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Richard Brenneman: Corliss Lesser displays two of the acrylics that she and her husband, Ira, paint in their live/work studio in the 800 Heinz Building, a landmarked building that offers affordable space to creative people..
Richard Brenneman: Corliss Lesser displays two of the acrylics that she and her husband, Ira, paint in their live/work studio in the 800 Heinz Building, a landmarked building that offers affordable space to creative people..


Artists Thrive in Live/Work Lofts at 800 Heinz Ave. By RICHARD BRENNEMAN

Tuesday August 09, 2005

If you’re going to be a starving artist in Berkeley, then the place to starve is 800 Heinz Ave. 

A landmarked former margarine factory that’s been converted into affordable live/work spaces, the building houses a fascinating collection of creative folk. 

The two-story structure was landmarked in 1985 as part of a compromise that allowed owner Wareham Development to demolish landmarked properties in exchange for converting the Art Deco structure at 800 Heinz Ave. into rent-controlled and affordable live/work space. 

Here is a glimpse into the work and lives in four of the building’s 18 units:  


Shea and Strange 

John Shea, a photographer and paper artist, and painter Betsy Strange were married when they moved into their first floor space in 1978. 

“I looked into the window and couldn’t figure out where I’d be able to fit my darkroom,” said Shea. “I put in plumbing, then got caught by the building inspectors.” 

The trouble began a few years later when Wareham bought the property after a previous owner went bankrupt. Wareham served eviction notices on the tenants and the residents hired a lawyer of their own, Zona Sage, who engaged in a ten-year battle with the owners to keep their homes. 

“Loni Hancock was mayor, and she really helped. She brought us together and kept us from yelling at each other,” Strange said. 

In 1987 Wareham agreed to most of the tenants’ demands, and the first tenants, including Shea and Strange, were granted their units under rent control for life, as long as they paid their rents. 

The firm also agreed to provide the other units as affordable housing live/work units for very low-, low- and moderate-income tenants. Current rates run between $700 and $900 a month, with the original tenants paying less under rent control. 

In return, Wareham won the right to demolish another landmark building and a massive brick smokestack. The settlement also created a child care center and a theater in adjacent buildings, as well as a restaurant in the 800 Heinz building. 

Limited parking and the difficulty of attracting audiences closed the theater, Strange said, and the building was later leased to Bayer Pharmaceuticals as office space, though the theater sign remains. 

Though Strange and Shea have since divorced, subdividing their unit in the process, they remain good friends—which is good, they said, since neither wants to move. 

“There’s good people, good studios, good light, great neighbors and it’s a good place to raise a kid with good schools,” said Strange. 

A member of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Arts Artists Gallery, Strange is a graduate of UC Berkeley, where she has both worked and taught.  


The Lessers 

Ira and Corliss Lesser represent an artistic rarity, a team of collaborative artists who’ve managed to stay together for 36 years. 

The son of a New York policeman and a mother who was also an amateur artist, Ira Lesser was an abstract expressionist who first exhibited in a gallery on East 10th Street in Manhattan in 1959, and within two years had a one-man show at the Key Gallery, 

He moved west via Mexico in 1964 and met his mate five years later. 

Corliss was born in Los Angeles and was trained in the more figurative graphic arts. 

The couple began their collaboration shortly after they met, but after Ira suffered the first of several heart attacks in 1977, the process began in earnest. A year later, Ira also branched out into photography. 

“I knew I was a collaborative artist from the start,” Corliss said. “After his heart attack, he needed my energy. He would get tired and ask me to finish.” 

“[Berkeley City Councilmember] Dona Spring was kind enough to tell us about the building,” Corliss said, and after three or four years on the building’s waiting list—which currently numbers about 200—the Lessers were able to move in during 1995. 

Much of their work, done in vibrant acrylics on expansive canvases, is frankly political. 

“We went through all these periods,” said Ira. “At first it was purely sexual, then after the attack made me vegetarian, we started dealing with more spiritual conflicts.” 

“It’s been fabulous having this dialogue. It really helps us live with what’s happening in this world,” said Corliss. 

Many of their works deal with human rights, and the artists were especially pleased University College in London selected one of their paintings to promote their masters program in human rights. 

Other works deal with 9/11 and the Iraq wars of the two Bush Administration. 

Their daughter, born in 1990, has begun painting, adding a third member to the Lesser collaboration. 

“This place is wonderful” said Corliss. “It’s really been nice.” 

For a closer work at the Lessers’ art, see their web site at www.ira-corliss.com. 


The architect 

Fittingly for a resident of 800 Heinz Ave., Steven Grover is an architect with an unusual practice. 

“I design bicycle bridges and other similar public structures,” he said. “You might say I’m a sculptor, but on a grand scale.” 

Another New York native, Grover started out as a child actor—most notably playing the child John Quincy Adams in the PBS The Adams Chronicles series. 

A graduate of New York City’s High School of Music and Arts, he earned his architecture degree at Stanford and practiced in Zurich for several years. 

His first major work in Berkeley was serving as design coordinator for the bicycle and pedestrian bridge over Interstate 80. 

Since then, he’s designed similar structures for Santa Cruz and Durham, N.C., an underpass in Palo Alto and the El Cerrito BART station. 

“In 1989, I was the second person to move in after the settlement. I could never have built a successful career as an architect and engineer had it not been for this building,” he said. “I had a chronic disease for the first 10 years I lived here, and I couldn’t have made it without the support of my neighbors.” 

While he is designing a new home to be built in Montclair, Grover said most of his commissions are bike and pedestrian bridges and other public sector works. 

Grover is no stranger to activist tenants. 

“I grew up in a building in New York that was condemned and the tenants got together and got city backed loans to renovate the structure,” he said. The result was Manhattan’s first cooperative, with his mother as president. 

“This building feels a lot like that,” he said. “It’s a workspace where I can really create.” 

Though he loves the building, Grover said he also wishes that the interior walls were better insulated and that Wareham had installed double pane windows while removing the elevator and gas lines. 

“But it’s a great building,” he said. 

A portfolio of his work may be found at http://stevengrover.com.  



Claire B. Cotts is a creator of paintings that are both primitive and sophisticated, haunting acrylics done in muted tones, many with religious overtones. 

“I also illustrate children’s books and I do a little sculpture,” said the soft-spoken artist. 

A Fulbright Scholar and a resident since 1996, Cotts had been on the waiting list two years when she was offered her second-floor unit as a sub-lease from a fellow Fulbright winner who had used her award to study in Turkey, where’d she met someone and decided to stay for a while. 

“The best things about the building are the nice neighbors and the fact that it feels very safe. It’s very affordable, too—otherwise I wouldn’t have been able to stay in the Bay Area,” she said. 

Her unit is a perfect space for a children’s book illustrator, thanks to the day care next door.  

“Usually studios are in rough urban areas, but every day I get to hear choruses of the ‘Itsy-Bitsy Spider.’” 

The child of a family of doctors and lawyers, Cotts said she began painting as a teenager. Gaining national recognition, she has one show currently open at a gallery in Healdsburg, and another coming soon in Atlanta. 

She describes her work as “figurative and narrative, story-telling and lyrical. The adult stuff tends to be kind of dark, but with the kids’ stuff, I get to play with light.” 

What she finds especially gratifying are the comments readers have posted about her illustrations on Amazon.com. “With the other painting, they’re sort of lost,” she explains. 

Among the books she’s illustrated are The Christmas Gift; El regalo de Navidad by Francisco Jiménez, The Remembering Stone by Barbara Timberlake Russell, and Manuela’s Gift by Kristyn Rehling Estes, a 1999 Parents’ Choice Award Winner.  

For more of her work, see www.clairebcotts.com. 


Drayage Tenants Get Surprise Reprieve By MATTHEW ARTZ

Tuesday August 09, 2005

A legal blunder will keep East Bay Drayage tenants in their homes for another two months and will cost the building’s owner nearly $200,000 in additional city fines and safety costs. 

On Friday, Drayage owner Lawrence White rescinded 60-day eviction notices ordering tenants out of the building by Aug. 24. In their place, he posted a new 60-day notice calling on the Drayage’s 11 remaining tenants to leave by Oct. 8. 

White said Monday that the delay in evicting tenants would not affect a deal he has with a private housing developer to sell the live/work warehouse. The building was declared by city officials in March to be “an extreme fire and life safety hazard.” 

On July 28 Berkeley filed a notice to place a proposed $157,500 lien on the property, said Michael Caplan of the city manager’s office. If White doesn’t pay within 45 days of receiving the notice, the city can move forward with staking a claim to the property. 

White rescinded the eviction notices Friday after learning that his attorney Bill Berland had not followed proper procedure in filing them. Berland did not return phone calls Monday. 

The evictions were based on a city permit White received in June to demolish the illegal units. However, under state law, White was required to alert residents before applying for the demolition permit, which he failed to do. 

White was alerted to the error by tenants’ attorney Jeffrey Carter as part of a cross complaint Carter filed on behalf of Drayage tenant Jeffrey Ruiz. White sued to evict Ruiz and collect rent for the months since the city declared the building unsafe.  

Under a state law that took effect in 2003, before White could seek the demolition permit he had to inform tenants of his intentions as well as provide the estimated date when the demolition would occur and when their tenancies would end. 

None of the tenants has paid rent since the city inspection in March. 

The city has fined White $2,500 a day for failing to follow an April 15 order to evacuate the building. He has also been required to keep a 24-hour fire watch at the site, at a cost of about $1,000 a day. White stands to lose nearly $200,000 by misfiling the eviction notices. 

Drayage tenant Maresa Danielsen said she hoped the eviction delay would force White to reconsider overtures from the Northern California Land Trust, which has said it would bring the building up to code and offer tenants first option on affordable units. 

The land trust has said it offered White $2.5 million for the property, but White continued to insist Monday that he never received an official offer from the non-profit housing developer. 

If the eviction battle ends up in court, it could take months to resolve, meaning that White might still be battling tenants and receiving city fines into the winter. 

Through Monday, White had incurred $287,500 in fines and $115,000 for the fire watch. Caplan said the city had “no intention to let up” on the fines and fire watch and that the city could file additional liens on the property. 

White has said he plans to contest the fines. 

A city fire inspection in March found over 200 health and safety violations at the warehouse located at the corner of Addison and Third streets..

Hancock Bill Would Require Green School Construction By J. DOUGLAS ALLEN-TAYLOR

Tuesday August 09, 2005

Legislation by Assemblymember Loni Hancock (D-Berkeley) that would require “green” construction for new school buildings in the state may have minimal effect in Berkeley, despite the fact that several new school construction projects are pending in the city. 

“Berkeley probably already does more with green construction than most cities, and that’s without legislation,” said Mark Coplan, Berkeley Unified School District public information officer. 

Hancock’s bill—AB 315—would require that all new school buildings built with state funds be “high-performance schools,” which the legislator’s office defines as schools with increased natural daylight, recycled materials, high indoor air quality, and windows that open. The legislation also calls for increased use of renewable energy in new school construction—such as solar panels—and water conservation and reuse. 

The bill is before the California Senate Appropriations Committee, where it will be considered on Aug. 15. It passed in the Senate Education Committee early last month on an 8-2 vote, and passed in the Assembly last May on a 47-32 vote. 

Last year, after the legislature passed a previous version of Hancock’s green school construction bill, Schwarzenegger vetoed it, calling the legislature “premature.” 

He said, “While I am very supportive of efforts to improve the environment of California’s classrooms, as well as promoting energy efficiency and conservation, this policy discussion more appropriately should be considered within the context of a comprehensive environmental policy involving energy efficient housing, schools and commercial properties.” 

Hans Hemann, Hanock’s chief of staff, says he does not anticipate a problem in the State Senate, but said “we have to do our homework to convince the administration” of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. 

“I believe they’re sympathetic,” he said. “But there may be some disagreement on how to accomplish the goals of environmentally-sound construction.” 

Hancock’s bill would require the State Allocation Board (SAB) to establish regulations for “high-performance schools” in the area of energy and water efficiency and indoor environmental quality measures. 

Funding for the increased construction costs would be a joint state-local effort. 

Hanock’s bill requires the state to provide half of the required increased environmental construction costs, and also requires the SAB to “establish a method” to provide up to 100 percent of the increased construction costs to school districts “that qualify for hardship funding.” 

Hardship in this context means a district that had not been able to win the passage of local school bond construction bonds despite several tries. State funding would be provided by state school construction bonds. 

In addition, a recent report issued by Global Green USA—a Santa Monica-based nonprofit agency that is promoting Hancock’s green schools legislation—noted that building energy-efficient schools would increase school attendance, thus increasing state aid to local schools that comply. 

“One half of our nation’s schools have problems linked to poor indoor air quality ... which leads to absences,” the report stated. 

The organization estimated that the Los Angeles Unified School District would gain $94,000 to $188,000 per year per school for each school constructed under “green school” guidelines, adding $14 million to $28 million in annual state aid to Los Angeles public schools for the 150 new green schools that district is planning to build. 

But in local school districts, where the state legislature, the governor, and teacher’s unions are battling over how much state tax money should go to local school districts, it is unclear how the state would handle the new ADA expenditures that the new construction under Hancock’s bill would eventually require. 

If the problems of the initial costs can be surmounted, however, the long-term savings may be considerable. 

A 2003 report to California’s Sustainable Building Task Force by Capital E—a national clean energy building consultant firm—concluded that a 2 percent initial increase in green construction would eventually yield a savings that amounted to 20 percent of construction costs over the lifetime of the building. 

BUSD’s Coplan said that it is his understanding that the $5 million dining commons currently being built at King Middle School is “a completely green building.” The district hopes that facility will be ready for the opening of the new school year later this month. 

While Berkeley Unified has no plans in the near future to build any new schools, the district has major new construction in the works. At Berkeley High School, the district has plans to build new athletic facilities as well as classrooms on the southern side of its campus. And while renovation of existing facilities—including development of the new administrative center—will take up most of the initial phase of the West Campus overhaul, the district anticipates that at least some new building construction will take place on the University Avenue site in later stages. 

The most recently built “high-performance school” in the area was Oakland Unified School District’s Cesar Chavez Education Center on the grounds of the old Montgomery Ward Building at 29th Avenue and International Boulevard in the Fruitvale section of the city. The K-5 school, which was begun before the state takeover of Oakland Unified and completed in the fall of 2003, includes natural ventilation as well as what the non-profit Collaborative for High Performance Schools (CHPS) called a goal of “maximum use of daylighting ... for classrooms.”?

Downtown’s Kress Building Was Built to Last By CASSIE NORTON

Tuesday August 09, 2005

The S.H. Kress building at 2036 Shattuck Ave. was built in a different time, but due in no small part to the foresight of founder Samuel Kress, the 73-year-old building is still standing today. 

Described as “one of the most unusual office spaces in downtown Berkeley” by its owner, real estate agent John Gordon, the multi-story building is home to the Jazzschool in the basement and the office of UC Berkeley’s Industry Research Cooperative Program on the top floor. Half Price Books is in the process of moving into the ground floor. 

Built in 1932 by S.H. Kress and Co., the building was one of three five-and-dimes on Shattuck Avenue. While researching her book America’s 5 and10-Cent Stores: The Kress Legacy, author Bernice Thomas recovered thousands of architectural drawings and prints from the basement of the original store in Nashville, Tenn. Believed to have been lost, these documents were donated to the National Building Museum in Washington, D.C. The museum created an exhibit dedicated to Kress and featured the Berkeley Kress building on promotional postcards and on the cover of the brochure. 

Because Kress and Co. did not lease existing buildings, as most five-and-dime stores did, Kress established an in-house architectural team to design the new buildings in 1905. Because of this unusual business tactic, no two Kress stores are exactly alike, but they do have an internal and external continuity. 

Berkeley’s Kress building was one of the first designed by Edward Sibbert, head of the Kress architectural division and designer of scores of Kress buildings, including the flagship store on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan. In a 1931 press release, Kress announced that they would be building in “the new style” of Art Deco. Built just a year later, the local building features terracotta ornamentation on the outside and details like copper scrolling around the windows on the inside. It is also remarkably sound, according to Gordon. 

“[The building] was designed and built to withstand earthquakes. Most buildings like this, built around this time, have six-inch concrete walls. The Kress building has 12-inch concrete walls and additional rebar. It also has roof tie-ins. It was really ahead of its time,” Gordon said in a phone interview. 

After reaching its peak with approximately 400 stores in 28 states coast-to-coast, Kress was sold to Genesco, Inc. in 1964. Genesco used the building as a retail clothing outlet. In 1980 the building changed hands again, from Genesco to J.J. Newberry’s, though it was still used to display and sell clothing. 

1999 was a big year for the Kress building. Gordon bought the property in September and began renovations. A new entrance and lobby were created on Addison Street, allowing separate access to the basement and top floor. The elevator was updated to allow handicapped access. 

Architect Dan Winterich was hired to update the look of the second floor. After installing a new electrical system and high-speed communication capabilities, Winterich created private offices and gave it an “ultra modern design.” Invisible from the street, new windows were installed on the north wall to allow more natural light into the space. It is now leased by UC Berkeley. 

Jazzschool rents the basement from Gordon and has renovated the space to accommodate classrooms, performance spaces, a bookstore and a cafe. According to their website, Jazzschool is a “music school dedicated to the study and performance of America’s indigenous art form—jazz.” It is “the only school of its kind in the Bay Area and one of a very few in the U.S.” 

They celebrated their grand opening in the Kress building in January of 2001. 

The future holds more renovations for the Kress building. Gordon is currently looking for “just the right person” to waterproof the terracotta ornamentation on the building’s façade. But don’t look for seismic upgrades any time soon—the building was so solidly constructed in 1932 that it meets current seismic requirements. 


Troubled Elmwood District Bakery May be Sold By MATTHEW ARTZ

Tuesday August 09, 2005

A pair of Oakland bakers have stepped up with a bid to take over the cash-strapped Nabolom Bakery. 

Miette’s Cakes, a French-themed bakery which two years ago opened shop in San Francisco’s Ferry Building after starting out at the Berkeley Farmers’ Market, is looking for an East Bay location and thinks Nabolom’s site at 2818 Russell St. is a perfect fit. 

“It’s a great spot and it’s already set up for a bakery,” said Miette’s co-owner Caitlin Williams. 

If Miette’s takes over Nabolom it means Elmwood District shoppers can expect a bakery to remain in the neighborhood after Sept. 1, the deadline the landlord has given to begin eviction proceedings.  

But Williams said Nabolom’s property manager Carrie McCarthy has questioned whether Nabolom’s lease can be transferred to a business that isn’t an employee-owned collective. Nabolom pays a monthly rent of $3,886, which is considered on the low end for the Elmwood District. 

If McCarthy balks at transferring the lease, Miette’s could then negotiate a new lease, but that could result in an empty storefront in the meantime. Nabolom would still be responsible for repaying its creditors. 

Nabolom is still fighting to remain open. The 29-year-old cooperative owes about $50,000 in unpaid rent and payroll taxes and has said it will shut its doors by the end of August if its customers can’t raise enough money to cover its debts. 

Nabolom has so far raised $5,000 in pledges from customers as part of a drive to raise the money by Aug. 15. A Nabolom fundraiser has been scheduled for Aug. 21, according to Jim Burr, a member of the cooperative. 

“We’re not giving up yet,” he said. 

A sale to Miette would require the incoming bakery to pay off Nabolom’s debt and take over the lease, according to cooperative member Crow Bolt. Miette would also be asked to hire Nabolom employees, he said. 

Nabolom, beset by management struggles, has been teetering on the brink of collapse for nearly a year. So far Miette is the only bakery to make an offer for Nabolom, but Burr said that the cooperative was still open to other bids. 

“Money is not the only consideration,” he said. “We’re looking at who could keep the bakery as a cooperative or keep it the greenest business in the Bay Area.” 

Miette’s bakes in Oakland and the Nabolom site would allow it to move the baking operations to Berkeley and sell the goods on-site, Williams said. The cost of paying off Nabolom’s debts, she added, could be offset by taking over the bakery’s lease and inheriting a facility that would be immediately ready for business. 

“We’re just waiting and seeing what happens,” Williams said. “We want to be supportive of Nabolom and we don’t want to make a play until we know that definitely they can’t make it.” 


Elmwood Theater Seeks to Reopen 

While Nabolom struggles to stay open, two blocks down College Avenue, the Elmwood Theater is struggling to reopen. The three-screen movie theater was slated to welcome back patrons on July 28, but city officials refused to grant an occupancy permit while exterior renovations were ongoing, according to theater operator Greg King. 

King said the theater would probably open by next weekend, but didn’t give a specific date. Last week, the marquee outside the theater had announced that the theater would open “in nine days,” but it has been changed to “opening soon.” 

“The theater will reopen,” said Dave Fogarty, city community development project coordinator. But he cautioned that at this point the city couldn’t give a firm date when patrons should expect the neighborhood theater to open its doors. 

Fogarty said the city balked at giving the theater an occupancy permit in July because the theater is still undergoing exterior seismic work and a plywood structure had blocked the theater’s emergency exit. 

The theater has been closed since October when a nearby sewer line burst and flooded the theater. Under city pressure, theater management also agreed to upgrade the building to comply with seismic standards for masonry buildings.  




Alta Bates Ratings Rise on Eve of Union Talks By RICHARD BRENNEMAN

Tuesday August 09, 2005

The Alta Bates hospitals have risen a notch on the five-level accreditation scale of the private agency whose imprimatur is required for federal patient dollars, but they still fall short of full accreditation. 

The evaluation came down Friday, two days before the opening of bargaining talks with officials of SEIU-United Health Care Workers West (UHCWW), one of two unions which had planned a strike Monday, said union spokesperson Kay Carney. 

The negotiations began at 1 p.m. Monday, following ground rules laid out between union officials and Sutter Health Care, the Sacramento-based health care chain that owns Alta Bates. 

Talks with the second union, the California Nurses Association (CNA), are scheduled for next week, said CNA spokesperson Charles Idelson. 

The critical evaluation raises the hospital from the fourth to the third rung of the accreditation ladder—from preliminary denial to conditional accreditation. 

The two higher rungs are provisional and full accreditation; the lowest is outright denial. 

The Joint Commission on Accreditation of Hospital Organizations—JCAHO—issued the preliminary denial of accreditation when they published their survey of the Alta Bates last Nov. 6. 

That document spelled out 20 significant deficiencies in patient care and pharmacy operations. 

Friday’s decision meant that problems in four areas had been resolved. Three other findings were reversed following a meeting between hospital and members of a JCAHO review panel in Chicago on May 12. 

The conditional approval rating applies to all but the hospitals’ laboratories—which are fully accredited—at the Alta Bates Summit Medical Center at 2450 Ashby Ave., the Herrick campus at 2001 Dwight Way and the Summit campus at 350 Hawthorne Ave. in Oakland, said JCAHO spokesperson Charlene Hill. 

“Out of over 300 hospital standards reviewed by JCAHO, Alta Bates has 13 remaining issues to address in our plan of correction,” said CEO Warren Kirk in a prepared statement Friday. “This has been a difficult journey but I am extremely proud of the way the Alta Bates Medical Center family has rallied together. I have no doubt we will progress through to the full three-year accreditation.” 

The JCAHO defines conditional accreditation as a designation given to “a health care organization that is not in substantial compliance with the standards ... the organization must remedy identified problem areas and undergo an on-site follow-up survey.” 

Denial of accreditation can mean major problems for a hospital through loss of Medicare and Medical payments. 


With Garang’s Death, Southern Sudan May Secede By COBIE KWASI HARRIS Pacific News Service

Tuesday August 09, 2005

Sudan Vice President John Garang’s recent death imperils the peace accord that stopped the country’s civil war and gave Garang’s Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) a role in the military government headed by General Omar Bashir.  

With the influential Garang gone, separatists from the northern Arabized minority groups led by Bashir may junk the peace accord and attempt a power grab. In fact, some Islamic fundamentalists have issued fatwas against anyone renting places or giving support to the SPLAs in the capital city.  

Ethnic groups like the Nuer and Shilluk may call for total independence from the North. There is also a new group of secularist anti-Bashir fighters in the North, by the Port of Sudan.  

If Garang’s successor, Salva Kiir Mayardit, who is a Dinka, cannot keep the Nuer, Dinka and Shilluk together, Sudan may truly become a failed state violently divided by Arab, African, Christian and Islamic sectarianism.  

Sudan has been long wracked by violent strife. More than 2 million Africans from the country’s southern region have died in the civil war that began in l983 between the north and south. Millions have been permanently displaced and scarred by living as refugees in Kenya, Ethiopia and Uganda. Southern Sudan’s population has lost two generations to war, the first from 1958-72 during the Anya-Nya liberation struggle, the second from 1983 to the present. Another half-million Africans have perished in Darfur in western Sudan, victims of armed Arabized militias.  

Sudan is Africa’s largest geographical state, nearly a third the size of the United States, with a small population of only 30 million. It is a state without a nation as the majority of the African population has no access to social services, economic resources and political power. A small northern Arabized minority controls the armed forces, even though Africans make up 61 percent of the population and the Arabized Muslim elite only constitutes 39 percent. Unlike in Egypt and Libya, everyone is black in Sudan. However, Africans who speak Arabic as their primary or only language self-identify as Arabs, although they are racially black. It is this group, now led by Bashir, that has controlled the military since Sudan gained its independence in 1955.  

This Arabized minority group has created an apartheid government and committed atrocities against the African population since independence in 1956. With military rule in 1958-1964, the government used genocide to stop the South from breaking away. Using airplanes and heavy artillery against largely unarmed civilians, the government killed nearly 300,000 Southerners. This led to the first liberation struggle, from the early 1960s until 1972, called the Anya-Nya movement, which fought the incorporation of southern Sudan with the north.  

In 1972, using the “free officers’ movement” influenced by the Sudanese Communist Party, Ja’afar Muhammad Nimairi led a military coup that toppled the civilian regime. He ended the Anya-Nya liberation struggle by creating a federal state, giving regional autonomy to the South. His peace accords brought hope, and Anya-Nya forces disarmed.  

However, Nimairi in l983 changed from a radical military officer into an Islamist fundamentalist and made Islam’s Sharia law the national law. He also revoked the South’s regional autonomy. (Coincidentally, Chevron found oil in the South in 1978.) Rejecting the imposition of Islamic law over African customary law, Southerners, including Christians, resisted.  

Nimairis’ conversion led to the current 22-year civil war. More importantly, his imposition of Sharia law gave rise to a new Southern leader in John Garang, a Dinka, which is the largest African group and also one of the most Christianized. Garang was a military officer, Western-educated, fluent in Arabic, secular and socialist. He was sent by the national army to suppress the Southern rebellion; instead he joined the liberation forces.  

Garang created a new liberation movement—the SPLA. He was able to gain support and legitimacy from the outside world. Garang’s Christianity, secularism and socialist ideals made him an advocate of unification—it was the bridge to teachers and friends from the late 1960s, which were awash in pan-Africanism and Arab socialism.  

But in the early 1990s, Southerners engaged in a civil war among themselves over the issue of secession versus federalism. The Shilluk and Nuer nationalities favored secession, after a nearly 100-year resistance to their incorporation into the Arab bloc. Garang’s leadership led the Dinka to argue for federalism. (Recently signed peace accords gives the federalism six years to work. If it does not, the South can legitimately secede.)  

Not all ethnic Arabs in northern Sudan identify with the ruling regime. Some Arabized minorities have joined the Communist Party, making it the largest Communist party in Africa. Another Arabized social force is the New Democratic Movement, which is engaged in a guerrilla war with the Bashir military government in the eastern part of the country, by the Port of Sudan.  

Ironically, the Arabized intellectuals, liberals and secularists benefit the most from the SPLA’s struggle, because it breaks the Islamist conservatives’ choke-hold on society. In addition, although the SPLA is the largest armed force against the Bashir government, it represents integration, not separation.  

Garang believed in the unity of Sudan and its people, a vision supported by Islamic thinkers like Hassan Turabi and other secular Arabs. Garang became the George Washington of Sudanese nationalism because he included all faiths, regions and religions and races. Sudan also represents the bridge between Arab and Black Africa. If Sudan disintegrates into a civil war, Arab against black, then the African Union, newly formed by the recent peace accord, is endangered. 


Cobie Kwasi Harris says that without a unifier like Garang, the country could become a failed state. Harris is a professor of political science at San Jose State University.+

Commentary: The Struggle is Not Over: Reflections on The 40th Anniversary of the Voting Rights Act By BARBARA LEE

Tuesday August 09, 2005

Saturday Aug. 6 marked the 40th anniversary of the Voting Rights Act. Passed by Congress and signed by President Johnson, it provides voter protections against actions taken by states to limit participation in the electoral process, actions most often targeted toward Blacks, Latinos and low income citizens. 

Most Americans are unaware that the right to vote is not explicitly stated in the U.S. Constitution, but is a state right subject to differing laws and regulations. This is problematic and accounts for various abuses. Voting rights have been denied by requirements of property ownership, poll taxes, and literacy test. Recently, in our past two national elections we have seen tremendous voting abuses in Ohio and Florida. 

Let us demand that the expiring provisions of the Voting Rights Act are re-authorized and extended permanently. We must recommit ourselves today to guaranteeing voting rights for all Americans; we must affirm to our nation and the world that every vote counts; we must take it upon ourselves to ensure that every vote will be counted; and we must reclaim our democracy! 

The nation has come a long way since the days of Jim Crow laws and poll taxes, but there’s still much work to do. The last two elections—one election and one selection—made it painfully clear that we can not stop until we reclaim our democracy. The stakes are too high to be complacent. 

More than 1,800 of our troops and some 25,000 Iraqi civilians have died in an unnecessary and immoral war in Iraq. Our nation was lied to in order to justify this invasion, and now a country that had no ties to Osama bin Laden or Al Qaeda is a training ground for terrorists. 

Over $200 billion dollars have been spent on the Iraq conflict and there’s no end in sight. These funds should be invested in improving our schools, guaranteeing Social Security and making healthcare accessible to all who need it.  

I introduced a congressional bill to prevent the establishment of permanent bases in Iraq. This bill now has 42 co-sponsors including members from the Congressional Progressive, Congressional Black, Congressional Hispanic and Congressional Asian and Pacific American Caucuses. Our goal is to make it perfectly clear that there will be no permanent U.S. military presence in Iraq! Open-ended military presence will only fuel the insurgency and increase the vulnerability of our troops. 

This war continues to cost us our sons and daughters, our standing in the world community and it is jeopardizing our national security. This war is not about spreading democracy. The real lesson of this war is that we must be relentless in reclaiming our democracy. 

The current co-sponsors of this bill and the growing number of members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, the Congressional Black Caucus, the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, and the Congressional Asian and Pacific American Caucus are a testament to the powerful impact of the Voting Rights Act. 

Today, there are 81 members of Congress of African American, Latino, Asian and Native American descent. These Representatives, and many of our progressives would have never been elected without the passage of the Voting Rights Act. Let’s honor and never forget the many Americans who sacrificed and gave their lives so others could enjoy the basic right to vote. 

Let’s join the campaign to ensure the Voting Rights Act is reauthorized and extended permanently for all Americans and let’s continue the struggle to reclaim our democracy. 


Congresswomen Barbara Lee represents California’s District 9.


Tuesday August 09, 2005

Beaten, robbed 

A gang of two men and one woman robbed and assaulted a 55-year-old Berkeley man just before 1:30 a.m. Thursday. 

After a witness reported the crime, the victim refused medical aid from the crew of a Berkeley Fire Department ambulance, said Berkeley Police spokesperson Officer Joe Okies. 


