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Cassie Norton: A group of Berkeley residents of Iranian descent gathered at the corner of Center St. and Shattuck Ave. near the BART station to protest the ongoing presidential elections in Iran. The protest’s organizer, Ali Mirab, is pictured second from the left..
Cassie Norton: A group of Berkeley residents of Iranian descent gathered at the corner of Center St. and Shattuck Ave. near the BART station to protest the ongoing presidential elections in Iran. The protest’s organizer, Ali Mirab, is pictured second from the left..


Iranian Americans Target Elections in Downtown Protest By CASSIE NORTON

Tuesday June 28, 2005

On Friday, June 24, a group of Iranian-born Berkeley citizens gathered at the corner of Center and Shattuck in protest of the second round of “so-called elections” taking place that day in Iran. Protest organizer Ali Mirab said “I call them ‘so-called elections’ because it’s really a selection, not an election.” 

The process for electing a ruler in Iran begins with the careful screening of potential candidates by a council directed by the current president. Mirab contends that the supreme leader, as the president is called, uses this council to select the next president, regardless of who wins the popular vote. 

“It is not a democratic process,” Mirab said. “We have tried, but it is clear to us now that there is no way to make changes to that process.” 

The protesters were calling for the organized resistance of the Iranian people as the only way to achieve true democracy in the country, and upon the governments of other countries, including the U.S., to recognize their plight. 

The group supports a different kind of election process. They would like to see the elections run by the U.N. to guarantee the validity of the votes. Should this occur, they have already chosen a candidate to support in her bid for the presidency; Maryam Rajavi, president of the Iranian government in exile, the National Council of Resistance of Iran. 

The small group of protesters near the Berkeley BART station gathered to support their countrymen who fight for change and to educate the public. They oppose the use of force or military intervention and any appeasement of the current government.  

They held an Iranian flag and handed out fliers, talking with passersby and waving at the drivers who honked their support. 


Turmoil Again at KPFA After Six Years of Peace By JUDITH SCHERR Special to the Planet

Tuesday June 28, 2005

Six years ago hundreds of KPFA-FM listeners poured into the streets surrounding the downtown Berkeley studios minutes after drive-time programmer Dennis Bernstein cried for help on the air. The popular host was being arrested, hauled out of the listener-sponsored radio station on the orders of his bosses, the Pacifica Foundation Board of Directors. 

Pacifica, which holds the licenses for KPFA, KPFK Los Angeles, KPFT Houston, WBAI New York and WPFW Washington, D.C., was commandeering the Berkeley station after months of conflict with local programmers and listeners. The national board had already removed a popular general manager and ousted staff with the temerity to denounce the manager’s termination on the air. 

The July 13, 1999 arrests and lock-out at KPFA were followed by months during which thousands of people marched, picketed, broadcast via the Internet and camped out in front of the station. Staff, volunteers and listeners chanted in one voice: “Whose station? Our station!” 

Three lawsuits and dozens of protests later, the old national board and management were out and a new national board, with new bylaws and a new national executive director – Dan Caughlin, a news director fired by the old board – was in. It was, as protesters had demanded: “our” station. 

But the unity of “us” was short lived. 

Today, both the Berkeley and New York stations are in turmoil. Once a hero, Bernstein is being sued, accused of a pattern of harassing female co-workers. KPFA General Manager Roy Campanella II, on the job for a little more than half a year, is blamed for ignoring allegations of harassment. He’s even accused of harassing and demeaning women at the station and attempting to intimidate those who would report the abuse, charges he forcefully denies. 

A major issue that sparked the 1999-2001 fight was the right of listener-sponsors to access the network’s financial records. Now again a group of listener and board members contends that current national management refuses to allow inspection of financial records. They also say KPFA management is squelching democracy by ignoring recommendations of its Program Council. (The KPFA Program Council is made up of listeners and staff appointed by the Local Station Board, which is elected by KPFA’s listener-sponsors.) 

Disabled listeners and programmers are threatening lawsuits, claiming the Pacifica stations may be legally accessible, but that practically, disabled producers face restricted access. And the national executive director has left – pushed out, some say, although he claims to have left voluntarily. At New York’s WBAI, where new local interim management has just been put in place, fundraising has plummeted and popular programmers have been fired. 


Pacifica Without Peace 

Listeners tune to KPFA to learn of efforts to stop war in Iraq and halt police violence at home. Aggressive behavior inside the radio station, however, generally hovers under the radar. Former Flashpoints co-host Noelle Hanrahan’s much-publicized lawsuit accuses Flashpoints Executive Producer Dennis Bernstein (who did not return calls) of sexual harassment, retaliation, and wrongful termination, and the previous management of not taking the complaints seriously. It has brought listener attention back to the station.  

Others besides Hanrahan have called KPFA a hostile workplace. One of those is Solange Echeverria, who has now left the station. She says in a memo posted online at KPFK Listener Forum that “unfair treatment, favoritism, abuse and hostile working conditions on the Flashpoints program (were) perpetrated by Executive Producer Dennis Bernstein...” Further, Echeverria alleges that when she reported the situation to Campanella, “I was met with complete disrespect and disregard.” 

Though unwilling to comment on specific personnel issues, Campanella responded briefly to a question about what he could do about allegations against Bernstein. He said he is unable to judge the veracity of the claims of out-of-control behavior aimed particularly at females because Bernstein’s personnel files have been destroyed.  

Complaints lodged against Campanella were to be discussed by the Local Station Board behind closed doors Sunday. However, because the meeting was not properly noticed, the board received a report from attorney Dan Siegel, who investigated the allegations, but did not deliberate, according to board members. The discussion will be held at a July 9 closed session; the board can recommend discipline or termination of a general manager, but the decision lies with the Pacifica executive director. 

The board was also to look at a June 11 letter (acquired by the Daily Planet), where 15 paid and unpaid female staff accuse Campanella of “inappropriate, gender-biased, and disturbing behavior.” Allegations include asking female subordinates on dates, demeaning women, not supporting a woman verbally abused by her supervisor and retaliating against women who participated in a Pacifica investigation of his conduct. 

The letter concludes: “Having such behavior take place at an institution committed to social justice and gender equality has been deeply disturbing to us. The union of paid staff workers, Communications Workers of America Local 9415, has officially demanded an end to a hostile work environment for the women of the station….” 

The allegations are false, Campanella says, questioning why incidents that occurred in December, and which were investigated by Pacifica at the time, would be raised again six months later. Campanella concedes he asked staff – both men and women – to go to movies, but argues it was “never presented as a date.” He said he apologized and stopped asking staff to join him when he was told it made people uncomfortable. Further, he said he neither demeaned women nor queried them about their responses to a Pacifica investigation. 


Money and Power 

Program possibilities are limited by the number of hours in a day, and programming funds are determined by the economics of the 56-year-old listener-sponsored station. So it’s not surprising that tensions that boil over in KPFA’s hallways and production studios are often the result of maneuvers for airtime and funding. 

Weyland Southon, executive producer of Hard Knock Radio, a five-day-a-week show aiming its mélange of “news, views, breaks, and beats” at the urban hiphop community, says management does not give his show the respect and funding it deserves. 

“There needs to be a redistribution of the land and the wealth in KPFA,” Southon says, pointing to a five-year struggle for phone lines, computers, paychecks and office space. 

Programmers go to their listeners for donations four times a year, but some shows attract wealthier listeners. “Our community doesn’t have deep pockets,” says Anita Johnson, Hard Knock programmer and co-founder. The younger crowd is more likely to contribute at fundraising concerts, she said. 

Southon discussed the concert fundraiser idea with Campanella. His version of the story is that Campanella shot down the plan, saying funds raised must go back to the common station pot. Campanella told the Daily Planet that Hard Knock can fund-raise independently, pass funds through Pacifica, and get them back for their programming.  

Escalating tensions between Campanella and Southon were reported to have come close to blows early last month. Southon filed a grievance, and in support, the Communications Workers of America alleged that “Mr. Campanella was recently involved in an incident where he followed an employee, Weyland Southon, outside of the building apparently to commit physical violence. Such conduct constitutes an assault… Mr. Campanella, in his position as a General Manager representing KPFA, is expected to defuse possibly violent situations, rather than inciting or participating in them. It is our belief that this incident creates a potential for both criminal and civil litigation against KPFA.” 

Siegel’s report on the incident was to be part of the board’s closed-door discussions Sunday. At that meeting, the board was also to receive memos supporting the general manager, including one from KPFA Business Manager Lois Withers that says she observed Campanella remain calm in the face of violent challenges from others. In another memo, KPFA’s chief engineer, Michael Yoshida, praises Campanella for keeping his door open to discussion in the face of hostility.  

The interaction with Southon has been blown out of proportion, Campanella argues. The two never made physical contact, he says. “I’m a New Yorker,” he says in his defense, and asking Southon to go outside was a “sarcastic remark.” He added, however, “It shouldn’t have been made.” 

Stephanie Hendricks, interim Sunday Salon producer, defends Campanella, even though their working relationship hasn’t always been easy. “He’s gruff. He needs to become more compassionate,” she said, noting, however, that when there have been disagreements, she’s found him open to working through the issues. “The attacks against Roy are not honest or forthright,” she says. “They are ego-driven.” 

Hard Knock’s Johnson says support for the program has to come from the highest ranks of Pacifica. The highest ranks of Pacifica, however, are in some disarray with the June 15 exit of the executive director and his temporary replacement by Pacifica Board Chair Ambrose Lane, who has stepped down as chair while acting as the corporation’s chief executive. “We’re asking for a chance to develop and grow,” Johnson says. “We all love KPFA. We all want to support it. It needs to stay truly progressive. We need community support. Community is what makes the station.” 

But attachment to the station is not enough. Because, in Southon’s estimation, KPFA is offering insufficient resources, he and his crew plan to create an independent entity and produce Hard Knock away from the station, similar to the model Amy Goodman constructed when she took Democracy Now! out of WBAI. (Goodman’s independently produced show airs on Pacifica stations and numerous other radio and TV outlets across the country.)  

LaVarn Williams, local and national board member, expressed little sympathy for the plight of Hard Knock Radio and other programs asking for more funds. “Everyone wants more staff,” she said. “Roy (Campanella) has indicated that is not the best use of resources.” She thinks paid staff is “bloated” and needs to be reduced by attrition. 

“Are we here to build up staff or are we here to build up programming?” Williams asked. “We need to bring ideas from those who are not paid, rather than building up fiefdoms.” Staff and equipment should be shared among shows to equalize resource distribution, she said. 


Follow the Money — If You Can 

Under the circa 1999 iron-fisted rule of Pacifica Chair Mary Francis Berry, network supporters had no idea how their donations were spent. Financial transparency became key to the reform movement. 

But LaVarn Williams and other members of the People’s Radio listener group (www.peoplesradio.net) say financial data is still difficult to access. Earlier this month, some 15 people demonstrated in front of the Pacifica offices, calling for fiscal transparency. 

“A director has the absolute right to inspect records (and) books at any reasonable time,” said Richard Phelps, local station board and People’s Radio member, and an attorney advising Williams and Patty Heffley, WBAI representative on the national board. “I don’t want to disrupt the institution; I want to make it responsible.” 

According to CWA Shop Steward and Morning Show co-host Philip Maldari, part of the access problem is that personal information, including social security numbers, is filed with financial data. Files should be redacted before being made public, he said, adding that the employee union also wants transparent station finances. “Our only concern is confidentiality,” he said. 

Satisfied with the financial data she gets at monthly meetings, KPFA board member Sherry Gendelman says that claims that Pacifica is hiding information stem from mistrust of the national organization built up during the 1999-2001 period. 


Democracy When? 

Unknown to many listeners, a battle has been raging at the station for a year or so concerning the Program Council’s proposal for a time change for the news magazine Democracy Now! The fundamental question is who makes the decision: the KPFA Program Council chosen by the elected board or a professional. 

Richard Phelps says Campanella should implement the change as per the Program Council’s request. He asks: “Should (the general manager) do what is right for the station and the listeners… and implement the time change or should he capitulate to those ‘turf before mission’ staff… and let them continue to control major programming decisions despite our new bylaws that are designed to move us into democratic process and decision-making and away from patronage?” 

Mary Berg, programmer and Local Station Board member, argues that the Program Council is advisory only, and that programming decisions must be left to the general manager, who should study data to determine the time most people are listening. Having taken a position on this issue in opposition to the People’s Radio group, Berg says “there are people I’ve know for 20 years who no longer speak to me.”  


Seeds of Dissent 

Gendelman, an attorney who led the local board during the crisis period, says mistrust hurts relations among board members and extends to mistrust of KPFA employees. The factionalism prevents the local board from doing its work of bringing in creative programming and outreaching to underserved communities, Gendelman said. 

Historian Matthew Lasar, author of Pacifica Radio, discussed the People’s Radio movement in an e-mail to the Daily Planet: “I think that some of the dissident energy surrounding KPFA right now is fueled by a sense of nostalgia for the collectivist vision that characterized KPFA in the 1970s … [when various political groups] emphasized collective, consensus decision making, not only as a good way to get things done, but as a way of life.”  

Over time, Pacifica has moved far from that structure, he said. “After years of bitter struggle, Pacifica's governors tended to see the organization’s active listeners and volunteers as their enemy, and often regarded professional consultants tied to mainstream public broadcasting as their friends,” Lasar wrote. Taken to the extreme, this trend helped provoke the 1999-2001 crisis, he believes. 

The dissident movement captured station governance, instituted elections for Local Station Boards and created a representative national board. But tensions between democracy and professionalism run high. Lasar explains: “Substantial disagreements remain about the extent to which democracy should prevail at Pacifica and KPFA. It is one thing to put listener-subscriber elected Local Station Board delegates on hiring committees for the general manager and program director. It is another thing to allow them to appoint “community” and “listener” representatives to the Program Council, which makes decisions about what KPFA should broadcast. Does this system truly bring the “community” into the process? Or does it just expose KPFA programming to narrow-minded pressure campaigns?” 

While fires flare internally, listeners still tune to Pacifica to hear what’s really happening in Haiti and Iraq. There’s new women’s programming; the voices of disabled people, younger people and people of color are growing stronger on the air, and there are plans for a national Spanish-language news show. 

“The conflict is not preventing us from doing our mission,” says Philip Maldari. “Democracy is a pretty difficult thing to do.”  


Berkeley Man Slain in North Oakland By RICHARD BRENNEMAN

Tuesday June 28, 2005

An 18-year-old Berkeley auto detailer was gunned down at 60th Street and San Pablo Avenue just across the Oakland border Saturday afternoon. 

Dan Apperson, spokesperson for the Alameda County Coroner’s Office, identified the dead man as Jamon Monty William of San Pablo. 

According to a North Oakland police website (www.northoaklandpolice.com), William was killed about 1:40 p.m. in front of Express Auto at 1339 60th St. following an argument across the street at Gateway Liquors. 

Police said he had a significant amount of rock cocaine in his pocket which would have constituted possession of rock cocaine for sales. Anyone with information on the crime is being asked to call OPD Homicide at 238-3821. 

A shrine to the shooting victim was erected at the southeast corner of Sacramento and Julia streets in  

Berkeley shortly before noon Monday, complete with a large collection of candles, empty cognac, gin and tequila bottles and a collection of placards, balloons and inscribed T-shirts on the fence behind. 

Apperson said the shooting victim lived with his mother, Cheryl Watts, in San Pablo. 

But Taco, who was grilling sausage and ribs at the shrine, said William lived in Berkeley. 

“He was a smart guy. He took good care of his two kids and he went to work everyday at Dollar Rent-a-Car on Gilman,” he said. 

Told of police accounts that the shooting victim had sale weight of rock cocaine in his pockets, Taco said, “I don’t know anything about that. 

Taco said the barbecue was being held as a conciliatory measure in the aftermath. “We’re just trying to prevent some crazy shit from happening. That’s all we can do. Hey, don’t pick up a gun. Pick up a plate.” 

A dozen or so young men were gathered at the shrine, ready to do just that. 


Waterfront Commissioner Norine Smith Dies By MATTHEW ARTZ

Tuesday June 28, 2005

Norine Smith, a champion of progressive causes and two-time former candidate for City Council, died Sunday after a long bout with cancer. She was 67. 

Smith served as a member of the Berkeley Waterfront Commission and last November failed in her second bid to unseat Councilmember Betty Olds in District 6. 

“It’s a loss to the city,” Olds said. “As a person I liked and respected her.” 

Smith, a retired computer consultant, had advocated for environmental and social justice in Berkeley for over 20 years. As Waterfront Commissioner, she opposed the removal of 100 trees near the Berkeley Marina to make way for the Bay Trail.  

Smith also fought to preserve city buildings and advocated for women’s rights. She was a frequent protester outside the Oakland Federal Court building during the sentencing of members of the Reddy family, accused of smuggling Indian women into the country. 

“Norine was a fabulous activist and a caring person,” said her friend Councilmember Dona Spring. 

Smith died of septicemia, a blood infection caused by complications from breast cancer that had spread to her liver. A memorial will take place this Saturday, July 2 at the Berkeley Rose Garden on the corner of Eunice and Euclid.

Activist Files Motion Calling UC Deal ‘Extrinsic Fraud’ By RICHARD BRENNEMAN

Tuesday June 28, 2005

Berkeley activist Peter Mutnick has escalated the battle over the settlement of the city’s suit over UC Berkeley’s controversial Long Range Development Plan 2020 by filing papers asking the court to issue an order ruling that the lawsuit was dismissed by an act of extrinsic fraud. 

If successful, his motion could send the case back into the litigation that came to an end with the settlement negotiated by Mayor Tom Bates and UC Berkeley Chancellor Robert Birgenau. 

His strongest endorsement comes from Berkeley City Councilmember Dona Spring, who signed a six-page declaration in support of Mutnick’s motion. 

The motion asks for a hearing on or before July 20 in the courtroom of Alameda County Superior Court Judge Bonnie Lewman Sabraw, the jurist who handles litigation under the California Environmental Quality Act. 

In an attached memorandum filed with the court, Mutnick blasted “the two-fold effect of a fraudulent confidentiality agreement” that barred the public from seeing or commenting on the agreement before the City Council approved it on May 24. 

Spring’s declaration says that she wrote it because of “my concerns over several potential serious illegalities” with the agreement. 

“Was the Brown Act violated in keeping this agreement from the public,” she asked, “giving them no opportunity to comment or intercede legally particularly since the agreement dealt with land-use development standards normally the purview of ordinances?” 

Spring said the agreement itself “violates state law and the City of Berkeley Charter” and violates CEQA law by giving the university power to unilaterally veto adverse findings in environmental impact studies and their proposed mitigations. 

The agreement creates a joint planning process for the downtown area, while UC retains immunity from city land use regulations on properties it builds downtown.  

Unless the city completes the Downtown Area Plan and the accompanying Environmental Impact Report in 48 months, the university’s agreed-on compensatory payments to the city will drop by $15,000 for every month of delay. 

The agreement also calls for Downtown Plan and EIR hearings before Berkeley commissions and the City Council to be coordinated with the university, which Spring sees as a loss of autonomy for the city. 

Mutnick’s own declaration states that he “tried in vain to prevail upon the [city] to abide by the requirements of the Brown Act... There was a core lie or deceit or fraud that the Mayor and the City Attorney were operating under and claiming as their justification.” 

Exclusion of the public from negotiations and settlement review process, he charged, was a “criminal act [that] was a crime against the Proposed Interveners, all citizens of Berkeley, the system of democracy and the integrity of the court.” 

Mutnick, who is not an attorney, filed his motion “in pro per,” meaning that he will represent himself in the litigation. 

“I feel confident of victory on July 20 or soon thereafter,” he wrote in an e-mail Saturday to three councilmembers and others in the community interested in his action. “We are right this time and we will win.” 

At least one other challenge to the settlement is reportedly in the works, but no documents have as yet been lodged with the court. 

Spring said she had made the statements contained in her declaration to many individuals and groups in the city, and agreed to sign it at Mutnick’s request. 

“It feels good to do it,” she said late Monday afternoon, “but it feels bad that it’s come to this.” 

She called the settlement “a scar on the civic body that will not heal until this agreement is struck down.” 

Spring called the pact “part of a trend allowing city government to sell or give away broad municipal power,” an act she described as “directly contrary to the City Charter.” 

Spring said she was particularly concerned that the council was only informed that City Attorney Manuela Albuquerque and Mayor Bates had agreed to a joint planning process in the body’s first executive session in May. 

“Only then did we discover that the city attorney had gone beyond protecting the city’s financial interests in reaching the settlement,” she said.

City Council Set to Pass Budget By MATTHEW ARTZ

Tuesday June 28, 2005

On Tuesday the City Council will have one last chance to “Save the Safety Net”. 

For the past few months that has been the rallying cry for community agencies facing their third straight year of cuts. 

At this week’s council meeting push comes to shove as the council must adopt its fiscal year 2006 budget. Councilmembers on the left are pushing for funding the agencies with an additional $600,000 from money set aside for capital projects like fixing streets, while a majority of councilmembers have been hesitant to reallocate the money. 

“I’m sure we’ll do a little horse trading to see if we can come up with a budget we can all live with,” said Max Anderson, who has pushed for more funding to the agencies, which serve low income residents. 

Berkeley must close an $8.9 million deficit in its general fund this year. To balance the budget, city departments and community agencies that rely on city money have faced budget cuts that average 10 percent. 

But while the city continues to cut back to balance its structural budget deficit, rising revenue from property transfers have left the city with a $3.5 million windfall. Following the advice of City Manager Phil Kamlarz, the council has set aside most of the money for projects that don’t typically have recurring costs, including a new police dispatch system and new technology to improve customer service. 

On Friday, Mayor Tom Bates released his latest proposal on how to allocate the roughly $800,000 that is still in play in the city’s $261 million budget. 

The mayor’s amended proposal restored some money to the agencies, but also preserved several city programs. He called for keeping an animal control officer position slated for elimination, setting aside an extra $10,000 for detoxification programs, including a city-funded acupuncture program, and adding an extra $1,000 to RISE, a mentoring program for local high school students.  

Bates also proposed a review of fire department service and staffing before the end of the year, and doubling the amount of civic arts grants immediately available. 

Overall the mayor proposed spending $397,724 when the fiscal year begins in July and spending an additional $405,853 in December if revenues from property transfers remain strong. 

Dona Spring, an advocate of fully funding the agencies, said the mayor “has done an admirable job, but didn’t go far enough to restore the safety net.” 

“I’d like to see us do better with small non-profits that help the neediest people in Berkeley,” she said. 

Berkeley is one of few cities that directly fund community agencies. As the city’s budget deficit has soared in recent years, the agencies have faced cutbacks. 

Last year, the city cut agency by roughly $400,000. 

With Berkeley flush from unanticipated money from property transfers, Spring, along with councilmembers Darryl Moore, Kriss Worthington and Anderson have called for the city to drop most of the roughly $600,000 in cuts scheduled for the agencies. 

Spring said she would propose transferring $500,000 the council set aside for street repair and customer service upgrades to fund the agencies. 

Councilmember Laurie Capitelli said he would back the mayor’s proposal and press the agencies to consolidate their operations so they could deliver services more efficiently. 

Also Tuesday, the council will again consider a proposal from Mayor Bates and Councilmember Worthington to require public review before the council acts on a settlement for land use litigation. Specifically the proposal calls for confidentiality agreements the city enters into to include provisions for public review of proposed settlements. 

The proposal is in response to the recent settlement of a lawsuit between the city and UC Berkeley. In that case a confidentiality agreement prevented the council from releasing details of the settlement until it was final. 

Last week the council held over the proposal because it did not have enough time to debate it. 

Also, the council will consider a proposal to use money received from the sale of surplus property to bolster the city’s affordable housing trust fund. Earlier this year the council earmarked all of the money in the fund over the next several years for future projects. The city has proposed selling its former health office at 2344 Sixth St. valued at $2.4 million. 

City’s New Parking Meters Rake in the Cash By MATTHEW ARTZ

Tuesday June 28, 2005


Berkeley’s infamous parking meter vandals have apparently met their match. 

An initial review of the 31 pay and display parking meters installed downtown two months ago shows that meter revenue has increased nearly 300 percent and the only meter to fall victim to a vandal was out of commission for less than an hour.  

“They have far exceeded our projections,” said Karen Moore, Berkeley’s parking service manager. She said her department would recommend the city purchase more meters for use either around Shattuck or Telegraph avenues. 

In April, Berkeley rolled out 31 meter stations downtown at a cost of $332,460, to replace meters that too often fell victim to vandals. 

The constant vandalism cost Berkeley an estimated $700,000 last year in lost revenue, according to a report from the city auditor. 

Since April, the city has collected $41,890 from the new meters. In contrast the total amount generated from the old meters from December through February was $12,069.  

Berkeley officials had estimated that revenue would rise about 30 percent. Moore credited the spike in revenue to the new meters’ durability and pay and display system which doesn’t permit unused meter time to carry over from one parker to another. 

The new stations replaced standard meters and Reino pay stations that were frequently forced out of service by vandals. In February and March, Berkeley police reported that the city had to fix 5,000 broken meters. 

The only successful assault on one of the new meters came from a vandal who inserted a heated credit card into the machine’s slot. 

As advertised the machine sent a distress signal to staff, which replaced the slot within an hour, Moore said. 

So far, parking officers have issued approximately 2,500 citations at the new meters. About 1,110 have been paid totaling $33,534. According to the city report enforcement officers have issued more tickets because they are more confident that the machines are functioning and accurate as compared to the old meters. 

The new meters were placed on Shattuck Avenue from Allston Streets to the vicinity of Parker Street; Center Street between Shattuck and Oxford Street; Addison between Shattuck and Milvia and Kittredge Street, in front of the central library.  



Disputed Council Votes Will Stand, Says City Attorney By MATTHEW ARTZ

Tuesday June 28, 2005

Berkeley will not turn back the clock on last week’s disputed City Council meeting, according to City Attorney Manuela Albuquerque. 

On Sunday, Councilmember Dona Spring asked Albuquerque to invalidate two key votes the council took near the end of its five-hour meeting because, she said, the meeting should legally have ended before the votes took place. 

Confusion reigned last week when the council, working late into the night, extended its meeting to 11:50 p.m. Then, with the clocks in the council chambers reading 11:51, Mayor Tom Bates called to further extend the meeting, setting off a debate over whether the mayor’s request came too late and the meeting was already legally over.  

Ultimately City Clerk Sara Cox said her watch read 11:50 p.m. when Bates proposed extending the meeting, which allowed the council to continue its work. 

After reviewing a tape of the meeting Spring is convinced the council should have adjourned at 11:50 p.m. “The clerk said it was 11:50 p.m. on her watch even though the room clock said 11:51,” she said. Spring added that the council also should have adjourned the meeting at midnight, since it failed to “suspend its rules,” a requirement for extending the meeting past 12 a.m. 

Albuquerque said there was no law that the council follow any particular clock at meetings. She added that the council discussed the issue at length during its meeting before deciding to continue and that she considered the matter closed. 

After the council continued the meeting it passed a resolution lowering sewer fees for UC Berkeley to comply with the recent agreement between the city and the university about the university’s long-range plan, and defeated a proposal to request the city hold a public hearing before issuing permits to demolish illegal homes at an East Bay warehouse.  

On Thursday, the city issued the demolition permits for the warehouse.e

West Berkeley Carries City’s Sales Tax Load By MATTHEW ARTZ

Tuesday June 28, 2005

Berkeley’s economic engine is located West of Sacramento Street, according to a report released last week tracking sales tax revenue among City Council districts. 

Fifty percent of all sales tax revenue for the city is generated from the two West Berkeley council districts, with 30 percent coming from District 1, which is north of University Avenue and 20 percent from District 2, which is south of University. 

Overall in 2004 the city took in over $13 million in sales tax revenue. Following the two West Berkeley districts, District Four, central Berkeley, accounted for 19 percent of sales tax revenues and District 7, which includes Telegraph Avenue, brought in 11.5 percent. 

The report comes as the city is considering rezoning parts of West Berkeley to further boost economic activity. 

The concentration of revenue from West Berkeley should not come as a surprise, said David Fogerty of the city’s office of economic development. Thirteen of the city’s 25 top sales tax producers are located either on San Pablo Avenue or west towards the Bay. 

Fogerty said that the thriving Fourth Street Market boosted District 1 sales tax revenues, but that it was not a major factor in West Berkeley’s preeminence in generating revenue for the city. 

Currently the city is considering changing zoning rules in the area to foster more commercial growth. Plans are underway to permit more retail shops on Gilman Street, auto dealerships adjacent to I-80, and a new Berkeley Bowl just off of Ashby Avenue.  

All three proposals have met resistance from local industrialists and artists who fear that more retail shops will drive up rents. 

Councilmember Kriss Worthington didn’t think that the report would alter the debate over West Berkeley’s future. “Some people will argue what would be the harm of having more retail in the area and their opponents could say that West Berkeley is a success under the current zoning so why change the rules,” Worthington said. 

Recent city reports show that among most Berkeley shopping districts revenues have remained relatively flat over recent years. 

The exception is Fourth Street, which has seen general retail sales tax revenue roughly double from $300,000 a year as of the first quarter 1997 to $600,000 as of the fourth quarter of 2004. “Fourth Street is the only business district that has consistently grown,” Fogerty said. He attributed the growth to the continued addition of retail space to the district. 

The Downtown Business Improvement District has seen sales tax revenue dropped from about $450,000 from 1997 to $400,000 in 2004. North Shattuck has seen sales tax revenues increase about $50,000 over the past seven years from about $200,000 to $250,000.  

The Elmwood saw a spike in sales tax revenue for food products, jumping from roughly $40,000 in 1997 to about $90,000 last year, while South San Pablo Avenue experienced a surge in revenue from business to business sales. The figure jumped from just under $50,000 in 1997 to roughly $250,000 last year. Fogerty said the jump was due to the growth of a single business, which some observers believe to be Powerlight, a solar energy company which is one of Berkeley’s top 25 sales tax producers. 

Telegraph Avenue remains a large sales tax generator among city business districts, taking just under $1 million a year, Fogerty said. 

Berkeley’s top 25 sales tax producers generate 34 percent of the city’s sales tax revenue. They are: Amoeba Music, Andronico’s Market, Ashby Lumber Company, Berkeley Bowl, Berkeley Ready Mix, Cal Student Store, Cody’s Books, Financial Services Vehicle Trust, Jim Doten’s Honda, Longs Drug Stores, McKevitt Volvo/Nissan, McNevin Cadillac/Volkswagen, Office Depot, Orchard Supply Hardware, Powerlight Corporation, Recreational Equipment Company, Restoration Hardware, Toyota of Berkeley, Truitt & White Lumber Company, UC Berkeley, Urban Outfitters, Walgreens, Weatherford BMW, Whole Foods and Xtra Oil Company. 


Tuesday June 28, 2005

The June 24 story, “Council Declines to Save Drayage Amid Late-Night Confusion,” incorrectly reported that library workers who spoke before the City Council were requesting that the council reject a 4.8 percent increase to the library tax unless the library halted its implementation of radio devices to track materials. Although community members in Berkleyans Organizing For Library Defense have taken that position, the library employees supported the tax increase.›

Berkeley Liberation Radio Signs Off in Monday Show By RICHARD BRENNEMAN

Tuesday June 28, 2005

The collective that brought Berkeley Liberation Radio to the airwaves signed off the air at one minute after 4 Monday afternoon, the casualty of a terminated lease and impending federal action. 

“We are gone, but nevah forevah,” said the program’s host just before the plug was pulled. 

The micro-powered station that broadcast out of a warehouse loft off 55th Street between Telegraph and Shattuck avenues just inside the Oakland border had lost its lease because other tenants said the station’s 99.5 watt signal was interfering with their reception of other stations. 

The intentionally unlicensed station had also been served with a cease and desist order two weeks giving the station ten days to get off the air. 

The atmosphere on the last day was more celebrational than mournful. 

“This is absolutely the best time I’ve ever had here,” said Libertarian radio host Zippie the Yippy. “We should’ve done this more often.” 

“I always felt like I was doing ballet all these years,” said Soul. “I never wrote anything down.” 

Skunk, who acts as Zippie the Yippy’s co-host, said he showed up at the station one day as a guest and “he just expected me to show up ever after.” 

The show’s regular broadcasts “made me always look forward to Mondays,” he said. “But this media star stuff is getting to be too much. I can’t walk down the street without someone recognizing my voice,” he quipped. 

“The message is, we’ll be back,” said Emperor Nothing. “We’ll come back on the Web and on the air.” 

By offering a wide range of voices across the political spectrum, he said, the station was offering something other that the “voices of the corporations, the compliant and the very wealthy” available on mainstream stations. 

“Cheers to the new radio station rising like a phoenix out of the ashes,” said Native American broadcaster Thunder. “The airwaves belong to the people!” 

Magdalena, who broadcast Frank Zappa recordings on her regular Monday show, hosted the last program, which ended with comments from the eclectic cast and Captain Fred, the station’s tech manager. 

The small broadcasting studio grew ever more crowded as the last hour wound down, voices raised in pitch and speed as the clock counted down the final few minutes. 

Vinyl LPs and CDs were boxed up, ready to be hauled off, and empty plastic boxes were scattered around to supplement the limited numbers of folding chairs. 

There was dark ale and Mexican beer for those who imbibed alcohol, and a distinctive 60’s fragrance that hinted at the presence of another favored Berkeley celebratory substance. 

The was a tense moment or two that quickly passed, with one deejay whispering in a reporter’s ear, “Hey, it’s a collective.” 

Before the signoff, Soul read from the station’s Statement of Purpose. 

“Berkeley Liberation radio exists to provide a voice for the diverse community within the Berkeley/Oakland area and beyond. Further, it is a vehicle that we establish to bring about social change. Consistent with a vision of creating an alternative diverse hybrid society free of sexism, homophobia, racism, and all other forms of oppression, programming on Berkeley Liberation Radio will be reflective of these goals and ideals.” 

A camera from KTVU television taped the final seven or so minutes as each of the broadcasters and Captain Fred said their final, brief words of farewell. 

Once the plug was pulled, Magdalena pulled her last CD from the turntable, and the deejays began unhooking the equipment, to be stored until the station is reincarnated. 

Reddy Victims Sue Their Own Lawyers By MATTHEW ARTZ

Tuesday June 28, 2005

The family of a teenage girl who died in an apartment owned by Berkeley real estate magnate Lakireddy Bali Reddy has sued the attorneys who won them an $8.9 million settlement last year. 

In a complaint filed last month in San Francisco Superior Court, the family of Chanti Prattipatti charged that lead attorneys Michael Rubin and John Flynn ignored their wishes to settle the case earlier for less money, then demanded additional legal fees. Rubin works for the San Francisco law firm of Altshuler, Berzon, Nussbaum, Rubin & Demain while Flynn works for the firm of Latham & Watkins. 

The complaint alleges that the family’s legal team, afraid that the Prattipatis would accept a lower settlement offer, at one point locked the family in a hotel room and falsely told them that only “the attorneys had authority to approve a settlement.” 

Rubin denied the charges. “The allegations are absolutely untrue,” he said. “We followed our clients’ instructions and acted in the strongest ethical traditions.”  

Chanti Prattipati was 17 when she died of carbon monoxide poisoning Nov. 24, 1999 in a Berkeley apartment owned by the Reddys. Her death led authorities to uncover an illegal scheme to smuggle Indians into the country for sex and cheap labor. 

The girl’s 15-year-old sister survived the gas poisoning, caused by a blocked heating vent, and ultimately told federal authorities that she and her sister were flown to the United States and forced to have sex with members of the Reddy family. 

Most of the other plaintiffs in the case dropped out or quickly agreed to settlements, leading some Reddy critics to question whether they feared reprisals by the family in their native India. 

Bali Reddy, the family patriarch, remains in federal prison serving a 97-month sentence after he pled guilty in 2001 to one count of conspiracy to commit immigration fraud, two counts of transporting a minor for illegal sex and one count of submitting a false tax return. 

The Prattipatis filed suit against Bali Reddy and in April, 2004 settled for $8.9 million. 

At issue is how the $8.9 million settlement should be split between the Prattipattis and their attorneys. 

The family, who once lived in poverty in the same Indian town as the Reddys, insists it is entitled to $5.5 million and the attorneys to $3.4 million. The attorneys counter that their fees amount to $3.9 million. 

William Gwire, a malpractice attorney now representing the Prattipatis, charged that when the settlement was reached, the Prattipatis’ legal team pressured them to ignore their payment schedule and pay a flat fee of $3.9 million. 

“They disregarded their own fee agreement,” said Gwire, who said that under the agreement the attorneys should receive $3.4 million. 

