Full Text

Richard Brenneman: Asa Dodsworth, left, and Bill Trampleasure gathered at the over-the-sidewalk arbor at Dodsworth’s 2185 Acton St. home Thursday to discuss the structure’s impending city-ordered destruction..
Richard Brenneman: Asa Dodsworth, left, and Bill Trampleasure gathered at the over-the-sidewalk arbor at Dodsworth’s 2185 Acton St. home Thursday to discuss the structure’s impending city-ordered destruction..
 

News

City Fines Bring End To Arbor On Acton By RICHARD BRENNNEMAN

Friday June 10, 2005

While many who live near the corner of Acton and Addison streets see it as a neighborhood delight, city officials see it as a code violation. 

And so the homemade framework of metal pipes enclosed in polyvinyl chloride (PVC) that supports the flowering shrubbery that overhangs the sidewalk at 2185 Acton St. is headed for the chop by noon today (Friday). 

“For those of us in the neighborhood, it’s a sad day,” said Bill Trampleasure, who lives a block away. “We’ve really enjoyed it.” 

But for City Code Enforcement Supervisor Gregory Daniel, it’s just the latest chapter in the troubled relations between officialdom and the residents of what some have dubbed “the hippie house.” 

Owner Asa Dodsworth looks and speaks more like a flower child of the sixties than a typical Berkeley homeowner, and the house contains one of the city’s few remaining collectives. 

Residents and volunteers are part of Food Not Bombs, the group which provides fresh, healthy meals for the homeless in People’s Park. 

Thursday morning, two members of the collective were busily chopping up vegetables as a reporter interviewed Dodsworth about his latest run-in with the city. 

“Because the city owns the sidewalk, they issued a citation because they don’t permit any encroachment on the public right of way,” he said. “The city guy who came said he’d been here before, and he called it the ‘hippie house’ and fined me $500.” 

By this week, additional citations had brought the total fines owed to $2,000. 

“2185 Acton has worn out its get-out-of-jail free cards,” Daniel said. “The history of code problems goes back to May 2003.” 

The list of citations reflects the inherent conflicts between counterculture and bureaucracy. 

Among the violations Daniel cited were composting bins in the strip between the sidewalk and street, construction materials piled in the front yard, shopping carts in the front yard, schoolbuses and campers parked on the street and people living in the back of a truck. 

“It’s just wild,” Daniel said. 

One of the offenses involved a truck parked across the sidewalk while volunteers sorted through food for the homeless meals. 

Dodsworth said he sees a certain irony in a complaint coming about a program to feed the city’s homeless. 

“The city recently gave an award to Food Not Bombs, and if the city really wanted to show its appreciation, they’d give us money so we wouldn’t have to rely entirely on private donors,” he said. 

Neighborhood resident Nora Honbo was strolling under the arbor Thursday when Trampleasure asked what she thought about the arbor. 

“I like it,” she said. 

When told that the city had ordered its demise, Honbo asked “Why? If it’s not a danger, why should you have to take it down? The worst thing that can happen is that some leaves could fall on you. Do you have a petition?” 

A petition did exist, but the long list of signatures was no avail when it came to the city codes. 

Daniel said the metal arches violate three separate sections of city code. 

“To me, it’s simple,” he said. “Yes, it’s nice. It’s green. But you can’t go taking over public property. We gave him ample time. It’s not like we just came up and body-slammed the guy.” 

Colorful Tibetan prayer flags adorn the fence next to the arbor, and a small contemplative shrine offers a moment’s psychic retreat from the mundane world. 

Further down the fence is a poster about missing woman, along with a collection of buttons—including one proclaiming that “Bush is the only dope worth shooting.” 

The population at Dodsworth’s house is declining as some members of the collective are moving to a new home on King Street that will house a vegetarian collective. 

“It has been kind of messy,” Dodsworth acknowledged. 

Still, he said he has no plans to abandon his dream of a collective home. 

Meanwhile, faced with the heavy fines he can’t pay, Dodsworth said the arbor is coming down before the city’s noon deadline today.  

“I spent 45 minutes with him yesterday, and I told him that if he took it down we’d work on the penalties,” Daniel said. 

“I talked to Councilmember Darryl Moore and the guy from the city, and they said they’ll drop $1,500 of the fines and help me appeal the other $500 if I take it down. So I will,” Dodsworth said. 

Even though Dodsworth is taking responsibility for the arbor, he acknowledges that he didn’t build it. 

“A guest put up the bracing about a year ago,” he said.


Library Budget Spares Jobs, Sunday Hours By MATTHEW ARTZ

Friday June 10, 2005

In a move that signals a truce in the library’s six-month labor-management war, the Library Board of Trustees approved Wednesday a $12.8 million budget that would avoid layoffs and open the door to restoring Sunday hours. 

After months of union leaders bashing Berkeley Library Director Jackie Griffin, SEIU Local 535 Northern Regional Director Joyce Baird thanked Griffin for her work in reaching a compromise on staffing and settling future labor unrest. 

Under the deal, hammered out with the help of City Manager Phil Kamlarz, the library will cut fewer clerical positions than first proposed, and a mediator will be retained to handle labor disputes. 

“I think [the fight] is settled,” said Tom Dufour, a reference librarian, who has been critical of Griffin at past meetings. 

The labor-managment dispute exploded in January when Griffin issued a budget proposal that called for layoffs and a major reorganization plan to help close an estimated $1 million budget deficit. In the following months several employees told the board that the library was understaffed and that management ignored their suggestions to stave off the budget crisis. 

“It’s been a rough year,” Griffin said. “I want to build trust back up again.”  

Griffin said she regretted releasing budget projections in January, when revenue estimates were still hazy. “What I thought was being fiscally responsible led to a whole lot of tension,” she said. 

The library’s financial fortunes turned around two months ago. Having anticipated a 2 percent increase in the city’s library tax for next year, library officials were surprised when California Personal Income Growth—an indicator that can be used to raise the library tax—came in at 4.8 percent. 

If the City Council approves the tax rate, the library will receive an additional $556,980. When coupled with over $600,000 saved last year by not filling vacant positions, the library fund is now nearly $1 million in the black. The City Council will vote on the tax rate on June 28. 

The final budget calls for reducing nearly five full-time positions, all of which are vacant, as opposed to the initial proposal, which called for laying off the equivalent of 12 full-time employees. 

The sudden influx of money has board members now pushing Griffin to restore library service on Sundays. 

 

Griffin said she had no doubt that “we will be open on Sunday for some amount of time” but declined to estimate the cost of reopening the library on Sundays or when service would be restored. 

Griffin credited the library’s controversial program to install tracking devices (RFIDs) on materials with enabling it to consider extending hours, which were cut last year to save money. 

“If we can open on Sundays, it will be because RFID has allowed us to use staff in more efficient ways,” she said. 

But the technology, first approved by the board last June and scheduled to be fully implemented this August, is opposed by local free speech advocates. Berkeleyans Organized for Library Defense, an anti-RFID group, has joined forces with local anti-tax organization Berkeleyans Against Soaring Taxes to lobby the council to reject the higher library tax as long as the library intends to implement RFID. 

With the board scheduled to host a forum on the technology June 20, board members split over whether the program could be dismantled at such a late stage. Ying Lee, the newest board member, argued that the library should not consider RFID a done deal. “I’m going into the meeting with an open mind,” she said. 

However, Board President Mary Anderson said she didn’t view the forum as a chance for the board to turn its back on RFID, but an opportunity to see “how to make the system work best for Berkeley.” 


Former KPFA Employee Charges Sex Discrimination By MATTHEW ARTZ

Friday June 10, 2005

A former KPFA radio employee has filed a sexual discrimination and harassment suit against the station, charging that she was repeatedly harassed by her male supervisor and that station management refused to respond to her complaints and ultimately fired her when she continued to press her concerns.  

In a lawsuit filed in March, Noelle Hanrahan, the former producer and co-host of KPFA’s Flashpoints News Magazine, charged that the program’s executive producer and co-host Dennis Bernstein sought to drive her off the show and at one point told her, “I’m going torture you until you quit or I force you to leave.” 

The complaint alleges that as the abuse worsened, then-General Manager Jim Bennett refused to investigate Hanrahan’s claims, telling her, “If you file a grievance, it will only get worse.” 

He eventually placed her on leave in February 2002 and seven months later terminated her, according to the complaint. 

Bernstein and Bennett could not be reached for comment. 

Current KPFA General Manager Roy Campanella II said station policy prevented him from discussing the lawsuit. 

Bernstein, an investigative reporter, poet, Palestinian activist, and longtime KPFA producer, has been hit by other allegations of sexual discrimination and harassment, according to the complaint. Last week, another female producer at Flashpoints, Solange Echeverria, resigned citing abusive behavior by Bernstein. 

“I was forced out ... I reported unfair treatment, favoritism, abuse and hostile working conditions on the Flashpoint program ... and I was met with complete disrespect and disregard,” she wrote in an open letter to the KPFA Local Station Board. 

Tanya Brannan, of the women’s rights group Purple Berets, said a number of women have been forced from KPFA over the years. 

“It’s very difficult for women in public radio to stand up to that kind of harassment,” said Brannan, who has assisted Hanrahan in filing the lawsuit. “There are so few jobs that if you get blacklisted there aren’t many places you can go.” 

The lawsuit lists as defendants Bernstein, Bennett, KPFA, and Pacifica, the station’s parent network. It seeks punitive damages for sexual harassment, retaliation, negligent supervision, wrongful termination, and infliction of emotional distress. 

Wendy Musell, Hanrahan’s attorney, said her client decided to file suit after KPFA rejected her attempts to regain her job and win lost pay. 

The complaint alleges Hanrahan was subjected to Bernstein’s abuse periodically from 1998 through 2002. After Hanrahan complained of Bernstein’s behavior, Pacifica in November 2001 demoted her to host only 40 percent of Flashpoints, according to the suit. Later that month, the complaint alleges that Bernstein interrupted her on the air, urging listeners to call for her removal and to call KPFA management in a show of support for him. 

Bernstein received a 10-day suspension for the outburst, according to the lawsuit. 

In February 2002, after Hanrahan had reiterated her complaints, the complaint alleges that KPFA changed the locks on the doors so she could not come to work and placed her on involuntary leave. She was fired that September. 

Hanrahan, a winner of three public radio awards, now produces the Prison Radio Project, a vehicle that often airs the writings of Mumia Abu-Jamal, the former Black Panther and journalist convicted of killing a Philadelphia police officer. 


School Board Postpones Jefferson Name Change By J DOUGLAS ALLEN-TAYLOR

Friday June 10, 2005

The Jefferson Elementary School name controversy did not end with the decision by Jefferson parents/guardians, school staff, and students to change the school’s name to Sequoia. 

On Wednesday members of the Board of Directors of the Berkeley Unified School District indicated that they were as divided as they could be on whether or not to accept the name change. And with the district asking for public input before a vote in two weeks, the conflict could escalate. 

It was the first time the board weighed in on the name change. Board President Nancy Riddle said, “The board did not want to meddle in the process while it was being decided at the school site.” 

The Jefferson name controversy began two years ago when a group of parents, guardians, and Jefferson staff petitioned the district to change the school’s name. 

“Thomas Jefferson is revered as the primary author of one of the world’s most respected and beloved documents,” the petition read. “Jefferson is also a man who held as many as 150 African and African-American men, women and children in bondage, denying them the very rights which he had asserted for all in the Declaration of Independence.” 

The petition continued, “A school name which fails to acknowledge or respect the depth and importance of their people’s collective sorrow is personally offensive. … It is time to consider a name which unites us as a community.” 

The Jefferson School community voted last month to change the school’s name to Sequoia. Students and staff voted to change the school’s name by wide margins. The vote among parents and guardians was closer, 67 to 61 to change the name. 

The school vote is a recommendation that must be approved by the school board. 

At Wednesday’s meeting, Board Vice President Terry Doran and Director John Selawsky indicated that they would probably vote to approve the name change, while directors Joaquin Rivera and Shirley Issel said they would vote against it. Riddle said she had not yet made up her mind. 

Riddle said that since she lives near Jefferson School, there is a chance that the California Fair Political Practices Commission might ask her to recuse herself if the name change would have an economic effect on her property. 

Riddle said that she was “horrifically conflicted” on the name change. 

“I admire Jefferson’s legacy on education,” she said. “Most of my heroes have stood on his shoulders in that area, and most of the work I do in this district is inspired by him. But this is a board that respects the community process unless we don’t think the outcome is good for the general community.” 

Riddle also answered critics who have said that the name change discussion was a “waste of time” during a period when the district is struggling to make ends meet. 

“I think it’s good that we live in Berkeley and are having these kinds of discussions,” she said. “I think it’s very healthy.” 

The sharpest comments came from Issel, who accused name change supporters of “holding hostage our educational institutions by emotional terrorism.” 

She said, “I don’t find your arguments compelling. I find them offensive. I pray to God that none of you are judged by the standards that you’ve used to judge this situation. Somehow you’ve located the source of your discomfort, and you have decided that by changing the name of the school you’ll become more comfortable. I don’t think that will happen.” 

Issel said she agreed that “it is troubling to all of us that Jefferson held slaves,” but the district should recognize that “all of us are less than perfect. Our Founding Fathers were less than perfect.” 

Rivera said he would give his reasons for opposing the name change at the next board meeting, when the board votes. 

While neither Selawsky or Doran indicated their position on Wednesday night on the propriety of a Berkeley school named after Thomas Jefferson, both said they believed that the board vote should reflect the will of the Jefferson community. 

“My opinion of Jefferson is irrelevant,” Selawsky said. “The board vote should not be an endorsement of the school name, it should be based on whether or not the school community followed the board policy in reaching this vote.... From what I’ve heard so far, the policy was followed in this instance.” 

Selawsky noted—and other board members agreed—that the district’s name change policy itself may be flawed, and needs to be reconsidered. 

Complaints had been raised both on the board and in the Jefferson community that the school parent/guardian vote is restricted to parents and guardians of present school students, leaving out others who have had long association with the school. 

Complaints have also been made that early elementary school children aren’t equipped to make an informed decision on a school name change. 

“My five year old nephew told me he voted for Ralph Bunche as the school name because it sounded like one of his favorite cereals, Honey Bunches of Oats,” said a parent who opposed the Jefferson name change. “Is that any way to run a school district?” 

 


Hills Fire Station Over Budget, Behind Schedule By RICHARD BRENNEMAN

Friday June 10, 2005

Thirteen years after Berkeley voters approved the Hills Fire Station, the project is within a year of completion, with the final tab estimated at $6.7 million. 

Though little beyond the reinforcing bars of a retaining wall are visible from the street, City Capital Projects Manager Henry DeGraca said the project should be completed by December, barring bad weather. 

“We were hit by a lot of rain, which delayed things for a while, but we’re still on schedule,” DeGraca said. “We’re about 30 percent complete, and we have the complete foundation pads in place.” 

However, Dave Mitchell, project manager for Alten Construction, which is building the station, told a reporter at the site Thursday that completion might be a year away. 

The latest figure represents an increase from $4.39 million, the figure floated two years ago and nearly double the original estimated cost. 

The 6,920-square-foot station at the intersection of Shasta Road and Park Gate will replace the existing 2,565-square-foot station just down the hill on Shasta Road. 

If the total construction and site acquisition costs are divided by size of the new station, the per-square-foot costs are now $968, compared with the $200 per square foot paid by the City of Oakland for their new Oakland Hills Fire Station, built after the two cities failed to agree on a planned joint station. 

One of the chief reasons for the difference in costs is that the Oakland station was built on a level hilltop site while the new Berkeley station is dug into a hillside slope, which has had to be reinforced and stabilized by an expensive retaining wall. 

The fire station has been the subject of contention between neighbors who oppose the project because of both siting and cost issues and neighbors who like the current location. 

Louise Larson, a longtime hills resident who lives near the new station site, said she was especially irritated by the escalating construction costs. 

“The original estimate was $2.5 million, then it went up to $4 million and now it’s $6.7 million. It’s just so irritating,” she said.  

Opponents claim that the Berkeley hills would be better served by the originally planned joint jurisdiction station. Oakland pulled out of the arrangement after a battle over the location. 

Oakland wanted the station further south, in the area which has historically produced the overwhelming majority of fires that have devastated the costly residences built to capture the spectacular bay vistas only the hills can provide. 

Construction of the station was authorized in 1992, when Berkeley voters passed Measure G, whose provisions included a new station in the hills designed to fight wildfires. 

Initial plans called for a multi-jurisdictional station that would be built on land donated by the East Bay Regional Parks District and house about 10 vehicles and 15 to 20 firefighters from Berkeley, Oakland, the parks district and, possibly, the University of California. 

That plan was scrapped two years later, and followed six years later by the current plan. 

Oakland built its own Hills Fire Station in 1999 at 1006 Amito Ave., just two-tenths of a mile south of Claremont Ave. The design, by an architect who lives near the site after neighbors reject the city-sponsored plans, blends unobtrusively into the residential neighborhood. 

Many Berkeley residents wanted the station closer to the existing station, in part because of the paramedics and ambulance service needed by the aging and affluent population. 

Larson said DeGraca has volunteered to meet with neighbors, “but he said he had to ask his boss first.” 

Larson said she hoped that in future meetings, unlike some held earlier, neighbors would be able to get answers to critical questions. 

The new station will retain some of the original vision of the old, albeit on a much reduced scale. Some firefighters from the park district—which has its own station nearby in Tilden Park—will be assigned to the new Berkeley station on high fire danger days, which average about 15 per year. 

The official fire season started earlier this month, but the highest fire danger typically comes later in the year after annual grasses have died and dried into tinder.


Medical Pot Users’ Hopes Dim After Ruling By MATTHEW ARTZ

Friday June 10, 2005

Medical marijuana users have few promising avenues to turn to after Monday’s Supreme Court decision upholding the federal government’s authority to prosecute sick people who use and grow marijuana, according to legal experts and legislative staffers. 

Following the ruling, Angel Raich, an Oakland resident and a co-plaintiff in the case, said she would next head to Washington, D.C. to lobby Congress to change federal drug laws. 

Lawmakers are scheduled to vote next week on an amendment to the annual Justice Department appropriations bill that would forbid federal agents to use tax dollars to raid or persecute medical marijuana patients in the ten states that have legalized its use. 

Last year, despite the support of nearly the entire Bay Area delegation, including Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Oak), the amendment lost 268-148. The previous year it lost 273-152. 

A more sweeping measure, introduced for the 11th consecutive year, has even less chance for passage, according to its author. The “States’ Rights To Medical Marijuana Act” drafted by Barney Frank (D-Mass) would give states full authority to enact and implement their own medical marijuana laws without federal interference. 

The bill, however, which has 36 co-sponsors, including Rep. Lee, has never made it to a committee vote and Frank’s press secretary Kay Gibbs didn’t think the publicity surrounding Monday’s court ruling would garner it more support. 

“Congressman Frank has said that people are afraid of this legislation,” she said. “He’s not optimistic that there will be any increase in support.” 

The Supreme Court ruled Monday that Congress’s power to regulate commerce among states gave it the authority to prosecute growers and users of medical cannabis in states where the practice is legal according to state law. 

With their most persuasive legal argument rejected, Raich’s attorneys said Monday they would renew their legal argument on grounds that Raich, who suffers from an inoperable brain tumor, chronic pain and a wasting syndrome, had a constitutional right to use the drug that best eases her pain. 

The legal case is not impossible, but definitely “an uphill battle,” said Boalt Hall constitutional Law professor Jesse Choper. Referencing two right-to-die cases, Choper said it might be possible to persuade five members of the high court that in the cases where a patient is in extreme pain or facing a terminal illness, there is a constitutional right to take pain killers. 

Marsha Cohen, a pharmaceutical law professor at Hastings School of Law, was more pessimistic about Raich’s chances to renew her legal fight. She said federal courts have rejected the rights of patients to have access to illegal medicine. The court’s majority ruling, she added, referenced one case in which the high court rejected a petition for cancer sufferers to have access to a drug that had not been approved by federal regulators. 

“The court said [the federal government] can make that judgment,” Cohen said. 

The best option for medical cannabis users, she added, would be to petition the federal Drug Enforcement Agency to once again consider rescheduling marijuana as a less restricted substance.  

The Federal Drug Enforcement Agency classifies marijuana alongside heroin and cocaine as a highly addictive drug with no medical benefit. The DEA rejected an attempt in 2001 to reclassify the drug filed by medical cannabis advocate John Gettman and High Times Magazine.›


County To Consider BUSD Union Contracts By J. DOUGLAS ALLEN-TAYLOR

Friday June 10, 2005

Tentative Berkeley Unified School District contract settlements have been ratified by three school unions, but the agreements must be cleared by the Alameda County Office of Education (ACOE) before going to the BUSD Board of Directors for final approval. 

The unions include the Berkeley Federation of Teachers (BFT), the Berkeley Council of Classified Employees, which represents secretaries, office workers, and elementary school library technicians, and Local 39 of the Stationary Engineers, which represents bus drivers and custodians. 

Pre-clearance of the tentative union agreements is required by the county office because BUSD is presently officially operating under a “qualified” budget status. The district has submitted a “positive” interim budget report to ACOE which would end such restrictions, but that new budget designation has yet to be approved by the county. 

No date has been issued for clearance of the union agreements by ACOE. 

BFT President Barry Fike said that the BFT negotiations team had decided not to release the actual margin of approval of the tentative agreement by district teachers. Fike also declined any other comment on the union’s ratification or the contract itself, saying he would wait until after the contract cleared final approval by the county education office and the BUSD board. 

BCCE President Ann Graybeal said that her organization ratified the tentative agreement by a “majority vote,” and declined to release any more details. 

Representatives of Local 39 were not available for comment. A spokesperson for the district confirmed that the union had also ratified the proposed contracts. 

In a telephone interview with Graybeal held before the union’s ratification vote, she said that unlike the teachers or the bus drivers and custodians, BCCE was not working on a new contract, but has been negotiating what is called a “reopener” of the existing 2004-07 pact. In reopeners, either side of the party is allowed to ask for contract changes in salary, benefits, and two other items of their choice. BCCE submitted their reopener proposal to the BUSD last November. 

“The tentative agreement was reached on the most critical areas of our salary and benefits proposals,” Graybeal said. 

She said the two remaining compensation-related issues yet to be decided in the negotiations “are considered to be minor issues relative to the issues that have been tentatively resolved, not because they are not important issues to the union and to the employees involved, but because they only affect a small number of unit members.” 

Graybeal said that agreement has yet to be reached on the union’s non-compensation proposals.


University Senior Housing Construction Set For Fall By RICHARD BRENNEMAN

Friday June 10, 2005

Thanks to $12.5 million in tax credits granted by the state this week, construction can begin on an 80-unit low-income senior housing project at 1535 University Ave. 

With all necessary funding in hand, construction will begin in late October or early November, said project developer Ryan Chao of Satellite Housing, a Berkeley-based builder of low-income housing. 

“It’s a happy time for us,” said Chao. “It’s the last major funding we needed.” 

Featuring a much-lauded design by architect Erick Mikiten of Mikiten Architecture, University Avenue Senior Housing will offer studio and one- and two-bedroom apartments for tenants making from 30 percent to 60 percent of the Oakland-area average median income. 

Monthly rents will range from $435 to $931. 

The $12.5 million in tax credits were awarded by the state Tax Credit Allocation Committee, which receives an annual allocation from Washington. 

While the tax credits are of no direct financial value to Satellite, they represent a significant value to investors, who are allowed to apply them against their own income starting ten years after the original investment, said Chao. 

“It’s a highly competitive process, because there are limited amounts available,” said Chao. “We were very fortunate to get them in this round.” 

The allocations represent the largest share of the $20 million in project costs, with $1.2 million more coming from the city in housing trust funds and other allocations, $5.5 million in the form of a mortgage from Silicon Valley Bank, and $720,000 from the Federal Home Loan Bank board. 

In addition to the low-income apartments, the building also offers ground floor commercial spaces. One of the first tenants to move in will be Satellite itself, which will move its corporate headquarters from its current location at 2526 Martin Luther King Jr. Way, Chao said. 

A second major tenant will be the Salvation Army’s food pantry and service office. 

The four-story, 80,501-square-foot project at the northeast corner of University Avenue and Sacramento Street features 33 parking spaces, 12 for commercial tenants and 21 for residents. 

The design won high praise from the city’s Design Review Committee and will feature colorful murals by noted Berkeley artist Juana Alicia.


Homeless Woman Wins Back Truck, Dogs By MATTHEW ARTZ

Friday June 10, 2005

The Berkeley homeless woman who last month asked the City Council for help has recovered her pick-up truck and two dogs taken from her in February. 

Friends of Elizabeth Gill raised roughly $1,500 to help the longtime homeless women recover her truck that had been impounded for unpaid parking tickets. With her truck returned, Gill also regained custody of her dogs from the Berkeley Animal Shelter where she had kept them while she was without permanent shelter. 

“I’ve known her for a while. She’s a lovely person,” said Andrea Pritchett, who raised $1,000 to get the vehicle out of Hustead’s tow lot. Councilmember Dona Spring said she raised an additional $450 to help Gill insure and re-register the truck. 

On Feb. 13, Gill parked her truck at the Berkeley Bowl and returned to find it lifted on to a tow truck while her two dogs were set to be carted off to the animal shelter. 

Because many of the parking fines she had accumulated dated back more than one year, Gill did not qualify for a program that allows motorists to work off parking tickets with community service. Without her truck, she said, she had no place for her dogs, which she chose to leave at the shelter. 

In April, the council directed city staff to waive $4,000 in boarding fees at the animal shelter and eliminate the one-year deadline for low-income people to work off their fines. The council also notified the Department of Motor Vehicles that the fines would be removed and promised to help the Gill find housing.›


Students Unearth Old Conservatory On UC Campus By STEVEN FINACOM Special to the Planet

Friday June 10, 2005

At the foot of an oak-studded hillside facing Doe Library on the UC Berkeley campus, a team of UC students is hard at work this month unearthing the remains of what was once one of the most prominent and distinctive buildings in the Berkeley landscape. 

In the 1890s, the university built a large glass conservatory on the site, just northeast of today’s Moffitt Library. In 1924 the conservatory was torn down but considerable remnants survived, buried under a parking lot. 

On Thursday evening there will be an opportunity for the public to visit the excavation site. You can see the remains of the university conservatory first-hand, with the student researchers as guides, and attend a lecture describing the history of the building and what the buried remains reveal about campus and Berkeley life in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. 

Similar—although not identical—in style and appearance to the famous and recently restored Conservatory of Flowers in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park, Berkeley’s stately glass greenhouse, with two wings and a towering central “palm house” dome, overlooked an outdoor botanical garden where rare and unusual plants were studied by campus scholars and on display for the general public. 

Although Berkeley’s conservatory was demolished not long into the 20th century, much of its extensive brick foundation and other elements survived, buried and largely forgotten, for nearly eight decades. 

The site is currently punctuated with precise, one-meter square, units or excavation pits, and the archaeological dig is yielding up history in the form of brick foundations, metal steam-heating pipes, terra cotta drainlines, broken slate pavers, fragments of ironwork and wood, and other debris.  

The project is being undertaken by graduate and undergraduate students in a summer sessions archaeology field school, led by UC Professor of Anthropology Laurie Wilkie. 

The students are learning proper archaeology field techniques, documenting conservatory construction and materials, interpreting the operation and use of the building, and unearthing stray objects from fragments of terra cotta plant pots to broken bottles, dishware, and food remains dropped on the site generations ago. Even the make-up of the special soils that university scientists used inside the conservatory will be studied. 

The ornate University Conservatory was emblematic of the Victorian-era passion for collecting, studying, and displaying rare and unusual plants. It was built at a time when significant botanical regions of the world, especially in the tropics, were still just being “discovered” and explored by western scientists. Many exotic plant species were reaching Europe and North America for the first time and were enthusiastically grown and admired in places like the Berkeley and the Golden Gate Park conservatories.  

California itself was a horticultural frontier. A first generation of American era farmers and gardeners was exploring what would grow well in the West Coast’s unfamiliar landscapes and climates.  

Large conservatories arose throughout the Bay Area on the estates of the wealthy and the well-to-do, who used the spacious greenhouses to nurture their particular collecting obsessions—from orchids to ferns to exotic birds—or simply to provide spectacular ornamental backdrops for equally ornate Victorian-style homes. 

Many of the finest Bay Area private conservatories once stood in the East Bay, particularly in Oakland. The university conservatory provided a stately public counterpart to these private plant mansions. 

However, it had a relatively brief existence. Erected around 1891, it seems to have fallen into decay and partial disuse in the 20th century and, despite at least one partial renovation, was demolished in 1924 after Haviland Hall was completed nearby.  