Neighbors intervene 

After they spotted a burglar breaking into an apartment on Piedmont Avenue near the corner of Bancroft Way Thursday morning, two residents set out in pursuit, catching the fellow and holding him till officers arrived. 

The 20-year-old burglar was nailed in possession of two shirts, all he could rip off before he was spotted. 

Police book him on suspicion of burglary and possession of stolen property. 


Drunk, and more 

A routine traffic stop ended unhappily for a 53-year-old man officers spotted driving on the wrong side of the road at 5:46 p.m. Thursday. 

By the time the dust had settled, the driver was in handcuffs, facing a smorgasbord of charges, including drunk driving, driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs, driving on a suspended license, two charges relating to driving with an unsecured child in the car, driving on the wrong side of the road, contempt of court and parole violation. 


Odwalla heist 

At the same time officers stopped an errant driver, other officers were arresting a 19-year-old on suspicion of robbing the Berkeley Bowl. 

Resisting the security guard who grabbed him boosting a bottle of Odwalla juice turned the simple shoplift into the far more serious robbery rap. 


Wallet robbed 

A gunman robbed a fellow of his wallet as he walked along the 3000 block of College Avenue about 12:30 a.m. Saturday, then fled on foot before police arrived, said Officer Okies.  


Chevron heist 

Two men, one armed with a pistol, robbed the till at Claremont Chevron about 5:15 p.m. Saturday. 


Dog bites 

Police responded to two dog bite cases Sunday, one at the animal shelter on Second Street which was reported at 3:36 p.m., and a second in the 900 block of Cragmont Avenue at 5:57 p.m. 

Officer Okies said he was unable to identify the breeds involved in the incidents. 


Wallet robbers 

A pair of bandits, at least one of them brandishing a pistol, robbed a 33-year-old man of his wallet near the corner of Shattuck Avenue and Woolsey Street just before 7:30 p.m. Sunday. 

They were last seen fleeing in a four-door foreign import, said Officer Okies.

Column: The Public Eye: Oppose Bush, But Don’t Hate George By BOB BURNETT

Tuesday August 09, 2005

At a dinner party in Wales, a British conservative asked if it was true that American activists opposed to the Bush administration hated George. Have our feelings about him grown so intense that we categorically reject everything he does? In truth, many of us cannot bear to watch Bush on television, and find it is easier to make fun of him than to consider how dreadfully effective he has been as a politician. In the remaining three and a half years of his administration, our challenge is to turn this antipathy into effective action. 

It’s worth remembering that 330 years ago, Americans had similar strong feelings about another George—the King of England, George III—also the subject of both mocking lampoons and reverent paeans. We can imagine Brits of that era asking, “Why do you colonists hate King George? He means well.” 

In 1776, few if any Americans had actually met King George III; those who opposed him did so on the basis of his autocratic policies—it wasn’t personal. In 2005, few of us have actually met President George II; once again, if we have strong feelings, it’s because of his autocratic policies.  

If one were to poll those of us opposed to the Bush administration, and ask what we most dislike about President Bush’s track record, our responses would fall into four clusters. The first concerns the war in Iraq. We believe that Bush led the United States into war on false pretenses, fabricated the case for an invasion of Iraq in order to create an effective issue for the 2002 Congressional elections. Since the president declared “Mission Accomplished” on May 2, 2003, all of the administration’s “evidence” justifying the invasion has been refuted: presence of WMDs, delivery systems, ties to Al Qaeda, etc. Moreover, the occupation has grown into a full-scale disaster and there is abundant evidence that the continued presence of U.S. troops in Iraq has strengthened the hand of the terrorists. We believe the administration is weakening America. 

The second cluster of responses centers on the plutocratic tendencies of this administration. During his first presidential campaign, Bush appeared at a fundraiser and quipped, “This is an impressive crowd—the haves and the have-mores. Some people call you the elites; I call you my base.” Those of us in the opposition believe that the president has consistently played to his “base” and that, as a result, class differences in the United States have been accentuated, while social mobility has decreased. Under Bush, the rich are getting richer and their power has solidified. 

The third cluster regards the environment. Many of us subscribe to the Amish proverb, “We did not inherit this land from our fathers. We are borrowing it from our children.” We believe that the Bush administration has had a tragically short-term perspective; if a national problem does not work to their political advantage, they ignore it. From this perspective they have glossed over the dangers of global warming, while permitting the looting of national resources by their supporters. 

The fourth cluster of our responses centers on Bush’s ethics, particularly his claim to be a Christian. While membership in the Christian community is loosely defined—in lots of cases all one has to do is to sign a register to become a church member—many of us dispute the assertion that the president’s conduct represents mainstream Judeo-Christian morality. We note that he approved 152 executions while governor of Texas, misled the public before the invasion of Iraq, claimed to be “the environmental president” while systematically eliminating safeguards, condoned the torture of prisoners, etc. Two aspects of the president’s conduct are particularly egregious: The first is the absence of a social justice component in his administration; evidently, the President does not believe in the Biblical teaching that each of us is be our brother’s and sister’s “keeper”—his administration has shredded the social safety net and plans a disingenuous “ownership society” where individuals will be left on their own, regardless of their circumstances. The second aspect is Bush’s persistent willingness to let the ends justify the means; the president’s political conduct indicates a belief that success is the ultimate moral criterion, how you get the job done is of no concern to him—anything goes. 

When we review the woeful record of his administration, it’s understandable that progressive activists have passionate feelings about Bush. Yet, as much as we may abhor his presidency, it would be a mistake for us to hate George. Our challenge is to hold onto our strong feelings and put them to constructive use. In doing this, we should remember the founders of this country who, 330 years ago, refused to be seduced by a similar hatred of King George III; instead, they turned their antipathy to tyranny into a rousing call for democracy. We would do well to follow their example and respond to the malfeasance of the Bush administration with righteous anger, to funnel our formidable collective energy into the task of restoring democracy to America. 


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



Column: Four Erics, Two Nae Naes, But Only One Deany By SUSAN PARKER

Tuesday August 09, 2005

I’ve been obsessively thinking about my lack of a nickname ever since my teenage friend Jernae recently rechristened herself Suga’ Baby. I’ve been asking a lot of questions of my neighbors and housemates, quizzing Jernae on her friend’s nicknames, and just generally grousing about the unfairness of it all. Why do some people have three or four nicknames, and others have none? 

Down the street lives Teddy Franklin, who goes by the self-imposed handle of Mayor of Dover Street. His cousin Charles is called Sarge or The Reverend, but one needs to know what kind of mood he’s in in order to call him by the correct name. The title Sarge derives from his two tours of duty in Vietnam, and The Reverend comes as a direct result of the ambushes, shrapnel and Agent Orange he survived while there. When he’s Sarge he’s loud and scary; when he’s The Reverend he’s loud and loquacious. My preference is to greet him as Charles and see where the conversation leads.  

Jernae’s entire family is a study in nickname heaven. Her mother’s name is Renee, but she often goes by Nae. Jernae therefore is occasionally called Nae Nae. You’d think her sister, whose name is Brittnae, might be Little Nae, or Little Nae Nae, but she is usually addressed as Nanuka. (Don’t ask me why. This has never been adequately explained to me.) Brittnae’s younger sister is Monae; her nickname is MoMo. MoMo’s younger sister is Aujunee, but family members call her Tootsie Roll. Jernae has lots of cousins and friends who answer to various nicknames such as Poo, LaLa, and Taz. When she’s mad at them, she calls them nicknames that are sometimes disrespectful, such as Buckethead, Chicken Leg, and Pumpkinbreath. 

I once hired a man to help with my husband’s care whose given name is Eric. Sometimes I would have to call his mother’s house to make sure he was coming to work. The first time I did this I asked for Eric and the person on the other end of the line responded by asking, “Which Eric?”  

“Eric,” I said louder, thinking she hadn’t heard me correctly. 

“There’s four Erics livin’ here,” she answered. “Big Eric, Little Eric, Eric Senior and Eric Junior. Which one you want?” 

This put me in a quandary, as I didn’t know which Eric worked for us. It was early in the morning and since the Eric I wanted was only a little late for work I decided to hang up and hope that he would appear without my prompting. As it turned out, he arrived shortly thereafter, so I asked him which name he went by.  

“Eric Senior,” he said. “I’m Big Daddy, but you can call me Deany if you want. Dean’s my middle name.” 

I thought about this for a moment. “Is there another Deany?”  

“No way,” said Eric Senior. “That would mean that I’d be Big Deany. That ain’t bad, but I can guarantee you nobody wants to be called Little Deany.”  

There was silence between us as Eric Senior let this information sink in.  

After a moment Deany/Eric Senior could see where this was leading so he added, “Don’t be writin’ about it.”  

“Why not?” I asked. 

“Cuz everybody’ll know it’s me,” he said. 

“You may be right,” I answered. 

“I know I’m right,” he said. “Only four of us Eric Deans around here. Somebody somewhere is gonna know it’s us you’re talkin’ ‘bout.” 

“But it’s so interesting,” I argued. 

“All right,” he said. “Type it up and let me see it first.” 

I did as I was told. Eric Senior read the results. “Let it roll,” he said. “And don’t be feelin’ bad ‘bout not havin’ a nickname.”  

“Why’s that?” I asked. 

“Ain’t it obvious? Sometimes, girl, it can get damn confusin’.”

Editorial Cartoon By JUSTIN DEFREITAS

Tuesday August 09, 2005


Letters to the Editor

Tuesday August 09, 2005


Editors, Daily Planet: 

Arnold Schwarzenegger has taken so much money from corporations that sometimes it all blurs together. But the $66,300 he has taken from the infamous Pleasant Care Corporation nursing homes is unprecedented and should be returned immediately. All told, 13 criminal charges have been recently filed against Pleasant Care for elder abuse and elder neglect. In the past, Pleasant Care has faced numerous lawsuits and fines for sub-standard and abusive practices and is even barred from opening new nursing homes because of this record. Schwarzenegger collected funds earned from the pain and suffering of some of society’s most vulnerable people and he insults them by spending it on his campaigns. As the presidents of the Congress of California Seniors and the California Nurses Association, I urge Schwarzenegger to return these funds immediately and to reject any future donations from this corporation. 

Deborah Burger, RN, President of the California Nurses Association 





Editors, Daily Planet: 

It was a breath of fresh air to see more coverage in your Aug. 5 edition regarding Pacific Steel’s environmental trashing of not just “industrial sections” of West Berkeley, as the latest article put it, but of residential neighborhoods populated by citizens of Berkeley and Albany—families with children, homeowners, renters, people who work in the area. I want to commend and thank you for ongoing reportage over the past few months about this major problem that has, for far too long, been off peoples’ radar screens. Where, I wonder, are other media in reporting this? Even so, you don’t need media coverage to take a stand against something so in-your-face foul, do you? 

Given its “green” reputation, the lack of uproar by local residents is astonishing, the diminished outcry disheartening. If I worked in the area, or were a homeowner, or a parent pushing a stroller, or knew my kids were playing outdoors on an elementary school playground in filthy, stinking air, I would be outraged and forced into grassroots activism. And yet, it seems to me that the vast majority of people living in the zones affected by the horrid smells simply do not notice, or do not care, or shrug their shoulders in collective apathy as though, in solidarity and numbers, their outcries and protests could do nothing. Imagine if 3,000 people marched right down to Second and Gilman Streets and staged a raucous protest on Pacific Steel’s grounds! 

I write my excoriating criticism from personal experience. Seven months ago, my wife and I moved to a lovely rental on Ramona Avenue just off of Santa Fe below Marin. We were delighted to be in the new, lovely neighborhood. That is, until it turned out that we were right in the line of fire of Pacific Steel’s daily emissions of toxic effluvia. We could not enjoy hardly a single moment outdoors in the garden or patio, it stunk so badly most days. Often, the particulate odor would infiltrate into our house. I began learning all about the controversy, how We the People, innocent citizens wanting nothing more than clean air to breath, have basically been sold down the river by corporate, city and perhaps higher, unseen and more nefarious interests (the factory produces ball bearings for the military). The more I learned, the more outraged I became. But what could I do?  

Well, for the second time in seven months, my wife and I moved. Period. Simple as that. It was totally worth it to pack up, change a million address forms again, and rid ourselves of the toxic stench permeating our and other local neighborhoods. (Believe me, on our walks in the neighborhoods, the smell was far more pervasive than anyone would have you believe.) All because of a factory spewing toxic airborne pollution, we moved to another city, out of the line of fire. As a consequence, the city of Albany has forever lost our tax dollars. Does that matter to the city? Is anyone else up in arms about this? Has anyone else been forced to move away because of it? Really, folks of green Berkeley and Albany, I don’t know how or why you stand for it so passively, as though there’s nothing you can do! There are letters to write, meetings to attend, protests to organize! Get busy or get asthma, or maybe worse. Don’t believe them when they tell you it’s “just a nasty smell.” 

Tom McGuire 





Editors, Daily Planet: 

Guess what! 

Miss Clairie is now a determined bus rider! It happened during the Jewish Film Festival! Couldn’t possibly park downtown for that long! Happen to have a bus pass, so used the No. 51 every time to get down to the Roda Theatre. I was amazed at how much freedom I felt with no car or bike to worry about. I was free to go to the banks I use downtown, go to have Indian food, and not worry about the time, how long the lines were, or how long the movie lasted. 

The bus experience itself was even fun. I had been sort of dead set against bus riding for just that reason, and found (a) people I know on the bus; (b) polite people on the bus; (c) kind drivers! Just watching a driver help a wheelchair user up onto the Van Hool wheelchair bay was a lesson in patience and kindness. 

So you see, some of the stereotypes I had have been destroyed by a few rides on the No. 51, the 40 and the 40L. 

I enjoin my fellow citizens to try it. Especially you dedicated car drivers. I had so many reasons, some of them physical, not to ride the bus, and just having to and having the handy pass helped me over them. 

The end of oil as we know it is nigh. Compare $60 a month with the registration, gas, repairs and other upkeep of a car! Tell me only poor people ride the bus? Smart people, too. The beautiful people of Berkeley do. 

Thanks to all of you! 

Claire Risley  




Editors, Daily Planet: 

The neighborhood signs to which Katherine Haynes Sanstad refers in her “Little Rock Redux” ask Temple Beth El to honor its promises. Those signs have appeared because the temple has a mixed reputation, and it brings that along as it moves to its new site. The developer Patrick Kennedy, featured in your the same issue, has the same problem. He does considerable good in the community, but he often uses his political influence to obtain concessions that are not readily available to others. And then we have to live with the results. Neighbors, in particular, have to live with them. Measure P, which he cites, is an example of the kind of reaction that follows. So are the signs around Temple Beth El.  

At least Kennedy doesn’t claim anyone is threatening his civil rights. What Ms. Sanstad deplores is in reality the working of karma, as another venerable religion puts it. And as the Buddha helpfully added, the possibility of redressing the situation begins with her. Each temple member’s actions are what will turn the tide of neighborhood sentiment.  

The mantle of civil rights, like the charge of anti-Semitism, is resorted to all too readily in Berkeley as a way of silencing legitimate criticism. This does a disservice to those who dissent, and it also truly dishonors those men, women, and children caught up in the real struggle for their civil rights and religious beliefs. Ask them what this has to do with that. 

John Parman 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

I’m sorry that Ms. Haynes Sansted’s children are having a hard time with the neighborhood signs. 

I have always dealt with my children’s questions and uneasiness with simple honesty. Maybe she needs to do the same. Has she asked any of the neighbors, some of whom are congregants, why the signs are up? If she hasn’t, I have a few suggestions for her and any other parent of a child who is upset. 

Tell your children the signs are about keeping promises. The leadership of Beth El made promises to the neighborhood and we just want them to keep those promises. 

Tell your children the signs are about taking care of the environment, so that future generations may enjoy the creek and the greenway.  

Tell your children the signs are about speaking out. If they feel as if someone is taking advantage of them, they need to speak out. It is their right as well it is ours. 

Julie Dempster 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

I am responding to the commentary in your paper last weekend. Beth El is a synagogue. It could have been any other religious institution or any large scale development in a residential neighborhood. The religious affiliation is irrelevant whether it be Jewish, Christian, Moslem, Buddhist or other. What always mattered was the size of the building, parking, traffic, and noise issues, restoration and protection of Codornices Creek, and the cumulative impact on the surrounding neighborhood. Currently Beth El has 500 member families with capacity for growth to 800 families and activities scheduled seven days a week with bar and bat mitzvahs on Saturdays. Anyone planning this large scale development would face serious neighborhood concern.  

At the beginning of this process, Beth El leadership maintained that an environmental impact report was unnecessary even though a parking lot and road were to be placed on Codornices Creek. However, the neighborhood worked to convince the city that an EIR was required for this landmarked site. Eventually, the City Council instructed the neighborhood and Beth El to find a mediated agreement. The resulting agreement eliminated the parking lot and road on the creek, preserving the possibility of daylighting, retained a small greenway adjacent to Berryman Path where community gardeners had worked, and included a conditional use permit that required a parking management plan. 

We are not a special neighborhood. Beth El is not a special religious institution. However, neighbors want a real parking plan with mutually agreed upon measurable parameters and thresholds and techniques for monitoring. Currently the plan states that Beth El can use up to 50 percent of available neighborhood parking spaces. This does not seem in keeping with “minimizing parking impacts.” Although there are agreements for satellite lots, no one can state with certainty how many spaces would be actually available at a given time. After all, those satellite spaces are available only if those institutions do not have ongoing business or simultaneous events. There is concern that people will take available street parking spaces first before considering going to satellite lots.  

In the first parking plan submitted to the city, Beth El said that the parking management plan applied to non-religious events. 

However, the mediated agreement clearly stated that the parking plan must apply to all events of 150 people or more. The neighbors appealed to the city to have Beth El honor its agreement.  

The surrounding residents are not racists, nor anti-Semites. We are interested in making this a livable situation for all. The yard sign states, “Beth El, Honor your agreements, Minimize parking impacts, Restore the greenway and creek.” I don’t see anything on the sign that says Beth El can’t be here. The fine print on the sign reads http://loccna.katz.com.  

Diane Tokugawa 

Member of Live Oak Codornices Creek Neighborhood Association 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

In a recent letter, Phil Allen stated: “Until 1947, our military forces were grouped under the appropriately named War Department.” That was the Army. There was also a Navy Department. Both were run by secretaries who were members of the president’s cabinet. 

In 1940 when Hitler was conquering Europe, President Roosevelt realized that our country would sooner or later have to enter the war against the Germans. However, he wanted the country to be united politically, so he appointed Henry Stimson secretary of war and Frank Knox secretary of the navy. Both men were noted republicans; in fact, Knox was the republican nominee for vice-president in the 1936 election. 

Look it up on the Internet: There wasn’t just a War Department, there was also a Navy Department of equal status. 

Charles Norcross  





Editors, Daily Planet: 

Every year at this time we engage in national breast-beating over the atomic bombings of Japan. Those two events must be viewed in context.  

More than 60 Japanese cities were destroyed as much as Hiroshima and Nagasaki were. In the documentary film The Fog of War, Robert McNamara discusses this campaign from his point of view as an officer on the staff of General Curtis Lemay. It becomes apparent that one of the objects of the bombing operation is killing people. McNamara says Lemay remarks that if we lose they would be tried as war criminals. 

But none of these Japanese civilians went to jobs in war plants the next day manufacturing the weapons for defense during the coming invasion. Machinery is relatively easy to replace. It is much more difficult replacing a trained work force. 

My father was among those mustering for a potential invasion of Japan. Having said that, he would have had a relatively safe job as a flight surgeon, certifying airmen at Clark Field. However, many other American dads would have had very hazardous jobs during this invasion.  

I am no fan of nuclear war, but I think we must judge Hiroshima and Nagasaki as part of a bigger picture with bigger goals. 

Frederick O. Hebert 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

The Berkeley Iceland youth hockey program is deeply concerned by recent statements in the press about the safety of our rink’s cooling system. While the rink management has asked us to stay silent in an effort to maintain a working relationship with the City of Berkeley, we feel compelled to speak out on behalf of the hundreds of youth participants in our program.  

Berkeley Iceland has run the same ammonia system for 65 years without any significant leaks. The largest leak (as repeatedly referenced by the City of Berkeley) was one-fourth the size of a similar ammonia leak last December at the Bridgepointe ice arena in San Mateo. Ironically, that rink switched from freon (a known danger to the environment) to ammonia as its coolant when the rink recently changed ownership, with the full support of the City of San Mateo. The 280-pound leak at the Bridgepointe facility was barely even considered newsworthy, and didn’t seem of great concern to the city officials. Further, at least one other business within the City of Berkeley utilizes four times the ammonia that Iceland does in its operations. 

Our player base and coaching staff are unusual in the world of ice hockey for their racial, gender and economic diversity. Our organization is a member of the NHL Diversity Task Force. The rink provides thousands of dollars each year for scholarships to ensure that all of the area’s youth have access to our programs. Additionally, the rink employs a broad spectrum of young adults in its general operations. Job opportunities for our local youth should be considered golden. 

So why, after 65 years of safe operation, has this become an emergency that justifies the threat of immediate closure? We respect the city’s concerns. However, the city shares responsibility for the length of time this process has taken. The rink’s management has communicated its commitment to reducing and/or eliminating the ammonia within a reasonable time frame. If the city is serious about working with the rink and its patrons, then a binding agreement should be reached for a realistic timetable to convert to a new system. 

We hope the city officials will collaborate with the rink in good faith to maintain the valuable community programs housed at this facility. We urge anyone who cares to communicate with the mayor and councilmembers to express your opinion. 

Melissa Fitzgerald, Hockey Director 

Cyril Allen, Director of Coaches and Cal Ice Hockey Head Coach 

Liesl Songer-Nelson, Administrative Manager 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

At its membership meeting Aug. 7, the Bay Area Labor Committee for Peace and Justice voted unanimously to sponsor two rallies in support of the striking workers at Berkeley Honda. The new owners are attempting to crush the union. They have unilaterally withdrawn from the defined benefit pension plan. Fifteen workers averaging 20 years of seniority, including an African American employee with 31 years of tenure, have lost their jobs. Management recruited many recent graduates of a technical school as replacements. Although other Honda dealerships in the area have normal bargaining relationships with the Machinists Union that represents their employees, it is crystal clear that new owners of Berkeley Honda have no interest in bargaining in good faith and are intent on busting the union.  

People of conscience in Berkeley, and in particular working people, cannot allow Berkeley Honda to get away with its ruthless corporate practices. This is a community that values social justice and puts a premium on fair treatment of workers. We urge customers of Berkeley Honda to refrain from doing business there until management and the workers reach a mutually acceptable resolution to this dispute. In July, the Berkeley City Council voted to endorse a boycott at Berkeley Honda. (Daily Planet, July 15, 2005) 

Let Berkeley Honda know they can’t do business like this in our community. There is no room for predatory capitalism in the City of Berkeley. 

The Bay Area Labor Committee calls upon those who support the workers to turn out at Berkeley Honda (Shattuck and Parker) in solidarity with the strikers on Thursday, Aug. 11, from 4:30 to 6 p.m. and Saturday, Aug. 13 from 1 to 2 p.m. Please join us and bring your friends and neighbors. If you have organizational connections, please encourage their participation. You can also stop by the picket lines any time Monday-Through Friday between 7 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. to express your solidarity—or just honk when you pass by. 

We look forward to seeing you there. 

Michael Eisenscher 

Convenor, Bay Area Labor Committee for Peace and Justice 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

The loss of affordable housing to live/work artists in Berkeley is dismaying. They are being turned out of their homes unceremoniously by landlords, sometimes assisted by the city, without resort to creative solutions. Let’s take the Drayage warehouse situation as an example. Although the City Council claims to be sympathetic (and certain members definitely are), the council as a whole has not taken a strong stand to assist the artists.  

Why has the city not taken the initiative to act under the recent Supreme Court case and seize the Drayage property through eminent domain? The council could determine that Berkeley would best be served if the Drayage were sold to a non-profit housing group, such as the Northern California Land Trust, to be developed into a permanent, low income artists’ cooperative.  

In Kelo v. City of New London, No. 04-108, the U.S. Supreme Court allowed a city to force a landlord from a property because a development which would benefit many was to be created. The landlord fought mightily, but the needs of the many were found to outweigh the needs of the few. One would think that in Berkeley, of all places, the voices of the many would rise resoundingly in support of such a proposal.  

D.M. Casey 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

Love your absolutely Berkeley newspaper! A special kudos to Suzy Parker who is the main reason I started picking up the paper. 

I have been noticing the huge controversy surrounding Richard Brenneman’s Police Blotter. Hey guys and gals, where’s your sense of irony? Had I been unfortunate enough to have a story to tell, I would not have minded the humor. And to the person who suggested tat gender not be mentioned because females make up 50 percent of the population, it might be gently pointed out that females no not commit 50 percent of violent crimes. 

Carolyn Bradley 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

As the owner of a home on Tenth Street (near Heinz) I enthusiastically support the Berkeley Bowl coming to the neighborhood with one big concern … traffic! 

One would think the city and its traffic engineers could come up with a workable solution—judging from previous “solutions” I have my doubts. 

The city has concocted ‘strange’ traffic control and calming projects in the past and shown little interest in common sense low cost solutions to some problems. 

For example: 

• The “No Right Turn On Red” signs that are appearing at several intersections. What is the logic behind these signs? What study or data prompted this new regulation? This law compels vehicles to postpone right turns (even when absolutely safe) until the precise moment that pedestrians are encourage to enter the cross walk in front of right turning vehicles. The net effect of these signs is a reduction in pedestrian safety.  

• The controversial traffic circles. Many of these have been installed at intersections that are not particularly busy—Ward and Fulton, for example. Certainly there are many residential intersections that are far busier and traveled at higher speeds (Parker and Hillegass or Derby and Benvenue). In some cases these circles have been located at narrow intersections (Parker and Ellsworth) that force vehicles into the crosswalk as they maneuver around the circle. What process was engaged to determine the safety, effectiveness and appropriate location for these circles? 

Last year three cars careened through the fence, yard and nearly into a house I owned at Sixth and Virginia. In one case my tenant and her 3-year-old daughter narrowly escaped being hit. In all cases the vehicles flew though the parking strip at the place where people wait for a bus. I contacted the traffic engineer via Councilmember Linda Maio and Mayor Bates. I proposed the installation of three-foot-high concrete filled steel posts in the parking strip positioned to protect my house and those who wait for buses at the corner. I offered to split the cost (total cost $2,000) and to landscape the parking strips at my expense so the posts would not be unsightly.  

The parking engineer sent out a representative who took measurements and suggested a study. Nothing came of it. I never heard from them again. I gave up and did the safety project myself (at my expense). What I gleaned from the experience is that the traffic engineer is disinterested, incompetent or overworked. In any case I have little faith in the city’s ability to identify and enact cost effective common sense solutions to traffic problems.  

Back to the proposed Berkeley Bowl. Build it but install traffic barriers that prevent traffic on Heinz from entering Eighth, Ninth and Tenth streets. Only allow southward traffic on Ninth and Tenth streets to turn left (east) and on Eighth Street to turn right (west). Ingress and egress to the Berkeley Bowl must come exclusively from Ashby, Seventh or Heinz with no penetration into the neighborhood to the north. Special consideration should be given to Heinz and Ninth to accommodate child drop off and pick up at Ecole Bilingue. 

John Koenigshofer 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

Regarding President Bush’s inefficient energy policy, “inefficient” being the euphemism of the year: Incompetent, or inept would be more suitable adjectives for Bush’s energy policy.  

Oil, gas and coal. Oh my! Does anyone think of the consequences to human health any more? Pollution from coal-fired power plants causes chronic bronchitis, aggravated asthma, and premature death. As for oil, the runoff from our cities ends up in our oceans, harming our aquatic biomes and anyone who enjoys a good tuna sandwich. This is horrific. 

Instead of deciding how much we should fund fossil fuel companies, we should talk about how soon we will fully fund clean energy and stop this sick addiction to fossil fuels. I’m utterly disgusted that we live in the world’s richest country, but we continue to destroy both our environment and our health by pursuing non-renewable energy sources.  

Stop the charade and see the light—solar energy is peaking through the clouds, so to speak, and we’re capable of pursuing a renewable, efficient, and clean energy source. As a student, I want to be proud of living in California, and more importantly America. We can do this. 

Sara Holditch 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

With all respect given in regards to the death of Meleia Willis-Starbuck, I am wondering if anyone has thought that the only question that remains answerable is, could her death have been avoided if she had called the police instead of a friend? And did you know that under the penal code she could be charged with a crime? Please refer to the attorney general’s office for further information as to this issue. This community has had long-standing issues with these types of problems. To prevent these types of problems we may need a forum for discussion. 

A. Charlene Matthews 



Commentary: Supporting Peace Has Different Interpretations By THOM SEATON

Tuesday August 09, 2005

The pages of this paper have overflowed with typographical adamancy bemoaning the changes in a cherished Berkeley commission devoted to “peace and justice”—the mother and apple pie of Berkeley politics. Some have pointed to a Zionist cabal which, with Beth El, appear to comprise our local axis of evil. It is inspiring to mourn and honor those dead Jews who perished in the Holocaust, but apparently those live ones can sure cause problems.  

I have been a member of the commission for three years and one of those described as an enemy of peace whose presence on the commission blasphemes Berkeley’s ideals. Let me offer my demurrer.  

As the religious right has too successfully appropriated the term “family values,” while advocating programs which too often undermined family strength, I became concerned prior to my appointment that a Berkeley faction had appropriated for itself the term “peace,” although the policies it advocated were inconsistent with human rights and the “peaceful resolution of conflicts”—to use the phrase adopted by this paper’s editor. This faction appeared only to favor peace when the United States or its allies resorted to war or violence. But when a peaceful resolution of conflicts meant ceasing an armed struggle to overthrow “oppression,” peace was descried as a tactic by the powerful to keep the downtrodden at bay. When it came to human rights, massacres in Rwanda, slavery in the Sudan, mass graves in Iraq, and the execution of women in soccer stadiums paled in comparison to Israel’s occupation which many in the peace faction date from 1948, not 1967.  

As Dennis Ross chronicles, Clinton almost coaxed the Israelis and Palestinians to agree a virtual return to the 1967 borders with a divided Jerusalem (a land swap for some West Bank developments retained by Israel), and a very limited right of return. Differences of opinion may exist about the responsibility for the failure to reach agreement during these negotiations, but the attempted peaceful resolution of the controversy was blown apart by suicide bombings which destroyed Israel’s peace movement—a mainstream movement committed to a Jewish Israel within the 1967 borders. Yet, rather than condemn these calculated attacks on civilians, the Berkeley peace faction condemned Israel. Why? Because in its view the Palestinians were entitled to a full right of return which would be denied by the existence of a Jewish Israel. Because this right was steeped in “justice,” the use of violent means to reach a “just” result was not only excusable, but applauded. Instead of forthrightly stating support for a binational state, the end of Zionism and a Judenfrei Middle East (and not a true two-state solution which included a Jewish Israel), the peace faction and its elected political adherents found it more expedient to state only that they supported “peace.” This enabled them to cynically attend synagogue events and openings and thereby show their love of Berkeley’s Jews.  

