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Dave Sprague, Berkeley Firefighter: A Berkeley firefighter battles the flames from a roof adjoining the Berkeley Rep’s set workshop at Fifth and Gilman streets Wednesday night.
Dave Sprague, Berkeley Firefighter: A Berkeley firefighter battles the flames from a roof adjoining the Berkeley Rep’s set workshop at Fifth and Gilman streets Wednesday night.


$2 Million Blaze Destroys Berkeley Rep’s Workshop By RICHARD BRENNEMAN

Friday July 01, 2005

A $2 million major alarm fire gutted the Berkeley Repertory Theater’s 1230 Fifth St. workshop Thursday night despite the best efforts of Berkeley and Albany firefighters. 

The blaze was reported about 7:30 p.m., and went to two alarms eight minutes later. A third alarm followed 20 minutes after that. 

By the time the fire was contained at 9:42, every piece of firefighting in equipment in Berkeley and Albany was on hand, two additional Berkeley firefighting crews had been called up and two firefighters had sustained injuries. 

“One firefighter was treated and released,” reported BFD Capt. Gil Dong, and the second was hospitalized overnight with a major burn to his hand. He was released Friday morning. 

While local firefighters were battling the blaze, crews from Oakland and Alameda County were covering the city’s fire stations, said Dong. 

The 7,500-square-foot structure near the corner of Fifth and Gilman streets, had been home for 15 years to the craftsfolk who create the sets for Berkeley Rep’s production. 

Tony Taccone, the theater company’s artistic direction, said hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of carpentry, metalworking and painting equipment were lost in the flames which billowed as high as 30 feet from the roof during the peak of the fire. 

The Rep wasn’t the building’s only well-known tenants. Back in the 1960s, the structure served as the rehearsal hall for the celebrated rock band Creedence Clearwater Revival. 

“We are grateful that no one was inside at the time of this terrible accident, and truly appreciative of the firefighters who risked their own safety to put out the flames,” said Taccone. 

The fire places an immediate strain on the company’s resources, because they must now find an alternative space and new equipment to create the sets for their upcoming 2005-2006 season, he said. 

Taccone said the fire came as a “terrible shock, a loss from both a practical and an emotional point of view. This building was a critical part of our artistic success for 15 out of our 38 seasons, and we are left without the workshop or the tools to create the magic our audiences expect.” 

While firefighters were unable to save the contents of the theater shop, the efforts prevented the spread of flames to adjacent businesses, which include Performance Engine’s workshop and another shop, said Dong. 

The cause of the blaze remains under investigation, and Berkeley Rep has begun the search for new quarters. 

BUSD Passes Scaled-Down Plan For West Campus By J. DOUGLAS ALLEN-TAYLOR

Friday July 01, 2005

After Board President Nancy Riddle recused herself because of a potential financial conflict, the Berkeley Unified School District unanimously approved a scaled-down version of the West Campus development plan at the board’s Wednesday night meeting. 

The plan, presented as a one-sheet line drawing with no supporting details, commits the district in principle to development of only the northeast third of the mostly-vacant, six-and-a-half-acre 10-building West Campus site on University Avenue between Bonar and Curtis streets. The site once housed the district’s adult school. 

Left in limbo was an ambitious renovation plan of the entire property, contained in a four pound, multi-page draft document produced at the district’s request by Berkeley-based Design, Community & Environment company (DCE). 

In its decision Wednesday night, the board committed to forming a site committee for the West Campus work, as well as holding more community meetings “as appropriate.” 

District officials say the major reason for the proposed renovation is to relocate the district’s administrative offices—currently housed at the Old City Hall—and the district’s Oregon-Russell street facilities. Both of those buildings are considered seismically unsafe, and BUSD Superintendent Michele Lawrence has made it a priority to move employees at those two facilities into safer quarters. 

District officials estimate that it will be at least two years before the move is made. BUSD rents its Old City Hall administrative offices from the City of Berkeley at a $1 per year on a lease that expires in 2007. City officials have said that a seismic retrofit of Old City Hall is economically unfeasible. 

The sprawling West Campus site has far more room than is needed for the relocated facilities, and much district and community discussion over the past several months centered around what was to be done with the remaining portion of the property. 

That discussion was put on hold by the passage of the scaled-down plan Wednesday night, which now only calls for renovation of the existing auditorium and administration building on the property, with the addition of an 8,000 to 10,000 square foot classroom and administration building to be built adjacent to the auditorium. 

Stating that the estimated $26 million price tag for the entire proposal far exceeded the “$6 million to $9 million set aside for the project,” BUSD Facilities Director Lew Jones recommended the rejection of the full-scale plan. While stating that he had no complaints about DCE’s “fine and comprehensive work,” Jones’ memo to board members said that “certain elements of the plan should be studied in greater detail before we proceed.” 

Jones listed some of those elements as the daylighting of Strawberry Creek which runs through the West Campus property and moving the district’s central kitchen to the property. It was the possible move of the district’s kitchen facilities from Jefferson Elementary to West Campus that caused Board President Riddle to recuse herself. Riddle said that because she lives in close proximity to Jefferson, she had a potential economic interest in any decision that affected the Jefferson property. 

Both the creek daylighting and kitchen issues caused considerable controversy during the five public meetings held at West Campus about the property development. Also controversial were suggestions to provide a 170 to 200 space parking lot on the property, and possible plans for housing or other commercial development. 

After both Directors John Selawsky, Shirley Issel, and Student Director Lily Dorman-Colby questioned the limited amount of information contained in the one-page drawing, Superintendent Lawrence said that the requested decision was on the concept only, and that there will be “plenty of time to ask questions. This is certainly going to be open for more discussion. You will have the opportunity to look at blueprints and a detailed plan to see what will actually go on the property, and where things will fall.” 

Facilities Director Jones said that his department’s next step would be to “come back to the board with a schematic design for your approval.” 

In public testimony that preceded the board vote, several neighbors of the West Campus property urged board consideration of an alternative development plan proposed by the West Campus Neighborhood-Merchant Association (WestNEMA). The WestNEMA alternative, available on their website (www.westnema.org), calls for maintaining open space on the large portion of the site, south of the existing boys’ gym between Curtis and Browning streets, except for a small preschool facility. It also includes space in the northwest corner of the property along University Avenue for potential future private development, which it suggests should be “50 percent larger than proposed by DCE.” WestNEMA members have suggested that private development include ground floor retail with housing on top. Such development is permitted under Berkeley’s zoning ordinance for that portion of University Avenue. 

But the WestNEMA plan itself has caused controversy, with one West Campus neighbor, Dennis McCullough, telling board members that “I came here to support the WestNEMA plan, and I even have some doubts about that. Why are we considering selling school property for housing?” McCullough called that idea “shortsighted.”›

BART Strike Still Looms For Wednesday By MATTHEW ARTZ

Friday July 01, 2005

BART’s two biggest unions responded angrily Thursday to management’s latest offer, which union officials said BART gave to the press before they submitted it to union negotiators. 

“This is bad-faith bargaining in violation of the law,” Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1555 said in a press release. 

BART spokesperson Linton Johnson countered that the agency unveiled the offer to the unions hours before holding a Wednesday press conference. 

The unions did not formally respond to the proposal, and negotiations continued Thursday to avert a strike scheduled to begin Wednesday, July 6. The possible strike threatens to bring Bay Area traffic to a stand-still. 

BART, which serves 310,000 riders every weekday, would be shut down if workers walk off their jobs, Johnson said. 

BART’s latest offer includes a four percent raise over four years and requires BART to continue paying employee pension contributions. BART, facing a $100 million deficit over the next four years, had previously offered no raises and demanded that employees make pension contributions.  

The offer still requires that employees pay 13 percent more for health benefits. 

“This offer would eliminate our $100 million deficit without burdening our riders with additional costs,” Johnson said.  

BART has five unions. The two threatening to strike are ATU, Local 1555, which represents over 830 train operators, station agents and technical workers, and SEIU, Local 790, which represents 1,400 custodial, clerical and maintenance staff. 

Earlier this week, the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Local 3993, which represents over 200 supervisors, agreed to a new deal. BART’s two police unions are prohibited from striking. 

The previous union contracts, which expired at midnight Friday, gave employees 22 percent raises over four years. 

This year BART has slashed a $53 million deficit to $24 million by raising fares, charging for parking at 10 East Bay stations and cutting 165 positions, more than half of which were vacant. 

In an earlier interview with the Daily Planet, Bud Brandenberger, vice president of the BART chapter of SEIU Local 790, charged BART’s deficit was caused by retaining too many management positions and transferring operating revenues to unnecessary capital projects. 

Cal Report Forecasts Traffic Jams 

A 2004 study by UC Berkeley researchers found that halting BART service would turn a half-hour jaunt across the bay into a three-hour journey. 

“If the Transbay Tube were out of commission and people were forced to hit the road, there would be a traffic nightmare on major Bay Area corridors and nearby city streets,” said Jorge Leval, lead author of the report in a prepared statement. “In many cases, drivers would likely spend one to two hours on city streets just to get to the freeway, crawling at speeds as low as two miles per hour.” 

The UC Berkeley report was commissioned by BART last year during its ballot initiative campaign to finance upgrades to the Transbay Tube. The study also assumed that commuters wouldn’t carpool in the event of a temporary halt to BART service. 


Transportation Options 

If BART workers strike, commuters should expect crowded buses, packed ferries and long bridge delays, said Randy Rentschler, spokesperson for the Metropolitan Transportation Commission. 

“We don’t have the capacity to replace the service BART provides,” he said 

Rentschler recommended that workers who are able should either telecommute or change their work schedules to avoid rush-hour commutes. 

Bracing for an onrush of commuters, alternative transit agencies are hastily putting together contingency plans. BART announced Wednesday it would keep its parking lots open for car-poolers. Also, the agency is planning to operate a Transbay bus service, Johnson said. Details of the service are not yet available. 

AC Transit has said it will add Transbay routes during off peak hours when it has buses and drivers at its disposal. 

The Oakland-Alameda ferry will also add service in the event of a strike, Rentschler said. The ferry will turn their boats around faster and add direct service between Jack London Square and the San Francisco Ferry building. 

Information For Commuters  

Commuters interested in forming carpools can dial toll free 511 or go online to www.ridesare.511.org/carpool.  

For information on casual carpooling, which will be available at all BART parking lots in the event of a strike, information is available at www.ridenow.org/carpool. To return to the East Bay after work, casual car-poolers are asked to meet on Beale Street between Howard and Folsom streets. Passengers are encouraged to carry a two-sided sign: For the morning the sign should read, “Carpool to SF,” and for the afternoon, the name of the desired BART station. 

Berkeley is served by eight AC Transit Transbay bus lines: E,F,FS, G, H and Z. Go to www.actransit.org for maps and schedules. AC Transit also encourages commuters to use its park and ride lot at Sixth and Market streets in Oakland. Transbay fares are $3 each way. 

Ferry service information is available by calling 511 or at the ferry’s website, www.eastbayferry.com›

Landmarks Commission Requests Outside Expert for Law Revisions By RICHARD BRENNEMAN

Friday July 01, 2005

In a rare display of unanimity, Berkeley’s Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) Monday rejected both its own and the Planning Commission’s revisions to the city’s landmarks ordinance, calling instead for an outside expert to aid in drafting a new proposal. 

Both versions are scheduled to go to the City Council for a public hearing on July 12 with a vote slated a week later. 

The Landmarks Preservation Ordinance (LPO) revision process had generated a firestorm of controversy, in part because developers see it as a tool for derailing or delaying projects and in part because preservationists see a concerted effort to chip away at protections for structures they see as esthetically and historically significant. 

The ostensible reason for a change in the ordinance is to make city law compliant with the state’s Permit Streamlining Act (PSA), which is designed to ensure that building projects aren’t delayed interminably in the bureaucratic processes. 

“We had a long talk about how we were tasked with resolved PSA problems, and we realized they could be solved with just a couple of words,” said LPC member Patricia Dacey. 

The City of Los Angeles landmarks ordinance is virtually identical to Berkeley’s, she said, except for wording on decision to bar demolitions of landmarked buildings. Where Berkeley’s ordinance refers to “suspension of demolitions,” the L.A. ordinance refers to “denials.” 

Bringing Berkeley’s ordinance into compliance with that of the City of Los Angeles would solve the problems raised when revisions were ordered, she said. 

Dacey said commissioners had devoted extensive time to master three separate pieces of legislation: The city’s existing ordinance, the LPO’s own revised ordinance and the revised ordinance proposed by the planning commission. 

“It was an extraordinarily time-consuming and insanely difficult process, and I went to Boalt,” she said, referring to the UC Berkeley law school. “It was clear that everyone on the commission had done the same.” 