In that same era, the University Botanical Garden moved to its current site in Strawberry Canyon where it continues to thrive today as an internationally known center of plant conservation, display, and education.  

For eight decades, the conservatory foundations remained buried beneath a road and parking lot. That changed when the university was contemplating construction of the C.V. Starr East Asian Library, the first element of the planned Chang-Lin Tien Center for East Asian Studies. 

Since the footprint of the new library building would overlap the old conservatory site, a summer session 2003 field school directed by Wilkie was funded to excavated the edges of the parking lot and explore nearby areas. That project also included extensive archival research about the history of the conservatory. 

This summer’s second field school was undertaken to follow up and complete the earlier excavation work. When the field school finishes, the site will be turned over for construction of the new library.  

 

UC Berkeley staff member Steven Finacom worked on the planning of the conservatory excavation project and is a board member of the Berkeley Historical Society. 

 

 

On Thursday, June 16th, 7-8 p.m., students will display the site and the uncovered conservatory remains to the public. At 8 p.m. Professor Laurie Wilkie will talk about the history of the conservatory and what the excavations have uncovered. Tickets, $15. Call 848-0181 or e-mail berkhist@sbcglobal.net or visit the Berkeley History Center, 1931 Center Street, 1-4 p.m. Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays to reserve a space.?


Editorial Cartoon By JUSTIN DEFREITAS

Friday June 10, 2005

http://www.jfdefreitas.com/index.php?path=/00_Latest%20Workj


Letters to the Editor

Friday June 10, 2005

MALCOLM X SCHOOL 

Editors, Daily Planet: 

It’s a good thing that people do not know that Malcolm X was in prison. Think of all the name changes in schools and programs that would cause. 

Albert R.Levy,PhD. 

 

SUSTAINABILITY 

Editors, Daily Planet: 

Berkeley ranks number three nationally in a new survey rating the sustainability of American cities. It seems like an excellent rating, until you look at the details and see that Berkeley was rated “sustainability leader” or “moving toward sustainability” on all categories except two.  

On zoning, Berkeley was rated 12 out of 18 (with 0 the highest and 18 the lowest), a rating that is classed as “mixed sustainability progress.”  

On land use, Berkeley was rated 17 out of 18, a rating that is classed as “sustainability in danger.” 

Both these ratings were based on the city’s progress toward smart growth, and they confirm what many Berkeley’s environmentalists have been saying for a long time. Berkeley will not be a real national leader in sustainability until we overcome the suburban mindset of some residents and strongly support pedestrian- and transit-oriented infill development.  

The results of the survey for Berkeley are available at www.sustainlane.com/cityindex/citypage.php?name=berkeley&page=1&.  

Charles Siegel 

 

PIT BULL BAN 

Editors, Daily Planet: 

I am a Berkeley landlord, and I allow tenants to have dogs at most of my properties. Not any dog, however. I do not allow pit bulls, and I don’t know any landlord in this city who does. 

When I interview applicants for apartments who own pit bulls, they all seem to be in denial. Pit bull owners frequently tell me that statistics prove that pit bulls are no more likely to bite than most other breeds of dogs. 

Recently, an applicant for an apartment with a pit bull showed me a book containing a graph showing that Lhasa Apsos are three times more likely to bite than pit bulls. I know that is true, but so what? How many people were killed last year by Lhasa Apsos? Has anyone ever been mauled to death by a Lhasa Apso? 

(For those not familiar with this breed, a full-grown Lhasa Apso stands about 10 inches tall and weighs 12 pounds. My sister had a Lhasa Apso, and it bit me several times. Usually the bites failed to break the skin. The worst bite required a small Band-Aid. Lhasas are snappish little dogs, but they are incapable of doing much damage.) 

Here are facts about pit bulls that I have to consider: 

• Last year, 50 percent of all dog mauling cases reported to the San Francisco Police Department involved pit bulls. 

• A recent study by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control concluded that pit bulls are twice as likely as any other breed to be involved in a fatal attack, and another study by the American Veterinary Medical Association came to the same conclusion. 

• Most insurance companies will not sell liability insurance on a rental property if they know there is a pit bull on the premises. 

• When someone is mauled or killed by a dog in an apartment house, it is now standard procedure to sue both the dog’s owner and the landlord. 

My advice to anyone who is thinking about getting a dog is this: If you want to rent in this area, don’t get a pit bull. You will probably have a very hard time finding a landlord who will rent to you. 

Mark Tarses 

 

NEITHER HERE NOR THERE 

Editors, Daily Planet: 

The trouble with “Here and There” is that it’s neither here nor there when it comes to recognizing where it’s at. Which happens to be in the heart of a predominantly African-American community. As a piece of conceptual art executed in cool hard edge metal, “Here and There” feels misplaced. If there’s public sculpture in Berkeley or Oakland that reflects the forms and feelings of our diverse neighborhoods, I’d like to know where. Certainly not here. Or there.  

Too bad. It’s an opportunity lost.  

Osha Neumann 

 

CONSTITUTIONAL 

Editors, Daily Planet: 

“The evil men do lives after them....” 

So it will be with the Court of “creatively” anointed, as our “President,” George W. Bush, the Bully Butcher of Baghdad. 

At least a third of our federal courts, and the Supreme Court, are anticipated to have “Bully Butcher”-appointed judges when George W. Bush ends his second term. 

Should we not worry that, even before then, a Bush-dominated Supreme Court may invalidate the Constitutional Amendment limiting presidents to two terms? And/or invalidate the native-born rule for a President, to make way for Schwarzenegger? 

Yes, we are in trouble! A recent decision by our present Court again exhibits the judge’s widely varying understanding of time-honored plain English. Disappointing wineries of New York and Michigan, the Court has obtusely ruled that, despite its clear language—intended to prevent unwanted efforts to apply the Interstate Commerce Clause that would result in violation of state laws—the Constitution’s Amendment 21, that negated Amendment 18, does not supersede the Commerce Clause, at least not for latter-day appellants seeking relevant Court Protection under Amendment 21! Doesn’t the majority of the Court know that, with the help of the “interstate Commerce Clause” restriction of Amendment 21, Iowa stayed “dry” decades after Prohibition repeal? 

Judith Segard Hunt 

 

RENT BOARD IRRELEVANT 

Editors, Daily Planet: 

With “For Rent” signs blooming like spring flowers all over Berkeley, I find myself asking, “Is the Berkeley Rent Control Board any longer necessary—or even relevant? 

Found to “regulate” rents when housing was tight, its only function now seems to be to collect the exorbitant fees (taxes) it mandates from owners of rental property in order to pay the salaries of the board members and litigating lawyers it retains. 

Could it not be enfolded into another of Berkeley’s many bureaus concerned with housing? 

For the record, I am neither a landlord nor a tenant, just a 70-year resident of Berkeley. 

Norma Gray 

 

SERIOUSLY 

Editors, Daily Planet: 

I must finally add my comments regarding the Daily Planet’s Police Blotter. I really dislike the tone of the writer. 

Too flip. Too sarcastic. Too cute. Too informal. Too little recognition of the seriousness of the encounters. 

Street crime, domestic violence, and out-of-control anger are serious, not humorous. Crime is serious—not a joke. 

Tedi Siminowsky 

 

BUSH LIES 

Editors, Daily Planet: 

The replies to Tom Lord (June 7-9) missed the really scary parts of his letter. He admits that Bush’s administration lied about the reasons for invading Iraq, and then goes ahead and uses the lies as part of his justification for the invasion. Wow. Furthermore, he seems to be incapable of entertaining the thought that the administration might be lying or misrepresenting the current conditions and prognosis in Iraq, or anywhere else for that matter. Nor is it obvious from reading his letter that this would make a difference to him if he did recognize the thought. His “get with it” type of remarks suggest thinking founded on “us versus them,” and not arguments based on morality or even rational evaluation of the consequences of our actions. With this type of thinking American casualties are a necessary price for our war on terror, or war to get oil, or whatever, and Iraqi casualties are almost irrelevant. If the support for Bush’s administration is based on the kind of thinking exemplified by Lord’s letter it is going to take a major disaster in the U.S., or massive disobedience or even rebellion to make a change. That is scary. Let’s hope that Lord’s thinking is just an ugly aberration. 

Robert Clear 

 

XXXXXXX 

Editors, DailyPlanet: 

I am very concerned about the issue of the teen librarians relocating/transfer to the Main Library. These teen librarians do a tremendous amount of work for our community, and especially for our ‘forgotten’ group, teenagers. To clump all of the teen librarians into on building might seem like a nice thing to do for the Main Library Central - but what about for the branches?  

These branches would lose a full time librarian who assists with reference, branch affairs, and with the public. To cut a full librarian from a ever-populated branch merely to bring them downtown and make this central teen librarians group manifest itself into the same successes already seen at the branches is a ludicrous idea. Why do teens favour branches rather than the Central Library? Parking, Parking, Parking.... the ‘business’ like atmosphere of the Main/Central library, and a ‘place’ where teens can hang out—these things are well established at the Branches and work exceedingly well as everyone knows who has seen it happen, or partook in the numerous play-readers and other gatherings that have become apart of the BPL/Community.... you cannot do this at Main? Where are you going to do this?  

To disrupt one finely tuned program to merely consolidate the Teen librarians from the branches—which diseffects both the Teen Librarians, the Branches, and the public—to place them into the business-like Central Main library where teen readership/participation is low compared to the branch populations, is not rational thinking, and is a waste of an already exhausted department. From a patron and member of this Community, this is ludicrous and plain foolish to promote.... leave this part of BPL as is, and mess with some other aspect of BPL that does need work - i.e. the lack of familiarity of the management level personages with fellow BPL staff, the public, and obviously with the branchs, and with the teens themselves. Ask the teens what would be in their best interest, and consider that? Nobody (hardly) ever asks those who are directly affected by such staff alterations, do they?  

Thank you, 

Mark Bayless 

 

XXXXXXX 

Editors, DailyPlanet: 

Howard Dean tells it like it is - GOP, the Christian Party - and catches flak for it. More correctly he should have said the GOP is the White Christian Party and mentioned that 40% of those who voted for Bush last year don’t believe in evolution. Dean missed the mark by a mile - the GOP has become the Dumbing Down of America Party. 

Ron Lowe Nevada City, CA  

 

XXXXXXX 

Editors, DailyPlanet: 

Just a couple of thoughts on the article about the Brower Center not having the funds to build the building: 

1. This is the same problem that developed with the Ed Roberts Campus. Economic Development encourages a group, in both cases non-profits, to acquire sites and build buildings, most likely with assurances from city staff that they will find funding sources at the state and federal levels for the projects. Then the organizations can’t come up with all the money needed and the community is left wondering if the organizations will have the ability to maintain them once they’re built. 

2. Contrary to your reporter’s assertion that the Ed Roberts Campus did not really qualify for clean-up monies (the Ed Roberts Campus...which also had little evidence of past contamination), it indeed is likely to be contaminated. It is likely that one reason a decision was made to put a station at Ashby, in spite of it being in a poor black neighborhood, was that the site of the east parking lot had been underdeveloped since Mark Ashby sold his farm. Since the late 40s it was the site of an “aeroplane factory,” including machine shops and painting sheds. Clearly the site may be contaminated by these activities and in need of clean-up if a parking garage is to be built below the existing ground surface. 

Dale Smith 

 

 

Becky O’Malley, in her rather charming and bizarre editorial on British town planning and localized housing has missed some really vital points. 

Oxford City Council is indeed in a building boom, planning between 60,000 and 70,000 new homes in areas around Oxford. However, this is not the plan of Oxford, it is the plan of the office of the Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott. It is also very misguided. While the plan effectively will allow cramped city livers to move to suburban areas and give Londoners the chance to have their little weekend or summer house, I wonder whether Becky herself was able to visit any of the present planned communities around Oxford (although she probably went to Royal Leamington Spa, which doesn’t count). Many of these suburbs resemble Danville, that oh-so-pleasant-what-nice-lawns-I-have-to-drive-five-miles-for-a-decent-bottle-of-beer kind of place. Meaning, that despite the forward-thinking investment to save the old city of Oxford from over-development; Oxford and many of the congested cities of the Midlands region have not properly understood the need for infrastructure to sustain these new areas. New roads. New businesses. New bureaucracies. And God, what bureaucrats! Whole departments for dealing with signs for roads; whether stores should be allowed to ban hooded sweatshirts because they may or may not factor into anti-social behaviour; and how they can get more money by lowering the amount of time people should be allowed to park in front of their own homes. You get the picture. Berkeley. 

The real sad thing is that despite the growth that may in fact come to these new towns, they will likely never experience real bona fide local government. Each town will have some splendid name thought up by a guy in London whose only job it is to take two old English words and string a thought together, like the real-life examples of Melton Mowbray, Broughton Astley, Sutton Coldfield and so on. Then the Prince of Wales will visit and declare it a town and the city council will institute taxes and the people who live in these towns will have to commute all the way back to Oxford just to find out why they are being charged so much in council tax and getting so little. 

In the end the editor of this newspaper was just another American tourist taken in by the charms of a British university town with its old churches and teeming museums. One could venture that she stayed at a little B&B and first was shocked and then giggled at the size of the English breakfast that no one here actually eats: two sausages, two strips of bacon, fries, a helping of baked beans, two fried tomato halves, two slices of toast, black pudding (the rare, real treat), and a mug of the worst freeze-dried coffee the world has ever seen. But I bet she ate it all, I know this because she came back to write such a glowing tribute to something as boring to readers as satellite towns. 

As for student living in England, Becky O’Malley should try it. Ignorant landlords who insist you pay with direct debit, faucets that never stop running, potato bugs, and horrible wallpaper everywhere. The only thing I got out of my last student house was full-blown scabies, which I bet hasn’t affected a Berkeley student in 20 years. 

John Parman, Birmingham  

 

 

XXXXXXX 

Editors, DailyPlanet: 

Last Saturday midnight, a cop sits on our intersection for an hour with an AR-15, causing us to move our sleeping children to a more interior bedroom. Eventually they find the guy and shout at him, and the paramedics come. Now all we have to worry about is that the guy tossed a .25 auto into someone’s backyard. This literal “Saturday Night Special” is small enough to be anywhere in our kids’ yard, the neighbour’s 2-year-old’s yard or anywhere else, probably with a round in the chamber. I have no idea when that other shoe, the loaded gun, will drop.  

All Police Blotter could manage was a blythe “submitted his wrists to... encriclement”? 

The community would be better served by better information. 

Piet Bess 

 

XXXXXXX 

Editors, DailyPlanet: 

Current news reports indicate that the president of Bolivia is resigning and that Bolivian oil and gas will probably be nationalized to the benefit of the indigenous and poor people of Boliva. My goodness, what happened to our CIA? Their enormous secret budget should have enabled them to have prevented such an anti-American disaster! Hey, what’s the point of having a CIA if they can’t prevent true Democracies from emerging in South America? 

Robert Blau 

 

 

XXXXXXX 

Editors, DailyPlanet: 

So Knight-Ridder has come up with a BDP-killer, the East Bay Daily News, filled with such scintillating stuff as where to find the Prettiest Banker in the East Bay, and (yet) more about Nicole Kidman. I pretty much stopped reading the East Bay Express when New Times took it over.  

While the BDP may not have the level of writing of the old Express, it has some good writing and topics not consistently covered in any other publication. I especially appreciate the back page column by Ron Sullivan. 

The conspiracy-theorist in me wants to see a Knight-Ridder/New Times connection (see  

http://www.writenews.com/2000/042600_knightridder_newtimes.htm.)  

Here’s hoping you can hang in there! 

Dale Engle?


Column: Undercurrents: Mayor’s Sideshow Proposal Takes an Unexpected Turn By J. DOUGLAS ALLEN-TAYLOR

Friday June 10, 2005

If you were able to stay up well into the early morning hours during Tuesday night’s Oakland City Council meeting, you would have come across some interesting things. 

The first one was that for the first time—to my knowledge, anyway—in the five year con troversy over the sideshows, the Oakland City Council looks like it might begin a serious discussion about safe and legal sideshow alternatives. 

Councilmember Desley Brooks revealed that she’s been working on such a sideshow alternative proposal for some time now, holding meetings that have included police representatives, sideshow participants, and potential promoters. (In the interest of full disclosure, I attended two of those meetings some time ago as an observer.) 

Up until now, there has been stubb orn opposition from City Hall powers to even discuss such legal alternatives. At Tuesday’s council meeting, for example, Ms. Brooks said that she had twice called the mayor’s office to participate in her discussions, but the mayor, apparently, was not int erested. But during Tuesday’s meeting, some other councilmembers—Henry Chang and newcomer Pat Kernigham, for example—went on record saying that any discussion of stepping up penalties on sideshow participants should also include a discussion of legal alte rnatives. 

More on that at a later date. 

The second interesting thing that happened at Tuesday’s council meeting was that—in case you missed it—the council defeated Mayor Jerry Brown’s “arrest the spectators” sideshow ordinance on a dramatic 4-3-1 vote a fter the mayor showed up in council chambers, apparently expecting to cast a vote to break an expected tie. 

Under Mr. Brown’s proposed new law, spectators at the sideshows—for the first time—would be subject to misdemeanor arrests, with fines between $500 and $1,000 and jail time up to six months. Up until now, police enforcement of the sideshows have concentrated mainly on the drivers themselves. 

It takes five votes to pass an ordinance in Oakland City Council (not just a simple majority). Four of the councilmembers (President Ignacio DeLa Fuente, Larry Reid, Chang and Kernigham) were ready to pass the ordinance on Tuesday. But four others (Brooks, Jane Brunner, Jean Quan, and Nancy Nadel) said they were deeply troubled by parts of the ordinance, and w anted it to go to the Public Safety Committee (where it should have been sent in the first place) for fuller discussion. Brooks, Quan, and Nadel all expressed concern that the new law would bring new groups of young Oaklanders as offenders into the crimin al justice system, which tends to worsen criminal behavior rather than rehabilitate. And Ms. Brunner, especially, feared that police attempts to arrest spectators might create what she called “riot conditions,” making the whole situation worse rather than better. 

(It should be noted, by the way, that Councilmembers Brooks, Quan, Nadel, and Brunner are not in favor of the unsanctioned sideshows that are presently taking place on Oakland’s streets. They want those unsanctioned sideshows ended; they just do n’t think the mayor’s bill was the best way to do it.) 

Anyway, if the votes had gone as expected, the matter would have tied 4-4, the mayor would have broken the tie (his only City Council function under the City Charter), and the “arrest the sideshow” law would have passed with a minimum of public discussion. But when Ms. Quan abstained rather than voted no there was no tie, and with no tie Mr. Brown did not have the right to vote, and without Mr. Brown, the ordinance did not have the five votes needed to pass. 

That might have ended the issue right there, but actually, that was when the most interesting thing happened. The four councilmembers who opposed the mayor’s “arrest the sideshow spectators” law then decided that the proposed ordinance should st ill go to the Public Safety Committee for further discussion and possible revision. 

At least two of those councilmembers—Ms. Brunner and Ms. Quan—were clearly not trying to outright kill the mayor’s ordinance. Both Ms. Brunner and Ms. Quan said that they might support the mayor’s ordinance if the fines on the spectators were significantly lowered. 

And with Councilmember Larry Reid—a strong supporter of the “arrest the spectators” law—as chair of Public Safety, it would be expected to move through without undue delay. Not quite as fast as Mr. Brown might have wanted it, but probably in time for the hot days at the end of the summer. 

So one would expect that Mr. Brown—if the ordinance was really needed to prevent injury and death, as the mayor has said, and if the mayor was really interested in making Oakland’s streets safer—would have accepted his loss on the initial vote and moved forward to get the ordinance through committee as quickly as possible and back to the full council. 

Mr. Brown did not. 

In stead, as Ms. Quan and Ms. Brooks were discussing whether to support taking the ordinance to Public Safety, Mr. Brown stepped up to the microphone and said, “I think we should just withdraw this. When the council wants to reconsider it, then go ahead. I’m not going to push this anymore. You’ve just rejected it, I think you should just leave it at that. We’ll see what happens.” 

We’ll see what happens? 

Immediately after Mr. Brown made his statement, the four councilmembers who had opposed his “arrest the spectators” ordinance as it was originally written—Nadel, Brooks, Quan, and Brunner—voted to send the ordinance to the Public Safety Committee so the public could have the chance for more input, and the ordinance could be put in better shape. They were jo ined by Ms. Kernigham, who had voted for the ordinance only after other ordinance supporters agreed to eliminate jail time for spectators for the first two offenses. 

But while the five women on the council voted for more community input and discussion on a highly-controversial proposal, the council’s three men—Reid, President Ignacio DeLa Fuente, and Henry Chang, all of whom had originally voted to pass the ordinance—all now agreed with the mayor and voted to kill the ordinance entirely, now that it hadn’t gone through immediately. 

So the five women on the Oakland City Council decided that the sideshows are a serious problem, the mayor had presented a serious proposal to stop them, and that both the sideshows and the proposal needed a serious, public di scussion in the Public Safety Committee.  

Mr. Brown and two of the three men on the Oakland City Council decided that the sideshows are a serious problem, but if the mayor’s proposal could not be passed exactly as it was written, and exactly when the may or wanted it, then nothing more should be done about the mayor’s proposal. (Though Mr. Chang voted against sending the mayor’s ordinance to Public Safety, he had earlier said that a sideshow alternative discussion should go forward in that committee). Any way, I know it’s all pretty complicated, but is that a fair reading of what went on? 

You can draw your own conclusions, friends. As for me, like I said, I find all of this pretty interesting.›


Commentary: The UC-City Settlement: An Angry Rebuttal By DEAN METZGER and DAVID WILSON

Friday June 10, 2005

The Bates/Maio/Capitelli/Anderson article of last Friday defending the private settlement between Berkeley and the University of California is profoundly misleading. Instead of opening a “new era of cooperation,” the agreement effectively gives the Regents an effective veto over development in the downtown area. At the same time it gives the city no voice whatsoever in the university’s expansion plans.  

The Background: One of the root causes of Berkeley’s financial problems is the long-standing exemption of non-profit groups, chief among them UC, from city taxes and fees. This issue got new attention some months ago, when the university announced its “Long Range Development Plan.” The LRDP promised an increased student body, more employees, and more buildings. It seemed like a slap in the face: hadn’t university officials for years seemed to sympathize with concerns that further growth would stretch city services to the breaking point? Wasn’t it true that the university already represents about forty per cent of our daytime population, but contributes virtually nothing to support the fire, police, sewer and other services it uses?  

The Lawsuit: The city tried to negotiate, but UC wouldn’t budge. The city with great hoopla sued the university. The complaint seemed to promise relief…until you took the time to read it. There was nothing about crumbling infrastructure, and very little about traffic. There were vague charges that the university had violated California’s Environmental Quality Act, but nothing precise on which a judge could act. There was no demand for money damages, and no request for an injunction. The whole thing, one had to suspect, was either the result of gross legal incompetence, or a paper tiger, designed to make the electorate think it was being protected, even while its leaders were preparing to surrender on whatever terms they could get. 

The Settlement: And surrender they did. The “settlement” is nothing of the sort: all of the old issues are still there. The university has promised virtually nothing, while the city has surrendered all of the legal weapons that it was brandishing so bravely a few weeks ago. For example: 

The mayor talks about the promised “cooperation” between town and gown on future planning issues. But while it is true that there is a lot of soothing language about “mutual goals,” and promises “to respect the unique social and cultural character of downtown,” it is all just talk. There is not a single, legally enforceable commitment by UC to mitigate any of the troubling aspects of the Long Range Development Plan. On the contrary the city has accepted the document without a single change, and has agreed—in advance—that UC will not be required against its will to mitigate any of the impacts of the LRDP over the next fifteen years. All of our concerns remain—traffic, population densities, and the need for tens of millions to repair the infrastructure that is so heavily impacted by the University. 

More frightening is the language about the “DAP” or Downtown Area Plan. A careful reading shows that the university will have a veto power over virtually all planning decisions in the downtown area from now to 2020. In fact, there is a provision that the DAP will not even be released for public discussion until the university has agreed on all major issues. 

The mayor and council majority point to UC’s agreement to pay $1,200,000 per year to the city. But read the fine print: $250,000 is to be taken off the top to fund the DAP process. Another $500,000 or so is in lieu of fees that the university already pays, or would have to pay anyway even if there were no settlement. In other words, the city will get about $450,000 in new money to defray the $13 million in estimated direct costs of city services provided to the University of California. For this pittance, the city has given up any and all rights it has under California law to get more money, or to object in any way to UC plans through the year 2020. 

Indeed the Agreement has a classic “poison pill”: if the city sues the university over any of the LRDP projects, the city must pay the university’s attorneys fees. 

Bates, Maio, and the others say that they will continue to push for changes in state law which would require UC to pay more to support the services it uses. But the Agreement says—very clearly—that if there is any such change in the law the University will not have to pay any more than the $1,200,000 already agreed to. 

While the Bates article is misleading, the ultimate result is far more troubling. The mayor and current council majority have surrendered the city’s last, best chance to sort out problems that have bedeviled it for decades, and have gotten virtually nothing in return. And with such a gap between the city’s press releases and the actual text of the documents, we have got to conclude that either the majority failed to read the document they approved, or that their lawyers failed properly to explain it. In other words, we are dealing with either legal or political malpractice, and perhaps with both. ?


Commentary: What’s In A Name? A Modest Proposal For The Library By ERIC KNUDSEN

Staff
Friday June 10, 2005

Librarian. From the Latin librarius: “concerned with books.” 

-The Oxford 

English Dictionary 

 

You hear it every day on the Circ Desk: “Honey, give your card to the librarian.” 

On the Paging Desk: “Librarian, can you help me?” 

From friends and family: “This is Eric. He's a librarian.” 

Now, I used to try and explain the library's rank system to these folks, but somewhere in my discourse about the difference between a Specialist 1 and a Specialist 2, I could always see their eyes start to glaze over. To the patrons and the public at large, anyone who works in a library is a librarian. And you know what? They're right.  

The patrons recognize something here that we often forget. Whether you shelve books, answer the phone, or run Children's Story Time, we're all here to serve the patrons of the Berkeley Public Library. Anything that leads us away from that service is an unnecessary distraction. Obsession with the minutiae of place takes us away from the goal of service, and also leads us to consider our co-workers as “lesser” workers, not deserving of our respect. Internecine feuds and power politics have many causes, but a simple lack of respect for the work done by your colleagues has got to be one of the biggest.  

Here's a simple, cost-free step to take: let's scrap this classification maze of assistants, aides, specialists, and technicians. Let’s stop referring to our co-workers as “para-professionals” (What, do I do ‘para-work’? Are the patrons I serve ‘para-patrons’?). And who, or what, are “support staff”? Aren’t we all here to support each other? Let’s start treating each other with the respect due to colleagues, co-workers, and librarians.  

Some will say that any organization needs distinctions in authority and seniority. My first thought is, what, we need more division in this place? Folks, we've already got RFID, the Re-Org, Line Staff vs. Management, and you want more division? How about something that brings us together and encourages mutual respect? 

But OK, if you really need it, we could put numbers after “Librarian”. Book schleppers like me could be “Librarian 1” and folks at the top could be “Librarian 6.” Heck, we could even use roman numerals, which would look more archaic and “library-esque.” We would still have our different jobs (the director would still be the director, and the reference manager would still be the reference manager) but by making this change we are saying that, on one level at least, we recognize each other as co-workers and equals. 

Here are some concrete examples of what I’m getting at- Whether you’re a beat cop or the Chief of Police, you’re a police officer. Whether you drive a fire truck or serve as the Fire Marshall, you’re a firefighter. Whether you’re a lowly deckhand or the high and mighty Captain, you're a sailor. There is a recognition of the power structure, but also a recognition of the basic equality of folks working towards the same goal. 

Now, I’m not saying that if we adopt this proposal that everything will improve overnight. It sure doesn't solve the budget crisis or put books on the shelves. But I do say that it would help us on the way back to respect for all the staff of the BPL. This little change would say to the staff, the public, and the library community that at BPL, everyone is a colleague, everyone is a professional, and everyone is a librarian. 

 

Eric Knudsen is a circulation staff member at the Berkeley Central Library where he has worked for the past seven years.›


Playing the Short and the Long of It, Un-Scripted By BETSY M. HUNTON Special to the Planet

Friday June 10, 2005

Probably one of the toughest jobs an improvisational theater company has in putting on a show must be figuring up a title. Think about it: Since nobody knows what the actors are going to do on any given night, how on earth do they find a title encouraging people to give it a try? 

The Un-Scripted Theater Company (a smart name in itself) has come up with a great one for their current production at Oakland’s Temescal Arts Center. It’s The Short and the Long of it. 

That’s even an accurate description of the evening’s events. 

