of the era.  

Concise placards posted outside each room explain the use and significance of the holiday decorations. 

The house includes a wonderful kitchen with wooden ice box, a butler’s pantry displaying the best china and glass, and a commodious second pantry with wide shelving and bins to store home-canned and produced goods. 

There are two downstairs parlors, one set up as a music room, plus a dining room and an office complete with cougar rug. 

Upstairs, four main rooms are furnished to display a typical master bedroom, a children’s nursery, and the bedrooms of a grown up son and daughter of the McConaghy family.  

The latter contains still life paintings of fruit from the farm by the daughter, as well as a vintage “walking Christmas tree.” Intended as a party costume, the armless attire festooned with ornaments looks a bit like a torture device for the wearer. 

Upstairs back bedrooms probably intended for servants are now fitted out as a small museum shop with Victorian-style decorative items, Christmas ornaments, and other gifts from teddy bears to mechanical toys; when we visited many items were on sale at half price. 

Two important outbuildings remain, a two room water tower and a carriage house containing stabling for four horses, a clever arrangement of chutes and mangers to distribute their feed from the hay loft above, and a display of farm equipment and carriages.  


Arts Calendar

Tuesday December 07, 2004



“Grids and Reflections” giclée color prints by Art Levit opens at Photolab Gallery, 2235 Fifth St. and runs through Jan. 22. Gallery hours are Mon.-Fri. 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., Sat. 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. 644-1400. 


“Big Time Fourth Graders Opera Company” performs at 10:30 a.m. and 7 p.m. at Malcolm X Arts and Academic Magnet School, 1731 Prince St. Also on Dec. 8 at 10:30 a.m. 644-6313. 

“The Play of Daniel” by the Aurora Theatre Company and The Pacific Mozart Ensemble at 8 p.m. at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church, 2300 Bancroft Way. Through Dec. 11. Tickets are $22-$25. 843-4822. www.auroratheatre.org 


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


Berkeley Chamber Perfor- 

mances “Duo Concertante” with Anita Fetsch Felix, violin and Wolfgang Fetsch, piano, at 8 p.m. at the Berkeley City Club, 2315 Durant Ave. Tickets are $20. 525-5211. www.berkeleychamberperf.org 

Arlo Guthrie and the Klezmatics perform the music of Woody Guthrie at 8 p.m. at Zellerbach Hall, UC Campus. Tickets are $28-$56. 642-9988. www.calperfs.berkeley.edu 

Anoush and Brass Menagerie at 8:30 p.m. at Ashkenaz. Balkan dance lesson with Norma Adjmi at 7:30 p.m. Cost is $9. 525-5054. www.ashkenaz.com 

Alisa Fineman and Alex de Grassi, Jewish world music, at 8 p.m. at Freight and Salvage Coffee House. Cost is $15.50- $16.50. 548-1761. www.freightandsalvage.org 

Jennifer Clevinger and Dennis Geaney at 8 p.m. at Downtown. 649-3810. 

Patricia Berber at 8 and 10 p.m. Yoshi’s at Jack London Square. Also on Wed. Cost is $10-$18. 238-9200. www.yoshis.com 

Jazzschool Tuesdays, a weekly showcase of up-and-coming ensembles from Berkeley Jazz- 

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



Powerpoint to the People Live competition at 7:30 p.m. at the Pacific Film Archive. Cost is $4-$8. 642-0808. www.bampfa.berkeley.edu 


“Map of a Dream: The Best Poetry of Inside Out 2004” by students of Rosa Parks and Cragmont Elementary Schools at 6:30 p.m. at the Berkeley Art Center. A project of the Center for Art in Translation. 

“Paris Transforming: The Beauty and Horror of Urban Reconstruction” with photographer and sculptor Leonard Pitt, at 8 p.m. at Giorgi Art Gallery, 2911 Claremont Ave. Cost is $12. 848-1228. www.giorgigallery.com 

Cafe Poetry and open mic hosted by Kira Allen at 7:30 p.m. at La Peña. 849-2568. www.lapena.org 

“Foreign Affairs: Erotic Travel Tales” with editor Mitzi Szereto at 7:30 p.m. at Easy Going Travel Shop & Bookstore, 1385 Shattuck Ave. 843-3533. 

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


Wednesday Noon Concert, University Chorus and University Chamber Chorus sing choral music for the holidays at Hertz Hall, UC Campus. 642-4864. http://music.berkeley.edu 

Music for the Spirit Ron Mc- 

Kean, harpsichord, performs Bach and Couperain at 12:15 p.m. at First Presbyterian Church of Oakland, 2619 Broadway. 444-3555. 

“Choreography Workshop” by UC Dept. of Theater and Dance at 4 and 6 p.m., Bancroft Studio, UC Campus. Free. 642-9925. 

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

Bernard Anderson & The Old School Band at 9 p.m. at Ashkenaz. Swing dance lesson with Nick and Shanna at 8 p.m. Cost is $9. 525-5054. www.ashkenaz.com 

Son de la Terra and Lado Oriente in a benefit concert for Chiapas at 7:30 p.m. at La Peña Cultural Center. Cost is $5-$10. 849-2568. www.lapena.org 

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

Ezra Gale Trio at 8 p.m. at Jupiter. 848-8277. 

Cris Williamson, Teresa Trull & barbara Higbie at 8 p.m. at Freight and Salvage. Cost is $20.50-$21.50. 548-1761. www.freightandsalvage.org 

Kieran Cross, Human Marvels, Gun and Doll Show at 8:30 p.m. at Blakes on Telegraph. Cost is $4. 848-0886. www.blakesontelegraph.com 



Kala Art Annual Exhibition New work in a variety of media by Kala’s community of artists, opens with a reception at 6 p.m. at 1060 Heinz Ave. Gallery hours are Tues.-Fri. noon to 5:30 p.m., Sat. noon to 4:30 p.m. 549-2977. www.kala.org 

Works from the Oakland Art Association Reception at 4 p.m. at the MetroCenter, 101 Eighth St., Oakland, at the Lake Merrit BART Station. Exhibition runs Jan. 27. 464-7773. 

“Threshold: Byron Kim” Guided tour at 12:15 and 5:30 p.m. at Berkeley Art Museum, 2626 Bancroft Way. 642-0808. www.bampfa.berkeley.edu 


Cine Mexico: “Streeters” at 7:30 p.m. at the Pacific Film Archive. Cost is $4-$8. 642-0808. www.bampfa.berkeley.edu 


Artists’ Talk: Mary V. Marsh and Toru Sugita at 7 p.m. at Berkeley Art Center. 644-6839. www.berkeleydartcenter.org 

Marianne Williamson on “The Gift of Change: Spiritual Guidance for a Radically New Life” at 7 p.m. at First Congregational Church of Berkeley, 2345 Channing Way. Sponsored by Cody’s Books. 845-7852. www.codysbooks.com 

Rachel Ray introduces her $40 a Day and Minute Meals books at 12:30 p.m. at Cody’s Books on Fourth St. 559-5900. www.codysbooks.com 

Erin Van Rheenen on “Living Abroad in Costa Rica” at 7:30 p.m. at Easy Going Travel Shop & Bookstore, 1385 Shattuck Ave. 843-3533.  


Berkeley High School Band and Orchestra Winter Concert, with Harrison Pugh, violin, at 7:30 p.m. in the Community Theater on the BHS Campus. 

Yo-Yo Ma and Emanuel Ax at 8 p.m. at Zellerbach Hall, UC Campus. Tickets are $50-$150 available from 642-9988. www.calperfs.berkeley.edu 

Lowiczanie Polish Folk Ensemble “Koledy” holiday music from Eastern Europe at 8 p.m. at the Berkeley Hillside Club, 2286 Cedar St. Tickets are $8-$12, children free. 540-0835. www.polishfolk.net 

Sisters Morales, folk with Mexican roots at 8 p.m. at Freight and Salvage. Cost is $17.50-$18.50. 548-1761. www.freightandsalvage.org 

Plays Monk with Ben Goldberg, Devin Hoff, Scott Amendola at 9:30 p.m. at The Starry Plough. Cost is $8. 841-2082. www.starryplough.com 

Brian Kane, jazz guitar, at 8 p.m. at Downtown. 649-3810. 

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

Gato Barbieri at 8 and 10 p.m. at Yoshi’s at Jack London Square, through Sun. Cost is $18-$22. 238-9200. www.yoshis.com 



Cine Mexico: “The Beginning and the End” at 7:30 p.m. at the Pacific Film Archive. Cost is $4-$8. 642-0808. www.bampfa.berkeley.edu 


“The Play of Daniel” by the Aurora Theatre Company and The Pacific Mozart Ensemble at 8 p.m. at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church, 2300 Bancroft Way. Through Dec. 11. Tickets are $22-$25. 843-4822. www.auroratheatre.org 

Aurora Theatre “Emma” at 8 p.m. at 2081 Addison St. through Dec. 19. Tickets are $36. 843-4822. www.auroratheatre.org 

Berkeley High School “O & E” An original interpretation of the greek myth of Eurydice and Orpheus, at 8 p.m. Fri. and Sat., at Florence Shwimly Little Theater, Allston Way. Tickets are $5-$7. 332-1931. 

Berkeley Repertory Theater, “Polk County” A musical about aspring blues musician, Leafy Lee, at the Roda Theater, 2015 Addison St. to Jan. 9. Tickets are $15-$60. 647-2949. www.berkeleyrep.org  

California Shakespeare Theater Student Company “As You Like It” Fri., Sun. at 7 p.m., Sat. at 2 and 7 p.m. at 701 Heinz Ave. Tickets are $3-$5. 548-9666. www.CalShakes.org 

Impact Theatre, “Meanwhile, Back at the Super Lair” Thurs.-Sat. at 8 p.m. through Dec. 11, at La Val’s Subterranean Theater, 1834 Euclid. Tickets are $10-$15. 464-4468. www.impacttheatre.com 

Shotgun Players “Travesties” by Tom Stoppard, at The Ashby Stage, 1901 Ashby Ave. Thurs.-Sun. at 8 p.m. through Jan. 9. No performances Dec. 23-26. Free with pass the hat after the show. 841-6500. www.shotgunplayers.org 


Spoken Word with Shirley Phelps, Yolande Barial, Linda Joy Myers and Teresa LeYung Ryan at 7:30 p.m. at Kajukenbo Self Defense Center, 5680 San Pablo Ave. Oakland. $10-$20 sliding scale. 428-0502. 


Berkeley Ballet Theater “The Nutcracker” at 7 p.m. at the Julia Morgan Center for the Arts. Also on Sat. and Sun at 2 and 7 p.m. through Dec. 19. Tickets are $18. 845-4689. www.berkeleyballet.org  

Berkeley City Ballet “The Nutcracker” at 7 p.m. at Zellerbach Playhouse, UC Campus. Also Sat and Sun. at 1 and 5 p.m. Tickets are $15-$25. 642-9988. www.calperfs.berkeley.edu 

Bella Musica performs Rachmanioff’s “All Night Vigil” at 8 p.m. at Arlington Community Church, 52 Arlington Ave., Kensington. Tickets are $12-$15. 

California Revels “The Winter Solstice” music dance and drama of 18th century Scotland. Fri. at 7:30 p.m., Sat.-Sun. at 1 and 5 p.m. through Dec. 19, at the Scottish Rite Theater, 1547 Lakeside Drive, Oakland. Tickets are $15-$42. 415-773-1181. www.calrevels.org 

Oakland Opera Theater “Rake’s Progress” by Igor Stravinsky, at Oakland Metro, 201 Broadway. Thurs. - Sat. at 8 p.m., Sun. at 2 p.m. through Dec. 19. Tickets are $22-$32. www.oaklandopera.org 

“Recommendations” new student choreography by UC Dept. of Theater and Dance at 4:30 and 8 p.m. in Zellerbach Room 7, UC Campus. Free. 642-9925. 

University Symphony performs Lutoslawski and Beethovan at 8 p.m. at Hertz Hall, UC Campus. 642-4864. http://music.berkeley.edu 

Brubeck Institute Jazz Sextet, featuring Christian McBride, at 8 p.m. at the Jazzschool. Cost is $10-$15. 845-5373. www.jazz- 


Native Elements, reggae, at 9:30 p.m. at Ashkenaz. Cost is $10. 525-5054. www.ashkenaz.com 

Lucy Kapansky, modern city folk, at 8 p.m. at Freight and Salvage. Cost is $19.50-$20.50. 548-1761. www.freightandsalvage.org 

Bing Nathan/David Kahn Duo at 9 p.m. at Downtown. 649-3810.  

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

The Uptones, Minus Vince, Shitouttaluck at 9:30 p.m. at The Starry Plough. Cost is $5. 841-2082. www.starryplough.com 

Calvin Johnson, Whysp, No Nothing Party 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. 

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

Pitch Black, The New Strange, The Feed, rock, at 9:30 p.m. at Blakes on Telegraph. Cost is $7. Canned Food Drive for the Alameda County Food Bank. 848-0886. www.blakesontelegraph.com 

Bucho, Soul, hip hop, at 9:30 p.m. at Shattuck Down Low, 2284 Shattuck Ave. Cost is $5-$7. 548-1159.  

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

Gato Barbieri at 8 and 10 p.m. at Yoshi’s at Jack London Square, through Sun. Cost is $18-$22. 238-9200. www.yoshis.com 

Edge of the Bay, progressive music California at 8:30 p.m. at the 1923 Teahouse. Cost is $5-$10. www.epicarts.org 



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


“Everyday Universe” new paintings by Justin O’Neill and Paula Malesardi. Reception for the artists at 5 p.m. at Gallery of Urban Art, 1266 66th St., Emeryville. Exhibition runs through Jan. 6. Gallery hours are Mon.-Fri. 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Sat. noon to 4 p.m. 596-0020, ext. 197. www.galleryofurbanart.com 

“Negotiating Desire” works in various media by Kirsten Stromberg. Reception at 5 p.m. at Arts and Consciousness Gallery, John F. Kennedy University, 2956 San Pablo Ave. 649-0499. 


Living Arts Playback Theater “Fathers and Daughters” at 7:30 p.m. at Live Oak Theater, 1301 Shattuck Ave. Tickets are $12-$18, sliding scale. 655-5186. www.livingartscenter.org 

“Born to be King” a nativity pageant by Mary Ann Tidwell Broussard at 5:30 p.m. at Black Repertory Theatre, 3201 Adeline St. Tickets are $13-$15. 652-2120. www.blackrepertorygroup.org  


Cine Mexico: “Violet Perfume: Nobody Hears You” at 7 p.m., “Danzón” at 8:50 p.m. at the Pacific Film Archive. Cost is $4-$8. 642-0808. www.bampfa.berkeley.edu 


“The Art of Face: A Mask, a Body, a Movement” with photographer and sculptor Leonard Pitt, at 8 p.m. at Giorgi Art Gallery, 2911 Claremont Ave. Cost is $12. 848-1228. www.giorgigallery.com 

Berkeley’s Poetry Walk comes to the Central Library at 2 p.m. with six poets reading their work in celebration of the publication of The Addison Street Anthology, edited by Robert Hass and Jessica Fisher. 981-6139.  


Berkeley Ballet Theater “The Nutcracker” at 2 p.m. followed by Sugar Plum Fairy Party at the Julia Morgan Center for the Arts. Other performances through Dec. 19. Tickets are $18. 845-4689. www.berkeleyballet.org  

Kensington Symphony with Sharati Soman, soprano, at 8 p.m. at Northminster Presbyterian Church, 545 Ashbury Ave., El Cerrito. Donation $8-$10. 524-4335.  

Sacred & Profane “O Magnum Mysterium” at 8 p.m. at St. Ambrose Church, 1145 Gilman St. Tickets are $12-$18. 524-3611. www.sacredprofane.org 

University Symphony performs Lutoslawski and Beethovan at 8 p.m. at Hertz Hall, UC Campus. 642-4864. http://music.berkeley.edu 

Berkeley Community Chamber Singers at 3 p.m. at ACCI Gallery, 1652 Shattuck Ave. Free. www.accigallery.com 

Bay Area Classical Harmonies Christmas holiday program featuring liturgical music from many traditions at 7:30 p.m. at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, 114 Montecito Ave., Oakland. Tickets are $10-$15. 866-233-9892. www.berkeleybach.org 

Rose Street House of Music Concert with Irina Rivkin, Green & Root and others at 8 p.m. at 1839 Rose St. Donation $5-$20. 549-4000, ext. 687. 

Holy Names University Community Chorus Holiday Concert at 4 p.m. at Studio Theater, Valley Center, Holy Names University, 3500 Mountain Blvd., Oakland. Tickets are $5-$15 at the door. 436-1330. 

PickPocket Ensemble at 9:30 p.m. at Albatross, 1822 San Pablo Ave. Cost is $3. 843-2473. www.albatrosspub.com 

Lucy Kapansky, modern city folk, at 8 p.m. at Freight and Salvage. Cost is $19.50-$20.50. 548-1761. www.freightandsalvage.org 

Last Band Standing Winners at 9 p.m. at La Peña Cultural Center. Cost is $10. 849-2568. www.lapena.org 

Carlos Olivera, Brazilian guitarist, at 8 p.m. at the Jazz- 

school. Cost is $12-$18. 845-5373. www.jazzschool.com 

Palenque, Cuban son, at 9:30 p.m. at Ashkenaz. Salsa dance lesson with Wendy Ellen Cochran at 9 p.m. Cost is $13. 525-5054. www.ashkenaz.com 

Dave Bernstein Quartet at 9 p.m. at Downtown. 649-3810.  

Mike Jung and Nate Cooper at 7:30 p.m. at Nomad Cafe, 6500 Shattuck Ave. 595-5344. www.nomadcafe.net 

Jah Warrior Shelter at 10 p.m. at Club Oasis, 135 12th St., Oakland. Cost is $10. 763-0404. 

Iron and the Albatross, Rosin Coven at 9:30 p.m. at The Starry Plough. Cost is $6. 841-2082. www.starryplough.com 

Accidental Beauties, Pebble Theory, Damond Moodie, urban alt rock, at 9:30 p.m. at Blakes on Telegraph. Cost is $7. 848-0886. www.blakesontelegraph.com 

Dominatrix, The Dead Betties, Jack Queen at 8 p.m. at 924 Gilman St. Cost is $6. 525-9926. 

Saul Kaye Trio at 8 p.m. at Jupiter. 848-8277. 

The Bittersweets, americana/ 

alt-country acoustic duo, at 8:30 p.m. at the 1923 Teahouse. Cost is $5-$10. www.epicarts.org?

Fierce Debate Rages Over Monarch Migration Pattern By JOE EATON

Special to the Planet
Tuesday December 07, 2004

My thanks to Tom Butt for the reminder that the monarch butterflies have returned to their winter bivouac in the eucalyptus grove at UC’s Richmond Field Station. 

And they’re presumably also back in their other regular spots, up and down the coast from Mendocino to Baja: the cypresses at Pacific Grove, the trees at Former Natural Bridge State Beach near Santa Cruz, Morro Bay, Santa Barbara. I wonder if the roost at the Gill Tract is still there, or the one I saw long ago on Treasure Island when the Navy was in charge. 

Writing about monarchs feels a bit daunting. They’ve inspired some really gifted people: W. S. Merwin (the essay called “The Winter Palace”, in his collection The Ends of the Earth), Robert Michael Pyle (Chasing Monarchs), Sue Halpern (Four Wings and a Prayer). And it’s easy to see why. They’re beautiful, singly or en masse, and their migration is a mind-boggling phenomenon. How do they find their way each fall to the same scatter of coastal groves, or the same fir-covered Mexican mountains? And remember, the fall migrants—great-grandchildren, at least, of the previous winter’s generation—have never seen Mexico or Monterey. Is the route hardwired in their poppyseed-sized brains? The scientists still aren’t sure. 

A lot of what we thought we knew about the monarch migration is debatable, it turns out. Monarch scholars, as Halpern’s book shows, are a contentious lot, with strong opinions. UC Santa Barbara emeritus professor Adrian Wenner doesn’t believe their travels are true migrations like those of birds and bats. (Wenner, who I met a few years back on Santa Cruz Island, is an interesting combination of iconoclast and curmudgeon. He’s also convinced Von Frisch was wrong about the dance-language of bees.) He thinks what’s actually happening, on the West Coast at least, is an annual range expansion and contraction. Wenner’s field studies in Santa Barbara indicate local monarchs disperse from their roosts long before they could survive a crossing of the Santa Ynez Mountains, with some remaining near the coast year-round. 

Wenner’s is a minority view: other monarchists, like Lincoln Brower, the dean of monarch studies, regard the butterflies’ journey as a directed migration. But he acknowledges mysteries about origins and destinations. For years the ruling paradigm had monarchs west of the Rockies traveling to the California coast in winter, and those east of the Rockies migrating to Michoacan. Brower calls this notion of a butterfly Continental Divide—which has even been written up in Sunset—“a virtual canon in American natural history.” The problem, as he and Robert Pyle both concede, is that there’s little empirical support for it. And if you listen closely, you can hear the paradigms shifting. 