I and others are vilified for opposing peace. Yet, one of the strongest advocates for a Department of Peace sees no irony in his advocacy of wars of national liberation. In 2004, following the killing and hanging from a bridge of American contractors in Fallujah and the Israeli incursion into Rafah to stem the flow of arms through tunnels, another long-time commission member and former chair wrote an e-mail which summarized the worldview of Berkeley’s “peace” faction: “From Fallujah to Rafah, one struggle, many fronts. Salaam.” That commissioner is permitted by our Constitution to support the Palestinians’ continued armed struggle what some call “the resistance” in Iraq. But to hold such views while lambasting others for not supporting peace is passing strange—though perhaps not here. One fairly may ask, who are the true opponents of peace on the commission? 

Several letter writers have revisited the Rachel Corrie matter; the record of that debate, however, demonstrates that it was not the commission’s neophytes, but those adhering to Berkeley’s traditional ideology, who chose confrontation over cooperation. On July 7, 2003, when the commission took up the Rachel Corrie matter, I offered the following resolution which was overwhelmingly defeated in favor of a resolution focusing only on Corrie’s death. 

“Whereas, the citizens of the City of Berkeley long have supported a peaceful and just resolution of the conflict between the Israelis and Palestinians; and 

“Whereas, peaceful resolution of the conflict will be furthered by fair, impartial analysis of allegedly improper and illegal acts committed by the Israeli government, by the Palestinian Authority; and Palestinian militant groups; and 

“Whereas, in addition to Rachel Corrie, 17 Americans have been killed since September 2000, including Americans dedicated to a peaceful resolution of the conflict . . . and 

“Whereas, in November 2002, Human Rights Watch prepared an extensive detailed report entitled Erased in a Moment in which it described suicide bombings of civilians as “war crimes: and crimes against humanity.” 

“Now therefore, be it resolved that the Berkeley City Council urge Barbara Lee and Senators Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer to support a full, fair and expeditious inquiry into the deaths of all Americans killed in Israel and Palestine since September 2000 to determine the circumstances of those deaths and those responsible for those deaths and to urge that the United States and the Palestinian Authority take steps to ensure that such incidents do not occur in the future.”  

I have been involved in other issues which confirm that the commission often has cared little about human rights violations, except when committed by the U.S. or its allies. For example, I waged a lonely battle to obtain a resolution condemning the arrest and long imprisonment of Cubans—including non-government librarians—who used non-violent means to oppose the Castro government. At the same time the commission was aghast at searches of library records countenanced by the Patriot Act, the commission could not bring itself to condemn Cubans who used peaceful methods to seek change. Apparently many of those arrested had been armed but, alas, only with copies of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution.  

This newspaper urges cooperation among commission members to advance peace and justice. Does its editor want cooperation or simply results that accord with her view of justice—the real goal of many who have corresponded to the Daily Planet. Adhering to what amounts to a sectarian orthodoxy does not befit this community. Responding to the oft-times simplistic reactions to world events offered by the Bush administration with equally simplistic responses of our own serves no purpose. I, too, hope the commission can find common ground and move forward with resolutions which support the entire community’s concerns about human rights, regardless of the miscreants’ political ideology, nationality or religion—whether the despicable acts be committed by a suicide bomber recruited by Hamas or Al Qaeda or Zarqawi or by an Israeli AWOL soldier properly labeled a terrorist by his government. 


Thom Seaton is a member of the Peace and Justice Commission.  

Commentary: Rape Violates Women’s Human Rights By NANCY DELANEY

Tuesday August 09, 2005

The Peace and Justice Commission has long been a beacon for believers in human rights and equality. It became a place where Berkeley citizens explored ways to creatively exercise humanitarian concerns. It was a place to share information and develop guidelines to become a more inclusive and democratic people. The Commission would gather information and then advise City Council how to implement. Thus, we, as citizens, could consider what makes Peace and what makes Justice in ways that City Council didn’t have time to do. It helped us to grow awareness of ourselves as part of the human family. It became the conscience of Berkeley.  

I first noticed something amiss March 7, the eve of International Women’s Day. That night Ann Fagan Ginger sought endorsement for her new well-documented book: Challenging U.S. Human Rights Violations Since 9/11. She hoped to send a copy to the United Nations with endorsements of Berkeley’s Peace and Justice Commission and City Council. Rabbi Litwin opposed the Peace and Justice endorsement of the book, giving as her reason: the book’s inclusion of rape of women in the military as a human rights violation. Rabbi Litwin said she didn’t consider rape a human rights violation so she couldn’t endorse the book. I wrote to the Daily Planet to express my surprise that a woman (and a rabbi at that) on the commission would deny that rape violated human rights of women in the military. Rabbi Litwin responded that she had meant that rape of women in the military was a criminal matter for military courts, not a human rights problem. 

To me, even women in the military have a basic human right not to be raped. Ginger’s book, the Peace and Justice Commission, and the United Nations all serve our needs to cultivate our abilities to think about what we have in common … our common humanity, despite our differences, and our basic equal rights that go with that humanity we have in common. Rabbi Litwin’s thoughts went first to military judges, not to the common inclusive concern of all women. Often women in the military are there because of poverty. Often rape in the military is not prosecuted. The abusiveness of soldiers in the military can go unchecked. Only a higher court, a more inclusive consideration, can guarantee that these women’s rights will be considered. Ginger’s book was calling attention to this need among many needs. In fact, her book is a stellar example of humanitarian consideration that the Peace and Justice Commission might celebrate.  

Here were thoughts that grow justice in the world and peace in the lives of individuals. Military solutions are too often resorted to these days. Human solutions have to be cultivated. The Peace and Justice Commission is there to grow human solutions. Ginger offered fuel for human solutions. Rabbi Litwin dismissed the value of all the other U.S. human rights violations being listed in Ginger’s book, because of the inclusion of rape of military women. Is she serious? The Nuremberg Principles protect the human right of all women around the world to be free from rape. Was she afraid to acknowledge all the other human rights violations listed in Ginger’s book? I had to wonder if the person who appointed Rabbi Litwin to the Peace and Justice Commission might be able to find someone who actually believes in the purpose of the commission. Now, I hear there are several new appointees who may not value the goals of Peace and Justice. It was our jewel. When places where people seek human solutions are compromised, military solutions are not far behind. That’s not what I want. 


Nancy Delaney is a Berkeley activist. 

Commentary: UC Agreement Conflicts With CEQA, Berkeley City Charter By DONA SPRING

Tuesday August 09, 2005

Reports from participants at a recent Leconte neighborhood meeting had Mayor Tom Bates making some astounding allegations. Mr. Bates reportedly told people that they were paranoid regarding the UC Long Range Development Plan (LRDP) lawsuit settlement agreement. He denied that it was kept secret from the public or that it gives the university veto power over the Downtown Area Plan (DAP), and asserted that the city was completely in charge of the plan which controls development standards including zoning.  

Bates was asked why the public should trust him, since the LRDP agreement was kept secret despite his promises. He responded saying: “Come on, it wasn’t a secret; it was printed in the newspapers, thanks to a councilmember.” 

Nonsense! What Mr. Bates was referring to was a May 6 Daily Californian article: “Under the agreement, UC Berkeley would not pay the city more than it originally offered in January, and the city would drop its February lawsuit against the university, said Councilmember Dona Spring.” (Note: no direct quote.)  

I do not control how reporters use my words. When asked, I referred all reporters to prior press statements by UC spokespeople regarding their best and final offer. I never said the City Council had agreed to accept that amount, as the agreement was not final. (Later, the city attorney told me that the statement I gave was fine.) I even went over the quote with the reporter and after his misleading reports, requested a printed clarification. The Berkeley Daily Planet reporter also paraphrased the Daily Californian. 

If I had been inclined to release confidential information, it would have been to blow the whistle on the shocking giveaway to UC of Berkeley’s downtown (a third of the council district I represent). But I held back because of confidentiality requirements. Had citizens known sooner the contents of the agreement, they would have had an easier opportunity of intervening through the courts. It also reveals why the agreement was kept secret despite previous public promises by the mayor.  

There are multiple sections in the agreement about UC’s control of the plan and its process including: “Joint review of DAP and EIR: because the DAP is a Joint Plan, there shall be no release of draft or final DAP or EIR without concurrence by both parties. UC Berkeley reserves the right to determine if the DAP or EIR meets the Regents’ needs.” (Section II. B. 6., 7.) 

This provision violates the Berkeley city charter which gives the power to set development and zoning standards to a majority on the City Council. It sets a unthinkable precedent of the council ceding sovereignty over land-use on private property to a corporate entity. It also violates state law on CEQA by allowing the university to dictate what will be determined as an environmental impact and what the mitigations will be.  

The DAP-EIR process is a sham that will waste taxpayer dollars and time. It perpetuates the ability of the mayor and the chancellor to do backroom deals. There is even a bludgeon for UC to force its way. If the downtown plan is not done within 48 months then the city will be fined $15,000 a month until it’s done. 

The settlement agreement weakened the city in other ways. Instead of defending the current Downtown Area Plan, which was reviewed in 2001 with a legitimate public process in the General Plan update, this agreement gives power to the university to change the zoning to accommodate their development and to take properties off the tax rolls. Before the agreement, the university had agreed in its EIR to abide by city zoning or do a project EIR. Previously the city had a position (which had been adhered to by UC) that it was not to take any more properties off the tax rolls through acquisition.  

The citizens were better off with the chancellor’s pre-lawsuit offer which made no mention of the DAP or taking properties off the tax rolls. Calling people paranoid for bringing up the disturbing facts of this terrible fiasco only fuels the outrage. The mayor should own up to his mistake and instead of forcing poor citizens to raise tens of thousands of dollars for court costs, he should plead with the chancellor to at least return to his original offer. 


Councilmember Dona Spring represents Berkeley’s District 4.

Arts: ‘Kick-Back Sundays’ Mixes Jazz and Poetry By KEN BULLOCK Special to the Planet

Tuesday August 09, 2005

I play it cool 

And dig the jive. 

That’s the reason 

I stay alive. 

—Langston Hughes 


The Jazz House, formerly on Adeline Street, has announced that it will begin a new program of poetry and jazz on Sunday evenings starting Aug. 14 at Kimball’s Carnival in Jack London Square. 

Jazz House founder and programmer Rob Woodworth will be putting the two art forms, long allied, onstage together in regularly scheduled performances. Brooke Schroeder will be the host for the shows of jazzy words and lyrical sounds.  

The Sunday shows will start at 6 p.m., with a sign-up for open mic reading at 5:30 p.m. Initially, sets of music and poetry will alternate, “eventually commingling,” Woodworth said, adding that he hoped both poets and musicians would get the vibe and start working together, maybe beginning with a bassist grooving behind a reader reciting. 

Trumpeter Geechi Taylor’s Quartet will be featured on Aug. 14, followed the next week by Oakland-based pianist-composer Hyim, then Berkeley native, saxophonist Dayna Stephens and his Quartet on Aug. 28. 

“Dayna’s just back, probably just for awhile, after a year of gigging in New York,” Woodworth said. Stephens played at Jazz House’s former Berkeley location. 

Jazz House lost its lease at the Adeline Street address last October, and Woodworth has since produced a number of shows at community halls and other venues “to keep the music out there, and keep Jazz House involved in the scene,” he said. 

After a benefit at Kimball’s Carnival for “a kids’ nonprofit” Woodworth coproduced, the project for the Sunday night series developed. 

“It’s something I always wanted to institute in the jam sessions at our old location,” Woodworth said. “I’ve been intrigued with the element of improvisation in both forms. Picking up old jazz books, I read about Langston Hughes and other poets coming into sessions and getting up onstage with the players. And listened to the spoken word on the Weary Blues album of Charles Mingus.” 

Though inspired by Hughes and older poets, Woodworth said he expects all styles to be represented, including hip-hop and neo-beat, at the open readings. But he foresees collaborations that will feature a kind of poetry that “may not be what’s expected—a more formal voice over the music.”  

The history of this collaboration is ancient, even primeval. Besides lyric poems set to, or written for music (what composer William Bolcom referred to as “the way words and music marry, at the root of every culture” during last spring’s Ernst Bloch Lectures at UC), dramatic and epic poetry has always been intoned, or half-sung, to musical accompaniment. In Europe and America, the Romantics valorized music in their poems, and, taking a leaf from Edgar Allan Poe, the Symbolists endeavored to give poetry the quality of music. 

Both Villiers De L’Isle-Adam and Lautreamont (Isidore Ducasse) reportedly played chords on piano while reciting verses. The avant-garde movements of the early 20th century experimented with word and music in performance.  

Jazz poetry dates back at least to the Harlem Renaissance, when Hughes and others would step up to recite with players backing them. An early poem of William Carlos Williams, about Bunk Johnson’s band, shows the influence of the music’s rhythms and dynamics. After World War II, the revival of public poetry readings in Europe and America ushered in a new era of collaboration. 

Poet Kenneth Patchen—whose poetry Charlie Parker read to his band during rehearsals—recorded with both the Chamber Jazz Sextet and Alan Neil in the late ‘50s. San Francisco poet Kenneth Rexroth recorded with groups at The Cellar jazz club, and Jack Kerouac laid down the tracks for “Jazz Haiku” with Zoot Sims and Al Cohn. In the 1960s, Amiri Baraka (LeRoy Jones) recited on a New York Art Quartet album (a reunion CD was recorded in 1999) and Archie Shepp electrified the UC Jazz Festival in 1970 with his “Take This Cannibal’s Heart and Turn it into a Rose!” 

Host Brooke Schroeder, a Sacramento native, has written poetry since grade school and was part of a group of poets lead by Gerren Liles in Baltimore while attending Morgan State University. 

“Poetry open mics and poetry with music are big back east,” she said. She cites poets like Tennyson and Oscar Wilde alongside contemporaries. Though an admirer of jazz and of socially conscious poetry, she characterizes what she writes as lyric, and calls herself a folkie, musically. She recalls one reading that went awry, when she was improvising from words taken from the Bible. 

“The audience had no idea what I was talking about; they just wanted to get on to the next rap artist,” she said. 

She said she encourages “all poets, any poets, anybody who’s written something to share; it’s the first step to giving back to the world.” 

Speaking of the series as an ongoing experiment, Woodworth said, “What you hear may catch you off guard.” 



Arts Calendar

Tuesday August 09, 2005



Just Kidding performs traditional American music using song, instruments and movement, at 7 p.m. at the Albany Library, 1247 Marin Ave., Albany. 526-3720, ext. 17. 


Norman Solomon discusses “War Made Easy” at 7:30 p.m. at Black Oak Books. 486-0698. www.blackoakbooks.com 

The Whole Note Poetry Series with Selene Steese and Raymond Nat Turner at 7 p.m. at The Beanery, 2925 College Ave., near Ashby. 549-9093. 


Eyeing Nature: “The Forest for the Trees: Judi Bari vs the FBI” with Bernadine Mellis in person at 7:30 p.m. at the Pacific Film Archive. Cost is $4-$8. 642-0808. www.bampfa.berkeley.edu 


EMAM, world beat, at 9 p.m. at Ashkenaz. Cost is $9. 525-5054. www.ashkenaz.com 

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

Larry Vuckovich, piano, at 8 p.m. at Downtown. 649-3810. 

Bob Kenmotsu, tenor sax, at 7 p.m. at Caffe Trieste, 2500 San Pablo Ave. 548-5198.  

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

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



“Yosemite in Time” Re-photographs of the work of landscape photographers, by Mark Klett and Byron Wolfe, opens at the Berkeley Art Museum, 2625 Durant Ave. www.bampfa.edu 


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


John Irving introduces his new novel, “Until I Find You” at 7:30 p.m. at Cody’s Books. 845-7852. www.codysbooks.com 

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

Café Poetry hosted by Kira Allen at 7:30 p.m. at La Peña. Donation $2. 849-2568.  


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

Gerard Landry & The Lariats at 8:30 p.m. at Ashkenaz. Cajun dance lesson at 8 p.m. Cost is $9. 525-5054. www.ashkenaz.com 

Stacey Earle & Mark Stuart, roots country originals, at 8 p.m. at Freight and Salvage. Cost is $17.50- $18.50. 548-1761. www.freightandsalvage.org 

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

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

Yosvany Terry Quintet at 8 and 10 p.m. Yoshi’s at Jack London Square. Cost is $10-$16. 238-9200. www.yoshis.com 



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


Medea Benjamin on “Stop the Next War Now...” at 7:30 p.m. at Black Oak Books. 486-0698. www.blackoakbooks.com 

Word Beat Reading Series with Zara Raab & H. D. Moe at 7 p.m. at Mediterraneum Caffe, 2475 Telegraph Ave. 526-5985. 


Hauk at 8:30 p.m. at Epic Arts, 1923 Ashby Ave. Cost is $5-$10.  

Fourtet Jazz Quartet at 8 p.m. at Anna’s Jazz Island, 2120 Allston Way. 841-JAZZ.  

Damond Moodie, Chris Marsol at 9:30 p.m. at The Starry Plough. Cost is $5. 841-2082  

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

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

Terrence Blanchard Sextet at 8 and 10 p.m. through Sun. at Yoshi’s at Jack London Square, through Sun. Cost is $12-$22. 238-9200. www.yoshis.com 



Actors Ensemble of Berkeley, “A Murder is Announced” by Agatha Christie at 8 p.m. at Live Oak Theater, 1301 Shattuck at Berryman. Runs Fri. and Sat. through Aug. 13. Tickets are $10. 649-5999. www.aeofberkeley.org 

Berkeley Rep, “The Ugly American” Created and performed by Mike Daisey at Berkeley Rep’s Thrust Stage, 2025 Addison St., through Aug. 13. Tickets are $30-$35. 647-2949. www.berkeleyrep.org 

California Shakespeare Theater, “Nicholas Nickleby” Parts 1 and 2 at 8 p.m. at Bruns Amphitheater, 100 Gateway Blvd., between Berkeley and Orinda, through Sept. 16. Tickets are $10-$55. 548-9666. www.calshakes.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 

Everyday Theater “ Invisible Cities” with performers from Stomp, The Bright River and Hybrid Project at 8 p.m. at Oakland Metro, 201 Broadway at 2nd, through Aug. 13. Tickets are $14-$25. www.epicarts.org/invisible cities 

The Marsh Berkeley “When God Winked” by Ron Jones. Thurs.-Sat. at 7 p.m. at the Gaia Building, 2120 Allston Way, through Sept. 16. Tickets are $10-$22. 800-838-3006.  

“Livin’ Fat” Fri. at 8 p.m., Sat. at 2 and 8 p.m., Sun. at 4 p.m. at Malonga Casquelord Center for the Arts, 1428 Alice St., Oakland, through Aug. 26. Tickets are $15-$25. 332-7125. 

Woodminster Summer Musicals “Hello Dolly!” at 8 p.m. at Woodminster Amphitheater in Joaquin Miller Park, 3300 Joaquin Miller Rd., Oakland, through Sun. Tickets are $20-33. 531-9597.  


“Luminance” Works by ten women artists opens at Giorgi Gallery, 2911 Claremont Ave.  

Mike Woolson, ”Just Desserts: Images From Black Rock City” opening reception at 7 p.m. at Epic Arts, 1923 Ashby Ave. 


Cinema in Occupied France: “Children of Paradise” at 7:30 p.m. at Pacific Film Archive. Cost is $4-$8. 642-0808. www.bampfa.berkeley.edu 


Wendy DeWitt, The Fez Tones at 5:30 p.m. at Baltic Square, behind 121 Park Place, Point Richmond. 223- 3882. www.pointrichmond.com/prmusic 

Irina Rivkin & Emily Shore at 8 p.m. at Rose Street House of Music, 1839 Rose St. RSVP to 594-4000 ext. 687.  

Bobby Matos, percussionist, at 8 p.m. at La Peña Cultural Center. Cost is $12-$15. 849-2568. www.lapena.org 

Cosmo, Razorblade, reggae, at 9:30 p.m. at Ashkenaz. Cost is $11-$13. 525-5054. www.ashkenaz.com 

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

Tamika, R & B vocalist, at 8 p.m. at Maxwell’s 341 13th St., Oakland. 839-6169.  

Diamante, latin fusion, at 8 p.m. at Caffe Trieste, 2500 San Pablo Ave. 548-5198.  

Bluegrass Intentions at 8 p.m. at Freight and Salvage. Cost is $24.50-$25.50. 548-1761.  

The Natives at midnight at Blakes on Telegraph. Cost is $10. 848-0886. www.blakesontelegraph.com 

Catholic Comb, Foma at 9:30 p.m. at The Starry Plough. All ages. Cost is $6. 841-2082.  

George Kahn Trio 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 

Vaughn Johnson Group at 8 p.m. at the Jazzschool. Cost is $10. 845-5373. www.jazz-school.com 

Brown Baggin’, oaktown funk, at 9 p.m. at Shattuck Down Low, 2284 Shattuck Ave. Cost is $5. 548-1159.  

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

Go It Alone, Life-Long Tragedy, Crime in Stereo 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. 

Terrence Blanchard Sextet at 8 and 10 p.m. through Sun. at Yoshi’s at Jack London Square, through Sun. Cost is $12-$22. 238-9200. www.yoshis.com 



San Francisco Mime Troupe “Doing Good” at 2 p.m. at Willard Park/Ho Chi Minh, Hillegas and Derby. 415-285-1717. www.sfmt.org 

Shotgun Players, “Cyrano de Bergerac” at 4 p.m., Sat. and Sun. through Sept. 11, at John Hinkle Park, labor day perf. Sept. 5. Free with pass the hat donation after the show. 841-6500. www.shotgunplayers.org 

“Unseen, Today’s Story of Job” at 8 p.m., Sun. at 3 and 7 p.m. at the Julia Morgan Theater. Tickets are $25. 925-798-1300. 


“Luminance” Works by ten women artists. Reception from 1 to 4 p.m. at Giorgi Gallery, 2911 Claremont Ave.  

“New Visions: Introductions 2005” opens at noon at ProArts Gallery, 550 Second St., Oakland. www.proartsgallery.org 

“Tsunami Relief: The Ongoing Effort” Photographs from the tsunami disaster and NOAA models at Addison Street Windows Gallery through Sept. 18. 981-7546. 


Cinema in Occupied France: “Le Mariage de Chiffon” at 7 p.m. and “Remorques” at 9:05 p.m. at the Pacific Film Archive. Cost is $4-$8. 642-0808. www.bampfa.berkeley.edu 


World Reggae Soul Festival with Nightingale, Inna Heights, Oonka Symeon, Samuri, and many others, from noon to 5 p.m in People’s Park. Free, but $6 donation requested. Bring a can for the food drive. 536-4563. 

Swamp Coolers, Cajun/Western swing, at 9 p.m. at Ashkenaz. Cajun dance lesson at 8 p.m. Cost is $11-$13. 525-5054. www.ashkenaz.com 

“Mainly Mercer” with Jenny Ferris & Laura Klein Trio at 8 p.m. at Anna’s Jazz Island, 2120 Allston Way. 841-JAZZ. www.AnnasJazzIsland.com 

Benefit for Val Esway at 7 p.m. at Mirthwerx Warehouse. All ages welcome. Send an email to staggeringsiren@yahoo.com to confirm the address. 

Lindsay Mac, cellist and singer/songwriter, at 8 p.m. Epic Arts Center, 1923 Ashby Ave. www.epicarts.org 

Angel Magik, hip hop, reggae, dancehall, at 9 p.m. at Shattuck Down Low, 2284 Shattuck Ave. Cost is $15. 548-1159. www.shattuckdownlow.com 

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

Phil Marsh at 8 p.m. at Freight and Salvage. Cost is $17.50-$18.50. 548-1761. www.freightandsalvage.org 

Vocal Sauce at 8 p.m. at the Jazzschool. Cost is $10. 845-5373. www.jazzschool.com  

Venezuelan Music Project at 8 p.m. at La Peña Cultural Center. Cost is $12-$14. 849-2568. www.lapena.org 

Valarie Mulberry & David Gunn, acoustic folk/pop/rock at 7 p.m. at Spuds Pizza, 3290 Adeline St. Cost is $7. 558-0881. 

The Sharpies, Capitol, The Glimmer Stars at 9:30 p.m. at The Starry Plough. Cost is $6. 841-2082. www.starryploughpub.com 

Andrea Wolper Quartet at 9 p.m. at Downtown. 649-3810. 

Broun Fellinis at 8 p.m. at Jupiter. 848-8277. 

Babyland, Barr, This Song is a Mess and So am I at 8 p.m. at 924 Gilman St., an all-ages, member-run, no alcohol, no drugs, no violence club. Cost is $6. 525-9926. 



San Francisco Mime Troupe “Doing Good” at 2 p.m. at Willard Park/Ho Chi Minh, Hillegas and Derby. 415-285-1717. www.sfmt.org 


Cinema in Occupied France: “Children of Paradise” at 5:30 p.m. at the Pacific Film Archive. 642-0808. www.bampfa.berkeley.edu 


Jazz Spoken Word Featuring Geechi Taylor Quartet at 6 p.m. at Kimball’s Carnival, 522 Second St., Oakland. Sponsored by The Jazz House. Cost is $5. 415-846-9432. 


“Birds You Can Read- Eleven” an interpretive dance performance by Patricia Bulitt at 2 p.m. at the Tilden Nature Center, Tilden Park. Followed by reception. 525-2233. 

Traditional Congolese Dance and Drumming, with Pierre Sandor Diabankouezi, former director of the Ballet National du Congo, at 2 p.m. at the Phoebe Hearst Museum of Anthropology, Bancroft at College Ave. Cost is $1-$4. 643-7648. 

Christy Dana CDQ Brazil Quartet at 8 p.m. at Anna’s Jazz Island, 2120 Allston Way. 841-JAZZ. www.AnnasJazzIsland.com 

Americana Unplugged with Diablo Mountain String Band at 5 p.m. at Jupiter. 655-5715. 

Stephanie Ozer, Brazilian jazz, at 4:30 at the Jazzschool. Cost is $10. 845-5373. www.jazz- 


Adrienne Young & Little Sadie at 8 p.m. at Freight and Salvage. Cost is $17.50-$18.50. 548-1761. www.freightandsalvage.org 

Café Bellie at 7:30 p.m. at Ashkenaz. Belly dancing lesson at 6:30 p.m. Cost is $10. 525-5054. www.ashkenaz.com 

King of Kings, reggae, at 9 p.m. at Shattuck Down Low, 2284 Shattuck Ave. Cost is $5-$7. 548-1159.  



Poetry Express with Barbara Belle-Diamond at 7 p.m., at Priya Restaurant, 2072 San Pablo Ave. berkeleypoetryexpress@yahoo.com 


City Concert Opera Orchestra presents Gluck’s “Il Parnaso confuso” at 7:30 p.m. at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church, 2300 Bancroft Way. Tickets are $12-$22. 415-334-7679. www.cityconcertopera.com 

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

Mark Ribot Solo! at 8 and 10 p.m. at Yoshi’s at Jack London Square. Cost is $8-$16. 238-9200. www.yoshis.com 



Eyeing Nature: “Animal Attraction” with Wago Kreider in person at 7:30 p.m. at the Pacific Film Archive. Cost is $4-$8. 642-0808. www.bampfa.berkeley.edu 


Gallery Talk on “Wholly Grace” works by Susan Sunhan Feliz at noon at the Bade Museum, 1798 Scenic Ave. Free.  


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

Adrian Gormley Group, jazz, at 7 p.m. at Caffe Trieste, 2500 San Pablo Ave. 548-5198.  

The Warsaw Village Band at 8 p.m. at Lake Merrit Church, 1330 Lakeshore Ave., Oakland. Tickets are $18-$20. 444-0303. www.kitka.org 

Freight and Salvage Open Mic at 8 p.m. at Freight and Salvage. Cost is $4.50. 548-1761.  

Mike Lipskin at 8 p.m. at Downtown. 649-3810. 

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

Eddie Palmieri with GIovanni Hidalgo, El Negro, Brian Lynch, and others at 8 and 10 p.m. Yoshi’s at Jack London Square, through Sun. Cost is $14-$26. 238-9200. www.yoshis.com 

Adrian Gormley Group, jazz, at 7 p.m. at Caffe Trieste, 2500 San Pablo Ave. 548-5198.  

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



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


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

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


Duncan James Trio at 8 p.m. at Downtown. 649-3810.  

Swingthing at 9 p.m. at Ashkenaz. Swing dance lessons with Belinda Ricklefs at 8 p.m. Cost is $9. 525-5054. www.ashkenaz.com 

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

“Joy of Jazz” with Bishop Norman Williams from the Church of John Coltrane, at 8 p.m. at Anna’s Jazz Island, 2120 Allston Way. 841-JAZZ. www.AnnasJazzIsland.com 

Latin Jazz Festival: Quimbombo at 10 p.m. at Shattuck Down Low, 2284 Shattuck Ave. Cost is $5-$10. 548-1159.  

Falsano Baiano at 8 p.m. at Jupiter. 848-8277. 

Beppe Gambetta with David Grisman at 8 p.m. at Freight and Salvage. Cost is $22.50-$23.50. 548-1761. www.freightandsalvage.org 


Exploring the Shantytowns of Lima, Peru By MARTHA YAMAMOTO Special to the Planet

Tuesday August 09, 2005

The people of Villa El Salvador and Maria must have been surprised to see a large charter bus negotiating their steep, narrow, winding streets. The shantytowns of Lima are not on the typical tourist itinerary. 

This June I spent two days, as part of a group, in Lima en route to the Andes and Machu Picchu. Two days in starkly different environments, each one representing one-half of Lima’s 10 million inhabitants. 

Central Lima resembles a wheel, at its hub Spanish influence with historic municipal buildings, churches and museums, the spokes sprawling ever outward in human and economic growth. Surrounded by Peruvians and tourists, the first day I toured handsome Plaza Mayor, Lima’s historic heart. Colonial architecture, brightly painted yellow as part of recent renovations—on one side the Catedral, another the Municipalidad, on the third the Palacio de Gobeirno—the three representing the influences of the church, the people and the government. Nearby, the Monasterio de San Francisco impressed me with its size and collection of art. Below ground, bones were sorted by type into wooden bins; these catacombs forming a solid base able to withstand the violent tremors of earthquakes. 

The Museum de Anthropology, Archeology and History in the suburb of Pueblo Libra artfully displayed the textiles, pottery and distinctive characteristics of Peru’s pre-Incan societies. At E. Copello the distillation of Guacamayo Pisco Puro was the main event; the process was explained and sampling was offered. 

One of thousands, I merged with the throngs, listening to the sounds of Spanish mingling with the horns and brakes of the endless procession of traffic. Serious young women in army green uniforms, the Policia Trafica, stood in its midst and patrolled the sidewalks.  

Lima bustles with few services: no rapid transit, no public buses, no city cabs. Privately owned cabs operate without a meter, minivans replace buses; one man drives, his assistant calls out destinations. 

Vendors take advantage of stalled traffic. They walk through lanes of cars hawking their wares. Twenty or more would offer anything from food, drink and toys to souvenirs. Others set up businesses along the streets. Anything broken can be rapidly repaired, as long as you supply the part. 

Banks, hotels, churches, museums and stores—all employ their own security guards, who take their jobs seriously, guarding entrances and patrolling the premises. Middle class neighborhoods protect their homes with ten-foot iron fences, two rows of pointed barbs adorning the tops. 

This area of Lima’s 43 districts represents almost five million people, 80 percent of whom are under 24 years old. Approximately 60 percent are employed in “steady” jobs, earning a monthly salary, health benefits and vacation. 

The remaining 40 percent are self-employed performing any job you can imagine: mechanic, plumber, brick-maker, moneychanger, vendor, and street cleaner. Their only pay is for the jobs they complete or the goods they sell. 

