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First Day of School By Jakob Scholler: Victoria Falmenco, 21, a junior, puts her new UC Berkeley ID card in her wallet while Khenti Lee, 2, enjoys the sun on Sproul Plaza Monday afternoon. Lee was on campus with is mom, Jasmine Lee, a fourth-year African American Studies major, for the first day of classes.r
First Day of School By Jakob Scholler: Victoria Falmenco, 21, a junior, puts her new UC Berkeley ID card in her wallet while Khenti Lee, 2, enjoys the sun on Sproul Plaza Monday afternoon. Lee was on campus with is mom, Jasmine Lee, a fourth-year African American Studies major, for the first day of classes.r


BUSD Gears Up For New School Year By J. DOUGLAS ALLEN-TAYLOR

Tuesday August 30, 2005

Two days before students are scheduled to come streaming into the halls and classrooms, two Berkeley public schools showed radically different approaches to preparation this week. 

At LeConte Elementary School, the hallways were virtually empty, with a si ngle custodian wheeling a cart of chairs to be delivered to a classroom, and an office worker and a student in the beginning stages of filling up the school’s bulletin board. In one classroom, a teacher pored over notes, “Prince” playing quietly in the ba ckground on the radio. Two doors down, veteran first grade teacher Deborah Barer (11 years at LeConte, 17 years in private school before that) has kicked off her shoes by the door and was deep into her second day of work getting her classroom ready. 

“Aft er so many years, I’m getting better at it,” Barer said. “I know that for the new teachers, there’s a lot more angst. My biggest problem is that I’ve just become so overloaded with stuff. I could easily spend a week to do it right, to get ready for the ki ds, but you just have to set a boundary point.” 

Barer said she worked all day Saturday until 7 in the evening, and “I’ll probably have another marathon day tomorrow [Tuesday] to get everything ready for Wednesday’s first day.” 

While middle and high school teachers “are probably more focused on developing lesson plans,” according to Barer, “the focus of the elementary school teacher is on the classroom itself. So much of the learning comes from the type of environment you set up. You have to provide the students with a room that looks organized, that’s friendly, and comfortable, and diverse. It’s a tall order.” 

Instead of the rows of desks all facing front towards the blackboard that used to be the classroom standard, Barer organizes her classroom into work centers—a listening area, an art center, a guided reading area, a spot for recyclables (next to the sink, since recyclables tend to get messy among first graders), a four-computer-one-printer technology center. About two-thirds of the available wall space is filled with teacher-developed projects for students to work on—a calendar, for example—but Barer says some of the space will be left vacant for students to fill with their own work. 

“If I don’t do that, it won’t be their classroom,” she said, with a laugh. “It will be a publisher’s classroom.” She uses the same philosophy in developing her own work materials for the students. “I could buy pre-fab stuff from the teachers supply store,” she said (noting that she would have to use her own money to do so), “but all of that comes with the numbers and things already on it. The children learn more when they see the things developed in front of them, or when they have to develop them themselves.” 

A few blocks away at Willard Middle School it wasn’t jus t the individual classrooms that were getting a renovation; it was the entire school. Over the summer, Willard had an extensive overhaul: a new disabled access ramp outside, new ceiling tiles and linoleum floors in the hallways, removing student lockers, repainting classrooms. 

While the inside of Willard looks like a new school, it also looked very much like a construction site two days before school opening. The basketball courts were stacked with 2X4s and 2X2s and plywood sheets, and a workman was still cleaning up the concrete residue outside from the recently finished handicap access ramp. In fact, more construction workers than teachers filled the hallways this week, and while one administrative staff member said “we’ll be ready for Wednesday,” there was still clearly a lot of construction-related work to be done. The linoleum floors appeared only recently cut to size, with the cuttings still strewn across the floor, and many of the black baseboard trims not yet in place. In some spots, butcher paper was still pasted along well-traveled pathways in the halls to keep the rolling construction carts from ruining the floors. The entire inside of the A Building—which houses the school library—was still under complete renovation, with the exposed framing showing wire conduits and air conditioning vents still needing to be put up. 

In between the construction, the work of teacher preparation at Willard still goes on. 

In one otherwise empty room, two teachers huddle with a counselor at a single table, asking her questions as she checks information on a computer. A teacher hustles by from the supply room with an iMac under his arm, grimaces as he looks down the cluttered hallway, and says, “Doesn’t look like it’ll be finished, does it?” A few more teach ers move in and out of an administrator’s office, a jumble of boxes and desks, still being set up. In another room, someone has stacked several loads of packing boxes with various labels that give a hint at their purpose in the coming school year: Cathy C’s Stuff (R&J/Poetry, etc.), Cleaning Supplies, Books, Folders, Beg. Of Year Stuff. Beside them are several packages of color-coded notebooks in cellophane wrapping, the hundreds of lined pages empty now, to be filled by students as they go through their course work. 

In another room, posters sit on top of a desk, waiting to be put up on the wall. One of them is a picture of Malcolm X with the quotation written below: “Of All Our Studies, History Is Best Qualified To Reward Our Research.” At the far end o f the room, a white dry-erase board stands empty, except for the single neat notation in the upper left-hand corner: “8/31/05”—the first day of the new school year in the Berkeley Unified School District.eU

District Urges Caution Despite Extra Money By J. DOUGLAS ALLEN-TAYLOR

Tuesday August 30, 2005

The Berkeley Unified School District is projecting that it will have $346,000 more for the school year than it anticipated last June when the 2005-06 budget was passed, but district officials cautioned that it’s not quite the time to open up the checkbook to more spending. 

“I keep getting calls from constituents who have heard that the budget problems are easing, and are asking me if we can now put funding into this program, or that program,” BUSD Board President Nancy Riddle said at last week’s meeting. “I just want to caution people. Our budget problems are not yet over. We’re still on a tight budget.” 

In figures released to the board last Wednesday by Director of Fiscal Services Song Chin-Bendib, the district now projects a $1.8 million surplus out o f a total $50.1 million unrestricted general fund budget. Chin-Bendib stressed that the figures do not include funds generated through local Measures B, BB, and BSEP. 

Aside from some minor accounting details, Chin-Bendib said that many of the major chang es between the budget passed the end of last June and the district’s working budget as of Aug. 5 come from adjustments from a compromise between the state legislature and the governor’s office that occurred after BUSD’s budget was passed. 

Because Gov. Ar nold Schwarzenegger backed off on his proposal to shift teacher retirement costs from the state to local school districts, BUSD now projects paying more than half a million less in pension costs than it anticipated. That savings was partially offset, however, by other increased employee benefit costs to the general fund as well as deeper cuts than anticipated in state aid. 

Chin-Bendib and Superintendent Michele Lawrence also pointed out that both the original and the revised budget figures project about $3.7 million lost to BUSD in state aid over the last two years because of the governor’s deal with state school leaders two years ago to “temporarily” suspend some of the provisions of Proposition 98. That “temporary” suspension has now become permanent—i n the governor’s eyes, at least—and Chin-Bendib noted in her presentation to the board that “there is no hope of recouping these funds in the absence of successful litigation—and that would be a long time coming (if ever).” 

Earlier this month, the Califo rnia Teachers Association, Superintendent of Public Instruction Jack O’Connell, and a group of public school parents sued Gov. Schwarzenegger in Superior Court in Sacramento over his Prop 98 cuts, asking that full-funding of the education voter initiative be restored. 

At the time of the filing, CTA Vice President David Sanchez said that the complaint “is meant to force the governor to honor his word, the will of the people, and to ensure California students get no less than the minimum school funding gua ranteed under our constitution. The governor hasn’t just broken a promise, he’s broken the law.” 

Redevelopment Foes Challenge Oakland Project By RICHARD BRENNEMAN

Tuesday August 30, 2005

“Redevelopment is very simple to understand,” said Orange County Supervisor Chris Norby at Sunday’s community meeting on proposed redevelopment in Oakland. “It’s a land grab by corporate interests, big-box retailers and developers to grab land from people like you.” 

“Always run screaming when you hear a politician or a developer call a property ‘underutilized,’” added Oakland preservationist Jane Powell. 

“The residents of Oakland who don’t live in redevelopment districts will be picking up the tab,” said Anne Weber, a West Oakland resident. 

“You have to start reading and following the issues,” said recent Oakland City Council candidate Pamela Drake, a self-described policy wonk. 

Opponents of the proposed new redevelopment district in North Oakland greeted the speakers Sunday with frequent bursts of applause. The conservative Southern California official gathered the most raucous approval. 

The meeting was organized by project opponents Bob Brokl and Alfred Crofts, along with others in the community. 

One of the catalysts for Sunday’s gathering was the U.S. Supreme Court’s June 23 ruling in Kelo v. City of New London, which held that local governments can use eminent domain to force property owners to sell to private developers if a proposed project would benefit the public. 

The court ruled that local governments needn’t make a finding of blight, the usual determination for invoking eminent domain for redevelopment, nor does it require a finding that the new project will succeed. 

“Redevelopment” is the latest incarnation of what began as “urban renewal” in the late 1940s. It is a program proponents say will salvage run-down urban districts by channeling tax dollars toward projects designed to eliminate “blight.” 

The district under consideration would target 800 acres of Oakland immediately south of the Berkeley border—a district many residents say is anything but blighted. 

To be granted status as a redevelopment area, the City Council—sitting as the Redevelopment Agency—must make a specific finding that the area is blighted, a term so broadly defined that critics say it is basically meaningless. 

Norby, a property rights traditionalist, said he sees redevelopment as a tool of the powerful using the force of the state to benefit the rich at the expense of home and small business owners. 

He points to the case of Wal-Mart, which has benefited to the tune of $1 billion in redevelopment projects nationally over the last two decades, including $100 million in California. Sports team owners have won massive concessions under redevelopment, he said, citing the cases of Oakland Raiders owner Al Davis in Oakland and San Diego Charges owner Alex Spanos in San Diego. 

“That’s wrong, and you have to stop it,” Norby said. 

Land seizures and projects benefiting big box retailers and auto malls have become commonplace, Norby said, because local governments are desperate for sales tax revenues. 

“Officials say, ‘We’ve got to get Wal-Mart, otherwise Berkeley or Emeryville or Albany will get it’,” Norby explained. 

Of particular concern to many who gathered in the colorful building at 4799 Shattuck Ave. Sunday afternoon was the broad criteria that can be used to declare an area “blighted,” the key finding needed to establish and redevelopment district. 

“If you aren’t enjoying your property to its ‘highest use,’ then they can take it,” Norby said. “So basically, you have no property rights.” 

One of those who took up the microphone Sunday was John Revelli, whose 56-year-old family-owned tire shop was seized by Oakland’s Redevelopment Agency the day after the Kelo decision. 

“It had been a very successful business. We treated out customers very fairly and we thought we could continue in business till we didn’t want to,” Revelli said. “But on July 1, they forced Tony Fung and myself out of business.” 

Fung owned the Autohouse, a neighboring car repair business. 

“The city said they needed the property to do trenching and soil testing,” Revelli said. “I’ve now joined the ranks of the unemployed, and not by choice.” 

Also at the meeting was a contingent from San Jose’s Coalition for Redevelopment Reform, which is battling redevelopment projects in that city. 

“We’re here because we’re united on this issue,” said Lorraine Wallace Rowe, the group’s chair. “This is not just an Oakland problem. Redevelopment is not just a local issue. Don’t let anyone fool you.” 

Rowe said that after her initial shock at the Kelo decision, she realized the ruling was a powerful tool for redevelopment opponents. 

“The court said that it was up to individual states if they wanted to make changes,” she said. 

Attending a symposium of the California Redevelopment Association—the umbrella organization for redevelopment districts across the state—she said she heard an organization official declare that Kelo could mean the end to redevelopment in California. 

“He said that if state legislation passed banning the taking of property to give it to someone else, they would have no power,” Rowe said, referring to pending legislation by state Sen. Tom McClintock, R-Thousand Oaks. 

McClintock’s bill calls for a statewide referendum on a constitutional amendments that would bar the taking of private property for the benefit of private developers. 

Among those in the audience Sunday were aides to several legislators and Oakland City Councilmember and mayoral candidate Nancy J. Nadel, who said she favors redevelopment in her West Oakland District. 

Speaking briefly, she said that Sunday’s meeting “is the signal to me that redevelopment is not the necessary tool in this area. ... I’m here to implement what you people want in your community,” a remark that gathered considerable applause. 

Rachel Richman, aide to Assemblymember Wilma Chan, D-Oakland, said the meeting was well timed to help her boss consider the legislation. She urged the audience to fax and e-mail legislators about the legislation and to share their own experiences with eminent domain, 

Also on hand but not speaking was Taina Gomez, an aide to Assemblymember Loni Hancock, D-Berkeley-Richmond. 


‘Flying Cottage’ Encounters Turbulence at ZAB Meeting By RICHARD BRENNEMAN

Tuesday August 30, 2005

South Berkeley’s Flying Cottage hit yet another patch of turbulence Thursday night, this time from members of the Zoning Adjustments Board. 

Capped by an increasingly tattered collection of blue tarps, besmirched by gang graffiti and littered with trash and weeds, the remnants of an Edwardian cottage stacked atop a two-story plywood box have met with little favor over the past three years. 

The structure at 3045 Shattuck Ave. was back on ZAB’s agenda after owner Christine Sun and her architect Andus Brandt opted to stop meeting with the city Design Review Committee (DRC), which had been demanding changes to Brandt’s design. 

“A few years ago we started with proceedings, and now we’re dealing with design issues. No one on staff can recall a situation quite like this,” said city Principal Planner Debbie Sanderson. 

Sanderson acknowledged that the staff report on the project to ZAB members “may have treated Design Review as the appellant,” noting that “this is the first time that staff have considered making a different decision than Design Review.” 

While the staff had originally considered that the project should go back to the DRC, Sanderson said Deputy City Attorney Zach Cowan ruled that it couldn’t and that it should instead be referred to city staff alone. 

“We came to the highly unusual conclusion to overturn Design Review and approve the design with additional changes,” she said. “Staff has recommended three changes and the decision is up to ZAB.” 

Brandt opened with a shot across the bow of the DRC. “There seemed to be great confusion at DRC about its role.” 

Noting that the original permit had been vacated, Brandt said that “if people really understood the many improvements” to the design, “they would think it was quite nice.” 

But neither the five DRC members present for the meeting nor the well-organized neighborhood opponents agreed. 

Brandt singled out one critic, declaring that he believed that some neighbors would have approved his latest design, “but they would only meet with the mediation of Robert Lauriston.” 

When it came his time to speak, Lauriston called on ZAB members to uphold the June 16 DRC decision and reverse the staff conclusion that found the project in compliance. “I also want you to encourage Ms. Sun to negotiate with the neighbors,” he said. 

Victoria Ortiz, who lives next door to the project at 3051 Shattuck Ave., told ZAB members that “for more than eight months she hasn’t bothered to remove the mouldering trash that has become a hazard and for more than eight months hasn’t bothered to cut the grass.” 

Ortiz also said the structure “has seen a steady stream of homeless people and drug sellers,” and despite complaints to the city police and fire neighborhood liaisons, the structure is adorned with highly visible gang graffiti. 

“Please require her to put forward a plan to fix the property,” Ortiz pleaded, noting that a July 4 grass fire on the property might have had disastrous consequences but for the prompt arrival of firefighters. 

Neighbor Jennifer Elrod, who said she lives “32 feet from that monstrosity,” said Brandt had never contacted her to ask her opinions on the project. 

“I support the DRC,” said Jack Appleyard, another neighbor. “It is important as a matter of principle and practice not to overturn the decision of DRC. It’s a signal to developers.” 

Appleyard said he suspected that city staff might have responded different had the project not been in South Berkeley. 

DRC Chair Burton Edwards said he was “disappointed in the staff report that recommended that you overturn the DRC decision,” noting that “the DRC comments were under-represented in the staff report.” 

Edwards said that “because the building got to be larger than anyone expected, it needs to be a really good design to compensate. The purpose of the Design Review Committee is to get developers to make their buildings compatible with their neighbors. This isn’t.” 

He also pointed out that the June DRC decision was reached on a unanimous vote. 

Brandt acknowledged that the DRC process had resulted in a “much better looking building,” but said that because the size of the latest design had reduced the structure to less than 5,000 square feet, it was no longer the concern of DRC. 

He then accused Lauriston of “character assassination,” saying that he and Sun didn’t want to limit who they could meet with. “The client specifically said she wanted to meet with the two immediate neighbors, but both refused to meet with me.” 