Gwire and the former attorneys agreed to reserve $1 million of the settlement proceeds in an escrow account awaiting the ruling of a judge. The Prattipatis have already received $4.5 million from the settlement.  

Rubin said that the fee dispute has been ongoing and that it was set to go before an arbitrator before the family decided to file a lawsuit. 

Although Gwire is not seeking damages for malpractice, his complaint charged that the attorneys deliberately “dragged out the settlement process” to inflate their fees while causing undue stress to the Prattipatis. 

“The Prattipatis were desperate in their desire not to go to trial, and were afraid to even come to court,” according to the complaint. 

The family directed Rubin and Flynn to accept a $7.5 million settlement offered by the Reddys, the complaint alleges, but the lawyers refused, telling the family that “they could not accept any settlement without the attorneys’ approval. . .” 

Gwire also questioned why Rubin and Flynn pursued the case as a class action lawsuit. He said the more complex type of litigation added to attorney fees and made a settlement more difficult. 

Gwire declined to say who referred the Prattipatis to him and how he was being compensated for his work.

Stolen Traffic Circle Tree Returned By MATTHEW ARTZ

Tuesday June 28, 2005

The tree yanked out of a Berkeley traffic circle two months ago has been returned to its rightful owner and will soon be back in the middle of a Berkeley intersection, its owner said. 

Karl Reeh woke up Saturday to find his six-foot, 15-year-old Bald Cypress stationed outside his fence. 

“I felt this great sense of relief,” said Reeh, who added that the tree appeared to have been well watered and secure in its planting pot. 

Last April, Reeh was at the center of a neighborhood brouhaha that made national headlines when a group calling itself “The Society for the Humane Treatment of Trees and People,” stole the tree from a traffic circle at the intersection of Ellsworth and Ward streets.  

Adding to the intrigue, the thieves, believed to be neighbors upset that the tree obstructed views and posed safety risks, left Reeh ransom notes with escalating demands. 

At one point they wrote to him, “Your tree is having a lovely time out of town, in the company of other trees,” but if Reeh wanted it back, he would have to “put out the general word to the neighborhood” that the tree would not be available to other traffic circles. 

Reeh said the correspondences had ceased in recent weeks and the tree-nabbers did not attach a note to the returned tree.  

“I had no clue that they were going to return it,” he said. 

Reeh hopes to replant the tree he raised from a seedling in a traffic circle two blocks north at the intersection of Ellsworth and Carleton streets, where a young redwood recently died. 

If neighbors aren’t receptive to it, Reeh said he would donate it to the city to be planted in a different traffic circle. He also said he planned to press the city to adopt regulations for pruning trees in traffic circles to address neighborhood concerns that they can obstruct views of passing pedestrians and cyclists. 

The theft of the tree made Reeh, a 71-year-old gardener and the president of the LeConte Neighborhood Association, a minor celebrity. His plight was featured on several television news reports and National Public Radio, and NBC’s The Today Show inquired about a possible story. 

BUSD Board Saves Teams, But Cuts Athletic Costs By J. DOUGLAS ALLEN-TAYLOR

Tuesday June 28, 2005

The Board of Directors of the Berkeley Unified School District has voted to cut $25,000 from the Berkeley High School athletic program for fiscal year 2005-06 and, over the objections of its bus driver union, has agreed to allow non-staff members to drive some school teams to athletic events under limited circumstances. 

Both budget-balancing actions were taken at the board’s last meeting, held last Wednesday. 

$15,000 of the BHS athletic program cutbacks will eliminate stipends for freshman teams in baseball, basketball, girls’ volleyball, track and field, wrestling, swimming, and soccer. $10,000 of the reductions will reduce safety and custodian overtime for football, basketball, la crosse, soccer, and baseball games. 

All but $5,000 of the cuts are expected to be offset by an anticipated $20,000 grant from the independent, non-profit Berkeley Athletic Fund. 

But asked for clarification by Student Board Director Lily Dorman-Colby, Superintendent Michele Lawrence said that “if the money doesn’t come in from the athletic fund, some low-level sports could be at risk for elimination.” 

“That sucks,” Dorman-Colby replied. 

In the athletic transportation issue, the board voted to change its policy to expand and simplify the use of volunteer drivers—such as parents or team coaches—to transport the district’s athletic teams to and from events. Most such transportation is presently being provided either by district bus drivers or contracted out to private vendors. 

Lawrence said that because of the district’s precarious budget, “we were preparing a proposal to recommend either a play-for-fee proposal for student athletes, or cutting some athletic teams altogether. But because I wasn’t prepared this late in the year to recommend those changes for the upcoming school year, I asked [Berkeley High] Athletic Director [Kristin Glenchur] to come back with ways we could make savings and not cut teams.” 

Lawrence said that the athletic transportation policy revision was one of Glenchur’s proposals. The revision is a policy change only, and did not include a detailed breakdown of possible budget savings. 

A prepared letter from Stationary Engineers Local 39, which represents the district’s bus drivers, protested that the change in policy would compromise safety and cost union jobs. 

Lawrence told board members that “no transportation personnel will lose their jobs as a result of the new policy, but some overtime will be curtailed.” 

The board passed the policy only after increasing the age of private drivers from 21 to 25. Drivers who are also team coaches can still be as young as 21. 

Board Vice President Terry Doran said he would “carefully monitor” the policy to ensure that if private drivers cannot be found to transport teams under the new policy, the jobs will be given to inhouse bus drivers rather than contracted out to vendors.

County Office of Education Calls For End to Charter School Conflict By J. DOUGLAS ALLEN-TAYLOR

Tuesday June 28, 2005

Describing relationships between charter and district schools as an “ongoing hostility” that “benefits no one,” Alameda County Superintendent of Schools Sheila Jordan released a report last week calling for a “truce” to “resolve the conflict” between the two public school institutions. In addition, Jordan is calling for an ambitious legislative and lobbying campaign to implement task force recommendations. 

The conflicts—which the strongly-worded report calls a “collision course”—have arisen, says Jordan, “around issues of funding, conflicting state policies, and the lack of a clear understanding of the role of charter schools in public education. While it’s not clear that charter schools are here forever, they are here for the near future.” She called for “an improved and constructive co-existence between charters and districts” around the mutual goal of “equitable quality education for all children in Alameda County and beyond.” 

Charter schools are publicly-funded schools which operate under state and local education guidelines and oversight, but are run by organizations independent of local school districts. 

Fueled in part by President George Bush’s “No Child Left Behind Act,” which favors conversion to charters for underperforming schools, the charter school movement has virtually exploded in recent years, with 30 schools presently operating in Alameda County and, according to Jordan, “new petitions arriving monthly.” 

The financial and oversight strain on the county education office leaped following the passage of a state law earlier this year that allowed charters to apply directly to county school districts for oversight. The report called the oversight system “under-resourced and often unfunded; this results in frequent understaffing” of authorizing agencies “and the inability of authorizers to oversee to the full extent needed.” One of the report’s recommendations is to increase the amount of money allocated to local school districts for such oversight. 

Another task force recommendation calls for the state legislature to “swiftly move to help mitigate sharp, sudden, and dramatic losses in funding to many school districts from any outflow of students to charter schools.” 

The report also takes shots at California’s charter school law, which Jordan calls “complicated and convoluted.” The report called the charter petitioning process under the law “difficult and expensive for both the petitioner and the potential authorizer; results are often unpredictable and without clear and consistent standards; the process is often needlessly adversarial.” 

The 27-page report was prepared over a six month period by a 21-member task force made up of educators, youth advocates, and representatives of both school districts and charter school organizations. The report calls for changes to California’s charter school law, a state Department of Education-sponsored review of charter and district school financing, and proactive moves to promote cooperation between charters and school districts.  

While the report was prepared specifically for the problems being faced by the Alameda County Office of Education, its findings appear to be directed towards local and county school districts across the state. 

Jordan said that she has already contacted State Assemblymember Loni Hancock (D-Berkeley) about sponsoring some of the legislative action called for in the report. 

“Loni is key,” Jordan said, “because she both represents Alameda County and sits on the Assembly Education Committee.” 

But Jordan says she also plans to present the task force findings and proposals to other Alameda County state legislators, including powerful Senate President Pro Tem Don Peralta (D-Oakland) and former Assembly Majority Leader Wilma Chan (D-Oakland). 

The Superintendent is also calling for meetings with State Superintendent of Schools Jack O’Connell “to discuss implementing a California Department of Education review of financing of charter and district schools to eliminate conflicts, determine if current financing formulas and mechanisms are equitable, and set policies to achieve equity.” 

Included on the task force were representatives of such organizations as the California Teachers Association and the California Federation of Teachers, Aspire Public Schools (the operator of several charters), charter school business and technology consultant EdTec, and several local school districts. 

“It was the first time many of these stakeholders had a chance to engage in dialogue outside of some advocacy situation,” Jordan said. “Most of them on each side of the conflict have felt that their concerns were not fully appreciated by representatives of the other side. The task force allowed them to conduct a discussion on these issues without animosity.” 

The report has not yet been presented to the Alameda County Office of Education Board of Directors, but the Superintendent’s office expects the report to go before the board sometime in August or September. While Jordan says there are not yet any specific plans to present the report to school districts within the county, she left open that possibility. 

The full task force report is available online at www.acoe.org/charters.

Staff Recommends Scaled-Down West Campus By J. DOUGLAS ALLEN-TAYLOR

Tuesday June 28, 2005

Officially acknowledging the growing controversy over the proposed West Campus renovation, the Berkeley Unified Facilities director is recommending that the BUSD board of directors reject the West Campus facilities plan developed by Design Community & Environment (DCE) planners and adopt in its place a scaled-down plan written by district staff. 

The recommendation comes to the board at its last meeting before the summer break, to be held this Wednesday night at 7:30 p.m. at the Old City Hall on Martin Luther King Jr. Way in downtown Berkeley. 

In addition, the board will consider a recommendation by Superintendent Michele Lawrence to suspend the district’s school name-changing policy until a new policy can be put in place. 

In a memo to Lawrence on the West Campus issue, Jones writes that the DCE plan is “significantly over the available budget,” and says that “it is evident that certain elements of the plan should be studied in greater detail before we proceed. Further study of a day-lighted creek, the buildings and grounds department and a potential private development should be undertaken.” Jones adds that “it is also possible that a need for a central kitchen is not as desirable as it once was.” 

According to Jones, the alternate, staff-developed plan “would only include modifications to the north east section of the site that will house classrooms for a student alternative learning center, the student independent study program, teacher training, public board meeting room and staff development areas and typical administration functions.” Jones writes that “some parking would be needed,” but in the proposed alternative staff plan, parking “would be reduced in size from the original plan.” 

Last March, under a contract from the district, Berkeley-based DCE began holding a series of five public meetings to develop proposals for the mostly-vacant, six-and-a-half-acre 10-building West Campus site on University Avenue between Bonar and Curtis streets. Central to the proposed development were plans to house the district’s administrative operations—presently working out of the Old City Hall—as well as activities presently housed at the district’s Oregon/Russell street property. 

But the process immediately degenerated into angry question and answer sessions, with resident complaints about elements of the proposed DCE plan even before it was put on paper, city officials vowing to fight for alterations, and disagreement over whether the city or the school district would have jurisdiction over the site’s development. 

In his memo, Jones says that the adoption of the staff’s proposed plan “would continue our progress in the goal of evacuating employees from less than desirable facilities” while the more controversial areas of the DCE proposal “can be debated and further studied.” 

Meanwhile, in her recommendation to suspend the district’s school name change policy, Superintendent Lawrence is moving swiftly to prevent a repeat of the recent Jefferson Elementary School debate which began two years ago with a school-based petition to drop Jefferson’s name from the school because of his ties to slavery, and ended last week with an emotional 3-2 vote to keep the name. 

Lawrence has called the district name-changing policy “flawed,” and School Board President Nancy Riddle has agreed, but said that board members had decided not to make changes while the Jefferson name change campaign was ongoing for fear of being accused of trying to sway the school community vote one way or the other. 

Board Vice President Terry Doran and Director Shirley Issel, who voted on opposite sides of the Jefferson Elementary name change proposal, have said that they are already working on a revised name change policy. 

In other action scheduled for Wednesday’s board meeting, directors will be asked to approve tentative contract agreements with the district’s five labor unions. Request for approval of the agreements had been placed on last week’s board agenda, but was held off because the agreements must first be approved by the Alameda County Office of Education..

School Board Gets Look at Budget By J. DOUGLAS ALLEN-TAYLOR

Tuesday June 28, 2005

The Berkeley School Board got its first public look last Wednesday night at the district’s proposed 231-page, $51.5 million 2005-06 budget that anticipates spending some $4 million more than last year, runs a preliminary projected surplus of $1.4 million, sets aside the state-mandated $2.1 million 3 percent reserve fund, took long staff hours to prepare, and will almost certainly have to be significantly changed. 

That has less to do with possible amendments and spending priority changes by school board directors, and more to do with that fact that: 

1. Close to half of the district’s revenues come from a projected $22.2 million in direct state aid. 

2. The state has not yet decided if that’s how much the Berkeley schools will get. 

“A whole lot is up in the air,” BUSD Superintendent Michele Lawrence told board members last Wednesday. “They’re still debating the budget in Sacramento.” 

BUSD’s preliminary budget is based partly upon what is called the “May Revise,” the adjustments to the governor’s proposed state budget that include the latest revenue calculations and the governor’s suggestions of state education revenue transfers to the states. Ideally the district’s budget, which, by law, must be approved in final form by June 30, would include the actual revenue figures as passed by the state legislature, which is due on June 15. But the state legislature missed the constitutionally-mandated June 15 date (according to the California Budget Project, the last time that date was met was 20 years ago), and the state budget is now sitting in limbo while legislators scramble around for the two-thirds vote necessary for passage. 

Meanwhile, BUSD has scheduled a public hearing on its 2005-06 budget for the board of directors’ regular June 29 Wednesday night meeting. 

Another budget uncertainty is the inclusion of the financial projections based on preliminary contract agreements with the district’s five employee unions. Those preliminary agreements must be approved by the Alameda County Office of Education. 

Ratification of those proposed contracts appeared on the board’s agenda last Wednesday, but consideration was tabled pending county approval. 

Lawrence mentioned the contract settlements, which were reached in late May and early June, as one reason why she said “putting this year’s budget together was exceptionally difficult, more so than in other years.” 

ZAB Rejects Third Try at Choyce’s Condo Project By RICHARD BRENNEMAN By RICHARD BRENNEMAN

Tuesday June 28, 2005

The newest plans for a condo complex at 2701 Shattuck Ave. have risen to five floors and nearly twice the size allowed without a host of specialized use permits attached. 

Add to that the “string-bean” minuscule commercial space on the ground floor and a main entrance on Derby Street and Zoning Adjustments Board members Thursday were willing to add another ingredient on their own—a sometimes-withering scorn. 

The plans so derisively greeted by ZAB mark the third effort by Rev. Gordon Choyce to build his condominium complex near one of Berkeley’s busiest intersections. 

The project wasn’t presented for action, but to introduce the board to a third version of Choyce’s plans for the site. 

Choyce, who was building non-profit affordable housing until the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development cut off his funds amid allegations of improper diversions of training funds to building projects, has floated three versions of plans for the site; only the second received favorable comments. 

The first five-story version earned a highly vocal thumbs down from the Design Review Committee and the second, smaller structure won a favorable look from the panel and ZAB but was withdrawn by the developer. 

Now the site of Bargain Interstate Motors, the property is occupied by a large expanse of asphalt and the decaying, grafitti-ridden garage bays of a filling station that once occupied the site. 

The building at Shattuck and Derby presented to ZAB would stand a block north of the Shattuck Avenue/Adeline Street “Y,” and would join with the adjoining self-storage warehouse to form a five-floor phalanx extending from Derby to Ward Streets—a point of some concern to ZABsters who worried about the overshadowing of the neighborhood to the east. 

The project is the creation of Rev. Gordon Choyce Sr., pastor of the Missionary Church of God in Christ and head of the troubled low-income housing builder Jubilee Restoration. 

He bought the property through a family trust a year ago from A1 Shattuck, a limited liability corporation (LLC) based in San Francisco. The sales price according to the Alameda County Assessor’s office was $1.475 million. 

Thirteen days after the sale, Choyce’s son filed papers creating another LLC, 2701 Shattuck Condominiums, although the family trust remains as legal owner. 

Builder Ronnie Turner, a former city housing supervisor and now vice president of Jubilee Restoration, introduced architect Jonathan Ennis, who fielded most of the board’s questions. 

Because of its location is on a major transportation corridor and within walking distance of the Berkeley Bowl and the Ashby BART station, Ennis said, “any planner would want to see a dense residential project on the site.” 

Ennis pointed to conciliatory gestures to project neighbors, including a stepped down two-story house-like extension next to the closest home on Derby Street and the massing of density on the side facing Shattuck. 

Despite the repeatedly voiced concerns of the Design Review Committee and some ZAB members who had urged keeping the project to four floors, Ennis said economic realities demanded a fifth. “It’s not viable without it,” he said. 

The zoning panel was uniformly critical of the building’s 1,700-square-foot ground-floor commercial space, compromised of a pair of end-to-end wedges joined by a narrow connecting area that one member noted would make supervision difficult. 

“It’s not appropriate for a Whole Foods,” Ennis acknowledged, adding that a restaurant, book store or some other business catering to foot traffic might be more appropriate. 

“I’m concerned that the retail space is too shallow and too awkward,” said ZAB Chair Andy Katz. 

“I wish it could be bigger, but there’s just not much more room.” 

Most of the floor is consumed by parking, which is provided by the electric lifts so popular in the buildings of developer Patrick Kennedy, who had been Choyce’s partner in the project until the cleric bought him out. 

Neighbors criticized the minimal retail space, the project’s mass and the fact that the entrance had been relocated from Shattuck to Derby Street. 

Bo Schonberger, who appeared as the representative of 45 households in the neighborhood, said the project “is too big and massive for the scale of the neighborhood.” 

He charged that the project would create more traffic problems on already congested arteries. “We also want to know who all the partners are and who the investors are,” he said. 

Schonberger also asked for comprehensive shadow studies to show how much sunlight the project would block to homes in the surrounding neighborhood, and for thorough soil tests for contaminants from the gas station and garage. 

ZAB member and architect Bob Allen said he was “totally mystified how we got to a project with five stories on a site when the staff’s calculation shows ten fewer units than what’s proposed and 35,000 square feet versus the staff’s initial (calculation of) 19,000.” 

Allen also questioned the developer’s contention that the addition of five units of lower-price inclusionary units qualified for a density bonus, since the number represents 17 percent of the total, lower than the 20 percent minimum set by statute. 

“It’s beyond my conception how staff and the applicant got to this mess. Of the 13 development standards, this project does not meet 8 of them,” he said. “To me, a concession doesn’t mean you can take away all of these planning standards and ignore them.” 

While Principal Planner Debbie Sanderson said Choyce didn’t need a variance to build a five-floor building at the site, none of the ZAB members liked the notion. 

While Chris Tiedemann said she likes the home-like structure on Derby, she said she couldn’t say the same for “five stories looming over a residential neighborhood.” 

David Blake also found fault with the size of the project and added that “our job is to help make retail space that lives up to the street. It will not attract tenants; it’s useless space no one will want to move into. Send it back to Design Review and say ‘Do the right thing.’” 

“It’s a stringbean-sized retail space that won’t rent,” said Rick Judd. “We have no obligation to give 15 more units. The question is, is this the right volume of building on this site?” Judd also noted that the building will throw the first home on Derby into shadow year-round. 

Raudel Wilson, who described himself as a “true believer” in ground floor retail and a fan of ownership housing, said he was concerned about both the size of the commercial space and the building’s impact on neighbors. 

“I strongly think the retail needs to be more usable...and the building needs to step down to four or three stories closer to the neighborhood.” 

“You’ve given the applicant a lot of food for thought. We should continue this to another meeting,” said city planner Sanderson. 

But there was no continuance since the project was on the agenda as a preview, and Ennis was sent back to the drawing board.›

ZAB OKs Otis Street Popup, Derby Street Renovation By RICHARD BRENNEMAN

Tuesday June 28, 2005

With only member Carrie Sprague voting in dissent, ZAB members Thursday gave the go-ahead to the popup conversion of a single floor Victorian cottage at 2901 Otis St. into a three-story condo. 

The project had drawn considerable fire from neighbors at ZAB’s last meeting, but the project clearly fits within the limits in the South West Berkeley neighborhood, which is zoned for buildings as tall as six stories. 

ZAB member and architect Bob Allen had raised concerns at the June 9 meeting that the design failed to include the charm of the original cottage’s front porch. The new design before ZAB Thursday incorporated the porch on the first floor and used its roof as a floor for a balcony on the second story. 

Principal Planner Debbie Sanderson said the plan was consistent with neighborhood zoning, adding that the city attorney’s office concurred. 

Members also approved a project at 2235 Derby St., despite protests of one tenant in the three-unit building and neighbor Peter Mutnick, who vowed to sue if construction dust and chemicals triggered an asthma attack which landed him in the hospital—which he declared a near-certainty. 

Sara Nicoletti, the only tenant who elected to fight eviction for the remodeling, is currently involved in litigation with the owner over the threatened loss of her rent-controlled apartment. 

ZAB members rejected language submitted by the property owner and the two opponents, declaring it inappropriate for a permit.

Gay Pride Parade By CASSIE NORTON

Tuesday June 28, 2005

Dozens of people with balloon tentacles jutting four feet behind them strutted, danced, and strolled their way down Market St. with the aptly named group Balloon Magic. Some were on foot, some on rollerskates, and they were altogether a sight to behold. 

Relying on the people who rode it to provide decoration, one float featured brightly colored samba dancers on one side and a human phoenix on the other. Intricately beaded costumes caught the eye- as did the brevity of those costumes. 

Each year the Pride Committee honors those who have contributed to the LGBT community in a remarkable way by bestowing upon them the title of Grand Marshal. This year’s Lifetime Grand Marshal was Jose Sarria, a gay rights activist who hosted the city’s first ball for drag queens and was the first openly gay man in the modern world to run for public office. He lost his 1961 bid for the San Francisco City Supervisor, but the 5,600 votes he received helped illustrate the importance of the gay vote. He has been a champion of gay rights in the Bay Area for over half a century. 

In fine form and fine spirits, two men celebrated the Gay Pride Parade from atop a wall near the sidewalk. They were quite the attraction, receiving attention both from other celebrants and parade participants. Though the air was a bit chilly, these hardy folk kept up their energy by cheering on the crowd and dancing in place until the sun came out.

Editorial Cartoon By JUSTIN DEFREITAS

Tuesday June 28, 2005


Letter to the Editor

Tuesday June 28, 2005


Editors, Daily Planet: 

After reading the letters in the June 21 edition of the Daily Planet, I feel compelled to speak out in defense of the proposed warning signal system to reduce train noise in Berkeley. I live about a mile away from the tracks, just above Acton Street, and have often been awakened in the middle of the night by train horns. Some engineers lean almost continuously on the horn as they pass through the area, and depending on the weather pattern, it can sound as if a car is honking its horn next to my bedroom window, with the sound persisting at a fairly high level for what seems like two to three minutes. Looking at a map of Berkeley, I’d estimate that at least a quarter of the city’s area is as close to the trains as my home, and could be subject to a similarly intrusive noise level.  

John Hagopian 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

I live in the Le Conte neighborhood and both as a driver and as a pedestrian know how hard it is to drive around the traffic circles without driving into the crosswalk. And they are hard to see around, especially if the plantings are high. (No I did not steal the tree.) Especially if the intersection already has four-way stop signs they serve no possible purpose. I understand that the city provides the circles but not the planting or the upkeep. If so, and no neighbor takes responsibility, we’re left with weeds. 

Whose idea were the circles? I don’t know of anyone who was asked if he or she wanted them. 

To spend money on these circles while the city is cutting down on essential services is insane. 

Nancy Ward 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

On June 21, it was with profound disappointment that I witnessed a majority of the Berkeley City Council effectively set in motion the eviction and likely demolition of the Drayage building artisan community in West Berkeley. 

The choice before the City Council that evening was stark: Pass a motion—sponsored by Councilmember Dona Spring—to allow the Drayage tenants an opportunity to argue their case against a demolition permit before the city’s Zoning Adjustments Board, or fail to pass Councilmember Spring’s motion and effectively allow for a city demolition permit to be issued immediately. 

Councilmembers Spring, Max Anderson, Daryl Moore and Kriss Worthington supported the Drayage tenants with their votes and/or remarks. 

By their actions on June 21, these four councilmembers demonstrated their commitment to Berkeley’s 25,000-strong renter household community: They sought to permit a group of tenant artisans an opportunity to make their case—along with City Housing Code and Inspection officials and the Drayage property owner—before the ZAB. 

Regrettably, the City Council did not grant the Drayage tenants that opportunity.  

In the aftermath of the above decision, to the council’s credit, a motion was passed seeking to allocate additional eviction relocation funds to the Drayage tenants.  

Chris Kavanagh 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

Berkeley needs strict regulation of dangerous dogs. 

Like most other persons I know, I have been absolutely horrified by ongoing accounts of dog maulings. We simply cannot understand how sane persons would harbor breeds known to be quite susceptible to viciousness. To harbor such breeds in the face of the overwhelming evidence of the risk represents willful ignorance, arrogance, and an in-your-face attitude to neighbors and the community. 

The City of Berkeley needs to take responsible action before a real tragedy occurs in our town. Already there are far too many cases of dog attacks and far too much difficulty for those attacked in obtaining satisfaction and relief. Additionally, we must not tolerate the climate of fear and trembling experienced by those of us forced to live in proximity to a potentially vicious animal. In particular, many of our children are at high risk and their right to a fear-free outdoor environment is seriously impaired. This is a serious public health and safety issue! 

The City of Berkeley is a responsible and liable party when it fails to implement appropriate regulations and when it actually releases such animals from the city’s animal shelter. While, in general, I respect the efforts of the community’s animal activists to lower the kill rate, socialize animals, and get them adopted, I part company with them in their unreasonable and unreasoning position on dangerous breeds.    

The City of Berkeley needs to take action before it is too late. This matter should be taken up by Berkeley’s Humane Commission with a recommendation to City Council within two months maximum. The city’s Department of Health and Human Services should also be consulted. If the Humane Commission does not make thoughtful and responsible recommendations, I sincerely believe that it the City Council’s duty to do so.   

Barbara Gilbert 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

On Friday, June 24, at 7:30 p.m., I decided to take my two golden retrievers for a walk. I live in North Berkeley, and often times walk over to Ohlone Park near the North Berkeley BART. After being at the park for five minutes, I noticed two policemen walking back to two police cars parked at the dead end of California Street. I was a little nervous, given the unfortunate crime that has been happening in North Berkeley. With two dogs and the two cop cars near by, I thought I would be safe from any criminal on the loose. I noticed two other cop cars driving by on Sacramento. One of the policemen drove around from California next to the park and approached me and my two dogs. I thought I would be interviewed as to whether I had witnessed this crime that warranted four police cars. Apparently a resident in the neighborhood had complained of off-leash dogs in that area and myself and my two golden retrievers were the criminals. I feel the negative press on dog attacks has caused an overly sensitive environment to dogs in public in general. Four cops cars for two golden retrievers on leash—what a waste of our police resources. 

Suzanne Baker 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

On Tuesday, June 28, there will be a public meeting on the state of California’s acceptance of Diebold Voting Machines. It will be at the Alameda County Board of Supervisors, 1221 Oak St. Oakland, fifth floor, Room 512. I do hope the Daily Planet will cover it. 

Nancy Ward 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

Recently the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service has hatched a bizarre plan to kill off Barred Owls (Strix varia) to allegedly protect the habitat of their closely-related cousins, the Spotted Owls (Strix occidentalis).  

This plan is morally wrong and biologically a complete waste of time. Barred Owls are very close relatives of Spotted Owls. When their breeding territories overlap, they sometimes interbreed and produce hybrid offspring. Does the Fish and Wildlife Service also plan to kill off these hybrid offspring? 

If the Barred Owls have decided to expand eastern, central and western breeding range down into the forests of Washington, Oregon and California, nothing but mass murder will stop them from doing so. Killing Barred Owls to supposedly protect the Spotted Owl habitat in the western forests of Washington, Oregon and California would be a never-ending program. This misguided program should be ended now.  

The Barred Owl is a magnificent bird that hunts in evening and the night for its prey, mostly mice and other rodents. Its wingspan may reach four feet. Some of its descriptive traditional folknames include: Black-eyed Owl, Bottom Owl, Crazy Owl, Eight Hooter, Grey Owl, Hoot Owl, Laughing Owl, Mouse Owl, Old-folks Owl, Rain Owl, Round-headed Owl, Screech Owl, and Swamp Owl. 

Please write a letter outlining your concerns about protecting the Barred Owl to the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 1849 “C” Street NW, Washington, D.C., 20242. E-mail letters may be submitted through their website: www.fws.gov. 

James K. Sayre, author,  

North American Bird Folknames and Names  




Editors, Daily Planet: 

Since when is it fair play to ask two opposing sides to come to a playing field under conditions that are clearly unequal? If there were a clause in the upcoming Initiative that required all corporations to get written permission from their share holders before making a political donation, I could give some credence to the proposition to have labor unions get written permission from their members before making a political donation. As the Initiative is written now it’s like asking two teams to play football with different rules. One team can field a team of 11 players, fully equipped while the other team is limited to four players with no equipment. Under anybody’s rules, that’s not fair play. 

Anne Smith 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

In regard to the Police Blotter: 

People don’t do crime because it is cute.  

There are a number of factors—some would hold an infinity of factors—that produce the willingness to commit a crime. And by “crime,” I don’t mean those crimes that are such by act of Congress (or other legislative body) only (although our prisons are stuffed with persons whose crimes would be no crimes in another place or time).  

No, let me call crime precisely those acts of personal violence, assault/battery, and/or robbery that mostly attract what must be the otherwise-idle Mr. Richard Brenneman.  

I say “otherwise-idle” because I have read pieces by Mr. Brenneman, in the Daily Planet, that were quite well written, neither cutesy nor illiterate. But they were on subjects other than the crime blotter. 

I am offended by Mr. Brenneman’s cutesy rhetoric; it demeans everyone involved. It demeans the victim, who may still be suffering from injury or trauma, the perpetration of which has already been summed up by Mr. Brenneman in one of his oh-so-clever turns of phrase. (I must mention again that Mr. Brenneman writes well, in other contexts, and I am afraid that he is lacking legitimate writing assignments; still, one of the first things he should have learned when he took up his craft, is that it is better to be silent than inane.)  

It demeans the perpetrator, the factors of whose life Mr. Brenneman seems to be well-sheltered from. I know this: Few who have ever been driven to commit a crime think that the circumstances around their perceived need to do so, the commission of the crime itself, and the resulting karmas—if I may import this word without quotes—are or ever have been anything but painfully un-cute. 

And it demeans the reader. I would like to read a report of the Berkeley police crime blotter that does not make me feel that I have just viewed pornography. It is cruel to play with these unfortunate facts of life in this way; it is obscene. 

Jonathan Gold  




Editors, Daily Planet: 

In 1941, Imperial Japan made a very successful military attack on another country. Military goals were almost all achieved. Imperial Japan was then able to take over oil fields in Southeast Asia for its own use and expected no significant resistance from the other country. 

The other country surprised Imperial Japan, fighting back with valor and tenacity. Imperial Japan did not believe in the Geneva Convention and tortured and killed some of those taken prisoner from the other country. 

The other country eventually defeated Imperial Japan totally. The other country followed the Geneva Convention while winning the victory. 

In 2003, the United States made a very successful military attack on Iraq. Military goals were almost all achieved quickly. The United States took over the oil fields in Iraq, saying that would pay for the occupation of Iraq. 

Iraq has surprised the US planners by becoming the operational base of a resistance movement, which continues to grow in ability and fanaticism. The United States does not believe in the Geneva Convention and has tortured and killed some of those Iraqis it has taken prisoner. 

The outcome of the struggle in Iraq is not known. 

Note. The father of the current U.S. president was a legitimate hero in the war against Imperial Japan and has not spoken against the Geneva Convention. 

Brad Belden 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

I would like the opportunity to respond to the allegations made against me in the June 24 edition of the Daily Planet by Commissioner Jill Posener. Although I neither speak nor write as a commissioner, because to do so would be, to the best of my knowledge, illegal, I have in fact identified myself publicly as a humane commissioner in the presence of Ms. Posener and the City Council in the recent past, before speaking to the City Council on March 15. 

Perhaps Ms. Posener, who is not a citizen, is insufficiently acquainted with the First Amendment to the United States Constitution. I have the right, as an American citizen, to freedom of speech, and one does not relinquish that right when one is appointed to a commission in Berkeley. I also have the right to share what I know with other residents of Berkeley. 

Because I am one of the 1,000 volunteers at the Berkeley Animal Shelter, I received a letter from Councilmember Dona Spring which she sent to all of us on June 6. It says, in part, “I don’t want to see animals in dirty cages suffering not getting medicated or fed on time due to staffing shortages.” This implied, in context, that such would be the result if one of the six animal control officer positions were cut, which is erroneous. 

The same letter states, “Cutting the volunteer coordinator position is the lesser of two evils.” This is, in a nutshell, what Ms. Spring believes to be true. What Shelter Director Katherine O’Connor believes is, in a nutshell, that cutting one of the six animal control officer positions is the lesser of two evils. 

Ms. O’Connor knows what she is talking about, and Ms. Spring doesn’t. If anyone wants verification of anything I have said or written publicly, I invite him or her to contact Shelter Director O’Connor at 981-6600. She will return from vacation in a few days. 

Chadidjah McFall 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

Regarding Lubov Mazur’s June 24 letter of outrage concerning the recent Albany survey which found that most Albany residents are not interested in a mall on their waterfront, I would like to tell her please not to worry. It doesn’t matter that the poll was conducted by Evans/McDonough Company, Inc., a well-respected opinion research firm who would certainly not risk their reputation or business by conducting a “hand-picked residents push poll.” It also doesn’t matter that the poll confirms what Albany residents already know: No one wants a mall next to Golden Gate Fields. And it surely doesn’t matter that Albany residents are some of the most highly educated people in the country. We have been blessed with the arrival of Los Angeles mall developer, Rick Caruso. If Ms. Mazur’s pro-development group just keeps having those neighborhood get-togethers, supported by $1 million in backing from the mall developer and racetrack-owner Magna Entertainment Corp., I’m confident that they will eventually ply the community with enough coffee and cookies to convince everyone that there is no need to have an Albany shoreline park when we can have a mega-mall instead. With all that money from outside Albany aiding Ms. Mazur’s organization, victory is inevitable! 

Cheryl Taubenfeld 





Editors, Daily Planet: 

Thank you for your excellent coverage of waterfront issues and the actions of the Berkeley Waterfront Commission. 

However, on behalf of the Waterfront Commission I must correct an error in your reporting of our recommendation to the City Council regarding the siting of a possible new ferry terminal: To date the commission has declined to recommend or to rule out any specific sites for the Berkeley/Albany terminal, instead choosing to let the Water Transit Authority’s environmental and economic review process consider all possibilities. 

Speaking on my own behalf, I think it is clear that the sites at the foot of Gilman and Buchanan streets will be eliminated fairly quickly in this process. While the environmental negatives of a ferry terminal at these locations may be overstated, there are compelling economic and political reasons for recommending the Berkeley Marina as the strong favorite. The marina locations require little or no dredging, they make use of existing parking, existing bus service, existing pedestrian/bike access, and will complement a waterfront that is already a center of commercial and recreational activity. In contrast, the Gilman and Buchanan sites are opposed by Eastshore State Park advocates and lack public land on which to develop the facility. 

That said, it may also be a little misleading to report that the marina offers “extensive” parking without some qualifications. Whether the new terminal is in the H’s Lordships/Fishing Pier area, or at the Doubletree Hotel dock inside the harbor, the total available parking resource within a three or four minute walk of the terminal will be about one thousand spaces. These parking areas can probably absorb about 300-400 additional cars on most weekdays without seriously impacting existing use by boat berthers, park visitors, hotel guests and restaurant customers. See my parking analysis and aerial photos at www.well.com/user/pk/waterfront/Ferry/. 

The limitation on parking necessitates planning for a relatively small scale of service—probably only one 150-passenger boat per hour during commute times. This relatively light service is consistent with a fare structure closer to market rate, with relatively low subsidy per trip. This is important because it is difficult to justify higher per-trip public subsidies for ferries than for other modes of trans-bay service. The high ticket price will be balanced by low-cost transfers and deep discounts for those arriving by bus or bicycle. 