What of the other five million inhabitants, the most recent arrivals in this coastal desert? Since the latter part of the 20th century, a number of factors have created a mass migration of people to Lima. Villages destroyed by earthquakes, persecution by terrorists from groups like Shining Path, political unrest and extreme poverty; like a torrential flood they have swept people from their Andean villages onto unwanted, unoccupied desert lands, where they hope for a better life. 

For our second day in Lima, our Cusco guide Jose Correa asked if we’d like to see a different part of Lima. So we came to our navigation through districts of shantytowns resembling a biology lesson from the pages of Charles Darwin: evolution and survival of the fittest.  

From a collection of temporary dwellings, Villa El Salvador, at the top of the evolutionary tree, is today a middle class district. Using self-determination and Incan techniques of irrigation and organization, migrants claimed desert hills for their homes and their livelihoods. Hundreds of acres have been transformed into arable lands. As homes replace temporary shelters, they form blocks, then residential groups and finally sectors. Within sectors, schools are built, as education is a priority. Communal kitchens, health centers and sports grounds are established. Businesses are set up along the streets and evolve into industrial parks. A self-supporting community is born. 

In the business district, we visited a furniture shop and factory. Showrooms in the front displayed attractive, well-constructed beds and chests. Bright primary colors contrasted with the pale colored wood. Boards were sawn, sanded, assembled and painted in the factory at the back. Appearing under construction itself, no extra expense had gone to this area, which wouldn’t dream of seeking OSHA approval. Sections were open or covered with tarps, stairs were minimal and safety features non-existent, but the work provided steady employment and goods were produced. 

Still evolving, Maria is a mixture of both permanent and temporary homes. A group of women at a communal kitchen for one block invited us inside. They were preparing the daily meal consisting of three courses, soup, a stew with rice and salad. With donations of funds and surplus food, this meal cost one sol, equivalent to 30 cents, representing for many their only source of nutrition. Nearby they were establishing a church, a bare room with a simple altar, of which they were proud. 

In these hills tourists weren’t seen. Within our bus I felt over-privileged; the dollars in my pocket weighed like lead. Instead of enmity, we were treated with openness and respect. Residents and businesses were pleased that we showed an interest and were proud of what they had accomplished. I was moved and changed by what I saw, which is one purpose of travel. Later, throughout our travels in the breath-taking landscape of the Andeans, I would reflect back on what these migrants had left behind. 

While Plaza Mayor represents the historic heart of Lima, the homes of the shantytowns I saw represent its spirit. Migrants wait until they have secured the right to their plot of land. Once obtained, building begins. As money allows, rebar and bricks are bought. The walls go up one row at a time, with framework extending high above. The hopes of the Andean migrants, far from the highlands of Peru, are reflected by small piles of brick and rebar reaching toward the sky. Without government subsidies or aid, relying solely on themselves and their community, they survive and move toward a better life.  


Deciphering the Call Of the Toadfish By JOE EATON Special to the Planet

Tuesday August 09, 2005

Sausalito may have forgotten about the humming toadfish—the Toadfish Festival with its marching kazoo bands is history—but Andrew Bass hasn’t. The Cornell biologist, formerly at the Bodega Marine Laboratory, is still learning unexpected things about this curious creature and its perceptual world. 

The toadfish is more properly known as the plainfin midshipman (Porichthys notatus). There is also a specklefin midshipman. It’s a homely bottom-dweller with a flattened head, a gaping mouth, and bulging eyes; “very distinctive and fairly unattractive,” says marine biologist Milton Love of UC Santa Barbara. Love, something of a standup ichthyologist, is the author of the indispensable Probably More Than You Want to Know About the Fishes of the Pacific Coast, in which he describes some of the midshipman’s quirks. 

Their sides and bellies are covered with dots called photophores that produce a blue-green light—but only if they’ve eaten the right kind of ostracod, a planktonic crustacean. The ostracod manufactures the bioluminescent chemicals; the fish only stores them. The lines of photophores supposedly resemble the buttons on a naval uniform, hence “midshipman.” There’s also that venomous spine on the gill cover, which doesn’t prevent the midshipman from being eaten by everything from loons and murres to sea lions and elephant seals. Love says friends of his who have sampled the fish were not impressed. 

But it’s the hum that made the midshipman notorious. In late spring and early summer, males travel from deep water to the shallows and begin their courtship. They use their swim bladders to produce a sound which has been variously likened to revving motorcycles, chanting monks (I suspect Tibetan Buddhist, although this was not specified), and a whole orchestra of oboes. If you happen to live on a houseboat moored above the spawning grounds, this can be distracting. In a 1994 article, Bass and Richard Brantley of Cornell characterized the hum as having a fundamental frequency of 100 Herz, sustained for up to 14 minutes. 

This is music to a female midshipman’s ears. Females are attracted by the hum to nests the males have excavated under near-shore rocks. They lay a clutch of 200 or so eggs on an overhanging ledge as the male fertilizes them, then depart. On average, five to six females may use a single male’s nest, but up to 20 have been recorded. The male dutifully guards the eggs until they hatch in a couple of weeks, then keeps an eye on the fry for another month until they’re independent. He stays at his post even at low tide, having a limited air-breathing capability. 

That’s what a Type I male does, anyway. Bass and Brantley also described a second type of male with a very different mating strategy. 

Type II males don’t hum, build nests, or defend eggs. They’re smaller than Type I’s, and their only vocalization is a grunt similar to that of the females. A Type II male hangs around the nest of a Type I until a female enters, then either sneaks in for a quick fertilization or broadcasts his sperm from the nest entrance. (The Type I male is either preoccupied with the female or mistakes the Type II for another female).  

Any eggs the Type II manages to fertilize are cared for by the Type I as if they were his own progeny, which makes the Type II a cuckoo-like reproductive parasite on his own species. Type II’s invest more than Type I’s in sperm production: a Type II’s testes make up 8.3 percent of its body weight, as opposed to 1.2 percent in Type I’s.  

With variations, such goings-on are widespread among fish. Spawning by “sneaker” males has been observed among coho salmon, desert pupfish, sunfish, wrasses, and cichlids, among others. 

Stanford biologist Joan Roughgarden regards these different male types—and multiple female types in some other species—as distinct biological genders. Gender, though, is a conceptual minefield that I’d just as soon stay out of.  

Andrew Bass and Joseph Sisneros of the University of Washington reported in Science last year that a female midshipman’s response to the male’s hum depends on her hormonal levels. Without high levels of estradiol, the natural form of estrogen, they are apparently unable to hear the sound, or at least its higher-frequency components. Bass told a reporter that this finding could have important implications for hearing loss in older women. 

More recently, Bass (with his colleagues M. S. Weeg and B. R. Land) has figured out how the male fish avoid deafening themselves with their own hums. With sustained drones of up to a quarter-hour, you’d think the midshipman would miss out on other acoustical cues that might signal approaching predators. Not so, according to the research team’s recent article in Neuroscience. Nerve impulses from the brain to the swim bladder, generated 100 times a second, produce the hum. At the same time, the same part of the brain signals the hair cells of the ear, inhibiting their sensitivity to sound. The synchronization is perfect.  

Neurologists had known that humans have a reflexive protection against sudden loud noise, tightening muscles in the inner ear that reduce the sound-transmitting efficiency of the eardrum and inner-ear bones. But this response weakens with repeated exposure, and doesn’t work for the sounds we produce ourselves that travel through the bones of the head. The mechanism discovered in the midshipman blocks the sound of the fish’s own “voice”, though. We may have something similar going on; if so, says Bass, it might play a critical role in how we learn to speak, and how we recognize our own voices. 

So this ugly, noisy fish may have useful things to tell us about the sense of hearing in humans. That seems like a fair trade for a few sleepless summer nights on the Sausalito waterfront.  





Berkeley This Week

Tuesday August 09, 2005


Tomato Tasting from 2 to 7 p.m. at the Berkeley Farmers’ Market, Derby St. at MLK, Jr. Way. 548-3333. 

Mountain Biking Basics with Bobette Burdick and James Lanham at 7 p.m. at REI, 1338 San Pablo Ave. Bring your bike and tools. 527-4140. 

Tilden Tortoises Walking Group to discover the history of Tilden Nature Area. Meet at 9:30 a.m. For ages 55 and over. 525-2233. 

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. Today we will join Ranger Dave Zuckerman to learn the history of the park and nature observations. 524-9992. 

Mini-Rangers at Tilden Park Join us for an afternoon of nature study, conservation and rambling through the woods and water. Dress to get dirty, and bring a healthy snack to share. For children age 8-12, unaccompanied by their partents. Cost is $6-$8. Registration required. 636-1684. 

Family Story Time at 7 p.m. at the Kensington Branch Library, 61 Arlington Ave., Kensington. Free, all ages welcome. 524-3043. 

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. 


“Tracking Your Medicine” How to Keep it Safe and Simple at 10:30 a.m. at Alta Bates Summit Merritt Pavilion Cafeteria Annex B & C, 350 Hawthorne Ave., Oakland. Cost is $5 for non-members. Reservations required. 869-6737. 

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

Loose Leash Dog Walking and other city manners, a class for canines at 6:30 p.m. at Rabbitears, 303 Arlington Ave., Kensington. Cost is $35, registration required. 525-6155. 

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. 

Young Readers Group meets at 4 p.m. at Barnes & Noble, 2352 Shattuck Ave., to discuss “The Day My Butt Went Psycho.” For ages 8-12. 644-3635. 

Sing your Way Home A free sing-a-long at 4:30 p.m. every Wed. at the Albany Library, 1247 Marin Ave. 526-3720. 

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

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

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



“Challenging U.S. Human Rights Violations Since 9/11” with Ann Fagan Ginger at 7 p.m. at Niebyl-Proctor Library, 6501 Telegraph Ave.  

How a Flower Grows Learn how seeds turn into flowers, why they smell and what makes them interesting to bees and butterflies. A program for 8 to 12 year olds. Cost is $5-$7. Registration required. 525-2233. 

East Bay Mac User Group Sal Soghoian, product manager for Apple, will introduce Automator, at 6 p.m. at Expression College for Digital Arts, 6601 Shellmound St., Emeryville. ebmug.org 

World of Plants Tours Thurs., Sat. and Sun. at 1:30 p.m. at the UC Botanical Garden, 200 Centennial Drive. Cost is $5. 643-2755. http://botanicalgarden.berkeley.edu 

Chimpanzee Discovery A lecture with Linda Koebner of Chimp Haven, a retirement home for chimpanzees, at 7 p.m. at the Oakland Zoo, 9777 Golf Links Rd. Cost is $20. 632-9525. www.oaklandzoo.org  

“No Pain, Great Gain” A workshop on pain management with Ed Bauman at 5:30 p.m. at Pharmaca Integrative Pharmacy, 1744 Solano Ave. 527-8929. 


Praise-Jam Family Festival with the Outdoor Gospel Choir and a Fair with games and local vendors, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Mosswood Park, 3612 Webster St., Oakland. Free. 

Point Richmond Free Outdoor Concert with Wendy DeWitt and The Fez Tones from 5:30 to 8 p.m. at Baltic Square, behind 121 Park Place, Point Richmond. 223-3882. www. 


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

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

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 


San Francisco Mime Troupe “Doing Good” at 2 p.m. at Willard Park/Ho Chi Minh, Hillegass and Derby. 415-285-1717. www.sfmt.org 

World Reggae Soul Festival from noon to 5 p.m in People’s Park. Free, but $6 donation requested. Bring a can for the food drive. 536-4563. 

Tomato Tasting and Cooking Demonstrations from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Berkeley Farmers’ Market, Derby St. at MLK, Jr. Way. Cooking demonstration at 11:30 a.m. 548-3333. 

Mini-Farmers in Tilden A farm exploration program, from 10 to 11 a.m. for ages 4-6 years, accompanied by an adult. We will explore the Little Farm, care for animals, do crafts and farm chores. Wear boots and dress to get dirty! Fee is $5-$7. Registration required. 525-2233. 

Sushi for the More Adventurous Learn the natural and cultural history of this ancient and healthy cuisine. You will prepare and taste many types of sushi. Parent participation required for children ages 8-10. Cost is adult, $35, senior $30, child age 8-12 $25. Registration required. 636-1684. 

Compassionate Cooks Vegetarian Cooking Class A demonstration of five plant-based dishes and samples, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the First Unitarian Church of Oakland, 685 14th St. at Castro. Wheelchair accessible. Cost is $35. To register call 531-COOK. www.compassionatecooks.com 

“Herbs for Health and Happiness” Grow your own medicine cabinet, learn new plants and share your own remedies at 2 p.m. at City Slicker Farms, 16th and Center, Oakland. 763-4241. cityslickerfarms@riseup.net 

“What does the AFL-CIO break-up mean for the Left?” with David Bacon, KPFA Morning Show Labor Report and Tim Sears, Labor Attorney & DSA National Political Committee. Moderated by Susan Chacín, Community Services, Alameda County Central Labor Council. From 10 a.m. to noon at the Niebyl-Proctor Library, 6501 Telegraph Ave. 

The Great War Society monthly meeting at 10:30 a.m. at 640 Arlington Ave. The topic will be “American Field Service-The Men & the Materiel,” by Robert Denison. For more information call 527-7118. 

“New Schools, New Visions” An educational fair promoting K-12th grade public and charter schools, and youth services programs in Berkeley, Oakland and Emeryville from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Emery Secondary School, 1100 47th St. 665-1665. 532-236. 

Walking Tour of Old Oakland uptown to the Lake to discover Art Deco landmarks. Meet at 10 a.m. in front of the Paramount Theater at 2025 Broadway. Tour lasts 90 minutes. Reservations can be made by calling 238-3234. 

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 

Free Help with Computers at the El Cerrito Library to learn about email, searching the web, the library’s online databases, or basic word processing. Workshops held on Sat. a.m. at 6510 Stockton Ave., El Cerrito. Registration required. 526-7512.  

“ADD & ADHD: Natural Treament Options” with Cecilia Hart at 4 p.m. at Pharmaca Integrative Pharmacy, 1744 Solano Ave. 527-8929. 

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. 


San Francisco Mime Troupe “Doing Good” at 2 p.m. at Willard Park/Ho Chi Minh, Hillegass and Derby. 415-285-1717. www.sfmt.org 

“How Berkeley Can You Be?” Fundraiser Brunch from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Caffe Venezia, 1799 University Ave. Cost is $20. 644-2204. howberkeley@epicarts.org 

Tilden Bird Walk with Denise Wight Meet at 8 a.m. at Rabbitears, 303 Arlington Ave., Kensington. Cost is $25, includes breakfast. Registration required. 525-6155. 

“Healthy Eating with Garden-Grown Food” Taste and learn to prepare delicious, healthy, easy to prepare recipes at 2 p.m. at City Slicker Farms, 16th and Center, Oakland. 763-4241. cityslickerfarms@riseup.net 

Grizzly Peak Flyfishers Annual Summer Casting Clinic from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., at the Oakland Casting Ponds in McCrea Park, 4460 Shepherd St (at Carson Blvd near the 580 freeway), Oakland. Clinic is co-sponsored by the Oakland Casting Club. Expert, beginning and “wannabe” fly fishers are all welcome. For further information, call Richard Orlando at 547-8629. 

Richmond Art Center’s Whale of a Rummage Sale drom 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at 2540 Barrett Ave. at 25th St. in Richmond’s Civic Center. 620-6772. www.therichmondartcenter.org 

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

Fourth Annual Transbay Skronkathon BBQ with creative music, you bring stuff to grill. From noon to 11 p.m. at 21 Grand, 416 25th St., Oakland. 649-8744. http://music.acme.com 

Oakland Heritage Alliance Walking Tour of Pill Hill. Cost is $5-$10. For details call 763-9218. www.oaklandheritage.org 

Social Action Forum with Ruby Long who joined the Peace Corps at age 66 and spent two years in Uzbekistan, at 9:30 a.m. at Unitarian Universalist Church of Berkeley, 1 Lawson Rd., Kensington. 525-0302, ext. 306. 

Home Buyer Assistance Information Session at 6 p.m. at 1504 Franklin St., Oakland. Sponsored by the Home Buyer Assistance Center. Free, but reservations required. 832-6925, ext. 100. www.hbac.org 

Family Film Sunday Series “Charlotte’s Web” at 11 a.m. at Julia Morgan Center for the Arts, 2640 College Ave. Cost is $5.  

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


“Songsalive!” Songs-in-progress workshop at 7:30 p.m. at Rose Street House of Music. Please bring at least 10 copies of lyrics sheets for the song you wish to present and vegie snacks (optional). Cost is $5. To RSVP call 594-4000 ext. 687. www.rosestreetmusic.com 

Story Tells, a storytelling swap with guest storyteller, Marijo, at 7 p.m. at Barnes and Noble, Jack London Square, Oakland. 527-1141.

Developer, ZoningBoard Debate City’s Density Bonus Law By RICHARD BRENNEMAN

Friday August 05, 2005

A panel discussing Berkeley’s application of the always controversial density bonus had a surprise visitor Wednesday—developer Patrick Kennedy, perhaps the city’s foremost beneficiary of the law. 

Speaking before members of the Zoning Adjustments Board’s density bonus subcommittee, Kennedy said restricting the bonus that is awarded to developers for including state-mandated affordable units in their projects “will make a significant impact on density in this city. I suspect it will be huge.” 

Members of the ZAB panel were considering possible changes to the formulas now used to calculate maximum building sizes. 

One proposal called for eliminating roof space from consideration as part of a building’s open space requirements. A second examined eliminating counting each level of a parking lift—a technology embraced by Kennedy—as part of a structure’s required parking area. 

“Berkeley should be proud of its open spaces built on roofs,” Kennedy said. 

“If the committee is interested in providing affordable h ousing,” he said, the committee’s work “shouldn’t be done in the way of what is clearly the agenda of some people here who are interested in decreasing density” in the city. 

“We’re not interested in decreasing density,” said Rick Judd, a land use attorn e y who chairs the ZAB density bonus panel. 

“All of these things are designed to chip away at the maximum envelope,” Kennedy said, referring to total permissible project size. 

The developer offered to do an analysis of the impacts that would result from e limination of lift spaces, a suggestion embraced by panel member Dave Blake, who asked Kennedy to present it at a future meeting. 

“It’s something for people to discuss,” said Deputy City Attorney Zac Cowan, who attended the session along with Planning Di rector Dan Marks, Current Planning Manager Mark Rhoades, Principal Planner Debra Sanderson and others. 

Kennedy has specialized in mixed-use buildings in the city center—multiple floors of apartments built over ground floor commercial space—and his Ga ia B uilding at 2116 Allston Way is the tallest structure built in Berkeley in recent years, thanks to concessions granted under the density bonus and the city’s cultural space bonus. 

Both bonuses are written to allow a developer to build larger projects to c ompensate for moneys lost in building affordable housing and providing a space for cultural and arts uses. 

“I want this board to be mindful of the significant consequences of minor modifications,” Kennedy said. “Rezoning of University Avenue has ba sicall y stopped development along University Avenue and will likely continue to do so for the next 20 years.” 

He continued, “Most people in Berkeley are happy with development, as exemplified by the four-to-one margin of defeat of” Measure P, a 2002 bal lot mea sure that would have restricted high-rise development in the city.” 

“I don’t think you should allow a bunch of zealots to commandeer the development process here,” Kennedy said. 

Bob Allen, the ZAB member who urged the group to consider the rooftop space and parking changes, said he hadn’t intended them for downtown as much as for properties along Shattuck and University avenues that abut residentially zoned neighborhoods behind. 

ZAB member Dean Metzger cited the impacts of a five-story project on Unive rsity Avenue built all the way to the rear lot-line and without adequate parking on a homeowner behind, “defeating everything he bought it for.” 

“I’m not trying to limit, but I want to make sense of what is happening to neighbors,” he said. 

To aid in th e analysis, Metzger has created a spreadsheet program that takes requirements for different zoning areas and provides calculation on required setbacks, building size and other factors. 

Also on hand for Wednesday’s session were Planning Commissi oners Helen Burke, David Stoloff and Gene Poschman, who belong to agency’s parallel committee created to address implications of the density bonus from their side of the table. 

The City Council moved last month to create a joint committee drawing from bo th bodies. A vote to add a member from the Housing Advisory Commission is scheduled for September. The first meeting of the new panel has been tentatively slated for Aug. 18. 

“We’ve talked at the last two or three meetings about what we can do in the short term, b ut the longer-term issues may need to be addressed at the joint meeting,” said Allen. 

“But we also have to find a short-term way to help ZAB cope” with the bonus, said Blake. 

Judd suggested the ZAB panel hold a closed-door session to address some of the key issues, a notion quickly shot down by Sanderson. 

“I guess we can’t, since there’s no pending suit,” Judd conceded. 

The next session will consider changes that can be made at the administrative level without changing the existing city code, “but we need to look at the ordinance carefully, since most of it was written under the old version of the state density bonus law” that took effect this year, he said. ›?›

Oakland City Councilmember Denies Chronicle Column Charges By J. DOUGLAS ALLEN-TAYLOR

Friday August 05, 2005

An Oakland City Councilmember says that a San Francisco Chronicle column about a confrontation between her and an Oakland police officer is factually untrue in key points, and that she never looked in the officer’s personnel file or evaded a traffic citation. 

In addition, the police officer involved—nine-year police veteran Michael Nichelini—has a history of disciplinary charges before the Oakland Citizens Police Review Board for disrespectful activity towards citizens, and earlier this year was recommended for four days suspension by the CPRB for allegedly striking, choking and gassing a man during a “sideshow” traffic stop. 

In his July 29 column, Chronicle columnist Chip Johnson wrote that after Officer Michael Nichelini stopped Councilmember Desley Brooks while she was driving her car in late July near the intersection of 14th and Clay streets in Oakland, she refused to cooperate, citing her membership on the City Council. 

Johnson wrote that Brooks “ignored the officer’s order [to go around a crew that was filming in the area], asking him, ‘Do you know who I am?’ Nichelini said he had no clue, but told her whoever she was, she would have to move her car. Brooks then announced her VIP status.” 

Johnson said that Brooks then told Nichelini “that she’d seen his personnel file, a document to which she has no legitimate reason to possess, and told the officer that he was the reason his father wasn’t considered for the chief’s job.” 

Nichelini’s father, Vallejo chief of police and former Oakland Deputy Chief of Police Bob Nichelini, was under consideration to replace Oakland Police Chief Richard Word last year, but did not get the job. 

In his column, Johnson said he “noticed that the windshield on Brooks’ car was cracked and that she wasn’t wearing her safety belt,” he asked her for her driver’s license “but got nothing but lip. ... Then, she drove away.” 

The public information officer for the Oakland Police Department said that no citation had been issued to Brooks for the alleged incident. 

Toni Cook, a former Oakland School Board member and a Brooks supporter, called Johnson’s column “yellow journalism” and said, “I was surprised that he’d leave himself so open to charges of being vindictive” against the councilmember. 

She said that if Brooks actually did drive away from a legitimate traffic stop without giving the officer her license “why didn’t he chase after her, or issue a warrant for her arrest?” 

Brooks said that she had refused to answer Johnson’s telephone calls when he was writing the column “because of past problems with him,” but she told her side to the Daily Planet. 

“I was coming from a festival with my sister and my niece, and I saw the officer sitting on his motorcycle in the middle of the street,” Brooks said during an interview at an East Oakland free music concert sponsored by her office. 

“I drove up to him slow, because I wanted to find out what was going on. The way I was driving, it was clear that I had no intention of running over him. But he put up his hand and started shouting at me, ‘Hey! Hey! HEY!” and waving me back. I thought it was inappropriate, given the circumstances. So when I got up to him, I told him who I was and asked him ‘is that how you talk to all citizens?’ And he answered, ‘when they don’t follow my orders.’” 

Brooks said that she did not appreciate the way the officer was talking to her, and says that “we exchanged some words.” 

“I asked him to give me his name,” Brooks said, “and when he told me, I said ‘no wonder.’ He asked me what I meant by that, and I told him that I was glad his father didn’t get the job as police chief. That’s when he asked me for my driver’s license.” 

Brooks said that once she heard Nichelini’s name, “I remembered him from some conversations with Pueblo, and that he’d had some history of disrespect to Oakland citizens.” She said she has never looked in Nichelini’s personnel file (”they don’t allow councilmembers to see those,” she said), and did not tell him that she had. 

Pueblo is a community organizing group which has been active in Oakland police issues. 

Jen Nuber, a volunteer community organizer with Pueblo, said that “it would be ludicrous for her to go to the trouble of looking in Nichelini’s personnel file. It’s all in the public record.” 

An April 2 Oakland Tribune article reported the Citizen Police Review Board’s suspension recommendation against Nichelini, saying that “for the second time in less than a year, the board ... sustained allegations of excessive force” against the officer. 

The Tribune article said that during a sideshow abatement patrol, after Nichelini stopped a car driven by a teenager identified as Devin Coakley, “Nichelini struck the teenager with his flashlight, put him in a headlock and then sprayed him in the face with his canister of pepper spray-like gas, the seven-member board determined.” 

The article also said that last August “the board sustained two of 10 allegations brought against Nichelini for improper verbal conduct and excessive force in another case,” recommending that he be suspended for two days and reprimanded orally. In the earlier case, “Nichelini used profanity when ordering Maxemiliano Montes, 17, out of his truck ... according to the board’s finding. In addition, the board found that Nichelini used his knees to hit Montes’ head against the pavement.” 

Minutes of the Nichelini-Montes CPRB hearing show that Montes accused the officer of asking him “are you a nigga or ese?” and asking him “do I need to tell you in Spanish?” and telling him to take “those fucking Mexican flags” off his vehicle. Those allegations were not upheld by the CPRB. 

Minutes of the two CPBR hearings are public documents and available online, and Nuber said that the “Coakley incident at the sideshow was one of the subjects of a meeting [earlier this year] between [Pueblo activist] Rashida Grinage and Councilmember Brooks” regarding police enforcement at Oakland’s sideshows. Brooks has been active in looking for legal, sanctioned alternatives to the illegal sideshows. Grinage was out of the state this week and unavailable for comment. 

Nuber said that Nichelini has a reputation among Oakland’s youth of color “for being a straight-up racist pig. They call him by the nickname Mussolini.” 

In her interview, Brooks also denied leaving the scene of a traffic stop. 

“After he asked my for my drivers license, I asked to see his supervisor,” she said. “He asked me for my license again, and I asked to see his supervisor again. After that, he seemed to get disgusted, and waved me on and told me I could leave. That’s when I drove off.” 

In his July 29 Chronicle column, Johnson said he based his account on a letter describing the incident written by Nichelini to Oakland Police Chief Wayne Tucker and “sent to the Oakland Police Officers Association.” Johnson said that Tucker forwarded a copy of the letter to Oakland City Administrator Deborah Edgerly. 

Brooks said that she herself has not yet seen a copy of the letter, despite queries to Tucker and Edgerly. Edgerly was on vacation beginning this week, and Oakland Police Officers Association President Bob Valladon did not return Daily Planet telephone calls for comment on this story. An Oakland Police Department spokesperson said that the letter had not been released to the press by the chief of police.›

City, Pacific Steel Will Study Noxious West Berkeley Odor By MATTHEW ARTZ

Friday August 05, 2005

Berkeley and Pacific Steel Casting have agreed to study the source of the burning rubber smell wafting from the company’s West Berkeley plant. 

Since March, the Bay Area Air Quality Management District has issued three violation notices against Pacific Steel for emitting a foul stench from its faculties. 

The air district had ordered Pacific Steel, at 1333 Second St., to study whether the particles emitted by its three factories also posed a health risk to local workers and residents. 

But city officials argued that the air district request didn’t go far enough. 

Now under a separate agreement with the city, Pacific Steel will perform a more detailed health risk analysis and submit to tests aimed at identifying the specific source of the odors that have generated neighborhood complaints for the past 30 years.  

“We have to get to the bottom of this,” said Councilmember Linda Maio, who represents the affected neighbors. “For so many years we’ve been in the same situation where we have these odors and we don’t know exactly where they’re coming from.” 

Maio has scheduled a public meeting about Pacific Steel for 7 p.m. Aug. 10 at the James Kenney Recreation Center, in James Kenney Park. 

The study will be prepared by environmental consultant Environmental Resources Management (ERM) and supervised jointly by the city, Pacific Steel and a monitor assigned by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. The air district must approve guidelines for the Pacific Steel study. 

City Toxics Manager Nabil Al-Hadithy said the agreement between the city and Pacific Steel would require about four times more work than was initially required by the air district. 

Local residents, however, said they were skeptical of the proposed study and the air board’s promised scrutiny of Pacific Steel. 

Located on more than three blocks of Second Street, just south of Gilman Street, Pacific Steel operates three factories that heat metal to a molten state and then pour it into molds. Neighbors said they suspect that the melting and pouring process releases compounds they have compared to the smell of burning pot handles. 

Pacific Steel has topped the air district’s complaint list in Berkeley every year since 2000, with the number of complaints rising from 18 in 2001 to 112 last year as more people continued to move into industrial sections of West Berkeley. 

While Pacific Steel has taken responsibility for the foul odor, it has insisted that the smell doesn’t constitute a health risk. Prior studies by the air district showed that emissions of cancer-causing particles were barely within state standards, according to Al-Hadithy. 

The air district ordered the new health testing because of resident concerns, said Terry Lee, the air district’s director of public relations. 

Lee said that because the company has increased production in recent years it would not be permitted to use old data as a basis for the study as feared by neighbors. 

“The air district remains somewhat suspect to people in the community,” said Chris Kroll, a member of the recently formed West Berkeley Alliance for Clean Air and Safe Jobs.  

“It’s just incomprehensible that they don’t know what is causing that that smell and whether there are health impacts.” 

In 1982, the district issued an abatement order against the plant ordering it to stop releasing foul odors. An air district hearing board in 2000 voted to lift the order. 

The West Berkeley Alliance has called for Pacific Steel to provide further background data on the plant and demanded that the air district accept a series of guidelines for testing the stacks. It says the guidelines are necessary to determine the source of the smell and whether it poses a public health threat. 

To ensure that the study is done in public view, the group is demanding that the city establish a citizen task force to meet formally with Pacific Steel, the air district and the Lawrence Berkeley Lab monitor.  

Al-Hadithy said that ERM is revising the study guidelines and that they will be available for public comment once they are complete. Because of Berkeley’s additional demands on Pacific Steel and the requirement for public input, Al-Hadithy said the study would last significantly longer than the three months initially projected by the air board. 

Meanwhile, Lee said Pacific Steel had until the end of the month to submit to the air district a plan to lessen the foul air nuisance. 

If the air district is dissatisfied with Pacific Steel’s response, Lee said it could take the company before its hearing board as it did during the 1980s.  

After receiving 46 notices of violation from the air district between 1981 and 1985, Pacific Steel installed carbon filters at two of its factories. They determined that the third and newest factory, built in 1981, did not have enough activity to require the filter.  

Joe Emmerichs, Pacific Steel’s general manager, declined to comment for this story. 

The agreement between Berkeley and Pacific Steel calls for a study of the plant’s sand recycler, a review of the factories both for odors and health risks, and an engineering analysis to determine how much it would cost to remedy problems identified in the study.  

Pacific Steel agreed to the additional studies, Maio said, at a meeting last month attended by herself, Mayor Tom Bates, and Oakland City Council President Ignacio De La Fuente, a union official who represents the plant’s unionized steel workers.›

Elephant Pharmacy Expands With New CEO By CASSIE NORTON

Friday August 05, 2005

In another example of a local business making it big, Elephant Pharmacy has announced its intention to open three new stores in the next year and has hired a new CEO to facilitate the company’s growth.  