Only a handful of western monarchs from outside California have been recovered at coastal roosts. Two schoolteachers in Boise, Idaho, released locally hatched monarchs that were later found in California, and a butterfly that Pyle tagged in Washington State reached Santa Cruz. However, other Boise monarchs turned up in southern Utah, which would certainly be the long way around for a California-bound migrant. Pyle spent the fall of 1996 following monarchs through the Great Basin and saw most flying a southeasterly vector, as if headed for Mexico. 

Brower suspects there are large-scale interchanges between western and eastern monarch populations. Although some have claimed differences in wing length (related to longer distances traveled?), eastern and western monarchs are very similar genetically. Then there are the events of 1996. Western monarch numbers had nosedived in the early ‘90s, possibly due to a protozoan disease contracted from eastern butterflies released in the west. In the winter of 1995-96, observers reported an all-time low at the coastal roosts. But the monarchs had bounced back by the following summer. Conversely, eastern butterfly watchers saw far fewer northbound migrants than normal, with a 90 percent drop in some northern states.  

Brower and Sidney Gauthreaux, who studies migrant birds, have pointed out that wind patterns along the Gulf Coast shifted to the west in the spring of 96, causing a major western fallout of eastern warblers. Could the same thing have happened to the monarchs? And does the smaller western population rely on periodic infusions of fresh blood from the east? If so, the fate of the monarchs wintering in California could be bound to that of the oyamel fir forests of Mexico, under siege by loggers despite their nominally protected status.  

Things are dicey enough already for the western monarchs. The disease remains worrisome, prompting Brower, Pyle, and other conservationists to warn against the practice of releasing commercially-bred monarchs at weddings and funerals, “like biodegradable balloons.” Western monarchs have also chosen some highly desirable coastal real estate to roost in. And their preference for eucalyptus—75 percent of all California wintering sites, according to a recent survey, with Monterey pine a distant runner-up—can be problematic.  

Nobody is neutral about eucs. To native-plant advocates, they’re flammable megaweeds. But monarchists see their good side. Writing in Wings, the journal of the Xerces Society (a fine organization dedicated to the conservation of insects and other invertebrates), Pyle and Muir Woods ranger Mia Monroe make the case for eucalyptus as monarch habitat: “It is likely that, had ‘eucs’ not been introduced, the phenomenon of mass-wintering monarchs would not exist in California today; one of our highest goals should be to nurture tolerance for essential stands of eucalyptus—sometimes even refreshing them—until we can restore mature groves of native species.” 

Sounds reasonable to me. Monarchs have probably graced our coast for millennia. (The records in Monterey go back to the 1860s, prior to which, according to local monarch buff Lucia Shepardson, “nothing smaller than a bear would have attracted the…[early settlers’] attention.”) If the price of keeping them around is tolerating a few eucalyptus groves, it seems well worth it. 















Berkeley This Week

Tuesday December 07, 2004


Mid-Day Meander from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m. at Pt. Isabel. Meet at the parking lot at the end of Rydin Rd. Canine companions welcome. 525-2233. 

Snowcamping 101 A training session and slide lecture with Jodi Bailey and Kalle Hoffman at 7 p.m. at REI, 1338 San Pablo Ave. 527-4140. 

“Water Follies: The Environmental Consequences of Groundwater Pumping” with Robert Glennon, Morris K. Udall Prof. of Law & Public Policy, Univ. of Arizona, at 5:30 p.m. in 10 Evans Hall, UC Campus. Sponsored by the Water Resources Center Archives. 642-2666. 

Red Cross Mobile Blood Drive from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Berkeley Repertory Theater, 2025 Addison St. 1-800-GIVE-LIFE. www.BeADonor.com 

Open House for Wu-Wei Acupuncture and Healing Center from 3 to 5 p.m. Learn about Chinese medicine. 520-7835. www.wuwei-acupuncture.com 

Family Story Time at the Kensington Branch Library, Tues. evenings at 7 p.m. at 61 Arlington Ave. 524-3043. 

Berkeley Salon Discussion Group meets to discuss “Why Should We Explore Outer Space” from 7 to 9 p.m. at the Berkeley Richmond Jewish Community Center, 1414 Walnut St. Please bring snacks and soft drinks to share. No peanuts please. 601-6690. 

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

Cantabile Choral Guild Auditions at 7 p.m. at All Souls Episcopal Church, 2220 Cedar St. To schedule an audition time call 650-424-1410. 

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. 


Community Workshop on Lanmarks Preservation and Zoning Ordinance Amendments at 7 p.m. at the North Berkeley Senior Center. Sponsored by the Planning Commission. 981-7419. 

Holiday Wreath Making Class from 7 to 9 p.m. at the Botanical Garden, 200 Centennial Dr. Cost is $25-$30. Registration required. 643-2755. 

“Ethical and Racial Diversity in the Jewish Community” with Booker Holton, Ph.D, at 11:30 a.m. at the BRJCC, 1414 Walnut St. Cost is $5. 848-0237.  

Life Line Screening for stroke at University Inn, 920 University Ave. Appointments begin at 9 a.m. Cost is $125. For information or to schedule an appointment call 1-800-697-9721. 

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. 

Prose Writers’ Workshop An ongoing group focused on issues of craft. Novices welcome. Community sponsored, no fee. Meets Wed. at 7 p.m. at the Berkeley Jewish Community Center, 1414 Walnut St. 524-3034. georgeporter@earthlink.net 

Poetry Writing Workshop, led by Alison Seevak, every second Wed. at 7 p.m. at the Albany Library, Edith Stone Room, 1247 Marin Ave. Registration required. 526-3700, ext. 20. 

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


“Death of a Shaman” a film about the Mien people who came as refugees from Southeast Asia to Kansas, at 6:30 p.m. at the Ellen Driscoll Theater, Frank Havens Elementary School, 325 Highland Ave., Piedmont. Sponsored by the Appreciating Diversity Film Committee. 599-9227. www.diversityworks.org 

Going Local: The Power of Growing Food Locally A panel discussion with three food policy experts and activists who will explore the power of supporting locally grown food in the face of mounting industrialization of the world’s food system. At 7 p.m. at the Ecology Center, 2530 San Pablo Ave. 548-2220, ext. 233. 

West Berkeley Holiday Party from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Wells Fargo Bank, 1095 University Ave. at San Pablo. Sponsored by the West Berkeley Neighborhood Development Corporation. 845-4106. 

Community Menorah Lighting with music, clown, fire-juggler, dreidels and Chanukah gelt at 5 p.m. at Cody’s Books, 1730 Fourth St.  

Red Cross Mobile Blood Drive from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the Pauley Ballroom, UC Campus. 1-800-GIVE-LIFE. www.BeADonor.com 

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


Human Rights Day with Michael Nagler and The Search for a Nonviolent Future at 7 p.m. at the Ecology Center, 2530 San Pablo Ave. 548-2220, ext. 233. 

City Commons Club Noon Luncheon with Purnima Jka on the “Status of Women’s Rights” Luncheon at 11:45 a.m. for $13, speech at 12:30 p.m., at the Berkeley City Club, 2315 Durant St. For information and reservations call 526-2925 or 665-9020. 

Berkeley Design Advocates Design Awards to acknowledge significant projects completed within the past two years, at 5:30 p.m. at the Berkeley Art Center, 1275 Walnut St. Admission is free, with recommended donation of $5. berkeleydesignadvocates@yahoo.com 

Opera Piccola’s Holiday Benefit Party at 7 p.m. at U-Turn New and Recycled Clothing, 5251 Broadway, corner of Broadway and College Ave., Oakland. Tickets are $30 for adults, $5 for children age 9 and up, and are free to children through age 8. All proceeds will benefit Opera Piccola’s arts and education programs in underserved communities. 658-0967. www.opera-piccola.org 

Family Literacy Night and Scholastic Book Fair at 7 p.m. at the Downtown Berkeley YMCA, 2001 Allston Way. Winnie the Pooh will be the special guest. 665-3271. 

Not Your Mother’s Craft Sale and Party from 7 to 10 p.m. at the Oakland Museum of California, 10th and Oak Sts. 238-2200. www.museumca.org 

Holiday Wreath Making Class from 10 a.m. to noon at the Botanical Garden, 200 Centennial Dr. Cost is $25-$30. Registration required. 643-2755. 

“Alive in Limbo” a documentary on the Palestinian right of return at 8 p.m. at La Peña Cultural Center, 3105 Shattuck Ave.Cost is $6-$8 sliding scale. 849-2568. www.lapena.org 

“So How’d You Become an Activist?” with Peter Phillips, director of Project Censored and Alli Starr, co-founder, Art & Revolution, at 7 p.m. at Berkeley Fellowship of Unitarian Universalists, 1924 Cedar St., at Bonita. Donation $5. 528-5403. 

Free Fitness Tests for people 50 and over at 12:30 p.m. at the South Berkeley Senior Center. You will receive a personalized scores and tips on how to maintain or improve your fitness. 981-5367. 

Literary Friends meets at 1:30 p.m. at the North Berkeley Senior Center for a Haiku poetry workshop with Connie Andersen. 549-1879. 

Berkeley Critical Mass Bike Ride meets at the Berkeley BART the second Friday of every month at 5:30 p.m. 

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. 

Celebrate a Humanistic Chanukah with Kol Hadash, the Bay Area’s only Jewish Humanistic Congregation, with a pot luck dinner and party with music by the Klezhumanists, 6 p.m. at the Albany Community Center, 1249 Marin Ave. To RSVP call 428-1492. 

Women in Black Vigil noon to 1 p.m. at UC Berkeley, Bancroft at Telegraph. 845-1143. 

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


“The Commune: Histories, Legacies and Prospects in Northern California” A free workshop open to the public. Urban and rural communards, with some intact memories, especially welcome. From 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at 223 Moses Hall, UC Campus. 642-2472. 

Berkeley Path Wanderers Walk exploring “Creeks, Paths, and History” with Friends of Five Creeks president Susan Schwartz. Meet at 10 a.m. at the main entrance of Live Oak Park Recreation Center, 1301 Shattuck. 848-9358. www.berkeleypaths.org, f5creeks@aol.com 

Kids Garden Club For children 7-12 years old to explore the world of gardening. We plant, harvest, build, make crafts, cook and get dirty! From 2 to 4 p.m. at Tilden Nature Center, Tilden Park. Cost is $5-$6, registration required. 525-2233. 

“Winter Blooms!” Free garden tours at Regional Parks Botanic Garden. Sat. and Sun. at 2 pm. Regional Parks Botanic Garden, Tilden Park. 845-4116. www.nativeplants.org 

Holiday Decorations - Naturally Create wreaths and garlands using natural materials. Bring a pair of small hand clippers, a bag lunch, and a large flat box to take home your creations. From noon to 3:30 p.m. at Tilden Nature Area, Tilden Park. For adults and children 8 and over. Cost is $30-$61. Reservations required. 636-1684. 

East Bay Sanctuary Covenant’s Annual Craft Sale from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sat. and Sun. at First Congregational Church, 2345 Channing Way. Handcrafted items from indigenous co-ops in Central America, Haiti, Nepal, Afghanistan, Africa and other places at reasonable prices. Proceeds benefit Women’s Cooperatives all over the world. 527-0324. 

Berkeley Potters Guild Sale from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Sat. and Sun. through Dec. 19. 731 Jones St. 524-7031. www.berkeleypotters.com 

Holiday Crafts Fair from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Berkeley Farmers’ Market, Martin Luther King, Jr. Civic Center Park. 548-3333. www.ecologycenter.org 

Telegraph Avenue Holiday Street Fair, with over 200 street artists, merchants, community groups, musicians and other entertainers, from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sat. and Sun. to Dec. 19, and Thurs. and Fri. Dec. 23 and 24. 

Berkeley Artisans Holiday Open Studios Sat and Sun. from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. For map see www.berkeleyartisans.com 

Albany Community Arts Show from noon to 6 p.m. at the Albany Community Center, 1249 Marin Ave., Albany. 14 Albany artists will display paintings, prints, ceramics and jewelry. Work will be available for sale. The event is free and wheelchair accessible. 

Junior Rangers of Tilden meets Sat. mornings at Tilden Nature Center. For more information call 525-2233. 

Introduction to Permaculture Design A workshop on ecological landscape design basics from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Ecology Center, 2530 San Pablo Ave, near Dwight Way. Cost is $10-$15. 548-2220, ext. 233. www.ecologycenter.org 

Cape Ivy Removal in Joaquin Miller Park from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Free plant raffle during a break in the activities. Friends of Native Plants will have a propagation session from 1:30 to 4 p.m. Directions: from Hwy. 13 take Joaquin Miller exit and turn east up the hill. Park along Joaquin Miller near Sanborn Rd. and walk to the northeast corner (up hill left) of the intersection. greensatwork@yahoo.com  

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


Early Morning Bird Walk Meet at 8 am. at Tilden Nature Center to walk around the mixed feeding flocks and discuss the ecology of these seasonal assemblages. 525-2233. 

Help Clean Up Castro Creek and its tributaries. Learn about the Dumping Abatement and Pollution Reduction Program and the trash assessment monitoring tool as we remove harmful trash. Refreshments, tools, and gloves provided. Call for meeting place. Sponsored by The Watershed Project. 231-9566. Elizabeth@thewatershedproject.org 

Decorate the “Lorax” Way Make holiday gift wrap and decorations from recycled materials. From 12:30 to 2 p.m. at Tilden Nature Center, Tilden Park. 525-2233. 

Festivals of Light Explore festivals of the season with saffron buns, jelly donuts, marzipan pigs, poems, riddles, games and songs. From 2 to 4 p.m. at Tilden Nature Center, Tilden Park. Cost is $5-$7, registration required. 525-2233. 

Chanukah Celebration Presented by Chabad of the East Bay from 12:30 to 4:30 p.m. at the BRJCC, 1414 Walnut St. 540-5824. www.chabadberkeley.com 

“Weapons of Mass Deception” with Ruth Rosen, S.F. Chronicle columnist at Women for Peace lunch, at noon at Café Venizia, 1799 University Ave. Cost is $37. For reservations call 849-3020. 

Acupuncture & Integrative Medicine College Open House from 6 to 8 p.m. at 2550 Shattuck Ave. Learn about how you can become a licensed acupuncturist. RSVP to 666-8248, ext. 106. 

Chanukah Fair from 12:30 to 4 p.m. at the Berkeley Richmond Jewish Community Center 1414 Walnut St.  


Tea at Four Taste some of the finest teas from the Pacific Rim and South Asia and learn their natural and cultural history, followed by a short nature walk. At 4 p.m. at Tilden Nature Area, in Tilden Park. Cost is $5-$7, registration required. 525-2233. www.ebparks.org 

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

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


Morning Bird Walk “Some Gulls I Know” Meet at the Berkeley Municipal Pier at 7:30 a.m. 525-2233. 

Return of the Over-the-Hills Gang Hikers 55 years and older who are interested in nature study, history, fitness, and fun are invited to join us on a series of monthly excursions exploring our Regional Parks. Meet at 10 a.m. at Tilden’s Inspiration Point to walk the scenic ridge lands. Registration required. 525-2233.  

“Exploring Pt. Reyes and Beyond,” a slide presentation by photographer-writer team Richard Blair and Kathleen Goodwin at 7 p.m. at REI, 1338 San Pablo Ave. 527-4140. 

Berkeley High School Site Council meets at 4:30 p.m. in the school library. Agenda items include athletic eligibility requirements, report of the Positive Minds program, and data on student achievement. bhs.berkeleypta.org/ssc, bhssitecouncil@berkeley.k12.ca.us  

The Alexander Foundation for Women’s Health lecture on “Sexual Desire: From Romance to Physiology” at 6:15 p.m. at the Claremont Resort, 41 Tunnel Rd. Cost is $10-$15. 527-3010. www.afwh.org/about/ 


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. 

Berkeley Camera Club meets at 7:30 p.m., at the Northbrae Community Church, 941 The Alameda. 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. Dr. Robert Greer will speak about macular degeneration at 11 a.m. 845-6830. 

Acting and Storytelling Classes for Seniors offered by Stagebridge, at Arts First Oakland, 2501 Harrison St. Classes are held at 10 a.m. Tues.-Fri. For more information call 444-4755. www.stagebridge.org 


Alameda County Community Food Bank’s Annual Food Drive accepts donations of non-perishable food in the red barrel at any Safeway or Albertson’s. 834-3663. www.accfb.org 

Firefighters Toy Drive Donate new, unwrapped toys and canned food to any Berkeley fire station. For information call 981-5506. 

Find a Loving Animal Companion at the Berkeley-East Bay Humane Society Adoption Center, 2700 Ninth St. 845-7735. www.berkeleyhumane.org  

United Way Bay Area is recruiting volunteer tax preparers and greeters/interpreters in Alameda County to assist low-income families who are eligible for free tax assistance and refunds. No previous tax preparation experience is necessary. There is a special need for volunteers who can speak Spanish, Chinese, and Vietnamese. Training sessions begin Jan. 8. Register now by calling 800-273-6222. www.earnitkeepitsaveit.org  


City Council meets Tues., Dec. 7, at 7 p.m in City Council Chambers. 981-6900. www.ci. 


Commission on Disability meets Wed., Dec. 8, at 6:30 p.m. at the North Berkeley Senior Center. Don Brown, 981-6346. TDD: 981-6345. www.ci.berkeley.ca.us/commissions/disability 

Energy Commission meets Wed., Dec. 8, at 6:30 p.m., at the North Berkeley Senior Center. Neal De Snoo, 981-5434. www.ci.berkeley.ca.us/commissions/energy 

Library Board of Trustees meets Thurs. Dec. 8, at 7 p.m. at 1125 University Ave., Jackie Y. Griffin, 981-6195. www.ci.ber 


Planning Commission meets Wed., Dec. 8, at 7 p.m., at the North Berkeley Senior Center. Janet Homrighausen, 981-7484. www.ci.berkeley. ca.us/ 


Waterfront Commission meets Wed., Dec. 8, at 7 p.m., at 201 University Ave. Cliff Marchetti, 644-6376 ext. 224. www.ci.berkeley.ca.us/commissions/waterfront 

Commission on Early Childhood Education meets Thurs., Dec. 9, at 7 p.m., at the North Berkeley Senior Center. Angellique De Cloud, 981-5428. www.ci.berkeley. ca.us/commissions/earlychildhoodeducation 

Community Health Commission meets Thurs, Dec. 9, at 6:45 p.m. at the South Berkeley Senior Center. William Rogers, 981-5344. www.ci.berkeley.ca.us/commissions/health 

Housing Advisory Commission meets Thurs., Dec. 9, at 7 p.m. at the South Berkeley Senior Center. Oscar Sung, 981-5400. www.ci.berkeley.ca.us/commissions/housing 

West Berkeley Project Area Commission meets Thurs., Dec. 9, at 7 p.m., at the West Berkeley Senior Center. Iris Starr, 981-7520. www.ci.berkeley.ca.us/commissions/westberkeley  

Zoning Adjustments Board meets Thurs., Dec. 9, at 7 p.m., in City Council Chambers. Mark Rhoades, 981-7410. www.ci.ber- 


Sutter Locks Out Striking Workers By RICHARD BRENNEMAN and JAKOB SCHILER

Friday December 03, 2004

Sutter Health carried out its threat against nurses and other union members who staged a one-day walkout Wednesday and refused to let them go back to work Thursday morning, the start of a four-day lockout. 

Striking registered nurses from the California Nurses Association and members of Service Employees International who joined the one-day action Wednesday found themselves barred from their jobs at the Berkeley and Oakland facilities of Alta Bates Summit Medical Center. 

They will not be allowed to return to their jobs until 6 a.m. Monday, five days after the strike began. 

In a prepared statement, CNA Executive Director Rose Ann DeMoro called the lockout “an outrageous slap in the face to the patients and the communities that Sutter purports to represent,” and said the move “will sharply escalate tensions between Sutter and its RNs.” 

The lockout affects 6,700 CNA and SEIU employees at 13 Sutter facilities in Antioch, Berkeley, Castro Valley, Lakeport, Oakland, San Francisco, Santa Rosa and Vallejo. 

Carolyn Kemp, spokesperson for Alta Bates in Berkeley, said 60 percent of their R.N.s had reported for work, as had 57 percent of nurses without an RN degrees. 

“Once again, they’re lying,” said CNA spokesperson Charles Idelson. About 80 percent of CNA nurses throughout the 13 hospitals stayed away during Wednesday’s walkout, he said, “and I was at Alta Bates this morning (Thursday) and they were turning our people away.” 

A representative of SEIU Local 250, said 99 percent of their members had participated in Wednesday’s walkout. The union represents hospital workers who are neither doctors nor registered nurses. 

He said the union had already sent letters to each hospital saying they were willing to sit down and negotiate with each one as soon as striking union employees were allowed back on the job.  