Dacey said she disputed the contention of the city attorney’s office that PSA problems demanded a revision of the ordinance. 

Commissioners agreed that the best way to resolve the issue wasn’t through the often-contradictory city commissions but through reliance on outside expertise. 

“We are asking to retain a recognized expert in preservation ordinances, and there are funds available for this purpose from the State Office of Historic Preservation,” she said. 

LPC members Jill Korte, the current chair, and now former member Becky O’Malley had applied for and received a state grant for just that purpose, but the grant was recalled after Planning Manager Mark Rhoades stated that the city couldn’t afford the matching staff time required, said member Carrie Olson. Olson noted that the Planning Commission’s revisions would required the addition of a new full-time staff position, the same thing Rhoades had earlier rejected. 

Dacey said the commission would like to reapply for the grant “because the California Environmental Quality Act and the National Environmental Protection Act are so complex.” 

“We have been misserved by staff and the city attorney in providing guidance in understanding conflicts with the PSA, and seeking the services of an acknowledged expert seems the best way to go.” 

Dacey and the other commissioners were particularly concerned about the Planning Commission’s proposal to strip the LPC of say over the demolition of Structures of Merit, the lesser of the two categories of officially designated historic resources. 

“The Planning Commission suggested that a zoning officer make all decisions about structures of merit, and that those decisions would be final, without appeal. But a zoning officer may have no expertise or interest in historical structures,” she said. 

“Clearly, this is intended to grease the wheels of real estate speculators by removing the decision from the hands of the one commission that must by law include individuals with some expertise in historic preservation.” 

Dacey also noted that the Planning Commission’s revision calls for a lot more work from city staff because their proposal calls for “requests for determinations” from developers and property owners that would require a ruling on whether or not a particular property had the potential to qualify as a landmark. 

A negative decision would bar the filing of a landmarking application by third parties for a year, but would be voided if a request for a development permit were filed with the city. 

Applications would require even more work from city staff and the LPC at a time when budgetary pressures are forcing the city to scale back on commission meetings and staffing, Dacey said—noting that even the LPC’s proposals would do the same. 

“There’s never been a historical resources survey of the city, as required by current law, because the staff says it doesn’t have the time or resources, but the Planning Commission proposal would give them a huge amount of new work,” she said. 

Dacey noted that the city Neighborhood Preservation Ordinance and the LPO resulted from huge development pressures in the 1960’s similar to those underway today. “The General Plan states clearly that the more development pressure there is, the greater the need to protect our existing neighborhoods,” she said. 

The Berkeley Architectural Heritage Association (BAHA) has vowed to sue if the city revises the LPO without first completing a full Environmental Impact Report detailing the impact of the revisions. 

The Planning Commission’s split vote adopting their own proposal contrasts sharply with the LPO’s unanimity. 

Planning Commission chair Harry Pollack declined to attend a lengthy meeting held yesterday on the ordinance that was attended by Rhoades and his boss Dan Marks, Giselle Sorensen (the planning staffer assigned to the LPO), Deputy City Attorney Zac Cowan, LPC Commissioners Korte and Olson and Lucinda Woodward of the state preservation office. 

Olson scoffed at Cowan’s contention yesterday that the Planning Commission’s Request for Determination was designed with the single-family homeowner in mind. “It’s designed for the real estate speculator,” she said, pointing to the planning commission’s proviso that the same owner could only file requests on two different properties within the same six-month period. 

She noted that the proviso could easily be evaded by forming a limited liability corporation for each property—something that’s being done with most multifamily and commercial properties in Berkeley in recent years.

Odds on East Bay Casinos Starting to Look Longer By RICHARD BRENNEMAN

Friday July 01, 2005

With Sen. Diane Feinstein’s bill to rescind the special legal status granted on Casino San Pablo and the abandonment of a second casino project in Oakland, the East Bay casino gamble is looking riskier by the day. 

The California Democrat’s legislation cleared Sen. John McCain’s Senate Committee on Indian Affairs on a 9-3 vote Wednesday. It now heads to the full Senate. 

If passed, the Lytton Rancheria band of Pomos would land back at square one in the off-reservation casino game, competing on a par with other tribes vying to establish potentially lucrative gambling operations in the heart of the East Bay. 

One other tribal group, the Lower Lake Rancheria band of Kois, has already abandoned the playing field, at least for now. That band had run into heavy opposition from numerous public officials after the Kois announced plans to build a major Las Vegas style hotel/casino operation next to Oakland International Airport. 

Despite promises that the resort would generate 4,400 new jobs and $30 million a year in mitigation payments for 20 years, the plan generated formidable opposition, with the East Bay Regional Parks District, the Alameda County Board of Supervisors and the city councils of Oakland, Alameda and San Leandro expressing formal opposition and vowing to band together and wage legal war on the plan. 

The tribe announced its capitulation in a letter to the Oakland City Council distributed on June 10. 

While similar proposals for two tribal casinos in Richmond are undergoing a lengthy approval process that includes formal hearings and a serious environmental review, the Lyttons were given legislative and gubernatorial legs up on their plans to turn the ailing Casino San Pablo cardroom into a massive bigger-than-Vegas gambling palace. 

The principal boost had come from East Bay Congressional Rep. George Miller, a Democrat, who authored a unique amendment to the massive Omnibus Indian Advancement Act of 2000, backdating the Lytton Rancheria of Pomos claim on land they purchased that year to 1988, making it immediately eligible for a tribal casino. 

Tribes who acquired land after that day are required to the same lengthy process of scrutiny and hearings as have the backers of the Richmond proposals. 

Assemblymember Loni Hancock, a Democrat who represents northern Alameda and southern Contra Costa counties in the California Legislature, has been an outspoken opponent of urban casinos, and a particular critic of Miller’s legislative end-run. 

“We’re very encouraged by the 7-2 vote in McCain’s committee on legislation that would reverse Miller’s rider,” she said Wednesday. “It’s a very important step forward. It’s part of a groundswell of public opinion questioning off-reservation casinos located in urban areas.” 

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, the other, earlier backer of the Lytton casino, had signed a compact with the tribe that would have given them the right to run a 5,000-slot-machine mega-casino—bigger than anything in Las Vegas—in exchange for a hefty share of the profits. 

The massive casino was expected to pay the state $200 million annually once it was up and running, Schwarzenegger’s office reported at the time of the agreement last year. 

The proposal generated massive opposition in which Hancock played a leading role, and the Governor, recognizing imminent defeat, didn’t present the pact to a legislature he knew would defeat it. 

The governor has since announced his opposition to urban casinos, which Hancock said would be a significant force in any future plans for the site. 

Meanwhile, the Lyttons have found an end-run around the approval process. Bingo games are permissible under state law, and machines that change the pace of the game from a slow hand-played game into the equivalent of a fast-playing slot will replace the slower card games now filling the casino. 

Intense opposition from surrounding cities and the Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors has been met with indifference by the San Pablo City Council, which sees the gambling parlor as financial salvation for a city that might otherwise be forced to disincorporate. 

Meanwhile, the plans of Berkeley developer James D. Levine and the Guidiville Band of Pomos for a massive four-hotel, upscale shopping mall, Las Vegas-style showroom and a 2,500-to-3,000-slot casino at Point Molate are going through the federal approval process, strongly backed by the Richmond City Council. 

Similar efforts are underway for the Sugar Bowl casino-only facility in unincorporated North Richmond, with a year’s head-start on Levine. That proposal, backed by the same developer who sponsored the Oakland proposal, could be decided in the next few months.›

Drayage Tenants Hit With Eviction Notices By MATTHEW ARTZ

Friday July 01, 2005

Now into its fourth month, the tenant-landlord standoff at an illegal West Berkeley warehouse appears to be heading for court. 

Last Friday, Lawrence White, owner of the East Bay Drayage Warehouse, tacked 60-day eviction notices to the doors of 11 tenants, most of whom are artisans who have refused to leave their homes. The building has been labeled “an extreme fire hazard” by Berkeley’s Fire Marshall David Orth. 

Maresa Danielsen, a tenant, said it was “unlikely” the tenants would leave voluntarily, setting the stage for an eviction trial in the fall. 

The tenants are hoping that by staying put they can pressure White, whom the city is fining $2,500 a day for code violations, to sell the property to the Northern California Land Trust. The non-profit developer has secured financing for the project and pledged to renovate the warehouse and sell the units to the tenants. 

“If Dr. White sold to the land trust we’d leave tomorrow and he could save thousands in fines,” Danielsen said. 

But negotiations between White and the land trust have stalled for a second time, according to Land Trust Executive Director Ian Winters. Earlier this month, White rejected a $2.5 million offer on the property, Winters said. 

White, who most recently valued the property at Addison and Third streets at $2.7 million, had originally agreed to sell the property to local developer Ali Kashani for $2.05 million. But when Kashani learned of the illegal units he pulled out of the deal. Shortly thereafter city officials arrived for a spot inspection that turned up over 200 code violations. 

White issued the eviction notices one day after Berkeley’s Planning Department granted him permits to demolish the two dozen illegal dwelling units in the warehouse. The permits, issued ostensibly to allow White to bring the building up to code, give him “good cause” under the Berkeley rent laws to evict tenants. 

Should the tenants refuse to leave at the conclusion of the 60 days, on Aug. 23, White could then take them to court, a process that would likely take several months. If the ruling is in White’s favor, he could then petition a judge to send in county sheriff’s deputies to forcibly evict tenants. 

“We’re looking at legal strategies to fight the eviction,” said Jeffrey Carter, the tenant’s legal advisor. 

By refusing to follow an April 15 evacuation order issued from the fire marshall, the remaining tenants have drawn attention to the loss of unique space in West Berkeley as rents climb and new developments are built. 

“We feel like our home is the most interesting and most affordable this area could ever have,” Danielsen said.  

Last week the council passed a resolution to consider giving tenants a portion of the fines levied against White. However, White said from his office Thursday that he would contest the fines, and Carter questioned whether the city would recoup the roughly $150,000 in fines already levied against the landlord. 

“I’m hard pressed to imagine that Dr. White will pony up a lot of money to pay the tenants,” he said.

Smile: You’re On Red-Light Camera! By MATTHEW ARTZ

Friday July 01, 2005

Red light runners beware. Drivers now face a minimum $331 citation when caught on camera running a red light at the three intersections where Berkeley recently installed cameras. 

For the past month, offenders have received letters alerting them that the camera program would begin June 29. 

The cameras were installed at the intersections of University Avenue and Sixth Street, University and Shattuck Avenue and Martin Luther King Jr. Way and Adeline Street. City studies found that nearly a third of the collisions at the intersections were caused by red light runners.  

To receive a ticket, the entire car must pass the outer crosswalk marking of the intersection after the light has turned red. 

Transol USA, the camera’s manufacturer, will monitor the intersections and send photos of suspected violators to Berkeley police for additional review. 

Transol will receive $48 of every ticket collected. 


Fourth of July Events By CASSIE NORTON

Friday July 01, 2005

Sunday, July 3 


The City of Richmond Recreational Department hosts its annual Third of July Fireworks at Marina Bay Park at 7:30 p.m. The display can also be seen from Shimada Friendship Park at the end of the Marina Bay Parkway, the Barbara and Jay Vincent Park at the end of Peninsula Street and the Lucretia Edwards Park at the end of Marina Way South Street. 620-6793. 


Monday, July 4 


The Albany Dog Jog along the Ohlone Greenway begins at 7:30 a.m. at Memorial Park, 1331 Portland Ave. $8-$10. 524-9283. 

The Albany Fourth of July Festival, with music, arts and crafts and children’s activities, begins at 11 a.m. and goes until 4 p.m. at Memorial Park. 524-9283. 



The Indterdependence Day Hike seeks to discover how the lives of root nodules, lichen and parasites are interconnected. Interested parties please report to the Tilden Nature Center at 2 p.m. 525-2233. 

The Fourth of July at the Berkeley Marina features international food, live music, art and crafts booths and children’s activities. The celebration begins at noon and the fireworks begin at 9:30 p.m. Admission and parking are free, but no cars will be admitted after 7 p.m. It is an alcohol-free event sponsored by the City of Berkeley. 548-5335. 



Tour the Pardee Historic Home, then watch the Jack London Square Fireworks Celebration from the shore, or see them on a Dessert and Champagne Cruise on the presidential yacht, the USS Potomac. The celebration is from noon to 4 p.m. and features badminton, croquet, and picnic fare. The Pardee Home is located at 672 11th St. and a tour is $5. For more information please call 444-2187; for more on the cruise (7:30-10:30 p.m., $125) call 627-1215. 



Join fellow walkers and runners for the Orinda Run for Reason at 7 a.m. the Orinda Community Center. The one-mile run and two-mile family walk is followed by a parade at 10 a.m. and a hot dog stand in Community Park, sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce. (925) 254-2445. 