Elephant expects to open new stores in San Rafael in November and in Los Altos in the spring. A store is planned for Pasadena in 2006. 

“We needed creative people in the beginning, but now we need a new management style,” founder Stuart Skorman said. 

That new management style comes in the form of CEO Kathi Lentzsch. 

Lentzsch has 30 years of retail management experience from home decorating stores Pier 1 Imports and Pottery Barn, among others. She said Skorman has been courting her for four years, before the store on Shattuck Avenue was built. 

“[Skorman] approached me when Elephant was just a concept on paper,” Lentzsch said. “Over the years I went from being intellectually interested in Elephant’s philosophy to a participant. So when [Skorman] asked me again in the spring, I was ready to come on board.” 

Elephant Pharmacy had a rough start after opening in 2001. Skorman bankrolled the company with the profits from previous ventures and nearly went broke in the process. According to Lentzsch, things began to look up last year, when “you could really see it was going to be something big—and so could CVS and JP Morgan.” 

The pharmacy giant and financial institution are minor shareholders and strategic partners. 

In what he calls “an M.B.A. moment,” Skorman explained the reasoning behind the company’s expansion.  

“It’s like a tent,” he said. “You need a tent whether you’re camping for one night or 10 nights, and we need the same number of people to run one store as 10. We still need PR and human resources, buyers and managers. But it’s hard to support that infrastructure with one store. We need six or seven to really make it work.” 

Elephant takes an innovative approach to health care, combining conventional and alternative methods of health care in the same store. According to a press release, the company was “created to meet the growing needs of educated baby boomers and other health-conscious people seeking a better shopping experience.” 

A key component of Elephant’s business plan is the free classes it offers to customers. Skorman said he believes that “the more you know, the healthier you are.” Classes address mental health, alternative healing, nutrition and exercise. In addition, a rotating group of local experts from registered nurses to naturopathic doctors offers consultations throughout the day. 

The consultations are just one example of Elephant’s customer care philosophy. Skorman’s goal is to be able to sustain the business and make a profit without losing sight of the people involved. 

“We tried to build helping people into the shopping experience,” Skorman said. 

“We really want to help people. If we don’t have a product that will help a customer, we’ll tell them that and suggest where to find it. We don’t try to sell them stuff they don’t need,” Lentzsch said. 

In keeping with this, information cards throughout the store offer alternatives to over-the-counter medications, such as avoiding napping after meals to relieve indigestion, and debunking medical myths, like the claim that vitamin C cures and prevents colds. As Skorman said, Elephant is “the pharmacy that prescribes yoga.” 

Elephant is staffed and run by “refugees from corporate America—people who are sick of the corporate world and ready to work for a company who really cares about people,” Skorman said. 

Lentzsch said she looks forward to what she views as her biggest challenge—“providing an environment where the company cares about the workers, the customers and the community.” 

Working for a company with a culture of caring is “a dream,” she said. 

As for Skorman, he has semi-retired after handing off the leadership of the company to Lentzsch and remains the chairman of the company. It is his intention use his free time to “recover from four years of very hard work” and spend time with his family. 

Lentzsch said she is thrilled to be involved in “one of the most interesting phenomenons I’ve seen in retailing.” 


Green Day Bolts From Berkeley’s Lookout! Records By MATTHEW ARTZ

Friday August 05, 2005

Lookout! Records, the venerable Berkeley-based punk recording label, gave layoff notices to two-thirds of its staff last week. 

On Tuesday, the company announced that its top-selling recording act, Green Day, had pulled its pre-1994 music catalog from Lookout!. The band and the independent label had been in a long-running dispute over unpaid royalties, according to Lookout!’s former president and founder Larry Livermore. 

In a posting to Punknews.org, Livermore blamed Lookout! for Green Day’s departure. 

“Lookout! has been failing to pay Green Day (and other bands) [royalties] for years now, and apparently using the money instead to put out a series of terrible records that nobody wanted to buy,” he said. 

Livermore added that Green Day “could have taken their records away several years ago when Lookout! first breached their contract, but they were generous enough to allow Lookout! to keep licensing their records in hopes that the label would get back on its feet.” 

Lookout! released a statement on its website acknowledging that Green Day had taken control of their releases under Lookout!, but said that the two sides parted amicably. Lookout! management did not return phone calls Thursday and Green Day has not commented on the move. 

Former Lookout! employee and musician Jesse Townley said that the label has been in a downward spiral for years and that it was expected to fold after it produces albums that are already scheduled for release. 

“There aren’t plans to sign new bands,” he said. 

Townley said the label gave layoff notices to six employees last Friday. Only three managers are scheduled to remain with the company that had 19 employees in the late 1990s, Townley said. 

Lookout! Records’ main source of income has come from catalogs of bands that started with Lookout! before moving to major labels. When Green Day signed with Warner Brothers in 1994, the band allowed Lookout! to continue producing, manufacturing and distributing the two full-length albums and LPs it recorded under the label. 

Green Day joins a growing list of former Lookout! acts to jump ship. In recent years, Avail, Screeching Weasel, Riverdales and Enemy You have moved their catalogs to other labels. 

“Failure to pay royalties is not a new issue at Lookout!,” said Townley. He attributed lack of payments to bad business sense rather than malfeasance. 

“It’s sad that it’s come to this because that label meant so much to so many people,” Townley said. 

Besides Green Day, Lookout! was the first home for several Bay Area punk acts that eventually became major acts, including The Donnas and Operation Ivy. Some of the musicians in Operation Ivy later regrouped to become Rancid. 

Even if Lookout! folds, the East Bay will still be home to a thriving collection of small record labels, Townley said. Among some of the top players are Adeline Records, Left Off the Dial, 1234 Go Records and Substandard.H

Library Workers, Patrons Denounce RFID System By MATTHEW ARTZ

Friday August 05, 2005

More than 100 people filled the South Berkeley Senior Center Monday to debate the Berkeley Public Library’s practice of placing radio frequency identification devices (RFIDs) in books.  

The library has already begun installing the $650,000 system, replacing bar codes on book covers with radio antennas. The forum, hosted by KQED’s Keven Guillory, featured dozens of library users and staff members who denounced the use of the devices. 

The palm-sized RFID tags hold the promise of allowing patrons to check out all their materials at once by swiping the pile of books over an electronic reader. By increasing self check-out, library management believes it can boost staff efficiency and dedicate more time to serving patrons away from checkout lines. 

But some opponents charge that as scanners become more powerful and widespread, the technology will allow authorities to trace not just books, but library patrons as well. Others said they worried that the low level radio frequencies emitted by the tags might cause cancer. 

The union representing library workers came out Monday in opposition to the technology. In a memo from SEIU Local 535, the workers argued that the system might create more work for librarians, risk worker health, and possibly eliminate jobs. 

Every member of the public who spoke Monday opposed the technology.  

The library approved the system last year, and RFID checkout stations have already debuted at some branches. The system is not fully implemented, and during Monday’s forum Paul Simon of Checkpoint Systems, the library’s New Jersey-based vendor, acknowledged equipment failure at the Claremont Branch. 

Library Board Trustee Terry Powell said the library will continue implementing RFID, but wouldn’t shut the door on dismantling it even though the vendor has already been paid. “We’re still looking at the issues,” she said. 

Local opposition to RFID was minuscule when the library board unanimously approved it two years ago. But opposition has swelled this year as privacy advocates like the American Civil Liberties Union and the Electronic Frontier Foundation urged the city to reject RFIDs and a public feud between library workers and Director Jackie Griffin brought the issue to the forefront. 

RFIDs emit a low-range radio frequency that can be picked up by a specially designed scanner. The scanner can only read the code for the library material. To connect the code to the actual book title, the code would have to be cross-referenced with the library’s catalogue. 

While the system doesn’t pose much of a privacy risk now, Lee Tien of the Electronic Frontier Foundation warned government and business interests were pushing the technology and that over time scanners will likely be installed in convenience stores, malls, and airports, making the library book code a valuable piece of information for authorities trying to track citizens. 

“Big money wants to sell RFID chips to manage information...And the government wants that information, too,” he said. 

Tien’s group helped stop the installation of RFIDs in the San Francisco Public Library. Currently they are fighting to keep RFIDs out of U.S. passports and state identification cards. 

David Mulnar, a UC graduate student who has researched privacy concerns relating to RFID and worked with the library, said Berkeley has so far avoided mistakes made in other communities. For instance at the Cesar Chavez branch library in Oakland, the RFID code was merely the inverse of the bar code, which would make it easier for authorities to figure out materials checked out by library patrons. 

Simon acknowledged that there were privacy concerns with RFID, but said that library users need not worry that their reading materials might be uncovered by interlopers lurking with RFID readers.  

A six-foot antenna (which costs approximately $1,000) is required to read a Berkeley library RFID chip from three feet away, he said. Addressing audience concerns, he said Checkpoint RFID tags did not contain memory for additional information besides the book code and contained no heavy metals. Simon also insisted that Checkpoint was in sound fiscal health and would not go out of business, leaving the city stuck with no one to service the technology. 

City Councilmember Gordon Wozniak, a retired physicist formerly with Lawrence Berkeley National Lab, battled audience members over whether the chips presented a health risk. Wozniak said RFIDs emit a safe frequency that is higher than AM radio, but lower than FM radio. 

“We’ve been exposed to these frequencies for a long time,” he said, adding that recent studies showed no links between exposures to the radio waves and health risks. Audience members questioned whether the cumulative impact of radio waves might be connected to rising cancer rates. 

Almost as controversial as the technology was the composition of the panel. Scheduling conflicts kept a representative of the ACLU from attending. That left the first panel with Simon from vendor Checkpoint Systems, Wozniak, an RFID supporter, and Mulnar. 

Councilmember Kriss Worthington demanded another public forum with a more balanced panel. 

“How many people think this was an equal amount of passion from both sides?” he asked the audience. After the meeting Councilmember Darryl Moore, who also sits on the library’s board or trustees, accused Worthington of grandstanding. 

“To besmirch the board [by saying] that we didn’t make it balanced is unfair,” he said. 

As has become commonplace at library meetings, Griffin, the library’s director, was singled out for attack by a feisty audience angry that the public forum on RFID came after its implementation. 

“You came in here and got some cabal to do this and didn’t even tell people about it...How do I take you to court? How do I make you give us our democracy back?” said Nancy Delaney of Berkeleyans Organizing For Library Defense (BOLD), an anti-RFID group.  

Griffin did not speak during the meeting. 

When Delaney’s comments were greeted with cheers, library Trustee Ying Lee rose to Griffin’s defense, but failed to quiet the crowd. 

“Personally I’m extremely uncomfortable when a large number of people attack a single person with a different point of view,” she said. 

“They need to respect our point of view,” said a man in the audience. “You’re backing [Griffin],” another audience member yelled. Seconds later several shouts of “Bullshit” rang out in the senior center from critics of Griffin. 

City Approves Beth El Parking Plan By MATTHEW ARTZ

Friday August 05, 2005

Over the objections of some neighbors, Berkeley opened the door Tuesday for its largest Jewish congregation to move into its newly built multi-million dollar synagogue. 

The city approved Congregation Beth El’s plan for holding major events without taking up a majority of on-street parking spaces around its new home at 1301 Oxford St. 

The congregation, which will have 31 parking spaces on site, has scheduled a grand opening for Sept. 9. 

Although the city has yet to grant Beth El an occupancy permit, approval of the parking plan was seen as the final obstacle for the congregation in its four-year battle with neighbors. 

“We’re extremely pleased that we’ve crossed this major hurdle,” said Katherine Haynes-Sanstad, the synagogue’s first vice president. 

Nancy Levin, of the Live Oak Codornices Creek Neighborhood Association, said her group had consulted an attorney and would consider its options in light of the city ruling at a meeting next week. 

LOCCNA contends that the congregation’s plan to use four satellite parking lots for major events of more than 150 people is unsatisfactory, because some of the lots might not be available on event days. 

It also opposes the city-sanctioned monitoring plan that would call for Beth El to possibly add more off-site parking if it were determined that congregation guests used more than 50 percent of available on-street spaces in the surrounding neighborhood. 

“I don’t see how allowing Beth El to use 50 percent of available parking spaces minimizes impacts to neighborhood parking,” Levin said.  

The congregation and LOCCNA have battled over the new synagogue for years since Beth El announced it was moving from its home two blocks away at the corner of Arch and Vine streets. 

After coming to terms over the restoration of Codornices Creek, which runs through the property, Beth El officials and LOCCNA signed an agreement outlining the congregation’s responsibilities to keep the neighborhood unburdened from members and guests looking for parking spaces. 

Neighbors have insisted that street parking around Oxford and Spruce streets is sparse, while an environmental study commissioned by the congregation found that there were between 50 and 100 on-street parking spaces available at all times of the day. 

The compromise required that for events of 150 people or more the congregation must use “on site valet parking and satellite parking or other effective techniques.” 

Over the past several months Beth El has submitted several draft parking plans and made significant changes to their proposals to bring it more in line with the framework agreed to with LOCCNA. 

In approving the proposal, Deputy Planning Director Wendy Cosin wrote, “staff believes that Beth El has worked hard to accommodate neighborhood concerns into its parking management plan.” 

The congregation has contracted with Safeway, St. Mary Magdalen Church, First Union Title company and the Berkeley Richmond Jewish Community Center to provide spaces for large events like weddings and congregation functions. 

Combined, the satellite lots would add up to 102 parking spaces in addition to 31 spaces at the site and 26 on-street parking spaces along the synagogue’s street frontage. Beth El’s current home has two on-site parking spaces. 

Bollard Bowling Infuriates Traffic Circle Neighbors By MATTHEW ARTZ

Friday August 05, 2005

North Berkeley residents say a truck driver has been taking aim at the Arlington Traffic Circle. 

Over the past two weeks, the concrete posts that wrap around the edge of the circle have been repeatedly attacked, said Sara Holmes, board member of Friends of the Fountain and Walk, and the traffic circle’s chief caretaker. 

Holmes said 13 of the 33 custom-cast posts, known as bollards, have been knocked down and destroyed since July 20. 

“It’s clearly an intentional act,” she said. 

Holmes said that careless motorists have occasionally struck the posts, but that the circle has never sustained such extensive damage in a short period of time. 

Berkeley Police Spokesperson Joe Okies said the department suspected that the culprit drove a dooley, a vehicle with four back wheels with a raised wheelbase. 

“It appears that a truck or trailer cut the turn too sharply and knocked over the bollards,” Okies said. 

The only evidence of the attacks have been tire marks along the circle, according to Holmes. 

“Someone is driving over these things,” she said. “It’s unfathomable.” 

Replacing the posts isn’t easy or cheap, Holmes said. It took the city about a year to replace 10 posts knocked down from an accident over a year ago, said Holmes. 

The custom-made posts cost about $300 apiece, she said. Since city coffers are low, Holmes said Friends of the Fountain and Walk and other residents are raising money to replace the damaged posts. 

Anyone interested in contributing can send donations to Friends of the Fountain and Walk, P.O. Box 8192, Berkeley, 94707. If someone has information about the attacks on the circle, they are encouraged to call the police non-emergency number at 981-5900.k


Friday August 05, 2005

An Oakland Unified School District Board member says that she was misquoted in a July 29 story on the Oakland School for the Arts (“OSA Will Now Include Middle School”). 

In the article, Board Director Alice Spearman is quoted as saying “Even though we have a school of the arts run by Oakland Unified [at Skyline High School], our school doesn’t measure up [to OSA].” 

Spearman said that she did not refer to Skyline High School in her statement, but was referring, instead, to the East Oakland School of the Arts, a small school within Oakland’s Castlemont High School. Spearman said that she believed the arts curriculum at OSA and the Skyline Performing Arts Academy are “comparable.”

Commentary: Remembering Freelance Reporter Steven Vincent By SANDY CLOSEPacific News Service

Friday August 05, 2005

Steven Vincent, a U.S. freelancer kidnapped and executed in Basra on Aug. 2, was one of a kind. For Americans trying to make sense of the war in Iraq, that’s precisely the problem.  

Almost all American journalists covering Iraq these days are embedded w ith the U.S. military. Traveling through the country alone, as Vincent did on his reporting assignments, is “too damn dangerous,” says Joel Simon, director of the Committee to Protect Journalists. More than 52 journalists have been killed in Iraq since th e March 2003 invasion, the majority of them Iraqis and Arabs, according to the CPJ. Vincent is believed to be the first non-embedded U.S. journalist intentionally slain in Iraq.  

Vincent was on his way back to Iraq for his latest writing project when I m et him several months ago on a plane trip from New York to San Francisco. He had the window seat next to my middle seat. I noticed him because he devoured the Sunday New York Times. As a longtime editor and newspaper junkie, I was elated to see someone ab sorb words off the printed page. I asked him what in the paper he was most interested in, and he started talking about Iraq.  

Vincent was a passionate defender of the U.S. war, which he saw as the only chance to bring democracy to Iraq. He said there was a “silent majority” in the country—Iraqis who were grateful for the overthrow of Saddam Hussein and still supported U.S. efforts in Iraq, but were afraid to say so. He objected to the term “insurgents”—he preferred “terrorists”—and felt that use of the t erm demonstrated the media’s liberal bias. He was especially passionate about women’s rights.  

When I asked him about his sense of the dangers for a freelance reporter who refused to “embed” with the U.S. military, he said two things: that it was essenti al to capture day-to-day life as Iraqis lived it, and that he didn’t want to discuss the threats.  

Vincent was found shot to death in the southern port city of Basra. His Iraqi interpreter was also shot and injured. A former art critic, Vincent had publi shed a well-received book on the Iraq war, In the Red Zone, and had just published a column in the Sunday New York Times. He had spent several months in Basra gathering material for a book he planned write on the history of the city.  

Vincent financed his own reporting projects, and had learned enough Arabic, he told me, to “get by.” His fervor reminded me of alternative media journalists I knew in the late 1960s and early ‘70s who scoured Indochina for Dispatch and my own news service to tell Americans the “other side” of the conflict—the stories that weren’t based on official U.S. sources.  

As support for the war in Iraq wanes, Vincent felt compelled to tell what he saw as the “other side” of the story—the necessity of U.S. troops defending Iraqis’ ri ght to freedom. On a public radio program produced by my news service, Vincent said “the Iraqi people were just overjoyed that the monster (Hussein) is gone from power. But at the same time they are humiliated they couldn’t bring the tyrant’s downfall the mselves ... And this humiliation can easily morph into resentment every time a Humvee rumbles down a Baghdad street or traffic gets tied up at a GI checkpoint.”  

In my conversations with him, Vincent revealed himself as an effective proponent of the Bush message on the war in Iraq. As long as Iraq is too dangerous for reporters like Steven Vincent to cover on their own, Americans will have no access to the kind of news that would let us know whether he was right or wrong.  


Sandy Close is executive director of Pacific News Service and New California Media, an association of more than 700 print, broadcast and online ethnic media organizations founded in 1996.

Editorial Cartoon By JUSTIN DEFREITAS

Friday August 05, 2005


Letters to the Editor

Friday August 05, 2005


Editors, Daily Planet: 

I am writing to correct the public perception regarding the City of Berkeley’s policy on advertising in community publications. After reading letters alleging the City of Berkeley is not purchasing ad space in the Berkeley Daily Planet, the Planet published mistaken information that a citywide policy was issued to prevent use of the Berkeley Daily Planet for public notices. This is not the case. The city’s policy is to use adjudicated newspapers or newspapers of general circulation for legally required notices.  

1) There is no boycott of the Berkeley Daily Planet. It is against the policy of a city municipality to take a political stand for or against a newspaper. 

2) The city is required by state statutes to use adjudicated newspapers or newspapers of general circulation for legal public noticing. 

3) Sometimes economics is a factor. The city continues to seek the least cost for advertising and to use as many outlets as possible. 

4) Various departments within the city may issue public notices using a variety of outlets, as long as newspapers of general circulation and adjudicated papers are used for legally required notices.  

I urge the Planet to correct the public record in this matter and not rely on hearsa y in its reporting.  

Phil Kamlarz 

City Manager 


EDITOR’S NOTE: The Daily Planet has never reported in a news article on the City of Berkeley’s policies regarding advertising in the press. The paper has never been qualified under state law to print legally required notices which must run in adjudicated general circulation papers, and has never expected to carry them. A Planet editorial alluded to a report from an ad salesman that some discretionary announcement (non-legal) advertising had been transferred by the city manager’s office from the locally owned Planet to a corporate competitor, a fact later confirmed by a call to that office made by a columnist. Further confirmation was provided by a conversation held with an elected official on the topic by a freelance contributor, who then wrote a letter to the editor complaining about what he’d learned. Mr. Kamlarz’s third point is presumably his office’s justification for placing its ads in the corporate publication. Citizens are encouraged to comment on wh ether or not they think it’s good public policy to “buy local.” 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

Many of Bob Burnett’s remarks of June 28 (“When Down Looks Like Up”) not dealing with Bush’s military adventure in Iraq refer to the administration’s Orwe llian semantics. Allow me to knit the two and then to comment. 

Until 1947, our military forces were grouped under the appropriately named War Department. After some months as the National Military Establishment, it was re-named to its current title, Depa rtment of Defense. The secretary who straddled these departments was James Forrestall, who soon killed himself and promptly had the then-largest aircraft carrier named after him. 

After 9/11, something horribly dubbed the Department of Homeland Security w as invented, still without much apparent use or effectiveness. 

The various failures of our intelligence and investigative agencies aside, my proposal is to restore a direct and honest use of the English language by renaming the Department of Defense as t he War Department, since war, both aggressive and covert is its business, and that Homeland Security be renamed the Department of Defense, since national defense is its alleged purpose. 

We can go from there. 

Phil Allen 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

As a former Peace and Justice Commissioner, I was disturbed to see that a month after the Peace and Justice Commission failed to muster enough votes to support a resolution to support a U.S. Department of Peace, it was also unable to pass a resolution from Code Pink to bring California’s National Guard troops home from Iraq. Something is seriously wrong here. At the heart of the matter lies what I would consider to be some horribly misguided commission appointments by some of Berkeley’s elected officials. Commissioner Wornick, for example, is an extreme conservative opposed to Peace and Justice’s mission and led the opposition to both proposals. Considering that his appointer, Mr. Wozniak, is Berkeley’s most conservative councilmember with a his tory of defending Berkeley Lab’s nuclear weapons work and tritium contamination, it is of little surprise. 

What’s disappointing is that Mayor Bates, who claims to be progressive, appointed Leslie Cocholla, one of the commission’s most conservative member s. She voted both against bringing California National Guard troops back from Iraq and against urging Congress to create a Department of Peace. She claimed her refusal to support the Department of Peace was because the City of Berkeley might suffer fiscal burden. That claim was easily discredited when it became apparent the only cost for Berkeley was the price of the postage to mail copies of the resolution to Washington.  

Remember how the Bush administration shifted its rationale for the war after the w eapons of mass destruction argument was discredited? Well, after council adopted the Department of Peace resolution the mayor’s appointee realized her argument had been discredited and acted similarly, insisting meeting minutes not reveal that fiscal impact on Berkeley was the reason she originally stated for not supporting the Department of Peace resolution.  

I recently called the mayor and discussed this matter with him as he is about to appoint a new Peace and Justice commissioner to replace Cocholla. Disappointingly he made no firm commitment to improve the situation by reappointing a real advocate for peace to the commission. The mayor is supposed to represent the sentiments of the voters and should not be appointing people who are unwilling to supp ort peace and bring the troops home.  

Berkeley has a proud history of speaking out on issues of peace and social justice. I hope things will change if enough people realize what Mayor Bates’ appointee to the Peace and Justice Commission is doing to under mine Berkeley’s opposition to war.  

Alan Moore 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

Joanna Graham’s attack upon me was pure libel. With zero evidence, I am accused of having single-handedly “infiltrated and neutralized” the Peace and Justice Commission. Who exactly on Peace and Justice have I appointed or caused to be appointed? In the words of Jane Litman, one member of Peace and Justice, in her op-ed piece, “John [Gertz] is not a member of Peace and Justice, nor of city government, nor does he speak for the Jewish community. He is an individual citizen.” The fact of the matter is that I have recommended exactly one new member for consideration, an African American, with no known position (even to me) on the Middle East, and she has not been appointed to the post. I made that recommendation because I do feel that Peace and Justice should no longer be the exclusive playground of Berkeley’s lunatic fringe. African-Americans (who do not currently hold a seat) and other Berkeleyans should be allowed seats.  

Not satisfied with her first utterly false accusation, Graham insinuates that I would spy for Israel and even murder for Israel. I have indeed become outraged by extreme anti-Israel and even anti-Semitic incitement in the pages of the Daily Planet, on KPF A, and in Peace and Justice’s mindless resolutions. As a private citizen I have decided to do all I can to take Berkeley back from this gutter. And yes, as one private citizen, I have said publicly that I will do all that I can to make sure that politicia ns, like Linda Maio, who have supported hateful one-sided anti-Israel resolutions, will not become mayor. But I want to stress that my every action has been and will be legal and ethical. Such actions include writing op-ed pieces and letters in this newsp aper, donating and raising money for candidates, and lobbying my elected officials. As for the canard that I am not a real American because I am pro-Israel (I actually identify with Israel’s left wing and, for example, very enthusiastically support Israel’s impending withdrawal from Gaza), well you should know I am also pro-Free Tibet, and pro-Free Burma, and that I would rather see our troops in Darfur than Iraq. I also love Great Britain, and have a soft spot for France and Italy, too. Ms. Graham, I ass ure you that I am as American as you, born, bred and proud to be so. If you visit my home you will find a well-read copy of the Federalist Papers and many similar volumes on my bookshelf. No, Ms. Graham, I will not assassinate anyone, nor blow up City Hal l, even if, in accordance with your conspiratorial delusions, the prime minister of Israel himself orders me to do so. Yes, Ms. Graham, as you note, an American Jew is serving time as an Israeli spy. So perhaps all Jews should be expelled from America, ev en supposed anti-Israel Jews, since they could be double agents. A Palestinian Arab is doing a life sentence for the murder of Robert Kennedy, so let’s throw out all the Arabs too. And let’s not forget the Catholics, who may harbor a secret loyalty to the pope, and the Japanese, who may still furtively worship the emperor, and since I don’t understand Spanish, let’s throw out the Hispanics for good measure since who knows what coded anti-American orders they are receiving over Univision. 

Finally, you ask that Peace and Justice make this the year of discussing Palestine and Israel. This is in line with O’Malley’s recent editorial that called for communication as the antidote to terrorism. Dialogue among the parties on the divisive issue of Palestine/Israel can be very constructive, if sometimes painful. I support it. But Peace and Justice was not promoting dialogue when it passed successive anti-Israel resolutions. The result was not dialogue, but a meeting of hundreds of people on the steps of City Hall screaming slogans at each other and the press, in a disgraceful and decidedly anti-communication spectacle that served only to set Berkeleyans at each other’s throats. 

John Gertz 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

I’m happy to accept Joanna Graham’s invitation to talk about Israel/Palestine. 

I want to talk to progressives first. 

What governments in the Middle East allow women to drive cars, go to school, hold jobs, own land, serve in the legislature, and lead the government? Well, there’s Israel. 

What governments in the Middle East regularly send medical aid teams to impoverished areas in Africa? Hmm, there’s Israel. 

What Middle-East government has a history of democracy combined with freedom of the press to criticize government acts? Israel. 

What Mi ddle-East government has a track record of being the region’s leader in environmental awareness, religious freedom, and gay/lesbian/transgender rights? Israel. 

Now, to talk to everyone: What government has been the focus of a multinational effort to wipe it off the earth from the day it was recognized by the U.N.? Israel. 

What government has used its state-run schools and TV stations to teach children that their political enemies are swine? The Palestinian Authority. 

What government has used the school s and TV stations it controls to teach its children that the best thing they can grow up to be is a suicide bomber? The Palestinian Authority. 

What government gives free rein to murder-organizations like Hamas to bring kids into summer camp for the purpose of training them to commit terrorist slaughter against random civilians? The Palestinian Authority. 

Like Ms. Graham, “I do not pretend to control what my fellow citizens...say.” And, like Ms. Graham, I hope that, with the infusion of facts, “at least the spell will have been broken.” 

David Altschul 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

If I were a logical-minded alien from another world monitoring Earth’s media, I would have to conclude that Israel/Palestine is the largest, most populous nation on the p lanet, therefore dominating the news. My only wish is that the Daily Planet would choose be part of the solution—rather than part of the problem—in Israel/Palestine, and choose not to publish opinion pieces and letters using rude and emotionally laden ter ms such as “Zionazi” or “Islamofacist.” Better yet, I would love to see more opinion pieces and letters which reflect the consensus in the democratic parts our world, namely that both Israelis and Palestinians have a right to self-determination and nation hood. 

I can dream, can’t I? 

John Erlich 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

Just one little problem with Dan Spitzer’s rebuke of Becky O’Malley on the terrorism issue: Israel has killed 10 times as many Palestinian civilians. The terrorist acts against Israel have been in response to the four decades of Israeli occupation of Palestinians. In fact, Israel itself was created by many acts of terror against the Palestinians of which Deir Yassein was only the most prominent. Since the U.S. taxpayers have forked over hundreds of billions of dollars since 1967 alone to support the illegal and immoral Israeli Occupation, it behooves us to especially criticize Israel. Far from being picked on, Israel has had a free ride for way too long from most of the media. 

If you are really such a great Zionist, Spitzer, go live in Israel and stop getting the rest of us involved in defending your favorite state. 

Michael Hardesty 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

When the O’Malleys bought the Daily Planet, ma ny of us were pleased to see the continuation of a much needed resource, a community newspaper. Unfortunately, the Planet under the O’Malleys has covered local matters poorly and with manifest bias and overemphasized international matters in its editorial s and op-eds, something out-of-place in a small, civic daily. 

With reference to the editorial pages, there has been an overwhelming focus upon Israel. John Gertz’s articulate letter of Aug.2-4 notes that as in previous years, the U.N. General Assembly pa ssed 92 condemnation resolutions, of which 88 were directed at Israel. I’d say that the Daily Planet has a similar ratio of pronouncements when it comes to editorial commentary on international matters. Ditto, the past Peace and Justice Commission resolutions brought to the City Council were overwhelmingly anti-Israel. No wonder Ms. O’Malley is so distraught to see a more open-minded Peace and Justice Commission. 

How appropriate that Johanna Graham’s op-ed requesting that Berkeley make 2006 “the year of talking about Israel/Palestine.” A perusal of Graham’s commentary makes it crystalline that she means a year of Israel bashing. Graham’s cracker quickly crumbles when she says we don’t have enough of it. The Daily Planet has and apparently will provide Graham with all the pro-Palestinian propaganda she clearly covets. 

Once again, since Becky O’Malley states she is so opposed to terrorism, I would like her to sans the usual equivocations, criticize the Palestinian punks who blow up innocent Israelis. And while she is at it, condemn the scores of Palestinian adults who, as noted in last Sunday’s San Francisco Chronicle, conduct summer camp in which 10-year-old boys are taught songs championing the murder of Israelis. Surely, Ms. O’Malley, you take issue with that sort of execrable indoctrination of children, don’t you? 

Dan Spitzer 





Editors, Daily Planet: 

We are disappointed by John Geluardi’s article on July 22 (“El Cerrito Café in Danger of Falling Under Starbucks Wheel) as it was unfair and a misrepresentation of Starbucks and its healthy co-existence with a variety of coffee stores and strong commitment to local communities. 