Alta Bates officials insisted that the walkout and lockout had little impact on the hospital. Said Kemp, “The doctors are very happy and the patients are very happy. A cardiac surgeon who went in to perform an operation Wednesday found his whole team waiting for him. There are wards where every employee is still working,” she said. 

The biggest problem from the strike, she said, was the loud noise from strikers outside the facility. “It’s irresponsible,” she said. “It’s reprehensible.” Kemp said one patient was so disturbed by the noise that he had to be transferred to the Intensive Care Unit. 

The hospital was fully staffed Thursday by regular workers who had crossed the picket lines and by supplemental staff hired from temporary agencies. 

“The [state] Department of Health Services had been to all the sites and they told us they were very impressed by the way we had prepared for the strike and with the way we are operating,” Kemp said. 

Idelson said the lockout was a clear violation of the existing collective bargaining agreement between CNA and Sutter. 

The hospital staff members who joined the picket lines at Alta Bates Wednesday said they knew their actions would cost them a week’s pay. 

Frida Adamson, a member of the housekeeping staff for the past two years, explained her presence on the lines in a single sentence. “It’s an old saying: If you don’t stand for something, you stand for nothing.” 

The unions’ cause has been winning a voice in setting patient care staffing levels. 

“It’s unsafe,” said Rose Mejia, a CA1 care giver at Alta Bates for four-and-a-half years. 

While she often cares for nine or ten patients, she said six or seven is a much more reasonable load. “By getting so many, we wind up neglecting them,” she said. 

Among her duties are feeding and bathing her charges and drawing blood sample. 

“You want to do everything right; you don’t want to make mistakes,” she said. When she’s forced to rush from patient to patient, she said, patients yell at her. “They say, ‘What about me?’” 

Barbara Linde, a Licensed Vocational Nurse (LVN) at Alta Bates, walked the picket line Wednesday because she’s unhappy with how the hospital uses its LVNs and RNs. 

RNs receive more training, typically a four-year degree, and typically have greater responsibilities than LVNs. 

Linde said often the LVNs are overloaded, making up for shortages of RNs, while at other times LVNs aren’t used to their full capacity. She charged that Sutter tries to skirt the law by manipulating the staffing ratios of the two nursing categories. 

“I want to be able to work to our capacity, where we are treated as valuable staff and are working within the limits of the law,” she said, adding that the walkout and subsequent lockout would be worthwhile “if we can get our contract settled. 

Peralta Makes Exclusive Pact To Plan Laney Development By J. DOUGLAS ALLEN TAYLOR

Friday December 03, 2004

Over the strong objections of the Laney College president, Laney College staff representatives, and Trustee-elect Nicky González Yuen, a lame-duck session of the Peralta Community College District Board of Trustees has authorized a free-of-charge, one-year agreement with an Oakland development firm to negotiate possible commercial development of certain Laney College and Peralta District properties. 

The Trustee Board action, taken on a 5-0-1 vote at its Nov. 23 meeting, gives Peralta Chancellor Elihu Harris the authority to draw up a contract with the Strategic Urban Development Alliance (SUDA), which has been linked to controversial lobbyist Lily Hu, now under subpoena from a federal grand jury. 

Outgoing trustee Darryl Moore, who was recently elected to the Berkeley City Council, abstained on the vote, saying that the board packet did not provide enough information on the proposed project, and that he thought it more proper that the incoming board make the decision. “The timing just didn’t seem appropriate to me,” Moore told the Daily Planet. 

Four new trustees were elected to the board last month, and are due to begin their duties at the next meeting. Among those trustees voting to approve the SUDA agreement were board president Lynn Baranco and Susan Duncan, both of whom had elected not to run for re-election, and were serving in their last meeting as trustees. 

SUDA president and CEO Alan Dones requested the exclusive negotiating rights from Peralta to put together a development plan for the Laney College parking lot and baseball field, as well as the adjacent Peralta District’s 8th Street administrative center. 

While Dones was vague about what the final plans might be, he told trustees that the development plan would be anchored by administrative offices built for unnamed government agencies, but he also mentioned the placement of a medical center and “up to 1,000 residential units” on the property. Dones said he has already identified 500,000 square feet of office needs “in the area,” as well as potentially $150 million potential development of office space, housing, retail, and medical facilities. 

Dones said that he knew of one public agency, which he did not name, which “could provide the bulk of the office space needs for the project.” He also said there was some urgency to beginning the negotiations with potential agencies, since “one of the agencies has some legal issues.” He did not elaborate. 

Dones said he was initially approached to develop the plan four years ago by “a previous chancellor,” whom he did not name. Ronald J. Temple was Peralta Chancellor in 2000. 

As an added incentive, Dones told trustees that the cost to Peralta of the one-year contract would be “minimal or none,” saying that his company was “offering to put up a non-refundable fee ourselves to underwrite Peralta’s costs in the evaluation process.” Dones said that SUDA was offering their services free of charge because “we think the investment will be good for the community.” 

Outgoing trustee Duncan called SUDA plan “the best proposal [for surplus and underutilized land at Laney College] that I’ve heard in my 18 years on the board.” She said she hoped “the incoming board would realize that this is not taking away from their powers, but is getting them more information. This item is merely a first step. It’s not a final step or an irrevocable step.” 

But that contention was disputed by trustee Moore, who said in a telephone interview that while the new trustee board is not bound to accept the development proposal submitted by SUDA at the end of the year, the contract prevents the new trustees from looking at any other long-term uses for that property during for one year. 

“By being an exclusionary agreement, the district must work with Dones’ corporation,” Moore said. “They can’t work with any other developer or work on any other project during the duration of the contract.” Moore said that was true even if the district identified another non-commercial use for the property, such as putting up a library. 

At last month’s meeting, Nicky González Yuen, who is replacing Moore as the Area 4 (Berkeley) representative on the Peralta board, said that he was withholding judgment on the merits of the SUDA development proposal. 

“This may be a fabulous project,” he told the board. “But I’m not even sure what the proposal is that you have in front of you.” González Yuen objected to board approval partly because the item was listed on the board agenda as an information item rather than an action item, which meant that the public did not have proper notice of the vote. “If you move forward on this,” González Yuen said, “you will undermine the trust people have in this district.” 

Although the meeting took place on the trustee’s regular meeting night, notice of the meeting was not posted on Peralta’s website, raising questions about whether the meeting had adequate public notice. An agenda for the meeting was also not posted online. 

Odell Johnson, acting Laney president, also urged delay, telling trustees that he felt “at a disadvantage because I know absolutely nothing about this proposal.” Laney Faculty Senate president Evelyn Lord called it “extremely inappropriate for the board to proceed; it concerns me deeply that this is the first time I’ve heard anything about the proposal.” 

Following the meeting, questions continue to be raised about how the SUDA proposal came to the trustee board in the first place. Trustee Moore said one of this objections to the proposal was that “the process wasn’t spelled out as to how this particular consultant was identified.” 

Public documents and recent newspaper reports point to possible explanations. 

A review of records from the City of Oakland—where SUDA recently signed a multi-million dollar deal to help develop the Thomas L. Berkeley Square four-story office building project in the uptown area—show that the company has been represented by lobbyist Lily Hu. Hu has been identified as the one of the targets—along with State Senator Don Perata—of a federal grand jury investigation concerning local government contracts. 

The San Francisco Chronicle revealed last month that SUDA’s Dones has received a federal subpoena to appear before the grand jury, asking for information about Hu and Perata. 

An article in the Oakland Tribune identified Peralta Trustee Alona Clifton, who voted for the SUDA/Peralta contract, as the president of a nonprofit that will be the official owner of the Thomas L. Berkeley Square complex. 

The Tribune article also said that one of the companies slated to work on SUDA’s Peralta project was IPA Planning Solutions. The Daily Planet first reported in a story last month that IPA recently received a $90,000 three year contract to develop a Facilities Master Plan and Strategic Master Plan for the Peralta District, one month after IPA owner Ineda Adesanya stepped down from her job as Peralta’s interim Director of Physical Plant.›

Pickets Target Toxic Site Plan By RICHARD BRENNEMAN

Friday December 03, 2004

Richmond residents, business folk, environmental activists and newly elected City Councilmember Gayle McLaughlin braved the 40-degree cold Wednesday morning to picket one of the entrances to Campus Bay, protesting ongoing operations at the site. 

Home to a 350,000-cubic-yard hazardous waste dump and the projected home to a 1330-unit residential complex, the site has been the continuing target of residents worried that their health may be damaged by the spread of hazardous substances leaking or blowing from the site, home for a century to a chemical manufacturing complex. 

Dr. Jeffrey B. Ritterman, chief of cardiology at Kaiser Oakland, marched the picket line carrying a sign emblazoned with “Richmond Doctor Says No Love Canal in Richmond.” 

“What do we do with a toxic dump in the middle of the Bay Trail?,” he asked. “It’s preposterous to build housing there. But the City of Richmond and the Planning Commission are trying to ram this and other projects through the system without involving the people,” he said. 

“We need redevelopment, but in a way that’s healthy. We need development in places like the Iron Triangle, the Nystrom neighborhood and other areas of the city.” 

Ritterman also called on the city to emulate San Francisco and adopt the precautionary principle: When there’s reason to suppose something may be hazardous, don’t do it. 

Among the 48 or so other marchers was his colleague, Kaiser Richmond gastroenterologist Dr. Jean-Luc Szpakowski. 

“My concern is the long-term effects of toxins in an area which already has such a high rate of cancer. When colleagues come into the community, they find that people are sicker than where they come from,” he said. 

Neighboring business owners joined other protesters, carrying picket signs hammered together by Jess Kray, president of Kray Cabling. They marched in the morning cold chanting, “Safety and health before corporate wealth, safety and health before corporate wealth.” 

Wednesday’s action came as lawyers for the San Francisco Regional Water Quality Control Board and their counterparts at the state Department of Toxic Substances (DTSC) finished negotiations to hand over much of the site from water board jurisdiction to the DTSC. 

Both agencies are part of the state Environmental Protection Agency, which itself was taunted by the marchers as they chanted, “E.P.A.—Earn your pay.” 

Activists regard the agreement as a mixed blessing, preferring to have the whole site under DTSC control because the agency has a sizable scientific staff, while the water board lacks even a single toxicologist. 

“The EPA should wake up,” said McLaughlin, who will join the City Council in January. By splitting site jurisdiction, she said, “the EPA is rolling over again.” 

On Tuesday, both EPA agencies released copies of letters they had sent to Russell Pitto, chair and CEO of Simeon Properties, and Brian Spiller, general manager for Environmental Services and Engineering for Astra Zeneca, the last owner of the since-destroyed chemical manufacturing complex. 

Simeon is a Marin County development firm and half of Cherokee Simeon Ventures, which has been developing the upland portion of the site in conjunction with Cherokee Investment Partners. 

Based in North Carolina, Cherokee is a multinational firm which invests public and private pension funds to develop projects on Brownfields, which are rehabilitated contaminated sites. 

Pitto’s name was invoked in one of the chants from the picket line: “Hey! Hey! Russell P. How do you spell toxicity?” 

Some of the chants were muffled by the surgical and gas masks sported by some of the colorfully clad. 

On hand at the margins of the demonstration to speak on behalf of Cherokee Simeon was Karen Stern of Singer Associates, a San Francisco public relations firm that represents such clients as ChevronTexaco, the DeBartolo Corporation, BART, Levi Stauss & Co., Ford Motor Co., the San Francisco 49ers and the Anschutz Investment Co.  

Stern handed out to reporters a prepared statement from CSV that began “Today’s protest is a disservice to the regulatory process and the project’s commitment to a working relationship with state regulatory agencies, the community, and the City of Richmond.” 

The second paragraph contained one controversial characterization of demands made by project opponents at the Nov. 6 State Assembly joint committee hearing on project oversight. 

“[T]he industrial neighbors and others demanded DTSC’s oversight. . .Now the industrial neighbors don’t want to play by the rules they helped create.” 

In fact, critics, both business owners and citizens, at the hearing conducted by Assemblymembers Loni Hancock (D-East Bay) and Cindy Montanez (D-San Fernando Valley) pleaded for DTSC to take over complete supervision of the site, not the split jurisdiction that resulted from the hearing.  

Under the new accord, the water board will continue to exercise jurisdiction over the excavation and replacement of contaminated muck from Stege Marsh at the edge of the site and the restoration of the marsh, while DTSC monitors the upland portion, including the massive mound of buried waste and the newly added marsh soils now being stored in an exposed portion of the waste mound. 

According to the letter from local DTSC Chief Barbara J. Cook, her agency is currently evaluating the status of the upland portion of the site to determine what additional remedial work may be needed and monitoring the air and water for traces of hazardous dust and volatile organic compounds (VOCs). 

The letters are legally binding interim documents, to be followed in several weeks by revised version of the original water board cleanup orders and a new order from DTSC, 

Cook’s agency is also evaluating the Biologically Active Permeable Barrier between the upland and the marsh, a limited-lifespan construction that uses plants to extract toxins from water flowing the from upland waste heap toward the bay. 

One UC policeman monitored Wednesday’s demonstration to make certain vehicles headed for the university’s Richmond Field Station could pass through. 

UC College of Natural Resources Assistant Professor Claudia Carr asked the occupants of each vehicle where they were headed, and marchers were prepared to block any headed for Campus Bay. 

Instead, the crews headed toward other site entrances, bypassing the brigade. 

Richmond Police made several appearances, and once an officer asked “Are you demonstrating against Bush? Any chance you’re gonna burn him in effigy, ‘cause I got a lighter if you do.” 

Ninety minutes after it began, Sherry Padgett, with Carr a mainspring of Bay Area Residents for Responsible Development, the primary organization behind the demonstration, thanked the participants for turning out, especially members of the Richmond Neighborhood Councils and the Downwind Property Owners, many of whom own businesses immediately to the south of Campus Bay. 

Also walking the picket line was Jessica Tovar, a San Francisco-based community and youth organizer for Greenaction For Health and Environmental Justice. 

“This is great,” she said of the demonstration. “This is just awesome.” 

Tovar will be marching another picket link next Wednesday as her organization protests the continued operation of PG&E’s Hunters Point Power Plant in San Francisco, a site they say is linked to asthma and other health problems in surrounding residential neighborhoods. 

Peter Weiner, BARRD’s attorney and the lead negotiator in the group’s discussion with Cherokee Simeon representatives, said the group’s demonstration was motivated by desperation and concern. 

“The environmental agencies have demonstrated that they cannot or will not stop the developer from piling the toxic waste on site,” Weiner said. Though Cherokee Simeon plans to remove the excavated marsh soils in the spring, “meanwhile it grows and dries and the wind blows the dust. 

“We want the marsh restored, but not at the cost of human health,” he said. 

DTSC spokesperson Angela Blanchette insisted Thursday that her agency considers the dredging operations to be safe. “The soil is wet and we are finding nothing that’s drying and turning into dust,” she said. 

Contra Costa County Public Health Director Wendel Brunner expressed his concerns about the upland cleanup two years ago—the cleanup that produced the 350,000 cubic yards buried at Campus Bay—which resulted in massive amounts of possibly contaminated dust blowing off the site. 

Brunner’s concern about Cherokee Simeon’s plans for moving the soil this spring are focused on the phase when giant tilling machines will mix lime with the marsh soil to neutralize acids in the mixture, raising the possibly of further offsite dust contamination.›

Jubilee Stripped of City Funding By MATTHEW ARTZ

Friday December 03, 2004

City officials Tuesday froze funds to Jubilee Restoration Inc., its third largest non-profit housing developer, after reports submitted by the organization in response to a federal probe revealed that the organization had diverted federal funds. 

In a Nov. 30 letter addressed to Jubilee, Berkeley Housing Director Steve Barton wrote that the organization had not refuted allegations from a Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) report that it had failed to fully implement a program for homeless youth and instead used federal funds to support other programs including its housing development business. 

“Indeed [Jubilee’s] response provides evidence that supports HUD’s charges and contradicts previous statements made to the city,” wrote Barton, who declined to comment for this article. 

HUD is expected to respond to Jubilee’s disclosure within the next two weeks. Acknowledging that the charges against Jubilee were grave, HUD spokesperson Larry Bush said that if HUD concludes there is a clear showing of wrongdoing, Jubilee could be barred from any federal funding. HUD froze all funding to Jubilee in October following its three-month investigation. 

Jubilee is the charitable arm of Berkeley’s Missionary Church of God in Christ, headed by Pastor Gordon W. Choyce Sr.  

Choyce, who also serves as Jubilee’s executive director, owns numerous properties in Berkeley and Oakland and has used local and federal funding to position Jubilee as a leading affordable housing developer. In addition to the youth drop-in center, Jubilee also runs a recovery center for released inmates, which isn’t funded by HUD. 

Jubilee officials did not reply to telephone calls this week, but it appeared that Jubilee has closed its drop-in center. 

Since April 2002 HUD had supplied Jubilee with an annual $121,633 grant to pay for three full-time counselors at the drop-in center, called the Jubispot. 

In the city’s letter, Barton questioned why, from April 2002 through June 2004, Jubilee billed HUD $19,780 for work done by Housing Project Manager Todd Harvey and $55,483 for work done by Deputy Director Gordon Choyce II, both of whom Jubilee stated in its contract with the city were fully dedicated to housing development. Former Jubilee Development Director Mia Medcalf confirmed to city officials that neither Choyce nor Harvey performed youth counseling during her tenure from 2002 through January 2004, Barton wrote. 

Barton was also concerned that Jubilee billed HUD $2,527 for Harvey in 2003, even though the city had contracted to pay Harvey’s entire $40,000 salary through separate funds given to the city by HUD. 

Adding that Jubilee had failed to document any youth counseling services provided by Harvey and Choyce II, Barton wrote that even if Jubilee managed to support claims that they had provided those services, “It would then be evidence that Jubilee misrepresented the work of the project managers...in its contracts with the city.” 

Barton also backed HUD’s assertion that Jubilee should not have billed all of Medcalf’s time to the federal grant which was supposed to go only for direct counseling services, not program development or fundraising. Although Jubilee had claimed that Medcalf was involved solely in supportive services, Barton said that directly contradicted Jubilee’s documentation of Medcalf’s time, the observations of the city’s contract monitor and Medcalf’s own statements. 

Among Medcalf’s job duties that were ineligible to be billed to the federal grant were donations coordination, newsletter development, community outreach, political events and city meetings. 

The city’s contribution to Jubilee’s homeless youth program in the past has been a $26,000 annual grant to pay for an outreach worker. Barton wrote that although Jubilee had claimed that the city grant would fund an outreach worker’s entire salary, from March 2003 through April 2004, Jubilee then billed the city and HUD for a portion of the outreach worker’s time. Between the two sources, the outreach worker was apparently paid $35,818, even though the position was budgeted at $25,400 and Jubilee could only document that the outreach worker worked between 27 and 30 hours a week, Barton wrote. 

The decision to freeze funds reverses a decision by the City Council last month to provide Jubilee with $13,000 to help the organization answer HUD’s allegations. Jubilee had not received any of the funding, Barton said, nor had it provided the city with a letter authorizing HUD to share its findings with the city, a condition for the city to release the funds. 

HUD began monitoring Jubilee earlier this year after receiving complaints about its operations, Bush said. He added that Jubilee will be required to repay HUD for any ineligible expenditures. 

Berkeley had assigned a contract monitor to oversee the functions of the city-funded outreach worker, but did not oversee the entire homeless youth program, Barton said.›

Elmwood Theater Renovations to Last Into New Year By J. DOUGLAS ALLEN-TAYLOR

Friday December 03, 2004

Problems with renovation work are expected to delay opening of Berkeley’s Elmwood Theater until past the first of the year, but a local engineer involved in seismic retrofit of the theater building says his portion of the project is not to blame. 

Instead, delays in cleanup from a broken sewer line may be the culprit. 

Earlier this fall, the College Avenue theater temporarily shut its doors, with a sign on the marquee announcing “Closed For Remodel.” Announcements taped to the box office window indicated that “the Elmwood will be reopening soon,” and invited patrons to call a recorded information line for more details. 

This week, the line only said that the theater was closed for “major remodeling of our grand auditorium… [to] include a new floor, new high-back chairs, and new drapes,” and told listeners to “check back for updates on opening dates.” 

According to Elmwood Theater Foundation President David Salk, there are actually two separate renovations ongoing, one under the authority of the theater foundation, which owns the building, and another undertaken by San Carlos Cinemas, which rents and operates the theater. 

San Carlos Cinemas reportedly operates 75 screens at six movie theater locations, according to a City of Oxnard press release put out earlier. Salk said that while he was “not at liberty to talk about anything but” the renovations being supervised by the theater foundation, it was his understanding that the San Carlos Cinemas renovation involved “putting in new seats and carpeting and stuff.” 

However, reports from patrons who were present in the theater on the week it shut down indicated that they were informed that the initial problem resulted from a burst sewer line underneath the theater. 

Diana Aikenhead, an inspector in the City of Berkeley Department of Public Works, confirmed that Hand’s On Plumbing & General Contracting of Pacheco is doing what she called “exploratory work” on a sewer line under the theater. She said that while her office has not yet been called in to inspect the work, she added that “I guess it’s probably pretty bad because [the contractor has] been there a while.” 