After a long discussion, ZAB member David Blake recommended the creation of a subcommittee formed of a ZAB member and two DRC members to work with the developer on a compromise. 

After a lengthy discussion, his proposal passed with only Dean Metzger voting no. 

With Bob Allen as the ZAB representative and Burton Edwards and David Snippen representing the DRC, the panel is scheduled to report back to ZAB on Sept. 22.

City Officials Call on County to Implement Instant Runoff Voting By RICHARD BRENNEMAN

Tuesday August 30, 2005

Berkeley election activists rallied on the City Hall steps Monday afternoon to call on Alameda County to hire a voting machine vendor that will support independent runoff voting (IRV) and provide a verifiable paper trail. 

City Councilmembers Kris Worthington and Max Anderson were joined by Mayor Tom Bates and Nancy Bickel from the League of Women Voters, who co-chaired the committee for Measure I, the March 2004, Berkeley ballot initiative calling for implementation of IRV, which allows voters to list candidates in their order of preference and which is supposed to eliminate the need for costly runoff elections.  

Tuesday’s Alameda County Board of Supervisors meeting will consider a call for a Request for Proposals to find a new election equipment vendor capable of meeting the state’s verified paper trail audit requirement. 

Supporters want the supervisors to add a requirement that whatever system is chosen will support IRV elections. 

“If you don’t get active and make sure it’s included, it won’t happen in 2006, or even in the next (presidential) election,” said Worthington. 

He said that runoff elections cost about $100,000 for a city council seat and more than $300,000 for citywide mayoral and auditor elections. 

“We want IRV,” said Bates. 


Palestinians Struggle to Hold on to Land, Watering Holes By HENRY NORR Special to the Planet

Tuesday August 30, 2005

Life in the tiny Palestinian hamlet of Qawawis seems straight out of the Old Testament, but that doesn’t stop the Jewish settlers in the hilltop outposts that surround the place from doing their best to destroy it. And if something isn’t done soon about the settlers’ latest threat—denying Qawawis’s shepherds access to watering holes their flocks depend on—the villagers might have no choice but to abandon their ancestral homes and lands. 

Qawawis, located near the southern tip of the occupied West Bank, south of the city of Hebron, is home to just four extended families and a few hundred sheep and goats. Only one of the families has a house; the others live in caves carved—originally by nature, later by human hand—out of the region’s limestone hills. 

Like their neighbors in nearby At-Twani and dozens of other villages throughout the south Hebron hills, the residents of Qawawis have faced harassment from the settlers since the 1980s. (See “Means of Expulsion: Violence, Harassment and Lawlessness against Palestinians in the Southern Hebron Hills,” a report released in July 2005 by the Israeli human-rights group B’Tselem, at http://www.btselem.org/English/Publications/Summaries/200507_South_Hebron.asp, and the reports of the Christian Peacemaker Team on the poisoning of wells, the beating of schoolchildren and international monitors, and other forms of settler harassment in At-Twani, at http://www.cpt.org/hebron/documents/Tuwani_media_packet.htm.)  

For a while things in Qawawis got so bad that the villagers had to move out altogether. When they left, settlers promptly moved into their caves, until the Israeli military decided to clear everyone out (for “security reasons”) and brought in bulldozers to seal the caves with rubble. 

But in March of this year, after winning an order from Israel’s High Court confirming their right to their land, the villagers came back to Qawawis, cleaned up the mess left by the settlers and the army, and reclaimed their homes. In hopes of deterring settler retaliation, the villagers requested help from progressive Israelis and internationals, and ever since the International Solidarity Movement has provided a steady stream of volunteers to stay in the village and accompany the shepherds to their fields. 

Neither the court order nor the international presence has stopped the harassment, though. At first the settlers showed up almost daily, often wearing masks, shouting insults and threats, waving guns and throwing rocks, sometimes attempting to enter the villagers’ caves, and beating locals and internationals alike. (See the account posted on April 1, 2005 by Kasper Lundberg, an ISM volunteer from Denmark, at electronicintifada.net/v2/article3735.shtml.) 

While I was in Qawawis in late July, the settlers came up with a new trick: two of them showed up on horseback, galloping through the village’s olive groves and right past the caves. They didn’t stay long and caused no particular problem, but under the circumstances, their very appearance on village land was an act of intimidation. As I followed them, trying to snap their pictures, I could only imagine what would happen to a Palestinian who had the temerity to approach the settlers’ outposts. 

What really has Qawawis’s residents worried at the moment, however, is the threat to its always precarious water supply. In July, after a suicide bombing in the Israeli coastal city of Netanya, the settlers informed the villagers that they are no longer permitted to graze their sheep and goats within 150 meters of a road that leads to one of the outposts. 

That order, which appears to have no legal basis—not even one of the military orders that provide pseudo-legitimacy for most of the occupation’s abuses—denies Qawawis a significant portion of its land. But the immediate problem is that the prohibited strip includes two watering holes to which the village’s herders have taken their sheep and goats since time immemorial. To keep the animals alive in the area’s stifling summer heat, the villagers have had to share the water from their own wells in the village. But the capacity of those wells is limited, and the villagers say it’s insufficient to supply both them and their animals (not to mention the internationals) for long. 


Time standing still 

At a glance, you might wonder why the settlers bother with Qawawis. The population usually totals only about 20, though it sometimes rises to 50 or 60, depending on how many offspring and relatives are at home at a given moment, as opposed to staying in the nearby town of Al-Karmel (a 40-minute walk), sleeping in the hills with their flocks, or—as in the case of one young man I met—studying electrical engineering at the university in Hebron. If you drive by on the highway that runs near the place, all you see are the solitary house (three bare rooms, no plumbing or kitchen) and the stone walls that surround the cave entrances and pens for the sheep and goats. 

There’s no running water, just a couple of wells. Electricity arrived only this summer, in the form of a generator provided by Ta’ayush, a progressive Israeli organization with both Jewish and Arab members; the generator runs for just an hour and a half or two every evening. Each cave, as well as the outdoor platforms the families sometimes eat on and the canvas-roofed shelter the villagers recently built for visiting internationals, now has a bare light bulb and an outlet, but so far they have had no visible effect on the residents’ lifestyle: there’s no radio, TV, or any other appliance except a video camera left by a visiting international, which remains something of a mystery to the locals. 

Daily life revolves around the sheep and goats, as it has in this area for millennia. At sun-up, men from each family take their flocks—about 30 or 40 animals each—out to graze on the rocky fields that surround the village, or sometimes to the adjoining olive groves. The women, meanwhile, prepare the food and tend to the homes, crops, and kids. (Except for constant infusions of tea and sugar, all the food I was served during my three-day stay was homegrown, including delicious flat bread baked in tabuun, or traditional outdoor ovens.) 

By around 10 a.m., at least in the summer, the heat begins to get overwhelming, and the shepherds bring the flocks back to their stone-walled pens in the village. Then everyone seems to disappear for a rest and the midday meal. At 3:30 or 4 p.m, it’s off to graze again until dusk. By 9:30, when the generator cuts out, most everyone seems to have retired, until the routine begins again the next morning. 

All in all, it’s a simple, peaceful life—or it would be if not for the settlers and the warplanes constantly audible and occasionally visible overhead. (There’s apparently an Israeli air force training base nearby—perhaps they’re practicing for a raid on Iran’s nuclear sites?) 

The planes, though, are easy to ignore. The settlers are not. The shepherds continually look over their shoulders to see who might be sneaking up on them; the boys study each car that passes on the settler road. 


Running dry 

So far, the villagers have complied with the settlers’ demand that they stay away from the road and the watering holes near it—though they seem to value the presence of the international volunteers, they obviously don’t believe that we’re capable of protecting them from the consequences of defying the order. 

The villagers have, however, tried to interest international humanitarian organizations in the threat they face. While I was there, a jeep from the International Committee of the Red Cross pulled up to the village, carrying an investigator, a translator, and a three-person film crew. 

At the time the family that owns the house was away (they were in town with relatives visiting from Saudi Arabia), but one of the other elders had a key, and the house was quickly opened, and a half-dozen of the men, plus the two internationals, assembled there to meet with the ICRC team.  

In addition to describing past incidents of harassment, the villagers explained the impending water crisis. The ICRC investigator tried hard to get the villagers to give him exact figures for Qawawis’s population as well as for the capacity in cubic meters of each of the “water systems” in question. The men were unable to respond with the precision he wanted, but after much consultation among them, they arrived at the key conclusion: if the sheep and goats as well as the human residents have to use the village wells, they’ll likely run dry in as few as thirty days, or sometime around the end of August.  

The ICRC investigator promised to file an urgent report with the Israeli authorities. Whether that will do any good remains to be seen. But unless someone intervenes, the residents of Qawawis may again be forced to leave, and the settlers will have succeeded in cleansing another small piece of Palestine of its legitimate owners. 



After this article was written, activists from the Israeli grassroots organization Ta’ayush brought a water tanker truck to Qawawis. With the activists standing by to deter settler interference, the truck pumped a tankful of water out of one of the prohibited watering holes, then into one of the wells the residents still have access to. 

This emergency response has apparently eliminated the immediate threat 

to the survival of Qawawis, but it’s obviously not a long-term solution. That, of course, would begin with the removal of all Israeli settlements from the occupied Palestinian territories, as required by the Fourth Geneva Convention, United Nations Security Council Resolution 242, and dozens of subsequent U.N. resolutions. 



News Analysis: Despite War of Words, U.S.-Venezuela Ties Remain Strong By VINOD SREEHARSHA Pacific News Service

Tuesday August 30, 2005

CARACAS, Venezuela—“I support Chavez for standing up to U.S. imperialism,” said Sean, a 16-year-old Canadian. He was one of 15,000 youths representing 144 countries at the recent 16th World Festival of Youth and Students, a communist splurge organized by Venezuela’s president and self-proclaimed revolutionary Hugo Chavez. 

The Venezuelan newspaper Tal Cual was not impressed, describing many of the organizations in attendance as “archeological remains of an extinct species, normally requiring Carbon-14 to be detected.” 

Tal Cual Editor Teodoro Petkoff knows about revolutions. He is a former jailed Marxist guerrilla. Today he is a leading Chavez critic. He also opposes President Bush and the war in Iraq. 

Christian commentator and GOP stalwart Pat Robertson’s call for President Chavez’s assassination last week and the White House’s tepid disassociation from his comments were only the latest in an ongoing war of words between Washington and Chavez. Venezuela’s twice democratically elected president has increasingly been playing to the international anti-U.S. crowd. On August 21, while visiting Cuba, Chavez called U.S. imperialism “the grand destroyer of the world.” 

Yet beneath the heated rhetoric and posturing by both sides, business between the two nations goes on uninterrupted, and is in many sectors increasing. 

One of the underlying and most contentious issues between the two nations has been oil, and Venezuela’s threat to replace the U.S. market with China’s. Chavez recently teased the United States, saying, “We could send two ships a day elsewhere.” 

Yet analysts think this is unlikely, at least in the short-term, despite PDVSA, Venezuela’s state oil company, recently opening an office in China. Roger Tissot of PFC Energy, an oil and gas consulting firm, says “it is very difficult to see this happening.” Venezuela crude oil is of an inferior quality to Middle East crude. It is heavier and contains more sulfur, and the Chinese lack the necessary refining technology to process it. 

Chavez nonetheless continues to discount Venezuelan oil to countries he views as strategic or ideological partners. Yet the Chinese “are neither interested in importing nor exporting a revolution,” Tissot says. 

General commerce between the United States and Venezuela also seems unaffected by the sparring. According to the U.S. Department of Commerce, U.S. exports to Venezuela during the first six months of 2005 grew by 40 percent over the same period last year. Venezuelan exports to the United States grew by 35 percent. In 2004, U.S. pharmaceutical exports increased 75 percent compared to 2003 levels, and electric machinery exports more than doubled. 

At a Business Roundtable held in Caracas last month—attended by Chavez—U.S. Ambassador to Venezuela William Brownfield said, “Venezuela and the U.S. are natural commercial partners, and this will not change.” 

In public, however, Chavez continues to provoke the United States. At the communist festival he said, “Mr. Danger (his nickname for President Bush) is not a person—he is an imperialist system. Either we take down the United States or the United States ends this planet.” 

Conference-goers ate up such rhetoric. 

Luis Petrosini, a political analyst and professor at the Universidad Catolica Andres Bello, contends that Chavez’s increasingly anti-U.S. rhetoric is meant to shift attention away from some of his failures in Venezuela. “He is transferring responsibility for Venezuela’s problems to Bush.” 

When Chavez took office in 1999, he promised that in one year no more children would be begging in the streets. He has not yet delivered. He also promised to build 120,000 low income houses this year. So far he has come through on 10,000. And while he attended the graduation last week in Havana of the first Venezuelans sent to Cuba to study medicine, public hospitals in his country lack X-ray equipment. 

Chavez still enjoys widespread support. But he was first elected because he offered hope to thousands of Venezuelans who had previously been neglected. He rarely mentioned the United States his first few years in office. 

Professor Petrosini even voted for Chavez twice, but says today the charismatic figure prefers playing to the international crowd with his anti-U.S. rhetoric. “He has a messianic sense that he is divined to change world order,” Petrosini says. 

While the United States, in opposing Chavez, could simply hold him accountable to his promises, it has instead opted for supporting failed coups and recall referendums, strategies that have backfired. 

Following the July launch of the pan-Latin American television channel Telesur, which is heavily funded and majority-owned by the Venezuelan government, a U.S. Congressman from Florida sponsored legislation financing a counter TV channel. Tal Cual’s Petkoff, contacted by phone, calls the move “politically idiotic, demonstrating total ignorance of Venezuela,” where the media is mostly privately owned and anti-Chavez. 

U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld in mid-August said that Chavez’s actions in Latin America “were unhelpful,” insinuating a Chavez role in the recent instability in Bolivia. The United States has never offered proof for this allegation. “The idea that Venezuela is responsible for the problems in other countries is absurd,” Petkoff says. “It overestimates Chavez.” 

Many of the communist festival-goers might also need to back up their revolutionary credentials. Dozens stayed at the Hilton Caracas hotel, where rooms normally start at $150 per night. Venezuela footed the bill. 


Vinod Sreeharsha is a freelance writer based in Buenos Aires.?

News Analysis: Latinos Feel Brunt of Job-Based Insurance Drop By HILARY ABRAMSON Pacific News Service

Tuesday August 30, 2005

If every working California adult is “headed over the cliff” for lack of affordable health insurance, as the co-author of a new statewide study contends, then Latinos will be the first to go.  

California has no racial/ethnic majority, but according to the report by the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research, the burden from “crumbling” employer-based insurance is shared unevenly. Non-Hispanic whites continue to have the highest—and Latinos the lowest—rates of job-based health insurance coverage.  

“If the Latino population weren’t so damned healthy, the cliff would have collapsed by now,” says Dr. David Hayes-Bautista, professor of medicine and director of the UCLA Center for the Study of Latino Health, which was not involved in the study.  

More than 6.5 million Californians under the age of 65—more than one in five—lack health insurance, according to the study that covers 2001-2003. The figure includes nearly one million children. E. Richard Brown, the study’s co-author and director of the health policy center, reports that the cost of job-based family health insurance coverage escalated nearly 80 percent in the past few years.  

Contrary to stereotype, nearly two-thirds of the state’s uninsured children have parents with full-time jobs. But many employers have passed on the escalating costs by cutting benefits for spouses and children. Those seeking private health insurance may find lower premiums, but usually have higher deductibles and, according to Brown, “skimpy” coverage.  

“I think that the trends we’re seeing are a clear indication that we are all headed over the cliff in not being able to afford health insurance coverage for ourselves and our families,” Brown concludes.  

According to this latest analysis of insurance in California, dependents cut from employer rolls and unable to afford private insurance have turned to state, federal and expanded county programs. The study, which was funded by the California Endowment and the California Wellness Foundation, does not estimate additional costs to government for use of its programs.  

Nowhere does the study’s message hit harder than in California’s racial and ethnic communities. Non-elderly Latinos and American Indian/Alaska Natives report the highest rates of non-insurance. While 66.6 percent of non-Hispanic white workers report having employment-based health coverage, only 34 percent of Latino workers were similarly insured—the lowest rate among all groups. In 2003, Latinos had the highest rates of non-insurance, with one in three uninsured for some or all of the year. One in four of American Indians/Alaska Natives was uninsured during some or all of 2003; most of them do not have access to Indian Health Service medical clinics or hospitals, which are available only on tribal lands.  