The program is divided into two parts (you can’t say “acts” about Improv can you?) with the first section consisting of very short, and wonderfully silly, skits created on the spot on themes that members of the audience suggest. The second half of the entertainment is the more rarely seen “Long Form Improv.”  

Again, the audience selects the idea, but this time there’s only one theme chosen from a group of ten audience proposals.  

Last Saturday night the theme was “Berkeley.” (Afterwards, one of the actors said that, curiously enough, this was the first time that idea had ever been proposed). The actors turned it into a tale of two students, one male, one female, leaving home for the first time, and entering Berkeley dorm life as freshmen. 

Most of the obvious issues (except class work) were touched on—weird roommates, oddball food, initiation to pot, falling in love, and commitment to a huge stack of idealistic goals in a kind of grand finale. Again, the ensemble played it as a smooth production, not so smooth that one suspected rehearsal, but without unexpected silences or abandoned themes.  

The thing about the Un-Scripted people is that they’re there for fun themselves. The people that you’re watching perform are enjoying themselves and they fully expect you to have a really good time, too. And you do, no question about it. These guys are good.  

This is definitely Improv, but no way is it the kind you may have wandered into at a party a while back. It’s funny, mind you, and harmlessly comic, often absurd, and nobody’s pushing a message. But it’s far from amateur night. 

The Un-Scripted performers have spent years working together—at least three years with this particular company, but most of them share experience beyond that, going back about nine years. And they have rehearsals. You could argue that the key to their performances is that they’ve learned to communicate with each other really, really well … and, if you felt like speculating, it might be fun to consider how much of that communication is non-verbal.  

So what you get in one of their productions are bubbles of absurdity, based on ideas suggested by the audience, within a framework proposed by the actors. And the results are smooth. There are no sudden “Uh’s” or abrupt moments of silence from someone failing to grab an idea. These people have learned to play a kind of verbal basketball with each other, catching a cue and taking off with it, quite possibly in a totally different direction.  

So far as a review goes, well, that gets a little complicated, since every night’s performance is unique. But does their work look worth going back another time? 

Definitely yes. 

 

The Un-Scripted Theater Company presents The Short and the Long of It Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m., through June 25 at Temescal Arts Center, 511 48th St., Oakland. Tickets $7-$10. For details, call 415-869-5384, or see www.un-scripted.com.›


Arts Calendar

Friday June 10, 2005

FRIDAY, JUNE 10 

THEATER 

Antares Ensemble “Hellenic Image” choruses and monologues from Greek tragedies at 8 p.m. at the Berkeley City Club. Thurs.-Sat. at 8 p.m., Sun. at 2 p.m. through June 26. Tickets are $10-$35. 525-3254.  

Berkeley Rep, “Honour” opens at the Thrust Stage, 2025 Addison St. and runs through July 3. Tickets are $20-$39. 647-2949. www.berkeleyrep.org 

California Shakespeare Theater, “Othello” at 8 p.m. at Bruns Amphitheater, 100 Gateway Blvd., between Berkeley and Orinda, through July 3. Tickets are $10-$55. 548-9666. www.calshakes.org 

“Cantiflas!” a bilingual play written and performed by Herbert Siguenza Fri. and Sat. at 8 p.m. at La Peña. Cost is $16-$18. 849-2568. www.lapena.org 

Contra Costa Civic Theater “Private Lives” Noel Coward’s comedy. Fri. and Sat. at 8 p.m., Sun. at 2 p.m. through June 12., at 951 Pomona Ave., El Cerrito. Tickets are $10. 524-9132. www.ccct.org 

Shotgun Players, “Arabian Night” Thurs.-Sun. at 8 p.m. at The Ashby Stage, 1901 Ashby Ave. until July 10. Tickets are $10-$30. 841-6500. www.shotgunplayers.org 

Subterranean Shakespeare “The Taming of the Shrew,” Thurs.-Sat. at 8 p.m. at Berkeley Art Center in Live Oak Park, through June 24. For reservations call 276-3871. 

Un-Scripted Theater Company “The Short and the Long of It” Fri. and Sat. at 8 p.m., through June 25 at Temescal Arts Center, 511 48th St., Oakland. Tickets are $7-$10. 415-869-5384. www.un-scripted.com 

EXHIBITIONS 

“Bucky Walters” Works by Ben Belknap, Luke Dorman, James Kirkpatrick, Seth Mulvey, Darsi Obekata Mary Scott and Brandon White. Reception at 7:30 p.m. at Bootling Gallery, 4224 Telegraph Ave., Oakland. www.41leagueindustries.com 

FILM 

American Outlaws: “Wild in the Streets” with Village Voice critic J. Hoberman at 7 p.m. at Pacific Film Archive. Cost is $4-$8. 642-0808. www.bampfa.berkeley.edu 

READINGS AND LECTURES 

Ambassador Joe Wilson describes “The Politics of Truth: Inside the Lies That Put The White House on Trial and Betrayed My Wife’s CIA Identity” at 7:30 p.m. at Cody’s Books. 845-7852. www.codysbooks.com 

Camille Peri and Kate Moses describe motherhood in “Because I Said So” at 7 p.m. at Cody’s Books on Fourth St. 559-9500. 

By the Light of the Moon open mic for women at 7:30 p.m. at Changemakers, 6536 Telegraph Ave. 655-2405. 

MUSIC AND DANCE 

Berkeley High Jazz Ensemble with the Lab Band and the Lab Band Combo at 7 p.m. at the Florence Schwimley Little Theater, at Berkeley High.  

Point Richmond Music with Mojo Hand and Anna Maria Flechero in a free outdoor concert at 5:30 p.m. at Baltic Square, behind 117 Park Place, in Point Richmond. 223-3882. 

The Christy Dana Quintet at 8 p.m. at The Giorgi Gallery, 2911 Claremont Ave. at Ashby. Tickets are $12-$15. 524-1124. 

“Singin’ & Swingin’” with Music in the Community Youth at 8 p.m. at Black Rep Theater, 3201 Adeline St. Tickets are $5-$10. 652-2120. 

Nguyen Dance Company “Struggle to Survive: 30 Years Cry for My Country,” at 8 p.m. at Oakland Asian Cultural Center, 388 Ninth St., Oakland. Tickets are $15. For reservations call 208-6086. www.dannydancers.org 

Hideo Date, Stephanie Bruce and Trio at 8 p.m. at Anna’s Jazz Island, 2120 Allston Way. 841-JAZZ.  

Corinne West at 8 p.m. at Caffe Trieste, 2500 San Pablo Ave., at Dwight. 548-5198.  

37th Anniversary Revue hosted by Phil Marsh, with Mayne Smith, Eric & Suzy Thompson, Suzanne Fox & Eric Park at 8 p.m. at Freight and Salvage. Cost is $18.50-$19.50. 548-1761.  

Vince Wallace Quintet at 9 p.m. at Cafe Van Kleef, 1621 Telegraph Ave., Oakland. Cost is $5. 763-7711.  

Pocket, 7th Direction at 9:30 p.m. at The Starry Plough. Cost is $7. 841-2082.  

The Lips 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.  

Bob Marley Student Ensemble at 8 p.m. at the Jazzschool. Cost is $15. 845-5373. www.jazzschool.com 

Diego’s Umbrella, funk, jazz at 9 p.m. at Shattuck Down Low, 2284 Shattuck Ave. Cost is $25. 548-1159. www.shattuckdownlow.com 

Eleven Eyes at 8 p.m. at Jupiter. 848-8277. 

Century of War, Black Market Bombs at 8 p.m. at 924 Gilman St. Cost is $5. 525-9926. 

Yellowjackets at 8 and 10 p.m. at Yoshi’s at Jack London Square, through Sun. Cost is $15-$22. 238-9200. www.yoshis.com 

SATURDAY, JUNE 11 

EXHIBITIONS 

The Eureka Fellowship Awards Exhibition opens at the Berkeley Art Museum and runs through August 14. 642-0808. www.bampfa.berkeley.edu 

Alvarado Artists Group Show with works by Marilyn MacGregor, Barbara Werner, Joan Lakin Mikkelsen, Carla Dole and MJ Orcutt at the Giorgi Gallery, 2911 Claremont Ave. Reception for the artists at 1 p.m. 848-1228.  

“New Work” paintings by Yasuko Kaya, Chung Ae Kim, Mitsuyo Moore. Reception at 7 p.m. at 4th Street Studio, 1717D 4th St. 527-0600. www.fourthstreetstudio.com 

THEATER 

Living Arts Playback Theater Ensemble improvisational theater at 8 p.m. at Live Oak Theater, 1301 Shattuck Ave. Free but reservations suggested. 595-5500, ext. 25. 

“Cantiflas!” a bilingual play written and performed by Herbert Siguenza at 8 p.m. at La Peña. Cost is $16-$18. 849-2568. www.lapena.org 

Traveling Jewish Theater, “Cherry Docs” at 8 p.m. and Sun. at 2 p.m. at the Julia Morgan Theater. Tickets are $23-$34. www.atjt.com 

FILM 

American Outlaws: “Joe” at 7 p.m. and “Myra Breckenridge” at 9:20 p.m. at the Pacific Film Archive. Cost is $4-$8. 642-0808. www.bampfa.berkeley.edu 

READINGS AND LECTURES 

Joann Eckstut explains “The Color Palette Primer: A Guide to Choosing Ideal Color Combinations for Your Home” at 3 p.m. at Cody’s Books on Fourth St. 559-9500. 

MUSIC AND DANCE 

La Peña Day with live music and activities, from noon to 6 p.m. at the intersection of Prince and Shattuck. 849-2568.  

Betty Shaw, Ellen Hoffman, India Cooke Quartet at 8 p.m. at Anna’s Jazz Island, 2120 Allston Way. 841-JAZZ. www.AnnasJazzIsland.com 

Hal Stein Quartet at 9 p.m. at Cafe Van Kleef, 1621 Telegraph Ave., Oakland. Cost is $5. 763-7711 www.cafevankleef.com 

Wayward Monks at 8:30 p.m. at Epic Arts, 1923 Ashby Ave. Cost is $5-$10. www.epicarts.org 

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

Full at 8 p.m. at Jupiter. 848-8277. 

House Jacks at 8 p.m. at Freight and Salvage. Cost is $18.50-$19.50. 548-1761.  

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

SFJazz All-Star High School Ensemble at 8 p.m. at the Jazz- 

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

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

Shades of Green at 7 p.m. at Spuds Pizza, 3290 Adeline St. Cost is $7. 558-0881. 

“The Saucy Summer Sessions” at 10 p.m. at Club Oasis, 135 12th St., Oakland. Cost is $10. 763-0404.  

Louise Taft Memorial Dance Concert with Farma, The Natives, Fun with Finnoula at 9:30 p.m. at The Starry Plough. Cost is $6. 841-2082. www.starryploughpub.com 

Groovie Ghoulies, The Mormans, 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. 

SUNDAY, JUNE 12 

CHILDREN 

Polish Folk Culture through Song and Dance with Lowiczanie Polish Folk Dance and Music at 2 p.m. at Phoebe A. Hearst Museum of Anthropology, Bancroft at College. 643-7648. 

“Peaceful Families, Peaceful World” a concert with singer/songwriter Betsy Rose at 4 p.m. in the Large Assembly of First Congregational Church of Berkeley, 2345 Channing Way. Suggested donation is $5 per person or $10 per family. 

EXHIBITIONS 

The Eureka Fellowship Awards Exhibition Artists’ Talks at 3 p.m.at the Berkeley Art Museum. Runs through August 14. 642-0808. www.bampfa.berkeley.edu 

READINGS AND LECTURES 

Poetry Flash with Martha Rhodes, Robert Thomas, and Daniel Tobin at 7:30 p.m. at Cody’s Books. Donation $2. 845-7852. www.codysbooks.com 

MUSIC AND DANCE 

Pacific Mozart Ensemble, “A Capella Jazz & Pop” at 5 p.m. at The Berkeley City Club, 2315 Durant Ave. Tickets are $15-$20. 415-705-0848. www.pacificmozart.org 

Mozart in the Garden with George Cleve and Festival artists at 3:30 p.m. in a private home in the East Bay Hills. Tickets are $50. 415-627-9141. 

“Café Buenos Aires” Tango music with Creative Voices at 4 p.m. at Live Oak Theater, 1301 Shattuck Ave. Live Oak Park. Tickets are $15-$18. 415-861-3680. www.creativevoices.org 

Crying High Brazilian Jazz and Choro Band at 8 p.m. at Anna’s Jazz Island, 2120 Allston Way. 841-JAZZ. www.AnnasJazzIsland.com 

DJ & Brook at 3 p.m. at Nomad Cafe, 6500 Shattuck Ave. 595-5344. www.nomadcafe.net 

Americana Unplugged: Matt Kinman and the Oldtime Seranaders at 5 p.m. at Jupiter. 655-5715. 

Art of the Trio: Dick Conte Trio at 4:30 p.m. at the Jazz- 

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

“Stand Up & Get Down” Music and Comedy Night Fundraiser for East Bay Community Mediation at 7 p.m. at La Peña. Cost is $15. 849-2568. www.lapena.org 

Alison Brown at 8 p.m. at Freight and Salvage. Cost is $18.50-$19.50. 548-1761. www.freightandsalvage.org 

MONDAY, JUNE 13 

READINGS AND LECTURES 

Tim Farrington reads from his new novel “Lizzie’s War” at 7:30 p.m. at Black Oak Books. 486-0698. www.blackoakbooks.com 

Enrique Cruz describes his “Autobiography of an Ex-Chess Player,” in Spanish, at at 7:30 p.m. at Cody’s Books. 845-7852.  

www.codysbooks.com  

Poetry Express with Jan Steckel at 7 p.m., at Priya Restaurant, 2072 San Pablo Ave. 644-3977. 

MUSIC AND DANCE 

Geraldine Walther, violin, at 7:30 p.m. in a private home in Berkeley. Benefit for The Crowden School. Tickets are $100, or $180 for two. 559-6910. 

Trovatore, traditional Italian songs, at 7 p.m. at Caffe Trieste, 2500 San Pablo Ave., at Dwight. 548-5198.  

Frankye Kelly, CD release party at 8 and 10 p.m. at Yoshi’s at Jack London Square. Cost is $6-$10. 238-9200. www.yoshis.com 

TUESDAY, JUNE 14 

CHILDREN 

“Dragons, Dreams and Daring Deeds” Start the summer reading program with ventriloquist Randel McGee and his little dragon at 6:30 p.m. at Kensington Branch Library, 61 Arlington Ave. 524-3043. 

FILM 

Alternative Vision: “Cats, Bugs, and Perverts: The FIlms of Martha Colburn” at 7:30 p.m. at the Pacific Film Archive. Cost is $4-$8. 642-0808. www.bampfa.berkeley.edu 

READINGS AND LECTURES 

Bob Levin discusses “Outlaws, Rebels, Freethinkers, and Pirates: Essays on Cartoons and Cartoonists” at 7:30 p.m. at Black Oak Books. 486-0698. www.blackoakbooks.com 

Matt Tabbi describes the 2004 election in “Spanking the Donkey: Dispatches form the Dumb Season” at 7:30 p.m. at Cody’s Books. 845-7852. www.codysbooks.com 

The Whole Note Poetry Series with Louis Cuneo and Geri Digiorno at 7 p.m. at The Beanery, 2925 College Ave., near Ashby. 549-9093. 

MUSIC AND DANCE 

Berkeley Symphony with the Bay Area debut of Linda Watson, soprano, at 8 p.m. at Zellerbach Hall, UC Campus. Tickets are $22-$49. 841-2800. www.berkeleysymphony.org 

Claudia Russell at 8 p.m. at Freight and Salvage. Cost is $16.50- $17.50. 548-1761. www.freightandsalvage.org 

Singer’s Showcase with Ellen Hoffman Trio at 8 p.m. at Anna’s Jazz Island, 2120 Allston Way. 841-JAZZ. www.AnnasJazzIsland.com 

Eric Swinderman, jazz guitar, at 8 p.m. at Downtown. 649-3810. 

Miguel Zenób Quartet at 8 and 10 p.m. Yoshi’s at Jack London Square. Cost is $10-$16. 238-9200. www.yoshis.com 

Sage Jazz Group at 7 p.m. at Caffe Trieste, 2500 San Pablo Ave., at Dwight. 548-5198.  

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

WEDNESDAY, JUNE 15 

EXHIBITIONS 

Tapestry Weavers West 20th Anniversary Exhibit opens at the Nexus Gallery, 2701 Eighth St.  

“Vanishing Species and More” recent mixed-media paintings by Rita Sklar opens at the Joseph P. Bort MetroCenter, 101 Eighth St., Oakland. Gallery hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays. 464-7773. 

FILM 

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

READINGS AND LECTURES 

Betsy Leondar-Wright talks about “Class Matters: Cross-Class Alliance Building for Middle-Class Activists” at 7:30 p.m. at Black Oak Books. 486-0698. www.blackoakbooks.com 

Norm Stamper, former chief of the Seattle Police Dept. describes “Breaking Rank: A Top Cop’s Street-Smart Approach to Making America a Safe Place for Everyone” at 7:30 p.m. at Cody’s Books. 845-7852. www.codysbooks.com 

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 

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

MUSIC AND DANCE 

“Music for the Spirit” harpsichord concert at noon at First Presbyterian Church of Oakland, 2619 Broadway. 444-3555.  

Ned Boynton Trio at 8 p.m. at Downtown. 649-3810.  

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

Harley White Jr. Trio at 8 p.m. at Jupiter. 848-8277. 

Dry Branch Fire Squad at 8 p.m. at Freight and Salvage. Cost is $18.50- $19.50. 548-1761. www.freightandsalvage.org 

Sonic Camouflage at 8 p.m. at Cafe Van Kleef, 1621 Telegraph Ave., Oakland. 763-7711. www.cafevankleef.com  

Calvin Keys Trio at 8 p.m. at Anna’s Jazz Island, 2120 Allston Way. 841-JAZZ. www.AnnasJazzIsland.com 

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

Miguel Zenób Quartet at 8 and 10 p.m. Yoshi’s at Jack London Square. Cost is $10-$16. 238-9200. www.yoshis.com 

THURSDAY, JUNE 16 

EXHIBITIONS 

“Blind at the Museum” guided tour at 5:30 p.m. at Berkeley Art Museum, 2625 Durant Ave. 642-0808. www.bampfa.berkeley.edu 

READINGS AND LECTURES 

Luis Alberto Urrea reads from his new novel “The Hummingbird’s Daughter”at 7:30 p.m. at Cody’s Books. 845-7852. www.codysbooks.com  

Word Beat Reading Series at 7 p.m. with Mark Schwartz and Yosefa Raz at Mediterraneum Caffe, 2475 Telegraph Ave. 526-5985. 

Live and Unplugged Open Mic at 7 p.m. at Fellowship Hall, 1924 Cedar St. 703-9350. 

MUSIC AND DANCE 

Dream Dance Company “Dig Us Now” at 8 p.m. at La Peña Cultural Center. Cost is $10-$20. 849-2568. www.lapena.org 

Ben Adams Quartet at 8 p.m. at Anna’s Jazz Island, 2120 Allston Way. 841-JAZZ. www.AnnasJazzIsland.com 

Dr. Abacus at 9 p.m. at Cafe Van Kleef, 1621 Telegraph Ave., Oakland. Cost is $5. 763-7711. www.cafevankleef.com  

Fairport Convention at 8 p.m. at Freight and Salvage. Cost is $20.50-$21.50. 548-1761. www.freightandsalvage.org 

Alektorophobia, Molehill Orchestra at 9:30 p.m. at The Starry Plough. Cost is $8. 841-2082 www.starryplough.com 

Pete Madsen at 7 p.m. at Caffe Trieste, 2500 San Pablo Ave., at Dwight. 548-5198.  

John Mackay and Michael Wilcox at 8 p.m. at Downtown. 649-3810.  

Diane Schuur with the Caribbean Jazz Project at 8 and 10 p.m. through Sun. at Yoshi’s at Jack London Square, through Sun. Cost is $12-$24. 238-9200. www.yoshis.com 

Machine Love at 8 p.m. at Jupiter. 848-8277. 

?


Challenge Yourself in the East Bay Regional Parks By MARTA YAMAMOTO Special to the Planet

Friday June 10, 2005

January was the time for resolutions: get outside, exercise, eat better food, reduce stress and get healthy. Half way through the year, your resolutions may remain on paper only. If you’re still waiting for the right motivation, an easy solution may be at hand. 

East Bay Regional Parks and Kaiser Permanente are co-sponsoring the 12th Annual Trails Challenge and there’s a “Trail Log” out there with your name on it. If you have children who love to explore, a dog that’s bored with his daily route, a trail bike gathering dust or a spirit who yearns for the smell of pines and the call of birds, read on. 

The parks district has selected specific hikes in twenty of our regional parks. They are challenging you to complete a minimum of five hikes by Dec. 1. How hard can this be? In encouragement, and for a fee of $12, they provide a terrific instruction booklet detailing each hike; a neon lime green t-shirt with the challenge logo that will never allow you to get lost in the woods; and a step pedometer to track your goal of 10,000 steps per day. Filling out your Trail Log and mailing it in rewards you with the official 2005 pin. This is a deal you can’t refuse. 

For the next several months, I’ll stand in for your conscience by describing hikes and adding information to help you better enjoy the outdoors, like tips for smart hiking, taking Fido, and general outdoors information. I’ll also up the challenge by encouraging you to make every hike a real excursion allowing time for a picnic or outdoor reflection. 

Any new experience should be a positive one. The more you are well prepared the better the chances of wanting to repeat the experience. All it takes to be a good hiker is some common sense. Just like the Scouts: be prepared. Carry a backpack with plenty of water, snacks and a hat. Dress in layers and wear comfortable shoes with good ankle support.  

Walk with a friend when possible and leave information behind as to where you’re headed. Allow enough time to hike at a reasonable pace. There’s more than just an elevated heart rate waiting for you, be sure you have time to stop, look and revel in what’s around you. 

Pick up a trail map when you get to the park. Read it; know where you’re going. Evaluate the hike you’ve selected and condition you are in. You want to enjoy this. 

Be courteous of others on the trail. If you’re with a loud group, be aware that others may be looking for a different outdoor experience. Don’t leave or remove souvenirs; leave only footprints, take only memories. 

 

TRAIL CHALLENGE #1: Redwood Regional Park: 3.2 miles, intensity rated easy. 

There are several entrance gates to Redwood Park. This particular hike originates at the Canyon Meadows Staging Area, accessed through Redwood Gate. 

As soon as you exit your car, you’ll know you’re in the right place for an outdoor adventure. Canyon Meadows is lovely, a large grassy expanse with a variety of mature trees, lots of picnic facilities and a small kid’s playground.  

The hike begins on Stream Trail—shaded, broad, paved and level, paralleling Redwood Creek. Stop to read the Interpretive Panel explaining the efforts under way to control erosion of the creek’s banks and restore habitat for newts and trout. A rail fence lines both sides of the creek and dogs must be leashed in this area. Other Panels discuss the ecology of forest streams and the amazing survival story of the redwood, whose habitat has been reduced to a narrow corridor along the Pacific Coast. 

Stream Trail continues for 1 mile bordered by native grasses adorned with huckleberry, wild currant and foxglove. You’ll pass additional picnic areas and facilities as well as groves of the magnificent 100-foot redwoods. Notice their characteristic formation, five to ten sentinels in circular arrangements like mini-cathedrals, filtering the light. 

At trail’s end, paving gives way to dirt and the trail begins to climb. At the trail junction, turn left on Chown Trail. After a short climb, you’ll reach another junction and will need to make a decision. You can turn left onto Bridle Trail to return to Stream Trail and your car. 

If you’re up to the challenge, turn right on Chown Trail and get ready to climb a series of switchbacks. 

Now you’re into the real hiking experience among the redwoods. Notice the bright green tips of new growth on branches and in bright tutus of soft growth at the base of trunks. As you climb up the canyon, you get a better perspective of how tall these trees are. Look up at their straight trunks with branches clustered near the light-providing tops. You can’t help but feel a sense of accomplishment. Strenuous walking in a beautiful setting under ideal conditions—dappled light, well-maintained, wide trail—you can almost ignore your panting. 

After 0.5 miles, a trail marker directs you left onto French Trail, a mostly level path following the ridgeline. 

The hard work is done so now you can take in your surroundings. Leaf litter cushions your feet; sticky monkey flowers, coast oaks, bays and ferns line the trail. Let the cares of life diffuse away, leaving your mind free to soak up nature’s healing. Think about Sequoia sempervirens, surviving adversity for hundreds of years, still around. Leave your watch behind and your cell phone off. Enjoy the moment. 

The next trail marker is at a stand of madrone. He who goes up must come down. Turn left and head down on Orchard Trail, another series of switchbacks. This is steep in some areas so take your time. Try weaving from one side of the trail to the other or turning your feet to the side as you descend. This is where you really appreciate sturdy shoes with good ankle support. The floral variety continues as you head back down to the canyon floor, enough to keep any budding botanist happy. The same is true for birders, who will enjoy identifying the symphony of calls and songs.  

At the bottom, turn left on Bridle Trail, on the far side of the creek. From here, you can see evidence of serious erosion on the banks, entire root masses of large bay and sycamore trees exposed. It’s difficult to predict how many storms will pass before these magnificent trees are uprooted.  

Bridle Trail crossed Redwood Creek at Fern Dell, where you once again pick up Stream Trail, leading you back to Canyon Meadows, now beckoning to extend your excursion with a picnic lunch or a grilled brunch—the smell alone will make the trip worthwhile. 

A most satisfying hike, earning an A rating from this hiker. Keep it on your list and return on a hot Indian summer day or better yet, after a few winter storms. The experience of Redwood Creek swollen with run-off and redwoods softening the force of the rain is a memorable one. 

 

IF YOU GO: 

EAST BAY REGIONAL PARK DISTRICT 

TRAILS CHALLENGE: 

 

For more information see www.ebparks.org. or call 562-PARK. 

 

GETTING THERE: 

From Hwy 13, exit on Joaquin Miller Rd. and go east. Joaquin Miller turns into Skyline Blvd. At intersection of Skyline and Redwood Rd. turn left onto Redwood Rd.; Continue on Redwood Rd, park entrance is on your left. Follow entrance road to the last parking lot. 

You can also access Skyline Blvd. from Grizzly Peak Blvd.  

Redwood Regional Park: 5am-10pm, fees: $5/vehicle, $2/dog.Ë


Berkeley This Week

Friday June 10, 2005

FRIDAY, JUNE 10 

City Commons Club Noon Luncheon with Cornelia Niekus Moore on “Obituaries as Social, Religious and Political Commentary in Early Modern Germany” 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.  

Acts Full Gospel Women’s Conference with Dr. Doris Limbrick at 7 p.m. at 1034 66th Ave., Oakland. Speakers on Sat. from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Cost is $45 for adults, $20 for youth. to register call 567-1300. 

“Three Beats for Nothing” a small group meeting weekly at 10 a.m. at the North Berkeley Senior Center to sing for fun and practice, mostly 16th century harmony. No charge. 655-8863, 843-7610. dann@netwiz.net 

Berkeley Chess Club meets Fridays at 8 p.m. at the East Bay Chess Club, 1940 Virginia St. Players at all levels are welcome. 845-1041. 

Women in Black Vigil at noon at UC Berkeley, Bancroft at Telegraph. 548-6310. 

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 

SATURDAY, JUNE 11 

La Peña Day with live music and activities, from noon to 6 p.m. at the intersection of Prince and Shattuck. 849-2568. www.lapena.org 

Live Oak Park Fair from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. with arts and crafts, jazz, children’s entertainment and food. 898-3282. www.liveoakparkfair.com 

East Bay Multilingual Home Buyer Fair from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Frank Ogawa Plaza, 14th St. and Broadway, Oakland. Lenders, realtors, non-profit organizations and local housing agencies will have information booths. 637-0240. 

“Beat Back the Arnold Attack!” SEIU Local 790 Membership Convention from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., with community activities at 1 p.m., at Berkeley Community Theater, 1930 Allston Way. http://graypantherssf.igc.org/050611back.pdf  

“Dragonflies of California” a slide show with Kathy and Dave Briggs from 9:30 a.m. to noon at the Visitor Center, Tilden Park. Optional excursion in the afternoon. Cost is $30-$35. Bring your lunch. 841-8732. www.nativeplants.org 

Mini-Farmers in Tilden A farm exploration program, from 10 to 11 a.m. for ages 4-6 years, accompanied by an adult. We will explore the Little Farm, care for animals, do crafts and farm chores. Wear boots and dress to get dirty! Fee is $3-$5. Registration required. 525-2233. 

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-$7, registration required. 525-2233. 