The light service level also means that it would be difficult to recover the cost of building of an expensive new ferry terminal—and terminal construction is the only part of the ferry service that might require at least partial funding by the City of Berkeley. Water Transit Authority estimates $5 million or more for terminal construction, but nearly all of this cost is saved if existing facilities can be adapted. This is why the Doubletree hotel docks are so attractive for a ferry terminal location—nearly all of the infrastructure is already in place, including the protected docks, the breakwater, the dredged channel, and the parking. Because of the very much simplified start-up if this option is pursued, it should be possible to restore ferry service from Berkeley to San Francisco as early as 2007. Compare to the 2009 earliest possible start-up date on WTA’s timeline if an entirely new terminal has to be funded, designed, approved and constructed. 

A recent survey conducted by an independent polling firm has demonstrated that Berkeley and Albany residents favor a new ferry service by a five-to-one margin, and a strong majority favor the Berkeley Marina site over other alternatives. 

We probably won’t have this in place in time for the BART strike, but with the timely and enthusiastic support of the City Council we can have the boats running in just two years. 

Paul Kamen, Naval Architect 

Chair, Berkeley Waterfront Commission 



Editors, Daily Planet: 

In reply to questions about the Downing Street Memo accusations, Scott McClellan, White House spokesman, stated, “Our focus is not on the past.” Of course, that would neatly eliminate most of the administration’s past stated reasons for the invasion of Afghanistan, the invasion of Iraq, the capture of Saddam, the search for Bin Laden, contempt for the “Axis of Evil”, mistrust of the U.N., etc.  

Hopefully, these ridiculous White House words of panic speak loudly of no verbal defense!  

Gerta Farber 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

According to the Daily Cal research, which is probably correct in this instance, Mayor Bates was a tight end and defensive end for Cal. The settlement with UC is not a case of dropping the ball, as Anne Wagley has described it, but rather a case of catching the ball and then running in the wrong direction, all the way into one’s own endzone. Yeah Tom, Yeah Tom, Yeah Yeah, Tom Tom. Of course Tom is hopelessly confused—he doesn’t know if he is playing offense or defense and he doesn’t know if he is still playing for Cal or playing for the City of Berkeley. His other problem is that he thinks he is the City of Berkeley, rather than an elected representative of the City of Berkeley.  

Peter Mutnick 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

The anger expressed by neighbors at the West Campus public meetings seemed to me out of all proportion to the issues being discussed. I don’t have a problem with the school district’s plan to consolidate its administrative functions on the site, and believe that the angry and fearful neighbors who attended the meetings are grossly overestimating the effect that the new facility will have on our neighborhood. 

For example, many at the meetings worried about the increased traffic that the new facility will bring. Yet the Berkeley Adult School which used to occupy the site brought hundreds of people into our neighborhood for morning, afternoon, night, and even Saturday sessions. The new facility will almost certainly produce less traffic than the Adult School did, so anyone who was OK with the Adult School—and I think most of us were—should also be OK with the amount of traffic produced by the new facility.  

Similarly, neighbors expressed a tremendous fear of the effect on the neighborhood of two departments that the district wants to relocate to West Campus. These relatively small operations have been located in residential areas for years. The district kitchen is at Jefferson school near Sacramento and Hopkins, and the Building and Grounds department is on Oregon Street between Grant and McGee. By all accounts they exist harmoniously within these neighborhoods. We heard testimony from a person who’s lived near the present location of the Building and Grounds department, to the effect that “you don’t even know it’s there.” There is every reason to believe that the same will be true if these two departments are relocated to West Campus. 

Finally, some neighbors are unhappy with the parking lot at the south end of the site. They prefer a park to a parking lot, as anyone would. The thing is, that area is a parking lot now and has been for as long as anyone can remember. To make a park there would require that a parking structure be built elsewhere on the site to replace the lost parking—an expensive proposition. I have to wonder whether such an expense is the best use of our scarce public funds in this time of extreme financial stringency, particularly when there is a large park with a daylighted creek just one short block away. 

You’d never know it from the public meetings, but many neighbors share my relaxed attitude to the school district’s plans. Unfortunately, relaxed people often don’t come out to public meetings. This leaves the field open to those with a different temperament. However unrealistic their fears, however expensive and parochial their demands, a group of these people have organized to push their agenda. Early on, they threatened legal action against the school district. I don’t know which bothers me more, that the school district might submit to legal blackmail and be forced into a less than optimal solution, or that money which should be going to educate our kids might be used instead to fight such a lawsuit.  

I’d like to see the city and the school district work together to find a solution that is efficient and affordable for the district, and also fits in with the development plans of the city. And I’d like to see the neighbors involved—not to fight the goal of the plan, but to suggest improvements in its implementation. I’m a fan of traffic calming on the streets surrounding West Campus, of creative methods to minimize the amount of parking required, and of landscaping for the parking lot. I’m sure that the site will be better maintained as the school district headquarters than it is as now in its semi-deserted state, or was in the days when it was the Berkeley Adult School. So I’m looking forward to seeing some improvements in the neighborhood. 

Joe Walton 




Jeff Selbin (Letters, June 21) regrets that I, as a public official, am “poised to benefit directly from a local development project in which [I] had a direct hand in promoting.” 

Mr. Selbin is correct that I was involved with the Rose Street Grocery rehabilitation, and that I'm now one of the listing agents. 

When the developer, David Trachtenberg, approached me a year and a half ago with suggestions on how to preserve this wonderful piece of neighborhood history by incorporating the whole façade into a two-unit residential building, I thought it was a great idea and put him together with the building owners. Then I helped him with the complicated task of setting up his ownership documents. He’s a prominent local architect, but he’s never been a developer before, and I had developed projects in Berkeley for 15 year “promotion” for the project. It’s perfectly OK for Zoning Board members to publicly support or oppose projects in the city, even if they are financially involved, as long as they don’t do it in front of the Zoning Board or privately with Zoning Board members. (And if they themselves are the project developer, or an affected neighbor, they can even appear before the ZAB, though I don’t know if that’s ever happened.) Still, it's a murky area, so when the project came before the Landmarks Commission a year ago I didn’t show up to say how good I thought it was, nor did I ever publicly express my support.  

ZAB members are not supposed to participate in decisions if we have financial interests in, or conflicts with a project, or when we have strong preformed opinions about it. I certainly had preformed opinions about this one, so I recused myself from the board when the Rose Grocery project came before us, and, following our rules, got up and quietly left the room for the rest of the proceedings. This was a really great project, adored by the neighborhood and enthusiastically supported by the entire Landmarks Commission, and the ZAB (minus me) approved it overwhelmingly. 

I wasn’t involved financially with the project until this winter, some four months after Trachtenberg had gotten all of his permits. What I’d done to help up to then I’d done for free, in what I saw as the public interest. But you don’t have to take a vow of chastity when you sit on the Zoning Board. (The ZAB is volunteer, and the City Council pays $25,000 a year; you still need a job.) When the developer was ready to interview realtors, I teamed up with another agent at Red Oak to try to get the listing. We weren’t the only agents interviewed; I’m very happy we got the job. 

Laurie Capitelli 

Councilmember and  

former ZAB member, District 5 

Letters to the Editor: Jefferson Name-Change

Tuesday June 28, 2005


Editors, Daily Planet: 

As if the whole Jefferson name change episode weren't depressing enough, “We Shall Overcome” was reportedly appropriated and sung by the name-change proponents at the school board meeting, thus making the song, which many of us once sang together at Jefferson and in places and times long ago, the equivalent of a flag lapel pin.  

James Day 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

It’s no wonder that people on both sides of the Jefferson school naming issue feel wronged and frustrated. It’s an uniquely American paradox that Thomas Jefferson and other founding fathers of our free society were also participants in the enslavement of people. Whether or not the school ultimately remains as Jefferson, we will continue to have to deal with this conundrum. 

Therefore, a modest proposal: That the students, teachers, and parents of Jefferson engage in a joint project to create a permanent school display examining the role of Jefferson in American history. His unique achievements can be displayed alongside his record as a holder of slaves. Such a project would do much to further the discourse about our country’s past, a discourse which seems to have deteriorated in the process of the proposed renaming of the school. Don’t we owe it to the school’s future students to show them the truth of Jefferson’s legacy, the good and the bad, rather than to choose between ignoring it or sweeping it aside? 

Winthrop E. Jordan 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

It is shame that people of the U.S. are indulging themselves in petty issues such as the trial of Michael Jackson. It is even worse that people of Berkeley are debating for months as to whether change the name of Jefferson School. I believe that we should not punish people such as Jefferson who belong to history. However, we can learn from history in order not to repeat past mistakes. At a time when a sad history is being made by the criminal acts of George Bush and his gang in Iraq and Afghanistan, and at a time when everyone should seek the impeachment of such war criminals, the great people of Berkeley debate at length as to whether to change the name of a school. Almost no one is talking about the Downing Street Memo or the U.S. atrocities in Iraq and Afghanistan. This is a shame. 

People of the U.S. are complicit with the war crimes being committed by their ruling regime in the White House. They are either ignorant of such crimes, or they choose to remain ignorant by indulging themselves in debating on petty issues such as the name of Jefferson School, Michael Jackson trial, etc. 

Ajit Indrajit 

Mumbai, India 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

So they will keep the name Jefferson after all. Let’s use the opportunity to teach history to the students of that school. 

Thomas Jefferson, our third president, was a man in conflict. He hated slavery, and said so many times, yet he owned slaves and refused to free them. He once said he knew right from wrong, but that did not stop him from doing what he knew was wrong, for his own personal comfort and convenience. 

Jefferson was not the only slave owner who knew slavery was wrong. But slave owners were locked into the system. The southern states had large farms, called plantations. These required constant tending by unskilled labor, slaves. The owners, including Jefferson, were convinced that if they had to give up slaves, they faced economic ruin. 

The northern states had small farms and small shops with artisans. They were afraid that slavery, with its cheap labor, would take their farms and their businesses. Most immigrants settled in the north, with small farms or low-paying jobs. They feared slaves would take away their jobs. All faced economic ruin from slavery. Thus the division, which got worse until in 1861 it erupted into open warfare. 

What better way to teach the history of the first 80 years of our country, and the conflict which in some ways continues to this day? This might be three or four one-hour lectures once a week at—where else?—Jefferson School. 

Alfred Hexter 





Editors, Daily Planet: 

The Berkeley School Board members did the right thing by voting to retain the name Jefferson. The two main arguments presented for changing the name of the school were wrong. 

The attempt to judge people of the past by the standards of today is a weak argument. It was divisive and counter productive. It was correctly observed that the African American community would be better served by directing their energy towards a real effort to educate and raise the black students appallingly low test scores. 

The second argument from the anti-Jefferson group was even weaker. They tried to say that they were being denied justice on the grounds that a Democratic process had been followed and the out come of the vote by the small “Jefferson school community” should be rubber stamped by the School Board. That argument was embraced by members Selawsky and Dornan as their sole reason for agreeing to the name change. This was a total cop out. 

Boardmember Rivera, in his thoughtful, powerful, eloquent and well reasoned explanation of his no vote, clearly pointed out that the first part of the process ended when the Berkeley School Board received the petition for name change. The public hearings and the board’s vote were the next step in the process.  

Indeed, it was the anti-Jefferson group which wanted to limit participation and the input of information in this very important democratic process. I am sure that the young, impressionable and captive students (or parents and teachers for that matter) never discussed anything about blacks who owned slaves or Indians who owned slaves or the fact that you can go to Africa today and buy a slave. They were not told that the City of Berkeley is named after a slave owner. 

Board members Issel, Rivera and Riddle acted bravely and did the right thing. Their reasoning was sound. But most of all they did the right thing by truly making it a Democratic process. They included the larger community who, obviously, felt that the name change affected them and wanted to be heard. 

Thomas Jefferson told us that we must guard against ignorance to remain free and that it is the responsibility of every American to be informed. No one can argue against those words. 

Michael Larrick›

Column: The Public Eye: When Down Looks Like Up: Bush’s Rhetorical Deceit By BOB BURNETT

Tuesday June 28, 2005

Richard Fariña’s first and only novel was the classic, Been Down So Long, It Looks Like Up To Me. If Fariña had not died tragically in a 1963 motorcycle accident, he would have appreciated the irony that the title of his book, which chronicled the meande rings of a free-spirited, 20-something now provides an apt caption for the reign of George W. Bush.  

Years from now, historians may well characterize this as the antipodal presidency, a period where the administration consistently said one thing and then did the exact opposite, where their “up” was consistently “down.” Not a week passes without a new example of this sophistry: The “clean skies” initiative actually increases air pollution. “Saving” social security eviscerates it. 

As perverse as these cal culated actions have been, the greatest administration deception lies in its claim to have kept America safe. In the final analysis, George Bush won the 2004 election because voters believed that he had protected them from another terrorist attack and the refore was stronger on defense than the lackluster John Kerry. In one of the most remarkable campaigns in American history, the same president who ignored warnings that there was going to be a terrorist attack and thus permitted 9/11 to occur, who let Osa ma bin Laden and most of his Al Qaeda supporters escape into the wilds of Afghanistan because he wouldn’t put enough American troops on the ground, and who diverted our anti-terrorist efforts with a contrived and unnecessary attack on Iraq, convinced voters that he had kept America safe. 

Now the antipodal presidency proffers the deception that the war in Iraq is winnable, moreover that our occupation enhances national security. While Bush argues down is up—“I believe we’re making really good progress in Iraq”—the American people grow increasingly unhappy with the occupation. The president swears that he sees a light at the end of the Iraq tunnel, but we have the foreboding sense that this represents an onrushing train. 

To right this topsy-turvy world, A merica needs to acknowledge that our occupation of Iraq has, in reality, undermined our security: It has shifted our focus away from the pursuit of Al Qaeda, fueled terrorism within Iraq, and diverted billions from vital homeland security projects.  

To turn this situation around, we must develop a plan for withdrawal from Iraq, and a realistic strategy for homeland security. We must drastically decrease the amounts being spent on wasteful military projects and reallocate these funds to the protection of America. A recent “Unified Security Budget” study by the Center for Defense Information (available at www.cdi.org/index.cfm) calculated that the U.S. spends nine times as much on the military as it does on homeland security. By eliminating redundant weapons systems, and other commonsense reductions, the balance between military spending and the allocation for homeland security can safely be shifted from 9:1 to 4:1. 

Before we do this, two questions need to be answered: The first is, if we take money from the military, where would these funds best be spend for homeland security? The most comprehensive work on this subject is “America the Vulnerable: How Our Government is Failing to Protect Us from Terrorism,” written by national security expert Stephen Fly nn, who served in both the first Bush and Clinton White Houses. Flynn opined, “We are sailing into a national security version of the perfect storm,” and suggested a variety of actions. Central to these is the funding of so-called “first responders,” Amer ica’s police, fire, and health officials, who, as in 9/11, will be the first thrown into the breach when, as Flynn believes is inevitable, we are attacked again. 

The second question is why hasn’t the Bush administration done more? Experts tell us that ad ministration efforts to improve homeland security have been ineffectual. Millions of dollars have been focused on examining passengers at airports; yet, in a recent Atlantic article James Fallows observed that, “Such extensive screening at airports may ac tually make America more vulnerable, because of all the things that the Transportation Security Administration is neglecting to do as a result.” In March 2002, George Bush met with the National Governors Association who were concerned with their role in p roviding homeland security; as reported by Pennsylvania Governor Rendell, “President Bush was honest and frank. He told us there’s no more money for anything. He said essentially, ‘You’re on your own.’” 

The Bushies appear to have accepted their own rhetoric that “you can’t trust the government.” The antipodal presidency evidently believes that down is up, that homeland security is not a vital responsibility of the federal government; instead, we should “take responsibility” and protect ourselves. But no matter how many guns we own, they won’t protect us from a dirty bomb. The ominous consequence of the Bush philosophy has been to make America more vulnerable. 

Once again, we are left scratching our heads, wondering why the Democratic leadership doesn’t m ake more of what seems to be an egregious error. Have they been down so long, that it looks like up to them? 


Bob Burnett is a Berkeley writer and activist. He can be reached at bobburnett@comcast.net.tj

Column: Little Hustla’s Transformation into Suga’ Baby at Emeryville Rec By SUSAN PARKER

Tuesday June 28, 2005

I guess my 15-year-old friend Jernae is spending the summer at our house. I say “I guess” because there was never any formal agreement between her mother and me that Jernae would be hanging out here. But just after her eighth grade classes in San Francis co ended last week, she arrived at our front door hauling an alarmingly large suitcase that contained enough clothes for an army (an army consisting of skinny girls dressed in very tight pants and midriff-baring shirts).  

Her long-term visit is OK with me because I enjoy her company and because there has always been this arrangement between us. Jernae shows up and I spend money and a lot of time saying no to suggestions that range from “let’s go rock climbing” to “buy me a cell phone, will you please.”  

But this summer is different. She’s old enough to get a job. Not necessarily one that pays, but a job that includes responsibilities, such as a starting time, a formal lunch break, and a boss who tells her what to do.  

She’s been hired by the City of E meryville Recreation Department as a “leader in training,” LIT for short. It’s a non-paying position designed to provide young people with work experience and leadership skills. She gets to wear a staff T-shirt and a name badge every day.  

The rec depar tment, housed in a double-wide on San Pablo Avenue, is a short walk from my home. Jernae was a camper there for several summers so she knows many of the employees: Chicken Juice, Spider, Cupcake, and Pebbles, to name a few. Despite the odd nicknames, i t’s an extremely wholesome place with a staff dedicated to the 5- to 16-year-old camp participants. Although its location leaves a lot to be desired in terms of serenity (the building sits a block from Oak’s Card Room, two blocks from Black & White Market, and within walking distance of Home Depot), a myriad of well-planned activities await each camper, from swimming at the Emery Pool, to trips to the Oakland Zoo, Lawrence Hall of Science, Tilden Park, Iceland, and more.  

I observed Jernae’s self-esteem soar as I overheard her talking on the telephone to her buddies, bragging about her new responsibilities, describing her co-workers and new friends. I breathed a sigh of relief that she wasn’t sitting upstairs staring slack-jawed at the TV screen, or list ening to loud music with questionable lyrics. Although the number of hours logged on my cell phone has been disconcerting, I remember when I was 15, wasting embarrassingly long hours laying on a lime green shag carpet, talking on a pink Princess telephone, spinning albums by Chad & Jeremy and the lyrically-impaired Herman’s Hermits.  

Among the many plusses of Jernae’s employment is that she won’t be wearing to work her favorite self-decorated, low-rider bell bottoms. The words “Little Hustlas” are hand-p rinted vertically on each pant leg and the name of her school is scrawled across the back side in permanent ink. She also won’t have time to use my Internet connection, pursuing the dubious activities of her hip hop heroes. Instead, her immediate concern is deciding on an appropriate handle for herself that fits in with everyone’s m.o. at the rec center. Among her choices are Little Princess, Suga’ Baby and Lil’ Mamma. I’m voting for Suga’ Baby, although Little Princess is definitely better than Little Hustlas.  

I never had a nickname when I was a kid. It could have made a big difference to my fragile ego if I’d been called Little Darlin’, Cookie or Precious. But now it’s too late, and besides, it’s not in my genes or psyche. I don’t think anybody’s gonna call me Big Mamma anytime soon.  

For more information on programs provided by the Emeryville Recreation Department, call 596-3782 or log on to www.ci.emeryville.ca.us. 



Tuesday June 28, 2005

Youth dies in crash 

17-year-old Berkeley resident Eric Green died in a one-car accident in Richmond at 1:10 a.m. Saturday, Richmond Police Sgt. Enos Johnson said. 

He was driving a stolen vehicle, a 1990 Nissan sedan taken in Richmond, when he hit an embankment, was thrown out of the car and crushed as the vehicle rolled over him, said Sgt. Johnson. 

“He died of massive head injuries,” said the officer. 


Stereo heist bust 

Berkeley police arrested a 39-year-old man on a charge of robbery after he strong-armed a stereo away from a 38-year-old woman near the corner of Sacramento and Russell streets shortly before 1:30 p.m. Thursday, said Berkeley Police spokesperson Officer Joe Okies. 


Victim, robber busted 

A report of a robbery near the corner of Sacramento Street and Ashby Avenue turned out to be bad luck for both parties. 

By the time the dust settled, the 23-year-old robber was booked on one felony charge and the 18-year-old victim was charged with resisting an officer. 

Officers recovered the ten bucks taken in the strongarm heist. 


Teen tries to steal cane, cash 

A 19-year old was charged with attempted robbery after he tried to take the cane and cash belong to a 59-year-old man as he walked near the corner of California and Ord streets just before 9 Sunday morning, said Officer Okies.

News Analysis: U.S. Attack on Iran May Be in the Cards By WILLIAM O. BEEMAN Pacific News Service

Tuesday June 28, 2005

TEHRAN, Iran—The United States may still attack Iran, and for all the wrong reasons. 

Two recent analyses, both appearing a day before Iranians elected former Tehran mayor Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to the presidency on June 23, reveal how this may happen and what the logic behind such an attack may be. 

The first analysis, by former United Nations nuclear arms inspector Scott Ritter and distributed through the Al Jazeera Web site, claims that the U.S. assault on Iran has already begun. Ritter asserts that the terrorist organization, the Mujaheddin-e Khalg (known as the MEK or MKO in the West) is operating as a strike force under CIA direction, and that the United States is preparing to stage military attacks with U.S. troops from the neighboring Republic of Azerbaijan. 

The second analysis appears in the Boston Globe. Ray Takeyh, senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, claims that the “counter reform” movement that led to Ahmadinejad’s victory at the polls is entirely the doing of Iranian chief jurisprudent Ali Khamene’i. Takeyh’s analysis echoes an infamous paper issued by the Committee on the Present Danger—an organization of ex-Cold Warriors that has retooled itself as an anti-terrorist organization. That report, issued Dec. 20, 2004, was entitled “Iran: A New Approach,” and was authored by Mark Palmer and George Schultz. Its main point was to paint Khamene’i as a Saddam-style dictator. 

Both of these analyses have inherent flaws, but taken together they spell something quite ominous. Ritter’s pronouncement that the attack is already underway seems premature, despite the fact that Seymour Hersh predicted that it would happen about now in “The Coming Wars” in the New Yorker on Jan. 24 and 31 of this year. But he does appear to be reporting on movement that significant elements in the Bush administration favor, and for which they may have laid the groundwork. 

There are a lot of random facts that lend credence to Ritter’s claims. Last year, there were fake elections in Azerbaijan. The ex-dictator of that country, octogenarian Haidar Aliev was rumored to have died two months before the election. The installation of his unqualified ne’er-do-well son, Ilham, to applause from the Bush administration allowed the completion of an oil pipeline from the Caspian region across former Soviet Georgia to Turkey, bypassing Iran.  

Additionally, there have been continued contacts between Iranian Azerbaijani separatist Mahmudali Chehregani and the Bush administration. Moreover, there are apparently real plans for the Bush administration to establish a military base in the Republic of Azerbaijan, the better to stage the kind of attack on Iran about which Ritter is writing.  

There is continued administration contact and support for the MEK, and support from a number of U.S. senators and congresspeople. Ritter’s scenario begins to look probable, if not real.  

However, Takeyh’s piece (along with the paper from the Committee on the Present Danger) is the more dangerous of the two analyses, because of its attribution of a genuine social movement to a single person. This makes it tempting for administration hawks in possession of limited intelligence (of all sorts), and who are susceptible to the avalanche of neoconservative blather on Iranian politics to think that toppling Khamene’i will bring the whole Islamic Republic down like a house of cards. This is truly dangerous thinking, and it is blatantly not in the long-term interests of the United States or Iran for the U.S. government to act upon such a flawed assumption. 

The election results took almost all Iranian analysts by surprise. However, this development should not have been unforeseen. 

Iran is still engaged with internal revolutionary dialog. The original Revolution of 1978-79 was a drive for purification of the Iranian soul as much as anything else. This need for spiritual and moral purity was the element that engaged the middle and upper classes in the end, encouraging them to oust the shah against their own economic interests.  

The pull of the spiritual is obviously still strong in Iran, and Ahmadinejad has been able to embody this successfully in his image of simplicity, humility and spirituality. He further combines his image with an economic message that promises that the fruits of the revolution—namely the elevation of the mostazefin (downtrodden)—can still be achieved.  

Ahmadinejad’s persona and his message are clearly irresistible to people who see the original ideals of the revolution slipping away through the increasingly Westernized behavior and sensibilities of the salons and boutiques of North Tehran. In short, the social forces that brought Ahmadinejad to the presidency are real, broad and clearly very powerful. Any American move to attack Iran, or to try to achieve regime change through the narrow measure of trying to topple Khamene’i or any limited group of individuals will fail. The Iranian public supporting Ahmadinejad and what he represents will reject any replacement for the current government, and the rest of the Iranian population will consider anything initiated by the United States to be tainted.  

The day when Washington will finally try to understand Iran on its own terms may come. But the world may have to wait for a very long time for this to take place.  


William O. Beeman observed the Iranian presidential elections from Tehran. He is professor of anthropology and director of Middle East Studies at Brown University. His forthcoming book is The ‘Great Satan’ vs. the ‘Mad Mullahs’: How the United States and Iran Demonize Each Other (Praeger). 





Commentary: Historical Preservation: It Takes a Community By SHARON HUDSON

Tuesday June 28, 2005

New buildings are popping up like Pop Tarts in Berkeley, and if you live in the flatlands, there is a good chance one will be popping up near you. You had better hope it is not on a site currently occupied by a home, shop, church, or other building important to the historical or architectural character of your neighborhood. Because if it is, your ability to influence that development is soon to be severely curtailed.  

In recent years, Berkeley has seen a concerted attack on historical preservation. The public face of this attack has been the derision, in the media and elsewhere, of occasional out-of-the-mainstream preservation efforts. But this focus on the fringe blurs the vital object at the center: Berkeley’s popular 1973 Landmarks Preservation Ordin ance (LPO), whose historical, cultural, and aesthetic protections most Berkeleyans not only value, but depend upon. 

The goal is simple: to “help” developers by weakening landmarking. The strategy is to soften public support for the LPO so there will be n o outcry when, after years of backroom torture of the LPO by the city’s legal and planning staff, the coup de grace occurs. This will happen at the July 12 City Council meeting. Few people will notice it then. Instead, they will notice it when they see ir replaceable historical buildings, which contribute to the cherished character of their neighborhood, bulldozed for new developments that do just the opposite. 

The proposals on the table are technical, but they will (1) make it much easier to alter or dem olish designated historical resources; (2) narrow the time and opportunity for landmarking and for public response to neighborhood changes; (3) remove state protections that encourage developers to work with the community; and (4) help developers take adv antage of unsuspecting neighborhoods.  

The irony of the current attack on preservation is this: Preservation pays. According to a May 8 Parade Magazine article, “In Texas, cities with preservation programs have found that historic designations increase p roperty values by 20 percent….A Maryland study showed that for every $1 million spent rehabbing a building, 16.3 new construction jobs are created—3.2 more than on a new construction project….[And] the fastest-growing part of the tourism industry is herit age tourism.” 

But not only does the anti-preservation attack run counter to Berkeley’s physical, cultural, and economic well-being, it is downright reactionary in the context of current historical philosophy. State, national, and other local preservation organizations have shifted away from the “trophy building” approach to preservation to a contextual approach emphasizing local values and neighborhood character.  

What does historic preservation mean? We define the term as those structures and settings that are important to a “local community” for historic, cultural or architectural reasons. The most important phrase in the definition is “local community.” Historic preservation must first focus on what is important to you and your neighbors. We know of communities that consider America’s oldest dog pound, America’s largest milk bottle and America’s longest ski slope important. We know of other communities that have saved meadows, forests and fens. And we know of communities that have worked to save mans ions, “painted ladies” and slave quarters. The key point is simply that your community should decide what is important. 

These words come straight from a land use planning course. But who is the “local community”? I think we can safely assume it is not outsiders—be they developers, “experts,” or reporters—who come to Berkeley to demean our history for profit. We should ignore them. But is the “local community” a neighborhood, or the city as a whole?  

It is appropriate that the City Council, representing the entire city, have final jurisdiction over land use matters. But whenever possible, the council should give the nod to local neighborhoods. Why? Because not respecting neighborhoods has undesirable consequences.  

At best, the outcome of defining “loca l” to be the entire city would be the constriction and dumbing-down of landmarks to include only those that are agreed upon by a distant and less informed majority. An unfortunate by-product of democracy, such homogenization undermines diversity—in this c ase, the unique nature of Berkeley’s neighborhoods. After all, most “unique” things are not valued by the majority; that is one reason they are not mass produced. 

The worst outcome would be an unpleasant scenario of insensitivity and disrespect (which is already occurring in Berkeley), in which I vote to demolish your neighborhood or landmark and you vote to demolish mine, until we have nothing left. This too is a tyranny of the majority, cannibalizing neighborhoods piecemeal because each represents a mi nority to be sacrificed to the greater good.  

But a city consists of its neighborhoods, so destroying neighborhoods, one by one, does not create a better city. The history of the Elmwood is very different than the history of West Berkeley; the city’s goa l should be to help each neighborhood preserve—not lose—its own history. This local history generally remains hidden until it is explored through a participatory community process. In many cities, like Berkeley, that process is landmarking. 

Indeed, “it t akes a community to create a landmark.” Dedicated volunteer historians, in communication with neighbors and others, piece together the local history; the selection of the site and the process both emerge from the “local community.” No outside “expert,” ev en if competent and well-motivated, can assemble all the facts in the memories of the locals, or know what is “important to the local community.”  

Although those attacking the LPO have an insensitive development agenda, their sales pitch to the public an d council is aimed at our desire for reason and predictability. But like democracy itself, preservation is messy. Historical concepts are not static; they are fluid, expanding to include more knowledge, more “outsider” groups, and changing values. Certain ty, though alluring, is ultimately incompatible with a dynamic and self-conscious community.  

A particularly annoying and “messy” fact is that landmark applications often occur alongside development applications. But this is human nature. Unless necessit y demands it, most neighborhoods won’t engage in self-analysis, and most individuals won’t undertake substantial volunteer work. Even if the resource in question has been known and valued by the “local community” for years, as it often has, it usually tak es the specter of losing it to spur people to action. 

The closest a developer can get to “certainty” will come from consulting early and often with the surrounding community, which usually does not oppose development, but understandably opposes bad devel opment. Such consultation must be well-intentioned, genuine, and continuing. The process must not be rigged to muffle the community voice and remove the opportunity for self-examination, self-expression, and self-preservation, as some of the current propo sed changes to the LPO would do.  

Popular developers know that the winning formula for both the developer and the community is the same: (1) participatory and collaborative design; (2) incorporation of alternatives proffered by the community; (3) contextual design; and (4) community self-expression.  

Unfortunately, we don’t see many popular developers or sensitive developments in Berkeley, because almost every action by our planning staff and city council undermines the formula. We may well see more of the same on July 12, when the council decides whether or not to further damage Berkeley’s planning environment—and neighborhoods—by undermining the LPO. 


Sharon Hudson is an observer of land use issues, and an advocate for maintaining and improving urban quality of life while accommodating good development. 


Board Vetoes Jefferson School Name Change By J. DOUGLAS ALLEN-TAYLOR

Friday June 24, 2005

Following dramatic remarks by a clearly conflicted Board President Nancy Riddle, the Berkeley Unified School District Board of Directors voted 3-2 Wednesday night to deny a petition to change the name of Jefferson Elementary School to Sequoia. 

Her voice breaking up and visibly close to tears, Riddle told a hushed crowd that “I know that I will be disappointing some people who I care about, but I can’t support this.” Riddle’s succeeding no vote on the petition broke the 2-2 deadlock on the board that was known two weeks ago when the remaining board members publicly announced how they would vote on the issue.  

As expected, Board Vice President Terry Doran and director John Selawsky voted to accept the results of the Jefferson vote, while directors Shirley Issel and Joaquin Rivera voted against the proposed name change. The vote followed an hour-long hearing that preceded the board meeting, along with another half-hour of public comment time during the meeting itself that was dominated by supporters and opponents of the name change. 

The decision rejected a district-authorized vote held during the last week in May that saw the name Sequoia beat out Jefferson among students, staff, and parents and guardians at the school. 

Division over whether the board should honor the results of that school community vote was reflected in the board vote itself. Selawsky and Doran argued that the board’s name change policy only gave the board the latitude to determine if the petition process had been properly followed. Riddle, Rivera, and Issel all said that the board had the discretion to accept or reject the school community vote using the criteria of whether the name change was best for Berkeley as a whole. 

Berkeley’s difficulty in coming to a decision on the emotionally charged issue was summed up by long-time Berkeley political and environmental activist Elliot Cohen, who said he was torn on what to do about the proposed name change from the slaveowning father of American democracy to a stately California tree. “I like trees,” Cohen told board members. “I don’t like slavery. I like Jefferson.” He put up his hands in a gesture of uncertainty. 

Supporters of the name change in attendance at the board meeting appeared to outnumber opponents by a large margin. 

During the public presentations, each side accused the other side of engaging in tactics of intimidation. 

Carrie Adams, a white Jefferson parent and a name-change opponent, said that she had not participated in much of the two-year name-change discussions at Jefferson because “I felt intimidated. I have been held emotionally hostage, and I’m not the only one who feels this way.” She said that Jefferson school community members who did not support the name change were accused of racism, and “I am not a racist. I abhor slavery. But anyone who can look 200 years in the past and pass judgment, it’s like armchair quarterbacking. When do we move on?” Calling the name-change campaign “a disaster,” Adams said that “it has pulled apart something that was together.” 

That was countered by Maggie Riddle, a white Jefferson teacher and a name-change proponent, who said that she “felt intimidated as a teacher advocate for this change. Two weeks ago in these same chambers, I was called an emotional terrorist. Supporters of the name change have received threatening e-mails and veiled threats. After I announced my support for the name change, many of my fellow teachers stopped talking to me.” Riddle added that “if anybody has been the victim of emotional terrorism and intimidation in this country, it’s been the African-American and the Native American community.” 

Supporters and opponents also sparred over whether adoption of the name change would signal a diminishing of both Jefferson as a historical figure and Jefferson’s ideas in Berkeley’s education process. 

“We don’t name things after people to celebrate those people,” Bruce Poropat said. “We name them as a way of recognizing their role in history. And no one had more of a role in American history than Jefferson. We need to preserve our history, good or bad.”  

And Barbara Wittstock, who said she attended the Jefferson-founded University of Virginia, said that “if you start doing name changes” solely on the basis of the holding of slaves, “you might end up with teachers refusing to teach the Declaration of Independence” because it was written by a slaveholder. 

But Deborah Ager, a Jefferson parent, said that “no one has suggested that we launder our history. No one has said that we shouldn’t teach continue to teach about Jefferson. No one has said that we not teach the Declaration of Independence.” And other name-change supporters argued that in honoring the Jefferson school community’s democratic vote to change the school’s name, the board would be honoring Jefferson’s ideal of respecting democracy. 

The board’s rejection vote set off an emotional scene in the council chambers at Old City Hall that simultaneously captured both the beauty and the bitter divisiveness of the failed two-year attempt to change the school name. As soon as the vote was announced, many of the disappointed supporters of the proposed name change stood and sang the civil rights standard “We Shall Overcome,” holding lime green printed flyers reading “Support Democracy. Approve Sequoia.” Already beginning a victory celebration, at least one opponent of the name change turned to the supporters and sang back, derisively, “Get over it.” 

Meanwhile, other name-change supporters stormed out of the chambers, berating board members as they left. “Unbelieveable! Unbelievable!” one supporter said, over and over. “An almost all-white board has told African-Americans that you only want to hear from us what you want us to say,” an African-American teacher told anyone who was willing to listen, including name change opponents who shouted back, “All African-Americans don’t support changing the school’s name.” A white-haired African-American man shook his finger at board members and declared, several times, “White people win! Niggers lose! That’s the message.” BUSD Public Information Officer Mark Coplan ran and placed himself between the board dais and another name-change supporter, Zachary Running Wolf, leading to a heated exchange between the two men. Short, sharp arguments broke out between supporters and opponents, both inside the chambers and outside in the hallway as both sides filed out. One young Jefferson student, who had spoken in favor of the name change, was led out in tears. With the board meeting itself halted for almost 15 minutes by the display, several board members—among them board vice president Terry Doran and director Shirley Issel—left their seats at the dais to walk among the slowly dispersing crowd, holding calming conversations. 

Through it all, the singing of “We Shall Overcome” through several stanzas continued for many minutes. 