Shana Alex Lavarredo, the other author of the study, says the disparity in job-based health insurance is due to issues of citizenship, education, and lower-paying service, retail and restaurant jobs—all of which work against California’s Latino population. Just 37 percent of non-citizens with green cards are covered by employer-offered insurance, according to the report.  

“There is something peculiar about California that wasn’t a part of our research,” Lavarredo says. “If you’re a non-citizen Latino here, you’re less likely to have employers offer health insurance than you might from employers for the same job in another part of the country.”  

Anthony Wright, executive director of the consumer health organization Health Access, thinks he knows why. “In California, there is a strong correlation with immigrant status and employers thinking they might get away without providing benefits. Regional culture matters. Look at Minnesota, which has one of the highest rates of employer-based insurance in the nation. It’s a combination of factors—unionization and employers having the expectation that they will offer health care.”  

Even small business Latino owners who employ Latinos are caught in a bind of rising health insurance rates, according to Dr. Hayes-Bautista.  

“Small business owners are classically contracting out for things like janitorial services,” he says. “Did you know that when Social Security was set up, some jobs held by poor blacks in domestic service and poor whites in agriculture were exempted? Now, Latinos are filling these. One has to wonder if California is ahead of the country in the race to the bottom....”  

Minnesota doesn’t get caught up in the California conversation over immigration and its impact on health coverage, adds the doctor.  

“There’s this absolutely ludicrous notion in the West that we have 10 million undocumented immigrants clawing at the emergency rooms. What people don’t know is that Latino immigrants have better behaviors than U.S.-born Latinos. Immigrants smoke and drink less and are more likely to be married and have fewer sexually transmitted diseases. There are tremendous pressures in the United States to change these good behaviors.  

“Right now, Latinos see doctors and stay in hospitals far less and have less expensive procedures than other groups. And they still live five years longer than non-Hispanic whites. But how long can that last?”  

In Beverly Hills, there are 2,022 physicians for every 100,000 people, according to Hayes-Bautista.  

“In Bell—a mainly Latino community about 20 miles away—there are 19 physicians for every 100,000 people. Even if Latinos had insurance, where will they go? Getting insurance is only part of the solution for them.” 


Hilary Abramson is a Pacific News Service contributing editor and the recent recipient of a grant from the Fund for Investigative Reporting for health reporting.

Going to the Dogs By Ashley DuValSpecial to the Planet

Tuesday August 30, 2005

I knew I didn’t have long before they would spot me in my hiding place. There were so many that someone was bound to see me. There must have been 40 or 50 of them hanging around the fence and peering through the trees to the spot where I sat breathlessly. They seemed to be searching for wildlife—they found it all right.  

“Wow kids, I see some wildlife hiding right back there!”  

“Look, it’s a person back there! What’s he doing?”  

“That’s no ordinary person kids, that’s Wildcat George! He lives here in the forest and has a special permit so he can go places we can’t!”  

Now that my cover was up, I smiled and growled ferociously to the day camp group as the counselor told the children stories about crazy Wildcat George. I let the gender thing slide. My s ummer internship with the East Bay Regional Parks was certainly putting me into some bizarre situations. Already I had been charged by a young buck, jumped and chased by dogs, stabbed by a large mouth bass fin and attacked by a toe biter. I have gotten mo re poison oak than suntan this summer, and I almost find stinging nettle pleasant in comparison. My job, I like to tell people, is comprised of dog-stalking and fish-shocking. The components of my work in Tilden Park of Berkeley include monitoring dogs to see if they are staying out of the pools, and conducting electro-fishing surveys of Wildcat Creek. Both are integral to assessing the health of Wildcat Creek’s native rainbow trout population.  

In Tilden Park, there is a good reason to be concerned abou t the trout. Surveys on the rainbow trout populations in Wildcat Creek have been conducted since 1984, and these figures have shown a significant decline in the trout populations from 1999 and on. The only year that populations appeared to increase was th e year when fewer dogs were observed splashing about in the pools, although there is no way to be certain that this was directly responsible. Dog activities often have destructive effects upon riparian ecosystems and the wildlife they support. There are v ery few pools that have enough water in them all year long to support native aquatic species such as rainbow trout, three spine stickleback and California newt larvae. In the summer months, the water temperature increases as the water levels lower. This reduces the levels of dissolved oxygen in the water needed to sustain the fish. When dogs run along the pool banks, they destroy riparian vegetation that provides a shade cover as well as the root systems essential to stabilize the loose dirt of the banks. Loose dirt is washed into the pool where it fills it in pools and clouds the water. Trout lay their eggs in little gravel nests, or redds, and sedimentation kicked up by the dogs can potentially suffocate these eggs before they hatch. When they are actua lly swimming, the dogs cause even more problems by raising the turbidity of the water and shaking up all kinds of organic debris from the pond bottom. This in turn can also lower water oxygen levels, causing the fish great distress.  

The pool of particul ar concern to me, Nook, is only 32 feet wide, 22 feet long and about 1.6 feet deep, but our surveying indicated that at least 12 rainbow trout between six and eight inches and one 14-inch monster lived there. Over the course of 51 hours of creek monitorin g, 363 dogs passed along Wildcat Gorge Trail with their owners or hired dog walkers. Of these, 66 or approximately 27 percent ignored posted signs by running along its banks or jumping in for a swim. The total sum of swimming time that I observed was 27 m inutes. Considering that a mere three-second splash is enough to leave the small pool murky for hours, it was amazing the fish could survive there at all. As Nook is one of the few perennial pools of WildCat Creek, they are essentially stranded there unti l the rains come.  

In an area where most parks don’t even allow dogs off-leash, many people come to Tilden especially so that they can let Fozzy and Molly unleash their canine angst. The East Bay Regional Park District has a very generous off-leash dog p olicy. Implementing a leash law in highly sensitive habitat areas has been successful in other parks. However, in the spirit of a cooperative and educational approach, Tilden Park has been experimenting with colorful and informative signs as a means of ke eping dogs from entering the creek. The idea is to appeal to the conservation ethic of trail users rather than using more hard-handed restrictive measures. As I learned from my poolside observations, some park visitors are more respectful of these measure s than others. One woman compliantly leashed her dog whenever passing a protective area. Disappointingly, many more allowed their dogs to splash in Nook to their heart’s content. 

We recently installed invisible deer fencing between the fence posts of Noo k to keep dogs out, and it appears to be a great success. Without the turbidity of swimming to stir up sediment, the water almost immediately cleared to the point where once-skeptic hikers started to see fish. When the day camp group returned from its hike, I met them on the other side of the fence and explained what I, Wildcat George, was doing in an area they were not supposed to go. I told them about the fish and let them peer through my magic polarized lenses to see through the water more clearly. As they walked off talking about fish in wonder, I hoped that they could return years later and still enjoy the rich abundance of wildlife that East Bay Parks like Tilden are teeming with. When you are enjoying the more than 95,000 acres of parkland that the East Bay offers, please be mindful of the impact your actions may have upon park life such as the rainbow trout, and be pro-active in asking this of other trail users as well! 


Ashley DuVal is a student at Cal and an East Bay Regional Park District employee.y

Editorial Cartoon By JUSTIN DEFREITAS

Tuesday August 30, 2005


Letters to the Editor

Tuesday August 30, 2005


Editors, Daily Planet: 

I live on Oxford Street one block from the new Temple Beth El. Let me begin by saying that I am not Jewish and I am not a churchgoer. In my view the neighbors who are posting signs and complaining about the new site even before it opens are reacting too harshly. This is a residential neighborhood but a residential neighborhood is the place to build churches, schools or temples. 

Will there be impacts on street parking? Of course. But the other institutions in the neighborhood also have visitors who park on the street. Aren’t the Utah plates common on Sunday morning going to the Mormon church on Walnut and Vine? Do not Oxford School parents attend events at Oxford School and park on the street? Live Oak Park events often make it difficult to park. Even Cal football games affect parking even thought the stadium is more than a mile off. Currently Beth-El is already in the neighborhood and has lees parking now than at the new site. 

I expect that Beth El will be a good steward of Cordonices Creek and that the neighborhood will survive the parking impacts. If the parking regulations in the neighborhood need to be changed, those can be changed after the temple opens and a need is shown. 

Instead of the current anti-Beth El signs I would post a sign on m lawn that says: “Beth El: Welcome to Oxford Street.” 

William Flynn 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

I believe that the right wing in Berkeley, including three members of the Berkeley Peace and Justice Commission, have launched a campaign to discredit the commission. 

The right wing was infuriated last year when a majority of the committee voted for the U.S. government to conduct an investigation of the Israeli Army driving over and killing Rachael Corrie in Palestine. 

The right wing on the committee tried to block the vote and once it was defeated, their friends vowed revenge. 

Now they are trying to block the authority of the commission, which is a light in Berkeley on local, national, and international issues. We in Berkeley are not ostriches. We want a voice in our country and with people in other countries. The commission mostly does work with Berkeley residents who ask the commission to take a stand on political issues. 

The attack on the commission is an attack on our First Amendment right to free speech and a free press. It wants to stop Berkeley from speaking out on the violence and terrorism of the U.S., Israel, and other right-wing governments and the rule of the corporations and neo-liberals. We must work to stop this trend in Berkeley. Support the commission and call a city councilmember to support the commission members for the commission. 

John Murcko 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

I am dismayed to see that the Alameda County Board of Supervisors is considering spending several millions of dollars to purchase voting machines which will produce a paper trail as per state law.  

Although mandated by the state, it is only throwing good money after bad and thereby locking us into a fatally flawed system. 

A voter verified paper trail is a farce. A computer’s source codes can be programmed to “print out” an accurate receipt of a voter’s selections and, at the same time, record an entirely different result in the “official” tabulation. It’s a simple programming situation, and one which can be “instantly erased” so that no computer trail can be detected. 

I think we need to go back to paper ballots and hand-counting until the conditions for computer-based electoral fraud are solved. 

Sydney Vilen 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

I would like to express my view regarding childhood obesity in particular among the low-income community. It is my opinion that obesity among children starts with poor diet, lack of adequate exercise and the often discussed genetic inheritance. I’m pleased to know that there is a state-wide campaign led by California First Lady Maria Shriver to combat childhood obesity. Low-income families lack money to buy healthy nutritious food items including salad and health promoting fruits. No partnership can enhance the low-income people’s health unless the low-income people get healthy food free of charge. If they could afford it I’m sure they would choose a healthy diet to promote their health and enhance their lifespan. Most people have the knowledge about nutritional diets but they can not afford it.  

I want to hear from the first lady how she will help such needy people to survive and maintain good health. All the junk food that they get as donations from people or restaurants are generally fried meat products or leftovers. I don’t consider such food healthy and it will not make them physically fit or give them energy. As a community we must provide healthy nutritious food to low-income children, thereby laying the foundation of a stronger, healthier America. 

Romila Khanna 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

To parents of high school and middle school children: As soon as school begins, please look in your child’s packet from her/his school. There should be an “opt out” form. This form is to prevent your child’s information from being given to the military recruiters. According to the No Child Left Behind Act, schools are required to hand over information on their students to the military for recruitment, unless parents opt out. If you do not receive an opt out form, call the registrar or principal of the school and ask that a form be sent to you, or , if possible, go to school to pick it up. Also, please share this information with parents you know who are not likely to see this newspaper. 

It might be a good idea for the Berkeley Daily Planet to have a reporter write an article on this situation as well. 

Jean Pauline 





Editors, Daily Planet: 

Diebold, our county’s voting equipment company, is walking all over us, and we’re letting them get away with it.  

First, after gaping security holes were found in their equipment, they lost a $2.6 million settlement in Alameda County Superior Court. Then they tried to charge the county $2 million for instant runoff voting in Berkeley, only to drop the price by $1 million under public scrutiny. Now the state refuses to certify them because of printer jams and a ten percent failure rate.  

Clearly, enough is enough. We deserve to have a voting equipment company that is safe and secure. It’s time for the City Council to step up and say no to Diebold. 

By switching to another vendor for our city’s elections in November 2006, we can do instant runoff voting easily and save money in the process. We can vote on paper and know that our vote is secure. Finally, we can show companies like Diebold that their actions have consequences.  

Let’s not let Diebold hold our elections hostage any longer.  

Matt Stewart 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

Wow! It was so refreshing reading Anne Cromwell’s commentary (Aug. 23) that actually addressed statements made by others, as opposed to so many letters to the editor which answer a lot of questions that no one is even asking. 

Sarah Turner 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

Nancy Jean, quoted in “Every Dog Has Its Day In Berkeley” as saying, in protest of restricting off-lease dogs at Albany Bulb, “What are they (dogs) going to do, eat the weeds?” betrays an alarming ignorance of ecology. Reactions like this should task local environmentalists with some public education. 

First of all, to migrating or indigenous fauna (and flora!), the “weeds” have a purpose, each and every instance playing some part in the fabric of our local ecology. With regard to restricting dogs to protect birds, though, it’s somewhat another matter. Migrating birds, especially, have radically depleted levels of energy at certain times of year—imagine flying several thousand miles to get to Albany—and cannot withstand very well the intrusion of introduced mammals, to which they must respond with evasion or flight. Such reactions at times of low reserves of energy can be deadly to them. As well, dogs are very threatening to the well-being of any birds, such as plovers, that nest on the ground. If you’ve ever seen a female killdeer frantically faking an injured wing so as to draw a real or imagined predator/despoiler of her nest, it’s easy to image the energy expended, and how such an expense is corrosive of the bird’s ability to perform other tasks for which it needs lots of fuel to nurture its young. 

Dogs have been an important element in my life. My wife and I love dearly our little border collie mix, and we love to take her places where she can run free with little or no harm to the environment. We are happy to make this accommodation so that we can help optimize future generations’ chances for enjoyment not only of dogs, but of our natural environment as well. And it’s no credit to Matthew Artz of the Daily Planet that he implicitly endorses the illegal presence of off-lease dogs at Albany Bulb. 

Peter Hubbard 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

When it comes to union negotiations, the management of Berkeley Honda are a pretty nonchalant bunch. First, they can barely be bothered to come to the bargaining table, so they schedule negotiating sessions weeks apart. Then, when they do come to bargain, they can only manage two or three hours before the press of business sends them right out the door again (although it’s not clear what that business might be, since their clientele is down by about two thirds). Lastly, there’s the way they act during those brief and infrequent meetings: Not troubling themselves to take notes, not getting down to the union’s concerns about health care, wages, and the pension plan. 

In contrast, their behavior at the dealership can be downright bellicose. Last Thursday they really went off the scale. They called the police on me for ostensibly “harassing” (i.e., talking to) their customers. A few minutes after that, they stood by the service entrance and hurled insults at the strikers—the union guys are dupes of the union, I’m crazy, and we’re all deluded if we think we’re going to get anywhere with this. Furthermore, did we want them to call the police again, since I’d just gone up and harassed another customer about our situation? Because they would be happy to oblige. One of the salesmen kept telling me to “Go away! Go away!” I said I would gladly go away. All they have to do is settle with the union, and I’ll be gone. Oh, don’t be stupid, they said, they can’t do that because of the pension. 

No? Even though the union has offered to lower management’s monthly contribution to $300, which is what they wanted to pay into a 401K plan? And even though the union further agreed that they would let the pension deficit ride for five years, after which, if the plan was still underfunded, they would (1) release management’s obligation to the deficit, and (2) would be willing to switch to a 401k plan? Even with all that, the pension is still a problem? 

Hmm. What does it all mean? Well, to me, their refusal to deal with the pension at negotiations, and their insistence on clinging to the now-irrelevant excuse of the pension deficit in Thursday’s encounter, proves what we’ve known from the beginning. They don’t want to settle this strike because they don’t want a union at Berkeley Honda.  

Judy Shelton 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

We need the community more than ever to support the striking Berkeley Honda workers. Management is trying to wear the workers down. After meeting with union reps for only a few short hours on Aug. 23, it has refused to negotiate again until Sept. 19, almost four weeks later. From the beginning, Berkeley Honda has adopted a policy of continual delays. 

This is unacceptable. The new management team is putting a tremendous financial and psychological burden on the striking workers, who have been out of work since mid-June. We must demand that Berkeley Honda negotiate now!  

We are rallying with the striking workers at Shattuck and Parker every Thursday from 4:30 to 6 p.m. and Saturday, 1 to 2:30 until the labor dispute is settled. Please join us. 

Both the strikers and the union leadership have continually acknowledged that community participation is essential to winning the strike. Also, if we lose this battle, it can have a domino effect. It would make it more difficult for other workers in the East Bay to protect their jobs, wages, and benefits.  

We cannot allow Berkeley Honda’s right-wing agenda—to bust the union and to substantially reduce wages and benefits—prevail. We have to demonstrate that the persistence and endurance of the workers and community will triumph.  