All Trails, All Day A whirlwind tour of Alan Kaplan’s favorite Trails. Meet at 10 a.m. at the Tilden Nature Center, Tilden Park, and bring lunch, liquids, hat and sunscreen. 525-2233. 

 

Basic Organic Vegetable Gardening with special emphasis on the East Bay backyard and climate, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Ecology Center, 2530 San Pablo Ave. Cost is $10-$15. 548-2220, ext. 233. 

Passport to the Summer Garden UC Botanical Garden’s Party from 3 to 6 p.m. Tickets are $35-$45. Reservations required. 643-2755. http://botanicalgarden.berkeley.edu 

Origami from 2 to 4 p.m. at the Albany Library, 1247 Marin Ave. Free and open to all ages. 526-3720, ext. 17. 

Tryouts for Piedmont Choirs from 9 a.m. to noon in Alameda or Piedmont. Call for appointment 547-4441. 

Albany Karate for Kids Open House from 9 to 10:30 a.m. at 1249 Marin Ave. 847-2400. www.albanykarateforkids.com 

Child Car Seat Check with the Berkeley Police Dept. from 10 a.m. to noon at the UC Garage on Addison at Oxford. 647-1111. www.habitot.org 

Walking Tour of Jack London Waterfront Meet at 10 a.m. at the corner of Broadway and Embarcadero. Tour lasts 90 minutes. Reservations can be made by calling 238-3234. www.oaklandnet.com/walkingtours 

Introductory Birding Walk in Kensington with Robbie Fisher from 8 to 11 a.m. Cost is $25, includes breakfast. For meeting place and to register, call 525-6155. 

“Headaches and Heartaches” with Ed Bauman, Director of Bauman College at 10 a.m. at Elephant Pharmacy, 1607 Shattuck Ave. 549-9200. 

“The Rising Power of Europe and the European Constitutional Vote” with Conor Dixon at 10 a.m. at the Niebyl-Procter Library, 6501 Telegraph Ave., Oakland. Sponsored by the Democratic Socialists of America. 415-789-8497. 

“Starting and Managing Your Small Business” a workshop from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Berkeley Public Library, Community Room, 2090 Kittredge St. Sponsored by the Small Business Network. Free but registration required. 981-6148. 

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

SUNDAY, JUNE 12 

Live Oak Park Fair from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. with arts and crafts, jazz, children’s entertainment and food. 898-3282. www.liveoakparkfair.com 

Ashby Arts District Open House from 1 to 6 p.m. Visit La Peña, Epic Arts, Ashby Stage, Black Rep and many more. A bus will shuttle from venue to venue. www.epicarts.org 

At Summer’s Cusp An exploration of pollination in the Regional Parks Botanic Garden at Tilden Park from 10 a.m. to noon. 525-2233. 

Joys of Walking Hear what great writers have to say about sauntering and learn the origin of the word. Meet at 2 p.m. at Tilden Nature Center, Tilden Park. 525-2233. 

Hands-on Bike Maintenance Learn how to perform basic repairs on your bike from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. at REI, 1338 San Pablo Ave. Cost is $85-$100. 527-4140. 

Solar Electricity for Your Home Learn how you can produce your own electricty and “sell” the excess back to PG&E, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Building Education Center, 812 Page St. Cost is $75. 525-7610. 

Theater Class for Families with improvisational games and movement activities from 1 to 3 p.m. at the Nevo Education Center, 2071 Addison St. Free, but bring a book to donate to John Muir Elementary. Sponsored by Target and Berkeley Rep. 647-2972. 

Acting Out Garden Party from 2 to 4 p.m. at the Magnes Museum, in conjunction with the Claude Cahun and Marcel Moore exhibition. RSVP to magnes40@magnes.org 

Free Garden Tours at Regional Parks Botanic Garden in Tilden Park Sat. and Sun. at 2 p.m. Call to confirm. 841-8732. www.nativeplants.org 

Lake Merritt Neighbors Organized for Peace Peace walk around the lake every Sun. Meet at 3 p.m. at the colonnade at the NE end of the lake. 763-8712. lmno4p.org 

Tibetan Buddhism with Mary Gomes on “Compassionate Activism” at 6 p.m. at the Tibetan Nyingma Institute, 1815 Highland Pl. 843-6812. www.nyingmainstitute.com 

Erev Shavuot Lecture with David Biale on the Jewish concept of political dissent, at 4 p.m. at 951 Cragmont Ave. Sponsored by Beyt Tikkun. Cost is $20 for non-members. For reservations call 528-6250. 

Tikkun Leyl Shavuot, all night study, at 7 p.m. at BRJCC, 1414 Walnut St. 848-0237.  

MONDAY, JUNE 13 

City of Berkeley Walking Group walks Mon.-Thurs. from 5 to 5:30 p.m. Meet at 830 University Ave. All new participants receive a free pedometer. 981-5131. 

The Berkeley High School Site Council meets at 4:30 p.m. in the school library. On the agenda are the advanced placement (AP) program, attendance, and safety and discipline. For more information, go to bhs.berkeleypta.org/ssc 

Tea and Hike 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. Cost is $2.50 with refreshments. 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. 

TUESDAY, JUNE 14 

Early Morning Bird Walk Meet at 7 a.m. at the Bear Creek Rd. entrance of Briones to look for Redwinged Blackbirds, White-crowned Sparrows and Western Bluebirds (It is Flag Day!) 525-2233. 

Berkeley School Volunteers Training workshop for volunteers interested in helping the public schools during the summer, from 7 to 8:30 p.m. at 1835 Allston Way. 644-8833. 

Beyond Oil II with Joanna Macy and Richard Heinberg at 7 p.m. at the First Congregational Church, 2501 Harrison St., Oakland. Sponsored by the East Bay Post Carbon Solutions Group. 496-6080. 

Peace Corps Information Night with volunteers and staff at 6:30 p.m. at Rockridge Public Library, 5366 College Ave., Oakland. RSVP to John Ruiz at 415-977-8798. jruiz@peacecorps.gov 

Tuesday Tilden Walkers Join a few slowpoke seniors at 9:30 a.m. in the parking lot near the Little Farm for an hour or two walk. In case of questionable weather, call around 8 a.m. 215-7672, 524-9992. 

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

Buddhist Meditation Class at 7 p.m. at The Dzalandhara Buddhist Center. Cost is $7-$10. For directions and details please call 559-8183. 

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. 

Sing-Along every Tues. from 1:30 to 2:30 p.m. at the Albany Senior Center, 846 Masonic. All ages welcome. 524-9122. 

WEDNESDAY, JUNE 15 

Berkeley School Volunteers Training workshop for volunteers interested in helping the public schools during the summer, from 4 to 5:30 p.m. at 1835 Allston Way. 644-8833. 

“The Emotional World of Farm Animals” a documentary, at 7:30 p.m. at Humanist Hall, 390 27th St., Oakland. Donation $5. 

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

The Berkeley Lawn Bowling Club provides free instruction every Wednesday at 10:30 a.m. at 2270 Action St. 841-2174.  

Berkeley Communicators Toastmasters meets the first and third Wednesdays of the month at 7:15 a.m. at Au Cocolait, 200 University Ave. at Milvia. For information call Robert Flammia 524-3765. 

JumpStart Entrepreneurs share information at 8 a.m. at A’Cuppa Tea, 3202 College Ave. at Alcatraz. Cost is $5. 541-9901. 

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

Artify Ashby Muralist Group meets every Wed. from 5 to 8 p.m. at the South Berkeley Senior Center, to plan a new mural. New artists are welcome. Call Bonnie at 704-0803. 

Stitch ‘n Bitch Bring your knitting, crocheting and other handcrafts from 6 to 9 p.m. at Caffe Trieste, 2500 San Pablo Ave. 548-5198. 

 

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 

Sing-Along every Wed. at 4:30 p.m. at the Albany Library, 1247 Marin Ave. 526-3720, ext. 17. 

THURSDAY, JUNE 16 

“Growing Old in Gay Culture” a video and panel discussion at 1 p.m. at the North Berkeley Senior Center. 981-5190.  

Introduction to Mindfulness Meditation at 7 p.m. at Unity of Berkeley, 2075 Eunice St. Sliding scale donation $10-$25. 528-8844. www.unityberkeley.org 

FRIDAY, JUNE 17 

City Commons Club Noon Luncheon with Jaleh Pirnazar on “Iran Struggles for Democracy” 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. 

“Take Back Our Schools” Day On the 51st Anniversary of Brown vs. Board. Rally at noon at Frank Ogawa Plaza, Oakland. Followed by activities and teach-in. 289-3318, 593-3956. 

“Hip-Hop Culture, Politics and Social Justice” a discussion with with authors Adam Mansbach, Jeff Chang, Tricia Rose and Bakari Kitwana at 7:30 p.m. at Cody’s Books. 845-7852. www.codysbooks.com 

“Awakening to the Divine in Everyday Life” with art therapist Deborah Purdy at 7:30 p.m. at St. John’s Presbyterian Church, 2727 College Ave. www.sos-ca.org 

Berkeley Chess Club meets Fridays at 8 p.m. at the East Bay Chess Club, 1940 Virginia St. Players at all levels are welcome. 845-1041. 

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

Kirtan, improvisational devotional chanting at 7:30 p.m. at 850 Talbot, at Solano, Albany. Donation $10. 526-9642. 

“Three Beats for Nothing” a small group meeting weekly at 10 a.m. at the North Berkeley Senior Center to sing for fun and practice, mostly 16th century harmony. No charge. 655-8863, 843-7610. dann@netwiz.net 

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

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

 

ONGOING 

Summer Camps for Children offered by the City of Berkeley, including swimming, sports and twilight basketball, from June 20 to August 12, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. For details call 981-5150, 981-5153. 

Barrington Collection Free Skool holds summer classes in the East Bay. Classes include “Buying Your First Home,” “Beer Brewing,” ”Grant Writing,” “Yoga” and classes for children. http://barringtoncollective.org/FreeSkool 

Find a Loving Animal Companion at the Berkeley-East Bay Humane Society Adoption Center (open from 11 a.m. - 7 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday). 2700 Ninth St. 845-7735. www.berkeleyhumane.org  

Medical Care for Your Pet at the Berkeley East Bay Humane Society low-cost veterinary clinic. 2700 Ninth St. For appointments call 845-3633. www.berkeleyhumane.org  

CITY MEETINGS 

Council Agenda Committee meets Mon., June 13, at 2:30 p.m., at 2180 Milvia St. 981-6900. www.ci.berkeley.ca.us/ 

citycouncil/agenda-committee 

City Council meets Tues., June 14, at 7 p.m in City Council Chambers. 981-6900. www.ci. 

berkeley.ca.us/citycouncil 

Citizens Humane Commission meets Wed., June 15, at 7 p.m., at the North Berkeley Senior Center. Katherine O’Connor, 981-6601. www.ci.berke 

ley.ca.us/commissions/humane 

Commission on Aging meets Wed. June 15, at 1:30 p.m., at the South Berkeley Senior Center. William Rogers, 981-5344. www.ci.berkeley.ca.us/commissions/aging 

Commission on Labor meets Wed., June 15, at 6:45 p.m., at the North Berkeley Senior Center. Delfina M. Geiken, 981-7550. www.ci.berkeley.ca.us/ 

commissions/labor 

Human Welfare and Community Action Commission meets Wed. June 15, at 7 p.m., at the South Berkeley Senior Center. Kristen Lee, 981-5427. www.ci.berkeley.ca.us/commissions/welfare 

Design Review Committee meets Thurs., June 16, at 7:30 p.m., at the North Berkeley Senior Center. Anne Burns, 981-7415. www.ci.berkeley.ca.us/ 

commissions/designreview  

Fair Campaign Practices Commission meets Thurs., June 16, at 7:30 p.m., at the North Berkeley Senior Center. Prasanna Rasaih, 981-6950. www.ci.berkeley.ca.us/commissions/faircampaign 

Transportation Commission meets Thurs., June 16, at 7 p.m., at the North Berkeley Senior Center. Peter Hillier, 981-7000. www.ci.berkeley.ca.us/ 

commissions/transportation 


Berkeley’s Synagogue Building Boom By MATTHEW ARTZ

Tuesday June 07, 2005

After 16 years of wandering through the desert of homelessness, Berkeley’s only conservative Jewish congregation, Netivot Shalom, finally took shelter in their half-acre of promised land Friday on University Avenue. 

The 300-family congregation marched through central Berkeley, Torahs in hand, to celebrate their first Sabbath in the $6 million synagogue they built right next to the Montessori school at 1316 University Ave. 

For Claudia Valas, who in 1989 attended the congregation’s first meetings in members’ kitchens, the scene Friday was overwhelming.  

“This is just a dream. I always thought this day would come,” she said, as members blew ceremonial ram horns and sang songs after arriving at their new synagogue after a procession from their temporary quarters in Berkeley’s Jewish Community Center on Walnut Street.  

Netivot Shalom is not the only local congregation getting used to a new home. For local Jews, 2005, or 5765 in the Hebrew calendar, might well be remembered as the year of the big move. By August, Berkeley’s four largest congregations will have either moved to bigger homes or enlarged their current ones.  

Besides Netivot Shalom leaving its rented space at the Jewish Community Center, Kehilla Community Synagogue earlier this year moved to a former church in Piedmont from the space it rented at Northbrae’s Community Church, Congregation Beth El is moving to a bigger home still under construction on Oxford Street, and Congregation Beth Israel has nearly completed reconstructing and enlarging their home on Bancroft Way. 

“If you look at national trends, this is impressive growth in congregation life and religious life,” said Joel Bashevkin, executive director of the Berkeley-Richmond Jewish Community Center. He added that several congregations in Oakland were also looking for new homes or to expand their current space. 

Bashevkin suggested that the growth of local congregations was being fed by more members from outer suburbs coming to services and the effort by many congregations to welcome interfaith couples. According to some estimates, he added, Berkeley’s population is between 20 and 25 percent Jewish, with about one in four Jews belonging to a synagogue. 

For members of Netivot Shalom, a permanent home brings the opportunity to expand the congregation’s activities and attract new members. While at the JCC, the congregation couldn’t hold traditional Friday night services because of a lack of space and had to pay extra to rent out rooms for special events. 

“It’s particularly important when you have young kids to give them a sense of a communal home,” said congregation member Lisa Fink. “This is where they’re going to grow together.” 

To build their new synagogue, 95 percent of congregation members donated time and money to the effort. Ed Gold said he cashed out of stocks to make a loan to the congregation. Art Braufman said the congregation saved over a quarter-million dollars by having members donate architectural and engineering expertise to the project. 

David Finn, a congregation member and architect, designed the building to maximize natural light and separate the sanctuary from the hustle and bustle of University Avenue. In an agreement with their new next-door neighbors, Berkeley Montessori School, the synagogue will use the school’s courtyard and play area, while the school will have access to the synagogue’s assembly room. 

“This is a very efficient use of space,” Finn said. 

Finn, for a brief time, had his hand in another Berkeley synagogue project. He was hired by Congregation Beth Israel, Berkeley’s orthodox congregation, to design a replica of the wooden synagogue of Przedborz, Poland that the Nazis burned down in 1942. However, the congregation, whose former home was seismically unsafe, couldn’t raise enough money for the project and settled for a building that looks much like their former home.  

In February, the 400 member Kehilla Community Synagogue moved from Berkeley into its permanent home in Piedmont. Several members of Kehilla, the country’s largest Renewal congregation, a left-leaning branch of Judaism, refinanced their homes to loan the congregation money to buy a former church at 1300 Grand Ave., said Sandy Bredt, Kehilla’s managing director.  

“It was amazing. We raised $425,000 in loans and $500,000 in donations 90 days after our feasibility study showed we weren’t ready to buy a building,” she said. 

Bredt said the congregation has already begun reaping the rewards. It has used its space to host music benefits and bolster it syouth programs. 

In August, Berkeley’s largest congregation, the nearly 600-family Congregation Beth El, will move into its new home at 1301 Oxford St. Having long ago outgrown its current home at Arch and Vine streets, Beth El’s estimated $8 million, 33,000-square-foot new synagogue will give the congregation more spaces for its Hebrew school and youth programs, said Harry Pollack, a congregation member. The congregation’s soon-to-be former home has been purchased by the Dominican Friars as classroom space, he added. 

Pollack said the different congregations had “traded notes” on their building efforts and took pride in their successes. 

“The fact that we’re all investing the time and money into new homes shows the optimism and hope that there will continue to be a vital Jewish community.D


Brower Center Over Budget, Seeks Grant For Contaminated Sites By MATTHEW ARTZ

Tuesday June 07, 2005

In order to get enough money to build what has been billed as the greenest project in Berkeley, the city may have to ask federal officials to designate part of the downtown as a brownfield—a term that typically applies to contaminated industrial sites. 

The designation could mean $2 million in extra federal funding to help build the David Brower Center, a combination of affordable housing, retail and office space for environmental groups on Oxford Street. The project, estimated at $50 million, is facing $4 million in increased cost estimates with still a year to go before construction is scheduled to begin.  

Although there is no sign of contamination at the site, the development’s partners, the David Brower Center and affordable housing developer Resources For Community Development, are asking the city to apply for the federal grant for contaminated sites on the basis that the Oxford Street parking lot has potential for contamination and is in a low-income area. 

The City Council must approve the application, which has a June 17 deadline. 

Slated to rise above the Oxford Parking Lot at Oxford Street between Kittredge Street and Allston Way, the Brower Center, which has already received $2.5 million in city housing funds, has been heralded by city leaders as a future jewel of the city’s ailing downtown.  

However, a group representing downtown merchants has withheld its support for the project over fears that it would further diminish downtown’s reduced parking capacity. 

On Thursday Berkeley’s Housing Advisory Commission, over the staunch objections of several members, voted 5-3-1 to recommend that the City Council apply for the grant.  

“This is not a brownfield,” said Commission Chair Anne Wagley, who wanted to reserve applications for Berkeley projects proposed for actual contaminated sites. (Wagley is an employee of the Daily Planet.) 

But the Federal Department of Housing And Urban Development, which manages the grants, thinks otherwise, city officials said. 

Under HUD’s definition a project may qualify if it is complicated simply by the “potential presence of contamination.” Roger Asterino, a city housing official, said local HUD officers supervising the grant program were familiar with the site and recommended that the city apply for the grant. 

The HUD grants, unlike similar grants offered by the federal Environmental Protection Agency, are also designed to spur economic growth in low-income neighborhoods. Because downtown Berkeley, home to hundreds of UC students, qualifies as a low-income area and the Brower project is estimated to create 140 jobs, city officials have been led to believe they have a good chance to win the grant. 

Just last year, HUD issued a $2 million brownfield grant to the Ed Roberts Campus, slated to rise on the northeast parking lot of the Ashby BART Station, which also had little evidence of past contamination. 

If Berkeley applies for and receives the grant, it likely won’t be able receive another brownfield grant for the foreseeable future. Because each grant is coupled with a $5 million HUD loan that the city must guarantee, Berkeley only has means to take on two brownfield grants at a time, city officials said. 

Housing Commissioner Vicky Liu argued that the Brower center was too important a project not to seek the extra funding. 

“This is an opportunity we should take advantage of,” she said. 

Brower Center Project Manager John Clawson said the latest estimates for building one level of underground parking rose from about $4.8 to $6 million. Rising costs of steel and concrete, he added, had increased the total cost by about $4 million. Clawson said the developers could provide $2 million more, but needed the grant to help build the underground parking and some of the retail space. 

The project financing is one of the most complex ever attempted in Berkeley, said Housing Director Steve Barton, adding that all of the funding sources have not yet come together. 

Meanwhile downtown merchants are pushing for the city to find a way to build a second level of underground parking at the site. The merchants are angry that the underground lot will only have 105 spaces while the current lot has space for 130 vehicles. 

“We’re concerned about the vitality of that project as well as its domino effect on the downtown if the parking issue isn’t addressed,” said Deborah Bahdia, executive director of the Downtown Berkeley Association. 

Bahdia said the downtown has lost 400 parking spaces over the past five years to new developments. She said the organization had considered assessing itself a fee to pay the estimated $6 million for a second level of parking, but learned that it would be illegal because the lot will be private property, owned by the developers. 

Under a deal between the city and the developers, the city is to sell the property, valued at $4.2 million for $1. In return, the development is to lease the underground parking lot to the city, which would receive parking lot revenues, currently estimated at $300,000. Should the brownfield grant not come through, Clawson said the city would have to accept less revenue from the parking to pay for the cost overrun on the lot.


Supreme Court Rules Against Protection for Medical Pot By MATTHEW ARTZ

Tuesday June 07, 2005

In a setback for medical marijuana users, on Monday the U.S. Supreme Court ruled against a seriously ill Oakland woman seeking to grow and use marijuana without fear of federal raids. 

The 6-3 ruling held that federal authorities may prosecute people who have a doctor’s permission to grow and consume marijuana. The court found that state laws legalizing medical marijuana, such as California’s, do not offer protection to users from the federal ban on the drug.  

The ruling does not overturn California’s Compassionate Use Act of 1996, which legalized medical marijuana in the state. It does, however, uphold the conflict between state and federal law that leaves Californians under the threat of arrest under federal law when they grow or use marijuana as a medicine.  

“I’m a little bit stunned with the decision,” said Angel Raich, 39, of Oakland, who along with Diane Monson of Oroville took the case to the high court. “People aren’t going to stop using their medicine just because the Supreme Court ruled against them.” 

In 2002, DEA agents seized and destroyed Monson’s six marijuana plants. 

Raich, who suffers from an inoperable brain tumor, has chronic pain and a wasting syndrome that requires her to eat up to 3,000 calories a day. She grows her own marijuana, which she said relieves her pain and enables her to eat. 

While the ruling only directly applies to the small number of residents who grow and consume their own medical marijuana, it could have ramifications for medical marijuana dispensaries, where most licensed patients in the state receive their marijuana. The dispensaries, which are not specifically mentioned in the state law, have historically been subject to raids from the federal Drug Enforcement Agency. 

Don Duncan, who runs one of Berkeley’s three licensed dispensaries, said the DEA had ceased raiding collectives in the past year while the Raich case was being litigated in the courts. He feared the agency might now feel emboldened by the ruling. 

“I hope the federal government doesn’t misinterpret this ruling as a cue for stepped-up enforcement,” he said. 

In a prepared statement the Bush administration’s drug czar John Walters said, “Today’s decision marks the end of medical marijuana as a political issue....We have a responsibility as a civilized society to ensure that the medicine Americans receive from their doctors is effective, safe and free from the pro-drug politics that are being promoted in America under the guise of medicine.” 

State Attorney General Bill Lockyer criticized the ruling, saying that, “Taking medicine on the recommendation of a doctor for a legitimate illness should not be a crime.” 

Writing for the court majority, Justice John Paul Stevens held that Congress’s power to regulate commerce between states included the authority to ban marijuana that was grown and consumed within one state. Joining Stevens in the majority were justices Breyer, Ginsburg, Kennedy, Scalia and Souter. 

The decision overturns a 2003 ruling of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals that had been appealed by the Bush administration.  

Raich’s attorneys said they would return to the Ninth Circuit to argue that the federal government’s ban on growing medical marijuana violated Raich’s constitutional rights under the constitution’s due process clause. 

Raich said she would also lobby Congress to support a bill scheduled for a floor vote next week that would bar the U.S. Justice Department from conducting raids in states that have medical marijuana laws on the books. The bill has previously failed to come close to garnering the 218 votes needed for passage. 

California’s medical marijuana law allows residents to grow and use marijuana with a doctor’s permission. Since California’s law passed in 1996, voters in Alaska, Colorado, Hawaii, Maine, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Washington, and Vermont have passed similar legislation protecting medical marijuana users and growers from prosecution from state and local authorities. 

In dissent, Justice Sandra Day O’Connor held that states should retain authority over “core police powers.” 

“Relying on Congress’s abstract assertions, the court has endorsed making it a federal crime to grow small amounts of marijuana in one’s own home for one’s own medicinal use,” she wrote. “This overreaching stifles an express choice by some states concerned for the lives and liberties of their people to regulate medical marijuana differently.” 

Justice William Rehnquist joined O’Connor in her dissent. Justice Clarence Thomas wrote his own dissenting opinion. 

Recently, pharmaceutical companies have offered alternatives to medical cannabis. Raich said the most widely used drug Marinol, a synthetic form of THC, made her ill. A more promising drug, Sativex, which is a liquid form of marijuana, has been approved in Canada, but not yet in the United States. 


BUSD Settles Berkeley High Discrimination Expulsion Suit By J. DOUGLAS ALLEN-TAYLOR

Tuesday June 07, 2005

The Berkeley Unified School District notified families last week that it has reached a settlement in the Smith v. BUSD Board of Education case, a 2004 class action suit filed on behalf of three minority Berkeley students—two African-Americans and one Latino—who claimed that their education at Berkeley High was disrupted by improper expulsions. 

The settlement, first reached in March, was ratified in federal district court last month. The district must notify all school families in preparation for a hearing to approve the agreement in July. 

While denying that the three students were improperly kept out of school, the Berkeley Unified School District agreed to a settlement in which the students—and any other African-American or Latino students who could prove that they were unlawfully excluded from the regular school program—will be reinstated to the general school population, have their student records corrected, and be given district-sponsored makeup instruction to make up for any comprehensive instruction they might have missed. 

In addition, the district must establish a plan to “reduce disproportionally the number of African-American and Latino students recommended for expulsion, formally expelled, and reassigned to alternative school programs.” 

The settlement does not require the district to make any financial compensation to the affected students. 

One of the students, Yarman Smith, claimed in the complaint that he was removed from Berkeley High School for two months between January and March of 2004 without a legally required hearing. Juan Muñoz claimed that he was excluded from the high school from the fall of 2002 through the summer of 2004 without a hearing, and Summer McNeil said she was excluded between November 2003 and the summer of 2004. 

The plaintiffs were represented by the Pillsbury Winthrop law firm of Palo Alto on a pro bono basis, as well as the nonprofit Legal Services for Children of San Francisco and the Youth and Education Law Clinic of Stanford Law School. 

The complaint alleged that each of the students was “excluded indefinitely from the district’s comprehensive educational programs and was either provided no educational services or provided substandard educational services through a county community school, continuation school or independent study.” 

While Smith was initially offered no makeup for his two lost months, the district offered to enroll Muñoz at the Rock LaFleche county non-comprehensive community school. McNeil was offered a relocation to Berkeley Alternative High School and was enrolled in an independent study program called “Home Hospital Instruction,” even though she says in her claim that she was neither ill nor incapacitated. 

Although the settlement only affects African-American and Latino students, the settlement required the district to send out notices to households with all students currently enrolled in the Berkeley public schools. 

At the time the agreement was reached, Lagertha Smith, Yarman Smith’s mother, released a statement saying, “I am very pleased with the settlement because it not only affects my son, but it will prevent other students from being mistreated in the future. Being involved in this lawsuit has given my son more self-esteem, since he was empowered to stand up for his rights.” 

Bill Koski, of the Youth and Education Law Clinic, added that “to Superintendent Michelle Lawrence’s credit, the Berkeley School District recognizes that students are entitled to due process. The agreement … shows that the district is committed to ensuring that students will no longer be wrongfully excluded from Berkeley schools.” 

The district last week sent out notices to families explaining the settlement of the expulsion discrimination case, informing Berkeley parents of their rights if they think any of their children were kept out of school based on race. 

BUSD Public Information Officer Mark Coplan said he has no idea how many students might actually be affected by the settlement. He said that the district has already received six or seven queries from parents. 

“A couple of them wanted to know ,‘Did my child do something?’” he said. “And the rest wanted to know if their child’s situation might fit into the settlement.” 

In addition to the mailed notices, the settlement requires the district to request that the Alameda County Probation Department, the Alameda County Department of Social Services, the Alameda County Juvenile Court, the Alameda County Family Court, the Berkeley Organization of Churches and Berkeley Youth Alternatives post the agreement at their headquarters or on their websites. 

A hearing will be held on July 27 at 1 p.m. in federal district court in Oakland to consider final approval of the settlement. 


Patient Shifts, Contract Spark Alta Bates Protest By RICHARD BRENNEMAN

Tuesday June 07, 2005

Tensions are heating up over impending changes at both East Bay Alta Bates hospitals. 

In addition to the fact that the contract for registered nurses is about to expire, recent moves of services between hospitals have alarmed some staff members. 

The latest moves will transfer elderly psychiatric patients from Oakland to the chain’s Herrick Hospital in Berkeley and will move patients from the Oakland hospital’s cancer care unit up three floors into an orthopedic ward. 

Last September, all maternity functions were transferred from the Alta Bates Summit Medical Center in Oakland to the Alta Bates facility on Ashby Avenue in Berkeley. 