When the name change petition came to the board two weeks ago Riddle had indicated that she was divided on the issue, and that internal conflict was evident throughout her remarks. “I knew when the petition first appeared two years ago that it was going to be a difficult decision,” she said, “mostly because of my ties to Jefferson.” Riddle, whose children attended the school, had said two weeks ago that much of her educational philosophy was based upon Jefferson’s work. She added that “I’ve gone back on forth on what my decision will be several times in the last two weeks” and, in fact, appeared to be still wavering even as she spoke. 

In the end, she said her mind was made up by the fact that her children had attended schools named after both Thomas Jefferson and black nationalist leader Malcolm X, both of whom she called “flawed.” “I think the juxtaposition of these two men is important,” she said. “I think our children will benefit from studying these complex men.”›

BART Employees Authorize Strike By MATTHEW ARTZ

Friday June 24, 2005

On Thursday BART employees gave their unions the green light to strike as early as July 1 if they can’t come to terms on a new agreement with the transit agency. 

Union representatives, however, said that a strike was not assured and that they would give commuters 72 hours notice before walking off their jobs. 

A strike by BART’s three largest unions, which represent roughly 2,700 workers, would grind East Bay’s primary public transportation system to a halt. “One would assume there will not be any trains to speak of,” said BART Spokesperson Linton Johnson. 

Commuters shouldn’t rely on AC Transit to pick up much of the slack in the event of a strike, said Clarence Johnson, AC Transit manager of media relations. The bus company could increase the frequency of transbay routes during off peak hours, but otherwise lacks the resources to boost service. 

“We don’t have any more buses, not to mention operators to run them,” he said. 

When BART last went on strike in 1997 the agency ran minimal service, Johnson said. BART currently serves 310,000 passengers every weekday. 

Contracts for BART’s three largest employee unions expire June 30. Stalled negotiations prompted the unions to vote overwhelmingly Thursday to authorize a strike.  

The Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1555, which represents about 830 train operators, voted 95 percent to authorize a strike. The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Local 3993, which represents nearly 200 supervisory employees voted 93 percent and SEIU Local 790, which represents about 1,400 custodians and maintenance workers, voted 957 to 18 for strike authorization. 

The votes come one month after ATU, Local 1555 President Harold Brown and SEIU, Local 790 BART Chapter Vice President Bud Brandenberger told The Planet they didn’t expect to strike. 

BART’s Johnson called the strike authorization, “a negotiating ploy. The story would have been if they voted against authorizing a strike,” he said. 

Thomas Dewar, press officer for SEIU, Local 790, said the union hoped that the strike authorization would break the stalemate.  

Facing a $24 million deficit this year, BART has offered the unions four-year contracts with zero pay raises and reduced medical benefits. The unions did not disclose their counter offer. The current four-year contract expiring next year gave the unions 24 percent pay increases. Johnson said the average union employee costs BART over $100,000 in salary and benefits. 

Dewar said that SEIU did not plan to petition the state for 60-day cooling off period to avert a labor action. “We want to get this behind us,” he said. “We’re not trying to play games with the public keeping them on pins and needles over how they get to work.” 

Johnson declined to comment if BART would seek a 60-day reprieve. If neither side requests the cooling off period the state would lack the authority to prevent a strike.  

Last month to reduce its deficit from $53 million to $24 million, BART approved charging for parking at ten stations and raising ticket prices 10 cents in January. The agency also cut 115 positions, about half of which were vacant. 



Emery Unified: From Takeover to Makeover By J. DOUGLAS ALLEN-TAYLOR

Friday June 24, 2005

Emery Unified School District wants to set itself up as a hub of public school excellence in the East Bay. 

It seems an audacious and ambitious plan, considering that with only 788 students in two schools, the district is dwarfed by the 8,000 student Berkeley Unified and the 45,000 student Oakland Unified. In 2003, the district’s middle school was closed down due to declining enrollment, the grades divided up between the single high school and elementary school. Four years ago, only 16 percent of the district’s students were passing the math portion of the California High School Exit Exam. In addition, the district is only one year removed from a 2001 state takeover caused by a declaration of fiscal emergency and a $1.3 million state bailout. 

But those days seem far away, now. 

83 percent of the district’s class of 2006 have passed the math portion of the high school exit exam. 

The Similar Schools state Academic Performance Index (API) ranking for Anna Yates Elementary—the city’s only elementary school—jumped two points (between three and five on a 1-10 scale where one is the lowest ranking) between 2003 and 2004. In that same period, Emery High’s Similar Schools ranking leaped five points (from two to seven). 

This is in a district that is almost entirely nonwhite: 73 percent of the district’s students are African-American, with the remainder divided between Latinos and Punjabi. 

With the state administrator’s role reduced to that of a trustee and the district running its own financial affairs again, Emery Unified is now operating in the black. 

And with narrow city boundaries and in an era when public school enrollment is dropping in most East Bay districts west of the hills, Emery Unified is trying to figure out ways to attract new students to its schools. 

One of the reasons for this turnaround is a youth development partnership between Emery Unified and the City of Emeryville. 

In nearby Oakland, city officials did virtually nothing to provide financial assistance for the Oakland Unified School District once a $100 million state line-of-credit bailout caused it to be taken over by the state in 2003. 

In May of that year, Oakland Mayor Jerry Brown joked to a meeting at the Los Angeles Bar Association that the state takeover of Oakland Unified was a “win-win for everybody.” “ We spent $100 million we didn’t have,” Brown said, “and now we’re getting a fresh $100 million to start all over again and we get to throw the superintendent out and get a new one, called the state administrator. And we don’t have to have a school board." 

In Emeryville, in contrast, the city stepped in after the state takeover to help bail the school district out of its financial problems. In 2002, a $1.5 million 40-year agreement was reached in which the city leased the Emery High School sports facilities from the district, but allowed them to continue to be used by the schools. In effect, the citizens of Emeryville drew money from one of their government accounts to cover bills owed by another of their government accounts. The loan paved the way for the school district’s rapid financial turnaround and its recovery from the state takeover. 

Part of the reasons for the Emeryville recovery is Superintendent Tony Smith, the popular, burly, energetic former captain of the UC Berkeley Golden Bears football team who came to Emery Unified a year ago from his job as program director of the Bay Area Coalition for Equitable Schools (BayCES). 

While he was still at BayCES, Smith helped craft the City of Emeryville/Emery Unified School District Education and Youth Services Plan, the 2002 document that now drives the cooperative effort between the city and the district. The plan calls for a joint city/school acquisition of a central youth-oriented community center in Emeryville—possibly in the location presently occupied by AC Transit—as well as a restructuring of the city’s schools through the Math, Science Technology Initiative (MSTI) to make them centers of technology teaching. 

The district hopes to use the Math, Science Technology Initiative to build a cooperative technology teaching effort with other East Bay School districts, with Emeryville at its center. Emeryville Unified is counting on assistance from locally-based technology-oriented companies—Pixar Animation Studios, for example. Last week, Pixar held a showing for short films developed by fifth grade Yates Elementary students at the studios. 

Smith’s school coalition-building work with BayCES was a major reason why—with a Ph.D in education but no experience as a classroom teacher or a school administrator—he was recommended for the superintendent’s position by a search committee that included the city mayor, and later was unanimously selected by the school board. The school board audience reportedly stood en masse and applauded when his appointment was announced. 

“He [was] key in building the unique collaboration between the city, Emery Education Foundation (EEF), BayCES and the school district to support the students and families of our community,” Emery School Board President Forrest Gee said last year. 

For his part, Smith minimizes his own part in Emeryville’s revival. “The reason this is working is that more people are taking responsibility for leadership in the Emeryville schools,” Smith said. “Many different groups have mobilized and organized around this effort. Staff has stepped up and done an excellent job; they’re committed to our vision. And people have made a commitment to stay at the table and work on these problems. It hasn’t always been easy. It’s sometimes ugly. But it’s working.” 


Council Declines to Save Drayage Amid Late-Night Confusion By MATTHEW ARTZ

Friday June 24, 2005

The clock appeared to run out on the City Council last night. But the weary lawmakers, none of whom will ever be confused with night owls, refused to adjourn until most of their business was settled. 

Under council rules the session should have ended at 11:50 p.m. when no councilmember asked for the meeting to be extended. But at 11:51 p.m. Mayor Tom Bates insisted that the meeting continue and, thanks to some questionable time keeping by the city clerk, he got his wish. 

With new life the council all but sealed the fate of 11 tenants refusing to leave their homes at an illegal West Berkeley warehouse. Councilmembers narrowly defeated a proposal requesting the city to hold a pubic hearing before issuing permits to demolish the living units. 

Berkeley issued the demolition permits Thursday, giving landlord Lawrence White a green light to proceed with 60-day eviction notices. As a gesture to the tenants, the council voted to consider giving them a portion of the $145,000 in fines the city has charged the building owner. 

Then, after midnight, the council by a bare majority voted to reduce sewer fees for UC Berkeley as called for under a recent agreement that settled a city lawsuit against the university.  

The only casualty of the late hour was a proposal from Mayor Bates and Councilmember Kriss Worthington to require that future settlement agreements, like the one with UC, be available for public scrutiny before the council acts on them. 

Despite the mayor’s push for a vote, councilmembers at 12:14 a.m. requested more time to consider the proposal, which will return on their agenda next week. 

The late night debates were the product of a nearly three-hour public hearing. With the council set to approve a budget next week, Tuesday’s meeting was the last chance for community agencies and interest groups to protest scheduled cuts as the city works to close an $8.9 million deficit. 

When the hearing ended, Mayor Bates pledged to retool his budget proposal for allocating the roughly $700,000 the city now has available to fund programs slated for cuts. A final vote is scheduled for next week. 

Bates’ current plan calls for spending $267,974 in July and the remainder of the money in December on the condition that tax revenues from property transfers remain strong.  

The Berkeley Animal Shelter seemed to make the most persuasive case among councilmembers for receiving some of the extra revenue. Threatened with the loss of an animal control officer or the shelter’s volunteer coordinator, a parade of shelter supporters defended the need for both positions and at times disagreed over which job was more vital. 

“This is like which child do you kill,” said Judy Brock, who runs a Berkeley animal rescue group. “It’s amazing to see all these animal lovers here infighting.” 

The council appeared unwilling to slash either position. Joining Councilmembers Dona Spring and Betty Olds, the two lawmakers who have traditionally championed animal welfare issues, Councilmembers Laurie Capitelli and Worthington said they would also vote against any cuts to the shelter. 

Other community organizations pleaded for reduced cuts. RISE, a 30-year-old teen mentor and academic support program for local high school students is facing a $20,000 cut, which could cost them a staff member, said Adriana Betti, the group’s executive director. 

Yolanda Gibson told the council that her daughter’s SAT score jumped 260 points after attending a RISE test prep course. “She’s going to a four-year college this fall and we owe it all to RISE,” she said. 

Several acupuncturists also urged the council not to cut a program that provides free acupuncture and social services to substance abusers. 

“The treatment is designed to reduce dependence for drugs,” said Jane Weinapple, an acupuncturist with the program now it its tenth year.  

“If you’ve never had it you should try it,” Langston Hazard, a client, told the council.  

The city is threatening to cut the program $57,000— approximately 21 percent. The cut would force the organization to lay off a case worker and possibly close its doors two days the week, said Executive Director Hope McDonald. 

Several library workers and residents urged the council not to approve a 4.8 percent increase to the library tax next week unless the library reverses course on using controversial radio devices to track books. 

Also members of Berkeley BudgetWatch and Friends of the Fire Department criticized the proposed budget and called on council to use extra money to restore fire department services. 

After the public hearing, the Drayage took center stage as the clock ticked away.  

Although City Manager Phil Kamlarz told the council that it lacked the authority to force a public hearing on the permits, and that he would issue them this week no matter what their vote was, the council nevertheless debated the issue. 

Drayage owner Lawrence White needs the permits to have “good cause” to evict the tenants from the building. He is facing daily fines of $2,500 for not evacuating the building after a snap fire inspection turned up over 200 code violations. The residents meanwhile had insisted that city zoning law entitles them to a public hearing before the Zoning Adjustments Board before they are evicted from their homes.  

The hearing would also have given them more time and leverage to pressure White to sell the building to the Northern California Land Trust, which has pledged to give the tenants the right to reoccupy their homes after they are brought up to code. 

But as the council wound down its debate, it neglected to keep track of the time.  

Council meetings are set to adjourn at 11 p.m. unless councilmembers agree to extend it. The council had voted to extend to 11:50 p.m., but right as the vote was about to take place, the clock struck 11:51. 

“Motion to extend the meeting,” Mayor Bates said. 

“The meeting ended at 11:50,” Councilmember Worthington replied. 

“We just made it by my watch,” said Bates, calling for the meeting to be extended until midnight. 

“I do not vote yes when the meeting already ended,” Worthington said. 

City Attorney Manuela Albuquerque intervened, “Unfortunately, I think the meeting is adjourned by operation of law.” 

“We’ve got to stay,” Bates replied. “If anyone wants to sue us over this they can.” 

City Clerk Sara Cox, whose watch was apparently running a minute slower than the two clocks in the chambers, entered the fray. “It was 11:50,” she said.  

“If the city clerk says it’s 11:50, I defer to the clerk,” Albuquerque said. 

Now free to vote on the Drayage, the council voted 5-4 (Bates, Capitelli, Olds, Wozniak no) to reject the city manager’s position that the permits did not require a public hearing.  

But the council also failed to muster a majority to ask the city to require a hearing, opening the door for the city to issue a demolition permit (Spring, Anderson and Moore supported the proposal, while Worthington and Maio abstained).  

The council then switched gears to sewer fees. The approval seemed to be a foregone conclusion since the council voted 6-3 last month to accept a deal with UC that reduced the city’s claim to sewer fees from the university from $2.1 million to $200,000. 

But Councilmember Olds questioned why they city had to lower the fees, Councilmember Max Anderson, who had voted to approve the full settlement agreement, now withdrew his support for the fee reduction, and Councilmember Spring demanded legal rationale for charging UC less money. 

“Come on,” Bates said. “We voted 6-3 to do this. You may not all agree, but we did.” A call of the roll produced only four votes in favor of lowering the fees. All eyes turned to Councilmember Moore, who had passed on his first opportunity to vote. 

“Sure, I’ll vote yes,” he said. The fee decrease for UC Berkeley passed 5-3-1 (Olds, Spring Worthington, no Anderson, abstain). 

Finally Bates came to a proposal that he believed would guarantee that future lawsuit settlements, unlike the recent settlement with UC, would go before the public for review and comment before the council voted. 

When councilmembers called for holding over the proposal for next week’s meeting, Bates initially declined. “I’d like to get rid of it please,” he said. 

“But I’m not sure I’ll vote for it,” said Councilmember Capitelli, prompting Bates to back down on a quick vote. 

“Well I may have to find votes elsewhere,” Bates replied. “The meeting is adjourned.”›

Berkeley Welcomes Back Bearden Mural By MATTHEW ARTZ

Friday June 24, 2005

It’s the dream behind every public art project. 

Spend a paltry sum for a work that becomes the city’s signature piece of art and appreciates in value faster than a home in the hills. 

Little did the Berkeley officials know when they commissioned renowned Harlem artist Romare Bearden to paint a 12-foot by 16-foot mural for the City Council chambers that their dream would come true. 

Not only is the work, “Berkeley—The City and Its People, 1973,” now cemented as the city’s logo, but the project which cost $16,000 in 1972 was most recently valued between $750,000 and $1 million. 

“It is possibly the most valuable asset the city has that is not nailed to the ground,” said Mayor Tom Bates. “It’s a real sense of pride and joy.” 

On Friday (today) the city welcomes back its esteemed mural from a nearly two-year national tour as part of the National Gallery of Art retrospective on Bearden’s work. Bearden died in 1988 at the age of 76. 

“I don’t know of any other city that has a work from a major artist in its council chambers,” said Peter Selz, a retired UC Berkeley art history professor and the founding director of the Berkeley Art Museum. 

The push to install a mural at the council chambers was sparked by two African American councilmembers, Ira Simmons and D’army Bailey. After they were elected in 1970, they protested that the chamber walls were decorated with pictures of Lincoln and Washington, but no people of color, said Carl Worth, founding director of the Berkeley Art Center and coordinator for the mural project.  

Around that time, Bearden happened to be in Berkeley for an exhibit of his work. Worth and Selz immediately decided that he was man for the job. 

“I suggested that instead of a token photograph of a black person, why not have an accomplished black artist do a mural?” Selz said. 

The two discussed the project with Bearden, who lived in Harlem, and he expressed his enthusiasm for the job. 

“He loved the idea of working with Berkeley because he was a person of strong social conscience,” Worth said. 

For a week in 1972, Worth toured the city with Bearden visiting black churches, Telegraph Avenue festivals, UC Berkeley faculty meetings, and a city council meeting. 

“Romare was a man who loved people and he responded very intensely to the people he met,” Worth said. 

For Bearden, the mural was a departure from his past works. He had never before painted a mural, and most of his work was biographical from his childhood in North Carolina and his adult years in Harlem.  

Bearden worked for 30 years as a social worker for New York City, painting at nights and on weekends. By the 1960s he came up with a collage process in which he blew up images in scale and integrated them into the collages. 

“He was ready for a mural,” Worth said. “It was an opportunity for him to make a collage on a larger scale.” 

The work debuted in January 1974, to a typically mixed Berkeley review, Worth said. “Some people thought it was too avant-guard, others had wanted there to be an open process that included local artists, but a lot of people liked it from the start.” 

“I was delighted with it,” Selz said. “That he managed to get so many aspects of the life of the city into one space was incredible.”  

The most brilliant feature, he added, were the four different colored profile heads on the bottom center, which symbolized the city’s diversity.  

The design would later replace UC’s Sather Tower as the city’s logo. 

“The fact that this has become part of the fabric of the city is a pretty good measure of the quality of the work,” Worth said. 

A welcome-back ceremony will be held today at 4 p.m. (Friday) at Old City Hall, 2134 Martin Luther King Jr. Way. 




City Attorney Wins Distinction By MATTHEW ARTZ

Friday June 24, 2005

Berkeley City Attorney Manuela Albuquerque has been named 2005 Public Lawyer of the Year by the State Bar of California. 

Albuquerque, who has served as city attorney for nearly 20 years, will receive the award from Chief Justice Ronald George at the state bar’s annual meeting in September. 

She was selected by the executive committee of the Public Law section of the State Bar, on which she previously served. The section website praises Albuquerque’s work on legal ethics, calling her “a major force” as author of Practicing Ethics: A Handbook for Municipal Lawyers, published by the League of California Cities. 

Currently, Albuquerque is working with the State Bar Rules revision committee to amend rules addressing the concerns public attorneys face when adversaries seek to speak directly with public officials about on-going litigation. 


Downtown Plan Changed to Allow Brower Center, Housing By RICHARD BRENNEMAN

Friday June 24, 2005

Planning Commissioners Thursday voted unanimously to ask the City Council to amend the Berkeley’s Downtown Plan to allow construction of the David Brower Center complex. 

Two buildings will rise above the site of the city’s Oxford Plaza parking lot along the west side of Fulton Street between Kittredge Street and Allston Way, and a one- or two-level underground parking structure will be dug into the earth beneath the site. 

The Brower Center itself will be one of the world’s “greenest” buildings, incorporating the latest technology to minimize energy consumption, while the solar panels that will form the structure’s parapet will generate a significant part of the power consumed within. 

The adjacent Oxford Plaza building with 96 units will provide the city’s largest collection of apartments for low- and very low-income tenants, including three-bedroom units. 

“This is a really great project,” said Commissioner Rob Wrenn. “It’s one of the few that actually provides affordable family-size units. You can count on two hands the number of affordable three-bedroom apartment built here in the last three years.” 

Principal Planner Aaron Sage told the commissioners the changes were needed “because it doesn’t quite fit within the Downtown Plan standard.” 

The plan sets specific height limits in the “Oxford Edge” sub-area—the stretch of Fulton/Oxford Street facing the University of California campus. 

Bonuses allowing additional height are available only to projects that devote 75 percent of their space to residential units and to those providing at least 5,000 square feet of cultural and/or fine arts space. 

The Oxford Plaza housing component, including ground floor commercial spaces, occupies 55,000 square feet, while the Brower Center measures in at 35,000, well below the requisite ratio. 

None of the Brower Center uses qualify under the fine arts/cultural uses bonus. 

Sage said that the project nonetheless has a large housing component and that an auditorium in the Brower Center will be available for some arts and cultural uses. 

“The amendments call for minor changes to the available bonuses applied specifically to this site, and keeps the height at no more than the current bonuses allow,” he said. 


Questions and answers 

Noting that most of the Brower Center itself would be leased to non-profit tenants, Commissioner Susan Wengraf posed a question to John Clawson, the complex project manager for Equity Community Builders. 

“The largest non-profit in the city is right across the street. Will there be any provision for not renting to the University of California?” 

Property leased to the university is removed from the tax rolls, a matter of growing concern in the city. 

“There are no restrictions,” Clawson said. 

“I have very grave concerns about the city building office space for the university,” said Wengraf. “They are the largest tenant in the downtown area.” 

“The city is not subsidizing the Brower Center,” said Clawson. “We are paying full market value for the land, approximately $5 million.” 

But the city is subsidizing the Oxford Plaza building, including $2.9 million in federal funds allocated by the Housing Advisory Commission, and the two projects are joined at the hip in the city approval process, a point Wengraf didn’t pursue. 

Commissioner Sara Shumer asked about another funding source now being solicited, the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Brownfields Economic Development Incentives (BEDI) grants. 

The Ed Roberts Center at the Ashby BART station has received BEDI moneys for their project. 

Brownfields are usually defined as land polluted by various toxins which require remediation before development can occur. 

“My understanding is that the name is somewhat misleading because the site doesn’t have to be a brownfield,” Sage said. 

“They consider underutilized property as brownfields,” Clawson said, “not brownfields as contaminated.” 



“We recommended the brownfields BEDI grant because HUD defines it broadly,” said Housing Advisory Commission (HAC) Vice-Chair Jesse Arreguin, who gave the project a ringing endorsement. 

HAC endorsed the grant proposal in a divided vote during their regular meeting Wednesday. 

Another self-described enthusiastic supporter was Anna de Leon, of Anna’s Jazz Island, Berkeley’s newest night club which recently opened in the Gaia Building, one building west of the Brower Center site on Allston Way. 

“We should give them whatever changes are needed,” she said. “How could we do otherwise?” 

Planning Manager Mark Rhoades drew chuckles from commissioners and the audience when he noted that de Leon “is the occupant, finally, of a cultural space.” 

Her club is located in the Gaia Building in part of the ground floor cultural space that allowed developer Patrick Kennedy to building the structure higher than would otherwise been allowed under the Downtown Plan. 

Deborah Badhia, executive director of the Downtown Berkeley Organization, said that while her group couldn’t make a formal recommendation on the project, “I’m looking forward to it. It will do a lot of things for a lot of people.” 

The group can’t take a formal stand, she said, because President Raudel Wilson is a member of the Zoning Adjustments Board which must vote on the project. 

When it came time for the vote, the planners gave their unanimous endorsement. 


West Campus 

Rhoades dropped a small bombshell late in the meeting when he declared that the city intends to assert jurisdiction over development at the school district’s West Campus site. 

“My reading of the [district’s] plan is that the city will have jurisdiction over the whole thing,” he said. “The Zoning Adjustments Board will address the specific issues.” 

If the school board has its way, jurisdiction would rest with the state architect’s office, which has purview over development of educational buildings and is exempt from municipal zoning codes. 

Rhoades said the city would have final say over everything except for a few interior spaces where teaching activities would occur. 

Attorneys for the city and the Berkeley Unified School District (BUSD) will hash out the details. 

His comments came as a result of a proposal by members Rob Wrenn and David Stoloff to ask BUSD to radically reduce the 170 parking places included in plans for development of the West Campus site. 

The initial hitch with the notion came when Rhoades said he’d need to ask the city manager’s office if the commission needed city council authorization to send the letter. 

Wrenn noted that the current school district offices at Old City Hall and its annex have only 13 spaces. 

“You couldn’t do anything more environmentally unfriendly” than to provide one space for every employee, he said. “The school district is even more backward that the university when it comes to urging alternative transport. 

“This is a very clear conflict with General Plan policy and it’s clearly appropriate for the Planning Commission to address.” 

But other members said they wanted to know more about the district’s plan before reaching a decision. 

“I’m totally uncomfortable getting into this towards the end of the process and using the august grandeur of the Planning Commission to intimidate the BUSD,” quipped Commissioner Gene Poschman, “I would love to refer this to the Transportation Commission [chaired by Rob Wrenn].” 

The commission meeting ended with no action taken on the proposal. 

The West Campus plan goes to the school board for a public hearing at its June 29 meeting.›

‘Project BUILD’ Keeps Kids Reading During Summer By MATTHEW ARTZ

Friday June 24, 2005

Nearly 1,000 Berkeley kids kicked off the city’s summer program Wednesday, but instead of throwing balls and eating sloppy joes, they all had a book under their arm and celery on their plate. 

With support from UC Berkeley and local businesses, Berkeley has expanded Project BUILD, a two-year-old program designed to infuse standard summer recreation programs for kindergarten through eighth grade students with lessons in healthy eating, recycling, and most important, literacy. 

Studies show that students regress a half grade in reading over the summer, said Trina Ostrander, executive director of the Berkeley Public Education Foundation. “It’s tragic that kids who are already behind actually lose academic skills over the summer.” 

Project BUILD attempts to keep students on track academically by giving them two free books and deploying 80 trained UC Berkeley students to tutor them three hours a day. The remainder of the day is reserved for recreation. 

The program works with eight already established city summer programs and is geared towards low income students in south and west Berkeley, where students have disproportionately lower test scores and higher rates of asthma and diabetes. 

“This is like school, only more fun,” said Victoria Alejo, a fourth grader who selected Felita as her summer reading material. Alexis Conway, a third grader, said that the three hours of reading was her favorite part of the program, although most of her friends preferred swimming. 

Beatriz Leyva-Cutler, the executive director of BAHIA, a community group that has teamed up with Project BUILD, said she has noticed that students who participated in last year’s program read better during the school year. 

“Our kids were a lot more excited about reading,” said Phil Cotton, who directs Berkeley’s Young Adult Project, also affiliated with the program. “The kids were proud to show off their books and show their parents what they read.”  

Cotton said that before Project BUILD, YAP had high school students or community volunteers tutoring students rather than trained UC students. “They solidify the program that much more,” he said. 

Tou Lor, a recent Cal grad who tutored students last year, said the program gives UC tutors a chance to formulate their own lesson plan. “This is a much richer experience than tutoring during the school year,” he said. 

Unlike last year, he added, when the program was hastily put together over two months, the tutors now have more training from UC Berkeley’s School of Education for scholastic work and from Berkeley’s Health Department to teach kids about cooking and exercising. 

The program carries a $320,000 price tag, but doesn’t cost the city any money. UC Berkeley covers the cost of the tutors through $255,000 in federal work-study funding and local businesses have contributed the rest of the money. All students will receive a free lunch devoid of soda and sweets. 

“This is the most exciting project I’ve been involved with in quite some time,” said Mayor Tom Bates, who worked to cobble together the funding and support groups to get the program underway. 

Project BUILD isn’t the only summer program in Berkeley this year, said school district spokesperson Mark Coplan. The PTA will continue to run programs at a few school sites that focus more on recreation. 




Gilman Ballfields Hit Fast Track By RICHARD BRENNEMAN

Friday June 24, 2005

Two city commissions mulled matters as diverse as artificial turf and burrowing owls Thursday during a joint evening meeting called to discuss the Gilman Street Playing Fields. 

During the 90-minute session, both Planning and Parks and Recreation commissioners heard from an Albany city councilmember, the chair of the Waterfront Commission, representatives of the Sierra Club, Audubon Society and Citizens for Eastshore Parks plus assorted city staffers and others. 

The meeting follows the release of proposed amendments to the Waterfront Specific Plan and zoning codes, along with the project’s environmental impact study and its accompanying proposed mitigated negative declaration. 

The city is pushing the project through the commission process, hoping for a final City Council vote on Sept. 27, according to planner Alan Gatzke. 

While the entire project will include two regulation soccer fields, two softball fields and a full-scale hardball field, only the soccer fields are in line for the first phase of development, said Parks and Recreation Department project manager Roger Miller. 

The $3 million initial phase will build the end-to-end fields on the northeast portion of the site along the south side of Gilman and extending down the Eastshore Freeway frontage road end at the northern edge of the hardball field site. 

The fields are costly in part because they are made of artificial turf atop an 18-inch drainage platform designed to allow play within an hour after a rain. 

The baseball fields, a small field house with restrooms on the north and additional restrooms on the south and, perhaps, night lighting would follow in a second phase after further funds are secured. 

The land, owned by the East Bay Regional Parks District, is currently occupied by the overflow parking lot for Golden Gate Fields on its northern half and unpaved land on the south. 

Eastshore State Park owns the narrow strip along the waterfront, including the Bayshore Trail. 

A joint powers agreement formed by the cities of Berkeley, Emeryville, Albany, El Cerrito and Richmond was created to initiate the project, and will result in the formation of a Joint Powers Authority which will work with Berkeley officials to bring it into being. 

City Director of Parks and Recreation and the Waterfront Mark Seleznow said the cities banded together because “of the enormous deficit of playing fields throughout the East Bay community” and “the parks district doesn’t do this kind of work.” 


Environmental concerns 

Vice Mayor Allan Maris of Albany, a veteran of his city’s Waterfront and Parks and Recreation Commissions before his election to the council, noted that the East Shore Park General Plan included playing fields on the Albany Plateau at the base of the Albany Bulb to the north of Golden Gate Fields. 

That notion was later abandoned after objections were raised by environmentalists, including Norman La Force of the Sierra Club and Robert Cheasty of Citizens for East Shore Parks. 

Both were on hand Thursday to endorse the current proposal—with one proviso. 

La Force, who was speaking both for the Sierra Club and the Audubon Society, said the best alternative was to create a new habitat for burrowing owls on the Albany Plateau. 

When Planning Commissioner Sara Shumer noted that the Berkeley Meadow at the base of the Berkeley Marina was also used as an owl habitat, La Force said that the land was also reserved as habitat for two raptors that compete directly with the owl, while a habitat on the plateau could be prepared especially for the owls, officially recognized as a threatened species.  

Planner Alan Gatzke said the Planning Commission will be asked to vote on two amendments to the Waterfront Specific Plan which will allow the fields to be built. 

The first provides specific language to allow development of ballfields on the site, while the second would exempt the project from a requirement to prepare a master development plan for the project, a lengthy and potentially expensive process. 


Deadlines and meetings 

Planning commissioners will also be asked to give their approval to a zoning ordinance change needed before the city can move ahead. 

As the joint meeting ended, the Planning Commission voted to set a July 13 hearing on the environmental impact statement. 

“Major commissions involved in drafting the plan must all provide comments” on the EIS, Gatzke said. 

While the Transportation Commission offered their comments last week, the Waterfront Commission offered theirs at a meeting held simultaneously with the Planning Commission. Parks and Recreation is scheduled to offers theirs on Monday, with a final deadline for submission on July 6. 

Final comments for the environmental documents will be taken at the Planning Commission July 13 meeting, with the commission scheduled to vote on the plan and zoning amendments on July 27. 

Seleznow said that if all goes as planned, the construction contract on the soccer fields would be signed in spring or early summer of 2006, with the first games to begin early that September.,

RFID Detractors Gather for Protest By MATTHEW ARTZ

Friday June 24, 2005

To the backdrop of songs that harkened back to the Cold War, about 60 Berkeley lefties and library workers, most of them old enough to remember the ‘60s, protested Tuesday against what they see as a 21st century menace. 

Radio frequency identification devices, palm-sized antennas that can be used to track anything from cattle to razors, are coming to the library starting in August.  

But opponents of the technology, including the American Civil Liberties Union, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, and locally Super Berkeleyans Organizing For Library Defense, oppose the technology. 

They argue that when it comes to library books, the devices could allow authorities or anyone with a card reading machine to track not just the book, but the library patron as well. 

SuperBOLD also fears that the devices—purported to increase self check-out rates at the library to 90 percent—might cost library employees their jobs. 

“We want humans, not machines,” Peace And Justice Commissioner Phoebe Anne Sorgen told the audience. 

Berkeley has already paid for its $650,000 system, approved last year by the library board, and is moving ahead with implementation. The board was scheduled to hold a public forum on the technology Monday, but scheduling conflicts among the panel of experts caused them to postpone the meeting, said Board Member Terry Powell. The forum has been tentatively rescheduled for August 1. 

The battle over RFIDs is continuing on the state and national levels, said Lee Tien, an attorney with the San Francisco-based Electronic Frontier Foundation. 

The EFF and ACLU succeeded in passing a bill through the state Assembly banning RFID in state identity cards, Tien said. However, he added, a companion bill in the senate is facing opposition from the electronics industry. 

Tien said national concern about RFID has increased after the U. S. State Department was forced to withdraw its plan to install the devices on new U.S. passports. The agency is now considering ways to encrypt the devices so they can only be read by authorized individuals. 

City Receives High Marks in Mayor’s Poll By MATTHEW ARTZ

Friday June 24, 2005

The Fire Department is Berkeley’s top budget priority according to an unscientific survey of residents released Tuesday by Mayor Tom Bates. 

Fire protection and emergency services, both provided by the Fire Department, ranked one and two among survey participants. Business assistance, job training, affordable housing and arts programs were rated as the lowest priorities out of a list of 18. 

The top priorities after fire and emergency services were: Police, libraries, parks, child care and after school programs, health programs, senior and disabled programs, street and sidewalk repair, transportation and parking, audits, homeless programs and bicycle programs. 

The survey didn’t appear to influence the mayor’s recommendations for funding community agencies, also released this week. The biggest beneficiaries were the civic arts program, a youth jobs program, and the Berkeley Guides, which serves downtown businesses. 

Survey participants gave the city high marks overall for services. Fifty-nine percent responded that city services were good to excellent, while just 18 percent ranked such services as below average or very poor. 

Respondents were not offered categories to express their opinions on land use, development, zoning or growth. 

Despite the low ranking for business assistance, 69 percent of respondents said economic development was an important issue. 

655 residents took the survey, the majority of whom attended one of the mayor’s recent public meetings. Others took the survey online. 

Also some council districts were disproportionately represented. District 1, Northwest Berkeley, accounted for 23 percent of the respondents, while District 4, Central Berkeley, accounted for 4 percent.  

The mayor’s office acknowledged that the survey was not a validly accurate public opinion poll. 

At Tuesday’s council meeting Mayor Bates said that if revenues were strong he would consider restoring funding to the fire department. To help close an $8.9 million budget deficit, the city will rotate the closure of fire companies starting in July.

Gay Pride Festival This Weekend By CASSIE NORTON

Friday June 24, 2005

This weekend might be a good time to reload your BART pass and avoid driving in San Francisco—the city will be full of revelers for the 35th annual Pride Celebration. 

The celebration is a culmination of the month of pride events that takes place every June. Historically, it is a commemoration of the 1969 Stonewall Riots and the birth of the modern gay rights movement. Locally, the mission of the San Francisco Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Pride Celebration Committee is “to educate the world, commemorate our heritage, celebrate our culture, and liberate our people,” according to the Pride website. 

The festivities will be held Saturday, June 25, from noon to 6 p.m. at the Civic Center and continue on Sunday from noon to 7 p.m. A $3 donation is requested, but no one will be turned away for lack of funds. Performers include the San Francisco Orchestra on Saturday and Third Eye Blind, En Vogue, BETTY, and third-place American Idol finalist Kimberley Locke on Sunday. The famous Pride Parade begins at 10:30 a.m. on Sunday, starting on Market Street at Beale and traveling west to Eighth Street. 

Grandstand seats for the parade can be purchased in advance for $31 per person or for $35 at the parade, and are for sale at the Pacific Center for Human Growth at 2712 Telegraph Ave. The tickets must be purchased in person and paid for with cash. Drop-in hours are Monday through Friday from noon to 6 p.m. or by appointment; however, desk volunteer Lester Marks strongly suggests calling the center beforehand at 548-8283. 

Each year the Pride Committee elects publicly nominated grand marshals, people who have contributed significantly to the LGBT community. This year there are three celebrity grand marshals: retired pro football player turned singer Esera Tualo; Ilene Chaiken, creator of the hit series The L Word ; and Alec Mapa, an openly gay actor, playwright, journalist, comic and performer who writes a regular column for The Advocate called “Minority Report.” 