Hand’s On Plumbing did not respond to telephone calls related to this story, and representatives of San Carlos Cinemas could not be reached for comment. 

Meanwhile, according to Salk, the theater foundation is taking advantage of the temporary closure caused by San Carlos Cinemas’ work to complete a seismic retrofit at the theater. The seismic retrofitting is being coordinated by the international architecture, engineering and construction management firm Integrated Structures, Inc. of Berkeley. That work—to strengthen the ceiling and the front façade—was left undone when the theater reopened after previous renovations ten years ago. A November press release on Integrated Structure’s website says that the renovations were “left incomplete after the Landmarks Preservation Commission and the project Engineer could not reach consensus on a retrofit scheme for the front façade.” 

Integrated Structures was not the project engineer in 1994. 

Integrated Structures owner R. Gary Black said negotiations with city staff on permits for the seismic retrofit began eight months ago, and were complicated by the fact that the theater façade had landmark status, and there “wasn’t an unlimited amount of money available” to fund the project. The seismic construction work itself did not begin until after Thanksgiving. Black said that the ceiling re-strengthening work is proceeding on time, “and as far as our work is concerned, the theater could open in two weeks.” 

He added that work on the building’s exterior can be done even with the theater open, and he expects completion of that portion of the retrofit work by mid-March. Integrated Structure’s website release says that a “low-cost, low-impact retrofit solution” drafted by the company “was unanimously approved by the Landmarks Preservation Commission in August.”›

Police Review Director Attard Bolts For San Jose By MATTHEW ARTZ

Friday December 03, 2004

Longtime Berkeley Police Review Commission Director Barbara Attard announced her resignation this week to become San Jose’s police auditor. 

Having led the PRC for seven years, Attard, 43, said the PRC could benefit from a change in leadership. 

“It might be time for some new ideas,” said Attard, who will remain at her post through the end of the year. Attard’s new job will pay her $140,000, about a 50 percent raise, she said. 

PRC Investigator Dan Silva is expected to apply for the director’s job. 

Jim Chanin, an attorney and former PRC commissioner, said Attard “did a great job under difficult circumstances.” 

She remained fair-minded and even tempered in an era when, he said, the city manager and city attorney tended to back the police department over the PRC. 

The PRC, which reviews citizen complaints of police misconduct, has seen its staff cut over the past decade from six employees to four, and is slated to lose one of its two administrative positions to budget cuts next year. The planned staff reduction comes as the PRC faces an increased work load due to a new administrative procedure that allows police officers to appeal the commission’s ruling. 

PRC Commissioner David Ritchie praised Attard’s work and called on city officials to give the commission a voice in selecting her successor. 

Copwatch Director Andrea Pritchett, a frequent critic of Attard’s stewardship of the PRC, also wanted input on the new hire. She said that by encouraging citizen participation in the search for Attard’s replacement, the PRC would garner more community support and thus have a stronger political hand in fighting budget cuts. 

City Manager Phil Kamlarz was unavailable for comment on the search for Attard’s successor. 

Before coming to Berkeley in 1997, Attard worked for 14 years in San Francisco’s Office of Citizen Complaints.  

In San Jose, Attard will head a six-person staff that audits investigations of the San Jose Police Department’s Internal Affairs Unit. 




Mylar-Induced Power Outage Hits Southside By RICHARD BRENNEMAN

Friday December 03, 2004

Balloons made of Mylar and aluminum don’t mix too well with power lines, as more than 4,000 South Berkeley customers of PG&E’s electric service discovered abruptly at 9:06 Saturday morning. 

Berkeley Deputy Fire Chief David P. Orth had just dropped off his son for an official ride-along at Station 5, 2680 Shattuck Ave., when he heard a sound he recognized instantly. 

“I was talking to some of the crew when I heard it. I said, ‘Uh-oh, there goes a transformer,” Orth recalled. “I actually saw some of the Mylar balloons flying by, and some callers reported actually seeing them strike the wires.” 

The metal-clad balloons had shorted overhead electric wires, blowing out a transformer. 

A PG&E spokesperson said the shortage occurred at 1510 Oregon St.  

Customers were affected most heavily in the area around Shattuck Avenue between Parker Street in Berkeley and 54th Street in North Oakland. 

By 9:52 a.m., the utility had restored power to about 1,050 houses, with the remainder back on line at 10:15 a.m. 


—Richard Brenneman

Shelter Warms Hearts of City’s Homeless Youth By MATTHEW ARTZ

Friday December 03, 2004

T-Rex, 25, says he has been living on Berkeley streets since he was eight. Wednesday night, however, he and his dog escaped the bitter winds blowing through their wooded hillside squat to take refuge in the city’s shelter for homeless youth. 

“This is th e best thing ever to happen to Berkeley,” T-Rex said of the Youth Emergency Assistance Hostel (YEAH). “I always avoided shelters but this place is different.” 

This week marked YEAH’s third season as a winter shelter for youth ages 18-25. Started by a group of Berkeley women in 2002, the 55-bed shelter located at the Lutheran Church of the Cross on 1744 University Ave. has brought the tight-knit Telegraph Avenue youth culture indoors. 

“We’re all like family,” T-Rex said as he pointed out a volunteer who he said had once been homeless and helped him survive on the streets years before. By 9:30 p.m. on Wednesday, 21 residents filled the shelter, several playing board games until their beds were ready. Most of them were white, split evenly between those pas sing through on their way south for the winter and those who called Berkeley their permanent home. 

YEAH Executive Director Sharon Hawkins-Leyden said the shelter has a laissez faire policy that welcomes all homeless youth, even those with serious drug a nd alcohol addictions so long as they don’t use drugs at the shelter. Youth with dogs are also welcome. 

“The only way to get them in is to accept who they are now, not what we want them to be,” she said. 

The city has been impressed with the shelter’s de but. This year, in the wake of budget cuts, the council doubled YEAH’s funding to $30,000—about one-third of its projected budget and enough to keep the shelter open 21 weeks, its longest season so far. The shelter operates with the support of 45 communit y volunteers, said Hawkins-Leyden, who hopes one day to keep it open year-round. 

“They’ve really wowed the council and the mayor,” Berkeley Community Services Specialist Jane Micallef said. “I think when they first asked for funding everyone thought they would be so green that they’d fall on their face, but they’ve been great.” 

After opening in 2002 for five weeks, the shelter last year operated an 18-week season, taking in 214 different residents, most of whom would choose to sleep on the street rather than check into an adult shelter. 

“Regular shelters aren’t for us,” said Chad Perdue, a 25-year-old traveling from Portland with his partner Christian. “They usually have a lot of hard-core, violent drug addicts.” 

Because homeless youth often migrate and avoid services geared for adults, officials can only guess at their numbers. 

Megan Schatz, coordinator of the Alameda Countywide Homeless Continuum of Care Council, said the most recent surveys estimate that at any point in time the county is home to 300 homeless youth. 

Besides YEAH, the county has one other youth shelter, Covenant House, which operates a 25-bed year-round program at St. Andrew’s-St. Joseph’s Church in West Oakland. 

There most of the residents are local African Americans, many of w hom found themselves on the street after they turned 18 and left foster care. 

Amy Lemley, executive director of First Place Fund For Youth, an Oakland-based organization that finds housing for foster children, said that every year about 200 children age out of foster care and roughly two thirds of them find themselves homeless. 

Covenant House, which doesn’t allow dogs, has stricter rules about drug and alcohol abuse and a well established network of services for the residents. Several residents attend federal Job Corps training and the others spend their days at Covenant House’s youth service center where they are a assigned a case manager, see job training specialists, work towards a GED, and are offered drug abuse and mental health counseling, said S ean Sullivan, program director at Covenant House California. 

“It’s helping me out,” said Jamal, a 23-year-old studying to be a cook, who described himself as a foster child experiment that went wrong. “This is a good place to learn and think about the fu ture.” 

Hawkins-Leyden doesn’t think that Covenant House’s more stringent structure would work for YEAH’s residents, but she does want to emulate the model of tying services to the shelter. 

This year, YEAH will introduce evening classes in drug education, AIDS, pregnancy and STD prevention and creative writing. 

Still, she said, Berkeley could do a lot more to serve homeless youth. 

“Nearly everything is designed for adults,” she said, adding that the city’s mental health department lacks a specially tra ined youth therapist and that the city’s drug and alcohol rehabilitation services were too strict to attract younger addicts. 

Micallef acknowledged “big gaps in services to homeless youth,” and said she was working with the city’s service providers to co ordinate their activities and beef up their programs. 

Of the three organizations operating daytime youth drop-in centers, Micallef said two, the Chaplaincy to the Homeless and Fred Finch Youth Center, have had major personnel turnovers recently, while th e third, Jubilee Restoration Inc., is in jeopardy of losing its federal grant pending an investigation by the Department of Housing and Urban Development for misuse of funds. 

Hanna McQuinn, who last month took over as executive director of the Chaplaincy program, said her immediate goal was to implement an employment training program and connect the organization to the Jobs Corps program, her former employer. 

When it comes to helping homeless youth overcome addictions, local service providers remain hes itant to push too hard. 

Hawkins-Leyden said that most of the youth in her shelter are still healthy enough that they don’t see the need to get sober and are better served by learning to administer drugs safely to reduce the risk of overdosing or contrac ting HIV. 

“What works is if we keep them safe enough and alive long enough so they can get to the point where they realize they need help,” she said. 

In combating drug abuse among homeless youth, Hawkins-Leyden has formed a alliance with Davida Coady, e xecutive director of Berkeley’s drug abuse treatment program Options Recovery Center. Coady has been a vocal critic of YEAH’s philosophy, known as harm reduction. 

Although Coady would like to see local service providers push youth towards abstinence from drugs, she said homeless youth often rebel against strict programs like hers. 

“Harm reduction is a bad model but it might be the best you can do with youth,” said Coady, who plans to offer drug counseling at YEAH later this winter. 

Christian McCullough, a 21-year-old heroin addict, said he appreciated the shelter’s policy. “When I’m ready to get help I will,” he said, “but I don’t need anybody telling me what to do.” 

Body of Transient Found Under Max Anderson’s Deck By RICHARD BRENNEMAN

Friday December 03, 2004

Linda Olivenbaum, spouse of newly elected Berkeley City Councilmember Max Anderson, Jr., made a gruesome discovery in her back yard when she went to move her car recently. 

There, partially hidden below a deck, she found the badly decomposed corpse of a 61-year-old man. 

Police were summoned to the home in the 1900 block of Alcatraz Avenue Nov. 22 along with the Alameda County Coroner’s Office. 

Subsequent investigation and an autopsy revealed that the body had been dead several days from what the coroner’s office said were natural causes brought on by long-standing heart disease. 

Coroner’s spokesperson Frank Gentle said the body was identified by the manager of an Oakland transient hotel where 61-year-old Curtis Bolander had been staying. 

“We’ve had no luck in finding any family members,” Gentle said. He requested anyone with information on Bolander to call the coroner’s office at 268-7300. 

“He wasn’t entirely homeless, but he moved in those circles,” Anderson said. “Apparently he had been feeling sick and was crawling under the deck to seek shelter when he died.” 

Anderson added that he hadn’t been in his back yard for some time.

Two Groups Battle for KPFA Listener Board By JAKOB SCHILLER

Friday December 03, 2004

In a hotly contested election race that ends Monday, two groups are vying for nine open seats on KPFA 94.1 FM’s Listener Station Board. 

The listener and staff vote could determine control of the board. 

The board in its current form was created to ensure democratic oversight of the station after an internal conflict temporarily shut the station down in the summer of 1999. During the conflict, Pacifica, the foundation that owns KPFA and its sister stations, locked staff out after employees and others protested plans to sell the station. Yet since the first board members were elected under new bylaws in 2003, infighting about the direction of the station has continued. 

“I have been around since 1969, and I have seen many local and national boards,” said Larry Bensky, the host of KPFA’s show Sunday Salon. “The current one is absolutely the least supportive and least constructive that I can remember.” 

Several controversial decisions have created a split on the board and People’s Radio and KPFA Forward—the two groups running in the election—are divided along some of the same lines.  

Principal among the fights was the decision by the board to order Interim General Manager Jim Bennett to move Democracy Now!, the station’s most popular show, to a different time slot. One of the 10 points of action on the website for the slate People’s Radio is to stick with that decision. 

According to Brian Edwards-Tiekert, a reporter with the evening news program, that decision raised questions about the role of the board, prompting many to allege that it was micro-managing. 

“The board needs to be there to be a check on management,” said Edwards-Tiekert. “But it needs to stop somewhere. It cannot take on management functions.” 

People’s Radio has also taken the controversial stand of demanding that the station’s programming council be democratically elected “with strong listener representation and the authority to make programming decisions by majority vote.” 

As it is, explains Susan Stone, a member of the programming council, the group is already one of the “most highly representative bodies we have under our roof.” 

“If it got any larger we would probably have to rent a hall,” she said. 

Currently, there are community representatives, board members, and several staff on the board. Without the guarantee of staff on the board, some are concerned listener representatives would not have the experience to make informed decisions about programming. 

“There is nothing in the bylaws which would indicate that every programming decision would be debated by a group of people who might not know what they are doing,” said Bensky. 

Michael Hernandez, an incumbent affiliated with the other group, KPFA Forward, said he questions whether People’s Radio is actually focused on democratizing the station. Instead, he sees their campaign as a power grab. 

“What we are coming to is a point where people are divided between letting KPFA be KPFA or making KPFA their statement or bully pulpit; a place where they can make their presentation unopposed and to hell with everyone else,” he said.  

Members and supporters of People’s Radio fire back that KPFA Forward is guilty of the same. They insist their campaign, including their demands about Democracy Now! and the programming council, are consistent with the station’s goal to insure that it is democratically run.  

“They have their own little turf to protect,” said Michael Lubin, an incumbent board member who is partial to the People’s Radio slate. 

He denies the accusations of micro-management. Instead he said he supports both the decision by the board to order the Democracy Now! change, and the decision to democratize the programming council because both decisions are attempts to involve the broader community. 

Part of the larger problem, both sides agree, is the vagueness of the bylaw that defines the role of the board. Under a subhead entitled, “Powers and Duties,” the bylaws say the LSB has the power, duty and responsibility “to work with station management to ensure…that station policies and procedures for making programming decisions and for program evaluation are working in a fair, collaborative and respectful manner to provide quality programming.” 

Both sides of the debate point to this section to defend their separate agendas.  

On top of the infighting, the election has also had technical problems. The election was originally scheduled to end on Nov. 25. But according to Brian Johns, the election director for KPFA, some ballots were printed and then mailed late. The printing coincided with the national election, which left most printers swamped, he said. 

The station is also in danger of not meeting quorum. If they do not get a 10 percent turnout of listener voters, the election will be void and the incumbents will stay in their spots. As of Wednesday, 714 of the 2,831 listener members needed to reach quorum had mailed in their ballots. KPFT, a Pacifica affiliate in Houston, did not meet quorum in their recent election.  

The board election, according to Johns, has cost $169,500.

ZAB Approves University Avenue Project, Bids Adieu as Capitelli Heads to Council By RICHARD BRENNEMAN

Friday December 03, 2004

Berkeley Zoning Adjustments Board members greenlighted a five-story University Avenue condominium project Monday, saying they were delighted that the developer would be offering units to low-income residents. 

Developer Alex Varum said 20 percent of the units in his 1122 University Ave. project will be reserved for buyers making 80 percent or less of the Oakland Metropolitan Area median income (AMI). 

Under state law, he could have set the cutoff point at 120 percent, allowing him to sell the so-called inclusionary units at higher prices. 

“I’m really excited you’re going with 80 percent AMI,” said ZAB Chair Andy Katz. 

“I appreciate that too,” said member Jesse Anthony, who called the project an exciting addition to the University Avenue/San Pablo Avenue neighborhood. With projects such as these, he said, “one of these days Berkeley will have more people, we hope.” 

Outgoing ZAB member and City Councilmember-elect Laurie Capitelli praised the project, but said he wanted to make certain that the inclusionary units were spread throughout the unit and not concentrated in one area. 

“They’ll be in all floors in all (architectural) elevations,” Varum said. 

The project replaces a vacant lot, a bar and a liquor store. It will include two buildings. One is a five-story structure facing University with 48 housing units, two ground floor live/work units and two retail spaces. The other is a three-story structure directly behind it, which features an additional 15 units. 

The project includes 74 underground parking spaces, two of them reserved for commercial tenants. Additional parking for customers of the commercial tenants could be provided by parking slot subleases from tenants who won’t be using them during business hours. 

The building will also feature a garage entry door by Berkeley artist Amy Blackwell, who designed the whimsical gate at developer Patrick Kennedy’s Artech Building. 

ZAB member Deborah Matthew said she was concerned that the building “looks so much like a hotel” and asked about window treatments and exterior finish colors. 

Varum said the building will be finished in two shades of beige, with slate-like tile along the street-level frontage. Window frames, he said, will be high-quality aluminum. 

When Metzger questioned the need for ground-level commercial use, Senior Planner Deborah Sanderson said her department discourages ground-level residential and encourages commercial uses because of the heavy traffic in the area. 

No speakers opposed the project. 

“I am so happy to see something proposed for the neighborhood like this,” Joe Walton, who has lived nearby on Bonar Street for the last two decades, told the board. “I’m also in favor of the five-story building, because a nice five-story is far more attractive than these one-story ticky-tacky boxes with parking lots out front. There’s no downside that I can see.” 

Varum said he would be working with members of PlanBerkeley.Org, a group focused on development issues in the University Avenue corridor, to find appropriate tenants for the ground floor retail spaces. 

Members of the group had criticized the project in the past and Varum said he had taken many of their criticisms into account as the project evolved through several design iterations. 

Getting to the final approvals on demolition permits for the existing structures at the site and the use permit approved Monday wasn’t an easy process, Varum acknowledged. 

“The design review process took longer than expected,” Varum said, “and we made numerous concessions.” He estimated his costs so far at $300,000. 

After the meeting, Metzger expressed his concerns about the numbers of large projects recently approved by his fellow board members. “I can’t help but think that the projects we’re approving may become the slums of tomorrow,” he said. 

As the meeting ended, fellow board member and frequent opponent Carrie Sprague thanked Capitelli—“a wonderful and a very kind person”—for his service on the panel. Her remarks were greeted with applause and more praise for the incoming City Councilmember. 

“I want to thank all of you,” Capitelli responded. “In the last four years I’ve disagreed with all of you at least once, and I look forward to watching you on TV.” 

After the laughter, Capitelli shared chocolate and carrot cake with his former colleagues, audience members and the press.

20 Years After Bhopal, Women Fight For Justice SANDIP ROY

Pacific News Service
Friday December 03, 2004

Twenty years down the road, if anything good has come from the terrible gas leak in Bhopal, India, it is the birthing of a new generation of unlikely heroes.  

Until 27 tons of methyl isocyanate leaked out on that cold December night in 1984, Rashida Bee and Champa Devi Shukla had never even heard of Union Carbide. They’d never gone more than a few miles from their homes in Bhopal. Now, two decades later, Bee can’t sleep at night and has lost six family members to cancer. For days after the leak she scoured the city morgues trying to find her missing family members. Shukla has lost her husband and still suffers from panic disorders. Her granddaughter was born with a deformity.  

The tragedy brought about an amazing transformation of a generation of women who just wanted to go about their ordinary lives raising families and cooking dinner. Instead, they found many of their husbands were dead or crippled from the gas leak, unable to perform the back-breaking manual labor they used to do before the accident. So it was the women, many of whom never learned to read or write, who became both the breadwinners and chief activists in Bhopal. They kept the fire under Union Carbide, and when its new owner Dow Chemical tried to evade them, they went after Dow as well.  

The legacy of Bhopal is alive in these women—literally. They carry the shadow of that environmental disaster in their wombs and their breast milk. Children are still being born in Bhopal with deformities that activists say are linked to the disaster.  

Long before outsourcing and globalization were buzzwords, Bhopal was the poster child of how both could be done irresponsibly. And these women are showing up as far away from Bhopal as the board meeting of Dow Chemical in Midland, Mich., to press their case. As Bee said, “When women find they can’t feed their children, they actually get angry and want to fight.”  

And they have done it in a way that only women could. Like the Jharoo Maro Dow Ko campaign, where Dow executives as far afield as Israel and Italy found themselves presented with brooms. A humble household object became a political tool that sent a message: The same broom used to clean homes could in effect sweep Dow out of business in a gust of bad public relations. The globalization that brought Union Carbide to India is turning full circle, bringing these activists to Dow’s corporate headquarters and American courts. There, they demand release of company documents and more funds for the cleanup of contaminated groundwater. As political theater, it’s on par with Mahatma Gandhi making salt from the ocean in defiance of British salt taxes.  