Also, please call Berkeley Honda at 843-3704 to demand that it negotiate now. 

Harry Brill 

El Cerrito 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

Thanks for running an article that appreciates pigeons, the most friendly and tame kind of wild bird. Pigeons think of people as part of their own bird society, and people who love them accept that. We’re the lucky ones, able to make friends with these wild animals. 

Maybe the reason redtails catch pigeons regardless of the color of the rump patch is that they’re techniques are very different. Buteo hawks—that’s what these broad-winged predators are called—cruise around over a flock, picking out the prey that’s least likely to escape. The slow hawks move more like bombers as contrasted with falcons, which are like maneuverable fighters. Some of the time, the hawks close in and trap a pigeon in tree branches. More often, they dive and catch them when they’re eating on open ground. 

The rumor that pigeons spread disease is false. All birds have the same germs, but what we catch comes almost exclusively from other people. The only excuse for shunning pigeons is their droppings, which they do when perched, almost never when flying. To keep them off buildings, only the most humane, non-lethal, and cheap methods work.  

Please take the time to read about pigeons and observe them. They’re worth it. They make wonderful, affectionate pets. They play with toys, invent games, love music, even put on jewelry. 

Al Streit 

New York City 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

I loved the article about our underappreciated pigeons. There are more things I love about those birds: 

1. Their orange eyes, which can see you whether you’re above, front, back, or side. You can see them, too. They must have extremely precise vision to see tiny crumbs and human donors’ gestures. 

2. Their iridescent necks. 

3. Their color-coordinated pink feet. 

Sometimes we miss the beauty that’s all around us. 

Ruth Bird 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

Hey, you missed one great place for dogs and people. Café Zeste, on the edge of Strawberry Creek Park, in the Design Center at 1250 Addison. The two-legged types can sit on the patio and eat fabulous food while the four-legged types (and the kids) play in the park. You can throw a Frisbee right from your table! 

Barbara Shayesteh 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

Regarding Richard Brenneman’s colorful Police Blotter writing: I have to come down on the side of those who like (or who are at least not offended by) his tarting-up of otherwise mundane events. To his detractors I say, do you really want these crimes reported in cop-speak circumlocutions, like “The male subject allegedly accosted a female pedestrian and was apprehended” ? (Are police spokespersons required to use clinical terms like “male” and “female,” as if speaking about some other species? How about “man” and “woman”?) If people like that style, they can always read that competing new daily rag. 

But I am irritated by sloppy reporting, which I think Mr. Brenneman is guilty of in his Police Blotter of Aug. 23, where he reports that “[a] gang of four or five felons ranging in ages between 15 and 20 confronted a man outside Iceland.” The report went on to say that they were “long gone” before police arrived. There are at least two problems with this: For one, as I’m sure Brenneman knows, one is not a felon until actually convicted of a felony. These chaps weren’t even available to be so charged. Plus, I’m not sure if a 15-year old can even be a felon, though with the rapid advances of the National Security Lock-’em-Up state, I’m sure that oversight will soon be corrected. 

So he should have at least thrown a modifier in there: “a gang of four or five wannabe felons.” 

Another small nit: Brenneman might want to consider using jargon that’s not commonly understood, like the “deuce rap” he described in another item. After all, what good is snappy language if people don’t understand it? 

David Nebenzahl 

North Oakland 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

I’m disappointed in Susan Parker’s recent piece, “Queen LaSuzy is Big Momma for a Day,” because it epitomizes a dangerous behavior that I see so many white folks espousing: that of aligning themselves with African-American culture in an effort to take the sting out of their own racist words or actions.  

Ms. Parker seems to feel that if she makes certain to let us know how big-hearted and generous she is for taking in a young black teenager from Hunter’s Point for the summer, and tells a humorous story of this young woman’s impressive grandmother and her brand of discipline, that it excuses the racist implications of referring to herself as “Queen LaSuzy.” It does not.  

I would have felt much better about this essay if Ms. Parker had not chosen to go for the cheap laugh by cheekily mocking a trend in African-American names that is so frequently put up for public denigration. White people often think it’s cute and funny to write or tell anecdotes about how they bemusedly find themselves in the midst of black, Asian, or Latino culture, and how they end up being so hip to that culture that they now feel comfortable mocking the eccentricities of that culture as insiders. Usually, this makes the “hip white insider” sound amazingly similar to a white racist outsider who is mocking the culture for sport, but without any kind of social consequences or public censure.  

No matter how many black friends/acquaintances you have, no matter how secure you are in your anti-racist altruism, no matter how generous you are toward African-American teenagers, you are still a white person poking fun at black culture, and it is racist because you are still acting from a place of economic, social, and political privilege.  

Ms. Parker, please try a bit harder not to take such racist potshots in the name of being “down.” It sets a tone and example for other white people that only perpetuates unhealthy, unequal dynamics in an already strained relationship between races. A good guideline for any white person tempted to create humor based on a culture other than their own is to remember that membership has its privileges, and you are not party to them no matter how “hip” you are. 

Jessica Matthews 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

Susan Parker’s Aug. 23 column, “Queen LaSuzy is Big Momma for a Day,” was great. She nailed the issue of teens and taking charge right on the head. Leave it to a seasoned grandmother to come up with just the right approach for dealing with a 15-year-old! 

Thanks, Grandmother, for your pearls of wisdom and thanks to Susan for your continued joyful, poignant articles in the Daily Planet.  

Barbara Scheifler  




Editors, Daily Planet: 

The NCAA’s executive committee made a compromise decision involving American Indian mascots in some sports teams. They will only ban them during post-season tournament. That is not good enough. The mascots of American Indians should be banned immediately, not just half of the season. These mascots are very degrading to American Indians. It makes them less of a people. 

Other people who are saying that American Indians had other things to worry about than the mascots are the same folks that are not fighting for American Indian sovereignty, such as water and land rights. 

In conclusion, the NCAA’s action is half-complete. 

Billy Trice 





Editors, Daily Planet: 

To the administrators of BUSD: 

As our children grow up in school, we teach them to use the words “please” and “thank-you” when asking for or receiving something from someone else. Yet how many of you ever use the same phrases to your staff members that work for you? How many of you ever say, “please” get this or that when your staff member is at lunch, and when they have spent time looking up something that you need for your presentation to the School Board and public, how many of you have said, “This was prepared by my staff” in a positive way? How many times has the superintendent thanked the staff members for their presentations by saying “Thank you and your staff.” 

Many of the employees in the BUSD come in early, work through their breaks and lunches, stay beyond their working hours, and even take work home in order to get their own work finished after spending all day working on yours. How many of you administrators even think of giving them something for it. A pay increase would be nice, but even something simple like a card, flowers or an honest “thank-you” will be appreciated. 

Your staff is what makes you look good to your boss and the public. If you treat them like human beings and respect their abilities and promote an enjoyable work environment in your office, then the staff may be willing to overlook some of your shortfalls. 

Remember the Golden Rule, “Do unto others as you would want them to do unto you.” 

Dave Fidiam 



Column: The Public Eye: Defeat of Measure P Disguised Housing Crisis By ZELDA BRONSTEIN

Tuesday August 30, 2005

When 79 percent of Berkeley voters nixed Measure P, a.k.a. the Building Height Initiative, in November 2002, were they expressing satisfaction with the current state of planning and development in this city? That’s what some prominent individuals have been saying ever since that bitterly contested election.  

Earlier this month, the Daily Planet reported that developer and Piedmont resident Patrick Kennedy told the Aug. 3 meeting of a Zoning Adjustments Board subcommittee that “most people in Berkeley are happy with development, as exemplified by the four-to-one margin of defeat of Measure P.”  

But what else would you expect from one of the two most flagrant rogue builders—the other is San Franciscan Darryl de Tienne—to operate in Berkeley in recent years? The city is littered with outsized projects of dubious legality that were constructed by Kennedy’s Panoramic Interests. Of course he’s going to say that everybody’s happy with the status quo.  

The same goes for Kennedy’s biggest shill in the city’s planning department, Land Use Planning Manager Mark Rhoades. With Kennedy at his side, Rhoades told an audience at the September 2003 Santa Barbara conference of the California chapter of the American Planning Association: “We had a citizen initiative placed on the ballot last November that would have gutted the city’s ability to do infill development. Fortunately, that measure lost 80 percent to 20 percent … which sent in our minds a very strong message that we’re headed in the right direction.”  

This is self-serving hype. The real message sent by Measure P’s defeat was that a campaign bankrolled by big developer money can crush a poorly-conceived, underfunded initiative.  

Measure P was deeply flawed. The draconian limits it would have imposed on building heights were inconsistent with Berkeley’s new General Plan. Nevertheless, it was a sincere effort to grapple with a major municipal crisis that few of our civic officials are willing to acknowledge: Out-of-control development is violating city laws and policies, threatening the quality of life in adjacent neighborhoods and exacerbating gentrification. The curse of Measure P is that its overwhelming defeat has made it harder to recognize that this crisis exists, much less to deal with it. The post-election humbug put out by Rhoades, Kennedy and their ilk makes it harder yet.  

For those who would like to see the city deal with reality, the first task is to counter humbug with truth. To that end, I want to scrutinize the claim that got top billing in the anti-P campaign literature. Broadly stated, it goes like this: If Berkeleyans want new affordable housing, we have to accommodate the sort of mega-buildings that are going up downtown and on major transit corridors such as University and San Pablo.  

Surely this notion has captured many Berkeley hearts and minds. Everybody knows there’s a crying need for affordable housing. People may say to themselves: “I’m not crazy about the bulk or height of these big new developments but if that’s the only way we’re going to get housing for those in greatest need, so be it.”  

The trouble is, those in greatest need scarcely benefit from the big new developments. In July Planning Director Dan Marks charted Berkeley housing production between July 1, 1999 and June 30, 2005. He showed that during the past six years, 1,544 units of housing were approved by the city’s Zoning Adjustments Board, with 584 more pending approval, for a total of 2,128 units. In the planning director’s own words, Berkeley has undergone a “building boom.” (So much for the oft-heard developer complaint that it’s impossible to build in this town.)  

What Berkeley has not undergone is an affordable housing boom. The 2000 census reported that the median income of Berkeley’s 25,748 tenant households is $27,341 (for our 19,602 owner households, it’s $80,324). This means that half of our tenant households live on more than $27,341 a year, and half on less. Federal guidelines says that an affordable rent should consume no more than 30 percent of a household’s income. That means that a household with an annual income of $27,341 or less should pay no more than $683 monthly rent. How many of the 2,128 units approved or pending approval rent, or will rent, for $683 or less?  

Unfortunately, there’s no straightforward answer to that question, in part because, reasonably enough, housing officials rate affordability in terms of different income levels and the number of persons in a household.  

For the sake of illustration, consider the plight of a two-person household consisting of a single mother and her child living on or below the median annual income of Berkeley’s tenant households, $27,341 a year ($13.50 an hour in wages). By official standards, in our area (designated as Alameda and Contra Costa Counties), such a household falls just below the category of “Very Low Income” ($33,100 a year). The affordable rent level for a “Very Low Income,” two-person household is officially pegged at $828, $145 more than the $683 affordable rent for the median income of Berkeley tenant households.  

According to Planning Director Marks’ chart, only 378, or a paltry 18 percent, of the 2,128 new housing units approved in the past six years are slated for “Very Low Income” households.  

By contrast, 1,434, or 67 percent of new Berkeley housing is destined for households with “Above Moderate” incomes. “Above Moderate” means 121 percent or more of the area’s median income. The median income for our area is $82,200 a year, based on a four-person household. 121 percent of $82,200 is $99,462. So 2/3 of Berkeley’s new housing is for four-person households earning $99,462 a year or more. (The equivalent figure for a one-person household is $69,635, for a two-person household, $79,557.)  

One of Berkeley’s great strengths as a community is its middle-class character. There have always been and always will be people at either extreme. But now the extremes threaten to become the norm, and the biggest reason is the cost of housing.  

If the people of Berkeley realized that the building boom has mainly served the affluent, would they say, with Land Use Planning Manager Rhoades, that “we’re headed in the right direction”?  



Column: A Confederacy of Excuses By SUSAN PARKER

Tuesday August 30, 2005

If I didn’t have this column to write I could deal with Ralph’s broken wheelchair. It hasn’t worked in over five weeks, forcing him to stay in bed except for the occasions when he must go to doctor appointments and attend meetings at the Center for Indep endent Living, in which case he and chair must be pushed, not an easy task considering their combined weight tops 300 pounds. 

If I didn’t have this column to write I could confront my identity theft problems, prepare for my upcoming appearance at the Sup erior Court of Alameda County where I have to prove that I was not a black woman with blonde hair driving a Jaguar recklessly on Powell Street. I could dispatch with the pesky $250 ticket from Solano County’s Superior Court that claims I ran a stop sign in Vallejo when in fact I was in New York City at the time of the alleged crime. 

If I didn’t have this column to write I could reason calmly with Ralph’s dentist, explaining why we can’t pay his $2,093 bill. I’ll tactfully suggest to him that we’ll begin with a partial payment equal to the amount of money he puts into making his office wheelchair-accessible. I’ll suggest that a simple wooden ramp up his front steps will suffice, although wider doors and hallways would be appreciated. 

If I didn’t have this column to write I could find the time to call my handyman neighbor Teddy to remind him I need the holes in the dining room ceiling plastered, the plywood on the wheelchair ramp replaced, the gasket in the upstairs bathroom faucet fixed, and the washing machine looked at again because it leaks water 24/7. 

If I didn’t have this column to write I could weed the garden, clean the rugs, match up my orphan socks, contend with the alarming notice from the Social Security Administration that has melded Ralph’s name with my Social Security number and claims a discrepancy of $1,659 in self-employment earnings in 2004. 

I could inform Apria Healthcare that the bill for Ralph’s $3,816 specialized mattress should be paid by Kaiser, and I could explain to the cell p hone company that I didn’t know my teenage houseguest Jernae was making numerous long-distance calls late at night while I was sleeping. 

I could take out the trash, repaint the bathroom, organize my computer files, return the broken television to Berk La nd TV and Appliances and point out to them that it’s still under warranty from the last time they repaired it. 

I could respond to the red warning light that comes on whenever I put the key in the ignition of the van. 

I could finish writing the novel I started when I began the MFA program at San Francisco State and which I must complete before graduation, an event with a stress-inducing final deadline of 2010. 

If I didn’t have this column to write I could go see the new play at the new Marsh Theater on Allston Way. I could attend the Thursday Caregivers meetings at the South Berkeley Senior Center. I could take a walk with my friend Lynn. I could zip down to the pharmacy and pick up Ralph’s overdue prescription. 

I could shop for a present for my mother’s upcoming 80th birthday and carefully choose something that commemorates such a noteworthy milestone, forever making up for the numerous birthdays I’ve forgotten or acknowledged only with a cheapskate Hallmark card. 

I could take up where I left off in the Confederacy of Dunces, a novel I began reading in 1980 and have always meant to finish. I could then sit down with my unopened copies of Moby Dick and Anna Karenina, and read them from cover to cover so that I would no longer have to nod my head in ag reement when someone talks about how great they are, pretending that I know exactly how they feel when, in fact, I have no clue.c


Tuesday August 30, 2005

Crime Pedalers 

In a city concerned about environmental issues, even the robbers and flashers seem to be taking the hint, using bicycles rather than gas-guzzlers as their vehicles of choice. 

Consider, for example, the following: 


Two thugs, one bike 

A p air of pistol-packing bandits robbed three folks of cell phones and cash in the 2300 block of Blake Street shortly after 2 a.m. Saturday and fled northbound on Dana Street, with one bandit peddling and the second holding on tight to the first, said Berkel ey Police spokesperson Officer Joe Okies. 


Strong-arm cyclist 

After his attempt to strong-arm a 43-year-old pedestrian of his goodies outside the Jehovah’s Witnesses Kingdom Hall on the 1300 block of Cedar Street shortly before 10 p.m. Friday, the foiled would-be felon made his departure on a mountain bike. 


Two thugs, two bikes 

A pair of bandits in their early 20s robbed two victims in the 2500 block of Parker Street at 10:18 p.m. Friday, taking cash and cell phones before they made their getaways, eac h on his own two-wheeler. 


Non-Cycling Criminals 

Not all of Berkeley’s criminals were riding bikes, however. Some were traveling by foot and others by means unknown. . . 


Attacks officer 

Police were summoned to the front of Mel’s Diner in the 2200 block of Shattuck Avenue at 6:22 p.m. Thursday in response to a call of a fellow threatening passers-by with a bottle. 