The California Nurses Association (CNA), which represents Registered Nurses (who have more training than licensed vocational nurses), held a press conference outside the Oakland hospital Monday noon to protest the shifts. 

One of those speaking on behalf of his fellow nurses was Berkeley City Councilmember Max Anderson. 

While Alta Bates spokesperson Carolyn E. Kemp said the moves will have no impact on patient care and will involve no restructures, CNA members and officials said Monday the effects will be profound. 

CNA Communications Officer Charles Idelson said, “It is our understanding that Herrick doesn’t have the capacity to care for its existing patients, much less those from Summit.” 

Kemp said moving the Oakland hospital’s 17-bed Geropsychiatry Unit to the Herrick Campus, a 105-bed psychiatric unit in Berkeley, would provide enhanced opportunities for patients. 

“The program at Herrick is one of the largest and oldest in Northern California,” she said. “The move will make the program more comprehensive and give it greater breadth.” 

Oncology nurse Jan Rodolfo, who has worked five years in the Oakland hospital’s oncology ward, said the changes will be profound. 

Kemp said the average number of patients currently assigned to the oncology unit averages about 10 per day, while Rodolfo said the census is kept artificially low by assigning cancer patients to other units. 

While the current second-floor unit is dedicated to cancer patients and staffed by five oncology nurses per shift, the move to the fifth floor will place patients in vacant beds in a unit dedicated to orthopedic care. Only two oncology units will be assigned per shift, Rodolfo said. 

While the initial announcement from Summit said the change in the oncology unit would be permanent, Rodolfo said officials are hinting that the move may be temporary. 

“The problem with that,” she said, “is that most of the oncology nurses who will be forced to move to other units may have left for other hospitals by then. 

“Summit doesn’t seem to recognize that it takes time to train nurses to a particular hospital’s program, and they also don’t seem to realize how much time is spent in patient and family education.” 

Rodolfo added that non-oncology nurses are sometimes reluctant to administer the high levels of pain medication needed by many cancer patients. 

Kemp said part of CNA’s motivation was because of the impending June 30 end of their current contract with the hospital’s nurses. 

“You always hear a lot of charges when it comes time for contract negotiation,” she said. 

Non-RN hospital staff have been bogged down in negotiations with the hospital chain since their contract expired over a year ago. 

“We already gave them their wage increase and benefits,” Kemp said. 

One of the key sticking points in negotiations between Summit and parent Sutter Health Care has been the Service Employees International Union’s insistence on a comprehensive agreement that would include most or all of the chain’s Northern California hospitals. 




BUSD Board to Consider Set of Proposed Budget Cuts By J. DOUGLAS ALLEN-TAYLOR

Tuesday June 07, 2005

Two weeks after the Berkeley Unified School District reached tentative contract agreements with three of its five unions, the BUSD Board of Directors on Wednesday will get back to the business of finding the money to pay for those pacts. 

The board will consider two sets of proposed budget cuts at its regular meeting on Wednesday, 7:30 p.m., in Old City Hall at 2134 Martin Luther King Jr. Way. 

In one proposal, Deputy Superintendent Glenston Thompson and Transportation Director Bernadette Cormier are recommending $150,000 in transportation cuts, which include the three bus driver positions already eliminated by the board at its April 20 meeting. 

One recommendation involves a reduction in the number of stops made by district school buses by increasing the maximum distance students will be required to walk to a school bus stop from a third of a mile to half a mile. 

A second recommendation would stagger bell times between Thousand Oaks and Jefferson, Cragmont and Arts Magnet, and Oxford and Washington elementaries “to allow [the district] to minimize the number of buses … run in areas such as the hills where [the district is] duplicating the territory covered by more than one bus and picking up a low number of riders.” 

Thompson and Cormier are also recommending the elimination of a vacant mechanic’s position. 

Thompson has also released a list of $422,000 in cuts to the district’s general fund in the next two years, some of which involve shifting general fund costs to Measure BB. 

Board members expect to hear some good financial news at Wednesday’s meeting with a release of the district’s Third Interim Report that bumps the district’s financial status up from “qualified” to “positive.” Under a “positive” status, the district certifies that it has balanced its budget both for the remainder of this year and for the following two years. 

In other action at Wednesday’s meeting, the board will decide on whether to accept changing the name of Jefferson Elementary School to Sequoia Elementary School. Parents, guardians, school staff, and students voted last week to recommend the change after complaints were raised about Thomas Jefferson’s ownership of slaves.d


Mayor Promises Help for West Campus Neighbors By RICHARD BRENNEMAN

Tuesday June 07, 2005

An aide to Mayor Tom Bates promised Thursday to help neighbors of BUSD’s West Campus who have fought plans to move some district services and added parking lots to the University Avenue site. 

Calvin Fong, Bates’s assistant for transportation, housing, and development issues, surprised many at last week’s meeting by announcing that the mayor will work with BUSD to find another site for the Building and Grounds Department and its vehicles and equipment. 

The Berkeley Unified School District’s master plan for West Campus, proposed by Superintendent Michelle Lawrence, includes moving administration offices and service functions, including the district’s Building and Grounds Department, kitchen, and a small warehouse to the West Campus property from the seismically unsafe Old City Hall and buildings on Oregon and Russell streets. 

Throughout five BUSD community planning sessions at the West Campus site, neighbors have voiced consistent opposition to the Grounds Department, kitchen and warehouse at the site. 

Fong said Bates would also work on moving the kitchen and warehouse to another location as well. Fong later acknowledged that it was possible that efforts might not lead to moving the uses from West Campus, but said the mayor was committed to doing his best to bring that about. 

School Board member Terry Doran said he didn’t disagree with Fong’s concerns, but supported the district’s master plan for the site. 

“I am concerned about meeting the needs of the district, but I’m not wedded to any particular way of doing it,” he said. 

He said he didn’t have any objection to moving the contested functions to another site, “but we haven’t been able to find another solution, and that’s been frustrating.” 

“I feel we’ve made some progress,” Kristin Leimkuhler, a neighborhood activist who has helped organize opposition to the plan, said after the meeting. 

But even with Fong’s announcement, neighbors said they were still concerned with traffic and parking issues. 

Planning Commissioner David Stoloff, another project neighbor, said the district and its chief consultant, David C. Early, had included far more parking spaces than the city would normally allow. 

Stoloff chided the district for including “a shocking amount of parking” (170 spaces, nearly one per employee) on a site with excellent access to public transportation. 

“This is inconsistent with green planning,” Stoloff said. “The school district is so out of sync. It seems to me you can do with much less parking.” 

Early, whose firm has led the public sessions and produced the master plan, agreed when a neighbor accused the district of fast-tracking the project. 

“It’s happening at a quick pace because Superintendent Michelle Lawrence wants to get her employees out of unsafe buildings,” he said. 

“I agree that an acre and a quarter of surface parking is a misuse of the site,” said Stephen Wollmer of PlanBerkeley.org, a citizen group that monitors development along the University Avenue corridor. 

“The only other projects where you see one-to-one parking are condominiums,” Wollmer said. “One-to-four is more usual.” 

Several neighbors objected to the concentration of parking on the southern portion of the site, from Addison Street toward Allston Way between Browning and Curtis streets. What is now largely an open field with a small amount of parking would become two parking lots separated by a daylighted Strawberry Creek.  

Neighbors said they weren’t happy with the additional traffic cars would bring, nor with the speed at which the increased traffic would flow down Curtis. 

“People don’t drive 25,” said neighbor Stacey de Carion, “it’s more like 45. Why not improve our quality of life and give us something more than a parking lot?” 

One solution, she said, would be to move the building and grounds facility offsite, using the additional ground space for other parking, freeing up the rear parcel. 

For Carlotta Campbell, a Curtis Street resident, Thursday’s meeting was her first. She said neighbors of the site had not been given adequate notice about the community meetings. 

Besides the increased traffic and potential pollution it might bring, Campbell said she would regret “the loss of one of the few green, grassy areas” in West Berkeley. 

Fong said Friday that he agreed with neighbors. “Frankly, the BUSD’s design with parking in the back alongside both banks of the daylighted creek is pretty egregious.” 

Fong said an alternative plan submitted by the West Campus Neighborhood-Merchant Association (WestNEMA) was preferable to the district plan. 

Richard Graham, a critic of the district’s master plan, said that Early’s firm has done its job, and now the process moves to the school board. 

“We have to get ready for the school board, which is where any changes are going to be made,” Graham said. “We are very glad that the mayor is looking for an alternative site, and we want the community to be included in the process.” 

One of the key questions remaining is what agency will govern development at the site, the City of Berkeley or the State Architect, which has oversight of all instructional buildings. 

City and district attorneys are presently trying to hammer out a solution, said Early. 

The district has between $9 million and $11 million in bond money for site repairs and construction, said Early, but no final cost estimate had yet been established for the project.  

The plan now heads to the Board of Education, which is scheduled to take up the project at its June 29 meeting.


ZAB Considers Additions To Landmark on Adeline By RICHARD BRENNEMAN

Tuesday June 07, 2005

The Zoning Adjustments Board on Thursday will consider the addition of a fourth story to the recently landmarked Frederick H. Dakin Warehouse at 2750 Adeline St. 

The structure, built in the wake of the 1906 earthquake, features the fireproof Dakin White Hollow Building Block, a creation of the structure’s builder and namesake. 

The building, designed by George T. Plowman and noted Berkeley architect Walter H. Ratcliff, was designated a city landmark on Aug. 9, 2004. 

The proposal before ZAB calls for an addition to a fourth floor, the elimination of one live/work unit and the addition of two dwelling units. 

Also on the ZAB agenda are a proposed addition of 855 square feet to the Aquatic Park Metro Lofts Project, the installation of two fast-food restaurants in vacant commercial space in a building as 2618-2620 Telegraph Ave., and a proposal to raise and expand a residence at 2343 Stuart St. 

A preview presentation of the David Brower Center at 2200 Fulton Street has been rescheduled for June 23, said Principal Planner Greg Powell. 

There’s no Planning Commission meeting this week. 


Back to the Drawing Board For the European Union By PAOLO PONTONIERE Pacific News Service

Tuesday June 07, 2005

French and Dutch voters’ rejection of the European constitution wasn’t a fluke, as some European statesmen would have us believe, but it isn’t the death of the European Union either, as some doomsday prophets on both sides of the Atlantic predict. It is, however, the most serious crisis the union has faced since its inception in 1995.  

European citizens have rejected other EU treaties. When the Treaty of Nice, the charter that regulates the EU, was first put up for approval in 2001 by the Irish government, the Irish people voted it down. Before it subsequently passed it had to be amended by an ad hoc declaration stating Ireland’s military neutrality. In 1993, even the Maastrich Treaty, which was approved by a narrow margin in France and established the euro and the EU as we know them, was rejected in Denmark.  

However, the voters of France and Holland, by the sheer power of their numbers—62 percent and 55 percent “against” in the Netherlands and France, respectively—have spoken much louder today.  

Their rejection of the charter marks a serious defeat for the EU’s organizing principle that a strong axis of nations—either a Anglo-Franco-German alliance, or a Franco-German or a Spanish-Franco-German alliance—should lie at the core of the union.  

It is also a defeat for the Europe of globalization, in which economics—marketing and the rules of monetary exchanges—prevail over the need for a common welfare policy and respect for national specificities. The vote is a rebuke as well of the European Commission in Brussels, which has been criticized by European citizens as bureaucratic, dictatorial and distant.  

Without a coordination of national economies and labor policies, the euro has become a lightning rod. “Since the introduction of the euro, popular discontent has run high across Europe,” says Maurizio Ottavi, a Roman accountant. “Prices doubled, the quality of life worsened and to make up for the loss of revenues and deficits, governments are hitting on the welfare system.”  

The European Union model can’t provide a balance between economic liberalism and a social safety net, writes Bernardo Valli in Italy’s la Repubblica. “The rules dictated by the Union are perceived as long on liberalism and short on equality—in sum, it’s too Anglo-Saxon.”  

France’s and Holland’s “No” seems to agree with Valli. In France, 81 percent of blue collar workers voted “non,” while 62 percent of white-collar workers said “oui.” Thirty-five percent wanted to renegotiate the EU’s rules, 46 percent deplored unemployment. Only a majority of voters over 60 years old approved of the constitution.  

“The country is frustrated with the elites who are unable or unwilling to put a stop to globalization, to guarantee jobs and to block off-shoring,” writes Gianpiero Martinotti, a political analyst in France. “These people are worried about the end of an era in which the state had a protective role.”  

Not everybody lost during the vote, however. The result was good news for Umberto Bossi of Italy’s Lega Nord, Jean-Marie Le Pen of France’s Front National and Joerg Haider of Austria’s Freiheitlichen Partei. They have all been unapologetic denouncers of the continent’s “cultural hybridization” over the last decade.  

Italy’ Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, Spanish former President Maria Aznar and German right-winger Edmund Stoiber also won because the vote has confirmed that Europe must recognize the particularity of each nation or be destined for defeat.  

Anti-globalization and anti-capitalist formations also gained from the No vote, among them the European Left, Rifondazione Comunista, part of the French Partie Socialiste, the French Partie Communiste and the Dutch Socialistische Partij.  

So long as the Berlin Wall was in place and the Soviet threat was a reality, countries like France and Germany, which have been constantly at war with each other over the centuries, were compelled to entertain good relationships while under the U.S. nuclear and conventional military umbrella.  

The picture changed radically with the dissolution of the Soviet Union. Germany again took the tired and disastrous route of trying to assert its dominance over the rest of Europe. Marco D’Eramo of the daily Il Manifesto writes that in pursuing old expansionistic dreams—in particular toward the regions of Pomerania and Sudeti—Germany initiated a policy of selective recognition of local nationalities in the former Yugoslavia and pushed for a hurried inclusion of former Soviet republics in the EU. The result, says D’Eramo, were the Balkan wars and the return of ethnic cleansing in Europe.  

France and Holland are now ground zero for the future of an EU that has teetered far too long between two opposing visions. On one side is an Anglo-American Europe, centered on economic liberalism, the abolition of all borders and reaching deep into the former Soviet empire and nearly to the shores of the Euphrates River. On the other side is a Europe loyal to social-democratic ideals and anchored on traditional Judeo-Christian values. This Europe has stricter borders and stronger nation states that aspire to play a role on the global economic stage without giving up its cradle-to-grave welfare system for its citizens.  

The two conceptions came to a crashing confrontation in France and Holland, and it is now up to the European parliament, made up of representatives elected directly by the European people, to pick up the pieces and put together a more viable vision of continental integration.  

 

Paolo Pontoniere is a correspondent for Focus, Italy’s leading monthly.


Corrections

Tuesday June 07, 2005

A photograph caption for the June 3 article about Adagia restaurant mistakenly described a meal among workers from Cal Performances as a good-bye meal for Matt Patrone. Another co-worker was leaving the company; Patrone said he intends to stay with Cal Performances for a long time to come. 

 

In a June 3 article about the vote to change the name of Jefferson Elementary, Thomas Jefferson was erroneously referred to as the second president of the United States. He was the third.


Letters to the Editor

Tuesday June 07, 2005

Due to a copyediting error, the following letter ran incorrectly in the June 3-6 Daily Planet.  

 

• 

BAD DEAL 

Editors, Daily Planet: 

The mayor’s secret deal with the university—facilitated with the questionable assistance of the city attorney and affirmed by a majority of the City Council—is a disgrace. 

These people in their infinite (or is it somehow self-serving?) wisdom have in essence given the city away to the university. What did they get for their trouble? A few hundred thousand to help the University make a plan for Berkeley’s downtown, two square blocks of which are already going for a university “hotel” and associated complex. And a few hundred thousand more for some sewers and traffic lights.  

We can thank Councilmembers Betty Olds, Dona Spring, and Kriss Worthington for refusing to go along. At least three on the council could see this deal, wreaked upon us by the mayor out of public view, for the disaster it is. 

Sharon Entwistle 

 

TRAFFIC CIRCLES 

Editors, Daily Planet:  

Carol Denney’s “Will the Circles Be Unbroken?” (June 3) was deliciously on target: The “traffic circles” sprouting like weeds around Berkeley are incomprehensible, unsafe, and largely unwanted by the residents now being afflicted by them. Still, we can make the best of a bad situation. 

We can remove them.  

And donate all that fresh topsoil and cedar chips to community gardens, where the chips would probably make great mulch. 

Marcia Lau 

 

• 

TRAFFIC ANARCHY 

Editors, Daily Planet:  

With all the talk about traffic in Berkeley—Marin Avenue, the circles, the buses and all—it is time to add another concept to the mix and really get people going. How will our city streets function if we remove all traffic signage, road striping and stoplights? Is Berkeley ready for the complete removal of the reminders of the rules everyone should know anyway? 

A recent article in the Toronto Star described these “Naked Streets.” The idea, gaining popularity in Europe and pretty much the rule in less developed countries, is to reduce the sense of ownership vehicle drivers carry and equalize users of roads by forcing more eye contact and negotiation. Experiments in a handful of European cities with signage removal are ongoing, but the preliminary results are very encouraging. Dutch, German and Danish planners are having good results with the test, even in crowded inner-city intersections. Some districts in London will soon begin trying out the idea. 

On naked streets, drivers slow down a bit, check the intersections on approach and make eye contact with other drivers, pedestrians and bicyclists, instead of blindly driving wherever the signs say they can. Removal of signs and striping encourages drivers to focus not on lights and signage but on what’s happening around them, and to adjust their driving style accordingly. 

In the U.S., we go for extreme regulation rather than common sense and sharing. Americans will shudder with thoughts of anarchy on the roadway when they hear of naked streets, but when all signage, striping and lights are removed the rules of the road still apply. Naked streets might reverse our authoritarian impulses just a little. Oh, maybe we’ll keep the street signs. 

Hank Chapot 

 

• 

GOD ON THEIR SIDE 

Editors, Daily Planet: 

It is annoying that Christian conservatives are blasting people for not having God in their lives. They describe them as being “Godless.” These same Christian conservatives who claim to have God on their side are using it to commit abusive acts. For example, they use God to justify the destruction of clean water and clean air. They are getting help from both President Bush and a conservative Congress. 

Clean water is important for the human body. It nourishes and cleans it. Clean air is also very important. If it is the thinking of Christian conservatives to do away with both clean water and clean air, then they are showing the hypocrisy of having God on their side while being fake about morality. 

Bill Trice, Jr. 

Oakland 

 

• 

EQUALITY 

Editors, Daily Planet: 

Medicaid pays for Viagra?!?! 

Is this true? Does Medicaid also pay for medication and/or equipment to ensure female orgasm as well? Since (to my knowledge) 99.98 percent of all erections end in orgasm, I want to know that the playing field is even. 

Since we are paying for senior sex (some well beyond what nature seems to have intended) I would like to ensure that my money is applied equally. 

H.L.Blash 

Pleasanton 

 

• 

SIDESHOWS 

Editors, Daily Planet: 

Since Oakland’s current policies have failed to curtail “sideshows,” J. Douglas Allen-Taylor apparently believes there is no point in trying to outlaw such activities (“You Knew it Was Coming—Another Sideshow Crackdown,” June 3-6). Mr. Allen-Taylor also thinks that if citizens of Oakland who are deeply offended by sideshows would make an effort to get to know the perpetrators, we “might begin to talk with them like people, and then we might begin to find that there might be a solution to the sideshow conflict besides throwing as many of them in jail as we can, and running the rest out of town.” 

It is no secret that sideshows always occur in lower income African-American neighborhoods. If Oakland’s mayor and City Council were to ignore this problem they would be guilty of liberal racism. This is because if sideshows occurred in any of Oakland’s affluent white neighborhoods, the residents of those neighborhoods would never tolerate it, and the Oakland police would immediately shut down such activities. Furthermore, the residents of the white neighborhoods would be no more interested in getting to know the perpetrators of sideshows than they would want to get to know graffiti taggers, toxic waste polluters, or heroin dealers.  

The residents of Rockridge and other bastions of white privilege in Oakland are famous for storming city hall when their aesthetic sensibilities are offended (like whenever Starbucks tries to open a new store on College Avenue). They ought to become even more agitated when a real threat to public health and safety like sideshows rears its ugly head in less privileged neighborhoods.  

Eric Tremont 

 

• 

JERRY BROWN 

Editors, Daily Planet: 

Time after time I have committed to writing a letter praising the work of J. Douglas Allen-Taylor only to fail to do so. But his column on Jerry Brown’s latest sideshow crackdown was so brilliant and perceptive that praise for Allen-Taylor can no longer be deferred. 

Allen-Taylor often seems to be the only Bay Area journalist who sees Jerry Brown for what he is: a fraud, phony, elitist, and hypocrite who has betrayed his public commitment to work hard on behalf of Oakland’s low-income African American and Latino population. 

From his bizarre appointments to the school board, his contempt for opponents of his military academy, his focus on his run for attorney general almost from the time he won a second term, and his presiding over an outrageous state takeover of a progressive Oakland school board, Brown has put his own selfish interests first. Without Allen-Taylor, many Berkeleyans who would otherwise only know Brown from his KPFA radio show and governorship would not have been exposed to the truth about his deplorable record as mayor. 

Although Brown once railed against the prison industrial complex, the attorney general wannabe did radio ads to defeat the modified version of Three Strikes that was on last November’s ballot. This type of hypocrisy has been ignored in the San Francisco Chronicle’s coverage of Brown, but readers of Allen-Taylor know better. 

Thanks to Allen-Taylor, the Daily Planet not only provides the most insightful coverage of Berkeley, but of Oakland as well. 

Randy Shaw 

 

• 

A SECOND OPINION 

Editors, Daily Planet: 

J. Douglas Allen-Taylor’s June 3 front-page article states that Jefferson was the second president. It is my opinion that he was the third. I also believe that Washington was the first and John Adams the second. I hope my views do not offend any segment of your diverse readership. 

Edward Saslow 

 

• 

CHINA 

Editors, Daily Planet: 

So Rumsfeld accuses China of unsettling Asia with military spending and expansion. What hyprocrisy. What about the Bush administration unsettling the entire world with its out of control military spending and expansion? I really think most people in this country and certainly throughout the world are disgusted with the hypocrisy, arrogance, and outright lying of the Bush administration. There are still a lot of unanswered questions concerning 9/11, the invasion of Iraq, voter fraud in the last two presidential elections, the torturing of prisoners—and those are just the major unanswered questions. How much longer can this all continue before something is done about it? If Congress or our judicial system does do its job of really addressing these issues then eventually we the people will have to do it our selves. This is not wishful thinking, as this has happened many times before in recent history, such as in Latin American and the former Soviet Union. It also happened here in 1776. 

Thomas Husted 

 

• 

FAY STENDER 

Editors, Daily Planet: 

Regarding Joseph Daniel Johnston’s May 24 letter, advancing his own peculiar political agenda over a Good Samaritan’s body, with no sensitivity to the memory of Fay Stender, nor to the feelings of her family and friends: How can it be a “cop-out” to describe her attempted assassination as an irrational act, when Mr. Johnston’s entire argument is based on being irrational? I know the details of what happened, but in my letter I chose instead to talk about Fay’s good life. 

Anyway, I do not necessarily regard Commentary, nor Mr. Johnston, as being absolute judges of the truth. (Nor my ethics.) E.g., it was the Black Guerrilla Prison Gang, an extreme offshoot of the Black Panthers. There were three invaders, not one. Fay was not “hiding from reprisal in Hong Kong”: considerate as always, thinking of others in that ghastly condition, she went there to save family and friends the additional trauma of her suicide. Besides, what reprisal? What more could they do to her, they’d already destroyed her. Mr. Johnston’s logic escapes me. 

I’m a survivor myself: Both my families suffered violent death, the first in the London blitz, on Sept. 24, 1940, the second by murder, Santa Barbara, May 31, 1980 (another Good Samaritan). I’ve developed a green thumb in healing other survivors. I have a sensitivity towards their feelings which Mr. Johnston, with his grudging, mean-spirited, backhanded praise for Fay, does not appear to possess. 

I don’t find his political arguments too convincing, either. “It was the night the dream died.” Overly dramatic and far-fetched, maybe? And what cockeyed, revisionist dream? There’s nothing so venal as a radical leftist turned radical rightist. 

Fay did good. She was a Good Samaritan. This cruel and violent world needs idealists. Honor them Joseph. Fuck the politics. 

Brian Gluss 

 

• 

SPEAKING OF LIES 

Editors, Daily Planet: 

What a righteous letter from Joseph Daniel Johnston about Fay Stender and her death: “Since that night, the Left has been based on a lie, and continues to be to this day.” “Since that night”?? Maybe Fay Stender’s death was a wake-up call to some Berkeley liberals (who are always the last to know). But a lot of us had woken up a long time before that. And speaking of “lies,” wasn’t Fay Stender the one who helped ghost -write George Jackson’s prison diaries, and perpetuated the “lie” that this vicious criminal thug George Jackson was some kind of “revolutionary prisoner” and “victim of racial oppressions”? And aren’t Fay Stender’s “lies” still being disseminated to this day to hundreds of thousands of gullible readers? And wasn’t Fay Stender the one who got up and court and told countless similar “lies” about countless other black criminals who Stender chose to portray as “heroic martyrs”? And isn’t it a fact that Fay Stender couldn’t have cared less about the consequences of her action—that most of the criminal thugs that she got released from prison thanks to HER “lies,” almost immediately continued to commit similar criminal acts against other innocent victims? And that Fay Stender couldn’t have cared less about that.....until it happened to HER? Maybe some of Fay Stender’s supporters should be a little less strident about other people’s “lies.”  

Peter Labriola 

 

• 

MALARIA 

Editors, Daily Planet: 

A little-known fact: Every day, malaria produces a human death toll equal to that of the tragic events of 9/11. Yesterday, over 3,000 people died of malaria in developing countries, the vast majority of them children. Over 3,000 more will die today, as their families agonize over the loss of a son, daughter, mother or father. What’s amazing is that it costs so little to prevent and treat malaria. Public health experts estimate that with funding of less than $3 per rich country citizen, the known solutions to the problem of malaria could be scaled up and malaria deaths would be cut in half. Yet right now our elected officials are committing less than one dollar a year per American citizen towards fighting malaria. This drastically tiny contribution of 0.002 percent of GDP ranks the U.S. last among the 22 rich countries of the OECD. Please contact your member of Congress and Senators Feinstein and Boxer, urging them to help America lead the world in making malaria history at this year’s G8 Summit on July 6. 

Mike Batell  

UC Berkeley student 

Athens, GA 

  

• 

THE BULB 

Editors, Daily Planet: 

The Daily Planet’s May 31 front-page story about the Albany Waterfront Park—known to aficionados as The Bulb—being absorbed into the Eastshore State Park was a nice lead in to the story on the next page about the Magna Corporations greedy designs for the area right next door to the new state park.  

And of course development friendly Albany City Councilmembers and Berkeley’s corporate friend, the mayor, couldn’t be more relieved at the prospect that civil libertarians, artists and dog lovers will be thrown off their unregulated urban wilderness. The hotels, upscale mall and conference facilities will arrive at about the same time as the interpretive center is being constructed in the park. So that people who are busy consuming can be taught how excessive consumption created the mounds of landfill they are now sitting on, eating their Styrofoam packed fast food.  

  The words conformity and compliance slip off the tongue of State Parks honcho Brian Hickey when talking of art and dogs—but one look at the variety of activities provided in state parks would suggest that other California communities are more accomodated.  

  Activities like the hunting of waterfowl, spear fishing, off-highway vehicles, powerboats and high speed Internet piped directly to your tent are now standard fare in California’s state parks. A motorized trail is being planned from Oregon to Mexico through public lands...one way to avoid the freeway traffic on Memorial Day getaways.  

Did I really use the phrase “environmentalist wackos”? Oops. Mind you, I’m not the only one beginning to wonder whether this once honorable movement has seriously lost it’s philosophical way.  

Your reporter, Richard Brenneman, caught me at a bad time. Three hours after my glorious husky mix died, I was probably not as cautious as I might have been. But I’m proud to say that Riff Raff’s last—offleash—walk had been that morning at The Bulb. As she trotted past the roses, fennel and wild irises, as she sniffed the sewage wafting in from the flats, as she ran elegantly through the bushes and watched the redwing blackbirds crisscross the trail ahead of her, she looked at me  

with pure joy.  

Jill Posener  

   

• 

THE WASTELAND 

Editors, Daily Planet: 

In the early 1950s, when middle class families could afford a television, there was serious debate regarding harm or benefit, especially to children. Would television enhance education or drug the young? Someone—I don’t remember who—told this joke: The bible forbids television. In the Gospel according to St. Matthew (17:9) Jesus admonished his disciples, “Tell [th]e vision to no one” 

Jokes aside, Newton Minow, the FCC chairman appointed by JFK, derided television as “a vast wasteland,” and during the next four decades it grew immeasurably more vast and infinitely more wasted.  