These new women activists are not people I would have ever met when I lived in India. Women like Bee and Shukla led and still lead a hand-to-mouth existence as laborers in a stationery factory in Bhopal. They speak no English. I might have seen them on a local train or bus, but I would not have sat and conversed with them. Class would have kept us apart.  

This year we were still separated from each other. This time, however, they were receiving the 2004 Goldman prize, or the Environmental Nobels, in San Francisco. And I was just one of the many journalists and admirers clamoring for their attention. It was a humbling experience.  

Company bosses who once boasted to their shareholders that the Bhopal disaster had cost Union Carbide just 43 cents a share would do well to not dismiss these activists as illiterate housewives tilting at windmills with broomsticks. None other than Winston Churchill once snottily dismissed the absurdity of a “seditious, half-naked fakir” like Gandhi taking on the British empire in his loincloth. The price of that condescension proved costly.  

In an age where multinational corporations are the new empires, Rashida Bee, Champa Devi Shukla and their sisters might very well be the true inheritors of Gandhi’s legacy.  

And Gandhi, who died trying to preserve peace between Hindus and Muslims, would have approved of his unlikely heirs. Shukla is Hindu and Bee is Muslim. “It doesn’t matter whether you are Hindu or Muslim,” Shukla says. “Poor people like us suffer equally.”  


Sandip Roy hosts UpFront, New California Media’s radio show on KALW-FM 91.7 in San Francisco.  






Election 2004: Another Look At the Disputed Vote Count By BOB BURNETT

Special to the Planet, NEWS ANALYSIS
Friday December 03, 2004

Four weeks after the presidential election, there continues to be a controversy about the difference between the exit poll projections and the actual results. Almost daily, conspiracy theories surface on Internet blogs, only to be refuted a few hours later. 

To gain perspective on why many Democrats persist in the belief that the election was stolen let’s remember what happened on Nov. 2. In addition to exit polls reporting that Kerry was going to win, there were widespread reports of voting irregularities. I heard some of these in Colorado, where I was getting out the vote. Periodically the Boulder Democratic headquarters would receive calls that voters were being harassed or told the wrong place to vote.  

A national database (https://voteprotect.org/index.php?display=EIRMapNation) captured 24,842 of these voting irregularities. Mahoning County, Ohio, reported more than 1,000 voting incidents; for example, “Caller’s father voted on touchscreen machine for Kerry-Edwards, when he went to check his vote, the vote had recorded Bush-Cheney; he had to try three times to get the vote to Kerry-Edwards.” Similar incidents were reported in Miami-Dade County in Florida, “Voter voted for Kerry; when she reviewed the [touch screen] ballot it showed that she voted for Bush.”  

These documented irregularities don’t fully account for a Bush plurality of 3.3 million votes; but the fact that many of us saw or heard about election nastiness does explain why Democrats have a bad feeling about the election, why we want to believe that the Republican cheated their way to victory. To dispel these concerns and accept the results, Democrats require a coherent explanation for what happened—why Kerry didn’t prevail as we hoped. 

I’ve concluded that Bush won for two reasons and that neither involved a conspiracy. The first was that Republicans did a better job of getting out the vote. Matt Bai’s article, “Who Lost Ohio?” In the Nov. 21st New York Times Magazine explained, “The Bush campaign had created an entirely new math in Ohio” with so many white, conservative and religious voters now living in the brand-new townhouses and McMansions in Ohio’s growing ring counties, Republicans were able to mobilize a stunning turnout in areas where their support was more concentrated than it was in the past.”  

Writing in the Los Angeles Times, Ronald Brownstein and Richard Rainey observed that, compared to 2000, Bush’s biggest vote increases came in 100 of the fastest-growing “exurban” counties—meaning the distant suburbs, the “ring counties” that Bai noted. We can see evidence of this in Northern California. As we scan the voting results, moving eastward from San Francisco to Sacramento County, we see that Republican voters came out in progressively larger numbers than ever before; for example, 83 percent of San Franciscans voted for Kerry, while 53 percent of those in San Joaquin County voted for Bush and there was a virtual tie in Sacramento County. Over the past four years, the number of Republicans in the Bay Area exurbs has increased. For example, conservative Republican Congressman Richard Pombo—whose district encompasses eastern Alameda, Contra Costa and Santa Clara counties, plus San Joaquin County—received 110,361 votes in the 2000 election and 152,434 in 2004; Pombo’s exurban district contains rapidly growing communities, such as Brentwood, that are heavily Republican. 

I saw this same pattern in Colorado: Republicans matched the Democratic get-out-the-vote effort by focusing on the suburbs and exurbs. In Boulder County, where Kerry received 67 percent of the vote, Democrats turned out 90.8 percent of those registered; in exurban Douglas County, where Bush received 67 percent, Republicans turned out an astounding 96 percent of those registered. In critical Jefferson County, a rapidly growing Denver suburb, Democrats hoped to win outright; however, because of the combined Democratic and Republican GOTV effort, there was an 89.6 percent turnout, and Bush got 20,000 more votes than he did in 2000, 52 percent of the total. 

Understanding the Republican GOTV strategy explains the exit-poll discrepancy—the polls were off because they didn’t adequately consider the extent of the Republican turnout in the suburbs and exurbs. In other words, the poll weightings were wrong because they were based upon the 2000 race and, therefore, the pollsters didn’t sample enough voters in the ‘burbs. 

Democrats got out the vote but so did Republicans; 37 percent of voters self-identified as Democrats and 37 percent said they were Republicans. For all practical purposes the Presidential campaigns ended in a dead heat.  

What finally tipped the election to Bush was Party loyalty: 93 percent of Republicans voted for the nominee of their Party while only 89 percent of Democrats supported Kerry. That 4 percent decided the election. Kerry would have won if Democratic voters had supported him as fervently as GOP loyalists supported Bush. 

In the final analysis, Bush won the election because Republicans did a superb job getting out the vote and holding their base. Howard Dean, and others, warned the Kerry campaign that they should spend less time appealing to undecided voters and, instead, focus on energizing the Democratic base. That Dean was right is one of the big lessons to be learned from the Kerry defeat. 




Letters to the Editor

Friday December 03, 2004


Editors, Daily Planet: 

Too high or drunk to take care of your things? Thinking of wintering down south but would rather not schlep all of your crap around with you but don’t want to get rid of it either? Well, don’t fret my pet: Berkeley doesn’t have enough money to adequately fund library, fire, and police services or to keep its streets clean but it apparently has ample funds to gather up and store your possessions—free of charge. Such a deal! (“Protecting Possessions For City’s Homeless Strains Resources,” Daily Planet, Nov. 12-15). 

I will continue to vote no to any attempts by the Berkeley City Council to increase my taxes until they chose to spend our money more responsibly. 

Millicent Wilson 





Editors, Daily Planet: 

I have been a nurse assistant for 15 years at Alta Bates Summit Medical Center and would like to give a frontline worker’s perspective on union contract negotiations and our strike. Sutter says that the strike is about some hidden agenda that the union has, but it’s not. My co-workers and I have made the difficult decision to strike because we care so strongly about our community and we need to stand up for our patients. Sutter keeps cutting down the number of caregivers and nurses and we don’t have time to really take care of people. All other hospitals except Sutter have agreed to patient care standards to improve staffing and training. Sutter has been bargaining in bad faith and using unfair labor practices to try to scare us, but they can’t silence us. We will do what it takes to stop Sutter’s unfair labor practices and stand up for good care in our community. Instead of using patients’ money to commit unfair labor practices, Sutter should be living up to the standard that has been set everywhere else. 

Darnita Goodman 





Editors, Daily Planet: 

Thanks for your continuing coverage of the Zeneca-Simeon development in Richmond. We residents much appreciate the attention to this issue—which 

is sorely lacking from the major media and the other so-called “independents.” 

Karen Franklin 





Editors, Daily Planet: 

Author Pratap Chaterjee’s observation that NGO’s are leaving Iraq because “it takes profit to motivate” under dangerous conditions (“Berkeley Author Investigates Iraq War Profiteers,” Daily Planet, Nov. 30-Dec. 2) may well be true, but the best reason an NGO should stay out (in addition to the possibility of staff losing their heads) is that their participation in the occupation is against the interests and desires of the Iraqi people. As long as the public perception is of the U.S. as occupier controlling Iraq’s future, no matter how pure a foreigner’s motivation, unless they are actively working against the occupation, they will not be welcome. The U.S., through military might, may crush the Iraqi people into submission, but in doing so will destroy voices of moderation and reap a harvest of hatred and revenge for generations to come.  

Tom Miller 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

Some of you with friends or relatives who depend on Berkeley’s taxi scrip program to have a life may have heard that City of Berkeley is proposing to drastically cut down the number of rides it offers to seniors and the disabled.  

A staff memo on taxi scrip states that there is no money for everyday life trips, only scrip for emergencies. However, it is those “everyday life trips” that keep seniors and disabled persons out of nursing homes and institutions. It is those “everyday life trips” that allow them to participate in their community, and prevent deadening isolation. While the proposal promises to add over 200 new riders to the program, it is doing so by slashing the number of rides by a whopping 80 percent.  

Astonishingly, a look at the taxi scrip budget shows that administrative costs are remaining as expensive as they were when more scrip was distributed. Those costs haven’t been slashed a commensurate 80 percent. In fact, these administrative costs are over 50 percent the amount spent on scrip. This is not right. Too much is at stake.  

There are solutions. Here’s one: Why not shutter down the taxi scrip office to very part-time hours and sell taxi scrip for only two weeks every three months? Why not use volunteers at the senior centers to help with the distribution during those two weeks, further cutting down administrative costs?  

If I could think up one alternative to butchering a life saving program, I’m sure city staff could come up with perhaps even better ones. Not too long ago, taxi scrip was improved thanks in large part to former Mayor Dean and staff that cooperated with her concern. Under Mayor Bates, the same concern and cooperation are expected.  

If you care, please call Mayor Bates urging him not to decimate the taxi scrip program and to work instead toward maximizing its effectiveness.  

Maris Arnold  

P.S. Another money saving suggestion to City of Berkeley: Stop hiring consultants! Especially those $100,000-a-pop ones. Use instead the vast reservoir of expertise from retired Berkeleyans.  




Editors, Daily Planet: 

The irritating device of asking a question in order to provide an answer (see Bonnie Hughes’ letters, Daily Planet, Nov. 26-29) has a long history, and Ms. Hughes has correctly pointed out that it has nothing to do with uncovering the truth. The “question” format came into being during the Middle Ages when the church was trying to explain the Trinity. 

It was a confusing concept. How could Jesus be the son of God, if the holy spirit, Jesus and God were all one? When Jesus said, “Father, why have thee forsaken me?” was he talking to himself? You can see why the peasants scratched their heads at the whole idea. The church does not like believers to be unclear about these things, so it invented the “question” format as a way for priests, bishops, etc. to “explain” things. However, the “question” was always slanted to have  

only one answer, so while it seemed to be a real question, in fact it was just a way to manipulate the people who scratched their heads (about 99 percent of the population). 

The “question” suggests that the query lies in the mind of the reader, but in fact it is a device of the writer. It allows people to hide behind “just asking questions,” rather than coming out and stating their point of view. Christians these days are raising “questions” about evolution, but their purpose is not to discover answers, but to make people believe the world is 6,000 years old and human beings were made in God’s image. 

Back in the Middle Ages, failure to get the right “answer” generally got you burned at the stake. We aren’t there yet, but when 35 percent of the population thinks there is no evidence for evolution, and 29 percent isn’t sure, don’t bank on not ending up there. 

Conn Hallinan 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

With increasingly widespread reports of various types of election fraud, it’s time for citizens to rise up and demand action. We must demand full coverage in the media, we must demand that both parties pay as much attention to these reports as they are to those in the Ukraine. It is a cruel irony that Colin Powell and others demand democracy there, yet ignore the hijacking of democracy here in the U.S. The big question is: Where is the Democratic Party in all this? Perhaps trying not to seem “unpatriotic” in questioning the very fabric of our democracy, moving ever further away from their base and to the right. Whatever the reason, we cannot afford to wait for action from the party. We must stand up for what we value most—our democracy and our freedom. We must take to the streets and the time is now. 

Arianna Siegel 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

One of my responses to Ms. Thomas (“Berkeley-Stanford Big Game Means Big Headache for Stadium Neighbors,” Daily Planet, Nov. 23-25) was that after several centuries, we might make it a policy not to build anything on or near a major fault, say within a quarter mile. 

This might happen sooner, but only after our present siting practices are obviously not suitable. 

Moving buildings and activities back away from any fault will be very expensive and time consuming. 

Charles Smith 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

I’ve been meaning to convey my great appreciation for Justin DeFreitas’ sharp-edged, well-targeted political cartoons—concise and powerful in both substance and style. We really need to keep exposing the incredible hypocrisy of these power-mad folks, and his cartoons are right on target. 

The Planet and its readers are fortunate to have his work. I hope it reaches ever more widely. 


Charlene Woodcock 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

I just read Zelda Bronstein’s article on MBNA switching her SoCal affinity card from Mastercard to Amex (“MBNA Switches Cal Alumni Credit Card Without Member’s Approval,” Daily Planet, Nov. 30-Dec. 2). Basically she’s bashing MBNA for her own admitted carelessness in throwing out valuable and informative literature that was sent to her. It’s obvious she follows the ever-growing masses in this country that take no responsibility for their own actions. Does she think institutions like that spend their money sending out useless literature? Sure some of it may be simply of no importance or contain solicitous information but you should at least give it a cursory glance on the off chance it may—and did in her case—contain very important information regarding her account. Shame on her for her careless disregard and shame on you for printing such an article.  

Robert Umenhofer  




Editors, Daily Planet: 

The International Committee of the Red Cross concluded that prisoners at Guantanamo had been tortured. A criminal complaint filed in Berlin charged the Secretary of Defense, Director of the CIA and the General in charge of U.S. forces in Iraq and others, with human rights violations at Abu Ghraib prison. 

Are we not capable of washing our own dirty linen? Has Congress completely abandoned its responsibility to check the policies and balance the excesses of the White House? If so, then out of a sense of honesty Congress should consider amending the Constitution to remove the prohibition against “cruel and unusual punishment.”  

This is not a partisan issue. It involves our already diminished reputation in the world. By ignoring Geneva Convention rules, sanctioning the abuse of prisoners, we risk losing whatever trust we have left and, more importantly, the destruction of our own self-respect. I value my own self-respect and I demand that Congress take care of our nation’s self-respect. 

Marvin Chachere  

San Pablo 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

Thousands of us went to Ohio, ground zero, to volunteer our time in order to remove George Bush from office and we definitely made a difference. I worked out of the America Coming Together office in Cuyahoga County which includes Cleveland and most of its suburbs, a heavily democratic area. There were folks there from all over the United States, including Hawaii, and from several other countries such as Denmark, Canada and Holland that I had the privilege to work with. Together we canvassed voters by telephone and in neighborhoods, organized voter education events, did data entry, hosted celebrities, presented assemblies to 18 year old high school students, who were very excited about voting, and the list goes on. 

On November 2 along with Move On, Election Protection, Vote Mob, the Kerry Campaign and other groups throughout Ohio we turned out more voters for the Democratic ticket than had voted in Ohio in many years. At the polls we provided voting assistance to countless citizens who wished to cast ballots, many who had never voted before or not in a very long time. Many more voters would have been disenfranchised if it were not for the help they received from the many volunteers who were ready and willing to walk several extra miles to make sure folks got to the correct polling places, had comfortable situations while waiting in long lines, made sure that the disabled were accommodated, bought and passed out food and drink to those in need and much more. We did make a big difference. 

During my 17 days in Ohio I met many new and empowered activists and half of them were under 30. They were inspired by the energy that all of us created together which boosted their hope that we would make the difference. And for this they were willing to work tirelessly. These new participants are charged up and will continue to be involved because so many of us went to Ohio and other swing states and helped to create inspiration. 

Most of us who worked in Ohio to help elect John Kerry feel certain that Kerry would have carried Ohio if not for the massive amount of disenfranchisement, dirty tricks and possible voter fraud. The jury is still out on much of it as the recount goes forward. Most importantly, though, is that we made an incredible effort and all together we inspired ourselves to continue to work very hard to take back our democracy. 

Meaveen O’Connor 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

The San Mateo County Board of Supervisors last year wisely voted to ban elephant rides from the annual Half Moon Bay Pumpkin Festival, for reasons of animal welfare and public safety. 

Such progressive and compassionate views have yet to reach Sacramento, apparently. Even now California State Fair officials are negotiating to have elephant rides at the 2005 State Fair. Bad idea, and they need to hear from us. 

One can only imagine the death and destruction (not to mention lawsuits) should a five-ton elephant run amok through a crowd of 50,000 people with terrified children aboard. It wouldn’t take much to set the disaster in motion: a car backfiring, a firecracker, a minor earthquake, an airplane’s sonic boom.... 

When not giving rides, these Asian elephants (an endangered species) are kept in chains, separated from their family groups. The travel in trucks from Southern California is stressful on the animals, and potentially dangerous. 

There’s also a public health risk: Elephants can carry and transmit tuberculosis to humans. And what of the negative message that such bogus “entertainment” sends to impressionable young children? 

Those concerned should contact Mr. Norbert Bartosik, General Manager and CEO, California State Fair, P.O. Box 15649, Sacramento, CA 95852. Telephone: (916) 263-3000; fax: (916) 263-7903; e-mail: genmgr@calexpo.com. 

The elephants and the public alike deserve better. 

Eric Mills 

Action for Animals 





Editors, Daily Planet: 

What a hoot! Ironically, officials of the Bush administration are pointing at exit polls and saying that they show that the election was stolen. I could not agree more. However, the Bush administration officials are very selective in their finger-pointing. They are not talking about the recent Presidential election with its ever-growing list of computer glitches, computer errors, computer anomalies and computer mistakes, all of which magically favored Bush, no, they are talking about the recent election in the Ukraine! 

In our election, Bush had only a 47 percent pre-election job approval rating and only a 48 percent post-election job approval rating (Zogby International polls), yet Bush managed to get an amazing 52 percent of the popular vote in the “counting” on Election Day. A one-day electronic vote wonder. Thirty million votes were cast on electronic voting machines without any paper trails.  

This Bush election “miracle” was created inside of the voting machines run by his right-wing corporate buddies, Diebold, ES&S, Sequoia and SAIC, four interlocked secretive right-wing electronic vote-counting machine manufacturers, using secret software to “count” our votes privately. 

Without paper trails for all votes, it is clearly impossible to demonstrate that this election was not stolen.  

James K. Sayre 


Brown’s Police Chief Choice Could Help Him in ‘06 Campaign By J. DOUGLAS ALLEN-TAYLOR

Friday December 03, 2004

The Oakland chips are beginning to fall in place for Mayor Jerry Brown’s run for California attorney general in 2006, and if you thought the whole purpose of the effort was for the Oakland chips to fall in place for the rest of us in Oakland, you went and slept through part of this production, didn’t you? 

First, thanks to the Oakland Tribune’s Peggy Stinnett, we learn that Mr. Brown’s old buddy, Jacques Barzaghi, is moving to Morocco, possibly to take advantage of a sister city program Oakland set up with that country. Ms. Stinnett believes that Mr. Barzaghi is gone for good, writing that “the parting of Jacques and Jerry has been like an unfriendly divorce. ... [T]he two men are seriously breaking up their long relationship, and it looks like the final parting with an ocean between them.” Me, I’m not so sure that this isn’t just a just a way to get a lingering embarrassment out of the picture during the campaign—you know, out of sight, out of mind—and that Mr. Barzaghi won’t be turning up in the Brown camp when and if Mr. Brown returns to state office. In any event, another chip in place. 

In the area of law and order—critical to any prospective attorney general—Oakland had its 79th and 80th murders earlier this month. While that makes it a particularly bad year for those 80 people who were killed within our borders, it allows Mr. Brown to declare that murders are “down” from last year, which is something like the old Malcolm X line of someone sticking a knife into your back and then—when you holler in protest—pulling it halfway out and calling it progress. But count on Mr. Brown to use it as a yardstick of success in his upcoming campaign. 

The defeat of a third violence prevention measure during Mr. Brown’s terms would have been a serious blow to both his law enforcement and leadership credentials, but with the passage of Measure Y, he’s pretty much left with the picking of Police Chief Richard Word’s replacement to put his law resume in order. 

But picking the new police chief may be stickier than you think, even with Mr. Brown’s unlimited selection powers under Oakland’s Strong Mayor law. 

Continue, for a moment, under the premise that the mayor is lately making Oakland decisions with a full eye on their impact on his chances for the office of state attorney general. 

It’s hard to get elected to that post without the general support of police unions, and California police unions won’t generally look favorably on an attorney general candidate if the police union in his own city is less than enthusiastic about his prospects. That would lead you to believe that Mr. Brown is going to be careful not to pick an Oakland police chief who is disliked by the Oakland Police Officers’ Association. 