We firmly believe that there is room for choice in every community. As Starbucks has opened stores over t he years, a growing number of independently owned coffeehouses have also sprung up across the United States. As a result, consumers are offered more choices, new jobs have been created and neighborhoods have been enriched with the addition of local gathering places. Starbucks and other coffee retailers offer a unique atmosphere and different products that appeal to the local marketplace. 

We also believe that in many of the neighborhoods where we operate, our presence have actually benefited other coffee retailers by increasing foot traffic and raising consumer awareness of specialty coffee. We recognize the relevance of the J.R. Muggs café to its customers and wish the owners every success in serving the local community in the years ahead. 

At Starbucks, our store partners take considerable pride in the strong relationships we have established with our customers and the community. We actively support local community groups and charities, provide volunteer time and support many organizations. Last year contributions were valued at $14.6 million and volunteers provided 214,000 hours. 

Starbucks has achieved success one cup at a time, one store at a time. We started as a small business in Seattle’s Pike Place market more than 28 years ago. Since then, each one of our stores has become a unique part of its neighborhood. Our stores are about people. We believe that our customers and partners at each location give the store its own personality and atmosphere. 

Finally, we also recognize that our success is not an entitlement and will work towards earning the trust and respect of all our customers. I invite your readers to learn more about the way Starbucks seeks to be good neighbor at www.starbucks.com 

Leamon J. Abrams 

Director, Civic and Community Affairs 

Starbucks Coffee Company 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

I read Tim Lubeck’s letter about Berkeley Honda with sympathy. It worries me that unions and their members appear to be set on a very narrow track. I ask union members to consider: When does it become unreasonable to ask for more money and benefits? Unions are not to blame. They merely follow in the wake of a mainstream social attitude which views inflation and rising costs as normal. I think the problem lies in accepting without question a s tatus quo built on false premises. The mainstream encourages us to get in debt and above all keep buying. There are alternative ways to live—as a member of a residential cooperative, for example. For most people, housing is one of the biggest costs. It do esn’t have to be. 

Jean Hohl 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

Joanna Graham’s long and verbose commentary is full of prejudicial remarks, and simplistic, dangerous generalizations. Picking on individuals like Eric Alterman or John Gertz and identifying them with American Jewry is not exactly scientific, but typical of Ms. Graham’s approach. Simply referring to some isolated incidents (e.g. individual Americans spying for Israel) and anti-Israel myths is definitely not the way of encouraging or initiating “a year of talking about Israel/Palestine.” Ms. Graham’s inappropriate and ridiculous accusations about “infiltrating and neutralizing” Berkeley’s Peace and Justice Commission was ably addressed by one of the commissioners, Rabbi Jane Litman (August 2-4, 2005). 

For me, the worst part of this “commentary” appears in parenthesis in the last paragraph: “Do not think that Zionists have not been active here: [reference to school curriculum] The first two books my son read in high school were about the Holocaust!” Is reading about the Holocaust a Zionist plot? I, a Holocaust survivor, reject Ms. Graham’s statement, even when it comes from one who identifies herself as a “Jewish American.” (Interestingly, with this one exception, she speaks about Jew s using the third person plural) As a Jew, and as an American, I am deeply saddened that in 21st century America, Ms. Graham, a Berkeley resident, has joined the circle of anti-Zionists who cross the line into anti-Semitism. 

Ferenc Raj 




Edi tors, Daily Planet: 

Just another voice here, crying for our swimming access. I live two blocks from Willard Pool and it has become obvious to me that this community resource is very, very important to our community. Terminating access to this pool is not the way to generate support in the community for school projects. I believe the person who sets priorities for the district needs to take a better assessment of what is supported and what is not supported by Berkeley citizens. 

Seeing the amount of my pr operty taxes that go to the BUSD, I believe that it is important for those of us who rely on Willard Pool for needed exercise be heard and be dealt a fair hand in what those taxes pay for. It seems this battle never ends. Hear the message, BUSD: We pay fo r all of the programs you approve, and without significant complaint. It’s time to repay that support by guaranteeing the continuation of Willard Pool! 

Michael Tandy 



Editors, Daily Planet: 

Shirley Stuart (Letters, Aug. 2-4) says she’s disappointed that I didn’t offer the “accurate, unbiased information” on RFID which I was calling for in my letter of July 29. I wasn’t holding out on the readers, I don’t have that kind of information about RFID. I do have a technical background in other areas of el ectronics and radio, so that I think I’d know the straight goods if I saw them. The intent of my letter was to criticize the Daily Planet for not doing a better job of investigative reporting on this topic. 

I’m interested in seeing what the Planet has to say about the meeting last Monday (Aug 1). I hope there was a reporter there. 

David Coolidge 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

Candace Kilchenman, environmentalist and activist, left us on Saturday, June 25 after a brief illness. She served m any years on the Berkeley-East Bay Gray Panthers Board, and was active in TriValley Cares and the Sierra Club. Her concerns were global warming, environmental degradation, water purity, and peace. She will be dearly missed by her many friends, her daughte r, Chris Oller of Fresno and son Michael Kilchenman of Santa Cruz. 

A Celebration of her Life will be held on Saturday, Aug. 13 at 2 p.m. at Strawberry Creek Lodge, 1320 Addison St. Please call 486-8010 for more information. Donations in her name may be made to the Berkeley Gray Panthers, 1403 Addison St., Berkeley, 94709. 

Margot Smith  

Berkeley-East Bay Gray Panthers 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

This letter is in response to a commentary by Alyss Dorese (“Why I’m Boycotting Walgreens,” July 29). 

It was quite an interesting and somewhat amusing article. She professed her confusion about the differences between the Walgreens and Berkeley Bowl parking lots. She claimed that the two stores were separated by their adjacent parking lots. Yes, Ms. Dore se, but I guess you missed the street that also separated the lots. It’s known as Oregon Street, hardly confusing. There are also large white arrows on the paving indicating which is an exit and which is an entrance. 

But I digress. The real reason she wa nts to boycott Walgreens and suggests that others do also, is because her car got a boot on the wheel and she received a ticket for illegally parking in Walgreens lot to shop in Berkeley Bowl. I go to Walgreens quite often and I see people pushing carts full of groceries from Berkeley Bowl to their cars in Walgreens lot very often.  

She’s mad at Walgreens for that, even though they had every right to do it, and they reduced the fine to $30 from $60! On top of that it seems that Walgreens has a policy of allowing people to park in their lot if they shop at Walgreens first, then shop at Berkeley Bowl. I doubt if Berkeley Bowl has the same type of policy. 

I’m all for boycotts. I’ve been boycotting McDonalds for many many years, ever since Ray Kroc gave all those illegal contributions to the Nixon campaign. 

I’m merely a customer of Walgreens, not an employee, nor a friend of any employees. I just found Ms. Dorese’s article and call for a boycott ridiculous, and felt a need to address it. 

Charles R. Shaw 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

In reading Alyss Dorese’s July 29 commentary about her parking experiences in the Walgreens lot near Berkeley Bowl, I was delighted to learn that Walgreens actually boots and fines Berkeley Bowl shoppers rather than just t hreatening to. 

Ms. Dorese’s essay was full of the amazing lack of logic and common sense often found in Berkeley residents, whether for geriatric reasons or because of baby boomer self-centeredness. “It is very confusing entering the lots trying to figur e out whose is whose.” Well, duh, the one surrounding Berkeley Bowl belongs to Berkeley Bowl, and the one next to Walgreens belongs to Walgreens.  

And again, “I noticed that although the parking lot was three-quarters full, Walgreens’ store was nearly em pty.” Yes, Walgreens is a drug/variety store, with a normal flow of customers picking up items of ordinary living—toothpaste, greeting cards, diapers, prescriptions. The Walgreens lot is also much smaller than the Berkeley Bowl lot. Berkeley Bowl is an ov erhyped boutique store. I lived on Newbury Street behind Berkeley Bowl for many years, and watched crazed, frantic Bowl shoppers park in driveways and by fire hydrants to get into the store to push and shove and claw their way to the baby arugula, or what ever. 

No matter how mighty the sense of entitlement of Berkeley Bowl shoppers, Walgreens shoppers need to be able to park too. Older or disabled customers can’t always walk many blocks from neighborhood parking spaces, and they need to be able to get th eir prescriptions and other necessities. Walgreens is within its rights to enforce parking restrictions. Other Berkeley stores, such as Andronico’s, Safeway, Long’s, etc. also post notices restricting parking to customers, and to a particular length of time. 

Unlike Ms. Dorese, I patronize Walgreens, and I don’t go to Berkeley Bowl. I go to the farmer’s markets (no, not in Berkeley—the same pushing, shoving and clawing happens there too), and try to eat locally and seasonally. You might want to try that, Ms. Dorese—it will save wear and tear on your nerves, and the parking will be simpler too. 

Aija Kanbergs 





Editors, Daily Planet: 

In response to Neil Doherty, who states he had difficulty understanding the point of my lette r titled “Rose-Colored Glasses”: I refer you to an excellent essay parallel in themes. A Google search will connect you to Stanley Crouch’s Salon essay titled, “Addicted to Violence.” I simply illustrated the local picture as it pertains to reactionary an d revolutionary violence. 

As to the rest of the misinformation Doherty attributes to me, I will not respond. He is clearly a “hater” with no real knowledge as to my vision or the huge volunteer effort I provide for the betterment of our community. 

I would like to further explain the amazing results of our grass roots campaign. Our campaign provided an alternative to “business as usual” in a council district under the control of the BCA party. We received 37 percent of the vote while being outspent 8-1. We accomplished this within a mere 6 weeks time without any political machine support, no insider endorsements, door hangers etc. However, I did win the only endorsement which is based on a debate of issues, the Oakland Tribune. Oh yeah, I happen to be a white woman running in a district identified as African American. Clearly our agenda resonated with plenty of tired South Berkeley folks. 

Laura Menard 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

I would like inform your readers about our voting age demo on Tu esday July 12 in Berkeley to raise public awareness of a proposed ballot initiative to lower the voting age to 17 for school board elections in Berkeley. While the number of people who attended, 8, were slim, we got a fair amount of reporters. It was a le arning experience. I hope that more people show interest in the next one (in early October). 

I have talked to most of the City Council about this. I think that the City Council may go for it, because it is a compromise compared to our last proposal (aski ng the state to allow 16-year-olds to vote in local elections). I would like to thank our past supporters (Worthington, Moore, Anderson, Spring) and like to thank those who are keeping an open mind (Bates, Capitelli, Maio). I think that it is important to allow high school seniors to evaluate their administrators. Call the Mayor and Councilmembers to show your support. 

Also, I have talked with the majority of the school board. I know that this is a hard choice for them, because it is scary to have to appeal to 500 additional voters, but I think that they will make the right decision. Mr. Doran has shown interest in this measure. Ms. Issel opposes enfranchising a younger demographic, because she thinks that this resolution would politicize the classroom. Mr. Rivera has had some doubts, but he said that he won’t make his final decision until it appears before him. Unfortunately, I have not had the pleasure of speaking with Ms. Riddle, but I am looking forward to that. I would like to thank Mr. Rivera and M s. Riddle for considering this. And of course, I’d like to thank Mr. Doran for showing support. Please show them that you care by telling them that you want them to allow 17-year-olds to vote in school board elections or to at least give Berkeley voters the opportunity to vote on it. If Berkeley doesn’t want it, fine. But if Berkeley does want it, local officials should give them a chance. 

C’mon, Berkeley. Let’s get the ball rolling. Tell the papers what you think of our idea (whether you like it or not). We need to have a conversation about this in the press to get our cause recognized. I don’t care how short or long your letter is, but get it in. Write it now! 

We are planning to have another demonstration before the City Council Meeting on Oct. 11. So if you are interested in coming, please e-mail me now (baucer@gmail.com; of course, right after you write your letter to the newspaper). We need more people to come to support to show to the officials that Berkeleyans do care about democracy. We need to show them that Berkeleyans do care about their youth and that Berkeleyans do want this now. 

Thank you for your continued support. 

Rio Bauce 

Chair of the National Youth Rights Association-Berkeley Chapter 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

Supreme Co urt Justice Sandra Day O’Connor was a powerful force for moderation, independence and consensus-building on a much divided court. Judging from the giddy anticipation on the right and from the anti-abortion movement, Supreme Court nominee John Roberts will be anything but a consensus builder. Let’s just hope he doesn’t push the Supreme Court too far to the right and over the cliff.  

Remember how the anti-choice jihadists went off with the mere mention of Alberto Gonzales being a replacement for O’Connor? John Roberts’ selection as Supreme Court nominee has quieted down this noisy contingent. John Roberts is solidly in the religious right’s corner. White House spin will tell you just the opposite. 

Roe v.Wade is just a memory even if a recent poll confirmed 68 percent of Americans are against overturning it while 29 percent were for overturning it. We are about to witness what a committed religious and extremist minority can do when they take over a government. 

Ron Lowe 

Nevada City 


Column: Undercurrents: Traveling at the Mayor’s Speed on the Information Highway By J. DOUGLAS ALLEN-TAYLOR

Friday August 05, 2005

Some years ago, shortly after I got my first Internet account, I signed up to an online discussion group on African-American affairs. It was the opening up of a whole new world. Every morning, first thing, I’d log on and read through the 25 or so e-mails that had already been posted from back east and the midwest. If one or two of them seemed particularly provocative and ripe for reply, I’d think it over while eating breakfast. By the time I got back to the computer a half hour later or so, the west coast had joined in, and another 25 or so messages had been posted to the discussion list, many of them in response to the one or two that had caught my own attention. 

I’m a quick writer, and I write on deadline for a living, but one of my own personal requirements is that I actually have something to write about before I set down at the keyboard and start the process. 

So I’d set off for work with thoughts running through my head and all day long—in between work assignments—I’d compose thoughtful and careful replies to the morning’s posts. First thing after hitting the door at home in the evening, I’d log back on with a four- or five-paragraph essay ready in my head, the only thing lacking being the actual typing itself. 

But by that time—and all of you familiar with Internet chat groups know where this one is going—the list had been flooded with postings (on the most prolific days as many as a hundred), and my first task was to wade through them to find out which one was relevant to the thread I was concerned with. What the hell do these people do all day, I used to wonder. Sit at the computer and write messages back and forth? 

Most often, to my dismay, I’d find that either someone had already sent a post during the day that included many of the points I had planned to make myself, or else in the intervening hours, the discussion had gone so far beyond what it had been in that morning—either degenerating into infighting, backbiting “flame” wars or on to new subjects—that commenting on old news hardly seemed worth it. Funny how information eight hours old was almost always “old news.” 

In the march into the brave new Internet world, I quickly found that I could hardly keep up. The further I got, the more behind I got. And I don’t think I was by myself in this. 

Several years have passed since my early Internet days, and if anything, the average speed along the information highway has increased. Today, the old Internet signup discussion groups that seemed so revolutionary in the early ‘90s are now old school themselves, relics of an ancient past. They have been replaced, in the main, by what we now call blogs (there is an original meaning to the term but, like the term “spam,” the term “blog” has so quickly entered public usage that the original meaning, whatever it was, hardly seems to matter any more, another case where the information has passed by so fast, it’s become irrelevant in its own time). 

Anyhow, for the uninitiated, blogs are personal Internet webpages where you can read what an individual writer is posting on a daily—and in some instances, hourly—basis. 

Some of the blogs seem to be there just for the fad of it. Oakland Mayor Jerry Brown launched his own—to great fanfare in the blog world—at http://jerrybrown.typepad.com earlier this year. This seemed to be in line with Mr. Brown’s carefully-constructed reputation of keeping up with new trends. 

One early poster to Mr. Brown’s blog, someone named Flap, wrote enthusiastically, “Looking forward to many a spirited discussion! Time to start rebuilding California.... wouldn’t you say?” 

But veteran bloggers were more cautious. 

Ann Althouse wrote last February in her Althouse blog (http://althouse.blogspot.com/) that Mr. Brown had gotten “40 comments on the second post at the moment, many of which contain the phrase ‘Welcome to the blogosphere.’ I hate to be unwelcoming, but, jeez Jerry, after you got all that all that attention for putting one reprint up on a blog, why didn’t you show us that you actually meant to be a blogger by tossing us a tidbit every day? I hate to be as catty and exclusionary as a state school sorority girl, but maybe we ought to hold off saluting a new blogger until he’s demonstrated some actually tendency to blog.” 

And a poster to Mr. Brown’s blog named Nora (who indicated that full disclosure required her to reveal that she was a cynical Texas conservative), seemed to know Mr. Brown as well as many of us. “It will be interesting to see how a politician handles this medium where all your critics are just as visible as you are,” she wrote, also last February. “I predict either unprecedented enforced honesty, or you’ll get bored with this before the election and it won’t matter.” Who said Texas conservatives don’t know what they’re talking about? After an initial flurry of posts, Mr. Brown’s enthusiasm has waned, either from boredom or from being busy with other things, or, like the some of the rest of us, simply not being able to keep up (if it’s the last one, I can certainly sympathize). 

In a medium that exists on regular posts, with normally only a couple of days break in between, Mr. Brown’s recent offerings are, to say the least, thin. He posted a blog entry on Oakland Environmentalism on April 30, then, a month later, on whether everybody should go to college, and a month after that, one paragraph on his wedding. His last post, July 4, was about his attendance at Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa’s inaugural. 

Missing in this period, for just one example, was any posting about his reasons for his controversial foray into suspension of Constitutional rights—his “arrest the sideshow spectators” ordinance—that generated widespread discussion in local newspapers, on street corners, in the Oakland City Hall chambers—just about everywhere in Oakland, in fact, except in Mr. Brown’s blog. 

But abandoning projects once he’s gotten them started seems fairly typical of Mr. Brown. It doesn’t take a long memory to recall the time he convinced us that it was absolutely, absolutely! necessary for the good of the public schools that we allow him to appoint three members to the Oakland School Board and then, once we voted him the power, he appointed three members and then appeared to lose all interest in the public schools and rode off, Don Quixote-like, on his horse in an opposite direction, deciding that no, charter schools were actually the way to go. 

If you think any criticism of Mr. Brown’s blog habits are implied here, you are wrong. How Mr. Brown runs (or doesn’t run, or runs away from, or runs for another political office while he’s supposed to be running) Oakland is one thing, but his blog is his own, not an official city function, and how he handles it is his own affair. As for me, considering Mr. Brown’s one-blog-post-a-month habit, I’m just tickled to death that I’ve found someone along the information superhighway with whom I can finally keep up. 



Friday August 05, 2005

Shoplifter’s blade 

A security guard at Walgreens in the 2100 block of Shattuck Avenue recovered more than shoplifted goods after he apprehended a 19-year-old man attempting to leave the store at noon Monday. 

Possession of a concealed switchblade added a potential felony charge to the boosting bust, and a subsequent records check after police assumed custody revealed the fellow was in violation of his probation from an earlier conviction. 


Groping bandit 

A would-be bandit grabbed the breast of a woman customer during an attempted robbery at the Andronico’s in the 1500 block of Shattuck Avenue shortly before 3 p.m. Wednesday. 

The man is described as a white male between 30 and 40 years of age with light brown/dark blond dreadlocks and long facial hair who stands about 5’6” or 5’7”. He was wearing sandals at the time of the foiled robbery, said Berkeley Police spokesperson Officer Joe Okies. 


Pistol and pot 

The Berkeley Police officer who stopped a 15-year-old pedestrian for a street-crossing infraction near the corner of Sacramento and Prince streets late Monday evening spotted a suspicious bulge under the youth’s sweatshirt. 

After the young person admitted he was in possession of marijuana, a quick frisk turned up something more serious—a loaded .38 caliber revolver stuck in his waistband, said Officer Okies. 

Because the piece was listed as stolen, he was charged with receiving stolen property and concealing a weapon as well as a marijuana charge, among others. 


Assailants busted 

Police arrested two men, ages 31 and 25, on charges of assault with serious bodily injury late Monday following an attack in the 1800 block of Dwight Way that ended with the 18-year-old victim in the hospital suffering from non-life-threatening injuries. 


Burglary bust 

Awakened by odd sounds shortly before 6:30 Tuesday morning, a resident of the 800 block of San Diego Road looked out his window to discover a pair of fellows in the process of breaking into his car. 

A quick call to police and a prompt response by officers ended with both men, ages 29 and 30, in custody. “It was a good stop by our night crew,” said Officer Okies. 

The not-so-dynamic duo was captured in possession of property believed stolen in five separate burglaries, resulting in a charge of receiving stolen property. Possession of burglary tools added another. 

Police so far have linked the property to the original burglary on San Diego Road and a second in the 100 block of Tamalpais Road. More charges may been added as the remaining items are linked to other crimes. 


Cyclist robbed 

Police are seeking three bandits, at least one of whom claimed to be packing heat, who robbed a bicyclist of his wheels and his wallet outside the Jack in the Box fast food eatery in the 2100 block of San Pablo Avenue about 9 p.m. Monday. 

The victim didn’t call police until the following morning. 


Batteries charged 

Police booked a 28-year-old man on two battery charges, one of them serious, after an incident in the 2600 block of Parker Street shortly before 5:30 p.m. Tuesday. 

Officer Okies said an off-duty officer from another law enforcement agency had intervened to stop an attack on a 22-year-old when the 28-year-old with the fists turned on him, earning in the process a count of battery on a peace officer in addition to one count for the original battery. 


BART busts 

BART police spotted two furtive fellows in the 1300 block of Cedar Street just after 6 p.m. Tuesday, and their suspicions increased when the pair spotted them and took flight. 

When the officers caught up with them, they discovered a recently stolen purse and some marijuana. 

The pair, an 18-year-old and a juvenile, were booked on suspicion of theft and receiving stolen property. One of the duo also earned a probation violation, plus a pot charge. 

Officer Okies said the purse was returned to its rightful owner. 


French Hotel heist 

A lone pistolero stormed into the French Hotel shortly before midnight Tuesday and demanded cash. The clerk complied. 


Subway robbery 

A gunman walked into the Subway sandwich shop in the 1600 block of Solano Avenue at 8:50 p.m. Wednesday and demanded cash, which he received.

Commentary: Second Amendment is the People’s Life Insurance By ALEC DAWSON

Friday August 05, 2005

People who bear firearms have a legal, moral, and financial responsibility for the terminal resting place of every projectile that is fired. Our rights come with real responsibilities. As a firearms instructor, I am well aware of the flagrant and common ignorance regarding firearm ownership. Often people who keep firearms for self defense do not bother undergoing the training and practice sessions required for proficiency. Firearms education is on a dangerous decline in large part due to the disinformation published by the media and Hollywood. The problem is compounded by the elimination of firearms education in the schools. With today’s “no tolerance” policies you cannot so much as wear a T-shirt depicting a firearm, let alone teach firearm safety in our schools. It may be difficult for many to believe but marksmanship was a sport for which you could earn a letter in high school. It would be irresponsible to abandon our means of self defense because of accidents. Automobile accidents cause far more death and injury than firearm accidents, yet no one is rallying for “car control.” 

Your editorial, entitled “Guns Make Murder Too Easy,” suggests a course of corrective action that is ill-advised to those who wish to preserve liberty and freedom. It is this sort of feel-good, sentimental thinking that can unleash the worst sort of unintended consequences. Gun control is foolhardy at best and down right sinister at worst.  


The Second Amendment…America’s Original Homeland Security 

The Founding Fathers of this great union fully understood the dangers that a standing army posed to the citizens this nation. They fully understood that if the people were to remain free, they had to be armed. So important was this concept that they enshrined it in Amendment II of the Bill of Rights: 

A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed. 

With the adoption of the Militia Act of 1792, every “free able-bodied white male citizen” between the ages of 18 and 45 was required to enroll in the militia. The important key here is that the militia was not the army. The militia consisted of the able-bodied voting citizens of the United States. In a word, the militia consisted of the People.  

Let’s fast forward to the 20th century. During that century alone 170 million people were murdered at the hands of their own governments. In all cases, draconian gun control measures were instituted prior to the fleecing of the populaces. The people willingly disarmed themselves (in the name of safety/security), placing full faith in the governments that would later come to slaughter them. These people learned the lesson … at the wrong end of the barrel. 

Where do we stand today? Self proclaimed “liberal” legislators, commentators, and organizations have been engaged in a long standing campaign to persuade the American people that they would be better off leaving the responsibility of using lethal force to the “authorities.” Most of us, fortunate enough to have been raised here, have no true understanding of what it is like to be under the heel of an oppressive government. Such restrictions on these lethal instruments seem reasonable to average couch potato. After all, when was the last time anybody needed an AR-15 to fend of Federal troops from raping and pillaging their home town?  

In 1932, the U.S. Army (led by MacArthur, Eisenhower, and Patton under the direct orders of President Hoover) cleared out and burned the encampments in Washington D.C. of 15,000 destitute World War I veterans and their families, injuring hundreds and killing several. From 1942 to 1945 120,000 Japanese Americans were involuntarily incarcerated in concentration camps “for their own protection.” In 1970, a contingent of 28 Ohio National Guardsmen opened fire, on students of Kent State University who were conducting a peaceful protest of the Vietnam War, injuring several, and killing four. In Philadelphia during 1985, 11 people, including five children, were killed by the U.S. police, when a bomb was dropped on the house containing members of MOVE. In April of 1993, 74 men, women, and children were shot and/or incinerated in Waco at the hands of federal agents who were attempting to infringe on their constitutional rights. 

One has to wonder where the guardians of freedom are after the Supreme Court ruled in favor of the developer in Kelo v. The City of New London. In that 5-4 ruling, the court ruled that local governments have the authority to declare eminent domain on a private property and award it to different private property for development. They completely redefined “public use” in the last clause of the Fifth Amendment in a way that renders it meaningless. On top of that, the legislative branch, Congress, has been too busy reauthorizing the Patriot Act (a blatant violation of the Fourth Amendment) to bother keeping the judicial branch in check. Congress has exercised its constitutional powers of impeachment against a Supreme Court justice only once in our 231 year history (1805, associate Supreme Court Justice, Samuel Chase). Folks, our Founding Fathers’ legislature would have had those five justices impeached and summarily shot on grounds of treason. 

Let me be clear. The price of freedom is eternal vigilance. We must keep a close eye and tight reign on our legislatures (both state and federal). For it is they who wield considerable clout to either preserve or harm our constitutional republic. Those who would usurp our freedom and liberty will walk amongst us as wolves disguised as sheep. Necessarily, they will attempt to persuade us to relinquish our arms in the name of greater security and safety. Our Founding Fathers’ message is clear. The Second Amendment is a doomsday provision. It is the People’s ultimate life insurance policy. To do away with it, is to invite oppression and genocide.  

They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.  

—Benjamin Franklin 


Alec Dawson is an NRA-certified firearms instructor in Orange, Calif. 




Commentary: Closing Pools Will Be an Expensive Mistake By BILL HAMILTON

Friday August 05, 2005

Summer in Berkeley is wonderful. No need for reservations at restaurants, parking galore, and best of all we have our neighborhood pools for the whole family. When I see the Willard Pool full of kids and families I want to look around for the oak tree with the rope swing. Even though there are no rope swings around these swimming holes, Willard, King and West Campus pools are the destination (usually within walking distance) for kids and families looking to share the magic of aquatic recreation. In the shallow pool a wide-eyed tiny tot grips her mom’s neck while being lowered for the first time into the water. In the deep pool two teenaged boys are trying to catch the eye of a sunbathing girl by doing outrageous cannon balls into the water. In the long pool several adults are doing laps while a lifeguard makes suggestions about swim technique.  

The three outdoor city pools are fantastic public facilities in all seasons where most residents of all ages and conditions can learn water safety, practice healthy lifestyles, and participate in team recreation and community building. The pools are a valuable and vital part of Berkeley life. 

Unfortunately two pools, probably Willard and King, will be closed for nine months (the school year) from the beginning of September through next May due to city budget and service cuts and due to the refusal of Berkeley Unified School District to participate in the use and maintenance of the shared pools. Traditionally, King and Willard Middle schools have offered swimming as a physical education class from September to October and April to May. To avoid having to help share the costs of pool maintenance during these periods the superintendent and School Board ended the pool P.E. classes at King and Willard schools, thus helping to force pool closures for everyone during the prime fall and spring seasons. Obviously BUSD was not aware of the importance of the community pools for health, safety and recreation for children and adults in our community. 

What will be the practical results of these closures? Middle school kids at King and Willard will not learn water safety; will not learn the health benefits of a regular exercise program; and will be less likely to take up the sport of swimming later on in high school and collage. Schools must take some responsibility for the obesity epidemic among today’s youth population. These cuts will hurt the underserved population the most since wealthier parents can always enroll their kids in private swim teams such as the Bears. 

Many in the swim community are using swimming to counter health problems that come from aging. My friends Gael and Stefan suffer from chronic back and hip pain. My back stiffens up with too many days off. We have to swim in order to avoid expensive medicine and doctor bills. We swim proactively and use the pools all year long. 

Many established swim programs such as Yassir’s very popular senior aerobics class at West Campus and Blythe Lucero’s wonderful Berkeley Aquatic Masters (BAM) workouts at both West Campus and King will be shoved into one pool with the lap swimmers forcing overcrowding and the eventual fall off of patrons. Those patrons willing to stay in Berkeley they will be forced to travel across town using the roadways and parking where walking and biking were more appropriate before. In the process the city will lose many talented and helpful aquatic staff. The quality of life for many people will be affected. 

BUSD has made a terrible mistake by ending the swim P.E. classes and not helping to fund the pools, a marvelous shared asset with the community, a community that has been very generous with the school district. In years past the Berkeley High swim teams used Willard pool for training and swim meets, pushing out public swimmers, while not contributing to maintenance costs. Now Berkeley High has a brand new and very expensive pool which is off limits to the community and continues to ignore the needs of its middle school population and the community with regards to health, safety and recreation.  

For parents who want swimming to be part of their child’s school experience contact your school principal, your School Board and the superintendent of schools and request that they work with the city to help support the pools and aquatic education. Public swimmers need to stay involved to expand the wonderful aquatic experience to the whole community. This is a special situation that finds the community and BUSD in the same boat. Let’s work together to keep it afloat. 


Bill Hamilton is a member of the United Pool Council.  


Friday August 05, 2005

Editors, Daily Planet: 

Recently published comments have recalled the Berkeley City Council’s vote in September 2003 to support Congresswoman Barbara Lee’s request for an investigation into the death of a young American woman who was protesting the demolition of Palestinian homes by the Israeli army. As a member of the council majority that supported that resolution, I hope I can clarify the facts for your readers. 

Rachel Corrie, a young woman from Washington state, had been in Palestine attempting to prevent the destruction of homes by the Israeli army. Having placed herself as a human shield in front of a house that was about to be demolished, she was killed by the bulldozer. An investigation into her death by the Israeli government followed. But the Israeli government refused to release the report that resulted from the investigation, even to Rachel Corrie’s parents. 

It was this refusal to recognize a family’s need to understand the circumstances of their daughter’s death that motivated our congresswoman’s request for an American investigation and that inspired the council majority’s support for that request. These events occurred almost two years ago. I feel now just as I did when I supported the Rachel Corrie resolution. It seems clearer than ever that our energies and policies need to focus on ending the human suffering on all sides that is perpetuated by the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. As a citizen and as a public official, I want to do what I can to forward a two-state solution, to help put an end to the tragic destruction, danger, and fear that have become all too familiar, for too long, in that conflicted part of the world. 