When officers arrived to try to talk him down, the fellow attacked one of them, earning him a trip straight to the city lockup on suspicion of committing battery on a peace officer, said Officer Okies. 


Juvenile arsonists 

Berkeley Police arrested a pair of juveniles on suspicion of arson for allegedly setting fire to a trash container in the playground at San Pablo Park early Friday afternoo n. 

A citizen had already extinguished the blaze before police and fire units arrived. 


Mop attack 

A 61-year-old woman was booked on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon Friday afternoon after she allegedly beat a 50-year-old woman with a mop handle in the 1600 block of Milvia Street, said Officer Okies. 


Slasher sought 

Police are seeking a knife-wielding man in his 20s who slashed the right cheek of a 40-year man in the 1200 block of Fifth Street just after 11 a.m. Saturday. 

Officer Okies said th e suspect is being sought on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon. 


Teen bandits sought 

Police are seeking two bandits, one about 19 years old and the other about 13, who robbed three people in the 2700 block of Martin Luther King Jr. Way about 9:45 p.m. Saturday. 

Officer Okies said the duo robbed three victims, including a 19-year-old, before joining a larger group that was loitering nearby. 

They were all gone by the time officers arrived, he said. 


Commentary: KPFA Staff Has Refused to Implement Local Station Board’s Decisions By BILL MANDEL

Tuesday August 30, 2005

Bob Baldock’s commentary in last weekend’s edition is astonishing. It is a combination of contempt of court and frank admission that the entrenched staff at KPFA has no use for the democracy its broadcasts preach to the world. 

A court decision put an en d to the rule over Pacifica by people we at the station called the hijackers. It required the formulation of a new set of by-laws and elections to adopt them and to choose members of local station boards for each of the five stations. A remarkably large number of people had the patience to write those by-laws via endless e-mail discussions. 

A great deal of negotiation went into formulating bases of representation of the various players (paid staff, unpaid staff, affirmative action requirements to assure full representation of ethnic minorities and women). It was only far-reaching concessions in representation that finally coaxed paid staff to deign to associate with the rest of us in the local station board, which differs from the previous local advisory board in that it has real powers. 

But now the station board has dared to exercise those powers. It decided, fully two years ago, to make a time change that would give Pacifica’s proudest human product, Amy Goodman, access to prime drive time, requiring the Morning Show to move to the second best hour. The paid staff has simply refused to implement that, flat insubordination that merits dismissal in any union contract worthy of the name. 

Now, for three months, the board has given the fullest imaginable hearing to the charges of those who want Roy Campanella dismissed as manager. At the end, the vote was totally surprising to board members opposing such action. They had thought, on the basis of its actions in various other respects, that the decision would be by something like a one-vote margin. Instead it was 15 to 5 to retain Mr. Campanella. 

So now Baldock tells us that votes don’t count and powers will be ignored. Despite the existence of a manager found after a long and careful search, he says that “Essentially the same workers then being endorsed (in the huge demonstration and parade of 1999) are running the radio station now.” Among the 20 members of the elected Local Station Board who voted for or against Campanella’s dismissal, I recognize one n ame of an individual who can be classed as having been endorsed in 1999. 

At the National Board meeting held in Berkeley in March, 2004, I, like all who were not members of that body, had two minutes in which to set forth a position, so I prepared my rema rks beforehand. The key sentence reads: “I believe the biggest problem facing the new National Board in accomplishing anything whatever, particularly in programming, is breaking the stranglehold that the senior paid staffs now have on the stations.” It won a standing ovation. 


Bill Mandel was a KPFA broadcaster for 37 years. 





Commentary: Diebold VP Says Company’s Machines Recorded Tallies Accurately in Test By DAVE BYRD

Tuesday August 30, 2005

A recent guest editorial in your paper inaccurately criticized Secretary of State Bruce McPherson about the latest developments in California’s move to electronic voting machines. The piece misused several figures reported by the Associated Press and Con tra Costa Times about a recent testing of Diebold Election Systems, Inc.’s (DESI) AccuVote-TSX with AccuView Printer Module election voting machines. The author also sarcastically accused a respected public official of poor math skills. One of the misstated facts claimed that during the dry-run test of the Diebold election system, McPherson’s office reported a 10 percent failure rate (the guest writer wondered if the failure rate was actually higher, which it was not). In fact, in that test, 10,720 votes were recorded on 96 voting machines with 100 percent accuracy. Despite 11 paper jams and 21 other problems on the new machine-printer combination, not a single ballot was lost. 

The State of California has understandably asked DESI to fix the printers bef ore the new machines can be used in real, live elections, and we’re making those changes now. Sadly, there has been too much of this type of misinformation in media coverage of electronic voting machines in California. Media coverage of the test earlier t his month sensationalized the results so that any reader would imagine complete chaos and a failure in tabulating results. One newspaper even reported that the paper jams caused long lines, “causing voters to give up and go home,” when the actual test con sisted of a handful of volunteers voting repeatedly on the machines in a warehouse. 

Paper jams on these printers occurred in roughly one out of 1000 cases, which while not perfect, is consistent with similar tests on receipt printing for ATMs and cash re gisters. DESI is now working to make minor adjustments to the printing units to improve their performance, and is also working to reduce or eliminate the screen freezes. 

Do these problems need to be fixed? Absolutely, but let’s not lose sight of the bene fits. A recent CalTech/MIT Voting Technology Project report says that the national average rate for residual (missing) votes in the 2000 elections—conducted overwhelmingly on punch card and paper ballot systems—was 1.9 percent. Applying that ratio to this test of 10,720 ballots would mean 203 lost votes. Again, this test did not lose a single vote. 

No system is perfect, but in comparing touchscreen machines to punch cards, mechanical lever machines, optical scan, or plain old-fashioned paper ballots, a half-dozen studies including the CalTech/MIT report show that your vote is most likely to be counted if you vote on a touchscreen. 

With these kinds of results, the contest between touchscreens and hanging chads should be a landslide. And public officials who are helping California vote more effectively with these machines should be praised, not ridiculed on the pages of your newspaper. 


Dave Byrd is vice president of business operations for Diebold Election Systems, Inc. 



Commentary: Library Forum on RFID Revealed Threats to Privacy, Health By WANDA CROW

Tuesday August 30, 2005

Here are some of the things that I learned at the Aug. 1 “community forum” on radio frequency identification devices (RFID) sponsored by the Board of Library Trustees: Patrons’ reading materials cannot be protected from prying eyes, and anyone can buy a reader/scanner for $150. I learned that there are many studies showing that radiation from radio frequency poses a threat to public health, and I discovered that Councilmember Gordon Wozniak studied none of these before he became an expert panelist for the forum. Moreover, Checkpoint (the RFID company that the library contracted with) is negligent in repairing its equipment, and the Berkeley Public Library and its board were, and continue to be, even more negligent in researching the claims of RFID’s efficacy in reducing both repetitive stress injuries and theft of library materials. As well I learned that Checkpoint is not a new company, but one that’s been around since the 1960s. 

The most informative panelist was Lee Tien, senior attorney for the Electronic Frontier Foundation, an organization concerned with privacy on the Internet and in technology. Among other things, he reminded us that corporations could benefit from our personal information without being held accountable for what happens to that information. His organization played a strong role in the rejection of RFID at the San Francisco Public Library, the rejection of RFID in student IDs at a school here in California and it continues to fight the application of RFID in U.S. passports. 

There were many more experts in the audience. During public question/comment period, we heard from two representatives from the union, two members from the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), two health experts from San Francisco Neighborhood Antennae Free Union and the Breast Cancer Research Foundation, one library advocate from the San Francisco Library Users Association and those unrelenting members of BOLD, Berkeleyans Organized for Library Defense. Every expert was opposed to RFID. This opposition provided much of the information that night. 

And here is what I saw in the community: I saw citizens exercising their First Amendment rights without apology. They used their Intellectual Freedom and researched their topic at their local public library and then discussed it in a forum. They made sure that the board and the director of the Berkeley Public Library heard them loud and clear—a forum after the purchase of this technology erodes a public trust that seems to be low on the priority list of the library’s director and board. There were on the order of 50 people who walked up to the mike, and every one of them was opposed to RFID. I also saw board members who seemed impatient with this tedious democratic process and two of them felt the need to lecture the citizens as if they were children. Watch for the forum on Channel 33!  

Here are other ways for readers to inform themselves about this harmful technology: Electronic Frontier Foundation is at www.eff.org; SuperBOLD is at www.libraryadvocates.org; for health effects of radio frequency, www.wave-guide.org; for recordings of the forum you can go to www.sfbayvideo.com or call 644-2489. 

One speaker called it a boondoggle. He has a point. If it doesn’t fix repetitive stress injuries and doesn’t reduce theft (but in fact increases it) then WHAT is it good for? Another lesson from the forum—RFID is good for two things:surveillance and corporate profit and all at the expense of public trust, worker safety and patron privacy. Is it too much for the board to admit that it made a mistake, and, if they can truly rise to the occasion—get rid of the problem?  


Wanda Crow is a Berkeley resident. 

Arts: Jazz Greats and Newcomers Fill Out Fall Programs By IRA STEINGROOTSpecial to the Planet

Tuesday August 30, 2005

The Bay Area will play host to an abundance of great jazz this fall. The single most important event of the next few months is the San Francisco Jazz Festival with almost 50 events scattered around the city. In Oakland, Yoshi’s continues to bring some of the best jazz musicians in the world to their restaurant/nightclub, while in Berkeley, there will be great jazz offerings at the Jazz-school and at Anna’s Jazz Island.  

This year’s 23rd annual San Francisco Jazz Festival offers nearly 50 imaginatively c onceived programs in venues all over San Francisco. The events take place at beautiful locations like the Palace of the Legion of Honor’s Florence Gould Theatre where admission to the museum is included in the ticket price, Davies Symphony Hall, the Palac e of Fine Arts, and Herbst Theatre with its magnificent autumnal murals by Sir Frank Brangwyn. Besides straight ahead musical performances that range through mainstream, avant garde, Latin, African, French, klezmer, Broadway and gospel, there are also cla sses, interviews and films that can broaden and enhance the experience of the music. The following half dozen shows are just the cream of a consistently great festival. 

Abbey Lincoln has moved from one among many jazz vocalists to take her place in the p antheon of all-time great jazz singers. She has done this by learning to express herself through her original songs, poems set to lovely tunes that are the perfect vehicles for her emotion-drenched voice. She also knows which standards work best for her and can turn a group of talented young accompanists into top-flight jazz performers. This event, at 7:30 p.m., Oct. 19, at Herbst Theatre, kicks off the festival and is only open to SFJazz members, an incentive to join.  

The World Saxophone Quartet—David Murray, Oliver Lake, Hamiet Bluiett and Bruce Williams plus guests Gene Lake, Matthew Garrison and Lee Pearson—will present the music of Jimi Hendrix at 7:30 and 10 p.m., Oct. 20, at the Great American Music Hall. The Quartet is one of the all-time great jazz combos with wide-ranging interests and stellar performers in Murray, Bluiett and Lake . 

Etta James, the Queen of Rhythm and Blues, brings her Roots Band to Nob Hill Masonic Center at 8 p.m., Oct. 22. Although known as a blues singer, like Dinah Wash ington or Big Maybelle, she is just as great doing jazz interpretations of standards, as witness her album of songs dedicated to Billie Holiday. 

Clarinetist Don Byron was at the festival a few years back playing the klezmer compositions of Mickey Ka tz. He returns this year, at 3 p.m. and 7 p.m., Oct. 30, at the Palace of Fine Arts Theatre, to present the music of Sam Musiker, a great swing and klezmer player, and his father-in-law Dave Tarras, arguably the greatest klezmer clarinetist to ever record. 

Barbara Cook is not a jazz singer, but she is one of the greatest Broadway and cabaret performers of the last half-century. She’ll present masterful interpretations of tunes from the “Great American Songbook” at 8 p.m., Nov. 4, at Davies Symphony H all.  

Finally, the Ornette Coleman Quartet will perform at 8 p.m., Nov. 5, at Nob Hill Masonic Center. Although his rhythm section, two string bassists and his son Denardo on drums, seems beside the point, his own playing is always fresh, lyrical and su rprising and he remains one of the seminal influences in the history of post-bop jazz. 

For great jazz in a club setting, you cannot beat Yoshi’s Japanese Restaurant and World Class Jazz House, 510 Embarcadero West in Jack London Square, Oakland. This fall’s lineup includes at least five promising shows.  

From Sept. 1–4, an all-star hard-bop band including tenor saxophonist and Jazz Messengers alum Billy Harper, alto saxophonist and flutist James Spaulding, trumpeter Charles Tolliver, pianist John Hicks and drummer Roy McCurdy will perform as Night of the Cookers. These musicians have all performed brilliantly for decades both together and with many of the greatest bop musicians. 

Oakland’s own Carla Bley, a brilliant composer, bandleader and pianist, m akes a rare Bay Area appearance with her Lost Chords, a quartet including the great bassist Steve Swallow, a long-time accompanist, from Sept. 13-14.  

The great Argentinian tenor saxophonist Gato Barbieri follows hot on her heels from Sept. 15-18. Barbie ri, who did the music for Last Tango in Paris, combines passionate, lyrical playing with Latin and avant-garde influences. 

The great hard bop trumpeter Clifford Brown would have turned 75 this year. Yoshi’s honors him from Oct. 25-30, with performances by Latin trumpeter Arturo Sandoval, pianist Mulgrew Miller and tenor saxophonist Benny Golson, who penned the haunting homage to Clifford, “I Remember Clifford,” following his death in a car crash in 1956. 

The last great fall event at Yoshi’s will be the return of violinist Regina Carter, from Nov. 16-20. Carter has played in many musical contexts from classical to rhythm and blues, but she always approaches her instrument with the freedom of jazz and the aggressiveness of a swing era saxophonist like Ben Webster. 

The Jazzschool at 2087 Addison St. in Berkeley offers classes for those who want to learn the art of playing jazz from professional jazz musicians. They also offer a full schedule of concerts featuring a variety of their teachers, local musicia ns, visiting world class performers and their own student ensembles. This fall’s lineup includes such well-known players as Dick Hindman, Art Lande, Mel Martin, Mark Levine, Dick Whittington, Keith Terry and the school’s executive director, Susan Muscarel la. The highlight of the season should be the appearance of world-class trumpeter Wallace Roney at 4:30 p.m., Sunday, Oct. 16 in the Jazzschool’s Hardymon Hall. 

Finally, the poetical/musical combination Upsurge celebrates its fifteenth anniversary at Anna’s Jazz Island, a new jazz and blues venue at 2120 Allston Way, Berkeley, at 5 p.m. and 7 p.m., Sunday, Oct. 23. The group includes saxophonist Richard Howell, poets Raymond Nat Turner and Zigi Lowenberg, pianists Dee Spencer and Tammy Hall, bassist Ron Belcher and drummer Darrell Green. 



For more information on the San Francisco Jazz Festival call (415) 788-7353, or visit their website at sfjazz.org. For more information on Yoshi’s call 238-9200, or visit their website at yoshis.com. For more information on the Jazzschool call 845-5373, or visit their website at jazzschool.com. For more information on UpSurge call 835-5348, or visit their website at upsurgejazz.com.?

Books: Two Novels in Support of the Artist’s Right to Privacy By DOROTHY BRYANT Special to the Planet

Tuesday August 30, 2005

A few years ago I attended a performance of a new opera The Aspern Papers, after the Henry James novella. The composer had, of course, taken liberties with the story, juggling generations of time, changing some names, changing the dead poet to a dead composer, changing the setting from Venice to Lake Como so that the poet-cum-composer could drown while taking a midnight swim home from his lady-love’s villa (if you tried to swim down a Venice canal, you’d probably get a nasty case of dysentery, but you couldn’t drown). I accepted these changes, but I became uneasy when private letters were changed to the only copy of a lost opera. And when the finale featured Tina as a woman scorned, burning this manuscript of the last opera by the great composer, I left the hall sputtering condemnations to my bemused companions, who shrugged, “Guess he wanted to make it more dramatic, more operatic.” 

“By destroying the point!?” 

“What point?” 

“Simple. They were letters, private letters! Not a work of art. Tina burns his lost opera, she’s a monster. Tina burns private letters, she’s a hero!”  

Another shrug. My friends saw no difference, and that bothered me even more. 