The grand marshal recognized for lifetime achievement is Jose Sarria, who as an openly gay man working at the Black Cat bar in San Francisco in the 1940s, lead the customers to the local jail to serenade the arrested patrons of area gay bars. In 1961 he was the first openly gay person in the modern world to run for public office. He lost, but the 5,600 votes he garnered drew attention to the importance of the gay voting populace. Sarria later developed the bylaws and functions of what became the Imperial Court of San Francisco, which has grown to become a national philanthropic organization. He remains very active in the community. 

Local grand marshals include Randy Burns, founder of the Gay American Indians in 1975, and an HIV/AIDS and human rights activist; James Hormel, the philanthropist who funded the gay and lesbian center in the San Francisco Library and the first openly gay ambassador; and the Reverend Dr. G. Penny Nixon, Senior Minister of the Metropolitan Community Church of San Francisco, a progressive Christian church which “encourages gay people to experience the fullness of their spiritual life.” 

The Pride Committee also awards the “Pink Brick” to a person or organization who has hurt the LGBT community in the past year. This year’s recipient is Sen. Diane Feinstein for her comment that gay marriage was “too much, too fast, too soon.” While this is the most recent incident between Feinstein and the gay community, it is not the first. Feinstein has had a rocky relationship with the community, voting against the first domestic partners’ legislation in 1982 and in favor of closing the San Francisco bath houses. However, she also provided funding for HIV/AIDS during the presidency of Ronald Reagan and supported Grand Marshall James Hormel in his bid for an ambassadorial position. 

According to the committee, this is the first time the Pink Brick has been awarded to someone “we can talk with.” 

The final grand marshal award, given to organizations who have helped the LGBT community, went to PAWS (Pets Are Wonderful Support), a non-profit organization that assists people with AIDS/HIV and other disabling illnesses in staying together with their companion animals. They are dedicated to educating the community on the benefits and risks of animal companionship and advocating on behalf of the human-animal bond. 

In order to accommodate the crowds, the BART will be providing longer trains on Sunday, as well as event trains before and after the celebration. Trains will operate on a regular Sunday schedule at 20-minute intervals on the Richmond to Fremont, Pittsburg/Baypoint to Millbrae and Dublin/Pleasanton to Daly City lines. BART personnel will be selling BART tickets at tables in selected stations to help ease the demand at ticket machines. A table will be open at the Dublin/Pleasanton and Fremont stations from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m and at the Civic Center from 1 p.m. to 7 p.m. BART officials suggest buying round trip tickets to avoid lines before the trip home. 

For more information on the Pride Celebration, call (415) 864 - 3733 or log on to the Pride website, www.sfpride.org.

Health Officials Urge Changes at Field Station, Campus Bay By RICHARD BRENNEMAN

Friday June 24, 2005

Anxious workers at the Richmond Field Station (RFS) gathered in a conference room at the UC Berkeley facility Thursday to hear reports from state and local officials on potential health risks posed by hazardous pollutants at RFS and the Campus Bay site next door. 

Contra Costa Public Health Director Dr. Wendel Brunner and Dr. Richard Kruetzer, chief of the Environmental Health Investigations branch of the state Department of Health Services, said that while current conditions were well within acceptable occupational exposure standards, they would press for more sensitive exposure monitoring equipment at both locations. 

Brunner said the two agencies joined forces to look at the sites at the request of community members and people who work at RFS and in the businesses immediately south of Campus Bay. 

“Probably the most important potential health risk arises because the site has not been completely evaluated,” said Brunner. “The university really needs to develop a health and safety plan that can be [posted] in areas that have not been completely assessed and remediated.” 

Of particular concern was potential exposures to workers involved in digging in still-contaminated areas, he said. 

Monitoring equipment now in use is sensitive to acceptable exposure levels for workers who spend approximately 40 hours weekly at the site, but not to the lower levels that could represent potential threats to infants and others who receive longer exposures because they live near the site, he said. 

Specifically, the two agencies called for lower-than-occupational-level detection of airborne arsenic and mercury, public availability of all known information sampling data, a letter from the university to all employees promising not to retaliate against employees who raise questions about site safety and implementing the precautionary principle for all untested and unremediated areas of the sites. 

Other actions urged include: 

• Notification of local works and residents before the start of any remediation actions. 

• Fencing with warning signs of unremediated areas of East Stege Marsh and the adjoining lagoon. 

• Formulation of a health and safety plan for use during all future marsh restoration efforts in remediated areas, taking into account the possibility of chemicals migrating in from unremediated areas. 

• Training in hazardous materials handling and exposures for UC workers whose jobs may include digging and otherwise handling soils at the site. 

The officials also called for monitoring of supposedly “clean” East Bay mud imported to replace the contaminated muck excavated from Stege Marsh at both sites. 

“There’s a lot of contaminated mud around the Bay, and we don’t want contaminated mud to replace contaminated mud,” said Brunner. 

Nonetheless, said the physicians, children working to replant remediated areas of the marsh don’t face any risks of exposure to known toxins—a concern recently raised by members of Bay Area Residents for Responsible Development. 

While Brunner said the agencies were directing their primary efforts at current and future conditions at the site, many of the employees, including retirees present during the session, said they were more concerned with exposures incurred in the past and with their potential health consequences. 

Brunner acknowledged that no measurements had been collected during some of the previous cleanup efforts, including large-scale operations that led up to the creation of a 350,000-cubic-yard capped waste pile at Campus Bay, and said that monitors that were in place were geared to the higher, occupational exposures. 

Barbara Cook of the state Department of Toxic Substances Control said she was satisfied that monitoring was adequate during cleanup efforts at Campus Bay over the past year. “They were set...to protect the community,” she said, adding, “we have to go back and talk about this.” 

DHS physician Marilyn Underwood said Thursday morning that a subsequent review of DTSC monitoring revealed that arsenic levels were detected at levels very close to what her department wanted, and were considered adequate. 

Responding to employee concerns about the potential synergistic effects of contaminants on the site Brunner acknowledged that little is known about how the interaction of two chemicals might produce a greater adverse effect than expected from their additive impacts—a phenomenon well known in pharmacology. Underwood said that her department considered only additive impacts. 

The physicians likewise couldn’t offer reassuring answers to workers who asked what tests might detect prior exposures. 

Lichterman offered one possible source of help, employee health complaint logs held by a former RFS employee who called her after a Daily Planet story previewing Thursday’s meeting. 

She also presented officials with photographs of an unknown purple fluid oozing up from a site near Field Station Building 484, along with samples of the liquid.  

UC senior editor and UPTE union Occupational Health and Safety Officer Joan Lichterman seconded the call for a non-retaliation letter, reminding UC officials that “you said we would get a letter...to date, nothing has happened.” 

“I imagine it will be coming soon,” said Teresa McLemore of the university’s Employee Relations Department. 

Other UC officials on hand for the afternoon included Environmental Health and Safety specialists Karl Hans and Anna Moore, Scott Shackleton and assistant Dean of the College of Engineering (which has jurisdiction over most of the site). 

Four other DHS officers wer also in attendance. 

The two agencies will continue to work together with the goal of preparing a final report and recommendations. A meeting in November with all the various agencies involved in the two sites is expected to make a major advance on the goal. 


CAG Meeting  

The Community Advisory Group appointed to assist the state Department of Toxic Substances Control in formulating final cleanup plans for Campus Bay will meet June 30 to discuss whether to include RFS in their purview. The Daily Planet incorrectly reported that the meet would occur after Thursday’s meeting. 

The meeting, open to the public, will be held from 7 to 9 p.m. in the Bermuda Room of the Richmond Convention Center, 403 Civic Center Plaza near the corner of Nevin and 25th streets.›

Helen Lima, Presente! By MARGY WILKINSON Special to the Planet

Friday June 24, 2005

Helen Corbin Lima died peacefully in her sleep in the early hours of May 5. She had recently celebrated her 88th birthday. On the day she died she had lunch with friends at the North Oakland Senior Center and after a rest helped make a large pot of applesauce.  

Helen and her twin brother Allen were born on March 31, 1917, in China where their father was a missionary. Helen returned to the U.S. permanently in 1928, the year her mother died. Helen graduated from high school in Henry, Illinois and went first to Carleton College and then to the University of Illinois in Urbana. She graduated with a degree in sociology and no hopes of finding a job in the Midwest. In 1938, a self declared atheist and non-conformist, she moved to Eureka, California where her older sister Clara was living. Clara had been part of the community support for the 1935 Eureka lumber strike and that attracted Helen. She worked part-time at a restaurant and cleaned houses before she finally she found a job as the secretary for the fisherman’s union Local 38 in Eureka in 1939. Helen later wrote about this experience, “I learned CIO unionism—militant, democratic and politically progressive.” Helen’s job was to keep the books, track the treasury and take the minutes. She soon, however, became an organizer. That same year Helen joined the Communist Party and in 1940 she married Albert J “Mickie” Lima who was a local leader in the CP.  

Their first child, Margaret was born in 1943 and in 1945 the family moved to San Francisco. Helen went to work in the offices of People’s World newspaper. Their second child, Michael, was born in August 1949 and in May 1951 their third child, Rachel, was born. Six weeks later Mickie and other leaders of the Communist Party were arrested under the Smith Act. For the next several years Helen’s life was consumed by the “Smith Act Defense.” By 1956 the job at the People’s World had become very part time and Helen went to work first in a small restaurant and then in the spring of 1957 in the kitchen at Herrick Hospital in Berkeley. In the summer of 1958 SEIU Local 250 struck at several East Bay hospitals for pay increase and union recognition. After a three-week strike they won union recognition and a nickel increase in pay. Helen, who had been a strike captain, became a rank and file union activist—and for the next 21 years she fought for workers on the job and for democracy and financial transparency in Local 250.  

In 1979 Helen retired from Herrick and devoted her time to political work. She worked for peace, against racism and South African apartheid, in many local political campaigns and raised money for the People’s World newspaper. She also took care of her son Michael who suffered from schizophrenia until he committed suicide in 1982. In 1995 Helen lost her son-in-law Donzell in a tragic incident of street violence. In 1987 Mickie retired from full time work in the Communist Party and Mickie and Helen spent long weeks at the family cabin in Fort Bragg. Mickie died in June 1989 and in early 1991 Helen moved into Strawberry Creek Lodge in Berkeley. Her only income was Social Security, so she applied for Section 8 housing—and a whole new realm of political activity opened up for her. From then until her death Helen was active in the fight for affordable housing and to save Section 8. In May 2000 she was given an affordable housing leadership award for community activism by the Non Profit Housing Association of Northern California. And in November 2004 she received the Hell Raiser of the Year award from Berkeley’s Housing Rights Advocates.  

Helen is survived by daughters Rachel and Margy and son-in-law Tony; grandchildren Jason and wife Rachel, Lila and Matthew; by great grandchildren Sofia and Mickie—and by scores of friends and admirers.  

A public memorial will be held at 2:00 p.m. on June 26, 2005, at Finnish Hall, 1819 Tenth St., Berkeley. Please call Margy Wilkinson at 644-1138 for information. g


Friday June 24, 2005


Letters to the Editor

Friday June 24, 2005


Editors, Daily Planet: 

My friend Zelda keeps getting in deeper and deeper. Someone needs to throw her a life raft. Let’s talk a little about the UC lawsuit. 

Substance: The only hook Berkeley had (because the university is exempt from local regulation) is a flawed environmental quality report. What the lawsuit could have realistically accomplished, had it been tried, was to force a new report. Nothing more. What the settlement did accomplish was more than that for the cash-starved city. Of course, the city is starved for cash partly because short-sighted folks (including Zelda) voted down some needed tax measures last November. 

Process: The City Council met with its attorneys to discuss settlement in closed session. Just as it always does in lawsuit settlement talks. I should know, it always happened when I sued the city on behalf of someone. If that is anti-democratic, it is surprising that it took Zelda so long to find out about the practice (reported in all local papers for as long as I have lived here—approximately 50 years). 

Taxes: It surprises and disappoints me that good, formerly progressive people like Zelda would vote to deprive the libraries and the city of necessary revenue at a time when the governor is starving the cities and counties in an attempt to avoid or reduce needed taxes. People need to understand that, as George Lakoff reminds us, taxes are the dues we pay for the civilization we enjoy. 

One final note: It hardly needs an entire letter to point out that Marie Bowman’s screed is long on taxes and number of employees but short (actually, absent) on the service we provide here in Berkeley that the cities she uses for comparison do not provide. But then, truth was not her weapon. 

Mal Burnstein 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

I send the letter below to the Daily Planet because although the San Francisco Chronicle once published about half my letters, it has published none since last October and will not respond to my query about whether it maintains a blacklist, which increasingly appears to be the case.  

More important, however, is the shameful way in which the U.S. media has largely ignored the implications of the Downing Street memo and those that have followed it as published in the British press (but not here), as well as the way that the Conyers hearing was ridiculed by the leading newspapers that bothered to report it. The lack of coverage of these extremely important documents and of that riveting hearing is one of the greatest indictments of U.S. journalism, even as the Republican assassination of Dan Rather, Newsweek, and many others shows that there is no safety for the press in cooperation with the present regime.  

Editors, San Francisco Chronicle: 

Anyone who read the Cox News Service account of the historic June 16 hearing held by Rep. John Conyers on the significance of the Downing Street Memo (and those that have followed and buttressed it) would have virtually no idea of what those of us who watched the hearings on C-Span saw and heard, let alone of who testified at the hearing, why it had to be held in a cramped basement room, or why those memoranda appear to point to impeachable crimes. To its credit, the San Francisco Chronicle printed the text of the memo along with the drab little article, but it did so on page A20 and provided none of the essential context needed by readers to understand its dynamite implications.  

Now that public pressure is forcing the mainstream U.S. media to pay attention to a document published over a month ago in the Times of London, pundits at the leading newspapers and network news are justifying their tardiness by echoing the White House claims that the evidence of deliberate deception by the Bush and Blair administrations is miraculously absurd and stale news at the same time, and that anyone who pays it heed is a paranoid wingnut or, more inconsequentially, an anti-war activist. In its failure to adequately cover this explosive story, the U.S. media shares culpability with the twin administrations which deceived the world into an ever-deepening disaster from which there now appears no escape.  

Gray Brechin  




Editors, Daily Planet: 

We’ve recently been reading about the Downing Street Memo covering a meeting that Prime Minister Tony Blair of England had with his top advisors in March 2002. This memo revealed incontrovertibly that President Bush and his administration were already planning to invade Iraq illegally. The memo shows that they were planning to “fix” the weapons-of-mass-destruction reports from the intelligence agencies. We now realize that this misinformation was used to get Congress to authorize an illegal invasion of Iraq so that by March 2003, the United States and Britain could join together to topple Saddam Hussein and bring about the death of 1,700 U.S. citizens and more than 100,000 Iraqi citizens. 

Congressman John Conyers and 35 other members of the congress have just held a hearing to call on President Bush to answer questions raised by the Downing Street Memo. Bush is not likely to do so since this administration has been using cover-up tactics to avoid a frank discussion of the memo. It is time to consider impeachment of President Bush for the crime not only of starting a war illegally, but of creating a horrendous situation in Iraq for which there appears to be no end (is that what President Bush meant when he talked about “endless war?”). 

Impeachment could not proceed without a congressional inquiry into lies Bush might have told congress to get its permission to invade Iraq. Therefore, we call on the Daily Planet to urge the Berkeley City Council to call for such an inquiry based on information brought to light by the Downing Street Memo. 

Jean Pauline  





Just what is Ms. Wheeler trying to say in her June 14 commentary? Her title suggests that the library has discarded books on the subject of elder abuse, but she cites no titles and provides no evidence that this is the case. She rightly points out that the library has no books on the subject. I suspect what she’s requesting is that the library acquire some references (for which it sounds like she may have a list). To this end, the library’s website has a “Suggest A Purchase” link on the top right and I bet they’d be pleased to take donations. 

I didn’t even know the public library had an “Adult” collection! 

John Vinopal 




I have three friends who have all experienced violence in their families recently. One dead son in a car-jacking, one critical son because of an unprovoked road-rage shooting and a godson who was shot seven times in the abdomen six weeks ago in a robbery. These assaults have all been committed by “kids.” I find it self-defeating for our society that these “kids” at the age of 10 are taught everything there is to know about sex but that it is unlawful for anyone to tell them about God, that God has laws, and that if everyone put God first in their lives there would be no violence such as this. 

Catherine Willis 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

Reading the several articles regarding the proposed renaming of the Jefferson Elementary School, leads me to believe that all citizens of Berkeley are not so well informed on the Thomas Jefferson-Sally Hemings controversy. I refer your readers to www.angelfire.com/va/TJTruth and www.tjheritage.org. Read the full Scholars Commission Report from a link here and the book review, “The Jefferson-Hemings Myth: An American Travesty.”  

Nothing proves a Jefferson-Hemings relationship but it still fuels the slavery debate.  

Herb Barger 

Jefferson Family Historian 

Assistant to Dr. E.A. Foster on the Jefferson-Hemings DNA Study 

Ft. Washington, Md. 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

It’s always a bit worrying when a citizen commissioner interjects themselves into a city staffing issue because of their personal agenda of hostility. Humane Commissioner McFall speaks loudly at public meetings and writes letters to the papers but never reveals her status as a commissioner. This gives the impression she is just a very informed bystander—she is not. She has an ax to grind with Councilmember Dona Spring and with certain other progressive commissioners and she grinds it ceaselessly. In her public statements she crudely berates the councilmember who has fought tirelessly for animals and the animal shelter, long before it was fashionable to do so and certainly long before Ms McFall was given her position on the commission—Dona Spring. 

It is unseemly for a commissioner to speak up for any job cuts in the agency she oversees, but her statements make clear that she has taken a position to endorse one position, which in effect endorses cutting of another. She then finds reasons to justify the cut while making a broad call for no cuts. How shallow and how very transparent. 

There is not another member of the Humane Commission I know of who has taken this position. The rest of us, knowing better, are advocating for more staff, not less. This department has been cut, every year for four years. We cannot afford, in a time of greater public anxiety about dogs, to be cutting back on any staff, whether they be field operations or shelter-based. 

McFall’s ugly attack on Spring for not going to the shelter and her accusation that Dona knows nothing about animal sheltering does not take into account that as a disabled woman in a wheelchair, crossing the railroad tracks makes Dona anxious—with good reason. Neither does it take into account that Ms. Spring has consistently appointed commissioners with know how and experience to advise her on the shelter. 

Jill Posener 

Berkeley Humane Commissioner 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

“Federation Communications Commission”? (Daily Planet, June 21.) Is Star Wars what blew Brenneman’s mind? 

And as to Police Blotter aficionado Foldvary (Letters, June 21), I’d say he misses the main point as to the annoyance in reading the blotter. I can’t believe anyone reads that thing because of what (s)he sees in it as “wit.” With all the tons of writing styles available in crime stories plastered all over the media in our present-day society, would anyone go to a police blotter for entertainment? Foldvary seems typical of quite a few Berkeleyans who hold some concept that the way they think is the way “people,” “most people” or “righteous people” think. 

The Police Blotter is just plain annoying in that it forces one to put extra effort—because of archaic crime slang or whatever—into simply reading a useful feature for getting a rough idea of crime problems in one’s vicinity. 

May the Force wipe the nonsense out of the Daily Planet Police Blotter! And, oh yeah, train whistles: O.K., they’re nostalgic...but only if you live the right distance from their tracks. And then there’s BART, which doesn’t even need a whistle to grate on your nerves while walking the Nimitz Trail two mountain ridges away, every time it turns on a radius of almost the same distance! 

Ray Chamberlin 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

As the chair of Vote Health, I want to alert your readers to a proposed raid on Measure A funds, which Alameda County voters authorized in March 2004 to be spent on providing healthcare services to low-income and uninsured residents. Measure A, a half-cent sales tax increase, specifies that the new funding is to supplement, not replace existing county spending. Yet Dave Kears, head of the county’s Health Care Services Agency, is proposing to balance his department’s budget by using $5.4 million in Measure A funds to pay cost-of-living adjustments (COLAs) to several health care providers. These COLAs are essential, given the surging costs of providing healthcare, but they should come out of County funds, not Measure A tax receipts. 

This proposal also violates the Board of Supervisors policy of last December, which stated that the community primary care clinics would have priority for any Measure A funds above the anticipated $20 million per year. That’s where this $5.4 million comes from—more taxes have been collected than anticipated by the board’s original allocation of $20 million from Measure A. 

Another major problem is the failure of the supervisors to appoint the citizen oversight committee required by Measure A. 15 months after the election there is still no independent monitoring of how our tax dollars are being spent. 

We agree that the county is facing fiscal problems, in large part because it is in turn being raided by the state and federal governments. But the county administrator somehow found an additional $20 million to plug holes in the sheriff’s budget—that extra funding should have been more equitably distributed to all county departments being forced to make cuts.  

The Board of Supervisors adopts the county budget this Friday, June 24, starting at 10 a.m. Call President Keith Carson at 272-6695 to protest this abuse of Measure A funds and insist that the COLAs be paid out of the county’s pocket! 

Kay Eisenhower 





Editors, Daily Planet: 

I would like to offer some suggestions regarding the city’s current budget crisis: 

1. Re-negotiate all city employment contacts to eliminate the practice of including automatic annual COLAs and to require each city employee to contribute to his or her own retirement, as other cities do. 

2. Place Public Housing under HUD (Oakland has done this successfully). The city has more than met housing goals set by ABAG; the department costs per unit for management appear excessive; and the department has not been in compliance with HUD rules. 

3. Eliminate Berkeley’s redundant Health Department and use the county Health Department. We already pay for Alameda County services as well as for Berkeley’s. The city could assume an advocate position. 

4. Evaluate the effectiveness of current youth programs before adding any more. 

5. Our sewer fees are four to five times higher than those of other cities, while our sewers continue to deteriorate. Is it perhaps because the city siphons off sewer funds and applies them to other projects? 

6. $60,000 for turtles to enhance a non-functioning fountain? This surely is a joke!? 

The above cuts could give us the police and fire protection the citizens of the city deserve. Anything less is malfeasance on the part of city government. Eight policemen on the street at night is dangerous, as is eliminating a fire truck. The primary duty of government is to ensure public safety, and we should make that a priority. 

Evelyn Giardina 





Editors, Daily Planet: 

Regarding the June 21 story, “Transportation Commission Declines to Choose Ferry Site,” by Richard Brenneman: 

For the record, the Waterfront Commission’s recommendation was the same as that reported for the Transportation Commission, i.e., to consider all potential sites for providing ferry transit service to the East Bay: 

“Request that WTA proceed with environmental review and detailed site selection for a terminal location that includes all potential sites in Berkeley and Albany and direct city staff to provide support for the analysis of parking and traffic impacts.” 

Brad Smith 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

In his crusade against California’s teachers, Gov. Schwarzenegger crassly manipulates a misconception: teacher tenure as inured incompetence. In fact, there is no such thing as a permanent K-12 teacher. Tenure, conferred after two years’ satisfactory service, is simply the right not to be dismissed without a fair hearing. To prevent this “sunshine” status from taking effect for three additional years, so that during any of the five years a teacher could be dismissed in backstage mode without review, is no recipe for good teaching—and certainly not for the ésprit de corps that we Californians remember in our best teachers. 

Anne Richardson 





Editors, Daily Planet: 

Mayor Bates’ remark at City Council on Tuesday night that he does not read the Daily Planet is frighteningly reminiscent of the isolation of another one of our leaders, George W. Bush. 

If you do not know what your constituents are thinking and what issues concern them, you will not be able to make informed decisions. And that is what we see happening on both the national and local level. 

Yes, it is hard to be a politician in a town that has an independent paper, with good investigative reporters and a very attentive readership who generously contribute their views in letters and op-ed columns. 

But difficult as it is, politicians cannot survive in an hermetically sealed environment, and should actually be thankful for the wonderful form of democracy a local, independently owned paper presents us with. 

Gregory Pedemonte 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

Not Albany residents, only 49 percent of 400 hand-picked residents through a push poll, expressed an opinion that indicated they did not want a “mega mall” built on privately owned asphalt at Golden Gate Fields. 

How the pollsters came up with “mega mall” when no plans have been made about the scope of the project is anybody’s guess unless they think about the backers of the big bucks survey. One is the developer of Fourth Street who doesn’t want the competition, and the other is an internationally active organization whose local representative doesn’t live in Albany, doesn’t even live in Alameda County. 

I say to them, “Get your noses out of my town’s business.” Richard Brenneman missed the big story at Monday night’s council meeting, probably because he was not there. The citizens in the audience did not come to the microphone to discuss the pros and cons of development. They stood to express their outrage at Councilmember Lieber’s statement at the end of the presentation that the issue was dead because his numbers showed that there was no support for development so it would never happen and the people of Albany had nothing to say about it. This was said in a forum designed for open discourse! 

Lieber also said he had nothing to do with the poll, but later said he helped design some of the questions. When questioned on that point he retreated to the previous “no involvement” stance which turned out to be that he had not contributed any money to take the survey. Mr. Lieber has a lot to learn about Albany. He overlooked Measure C, and he overlooked the fact that concerned Albany residents who care about more than a single issue are not about to be pushed around by this front man for outside interests and his potty-mouthed minion. 

Lubov Mazur 





Editors, Daily Planet: 

Concerning David Wilson’s letter of June 17 on the UC Settlement, either Mr. Wilson and I are looking at different texts, or Mr. Wilson is guilty of shoddy scholarship. I am looking at the text of the settlement agreement on the mayor’s website. Section III.D. reads as follows: “The parties acknowledge that if changes in state law modify the monetary legal obligations of UC the parties shall renegotiate this agreement with the purpose of maintaining the same total amount of allocations, inclusive of any new obligation.” I do not believe this necessarily says that the City of Berkeley is signing away the rights that would be created by a change in state law. It arguably says that the new obligations will be met and the renegotiation will attempt to keep the total allocations the same, if possible. It does not necessarily imply that the stated purpose of the renegotiation will necessarily be met. I think David Wilson is right, however, that the wording is ambiguous, and this creates the danger of an unjust court ruling, but ambiguity is generally sufficient to ensure that the city has not signed away its rights, because the signing away of rights must always be unambiguous and clearly evident in the wording of the contract. As for Mr. Wilson’s second point, it does not seem logical. If the settlement agreement terminates, all of it terminates, including any provision relating to attorney’s fees in a future challenge. 

It is disturbing that Mr. Wilson has not responded to my essential point, which is the very point on which the mayor and the city officials have most clearly deceived the people. The fiscal impact report on the city manager’s website breaks down the $13.5 million into three categories: on-going costs of providing services ($8.1 million), one-time capital costs ($2.7 million), and sewer/stormwater costs ($2.7 million). Ostensibly, the university is liable for the $8.1 million under the San Marcos ruling. It is liable in addition for the second charge of $2.7 million under the subsequent legislation, Government Code Section 54999, et seq. It is only the one-time charges for capital improvements, which are also known as special assessments, that the university is clearly exempt from. This is the key point on which the mayor and his lackeys should be challenged. Of course, they should also be challenged on the secrecy issue, which Antonio Rossman believes is even more serious than any of the very serious substantive issues. The issue of signing away the sovereignty of the city is also an extremely important issue. 

As an immediate concern, we now have the City Council attempting to perpetrate another fraud on the public. Item 15 on the action part of the agenda for the regular meeting of June 21 is a deceptive fraud upon the people. It is entitled “Alternative UC Sewer Payment Method,” and within the text it continues to perpetrate the fraud that it is merely a different method of payment that is at issue. In fact, the purpose of the new legislation is to exempt the university from paying the lawful sewer/stormwater costs. This purpose was made explicit in the settlement agreement. Subsection VI.C. of the settlement agreement reads in relevant part as follows: “City will promptly pass a resolution and take any other legal steps necessary to exempt UC Berkeley from the imposition of the sewer fees adopted by the City Council on April 26, 2005.” What is now planned is most obviously not an “alternative method of payment,” but an exemption from the true charges and a substitution of token charges in their place. This is a deceptive fraud upon the people, just one more in a long list of such fraudulent acts by this city government. 

Peter Mutnick 

Column: UnderCurrents: Downing the Stray Pigeons of the Slavery Discussion By J. DOUGLAS ALLEN-TAYLOR

Friday June 24, 2005

“Black Americans and their leaders would be far better served if they would address the real problems in black education instead of the superficial and misleading issue of the name of a school.” So begins the April 19, 2005 Berkeley Daily Planet commentary by Berkeley resident Michael Larrick, writing on his opposition to the petition to change the name of Berkeley’s Jefferson Elementary School. 

The petition was submitted to Jefferson Elementary principal Betty Delaney in the spring of 2003, and called for the name change on the grounds that Thomas Jefferson “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. .... For some ... a school name which fails to acknowledge or respect the depth and importance of their people’s collective sorrow is personally offensive....” 

The question of whether the name of Jefferson Elementary should be changed has been argued at length in the letters to the editor pages of this paper, and elsewhere, and the issue of whether it would be changed was decided this week by the Berkeley School Board, which denied the petition on a 3-2 vote. 

But Mr. Larrick’s commentary raises a different point, which is whether the issue of Thomas Jefferson as a slaveholder—and by extension, the issues raised by the institution of American slavery in general—should be a topic of such discussion at all, given the many problems being faced by African American children in the public schools. It is Mr. Larrick’s opinion that such a discussion is, at best, a waste of time, and takes away from a concentrated attack on what has been come to be called the “achievement gap”—in which the educational results of black students in general (as measured by standardized test scores and grades, for example) persistently lag behind the educational results of their white counterparts. 

“The name of a school has absolutely nothing to do with academic achievement,” Mr. Larrick argues. “The real reasons for the ‘achievement gap’ are uncomfortable for many to discuss so the portrayal of blacks as perennial victims is used to absolve them from having to accept responsibility for their own actions and bad choices.” He concludes that “the black community needs to look to the future and make some changes in their approach to education and it goes far beyond the name of a school. Time is running out on the ability to play the victim card. Doing something to change incredible school drop out rate and the number of single mothers is what should be a priority or you may as well just change the name of the school to San Quentin Prep.” 

Mr. Larrick has let fly a number of stray pigeons out of this bush, in all directions at once. Let us pick them off quickly, one by one, before they get too far away. 

The first stray pigeon is the inference that African Americans suffer from the “Gerald Ford Syndrome,” taken from the remark by President Lyndon Johnson that because Mr. Ford had played too much football without a helmet, he could not both walk and chew gum at the same time. The apparent contention by Mr. Larrick is that African Americans cannot explore the historical causes of our present problems while simultaneously working to solve those problems, but, like Sam told his son, “You can either plow this field lengthways, or you can plow it wideways, but if you try to do it both at once, you’re gonna end up on the highways.” 

But that first stray pigeon is actually knocked down by Mr. Larrick’s own second, which is his contention that the Jefferson name change petition was brought by something he calls “black Americans and their leaders.” Actually, the name change was not put forth as part of some general black agenda, either local or national, even if such a general black agenda exists (which is doubtful). Instead, the Jefferson name change idea was initiated in part by Jefferson Elementary school teachers—some of them African American, some of them of other races—who pursued the name change issue on their off time—breaks and lunches, evenings and weekends—while continuing at their day job of educating the students at Jefferson. 

But Mr. Larrick has set forth a third stray pigeon—the implication that a prolonged discussion of American slavery is unproductive in and of itself—which has flown far and fast, and we must hurry to catch it. 

The question arises, to what cause can we attribute what Mr. Larrick identifies as the “lag of black performance”? 

In his commentary, Mr. Larrick cites, as one example of that “lag,” the work of Dr. John Ogbu, who “found that the very same problems plagued both Oakland and the affluent black suburb of Cleveland, Shaker Heights. Black students were absent more often, did less homework, watched more television and had less involved parents. They did not value education … [Dr. Ogbu] found that the students own attitudes hindered their academic achievement.” Dr. Obgu’s study, Mr. Larrick continues, “raises some uncomfortable questions about race, opportunity and responsibility.” 

Yes, but what are the answers? 

One can say, as Mr. Jefferson himself once did, that blacks underachieve because we simply don’t have the tools to compete. “Comparing [blacks] by their faculties of memory, reason, and imagination,” Thomas Jefferson wrote in his 1782 essay “Notes On Virginia,” “it appears to me that in memory they are equal to the whites; in reason much inferior… and in imagination they are dull, tasteless, and anomalous. … They astonish you with strokes of the most sublime oratory; such as prove their reason and sentiment strong, their imagination glowing and elevated. But never yet could I find that a black had uttered a thought above the level of plain narration…” 

Or one can blame it, as Mr. Larrick now does, not on genetic inferiority but on what he calls the black cultivation of what he calls a “victim mentality,” a sort of code word for saying that African-Americans are too lazy to get up and solve our own problems, but find it easier to simply shuffle along while continuing to blame our plight on a long-ended situation. 

But could the persistent “lag of black performance” have some roots in slavery and could a serious study of slavery—not a mere condemnation—reveal those causes and have a hand in the cure? Beyond that, could a serious study of slavery be profitable in understanding other aspects of American life? Having run out of space, we must leave the answers to those interesting questions to another time. 


Friday June 24, 2005

Marina Brawl Busts 

Three women and a man, along with a juvenile, were arrested on charges of battery after a 2 a.m. brawl in a restaurant parking lot near the intersection of University Avenue and Seawall Drive in the Berkeley Marina last Thursday, said Berkeley Police spokesperson Officer Joe Okies. 


Tenacious V 

A tenacious 29-year-old would-be robbery victim resisted a group of teenage felons who landed a punch or two while trying to relieve him of his valuables near the corner of Delaware Street and San Pablo Avenue last Thursday afternoon. 


Booster Bust 

It turned out to be an extra bad day for the 40-year-old shoplifter who attempted a five-finger discount at the Urban Outfitters store on Bancroft Way last Friday morning. 

The prompt arrival of police and the ensuing records check revealed that the fellow had committed a similar offense within the last two years, automatically raising the seriousness of his offense. He was also nailed for providing a false name and for violation of his probation from the earlier crime. 


Gang of Three 

Police arrested three juveniles after the beating and robbery of another juvenile in the 2000 Block of Shattuck Avenue late Friday evening. 


Cell, Cash Taken 

A pair of bandits, at least one packing a pistol, took a cell phone and cash belonging to a 23-year-old man as he was walking near the tennis courts in Willard Park shortly before 1 a.m. Saturday. 

The robbers were last seen beating the pavement westbound on Derby Street, said Officer Okies. 


Dwelling Shot 

Police are seeking a man who stepped out of an SUV about 2:30 Saturday afternoon and blasted away with a handgun at a building in the 2300 block of Tenth Street. 

No one was injured in the attack. 

A witness described the suspect as a thinly built Hispanic man about 19 years old and 5’8” tall, wearing a red shirt and baggy pants. He was last seen fleeing northbound on California Street in a large silver SUV, possibly a Chevrolet Suburban, said Officer Okies. 


Costly Ticket 

A San Pablo Avenue traffic stop early Monday evening headed south for the driver when the citing officer discovered that the 38-year-old woman behind the wheel was in possession of stolen property, automatically earning her a second charge of probation violation. 


Costly Tools 

An alert caller warned police at 5 a.m. that a trio of folk lifting recyclables from sidewalk containers along Mendocino Avenue might be up to something more serious. 

Arriving on the scene, they found one of the trio, a 33-year-old man, in possession of both burglary tools and drug paraphernalia. 


Scary Threat 

A panicked call from a woman in a parked car summoned officers to the intersection of Lincoln and Chestnut streets, where they found a man with a roofer’s hatchet standing near the open window of her vehicle at 2:45 p.m. Tuesday. 

After officers arrested the suspect, the woman said the man had approached her, striking her closed window with the weapon and demanding she shut off her engine, followed by a threat to smash the window and chop her if she didn’t open the window—which she did just as officers arrived. 

The man was booked on a charge of brandishing a deadly weapon. 


Punches Police 

A 27-year-old Berkeley man was arrested on two charges of battery on an officer of the law after he swung on Berkeley cops who had responded to a Wednesday noon call of a man brandishing a butcher’s knife. 

When officers arrived at the residence in the 1800 block of Fairview, the man came out of the dwelling and starting swinging his fists at the officers, inflicting injuries in the process. 

A records check yielded an additional charge of probation violation. 


Stabs Son 

Police arrested a 43-year-old Berkeley man after he allegedly stabbed his son in the back about 1:15 p.m. Wednesday in the 2700 block of Sojourner Truth Way. 

The father fled and the victim’s son called police just after he was stabbed in the back. The father was arrested soon thereafter. 

Police booked the father on charges of assault with a deadly weapon and felony child abuse with great bodily injury. 