Celebrate the Fourth with the All-American 4th of July in Alameda, featuring music, food, crafts and children’s activities aboard the USS Hornet. Fireworks around the Bay Area can be seen from the flight deck. The event begins at noon and continues until 11 p.m. on Pier 3, Alameda Point. Adults, $15; children ages 5 to 18, $5; children under age 4, free. 521-8448. 


San Francisco 

The annual San Francisco 4th of July Waterfront Festival features entertainment, food, arts and crafts and the largest display of fireworks on the West Coast. The festival is free and begins at 11:30 a.m. on Pier 39 and Fisherman’s Wharf. Fireworks are at 9:30 p.m. (415) 705-5500. 


Want to see the bay in a whole new way? Watch the San Francisco fireworks and see Fisherman’s Wharf, Aquatic Pier and Alcatraz from your kayak. Meet at City Kayak at Embarcadero and Townsend Streets at 6 p.m. and expect to be back at 10 p.m. $80 fee. (415) 357-1010. 

Peralta Board OKs Assessment of Information Technology By J. DOUGLAS ALLEN-TAYLOR

Friday July 01, 2005

With Trustee Nicky Gonzalez Yuen providing the lone but spirited dissent, Peralta Trustees agreed Tuesday night to a modified Hewlett-Packard study and assessment of the community college district’s information technology operations. 

At the same meeting, trustees gave first approval to the district’s $90.1 million tentative budget for 2005-06. The new Peralta budget maintains the state-mandated 5 percent reserve, and projects a $2.6 million increase over this year’s totals. 

The $30,000 HP contract proposal was pushed through by Trustee Linda Handy, who has been attempting for months to get an independent assessment of the district’s IT operations. Handy is the chair of the board’s Technology Committee. 

The proposal was approved 6-0-1, with Yuen abstaining. 

The scope of the work to be carried out by HP was developed in the board’s Technology Committee, without input from the district’s technology department. 

“This is supposed to be an assessment to come directly to the board for its own evaluation,” Handy explained. “That’s why staff was not included in its development.” 

Details of the contract are still being worked out by Peralta General Counsel Thuy Nguyen to include modifications suggested by trustees at Tuesday’s meeting. Those modifications included moving the starting date of the assessment from July to September, and a provision that HP could not later bid on work contracts for any of the items included in the assessment.  

Peralta is currently in the midst of a district-wide conversion to an information management system purchased from PeopleSoft. The finance, human resources, and payroll portions of that conversion are scheduled to “go live on July 5,” according to Peralta Chief Information Officer Andy DiGirolamo. The PeopleSoft system is scheduled for full implementation by October of 2006. 

In supporting the HP study, Trustee Bill Withrow said that “given our financial commitment to IT, we should have a third party come in and validate what we’re doing, set the record straight, and see if we’re on the right track.” 

Handy agreed. 

“The concerns over Peralta’s IT started before most of you came on the board,” she told Trustees, more than half of whom were elected in last November’s elections. She said that she had received numerous complaints about “too much equipment that has been authorized and purchased but now is just sitting there, unused,” including “the Voice Over IP system—we now have 250 phones that have just been abandoned.” Handy added that she had been “trying to get this assessment done since last September. For some reason it’s been stalled and stalled and stalled.” 

But Yuen raised several questions about the proposed contract, including possible conflict of interest by HP, and what he called board “micro-managing” of district operations. 

Because HP has done technology work for the Peralta District in the past, Yuen said “it looks like we’re hiring a fox to come in and assess another fox. I’d feel more comfortable if it wasn’t HP doing the assessment.” He also said that the assessment “strikes me as being outside the scope of what the board should be doing” and cited recent findings by the district’s accrediting agency, the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC), that the Peralta board “was not staying within proper board functions.” “I’m not personally comfortable cutting the chancellor and his entire staff out of developing the scope of this study. It seems crazy to cut the administration and staff out of the loop,” he said. 

In answer to a question, Chancellor Harris appeared resigned to the decision, saying he had no problem with the board itself setting the scope of the work of the assessment without staff input. “This is a trustee decision,” he said. “If you’re comfortable with the scope, we don’t have anything more to say about that.” 

Yuen’s amendment to have the chancellor’s office formulate the scope of the study was defeated on a 1-5-1 vote, with Yuen providing the single aye and trustee Alona Clifton abstaining. 

Chief Information Officer DiGirolamo, Chancellor Elihu Harris, and Vice Chancellor Tom Smith all expressed concerns about the timing of the study, which was originally scheduled to begin July 11. 

DiGirolamo said that the assessment would “put undue stress on staff. It would take staff away when they should be on-call to troubleshoot problems” associated with the PeopleSoft conversion.” He said that his office was not opposed to an outside assessment, but requested that it be conducted after the PeopleSoft conversion had been online for several months. “Otherwise,” he said, “the practices they are looking at may have already been changed by the time the study comes out.” 

But Handy said that the study was not just about the PeopleSoft conversion but “about our whole migration from an antiquated information system. We’ve got systems that are so old that we had to bring people out of retirement just so we could understand how they work.” In addition, she argued that the study should be done before the conversion is completed “because we don’t want to wait until something has gone wrong and then say, ‘oops, my bad.’” 

While Chancellor Harris said he “still disagreed with the timing” of the study, Vice Chancellor Smith—who oversees the district’s finances and who originally expressed skepticism about the study—said that moving the starting date to September “is better” and added that “some of what Trustee Handy said is persuasive.”r

Budget Department Honored By MATTHEW ARTZ

Friday July 01, 2005

The City Council proclaimed Tuesday Tracy Vesely Day in Berkeley in honor of the city’s budget director. 

Vesely and her department received the a Distinguished Budget Presentation Award for the 2004-2005 fiscal year from the Government Finance Officers Association, the only national awards program in governmental budgeting. 

Vesely has worked for Berkeley since 1998. In 2003 she was promoted to budget manager. 

Norine Smith: A Happy Warrior for Causes Big and Small By BECKY O’MALLEY

Friday July 01, 2005

“If I can’t dance, it’s not my revolution,” Emma Goldman famously said. Norine Smith danced her way through many of the revolutions of the last 50 years and had a fine time of it. She came from a quintessential San Francisco Irish background, born in 1938 as number four of six kids of Cornelius (Connie) and Nora Smith, both immigrants from Ireland, and raised in the outer Sunset District. She went to all-girl Mercy High School in the late ‘50s, then on to UC Berkeley where she majored in mathematics, which few women did in those days. She always said she chose math because she noticed that she was the only woman in her math classes, and she wanted to do things that women weren’t allowed to do. A tall, striking redhead, she worked a bit as a model while she was in school. After graduation in 1960 she entered the new field of computer programming, where she worked throughout her professional life. Norine was very proud of having run her own business as a computer contractor for major corporations in a period when few women ran their own businesses, even fewer of them in the high tech world. 

Her son Daniel Smith-Rowsey was born in 1971 when she was living in Sausalito, and soon thereafter she moved to Berkeley as a single mother to raise him. She’d always been interested in progressive causes, and Berkeley gave her new opportunities to enter the fray, especially after her son was grown and she had retired. In the last 10 years of her life she became a well-known figure on the Berkeley political scene, with a vigorous confident voice and red curls bouncing as she spoke. She was one of the first to insist that citizens should be instrumental in drafting the city’s latest General Plan. This involvement prompted her to run for City Council in District 6 in 2000, despite the fact that her Berkeley hills area had never been receptive to progressive candidates.  

In her campaign, Norine spoke up fearlessly on issues more important to people in less privileged council districts, and was proud to receive the endorsement of the Green Party. She was a great walker—for many years she walked every Friday night from her home near the Berkeley Rose Garden down to see a movie on Shattuck—which she put to good use as a candidate, making friends with many voters by going door to door throughout her district. She got a respectable vote, but she lost, which did not deter her from running again in 2004, because she enjoyed having a platform to put forward her strong opinions on a variety of topics. No cause was too large for her to take on (she marched against both Iraq wars) or too small (she campaigned to save threatened trees on the waterfront). Women’s issues remained central to her politics: She demonstrated many times outside Pasand restaurant urging that the owner be prosecuted in the death of a young woman he’d brought to this country. After she was diagnosed with breast cancer, she added her voice to those of activists in that arena as well. 

Norine was serious about the causes she embraced, but she also liked the good parties which are sometimes part of political activism. She was one of a small band of diehards who know that the Taiwan Restaurant is the last place open for Chinese food after late commission meetings. She was also a major fan of the Daily Planet, coming early and staying late for the paper’s launch and anniversary parties.  

In the Bay area, Norine will be missed by friends and co-conspirators much too numerous to list, including me. Kathy Donaher, another Irish-American who met Norine more than 40 years ago and has been her fast friend ever since, came out from Boston to take care of her in her last week. Her son Daniel, who now lives in Southern California, survives, along with her brother Jim Smith and his wife Julie, nieces Maureen and Colleen Smith and Norine Tweedy and nephews Aran and Brian Smith and Michael Emerson.  

A memorial gathering will take place at noon on Saturday, July 2, at the Berkeley Rose Garden at Euclid and Eunice.  

Editorial Cartoon By JUSTIN DEFREITAS

Friday July 01, 2005


Letters to the Editor

Friday July 01, 2005


Editors, Daily Planet: 

Your June 28 story about the proposed development at 2701 Shattuck Ave. states that I “had been Choyce’s partner in the project until the cleric bought him out.” 

If I have—or have had—any ownership in this project this is the first time I have heard of it. 

Could Mr. Brenneman kindly provide the source for his assertion? Legal documents and filings with the county are the usual sources for such information. I’d be grateful to see what he relied on to make such a claim.  

Patrick Kennedy 

PS. South Shattuck is one of the most underachieving parts of our city. I think this project would help enormously to turn that situation around. Berkeley’s sky-high prices will only come down when the city produces more for-sale housing. Witness the effect the construction of all the new rental housing has done to lower rental rates—something you comment on frequently.  




Editors, Daily Planet: 

Just as thousands of others throughout this country, I have been captivated by Berkeley’s most recent saga of Thomas Jefferson and the Sequoia tree. The one question I have not seen addressed thus far: Are Nancy and Maggie “Related Riddles” or “Unrelated Riddles”? I would love to know the answer. 

Ann McReynolds  

Saint Louis, MO  




Editors, Daily Planet: 

As flags wave gently in the breeze this holiday the GOP has launched another assault on the First Amendment with its flag amendment. Flag burning is practically non-existent in this country—averaging 10 times a year—yet Republicans and conservatives are bound and determined to turn the flag into a symbol of repression. The GOP continues to wrap itself in the flag using it as a wedge issue to divide America and as a tool for political advantage. Representative Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) has it right when he says, “If the flag needs protection at all, it needs protection from members of Congress who value the symbol more than the freedoms that the flag represents.” 

Ron Lowe 

Nevada City 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

Group? I’m in a group? I have an organization? If I do, are they holding meetings without telling me? 

Ms. Taubenfeld, in her June 28 letter to the editor, has misunderstood my letter to the editor of June 24 criticizing Councilmember Lieber. It was directed at his pronouncement from the Albany City Council podium that the residents of Albany had no say about what would happen with development at Golden Gate Fields. 

I am not “pro-development” and I am not “pro-no-development.” I am “pro-find-out-what-is-going-on.” That is what I am doing right now, and that is what I encourage everyone to do before they vote on this Measure C issue when it comes to the ballot. 

If Ms. Taubenfeld wishes to ignore one side of the issue and hold to her dogmatic opinion, she is no friend of Albany. Rather than continuing to flog this issue on these pages, I invite her to call me and discuss the issue; I’m in the book. I am open to her opinion, and I can offer her a cup of coffee and a cookie. 

Lubov Mazur 





Editors, Daily Planet: 

As a person with a family history of cancer, and is also at risk of developing mental changes with advancing age, I am horrified by the proposal of Sutter Medical to close both the oncology and geriatric psychiatry units at Summit Medical Center in Oakland. It seems Sutter claims that the number of patients suffering from these ailments is dropping. Huh?? 

My horror is not diminished by the fact that no one else seems to have reacted to this outrageous matter since Mr. Brenneman first reported on it June 7 (“Patient Shifts, Contract Spark Alta Bates Protest”). His next piece appeared on June 17 (“Emeryville Nurses’ Protest Targets Major Fundraiser for Schwarzenegger”). While I liked the coverage, I was startled to see the relatively uncomplicated name of Jan Rodolfo, an oncology nurse spokesperson, morphing into Joan Rudolfo (see caption of the June 17 page 27). When I accessed the Daily Planet’s website, I was amused by the search hint: Check spelling—be as specific as possible. I gently advise Mr. Brenneman to follow this advice, especially with people’s names, in all his future pieces, which I look forward to reading.  