New networks, then PBS, then cable, then satellite expanded the menu to include documentaries, public service, 24-hour news, celebrity talk shows, special subject channels (MTV, cooking, weather, comedy, gardening, home remodeling, and the like), uncivil verbal combat, contrived reality and if you can come up with something not yet seen you can probably find a sponsor before bedtime. 

With us, unlike with our cousins in England, television is not government-supported (except for PBS, a tiny speck in the vastness). And unlike with our traditional protagonists (Russia, Cuba, et al.) our television is not government controlled but it might as well be.  

With us, free speech is guaranteed by the Constitution, but it remains free today only in furtherance of the nobility and selflessness of our global dominance. 

Let one example of television’s current subservience stand for its entire array of failings...laziness (Dan Rather and CBS), deceits (Jessica Lynch, Pat Tillman), implants (Jeff Gannon), fake news (Armstrong Ward) and so on. Not only does television not keep us informed it fosters confusion by not distinguishing between fantasy and fact. Let this instance of electronic spreading of political garbage stand for television’s general failure: 

In the Middle East where nearly everybody hates our guts Laura Bush’s polished goodwill tour was marred by protests and television cameras captured the shouting, sign-bearing street crowds. CBS, certainly not alone in this, concluded its report saying “The U.S. may still have some image building to do.” In other words, the U.S. need is for better public relations! Karen Hughes, Bush’s PR person, is on board but not yet at the wheel. 

Fortunately for us however, television’s trivializing spins do little to hide or diminish the tragic truth ˆ invasion justified by lies, occupation posing as liberation, tens of thousands killed, the majority by insurgents with only the armament or explosives they can carry but many by the most well-equipped military force the world has ever seen.  

The pungent odor emanating from your television is from news stories carrying an implicit, underlying purpose. Any sad truth in the story is covered by the slime brewing in a vast wasteland.  

Marvin Chachere 

San Pablo 

 

 

WE ARE ALL THE NEXT ‘DEEP THROAT’ 

Editors, Daily Planet: 

Tom Lord’s commentary in support of the Iraq war was amoral and repulsive, but one could not do a better job in defending the indefensible.  

It is nonsense to think Bush & Co. initiated this war because “Weapons of Mass Destruction” threatened us. This was the justification given, by Bush and the media. We now know the “intelligence “was being “fixed around the facts,” as the Downing Street memo makes very clear.  

Mr. Lord concedes that Bush lied, but thinks it was necessary. Bush lied to the thousands of Iraq vets who now wait for treatment at his nearest under-funded V.A. hospital. I think they deserved the truth, and I think we all did. It is imperative in a democracy, which we aspire to be, to come to decisions regarding going to war based on honest debate. Instead, Bush and his apologists seem to be saying, “We have to destroy Democracy in order to save it” (or rather to control oil supplies).  

What of the current excuse—that the U.S. invaded to “liberate” Iraq? We need to look at the record of the Bush gang to expose that for what it is. We see that they have nothing but contempt for the people of the Middle East. Daniel Pipes, a Bush advisor, was a strong proponent of the arming of Saddam, back when Saddam was killing Iranians and Kurds by the thousands. We can also see the contempt in the detention of tens of thousands of ordinary Iraqis, many of whom never involved in any violent attacks, yet suffer systematic abuse at the hands of the U.S. military. All approved by guidelines prepared at the highest level of the Bush administration.  

What should those who care for peace and justice do?  

First, we must do all we can to expose Bush and his lies. At tomjoad.org, one can find copies of these documents, like the Downing Street memo, that provide all the evidence we need to prove that crimes have been committed.  

We can do our part to make sure that Bush will be brought to justice if we help spread the word to our neighbors, families, co-workers. We are all the “next Deep Throat.”  

Second, no local politician will escape accountability. That means Nancy Pelosi, who refuses to support any resolution regarding the withdrawal of U.S. troops, should never be allowed the luxury of an appearance without calling her to account for her endless devotion to Bush policy in Iraq, and her support for lobbies for militarism, such as AIPAC.  

Third, we can do all we can to counter military recruiters. There is nothing honorable in serving in a war of aggression. Indeed, it is those military men and women, who refused illegal orders, who we must honor. We must teach our youth to do likewise. We will best serve our nation and planet by ending the senseless, immoral, illegal U.S. occupation of Iraq.  

Jim Harris 

 

• 

THE ‘LEFT’ MADE ME DO IT 

Finally a new defense to robbery charges: The bank wouldn’t give me the money so I was justified in taking it. What a wonderful idea! We can probably use it in murder cases as well (the victim refused to die, so I was forced to kill her/him).  

That is the lesson we learn from Tom Lord’s amusing article on how the invasion of Iraq was right: The government was forced to lie to the country because the nasty “Left” refused to accept the real reason for the war—geopolitics and because the Iraqis had scientists and their regime was so terribly unfriendly, don’t you know. (I kid you not).  

Why, we wonder, haven’t we then invaded much of the rest of the world, including France—they have scientists (even more than Iraq), and they are certainly not too friendly these days. And, of course, Iran, Syria and the all-around favorite, North Korea? Maybe we shouldn’t ask that question because this administration may believe it has the moral, legal and political right to do so, and to hell with the rest of the world. 

For the record, I wouldn’t know a latte if I tripped over him or her. (Plain old retired workingperson’s decaf for me.) 

At least Christopher Hitchens justified his support for the invasion of Iraq on what he saw as the truth—support for the clearly oppressed Kurds whom he had come to like and admire. No lies for him, despite being flat-assed wrong about the probable results of an invasion as we can now see. 

Mal Burnstein 


Column: A There There, a Story Where: Deep Throat in Manhattan By SUSAN PARKER

Tuesday June 07, 2005

Back in New York last week, I thought I wouldn’t have a problem finding literary inspiration. I went to the Catskills to look for excitement, adventure, and column topics. No surprise though, there wasn’t any there there—not even a piece of borderline artwork to recognize the condition. 

The village of Fleischmann’s was greener than in March when I last visited, but the weather was still iffy and the food had not improved so I headed down south in search of sun, something less Kosher, and a story. At my parents’ house on the Jersey shore it continued to rain. I took a swim, but the water was freezing. I returned to New York to visit with my friend Amy, but where I can usually count on hearing half a dozen amusing anecdotes, I found a shabby-chic, overpriced West Village flat, and a pile of dirty laundry. I called on friends in Westchester County and they invited me to join them for an evening in Yonkers at a pro-wrestling match sponsored by the New York State Wrestling Federation. I thought this might be my ticket to a Pulitzer Prize-winning article, or at least a 675-word, semi-interesting essay. 

Among the competitors (Vegas Nick, Sadam Insane, Fan Man, and Simply Luscious), one would think I could find a journalistic hook, but everything about this Greek-like tragedy made me nauseous and so I returned to Amy’s apartment on Carmine Street to help finish her laundry. Taking a break, we sat on the nearby steps of Our Lady of Pompeii Church. The people who passed by were in better shape and seemed higher on the evolutionary scale than anyone in Yonkers. I decided to stay in Manhattan.  

Amy, a public defender, was working night court at the Bronx Defenders. At 4 p.m. we walked to Union Square to catch an uptown train. As we crossed 14th Street I saw a woman I knew. The corner was crowded so I reached out and grabbed her, a faux pas in New York City, and a way to get myself into a lot of trouble. A reporter for In Touch Weekly, she was striding westward in Prada at a rapid pace. Her boyfriend was following on his skateboard, and when he saw me reach for her, he put himself between us. She quickly diffused the situation.  

“I’m on assignment,” she said, “so I can’t talk right now.”  

“I’m on assignment too,” I semi-lied.  

“Who are you following?” she asked  

“Following?”  

“Yes,” she said, “Who are you trying to scoop?”  

I hesitated. “I don’t quite…”  

“I’m looking for Brad and Angelina,” she interrupted. “They’re around here somewhere, and if I find them, I have to call the In Touch photo guys ASAP. Have you seen them?”  

“Brad and Angelina or the photo guys?” I asked.  

“Come on,” she said. “Don’t waste my time. I’m getting paid to spot them separately or together… it doesn’t really matter, though together would be awesome and together with her kid would be even more awesome.”  

“Haven’t seen them,” I confessed.  

“Gotta go,” she said hastily. “Great running into you, but journalism calls.”  

“I understand,” I said, though I’m not quite sure if I did. 

“Let me give you my number,” I shouted after her. “If you run into Ethan Hawke on the way to catching the uber-couple, will you call me?”  

“You got it,” she said. 

As she and her boyfriend disappeared into the crowd, I turned to Amy for advice. “Do you think I have a story now?” I asked.  

“No,” she said. “But listen, I’ve got to get going. I’ve been assigned an attempted murder case. A mother stabbed a daughter, or a daughter stabbed a mother, I can’t remember which. Either way, Angelina and Brad aren’t of any interest to me.” 

She paused and looked at me with an intensity that was disconcerting. 

“Think about it for just a minute,” she said. “Maybe there’s a story in that.”Ó


Police Blotter By RICHARD BRENNEMAN

Tuesday June 07, 2005

Party Potshots 

A Saturday night gathering of about 200 youths at the James Coney Recreation Center in the 1700 block of Eighth Street ended in a brawl about 11:30, punctuated by gunshots. 

The pistol rounds were fired off just after police arrived. Officers spotted the juvenile pistol-packer and set off in pursuit, said Berkeley Police spokesperson Officer Joe Okies. 

Surrounded by police, the young pistolero dropped his piece and submitted his wrists to steely encirclement. 

 

Strong-Arm Duo I 

A pair of teenagers slugged a 22-year-old man near the corner of Hearst and Shattuck avenues shortly before 6 p.m. Sunday, grabbed their victim’s wallet and ran off. 

No arrests have been made. 

Strong-Arm Duo II 

A second pair of juvenile strong-arm artists relieve d two 21-year-old men of their wallets between 7:30 and 8:30 p.m. Sunday. 

The first crime took place just after 7:30 p.m. near the corner of Dwight Way and Ellsworth Street, and the second heist occurred around 8:15 p.m. near the corner of Haste and Athe rton streets. 

Officers nabbed both youths soon after the second robbery. 

 

Triple Assault 

Three suspects were arrested on charges of assault with a deadly weapon in a kick and bottle beating of a Berkeley woman just before 8 p.m. Sunday. 

Police were sum moned to the corner of California Street and Hearst Avenue just in time to prevent more serious injury to the victim. 

 

Cab Driver Robber 

Three suspects robbed a taxi driver of his wallet and fare money at 9 p.m. Sunday near the intersection of Marina Bou levard and University Avenue. No arrests have been made, said Officer Okies. µ


Fire Department Log By RICHARD BRENNEMAN

Tuesday June 07, 2005

Arsonist Targets Student 

Apartments on Telegraph 

A prompt response by Berkeley firefighters Sunday prevented a small arson blaze in a Telegraph Avenue apartment building from becoming something deadly. 

“It was a small fire, but a fire of great concern,” said Deputy Fire Chief David P. Orth. 

The building, four stories along Telegraph and three along Dwight Way, is home mainly to students. 

Police and firefighters arrived at the Glenn Building at 2550 Telegraph Ave. just after 5 p.m. Sunday, and the blaz e was out minutes later. 

“There was no one injured, and there was minimal damage,” Orth said. 

The Deputy Fire Chief said details of the event were being withheld to assist investigators in their search for the individuals responsible.Ã


Commentary: Perception is Reality: The New Berkeley By BONNIE HUGHES

Tuesday June 07, 2005

Berkeley once was a place where ideals were pursued, where movements to make the world greener and more just were rooted, where openness and free speech were championed.  

Today it seems as though the city has been turned upside down. Benign smiles and cordiality at City Council meetings mask secret meetings that bring forth new alliances and sell out the people. Did I miss the meeting when the council decreed that Perception is Reality? To think we are now using Bush’s play book!  

While the mayor is an enthusiastic advocate for the environment, proclaiming the greenness of Berkeley far and wide, back home he is working to build more parking garages we don’t need, signing secret agreements with UC to further burden the city with the university’s development designs on the downtown, and using the federal Brown Fields money (intended for cleaning up toxic sites) to finance the underground parking at the Brower Center. In the secret agreement, he not only settled for a smaller fee for municipal services than UC offered, but he gave them a voice in and veto power over downtown planning.  

In the meantime the excuses that come from City Hall are an offense to our sensibilities. We have had five years of deceit pouring out of Washington. We surely have enough experience by now to know when a majority of our City Council is misleading us. For those of you troubled by this evaluation, what would you have done if Shirley Dean had made secret deals with the university?  

We all know the heart of our city is in trouble. But the downtown diaspora brought on by mindless development will not likely be fixed by bringing in the university and doing more studies and drawing up yet another plan, which will most likely blame it on the young and less fortunate. It will recommend a more stringent Measure O for panhandlers, locking the gates on those rowdy high school students at lunch time, and of course more parking.  

As a resident of downtown Berkeley I get the picture every day (reflected in the empty store windows) and have reluctantly concluded that there must be an evil god of parking garages that has blinded people to reality. Except to visit the library and to have lunch, there is little reason for anyone to come downtown in the daytime. After 47 years at their Shattuck location, Phoenix Optical moved to North Oakland yesterday. On June 30, after 99 years, Tupper & Reed will be a thing of the past. The small, owner-operated shops that made downtown Berkeley an interesting place have hit the road. Can you remember when downtown meant Edys’ hot fudge sundaes, the Blue and Gold Market, Pooh’s Corner, Huston’s shoes, the Kitchen, Hinks Department Store, Mrs.Bentley’s—she almost always said, “you don’t think you're going to fit into that, do you?”  

For the last 15 years I have watched developers come in and change the face of my street. Now it is an oasis of expensive apartments with revolving tenants and endless blocks of empty storefronts with rents that drove the shops out and keep them away. Buildings boldly carry names that are affronts to their history—the no-Gaia, Gaia Building; the Fine Arts Theater-less, Fine Arts Building, which sports a marquee advertising nothing...is that the whimper T.S. Eliot wrote of?  

But the prize for irony came only last week with the announcement that the new owners of the Seagate Building (the building for which the mayor’s people and the Berkeley Rep and Seagate carved out a secret deal to give the Rep all the mitigated space) have renamed it... the “Arpeggio,” while within the building, there will be not one square foot for music.  

And that’s how ”perception is reality” comes to be proclaimed from the towering rooftops of our city.  

Berkeley once was a place where ideals were pursued, where openness and free speech were championed. After a prolonged illness, that dream died, just the other day.  

The Emperor gave over His domain to the university for a song.  

But not before He etched our new motto onto the rubber stamps who make up a majority of the City Council and the commission members they appoint to carry out His orders.  

Anger gives way to a deep sadness. For the first time in my life, I feel as though there is a possibility that our nation and our city are beyond repair.  

 

Bonnie Hughes is a long-time Berkeley resident. 


Commentary: Mudflat Sculpture:Art to Remember By DOROTHY BRYANT

Tuesday June 07, 2005

Reading the May 31 article and seeing the photo of driftwood/junk structures which might be removed if the Albany Bulb becomes part of the Eastshore State Park, I was taken back years and years to—does anyone remember?—the Mudflat Sculpture in the tidela nds beyond the Eastshore Freeway before it was expanded and “improved.” 

At high tide much of it was underwater. But if you happened to be driving to San Francisco at low tide, you could see Don Quixote on his rearing horse, a prop plane ready to take off from what looked like a buoy, a huge hand rising from the swampy tidelands clutching at the setting sun—and dozens of other creations that appeared and disappeared, made from driftwood and trash and whatever people could manage to cart out there in defiance of “No Trespassing” signs. 

At first it was just a goofy protuberance here and there (maybe Osha Neumann was involved in this too, I don’t remember, and after a while everyone claimed to have started it). Then whole art classes were wading out in the stinking sand (you know that smell when the tide goes out!), building and assembling things. I used to look forward to driving to The City, and, yes, we would slow down a bit to take in the latest whimsical creations in this ever changing display, which c heered us up in the most dire days when the Vietnam War dragged on and on and during the political lows that followed. 

My friend of bygone days, Bill Jackson—sometime teacher, poet, electrician, photographer—took it upon himself to photograph the ever-shifting display of art. (I’m sure he wasn’t the only one, but he was the one I knew.) I still have one of his photos somewhere—of the huge drowning, clutching hand rising from the tidelands, photographed through a red filter at sunset. One day, sitting in the Med, when it was still the caffeine-crossroads of all kinds of Berkeley folks, he told me that he had sold huge enlargements of his photos to the City of Emeryville, to be hung on the walls of their little City Hall. “What they paid me is no more than what it’ll cost me to have such enlargements made, but, oh, hell . . .” He was very pleased at even this recognition. “You ought to go see them!” 

I meant to, but . . . . 

Then Bill’s health declined rapidly, we lost contact, and I’m sure he is long dece ased. The new freeway was built, mudflat sculpture torn out, access impossible. Funky old Emeryville became a slick, shiny mall. Everything changes. Okay. 

A few months ago, I happened to be near the shiny new glass Emeryville City Hall. The little old bu ilding was still there, locked up. I went into the new building and asked if we could get into the old City Hall and look at the Bill Jackson Mudflat Sculpture photos. Blank looks. I asked a few people. They didn’t know what I was talking about. I explained, again and again, to different people. Finally, an older woman said, “Oh, yes, I remember those. They were taken down and put into a warehouse.” No, she didn’t know where. No, I couldn’t go to the warehouse to see them; no one had the time to find the warehouse, let me in, and search for them. 

I hope that the people trying to save the art at Albany Bulb, can also start a campaign to hang those old Mudflat Sculpture photos somewhere. The thought of them jammed into that warehouse, lost, forgotten, is sad. 

 

Dorothy Bryant is a Berkeley author.  

 

 

h


Commentary: ZAB Ratifies Right to Pave By ROBERT LAURISTON

Tuesday June 07, 2005

On May 26, the Zoning Adjustments Board ruled that an application to construct a three-story mixed-use building with two apartments over ground-floor commercial space at 3045 Shattuck Ave. (aka the “Flying Cottage”) could be approved by city planning staff on a zoning certificate. This type of staff-level approval requires no public hearing and cannot be appealed by neighbors to ZAB or City Council, as would be the case if ZAB had ruled that one or more use permits were required. 

The proposed remodeling puts the two required off-street parking spaces for the flats in the rear yard, adjacent to the next-door residence. Consequently, ZAB’s decision effectively means that no use permit or public hearing is required to convert required yards to parking lots. 

ZAB’s decision was directly counter to Berkeley’s Zoning Ordinance. Per section 23F.04.010, a required yard must be “unoccupied and unobstructed ... by the presence of a parking space.” For 3045 Shattuck, a 15-foot rear yard is required under section 23E.52.070.D.2. More generally, all properties in commercial districts must, under section 23E.04.050.C, be separated from adjacent residential properties by a 10-foot rear yard and/or five-foot side yards; most residential properties in the city are required to have 15-foot rear yards and five-foot side yards. Parking is generally prohibited in front yards, but allowed in the non-required portion of side and rear yards. 

This by no means constitutes a flat prohibition against parking in yards. By the terms of the Zoning Ordinance, most of these restrictions can be eased or eliminated provided that, after a public hearing, ZAB grants the owner a use permit. Some of the restrictions may be relaxed by planning staff subject to an administrative use permit, which can be appealed to ZAB if any neighbor wants a public hearing on the matter. In either case, ZAB’s decision may be appealed to the City Council. 

Thus the Zoning Ordinance provides a reasonable balance between developers and neighbors. If you want to park right up against your side fence, or at the back of your rear yard, you can apply for a use permit. If your neighbors object, ZAB will weigh the benefit to you and the detriment to your immediate neighbors and the neighborhood in general, and seek a reasonable compromise. If the developer or neighbors think the decision is unreasonable, they can appeal to the City Council; if they don’t like the City Council’s decision, they vote for somebody else in the next election. 

ZAB’s decision eliminates this balance. If your neighbors want to turn their back or side yards into parking lots they are free to do so, and you have nothing to say about it. In plain English, it’s a right to pave. 

Since ZAB’s decision was contrary to the clear and unambiguous text of the law, the most direct remedy as regards both 3045 Shattuck and the general zoning issues would be to file a petition for writ with the Alameda Superior Court. We’d stand a fairly good chance of winning such a suit: as ZAB member and land-use lawyer Richard Judd put it, he wouldn’t want to have to explain that decision to a judge. Unfortunately, it’s just too expensive. Any lawyers want to volunteer? Drop me a note at robert@lauriston.com. (Even without a writ we still have a shot at reining in the project through the design review process.) 

More generally, as regards the right to pave, the solution is cheap and simple: call your City Council representatives. Tell them to impose a moratorium on parking in required yards under zoning certificates until such time as the Zoning Ordinance can be modified as necessary to require public hearings on putting parking spaces in required yards. 

 

Robert Lauriston is the official representative of neighbors opposed to the 3045 Shattuck project. 

 

Û


Commentary: Why the Emmett Till Murder Case Still Matters By EARL OFARI HUTCHINSON Pacific News Service

Tuesday June 07, 2005

The mood was somber when FBI officials recently dug up the body of Emmett Till in suburban Chicago. The mood should have been downright grim. If ever there was a racial lynching case that screamed for federal action it was the Till case. And there are more. 

While on a visit to Mississippi in 1955, the 14-year-old Till was kidnapped from his home at gunpoint, savagely beaten, shot and dumped in a river.  

The instant that story broke nationally, black leaders demanded that the Justice Department and the FBI take action. This was the right demand to make, given the absolute refusal of white Southern sheriffs to arrest whites suspected of racial murders. In the rare cases they were arrested, all-white juries refused to convict them.  

The Till case was no exception. In a farce of a trial, the two white men who killed Till were quickly acquitted. Till’s murder continued to send political shock waves across the nation, and black leaders, labor organizations and numerous public officials implored the Justice Department to get involved. Even then, there was strong suspicion that others were either directly involved in the murder, or had knowledge of the killing. 

Yet Justice Department officials refused to do anything. They claimed that state officials were solely responsible for prosecuting racially motivated crimes, and if those officials refused to do so, or conducted a deliberately incompetent prosecution, there was little they could do. This, however, was blatant legal evasion.  

Federal statutes gave the Justice Department the power to prosecute individuals on civil rights charges when state prosecutors either failed to bring charges, or conducted a weak, ineffectual prosecution that resulted in acquittals. Federal law also gave the Justice Department the power to prosecute public officials and law enforcement officers who committed or conspired with others to commit acts of racial violence. Congress enacted the latter statutes immediately after the Civil War, and they were aimed at specifically punishing racial attacks against blacks. In many of the racial killings, local sheriffs and police officers directly participated in the attacks or aided and abetted the killers.  

Till was abducted at gunpoint. That made it a kidnapping case. This automatically gave federal authorities jurisdiction over the case. They could have easily brought civil rights charges against the two principal defendants and any others who were suspected of complicity in his murder.  

Till, therefore, was not solely a victim of a racist white jury. He was also the victim of a racially indifferent federal government. In the pre-civil rights era, presidents and their attorneys general typically ignored or sparingly used federal statutes to prosecute criminal civil rights abuses. This had less to do with the personalities or potential racial bigotry of the men in the White House and the Justice Department than with political expediency. They were determined not to offend the politically powerful South.  

A half-century later, federal officials were still reluctant to get involved. It took a resolution by Illinois congressman Bobby Rush and demands by civil rights leaders to get the Justice Department to agree to probe the Till murder to see if any new charges could be brought.  

Federal officials should not stop with the Till case. There are still more racial murders that scream for redress. Mack Charles Parker, Herbert Lee and Jimmy Lee Jackson, to name three of the more blatant cases, were victims of racially motivated violence. No state or federal charges were ever brought against their murderers. Some of their suspected killers may still be alive.  

Also, according to FBI reports, the White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, a paramilitary terror squad in Mississippi, committed several murders between 1960 and 1965. In nearly all cases, FBI agents quickly learned the identities of the suspected killers through Klan informants or the men’s own boasts of the killings. Yet there was only a token effort made to bring them to justice.  

In a final irony that tells much about the changing times, one of the FBI officials who helped supervise Till’s exhumation was black, and born in the South the same year that Till was killed. At the gravesite, he noted that the justice system turns slowly, but it still turns. State and federal prosecutors can prove him right by bringing Till’s killers to justice.  

 

Earl Ofari Hutchinson is a political analyst and the author of The Crisis in Black and Black (Middle Passage Press). 


Reflections on the Making of La Peña By FERNANDO A. TORRESSpecial to the Planet

Tuesday June 07, 2005

Two years after La Peña was founded in the same place where it is today in South Berkeley, I arrived to the East Coast as an exile. Not escaping but expelled from Pinochet’s Chile, one of the bloodiest military dictatorship in the continent. I was a youn g rebel, a bit of poet and musician who loved the political process that in 1970 opened minds giving us a deep sense of latinoamericanismo.  

At that time, a number of kids, like me, were looking at the world through different prisms. The revolution of th e flowers, the peace movement, the dusty bearded ones who changed history with Cuba, the beat poets in San Francisco, the tupamaros in Uruguay, the Black Panthers in Oakland and Che Guevara in … everywhere, were like a ripped fruit ready to be eaten.  

In Chile, we had our own revolution, a revolution that took us from the street corner, from the neighborhood gangs, to the meetings, the books, the martial arts, and the political work. Salvador Allende brought with him not only his “Chilean Way to Socialism” program but also a wave of new things, new music, new films, new books, great coffee, and new hopes for a better and more just society.  

I met him once. The sun was setting over the Pacific Ocean when several hundred of people gathered in the central plaza to see and hear Allende and his friend Pablo Neruda. I was there. The year was probably 1969, and the city was Antofagasta, a city in the northern desert of the Chilean coast. At the end of the rally Allende walked toward the group of youngsters I w as with, he briefly look at me and touched my shoulder while saying something like “I which I could stay longer but I’m a bit tired, compañerito!” and he disappeared into the crowd. I remember his black thick eyeglasses, his candid smile, his brown poncho but I also remember that little tickle in my stomach, that jolt one gets when experience something really out of the ordinary. 

His revolution lasted for one thousand days. Everything came to an end in 1973 when Pinochet and his military junta, heavily e ncouraged by the lethal duo Nixon/Kissinger, took over the country, closed the judiciary branches and the legislatives houses, prohibited the unions, killed and incarcerated thousand of people among them students workers, teachers, artists—Victor Jara was one of them. Rather than giving Pinochet the pleasure of killing him, Allende, in one of the most heroic epics of the last century, took his own life. 

The Prussian Chilean army turned against its own people and a dark cover, like a thick wool Andean poncho, covered Chile as Hell came down along with the planes bombing the government palace of La Moneda. All at the expense of the oblivious U.S. tax payers. 

In 1976 I was captured by Pinochet’s secret police and sent to jail for about a year. I was lucky. I only spent one week disappeared. One year later I was expelled out of the country and arrived in Boston—a mea culpa, or Carter’s Human Rights policies or international pressure, or something, made the U.S. government hand over 400 visas for Chilean pol itical prisoners. “Solo para salir del pais,” my passport read (“only good to exit the country.”) 

Juan Diaz was a Chilean exile who was living in Berkeley and doing volunteer work at La Peña at that time. Somehow he knew—the Chilean exile diaspora was still small and news ran fast—I was a musician, a panpipes and charango player, that little 10-string instrument—very popular these days at Fisherman’s Wharf and pretty much associated, like many other traditional instruments, with the Allende revolution.  

Once Juan, the cultural activist, called me to New York, where I was living, and invited me to come to La Peña. “Hay mucho trabajo cultural en solidaridad con Chile aqui,” he told me among other enticing things. In fact one aspect of La Peña’s cultural a nd solidarity work was to create a Latin American music ensemble. I was lucky again; a charango player was very much needed. 

Going to California and returning to the Pacific Ocean of my youth was a very persuasive idea. However, what got me drunk was the idea of finally knowing La Peña. This welcoming place run by angry-gringos in a crazy city called Berkeley. 

I took my worn-out charango, a plane and arrived in Oakland in 1979. One year later Juan, the fighter, went back to Chile “illegally” to join the resistance movement and was gunned down by Pinochet Gestapo forces. I felt that same jolt in my stomach of 13 years ago, only this time it was a mix of rage and grief. 

The music, the colorful mural, the paintings, the poetry, the politics, and the wine (not Chilean wine because we had the—Nothing for/Nothing from Pinochet—boycott those years). I felt at home immediately at La Peña. There, I worked as a volunteer in the restaurant, organized different events, taught music, and sung in the chorus, but my most important position was as a member of Grupo Raiz, a sextet of Latin American music.  