No further information was available on the state of the victim, said Officer Okies. 


Solo Heist 

A lone bandit slugged a 29-year-old man as he was walking along the 3100 block of Martin Luther King Jr. Way about 11:20 p.m. Wednesday, taking off with his cell phone, CD player and bicycle.o

Commentary: Critiquing Visual Arts on Public Display By ALEX NICOLOFF

Friday June 24, 2005

Thanks to Bonnie Hughes for an excellent, historic review of Berkeley’s duplicit culture. It was a rare opinion piece with which I am in total sympathy. Such an uncommonly, insightful perspective as she brings to bear, needs to be supplemented by a critical examination of such visual arts as are on prominent public display.  

Rather than deal with the usual art exhibits presented at the Berkeley Art Museum, on this occasion, I would draw attention to a more unconventional venue, that of the display windows in the downtown, Berkeley-owned parking garage. It is space now devoted to the visual arts for the pleasure of the unsuspecting passersby. Compliments need to be extended to the anonymous individuals that not only conceived the plan but also the installers that have been managing the inviting variety of walk-along exhibits, visible from the Berkeley Repertory Theater across the street.  

There needs to be a greater focus on the civic arts in Berkeley, in particular, public sculpture. I must say it is not an inspiring picture. In a town so heavily preoccupied with practical politics, Berkeley is an artistically “blighted” city with hardly any public art that can be recognized as such, neither “HERE” nor “THERE,” or anywhere else for that matter. Such examples of public art as do exist, are of questionable aesthetic merit.  

There is, firstly of course, that racist abomination in the Berkeley Marina, clearly depicting a virulent hostility against San Francisco (or is it intended for the Far East?). The ceramic sculpture is a direct swipe in the manner of a 12th century Haniwa warrior horseman aiming his arrow high into the sky, hardly a fitting icon to have at the foot of Berkeley. What can its defiant posture be saying and to whom? To add insult to injury, few people may know that it was actually “plopped” into place in the dark of night without anyone’s knowledge.  

Furthermore, when public officials issued a complaint, the sculptor gathered enough petition signatures to legitimatize it through an initiative on the next ballot. To the shocked surprise of many citizens, he succeeded. This is not a personal opinion of mine but a historic fact. There it remains to this day, as a centerpiece at the head of the pier. It is a commanding and aggressive display of arrogant conceit and native-born fascism! What did the voters of this town really have in mind when they approved of it? What did they say in opposing it? I’d say, the name for that sort of offensive behavior is nothing less than cultural rape. (If there is anyone out there interested in signing a petition to have it removed, please let me know and I shall pass it along.)  

In contrast, Dorothy Bryant’s adjoining article on “Mud Flat Sculpture” is a sad commentary on a photographic documentation, long since disappeared. It was a collection of photos recording the “Mud Flat Sculpture” at the waterfront. Here were grassroots, an art expression of a rapidly changing world as seen by both artists and the audience of motorists daily driving by. It could be seen by everyone for free, without a red carpet, come-on.  

The art movement of Dada (in World War I) had once again been revived by unknown students as sculptural “graffiti.” “Found objects” could once again have a new, albeit short, life span. It was a fleeting world of novel and entertaining imagery changing every day. The originality of “Mud Flat Sculpture” however, lay in the fact that students would stroll by and pick up drift wood to build sculptures that would last a few days, before being disassembled by someone to build a new image. It was a free-for-all reminding one of a hippy, happy-land where everything belonged to everyone, all the time. (Many years ago Burma Shave did a similar thing. It lined up several posters containing a message in a poetry format, spaced out for a half mile down the highway. It would at least relieve boredom.)  

One more example of unofficial public art must be mentioned. It was generated in the time of massive student unrest in Berkeley and so, should be recognized as a historic site. Several anonymous individuals, acting independently, constructed a large, welded pipe sculpture and ensconced it in Ohlone Park (Grant and Hearst streets). It marked the occasion of an earlier march in 1969. This particular demonstration began in People’s Park on Telegraph Avenue and ended up in “People’s Park Annex” on Hearst Street. It was an evening of primitive drumming and free dancing around a huge bonfire, built over the incomplete BART tunnel. It was a revival of virtually primitive, Paleolithic sensibilities. (The sculpture has been repaired and repainted several times since its installation.) 

To my knowledge, there are several examples of civic-sponsored public art that need to be given special attention. What can one say in public about the amorphous pile of whatever it is supposed to be that appears in the very heart of downtown Berkeley (on the corner of Shattuck and Addison Street). One wonders what viewpoints were expressed in favor of it by a majority of the appointed members of the Art Commission? What did the minority say about it that is printable? Mention must be made in passing of the large number of sidewalk plaques of poetry to be seen while waiting in line at the Berkeley Repertory Theater. So much for officially sanctioned public visual art that includes the literary arts. Does anyone know of anything else that can be added to this list? 

Three final examples. One must not leave out the model of a World War I, fighter airplane, mounted on a solitary position the tidelands of San Francisco Bay for many years (south of University Avenue). It would bring a smile of delight to children and relieve the boredom of drivers passing by.  

Secondly, though few may see it, there is a very competent, splendidly large, spray-can painting authorized by school officials in the yard of Whittier Arts Magnet School (Virginia and Shattuck). 

To my knowledge, there is only one last, civic-sponsored installation that needs to be mentioned. It is a typographically pathetic example of simple signage in gross size rather than being a sculpture in the more familiar sense. It is located on the border of Berkeley and Oakland, Ashby and MLK Streets, and is named “HERE” and “THERE,” reminiscent of Hollywood’s gigantic, hillside sign. Will its class snobbery needlessly raise the ire of Oaklanders for many years to come?  


Alex Nicoloff is a Berkeley artist.›

Commentary: CIL Peer Counseling Provides an Essential Service By RUTHANNE SHPINER

Friday June 24, 2005

I am a person with a disability (spinal cord injury status post—20 years) who has been living in the Berkeley area since 1993.  

During that time I have accessed the services CIL provides on multiple occasions for varying reasons. I am writing now out of serious concern that a key service CIL offers the community may be deleted. The peer counseling program headed by Phil Chavez is rumored to be slated for extinction. This would be a mistake of gargantuan proportions. First and most importantly, the mission of CIL is to have persons with disabilities provide services to like situated members of the community. That philosophy is the crux of the independent living movement which itself was born in Berkeley. Peer counseling delivered to members of the disability community by other disabled members of the community is critical. Peer counseling encompasses a breadth of comprehensive life style issues that by definition can not be absorbed by other services CIL offers, even if those services are provided by persons with disabilities. Issues such as finding and managing attendant care, establishing solid friendships post disability onset, issues of family reaction to one’s disability and sought for independence, sexuality, establishing the requisite skills for battling government agencies for benefits, plus health maintenance such as basic bladder and bowel care and pressure sore prevention can not be absorbed adequately by say the housing or employment position at CIL. There must be an established role for performing peer counseling. 

Secondly, Phil Chavez is an institution unto himself having been an advocate for the disabled and employee of CIL for over thirty years. His reputation precedes him. I have been a member of the peer support group he runs and not only was it immensely valuable, Phil is inextricably intertwined with how the group functions. The group can not be the same in his absence by definition. In short, Phil is not a fungible item that can be easily and readily replaced.  

If CIL is to remain loyal to its mission it is crucial that both Phil Chavez and the peer counseling program he heads remain as is. Budget cuts are tough for every non profit institution to have to confront and address. Board members must address this challenge without deleting the critical function peer counseling serves at CIL. Ed Roberts would turn over in his grave were he to witness this.  


Ruthanne Shpiner is a Berkeley resident.

Commentary: Mayor Bates Drops the Ball: Secret Agreement Aids UC, Not Berkeley Residents By ANNE WAGLEY

Friday June 24, 2005

When Tom Bates was running for mayor in 2002, he spoke to many residents concerned about the impact of UC expansion on the city’s quality of life. He assured us that, with the connections he developed in Sacramento during his years in the Assembly, he would be able to deal effectively with UC Berkeley. He could bring pressure to bear on UC and could create a better town-gown relationship under which the city’s concerns would be addressed. 

But Mayor Bates has not lived up to his promises. Nowhere is this made more clear than in the agreement that he negotiated in secret with UC to settle the city’s lawsuit around the recently approved UC Long-Range Development Plan. 

Approved behind closed doors by the City Council, with no public review or input, this agreement fails abysmally to address the potential negative impacts of either present or future UC development. Worse, the agreement improperly attempts to give UC control over planning for the future of the city’s downtown. 

Only councilmembers Olds, Spring and Worthington had the good sense to vote against this one-sided agreement, which benefits UC at the expense of the city’s residents.  


More Cars, More Traffic 

Traffic is the single biggest impact of the university on the city. UC is the largest generator of traffic in our city, but the agreement ignores it.  

There is no commitment by UC to reduce the number of automobile trips to campus. While Stanford University committed to taking steps to ensure that their expansion would not be accompanied by any increase in peak period trips, UC refuses to make any similar commitment. 

To achieve a reduction in drive-alone auto trips, the 2001 Southside/Downtown Transportation Demand Management (TDM) Study recommended a series of actions and programs including: 

• An Eco Pass program to provide UC employees with free transit passes. 

• Expanded shuttle service. 

• Improvements to the Residential Permit Parking (RPP) program. 

• Improvements to bus stops and transit service. 

• Traffic signal prioritization for buses. 

• Actions to implement the bicycle plan. 

But instead of taking significant measures to reduce commuting, UC is determined to go ahead with a massive increase in their parking supply. Apparently they wish to encourage a higher percentage of their staff and students to drive to campus.  

And this does not even include the increase in cars proposed by UC for the Berkeley Lab in their LRDP to be released later this year. It is shameful that Tom Bates signed off on this parking increase, since it directly conflicts with the city’s General Plan and is environmentally unsound. 

The 2,060 spaces that UC proposes to build are not needed. The TDM study concluded that, with a modest 3-5 percent reduction in the drive-alone rate of UC and non-UC commuters, no additional parking would be needed through 2010-2011.  

But even without TDM and with no shift toward transit, walking and bicycling, the campus would need only 550 more spaces. The 2,060 spaces that UC proposes are thus more than three times the number the TDM study said would be necessary in the event that no TDM policies were implemented. With better TDM, UC would reduce the need for more parking, and our existing parking resources could be used to meet the needs of Berkeley residents and businesses. 


Fiscal Impacts 

UC has a huge negative fiscal impact on the city, but the financial terms of the settlement are weak. $800,000 a year will go to the city for fire and emergency services and for sewer and storm drain projects. The allocation for sewers and storm drains ($200,000) is actually less than the city has been receiving from UC under the prior 1990 agreement ($500,000). And as part of the settlement the city agrees not to impose new or additional sewer fees on UC. This means that the shortfall in the current and future sewer budget will have to be found elsewhere—on property owners’ tax bills.  

A 2004 independent fiscal analysis estimated the annual fiscal impact on the city of providing services both for the existing UC community and for LRDP-projected expansion at $13.5 million a year. 

The agreement also calls for another $400,000 to be spent annually by UC, but UC will decide how to spend it. It is not clear that this money will be spent on anything that will benefit the city or its residents. 

Of this, $200,000 would “fund projects that benefit city neighborhoods.” But the city will not decide how the money is spent; it will be “disbursed at the Chancellor’s discretion.” This is not comforting because UC has rarely shown an interest in addressing neighborhood concerns. 

Another $200,000 is earmarked for TDM, but the vague language merely specifies that it would go to “joint UC/COB” programs, studies, and projects. Again, the city cannot independently decide how the money is spent, and no city staff responsible for transportation management were consulted about this provision. 

UC has a very poor track record when it comes to TDM. It has refused to implement an Eco Pass program for its staff similar to the city’s Eco Pass program or the successful Eco Pass-type programs at Stanford, UCLA, the University of Washington or other universities. Nothing in the agreement requires UC to change its tune. 


The Future of Downtown 

To add insult to injury, the secret agreement gratuitously attempts to hand UC control over planning for the future of downtown Berkeley. 

It’s obvious that the agreement was written by the university with little or no city input. The concept of a “Downtown Area Plan” did not appear in the city’s original response to the LRDP (a very good response), and was not suggested by any of the more than 300 Berkeley residents who submitted comments to the university’s plans. How else could one explain language in the agreement that gives the university a veto over both the process and the content of a “Downtown Area Plan” (DAP) that would amend the city’s General Plan? 

No decision about the process of planning for downtown can be made without the approval of UC’s planning director (who lives far from Berkeley and commutes by car). No draft of the proposed DAP can be released for public input without UC’s permission. 

Bates’ agreement privileges UC at the expense of residents, merchants, environmentalists, and other stakeholders. UC would have a veto to eliminate anything that UC administrators don’t like. The opinions of Berkeleyans won’t count unless UC also agrees with them. 

To make matters worse, the agreement does not even commit UC to following the plan once it’s adopted! They can continue to buy land downtown and build things that are inconsistent with the plan if they choose. 

Fortunately for Berkeleyans, the provisions in the agreement that give UC a planning veto will not be enforceable, since they are inconsistent with the Planning Commission’s legally constituted role in the planning process. They are also inconsistent with the city’s General Plan, which mandates maximum citizen participation in area planning.  

However, citizens are now left with only two modes of self-defense: expensive legal battles, or changing the political landscape. In practice, Bates’ attempt to give UC control over downtown planning will require a Planning Commission and a City Council who are willing to ignore their charge to act in the public interest. Only the voters can determine that. 


Closing off Other Options 

In the settlement our City Council has explicitly signed away our rights to future increased monetary payments from the University, even if there are changes in state law. This would seem to conflict with the admirable efforts of our Assemblywomen Loni Hancock who proposed AB 2902 last year, and to conflict with our own city attorney who authored the League of California Cities amicus brief in the City of Marina lawsuit currently pending before the California Supreme Court. 


Wheeling and Dealing 

Mayor Bates wheeled and dealed in secret, and the result is rotten. Bates talked tough, vowing to “fight tooth and nail” to protect Berkeley from UC, but in the end, he sold Berkeley residents out to UC.  

With this agreement, Mayor Bates has protected special interests instead of the public interest. He clearly signals his contempt for the city’s neighborhoods, whose concerns have been totally ignored. He clearly signals his contempt for the city’s public processes, which this agreement dismisses. And this “environmental” mayor has permitted the city and UC to contribute to the Bay Area’s air quality problems and to global warming, making Berkeley part of the environmental problem instead of part of the solution. This is an insult to Berkeley’s proud environmental values and traditions. 


Anne Wagley is an employee of the Berkeley Daily Planet and a member of Berkeleyans for a Livable University Environment. 

Tamalpais Road Fire Hazard By PAUL M. SCHWARTZ

Friday June 24, 2005

I am writing to place the City of Berkeley on notice about a hazardous condition that currently exists on Tamalpais Road in the North Berkeley hills. There is often no access for emergency vehicles, in particular fire trucks. 

This is due to the lack of posted and enforced alternative side street parking on Tamalpais Road. When two vehicles are parked opposite one another, there is not enough room for emergency vehicles to pass and gain access to homes located past the parked cars. This becomes an even more egregious problem when various property owners hire contractors who park large trucks and place dumpsters on the street.  

Recently, last week, there was a dumpster on the block for over 5 days. When a driver would park opposite the dumpster, there was no access for emergency vehicles. I have no idea whether a permit is required for the placing of a dumpster. If it is required it should come with the requirement that no parking signs be placed across the street from the dumpster so that emergency vehicles can pass. Additionally, that requirement should be enforced by the City of Berkeley through any or all three of the following departments, traffic, fire and police. There should be stiff penalties for violations of the terms of any permits issued and violations of posted parking restrictions. Remember, money not only talks, it sings and dances.  

The last few days, a neighbor was having roof work done and the contractor parked 3 large trucks on the street again blocking emergency vehicle access.  

Today, a neighbor was having tree work done and the tree contractor similarly parked large vehicles across from parked cars. There was not even access for a normal sized car let alone emergency vehicles. This condition lasted for several hours. I tried three times to reach the City of Berkeley through their nonemergency number and was placed on hold for lengthy periods of time. No person ever came on the line. I didn't feel comfortable declaring this an emergency as it wasn't yet at that level.  

This is a hazardous condition that needs to be alleviated as quickly as possible to be sure fire vehicles have access to homes and other emergency vehicles have access to those in need.  

I understand the need of neighbors for parking, but it should not come at the expense of denying their neighbors access to emergency services.  

This is a formal request that the City of Berkeley alleviate this situation and create a parking plan for this street that assures the safety of all individuals and protection of property. We homeowners pay extraordinarily high taxes and should be provided at least the most basic of services.  

Councilmembers representing other districts need to check their districts to be sure emergency vehicles have access to their constituents.  


Paul M. Schwartz is a Berkeley attorney. 

Public Art Flowers in New Spots on Campus By STEVEN FINACOM Special to the Planet

Friday June 24, 2005

Here? There? While a new streetside civic sculpture in south Berkeley has received considerable attention in recent months, major public art installations have been more quietly blossoming on the UC Berkeley campus.  

Although some of the most dramatic pieces are temporary—products of an artist-in-residence program—they all add considerable visual excitement to a campus where scholarly wisdom and creative energy are extensive in the visual arts, but public sculpture is sparse. 

There are three relatively recent installations worth noting. 


Pomodoro Orb 

A partial seismic retrofit of the University of California, Berkeley Art Museum a few years ago altered the outdoor sculpture garden. Some sculptures migrated across Bancroft Way to the campus where they have been, on the whole, quite successful additions. 

The latest to arrive at a permanent site—via a long detour for conservation work—is the best, “Rotanle dal Foro Central,” by Italian sculptor Arnaldo Pomodoro.  

Long-time Berkeleyans will remember this huge, gold-glimmering bronze orb that stood outside the Durant Avenue doors of the Pacific Film Archive and Art Museum café. It was added to the museum’s collection in 1971. 

(There are similar Pomodoro orbs around the world. Curiously, by coincidence, one is displayed in front of the Berkeley Library at Trinity College, Dublin). 

The more than head-high sculpture is partially bisected into two hemispheres and pierced by channels that, from some angles, make it resemble a gigantic eyeball. Unevenly geometrical encrustations and fissures interrupt the smooth, regular, curve of the outer surfaces. 

The orb is well placed in its new location on a lawn along the pathway that leads up into the campus from the intersection of Oxford and Center Streets. Situated against a shady backdrop of live oaks and redwoods, it is especially interesting this time of year when the low, late evening, sun strikes the polished bronze. 

Along with a handsome nearby neoclassical sign wall that welcomes visitors, the Pomodoro sculpture makes this traditional pedestrian entrance to the campus feel particularly well adorned. The sculpture also informally presages the proposed relocation of the Berkeley Art Museum to the city block on the northwest corner of the intersection of Oxford and Center streets. 

The Pomodoro stands not far from a marker commemorating the Don Pedro Fages expedition—the first European-Americans to pass through the future Berkeley—which visited this area in 1772.  

Just as passersby today pause to view the enigma of this giant and solitary bronze egg, so native Californians, if they were nearby in that year, might have wonderingly regarded Fages and his men as alien, but also compelling, apparitions in the local landscape. 


Babel Library IX 

The relatively recent augmentation of campus cultural programs with an artist in residence position has produced two major, although temporary, indoor art installations. 

Spanish-born, Denmark-based, artist J. Ignacio Diaz de Rabago created two sculptures under the auspices of the Consortium for the Arts and the campus Arts Research Center. 

“Babel Library IX” stands—or, rather, hangs—in the four story cylindrical rotunda of the Gardner Stacks, the underground addition to Doe Library near the center of campus. 

The installation consists of dozens of books pierced through with metal cables and accessory holes and strung on diagonals across the four-story atrium space. 

I imagine a sense of weightlessness was intended, but it doesn’t come across to me. The books hang there, some slightly quivering in air currents, like pinioned butterflies.  

The project also seems confined in a straitjacket of site specificity. What sort of art installation to create in a library? Why something that turns books into art, of course! 

There used to be a little more catholicity in the decorative sensibilities of those that designed and ornamented libraries. John Galen Howard, who probably never knowingly mutilated a book, placed a bronze bust of the Goddess of Wisdom over the main entrance to Doe Library three generations ago. 

In contrast, next door at the Gardner Stacks, “Babel Library IX” greets seekers at the portals of knowledge with Shakespeare on a stick.  

I don’t mean that metaphorically. A frail volume entitled W. Shakespeare is one of those impaled on a metal cable. Rarely has the tension between “art” and “literature” seemed so great. 

My appreciation of this artwork was additionally diminished by a little disclaimer posted in the atrium. “The books used in this project were not part of the Library’s collection and were slated for disposal.”  

You can, in fact, see the UC Library imprints on some of the books. And the library website confirms that the books are indeed from the University Library, but calls them “discarded and unsalvageable.”  

“Unsalvagable” seems disingenuous. Many of the books look in decent condition. They may not be useful to the library, but they are not toxic waste. I might well buy “W. Shakespeare” if it were shelved in University Library’s surplus booksale room, “for disposal” rather than perforated with a drill. 

Some might argue that the content of these older books is obsolete and unneeded in the library’s collections, regardless of their physical condition.  

But look at a few of the visible titles. “Federal Censorship,” “Health Care Politics,” “U.S. Foreign Commerce,” “American Child Health,” “Pakistan: A Political Study,” and “What Every Child Needs.”  

Those topics read like tomorrow’s newspaper headlines. But the books themselves? You can’t read them anymore. Of course, they’re now “art”. 


Round Room 

Diaz de Rabago’s “Round Room” follows the same approach as Babel Library IX—a family of similar objects suspended in an atrium void—but there is a world of expressive difference between the two installations. 

This piece is wonderful. The artist has engineered, with the most simple materials, a nearly weightless convergence of expressive art and architectural space that makes full, complimentary, use of its setting. Go see it. 

More than a hundred small foam balls are strung in a random pattern on fishing line through the three story lobby of the Hearst Memorial Mining Building, built nearly a century ago to a design by John Galen Howard. 

The balls seem carefully sized to match the globular light fixtures that run in rows around the bottoms of the metal balconies; art and electricity merge. The spheres also play off against the shapes and forms of the suspended light fixtures, fanlight windows in the main façade, and three circular, segmented, skylights.  

To completely appreciate this installation you should go from floor to floor, looking at it from different levels and perspectives. Different times of day, too; it’s just as interesting in early evening shadows as in bright morning light. 

What does this represent? Should we regard the balls as bubbles, molecules, stars? Who cares. The piece is magical, however you choose to regard them. The first time I visited this installation I was reminded of the scenes from the Harry Potter movies, when lighted candles float unsupported in the Hogwarts Castle dining room, or swarms of winged keys flit through a gloomy vault.  

Rabago says in a press release, “most of my work has to do with gravity, and to get free of gravity.” Here, in one of the truly grand buildings of the campus, he succeeded. 

Where to see the art: 

Babel Library IX” is in the Gardner Stacks, accessed through Doe Library. It hangs beyond an access control desk, but visitors are currently permitted to go in and view the installation from the top level of the atrium. For library hours, check www.lib.berkeley.edu. 

“Round Room” is in the main atrium of the Hearst Memorial Mining Building in the northeast corner of the campus. Enter through the main doors on the southern façade. A university press release says this installation may be dismantled in July, so visit soon. 

“Rotante dal Foro Centrale,” stands just east of the intersection of Oxford and Center streets.  

Biographical information and descriptions of artworks by Diaz de Rabago can be found at www.rabagoarte.com. 

Swindle and Gifford Hold Forth at Moe’s on Monday By KEN BULLOCK Special to the Planet

Friday June 24, 2005

“It’s total serendipity—the way my whole life goes.” Michael Swindle sums up the chain of circumstances that have led up to his forthcoming reading from his new book, Slouching Towards Birmingham (Frog Press/North Atlantic, Berkeley), a collection of pieces on “off-beat sports, like alligator wrestling, cockfighting, wild boar hunting—told with great savoir-faire,” as described by his “running buddy,” local (and international) favorite Barry Gifford, who will introduce Swindle and read from his own work “a little something compatible” at 7 p.m. on Monday, June 27, at Moe’s Books on Telegraph Avenue. 

“There’s sure to be protest signs in front of Moe’s,” kids Gifford. But Swindle’s prose, much of it originally published in the Village Voice and the New York Times, isn’t so much a descriptive compendium of blood sports as a triumph of storytelling.  

The friendship between the two writers was struck when Swindle was called in to interview Gifford for Details magazine when an earlier interviewer’s effort “imploded,” proving unusable. “The editor needed a one week turnaround. I met Barry in New Orleans. Writers are not always so eager to meet other writers ... but we’re about the same age, like the same music, have other tastes in common ... we made a very quick bond. Barry was going to see his Uncle Buck in Tampa; he jumped in my car and we made a trip that’s become an annual event. He’d never been in the Mississippi Delta before. We’ve done a lot of crazy adventures together since, but never had the opportunity before to appear together like this.” 

Born in Birmingham, Swindle spent his childhood in the North Central hill country of Mississippi before his family moved back to Birmingham. “All the Swindles are in Mississippi; I always claim it as my home. My childhood, out in the woods, was so idyllic that, even a half century later, it seems almost imaginary.” His career kicked off when the Village Voice sent him to cover the Marvin Hagler-Sugar Ray Leonard fight in 1985 in Las Vegas. “The Voice had a sports section in those days; I did a lot of fight stories—Atlantic City, Vegas ... I was the weird Southern guy for them for a long time.” In 1994, “when the junta was still in charge in Haiti, I was pictured in the first color photo printed inside the paper with my arm around a one-armed (from a birth defect) voodoo priest, Ti-Bout, “Little Arm”—who died shortly afterwards, but he saw the picture.” After working on Slouching Toward Birmingham, “a young editor called in my first assignment in quite awhile: to cover the shooting of Hunter Thompson’s ashes out of a 50-foot cannon on his farm in Colorado, the last weekend of August.” 

The Moe’s reading with Gifford is a new wrinkle in his career. “In Birmingham a few weeks ago was the first time I read out loud.” But his sometimes tart style of talking, with long raconteurish Southern rhythms to his speech he occasionally—and quite genteely—apologizes for, as if long-winded, promise an evening of real tale-telling. As if an afterthought, he related another joint adventure: “In March 2001, Barry and I were both in Mexico City; he’d been invited to read at a big arts festival at the Palacio. The Zapatistas were putting on their Zapa-Tour march from Chiapas to the capital, and were due to arrive on our last day in the Zocalo.. I’m not leaving the same day this happens! But Barry was booked to go to Cuba. So I moved into his suite on the fifth floor of the Majestic, overlooking the Zocalo. At midnight I was trying to read myself asleep, when I heard drums and went down to see what turned out to be the last part of an Indian New Years ceremony: a circle dance, with a guy carrying a big crockery kind of thing filled with some kind of beverage. A woman stepped out of the circle and handed me a goblet. I drank from it and went to hand it back, but she shook her head no, and motioned for me to make the circle and have another drink. The title of my piece, ‘Observador Por Casualidad’ says it, what I always seem to be—‘The Accidental Observer.’” 

Swindle’s reading gig with his “star pal” is an increasingly rare appearance for Gifford, famed for his novels, nonfiction, poetry and screenplays. “Some love engaging their public with 20-30 city blowouts. After Night People, strange people started coming out. Now I prefer crossover audiences, in cinemas or bars, venues like my British publisher sends me to. Young people today aren’t trying to write the Great American Novel—but maybe the Great American Screenplay. 

I started out as a musician, got into poetry through lyrics, then novels. Screenplays came later. If the history of the novel starts in the Heian period with Murasaki and Sei Shonagon a thousand years ago, or in the West about 400 years back, we may be near the end of it now—and I’m glad to be a part of it.” 

“But I’m glad too to be introducing Michael in person in Berkeley, just like writing the foreword to his book. When we met, we became friends on the spot—and took it on the road. This is just another chapter.” 



Arts Calendar

Friday June 24, 2005



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.  

Aurora Theatre “The Thousandth Night” Wed.-Sat. at 8 p.m., Sun. 2 and 7 p.m., through July 24, at 2081 Addison St. Tickets are $36. 843-4822. www.auroratheatre.org 

Berkeley Repertory Theater, “Honour” 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 

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 


Jean-Marie Teno: “A Trip to the Country” at 7 p.m and “Clando” and 9 p.m. at the Pacific Film Archive. Cost is $4-$8. 642-0808. www.bampfa.berkeley.edu 


Michael Chorost describes his journey from deafness to hearing in “Rebuilt: How Becomming Part Computer Made Me More Human” at 7:30 p.m. at Cody’s Books. 845-7852. www.codysbooks.com  

Filmmaker Jean- Marie Teno discusses his artistic process at 7:30 p.m. at the Pacific Film Archive. 642-0808. www.bampfa.berkeley.edu 


“The Beggar’s Opera” at 8 p.m. at Zellerbach Playhouse, UC Campus. Tickets are $56. 642-9988. www.calperfs.berkeley.edu 

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

Yumi Thomas, mezzo-soprano, Sarita Cannon, soprano, Shunsuke Kurahata, piano, at 8 p.m. at Giorgi Gallery, 2911 Claremont Ave. Cost is $12-$15. 845-6811. www.giorgigallery.com 

Flamenco with guest artists from Spain, at 8 p.m. at La Peña Cultural Center. Cost is $18-$20. 849-2568. www.lapena.org 

Betty Shaw, Melanie O’Reilly & Tir na Mara at 8 p.m. at Anna’s Jazz Island, 2120 Allston Way. 841-JAZZ. www.AnnasJazzIsland.com 

Nasty Breeze, One Block Radius, Boogie Shack at 9 p.m. at Blakes on Telegraph. Cost is $8-$10. 848-0886. www.blakesontelegraph.com 

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

Space Invaders, saxophone quartet, at 8:30 p.m. at Epic Arts, 1923 Ashby Ave. Cost is $5-$10. www.epicarts.org 

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

Pat Nevins and Friends in a Benefit for Pirate Radio at 9 p.m. at the Oakland Metro, 201 Broadway, Oakland. Cost is $10. 465-8480. www.oaklandmetro.org 

Macy Blackman Quartet at 9 p.m. at Downtown. 649-3810.  

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

Chuck Prophet, Jug Free America at 9:30 p.m. at The Starry Plough. Cost is $6. 841-2082. www.starryplough.com 

Los Cerveceros, Deconditioned, Until the Fall, 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. 

40 Watt Hype, hip-hop, latin, funk, at 9:30 p.m. at Shattuck Down Low, 2284 Shattuck Ave. Cost is $8. 548-1159.  

Space Invaders, saxophone quartet, at 8:30 p.m. at Epic Arts, 1923 Ashby Ave. Cost is $5-$10.  

Stolen Bibles at 8 p.m. at Jupiter. 848-8277. 

Bobby Watson & Horizon at 8 and 10 p.m. at Yoshi’s at Jack London Square, through Sun. Cost is $14-$20. 238-9200. www.yoshis.com 



“A Girl’s Life” video installations by Kristy Guevara-Flanagan and Dawn D. Valadez opens at Pro Arts, 550 Second St. Oakland. www.proartsgallery.org 

“Celebrating Life through Art” an exhibition of Shona sulpture from Zimbabwe at Kofa International Art, Gallery, 1661 20th St., Suite 2, Oakland. 451-5632. 


Jean-Marie Tendo: The Colonial Misunderstanding” at 7:30 p.m. and “Head in the Clouds” at 9:05 p.m. at the Pacific Film Archive. Cost is $4-$8. 642-0808. www.bampfa.berkeley.edu 


Rhythm & Muse with Romanian poet Corbina Stirb at 7 p.m. at Berkeley Art Center. Free. 527-9753, 644-6893. 


Trinity Chamber Concerts with Lara Bruckmann, soprano, at 8 p.m. at 2320 Dana St. Tickets are $8-$12. 549-3864. http:// 


“The Beggar’s Opera” at 8 p.m. at Zellerbach Playhouse, UC Campus. Tickets are $56. 642-9988. www.calperfs.berkeley.edu 

Guillaume Vincent, piano, at 4 p.m. at Arlington Community Church, 52 Arlington Ave., Kensington. Donation $15 adults, $6 children. 268-8115. www.sbcacc.org/concert_gv  

Mokai & Friends, folk-blues, at 8:30 p.m. at Epic Arts, 1923 Ashby Ave. Cost is $5-$10.  

Modalities & Samvega at 1 p.m. at People’s Park, 2556 Haste St. bakerartstudios@gmail.com  

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

Terry Rodriguez, Dick Conte Quartet at 8 p.m. at Anna’s Jazz Island, 2120 Allston Way. 841-JAZZ. www.AnnasJazzIsland.com 

Melanie O’Reilly at 9 p.m. at Cafe Van Kleef, 1621 Telegraph Ave., Oakland. Cost is $5. 763-7711. www.cafevankleef.com 

Sourdough Slim at 8 p.m. at Freight and Salvage. Cost is $19.50-$20.50. 548-1761. www.freightandsalvage.org 

Marina Garza & Orquestra D’Soul with Montuno Groove. Conversation with the artists at 8:30 p.m., performance at 9:30 p.m. at La Peña Cultural Center. Cost is $12-$14. 849-2568. www.lapena.org 

Jai Uttal and the Pagan Love Orchestra at 9 p.m. at Ashkenaz. Cost is $13-$15. 525-5054. www.ashkenaz.com 

Gawdamn, Mr. Byrnes, Our Name is Robert Paulson at 9 p.m. at Blakes on Telegraph. Cost is $8-$10. 848-0886. www.blakesontelegraph.com 

Jerry Kennedy, acoustic R&B, at 7 p.m. at Spuds Pizza, 3290 Adeline St. Cost is $7. 558-0881. 

Mokai and Friends, acoustic folk-blues, at 8:30 p.m. at Epic Arts, 1923 Ashby Ave. Cost is $5-$10. www.epicarts.org 

Arlington Houston Quartet at 9 p.m. at Downtown. 649-3810.  

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

Mystic, hip hop, soul, at 9 p.m. at Shattuck Down Low, 2284 Shattuck Ave. Cost is $12. 548-1159.  

Anton Barbeau, Lucifer Meltdown, Joe Rut at 9:30 p.m. at The Starry Plough. Cost is $6. 841-2082. www.starryplough.com 

Mokai, Mia and Jonah, and Jason Miller, eclectic folk, at 8:30 p.m. at Epic Arts, 1923 Ashby Ave. Cost is $5-$10. www.epicarts.org 

Rock N Roll Adventure Kids, Empty Silos Echo War 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. 

Helsinki Skylight at 8 p.m. at Jupiter. 848-8277. 

Bobby Watson & Horizon at 8 and 10 p.m. at Yoshi’s at Jack London Square, through Sun. Cost is $14-$20. 238-9200. www.yoshis.com 



Family Explorations: Living Traditions and Historic Objects with Native American, Japanese and Latino music and traditions at 1 p.m. at the Oakland Museum of California, 10th and Oak Sts. Cost is $4-$8. 238-2200. www.museumca.org 


New Works by Bruce Skogen, abstract paintings, at Cafe DiDartolo, 3310 Grand Ave., Oakland. 832-9005. 

“Ballybaba” four artists re-imagine the landscapes of Beckett’s “Molloy.” Reception at 1 p.m. at the Richmond Art Center, 2540 Barrett Ave., Richmond. 620-6772. www.therichmondartcenter.org 


Poetry Flash with Gail Entrekin and Linda Watanabe McFerrin at 7:30 p.m. at Cody’s Books. Donation $2. 845-7852. www.codysbooks.com 


“The Beggar’s Opera” at 3 p.m. at Zellerbach Playhouse, UC Campus. Tickets are $56. 642-9988. www.calperfs.berkeley.edu 

Bay Area Negro Spirituals Heritage Day at 2:30 p.m. at West Oakland Senior Center, 1724 Adeline St. 238-7016. www.dogonvillage.com/negrospirituals 

Aaron Blumenfeld “Seven Art Songs” Housewarming Party for Congregation Beth Israel, at 7:30 p.m. at 1630 Bancroft Way. Cost is $15. 

PachaSiku, pan pipes, flutes and drums, at 7:30 p.m. at La Peña Cultural Center. Cost is $10. 849-2568. www.lapena.org 

Fandango V, early California dance and music at 3 p.m. at Peralta Hacienda Historical Park, 2465 34th Ave., Oakland. 532-9142. 

Mark Deutsch, part of the series “Offerings” at 7 p.m. at Grace North Church, 2138 Cedar St. Suggested donation $10. 213-3122. 