Sonya Rodolfo-Sioson 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

As a south Berkeley flatlands resident and neighbor to the infamous and truly offensive “Flying Cottage,” I want to express my strong support for the “wake-up call” issued by Sharon Hudson in her article in the June 28 Daily Planet, “It Takes a Community.” I didn’t live in Berkeley yet in the 1970s, when developers were gutting neighborhoods by buying and demolishing older homes and replacing them with ugly “fourplex” apartment buildings. Fortunately, someone saw the light before every neighborhood was torn asunder in this way, and apparently the city planning ordinances changed to prevent any more such projects. The ugly intruders, remain, however, as a reminder of how easy it is to destroy the esthetic integrity of a historic residential block.  

The new attempts by greedy individuals to profit from projects that destroy the integrity of flatland residential neighborhoods with incongruously tall buildings reminds me of those fourplexes. Our neighborhoods and their integrity form one of the crucial attractions for living in Berkeley. This is equally true of the flats and the hills in all parts of Berkeley, not just the north. What is the historical reason for zoning residential neighborhoods full of one family homes and duplexes for three to six story buildings? Do any other South and West Berkeley residents want to revise the zoning regulations for their neighborhoods before this destructive trend accelerates? We already have stringent regulations regarding the allowable footprint of buildings on residential lots. How about caring for our airspace as well?  

These developers may profit individually short-term, but at what long-term detriment to our whole community?  

Rosemary Hyde 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

I live a block from the 1301 Oxford St. site at which Congregation Beth El is building its new synagogue complex. I’m writing because I understand that the Beth El leaders have failed to live up to their agreement with our neighborhood association and that despite that, the city is preparing to issue a certificate of occupancy for the project. 

Not only do I pay taxes to the city, but I have invested a substantial amount of energy and money in my property to help improve both the appearance and the morale of the neighborhood. I expect the city to provide essential services and protect my interests. The Beth El project will have major negative impacts on my neighborhood. An area that already has parking issues without the introduction of the new CBE buildings. It was to mitigate those CBE impacts that LOCCNA went through a long and hard negotiation with Beth El’s leaders. After many compromises, a deal was reached, a legally binding agreement signed, and the language of that agreement incorporated into the Conditional Use Permit issued for the project. 

That deal was a compromise. To preserve the creek and minimize parking and traffic impacts on our neighborhood and our daily lives, LOCCNA’s negotiators yielded on a number of key points. Since that deal is written into the city’s permit conditions, if the congregation’s leaders fail to live up to the deal they signed, it is the city’s responsibility to enforce it. 

Frankly, I am surprised that CBE isn’t being more considerate of a community that they intend to join. And I demand that the city require full compliance with the conditions it specified before allowing the buildings to be occupied. 

In particular: 

• The city must require an adequate, detailed parking plan that complies with the language of the agreement and the permit. 

• The city must ensure the protection of Codornices Creek by requiring bank-stabilization and other landscaping before permitting occupancy. 

It is self-evident to anyone looking at the buildings being constructed that this is a massive addition placed in the middle of a residential neighborhood—my neighborhood. It is time for the city to show that it means what it says about neighborhood preservation by enforcing its own rules.  

Kate Farnady 


Letters to the Editor: Readers Respond to Story of KPFA Turmoil

Friday July 01, 2005

Mary Berg, programmer and member of the KPFA Local Station Board, has informed the Daily Planet that she believes KPFA’s program council is a decision-making body. She told the Planet that she is strongly opposed to the idea that it should be advisory only. She said she agrees with the People’s Radio Group on that point. “Programming decisions should be made by the Program Council working with a program director, if there is one. They should not be left to the station manager,” Berg said, adding that she disagreed with a Program Council decision to move “Democracy Now!” to 7 a.m. “because in my opinion it was poorly thought out and poorly planned, not because the Program Council didn’t have the right to make it. That’s why people who were friends have ostracized me.”  


Editors, Daily Planet: 

Judith Scherr’s June 28 piece, “Turmoil again at KPFA,” is easily the most comprehensive and accurate of the several recent articles in the local press regarding the situation at KPFA. There are a couple of inaccurate statements that I would like to correct. The KPFA Program Council does have decision-making power and has been exercising that power since the “recapture” of the station from the pro-corporate, mainstream Democrat “highjackers’’ in 1999. In November 2003, after months of discussion and debate, we voted to move “Democracy Now!’’ from 6 a.m. to 7 a.m. Our logic was simple: The most listened-to show should be broadcast at the most listened-to time. Despite the support of then General Manager Gus Newport and many, many listeners, that decision incurred fierce opposition from a few but influential programmers and was thus never carried out. Shortly after Roy Campanella (the current general manager) arrived at KPFA he stated that he agreed with our decision, planned to implement it, and proposed that “Democracy Now!’’ also be rebroadcast in the evening from 7 to 8 p.m. Like Newport before him, he also encountered a firestorm of opposition from the same people who, as Richard Phelps of Peoplesradio described in Scherr’s article, put “turf before mission” those who feel that they, not the listeners, “own” KPFA and Pacifica. Thus Campanella felt that, given the political reality at the station, he couldn’t carry out our decision at this time. Despite this impasse we have made and have carried out many other programming decisions. Mary Berg, who erroneously stated that the Program Council was “advisory only,” should know better, since she serves on the Program Council as a rep of the unpaid staff organization on the Program Council and has actively participated in our decision-making process! This is only one of several battles between those of us who believe in a Democratic KPFA and Pacifica with open, transparent finances, job postings, and decision-making processes and those who basically, all in the name of “professionalism” of course, want to ape the way the “big boys’’ of the corporate media run their operations. We of Peoplesradio.net, who won six out of the nine listener representative seats on the governing Local Station Board up for reelection last December, are betting that most listeners agree with our perspective.  

Stan Woods 

Listener Representative, KPFA Program Council  


Editors, Daily Planet: 

In response to Judith Scherr’s much-appreciated effort to add some background and context to the “Turmoil at KPFA” stories flooding the Bay Area alternative press, I’d just like to make a few comments in regards to KPFA’s Program Council—which I think has been dragged into this story somewhat unfairly. What hasn’t been mentioned and needs to be is that the KPFA Program Council (which has been in existence for 25-plus years) serves an important function as the place where the unpaid volunteers who compose the vast majority of the programmers have input into what the station broadcasts. Without compensation or union protection, these folks, many who have worked for KPFA for a dozen years or more, play an integral role in running the station. Without the access the Program Council provides, they would be entirely closed out of contributing to internal programming discussions. Like board members and community representatives, they bring perspectives to programming decisions that are broad, often informed by their out-of-the-station work and activities, and free of the internal concerns that are always a factor when paychecks are at stake. 

KPFA’s Program Council is numerically dominated by the combination of the volunteer representatives and the paid positions, i.e. there are more “staff” than there are listener-elected reps. It is impossible for any idea, concept or plan to gain majority support in the body without significant support from station workers—as was the case with the proposed “Democracy Now!” time change. The question is when a decision is supported by a razor-thin majority (a lá 51-49 percent), do you charge ahead on a majority rules platform and to heck with the minority and what they think (a position we are all familiar with in Washington), or do you delay and try to work towards a more definite majority? It all depends on whether you value politicized democracy or whether you value collective decision-making. Reasonable people can disagree on this, and do, but to posit that the only two alternatives are managerial dictatorship or slam-bang voting is, in my opinion, a straw man of an argument. If it is to be “our station,” then we need to learn to talk to each other and solve problems together, not institute rigid, pointless (and often unenforceable) mandates, from any source. 

Thank you for mentioning some of the positive things going on (albeit in the last paragraph). There is some exciting programming going on at KPFA and that needs to be said. To address two comments in the article: I’ve been on the Program Council a long time, as both a community representative, and previously, an employee in the programming area, and I’ve seen very few pressure campaigns succeed over the years. The idea that they would stop or cease to be were there no listener representation on the Program Council is absurd. 

If anything, they would become much more intense (as the recent petitions, marches and demonstrations have shown). Pressure campaigns result from lack of access or perceived lack of access. That’s what they’re all about. Engagement with those who pressure to address their concerns as much as possible reduces the pressure. Walling oneself off increases the pressure. And since I have had the pleasure of serving with Mary Berg on the Program Council and through many hundreds of hours of conversation, I can assure you that whatever her position may be on the broadcast time of “Democracy Now!” she does not believe that a Program Council is or should be advisory, irrelevant, or unnecessary. It cannot be in a community-supported and sponsored organization. 

Tracy Rosenberg 

Community Representative/Facilitator, KPFA Program Council 



Editors, Daily Planet: 

As a 35-year member and listener I have found my politics moving miles ahead of the mostly stagnant, predictable and often boring and passionless Pacifica Radio programming. Basically we are no longer living in 1949 and that year’s mission requirements are way out of date. We have to admit that we the people are all oppressed by the $3 billion used to short-cut elections, voting and free speech protesting which do not add up to democracy and never have under our Constitution which facilitates the use of these vast sums to shackle real democracy. What’s more, my studies concerning the reality of our Constitution teach me that the 40 signers of that legal document never intended anything else to flow from it. They had complete contempt for we the people whom they called the “Great Beast” behind closed doors, and used both violence and deceit to obtain its adoption in nine of the 13 state legislatures. 

With that background and our more and more continual defeats, it is not difficult to understand the turf battles and self-serving actions at Pacifica. When you do not even bring up the obvious need to organize for liberation from oppression rather than pretending that our urgent needs for liberation do not exist and that we are still in 1949. The “we the people” of Venezuela understood that empowerment required a new 1999 people supporting a constitution to replace their privilege- and property-enabling former one, and that is why they have become one of the most democratic nations in our present times. 

Let us prove that a better world is possible if we use our intelligence and believe Albert Einstein when he warned us that repeating the same actions and expecting different results is a form of insanity. 

Werner Hertz 



Editors, Daily Planet: 

Noelle Hanrahan is an all-American basketball player and prison-rights activist. Dennis Bernstein is a world-class journalist and radio news producer. Their tussling over control of the tiny Flashpoints on-air studio was inevitable, once they were paired to share production and leadership roles.  

But this conflict has reached the point of no (sensible) return. I want both Dennis and Noelle to put aside their respective egos and bury the hatchet. But not in each other—or, by default, in KPFA.  

Could I suggest a community “coming together party” at Ashkenaz or at a similar venue? I’d be glad to work with anyone to help pull together such an event. 

John Lionheart  

Column: The View From Here: Imprisoned in the Heart of Richmond By P.M. PRICE

Friday July 01, 2005

This past June 18, I participated in “Healing in the Heart of Richmond,” a day-long event held at the New Faith Cathedral, sponsored in part by Contra Costa Health Services, Survivors of Murder Victims, Inc. and Stand! Against Domestic Violence. We gathered in downtown Richmond to provide a forum for families who had lost members to violence and for individuals who had been violently abused. We listened as they shared their stories, ate healthy food together and then broke up into various healing workshops including poetry, drumming, massage, art and lamentations. At the end of the day, we all came together in the church sanctuary to light candles and say a prayer for peace in the city. The following day, two more young men were shot down and killed. Two more have died of gunshot wounds since then. As of this writing, 19 people have been murdered in Richmond this year. 

The tragic state of our neighboring town brings to mind the lyrics of “The Prisoner,” a song written 34 years ago by one of the originators of the hip hop style of rhyme, Gil Scott-Heron: 


Here I am, after so many years 

Hounded by hatred and trapped by fear 

I’m in a box, I’ve got no place to go 

If I follow my mind, 

I know I’ll slaughter my own 

Help me, I’m the prisoner 

Won’t you hear my plea 

I need somebody 

To listen to me 

Black babies in the womb, 

Shackled and bound 

Chained by the caveman 

Who keeps beauty down 

Heir to a spineless man 

Who never forgets 

Never forgets that he’s a prisoner 

Can’t you hear my plea 

I need somebody to 

Listen to me 


Generations of black families throughout the United States have been traumatized by the searing harshness of living in a society which continues to deny them adequate schooling, housing, employment, medical access and hope itself. Young black men are disappearing into the streets, jails, the military and graveyards, leaving behind fatherless boys and girls who know no other way of living than the callous ways of dying all around them.  

According to the Sentencing Project in Washington, D.C., one in eight black men between the ages of 25-29 is imprisoned and one-third of all black men in their 20s are either incarcerated, on probation or paroled. In some communities, black women outnumber the men by 30 to 50 percent. Rather than being groomed for successful futures, our youth have learned to live in the violent moment, within a spiraling mode of self-destruction. To call it “black-on-black crime” trivializes the matter. Most whites rob, rape and kill other whites so there’s more than color to this issue.  