For the next five years we devoted the group and our songs to the plight of the Chilean people, denounced the atrocities of the dictatorship, and help several human rights NGOs inside Chile. With the support of La Peña we toured nationally and abroad. We become part of an international cultural exchange and participated in Nueva Cancion, new song, round tables and festivals. We had the chance to met great musicians, songwriters, and weighty creative minds. 

La Peña was not only supporting all these work but also was a place where many of us in the area got together to meet people of many other cultures, to talk about political issues, to fall in love, and to eat sup erb food. During the eighties and because of the many wars down south, we also had the chance to meet, welcome, and help many exiles and refugees from Central America. 

Today La Peña is still carring on these same ideals, the same aroma of solidarity, edu cation, justice, art, and culture, and of course, good food. The Nexgen, the Hecho en Califas festival and conference, the Mujeres and Cuentos series and many other art and cultural initiatives are endeavors to continue with the just ideas and commitments of this group of students and young activists who started all 30 years ago. Hail to them! 

 

Fernando A. Torres, a musician and poet, is publicity coordinator for La Peña.›r


La Peña Hosts Anniversary Bash By BETSY M. HUNTON Special to the Planet

Tuesday June 07, 2005

On Saturday La Peña Cultural Center will celebrate its 30th anniversary with a free street festival at the corner of Prince Street and Shattuck Avenue. 

The center, founded in June of 1975, was the creation of a group of Bay Area activists who had come together to protest the overthrow of President Salvador Allende in Chile two years earlier. La Peña (which means “gathering place” in Spanish) was modeled after the peñas of Latin America where people would traditionally come together over music, food and politics. 

For the past three decades Berkeley’s La Peña, at 3105 Shattuck Ave., has created a community, establishing itself as one of the East Bay’s most visible clubs for world music, art and progressive political activism. The club showcases both local and international musicians, writers and artists. 

Saturday’s festival, from noon to 6 p.m., will feature live music, dancing, arts and community booths, food and kids activities.  

Scheduled performers include Pachasiku, Rafael Manriquez, La Peña Afro Cuban Youth Ensemble, La Peña Bomba Class, Jesus Diaz & QBA, La Familia, Youth Movement Records and DJ Jose Ruiz. A separate kids’ stage will run until 2 p.m. with Gary Lapow, Bonnie Lockhardt, Asheba and others.  

The center sponsors activities and performances with mostly a Latin American emphasis, but does not limit its vision or ears to only that part of the world. 

Fernando Torres, La Peña’s publicity coordinator, says, “The art has always been part of an educational vision of bringing people together to understand issues such as racism, imperialism, and the great disparities between the rich and the poor, and the need to do something about it.” 

Take a look at the extraordinary mural which covers half of La Peña’s building (close to the intersection where the festival will be held Saturday) and you’ll see social activists honored there who had little or nothing to do with Latin America: Paul Robeson, for example. But they shared the same values. Over the years, La Peña has been linked to many of the activist groups with different causes, including the Black Panthers and the United Farm Workers. But the center has maintained its focus on art. 

More recently La Peña has focused on working with young people, creating a number of groups with different interests in the arts. The Afro-Cuban Youth Ensemble, for example, will be part of the entertainment offered at the street festival. 

 

The La Peña 30th Anniversary Street Festival will be held from noon to 6 p.m. Saturday, June 11, at the intersection of Shattuck Avenue and Prince Street. Admission is free.


A Triangle of Love and Jealousy Play Out in ‘Honour’ By KEN BULLOCK Special to the Planet

Tuesday June 07, 2005

“Perhaps we exploit the past for what the present lacks.” ... 

“Are you saying intimacy clouds knowledge?” ... “The young are always unforgiving. That’s part of your charm.” 

Such provocative, even leading one-liners and repartees are spoken during Honour, at the Berkeley Rep’s Thrust Stage. At moments throughout the play, the dialogue seems to be a series of asides, a commentary by the characters on the theme rather than a vehicle (or revelation) of dramatic action. 

A triangle is played out between three writers: Gus, a successful journalist (John Doman); Claudia (Christa Scott-Reed), a younger journalist writing a profile on Gus; and Gus’s wife, Honor (Kathleen Chalfant), a poet whose career went on hold years earlier to support Gus’s and raise their now college-age daughter, Sophie (Emily Donahoe). 

Claudia openly admires Gus, but is critical of Honor. “These days we have an awareness of what we give up,” Claudia says to her. “You mean a resentment?” counters Honor. The two trade shots verbally and patronize each other across a generational gulf of mutual incomprehension and suspicion. 

It’s just that separation that provides the attraction between older man and younger woman. Each has what the other feels is missing from life. He has success, the fruit of ambition and professional experience; she has an insatiable drive, and the thirst for recognition, self-fulfillment. 

Honor is caught in the middle. Her agony is intensified into alienation as she’s admonished, scolded, even bullied in different ways by the others over what they take to be her self-denying weakness and complacency. When Sophie declares Honor’s troubles began with her marriage to Gus, Honor admonishes her in turn to try to come to terms with him: “He can stop being my husband, or her lover, but he can never stop being your father. So don’t become me.” 

Joanna Murray-Smith, the playwright said she wanted to write “a very familiar, not to say clichéd, story” but “in a way that breathed life.” Clearly, the nuances are the crucial element: “I wanted [the audience to understand] the motivations of all the characters ... to feel how confusing life is ... I find the insufficiencies of ideology endlessly interesting territory.” 

Admirable ambition, suited to high drama in the spirit of Euripides, Ibsen, Strindberg and Honour, at moments, especially early on, seems to deliver. This is the territory, in our time, of Pinter and the best of David Mamet. 

But Honour droops under the weight of its own ambition, just as Claudia comes to when she tells Honor, “I longed for parents like you ... I wish I could write like you!” 

Having created an enviable, talented poet, the script goes from biting one-liners to speeches, finally to sticky impressions of Pinteresque repetitive diction and it gets stickier. Poet-envy is contagious, along with the fear of being “obvious,” and finally the play becomes a wish-fulfillment charm for audience as well as characters—and, presumably, the playwright—to ward off the dread of such “a very familiar, not to say clichéd, story” happening. 

As the plot often resembles the adulterous triangle between Faye Dunaway, William Holden and Beatrice Straight in Network, it’s an easy stretch to imagine our heroine in the title role intoning “I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore!”  

The plot turns over too abruptly for any motivations to be explored. The characters find themselves doing what they comment on. The dialogue, which has wit until breaking down into monologue and skeletal fragment, becomes supertitles, a translation or explanation of the action rather than its coefficient. 

The cast, imported from New York, with Berkeley Rep Artistic Director Tony Taccone presiding, puts on a very professional, verbally bright show in front of a Scandinavian Modern set that converts from office to home, backed by a wall of frosted glass subtly alive with tonal lighting effects that bring to mind a poem by David Gitin: “the door/slopes of light/your body/a delay/in glass”—perfect, substantial metaphor—whether in glass and light, or in words—for the evanescent, ineffable emotions around mortality and longing that slip Honour’s grasp. 


Mozart Festival Opens with Preview at El Cerrito Garden Party By IRA STEINGROOT Special to the Planet

Tuesday June 07, 2005

This year’s Midsummer Mozart Festival kicks off a month ahead of schedule with a sneak preview Mozart at a garden party this coming Sunday from 3:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. at 1140 Arlington Blvd. in El Cerrito.  

The repertoire will include selections from Mozart’s operas arranged for two instruments; Quartet in D major for flute, violin, viola and cello; and Duo in G major for violin and viola. All of the performers are regulars with the festival orchestra and will include Robin Hansen, violin, Victor Romasevich, viola and Maria Tamburrino, flute. 

One of the inviting aspects of the festival, which formally opens July 14, is that instead of the often cold, remote environment of concert halls, these performances take place in more intimate venues like churches, wineries and pocket theaters. The music is presented in a manner closer to the way it was first heard in Mozart’s time. 

The music at Sunday’s garden party will allow listeners to get closer still. Maestro George Cleve has chosen pieces that shine a light on some of the larger compositions to be played later in the season. Limited to 100 guests, there is a $50 admission fee for this benefit event which includes complimentary food and wine, and an autographed festival concert CD.  

The Quartet, for instance, dates from the 15-month tour Mozart and his mother began in late 1777. He wrote the Quartet for a wealthy Dutch flautist he met in Mannheim where he had fallen in love with his future wife’s older sister, Aloysia Weber. This tour ended badly in every way: the Dutchman ended up underpaying him, Aloysia dumped him, his amazing and insurmountable lack of business sense first surfaced, and when they got to Paris, where he continued to be a mark for everyone who met him, his mother died.  

In spite of this he produced the charming, multi-faceted No. 31 in D major, both featured in the festival’s first program. 

The Duo was written in Salzburg in the summer of 1783. This was Mozart’s first return to his hometown since leaving the Archbishop’s service. It was also the first time that Constanze, his wife of one year, would meet his father who had disapproved of the marriage. The second program of the festival, which will open July 21, will feature the Great Mass in C minor. He had made a vow to write a mass when Constanze was ill. While in Salzburg, she performed the difficult soprano part of this transcendent mass in its final, unfinished form. 

 

First Program 

The formal Midsummer Mozart Festival events include a variety of favorites and surprises. Since Program One begins on July 14, Les Petits Riens and the Paris Symphony were obvious choices to commemorate Bastille Day. At the July 14 and 15 shows only there will be the debut of dances commissioned by the festival for the overture and some of the dances from Les Petits Rien, choreographed and danced by Maria Basile. Those attending July 16 and 17 shows will hear the music, but sans terpsichore. 

From 1769 through 1779, Mozart often composed the Finalmusik, music played outdoors celebrating the festivities that signaled the end of Salzburg’s academic year in early August. One of these compositions, composed when Mozart was 16, the celebratory Divertimento No. 2 in D major for flute, oboe, bassoon, four horns and strings, K.131, will be included in the first program of the festival.  

The cherry on top for this program is the Sinfonia Concertante for violin and viola in E flat major, K. 364, featuring violinist Robin Hansen and violist Victor Romasevich. An early Mozart masterpiece from his 23rd year, the back and forth movement and weaving interplay between the “male” violin and the “female” viola. It is one of the most ravishing achievements of any music ever composed anywhere in the world. 

 

Second Program 

The festival’s second program focuses on Mozart’s compositions from 1781 through 1786. Mozart’s first of eight full-scale operas was Idomeneo, Rè di Creta, K.366, composed for Elector Karl Theodor of Bavaria. For this program, Cleve will perform only the strange overture with its ominous, disappearing ending, so unlike the usual buildup before an opera begins. The aforementioned Great Mass in C minor will feature Christina Major and Deborah Berioli, sopranos; Joseph Muir, tenor; Joseph Wright, baritone; and The Cantabile Chorale. Mozart wrote only a few pieces of sacred music after leaving Salzburg, but every one is a masterpiece with this coming in just a bit behind his Requiem.  

World-renowned pianist Seymour Lipkin will perform the Piano Concerto No. 15 in B flat major, K.450, said to be the most technically challenging of all of Mozart’s piano concertos. Lipkin will also be at the keyboard to accompany Christina Major singing “Ch'io mi scordi di te?”, Scena and Rondo for Soprano, Piano Obligato and Orchestra, K.505. Mozart composed this heartbreaking, demanding concert aria for his English friend Nancy Storace’s Viennese farewell concert with himself at the keyboard. This program, in particular, should be a powerhouse event with four remarkable works from such varied genres being performed. 

 

Program One of the 31st annual Midsummer Mozart Festival will be presented July 14 at 7:30 p.m. at the Garden Theatre, Montalvo Arts Center, Saratoga; Friday, July 15, at 8 p.m. at the Palace of Fine Arts, San Francisco; Saturday, July 16, at 6:30 p.m. at Gundlach Bundschu Winery, Sonoma; and Sunday, July 17, at 7 p.m. at St. John’s Presbyterian Church, Berkeley. 

Program Two will be presented Thursday, July 21, at 7:30 p.m. at Mission Santa Clara, Santa Clara University, Santa Clara; Friday, July 22, at 8 p.m. at the Palace of Fine Arts, San Francisco; Saturday, July 23, at 6:30 p.m. at Gundlach Bundschu Winery, Sonoma; and Sunday, July 24, at 7 p.m. at St. John’s Presbyterian Church, Berkeley.  

Each concert is preceded by a half hour talk. For tickets and information, call (415) 627-9145 or go to www.midsummermozart.org. For tickets and information about Sunday’s Mozart in the Garden benefit in El Cerrito call (415) 627-9141. 

?


Arts Calendar

Tuesday June 07, 2005

TUESDAY, JUNE 7 

FILM 

Berkeley High School Film Festival at 7 p.m. at the Little Theater, Allston Way between Milvia and MLK. Tickets are $8 adults, $5 students.  

Alternative Vision: “Lo-Fi Landscapes: Pictures form the New World” with filmmakers Bill Brown, Thomas Comerford, and Melinda Stone at 7:30 p.m. at the Pacific Film Archive. Cost is $4-$8. 642-0808.  

READINGS AND LECTURES 

Jean Schiffman, author of “The Working Actor’s Toolkit” in discussion with actor Lorri Holt at 7 p.m. at Berkeley Central Library, Community Room, 2090 Kittredge. 981-6100. 

“Oakland’s Chinatown” with William Wong at 7 p.m. at El Cerrito Library, 6510 Stockton Ave. 526-7512.  

James Howard Kunstler describes “The Long Emergency: Surviving Converging Catastrophes of the Twenty-First Century” at 7:30 p.m. at Cody’s Books. 845-7852.  

MUSIC AND DANCE 

Marcus O’Realius & The Transplantdentalists at 8 p.m. at Freight and Salvage. Cost is $16.50- $17.50. 548-1761.  

Duncan James, jazz guitar, at 8 p.m. at Downtown. 649-3810. 

Singers’ Showcase at 8 p.m. at Anna’s Jazz Island, 2120 Allston Way. 841-JAZZ.  

Ledisi with the Marcus Shelby Jazz Orchestra in a tribute to Sarah Vaughn at 8 and 10 p.m. through Thurs. at Yoshi’s at Jack London Square. Cost is $6-$10. 238-9200. www.yoshis.com 

Matthew Sperry Memorial Festival with Johannes Bergmark at 8 p.m. at 21 Grand, 416 25th St. Oakland. Tickets are $6-$50.  

WEDNESDAY, JUNE 8 

FILM 

Seventies Underground: “The Remake” with filmmaker RIck Schmidt at 7:30 p.m. at the Pacific Film Archive. Cost is $4-$8. 642-0808. www.bampfa.berkeley.edu 

READINGS AND LECTURES 

Elijah Wald reads from “The Mayor of MacDougal Street,” a memoir by folk musician Dave Van Ronk, which Wald completed after Van Ronk’s death, at 7:30 p.m. at Black Oak Books. 486-0698.  

Aaron Glantz describes “How America Lost Iraq” at 7:30 p.m. at Cody’s Books. 845-7852.  

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  

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

MUSIC AND DANCE 

“Music for the Spirit” harpsichord concert at noon at First Presbyterian Church of Oakland, 2619 Broadway. 444-3555.  

Ned Boynton Trio at 8 p.m. at Downtown. 649-3810.  

Sonic Camouflage at 8 p.m. at Cafe Van Kleef, 1621 Telegraph Ave., Oakland. 763-7711. www.cafevankleef.com  

Calvin Keys Trio at 8 p.m. at Anna’s Jazz Island, 2120 Allston Way. 841-JAZZ.  

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

Paul Geremia at 8 p.m. at Freight and Salvage. Cost is $17.50-$18.50. 548-1761.  

THURSDAY, JUNE 9 

EXHIBTIONS 

June Garden Show with works by Carol Bevilaqua, Marlie De Swart, Kim Webster, Bella Bigsby and Vicki Breazeale. Reception at 6 p.m. at ACCI Gallery, 1652 Shattuck Ave. Exhibit runs to July 1. 843-2527. www.accigallery.com 

“Familiar Faces, Distant Lands” Oil Paintings by Susan Hall, Mary Jonlic and Nika. Reception at 6 p.m. at Addison Street Windows, 2018 Addison St. Exhibit runs to June 30. 981-7546. 

Alvarado Artists Group Show with works by Marilyn MacGregor, Barbara Werner, Joan Lakin Mikkelsen, Carla Dole and MJ Orcutt at the Giorgi Gallery, 2911 Claremont Ave. Reception at 6 p.m. 848-1228.  

THEATER 

“A Midsummer’s Night’s Dream” performed by the Oxford School Fifth Grade, set in “ancient Berkeley in the time of great Hip-Hop” at 9:15 a.m. at Live Oak Park.  

Traveling Jewish Theater, “Cherry Docs” at 8 p.m. at the Julia Morgan Theater. Tickets are $23-$34. www.atjt.com 

FILM 

Anime: “Howl’s Moving Castle” at 6 p.m. at the Pacific Film Archive. Cost is $4-$8. 642-0808.  

READINGS AND LECTURES 

Sally Woodbridge will discuss and show photographs from “San Francisco Architecture: An Illustrated Guide to the Outstanding Buildings, Public Artworks, and Parks in the Bay Area of California,” at 7:30 p.m. at Black Oak Books. 486-0698.  

“One Teacher in Ten” contributions of LGBT educators at 7:30 p.m. at Cody’s Books. 845-7852.  

MUSIC AND DANCE 

Liz Plummer, soprano, at 12:15 p.m. at the Berkeley Public Library, 2090 Kittredge at Shattuck. 981-6235.  

Devil Makes Three at 8 p.m. at Freight and Salvage. Cost is $16.50-$17.50. 548-1761.  

Mitch Marcus Quintet at 9 p.m. at Cafe Van Kleef, 1621 Telegraph Ave., Oakland. Cost is $5. 763-7711.  

Palindrome with Bryan Girard at 8 p.m. at Anna’s Jazz Island, 2120 Allston Way. 841-JAZZ.  

Hot Club Sandwich, Klezmania!, Barbary Coast Guitar Duo at 9:30 p.m. at The Starry Plough. Cost is $10. 841-2082.  

Anton Schwartz and Bill Bell at 8 p.m. at Downtown. 649-3810. 

FRIDAY, JUNE 10 

THEATER 

Antares Ensemble “Hellenic Image” choruses and monologues from Greek tragedies at 8 p.m. at the Berkeley City Club. Thurs.-Sat. at 8 p.m., Sun. at 2 p.m. through June 26. Tickets are $10-$35. 525-3254.  

Berkeley Rep, “Honour” opens at the Thrust Stage, 2025 Addison St. and runs through July 3. Tickets are $20-$39. 647-2949. www.berkeleyrep.org 

California Shakespeare Theater, “Othello” at 8 p.m. at Bruns Amphitheater, 100 Gateway Blvd., between Berkeley and Orinda, through July 3. Tickets are $10-$55. 548-9666. www.calshakes.org 

“Cantiflas!” a bilingual play written and performed by Herbert Siguenza Fri. and Sat. at 8 p.m. at La Peña. Cost is $16-$18. 849-2568. www.lapena.org 

Contra Costa Civic Theater “Private Lives” Noel Coward’s comedy. Fri. and Sat. at 8 p.m., Sun. at 2 p.m. through June 12., at 951 Pomona Ave., El Cerrito. Tickets are $10. 524-9132. www.ccct.org 

Shotgun Players, “Arabian Night” Thurs.-Sun. at 8 p.m. at The Ashby Stage, 1901 Ashby Ave. until July 10. Tickets are $10-$30. 841-6500. www.shotgunplayers.org 

Subterranean Shakespeare “The Taming of the Shrew,” Thurs.-Sat. at 8 p.m. at Berkeley Art Center in Live Oak Park, through June 24. For reservations call 276-3871. 

Un-Scripted Theater Company “The Short and the Long of It” Fri. and Sat. at 8 p.m., through June 25 at Temescal Arts Center, 511 48th St., Oakland. Tickets are $7-$10. 415-869-5384. www.un-scripted.com 

FILM 

American Outlaws: “Wild in the Streets” with Village Voice critic J. Hoberman at 7 p.m. at Pacific Film Archive. Cost is $4-$8. 642-0808. www.bampfa.berkeley.edu 

READINGS AND LECTURES 

Ambassador Joe Wilson describes “The Politics of Truth: Inside the Lies That Put The White House on Trial and Betrayed My Wife’s CIA Identity” at 7:30 p.m. at Cody’s Books. 845-7852. www.codysbooks.com 

Camille Peri and Kate Moses describe motherhood in “Because I Said So” at 7 p.m. at Cody’s Books on Fourth St. 559-9500. 

By the Light of the Moon open mic for women at 7:30 p.m. at Changemakers, 6536 Telegraph Ave. 655-2405. 

MUSIC AND DANCE 

Berkeley High Jazz Ensemble with the Lab Band and the Lab Band Combo at 7 p.m. at the Florence Schwimley Little Theater, at Berkeley High.  

Point Richmond Music with Mojo Hand and Anna Maria Flechero in a free outdoor concert at 5:30 p.m. at Baltic Square, behind 117 Park Place, in Point Richmond. 223-3882. 

The Christy Dana Quintet at 8 p.m. at The Giorgi Gallery, 2911 Claremont Ave. at Ashby. Tickets are $12-$15. 524-1124. 

“Singin’ & Swingin’” with Music in the Community Youth and Black Repertory Group at 8 p.m. at Black Rep Theater, 3201 Adeline St. Tickets are $5-$10. 652-2120. 

Hideo Date, Stephanie Bruce and Trio at 8 p.m. at Anna’s Jazz Island, 2120 Allston Way. 841-JAZZ. www.AnnasJazzIsland.com 

Corinne West at 8 p.m. at Caffe Trieste, 2500 San Pablo Ave., at Dwight. 548-5198.  

37th Anniversary Revue hosted by Phil Marsh, with Mayne Smith, Eric & Suzy Thompson, Suzanne Fox & Eric Park at 8 p.m. at Freight and Salvage. Cost is $18.50-$19.50. 548-1761. www.freightandsalvage.org 

Vince Wallace Quintet at 9 p.m. at Cafe Van Kleef, 1621 Telegraph Ave., Oakland. Cost is $5. 763-7711. www.cafevankleef.com  

Pocket, 7th Direction at 9:30 p.m. at The Starry Plough. Cost is $7. 841-2082. www.starryploughpub.com 

The Lips 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 

Bob Marley Student Ensemble at 8 p.m. at the Jazzschool. Cost is $15. 845-5373. www.jazzschool.com 

Diego’s Umbrella, funk, jazz at 9 p.m. at Shattuck Down Low, 2284 Shattuck Ave. Cost is $25. 548-1159. www.shattuckdownlow.com 

Eleven Eyes at 8 p.m. at Jupiter. 848-8277. 

Century of War, Black Market Bombs at 8 p.m. at 924 Gilman St., an all-ages, member-run, no alcohol, no drugs, no violence club. Cost is $5. 525-9926. 

Yellowjackets at 8 and 10 p.m. at Yoshi’s at Jack London Square, through Sun. Cost is $15-$22. 238-9200. www.yoshis.com 

SATURDAY, JUNE 11 

EXHIBITIONS 

The Eureka Fellowship Awards Exhibition opens at the Berkeley Art Museum and runs through August 14. 642-0808. www.bampfa.berkeley.edu 

Alvarado Artists Group Show with works by Marilyn MacGregor, Barbara Werner, Joan Lakin Mikkelsen, Carla Dole and MJ Orcutt at the Giorgi Gallery, 2911 Claremont Ave. Reception for the artists at 1 p.m. 848-1228.  

“New Work” paintings by Yasuko Kaya, Chung Ae Kim, Mitsuyo Moore. Reception at 7 p.m. at 4th Street Studio, 1717D 4th St. 527-0600. www.fourthstreetstudio.com 

THEATER 

Living Arts Playback Theater Ensemble improvisational theater at 8 p.m. at Live Oak Theater, 1301 Shattuck Ave. Free but reservations suggested. 595-5500, ext. 25. 

“Cantiflas!” a bilingual play written and performed by Herbert Siguenza at 8 p.m. at La Peña. Cost is $16-$18. 849-2568. www.lapena.org 

Traveling Jewish Theater, “Cherry Docs” at 8 p.m. and Sun. at 2 p.m. at the Julia Morgan Theater. Tickets are $23-$34. www.atjt.com 

FILM 

American Outlaws: “Joe” at 7 p.m. and “Myra Breckenridge” at 9:20 p.m. at the Pacific Film Archive. Cost is $4-$8. 642-0808. www.bampfa.berkeley.edu 

READINGS AND LECTURES 

Joann Eckstut explains “The Color Palette Primer: A Guide to Choosing Ideal Color Combinations for Your Home” at 3 p.m. at Cody’s Books on Fourth St. 559-9500. 

MUSIC AND DANCE 

La Peña Day with live music and activities, from noon to 6 p.m. at the intersection of Prince and Shattuck. 849-2568. www.lapena.org 

Betty Shaw, Ellen Hoffman, India Cooke Quartet at 8 p.m. at Anna’s Jazz Island, 2120 Allston Way. 841-JAZZ. www.AnnasJazzIsland.com 

Hal Stein Quartet at 9 p.m. at Cafe Van Kleef, 1621 Telegraph Ave., Oakland. Cost is $5. 763-7711 www.cafevankleef.com 

Wayward Monks at 8:30 p.m. at Epic Arts, 1923 Ashby Ave. Cost is $5-$10. www.epicarts.org 

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

Full at 8 p.m. at Jupiter. 848-8277. 

House Jacks at 8 p.m. at Freight and Salvage. Cost is $18.50-$19.50. 548-1761. www.freightandsalvage.org 

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

SFJazz All-Star High School Ensemble at 8 p.m. at the Jazz- 

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

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

Shades of Green at 7 p.m. at Spuds Pizza, 3290 Adeline St. Cost is $7. 558-0881. 

“The Saucy Summer Sessions” at 10 p.m. at Club Oasis, 135 12th St., Oakland. Cost is $10. 763-0404.  

Louise Taft Memorial Dance Concert with Farma, The Natives, Fun with Finnoula at 9:30 p.m. at The Starry Plough. Cost is $6. 841-2082. www.starryploughpub.com 

Groovie Ghoulies, The Mormans, 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. 

SUNDAY, JUNE 12 

CHILDREN 

Polish Folk Culture through Song and Dance with Lowiczanie Polish Folk Dance and Music at 2 p.m. at Phoebe A. Hearst Museum of Anthropology, Bancroft at College. 643-7648. 

“Peaceful Families, Peaceful World” a concert with singer/songwriter Betsy Rose at 4 p.m. in the Large Assembly of First Congregational Church of Berkeley, 2345 Channing Way. Suggested donation is $5 per person or $10 per family. 

EXHIBITIONS 

The Eureka Fellowship Awards Exhibition Artists’ Talks at 3 p.m.at the Berkeley Art Museum and runs through August 14. 642-0808. www.bampfa.berkeley.edu 

READINGS AND LECTURES 

Poetry Flash with Martha Rhodes, Robert Thomas, and Daniel Tobin at 7:30 p.m. at Cody’s Books. Donation $2. 845-7852. www.codysbooks.com 

MUSIC AND DANCE 

Pacific Mozart Ensemble, “A Capella Jazz & Pop” at 5 p.m. at The Berkeley City Club, 2315 Durant Ave. Tickets are $15-$20. 415-705-0848. www.pacificmozart.org 

Mozart in the Garden with George Cleve and Festival artists at 3:30 p.m. in a private home in the East Bay Hills. Tickets are $50. 415-627-9141. 

“Café Buenos Aires” Tango music with Creative Voices at 4 p.m. at Live Oak Theater, 1301 Shattuck Ave. Live Oak Park. Tickets are $15-$18. 415-861-3680. www.creativevoices.org 

Crying High Brazilian Jazz and Choro Band at 8 p.m. at Anna’s Jazz Island, 2120 Allston Way. 841-JAZZ. www.AnnasJazzIsland.com 

DJ & Brook at 3 p.m. at Nomad Cafe, 6500 Shattuck Ave. 595-5344. www.nomadcafe.net 

Americana Unplugged: Matt Kinman and the Oldtime Seranaders at 5 p.m. at Jupiter. 655-5715. 

Art of the Trio: Dick Conte Trio at 4:30 p.m. at the Jazz- 

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

“Stand Up & Get Down” Music and Comedy Night Fundraiser for East Bay Community Mediation at 7 p.m. at La Peña. Cost is $15. 849-2568. www.lapena.org 

Alison Brown at 8 p.m. at Freight and Salvage. Cost is $18.50-$19.50. 548-1761. www.freightandsalvage.org 

Mastema, 5 Days Dirty, Second Shot at 5 p.m. at 924 Gilman St., an all-ages, member-run, no alcohol, no drugs, no violence club. Cost is $6. 525-9926. 