But some Oaklanders, thinking that since they’re footing the bills for all of this, are of the opinion that the Mayor might want to come around and consult with them, too. A group of impatient Oakland citizens decided not to wait on Mr. Brown to take the first step, but put together a meeting the other evening over at the Lakeshore Avenue Baptist Church to offer some suggestions as to what criteria the mayor should use to pick the new chief. Mr. Brown said he welcomed the input and came out for a while to listen as a long line of citizens walked up to the microphone to have their say. Mr. Brown being Mr. Brown and easily bored with citizen talk, he decided not to actually stay and listen to the whole group, but ducked out midway through to chat on camera with the television reporters out in the foyer. 

Which would lead one to believe that the mayor is continuing on Course A; that is, picking a new police chief in close consultation with the Oakland Police Officers Association, and lesser consultation with the many Oaklanders whose streets the police department patrols. 

There is danger in doing so. 

While Oakland citizens have no influence whatsoever on police unions around California, they might have some influence on other citizens. The issue of a new police chief is so important in Oakland that some of these citizens might take it upon themselves to detail their experiences with Mr. Brown up and down the state, if they feel they are being seriously and completely frozen out. An Oakland Truth Squad, sending out regular press releases and fact sheets and following Mr. Brown from city to city, would probably not be particularly helpful to his campaign. It might, in fact, be more embarrassing than Mr. Barzaghi sticking around. 

But the more serious danger is that hiring a new Oakland police chief in the same mold as the last Oakland police chief—that is, one who cannot or will not change the culture of the Oakland Police Department, to borrow a comment made at the Lakeshore meeting by Alameda County Sheriff Charles Plummer—could lead to continued social unrest and problems between Oakland police and Oakland citizens. 

The pots are boiling on several burners right now, most notably with the city’s African-American and Latino youth. Oakland has a serious problem of making these young folks feel that they do not belong in this city, first by dissing and dismissing them when they tell us we’re not providing anything for them “to do,” then by rousting them when they create their own social outlets—such as sideshows—that many older Oaklanders believe are not appropriate. Oakland police as they are presently organized are poorly equipped to handle tense crowds of dark Oakland youth. In events such as the Festival at the Lake, Carijama, and the sideshows, in fact, they have tended to make things worse, escalating the tensions rather than easing them. Oakland needs a police chief who is either smart enough to be able to put together a separate youth squad with officers of a different mentality to deal with crowd control and other non-hard-crime youth problems, or else has enough courage and political strength to tell the mayor and City Council that some other agency needs to be developed and put in charge. 

But the youth problem is only the tip of the iceberg, the portion which is generally the quickest and most likely to blow. Underlying that is an Oakland police culture that sees itself separate and aloof from citizens in much of the city, particularly those parts of the city where citizens suffer most from crime and violence. Many of those citizens were among the crowd that gathered at the Lakeshore Avenue Baptist Church to give their input to Mayor Brown on the selection of a new police chief. A better relationship between the police and them would almost certainly lead to reductions in Oakland’s crime and violence. A continued bad relationship will probably mean continued problems, and that won’t look good on Mr. Brown’s resume as he tries for Attorney General. And all of it starts with who’s the mayor’s choice for the new chief. 

In other words, played the wrong way, Mr. Brown’s police chief chip could easily end up blowing his whole carefully-constructed stack. Let’s watch and see how this goes. 


Friday December 03, 2004

Nondescript Slasher 

A Monday afternoon dispute between two fellows outside the US Liquors at 2997 Sacramento St. took a nasty turn when one pulled a knife and slashed the other’s forearm. 

When police arrived, the injured disputant could offer no description whatsoever of the fellow who slashed him, said Berkeley Police spokesperson Officer Joe Okies. 

With no information, there was little officers could do beyond making sure the victim received medical treatment for the relatively minor wound. 


Witness Call Leads to Bust 

An alert eyewitness called police after spotting a stealthy fellow extracting golf clubs from a car parked in the 2100 block of San Pablo Avenue just after 7:15 p.m. Monday. 

Officers promptly arrived and spotted the suspect, whom they relieved of the clubs and other items taken from the car, along with the burglary tools used in the heist. 

The 51-year-old suspect was handcuffed and driven to the city lockup on suspicion of burglary, possession of burglary tools and receiving stolen property. 


More Burglary Tools 

Four hours after the car burglar’s bust, officers arrested a 39-year-old man near the corner of Sixth and Page streets for holding his own set of burglary tools and for giving a false ID to the arresting officer. 


Traffic Stop Leads to Abuse Arrest 

What began as a routine traffic stop in the 1500 block of Dwight Way late Wednesday afternoon ended in a felony arrest for a 26-year-old mother. While talking to the driving, the officer who made the stop noticed signs of abuse on her young child and arrested the mother. 


Late-Breaking Bank Heist 

Berkeley Police were summoned to the 2124 Shattuck Ave. branch of Wells Fargo Bank at 2:15 Thursday, after a gunman walked into the bank, produced a pistol and demanded cash. 

Tellers complied, and the robber fled with the contents of their tills. 

Bank cameras captured the image of a white male, approximately 6’ to 6’1” tall with salt and pepper hair, a gray mustache and a scab or cut over his right eye. 

Anyone with information is requested to call the Berkeley Police Robbery Detail, anonymously or otherwise, at 981-5742 or e-mail police@ci.berkeley.ca.us.

A New Hit From the Past: Berkeley Rep Performs Hurston’s ‘Polk County’ By KEN BULLOCK

Special to the Planet
Friday December 03, 2004

Against Thomas Lynch’s set of “life on this sorry sawmill camp”—great beams hold up roof and sidings of rusted metal, flanked by a two-story tall iron wheel, with a ragged line of treetops painted on the backdrop—Lonnie (Kevin Jackson) comes out at dawn and sings the Shack Rouser Song “Wake up . . . Day’s breakin’.” 

It’s just the first of 20 songs (mostly traditional blues, gospel and spiritual tunes) that make up the counterpoint to the action and the hard living of Zora Neale Hurston’s rediscovered Polk County, onstage at the Berkeley Rep. 

Almost immediately, as figures come and go in the half-light, there’s trouble: Big Sweet (Kecia Lewis) confronts Nunkie (Rudy Roberson) to get back the money he beat Lonnie, her “regular,” out of, gambling. When Nunkie refuses, Big Sweet lets him have it and literally squeezes it out of him. Nunkie complains to the others who gather around. “Why you want to die so young?” says one, “Give her the money and live to be old.” 

”God send me a pistol and I’ll send him a man!” exclaims Big Sweet. 

If Lonnie’s the gentle urger-along, the mellower, the folk poet (”Lonnie dreams pretty things,” Big Sweet says), Big Sweet’s an enforcer, an equalizer for the black workers on the camp. The quarters boss (Eric L. Abrams) admonishes her: “This rough-housin’ gotta stop. You stomp three men; they can’t work.” 

And with the entrance of more folks singing, led by My Honey (Clinton Derricks-Carroll) on guitar, the sign of more trouble brewing: Dicey (Peri Gaffney) can’t do enough for My Honey, who wants none of her. “How long you gonna be gone?” she asks him. “From since when ‘til nobody knows!” 

Big Sweet handily divests her of the knife she brandishes, warning her, “Wanting a man who don’t want you’s like peepin’ in a jug with one eye—all you see is darkness.” Dicey’s defiant. “Why we got to have all this disturbment?” she’s asked. “I’m gonna get me a new big knife and I’m gonna make me a graveyard of my own!” 

The juiciness of the vernacular comes from the meat of experience behind it. Hurston knew these workcamps, where she went as an anthropologist to study black folk culture and music. If her view of things has acquired a blush for the stage, the reality behind the picture presented isn’t hard to conjure up. The language does that—despite its charm and inventiveness, it’s also clearly a weapon, a warning, and a sponge for the desperation of circumstances, which can change quickly from menace to hilarity, just as much as it’s a source of poetry and ribald humor.  

There’s a romanticized autobiographical touch: into the camp comes pretty young citygirl Leafy Lee—“That’s a pretty name to have, especially when it’s yours for real!”—an educated young lady, played by Tiffany Thompson, who says she’s come to learn the blues, to sing like Ethel Waters.  

Everybody’s suspicious at first, but Big Sweet takes her under her wing. Leafy confides that she’s returned to the camp she was born in, her mother having just died, and that nothing held her to New York, not even a man asking her momma for her hand. 

Big Sweet and Leafy learn from each other. “I aim to put my wisdom tooth in your ear; I mean to be your forerunner, like John The Baptist.” News spreads quickly among the men about the exotic among them. They fawn over her. My Honey seems to be the most successful of Leafy’s many suitors. He sings “Careless Love” while Dicey suffers in the shadow. 

There’re more dilemmas to be overcome before Leafy and My Honey will be able to Jump the Broom: told to leave the camp by the philandering Boss, Big Sweet wonders if she and Lonnie should go to New York, where Leafy says they could live on their singing. “I can’t leave; I’m somebody now. I can’t feel like nothin’ no more.” 

Vampy Ella Wall (Deidre Goodwin) sashays in (a sassy entrance long prepared for that has Ella swivelling her legs around atop the piano—and the piano player running for it)—and brings a lot of voodoo along with her, teaming up with Dicey and Nunkie to “do the devil’s work.” 

Director Kyle Donnelly, who adapted Hurston’s manuscript with Cathy Madison, has a particularly good moment of staging, with stalwart Doug Eskew as Stew Beef singing “Let The Deal Go Down” as the other players move in slow motion, syncopated by the slapping-down of the cards. 

It’s a fine cast of nearly 20, all singing and dancing very well, sometimes brilliantly (even in the background: Aliza Kennerly as Maudella has few lines, but gracefully dances up a storm, over and over). But pride of place goes to Kecia Lewis as Big Sweet in a wonderful performance, with too few numbers to show off her fine voice (she’s also a recorded contemporary Gospel singer; her mournful singing of “John Henry” introduces a liturgical note amid the flowing of the blues). 

The play, which Hurston cowrote with Dorothy Waring, was neglected in the Library of Congress archives for decades. Donnelly and Madison shortened it considerably. The music of the first half seems to rise out of the action and flow back into it more naturally than in the second half, when the songs seem more to illustrate the action, as in a conventional musical. There’s also a concentration of some of the nine new numbers by Chic Street Man at the opening of the second act; they’re good songs, but some have a more modern flavor than the traditional numbers. In others (like “Lick It Like That” and “Sweet Potatoes In The Oven”), there’s a closer match to the vernacular of the old tunes. 

There’s a period feel to Polk County, and a folkloric sensibility, mediating whatever’s folk in it. Hurston wrote it after the great decades of the folkloric drama in Europe—the Abbey Theatre in Dublin, which inspired Garcia Lorca’s Andalucian plays like Blood Wedding (and the greater, if lesser-known, “esperpentos” of his older contemporary, Ramon del Valle-Inclan, like Divine Words). There were also the “proletarian” dramatizations of peasants grappling with modernization—a kind of literature in which Hurston couldn’t find a place.  

It’s a great rediscovery and a rousing show in any case. Berkeley Rep has a hit on their hands—out of the past. 





Friday December 03, 2004

On Tuesday, Dec. 7, the City Council will vote on the Foothill Bridge, which UC Berkeley proposes building on upper Hearst Avenue, at the intersection of La Loma, Hearst, and Gayley Road. To build this bridge, UC Berkeley must obtain an encroachment permit (airspace approval), from the city.  

The proposed bridge will run over Hearst Avenue, connecting the La Loma Student Residence Hall to the Hillside Student Residence Hall on the south side of the street. The bridge is supposedly designed to aid the mobility of disabled students trying to get between the two residence halls. Councilmember Spring has pointed out however, that it is questionable whether the bridge as designed will serve this purpose. UC planners concede that the bridge will not solve mobility problems for disabled students who need to get down the hill to the main campus. The proposed bridge will also not improve safety for northside residents or other non-student pedestrians because it is only for the few disabled students living in the La Loma and Upper Hill residences. Access to the bridge will require a student identification card and a key to get into an elevator that goes up to the bridge.   

The university first presented their blueprints for the bridge in 1988, in conjunction with the construction of the two residence halls. Both residence halls were planned to be able to house students with disabilities, but all the dining and meeting facilities are in the Hillside residence, across the street. Opposition to the bridge from city officials and residents has kept the university from obtaining rights to the airspace that belongs to the city and its citizens for 16 years. Now UC Berkeley is back with this proposal for a final vote before the City Council on Dec. 7. The university was wrong about the bridge in 1988 and they are still wrong today. 

Neighborhood residents have additional objections. Residents living uphill argue that the bridge will obstruct their views, and this could jeopardize their property values. Other residents fear that allowing the university to build the bridge will set a precedent, which will make it easier for the university to build more bridges in the future. For most of the residents in the northside neighborhood, the bridge represents yet another expansion of the campus, and institutionalization of residential areas.  

The Public Works Commission, among others, criticized UC Berkeley’s concept. The Public Works Commission’s compelling analysis, delivered to the council in July 2004, concluded that UC Berkeley failed to meet certain minimum Berkeley Municipal Code 16.18.080 requirements and therefore, by law, must be denied an airspace permit. They also stated that the bridge would add nothing to non-student pedestrian safety.  

Berkeley Municipal Code 16.18.080 demands that UC Berkeley come up with alternatives to a bridge such as building a tunnel under Hearst Avenue, remodeling the residence halls, redesigning the intersection on La Loma/Hearst/Gayley Road, or constructing a new and improved pathway to Gayley Road from the Hillside Residence. UC Berkeley’s claim that they have to build the bridge in order to comply with the Americans With Disabilities Act is untrue. It is not necessary that disabled students need to be housed in the La Loma residence at all. In the new student residence halls on the south side of campus, all the units are either handicapped-accessible or convertible within 24 hours.  

In public hearings and City Council meetings, residents requested that UC Berkeley protect all pedestrians, bicyclists, handicapped students and neighbors alike, by improving and redesigning the dangerous intersections along the campus corridor and especially the La Loma/Hearst/Gayley intersection. Citizens also strongly urged the city to suggest to UC Berkeley that they conduct a comprehensive study about the possibility of building a tunnel at this intersection. UC Planner David Mandel stated before several city commissions that scientific studies undertaken by UC proved that building a tunnel was not feasible. However, UC Berkeley did no comprehensive studies when they submitted their recent bridge plan to the City of Berkeley in 2004. Their study from 1988 is outdated, new technologies are now available.  

UC students have recently stated that the process of gathering signatures from students living in the two Foothill Residence halls, in support of the bridge, was flawed and deceiving, because students were not told about the issues involved, and the possible alternatives. Therefore, the results of this signature drive by UC Berkeley’s principal planners are questionable. In fact, only a handful of disabled students were willing to sign in support of the bridge. It is therefore not surprising that on Nov. 12 the Daily Californian wrote a firm, negative opinion against building the Foothill Bridge, under the headline “Don’t Build Bridge.”  

“[I]t is a waste of resources that could end up causing more problems than it solves… Despite the potential benefits of the bridge, proponents ignore the fact that other student housing facilities can accommodate most students with disabilities. In fact, the university has no trouble-accommodating students who need such consideration. On top of the extraneous nature of the project, the bridge would not solve the problem it professes to address. ... If the university is bent upon bettering housing complexes for the benefit of Berkeley students, this construction project is not the way to do so. While we appreciate the University’s good intentions, we believe the bridge is unnecessary and its negative effects far outweigh the potential convenience for La Loma residents.” 

Building a bridge is not the solution for students or residents. The best way to solve the problems related to the Hearst, La Loma, Gayley intersection is to send UC Berkeley back to the drawing board to come up with alternative solutions that meet the Berkeley Municipal Code requirements. UC should then request a new hearing process. As concerned citizens, members of BLUE, and northside neighborhood residents, we are major stakeholders in the decision making process because our quality of life will be affected by whatever decisions are made. We share the same physical environment as UC students, and have common concerns about safety, traffic, parking, pollution, health, land-use, urban planning and design. Please join us in opposing UC Berkeley’s Foothill Bridge project. Let’s look for alternative solutions that will work for both the Northside Neighborhood and the student community. 


The Northside Neighborhood Association Steering Committee: Roger Van Ouytsel, Carl Friberg, Paula Smith, Jane Tanton, Jed Parsons and Berkeleyans for a Livable University Environment. 


The Irresponsibilities of Religion By THOMAS ULATOWSKI

Friday December 03, 2004

Since there is no worldwide religious consensus, the belief in divine revelation produces this devastating dichotomy: Either God is not almighty because He was incapable of making Himself clear regarding the existence of one true religion, or the Almighty created mostly defective people who can’t recognize His clear message. Consequently, faiths based on a revelation by a god who claims to be both omnipotent and omnibenevolent must either inculcate a prejudice against nonbelievers or an aversion to impartial consideration. 

Another demographic fact corroborates the conclusion that existing religions must inculcate an aversion to impartial consideration. Most countries have traditional religions; and even in the United States, there still is a correlation between an individual’s faith, and his or her parents’ religion. If most people are simply inheriting their faith then they are not choosing it; therefore, they are not choosing it responsibly. Why would a good god reward someone who selfishly embraces a religion without bothering to determine that it is a morally correct decision? If the opportunity for eternal bliss is determined mostly by the inadvertent circumstances of birth, then no existing religion could be the product of a just god. 

Discrepancies destroy the credibility of an allegation; so a mysterious god shouldn’t expect to be believed. Nevertheless, the religious are so concerned with their selfish pursuit of an unjust and unreasonable reward that they don’t care whether their beliefs are just or reasonable. For instance, if you ask Catholics why their Church was once a terrorist organization that started religious wars, tortured infidels, and brutally murdered heretics, some of the true believers might quietly assume that you are in league with the devil and hope that God strikes you dead “to show that you are wrong.” Moreover, in order to maintain their status as moral authorities, religious professionals encourage their followers to endorse unjustified beliefs on faith. This outright denial of the importance of rational self-control is the most poisonous idea ever proposed; without responsible reasoning there is no restraint to propaganda or prejudice. 

Responsible reasoning is so important that a halfway decent god would not have failed to emphasize it. Responsible behavior shows love; therefore, it is the key to morality. But, responsibility requires reacting to reality; so responsible reasoning requires the courage to face disturbing facts, the concern and the patience to learn about important issues, and the humility and discipline to avoid pleasing presumptions. Concern, patience, courage, humility, and discipline are virtues. In absolute contrast, immorality is produced by thoughtlessness and presumption; and every selfish prejudice is sustained by a lack of regard for responsible reasoning. Consequently, even the greatest moral principles are often meaningless when they are not implemented with responsible reasoning. For example, religions that proclaimed the golden rule still actively supported monarchy, feudalism, colonialism, slavery, and chauvinism; and religions that condemn killing still show little concern over unnecessary war. The religious disregard for responsible reasoning explains crusades, jihads, and inquisitions. In addition, it explains how the Christian-conditioned Nazis assumed their supremacist and aggressive beliefs without concern for objective justification. And, it even explains how the Christian-conditioned Bolsheviks embraced communism, atheism, and totalitarianism without sound reason or evidence. Tyrants like Bin Laden, Hitler, and Stalin will continue to attract extremist mobs so long as religions condition their adherents to embrace beliefs, like greedy children, with no concern for responsible reasoning. 

To eliminate tyranny, we must accept our adult responsibilities. We must take personal responsibility for our choices; and we must accept the need for responsible reasoning. If we truly take control of our lives and demand responsive, effective, efficient, and honest political representation, then responsible governments will adopt sensible policies, and an era of peace will result. 


Thomas Ulatowski is a local resident. 





For Sure-to-Please Gifts, Look to West Berkeley By ZELDA BRONSTEIN

Special to the Planet
Friday December 03, 2004

Go West, ye seekers of gifts. To be precise, go to San Pablo Avenue, to Fourth Street, and to venues nearby and in between. Here are some choice possibilities that turned up on a recent random tour of shops on the west side of town.  