What I see in many of the more troublesome young children I have worked with in the Berkeley and Richmond public schools has been a kind of disconnect, a disassociation of the child from feelings of empathy and responsibility. Derisha has 80-year-old eyes that solemnly stare out of a 6-year-old body. Her eyes are ringed in darkness and they sag with lines formed by abandonment and neglect. She never smiles, always on guard. Tershawn moves about the room with a kind of frenetic, chaotic energy, striking out verbally and physically almost at random. Austin accompanies every “No!” with a strike of his fist. When I ask these kids whether or not they care that they are disturbing the other children they insist that they do not care and look at me like I’m crazy for suggesting that they should. At the end of the day, Derisha is in after-school care, waiting for her foster parent to pick her up. Tershawn is on the bus, being carried away from his hilltop elementary school to his blighted building where he will let himself in, scrounge around for junk food and then roam the neighborhood, looking for something to do. I leave Austin on the curb waiting for whoever it is that is coming to pick him up, late. I am left to wonder and worry where their anger is going to take them five, 10, 20, 30 years from now, if they live that long. 

This past weekend I attended a half-day meditation at the Buddhist Zen Center at Green Gulch Farm in Sausalito. As I sat with my spine erect and my hands placed before me just so, my mind flitted about and then quieted as I became more comfortable with simply noticing how I sat and breathed in the stillness. I thought of Derisha, Tershawn and Austin and wondered how they would handle this sitting, this silence. I imagined Austin shouting “No way! I’m outta here!” and Tershawn telling me I must be crazy and Derisha simply rolling her eyes and strutting her thin, brown body away.  

But what if they had to? What if they were forced to sit with themselves without talking, eyes cast down, listening to their breath and simply being with no one but themselves for 10, 20, 40 minutes? What would happen? What might they see or learn? 

If our so-called leaders, Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton and Kweisi Mifume among them, were to concentrate on nothing else but saving, restoring and re-educating young black men, we would truly have a revolution, the kind Gil Scott-Heron sang about in “This Revolution Will Not Be Televised” decades ago. It would be live, emanating from within and spreading throughout the nation’s troubled communities, infusing us all with purpose, new direction and faith. I’m not saying that meditation is the way out. That would be far too simplistic and the issues are quite complex. But we have to start somewhere. Perhaps canning the tired, old rhetoric and quietly listening to new voices may be the place to begin. Again. 


Note: The children’s names have been changed. And note further that the kids who “act out” in class are not always black or poor. 


Column: Undercurrents: Jefferson Flap Points to Need for Serious Slavery Study By J. DOUGLAS ALLEN-TAYLOR

Friday July 01, 2005

We began last week’s column discussing Berkeley resident Michael Larrick’s opposition to the petition to change the name of Berkeley’s Jefferson Elementary School, outlined in Mr. Larrick’s April 19 Berkeley Daily Planet commentary in which he wrote that “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.” (Advocates of the Jefferson name change—who were black, white, Native American, and other variations, by the way—said they didn’t want the school named after Thomas Jefferson because of Jefferson’s lifelong status as a man who personally kept Africans in slavery.) 

We ended with the promise to pursue the question: Does the so-called “achievement gap” between black and white students have some roots in American plantation slavery and could a serious study of slavery reveal those causes and have a hand in the cure? 

Some thoughts: 

To know and understand the nature of our universe, serious scientists tell us that we must study the Big Bang, that enormous explosion at the beginning of time as we know it, when the universe was formed. The idea here is that all of the vast and almost unbelievable complexities of the universe had their root in minuscule differences within and between early pre-atomic matter and that seeing the conditions at the earliest stages of the Bang, we can follow their pathways as they spread out to become the black holes and pulsars and gas giants and dark matter across the billions and billions of light years that constitute what we call space. 

So it is with slavery and African-Americans. 

Before the American slave trade there were no such people as African-Americans. Slavery was a vast funnel in which Twi and Hausa and Mende and Wolof and such were poured in at one end on the East Coast of Africa, and what we now call African-Americans came out the other, walking off the plantations at the end of the Civil War. The dark passage inside that funnel forged most of the attitudes and kinship bonds and contradictions and attributes-both good and bad-we see played out among black folk today, from the Louisiana backroads to the streets of East Oakland to the halls of Congress. 

One such set of contradictions concerns the issue of education. 

In his commentary, Mr. Larrick writes that “Black anthropologist and author Dr. John Ogbu has...found that the very same problems [of about race, opportunity and responsibility] plagued both [less affluent] Oakland and the affluent black suburb of Cleveland, Shaker Heights, Ohio. Black students were absent more often, did less homework, watched more television and had less involved parents. They did not value education and in fact, if a black student was doing well in school he was chastised by his peers. If you live up to your academic potential you are accused of acting white. He found that the students own attitudes hindered their academic achievement.” 

Seen in isolation, the evidence of such attitudes among some black students is either inexplicable, like the tale of the man shot over a watermelon, or else leads to the conclusion—by some—that African-Americans are trifling, lazy, and stuck in our present condition pretty much because of our own inabilities. 

In fact, the term “acting white” is actually a pale echo of the slavery-time charge of “acting like the masta’,” and was part of the fierce cultural wars that took place between those African captives who thought freedom—and even mere survival—lay in adopting white folks’ ways and those who believed that those goals could only be met by maintaining the old African cultures and resisting being sucked into what has been called a “slave mentality.” You can pretty much see that same struggle played about among pretty much all long-term captive or colonized peoples. 

Clearly, a serious study of that slaverytime struggle would be helpful in understanding black attitudes over education today, which continue to be just as contradictory. Then why hasn’t such a study been undertaken? Mostly because a dark veil hangs over America’s slave history that is difficult to penetrate. 

One of the most successful strategies of American slavery-from the point of view of the slavemasters, of course-was to put the shame of slavery on the Africans themselves. That undercurrent of low black self-esteem is at the root of many present difficulties among African-Americans, none more so than the one that finds most African-Americans ashamed and embarrassed even to this day to have a serious discussion on what exactly happened during slavery. 

Repressed shame, too, plays some part in the white reluctance to have that discussion. It gets played out in the nagging and largely unspoken fear of what might be revealed by such an investigation, as well as by companion attitudes of “haven’t we already dealt with that enough?” or “didn’t we already make up for all of that with a.) the Civil War, b.) the civil rights acts, c.) recent Supreme Court decisions or d.) some combination of all of those?” 

That’s a subject for another discussion. 

But a revealing thing happened during the recent debate over the proposed renaming of Berkeley’s Jefferson Elementary School. 

I attended a mid-May meeting at the school in which for the first time in my life, I saw ordinary people—not just politicians or policy makers or folks with some agenda to promote, whether good or bad—have an honest and serious discussion about American slavery, its ramifications, and its implications. This Jefferson School discussion was participated in by people of many ethnic backgrounds. 

I think that discussion happened for two reason. 

The first reason was that the proposal to change the school name forced people—black, white, and other races—to enter a difficult discussion that they might have otherwise ducked. 

But the second reason, I believe, was that by focusing on Jefferson’s relation to slavery rather than a general charge of white people’s complicity in slavery, the discussion allowed whites to participate without having to come in the door with guilt-coats draped over their shoulders. It permitted a detachment which will certainly have to be modified if these types of talks go deeper, but which appeared to be absolutely necessary as a first step. 

That spirit of cooperative soul-searching, I’m afraid, got overshadowed in the incidents surrounding the School Board vote itself over the name change. But it’s something that existed for a brief moment in time and space, and therefore we know it can be done. 

Looking at the public education systems of the three major cities of the inner East Bay—Oakland, Berkeley, and Richmond—you see all of them dominated by the often unspoken issue of how to educate black youth. How is the achievement gap to be closed? How to do it while at the same time lifting the education of all students? No one has come up with any easy answers. But perhaps a three-city cooperative effort in a long-term project of the study of American slavery—using it both as a research effort and student education tool, perhaps with related essay contests and events, perhaps with a Slavery Institute operating out of one of the community colleges—would be an important step in the right direction to explore causes and, out of them, formulate solutions. Looking backward is sometimes the best way to move forward. The Jefferson School name change discussion may have shown us a way, and, if so, it would have ended up doing an enormous good. 


Friday July 01, 2005

Sore Losers, Deadly Attack 

Two men were charged with multiple felonies and a third with a single charge of fleeing from police after a bizarre and potentially lethal automotive attack Sunday morning on a pair of athletes. 

The assault leaves a UC Berkeley football player on the sidelines with a crushed lower right leg and damaged ligaments and his female companion suffering from cuts and a back injury. 

The incident began shortly before 1:18 Sunday morning when UC Berkeley offensive tackle Michael Tepper and former Cal volleyball player Camille Leffall were crossing Telegraph Avenue and Dwight Way. 

Berkeley police spokesperson Officer Joe Okies said a car pulled up to the couple and a conversation ensued. 

The occupants hit on Leffall, who rejected their advances. After Tepper stepped up to defend her, the driver threw the car into reverse. Tepper pushed Leffall out of the way, though she was struck a glancing blow by the car—which backed over Tepper’s leg and then ran over it again as it pulled forward. 

With arriving officers in pursuit, the vehicle then fled east of Dwight Way, Okies said, and was finally forced to a halt after it struck a parked car on Parker Street just west of College Avenue. 

Three of the occupants fled the car and were captured after a brief chase by officers. 

Johnny R. Smith, 33, was charged with assault with a deadly weapon, fleeing the scene of an accident, obstructing police officers and parole violation. 

Calvin J. Kelley, 29, was charged with assault with a deadly weapon, fleeing the scene of an accident, obstruction and probation violation. 

Scott Slaughter, 28, was only charged with obstruction. 

A fourth occupant, who remained in the car, wasn’t charged. 

Okies said the incident remains under investigation. Tepper was hospitalized for treatment of his injuries and later released. Leffall was treated for cuts and a back injury. 


Bookstore Groping 

A 24-year-old woman reported to police that she’d been groped by a young teenager while shopping in the Shattuck Avenue Barnes & Noble bookstore Sunday evening. 


Gunshot on Adeline 

A young man wearing a red and white baseball cap fired off a pistol outside Black & White Liquors in the 3000 block of Adeline St. at 1 a.m. Monday, then fled eastbound on foot along Essex Street. He was gone before officers arrived. 


Bad Boy 

A 15-year-old girl called Berkeley police Monday afternoon to report that the same boy who had punched her at the Ashby BART station on June 14th had snatched her purse 13 days later. 

The two know each other, said Officer Okies, and the case is under investigation. 


Indecent and Drugged 

The owner of the Berkeley Thai House at 2511 Channing Way called police at 8:15 p.m. Monday to ask them to shoo away a fellow who was exposing more of himself than was good for Thai House business. 

Officers were prepared to do just that until they discovered that the 56-year-old self-exposer was packing illegal drugs as well. He was hauled away so he could expose himself in a more congenial atmosphere of concrete walls and iron bars. 


Gunman Grabs Boodle 

A 16-year-old Berkeley man called police to report that a gunman had robbed him of his cash near the corner of Ashby Avenue and Harper Street at 9 p.m. Monday. No arrest has been made. 


Grand Theft Shitzu 

The manager of the Lucky Dog Pet Shop at 2154 San Pablo Ave. called police midday Tuesday to report that someone had swiped a prize Shitzu puppy. 

The theft may have taken place the day before, and police are still seeking the dognapper, said Officer Okies. 

Because the critter costs more than $400, the crime falls into the category of grand theft. 


Good Samaritan 

Seeing a woman punch and rob a 90-year-old woman, then attempt to kidnap her and hijack her car, a Good Samaritan ran to the rescue just after 3:30 Tuesday afternoon, said Officer Okies. 

Calling police, the rescuer grabbed the 46-year-old assailant and held her until officers arrived. 

The assailant was booked on suspicion of robbery, attempted carjacking, attempted kidnapping, probation violation and parole violation. 


Windows Shot on Ward 

Multiple calls of “shots fired” flooded the police switchboard just before 9 p.m. Wednesday, causing officers to hit lights and sirens and hightail it to the 2100 block of Ward Street. 

Arriving on the scene, they found bullet holes in the window of one home and in the windshields of several cars parked along the street. 

No arrests have been made.  


Son of Good Sam 

Just two hours later the first Good Sam rescue, another citizen-hero grabbed one of two teenagers he’d seen rob a 21-year-old woman of her purse and held him until officers arrived with their handcuffs. 

The second assailant, also a juvenile, remains at large, said Officer Okies. 

Commentary: Decriminalization of Drugs is the Answer By RIO BAUCE

Friday July 01, 2005

Wouldn’t it be great if the government could close the budget deficit while reducing crime rates? What could be the solution to making America safer? Believe it or not, the decriminalization of illegal drugs could do this and more. When drugs became outlawed, an illegal drug market was set up. There are many very dangerous drugs that are legal, such as alcohol and tobacco, while other drugs are not. As a result of making drugs illegal, much money is spent annually on drug law enforcement. Drug-related crime is a pressing issue that needs to be looked at seriously and decriminalization of drugs should be considered a possible solution. 