In Henry James’ The Aspern Papers, Miss Tina Bordereux lives in a couple of rooms of a “dilapidated palazzo on an out-of-the-way canal,” caring for her ancient, reclusive aunt who 80 years before was the lover of the famous poet Jeffrey Aspern, and is rumored to possess old love letters from him. Avid to get these letters, a critic/biographer worms his way into the household and romances the lonely, middle-aged spinster. Tina is so vulnerable that he slowly brings her to the point of breaking her promise to her aunt to burn the letters at her death. But when Tina says she will bring them to him as her dowry, the critic/biographer suddenly backs off in revulsion at the success of his courting. Still determined to get the letters, he sneaks into the aunt’s bedroom. The old lady struggles up from bed, catches him going through her bureau drawers, rasps, “You publishing scoundrel,” and drops dead. He flees, but returns after the funeral is over, for one more try at getting “my goods” as he refers to the letters. He is amazed to see Tina looking—well, almost attractive, glowing with a certain “force of soul.” Maybe he could marry her after all! But he is too late. Bouncing back from rock-bottom humiliation and now free to choose, she has burned the letters. “Goodbye. I shall not see you again. I don’t want to.” 

A couple of years later, a new young writer, Edith Wharton, published her first novel. The Touchstone is also about letters from a writer, Margaret Aubyn, now famous after her early death. The recipient of the letters, Stephen, had never read a thing by Margaret and had quickly tired of their discreet romance; nevertheless, he had strung her along for quite a while—and had kept hundreds of abject, devoted, pleading love letters from her. Suddenly the letters are worth a lot of money, money that will enable him to marry the beautiful woman he can’t afford. He sells the letters to a publisher friend on the condition that he not be identified as the recipient. 

The book comes out shortly after his marriage, and it takes off, an instant best seller. Everyone is reading and discussing it, including his wife: “It is like listening at a keyhole. I wish I hadn’t read it! It’s horrible, it’s degrading almost, to read the secrets of a woman one might have known. Stephen did know her once, I think, didn’t you, Stephen?” Does she suspect? Stephen is tortured by this question, and by their friends’ unending, inescapable discussions of the anonymous cad who published the letters from the weak, pathetic female genius they continue to leave unread, while licking their lips over her humiliation. The letters that financed Stephen’s marriage now begin to poison it. 

What these two novellas have in common is respect for the right of the artist to keep his or her private life apart from his or her work, not only for the sake of the artist but for the sake of literature. (Remember, I’m talking about works of fiction and poetry — not memoirs by politicians or media stars, or texts by “authorities” in their field — like Bruno Bettelheim, who might have done a lot less harm if some dirt-digging biographer had exposed him as the phony he was). There is no doubt in either of these novellas that those who want to profit by violating the artists’ privacy have crossed the line between serving art and smearing mud all over it. They are the bad guys who get the punishment they deserve, one by losing the prize he wanted, the other by winning it.  

I think both of these novellas were protest novels, against a trend already under way a century ago, when mass media key-hole peeking had not quite arrived, but was clearly on the horizon. Their protest failed, of course, big-time. These days, the line drawn between probing a work of art and probing the common, messy dross of everyday life, is not only frequently crossed, it is almost erased. The first question I am invariably asked after I give a reading is, “Is this book autobiographical?” My stern answer (just what you’d expect from the school teacher I used to be) is, “What matters in reading my novel is not what you learn about my life, but what you learn about your own.”  

I’m sorry to say that not all writers are as grumpy as I am on this issue; some of them pander to the appetite for private whining, which is profoundly anti-art. The poet Denise Levertov called these writers perverters of the 1960s slogan, “let it all hang out,” which meant being totally truthful, but became an lazy excuse for publishing “raw, unmediated, unshaped, self-pitying journal entries and calling them poetry.”  

Of course, many of today’s biographers (like old Ms. Bourdereux’s “publishing scoundrel”) defend keyhole peeking as necessary to understanding the work of artists. They practice what Julian Barnes calls “biographical sourcery, as if the novelist’s imagination works like a paint mixing machine, with pinches and dabs of actual experience or people mixed up.” On the contrary, Barnes insists, “Fiction is about transforming life rather than disguising autobiography.” 

Or, as Tobias Wolff says, through the protagonist of his novel Old School, “The life that produces writing can’t be written about. It is a life carried on without the knowledge even of the writer, below the mind’s business and noise, in deep unlit shafts where phantom messengers struggle toward us, killing one another along the way—” 

A bit of gossip from Edith Wharton’s life is worth introducing here only because it supports Wolff’s statement. A few years after the publication of The Touchstone, Wharton fell for a smooth operator named Morton Fullerton, who strung her along, borrowed money, used her influence, and, when she finally got free of him, refused to return her letters. In the 1980s these letters were found in a second-hand shop where, evidently, Fullerton had—yes—sold them. They are, like Margaret Aubyn’s letters—loving, confused, humiliated—but different in two crucial elements: there weren’t that many of them, and the final ones kissed off Fullerton graciously, crediting him, delicately, with giving Wharton good sex.  

That Wharton’s novel foretold the future is nothing new—as any fiction writer can tell you; it happens all the time (more usually foretelling the future of a person who was one of the models for a fictional character.) The important thing about the Fullerton affair is this: you can read everything Wharton wrote after Fullerton entered her life, and you will find no sign of enhanced or impaired creativity directly traceable to anything Fullerton did, or any character who directly resembles him. He got under her skin, but never sank in deep enough to enter those mysterious “unlit shafts where phantom messengers struggle toward us.” He is a minor, ordinary, irrelevant blip like those in all our lives, sometimes useable in small, altered, mixed bits. He is not a shaper of the work that “transforms life.” 

The one thing that the real stuff, transformative fiction, needs—must have—from outside, is creative readers, those who are uninterested in prying into everyday details of an artist’s life, who demand nothing less than the (sometimes painful) joy of illumination. Creative readers are willing to maintain “silence, some form of isolation, and sustained concentration in the presence of an enigmatic thing,” wrote Phillip Roth. But then he added “a habit of mind that has disappeared.” 

I hope he’s wrong. If you’ve read this far, I know he is. 



Arts Calendar

Tuesday August 30, 2005



Eyeing Nature: “Ten Skies” with James Benning in person at 7:30 p.m. at the Pacific Film Archive. Cost is $4-$8. 642-0808. www.bampfa.berkeley.edu 


“Tell it on Tuesday” storytelling with Ruth Halpern, Wayne Harris, Marijo, and Gay Ducey at 7:30 p.m. at Julia Morgan Center for the Arts. 845-8542. www.juliamorgan.org 

Karen Fisher describes the romance and cruelty of pioneer life in “A Sudden Country” at 7:30 p.m. at Cody’s Books. 845-7852. www.codysbooks.com  


Sauce Piquante at 8:30 p.m. at Ashkenaz. Cajun dance leson at 8 p.m. 525-5054. www.ashkenaz.com 

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

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

Randy Craig Trio, jazz, at 7:30 p.m. at Caffe Trieste, 2500 San Pablo Ave. 548-5198.  

Larry Coryell Trio with Victor Bailey and Lenny White at 8 and 10 p.m. at 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. 

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



Tenth Annual Yozo Hamaguchi Printmaking Scholarship Awards Exhibition opens at the Isabelle Percy West Gallery, California College of the Arts, 5212 Broadway, Oakland. 594-3619. 


For Your Eyes Only: The President’s Analyst” 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.starryploughpub.com 


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

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

Dhol Patrol at 9 p.m. at Ashkenaz. Cost is $9. 525-5054.  

Home at Last at 8 p.m. at Jupiter. 848-8277. 

Larry Coryell Trio with Victor Bailey and Lenny White at 8 and 10 p.m. at Yoshi’s at Jack London Square. Cost is $10-$16. 238-9200.  



Lunch Poems at 12:10 p.m. at Morrison Library in Doe Library, UC Campus. http://lunchpoems. 


Julia Vinograd, poet, at 7 p.m. at the Albany Library, 1247 Marin Ave., Albany. 526-3720. 

Nomad Spoken Word Night at 6 p.m. at Nomad Cafe, 6500 Shattuck Ave. 595-5344.  

Word Beat Reading Series with Jamey Genna and Alice Templeton at 7 p.m. at Mediterraneum Caffe, 2475 Telegraph Ave. 526-5985. 


Davka, classical Middle-Eastern Ashkenazi jazz, at 8 p.m. at Freight and Salvage. Cost is $18.50-$19.50. 548-1761.  

Peter Barshay’s “Fog” at 8 p.m. at Anna’s Jazz Island, 2120 Allston Way. Cost is $5. 841-JAZZ. www.AnnasJazzIsland.com 

Paul Mehling, Will Bernhard and Ken Emerson, guitar, at 8 p.m. at Downtown. 649-3810. 

Night of the Cookers with Billy Harper, James Spaulding, Charles Tolliver, David Weiss, John Hicks, Roy McCurdy and Dwayne Burno at 8 and 10 p.m. at Yoshi’s at Jack London Square, through Sun. Cost is $1-$24. 238-9200. www.yoshis.com 



Aurora Theatre “The Price” Wed.-Sat. at 8 p.m., Sun. at 2 and 7 p.m., through Oct. 9, at 2081 Addison St. Tickets are $38. 843-4822. www.auroratheatre.org 

California Shakespeare Theater, “Nicholas Nickleby” Part 2 at 8 p.m. at Bruns Amphitheater, 100 Gateway Blvd., between Berkeley and Orinda, through Sept. 18. Tickets are $10-$55. 548-9666. www.calshakes.org 

Impact Theater “Nicky Goes Goth” at 8 p.m., Thurs.-Sat. at La Val’s Subterranean, 1834 Euclid, through Oct. 1. Tickets are $10-$15. 464-4468. www.impacttheatre.com 

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. www.themarsh.org  

Woodminster Summer Musicals “Jesus CHrist Superstar” at 8 p.m. at Woodminster Amphitheater in Joaquin Miller Park, 3300 Joaquin Miller Rd., Oakland, Sept. 2-4, 9-11 Tickets are $20-33. 531-9597. www.woodminster.com 


Artwork by Yvette Buigues Opening reception at 6 p.m. at Cafe DiBartolo, 3310 Grand Ave., near Grand Lake Theater. 832-9005. 


Jack Pollard & His Trio at 8 p.m. at Anna’s Jazz Island, 2120 Allston Way. Cost is $7. 841-JAZZ. www.AnnasJazzIsland.com 

Kai Eckhardt, Jon Fishman and Julia Butterfly Hill at 9 p.m. at Ashkenaz. Cost is $20-$22. 525-5054. www.ashkenaz.com 

Walter Pope Trio at 8 p.m. at Caffe Trieste, 2500 San Pablo Ave., at Dwight. 548-5198.  

E Ivey Orchestra, Old Puppy at 9:30 p.m. at The Starry Plough. Cost is $5. 841-2082.  

Dick Conte Trio at 9 p.m. at Downtown. 649-3810. 

Ken Mahru and Friends at 7:30 p.m. at Nomad Cafe, 6500 Shattuck Ave. 595-5344.  

Dick Hindman Trio at 8 p.m. at the Jazzschool. Cost is $12-$18. 845-5373.  

Otis Goodnight, Stymie & The Pimp Jones Love Orchestra at 9 p.m. at Shattuck Down Low, 2284 Shattuck Ave. Cost is $7. 548-1159 

Crossfire Crew at 8 p.m. at Jupiter. 848-8277. 

The Locust, Cattle Decapitation, Look Back and Laugh at 8 p.m. at 924 Gilman St. Cost is $6. 525-9926. 

Night of the Cookers with Billy Harper, James Spaulding, Charles Tolliver, David Weiss, John Hicks, Roy McCurdy and Dwayne Burno at 8 and 10 p.m. at Yoshi’s at Jack London Square, through Sun. Cost is $1-$24. 238-9200. www.yoshis.com 



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 


Synergy Women’s Open Mic at 3 p.m. at Lakeview Library, 550 El Embarcadero, Oakland. 


Oakland Literature and World Music Festival Sat.-Mon., 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. at City Center Plaza. Cost is $5, children 12 and under free. www.ArtandSoulOakland.com 

Walter Savage Quartet at 8 p.m. at Anna’s Jazz Island, 2120 Allston Way. Cost is $7. 841-JAZZ. www.AnnasJazzIsland.com 

Gator Beat at 9 p.m. at Ashkenaz. Cajun dance lesson at 8 p.m. Cost is $11-$13. 525-5054. www.ashkenaz.com  

“Braziu” with Sotaque Baino and Raiv Do Samba at 9 p.m. at Shattuck Down Low, 2284 Shattuck Ave. Cost is $10-$12. 548-1159. www.shattuckdownlow.com 

Samantha Raven and Friends at 7:30 p.m. at Nomad Cafe, 6500 Shattuck Ave. 595-5344. www.nomadcafe.net 

Bone Thugs-n-Harmony at 10 p.m. at 510 17th St., Oakland. www.at17th.com 

Kurt Riback Trio at 9 p.m. at Downtown. 649-3810. 

George Pederson and the Natives, Real Sippin’ Whiskeys at 9:30 p.m. at The Starry Plough. Cost is $6. 841-2082. www.starryploughpub.com 

Rory Snyder Quintet at 8 p.m. at Jupiter. 848-8277. 

The Lucky Stiffs, Tried and True, Nuts and Bolts, Sore Thumbs at 8 p.m. at 924 Gilman St. Cost is $7. 525-9926. 



Gary Laplow at Ashkenaz at 3 p.m. Cost is $4-$6. 525-5054. www.ashkenaz.com 


“Talks and Tours” of “Wholly Grace” by Susan Duhan Felix, at 3 p.m. at the Bade Museum, 1798 Scenic Ave.  

Kick Back Sundays Jazz and 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. 

Poetry Flash with Trane Devore and Donna de la Perriére at 7:30 p.m. at Cody’s Books. Donation $2. 845-7852. www.codysbooks.com 


Adrian West at 10 a.m. at Nomad Cafe, 6500 Shattuck Ave. 595-5344. www.nomadcafe.net 

Americana Unplugged at 5 p.m. at Jupiter. 655-5715. 

Hostile Takeover, Acts of Sedition, Sabretooth Zombie, at 5 p.m. at 924 Gilman St., an all-ages, member-run, no alcohol, no drugs, no violence club. Cost is $6. 525-9926. 



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


The Last Word Poetry Reading with Eugene David and Dan Marlin at 7 p.m. at Pegasus Books Downtown, 2349 Shattuck Ave. 649-1320. 


Edgardo Cambon & Latido at 8 and 10 p.m. at Yoshi’s at Jack London Square, through Wed. Cost is $10. 238-9200. www.yoshis.com 

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



“Darkroom Drawings” black and white photographs and mixed media by Robert Tomlinson opens at Photolab Gallery, 2235 Fifth St., and runs to Oct. 22. 644-1400.  


Nahid Mozzafari and Ahmad Karimi-Hakkak describe “Strange Times, My Dear” the PEN Anthology of Contemporary Iranian Literature, at 7:30 p.m. at Cody’s Books. 845-7852. www.codysbooks.com 


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

Hamilton de Holanda & Mike Marshall, mandolinists, at 8 p.m. at Freight and Salvage. Cost is $17.50- $18.50. 548-1761. www.freightandsalvage.org 

Ellen Hoffman and Singers’ Open Mic at 8 p.m. at Anna’s Jazz Island, 2120 Allston Way. Cost is $5. 841-JAZZ. www.AnnasJazzIsland.com 

Gary Rowe, solo jazz piano, at 8 p.m. at Downtown. 649-3810. 

Juan-Carlos Formell, Cuban guitarist, at 8 and 10 p.m. Yoshi’s at Jack London Square. Cost is $10-$14. 238-9200. www.yoshis.com 

Leslie Thorne Trio at 7 p.m. at Caffe Trieste, 2500 San Pablo Ave., at Dwight. 548-5198.  

Jazzschool Tuesdays, a weekly showcase of up-and-coming ensembles from Berkeley Jazzschool at 8 p.m. at Jupiter. 848-8277.

When Sorting Out Cedars, Take a Look at the Latin By RON SULLIVAN Special to the Planet

Tuesday August 30, 2005

Alert reader Hal Hoffman called the Daily Planet to note that I’d sent the last tree column, published on Aug. 16, without mentioning the tree’s species epithet. He’s entirely correct, and I’m grateful and abashed; getting that Latin-ish binomial in is a principle of mine. Knowing the scientific name of anything is a key to learning what there is to know about it, from every possible source.  

Oh—California buckeye, the tree I was talking about, is Aesculus californica. 