Ethnic Arts (1314 10th St., just south of Gilman and west of San Pablo) has a basket full of beguiling hand-knitted finger puppets. There’s a veritable Noah’s ark’s range of 2”-high creatures: a ram, a pileated woodpecker, a lamb with knobby knitted fleece, a pink French poodle with a lolling tongue and a smile. Made in Peru by a women’s knitting collective, the puppets could charm a child or decorate a gift package. I wanted one of each. ($3 apiece)  

Also at Ethnic Arts, a tableful of unusual Christmas ornaments from around the world: Indonesian fabric creatures (fish are particularly fetching) and palm leaf rice goddesses, ceramic mermaids from Peru, fine wire mesh shirts and pants from Africa, Guatemalan beaded ornaments (fauna, sea horses, lady bugs, shrimps), knitted ornaments from the same Peruvian collective that makes the finger puppets, Javanese puppets and more. ($3.50-$9)  

Another table displays a fabulous variety of nativities from around the globe, including a tiny (smaller than a small matchbox) mini-retablo nativity from Peru to others in many sizes from Kenya, Mexico, India and Peru in wood, metal, ceramic, palm leaf, or cloth. ($3.50-$56)  


Next door, at Zia (1310 10th St.), you can find angels and Christmas trees made from salvaged wood by artisans in Georgia. The Christmas trees are three feet high; the angels measure 40” through their halos. The angels’ arms are spindles taken from old chair backs, their wings fashioned out of old ceiling tin, their halos are wire. Subtle, weathered colors and strong rustic designs. (Angels, $185; Christmas trees, $100)  

Shifting gears, literally, Zia is selling candlestick holders made from auto parts welded by an artist in Davis to dramatic, sculptural effect. (singles, $140; pair, $120). And, in yet another very different vein, there are wonderful life-size wooden crows carved of wood and painted black. Various poses, startlingly lifelike. ($150)  


For the dancer-cum-cook in your life, check out the flamenco dancer aprons at The Spanish Table (1814 San Pablo Ave.). The aprons are made from scraps by a Seattle seamstress who makes flamenco dresses. Cotton and other fabrics, some with the characteristic big white polka dots on brightly colored backgrounds. ($24) 

At the Spanish Table, you can also choose from among a vast array of paella pans ranging from 10 to 130 centimeters (the latter serves 200—recipe available: start with 18 kgs. of rice) in carbon steel, copper, non-stick surfaces, stainless steel, and enamel. ($6-200) To get a would-be paella maker started, give a kit that comes with paella rice, Spanish olive oil, smoked Spanish paprika, saffron and a paella pan for six ($57). The Spanish Table stocks matching fire and gas-powered rings.  

Terra cotta cookware from Spain is pretty and versatile—it goes on top of the stove and into the oven. Plates, casseroles (some with covers, some without), bean pots, little bakers ($2.49-$49)  


Looking for a sure-to-please toy for a cat or dog? Animal Farm Discount Pet Food & Supplies (1531 San Pablo Ave.) is selling a laser pet toy that shines a bright dot that dogs and cats love to chase ($9.99). Touted as “the best cat-specific toy” is Da Bird, a wand with a propeller of chicken feathers on the end ($7.99). Your favorite dog would love an eminently chewable dental ball. This hard rubber toy has grooves that are filled with a liver-flavored, enzyme-spiked doggy toothpaste. There’s a kit that includes toy and toothpaste ($14.99).  


Down the street, Lucky Dog Pet Store (2154 San Pablo Ave.) has an item that’s sure to please the cat or small-to-medium-sized canine that has everything: his or her own appropriately sized chaise lounge or club chair, covered in fuschia, yellow, purple, black or zebra print velveteen ($89-119). Also at Lucky Dog, a selection of carry-on pet carriers for cats or small dogs, in a variety of materials. ($35-79)  


Omega Too (2204 San Pablo Ave.) has one-of-a-kind Moroccan side tables made of wood and hand-painted in rich colors. Four styles, some with ceramic tops. ($195-$350) Also at Omega Too: sturdy and beautiful iron doormats in graceful designs. ($50) Known for its exceptional collection of old-fashioned lighting fixtures, both new and vintage, Omega Too is offering 3-legged, antiqued brass Italianate candlestick lamps from Italy in three sizes. Each lamp takes a 60-watt bulb and a clip-on shade (Omega Too has a great assortment of clip-on shades). ($75-115)  


The inimitable Good Vibrations (2504 San Pablo Ave.) is filled with inimitable gift possibilities, such as its own customized kits specially priced and packaged for the season. Consider Foot Fetish Holiday, which includes foot scrub, a tongue-2-toe tingler, foot soak, foot lotion and pumice stone ($42) and/or the Power Positions Kit, which holds Bump ‘n’ Grind (“a custom accessory for the itty bitty vibe”), GV Slip Inside (cream lubricant) and the Pocket Kama Sutra ($29).  


Just a few doors south, the Ecology Center Store (2530 San Pablo Ave.) has a large selection of glassware made from re-used (even less energy-intensive than recycling) bottles that have been cut in half and fashioned into tumblers and goblets. In green, blue, and yellow. Pretty, virtuous and affordable (tumblers, $5.50; goblets, $8.50). For kids, consider the store’s trains, wagons and trucks made of sustainably harvested wooden blocks painted with non-toxic paint ($14.75). You could pack these or other gifts in one of the Ecology Center’s reuseable gift bags, made of sustainably harvested fibers (romblon or abaca), colored with eco-friendly dyes, woven by a women’s cooperative in the Philippines and marketed under fair trade terms (wow). A variety of sizes, including wine-bottle sized, and colors. ($2.50-$40).  


Down on Fourth Street, Zinc Details (1842 Fourth St.) has a wide assortment of rare vintage lacquerware that was originally imported to the United States in the Sixties, got caught up in a customs dispute, and then sat in a warehouse for over 40 years. Now liberated, the bowls, salad mizing spoons, salt and pepper shakers, graceful little teapots, teardrop containers, trays and round boxes include examples of both lacquered wood and lacquered plastic in vivid colors—orange, blue, turqouise, avocado and red, as well as cream and black. Retro and hip. ($12-220)  


Stained Glass Garden (1842 Fourth St.), behind Sur la Table, is selling lovely bowls, serving dishes, glasses, goblets, even a cake stand made from recycled glass by Fire & Light in Arcata. Soft, jewel-like hues of yellow lilac, green, aqua, red, blue and taupe ($12-83). Give the birds in your garden a one-stop bath/exceptional aesthetic experience by giving a birdlover one of the pretty and whimsical mosaic birdbaths made by Tina Amidor, who also teaches mosiac birdbath glasses at the Stained Glass Garden. They’re all knockouts, but my favorite was one that featured pieces of old-fashioned china teacups decorated with floral motifs. ($250-650).  


Looking for a nice way to present photographs and other mementos? Miki’s Papers (1842 Fourth St.) has beautiful handcrafted photo albums covered with exquisite Japanese, European and domestic papers by a Kensington artisan. The pages inside are acid-free ($20-60). Do you have a small gift that needs a special box? Miki’s has charming paper-covered boxes custom-made in Japan in unusual geometric shapes ($20 and up). Any gift would be enhanced by being wrapped in one of the store’s exquisite Thai and Japanese papers that are almost like cloth. One standout is printed with gingko leaves on a background of either red, olive, cream or silver. Other designs are abstract. 2 x 3 feet. ($5).  


I first walked into Hydra (1716 Fourth St.) in a mood of delight, curiosity and concern. My consumer self was delighted by the big fake rubber ducky floating outside the store and curious to see what lay inside. What I found was an amazing variety of real rubber ducks—zebra ducks, devil ducks, Statue of Liberty ducks, wedding ducks, to name only a few—and a marvelous array of bath products in over 200 flavors/scents. But my local land-use activist self was also curious to find out if the items for sale were made on the premises, as they should have been, given that the property lies in the Mixed Use-Light Industry zone. Here, I feared, was yet another example of creeping commercialization of Berkeley’s light manufacturing district. So I was further delighted to learn that the all natural soaps—most vegan, a few milk and honey—bubble baths, shower gels, shampoos and bath salts are manufactured right in back. The soaps and the salts are sold by ounce (65 cents-$1.50/oz.) I was particularly taken by the description of a soap colored to resemble an American flag and called “Old Glory”: “With air and citrus notes, no matter how you slice it, it smells like freedom.” Believe it. (Old Glory is $1.50/oz.)  


If the artisanal spirit is stirring in a deserving acquaintance, consider giving that person a gift certificate for a class or classes at West Berkeley’s Building Education Center (812 Page St., 525-7610). Since 1992, the Building Education Center has been offering hands-on classes in carpentry, ceramic tile, plumbing, electrical wiring, landscaping, owner contracting, apartment building management and other home construction, remodelling and maintenance subjects. Classes range from one-day or weekend- intensives to courses running one night a week for a month. Fees run from $50 to $495. Parking is easy and free.  



A Play Forgotten 60 Years Ago Comes To Life in Berkeley Rep Production By BETSY M. HUNTON

Special to the Planet
Friday December 03, 2004

Berkeley Repertory is joining in a production called Polk County with Princeton’s McCarter Theatre, and here it is, the East Coast cast, same director, same staging, same everything. It sounds as if the Rep is getting off pretty easy. But it turns out that it isn’t all that easy at all, as we’ll get into later. The question now is, what’s the reason for all the hoopla?  

The reason is that it’s a very big deal. Make that a very big deal. It’s not only the first West Coast showing of a play by Zora Neale Hurston, a major writer from the period of creative flowering between the two World Wars known as the Harlem Renaissance. She was also, as you may have grasped, a woman. And a black woman. She’s a significant writer whose prominence has been re-established in the years since 1973 when the renowned author Alice Walker brought her back into public attention. 

But Polk County was totally lost. It was part of a group of 10 mostly unproduced manuscripts that Hurston placed with the Library of Congress for copyrighting in 1944. She never came back. Zora Neale Hurston died in poverty in 1960. 

What happened then sounds classically romantic; years later, a retired librarian named John Wayne decided to spend time checking out unpublished and overlooked manuscripts in the Library of Congress. (Cathy Madison, who shares honors with director Kyle Donnelly in the play’s rescue from oblivion, says that there are over 250,000 unpublished manuscripts at the Library of Congress “waiting to be discovered.”) Understandably, Wayne chose to focus his work one of his favorite writers, Hurston, and located 10 mostly unproduced, all unpublished, plays.  

Madison, who at that time was literary manager at Washington’s Arena Stage, seems to be “the first person from theater to have actually read the manuscript.” Turned on by a minor piece in the Washington Post, she and Kyle Donnelly (director and co-adaptor of the Princeton-Berkeley production and at that time the associate artistic director at Arena) agreed to look into the Hurston find, and they both fell in love with the play.  

It took about five years for them to convince the artistic director at Arena to produce it. Madison was understandably reluctant to chance the play as it appears in the manuscript. Estimates of its uncut length are that it would run up to about four and a half hours. She says that it took her three hours just to read the play and points out that there are twenty songs in addition to the dialogue. 

There was work to be done before it could be presented to a contemporary audience. 

After Arena co-produced a public reading at the library in 2000 which was a smash success, the artistic director became more enthusiastic about the play’s stage potential and Kyle Donnelly directed the first production at Washington’s Arena stage. It won the Helen Hayes Award for Best New Musical. 

Donnelly then went to Princeton’s Mathews Theatre at the McCarter Theatre Center, where she worked with the Berkeley Rep to polish the play into the production that we can now see at the Berkeley Rep. 

Will Leggit, the Rep’s production manager, quickly shoots down ideas that a co-production such as the one that is on stage here means little more than splitting the costs. He describes a process in which the Berkeley staff was actively involved in significant decisions about the play’s presentation. It seems to be a process which varies from one such production to another, depending upon the individuals involved.  

The idea of such close cooperation between artistic people with so much at stake is a mind-boggling concept in itself, but the relatively simple task of organizing the cross-continent transportation and living arrangements seems daunting enough. Arranging to collect a director, seventeen actors with who knows how many musical instruments per actor, a huge stage set and, no doubt, other stuff, too, (and maybe more people. Who’s counting? The lead actress, Kecia Lewis, does a smashing job in between bouts at home with her 1-year old child.) 

We will ignore the issue of providing housing for this small mob for over eight weeks. Leggit dismisses the problem with a casual, “We have that, and the McCarter doesn’t. That’s why we brought them here, rather than the other way around” 

Perhaps the ultimate surprise in it all is Leggit’s explanation that the reason that theaters are presenting an increasing number of co-productions is that “It’s an economy measure.”

Day Trip to Sonoma, Home of the Bear Republic By MARTA YAMAMOTO

Special to the Planet
Friday December 03, 2004

It’s a beautiful, crisp morning in the town of Sonoma. Sunlight reflects off color-saturated autumn foliage and whitewashed adobe buildings. From the park in Sonoma Plaza, a pleasant walk leads you past Sonoma State Historic Park, charming boutiques, enticing eateries and beautifully restored Victorian homes. A perfect day for an extended “paseo” in the heart of wine country. 

Highway 121 delivers you into the Sonoma Valley. Lined with thousands of acres of vineyards and well-known wineries, the land expands to share its wealth. Signs of fall abound, from the earth tones of sere native grasses to the vibrant golds, rusts, and purples of grape leaves. Fog clings to the sensual contours of rolling hills, with new blades of grass sprouting among the amber curves. Expansive fields, thick groves of oak and eucalyptus, and soaring birds preview a day in the country. 

Sonoma’s heritage dates back to California’s mission system and its fight for independence from Mexico. Mission San Francisco Solano de Sonoma was established in 1823. Soon after, General Vallejo, in charge of San Francisco’s Presidio, came north to Sonoma to establish a garrison and make his home. In June of 1846, today’s peaceful Sonoma Plaza was the site of the Bear Flag Revolt when settlers raised the flag of the new Bear Republic. Independence was short lived, California joined the United States one month later, but the bear flag remains and Sonoma is its birthplace.  

At eight acres, the once barren plaza of the 1800s, the largest of its kind in California, is an oasis of green. The site of early fiestas and parades now meets the needs of Sonoma’s residents and visitors. Light filters through towering trees onto dense lawns, a lovely rose garden and stone fountain, a small duck pond, and comfortable benches. Well-spaced picnic tables beckon for an al fresco meal. Home to the original City Hall and the Old Library, now housing the visitor center, it’s easy to see why this plaza is Sonoma’s focal point. 

You can easily plan a full day visiting historical attractions and enjoying their tours, browsing first class shops and sampling Sonoma’s treats, all within easy walking distance. Arriving early will even ensure you an all-day free parking spot in the public lot. 

Sonoma State Historic Park consists of six historical attractions, five around the northeast corner of the Plaza: the Mission, the Barracks, the Blue Wing Inn, the Toscano Hotel, and La Casa Grande. The sixth, General Vallejo’s home, a short half mile drive or walk, might best be saved for the end of your visit. Additional historic landmarks, identified by plaques, surround the Plaza and today house thriving businesses. 

Mission San Francisco Solano marked the end of the 300-year mission trail, being the last mission established and the most northern. The long adobe wing, the oldest building in Sonoma, serves as a museum and a gallery for 61 watercolors by Chris Jorgensen. In 1903 he traveled along El Camino Real documenting, in lovely detail, all of California’s surviving missions. In the Chapel, mission style décor, with its bold colors and primitive designs, is stark and arresting. Outside, in the courtyard, view the construction of the three-foot thick adobe walls and the bundles of reeds tied down with leather straps to form the roof. 

In 1834 soldiers traveled north to Sonoma to serve as buffers to Russian expansion from Fort Ross and to prepare the way for settlers. Inside the Sonoma Barracks, an attractive two-story adobe building, you can read a soldier’s dormitory and see the list of what every soldier was expected to provide for his tour of duty, which included six horses and a mule. Enjoy a historical video at the indoor theater, and then wander through the Barracks Books and Gift Shop amid its Bear Flag memorabilia. Upstairs, let the view from the wide balcony overlooking the courtyard take you back to the enticing smells of fresh bread baking in the brick forno and meat roasting on the iron grill. 

Next door at the Toscano Hotel, one dollar once bought workingmen room and board. On weekend afternoons, docents from the Sonoma League for Historic Preservation, resplendent in period dress, give tours of the artfully refurbished hotel. Their stories bring to life the wood paneled bar, its tables complete with cards and chips for a game of poker and a shot of whiskey, and the cheerful kitchen where 39 cents purchased a home cooked dinner. 

Continue your paseo to take advantage of the wide variety and quality of goods offered around the plaza: clothing, jewelry, ceramics, blown glass, home furnishings, art galleries and wine shops. Old style architecture, secret shop-filled courtyards and alleys and appealing landscaping make shopping a pleasure. At Baksheesh, handcrafted gifts from developing counties are offered in fair trade agreement with the artisans. Weavings from Guatemala, a Himalayan bead calendar and glass earrings from Chile are among the many reasonably priced treasures found there. At The Sign of the Bear you’ll find everything you could want for cooking and dining, including the modern day version of a wicker picnic basket. Picnic Time Columbus Backpack comes fully equipped with all the amenities needed for a “formal” picnic, including wine glasses and vineyard motif plates and napkins. 

Use your Picnic Backpack and Sonoma’s bounty for a plaza picnic. The Basque Boulangerie Cafe is always busy; making a selection is so difficult. Pick up a Basque Round or a Long Sour and don’t forget something for desert—brownies or a Gateau Basque. There are 24 gourmet options at the Sonoma Sausage Grill and Retail Shop and it won’t be any easier to choose between Hawaiian Portuguese, Chicken Spinach-Feta or a Sonoma Dog. Sonoma’s Cheese Factory, on the plaza, and Vella Cheese Factory, two blocks from the plaza, are famous for their Jack Cheeses. The Cheese Factory carries 10 varieties of Classic Jack from spicy Habanero to mellow Vidalia onion as well as a full deli of cured meats, antipasto and salads. At Vella Cheese, the Bear Flag brand of Dry Jack has been a quality product for over 70 years. The handsome old stone building, erected in 1904, and the friendly staff are worth the short walk. 

It would be a shame to visit Sonoma without expanding your paseo beyond the plaza. Within a one-block perimeter you’ll discover handsome Victorians, painted in sparkling white and contrasting hues, set on large lots lovingly landscaped with shade-giving trees, lush green lawns and beds of colorful flowers. Each one unique, carefully restored and adding to Sonoma’s heritage and charm. 

Save time on your way out of town for a visit to Lachryma Montis, General Vallejo’s home for 35 years. A narrow lane, lined with towering oaks and cottonwoods, leads you to the Gothic style American Victorian house, attractively painted in yellow and green. Stroll among the well tended gardens, the outbuildings, pavilions and fountains, and the vine-covered arbor leading to the pool for which the estate was named. The half-timbered brick Chalet, built as a warehouse for wine and fruit, now serves as the park’s interpretive center and museum. Inside the house, furnished with many of Vallejo’s personal effects, imagine the general in his library of more than 12,000 books, rewriting his La Historia de California. The mansion, the name of which translates to “Tear of the Mountian,” is a bucolic tribute to an important figure in Sonoma’s past.  

At the end of the day the autumn sun descends through the sky while the angle of its light accentuates the richness of the colors around you. A fitting partner to the richness of experiences gleaned from a day spent revisiting the past and celebrating the present in historic Sonoma. 



Berkeley This Week

Friday December 03, 2004


Outings on Fridays with Berkeley Architectural Heritage Association Tour of the Cameron-Stanford House in Oakland at 11 a.m. Cost is $15. Reservations required. 841-2242. www.berkeleyheritage.com  

City Commons Club Noon Luncheon with Bruce Cain, Prof. of Political Science, UCB, speaking about the election. Luncheon at 11:45 a.m. for $13, speech at 12:30 p.m., at the Berkeley City Club, 2315 Durant St. For reservations call 526-2925.  

American Indian Pow-Wow and Craft Fair from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. in the R Building cafeteria, Merritt College, 12500 Campus Drive, Oakland. Cultural entertainment and Grand Entry at 1 and 7 p.m. Benefits the American Indian Child Resource Center. www.aicrc.org 

First Fridays Film Series “In Bad Company” Fr. Bill O’Donnell in conversation with Martin Sheen, filmed in Dec. 1998, at 7:30 p.m. at St. Joseph the Worker Church, 1640 Addison St. Free. 482-1062. 

Bhopal: 20 Years of Survival with a screening of “Bhopal Express” at 7 p.m. at the Ecology Center, 2530 San Pablo Ave. Cost is $5-$50. All proceeds to go to The International Campaign for Justice in Bhopal. 415-981-1771. 

Christmas Play Auditions for Arlington Community Church Christmas Play 6 to 8 p.m. for children ages six and fourteen, and various adult roles. To reserve audition slot call 526-9146. 

Hayehwatha Institute Peace Ceremonies with Andree Morgana at 7 p.m. at Belladonna, 2436 Sacramento St. Cost is $10. 883-0600. www.belladonna.ws 

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. 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. 655-6169. www.bpf.org 

Overeaters Anonymous meets at 1:30 p.m. at the Northbrae Church at Solano and The Alameda. 525-5231. 


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

“Winter Blooms!” Free garden tours at Regional Parks Botanic Garden. Sat. and Sun. at 2 pm. Regional Parks Botanic Garden, Tilden Park. 845-4116. www.nativeplants.org 

Long Walk with Your Dog Meet at 2 p.m. at Meadows Playfield in Tilden Park for a 3.5 mile walk along Wildcat Gorge. 525-2233. 

PAWS Holiday Photos Have your pet photographed in a fundraiser for Berkeley-East Bay Humane Society from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Red Hound Pet Store, 5523 College Ave. Cost is $20. 845-7735 ext. 19. www.berkeleyhumane.org 

Holiday Decorations - Naturally Create wreaths and garlands using natural materials. Bring a pair of small hand clippers, a bag lunch, and a large flat box to take home your creations. From noon to 3:30 p.m. at Tilden Nature Area, Tilden Park. For adults and children 8 and over. Cost is $30-$61. Reservations required. 636-1684. 