Drug abuse is not a new problem. In fact, President Richard Nixon was the first president to declare not just any war, but rather a “War on Drugs.” This was done in the same manner that President Lyndon Johnson declared a “War on Poverty.” At first the war on drugs sounds reasonable to the average person; drugs are clearly very harmful to our society as a whole. But the fact is that since Nixon’s war on drugs began, drug use has increased tenfold. During the war on drugs, Nixon passed the Comprehensive Drug Abuse and Control Act, which was supposed to rank drugs by their harmfulness and prosecute accordingly. Ever since then, drugs began to gradually become outlawed, and the illegal “black market” started to appear everywhere. Drug dealers who we can assume don’t care about their clients crowd corners of poverty-stricken neighborhoods. However, since the drugs they sell are illegal, the price is high. Because the price of drugs is high, some people are not able to support their addictions and turn to criminal acts, such as stealing to pay for their drugs. 

The government is not looking out for our health. While drugs such as marijuana (effectively used to treat migraines, rheumatism and insomnia) remain illegal, drugs such as tobacco and alcohol (used recreationally, with severe side effects) remain readily accessible. According to a study by Gangsandkids.com, alcohol is the number one substance abuse problem in America today, closely followed by tobacco. Alcohol is a contributing factor in four out of five of all homicides in the U.S. alone . Drinking accounts for 50 percent of driving fatalities. According to a report by Drugs-Rehabs.org, “alcohol and alcohol related problems” cost the economy a whopping $100 million for health care every year. Alcohol wasn’t always legal. In 1919, the 18th Amendment to the Constitution declared that alcohol was illegal to sell or posses, launching the Prohibition era, which lasted until 1933. During this time, it was not legal for alcohol to be sold. Most historians and analysts would agree that prohibition was a failure, because not only did it not discourage drug use, alcohol arrests went through the roof, costing the country a huge amount of money. With the Comprehensive Drug Abuse and Control Act in effect, one would think that since alcohol and tobacco are at the top of the list that they would be prosecuted the toughest. However, that is not true. Alcohol and tobacco companies have a huge lobby in Washington D.C. and they have survived legal restrictions. The government also spends $150 billion per year on trying to prevent imported drugs from penetrating the borders. Unfortunately, a huge amount of drugs is still smuggled into our country. If drugs were decriminalized, the government could not only monitor the drugs, but tax them as well. There is also the issue surrounding unsterile drug supplies, such as HIV-contaminated needles. Since drugs are illegal, drug addicts commonly share needles and increase their risk of spreading HIV. Drug addiction is a health problem, not a criminal act. 

Money spent on law enforcement could be more effective if used on things such as drug education in schools. The U.S. spends $11 billion annually to pay for law enforcement for the war on drugs. Of that money, $7.6 billion goes toward cracking down on marijuana users. However, a recent study done by the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws found that the money spent on law enforcement for pot had very little effect of the rate of marijuana use. In other words, the government continues to waste money on something that does nothing to help. Drug education could teach kids about the effects of drugs rather than discouraging drugs use because of they are illegal. Money currently spent on law enforcement in the war on drugs could be more effectively used on better drug education programs. Law enforcement on drugs further wastes our money and does nothing to stop drug abuse. The war on drugs has had major defects.  

While decriminalization of drugs can have numerous positive effects, concerns have been raised about the possible negative effects. Anti-legalization activists have contended that decriminalization of drugs would encourage drug use, specifically the use of marijuana, which may lead to harder drugs. Drug decriminalization could send the wrong message to people in society. Why should we make them legal now, when we have made big strides? According to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, drug use is down by 30 percent in the last 20 years, and use of cocaine is down 70 percent. Spending on drug control constitutes only a minimal portion of the budget, compared to the “social costs of drug abuse and addiction.” And after all, the reason that illegal drugs are illegal is because they are detrimental to society. Why would we want to legalize harmful things? 

While both sides of people in the drug decriminalization debate have fairly valid points, what it really comes down to for me is personal responsibility and personal choice. The government has no business meddling in our personal affairs. People are going to use drugs, whether they are legal or not. But society has a responsibility to protect drug users, by allowing them accessibility to sanitary supplies, and not to waste taxpayer money on things that aren’t effective. 

Whatever side you stand on, everyone can agree that drug abuse is a big concern of our time. With countless and increasing drug-related gang violence, the future looks bleak. But there is something we can do and that is to try to help those who really need the help. Drug addicts need to be helped, not prosecuted. The decriminalization of drugs would not only protect addicts, but also people who are associated with addicts, because those people can be assured that there would be quality control on drugs and help for drug addicts. When will this country realize the benefits of drug decriminalization? Sadly, we may never know. 


Rio Bauce is a Berkeley High School student.

Commentary: Landmarks Commission Tagged as Terrorists By ALAN TOBEY

Friday July 01, 2005

On Monday night, June 27, at least for a brief and shining hour, Berkeley’s Landmarks Preservation Commission became an anarchist organization. 

At a special meeting to discuss the pending revision of the Landmarks Preservation Ordinance, which will be taken up by the City Council on July 12, the LPC could have taken the opportunity to reinforce the virtues of its own proposed revision, submitted a year ago. Or it could have offered helpful criticism of the alternate revision proposed by the Planning Commission, along with suggestions to make it acceptable. But the commission chose instead only to sabotage the democratic political process.  

After discussion, the LPC unanimously decided to:  

• Withdraw support for its own proposal and ask the city not to approve it. 

• Oppose the Planning Commission proposal and forward a list of “concerns” about its provisions, but include no practical recommendations for improvement.  

• Ask the council to throw out five years of effort and start over. 

The LPC now wants the council to send the revision process back to the LPC in the hope that it could, a year from now, apply for a planning grant that, if approved, would be used to hire an outside consultant who, a further year down the road, might produce a “more objective” version of an ordinance that the LPC could live with. 

The result is that, fully five years after the City Council asked it to propose legally-needed revisions to the LPO, the Landmarks Preservation Commission today has no recommendations before the council to do anything at all, except to turn down the rival commission’s proposal. The LPC has been bitterly complaining that the planning commissioners aren’t “landmarks experts” and so couldn’t possibly produce an adequate new ordinance. But now we’ve learned that the “landmarks experts” on the LPC couldn’t be bothered to produce one either, or even to offer constructive suggestions along the way. 

This, perhaps unintentionally, simplifies the City Council’s task. Instead of having to compare both the LPC and PC proposals with the current LPO, the council now only needs to answer this question: “Is the PC proposal, even if not perfect, sufficiently better than the current ordinance to warrant its passage?” Having such a pragmatic question raises the odds that the PC version, perhaps with some technical corrections and tweaks to its provisions, will in fact be approved. 

It’s not even too cynical to think that this is what, perversely, the LPC now desires. With open threats of lawsuits against the city expressed at the meeting by both BAHA members and commissioners, perhaps they have concluded that a more “extreme” revision would prove easier to challenge successfully. And so they have simply walked off the court rather than play the game they were appointed to do. 

If that’s the case, this long-time follower of the LPO revision process believes the members of the LPC have crossed a dangerous line. To choose a vivid metaphor, on Monday night they became suicide bombers—blowing up their own proposal in order to try to prevent the normal cooperative workings of a democratic government.  

There are still open issues in this important revision process that deserve further consideration. Many of the LPC’s concerns have genuine merit, and I am not the only citizen who thinks the Planning Commission’s proposal is far from perfectly crafted. But it seems now that any possibility of rational discussion has been pushed off the table by these mis-motivated preservation anarchists. 


Alan Tobey is a retired technologist and 35-year Berkeley resident who chooses his political issues because they are “interesting.”.

‘Thousandth Night’ Brought Energetically to Life By KEN BULLOCK Special to the Planet

Friday July 01, 2005

“Monsieurs, pardon me; if I may have a word with an officer in charge? There’s been a mistake.” 

In the dim nighttime interior of a grimy station somewhere in Occupied France, transom windows behind arches and pillars throb with a dull orange glare as a great clangor announces the arrival of a train coming to a grinding halt. Blowing in through the doors is a lone figure, fantastic and harried, lugging a steamer trunk and frantically talking a mile a minute: demanding, cajoling, begging assistance and sympathy from silent German officers presumably hidden in the shadows.  

He introduces himself: Guy de Bonheur, clearly the name of a happy guy, itinerant actor wandering apart from a troupe disbanded by arrests and deportations. And he protests that if he can only show his wares—which he immediately begins to do—they’ll see he’s harmless to the Reich: no subversive, merely an entertainer. 

Ron Campbell’s entrance onto the “deep thrust space,” as Artistic Director Tom Ross describes the Aurora Theatre’s stage is a frantic prologue to the play (by Bay Area playwright and teacher Carol Wolf.) The Thousandth Night is a confabulation of tales from The Arabian Nights acted out by an unwilling (and seemingly random) victim of power, caught in a net and fantasizing to amuse his apparently indifferent captors, to assuage his own anxiety and to kill time as he awaits pronouncement of his fate. 

At first, Bonheur’s tales appear to be escapist, taking his audience out of wartime Europe “beyond Cairo, beyond Aleppo” to a place where a guest might be invited to dine on fish, because Baghdad is a city “where fish aren’t rationed.” He tells the story of the death of the Sultan’s favorite dwarf and how his body is passed along stealthily from one unwary citizen to the next. Each assumes himself guilty of murder, and finally all confess to the Sultan, who pardons all because his beloved dwarf has proven to be as hilarious a joker in death as in life. And he tells of Scheherazade, who escapes execution the morning after the wedding night with the Sultan by keeping him up with an endless string of tales, and of Ali Baba and his victory over the 40 armed and vengeful thieves who seek his life for discovering their secret. 

Ron Campbell acts out the full roster of characters, with flourishes, asides, even the recitation of a cafe chanson (an old recording of Piaf opens and closes the performance). At moments, his timing seems like he’s trying out gags on his audience, gauging their response and milking it. As promised by Tom Ross in his notes, Campbell engages the spectators directly, with mixed results. Some laugh hysterically, some are alert if deadpan, a few (as in any theater) doze. But that doesn’t deter this self-described cross between Marcel Marceau and Robin Williams. He is constantly talking, interrupting himself in agitation to make a maudlin aside or plea, relentlessly mugging a new character and providing sound effects. Actor Campbell’s drive to always be “on” merges with character (and actor) Bonheur’s desperate determination to escape notice by being the center of attention. 

This close collaboration between a performer and his character, in which they seem to be almost joined at the hip, is successful—in flashes. Campbell (best-known here for his solos Buckminster Fuller and The Bone Man of Benares) puts a lot of juice into single-handedly engaging his audience, whether of shadowy Nazis or palpable Berkeleyites. His zest for caricature and pantomime is unending—but the long string of cartoonish characters are Disneyish, in the sense that movie sound effects and music that merely illustrated the obvious used to be dismissed as too “Disney.” At some moments, there’s a boyish, prankish charm to the doubled-up showmanship; at others, the tone is strident or cloying. 

Just as the line is blurry between the performer and the performer he’s playing, it’s hard to tell which effects are written into the play itself and which are the interpretations of actor and director. It’s an interesting premise, with interesting set-up and hook, but sometimes the reality, the necessity of setting and situation, the relation between what we see performed and why, gets stretched, becomes abstruse, too conceptual. 

Where actor and director could collaborate more would be on the dynamics. Campbell talks a blue streak, much of it at the same pitch. Racing from the desperate to the bawdy to the silly and back over and over the changes eventually sounds just one note—a silly one. Crowded together and coming out in a rush from one speaker—albeit a rubber-faced multiple personality—the various emotional tacks sometimes devolve to mere exposition. Bonheur is trying to justify himself before an ultra-Kafkaesque court (and in an extraordinary moment, though thrown away, he appeals to the audience to judge him) but the running patter of justification and commentary gets a bit too tangled with the storytelling, instead of embellishing or shading it. 

The final story overcomes some of these problems. It’s about a fisherman asked to choose the manner of his death by the malign genie he’s freed from a long-sunken bottle (depicted by a canteen). Campbell artfully plays the whole stage. He is atop the upended trunk he’s worked out of with the supernally booming voice of the genie. Then he’s down on the grimy wood of the station floor where the humble fisherman cowers. The dark lining of the escapist stories, with their beheadings and banishments, now envelopes the stage as a primal confrontation between the seemingly powerless and the capriciously all-powerful. Its effect is immediate. Somehow it strengthens Bonheur’s character. He’s aimed to please; maybe he can die well.  