This Latin stuff (which is rarely proper Latin, but incorporates bits of Greek, place names and surnames and sometimes first names in many other languages, often with a Latin suffix to cap it) is particularly a big deal with plants because plants’ English names vary wildly among places and even families. Then you get to talking with someone from a different culture and language, and you’re in the soup, along with Pan knows only what other ingredients. But if you both know the species epithet, you can figure things out. And even if only you know it, you can more easily find a picture of the plant in question to compare with your correspondent’s memory or specimen and get it all straight. 

And all this matters because we do things like calling a haphazard assortment of trees “cedars” because they share two characteristics: They’re conifers and they have fragrant wood. There isn’t much resemblance between some sets of “cedars;” on the other hand I find some of the true cedars hard to tell apart.  

The North American tree we call “eastern red cedar”—the source of those hope chests some of our grannies had and the little cedar boxes the local furniture stores used to give girls at high school graduation—is actually a juniper, Juniperus virginiana. Western red cedar, Thuja plicata, is in the same Cupressaceae family but not even the same genus; both have scented wood but the scents are quite different, as western’s is much milder and sweeter, with a hint of sassafras. It’s easy enough to find some here; just go into a big enough hardware store and look for fencing boards. The Haida and their Northwest Coast neighbors use it for lots of their remarkable artworks, too. I won’t say “Go sniff a totem pole” but you might be pleasantly surprised if you do.  

In California, we also have “incense cedar,” Calocedrus decurrens. In fact we have a few on the streets, and I’ll write about them one of these days. As you can see from the name, it’s neither a true cedar nor a very close relative of the first two, though it is in the same family. 

We do have true cedars in Berkeley, and they are easy to spot as a group. They’re in the Pinaceae family, not particularly close to those Cupressaceae “cedars.” They’re big when mature, open in structure, pale gray of bark, and have short, usually bluish needles. We have a few of the famous Cedar of Lebanon, Cedrus libani, which appears on that nation’s flag and of which the Temple of Solomon is supposed to have been built. We have more specimens of the Atlas cedar, Cedrus libani var. atlantica, a subspecies of Lebanon cedar. And we have deodar cedar, Cedrus deodara.  

The first two—or one-and-a-half—come from the Mediterranean region, yes, including Lebanon. Deodar cedar hails from the Himalayas. Its needles have a less bluish cast than the Mediterranean types. All carry their stout cones upright on horizontal branches. All are relatively sturdy, long-lived trees, even in cities. They have lots of chemicals—the source of the wood’s fragrance—that repel their potential pests, including resin glands on the cones that are supposed to repel squirrels.  

Mediterranean cedarwood is sturdy and pest-repellent enough to keep its own integrity, though its reputation for keeping moths out of the woollens may be exaggerated. The Spanish Armada was built of cedarwood, and the ships supposedly lasted longer than even the English ships of stout oak. The lumber couldn’t withstand all storms and wrecks, but the live trees’ structure is actually better than most at that, because it doesn’t form a wind-catching “sail.” Good news in a big tree in a windy place. 

Berkeley This Week

Tuesday August 30, 2005


Return of the Over-the-Hills Gang Hikers 55 years and older who are interested in nature study, history, fitness, and fun are invited to join us on a series of monthly excursions exploring our Regional Parks. Meets at 10 a.m. at Pt. Pinole. For information and to register call 525-2233.  

GPS Mapping Learn how to make your own maps at 7 p.m. at REI, 1338 San Pablo Ave. 527-4140. 

East Bay Animals Advocates Volunteer Meeting at 7:30 p.m. at Fellini Restaurant, 1401 University Ave. 925-487-4419. infor@eastbayanimaladvocates.org 

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

Tai Chi for Health and Long Life from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. at Elephant Pharmacy, 1607 Shattuck Ave. 549-9200. www.elephantpharmacy.com 

“Supporting Your Child’s Attention Holistically” at 7 p.m. at Elephant Pharmacy, 1607 Shattuck Ave. 549-9200. www.elephantpharmacy.com 

Celebrating the Legacy of Derek Humphry, of the Hemlock Society, at 1 p.m. at Northbrae Church. Reservations required. 843-6798. 

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

Brainstormer Weekly Pub Quiz every Tuesday from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. at Pyramid Alehouse Brewery, 901 Gilman St. 528-9880. 

Healthy Eating Habits and Hypnosis A free seminar at 6:30 p.m. in Oakland. Registration required. 465-2524. 

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. 


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

Bayswater Book Club meets to discuss “From Jesus to Christianity” by l. Michael White, at 6:30 p.m. at Barnes and Noble Coffee Shop, El Cerrito Plaza. 433-2911. 

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 and a warm hat. 548-9840. 

Fresh Produce Stand at San Pablo Park from 3 to 6:30 p.m. in the Frances Albrier Community Center. Sponsored by the Ecology Center’s Farm Fresh Choice. 848-1704. www.ecologycenter.org 

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. 

Kundalini Yoga for All Ages at 2:30 p.m. at Elephant Pharmacy, 1607 Shattuck Ave. 549-9200. www.elephantpharmacy.com 

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/ 



LGBT Catholics BBQ-Potluck Get-together at 6:30 p.m. at Newman Hall, Holy Spirit Parish, 2700 Dwight Way at College Ave. 663-6302. www.calnewman.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 

Avatar Metaphysical Toastmasters Club meets at 6:45 p.m. at Spud's Pizza, 3290 Adeline at Alcatraz. jstansby@yahoo.com  


Sustainable Business Alliance meets at noon at the Swan’s Market Co-housing Cooperative, 9th & Washington Sts. Cost is $10-$12. 451-4001. 

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. 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. Sponsored by the Buddhist Peace Fellowship. 655-6169. www.bpf.org 

“Introduction to Dzogchen: Buddhist Meditation” with Dzogchen Khenpo Choga Rinpoche at 7 p.m. at Studio Raza, 933 Parker St. Donation $20.  


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.  

Berkeley Really Free Market Bring things to trade, a no-money event. from noon to 4 p.m. at Civic Center Park. 601-0882. 

City of Oakland’s Art and Soul Festival Sat. through Mon., 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. at Frank H. Ogawa Plaza in downtown Oakland. Four concert stages with live music, food and special Family Fun Zone. Cost is $5, children 12 and under free. 444-CITY. www.artandsouloakland.com  

Vegetarian Cooking Class: Demystifying Tofu and Tempeh from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the First Unitarian Church of Oakland, 685 14th St. at Castro. Wheelchair accessible. Cost is $40. To register call 531-COOK. www.compassionatecooks.com 

Walking Tour of Old Oakland around Preservation Park to see Victorian architecture. Meet at 10 a.m. in front of Preservation Park at 13th St. and MLK, Jr. Way. Tour lasts 90 minutes. Reservations can be made by calling 238-3234. www.oaklandnet.com/walkingtours 

“Pro” documentary film on the 2004 road racing championships at 7 p.m. at Wheeler Hall, UC Campus. Benefits the NorCal High School Mountain Bike League. 325-6502. www.norcalmtb.org 

“Stress Less with Hypnosis” at 6:30 p.m. in Oakland. Free, registration required. 465-2524. 


“Untold Stories of 9/11” A video by David Randolph, discussion following with the maker at noon at First Baptist Church, 2345 Channing Way at Dana. http://homepage.mac.com/ 


“The Break Up of the AFL-CIO & The Rank and File” Which way forward for working people? At 4 p.m. at the Fellowship of Humanity, 390 27th St., Oakland. www.laboraction.org 

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 

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 

“Religion After God, Science After Certainty” with Walter Truett Anderson at 9:30 a.m. at Unitarian Universalist Church of Berkeley, 1 Lawson Rd., Kensington. 525-0302, ext. 306. 


Giant Labor Day Rummage Sale from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Berkeley Fellowship, Cedar and Bonita Sts. 540-8271.  

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


Berkeley Salon Discussion Group meets to discuss “Living Poor with Style” from 7 to 9 p.m. at the Berkeley Richmond Jewish Community Center, 1414 Walnut St. Please bring snacks and soft drinks to share. No peanuts please. 601-6690. 

“Bicycle Touring California Backroads and Trails” a slide presentation with Joel Albright, at 7 p.m. at REI 1338 San Pablo Ave. 527-4140. 

Tuesday Tilden Walkers Join a few slowpoke seniors at 9:30 a.m. in the parking lot near the Little Farm for an hour or two walk. 524-9992. 

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

“Healthy Eating with Hypnosis” at 6:30 p.m. in Oakland. Free, registration required. 465-2524. 

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. 


Back to School Walk Berkeley Path Wanderers take an easy First Wednesday walk exploring local school sites and school memories. Meet at 10 am at the entrance to the Live Oak Park Recreation Center, 1301 Shattuck. Free and all welcome. 524-2383. www.berkeleypaths.org  

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. 

Young People’s Symphony Orchestra Auditions, Sept. 7, 9 and 10 by appointment only. Please call 849-9776. 

Textile Art and Papier-mache Whimsey Classes at the Albany Senior Center, 846 Masonic Ave., Albany. 524-9122. 

Berkeley Communicators Toastmasters welcomes curious guests and new members at 7:15 a.m. at Au Coquelet Cafe, 2000 University Ave. at Milvia. 435-5863.  

Entrepreneurs Networking at 8 a.m. at A’Cuppa Tea, 3202 College Ave. at Alcatraz. Cost is $5. For more information contact JB, 562-9431. FIrst and third Wed.  

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. 

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/ 



Community Environmental Advisory Commission meets Thurs., Sept. 1, at 7 p.m., at 2118 Milvia St. Nabil Al-Hadithy, 981-7461. www.ci.berkeley.ca. 


Housing Advisory Commission meets Thurs., Sept. 1, at 7:30 p.m., at the South Berkeley Senior Center. Oscar Sung, 981-5400. www.ci.berkeley.ca.us/ 


Public Works Commission meets Thurs., Sept. 1, at 7 p.m., at the North Berkeley Senior Center. Jeff Egeberg, 981-6406. www.ci.berkeley.ca.us/ 


New Life for Troubled Le Chateau By MATTHEW ARTZ

Friday August 26, 2005

The student co-operative long derided as Cal’s version of Animal House has been given a new name and a facelift that has it looking on par with the homes of neighbors who last year filed a nuisance suit against the property. 

“It’s really an extraordinary change,” said George Lewinsky, a neighbor. “It looks like the kind of place I would have liked to have lived in when I was in school.” 

Lewinsky was one of 15 neighbors awarded a total of $63,250 in small claims court last spring after showing that loud and rowdy behavior at the student co-op Le Chateau had damaged their quality of life. 

In May, neighbors accepted about half the amount awarded by the trial judge, and the University Students Cooperative Association, which operated Le Chateau, dropped its appeal and agreed to remake the co-op. 

The UCSA kicked out current residents, limited entrance to graduate students and transfers, scaled back the number of bedrooms and changed the name from Le Chateau to Hillegass-Parker House. 

The three-house complex at the corner of Hillegass and Parker streets that at one point was home to 85 undergraduates now houses 57 graduate and transfer students. To make the place appealing to a more mature clientele, USCA spent about $225,000 this summer on upgrades. 

“It’s amazing what just a little paint and some finish will do,” said Kathryn McCarthy, USCA’s community relations and development director. 

What once looked like a shelter now better resembles a bed and breakfast. The blue graffiti of dancing figures on the walls have been washed away. The walls have been repainted and covered with framed paintings of flowers. The main room that before appeared to be refuge for unwanted couches now contains brand new leather sofas and cloth recliners. 

“Most of the old furniture had just decayed,” said Lauren MacKinnon, 27, a theology student who has taken over as house manager. 

The smoking room is now a dining room, replete with wood tables, and the stench of wafting nicotine has given way to the smell of fresh paint. The floors, which MacKinnon said were rotting, have been refinished and new lights and windows installed. 

The new layout is courtesy of Mark Pellegrino, a San Francisco-based interior designer, who is a frequent contributor to the show “Curb Appeal” on The Home and Garden Network and a friend of Margie Greene, an USCA accountant. 

“His theme was European Inn, in the Orient,” said MacKinnon, pointing out the bamboo furniture and plush couches. 

More important for neighbors, the USCA has removed the kidney shaped pool and landscaped the backyard with drought-resistant plants. 

“When people decided at 2 a.m. to have a pool party, it was hard for us to sleep,” Lewinsky said. 

The new residents insist they have no interest in being a disturbance. “I’m a game night kind of girl,” MacKinnon said. 

All Chateau residents had to sign a contract stipulating that residents wouldn’t have outdoor parties at night and that they would alert neighbors before an indoor party. 

“I see this as a place that people can bring faculty members and classmates,” MacKinnon said. “I’d like for us to be able to mix activities that are both academic and social.” 

The former Chateau is the first USCA building to cater to graduate students who attend classes at various Bay Area institutions, not just UC. 

McCarthy said that Le Chateau had declined in popularity in recent years and that the UCSA was having difficulty filling beds. The new Hillegas-Parker House is completely booked and has a waiting list, she said. 

Standard rooms rent for $525 a month and large rooms go for $644 a month. 

Several of the roughly 60 residents of last year’s Chateau graduated from the university last year, McCarthy said. Remaining students either moved into different co-ops or left the system. The lone hold-over is Kenny Jensen, a graduate student in physics who decided to stay even though he said he preferred the old Chateau. 

“It was full of life,” Jensen said. “No matter the time there were always people to hang out with. You really felt free.” 

Jensen said he also preferred the old look, which he said, “felt like it was created by the students. Right now it just doesn’t have that co-op feel.”  

Galen Hancock, a graduate student in economics and law, said he decided to move to Hillegass-Parker House from a different co-op in search of a more serene environment. 

“The last co-op I lived in had a lot of undergrads,” he said. “It’s not the right culture once you’re 24.” 

Hancock didn’t anticipate his fellow residents would burden neighbors, but said he feared that neighbors might pounce on any noise or indiscretion at the home. 

After years of tension, Lewinsky said he was optimistic for the new co-op, but was still reserving judgment. 

“I think they’ve taken a big step to changing the culture of place,” he said. “But not everybody has moved in yet, so we’ll have to wait and see.”›

BUSD Says Derby Might Be Closed By J. DOUGLAS ALLEN-TAYLOR

Friday August 26, 2005

The Berkeley school board kept the option of closing a portion of Derby Street alive for its East Campus properties Wednesday night. 

The board directed district Facilities Director Lew Jones to continue his investigation of how the street could be closed between Milvia Street and Martin Luther King Jr. Way and a regulation-size high school baseball field put on the site. 

The sole board dissenter to the plan to move forward was Board Director John Selawsky, a vocal opponent of the closed-Derby plan. Selawsky noted what he called the “huge gap” between the estimated $4.3 million cost of a closed-Derby plan and the approximately $920,000 available in the district budget for the project. He accused fellow board members of “engaging in wishful thinking, and wishful thinking doesn’t pay the contractor. There’s some denial going on here.” 

Terry Doran, board vice president, who said he has “probably been the most aggressive in bringing this project before the board,” defended the board’s actions in continuing the investigation of closing Derby. 

“I have always been up front that I saw the open Derby plan as a temporary, interim solution, and that we were also looking at the long-term solution of closing Derby Street and putting a regulation-size baseball diamond on that site,” he said. 

At the meeting, residents of the East Campus area—many of who oppose the closed-Derby plan—praised the district for demolishing the East Campus buildings on the site. Several residents drew laughter from board members and the audience alike as they describe how “delightful” it was to watch the buildings come down. 

Neighbor Michael Ray described the former condition of the East Campus properties as a “decrepit space.” 

But Wednesday night’s meeting also showed the continuing contentious nature of the issue, with Andrew King, a neighbor of the properties, describing it as a struggle “between the community and these rather obscure, radical forces from outside the community.” 

Board Director Joaquin Rivera said that he “took issue with that comment.” 

He said that ball field proponents were not radical, “but they are certainly passionate about their position, just as the neighbors are passionate about theirs. And they are not from outside the community. They are Berkeley residents. Calling them that is no service to the truth.” 

Board President Nancy Riddle added that both sides “should not marginalize each other by derogatory remarks.” 

BUSD holds properties on two city blocks bounded by Martin Luther King Jr. Way and Milvia Street to the west and east, Carleton and Ward streets on the north and south, and divided by Derby Street down the middle. The Berkeley Alternative High School sits on the southern parcel of the two properties. The old East Campus facilities used to sit on the northern parcel, but over the summer the district had those facilities razed, leaving small piles of steel and concrete that will soon be removed. On Tuesday afternoons, Derby Street is closed between the two properties to accommodate the Berkeley Farmers Market. 