Fungus Fair The beauty, tastes, smells and intricacies of the world of fungi from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Oakland Museum of California, 10th and Oak Sts. 238-2200. www.museumca.org 

Palestinian Handcrafts Holiday Sale Embroidered pillows, dresses, vests, scarves etc, hand painted pottery, puppets/dolls, olivewood crafts, fresh olive oil and olive soap from Palestine. Arabic food will be available for sale. From 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Berkeley Friends’ Meeting House, 2151 Vine St. All proceeds will go directly to the artists and farmers. 

Decorate a Flower Pot, Plant a Bulb from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Albany Library, 1247 Marin Ave. Free and open to all ages. 526-3720 ext. 17. 

Berkeley Artisans Holiday Open Studios Sat and Sun. from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. For map see www.berkeleyartisans.com 

Reused and Recycled Handicraft Sale from 10 a.m. to noon at GAIA, Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives, 1958 University Ave. 883-9490. www.no-burn.org 

Berkeley Potters Guild Sale from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Sat. and Sun. through Dec. 19. 731 Jones St. 524-7031. www.berkeleypotters.com 

Holiday Open House Gardening and writing books will be featured at Small Press Distribution from noon to 4 p.m. Readings at 2 p.m. 1341 Seventh St. at Gilman. 524-1668. www.spdbooks.org 

Holiday Crafts Fair from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Berkeley Farmers’ Market, Martin Luther King, Jr. Civic Center Park. 548-3333. www.ecologycenter.org 

Holiday Plant Sale with bulbs, house plants, cacti and succulants, carnivorous plants and orchids from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Botanical Garden, 200 Centennial Dr. 643-2755. 

Holiday Arts Fair at the California College of the Arts from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at 5212 Broadway at College Ave. 594-3666. 

Arts and Crafts Sale from noon to 5 p.m. at Oak Center, 1324 Adeline St. at 14th. 

American Indian Pow-Wow and Craft Fair from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. in the R Building cafeteria, Merritt College, 12500 Campus Drive, Oakland. Benefits the American Indian Child Resource Center. www.aicrc.org 

Community Arts and Wellness Day with yoga, martial arts, dance classes and more from 2 p.m. to midnight at Studio Rasa, 933 Parker St. Cost is $10-$20. Sponsored by Studio Rasa and Epic Arts. 843-2787. 

Artisan Marketplace from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Belladonna 2436 Sacramento St. 883-0600. www.belladonna.ws 

Connecting Through Dance “Music of the Night” Fund-raiser to connect sighted and visually impaired communities. The program includes dance between sighted and visually impaired partners, as well as instruction and open-floor dancing for all. At 7 p.m. at Lake Merritt Dance Center, 200 Grand Ave., Oakland. Tickets are $20 in advance, $25 at the door. 501-4713. 

CopWatch Know Your Rights Workshop A free training from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. covering your rights when you are stopped, how to keep safe while documenting/observing the police, what we can do if police have violated our rights. 2022 Blake St. 548-0425. 

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


Celebration of Forest Activism and Silent Auction to benefit the Bay Area Coalition for Headwaters, with food, live music and book signings from 4 to 8 p.m. at Unitarian Fellowship Hall, 1924 Cedar at Bonita. 548-3113. www.HeadwatersPreserve.org 

Voyage Through Time Make a flipper book of the motions of the Earth’s continents over the past 250 million years, from 10 a.m. to noon at Tilden Nature Area. Cost is $5-$7, registration required. 525-2233. 

Astronmony of the Star of Bethlehem with a slide show on recent ideas about the star and how great writers have told its tale, at 2 p.m. at Tilden Nature Center. 525-2233. 

Art Show and Holly Fair from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Berkeley, 1 Lawson Rd., Kensington. 525-0302. www.uucb.org 

Holiday Art Show and Sale with works by the Albany Adult School Senior Painting and Drawing Class from 1 to 4 p.m. at the Albany Senior Center, 846 Masonic Ave. 524-9122. 

Richmond Art Center Arts Festival from noon to 5 p.m. at 2540 Barret Ave., Richmond. 620-6772. www.therichmondartcenter.org 

Pottery of Marty Weinstein on sale from noon to 5 p.m. at 871 Indian Rock Ave. Half of all proceeds go to Bay Area Community Resource. 526-5823. 

She Made Holiday Arts Bazaar to benefit the Women’s Daytime Drop-In Center from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Pro Arts Gallery, 550 Second St., Oakland at Jack London Square. www.she-made.com 

Fungus Fair The beauty, tastes, smells and intricacies of the world of fungi from noon to 5 p.m. at the Oakland Museum of California, 10th and Oak Sts. 238-2200. www.museumca.org 

Introduction to TaKeTiNa, rhythmic group process, from 1 to 4 p.m. at Ashkenaz, back studio, 1317 San Pablo Ave. Cost is $25-$45 sliding scale, no one will be turned away for lack of funds. 650-493-8046. 

“Eyes of the Beholder” workshop from 2 to 5 p.m. at the Hillside Community Church, 1422 Navellier St, El Cerrito. 415-383-7159. www.essential-motion.com 

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 

Tibetan Buddhism with Lee Nichol on “The Self Traversing Time” at 6 p.m. at the Tibetan Nyingma Institute, 1815 Highland Pl. 843-6812. www.nyingmainstitute.com 


Public Hearing on Mental Health The public is invited to comment on gaps in services in the mental health system, how to expand services, and on the need for prevention and early intervention at 6 p.m. at the South Berkeley Senior Center. For further information contact Harvey Tureck at 981-5213. 

Civic Arts Grant Workshop Sponsored by the City of Berkeley Civic Arts Commission at 6:30 p.m. at the North Berkeley Senior Center. For information call Charlotte Fredriksen 981-7539. 

Tea at Four Taste some of the finest teas from the Pacific Rim and South Asia and learn their natural and cultural history, followed by a short nature walk. At 4 p.m. at Tilden Nature Area, in Tilden Park. Cost is $5-$7, registration required. 525-2233. www.ebparks.org 

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

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. 


Mid-Day Meander from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m. at Pt. Isabel. Meet at the parking lot at the end of Rydin Rd. Canine companions welcome. 525-2233. 

Snowcamping 101 A training session and slide lecture with Jodi Bailey and Kalle Hoffman at 7 p.m. at REI, 1338 San Pablo Ave. 527-4140. 

“Water Follies: The Environmental Consequences of Groundwater Pumping” with Robert Glennon, Morris K. Udall Prof. of Law & Public Policy, Univ. of Arizona, at 5:30 p.m. in 10 Evans Hall, UC Campus. Sponsored by the Water Resources Center Archives. 642-2666. 

Red Cross Mobile Blood Drive from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Berkeley Repertory Theater, 2025 Addison St. 1-800-GIVE-LIFE. www.BeADonor.com 

Open House for Wu-Wei Acupuncture and Healing Center from 3 to 5 p.m. Learn about Chinese medicine. 520-7835. www.wuwei-acupuncture.com 

Family Story Time at the Kensington Branch Library, Tues. evenings at 7 p.m. at 61 Arlington Ave. 524-3043. 

Berkeley Salon Discussion Group meets to discuss “Why Should We Explore Outer Space” from 7 to 9 p.m. at the Berkeley Richmond Jewish Community Center, 1414 Walnut St. Please bring snacks and soft drinks to share. No peanuts please. 601-6690. 

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

Cantabile Choral Guild Auditions at 7 p.m. at All Souls Episcopal Church, 2220 Cedar St. To schedule an audition time call 650-424-1410. 

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. 


Holiday Wreath Making Class from 7 to 9 p.m. at the Botanical Garden, 200 Centennial Dr. Cost is $25-$30. Registration required. 643-2755. 

“Ethical and Racial Diversity in the Jewish Community” with Booker Holton, Ph.D, at 11:30 a.m. at the BRJCC, 1414 Walnut St. Cost is $5. 848-0237.  

Life Line Screening for stroke at University Inn, 920 University Ave. Appointments begin at 9 a.m. Cost is $125. For information or to schedule an appointment call 1-800-697-9721. 

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. 

Poetry Writing Workshop, led by Alison Seevak, every second Wed. at 7 p.m. at the Albany Library, Edith Stone Room, 1247 Marin Ave. Registration required. 526-3700, ext. 20. 

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


“Death of a Shaman” a film about the Mien people who came as refugees from Southeast Asia to Kansas, at 6:30 p.m. at the Ellen Driscoll Theater, Frank Havens Elementary School, 325 Highland Ave., Piedmont. Sponsored by the Appreciating Diversity Film Committee. 599-9227. www.diversityworks.org 

Going Local: The Power of Growing Food Locally A panel discussion featuring three food policy experts and activists who will explore the power of supporting locally grown food in the face of mounting industrialization of the world’s food system. At 7 p.m. at the Ecology Center, 2530 San Pablo Ave. 548-2220, ext. 233. 

West Berkeley Holiday Party from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Wells Fargo Bank, 1065 University Ave. Sponsored by the West Berkeley neighborhood Development Corporation. 845-4106. 

Community Menorah Lighting with music, clown, fire-juggler, dreidels and Chanukah gelt at 5 p.m. at Cody’s Books, 1730 Fourth St.  

Red Cross Mobile Blood Drive from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the Pauley Ballroom, UC Campus. 1-800-GIVE-LIFE. www.BeADonor.com 

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


Alameda County Community Food Bank’s Annual Food Drive accepts donations of non-perishable food in the red barrel at any Safeway or Albertson’s. 834-3663. www.accfb.org 

Firefighters Toy Drive Donate new, unwrapped toys and canned food to any Berkeley fire station. For information call 981-5506. 

Find a Loving Animal Companion at the Berkeley-East Bay Humane Society Adoption Center, 2700 Ninth St. 845-7735. www.berkeleyhumane.org  

United Way Bay Area is recruiting volunteer tax preparers and greeters/interpreters in Alameda County to assist low-income families who are eligible for free tax assistance and refunds. No previous tax preparation experience is necessary. There is a special need for volunteers who can speak Spanish, Chinese, and Vietnamese. Training sessions begin Jan. 8. Register now by calling 800-273-6222. www.earnitkeepitsaveit.org  


Council Agenda Committee meets Mon., Dec. 6 at 2:30 p.m., at 2180 Milvia St. 981-6900. www.ci.berkeley.ca. 


Berkeley Rent Stabilization Board meets Mon. Dec. 6, at 7 p.m. in City Council Chambers, Pam Wyche, 644-6128 ext. 113. www.ci.berkeley.ca.us/rent 

Landmarks Preservation Commission meets Mon., Dec. 6, at 7:30 p.m., at the North Berkeley Senior Center. Gisele Sorensen, 981-7419. ww.ci.berkeley.ca. 


Parks and Recreation Commission meets Mon., Dec. 6, at 7 p.m., at the North Berkeley Senior Center. Virginia Aiello, 981-5158. www.ci.berkeley.ca.us/ 


Peace and Justice Commission meets Mon., Dec. 6, at 7 p.m., at the North Berkeley Senior Center. Manuel Hector, 981-5510. www.ci.berkeley.ca.us/ 


Youth Commission meets Mon., Dec. 6, at 6:30 p.m., at 1730 Oregon St. Philip Harper-Cotton, 981-6670. www.ci.ber- 


City Council meets Tues., Dec. 7, at 7 p.m in City Council Chambers. 981-6900. www.ci. 


Commission on Disability meets Wed., Dec. 8, at 6:30 p.m. at the North Berkeley Senior Center. Don Brown, 981-6346. TDD: 981-6345. www.ci.berkeley.ca.us/commissions/disability 

Energy Commission meets Wed., Dec. 8, at 6:30 p.m., at the North Berkeley Senior Center. Neal De Snoo, 981-5434. www.ci.berkeley.ca.us/commissions/energy 

Library Board of Trustees meets Thurs. Dec. 8, at 7 p.m. at 1125 University Ave., Jackie Y. Griffin, 981-6195. www.ci.ber 


Planning Commission meets Wed., Dec. 8, at 7 p.m., at the North Berkeley Senior Center. Janet Homrighausen, 981-7484. www.ci.berkeley. ca.us/ 


Waterfront Commission meets Wed., Dec. 8, at 7 p.m., at 201 University Ave. Cliff Marchetti, 644-6376 ext. 224. www.ci.berkeley.ca.us/commissions/waterfront 

Commission on Early Childhood Education meets Thurs., Dec. 9, at 7 p.m., at the North Berkeley Senior Center. Angellique De Cloud, 981-5428. www.ci.berkeley. ca.us/commissions/earlychildhoodeducation 

Community Health Commission meets Thurs, Dec. 9, at 6:45 p.m. at the South Berkeley Senior Center. William Rogers, 981-5344. www.ci.berkeley.ca.us/commissions/health 

Housing Advisory Commission meets Thurs., Dec. 9, at 7 p.m. at the South Berkeley Senior Center. Oscar Sung, 981-5400. www.ci.berkeley.ca.us/commissions/housing 

West Berkeley Project Area Commission meets Thurs., Dec. 9, at 7 p.m., at the West Berkeley Senior Center. Iris Starr, 981-7520. www.ci.berkeley.ca.us/commissions/westberkeley  

Zoning Adjustments Board meets Thurs., Dec. 9, at 7 p.m., in City Council Chambers. Mark Rhoades, 981-7410. www.ci.ber- 




Changes Would Speed Landmarks Process By BECKY O'MALLEY

Tuesday December 07, 2004

On Wednesday of this week the Planning Commission has scheduled a workshop to discuss proposed revisions to the Landmark Preservation Ordinance. More hours of my life than I care to count, over a four-year period while I was on the Landmark Preservation Commission, were devoted to work on a revised LPO which was ultimately endorsed last summer by a majority of LPC commissioners. Practically every clause represents a compromise between commissioners who are dedicated to conserving old buildings as much as possible and those who regard some old buildings as opportunity sites for new construction. But like most compromises, the attempt to please everyone might turn out to have pleased no one. 

The Planning Commission has no actual authority over the Landmark Ordinance itself, which must be passed by the City Council, though it does approve any zoning ordinance revisions which are needed to implement it. But commissioners seem eager to conduct an exhaustive review of the full revised ordinance nonetheless. The Planning Commission has recently been dominated by commissioners who are gung-ho for curbing what they imagine to be the excessive power of preservationists. Several of them are veterans of the battle for the Temple Beth-El site, now under construction.  

Which means, probably, that the attempt to revise the LPO will drag on for many months more as planning commissioners attempt to get up to speed on its complex provisions. This laborious schedule is ironic in view of the supposed urgency with which the revision process was originally launched by the city attorney’s office.  

For some reason, the pressing need for a new ordinance seems to have evaporated. The cynical view, to which I have now been converted after voting for the revisions while I was on the LPC, is that most of the proposed changes were never actually needed, which is why city staff now seems willing to let the process drag on at the Planning Commission.  

One revision, and only one revision, is absolutely necessary. It could be enacted by the new City Council immediately, at their next meeting, if they so chose. The LPC must be given the authority to deny an application for demolition of a historic resource (usually a building). The Permit Streamlining Act guarantees that applicants for permits such as demolition permits will spend only a limited number of days in limbo, after which the city is required to tell them Yes or No. If the LPC could give applicants a clear No to demolition permit applications on occasion, the requirements of the Permit Streamlining Act would be satisfied. The applicant could then appeal the decision to the City Council, which might reverse it. Most of the other proposed changes to the ordinance are window-dressing, and could be accomplished by changes in procedures within the Planning Department, no legislation needed.  

The outstanding case in point at the moment is a controversial proposal to enlarge a seminal William Wurster cottage in the hills, which slipped by Planning Department staff without being flagged as a potentially historic resource. The current LPO requires all proposals to demolish buildings in commercial zones which are over 40 years old to come before the LPC for consideration for landmark designation (though the staff sometimes “forgets” to do even this.) Residential buildings don’t get this automatic scrutiny, but it would require no ordinance change for planning staff to compile a list of famous residential architects and to ask applicants if their house was designed by anyone on the list. That wouldn’t produce 100 percent correct results, but it would avoid many of the cases where unknowing desk staff endorses alteration or even demolition for an architecturally significant house, only to have better-informed citizens petition for landmarking after a permit is already in the works. This causes no end of grief for both applicants and opponents. 

We’re going to see a lot more attempts to demolish or alter Berkeley’s world-renowned historic housing stock if the real estate boom continues. Berkeley has not yet experienced the problems of Silicon Valley, where software mogul Larry Ellison got away with dismantling a Julia Morgan house in order to replace it with a megamansion of his own concoction. But as Berkeley becomes a preferred residential destination for the new rich of the Bush era, we’re seeing more such proposals from people who have much more money than taste. A wealthy Bush contributor has already grossly enlarged a formerly charming John Hudson Thomas house without benefit of LPC review.  

Here at the Planet, we were bemused last week when the applicant for the Wurster alteration project chose to take a full page heart-tugging ad worthy of the National Enquirer to denounce an op-ed opposing her plan. Our opinion pages were open to her, of course, but she and her advisors evidently thought a paid advertisement complete with photos would make more of a splash. The ad recited charges against project opponents which skirted the cliff of libel without actually falling over it, but since the targets were pillars of the Free Speech Movement, we figured they’d be able to take it in their stride.  

But still. How much easier it would have been if the applicant had been told, from the beginning, that since her house was designed by a significant architect the LPC would be taking a look at it for possible designation as a historic resource before her permit application went to the Zoning Adjustment Board for approval. The revised ordinance would make this procedure mandatory, but the planning department could implement it immediately on a voluntary basis, and it would prevent a lot of strife. 


—Becky O’Malley 



Shop & Live: One Stop By BECKY O'MALLEY

Friday December 03, 2004

It’s become a staple Christmas Grinch feature for small town papers, metro dailies, and even NPR: The Salvation Army’s familiar bell ringers with kettles for donations are banned from yet another collection site. This year’s villain is the Target chain, which gets a fair amount of favorable publicity at other times of the year from its foundation’s support of a variety of charitable causes. Target’s excuse is that if they let the Salvation Army collect, everyone else wants to do it too. Sorry, but that’s not good enough. 

The particular virtue of the Army’s collection strategy is that it’s an instantly recognizable reminder that there are still people in need in the community—an uncomfortable and even unpalatable concept for some. Behind the scenes foundation grants, while they may accomplish some good purposes for recipients, don’t do much to educate givers. Signs in Target that X percent of profits go to charity, whether the shopper cares or not, do nothing to spread the perception of responsibility for care of the needy to the rest of society, where it properly belongs. 

The Malling of America (an apt phrase coined by William Kowinski in 1978 when the phenomenon was just getting started) has, among other things, been an attempt to create, yes, reality-free zones across the land. At the mall, the poor are not always with you, or at least they’re tastefully hidden. Malls try to ban untidy ideas as well as untidy people—the one on San Pablo on the Emeryville-Oakland border has just confiscated all of the boxes which distribute free newspapers, including ours. 

This is not to say, of course, that non-mall municipalities don’t try some of the same tricks when they can get away with it. Not too long ago, a coalition of Progs and Mods fronted a ballot initiative which tried to prevent poor people from asking for money in downtown Berkeley. It took a federal judge to explain to City Attorney Manuela Albuquerque that you really can’t ban free speech in public space as long as we still have the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.  

But malls and Target parking lots aren’t public space, they’re private fiefdoms which can if they choose ban reality-based activities on behalf of the poor. They can even ban the Salvation Army, which is both faith-based (motivated by religious belief) and reality-based (they do lots of hands-on work with the destitute). And as long as people shop only in malls they can preserve the illusion that everything’s just fine in America, no problem.  

A particularly Berkeleyesque flavor of Puritanism attempts to address the question by denouncing seasonal gift-giving altogether. While there are still people in need somewhere, the reasoning goes, you shouldn’t buy that bottle of perfume for poor old Aunt Nellie. Well, no. Internet theology (what a wonderful modern convenience that is!) informs us that Jesus uttered the much quoted comment that the poor will always be with us in the context of defending a devotee who poured expensive ointments on his head. Commentators galore link his response to principles in Jewish law which can be found in Deuteronomy 15: “For the poor shall never cease out of the land: therefore I command thee, saying, Thou shalt open thine hand wide unto thy brother, to thy poor, and to thy needy, in thy land.” (King James Version—might not be accurately translated, but it’s resonant.) The idea is that both indulgence and charity should be features of the well-ordered life. 

Fortunately, Greater Berkeley offers ample opportunities to maintain balance. As a public service, the Planet is providing a series of features on unusual gift-giving opportunities, and our loyal advertisers are sponsoring a nice holiday gift guide section in December papers. In most on-the-street shopping venues in Berkeley and environs, the Salvation Army kettles and all they represent have not been banned. For example, James Carter of the Albany Chamber of Commerce informs us that there’s one on Solano, in front of the Safeway store, not far from several lovely stores which can be found in our Holiday Gift Guide. He says that two of them have even offered to staff kettles in front of their own doors. As you do your shopping with these fine vendors, you’ll also have the opportunity to support the work the Salvation Army does year-round. What could be more convenient?  

—Becky O’Malley?