Linda Maio 

District 1 City Councilmember 





Commentary: The Oldest Hatred Comes to Berkeley By Lawrence W. White

Friday August 05, 2005

I am surprised that the Berkeley Daily Planet, whose editor recently called for “communication” as the solution to the world’s ills, would publish two pieces in a recent issue (Aug. 2) that pull out all the old anti-Semitic shibboleths in order to beat up both selected individuals and Jews in general.  

Mark Ritchey crawled out from under his rock in Cotati to engage in an incoherent rant attacking the character of a Berkeley citizen. In the process, he uttered several anti-Jewish canards of the sort propagated by the Ku Klux Klan.  

As for Joanna Graham, does she really think that she can curry favor with her friends in the lunatic left by repeating age-old anti-Jewish myths? The concept of an international Jewish conspiracy is right out of the anti-Semitic forgery known as the Protocols of the Elders of Zion. And charges of dual loyalty are the oldest trick in the anti-Semitic playbook. Perhaps Ms. Graham is unaware that the thesis of a Jewish conspiracy to control the media, banks, and government, was standard fare in old Europe, and had the logical consequence of the murder of six million Jewish men, women and children.  

But as long as Ms. Graham is calling for a dialogue in 2006 regarding Israel and Palestine, perhaps she can start by answering some of these questions.  

Why have there been 40 years of airline hijackings, homicide bombers, and murder of children? Why have Jews been murdered, not only in Israel, but all over the world, precisely because they were Jews? 

How come Yassir Arafat, who kept his people in poverty and ignorance by diverting millions to his own bank account, who paid salaries to killers, was considered a “moderate” by Europeans and the United Nations? And why were Arafat’s millions never used to provide housing, education, or utilities for his people? 

If the occupation is the problem, how come the Arabs launched three wars (1948, 1956, 1967) before the occupation began? And how come the Palestine Liberation Organization was established before there was an occupation? What were they trying to liberate? 

How come Germans don’t send suicide bombers into Poland to get back land they lost during World War II? Ditto for Tibetans blowing up Chinese cities. 

Why is it that only the Palestinians claim a right of return? What about the million Jews forcibly expelled from Egypt, Libya, Iraq, and other Arab countries? Are they not entitled to a right of return, or compensation for the billions in property taken from them? 

How come one million Palestinians vote freely in Israel, but not one votes in any Arab country? 

How come, of the hundreds of security fences all over the world, only the security fence in Israel, designed for the sole purpose of saving lives, has been labeled an Apartheid wall? 

How come so many “progressives” in Berkeley favor a terrorist-run Palestine, controlled by a gang of thugs, over a liberal democracy in Israel? 

And how come the leaders of the anti-Israel cabal in Berkeley repeatedly claim threatening phone calls, but never once file a police report, or attempt to track down the source of the alleged threats? 

How come all nationalisms, including the Palestinian variety, are applauded by Berkeley “progressives,” yet Zionism, the movement for a Jewish national home, is treated as a dirty word? 

Joanna Graham expresses her dismay that her son read two books in high school about the Holocaust. She claims that this proves that the Zionists have been busy. Perhaps Ms. Graham can learn from the words of a truly great man, the Rev. Martin Luther King. Shortly before his death, Dr. King had the moral courage to confront hatred of Jews. During a 1968 appearance at Harvard University, he stated “When people criticize Zionists, they mean Jews. You are talking anti-Semitism.” 

In the great city of Berkeley, the need to extirpate this poison from our midst is long overdue.  


Berkeley resident Lawrence W. White is an author, physician and bioethicist. 


Commentary: Little Rock Redux By KATHERINE HAYNES SANSTAD

Friday August 05, 2005

As I envision my young, African-American, Jewish sons walking past the anti-Beth El signs on Oxford Street to enter their new synagogue, I cannot help but think about the Civil Rights Movement and all the children and young adults who had to be taught to hold their heads high and bravely go where they were so clearly unwanted. Our Beth El children will have to do the same. 

The hostility of the opposition to Congregation Beth El’s three-block move into a new building on the long-abandoned property at 1301 Oxford St. is extreme, even by Berkeley standards. It is a pitched battle in which neighbors don’t want fellow Berkeley citizens to park on public streets in accordance with existing parking regulations. It is a campaign complete with a proliferation of signs on Oxford and Spruce Street lawns. Obviously those signs are meant to foment public opinion against our 60-year-old North Berkeley institution, but they have an additional, vulnerable audience: The children and youth of Congregation Beth El.  

For years, Congregation Beth El has run a nursery school, a religious school for elementary and middle school kids, and one of the East Bay’s most beloved camps, Camp Kee Tov, in addition to hosting the Midrasha high school program. Arguably the biggest users of Beth El are not the people who come to services at all, but rather the youth we attempt to steer toward an adult life of community involvement and social justice. Ironically, our North Berkeley neighborhood is giving them an object lesson in rising above public hostility. 

As an African American Jew, Beth El congregant, and mother of two young sons, I am disheartened that I will have to teach my children the same hard lessons my grandmother had to teach my now 80-year-old mother. My mother went to Fisk University in Nashville, Tennessee. The ride from St. Louis, MO, required her to move to the back of the train to the Colored cars under Jim Crow. Frankly, there were many places my mother was not wanted in both St. Louis and Nashville. My grandmother taught her to hold her head up high, be respectful, and be proud of who she was.  

What will I tell my sons in Berkeley in 2005 as they face the hostility of our North Berkeley neighbors? “You have a right to be here. Our congregants have worked long and hard and negotiated in good faith with the neighbors. We have invested hundreds of thousands of dollars to restore Codornices Creek and to build the first geothermal facility in Berkeley. We have rejuvenated land that had lain unkempt since well before I was an undergraduate at UC Berkeley in the late ‘70s. We have built in full accord with zoning regulations and struggled to satisfy requirements that no other institution in Berkeley has had to meet. We have significantly reduced our impact on parking in the neighborhood by providing 31 on-site spaces, a drive-through, and alternate parking options. And yes, we are still not wanted, have not been wanted for 10 years.”  

I will tell them, “Hold your heads up high and meet their gaze. Know that you are part of a 60-year-old congregation, born of this neighborhood, that sent delegations to march with Rev. Martin Luther King, that feeds the hungry, that builds bridges among Berkeley’s religious communities, that has educated three generations of youth, that embraces diversity. And please, be especially polite to those who are acting so ugly to you. Be undaunted.” 

Some may say, “But this is different. We are not attacking your children, we are attacking Beth El.” I ask you what is Beth El? The building is not Beth El; the cars are not Beth El; traffic is not Beth El. People are Beth El. And we are the very old and very young and every age in between. We are white, and yellow, and brown. We are gay and straight. We are taxpayers and residents and voters. We are business owners and public servants. I am Beth El. My children are Beth El. Those signs need no ethnic epithets to scream “We don’t want you here!” Our children can read. Our children know. 

Although my husband and I never dreamed that we would be giving our children the same instructions in Berkeley, Calif., in 2005 that parents gave their teenagers in Little Rock, Ark., in 1957, we are thankful that we have elders among the Congregation Beth El community who opened hostile communities to Jews and African Americans and Asians and Latinos across the United States—elders who have consistently fought for justice for all and prevailed. My sons come from and live among people who know how to persevere, to survive, and to thrive.  

My younger son has two favorite bedtime songs. One is a contemporary Hebrew call for peace, and the other is “We Shall Overcome.” Both yearn for shalom/peace some day. I hope that that day will come soon for us and for our neighbors, but particularly for our children.  


Katherine Haynes Sanstad is a member of Congregation Beth El, Berkeley, where she serves as a member of the board of directors and as the congregation's first vice president. 


Commentary: Chemical Therapy Endangers Psychiatric Patients By SETH FARBER

Friday August 05, 2005

On May 15, I attended Maria King’s funeral at St. Joseph the Worker Church. Maria’s funeral was beautiful, though wrenchingly sad. Saddest of all, I thought, was that the church was only half-full. Since the San Francisco Chronicle had run a front-page story that day “A Death in Berkeley”—I expected the service to be packed. It wasn’t. Some of Maria’s homeless friends were there, and locals who knew her. The priests at St. Joseph’s, especially pastor George Crespin were there, having grown to think of Maria as a friend. Her shocked family was there en masse having flown in long distance from scattered locations.  

I never met Maria. I feel sure if I had, I would have remembered her. Because there is one thing the Chronicle writer got wrong: Maria King was not your average “Homeless Everywoman.”  

Born and raised among the intelligentsia, she was exceptionally, precociously bright and gifted. It was almost impossible for Maria to end up as she did—dead on a cold February street, her head kicked in by two brutal punks. And in Berkeley, of all places, the most liberal university town in America.  

The odds against such a ludicrous tragedy must be astronomical. 

To those with long experience of contemporary mainstream psychiatry, and especially of the federally funded MH/MR system in which Maria was treated, however, an explanation of her terrible death seems all too clear. The question surrounding Maria’s death is not just “where did the system fail,” but rather, “where did it fail the most dismally?”  

Inept psychiatric treatment, mostly especially the cocktail of psych drugs Maria had been force-fed for years was, overwhelmingly, the culprit, precipitating her slide into the mental confusion and instability that led to chronic homelessness—and in the end to her horrible, wholly unnecessary death.  

The East Bay area phone directory lists several pages worth of therapists, psychologists and psychiatrists. Unfortunately, the average layperson is clueless as to how to choose the most appropriate. More unfortunately still, private therapy is expensive, with average starting prices at $150 an hour. 

The most practical answer, seemingly, is to seek out the local MH/MR clinic where patients are billed little or nothing on a sliding fee scale. Thousands of citizens (and their number is ever-growing) avail themselves of federally funded medical care programs when they need a doctor. Medical care is incredibly expensive.  

Maria’s mistake, common throughout the United States, and encouraged by current trends is psychiatry, and by the American Psychiatry Association itself, was to accept the equation of psychiatry with other branches of medicine.  

Few patients realize current mainstream psychiatry endorses chiefly biopsychiatry—and that the federally funded psychiatric system including short-term stay psych hospitals and state hospitals as well the outpatient clinics endorses only biopsychiatry and offers only one “one-size-fits-all” treatment: chemical therapy. 

Somewhere during the ‘80s and ‘90s, with the rise of biopsychiatry, this concept got scrambled, the “talk” aspect of therapy disappeared—and today, much of America, including lower level workers in the psychiatric system itself, firmly believes that psych drugs “cure” emotional or mental problems, in precisely the same way that penicillin cures strep throat. 

That—to misquote the venerable Sam Goldwyn—is, in two words, Im Possible. 

Dangers of chemical therapy have come to public attention within the last decade, but occasional TV news stories about the Ritalin scandals in elementary schools or isolated individuals who became homicidal on Prozac only represent the tip of a massively scandalous iceberg. 

Dr. Peter Breggin has fought a lonely battle for years against the contemporary abuses of biopsychiatry and is the foremost authority in the United States on the dangers of psychiatric drugs. He is the author of 20-some books, one of the most recent is Your Drug May Be Your Problem, and updating of his classic work, Toxic Psychiatry. 

The interested reader is urged to check out his website, www.breggin.com, especially the easy-to-use grid giving capsule information on the most commonly used and abused psychiatric drugs.  

Those with strong stomachs might try sites for Kids Who Kill, www.uhuh.com/education/drugskill.htm (virtually all juveniles who committed murder within the last decade, including Eric Harris, were on psych drugs at the time), and the Law Project for Psychiatric Rights (http://psychrights.org/index.htm).  

The biggest and best-known of the growing number of underground websites for anti-mainstream psychiatry activism is MindFreedom.com. (Endorsement of chemical therapy by the federal MH/MR system is emphatically not an example of the United States government, or any public official being “out to get us.” Not at all. It is a perfect example of gross ignorance—often, well-meaning ignorance and laziness—on the part of the federal funding agencies and politicians who are primarily interested in getting re-elected.)  

The stigma surrounding “mental illness” together with the mystique surrounding psychiatry and psychology remains a formidable obstacles to any layperson, including journalists, politicians and who might seek to investigate it.  

The contemporary version of biopsychiatry is dangerous quackery. It is a cashcow for the big drug manufacturers as well the psychiatric establishment. It helps virtually no one, and it harms thousands of American annually. 

To those seeking therapy or already involved in it, an informed choice is yours for the asking. The choice made by Maria King cost her sanity—and in the end, her life. 


Dr. Seth Farber lives in New York City. 



ARTS: Shotgun Players Bring ‘Cyrano’ to John Hinkle Park By BETSY HUNTON Special to the Planet

Friday August 05, 2005

It’s summer in Berkeley again, and that means that the Shotgun Players are back with their 9th annual production in John Hinkle Park. It’s a double gift—almost any excuse to spend the afternoon in that lovely outdoor theater would do—but Shotgun’s plays have been consistent delights in themselves. 

And it isn’t crass to take pleasure in the fact that they’re financing themselves by passing the hat when the performance is over. You get to decide for yourself what the afternoon seemed worth to you. 

You can’t get a deal any better than that. 

This year’s production is Edmund Rostand’s classic Cyrano de Bergerac. It’s a tale that’s become so embedded in our folklore that almost everybody knows about the courageous swordsman, brilliant wordsmith, and would-be lover with the absurdly long nose. 

But the play is tricky to produce in most modern theater situations. For one thing, Rostand clung to the old tradition of very long plays indeed. For another, the uncut version has more than 50 characters. You have to admit that that’s a whole lot of play. 

Shotgun has demonstrated much creativity and perhaps more than their share of drive (witness their progress up from makeshift, temporary theater venues to this year’s acquisition of the Ashby Theatre). But marshaling 50 actors into one production would be a bit much, even for them. (For this year, at least. Who can predict what these people will take on by this time next year?) 

Director Joanie McBrien became so caught up with the play’s challenge to life that she pursued a number of translations, finally coming on the one by the multitalented American playwright, Charles Marowitz. 

“I knew I’d found the perfect match,” she said. 

The language is beautiful, but it was up to McBrien to bring the play into a version that could be presented in John Hinkle Park. She speaks of “editing and confabulating characters.”  

In this production, the 50 original roles are encompassed by ten actors, four of whom, Fontana Butterfield, Erin Carter, Jared Dager and Dave Maier, all play three or four supporting roles of startling variety, several even playing both sexes.  

In the title role, Clive Wesley does a great job as Cyrano, handling the long speeches about his love for Roxane with the same skill that he displays with his sword. And Gwen Larson is most persuasive as the beautiful and intelligent Roxane. All in all, it’s a strong cast. Andy Alabran, Eric Burns, Matthew Purdon and Gabe Weiss have the opportunity to focus on just one character each, and do good work.  

The structure of the play as it is in this production is unusual. The second act is shorter, and has a significantly darker tone. But it’s a beautiful presentation in a beautiful setting and well worth seeing. 

ARTS: Pauline Kael: Berkeley’s Great Movie Critic By PHIL McCARDLE Special to the Planet

Friday August 05, 2005

Pauline Kael (1919-2001) was the nation’s preeminent critic of motion pictures for almost 40 years. The London Times Literary Supplement described her writings as “a body of criticism which can be compared with George Bernard Shaw’s criticism of music and theater.”  

She was not the first talented writer to take movies as a subject. They attracted critics from their earliest days—anonymous reviewers in newspapers at the beginning of the 20th century; up and coming writers like Robert Sherwood in the ‘20s and James Agee in the ‘40s. However, these distinguished writers treated movie criticism as a sideline. For Pauline Kael, it was the main event. She believed movies are our national theater and deserve serious grownup attention. Through the force of her writing, she made movie reviews important.  

The essay was her medium. Her style was conversational and aphoristic. Hundreds of her phrases stick in the memory, such as her dismissal of The Sound of Music as “The Sound of Money.” She had a sharp wit, a tough mind, and an endless fund of information about movies. (Who else writing about Some Like It Hot would have known that “in one of the earlier versions of this material, a German musical film, the orchestra girls were called The Alpine Violets”?) She inhabited a spacious world of sophisticated ideas, dealing comfortably with such unfamiliar (to most of us) topics as American experimental film and European theories on the nature of cinema. 


Her background 

It is surprising to discover that this seemingly urban woman had strong roots in Northern California ranch country. In Movies on Television, she wrote, 

“A few years ago, a jet on which I was returning to California after a trip to New York was instructed to delay landing for a half-hour. The plane circled above the San Francisco area, and spread out under me were the farm where I was born, the little town where my grandparents were buried, the city where I had gone to school, the cemetery where my parents were, the homes of my brothers and sisters, Berkeley, where I had gone to college, and the house where at that moment, while I hovered high above, my little daughter and my dogs were awaiting my return.” 

She was a child in Petaluma long before it became a bedroom community for San Francisco. In her review of Hud, she described Petaluma as a rough idyll: “The summer nights are very long on a western ranch. As a child, I could stretch out on a hammock on the porch and read an Oz book from cover to cover, while my grandparents and uncles and aunts and parent’s didn’t stir from their card game. The young men get tired of playing cards. They either think about sex or try to do something about it.” But she had also seen “the same boys ... enter a blazing building to save the lives of panic-stricken horses, and emerge charred but at peace with the world and themselves.”  

During the great depression her father lost his property and the family moved to San Francisco, where she attended Girls High School, graduating in 1936. 


Student days in Berkeley 

She enrolled at Cal, majoring in philosophy. The philosophical training shows in her writing—especially in her deflation of the cliches that pass for ideas in the movie world. She was an inveterate reader of fiction and poetry, as well as a moviegoer, and a lot of her undergraduate friends were English majors. 

She gravitated to Berkeley’s bohemian artistic circles. Her reading and her friendships contributed to the singular breadth of literary reference she brought to her film criticism. Among our leading film critics, she has shown the most respect for writers, always identifying the authors of plays and novels on which pictures were based, and the screenwriters who did adaptations or wrote original material. 


Non-student days 

From 1940 to 1952 the public record of her activities is meager. In various places she mentioned writing plays, screenplays, and essays, living in New York and Hollywood, and involvement in making experimental films. She married and divorced more than once, and was a single mother. When she found it difficult to make ends meet, she scraped by with day jobs as a seamstress, cook, or clerk. 

In the 1950s she emerged on the Berkeley scene as a fully formed personality—publishing in magazines devoted to cinema, broadcasting reviews of current films, and managing the Berkeley Cinema Guild. She was in her thirties, intense, and physically energetic. She was small, about the same height as Dorothy Parker and, when the mood was on her, just as acidic.  

In 1953 her first published review appeared, almost by happenstance. Peter Martin, the editor of City Lights, overheard her in a coffee house arguing with a friend about Charlie Chaplin’s Limelight. He invited them both to review it, but only she produced any copy. Then she started writing for such publications as Sight and Sound, Moviegoer, and Film Quarterly. None of them paid much. In an interview in 1966 she said, “In 10 years I made under $2,000 from film criticism.”  

But her published reviews led to a program at KPFA, where she gave her opinion of films playing in theaters around the Bay Area. Her reviews were vivid and usually at odds with what was printed in the Examiner and the Chronicle. 

In 1953, through marriage, she became involved in the Cinema Guild Theaters at 2436 Telegraph Ave. (between Haste and Dwight), a venture which lasted into the 1960s. The two theaters, the Guild and the Studio, each running a double bill, were dowdy little places, but her programming was brilliant.  

The Cinema Guild astonished me when I arrived in Berkeley. For the cost of tickets a student could afford, within the space of a year or two, regular communicants (I became one) could see almost every significant film ever made. At that time even in Hollywood there was no place for people to see the old masterpieces on a regular basis. Young film makers and actors I knew faced their calling as bereft of opportunities to learn from their predecessors as an aspiring poet would be if there were no anthologies of poetry. The Cinema Guild was a wonder.  

Stephen Kresge, a Cinema Guild employee in those days, believed Pauline Kael was trying to forge a whole new cultural attitude: that film as an art was as good or better than the novel or the theater. “She previewed many more films for the Cinema Guild than she actually ran,” he told me. “She was deeply involved in films, but not as an escapist. She was not immersed in fantasies to escape herself, but she was immersed like an artist in her medium. She was an absolute genius in selecting background music for silent pictures and for intermissions.” 

Kresge also believed composing monthly program notes helped her enormously as a writer. The programs limited the number of words she could write about any film. It was always, he said, “a matter of fighting the size of the program to say what she wanted to say and to entice the audience to see films about which it knew nothing.”  

Her connection with the Cinema Guild ended after her divorce. For some time afterward, Kresge recalled, “Pauline lived hand to mouth.” At first she considered opening her own theaters; if she had made that decision, he believed “Money would have been forthcoming.” Instead, she decided to write a book. 


I Lost It At the Movies 

She applied for and got a Guggenheim Fellowship, pulled together a decade’s worth of published reviews and essays, transcribed some of her KPFA broadcasts, and wrote new material to go with them. This became, of course, I Lost It At The Movies, and was a nationwide success in 1965. 

The book is a collection of essays grouped thematically, and unified by her ideas and her personality. It begins by viewing the current state of movies with alarm: “Movies are going to pieces.” 

She argued that academic interest in movies was a bad sign: “Our academic bureaucracy needs something alive to nourish it and movies still have a little blood which the academics can drain away.” 

Next came “Broadsides,” essays aimed at the art-house audience and other favorite targets. In “Movies Remembered with Pleasure,” she reviewed some pictures representing her own touchstones of movie quality. “Broadcasts and Reviews” consists of a selection of her reviews broadcast and printed between 1961 and 1963, and is notable for the KPFA broadcast, “Replying to Listeners.” In it she dismembers female listeners who want her to be more “womanly,” men who objected to her brains, and listeners whose agreement she found embarrassing. The book concludes with “Polemics”—criticism of Siegfried Kracauer’s Theory of Film; Andrew Sarris’s “auteur theory;” and cold war politics in Night People and Salt of the Earth. 

Much of I Lost It At the Movies was intensely local in reference. Looking back, we can read it as documenting the intellectual and emotional tensions of life in left-wing Berkeley between, roughly, the end of World War II and the murder of President Kennedy.  


New York 

After I Lost It At the Movies, Pauline Kael moved to New York and worked for Life, Vogue, McCall’s, and the New Republic. None of these jobs lasted very long, and she was still extremely poor. “I quit [the New Republic] in some despair,” she told Hollis Alpert, “and had no idea what to do. I had come to the conclusion that it was just about impossible making a living as a movie critic. I was lying in bed with the flu, I was busted, when a telephone call came from William Shawn of the New Yorker.” He offered her the job as a reviewer which she kept for 24 years (1967-1991).  

I Lost It At the Movies was followed three years later by Kiss Kiss Bang Bang. Then came a cascade of collections of essays and reviews—Going Steady, Deeper Into Movies, The Citizen Kane Book, and many others, ending with Movie Love. When she left the New Yorker, she retired, covered with glory, to Massachusetts, where she lived for the rest of her life. 

In an interview in 1994, she said, “My pieces belong to the breakneck era before people could rent videos of old movies and before distributors began to supply reviewers with videos of new movies ... I wrote at first sight and, when referring to earlier work, from memory. This had an advantage: urgency, excitement. But it also led to my worst flaw as a writer: reckless excess, in both praise and damnation.”  

Back in 1915, at the dawn of the movie era, a reporter for the New York Dramatic Mirror wrote, “It is always rather difficult to make a sweeping statement about the film field, for no one person may ever see it all.” Many have tried. Pauline Kael came close. A less passionate writer could not have done so much, and her opinions will matter to us for a long time to come. 


Arts Calendar

Friday August 05, 2005



Actors Ensemble of Berkeley, “A Murder is Announced” by Agatha Christie at 8 p.m. at Live Oak Theater, 1301 Shattuck at Berryman. Runs Fri. and Sat. through Aug. 13. Tickets are $10. 649-5999. www.aeofberkeley.org 

Berkeley Rep “The Ugly American” Created and performed by Mike Daisey at Berkeley Rep’s Thrust Stage, 2025 Addison St., through Aug. 13. Tickets are $30-$35. 647-2949. www.berkeleyrep.org 

California Shakespeare Theater, “Nicholas Nickleby” Parts 1 and 2 at 8 p.m. at Bruns Amphitheater, 100 Gateway Blvd., Orinda, through Sept. 16. Tickets are $10-$55. 548-9666. www.calshakes.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. and Sat. at 8 p.m., Sun. at 2 and 6 p.m. at Black Repertory Theater, 3201 Adeline St. Tickets are $25. 332-7125. 

Woodminster Summer Musicals “Hello Dolly!” at 8 p.m. at Woodminster Amphitheater in Joaquin Miller Park, 3300 Joaquin Miller Rd., Oakland, Aug. 5-6 and 11-14. Tickets are $20-33. 531-9597. www.woodminster.com 


Tanaka Ryohei, Japanese Master of Etching. Works on exhibit at Scriptum-Schurman Fine Art Gallery, 1659 San Pablo Ave. to Aug 31. Gallery hours are Wed.-Sat. 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. 524-0623. www.scriptum.com 

“Dream Life” Works by Alexandra Blum and Mariana Garibay R. Reception for the artists at 7 p.m. at Women’s Cancer Resource Center, 5741 Telegraph Ave., Oakland. Exhibition runs to Aug. 31. 532-9696. wwww.wcrc.org/gallery.htm 


Louis Malle: “Zazie dans le Métro” at 7:30 p.m. and “The Fire Within” at 9:30 p.m. at Pacific Film Archive. Cost is $4-$8. 642-0808. www.bampfa.berkeley.edu 

“Doing Time, Doing Vipassana” at 7 and 9 p.m. at La Pena Cultural Center. Cost is $6-$8. 849-2568. www.lapena.org 


Kia Afcari and Mary Osborne on “Sister Surfer: A Woman’s Guide to Bliss and Courage” at 7:30 p.m. at Cody’s Books. 845-7852. www.codysbooks.com 


New Works in the ‘Nabe’ Local artists debut new material at 8 p.m. at the Hillside Club, 2286 Cedar St. Cost is $5-$10. 527-0450. www.hillsideclub.org 

Tanaora Brazil! at 8 p.m. at Anna’s Jazz Island, 2120 Allston Way. 841-JAZZ.  

Beth Custer Ensemble, Will Bernard & Motherbug, rock, jam, fusion at 9 p.m. at Ashkenaz. Cost is $10-$12. 525-5054.  

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

Patrick Landeza, Hawaiian slack key guitar and vocals, at 8 p.m. at Freight and Salvage. Cost is $18.50-$19.50. 548-1761.  

20 Minute Loop, Farma, Jeffrey Luck Lucas at 9:30 p.m. at The Starry Plough. Cost is $6. 841-2082. 

Roz Corral Quartet at 9 p.m. at Downtown. 649-3810. 

Teri Falini, singer-songwriter, at 7:30 p.m. at Nomad Cafe, 6500 Shattuck Ave. 595-5344.  

Shawn Baltazor and The Used Music Ensemble at 8 p.m. at the Jazzschool. Cost is $10. 845-5373.  

Spragga Benz and the Red Square Family, reggae, at 9 p.m. at Shattuck Down Low. Cost is $20. 548-1159.  

Richard Linley at 8:30 p.m. at Epic Arts, 1923 Ashby Ave. Cost is $5-$10.  

Pak-Ten at 8 p.m. at Jupiter. 848-8277. 

Toys That Kill, Bananas, R’N’R Adventure Kids at 8 p.m. at 924 Gilman St. Cost is $5. 525-9926. 

Gonzalo Rubalcaba Quartet, Cuban pianist, at 8 and 10 p.m. at Yoshi’s at Jack London Square, through Sun. Cost is $15-$20. 238-9200. www.yoshis.com 



Origami with Margo Weckslerat 2 p.m. at the Albany Library, 1247 Marin Ave., Albany. 526-3720, ext. 17. 


Shotgun Players, “Cyrano de Bergerac” at 4 p.m., Sat. and Sun. through Sept. 11, at John Hinkle Park. Free, donations accepted. 841-6500. www.shotgunplayers.org 

Teen Playreaders “Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes” in commemoration of Peace Day at 3 p.m. at the Berkeley Public Library North Branch, 1170 The Alameda. 981-6250. 


Louis Malle: “Murmer of the Heart” at 6:30 p.m. and “Lacombe, Lucien” at 8:50 p.m. at the Pacific Film Archive. Cost is $4-$8. 642-0808.  

Jewish Film Festival from noon to 9 p.m. at Berkeley Rep’s Roda Theater. 925-275-9490. www.sfjff.org 


Bay Area Poets Coalition holds an open reading, 3 to 5 p.m., on the front lawn at 1527 Virginia St. Cross street is Sacramento, one block walk from North Berkeley BART. Free. 527-9905. poetalk@aol.com 


UC Berkeley Summer Symphony, in an all-Russian program, at 8 p.m. at Hertz Hall, UC Campus. Tickets are $3-$10. 642-4864. www.ucbsummersymphony.com  

Edmund Wells “Agrippa’s 3 Books,” a band of four bass clarinets, at 8:30 p.m. at Epic Arts, 1923 Ashby Ave. Cost is $5-$10.  

Rhoda Benin & Soulful Strut at 8 p.m. at Anna’s Jazz Island, 2120 Allston Way. 841-JAZZ.  

The Moodswing Orchestra at 9:30 p.m. at Ashkenaz. Swing dance leson with Nick & Shanna at 8 p.m. Cost is $11-$13. 525-5054. www.ashkenaz.com 

Montclair Woman’s Big Band at 8:30 p.m.at La Peña. Conversation with the artists at 7:30 p.m. Cost is $14-$16. 849-2568. www.lapena.org 

Braziu at 9 p.m. at Shattuck Down Low, 2284 Shattuck Ave. Cost is $10-$12. 548-1159.  

Samantha Raven and Friends at 7:30 p.m. at Nomad Cafe, 6500 Shattuck Ave. 595-5344.  

Great Night of Rumi at 8 p.m. at Freight and Salvage. Cost is $18.50-$19.50. 548-1761.  

Guru Garage at 8 p.m. at Jupiter. 848-8277. 

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

Maya Kronfeld Trio at 8 p.m. at the Jazzschool. Cost is $10. 845-5373. www.jazzschool.com 

New West Guitar Quartet at 9 p.m. at Downtown. 649-3810. 

The Junes, acoustic folk, at 7 p.m. at Spuds Pizza, 3290 Adeline St. Cost is $7. 558-0881. 

Odori Simcha and Neal Cronin, acoustic guitar and vocals at 8 p.m. at A Cuppa Tea, 3200 College Ave.  

Three Piece Rabbit, Nuclear Rabbit at 9:30 p.m. at The Starry Plough. Cost is $6. 841-2082. www.starryploughpub.com 

Introspect, Midnight Laserbeam, Loiter Cognition at 8 p.m. at 924 Gilman St. Cost is $7. 525-9926. 



Asheba at Ashkenaz at 3 p.m. Cost is $4-$6. 525-5054. www.ashkenaz.com 


Harold Lloyd: “For Heaven’s Sake” at 3 p.m. and Pre-Code Hollywood: “Girls About Town” at 5:30 p.m. at the Pacific Film Archive. Cost is $4-$8. 642-0808. www.bampfa.berkeley.edu 


Jazz Spoken Word Sponsored by The Jazz House at 6 p.m. at Kimball’s Carnival, 522 Second St., Oakland. Cost is $5. 415-846-9432. 


Lenny Williams at 3 p.m. at Music in the Park at Arroyo Viejo Park, 7701 Krause St., Oakland. Sponsored by Councilperson Desley Brooks. 