Design (and timing of execution) of the set (Richard Olmstead), lighting (Jon Retsky) and sound (Chris Houston) is impressive and wonderful. Inside a multifaceted situation which a single performer must express, Ron Campbell camps it up, kicks up his heels in one transparent disguise after another, and (like his Sultan who’s just beheaded last night’s bride and calls “Get me another queen!”) keeps asking for more. But in a show poised somewhere between the performer and the ensemble he impersonates, there are too many slips between these two stools. 


The Thousandth Night shows at 8 p.m. Wednesdays-Saturdays and at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. Sundays through July 24. $36. Aurora Theater, 2081 Addison St. 843-4822. www.auroratheatre.org. 3

Arts Calendar

Friday July 01, 2005



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.-Sun. 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 

Grand Groovement at 8 p.m. at Jupiter. 848-8277. 

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 

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

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.  


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.  

“F@x!” the Fourth fundraiser for the Urban Living Summer Institute at 9 p.m. at La Peña Cultural Center. Cost is $10. 849-2568. www.lapena.org 

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. 

Don Villa & Friends, country blues, at 7 p.m. at Spuds Pizza, 3290 Adeline St. Cost is $7. 558-0881. 

Teja Gerken, finger-style guitar, at 8 p.m. at Freight and Salvage. Cost is $17.50-$18.50. 548-1761. www.freightandsalvage.org 

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 

Jonah Minton Group at 8 p.m. at Jupiter. 848-8277. 

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 Rosales Organ, with brass and percussion at 3 p.m. at First Presbyterian Church of Oakland, 2619 Broadway. Donation $10. 444-3555. www.firstchurchoakland.org 

Antonio Dionisio, guitarist and vocalist from Brazil at 7:30 p.m. at La Peña Cultural Center. Cost is $10. 849-2568. www.lapena.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 

Americana Unplugged: The Mercury Dimes at 5 p.m. at Jupiter. 848-8277. 

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.com 



“Hazel and the Dragon” puppet show at 7 p.m. at The Albany Library, 1247 Marin Ave. 526-3720, ext. 17.  


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 


Eyeing Nature “Darwin’s Nightmare” at 7:30 p.m. at the Pacific Film Archive. Cost is $4-$8. 642-0808. www.bampfa.berkeley.edu 


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

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

Singers’ Open Mic at 8 p.m. at Anna’s Jazz Island, 2120 Allston Way. 841-JAZZ. www.AnnasJazzIsland.com 

Cuarto Dos Alas with John Santos, Elio Villafranca, Orestes Vilato and John Benitez 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. 



For Your Eyes Only “Ministry of Fear” at 7:30 p.m. at the Pacific Film Archive. Cost is $4-$8. 642-0808. www.bampfa.berkeley.edu 

Arab Women Film Festival “Four Women of Egypt” at 7:30 p.m. at La Pena Cultural Center. Donation $5. 849-2568. www.lapena.org  


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 


Joy Perrin, one-woman band, at 1:15 p.m. at the North Berkeley Senior Center. 981-5190. 

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

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

Wadi Gad and Jahbandis at 9 p.m. at Ashkenaz. Cost is $9. 525-5054. www.ashkenaz.com 

The Mike Glendinning Band at 10 p.m. at The Ivy Room, 858 San Pablo Ave., Albany.  

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

Ezra Gale Trio, jazz and funk, at 8 p.m. at Jupiter. 848-8277. 

The Websters with Scott Nygaard at 8 p.m. at Freight and Salvage. Cost is $18.50-$19.50. 548-1761. www.freightandsalvage.org 

Thomas Cunningham, 5 Days Dirty, Whole Wheat Bread at 9 p.m. at Blakes on Telegraph. Cost is $7. 848-0886. www.blakesontelegraph.com 

Sunny Hawkins at 8 and 10 p.m. at Yoshi’s at Jack London Square. Cost is $10. 238-9200. www.yoshis.com 



“Wholly Grace” works by Susan Dunhan Felix opens at the Badé Museum, 1798 Scenic Ave. 848-0528. 

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


Pre-Code Hollywood “The Animal Kingdom” at 5:30 p.m. at the Pacific Film Archive. Free First Thursday. 642-0808. www.bampfa.berkeley.edu 


Toby Bielawski reads from her recent poetry and prose at 7 p.m. at the Albany Library, 1247 Marin Ave., Albany. 526-3720, ext. 17. 

“El sueño nerudiano” A poetic commemoration of Neruda’s 101th birthday at 8:30 p.m. at La Peña. 849-2568. www.lapena.org 

Beth Lisick introduces “Everybody Into the Pool: True Tales” at 7:30 p.m. at Cody’s Books. 845-7852. www.codysbooks.com 

Word Beat Reading Series with Jon Longhi and Chandra Garsson at 7 p.m. at Mediterraneum Caffe, 2475 Telegraph Ave., near Dwight Way. 526-5985. 


Summer Noon Concert with the Capoeira Arts Café at the Downtown Berkeley BART Plaza. Sponsored by the Downtown Berkeley Association. 

Irina Rivkin and SONiA at 7:30 p.m. at Rose Street House of Music, 1839 Rose St. For reservations call 594-4000, ext. 687. 

Musicians of Bharatakalanji Lecture and demonstration of Bharatanatyn dance at 8 p.m., concert at 9:15 p.m. at Ashkenaz. Cost is $8-$10. 525-5054.  

Jeb Brady Band, rhythm and blues, at 8 p.m. at Freight and Salvage. Cost is $17.50-$18.50. 548-1761.  

Zapatista Benefit Concert with hip hop, jazz and spoken word at 8 p.m. at 21 Grand, 416 25th St., Oakland. Donation $5-$10. http://21grand.org 

Fourtet with David Jeffrey at 8 p.m. at Anna’s Jazz Island, 2120 Allston Way. 841-JAZZ. www.AnnasJazzIsland.com 

Lo Cura, music of Spain, Cuba, and California at 8:30 p.m. at Epic Arts, 1923 Ashby Ave. Cost is $5-$10. www.epicarts.org 

Whiskey Brothers, old-time and bluegrass at 9 p.m. at Albatross, 1822 San Pablo Ave. Free. 843-2473. www.albatrosspub.com 

The Orange Peels, The Biddy & Buddy Show, Mark Weinstock at 9:30 p.m. at The Starry Plough. Cost is $5. 841-2082. www.starryploughpub.com 

Michael Wilcox/Sheldon Brown Duo at 8 p.m. at Downtown. 649-3810. 

Robben Ford Band at 8 and 10 p.m. at Yoshi’s at Jack London Square, through Sun. Cost is $22-$26. 238-9200. www.yoshis.com 

Selector, lap-top funk and beat machines, at 8 p.m. at Jupiter. 848-8277. 



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 

Central Works, “The Grand Inquisitor” by Dostoevsky. Thurs - Sat. at 8 p.m., Sun. at 5 p.m. at The Berkeley City Club, 2315 Durant Ave., through July 31. Tickets are $9-$25 sliding scale. 558-1381. www.centralworks.org 

Contra Costa Civic Theatre “Anything Goes” Cole Porter’s musical, Fri. and Sat. at 8 p.m., Sun. at 2 p.m. through Aug. 13 at 951 Pomona Ave., El Cerrito. 524-9132. www.ccct.org 

“Livin’ Fat” a comedy about an African American family struggling over a financial blessing, Fri. at 8 p.m., Sat. at 2 and 8 p.m., Sun. at 4 p.m., through July 30, at Sweets Ballroom, 1933 Broadway, Oakland. Tickets are $12.50-$35. 233-9222. 

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 

Woodminster Summer Musicals “Oaklahoma” at 8 p.m. at Woodminster Amphitheater in Joaquin Miller Park, 3300 Joaquin Miller Rd., Oakland. Through July 17. Tickets are $20-$33. 531-9597. www.woodminster.com 


“Insomnia” Ten artists collaborate on one painting, from midnight to sunrise. Reception at 7:30 p.m. at Boontling Gallery, 4224 Telegraph Ave., Oakland. boontlinggallery@hotmail.com 


For Your Eyes Only “Black Sunday” at 7:30 p.m. at Pacific Film Archive. Cost is $4-$8. 642-0808.  


Laurie R. King introduces her new novel, “Locked Rooms” at 7:30 p.m. at Cody’s Books. 845-7852. www.codysbooks.com 


Jason Martineau, Tina Marzell & Ellen Hoffman Trio at 8 p.m. at Anna’s Jazz Island, 2120 Allston Way. 841-JAZZ. www.AnnasJazzIsland.com 

Jazz, 4000 Meters High, with pianist Johnny Gonzales from Bolivia, at 8 p.m. at La Peña Cultural Center. Cost is $10-$13. 849-2568. www.lapena.org 

Lavay Smith and her Red Hot Skillet Lickers at 9:30 p.m. at Ashkenaz. Swing dance lesson with Nick & Shanna at 8 p.m. Cost is $11-$13. 525-5054. www.ashkenaz.com 

Thomas Banks & Cultural Gumbo, N Focus at 5:30 p.m. at Baltic Square, behind 121 Park Place, Point Richmond. 223-3882. 

Beth Waters with Adrianne at 8 p.m. at Caffe Trieste, 2500 San Pablo Ave., at Dwight. 548-5198.  

In Harmony’s Way, a capella CD release, at 8 p.m. at Freight and Salvage. Cost is $18.50-$19.50. 548-1761. www.freightandsalvage.org 

Viva K, The Cushion Theory, Tiny Power, Gosling at 9:30 p.m. at The Starry Plough. Cost is $6. 841-2082. www.starryploughpub.com 

Kathleen Grace Quartet at 9 p.m. at Downtown. 649-3810. 

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

Bobby Jamieson Quintet at 8 p.m. at the Jazzschool. Cost is $10. 845-5373. www.jazz- 


Cecil P-Nut Daniels at 7 p.m. at Shattuck Down Low, 2284 Shattuck Ave. Cost is $12-$15. 548-1159. www.shattuckdownlow.com 

Mingus Amungus at 8 p.m. at Jupiter. 848-8277. 

Parallax, No Turning Back, Internal Affairs at 8 p.m. at 924 Gilman St. Cost is $5. 525-9926. 

Robben Ford Band at 8 and 10 p.m. at Yoshi’s at Jack London Square, through Sun. Cost is $22-$26. 238-9200. www.yoshis.com 



Elkhorn Slough: Restored and Brimming with Life By MARTA YAMAMOTO Special to the Planet

Friday July 01, 2005

From the Elkhorn Slough Overlook I watch the sunlight reflecting off the estuary waters, the glistening mudflats and the steep, corrugated roof of the open barn. To the north is the North Marsh rookery, home to nesting egrets and herons. Surrounding me are tall, multicolored native grasses amid the colors of wildflowers. Most distinct are the sounds—a soft cacophony of birdcalls and songs, almost joyful. A vision of nature. 

This vision could have been far different. During the 1960s and ‘70s, developers were ready to build hundreds of condos around a public marina, an oil refinery and nuclear power plant, all bisected by Highway 1. Instead, thanks to the Porter family, the Elkhorn Slough Foundation, the Nature Conservancy and the Packard family, over 7,000 acres of land is now protected and restored. A vision worth fighting for. 

The Elkhorn Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve encompasses seven miles of waterway from the center of Monterey Bay along the largest salt marsh in California, a total of 1400-acres. It attracts more bird species than anywhere else in California among its landscapes of oak woodlands, tidal creeks and freshwater marshes. Committed to restoration, research and education, Elkhorn Reserve warrants a visit, on its own, or as a side trip while visiting the Monterey Peninsula. 

I began a recent visit at the visitor center, where award-winning exhibits provided background and a visual overview of the reserve. Staffed by helpful volunteers, ready to answer questions, point out hikes on the trail map or refer you to seasonal activities, the visitor center will set the scene. An eye-catching exhibit is the nine-times-larger-than-life model, “The Unseen Slough.” Who knew just how much diverse life mud supports? Trap doors at different levels reveal hidden residents—sculpin, fat innkeeper worms and moon snails at home in mud whose color changes with depth. “Slough Check-up” uses the analogy of visiting the doctor to analyze the health of the slough. By monitoring factors like the rhythm of tides, diversity of species, movement of water and lab tests on pH and salinity a diagnosis can be made.  

My favorite exhibit was a series of labeled glass jars displaying freshly picked wildflowers in bloom, more satisfying than a photograph or drawing. I knew just what to look for as I followed the trails: white yarrow, yellow and black tidy tips, golden brodiaea and Italian pink thistle. 

It was easy to be tempted by the broad assortment of nicely displayed goodies in the Gift Center, especially the leather tooled journals, purple and yellow Cosmic Center of the Universe T-shirts and Wild Byrd earrings. Gift possibilities were endless, but it was time to hit the trail. 