MONDAY, JUNE 13 

READINGS AND LECTURES 

Tim Farrington reads from his new novel “Lizzie’s War” at 7:30 p.m. at Black Oak Books. 486-0698. www.blackoakbooks.com 

Enrique Cruz describes his “Autobiography of an Ex-Chess Player,” in Spanish, at at 7:30 p.m. at Cody’s Books. 845-7852.  

www.codysbooks.com  

Poetry Express with Jan Steckel at 7 p.m., at Priya Restaurant, 2072 San Pablo Ave. 644-3977. 

MUSIC AND DANCE 

Geraldine Walther, violin, at 7:30 p.m. in a private home in Berkeley. Benefit for The Crowden School. Tickets are $100, or $180 for two. 559-6910. 

Trovatore, traditional Italian songs, at 7 p.m. at Caffe Trieste, 2500 San Pablo Ave., at Dwight. 548-5198.  

Frankye Kelly, CD release party at 8 and 10 p.m. at Yoshi’s at Jack London Square. Cost is $6-$10. 238-9200. www.yoshis.com


Following the Efficient Migration Mechanism of Oak Trees By RON SULLIVAN Special to the Planet

Tuesday June 07, 2005

When we import all those magnificent oaks—gracious eastern red oaks, ziggy little pin oaks, stately English oaks—to line our streets and grace our gardens and public places, we’re joining an old tradition. It’s a globalization that dates back to some of the earliest human explorations: we’ve moved taro, breadfruit, and later pineapples throughout Polynesia; coffee between Africa and Asia and South America. 

Chilipepper was moved to Eurasia from the Americas and adopted with such enthusiasm that its dozens of varieties are considered an intrinsic part of cuisines from Italian and Spanish to Hungarian, from Ethiopian and Mozambican to South Indian and Thai, Szechuanese and Filipino. Corn traveled with migrants and traders from Central America to North and South America, and moved to the Eastern Hemisphere where it found employment in every field from European livestock fodder to Southeast Asian dessert topping. (For all I know, it’s a floor wax somewhere.) 

Ornamentals came along too. Tracking their course along human migration routes would be a nice addition to Spencer Wells’ (human) Genographic project. The legend about feral mustard in California is that the Spanish padres scattered them to make a golden, parable-evoking path among the mission outposts, as well as for seasoning. 

In recent history, the Victorians were outstanding examples of beauty-bespelled, novelty-seeking plant hunters. When one of them invented the Wardian case, tender tropicals could be sent for propagation to greenhouses and gardens all over, and so we have araucarias and semitropical palms marking Victorian architecture all around us. 

But oaks are much easier to transport: acorns keep well, and they have enough nutrition to give a seedling tree a good start. They also have nutrition for us—which might account for the fringes of some American oaks’ home ranges—and for other animals. And that latter seems to account for still more aspects of their distribution. 

Glenn Keator, in his book The Life of an Oak: An Intimate Portrait, mentions an interesting fact: 

The distribution of jay species and their diversification coincide closely with the distribution and diversification of oaks. The two areas of the world most noted for their great variety of oaks, Southeast Asia and the highlands of Mexico, are also areas of great jay diversity. 

Oaks are so generous with their acorns that humans that eat them might not have not to plant them often, but I’d bet we extended the ranges of some favored species, like the white oaks, that require less processing to make them palatable. In our area, the first people had familial property rights over the crops of certain trees, and the walk from seafood on the bay shore up to the hills to gather and process acorns was a seasonal village ritual. They built granaries to keep the acorns from sprouting, rotting, or being carried off by furred and feathered neighbors. 

Those neighbors had other ways to store acorns. Acorn woodpeckers famously use “mast trees”—they riddle a tree (or sometimes a pole or building, to people’s alarm) with neat round holes; in each hole they store an acorn, and as the acorns dry and shrink, the birds shuffle them around to other, smaller holes, the very image of flying file clerks. Acorn woodpeckers here live in colonies and the whole gang defends the mast tree. 

Others—notably squirrels and jays—have to resort to earthier methods. They bury, or cache, acorns in the ground, and dig them up later to eat. Jays and their kin (Clark’s nutcrackers, other corvids) exhibit amazing feats of memory, remembering where they’ve stashed hundreds of acorns every year. But no one’s perfect—and anyone can have leftovers. 

Joseph Grinnell, in a 1936 Condor piece quoted in Oaks of California, notes the uphill advance of oak forests, watches jays cache acorns uphill of the trees they came from, and proposes that they, like other birds, squirrels, and woodrats, are agents of dispersal. He concludes that: 

[I]n the long-time interests of the tree species, involving locomotion of the whole forest, there is value received upon this huge rate of production. It is not extravagance, but good investment, for the oaks to provide subsistence for a continuing population of animal species. 

In the case of humans, oaks provide compelling beauty as well as utility—and we oblige them by spreading their populations to our abodes whole continents away.


Berkeley This Week

Tuesday June 07, 2005

TUESDAY, JUNE 7 

“Introduction to California Birdlife” a conversation with field biologist Jules Evens and nature photographer Ian Tait, at 5:30 p.m. at University Press Books, 2430 Bancroft Way. 

Tuesday Tilden Walkers Join a few slowpoke seniors at 9:30 a.m. in the parking lot near the Little Farm for an hour or two walk. 215-7672, 524-9992. 

Apartment Building Management For Women A class on Tues. and Thurs. evenings at 6 p.m., Sat. 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Building Education Center Cost is $250 or sliding scale. To register call 525-7610.  

Trekking in California with guidebook author Paul Richins at 7 p.m. at REI, 1338 San Pablo Ave. Free. 527-4140. 

“Police Practices” A panel discussion with Doris Brown, former Richmond Police Commissioner, James Chanin, civil rights attorney, Sgt. Alan Normandy, South SF Police Dept. and Mark Schlosberg, ACLU Police Practices Dept. at 7 p.m. at the Richmond Main Library Community Room, 325 Civic Center Drive. Sponsored by the ACLU. 558-0377. 

Quit Smoking Class meets Tues. evening from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at South Berkeley Senior Center for six evenings. Sponsored by the City of Berkeley. To register call 981-5330. 

Choke Saving Skills Day Learn these important skills at 11 a.m. at Habitot, 2065 Kittredge St. Cost is $5-$6. 647-1111. www.habitot.org 

Mid-Day Meander Meet at 2:30 p.m. at the Alvarado/ 

Wildcat Staging Area off Park Ave. for a history walk to the Belgum Estate. 525-2233. 

Tilden Mini-Rangers Join us for an active afternoon of nature study, conservation, and ramb ling through woods and waters. Dress to get dirty; bring a healthy snack to share. Girls and boys ages 8-12, unaccompanied by their parents. From 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. at Tilden Nature Area. Cost is $6-$8. Reservations required. 636-1684. 

Young Leadership Div ision Jewish Federation meets at 7 p.m. at Berkeley Hillel. RSVP to 839-2900 ext. 216.  

Brainstormer Weekly Pub Quiz every Tuesday from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. at Pyramid Alehouse Brewery, 901 Gilman St. 528-9880. 

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

Sing-A-Long every Tues. from 1:30 to 2:30 p.m. at the Albany Senior Center, 846 Masonic. All ages welcome. 524-9122. 

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. 

WEDNESDAY, JUNE 8 

Walking Tour of Old Oakland around Preservation Park to see Victorian architecture. Meet at 10 a.m. in front of Preservation Park at 13th St. and MLK, Jr. Way. Tour lasts 90 minutes. For reservations call 238-3234. www.oaklandnet.com/walkingtours 

GPS Na vigation with Steve Wood, REI guide, at 7 p.m. at REI, 1338 San Pablo Ave. If you own a GPS unit, please bring it. 527-4140. 

“Lolita: Slave to Entertainment” a documentary on our relationship with wildlife at 7:30 p.m. at Humanist Hall, 390 27th St., Oakland. Donation $5. www.HumanistHall.net 

East Bay Gebealogical Society meets at 10 a.m. in the Library Conference Room, Family History Center, 4766 Lincoln Ave., Oakland. Mary Jo Wainwright will speak on the history of the Peralta family. 653-6692. 

“Senior Injury Prevention Project: Falls” at 10:30 a.m. at Summit Campus, Merritt Pavilion, 350 Hawthorne Ave., Oakland. Free for Health Access members, $5 for others. For reservations call 869-6737. 

The Berkeley Lawn Bowling Club provides free instruction every Wednesday at 10:30 a.m. at 2270 Action St. 841-2174.  

Home Buyer Assistance Information Session at 6 p.m. at 1504 Franklin St., Oakland. Sponsored by the Home Buyer Assistance Center. Reservations required. 832-6925, ext. 100. www.hbac.org 

Poetry Writing Workshop with Alison Seevak at 7 p.m. at the Albany Library, 1247 Marin Ave. 526-3720. 

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

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

Stitch ‘n Bitch Bring your knitting, crocheting an d other handcrafts from 6 to 9 p.m. at Caffe Trieste, 2500 San Pablo Ave. 548-5198. 

THURSDAY, JUNE 9 

Berkeley School Volunteers Training workshop for volunteers interested in helping the public schools during the summer, from 3 to 4:30 p.m. at 1835 Allsto n Way. 644-8833. 

Hidden Lodges of Berkeley A lecture on Bernard Maybeck’s Great Hall, at 7:30 p.m. at the Faculty Club, UC Campus. Cost is $10. For information contact Berkeley Architectural Heritage at 841-2241. www.berkeleyheritage.com 

“In Rachel’s Name” with the parents of Rachel Corrie at 7 p.m. at the First Congregational Church in Oakland, 2501 Harrison St. Donation $10, no one turned away. 415-255-7296, ext. 261. 

Grizzly Peak Flyfishers meets at 7 p.m. at the Kensington Community Center, 59 Arlingt on Ave. Jeff Miller will speak on the efforts to restore steelhead to Alameda Creek. 547-8629. 

Caldecott Tunnel Fourth Boor Expansion Project Meeting at 6 p.m. at the Bentley School, 1 Hiller Drive, Oakland. 286-6445. www.dot.ca.gov/dist4/caldecott 

“Juice Fasting and Rejuvenation” with Ed Bauman, Director of Bauman College at 5:30 p.m. at Pharmaca Pharmacy, 1744 Solano Ave. 527-8929. 

East Bay Mac User Group with Linden Siahaan, Software Design Engineer, Microsoft Corp who will present the Virtual PC at 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at Expression Center for New Media, 6601 Shellmound St. www.expression.edu 

Beginning and Intermediate Computer Workshop for all ages, from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Long Haul, 3124 Shattuck Ave. Free, but registration required. call after 6 p.m. 540-0751. 

“Truth or Consequences: How Filure to Disclose Ad Relationships Threatens to Burts the Search Bubble” a free conference from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Claremont, 41 Tunnel Rd. www.consumerwebwatch.org 

FRIDAY, JUNE 10 

City Commons Club Noon Lunch eon with Cornelia Niekus Moore on “Obituaries as Social, Religious and Political Commentary in Early Modern Germany” 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.  

Acts Full Gospel Women’s Conference with Dr. Doris Limbrick at 7 p.m. at 1034 66th Ave., Oakland. Speakers on Sat. from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Cost is $45 for adults, $20 for youth. to register call 567-1300. 

“Three Beats for Nothing” a smal l group meeting weekly at 10 a.m. at the North Berkeley Senior Center to sing for fun and practice, mostly 16th century harmony. No charge. 655-8863, 843-7610. dann@netwiz.net 

Berkeley Chess Club meets Fridays at 8 p.m. at the East Bay Chess Club, 1940 Vi rginia St. Players at all levels are welcome. 845-1041. 

Women in Black Vigil at noon at UC Berkeley, Bancroft at Telegraph. 548-6310. 

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 

SATURDAY, JUNE 11 

La Peña Day with live music and activities, from noon to 6 p.m. at the intersection of Prince and Shattuck. 849-2568. www.lapena.org 

Live Oak Park Fair from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. with arts and cr afts, jazz, children’s entertainment and food. 898-3282. www.liveoakparkfair.com 

“Beat Back the Arnold Attack!” SEIU Local 790 Membership Convention from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., with community activities at 1 p.m., at Berkeley Community Theater, 1930 Allston Wa y. http://graypantherssf.igc.org/050611back.pdf  

“Dragonflies of California” a slide show with Kathy and Dave Briggs from 9:30 a.m. to noon at the Visitor Center, Tilden Park. Optional excursion in the afternoon. Cost is $30-$35. Bring your lunch. 841-873 2. www.nativeplants.org 

Mini-Farmers in Tilden A farm exploration program, from 10 to 11 a.m. for ages 4-6 years, accompanied by an adult. We will explore the Little Farm, care for animals, do crafts and farm chores. Wear boots and dress to get dirty! Fee is $3-$5. Registration required. 525-2233. 

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-$7, registration required. 525-2233. 

All Trails, All Day A whirlwind tour of Alan Kaplan’s favorite Trails. Meet at 10 a.m. at the Tilden Nature Center, Tilden Park, and bring lunch, liquids, hat and sunscreen. 525-2233. 

Basic Organic Vegetable Gardening with special emphasis on the East Bay backyard and climate, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Ecology Center, 2530 San Pablo Ave. Cost is $10-$15. 548-2220, ext. 233. 

Passport to the Summer Garden UC Botanical Garden’s Party from 3 to 6 p.m. Tickets are $35-$45. Reservations required. 643-2755. http://botanicalgarden.berkeley.edu 

Origami from 2 to 4 p.m. at the Albany Library, 1247 Marin Ave. Free and open to all ages. 526-3720, ext. 17. 

Tryouts for Piedmont Choirs from 9 a.m. to noon in Alameda or Piedmont. Call for appointment 547-4441. 

Child Car Seat Check with the Berkeley Police Dept. from 10 a.m. to noon at the UC Garage on Addison at Oxford. 647-1111. www.habitot.org 

Walking Tour of Jack London Waterfront Meet at 10 a.m. at the corner of Broadway and Embarc adero. Tour lasts 90 minutes. Reservations can be made by calling 238-3234. www.oaklandnet.com/walkingtours 

Introductory Birding Walk in Kensington with Robbie Fisher from 8 to 11 a.m. Cost is $25, includes breakfast. For meeting place and to register, ca ll 525-6155. 

“Headaches and Heartaches” with Ed Bauman, Director of Bauman College at 10 a.m. at Elephant Pharmacy, 1607 Shattuck Ave. 549-9200. 

“The Rising Power of Europe and the European Constitutional Vote” with Conor Dixon at 10 a.m. at the Niebyl-Procter Library, 6501 Telegraph Ave., Oakland. Sponsored by the Democratic Socialists of America. 415-789-8497. 

“Starting and Managing Your Small Business” a workshop from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Berkeley Public Library, Community Room, 2090 Kittredge St. Sponsored by the Small Business Network. Free but registration required. 981-6148. 

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

SUNDAY, JUNE 12 

Live Oak Park Fair from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. with arts and crafts, jazz, children’s entertainment and food. 898-3282. www.liveoakparkfair.com 

At Summer’s Cusp An exploration of pollination in the Regional Parks Botanic Garden at Tilden Park from 10 a.m. to noon. 525-2233. 

Joys of Walking Hear what great writers have to say about sauntering and learn the origin of the word. Meet at 2 p.m. at Tilden Nature Center, Tilden Park. 525-2233. 

Hands-on Bike Maintenance Learn how to perform basic repairs on your bike from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. at REI, 1338 San Pablo Ave. Cost is $85-$100. 527-4140. 

Theater Class for Families with improvisational games and movement activities from 1 to 3 p.m. at the Nevo Education Center, 2071 Addison St. Free, but bring a book to donate to Joh n Muir Elementary. Sponsored by Target and Berkeley Rep. 647-2972. 

Acting Out Garden Party from 2 to 4 p.m. at the Magnes Museum, in conjunction with the Claude Cahun and Marcel Moore exhibition. RSVP to magnes40@magnes.org 

Free Garden Tours at Regional P arks Botanic Garden in Tilden Park Sat. and Sun. at 2 p.m. Call to confirm. 841-8732. www.nativeplants.org 

Lake Merritt Neighbors Organized for Peace Peace walk around the lake every Sun. Meet at 3 p.m. at the colonnade at the NE end of the lake. 763-8712. lmno4p.org 

Tibetan Buddhism with Mary Gomes and “Compassionate Activism” at 6 p.m. at the Tibetan Nyingma Institute, 1815 Highland Pl. 843-6812. www.nyingmainstitute.com 

Erev Shavuot Lecture with David Biale on the Jewish concept of political dissent, at 4 p.m. at 951 Cragmont Ave. Sponsored by Beyt Tikkun. Cost is $20 for non-members. For reservations call 528-6250. 

Tikkun Leyl Shavuot, all night study, at 7 p.m. at BRJCC, 1414 Walnut St. 848-0237.  

MONDAY, JUNE 13 

City of Berkeley Walking Group walks Mon.-Thurs. from 5 to 5:30 p.m. Meet at 830 University Ave. All new participants receive a free pedometer. 981-5131. 

The Berkeley High School Site Council meets at 4:30 p.m. in the school library. On the agenda are the advanced placement (AP) program, attendance, and safety and discipline. For more information, go to bhs.berkeleypta.org/ssc 

Tea and Hike 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 Av e. Join at any time. Cost is $2.50 with refreshments. 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. 

TUESDAY, JUN E 14 

Early Morning Bird Walk Meet at 7 a.m. at the Bear Creek Rd. entrance of Briones to look for Redwinged Blackbirds, White-crowned Sparrows and Western Bluebirds (It is Flag Day!) 525-2233. 

Berkeley School Volunteers Training workshop for volunteers in terested in helping the public schools during the summer, from 7 to 8:30 p.m. at 1835 Allston Way. 644-8833. 

Beyond Oil II with Joanna Macy and Richard Heinberg at 7 p.m. at the First Congregational Church, 2501 Harrison St., Oakland. Sponsored by the Eas t Bay Post Carbon Solutions Group. 496-6080. 

Peace Corps Information Night with volunteers and staff at 6:30 p.m. at Rockridge Public Library, 5366 College Ave., Oakland. RSVP to John Ruiz at 415-977-8798. jruiz@peacecorps.gov 

Tuesday Tilden Walkers Join a few slowpoke seniors at 9:30 a.m. in the parking lot near the Little Farm for an hour or two walk. In case of questionable weather, call around 8 a.m. 215-7672, 524-9992. 

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

Buddhist Meditation Class at 7 p.m. at The Dzalandhara Buddhist Center. Cost is $7-$10. For d irections and details please call 559-8183. 

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. 

Sing-Along every Tues. from 1:30 to 2:30 p.m. at the Albany Senior Center, 846 Masonic. All ages welcome. 524-9122. 

ONGOING 

Summer Camps for Children offered by the City of Berkeley, including swimming, sports and twilight basketball, from June 20 to August 12, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. For details call 981-5150, 981-5153. 

Barrington Collection Free Skool holds summer classes in the East Bay. Classes include “Buying Your First Home,” “Beer Brewing,” ”Grant Writing,” “Yoga” and classes for children. http://barringtoncollect ive.org/FreeSkool 

CITY MEETINGS 

Commission on Disability meets Wed., June 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 

Homeless Commission meets Wed., June 8, at 7 p.m., at the North Berkeley Senior Center. Jane Micallef, 981-5426. www.ci.berkeley.ca.us/commissions/homeless 

Library Board of Trustees meets Wed. June 8, at 7 p.m. at the South Berkeley Senior Center, Jackie Y. Griffin, 981-6195. www.ci.berkeley.ca.us/co mmissions/library  

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

Police Review Commission meets Wed., June 8 at the South Berkeley Senior Center. 981-4950. www.ci.berkeley.ca.us/ 

commissions/policereview 

Waterfront Commission meets Wed., June 8, at 7 p.m., at 201 University Ave. Cliff Marchetti, 981-6740. www.ci.berkeley. 

ca.us/commissions/waterfront 

Community Health Commission meets Thurs., June 9, at 6:45 p.m., at the North Berkeley Senior Center. Kristin Tehrani, 981-5356. www.ci.ber 

keley.ca.us/commissions/health 

West Berkeley Project Area Commission meets Thurs., June 9, at 7 p.m., at the West Berkeley Senior Center. Iris Starr, 981-752 0. www.ci.berkeley.ca.us/commissions/westberkeley  

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

keley.ca.us/commissions/zoning h


Opinion

Editorials

Guest Editorial: BUSD Must Act to Save Warm Pool By DONA SPRING

Friday June 10, 2005

EDITOR’S NOTE: Councilmember Dona Spring has contributed the guest editorial below, which she also sent as a letter to the Berkeley School Board. Keeping a warm water pool available for Berkeley citizens was a major project of the late Fred Lupke, a valued participant in reviving the Berkeley Daily Planet two years ago, so we are happy to have the opportunity to concur with the concerns expressed by Councilmember Spring. We would also like to remind Berkeley citizens that all of us, students and non-students, are just an accident away from disability. When I experienced a painful and lingering knee injury a few years ago, swimming at the Warm Water Pool was the way I finally recovered, after conventional medical therapy hadn’t worked very well. We need to preserve and maintain this valuable city resource for everyone, not allow it to vanish because of the school district’s careless maintenance. 

–Becky O’Malley 

 

The Berkeley School Board took up the proposed plan for the Berkeley High School South Campus athletic complex at its May 11 meeting. The preferred plan proposes moving the warm water pool from its current location next to the Old Gymnasium building across the street to the former tennis courts. School Board Director John Selawsky announced he wanted the community to know where he was coming from on the proposed warm water pool. He said that from his perspective, the school district could not contribute any funding to make up the budget gap. Board member Terry Doran also stated the school district did not have the funds to help with the warm pool. Their comments referenced the city consultant's report that indicated the cost of the pool would increase from $3.2 million for a reconstruction at the current site to between $6 million and $7 million to build a new pool across the street.  

Previously, the City Manager had sent a letter to the school district stating: in 2000 "the City Council became aware of the deteriorated condition of the Pool Building on the Berkeley High School (BHS) South Campus. Council initiated a bond measure to rehabilitate the building at a time when it was still financially feasible. The City earnestly underwent steps to pursue this rehabilitation with the School District. It was determined that a joint venture using a joint architect would be beneficial. However, before design work could proceed, the School District unilaterally decided to shelve the whole plan while a Master Plan for the entire site was studied. 

“During the years waiting for the planning process, the pool building has continued to seriously deteriorate. Confronted with the School decision to move the pool to another site, the City underwent a study to determine the options and costs—to rebuild the pool in place or rebuild it across the street." 

The letter went on to say that subject to council approval, the city would be willing to contribute an additional $1 million to the $3.2 million bond to fund the budget gap. 

The Berkeley Unified School District is hereby formally noticed that under the Americans with Disabilities Act that they must provide a reasonable accommodations for physical education and athletic opportunities to students with disabilities. They need to ask themselves if the following accommodations will be found to be reasonable: 

1. To withhold maintenance funds for over a decade from the Warm Water Pool facility, which provides for disabled students, so that it deteriorates beyond repair; 

2. To spend tens of millions of dollars reconstructing pools and athletic facilities for able-bodied students, but not committing any of the bond fund money to provide reasonable physical education/recreation and athletic facilities to disabled students; 

3. To spend millions of dollars of bond money intended for reconstruction of the old gymnasium and pool buildings to demolish the primary BUSD accommodation provided to the great majority of disabled students and children, thereby depriving them of any accommodation for physical education/recreation and athletic opportunities. 

What is very clear under the Americans with Disabilities Act is that the School District is obligated to provide reasonable accommodations to its disabled students, and it would not be reasonable to spend public funds to destroy the facility that provides this current accommodation and not replace it. The School District is fortunate that the City of Berkeley (thanks to the voters) has come up with over half the funds to replace the facility, otherwise the School District would be on the hook for the full amount. 

In the mid-eighties, parents of disabled children had to find an attorney from a legal advocacy group for people with disabilities to sue BUSD for refusing to make the old library accessible. The case was settled in favor of the disabled students, and this was before passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act. In the late nineties, the City of Berkeley lost an expensive ADA lawsuit for not making its old jail accessible when it put in over $100,000 worth of remodeling. The city unsuccessfully argued that it intended to do a new project soon and this was just an interim remodel. Hopefully, disabled rights organizations will not now have to divert resources into getting the BUSD to do the right thing. Disability rights advocacy is stretched to the limit right now fighting the draconian moves of the Bush and Schwarzenegger administrations. 

The city and the disability community need some firm financial commitments from the School District by the end of June before the value of the bond money is further diminished through inflation and increased construction costs. 

–Councilmember Dona Spring 


Editorial: How Oxford Plans:Lessons for Berkeley By BECKY O'MALLEY

Tuesday June 07, 2005

In Oxford as in Berkeley, housing has become a major political issue. Decisions on how many new homes are needed in Britain start with the central government, with quotas being set by regional planning groups similar to the Association of Bay Area Govern ments. The South East England Regional Assembly is putting together a 20-year plan in consultation with the Oxfordshire County Council, but the County Council’s plan is now facing opposition from Oxford City Council’s Administration.  

An interesting diff erence from Berkeley is that the Administration (corresponding to Berkeley’s managerial staff) is quite up front about having its own agenda. When I visited the planning department at Oxford’s city headquarters, I picked up a glossy magazine, complete wit h advertisements, in which the Administration argued on behalf of its ideas about where new housing should be located in Oxfordshire. In brief, they think it should be in the city of Oxford where possible. But Oxford is already dense, with 61 homes per hectare as compared with the national target range of 30 to 50 homes per hectare.  

The young planner I interviewed said that he wasn’t sure how much more “town cramming” people were going to be willing to tolerate. Oxfordshire County Council’s alternative is to build more housing on the edges of the three or four towns of 20,000-30,000 population on the outer edge of the county, outside Oxford’s long-established greenbelt. Oxford City’s planners think that would just encourage more commuting.  

A feature o f the City Administration’s plan which is controversial is their proposal to take a section of the greenbelt, amounting to half of one percent of the total, to build what they call as a “well-designed sustainable community” of five thousand homes. As they describe it, it sounds very much like the “new towns” which have been a gleam in the eyes of British planners since early in the 20th century. Their history is one of mixed success and failure.  

Why is there a housing shortage, I asked? My informant tol d me that the overall population of Britain isn’t increasing by any dramatic amount, even with some immigration, but household size is changing. People are living in smaller groups: single-parent families, young wage-earners on their own instead of in fam ily homes, old people. We see the same thing in Berkeley. Where students used to be happy enough to live in dorms with bath down the hall, they now want their own units shared by no more than four people, with kitchens and multiple bathrooms.  

Britain has also abandoned its attempt to prevent the population from migrating en masse to its South East region. For a long time there were government incentives to encourage people to move to the depopulated north, but no more. The pressure on the coastal U.S., especially California, is the same kind of problem, and won’t be solved by insisting that people move back to Oklahoma. 

What about student pressure on Oxford’s housing? Here there are 27,000 students in a city of 134,000. In Berkeley we have closer to 35,000 in a city of 109,000; the University of California is coy with exact numbers. Most of Oxford’s students are housed by their university. How did the city of Oxford accomplish that, I asked? It’s simple. The university doesn’t have “development rights,” i.e. it must follow the city’s zoning regulation or apply for a variance, even on land owned by the university or its colleges. When the city wants the university to build more housing, it simply designates the appropriate area as housing only, and the university is forced to build housing or nothing.  

I did a quick check of other Berkeley hot buttons. Height limit? 18.5 metres, or about 60 feet, set so that Oxford’s famous spires will not be hidden. One consequence is a boring roof line, since everyon e builds to the limit. Pedestrian streets? “Oxford has been too successful with those,” said my informant. Privatized diesel busses are everywhere, and they’re blamed for bad air quality. There’s an electric signboard in the city administration building r ating the day’s carbon monoxide level.  

Local retail? It’s big chains on the High Street these days, including Starbuck’s and Borders. But things are bustling—no rows of empty storefronts as in Berkeley. This is a consequence of the national government’s sea-change on mall development in the mid-’90s—where malls were once encouraged, now they’re effectively banned as a way of supporting town centres. The policy started under the Tories, but Labour has kept it up.  

This doesn’t mean that the charming local stores have lost out completely. Those which have survived are so good that they don’t need to depend on government protection for their success. 

Blackwell’s Bookstore is heaven on earth, though it’s a national and international powerhouse as well as Oxford’s local institution. It offers comfortable armchairs, an excellent café and well-read clerks who are featured as personalities in Blackwell’s ads—and all the books in the world, with plenty of time and encouragement to sit down and read them for as long as you want. I saw a young mother reading stories to her child in the caf