John McCutcheon at 8 p.m. at Freight and Salvage. Cost is $21.50-$22.50. 548-1761. www.freightandsalvage.org 

MRLS wih Murzyn, Rokeach, Lockett and Saunders at 8 p.m. at Anna’s Jazz Island, 2120 Allston Way. 841-JAZZ. www.AnnasJazzIsland.com 

Americana Unplugged with B. Moccola and Paul Crowder at 5 p.m. at Jupiter. 848-8277. 

Bobby Watson & Horizon at 8 and 10 p.m. at Yoshi’s at Jack London Square. Cost is $14-$20. 238-9200. www.yoshis.com 



Peter Baker and Susan Glasser describe Putin’s rise to power in “Kremlin Rising: Vladimir Putin’s Russia and the End of the Revolution” at 7:30 p.m. at Cody’s Books. 845-7852. www.codysbooks.com 

Poetry Express Theme night on “Fathers and Suns” for Father’s Day and the Summer Solstice at 7 p.m., at Priya Restaurant, 2072 San Pablo Ave. berkeleypoetryexpress@yahoo.com 


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

Oliver Mtukudzi & Black Spirits, afro-pop from Zimbabwe at 8 and 10 p.m. at Yoshi’s at Jack London Square. Cost is $8-$12. 238-9200. www.yoshis.com 



Shotgun Theater Lab “The Pawn” Tues. and Wed. at 8 p.m. at The Ashby Stage, 1901 Ashby Ave., through July 6. Tickets are $10. 841-6500. www.shotgunplayers.org 

“Tell It On Tuesday” with solo performers celebrating the art of storytelling at 7:30 p.m. at the Julia Morgan Center for the Arts. Cost is $5 at the door. www.juliamorgan.org  


Joanna Macy and Anita Barrows read from their translations of Rilke at 7:30 p.m. at Black Oak Books. 486-0698. www.blackoakbooks.com 

Chitra Divakaruni describes how radio can empower youth in isolated communities in “Queen of Dreams” at 7:30 p.m. at Cody’s Books. 845-7852. www.codysbooks.com  

The Whole Note Poetry Series with Lenore Weiss and Avotcja at 7 p.m. at The Beanery, 2925 College Ave., near Ashby. 549-9093. 


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

Randy Craig Trio at 7:30 p.m. at Caffe Trieste, 2500 San Pablo Ave., at Dwight. 548-5198.  

John Patitucci Trio with Adam Rogers and Clarence Penn at 8 and 10 p.m. at Yoshi’s at Jack London Square. Cost is $10-$16. 238-9200. www.yoshis.com 

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

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

Eric Shifrin, jazz piano, at 8 p.m. at Downtown. 649-3810. 



Seventies Underground: “Shoot the Whale” at 3 p.m. at the Pacific Film Archive. Cost is $4-$8. 642-0808. www.bampfa.berkeley.edu 


James Frey describes friendship with a fellow addict in “My Friend Leonard” at 7:30 p.m. at Cody’s Books. 845-7852. www.codysbooks.com 

Dean Sluyter discusses “Cinema Nirvana: Enlightenment Lessons from the Movies” at 7:30 p.m. at Black Oak Books. 486-0698. www.blackoakbooks.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 


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

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. Cost is $5. 763-7711. www.cafevankleef.com 

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

Drunken Cat Paws at 8 p.m. at Jupiter. 848-8277. 

Scissors for Lefty, The Visible Man, Plum Crazy at 9 p.m. at Blakes on Telegraph. Cost is $7. 848-0886. www.blakesontelegraph.com 

Spirit Music Jamia featuring Me’shell Ndegeocello at 8 and 10 p.m. at Yoshi’s at Jack London Square, through Sun. Cost is $20-$24. 238-9200. www.yoshis.com 



“A Girl’s Life” video installations by Kristy Guevara-Flanagan and Dawn D. Valadez. Reception from 6 to 8 p.m. at Pro Arts, 550 Second St. Oakland. www.proartsgallery.org 


Mandy Aftel discusses “Scents and Sensibilities: Creating Solid Perfumes for Well Being” at 7:30 p.m. at Black Oak Books. 486-0698. www.blackoakbooks.com 

Word Beat Reading Series with Ralph Dranow and Dan Marlin at 7 p.m. 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. 


Odori Simcha with Neal Cronin at 6 p.m. at Temescal Cafe, 4920 Telegraph Ave., Oakland. Donation $5. 

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

Ben Stolerow Trio 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 

No Origin, Research and Development, Svelte at 9:30 p.m. at The Starry Plough. Cost is $6. 841-2082 www.starryplough.com 

Peter Barshay and Marcos Silva at 8 p.m. at Downtown. 649-3810.  

Frogger, Clockwork and Rich Drama at 8 p.m. at Jupiter. 848-8277. 

Spirit Music Jamia featuring Me’shell Ndegeocello at 8 and 10 p.m. at Yoshi’s at Jack London Square, through Sun. Cost is $20-$24. 238-9200. www.yoshis.com

Celebrating 93 Years of Life, 58 Years of Selling Antiques By PATRICK KEILCH Special to the Planet

Friday June 24, 2005

At a crossroads of the East Bay, legendary antique dealer Bill Cross has operated the renowned Antique Center on Telegraph Avenue near the Berkeley-Oakland border for nearly 50 years. His business has drawn customers from throughout the region because of the high quality and uniqueness of its antique stock. Bill is also a well-known collector of classic British cars such as Roll Royce, Jaguar, Bentley, and Daimler, and of related memorabilia (vintage signage, toys, pictures, and novelties).  

He has the reputation of being quite the English gentleman and talks like one. However, he was actually born in Brooklyn, New York, in 1912 of English parents. His father and mother came to America so that Bill’s father could be the prop manager at the Hippodrome in the New York City theater scene. When Bill was 4 years old, World War I broke out. His English-born parents decided to return to England to “protect the homeland.” On the ship sailing to England, free-spirited Bill was befriended by the sailors and roamed freely on the ship. Bill’s family arrived safely in England where they remained and raised Bill and other new siblings.  

The senior Cross served as the “property master” at the Palladium and Oxford theaters in London, which Bill says helped develop his own interest in antiques and collectibles. During the 1930s, Bill was trained and educated to design the individual “carriage bodies” for high-end automobiles. With the worldwide depression, the market fell out of this type of business, but this generated his life-long interest in classic cars. Bill later served in World War II as a police officer in London and helped protect people at underground shelters during the Nazi Blitzkrieg bombings.  

After the war, Bill started up the Antique Center business in 1947 in London. In 1956, he and his wife Pamela returned to America and settled with their children Anita and James in Berkeley on University Avenue, where they also relocated the Antique Center. In the next year Bill moved the business to 6519 Telegraph Ave. near the Berkeley-Oakland border where it has remained to this day. Meanwhile, with his experience with classic cars in England, Bill began to collect antique British cars, some of which he has generously used to chauffeur friends and acquaintances to weddings, antique shows, and special events in Northern California.  

While operating the antique business Bill and his wife Pamela raised two children, Anita, who is the mother of Bill’s two grandchildren Heather and Kellie, and James. James has worked at the Antique Center for many years and now manages the business, attracting customers with reasonable bargains.  

One of every year’s most colorful events is Bill’s large June birthday gala at the Antique Center and in his oversized and very British garage, which is a museum of sorts. Family, friends, colleagues, and business associates from throughout Northern California, plus family from England and Australia, join in the birthday celebration accompanied by live music, singing vintage ballads and standards around the piano, telling lots of tales, and much revelry. Amid Bill’s displays of colorful signs, vintage photographs, and memorabilia, the celebrants enjoy a massive birthday cake and champagne toasts in celebration of another grand year. This June, the party celebrated Bill’s 93rd birthday and the Antique Center’s 58th anniversary. 


For persons interested in antiques and collectibles, the Antique Center is open almost daily at 6519 Telegraph Ave. at the border of Berkeley and Oakland and can be reached at 654-3717. 


Berkeley This Week

Friday June 24, 2005


City Commons Club Noon Luncheon with Charles Townes on “Confluence of Science and Religion” Luncheon at 11:45 a.m. for $13, speech at 12:30 p.m., at the Berkeley City Club, 2315 Durant St. 526-2925.  

Bill Mandel, KPFA host, together with his son, Bob, at 7 p.m. at Berkeley Fellowship Hall, 1924 Cedar St. Donation $10, no one turned away. 495-5132. 

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 noon to 1 p.m. at UC Berkeley, Bancroft at Telegraph. 845-1143. 

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


Kid’s Garden Club for ages 7-12 to explore the world of gardening, from 2 to 4 p.m. at Tilden Nature Area, Tilden Park. Cost is $5-$7, registration required. 525-2233. 

Music and Arts at People’s Park from noon to 6 p.m. 707-963-7402. 

How to Create Your Own Garden Paradise at 10 a.m. at Magic Gardens, 729 Heinz Ave. 644-2351. 

Building with Alternative Materials: Cob and Strawbale A workshop from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Building Education Center, 812 Page St. Cost is $75. 525-7610. www.bldgeductr.org/ 


Lead-Safe Painting and Remodeling Learn how to detect and remedy lead hazards and conduct lead-safe renovations for your older home. From 9 to 11 a.m. at Alameda County Lead Poisoning Prevention Program Training Facility, 1017 22nd Avenue, Suite 110, Oakland. Free. 567-8280. 

Walking Tour of Old Oakland uptown to the Lake to discover Art Deco landmarks. Meet at 10 a.m. in front of the Paramount Theater at 2025 Broadway. Tour lasts 90 minutes. Reservations can be made by calling 238-3234. 

Year of the Estuary: Carquinez Hike Meet at 10 a.m. at the Eckley Pier staging area off Carquinez Scenic Drive near Crockett to learn about the region’s history. 525-2233. 

Animal Origami with Mitsuko Yoneyama, for children 4 years and older, at 3 p.m. at RabbitEars, Arlington Ave., Kensington. 525-6155.  

Tantric Feast and Auction with live music at 6 p.m. at Chapel of the Chimes, 4499 Piedmont Ave., Oakland. Tickets for the feast are $25, for the auction $10. For reservations 888-826-8729. info@tantrayogainternational.org 

Breema Clinic Open House from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. with demonstrations and mini-sessions at 6201 Florio St. at Claremont & College, Rockridge. 428-1234. www.breemahealth.com  

Cheese Tastings and discussion with Debra Dickerson, author of “Great Grilled Cheese” at 1 p.m. at The Pasta Shop, 1786 Fourth St. 528-1786. 

Spirited Woman Workshop from 1 to 4 p.m. at Creative Juices Arts, 432 Bellevue Ave., Oakland. Cost is $85. Reservations required. 888-428-1234.  

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

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. 

Tribute to Lee and Dorothy Marsh, founders of the BRJCC. For details call 848-0237, ext. 110. 


On the Bluebird Trail Meet at 10 a.m. at Tilden Nature Area for a 3.5 mile walk up and over Wildcat Peak and a portion of the bluebird nestbox trail to help with the nesting survey. Bring water and a snack. For ages ten and up. 525-2233. 

Pat the Bunny For toddlers ages 2-4 to meet a Little Farm Dutch Rabbit, at 1 p.m. at the Tilden Nature Center. 525-2233. 

Bay Area Negro Spirituals Heritage Day at 2:30 p.m. at West Oakland Senior Center, 1724 Adeline St. 238-7016. www.dogonvillage.com/negrospirituals 

Celebrating Helen Rand Parish A memorial celebrating the life and spirit of author and activist Helen Rand Parish will be held from 2 to 4 p.m., at the Berkeley Yatch Club, at 1 Seawall Drive, Berkeley Marina. 653-1250. 

Open House at Studio 12, from 1 to 4 p.m. with information on aerial dance, yoga and Iaido, at 2525 Eighth St. 587-0770. www.movingout.org 

Berkeley City Club free tour from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Tours are sponsored by the Berkeley City Club and the Landmark Heritage Foundation. Donations welcome. The Berkeley City Club is located at 2315 Durant Ave. For group reservations or more information, call 848-7800 or 883-9710. 

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 

“Habitat for Humanity” with Holly Zimmerman and Sydney Williams at 9:30 a.m. at Unitarian Universalist Church of Berkeley, 1 Lawson Rd., Kensington. 525-0302. 

Tibetan Buddhism with Elizabeth Cook on “Preserving Tibetan Texts” at 6 p.m. at the Tibetan Nyingma Institute, 1815 Highland Pl. 843-6812. www.nyingmainstitute.com 

East Bay Synagogues Fundraiser and Garden Party at 1 p.m. at 8898 Terrace Drive, El Cerrito. Tickets are $12-$15. Reservations required. 843-3131. www.aquarianminyan.org 


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 Patriot Act” with ACLU attorney, Jeff Mittman at 7 p.m. at the Paul Robeson Chapter of the ACLU meeting at the Rockridge Library, Manila and College Aves., Oakland. 

Tenant’s Rights Workshop at 6 p.m. at the Long Haul Infoshop 3124 Shattuck Ave. www.barringtoncollective.org 

Conflict Resolution Skills Class at 7 p.m. at Oscar Wilde Co-op, 2410 Warring St. Learn about different approaches to conflict, your conflict style, active listening, effective communication, and the basic philosophies that aid in transforming interpersonal conflict. www.barringtoncollective.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 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. 

Educators Academy: Insects and Crawling Creatures, Tues.-Thurs., from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at Tilden Nature Center, Tilden Park. For teachers of grades K-5. Fee is $100 for Berkeley residents, $110 for non-residents. Registration required. 636-1684. 

Great Yosemite Day Hikes with Ann Marie Brown at 7 p.m. at REI, 1338 San Pablo Ave. 527-4140. 

Juvenile Criminal Records Workshop at 6 p.m. at La Peña Cultural Center, 3105 Shattuck Ave. Learn what remedies available for individuals with juvenile records in California. www.barringtoncollective.org 

Berkeley PC Users Group Problem solving and beginners meeting to answer, in simple English, users questions about Windows computers. At 7 p.m. at 1145 Walnut St. corner of Eunice. All welcome, no charge. 527-2177.  

Mandala Workshop using collage and art materials to create a circular form at 7 p.m. at Change Makers, 6536 Telegraph Ave. at 66th. Cost is $25. To register call. 525-9258.  

Family Storytime at 7 p.m. at Kensington Library, 61 Arlington Ave. 524-3043. 

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

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. Monthly field trips. 548-3991. www.berkeleycameraclub.org 

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


Insects for Kids A free class for children ages 5-10, at 9 a.m. at the Ecology Center, 2530 San Pablo Ave. www.barringtoncollective.org 

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

Speculative and Practical Folklore Class at 7 p.m. at La Peña Cultural Center, 3105 Shattuck Ave. We will discuss American folk practices from around the country but specifically Southern/South-Eastern, Pennsylvanian, Appalachian and Ozark folk practices. www.barringtoncollective.org 

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

Skin Cancer Screening for people with limited or no insurance at Alta Bates, Markstein Campus. Free, but registration required. 869-8833. 

Bayswater Book Club meets to discuss “Crossing the Rubicon” by Michael C. Ruppert at 6:30 p.m. at Barnes and Noble Coffee Shop, El Cerrito Plaza. 433-2911. 

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. Heavy rain cancels. 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. 

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 

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. 



Puppy Skills, four one-hour classes on Thurs. evenings at 7:30 p.m. at Rabbit Ears, 303 Arlington Ave., Kensington. Cost is $100. To register call 525-6155. 


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. 981-5150, 981-5153. 

Free Lunches for Berkeley Children beginning June 20, Mon.-Fri., 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at Frances Albrier Center, James Kenney Center, MLK, Jr. Youth Services Center, Strawberry Creek, Washington School and Rosa Parks School. 981-5146. 

Albany Summer Youth Programs including basketball, classes, bike trips and family activities. For information see www.albanyca.org/dept/rec.html 

Bay Area Shakespeare Camp for ages 7 to 13, two week sessions through Aug., at John Hinkle Park. Cost is $395, with scholarships available. 415-422-2222. www.sfshakes.org 


Solid Waste Management Commission Mon., June 27, at 7 p.m., at the North Berkeley Senior Center. Tania Levy, 981-6368. www.ci.berkeley.ca.us/commissions/solidwaste 

City Council meets Tues. June 28, at 7 p.m in City Council Chambers. 981-6900. www.ci.berkeley.ca.us/citycouncil 




City Hall Critic Sacked From HAC By MATTHEW ARTZ

Tuesday June 28, 2005

A sharp critic of the controversial settlement agreement between the city and UC Berkeley was dismissed from the Housing Advisory Commission Friday, the same day a page-long commentary bashing the deal which she signed appeared in the Berkeley Daily Planet. 

In a terse e-mail, Councilmember Gordon Wozniak, a UC retiree, alerted HAC Chairperson Anne Wagley that he was terminating her as his appointee to the commission because he had “lost confidence in your political judgment and your ability to represent the best interests of the city.” 

Wagley, who also works for the Daily Planet as calendar editor, has been an outspoken critic of the deal with UC, which resolved the city’s lawsuit contesting UC Berkeley’s plan for future development. Along with two other residents, Wagley last month filed a legal motion to set aside the dismissal of the lawsuit and intervene in the case. 

“I think this is because of my opposition to the city’s settlement with the university, which [Wozniak] voted for,” she said. 

“That’s a factor,” Wozniak confirmed. “We have a disagreement about that.” 

Wozniak said another factor was his drive to limit residents to serve on only one commission at a time. Wagley, a human rights attorney, is also a member of the Peace and Justice Commission, appointed by Councilmember Linda Maio. 

Wozniak said he had a replacement in mind for Wagley, but that he had not yet offered anyone the position. In 2002, Wozniak and Wagley ran against each other in a three-person race for City Council. After Wozniak won, he appointed Wagley to the HAC. Wagley said that Wozniak had never expressed displeasure with her actions on the commission. 

The HAC primarily advises the council on housing issues and funding for nonprofit housing projects. 

Wagley had the second-longest tenure on the nine-member HAC, which has seen seven new members appointed in the past two years. The acting chair will be Jesse Arreguin, a Rent Board member and UC Berkeley senior appointed last year.  

“It’s certainly a loss to the commission,” said Arreguin, adding that Wagley helped newer commissioners like him, “gain insight into the development process and financing.” 

Seven members of the commission have been appointed in the past two years. 

Berkeley Housing Director Steve Barton also praised Wagley. 

“Anne has been an excellent and knowledgeable member of the HAC. She knows a lot about non-profits and has been a good chair,” he said.

Editorial: What Constitutes the Public Forum? By BECKY O'MALLEY

Friday June 24, 2005

Last Sunday Sylvia Paull organized one of her often-stimulating Cybersalon programs at the Hillside Club. She e-mails invitations to a long list of people, offers a buffet supper, and invites panelists to spark a general discussion among her guests. I was asked to be part of a panel called “Got News? Citizen Journalism.” The other guests were Dan Gillmor, who gave up his tech column at the San Jose Mercury News to start his own interactive-journalism venture, www.Bayosphere.com and Peter Merholz, who founded the Beast Blog, a group blog described by Sylvia as covering “everything of note in the East Bay.” Her invitation alluded to the idea that technology was now making grassroots journalism possible. “With organic publications like these, who needs the artificially flavored New York Times?” she said. 

The bottom line I extracted from a long and interesting discussion is that it’s not the technology as much as the content that counts. The significant contribution that has been made by technology in the last 20 years is that the cost of dissemination of information has gone down, and the amount of information has gone up. What’s not so clear is whether the quality of information has improved.  

In my part of the panel I spoke about my strong belief that, all else being equal, print on paper is still the best way to get the news out, and also the best way to discuss the news.  

Free papers speak to everyone, even those who aren’t technologically savvy enough or well-off enough to own a computer. We reach the Berkeley intelligentsia, but also the Berkeley (and East Bay) bus riders (some readers are in both groups).  

By and large, Internet communication, including websites, blogs and e-mail chains, is narrowcasting. It preaches to the already converted, which is not a bad thing, but different from a newspaper of general circulation. Ideally, the opinion columns of newspapers allow a frank and free exchange of views among people who disagree. 

This is a good place for a digression explaining the kind of content you see in the Berkeley Daily Planet, for those who might be confused. First, the news itself is on the front page, and several of the inside pages. It’s written by professional reporters, who are charged with making sure that their stories offer not just both sides but many voices when there’s a controversy. Our regular columnists, Jesse Allen-Taylor (who is also a regular reporter), Susan Parker and P.M. Price, are charged with parsing the local world from their own personal points of view. Our “Public Eye” columnists, Bob Burnett and Zelda Bronstein, are in a category seldom found in the commercial press these days. They’re active, engaged citizens who also happen to be good writers, who have been asked to comment regularly on the political process from an insider’s vantage point. Letters (under 500 words) and commentaries (over 600 words) are strictly the opinions of the authors, not of the Planet. But some of our most intriguing news appears first on the opinion pages. 

My “editorial” is non-traditional, more of a column than the kind of Olympian pronunciamento found in most papers today. In general, when I say “I” in this space, it’s personal; when I say “we” there’s a good chance that the publisher and the other editors agree with me. 

Recently both the New York Times and the Los Angeles Times have announced that they’re experimenting with allowing more voices to be represented in the opinion section and even on the sacred editorial pages. That would be a welcome return to policies of earlier days in American journalism, more like what’s found in the livelier European papers like The Guardian. 

But newspapers only work as sponsors of the public forum if they’re open to all points of view. In today’s paper we are fortunate to have some good examples of what our goal is. First, we have an old friend drawing a bead on one of our Public Eye columnists. Readers can judge for themselves who comes out better in the crossfire, and they can add their own comments for next time. Now, this kind of exchange also takes place on the Internet. What is different about our correspondents, and I’m not really sure why, is that they take the time to write carefully and clearly, unlike many online correspondents.  

Next, we reprint a letter from a famously pungent published author which the Chronicle has not seen fit to print. These days big corporate papers limit letters to sound-byte length, and choose the less inflammatory writers much of the time. Some people, like this letter writer, even suspect them of screening out the ones which deviate from the paper’s own politics. Here at the Planet, we print almost everything we get from local readers, except letters which are unintelligible or which attack private individuals. 

Does a lively public forum influence public process? Perhaps eventually. Support for the Iraq invasion is finally down in national polls, as is state-wide support for Schwarzenegger’s lame-brained initiatives. Even the Albany mega-mall proposal, despite hiring well-wired political consultants, is going down in a local poll.  

Of course the influence of the media on politicians depends on partly on whether politicians are consumers of information or not. Bush and Schwarzenegger seem to be well-insulated from the public voice.  

And so are some local pols. A sharp-eared reader forwarded to us this transcription from Tuesday’s public hearing on the Berkeley budget:  

“Speaker No. 41 in the public hearing on the budget said: ‘What got me here today is that I picked up a copy of the Daily Planet and read a letter laying out the argument in favor of not cutting the animal control officer in the Animal Shelter.’ She didn’t dwell on the Planet. She just said that in passing. She asked other people ‘with signs’ if the writer of the letter was present, and she was—in fact, she was the next speaker. 

“After she’d finished, and before the next person could speak, [Mayor Tom] Bates said: ‘I don’t read that paper.’ [laughter] ‘I’m sorry. You’ll have to get in a real newspaper if you want me to read it.’ [laughter from the dais, much booing and hissing from the audience].” 

A real newspaper wouldn’t be, for example, the Daily Californian, now would it? Unless, perhaps, Bates did manage to read that one before he tossed a thousand copies in the trash during his last campaign. But don’t count on it. He’s not much of a reader, it seems. And proud of it, too. 


Commentary: Jerry Brown’s Wedding Highlights The Need for Marriage Equality By MOLLY McKAY

Tuesday June 28, 2005

On February 12, 2004, my wife Davina and I were married in San Francisco. It was one of the best moments of my life when we were declared “spouses for life” after publicly committing to care, honor and support each other through thick and thin in the City Hall rotunda. We had already carried this commitment in our hearts for nine years, we already owned a house together in Oakland, shared one bank account, and are as in love with each other today as the day we met.  

But because we are a lesbian couple, we could only get married after San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom boldly challenged the state’s discriminatory law that treats us as second-class citizens. The state Supreme Court invalidated our marriage license, but we believe that soon the courts, the legislature, and the people of California will all conclude that same-sex couples and their children deserve the same rights and responsibilities as our heterosexual counterparts.  

A couple of weeks ago, Oakland Mayor Jerry Brown, a life-long bachelor, married his partner, Anne Gust, a woman that he has known and loved for 15 years. I congratulate the mayor for taking such an important step, and hope that his wedding day (like mine) was the happiest day of his life. But Brown’s refusal to support marriage equality, and his past involvement on this issue, leaves a sour taste in my mouth. In 1977, then Gov. Jerry Brown signed into law Section 300 of the California Family Code, which limits marriage to a civil contract between a man and a woman. This law denies me and my wife, as well as tens of thousands of loving and committed couples and their children throughout California, the 1,400 marital benefits that heterosexual couples take for granted. 

We are told that same-sex marriage is illegal because marriage has traditionally been understood as only being between a man and a woman. But as when the California Supreme Court overruled the ban on interracial marriage in 1948, just because something is “traditional” does not make it right—or even constitutional. Some claim that the purpose of marriage is to procreate children, and that because same-sex couples cannot produce children without assistance, their relationships are somehow less worthy of protection. But nobody would seriously advocate preventing straight couples who are above child-bearing age (like Brown and Gust, who are 65 and 45 years old, respectively) from enjoying the rights and benefits of marriage. Moreover, according to the U.S. Census, one third of all lesbian couples and of all gay male couples are raising children from adoption, alternative insemination, foster parenting and prior heterosexual relationships. These numbers are significantly higher for African American and Latino same-sex households (close to 50 percent). Simply put, as Judge Kramer held in the trial court decision striking down Mayor Brown’s 1977 law and Proposition 22 as unconstitutional, there is no rational basis for deny same-sex couples the right to marry. 

Mayor Brown’s decision to have U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein officiate his wedding only further added insult to injury. Last November, on the morning after the presidential election, Feinstein blamed the LGBT community and our struggle for marriage equality for having sunk John Kerry’s candidacy. The national media, eager to find a “spin” about the election results, stuck to Feinstein’s words “too much, too fast, too soon,” turning our community into scapegoats for a failed presidential campaign that stood for nothing.  

On their honeymoon, the couple plans to kick off Brown’s 2006 campaign for California attorney general. (Anne Gust has quit her job at the Gap Corporation to work full-time as her husband’s campaign manager.) If elected next year, Brown will represent the State of California in its historic litigation over the future of marriage equality. It is only natural for any candidate in such a position to take a stand on same-sex marriage so that the voters can truly decide. As of today, Brown has refused to join other candidates for statewide office (like gubernatorial candidates Phil Angelides and Steve Westly) in supporting marriage equality. And yet he does not hesitate to get married himself and enjoy all the legal benefits and civil recognition that marriage brings. 

So congratulations, Jerry. I wish you and Anne well. We’ve been waiting decades for the rights you will enjoy this weekend. Please right the wrong you signed into law in 1977, and help make it possible for us to get married too. 


Molly McKay is the field director of Equality California, a state-wide organization that advocates for marriage equality. She and her wife, Davina Kotulski, author of Why You Should Give A Damn About Gay Marriage, live in Oakland. 

Commentary: A Lesson for the Religion of Peace By CHRISTIAN HARTSOCK

Tuesday June 28, 2005

If liberals refuse to get over Watergate and Abu Ghraib, then no, we are not over Newsweek.  

As we all know, Newsweek became the laughingstock of the establishment media last month after Newsweek writers Michael Isikoff and John Barry published a false report of a Guantanamo GI who, while attempting to interrogate Muslim inmates, “flushed a holy book (the Qu’ran) down the toilet” which led scores of fire-breathing Muslims to stage violent protests in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Malaysia, Indonesia and other countries, replete with casualties, burnt American flags, destruction to U.S. and U.N. government buildings, et cetera.  

To be fair, Newsweek did indeed retract the story, but what was not retracted was the 16 deaths and 100-plus injuries it incited. Who warrants the most mockery in this situation is not necessarily the Newsweek reporters who apparently have unbearable trouble keeping their anti-Americanism and anti-militarism to themselves, but the hysterical Islamic idiots who so blindly accepted the reports and resorted to mass brutality to vent their religious insecurities.  

Now recently, the Communist Party USA released a statement denouncing Christianity as a religion of oppression, accusing Christians of being responsible for slavery, genocide, the Holocaust, the “sufferings and executions and ‘passion’ of untold millions and tens of millions” as well as “the murderous oppression, down through the centuries, aided and abetted and in some cases directly caused by Christianity.” Liberals seem to have a hard time mentioning Christianity without automatically attributing it to the ugliest atrocities known to mankind, yet they are quick to assure us all that Islam is a completely blameless “religion of peace.” 

The Communist Party USA performed its own version of Holy Book denigration by referring to the Bible as “a book full of what can charitably be described as a hodge-podge of remarkably violent legends, tall tales and tribal history” which “contradicts itself all over the place.” 

They were certainly correct in calling Christianity a violent religion, which was best demonstrated by the collective Christian reaction to the Party’s Bible-degradation that included myriad violent uprisings across Middle America involving crowds marching through streets chanting “Death to the Communists” and destruction to the homes of suspected social liberals. Oh, wait a minute, that didn’t happen. 

That does not discount, however, the violent Christian-led massacres against law enforcement officials in Saudi Arabia which were a response to the process by which Saudi customs confiscate Bibles carried by visitors to the country, shred them up and subject the visitors to 40 lashes and sometimes execution. Oh, that’s right, there were no massacres. 

But there were, of course, the violent Christian protests outside the National Gallery of Victoria in Melbourne, Australia, in reaction to the museum’s display of Andres Serrano’s “Piss Christ”—a photograph of a crucifix submerged in urine. The Christian protesters attacked and killed several police officers, wreaked havoc in the museum, chanting “Death to Andres Serrano” and—whoops! That didn’t happen either. 

Perhaps it’s time for the religion of oppression practitioners to give the religion of peace fundamentalists a lesson on how to start acting like men. 


Christian Hartsock is a screenwriter, videographer and political columnist and a graduate of Piedmont High School.

Commentary: A Few for the Right Wing By PAUL GLUSMAN

Tuesday June 28, 2005

Once in a while, the right—at least in the judiciary—gets it right. Many of my friends who follow the United States Supreme Court are used to rooting for the “progressives” (actually a coalition of moderates and mildly liberal judges—the ones who endeared themselves to us by not signing on to the Bush coup in 2000—Justices John Paul Stevens, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, David Souter and Stephen Breyer) against the conservatives—Chief Justice William Rehnquist and Justices Clarence Thomas and Antonin Scalia. The two swing votes, pretty conservative themselves, are Justices Anthony Kennedy and Sandra Day O’Connor. 

On June 23, the court decided a land use case, Kelo v. City of New London. To put in perspective what was at issue, suppose the collective wisdom of the Berkeley mayor’s office and the Berkeley City Council decides that residents of our community aren’t being given enough opportunity to purchase coffee, and that another coffee house from a privately owned mega-chain—let’s call it “Moondollars”—should go up right where your house is standing. Suppose the city claimed that this was in furtherance of its development plan to enhance the urban environment, produce more jobs, and bring much-needed tourist dollars into the city. (The meeting at which the plan was approved was posted for 24 hours on a lamppost three blocks from where you live in six-point type next to the tear-off ad for a cleaning service and the reward poster for a lost cat.) 

Suppose further that the city condemns your house, so the coffee shop can be built. Of course, you are entitled to compensation for your real property, but considering you didn’t want to sell in the first place, you kind of like your house which has been in your family since 1920, and (for some strange reason) haven’t entirely bought in to the reasoning behind the decision of the city fathers and mothers to condemn it. Thus you object to being forced out of your home to accommodate a rich, influential corporation. 

This is the issue that was presented in Kelo. In New London, Conn., the city condemned housing in order to turn over private land to private businesses, under an integrated development plan designed to “revitalize its ailing economy.” The homeowners protested, arguing that the Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution only authorized seizing private land for public purposes. In this case Pfizer Pharmaceuticals was the main beneficiary of this reverse robin-hood redistribution of the wealth. 

The court held, by a 5-4 majority, that this was just fine. Of course, it long has been the law that the government could take your home if it paid just compensation, as long as the taking was for a public purpose, say to build a road, expand a park, or construct a new state office building. But now the high court has approved taking private property in order to give it to a more influential property owner, as long as the government can create the necessary record to justify it in terms of revitalizing the economy, removing blight, or producing jobs. One doesn’t have to be a total cynic to believe that the seizing government entity wouldn’t have much trouble creating such a paper trail. The Kelo opinion holds that courts shouldn’t second-guess a governmental determination of what is a public benefit. 

The kicker here is that the majority consisted of the progressives. Stevens wrote the opinion, joined by Souter, Breyer and Ginsburg. Justice Anthony Kennedy joined them with a concurring opinion, providing the 5-4 majority. 

Sandra Day O’Connor dissented, joined by the normally troglodyte trilogy of Thomas, Scalia and Rehnquist, stating that the majority decision would favor those with disproportionate influence and power in the political process including large corporations and development firms. Thomas also pointed out, as had the NAACP, that redevelopment often meant displacement of minorities, the elderly and the poor. 

A few weeks ago the Supreme Court, in the case of Gonzalez v. Raich, held that the federal government’s ban on marijuana overrode California law which allows for medical use. The federal law had been challenged by Raich—who claimed that marijuana was the only substance she could use to alleviate her illness—as an unwarranted extension of the federal government’s powers under the interstate commerce clause of the U.S. Constitution. The court said that medicinal pot use did affect interstate commerce. While growing weed in the back yard to ease your mother’s cancer pain does affect interstate commerce, earlier cases have held that carrying guns near schools and violence against women doesn’t affect interstate commerce. Legal scholars will have a field day writing learned treatises distinguishing one case from another here. It may be important that two of the dissenters, O’Connor and Rehnquist, themselves suffer from or have suffered from, cancer. Once again the liberals, joined by Scalia and Kennedy showed up on the wrong side. Of those voting to uphold the federal law, Ginsburg has suffered from cancer. 

In other news Congress has ratified the nomination of California Supreme Court Justice Janice Rogers Brown to the District of Columbia Court of Appeals. Progressive groups have justifiably condemned many of her decisions as being beholden to powerful interests and in favor of religious extremism—“pro-life” on parental consent, pro-death on death penalty cases. However, even she occasionally has made good calls on cases. For example, in the Hagberg case—which I wrote about in these pages some months ago—which made it impossible for victims of maliciously false reports to the police to sue the persons who make the reports, Brown wrote the dissent, arguing that victims of such reports will have arrest records and never be able to clear their names other than through a lawsuit. 

A few years ago, in the Aguilar v. Avis Rent-a-Car case, the California Supreme Court dangerously upheld an injunction against speech based on its content, ignoring decades of U.S. Supreme court jurisprudence that prior-restraints on speech were unconstitutional. In Aguilar the speech prohibited was racist speech in the workplace. Such speech, even before Aguilar, could be penalized after the fact based on fair employment laws. Employees subjected to such speech in the workplace could sue under the California Fair Employment and Housing Act, or federal Title VII. Aguilar went farther and upheld a pre-speech injunction regulating content. Brown dissented, stating that this sort of determination that a court disliked certain speech, thus forbidding anyone from saying it was the exception that could swallow the free speech guarantees of the First Amendment.  

Many in the progressive legal community hailed the Aguilar decision and derided Brown for her dissent. This is short-sighted. The current government hasn’t manifested a great reverence for other constitutional guarantees, such as the right to trial, the right to counsel, and the right to be free from cruel and unusual punishment. The progressive legal community should not applaud precedents that will allow this or any government to curtail the right to free speech, even if they detest the speech forbidden in a particular case. Such acquiescence in curtailment of liberties will come back to bite them. 

So, if you keep score on what the courts are doing in our country, it is important to analyze what’s going on in a case by case basis. Just because a judge is considered a “liberal” doesn’t mean that judge will make a good decision, and just because that judge is conservative doesn’t mean the judge is not committed to preserving fundamental liberties.›

Commentary: Physician Correct on Campus Bay By DWIGHT STENSETH and DOUG MOSTELLER

Tuesday June 28, 2005

We applaud Dr. Jeff Ritterman’s thoughtful comments in his May 27 commentary on Campus Bay and look forward to working with people in Richmond as we strive to make Campus Bay a safe, vibrant part of the community. 

We would like to respond to several points made in the letter. First, there is one important fact missing. Cherokee Investment Partners teamed with Simeon Commercial Properties to acquire the Campus Bay property from Zeneca in 2002, after cleanup actions had been completed under Zeneca’s ownership. Whatever issues may have been created those cleanup efforts have been used to unfairly tarnish Cherokee and Simeon. 