Outside I bathed my boots to prevent the spread of Sudden Oak Death, admiring the mud-daubed nests of barn swallows under the wide eaves of the visitor center. The trail led gently down toward the slough, exposed at low tide. As it rimmed the shore, past rich landscapes of marsh, sand dunes, coastal prairie, sage scrub and chaparral, I saluted the mild Mediterranean climate in which they all thrive. 

Heading toward the rookery pond, I passed hillsides blanketed with the bright colors of hemlock and mustard, hearing the distinctive calls of red-winged blackbirds and California quail. The fog was breaking and the air was scented with the tang of salt and a mysterious plant that always reminds me of dirty gym socks—unforgettable. A tunnel of lichened oak branches above me curved back and forth in interesting patterns, their bark decorated with concentric circles of woodpecker holes. Thick undergrowth of dark green vinca sheltered in their shade. I could have been almost anywhere along California’s coast; the surrounding landscape seemed a close friend. 

Below the barn, I approached the South Marsh. Crossing the bridge I looked for small leopard sharks that raise their young in the protected waters below. The calls of Canada geese urged me out onto the boardwalk, carrying me far out over the mudflats. Now an expert in the “Unseen Slough,” I spotted clues of the life below: thick strands of chartreuse algae, red and green pickleweed, the egg collars of moon snails, fecal pellets of innkeeper worms and the siphon tracks of bent neck clams—just like the display showed. The peaceful South Marsh is one of the restoration projects undertaken by the reserve. A vastness of wildlife is now thriving on land diked for pasture for forty years. California has lost over 90 percent of its wetlands, making Elkhorn Slough all that much more vital.  

Continuing my hike, I read interpretive boards describing other restoration projects in progress. Four species of native grasses are being grown in different combinations, after a massive effort to remove non-native grass. Coastal shrubs and oak understory plants have also been re-introduced and provide a natural habitat along the Five Fingers and Long Valley Loop trails which lead south to the Wildlife Blind.  

My diagnosis of the Slough’s health put it in the top 10 percent. Constantly undergoing change, slough organisms must be able to adapt to these changes. Indicators were good. The temperature was crisp and the air pungent. Everywhere flora was thick and green; flowers were bright with color. A rich variety of bird life was plentiful and, according to their songs, in good health. With no clogged arteries, a steady rhythm of tides moved veins of clear water through the estuary, where egrets watched for their next meal. A clean bill of health. 

The view from the Overlook will change with the season. Home to 340 species of birds, 100 of fish and 400 of plants, any time of year will reward you with abundant wildlife and a time to reflect. Time to reflect on the value of commitment, the importance of preservation, and the joy of recognizing and appreciating the land in its natural state. 


Elkhorn Slough is located halfway between Santa Cruz and Monterey. In San Jose, take Hwy. 101 south, turn off onto Hwy. 156 west. Exit at Hwy. 1 and continue north to Moss Landing. At the power plant turn right onto Dolan Road. Go 3.5-miles on Dolan Road, then turn left onto Elkhorn Road. After 1.9-miles turn left into the Elkhorn Reserve gate.  

Driving time approximately 2 hours. 


Elkhorn Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve 

1700 Elkhorn Rd., Watsonville. (831) 728-2822, www.elkhornslough.org.  

Open Wed-Sun 9-5 p.m. Day use fee $2.50 for 16 years and above. 

Docent-led tours every Saturday and Sunday at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m..

Berkeley This Week

Friday July 01, 2005


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. 

Salsa Dancing at “The Beat” Dance Studio at 8:30 p.m. Lessons with Joseph Gallardo. 2560 9th St. at Parker. 472-2393 www.wildsalsanights.com  


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 for 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 fountain in the Pacific Renaissance Plaza. Tour lasts 90 minutes. Reservations can be made by calling 238-3234. 

Memorial for Norine Smith at noon at the Berkeley Rose Garden, Euclid Ave. at Eunice St. 

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. 

Richmond Fireworks Display at 7:30 p.m. at Marina Bay Park. 620-6793. 

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 at 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. 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. 


Mid-Day Meander in Pt. Pinole at 2:30 p.m. to see returning shorebirds in their summer breeding plummage. Call for meeting place. 525-2233. 

Tilden Mini-Rangers Join us for an active afternoon of nature study, conservation, and rambling through woods and waters. Dress to get dirty; bring a healthy snack to share. Girls and boys ages 8-12, unaccompanied by their parents. From 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. at Tilden Nature Area. Cost is $6-$8. Reservations required. 636-1684. 

Stargazing: Twilight of the Gods at 8 p.m. at Inspiration Point in Tilden Park. Dress warmly and bring a flashlight. 525-2233. 

“Darwin’s Nightmare” A film about the introduction of Nile Perch into Lake Victoria in Tanzania, which led to the endangerment or extinction of native fish, and famine in the area. At 7:30 p.m. at Pacific Film Archive, 2575 Bancroft Way, at Bowditch. Cost is $8. 642-0808. www.bampfa.berkeley.edu 

“The Politics of Transportation” A slideshow and talk with Andy Signer on the environmental and social problems caused by automobiles, at 7 p.m. at AK Press, 674A 23rd St., Oakland. 208-1700. www.akpress.org 

Foot Care for Any Sport with runner, hiker, and backpacker, John Vonhof at 7 p.m. at REI, 1338 San Pablo Ave. Free. 527-4140. 

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. 

Learn to Salsa Dance Tues. at 7 p.m. at the Lake Merrit Dance Center, 200 Grand Ave. Cost is $15 per class. 415-668-9936. www.DanceSF.com 

Brainstormer Weekly Pub Quiz 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 

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

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


Tilden Tots Join a nature adventure program for 3 and 4 year olds, each accompanied by an adult (grandparents welcome)! We’ll capture and release butterflies from 10 to 11:30 a.m. Cost is $6-$8. Registration required. 636-1684. 

Tilden Explorers An after school nature adventure for 5-7 year olds who may be accompanied by an adult. No younger siblings please. We’ll capture and release butterflies and moths. From 3:15 to 4:45 p.m. Cost is $6-$8. Registration required. 636-1684. 

Berkeley Path Wanderers’ tour of East Bay Regional Parks Botanic Garden. Meet at 10 am. at the garden entrance, Wildcat Canyon Rd. and South Park Drive. To register call 524-4715. 

Kayaking 101 Covering kayaks, paddles, flotation devices, clothing and acccessories at 7 p.m. at REI, 1338 San Pablo Ave. Free. 527-4140. 

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 

Arab Women Film Festival at 7:30 p.m. at La Pena Cultural Center, 3105 Shattuck Ave. Donation $5. 849-2568. www.lapena.org  

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

“The Iguazu Efeect” a film about globalization and “Bloodletting: Life Death Healthcare” at 7:30 p.m. at Humanist Hall, 390 27th St., Oakland. Donation $5. 

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

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 

League of Women Voters meets at 7 p.m. at 1414 University Ave., Suite D. 843-8824. http://lwvbae/org  

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

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. 548-9840. 

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. 

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. 

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. 



Berkeley Communicators Toastmasters meets at 7:15 a.m. at Au Cocolait, 200 University Ave. at Milvia. 524-3765. 

Early Morning Bird Walk Meet at 7 a.m. at Inspiration Point in Tilden Park. 525-2233. 

Zapatista Benefit Concert with hip hop, jazz and spoken word at 8 p.m. at 21 Grand, 416 25th St., Oakland. Donation $5-$10. http://21grand.org 

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 

Parenting Class: Baby Basics for new and expecting parents at 10 a.m. at Bananas, 5232 Claremont Ave. Registration required. 658-7353.  

Tilden Tots Join a nature adventure program for 3 and 4 year olds, each accompanied by an adult (grandparents welcome)! We’ll capture and release butterflies from 10 to 11:30 a.m. Cost is $6-$8. Registration required. 636-1684. 

Stroke Screening beginning at 9 a.m. at Northbrae Community Church, 941 The Alameda. Cost is $109-$139. For an appointment call 1-800-697-9721. 


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 


Citizens Humane Commission meets Wed., July 6, at 7 p.m., at the North Berkeley Senior Center. Katherine O’Connor, 981-6601. www.ci.berkeley.ca. us/commissions/humane 

Berkeley Rent Stabilization Board meets Thurs. July 7, at 7 p.m. in City Council Chambers, Pam Wyche, 644-6128 ext. 113. www.ci.berkeley.ca.us/rent 

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

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


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. 




Fire Company Closed, Library Open in Final Budget By MATTHEW ARTZ

Friday July 01, 2005

With onlookers clapping in approval, the City Council passed a budget Tuesday that slashed city jobs and services, but provided enough money for the library to reopen its doors on Sundays. 

On July 13, the library will present its board with a proposal to open the main branch seven days a week beginning in September, said Library Financial Director Beverli Marshall in an interview. Her comment came after the council passed a higher library tax rate increase than asked for by the library board of directors. 

Other departments in the city didn’t fare as well this year. 

Today (Friday) the city begins periodic fire company closures to save $1.1 million in overtime expenses. Fire Department overtime cost the city roughly $2.4 million this fiscal year, about 25 percent higher than original projections. 

Under the Fire Department’s plan, the city will close up to two fire companies at a given time rather than pay firefighters overtime to replace workers on vacation or leave. Minimum staffing levels will be reduced from 34 to 28. 

Chief Debra Pryor told the council that fire companies serving the Berkeley hills would be immune from closures during fire season which extends until the end of the year. The rotating closures were selected as an alternative to shutting down one of Berkeley’s two ladder truck companies. 

The struggle over this year’s budget took on a roller coaster quality. 

While soaring personnel costs and flat revenues opened up a $8.9 million shortfall, Berkeley’s sizzling real estate market netted the city an extra $3.5 million from the city’s property transfer tax. 

During meetings over the past half-year, the council opted to allocate most of the windfall for capital projects like street repair and technology upgrades, while slashing money to city departments and community agencies by an average of 10 percent. 

It was the third consecutive year of cuts in Berkeley. Since 2003, the council has slashed $20 million and reduced its work force by 10 percent. For fiscal year 2006, which begins Friday, the council cut $8 million from its general fund and eliminated 52 positions, all of which were vacant.  

Berkeley anticipates erasing its structural budget deficit by 2009 in part by denying employees raises for the first two years of future contacts.  

With most budget issues already resolved by Tuesday’s meeting, the final bone of contention was a proposal from Councilmember Dona Spring to transfer $500,000 set aside for street repair and technology upgrades for customer service improvements to community agencies that serve the poor.  

Spring was backed by Councilmembers Kriss Worthington and Max Anderson, but others on the council opposed reducing funding to capital projects. Councilmember Gordon Wozniak defended the technology upgrades as a way to improve worker efficiency at a time when the city was cutting jobs to balance the budget. Councilmember Darryl Moore, who had lent his name to an earlier request to restore funding to the agencies, said infrastructure repairs were too vital to cut.  

“We have to do something about the potholes and cracks in our streets,” he said. 

Ultimately the council voted 8-1 on a compromise that mirrored a proposal offered by Mayor Tom Bates, which restored funding to several agencies but didn’t go as far as Spring’s plan. The council allocated an extra $4,000 for the disability agency Center for Independent Living and $12,000 for the city’s public access station, Berkeley Community Media, and agreed to consider restoring $225,000 in funding for local non-profits in December. Councilmember Worthington cast the lone no vote, insisting the budget neglected the needs of low income residents. 

After passing the budget, the council unanimously voted to raise the library tax 5.26 percent, equivalent to the California Personal Income Growth index this year. The library board has asked for a 4.8 percent increase which was equal to the preliminary income growth figures available when at the time of the board vote.  

The higher rate affords the library an extra $50,000 next year and guarantees that the main branch will reopen Sundays. Last July the library closed Sundays and reduced hours at branches to balance its budget. Marshall said library brass would poll the public on which hours to restore on Sundays. 


Other Items 

• The council voted 8-1 (Olds no) to allocate to the city’s trust fund for affordable housing any money received from the sale of the city’s health building at 2344 Sixth Street above the city’s $2.4 million asking price. 

• Mayor Bates withdrew his proposal to require that all confidentiality agreements the council enters into for land use law suits include a provision allowing for public review and comment before the council settles the suit. 

Last week, Bates had pushed for a vote on the proposal he co-authored with Councilmember Worthington. According to his chief of staff, Cisco De Vries, the mayor was concerned that the proposal might be illegal on grounds that the council can’t vote on policies that bind future city councils. 

• By a 6-0-3 vote (Wozniak, Olds and Capitelli abstain), the council approved a resolution calling on the Bush Administration to create a cabinet level Department of Peace. The proposal came to the council after failing to win a majority in Berkeley’s Peace and Justice Commission. 

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.


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.