Josh Workman World Music Group at 8 p.m. at Anna’s Jazz Island, 2120 Allston Way. 841-JAZZ. www.AnnasJazzIsland.com 

Hal Sinsratz at 10 a.m. at Nomad Cafe, 6500 Shattuck Ave. 595-5344.  

The Men of the Basement at 4:30 p.m. at the Jazzschool. Cost is $10. 845-5373.  

Chuchumbe, from Veracruz, at 7 p.m. at La Peña. Cost is $10-$12. 849-2568. www.lapena.org 

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

King of Kings, reggae, at 9 p.m. at Shattuck Down Low, 2284 Shattuck Ave. Cost is $5-$7. 548-1159.  

Americana Unplugged with The Stairwell Sisters at 8 p.m. at Jupiter. 848-8277. 



“Under the Influence” sculptures by artists with disabilities opens at NIAD Art Center, 551 23rd St. Richmond. To Sept. 16. 620-0290. www.niadart.org 


Les Blank Music Film Fest at 7:30 p.m. at the Hillside Club, 2286 Cedar St. Films include “Marc and Ann,” “Sprout Wings and Fly,” and “The Blues Accordin’ to Lightnin’ Hopkins.” Cost is $5. Wheelchair accessible. 527-0450.  


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


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

West Coast Songwriters Open Mic at 8 p.m. at Freight and Salvage Coffee House. Cost is $15.50-$16.50. 548-1761  

Shelly Berg Trio at 8 and 10 p.m. at Yoshi’s at Jack London Square. Cost is $7-$14. 238-9200. www.yoshis.com 



Just Kidding performs traditional American music using song, instruments and movement, at 7 p.m. at the Albany Library, 1247 Marin Ave., Albany. 526-3720, ext. 17. 


The Whole Note Poetry Series with Selene Steese and Raymond Nat Turner at 7 p.m. at The Beanery, 2925 College Ave., near Ashby. 549-9093. 


Eyeing Nature: “The Forest for the Trees: Judi Bari vs the FBI” with Bernadine Mellis in person at 7:30 p.m. at the Pacific Film Archive. Cost is $4-$8. 642-0808. www.bampfa.berkeley.edu 


EMAM, world beat, at 9 p.m. at Ashkenaz. Cost is $9. 525-5054.  

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

Larry Vuckovich, piano, at 8 p.m. at Downtown. 649-3810. 

Bob Kenmotsu, tenor sax, at 7 p.m. at Caffe Trieste, 2500 San Pablo Ave. 548-5198.  

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

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



“Yosemite in Time” Re-photographs of the work of landscape photographers, by Mark Klett and Byron Wolfe, opens at the Berkeley Art Museum, 2625 Durant Ave. www.bampfa.edu 


For Your Eyes Only: “Our Man in Havana” at 7:30 p.m. at the Pacific Film Archive. Cost is $4-$8. 642-0808.  


John Irving introduces his new novel, “Until I Find You” at 7:30 p.m. at Cody’s Books. 845-7852. www.codysbooks.com 

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

Café Poetry hosted by Kira Allen at 7:30 p.m. at La Peña. Donation $2. 849-2568.  


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

Gerard Landry & The Lariats at 8:30 p.m. at Ashkenaz. Cajun dance lesson at 8 p.m. Cost is $9. 525-5054.  

Stacey Earle & Mark Stuart, roots country originals, at 8 p.m. at Freight and Salvage. Cost is $17.50- $18.50. 548-1761. 

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

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

Yosvany Terry Quintet at 8 and 10 p.m. Yoshi’s at Jack London Square. Cost is $10-$16. 238-9200. www.yoshis.com 



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


Word Beat Reading Series with Zara Raab & H. D. Moe at 7 p.m. at Mediterraneum Caffe, 2475 Telegraph Ave. 526-5985. 


Hauk at 8:30 p.m. at Epic Arts, 1923 Ashby Ave. Cost is $5-$10.  

Fourtet Jazz Quartet at 8 p.m. at Anna’s Jazz Island, 2120 Allston Way. 841-JAZZ.  

Damond Moodie, Chris Marsol at 9:30 p.m. at The Starry Plough. Cost is $5. 841-2082  

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

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

Terrence Blanchard Sextet at 8 and 10 p.m. through Sun. at Yoshi’s at Jack London Square, through Sun. Cost is $12-$22. 238-9200. www.yoshis.com 



Actors Ensemble of Berkeley, “A Murder is Announced” by Agatha Christie at 8 p.m. at Live Oak Theater, 1301 Shattuck at Berryman. Runs Fri. and Sat. through Aug. 13. Tickets are $10. 649-5999. www.aeofberkeley.org 

Berkeley Rep, “The Ugly American” Created and performed by Mike Daisey at Berkeley Rep’s Thrust Stage, 2025 Addison St., through Aug. 13. Tickets are $30-$35. 647-2949. www.berkeleyrep.org 

California Shakespeare Theater, “Nicholas Nickleby” Parts 1 and 2 at 8 p.m. at Bruns Amphitheater, 100 Gateway Blvd., between Berkeley and Orinda, through Sept. 16. Tickets are $10-$55. 548-9666. www.calshakes.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 

Everyday Theater “ Invisible Cities” with performers from Stomp, The Bright River and Hybrid Project at 8 p.m. at Oakland Metro, 201 Broadway at 2nd, through Aug. 13. Tickets are $14-$25. www.epicarts.org/invisible cities 

The Marsh Berkeley “When God Winked” by Ron Jones. Thurs.-Sat. at 7 p.m. at the Gaia Building, 2120 Allston Way, through Sept. 16. Tickets are $10-$22. 800-838-3006.  

“Livin’ Fat” Fri. at 8 p.m., Sat. at 2 and 8 p.m., Sun. at 4 p.m. at Malonga Casquelord Center for the Arts, 1428 Alice St., Oakland, through Aug. 26. Tickets are $15-$25. 332-7125. 

Woodminster Summer Musicals “Hello Dolly!” at 8 p.m. at Woodminster Amphitheater in Joaquin Miller Park, 3300 Joaquin Miller Rd., Oakland, through Sun. Tickets are $20-33. 531-9597.  


“Luminance” Works by ten women artists opens at Giorgi Gallery, 2911 Claremont Ave.  

Mike Woolson, ”Just Desserts: Images From Black Rock City” opening reception at 7 p.m. at Epic Arts, 1923 Ashby Ave. 


Cinema in Occupied France: “Children of Paradise” at 7:30 p.m. at Pacific Film Archive. Cost is $4-$8. 642-0808. www.bampfa.berkeley.edu 


Wendy DeWitt, The Fez Tones at 5:30 p.m. at Baltic Square, behind 121 Park Place, Point Richmond. 223- 3882. www.pointrichmond.com/prmusic 

Irina Rivkin & Emily Shore at 8 p.m. at Rose Street House of Music, 1839 Rose St. RSVP to 594-4000 ext. 687.  

Bobby Matos, percussionist, at 8 p.m. at La Peña Cultural Center. Cost is $12-$15. 849-2568.  

Cosmo, Razorblade, reggae, at 9:30 p.m. at Ashkenaz. Cost is $11-$13. 525-5054.  

Quijerema Latin Jazz at 8 p.m. at Anna’s Jazz Island, 2120 Allston Way. 841-JAZZ.  

Tamika, R & B vocalist, at 8 p.m. at Maxwell’s 341 13th St., Oakland. 839-6169.  

Diamante, latin fusion, at 8 p.m. at Caffe Trieste, 2500 San Pablo Ave. 548-5198.  

Bluegrass Intentions at 8 p.m. at Freight and Salvage. Cost is $24.50-$25.50. 548-1761.  

Catholic Comb, Foma at 9:30 p.m. at The Starry Plough. All ages. Cost is $6. 841-2082.  

George Kahn Trio 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 

Vaughn Johnson Group at 8 p.m. at the Jazzschool. Cost is $10. 845-5373.  

Brown Baggin’, oaktown funk, at 9 p.m. at Shattuck Down Low, 2284 Shattuck Ave. Cost is $5. 548-1159.  

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

Go It Alone, Life-Long Tragedy, Crime in Stereo 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. 

Terrence Blanchard Sextet at 8 and 10 p.m. through Sun. at Yoshi’s at Jack London Square, through Sun. Cost is $12-$22. 238-9200. www.yoshis.com?

The Challenge Continues at Briones Regional Park By MARTA YAMAMOTO Special to the Planet

Friday August 05, 2005

The 2005 Trails Challenge sponsored by the East Bay Regional Park District has reached the halfway point. It’s time to crunch some numbers. Assuming you’re with me, we’ve taken three hikes for a total of 9.1 miles. A total of five hikes need to be completed to qualify for the 2005 pin and four months remain for this task. To qualify for marathon mileage, we need 26 miles. Already signed up for the program are 1,700 enthusiasts; are you one of them? If not you can still call (636-1684) and get with the program. 

To walk with nature is to marvel at her bounty, both flora and fauna. Unfortunately, not all the plants we encounter are meant to be there or even wanted. Some plants will leave a lasting impression if they come in contact with our skin. Others are ecological nuisances; their presence takes habitat from native plants and wildlife. 

“Leaves of three let it be.” From the pale green of spring to autumn red, poison oak (Rhus radicans) flourishes as shrub and vine, often climbing high into conifers. Stems and leaves contain caustic oil that reacts with skin and will produce a rash. The oil lingers on clothing, shoes and pets, an unpleasant reminder of your hike even months later. The rash, however, cannot be passed to others. Be aware of poison oak; try to avoid narrow trails, and wash immediately with soap if it reaches out to touch you. 

More common along the Pacific Coast, but also found in moist redwood forests is stinging nettle (Utrica dioica). This perennial of the nettle family has opposite heart shaped leaves with large teeth. The culprits here are tiny hollow hairs that coat the leaves and stems. When the plant touches human skin, the hairs break off, releasing formic acid, a skin irritant that causes white, itchy spots. The reaction can last from one to 24 hours and is best neutralized with a mild base. A paste of baking soda and water will soothe the rash; in a pinch, use saliva, which is also a base. 

Picture the weeds in your backyard multiplied by thousands of acres of open parkland and you’ll get a picture of the results of this spring’s rainfall. One method used by the park district for the last 40 years to address this is grazing. Cattle, sheep and goats are used in about half the parks to control poison oak, coyote bush, thistle and other invasive species that use up resources. Clearing grassland provides more habitats for wildflowers and wildlife like ground squirrels, tiger salamanders, kit fox and burrowing owls. 

Botanically informed and warned, we’re ready for the next hike. 

Trails Challenge No. 4: Briones Regional Park 

4.3-mile loop, rated moderate, dogs permitted off-leash in undeveloped areas. 

Nestled in the hills north of Lafayette, Briones Regional is a treasure awaiting discovery. Cows can often be seen grazing the rolling hillsides in this 6,000-acre spread of oak forests. Once part of Rancho San Felipe, the park features shaded canyons, hidden lagoons and eye-pleasing views. 

East Contra Costa is hot during the summer. For one who performs a fog-dance whenever the temperature rises above 75 degrees, this is not ideal hiking. My solution was to arrive at the park very early, when the air was cool, with a lingering touch of moisture, and the hills just catching the sun. 

Taking me past several different habitats, this hike was a good introduction to the park. Spring greenery had turned tawny, the air was still and bird song was the only sound I heard. Mature bays and giant octopus-like coast oaks formed tree tunnels over the wide, graveled trail as I climbed a secluded canyon. Lingering ocher monkey flowers and violet clarkias provided spots of color among the forest tones. 

Grassy meadows and sensuous, rippled hillsides of green and tan next met my eye. Looking closely I realized the pale green belonged to thick beds of yellow star thistle intermixed with native grasses, the two carpeting all open space. Though cows openly graze in Briones they weren’t present during my hike, but clues to their past digestion were. 

I later spoke with Park Supervisor Denise de Freese about some fenced areas I had passed. She explained that nine plots are being used to study methods of controlling yellow star thistle (Centaurea solstitialis) an invasive weed covering over eighteen million acres in western United States. Combinations of burning, grazing and spraying of a broad-leaf herbicide are being tested. Citing the heavy rains she went on to say that invasive species, like poison hemlock, milk thistle and yellow star thistle were five times greater than normal this year and that areas had been mown twice attempting to prevent their spread. 

Suddenly the early morning quiet was shattered by voices and laughter. As I came upon an environmental campsite, I was met by a large, boisterous group of young campers and their counselors from Roughing It Day Camp. Separated into small groups, they sang as they walked. One young man in counselor-yellow T-shirt sang out, “There she was just a walking down the street” and his male camper chorus replied, “Singing do wha ditty ditty dum ditty do.” Initially annoyed, I smiled realizing what a special event I was witnessing. Around 50 youngsters had spent the night under primitive conditions and were now happily singing. What better way to pass on a love of open spaces to the next generation? 

From here the trail climbed steeply past Mott Peak, affording additional treats. Vistas spread out before me for miles all around past endless undulations of hills and ravines of greenery. An unexpected color up here was the blue of two lagoons. The slight breeze had reeds swaying and water rippling, while mud hens hooted and foraged in characteristic “tail feathers skyward” pose. What I thought was a metal post morphed into a magnificent Great Blue Heron surveying his domain. It is these unexpected moments that make a hike memorable. 

Perhaps my morning hike began too early, but halfway through I realized I was following directions backwards. This shouldn’t matter on a loop trail, but here it did, because I ended the hike at the complete opposite end of the park, the second time I’d taken the wrong trail. At this point I’d probably hiked at least seven miles, it was hot and I was tired. Two shining knights and their dog came to my rescue. Daniel Carothers, Paul Brown and Joplin graciously drove me twenty minutes to my car, and restored my faith in human kindness. Refusing payment, they only hoped someone would extend the kindness to them should the need arise. 

This hike was well described and trails were marked, but mainly at junctions. As a new hiker to this park I would have liked to see more markers on the trails themselves and faded ones repaired. One trail “Old Briones Road” heads off in various directions from the top, which is where I made my mistake. Using directional names, such as east or west, or destination names, “to Bear Creek Staging Area”, would have saved me. This could be a good “adopt-a-park” project for volunteer groups or high school community service classes.  

My mistake also served to reinforce the subject of hiking prepared. Always carry more water than you think you need, a snack, a hat, and leave information behind about your plans. 

In spite of the extra miles, my morning hike was lovely, introducing me to new terrain, alien invaders, and future preservationists. You can find specific trail directions in your Challenge booklet. If you haven’t yet signed up, do so, and you’ll be 1,701!  


Getting there: From Hwy 24, take Orinda exit. Turn north on Camino Pablo, which becomes San Pablo Dam Rd. Turn right on Bear Creek Road. (You can also take Wildcat Canyon all the way through Tilden Park to where it crosses San Pablo Dam Road and becomes Bear Creek Rd.) Continue 5 miles on Bear Creek Road to park entrance on right (Bear Creek Staging Area). 

Open 5 a.m.-10 p.m. Fees: $5/car, $2/dog. 

There are shaded full-facility picnic areas along Bear Creek.

Berkeley This Week

Friday August 05, 2005


Migrant Trail Walk for Life A video and reports on the trail taken by undocumented workers crossing the border in Arizona, at 7:30 p.m. at St. Joseph the Worker Church, 1640 Addison St. 342-2519, ext. 6215. 

Red Cross Blood Drive from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at 2480 Bancroft Way. Sponsored by the Community of South Berkeley. to make an appointment call 1-800-448-3543. www.BeADonor.com 

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

Women in Black Vigil, 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. 655-6169. www.bpf.org 


Peace Lantern Ceremony August 6th is the 60th anniversary of the world’s first atomic bombing. Gather to float lanterns in remembrance of the victims of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and all victims of war. Decorate lantern shades, hear Japanese flute and drum performances, from 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. at Aquatic Park, at the west end of Addison Street, two blocks west of Sixth St. and a block south of University Ave. 595-4626. Lanterns2005@progressiveportal.org  

Richmond Centennial Festival from 11 a.m. at Marina Bay Park, Richmond. Vendors, live music, children’s activities and fireworks in the evening. 

Fruitvale Transit Village Family Day Celebration from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Transit Village Plaza, with live music and performances, human scale chess game, and other activities. www.bayennale.com 

Sick Plant Clinic UC plant pathologist Dr. Robert Raabe, UC entomologist Dr. Nick Mills, and their team of experts will diagnose what ails your plants from 9 a.m. to noon at the UC Botanical Garden, 200 Centennial Dr. 643-2755.  

Summer Bird Walk with Dennis Wolff and Chris Carmichael at 9 a.m. at the UC Botanical Garden, 200 Centennial Dr. Cost is $8-$12. Registration required. 643-2755. 

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

The Bat Detective Learn about the only mammal that flies, on a hike into the evening. Meet at 7 p.m. at the Tilden Nature Center, Tilden Park. Cost is $5-$7, registration required. 636-1684. 

“A Traveler’s Guide to the Solar System” A lecture by William K. Hartmann, winner of the first Carl Sagan medal at 7 p.m. at Chabot Space and Science Center. Cost is $6-$7. 336-7373. www.chabotspace.org 

“G8 Protests in Scotland and San Francisco” A reportback and video screening at 7:30 p.m. at AK Press, 674-A 23rd St., Oakland. Donation $5-$10. 208-1700. 

Oakland Heritage Alliance Walking Tour of Uptown Art Deco. Cost is $5-$10. For details call 763-9218. www.oaklandheritage.org 

Progressive Democrats of the East Bay Potluck picnic and general meeting on the special election, at 12:30 p.m. at Cordonices Park, Euclid and Eunice across from the Rose Garden. We'll bring the drinks and charcoal. 526-4632. 

Walking Tour of Jack London Waterfront Meet at 10 a.m. at the corner of Broadway and Embarcadero. Tour lasts 90 minutes. For reservations call 238-3234. www.oaklandnet.com 

Free Help with Computers at the El Cerrito Library, 6510 Stockton Ave., El Cerrito. Registration required. 526-7512. 

“Spiritual Forces of the Universe” with Vovo Anomalia at 3 p.m. at Studio Rasa, 933 Parker St. at 8th. Cost is $15. 415-435-2255. 


Social Action Forum with Eric Mills, coordinator for Action for Animals, at 9:30 a.m. at Unitarian Universalist Church of Berkeley, 1 Lawson Rd., Kensington. 525-0302, ext. 306. 

Circle of Concern “What Should Be Done About Nuclear Weapons?” Vigil from 1 to 2 p.m. on the West Lawn of the UC Campus, University Ave at Oxford. 763-9326. 843-3661. 

Strawberry Creek Work Party to help weed himalayan blackberry, cape ivy and other non-natives from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Strawberry Creek Lodge, 1320 Addison St. Please RSVP to kateholum@yahoo.com  

Richmond Centennial Festival from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Point Richmond with an old fashioned parade and picnic. Party at 5 p.m. at the Richmond Memorial Convention Center to celebrate “Richmond Through the Decades,” a media production. Party tickets are $50. For reservations call 234-3514. 

Stay Cool on the Trail enjoy a hike through a riparian canyon and learn about the lives of dragon flies, snakes and secretive packrats. Meet at 1 p.m. at Tilden Nature Center, Tilden Park. 525-2233. 

Music in the Park at Arroyo Viejo Park with Lenny Williams at 3 p.m. at 7701 Krause St., Oakland. Sponsored by Councilperson Desley Brooks. 

Senior Shoreline Hike along the Martin Luther King Shoreline from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. Bring a hat, jacket and binoculars. 636-1684. 

Campfire and Singalong from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. uphill from Tilden Nature Center, Tilden Park. Bring your hot dogs, buns, marshmallows and long sticks. Dress for fog. Call for disabled assistance. 525-2233. 

Hands-on Bike Maintenance Learn how to prevent and repair flats on your bike at 10 a.m. at REI, 1338 San Pablo Ave. Bring your bike and tools. 527-4140. 

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

Chimpanzee Discovery Day at 10 a.m. at the Oakland Zoo, 9777 Golf Links Rd. 632-9525. www.oaklandzoo.org 

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


Spanish Book Club, led by Ricardo Antonio Navarette meets at 7:30 p.m. at Cody’s Books, Telegraph Ave. For title of book to be discussed see www.codysbooks.com 

“The Spirit of Gratitude” A workshop with Sterling Newberry at 6 p.m. at Pharmaca Integrative Pharmacy, 1744 Solano Ave. 527-8929. 

Jewish Community Federation’s Young Leadership Division meets at 7 p.m. at Cuvae, 5299 College Ave., Oakland. Cost is $10. 839-2900 ext. 208. www.jfed.org/yld 


Tomato Tasting from 2 to 7 p.m. at the Berkeley Farmers’ Market, Derby St. at MLK, Jr. Way. 548-3333. 

Mountain Biking Basics with Bobette Burdick and James Lanham at 7 p.m. at REI, 1338 San Pablo Ave. Bring your bike and tools. 527-4140. 

Tilden Tortoises Walking Group to discover the history of Tilden Nature Area. Meet at 9:30 a.m. For ages 55 and over. 525-2233. 

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. Today we will join Ranger Dave Zuckerman to learn the history of the park and nature observations. 524-9992. 

Mini-Rangers at Tilden Park Join us for an afternoon of nature study, conservation and rambling through the woods and water. Dress to get dirty, and bring a healthy snack to share. For children age 8-12, unaccompanied by their partents. Cost is $6-$8. Registration required. 636-1684. 

Family Story Time at 7 p.m. at the Kensington Branch Library, 61 Arlington Ave., Kensington. Free, all ages welcome. 524-3043. 

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. 


“Tracking Your Medicine” How to Keep it Safe and Simple at 10:30 a.m. at Alta Bates Summit Merritt Pavilion Cafeteria Annex B & C, 350 Hawthorne Ave., Oakland. Cost is $5 for non-members. Reservations required. 869-6737. 

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

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

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. 

Young Readers Group meets at 4 p.m. at Barnes & Noble, 2352 Shattuck Ave., to discuss “The Day My Butt Went Psycho.” For ages 8-12. 644-3635. 

Sing your Way Home A free sing-a-long at 4:30 p.m. every Wed. at the Albany Library, 1247 Marin Ave. 526-3720. 

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

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

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



How a Flower Grows Learn how seeds turn into flowers, why they smell and what makes them interesting to bees and butterflies. A program for 8 to 12 year olds. Cost is $5-$7. Registration required. 525-2233. 

East Bay Mac User Group Sal Soghoian,product manager for Apple, will introduce Automator, at 6 p.m. at Expression College for Digital Arts, 6601 Shellmound St., Emeryville. ebmug.org 

World of Plants Tours Thurs., Sat. and Sun. at 1:30 p.m. at the UC Botanical Garden, 200 Centennial Drive. Cost is $5. 643-2755. http://botanicalgarden.berkeley.edu 

Chimpanzee Discovery A lecture with Linda Koebner of Chimp Haven, a retirement home for chimpanzees, at 7 p.m. at the Oakland Zoo, 9777 Golf Links Rd. Cost is $20. 632-9525. www.oaklandzoo.org  

“No Pain, Great Gain” A workshop on pain management with Ed Bauman at 5:30 p.m. at Pharmaca Integrative Pharmacy, 1744 Solano Ave. 527-8929.s



Editorial: Watching the News of the Day By BECKY O'MALLEY

Tuesday August 09, 2005

The death of longtime ABC evening news anchor Peter Jennings reminds us of a time when network news created reality for millions of Americans. For about four decades those who cared about what was going on in the nation and the world—and it seemed that most adults did—could get a quick and trusted summary of world events by watching television for a half-hour in the evening. In his heyday, everyone believed Walter Cronkite, of course. After Cronkite’s era, there was no single news anchor who commanded the same unquestioning respect, but for a period of time Peter Jennings came close.  

Despite ABC’s repeated assertions that he was above politics, left-leaning viewers who were suspicious of what was going on nationally in the 1980s thought of Jennings as the most simpatico of the three choices for the nightly update. He didn’t fawn over Reagan, as many commentators did. The bad news was always reported along with the good. 

And then people just stopped watching the evening news. According to a 2004 study by the Project for Excellence in Journalism, in 1980 75 percent of television sets in use were tuned to one of the three nightly network newscasts each night during the dinner hour. In 2003, it was a 40 percent share. The study examined a variety of hypotheses for why this might have happened, but reached no definite conclusions. 

CNN is one answer. If interested but busy news consumers can get a quick hit on their own schedule, instead of having to sit down at a particular time of night, that’s appealing to many. (Fox News, however, is more like anti-news: entertainment in a package which only resembles news.) 

For discriminating news junkies, National Public Radio has offered news coverage with more depth than television news and more easily accessed, with loop drive-time broadcasts enabling commuters to multi-task. (It looks like the Bush administration is trying to change that.) National newspapers—U.S.A. Today, the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal—provide up-to-date news in writing for those who want it that way. And finally, it’s now possible for those who care to get their news from all of the above, any time, day or night, anywhere there’s Internet access.  

The Web provides more than just a connection to all flavors of national media, however. It also gives skeptics a window on many different interpretations of what’s happening, taking the niche once dominated by Pacifica Radio and an ever-changing list of small magazines and opening it up to a vast number of new news sources. Indymedia, weblogs, the foreign press—if you’re curious, it’s all available to you on the Internet. But still, the problem is whom to believe, particularly if you only have a half-hour every day to get some quick idea of what’s going on in the world.  

For a surprising number of my well-educated friends, the answer turns out to be “The Daily Show.” They rely on host Jon Stewart’s nose for the ridiculous news to tell them what’s going on that they really shouldn’t miss. The presupposition underlying this strategy is that things are only going to get worse, so a satiric look at the low points in the events of the day is the best way of finding out quickly how much worse and why.  

And why does no one even mention local newspapers as a source of news any more? Perhaps it’s because they seem to be falling all over each other in their race to the bottom, as circulation plummets. Headlines and photos get bigger and bigger, the number of column inches of print gets smaller and smaller, and then newspapers wonder why fewer and fewer readers bother to pick them up. They don’t seem to understand that their pictures will never compete with television, and their biggest headline is no match for Internet graphics. 

Watching the daily decline of the San Francisco Chronicle, which was never a great newspaper but had moments of adequacy, is painful. Talking to friends who work there, and who are still trying to do a good job in the face of the Hearst Corporation’s relentless cost-cutting, is even more painful.  

The network newscasts and the major metropolitan papers of the last part of the twentieth century shaped a reality which was somewhat flat, two-dimensional, lacking the variety of points of view which can now be obtained by those who seek them from the Internet’s vast array, but at least many people cared enough to watch the news shows and read the newspapers every day. What Peter Jenning’s passing reminds us of most forcefully is that most Americans no longer seem to care much about what’s going on in the world, and that’s frightening. 





Martial Artist Restores Telegraph Landmark By RICHARD BRENNEMAN

Friday August 05, 2005

He’s a soft-spoken man with a relaxed manner, an open smile and a gentle handshake—the perfect temperament for a developer tackling a landmarked Berkeley building. 

But if he wanted to, he could kick your ass. 

Besides being the 40-year-old builder who is restoring a Telegraph Avenue mainstay, David Clahan is a master of the martial arts. Before tackling the vacant Gorman Furniture Building, his last project was the Ralph Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Academy at the northeast corner of Ashby Avenue and Sacramento Street. 

For the last 11 years, Clahan has been a student of Brazilian-born Gracie, and he’s now an instructor at the new Berkeley academy and the holder of an impressive collection of titles in his own right. 

Judging by the experience of other builders, one might think a fighter’s skills would be helpful in dealing with all the potential hurdles, but Clahan says folks have been but nothing but helpful at every turn. 

The builder/fighter bought the historic furniture building at the corner of Telegraph Avenue and Parker Street from Ali Kashani, a former affordable housing developer who’s now entered the ranks of for-profit development. 

“He warned me again and again when I was buying the property,” said Clahan, “but the landmarks people have been very helpful.” 

It was Kashani who sold Clahan the building after abandoning his own plans for the structure. 

As work on the venerable wood frame structure at 2599 Telegraph nears completion, Clahan’s already won the praises of Leslie Emmington, the member of the Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) who has probably voted “no” on more projects than any of her other fellow commissioners. 

Indeed, as Emmington and fellow LPC member reviewed the latest draft of Clahan’s plans outside the building Monday, she was encouraging him to tackle yet another Berkeley landmark-in-the-making a few blocks away. 

“You’ve really done a wonderful job,” she told the builder. “It’s really been a pleasure.” 

When it’s all done—hopefully in time for the back-to-school housing rush later next month—the J. Gorman & Son Building will be restored to its former glory, though all that remains of the original will be the siding. 

Among the restorations he’d bring is the long-vanished “witch’s cap,” the tipi-shaped roof atop the turret over the building’s main entrance at the corner of Telegraph Avenue and Parker Street. 

That cheerful architectural fillip was lost in a remodeling, and the restoration will give the building a distinctive Victorian touch. 

Also returning will be the long-vanished transom windows over the ground floor windows of the two commercial spaces, adding yet another touch of elegance. 

The J. Gorman & Son Building meets both definitions of a landmark. While the official legal status was bestowed in December 2000, Gorman had been a Berkeley cultural landmark since 1876, when Irish immigrant John Gorman opened his furniture and upholstery business. 

In 1906 the corner store expanded further north on Telegraph Avenue, and the business remained a Berkeley mainstay through three generations of Gormans until Chuck and Andrea Rosenberg bought the business in 1996. 

The Gormans sold the building itself to Kashani and architect Kava Massih in 2001. 

In September 2003, the Rosenbergs moved the furniture business to 3400 Broadway in Oakland, ending a Berkeley run of 127 years. 

Kashani and Massih later abandoned their plans for refurbishing the structure. 

“I got the impression that the scope of work was beyond their intentions, but because I do a lot of the work myself, I thought I could handle it,” Clahan said. He hired Massih’s architectural firm to draw up plans for the project. 

“I loved it from the moment I first saw it. It was like a diamond in the rough, ready to come out. And it really wasn’t so bad, considering some of the projects I’ve handled,” he said. 

Clahan was eager to tackle a new project. He’d recently sold one of his earlier projects, and he needed to plow the profits back into a new building or face a sizable capital gains hit. 

Besides the complications posed by additional levels of review, the building’s landmark status offered one clear advantage: the chance to use the state Historic Building Code, which eases some rules to allow developers to restore officially designated in a more cost-efficient manner.  

Clahan learned the building business from the top down. 

“I started out as a roofer, and worked my way into real estate,” he said. He formed his own company, bought and restored some investment properties, selling the company in 1994. 

“Every year I try to buy a couple of buildings and work on them,” he said. “I like to move up a level when I do.” 

He’s renovated quite a few homes, occupying many of them for a time. He lives in Albany with his spouse and their 12-year-old daughter. Before that he lived in Berkeley. 

He has done commercial projects before, but Gorman’s is the biggest structure he’s ever tackled. “It’s not the most complex, though,” he adds. 

By the time the last paint has dried and the final finishing touches are in place, the old/new furniture building will offer something perhaps unique in Berkeley—the only apartment building around that offers three- and four-bedroom apartments, two of each, ranging in size from 1,100 to 1,500 square feet each. 

And if all goes as planned, they’ll be ready to rent when students and teachers return for the fall semester. 

He’s already signed up one tenant for the northernmost of the two commercial space. Krishna Copy will be moving down from another landmark further up the street, the Mrs. Edmund P. King Building at 2501 Telegraph Ave. 

For the second space, he envisions a cafe or coffee shop—though doing so would require a zoning change. 

Asked just how many projects Clahan has tackled to date, the modest builder says he can only estimate. “This may be number 50,” he said. 

What’s next? 

“I’m going to take some time off,” he said.Ã