Cherokee and Simeon purchased Campus Bay based on the condition of the property represented by Zeneca and the Regional Water Quality Control Board. At the time, we believed most of the necessary cleanup was complete or could be completed without significant delay. We were not fully aware of the level of animosity or distrust created by the cleanup and the oversight provided. Now we are working with the California Department of Toxic Substances Control to do whatever it takes to make certain the property is safe for redevelopment.  

Cherokee has a reputation as a national leader in brownfield cleanup and redevelopment, and we still hope for a collaborative relationship with everyone in the community who shares our dedication to safety. Over the past 15 years, we have purchased over 330 properties – and in every single case where an environmental cleanup was required, we met or exceeded the local environmental and safety standards. 

We’re concerned about the future of the property because it has become a political football. We understand that certain groups are focused on the cleanup of Campus Bay and other contaminated industrial sites. There should be no controversy over this issue, because everyone agrees that it must be done right. We stand with everyone in the Richmond community who wants Campus Bay to be safe, and we are devoted to making that happen.  

Some people want to see the property clean, safe, and locked away forever. Yet, it is our experience that communities like Richmond greatly benefit from turning blighted properties into a safe redevelopment. Opportunities like the safe redevelopment at Campus Bay can provide Richmond with jobs, housing, and tax revenue for local schools, roads, and economic growth.  

There are always going to be concerns about environmental cleanup, especially when it comes to properties that endured almost 100 years of industrial manufacturing and neglect. The important thing to focus on is the cleanup itself and the end goal – a safe property that can be developed to benefit the entire community. 

Richmond needs a clean and safe Campus Bay, and that’s Cherokee’s commitment. 


Dwight Stenseth and Doug Mosteller work for Cherokee Investment Partners.

Shotgun Lab Mimes Love and Life on a Chess Board By KEN BULLOCKSpecial to the Planet

Tuesday June 28, 2005

The subtitle of The Pawn, the latest entry in the Shotgun Theatre Lab collaborative series, now playing at the Ashby Stage, is “A Mimed Play About The Games Of Life, Love And Chess.” Mimed it is, but not silent. Eric Klein plays excellently in accompanim ent, mostly on accordion (what often sounds like carny music), sometimes on guitar. The bittersweet comic action plays out on the black and white of a big chessboard (smaller ones are placed here and there), and, except for an offstage belch and a well-pl aced slap, the story’s told without a human sound, though with much expression. 

The Pawn begins with a querulous title character (Sean Williford) riveted in consternation to his square, gingerly attempting movement to the left or right, only to be warned off by a blast from the accordion. Onto the board pirouettes a tank-topped Knight (as the program identifies Alex Present, who shows for a moment his Capoeira training), who cartwheels, rights himself,and immediately starts in on the Pawn, who finally st eps one square ahead, to much headshaking and handwringing. Blackout. 

The following scenes are all blackout vignettes, and follow the duo through infancy, schoolroom pranks, and the entrance of the love interest (Juliet Huntington, the Queen). The Pawn u sually ends up puzzled, with the short end of the stick. The Knight is like a part of him, angel or demon, evil twin, a constant companion—egging him on, getting him in trouble, standing back and shaking his head.  

It’s a storybook overview of growing up and getting on in the world, related back to chess moves stretched out on the bigger board of the stage. What emerges from the quick blackouts is that old-fashioned device, “A Sentimental Education,” though contemporary in its references. The Pawn is like a live theater silent film (indeed, director Stephanie Abrams’ Kinetic Theory Experimental Theatre put on a show at San Francisco’s Exit Theater a couple years back called Silent Movie). Mack Sennett meets Eric Berne? These “Games People Play” are both games and pantomime, with all the charm (and the quick, insouciant gestures) of old-time entertainment with a light psychological touch. 

With the Queen’s entrance into a classic soda jerk routine (it could have been Harold Lloyd) adapted to Starbucks, the uneasy duo becomes a threesome, with the musician as the Rook dragged in to comic, occasionally randy, effect. Pawn-meets-Queen, with the Knight horning in, as the late bloomer learns about grooming, comportment, cohabitation and going out on the town. 

But no matter how he moves, one step at a time, or what he comes up with, the Pawn’s perplexed—he can’t get ahead of the game. He’s still pushing wood. The others—and circumstance—continually check him. (It’s a funny over-extension of the play’s conceit: a pawn getting checked.) 

In the end, it’s literally back to Square One. The bitter, repetitive fruits of experience, a treadmill poetically limned by William Blake in his “Mental Traveler” (which I think Fred Curchak used to do as a solo piece onstage). But the ironies are light enough, the whole piece something of a parody of the old melodramas and pantomimes of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. 

There used to be a discrepancy between pantomime and mime, mime being more aesthetically rigorous, ev en abstact, and pantomime a simpler storytelling technique with gestures. This is what Kinetic Theory seems to be up to. Director Abrams’ background is in circus (she was a contortionist); she’s said she wants to explore new combinations of physical comed y, dance and acrobatics. 

Part of the charm displayed by the young cast comes from their easy assumption of the old comedians’ stock roles. Sean Williford’s big eyes and mobile face make him a perfect Pierrot. Never-still Alex Present is a cut-up Harlequi n, while Juliet Huntington’s a wide-eyed but game Columbine. These characters trace back beyond Commedia Dell’Arte to the mummers of medieval miracle and morality plays to the original mimes of Mediterranean antiquity. There were a lot of “bastardized” Co mmedia offspring: Punch and Judy, English Pantos, much clown schtick. Kinetic Theory’s field of action, their own chessboard, relates in part to what’s been defined by these predecessors. There’s something of the flavor of a scamp like Charlie Chaplin, a n ingenue like Buster Keaton, or a modern picaro like Marcel Marceau.  

After the show there’s a talk-back with audience, cast and director every night. The Pawn is another entertaining entry in the Shotgun Theatre Lab series, helping to develop new theater. 



The Shotgun Theatre Lab presents The Pawn, 8 p.m., Tuesdays and Wednesdays through July 6 at the Ashby Stage. $10. 841-6500. www.shotgunplayers.org.n

Arts Calendar

Tuesday June 28, 2005



Shotgun Theater Lab “The Pawn” Tues. and Wed. at 8 p.m. at The Ashby Stage, 1901 Ashby Ave., through July 6. Tickets are $10. 841-6500. www.shotgunplayers.org 

“Tell It On Tuesday” with solo performers celebrating the art of storytelling at 7:30 p.m. at the Julia Morgan Center for the Arts. Cost is $5 at the door. www.juliamorgan.org  


Joanna Macy and Anita Barrows read from their translations of Rilke at 7:30 p.m. at Black Oak Books. 486-0698. www.blackoakbooks.com 

Chitra Divakaruni describes how radio can empower youth in isolated communities in “Queen of Dreams” at 7:30 p.m. at Cody’s Books. 845-7852. www.codysbooks.com  

The Whole Note Poetry Series with Lenore Weiss and Avotcja at 7 p.m. at The Beanery, 2925 College Ave., near Ashby. 549-9093. 


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

Randy Craig Trio at 7:30 p.m. at Caffe Trieste, 2500 San Pablo Ave., at Dwight. 548-5198.  

John Patitucci Trio with Adam Rogers and Clarence Penn at 8 and 10 p.m. at Yoshi’s at Jack London Square. Cost is $10-$16. 238-9200. www.yoshis.com 

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

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

Eric Shifrin, jazz piano, at 8 p.m. at Downtown. 649-3810. 



Seventies Underground: “Shoot the Whale” at 3 p.m. at the Pacific Film Archive. Cost is $4-$8. 642-0808. www.bampfa.berkeley.edu 


James Frey describes friendship with a fellow addict in “My Friend Leonard” at 7:30 p.m. at Cody’s Books. 845-7852. www.codysbooks.com 

Dean Sluyter discusses “Cinema Nirvana: Enlightenment Lessons from the Movies” at 7:30 p.m. at Black Oak Books. 486-0698. www.blackoakbooks.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 


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

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. Cost is $5. 763-7711. www.cafevankleef.com 

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

Drunken Cat Paws at 8 p.m. at Jupiter. 848-8277. 

Scissors for Lefty, The Visible Man, Plum Crazy at 9 p.m. at Blakes on Telegraph. Cost is $7. 848-0886. www.blakesontelegraph.com 

Spirit Music Jamia featuring Me’shell Ndegeocello at 8 and 10 p.m. at Yoshi’s at Jack London Square, through Sun. Cost is $20-$24. 238-9200. www.yoshis.com 



“A Girl’s Life” video installations by Kristy Guevara-Flanagan and Dawn D. Valadez. Reception from 6 to 8 p.m. at Pro Arts, 550 Second St. Oakland. www.proartsgallery.org 


Mandy Aftel discusses “Scents and Sensibilities: Creating Solid Perfumes for Well Being” at 7:30 p.m. at Black Oak Books. 486-0698. www.blackoakbooks.com 

Word Beat Reading Series with Ralph Dranow and Dan Marlin at 7 p.m. 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. 


Summer Noon Concert with the Capoeira Arts Café at the Downtown Berkeley BART Plaza. Sponsored by the Downtown Berkeley Association. 

Odori Simcha with Neal Cronin at 6 p.m. at Temescal Cafe, 4920 Telegraph Ave., Oakland. Donation $5. 

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

Ben Stolerow Trio 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 

No Origin, Research and Development, Svelte at 9:30 p.m. at The Starry Plough. Cost is $6. 841-2082 www.starryplough.com 

Peter Barshay and Marcos Silva at 8 p.m. at Downtown. 649-3810.  

Frogger, Clockwork and Rich Drama at 8 p.m. at Jupiter. 848-8277. 

Spirit Music Jamia featuring Me’shell Ndegeocello at 8 and 10 p.m. at Yoshi’s at Jack London Square, through Sun. Cost is $20-$24. 238-9200. www.yoshis.com 



Aurora Theatre “The Thousandth Night” Wed.-Sat. at 8 p.m., Sun. 2 and 7 p.m., through July 24, at 2081 Addison St. Tickets are $36. 843-4822. www.auroratheatre.org 

Berkeley Rep, “Honour” 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 

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


New Works by Bruce Skogen, abstract paintings. Reception for the artist at 6 p.m. at Cafe DiDartolo, 3310 Grand Ave., Oakland. 832-9005. 


For Your Eyes Only: “The Spy Who Came in From the Cold” at 7:30 p.m. and “Dr. No” at 9:10 p.m. at Pacific Film Archive. Cost is $4-$8. 642-0808. www.bampfa.berkeley.edu 


Synergy Women’s Open Mic with poets Donna M. Lane and Jeanne Lupton at 7:30 p.m. at Change Makers, 6536 Telegraph Ave., Oakland. Cost is $3-$7. 632-7548. 


Jazz Express Quartet with vocalist Deborah Muse at 9 p.m., Jason Martineau, piano, at 8 p.m. at Anna’s Jazz Island, 2120 Allston Way. 841-JAZZ. www.AnnasJazzIsland.com 

The Julian Waterfall Pollack Trio at 8 p.m. at the Jazz 

school. Cost is $10. 845-5373. www.jazzschool.com 

Nina Gerber, Linda Tillery and Aya de Leon at 8:30 p.m. at La Peña Cultural Center. Conversation with the artists at 7:30 p.m. Cost is $13-$15. 849-2568. www.lapena.org 

African Showboys, African tribal music and dance, at 9 p.m. at Ashkenaz. Cost is $11-$13. 525-5054. www.ashkenaz.com 

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

Matt the Electrician, Tom Freund at 9:30 p.m. at The Starry Plough. Cost is $7. 841-2082. www.starryploughpub.com 

Maria Estrada Quartet at 9 p.m. at Downtown. 649-3810. 

Paul Garton & John Howland, singer-songwriters, at 7:30 p.m. at Nomad Cafe, 6500 Shattuck Ave. 595-5344. www.nomadcafe.net 

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

Off Minor, My Disco, Fighting Dogs at 8 p.m. at 924 Gilman St., an all-ages, member-run, no alcohol, no drugs, no violence club. Cost is $7. 525-9926. 

Spirit Music Jamia featuring Me’shell Ndegeocello at 8 and 10 p.m. at Yoshi’s at Jack London Square. Cost is $20-$24. 238-9200. www.yoshis.com 



“Jane Austen in Berkeley” A one-woman play by Andrea Mok at 7:30 p.m. at A Cuppa Tea, College and Alcatraz. 841-9441. 


Pre-Code Hollywood: “Trouble in Paradise” at 7 p.m. and “Design for Living” at 8:45 p.m. at the Pacific Film Archive. Cost is $4-$8. 642-0808. www.bampfa.berkeley.edu 


Bay Area Poets Coalition open poetry reading from 3 to 5 p.m. on the front lawn at 1527 Virginia St. 527-9905. poetalk@aol.com 


East Bay Funkhop Freedom Fest A benefit for Berkeley High School’s Music Program, with Otis Goodnight, Raw Deluxe, Ten G Bob and others, from 11:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. at People’s Park on Haste.  

Ellen Hoffman, Hanif & The Sound Voyagers Jazz Quintet at 8 p.m. at Anna’s Jazz Island, 2120 Allston Way. 841-JAZZ. www.AnnasJazzIsland.com 

Ron Thompson at 2 p.m. at Down Home Music, 10341 San Pablo Ave., El Cerrito. 525-2129. 

Teja Gerken, finger-style guitar, at 8 p.m. at Freight and Salvage. Cost is $17.50-$18.50. 548-1761.  


Sylvia Herold & Euphonia, English, Irish, and American folk songs, at 8:30 p.m. at Epic Arts, 1923 Ashby Ave. Cost is $5-$10. www.epicarts.org 

George Pederson and the Natives, Famous Last Words at 9:30 p.m. at The Starry Plough. Cost is $5. 841-2082. www.starryploughpub.com 

Reggae Angels at 9 p.m. at Ashkenaz. Cost is $11-$13. 525-5054. www.ashkenaz.com 

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

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

Matt Renzi Quartet at 9 p.m. at Downtown. 649-3810. 

Iron Lung, Threatener, Machine Gun Romantics at 8 p.m. at 924 Gilman St. Cost is $7. 525-9926. 

Sylvia Herold & Euphonia, folk songs, at 8:30 p.m. at Epic Arts, 1923 Ashby Ave. Cost is $5-$10. www.epicarts.org 

Ricardo Lemvo and Makina Loca at 8 and 10 p.m. at Yoshi’s at Jack London Square, through Sun. Cost is $15-$20. 238-9200. www.yoshis.com 



Ten*G*Bob at Ashkenaz at 3 p.m. Cost is $4-$6. 525-5054. www.ashkenaz.com 


Mary Younkin, paintings. Reception at 4 p.m. at Nomad Cafe, 6500 Shattuck Ave. 595-5344. www.nomadcafe.net 

Michéle Manning “Lake Anza Series” Reception for the artist at 2:30 p.m. at Tilden Nature Center, Tilden Park. 525-2233. 


Harold Lloyd: “The Kid Brother” at 3 p.m. and Pre-Code Hollywood: ”Blessed Event” at the Pacific Film Archive. Cost is $4-$8. 642-0808. www.bampfa.berkeley.edu 


Traditional and Modern American Music on the Roslaes Organ, with brass and percussion at 3 p.m. at First Presbyterian Church of Oakland, 2619 Broadway. Donation $10. 444-3555. www.firstchurchoakland.org 

Edessa, Balkan CD Release Party at 8:30 p.m. at Ashkenaz. Dance lessons with Amet Luleci and Joe Graziosi at 7 p.m. Cost is $12. 525-5054. www.ashkenaz.com 

Twang Cafe, acoustic americana, at 7:30 p.m. at Epic Arts, 1923 Ashby Ave. Cost is $5-$10. www.epicarts.org 



One World Festival with bluegrass, african, roots and brazilian music, from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. at Cerrito Vista Park, 1/2 mile off San Pablo on Moeser, El Cerrito. Free. www.worldOneradio.org 

Mel Sharpe’s Big Money in Jazz Band with Faye Carol at 8 and 10 p.m. at Yoshi’s at Jack London Square. Cost is $5. 238-9200. www.yoshis.comP

Books: Boucher Mysteries Mirrored Berkeley Scene By PHIL McARDLE Special to the Planet

Tuesday June 28, 2005

Anthony Boucher (1911-1968) was a mystery writer and editor of immense prestige in his field. A long-time resident, he wrote two remarkable stories set here in Berkeley: The Seven of Calvary and The Compleat Werewolf. 

“Anthony Boucher” was a pen name. His real name was William Anthony Parker White. In 1978 I interviewed his widow, the late Phyllis White, for an article about him. She was a small, white-haired woman, well-spoken, a retired librarian. At the beginning of the interview, she treated me with a somewhat professional, impersonal friendliness, as though I were a library patron. But as we proceeded, she warmed up, and was forthcoming and helpful, providing me with information I could never have obtained elsewhere. We become friends, and she sponsored me for membership in the Mystery Writers of America. 

Her husband had died 10 years earlier, and she was still bereft. She did not like being a literary widow. But as she took me through their house, she showed me items she could not bear to part with, papers she planned to find homes for in university libraries, and writings she intended to see published. 

She kept first editions of his books in living room bookcases. His Edgar Awards were on the mantle. (These are small busts of Edgar Allan Poe awarded annually by the Mystery Writers of America for outstanding achievement.) To a mystery writer, an Edgar is the equivalent of an Oscar, and Boucher won several. She told me I was just too late to have seen his collection of phonograph records, rare recordings from opera’s “golden age,” which he shared with the public in weekly broadcasts of “Golden Voices” on KPFA. It had gone to the UC Santa Barbara music library a week before we met. 

Upstairs, an attic had been converted into an office years earlier as a place for Boucher to do his writing. Now it contained his huge collection of pulp magazines and novels, all carefully sorted and filed in orange crates. (Eventually these found a home at the University of Arizona.) The attic was hushed, incredibly still, and as we talked, we lowered our voices. There was something eerie about it. 

Lenore Glenn Offord, another Berkeley mystery writer, described Anthony Boucher to me as a man of medium height, with brown hair and near-sighted brown eyes. He had a pleasant voice, and his speech was clear and precise. In his youth he was a slapdash dresser, she said; later in life he became something of a dandy. He loved to go to the opera on first nights in white tie and tails. 

He might have distinguished himself in any field. Somewhat to his surprise, perhaps, he became the author of mystery novels, science fiction and fantasy, newspaper reviews, and (in the days before television) scripts for radio plays. He also taught writing at his home, and became a regular broadcaster on KPFA and KQED. In his later years, his wife said, he became an active layman in the Catholic Church, with a particular interest in ecumenicism. 

Phyllis White told me freelance writers found encouragement in the fact that, by staying in Berkeley, he showed it was possible for a writer to make a living outside New York or Hollywood. His erudition was so vast, however, that some of them did not quite know what to make of him. John Leonard, the author and book reviewer, remembered Boucher as “a gentle teacher” and “steadfast friend” who “was assumed by those of us who worked for Pacifica radio in the early sixties to be a Middle-European intellectual who had wandered by accident from the high road of Literature onto the bicycle paths of Pulp.” 

Actually, when he came to Berkeley as a graduate student in 1932, he intended to become a professor of foreign languages. Then he got caught up in the excitement of student theater. “I spent as much time,” he wrote, “in little theater (acting, directing, writing) as in curricular work, and finally decided that this appealed to me more than academic scholarship: I was going to be a playwright.” It was in the little theater that he met Phyllis Price, the daughter of a professor of German, and fell in love with her. When he got his degree in 1934, he set out to establish himself in Hollywood as a playwright and screenwriter. They planned to get married when he succeeded.  

But it was slower going in Hollywood than he expected. He got a job with a weekly paper, but it paid him in passes to the plays and concerts. His plays were performed in small theaters by non-equity players, but he could not find a publisher for them or get them put on by major producers, and he was unable to find work at any of the movie studios. “After a few years of not selling plays,” he wrote, “I tried a mystery novel.” 


The Case of the Seven of Calvary 

Boucher thought popular literature could hold up a mirror to its time and reflect it with a special kind of accuracy. His first novel, The Case of the Seven of Calvary (1937), certainly does. Even though it is a murder mystery, it captures the easy going quality of life in Berkeley in the mid-1930s. Dr. John Ashwin, the novel’s amateur detective, is based on Professor Arthur Ryder, Berkeley’s great translator of Sanskrit literature. The Watson to his Holmes is Martin Lamb, a graduate student playwright, who resembles Antony Boucher himself. We are introduced to them in one of the most unusual opening scenes in American fiction:  

atha nalopakhyanam brhadacva unvaca. 

Here begins the episode of Nala. Brihadashava speaks,” Martin translated almost automatically. The warm spring air entering through the open windows of the classroom was quite enough to distract his attention from the Mahabharata. 

Dr. Ashwin rose somewhat heavily from behind the desk and began to pace the room as he recited the opening shloka. His voice took on a booming richness which fitted equally well his imposing figure and the magnificent Sanskrit verse. 

Martin was sincerely eager to keep his attention fixed upon his translation...But his thoughts insisted on wandering... 

“Thus speaking, the king released the swan,” he translated. 

“Thus having spoken,” Ashwin amended. 

Such sunny passages are the reason many Berkeleyans have always been fond of this novel. But the story also explores darker sides of student life. The murder which precipitates the story is the killing near International House of a well-known spokesman for a European peace movement. Another murder occurs during the rehearsal of Martin’s play in Wheeler Auditorium. All of this happens within the ambience of a group of students, mostly Catholics, who usually rendezvous at Newman Hall and International House.  

A few of them are “good” Catholics, but several are on their way out of the Church. They are sexually active, and two of the young woman in the group have had abortions. In this portion of the story, Boucher shows his mastery of the euphemisms and evasions which were part of the language of his time. This special speech was perfectly understood by everyone, and it allowed “open secrets” to remain “unknown.” Here, long before Roe v. Wade, Martin and Mona discuss the problems of their friend Lupe in that furtive, humiliating language: 

“Only Kurt and Lupe and I know, but if you too know it may help...It is no illness that Lupe has.” 

Martin nodded. “I had thought as much. 

“I am sorry for her. I know that it is wrong...There was only this way out. One of Lupe’s friends told her of this doctor in San Francisco--I will not tell you the friend’s name, but she has been to him twice. He was sure and safe....” 

Another of the novel’s open secrets is the discreet portrait of Dr. Ashwin, the man who is at the center of the novel. Boucher has drawn him as a solid and substantial figure, a mixture of the respectable and the eccentric. At the same time he makes it quite clear, to those who can see, that Ashwin is a closeted gay man. 

In 1938, after The Seven of Calvary was published, and after she completed her degree in librarianship, Anthony Boucher and Phyllis Price got married.  


The Compleat Werewolf 

Five years later, Boucher wrote The Compleat Werewolf, a comic fantasia so deeply rooted in Berkeley that no one else could have written it. It is remarkable in its picture of Berkeley in the early years of World War II. It captures the small town quality of the city which was beginning to fade away under the stress of war, and it evokes the aura of mystery surrounding the UC scientists. “Everybody” suspected they were up to something astounding, but nobody knew what (except possibly George Stewart, who made a shrewd guess). It amplifies the otherwise subliminal presence of spies and counterspies. The cast of characters includes a lycanthropic assistant professor, a magician who actually does the Indian rope trick, a glamorous young Hollywood movie star, religious charlatans, German spies, and miscellaneous other Berkeleyans, including a talking cat.  


The New Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 

In 1945 Boucher’s career entered a new phase. “A chance cocktail party meeting led me into radio,” he remembered, “and for three years I was plotting as many as three half-hour shows a week.” He said it was fun and hard work to write for “The Adventures of Ellery Queen,” “The Casebook of Gregory Hood,” and “The New Adventures of Sherlock Holmes” (in which Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce reprised their roles from the popular Holmes film series). His principal collaborator was the late Dennis Green. They divided the work: Boucher devised the plots, and Green clothed them in dialog. All in all, Boucher plotted some 150 half-hour dramas in three years. “Radio and I,” he later wrote, “began to collapse about the same time.” 

Phyllis White let me read some of Boucher’s radio scripts. As the years went by, and new books by him appeared—Exeunt Murderers, Multiplying Villainies, and others—I thought the scripts must be moldering away in the rare book room of some university library. But about ten years ago, Ken Greenwald, an archivist at Pacific Pioneer Broadcasters, had the idea of turning the scripts for the Sherlock Holmes program into a book of short stories. (He described radio scripts accurately as “a long lost medium of writing”). The happy result was The Lost Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, “Based on the Original Radio Plays by Denis Green and Anthony Boucher,” and dedicated to Mary Green and Phyllis White. With its appearance, Anthony Boucher made his last bow to the public.

Loudmouth Grackles are Moving In By JOE EATON Special to the Planet

Tuesday June 28, 2005

There are no great-tailed grackles in Berkeley yet, but I suspect it’s only a matter of time. They’ve made it at least as far as Hayward, where I saw a quartet—three males and a female—a couple of weeks ago in the marshes north of the San Mateo Bridge. The birds have been nesting at McNabney Marsh near Martinez for at least five years, and there’s been at least one successful breeding attempt in Alameda County. 

It was interesting to watch the other birds at the Hayward Regional Shoreline respond to the newcomers. The female grackle was being pestered unmercifully by the resident barn swallows. One of the males landed near a nesting pair of black-necked stilts and was chased away by the male stilt. The male grackle may have looked enough like a crow, albeit smaller and glossier, to set off the stilt’s nest-predator alarm. That didn’t account for the swallows’ reaction to the brown female, though, and I wondered if she had been messing with their nests. Indeed she had; another birder reported the grackles raiding the swallows’ nests, probably to feed their own young. 

Great-tailed grackles are the largest North American blackbird species (males are 18 inches long, females 15), and arguably the loudest. A territorial male can produce a remarkable range of noises, from soft peeps to what the late ornithologist Alexander Skutch described as “martial and stirring” bugle calls and “indescribably harsh, agonized shouts,” and rustling, crackling sounds that seem more mechanical than vocal. The females are quieter. (In Costa Rica, Skutch’s adopted country, males are called clarineros, “trumpeters;” females are sanates). An alpha male controls a territory in which multiple females build their nests. He’s not always successful in keeping rivals out of his turf, and females often mate with nonterritorial males. Nest construction, incubation, and child care are left to the females. 

I’ll admit to mixed feelings about having this bird as a neighbor. But it’s not an alien, like the Eurasian starling or the house sparrow. Call it an invasive native. As other newcomers--the mockingbird, the hooded oriole, the black skimmer—did, the great-tailed grackle has spread on its own by exploiting manmade environments. At home in marshes and brushlands, the grackle also frequents farms and feedlots. In Phoenix and Tucson, it’s the dominant species in the fast-food-parking-lot niche.  

Until the beginning of the twentieth century, the range of the great-tailed grackle stopped just above the Rio Grande. (Southward, it extended through Central America to the coasts of Venezuela and Peru). Then something triggered one of the most dramatic expansions ever documented for a North American bird. One researcher calculated that grackle breeding range in the US increased by over 5000% between 1880 and 2000.  

The birds moved east along the Texas coast into Louisiana, as far as the swamps of the Atchafalaya Basin. To the north, nesting was recorded in Arkansas in 1976, Missouri in 1979, Iowa in 1983, Minnesota in 1993. The grackle wave rolled through north Texas into the Great Plains, colonizng South Dakota by 1998. Westbound grackles reached New Mexico by 1913, Arizona by 1935, Nevada by 1970. On the average, first nesting occurred 5.8 years after their initial appearance in a new state. 

The Colorado River seems to have slowed the grackles down a little 

But they were nesting on the California side as of 1968, and south of the Salton Sea the following year. From the desert, they began a three-pronged advance through California and now nest as far north as the Bay Area, Sacramento, and Mono Lake. A few have nested in Oregon and Idaho, and stragglers have been reported from British Columbia. 

It seems this bird may have had a prior history in the American southwest. Archeologists excavating the ruins of the Hohokam people in central Arizona, whose irrigation-based civilization had collapsed by the fifteenth century, made an intriguing find: the remains of a single great-tailed grackle. It could have been a stray, but historical records hint that it may have come from Mexico as part of a preColumbian trade in exotic birds. 

However you judge the civilization of the Aztecs (on the one hand, human sacrifice; on the other, chocolate), they were skilled aviculturalists. Their pochteca, a merchant class, brought live birds back to the capital from as far away as Panama, and conquered provinces paid tribute in birds and other wildlife. Aztec elites, from the emperor on down, had personal aviaries in which quetzals, parrots, and other resplendent birds were raised for their plumage. The halls of Moctezuma II contained displays of freshwater birds like scarlet ibis, seabirds, and songbirds, and his retinue included skilled bird hunters and veterinarians.  

According to oral accounts compiled by the Franciscan friar Bernardino de Sahagun after the Spanish conquest of the Aztecs, Moctezuma’s predecessor Auitzotl—“the greatest of Aztec conquerors”, according to historian Felipe Fernández-Armesto-- had a weakness for great-tailed grackles. He had them imported from Huaxtec and Totonac lands in what is now the state of Veracruz, and some may have escaped from the royal aviaries and made themselves at home in the streets of Tenochtitlán. Sahagún recorded that they were called teotzanatl (“divine or marvelous grackle”) and that the emperor’s subjects were forbidden to throw rocks at them. 

Birds were also an export item for the ancient Mexicans. Scarlet macaws were captive-bred at aviaries in the state of Chihuahua and sold to the Pueblo peoples further north. So it’s conceivable that 

the grackle found at the Arizona site could have followed that same trade route to become the prized pet of some Hohokam lord. 

It’s unlikely, according to the ornithologists, that the grackles that colonized California are direct descendants of the birds that had the run of the Aztec capital. Different subspecies are involved, and the ones that moved north originated in northern Mexico. Still, the history of grackle-human interaction speaks well for the great-tailed grackle’s adaptability, the traits that made it such a successful colonizer. Scrounging the plazas of Tenochtitlán, patrolling the burger joints, raiding the swallow smorgasbord: it’s a living. 

Berkeley This Week

Tuesday June 28, 2005


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. 

Educators Academy: Insects and Crawling Creatures, Tues.-Thurs., from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at Tilden Nature Center, Tilden Park. For teachers of grades K-5. Fee is $100 for Berkeley residents, $110 for non-residents. Registration required. 636-1684. 

Great Yosemite Day Hikes with Ann Marie Brown at 7 p.m. at REI, 1338 San Pablo Ave. 527-4140. 

Juvenile Criminal Records Workshop at 6 p.m. at La Peña Cultural Center, 3105 Shattuck Ave. Learn what remedies available for individuals with juvenile records in California. www.barringtoncollective.org 

Berkeley PC Users Group Problem solving and beginners meeting to answer, in simple English, users questions about Windows computers. At 7 p.m. at 1145 Walnut St. corner of Eunice. All welcome, no charge. 527-2177.  

Mandala Workshop using collage and art materials to create a circular form at 7 p.m. at Change Makers, 6536 Telegraph Ave. at 66th. Cost is $25. To register call. 525-9258.  

Family Storytime at 7 p.m. at Kensington Library, 61 Arlington Ave. 524-3043. 

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

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. Monthly field trips. 548-3991. www.berkeleycameraclub.org 

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


Insects for Kids A free class for children ages 5-10, at 9 a.m. at the Ecology Center, 2530 San Pablo Ave. www.barringtoncollective.org 

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

Speculative and Practical Folklore Class at 7 p.m. at La Peña Cultural Center, 3105 Shattuck Ave. We will discuss American folk practices from around the country but specifically Southern/South-Eastern, Pennsylvanian, Appalachian and Ozark folk practices. www.barringtoncollective.org 

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

Skin Cancer Screening for people with limited or no insurance at Alta Bates, Markstein Campus. Free, but registration required. 869-8833. 

Bayswater Book Club meets to discuss “Crossing the Rubicon” by Michael C. Ruppert at 6:30 p.m. at Barnes and Noble Coffee Shop, El Cerrito Plaza. 433-2911. 

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. Heavy rain cancels. 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. 

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 

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. 



Puppy Skills, four one-hour classes on Thurs. evenings at 7:30 p.m. at Rabbit Ears, 303 Arlington Ave., Kensington. Cost is $100. To register call 525-6155. 


Sustainable Business Alliance meets at noon at the Swan’s Market Co-housing Cooperative, 9th and Washington Sts., Oakland. Cost is $10-$12.  

Radio Camp Build an FM trasmitter and learn the fundamentals of micropower broadcasting in this 4-day workshop in Oakland. Class runs from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., July 1-4. Cost is $150-$200 sliding scale. For information and to register call 625-0314. www.freeradio.org 

“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. 

World of Plants Tours Thurs.-Sun. at 1:30 p.m. at the UC Botanical Garden, 200 Centenial Drive. Cost is $1-$5. 643-2755. http://botanicalgarden.berkeley.edu 

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 


Year of The Estuary at Point Pinole Hike and learn the history of this shoreline park. Dogs on leashes welcome. Bring lunch, liquids, sunscreen and binoculars. Starts at 10 .m., call fro meeting place. 525-2233. 

East Bay Funkhop Freedom Fest A benefit for Berkeley High School’s Music Program, with Otis Goodnight, Raw Deluxe, Ten G Bob and others, from 11:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. at People’s Park on Haste.  

East Bay Atheists meet at 2 p.m. at the Berkeley Public Library, 3rd floor meeting room, 2090 Kittredge St. A documentary on the disappearance of Madalyn Murray O’Hair will be shown. 

Walking Tour of Old Oakland around Chinatown . Meet at 10 a.m. at the courtyard fountaian iin the Pacific Renaissance Plaza. Tour lasts 90 minutes. Reservations can be made by calling 238-3234. 

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

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 Bird Walk Meet at 9 a.m. at the Tilden Nature Area Visitor Center for an easy exploration of woodland birds in the neighborhood. 525-2233. 

Hands-On Bicycle Clinic from 10 to 11:30 a.m. at REI, 1338 San Pablo Ave. Free. 527-4140. 

Deep Impact Spacecraft will fire an impactor into a comet. Watch the NASA broadcast with 10 p.m. at Chabot Space & Science Center, 10000 Skyline Blvd., Oakland. Tickets are $6-$8 available from 336-7373. 

Socal Action Forum on Microcredit, a system of self-help in developing countries, at 9:30 a.m. at Unitarian Universalist Church of Berkeley, 1 Lawson Rd., Kensington. 525-0302, ext. 306. 

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 


Fourth of July at the Berkeley Marina with international food, live music, art and craft booths and children’s activities. From noon on, with fireworks at 9:30 p.m. Free admission, $10 fee per vehicle. Alcohol-free event. Sponsored by the City of Berkeley. 548-5335. 

Open House at Tilden Nature Center A day of critters, crafts and creative fun, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. 525-2233. 

Summer Noon Concert with the Capoeira Arts Café at the Downtown Berkeley BART Plaza. Sponsored by the Downtown Berkeley Association. 

Interdependence Day Hike to discover how the lives of root nodules, lichen, and parasites are interconnected. Meet at 2 p.m. at Tilden Nature Center. 525-2233. 

One World Festival with bluegrass, african, roots and brazilian music, from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. at Cerrito Vista Park, 1/2 mile off San Pablo on Moeser, El Cerrito. Free. www.worldOneradio.org 

Albany Dog Jog Along the Ohlone Greenway. Registration at 7:30 a.m. at Memorial Park, 1331 Portland Ave., Albany. Cost is $8-$10. Sponsored by the City of Albany. 524-9283. www.albanyca.org 

Albany Fourth of July Festival from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. with music, arts and crafts, children’s activities, at Memorial Park, 1331 Portland Ave., Albany. Sponsored by the City of Albany. 524-9283. www.albanyca.org 

Do You D.A.R.E.? Learn American nature words on weather, topography, animals, wildlife, and weeds, followed by a short walk. From 10 a.m. to noon at Tilden Nature Center. 525-2233. 


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. 981-5150, 981-5153. 

Free Lunches for Berkeley Children beginning June 20, Mon.-Fri., 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at Frances Albrier Center, James Kenney Center, MLK, Jr. Youth Services Center, Strawberry Creek, Washington School and Rosa Parks School. 981-5146. 

Albany Summer Youth Programs including basketball, classes, bike trips and family activities. For information see www.albanyca.org/dept/rec.html 

Bay Area Shakespeare Camp for ages 7 to 13, two week sessions through Aug., at John Hinkle Park. Cost is $395, with scholarships available. 415-422-2222. www.sfshakes.org 


City Council meets Tues. June 28, at 7 p.m in City Council Chambers. 981-6900. www.ci.