At the board’s direction, WLC Architects of Emeryville has produced two proposals for the properties, an open-Derby Street option that would center around a multi-purpose athletic field for the northern parcel, and a closed-Derby Street option that would include a regulation-sized baseball field. 

Both plans include the building of basketball courts, a relocation of the Farmers Market from the street to a dedicated space on the property, and the building of other facilities for community use, and both plans include keeping the Berkeley Alternative High School on its present site on the southern portion of the properties. Preliminary figures submitted by WLC Architects have put the cost of what is called a “bare bones” open Derby Plan—with the multi-purpose field only, and no other amenities—at close to $950,000, while the estimate for the total closed Derby Plan—with the baseball field and all the amenities—was set at $4.3 million. 

But those figures appeared to be in some flux. District officials were unsure of what street closure costs might eventually be absorbed by the city. Facilities Director Jones said that approximately $1.3 million of that $4.3 million figure came from costs of closing Derby Street for one block. 

The board directed Jones to work out some discrepancies in the two plans and to present a budget for a “bare bones” closed-Derby Street plan without the extra amenities so the two plans can be compared on an equal basis. Jones was also to present an estimate of how much it would cost to build a multi-purpose field on the northern parcel of the properties and then later to have Derby Street closed to built a regulation baseball field on the entire site. 

The board also told Jones that preparation of the southern portion of the property for multi-purpose field use by Berkeley High athletic teams—including seeding of grass and construction of a drainage system—would not go forward until those budget figures are brought back to the board, preliminarily scheduled for Sept. 21. Riddle called such a delay “fiscally prudent.” 

Jones said that he and WLC representatives have met in recent weeks with city officials to discuss the closed-Derby plan. He said that the proposed plan presented by WLC Wednesday night included two additions requested by Berkeley Fire Department representatives: the inclusion of a fire lane on the property, and the installation of a traffic light at Carleton Street and Martin Luther King Jr. Way that could be controlled by the department to clear the way for fire trucks answering a call. The Fire Department uses Derby Street as a throughway to MLK to respond to fires. 


Opponents of Oakland Redevelopment Target Eminent Domain Issue By RICHARD BRENNEMAN

Friday August 26, 2005

Foes of plans to create a new Oakland redevelopment district just south of the Berkeley border are holding a public meeting Sunday to confront a central feature of the proposal—eminent domain. 

The meeting begins at 1 p.m. in the Omni, a club at 4799 Shattuck Ave. 

Under the initial proposal, made by the Redevelopment Division of the Oakland Community & Economic Development Agency, 800 acres would be added to join the separated parcels of the existing 600-acre Broadway/MacArthur/San Pablo Redevelopment Project. 

A May 9 city-sponsored community forum featured a large turnout of residents opposed to the project. The outcry at that meeting led to a temporary suspension of the proposal. 

North Oakland activists Bob Brockl and Alfred Crofts, who played a major role in mobilizing the opposition before the May meeting, organized Sunday’s gathering. Brockl questions the need for a major redevelopment project in an area which has grown increasingly trendy and expensive over the years. 

One of the core issues on Sunday’s agenda will be the U.S. Supreme Court’s June 23 ruling in the case of Kelo v. City of New London. 

In that decision, the court ruled that local governments can force property owners to sell to private developers if the planned project will benefit the public—even if the existing property isn’t blighted and there is no certainty that the new project will succeed. 

Among those scheduled to appear Sunday is John Revelli, owner of the Revelli Tire Company at 571 Thomas L. Berkley Way in Oakland. The property of the 56-year-old family business was seized the day after the ruling. 

Also taken the same day was another nearby small business, Tony Fung’s Autohouse Car Repair at 565 Thomas L. Berkley Way. 

The properties were taken for development of the Uptown District project, the planned creation of private development firm Forest City. The development is part of the Uptown District project promoted by Mayor Jerry Brown. 

Brockl and Crofts described Sunday’s session as a “Forum on Redevelopment Uses and Abuses, including Eminent Domain and Starving the General Fund and the Proposed Addition of 800 Acres to the Existing North Oakland Redevelopment Area.” 

Another speaker will be Orange County Supervisor Chris Norby, a leading member of Municipal Officials for Redevelopment Reform, which maintains the www.redevelopment.com website. 

Oakland writer and preservationist Jane Powell will also speak, as will MGO Democratic Club Pamela Drake. 

The organizers have also invited Rachel Richman, chief of staff to Assemblymember Wilma Chan. 

Brockl said that the struggle against development has created unusual alliances between groups on the left and right. Norby, who hails from a conservative district in Orange County, finds himself aligned with left-leaning activists like Brokl and Crofts and sharing the agenda with a liberal Democratic Party group. 

Brockl said eminent domain is a major worry because under the existing guidelines, the presence of lead paint—a commonplace in older structures—is considered sufficient grounds for a finding of blight that would allow the invocation of eminent domain. 

Redevelopment officials have insisted that eminent domain would only be used against commercial properties, but many of those who attended the May meeting were skeptical, worried that it might be used to seize residences as well. 


Redevelopment meeting 

Meanwhile, the Project Area Committee for the existing Broadway/MacArthur/San Pablo Redevelopment Project has scheduled a meeting for Thursday night, which will hear a report by city staff on the proposed expansion of the district. 

That meeting begins at 7 p.m. in the Multipurpose Room of Beebe Memorial Church, 3900 Telegraph Ave. 

Another topic on the agenda is the Telegraph Avenue Pedestrian Streetscape Project, which focuses on a two-mile stretch of Telegraph from 20th Street to Claremont Avenue.

New Bike Path on the Way For Old Railroad Line By MATTHEW ARTZ

Friday August 26, 2005

Berkeley broke ground Tuesday on its newest bicycle-pedestrian trail—a four-block path the city hopes will one day connect to the Ohlone Greenway and improve access to the I-80 Pedestrian and Bicycle Bridge. 

The trail will follow the old Santa Fe railroad line from Delaware Street, between Bonar and Acton streets, across University Avenue to Addison Street at Strawberry Creek Park. The project includes a new pedestrian-activated traffic light crossing University. 

The right-of-way north of University Avenue has been a 30-foot-wide expanse of grass with a narrow paved walkway since Berkeley took control of the land from the railroad in 1979. Berkeley is spending $115,000 and using a $1 million grant from the Metropolitan Transportation Commission to build the path. It is scheduled to be ready for use by the end of November. 

Development Project Coordinator David Fogarty said the city hopes to raise additional funds to one day to extend the path two blocks north to Lincoln Street. There it would connect to Cedar Rose Park and the Ohlone Greenway, which provides cyclists a direct path all the way to Richmond. 

Bicycle advocates have said they are disappointed by the project, mainly because the city, bowing to neighborhood fears that the trail would invite crime, has agreed to fence it off at night. 

“This is supposed to be a transportation facility, spent with transportation dollars,” said Sarah Syed, Berkeley transportation commissioner. “What other roads do we cut off during certain hours?” 

The gate, to be installed on the north side of University, will cost $50,000. Fogarty said the city hadn’t decided what hours to close the path, but was considering shutting the gate between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. 

He added that, “If one day the neighborhood is convinced the trail is not a crime problem, the gate could be eliminated.” 

But neighbors said they were intent on keeping the gate that they lobbied hard to obtain. “If they don’t close it off, people from the streets will come here and camp out,” said Asline Jones. 

Before the city installed a chain-link fence at University Avenue in the 1980s to block the right-of-way, it was hard to police, said Liz Filmer, who lives along the trail. “It got pretty loud and rowdy at night,” she said. “The fence will give the neighborhood a feeling that it is safe and somewhat closed off from University.” 

Fogarty said the impetus for the trail came when Berkeley Montessori School purchased the property on the southern part of University Avenue. The previous owner, Catellus Development Corporation, a successor company to the railroad, had refused to let Berkeley extend a trail through its property onto Addison Street, Fogarty said. 

“Montessori said if you develop the trail, we’ll give you an easement. That’s what brought this project to the top of the list,” Fogarty said. 

While only a lack of money is keeping Berkeley from extending the trail north towards the Ohlone Greenway, a southern expansion is out of the question. Berkeley has sold off much of the right-of-way south of University Avenue to private homeowners and has dedicated other portions for public parks and housing developments. 

This Just In: Elmwood Theater is Open Again

Friday August 26, 2005

Wednesday night the Elmwood Theater had its underground pre-opening. 

I had noticed the marquee proclaiming “Wednesday Nite Opening,” this week while traveling on the 51 bus, but calls to their number and surfing the internet had produced no confirmation. 

There had been other rumblings before this that had not panned out.  

Even Daily Planet staff, aware of everything that goes on in our town, did not know for sure: “Call the hardware store across the street,” they told me, after I failed to reach the Elmwood on the phone.  

So when we drove past, “mirabile dictu,” it was indeed opening that evening, over a year after it was suddenly closed for repairs.  


--Paul Matzner


Friday August 26, 2005

Agreement May End Greek Alcohol Ban 

UC Berkeley and campus fraternity and sorority leaders are moving towards ending a ban on alcohol use by Greek organizations imposed by the university last May. 

This week, university officials said they reached an agreement with fraternities and sororities that would hold the campus’s Greek communities “more accountable for self-regulation,” including patrolling their own events and reporting any alcohol consumption violations. A university press release said that “if the self-regulation is effective [through the end of Welcome Week on Sept. 1], campus officials will partially lift the ban.” 

UC officials said that a partial ban lift would mean that chapters would be allowed to serve alcohol at social events held away from the campus, as well as at registered on-site alumni activities. A further easing of alcohol restrictions would follow if no problems occur. 

Included in the Greek-UC agreement are stiffer sanctions against fraternities and sororities caught violating the agreement or UC’s overall alcohol policy, which allows beer and wine for students of legal drinking age at events, but no kegs or other bulk containers and no hard liquor. 

Last spring’s ban on alcohol consumption at Greek organization events on campus, the second such moratorium in three years, came a month after an alleged alcohol-related fraternity hazing incident. 

In April, members of UC’s Pi Kappa Phi fraternity were accused of repeatedly shooting a 19-year-old pledge with a BB gun on a Berkeley street after forcing him to drink large quantities of beer and smoke marijuana. The incident led to the reorganization of the Pi Kappa Phi UC Berkeley chapter. 

In announcing the ban last May, UC Dean of Students Karen Kenney said that the university had “seen an alarming increase in problems with alcohol abuse, hazing, fights and badly managed parties by all types of Greek organizations.” 

At the time, UC officials said they were imposing the ban until the university could establish new policies, guidelines, and enforcement procedures for alcohol consumption by Greek organizations. 


Underhill Parking Lot Construction Begins 

UC Berkeley officials have announced that construction of the new four-level, 1,000-space Underhill parking lot will begin the end of this month. 

Construction on the site, bounded by Haste Street, Channing Way, and College Avenue, will begin with demolition of the existing parking lot and excavation for the new structure, and is expected to continue through the spring of 2007. 

University students and officials who have used the Underhill lot are being routed to other UC parking areas during the months of the construction. 

The new parking lot drew criticism earlier this year when it was presented to the Berkeley Planning Commission. Commissioner Rob Wrenn complained that the university was “shoving it down our throats. ... They’re not just replacing the old structure; they’re expanding it.” 

When completed, the new Underhill site will include a street-level recreation field and a landscaped plaza with seating.  


UC Operated Charter School Opens in North Oakland 

A controversial charter school once called “illegal” by an Oakland School Board member and “a wonderful opportunity” for UC Berkeley by a UC Berkeley official opened this week in North Oakland. 

The school, on San Pablo Avenue near the Berkeley border, is a joint operation by the university and Oakland-based non-profit Aspire Public Schools, which currently operates 11 other charter schools in urban areas of California, including two others in Oakland. Funding comes in part from the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation. 

CAL Prep, as the new school is named, opened its doors to 90 middle school students last Wednesday in the building formerly occupied by Oakland Unified School District’s Golden Gate Elementary. That is some 30 to 90 students fewer than school officials projected when they announced plans for the charter last March. The school day will run from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., including after-school programs, with students expected to carry double periods of math and English.  

The charter takeover was made possible after Oakland’s state-appointed school administrator, Randolph Ward, announced the closure of Golden Gate Elementary and then opened it up to reorganization under President George Bush’s No Child Left Behind Act. 

Last March, school board member Dan Siegel said, “Dr. Ward is using reasons that run from the fanciful to the ludicrous to justify the circumvention of state law and the closing of Oakland schools.” 

In announcing the opening of the new CAL Prep school, UC Berkeley Associate Professor Frank Worrell said the school will be based on “an excellent educational model that prepares students for success in college.” 

Dedication ceremonies for CAL Prep are planned for next November.›

Alameda County Could Replace Diebold Machines By MATTHEW ARTZ

Friday August 26, 2005

The Alameda County Board of Supervisors Tuesday will consider accepting bids for new voting machines to replace the controversial Diebold touch-screen voting systems. 

Elaine Ginnold, the Acting County Registrar of Voters, has recommended that the board solicit bids from other electronic voting systems, after Diebold, the county’s supplier of voting machines, failed to win state certification for its newest line of machines, said Rodney Brooks, chief of staff to Supervisor Keith Carson. 

Alameda was one of the first counties in California to buy Diebold’s touch screen system, which has experienced repeated malfunctions in county elections. 

Last June, the Board of Supervisors voted to buy Diebold’s latest model that included a verified paper printout of votes. But shortly after the vote, Secretary Of State Bruce McPherson reported that 19 out of 96 machines failed. 

“At this point the county doesn’t know if they’re going to make certification, so we have to see if there’s some other company that can do something for us,” Brooks said. 

Under state law, the county must use machines in the June 2006 primary election certified by the California Secretary of State to produce a paper trail of votes. 

Diebold still has time to win state certification for its machines before the June election. Alameda County had agreed to pay Diebold an extra $4 million for the new systems with a paper trail. 

The county could be eligible for up to $9 million in federal funding for new machines from the Help America Vote Act, said Steven Hill, an Irvine Senior Fellow with the New America Foundation. 

“Even if new machines cost $12 million, if that’s all Alameda County has to pay to get rid of the headache of Diebold machines, I think it would be worth it,” Hill said. 

The prospect of a different company supplying the county is welcome news for advocates of Instant Runoff Voting, which Berkeley voters approved overwhelmingly last year. 

Two potential bidders to supply voting machines for Alameda County are Elections Systems & Software (ESS), which currently supplies machines for San Francisco elections and Sequoia Voting Systems. Both companies specialize in paper-based ballots that can be read by a high-speed scanner like those used on standardized tests. Also, both systems can handle instant runoff voting elections, according to Hill. 

Supporters of IRV, which ranks candidates when there are more than two people running for an office, are pushing for it to be available in Berkeley by November 2006.  

Diebold, however, has said that its system to allow for instant Runoff voting in county elections would not be ready until 2008 and would require the county to pay an extra $1 million, according to Sherry Kelly, Berkeley’s former city clerk, who is now heading up the city’s effort to implement IRV. 

“Diebold has put up a lot of hurdles,” she said.  

Berkeley Councilmember Kriss Worthington is planning to introduce a resolution calling on the county to bring in a new voting system vendor that could make IRV voting a reality next year. Worthington reasoned that since ESS and Sequioa are competing to supply San Francisco’s system and San Francisco has IRV, Berkeley could also have IRV as soon as next year. 

“Why should it take four years to honor the will of 72 percent of the voters,” he said. 

But Kelly said that no matter what system the county uses next year, IRV voting in 2006 appeared unlikely. 

“There are a lot of questions that have to be answered in the next three to four months,” she said. 

Because the county handles local elections, Berkeley needs the blessing of county officials before it can implement IRV. The other option—holding its own election—would be prohibitively expensive, according to Kelly. 

Kelly said that Berkeley was near agreement with officials in Oakland and San Leandro—the two other towns in the county with authority to go to IRV elections—on protocols to guide how the IRV elections will be run. 

Once the protocols are complete, Kelly said legal questions remain as to whether the county has the authority to certify IRV elections.  

“IRV elections will happen,” Kelly said. “It’s just a matter of how and when it will happen.”w

Column: Undercurrents: A Few More Remarks About Jack London’s Racisim By J. DOUGLAS ALLEN-TAYLOR

Friday August 26, 2005

Last week, we began a discussion on a troubling aspect of Oakland’s veneration of the writer Jack London, the Oakland native who is probably the most honored person in the city (Mr. Knowland has himself a park, Mr. Ogawa a plaza, Mr. Harris a building, but Mr. London has a whole square). The troubling aspect to which I refer is that some of Mr. London’s writings reflect bigotry against Asian-Americans and African-Americans (haven’t run across any anti-Mexican passages, but I’m still in the preliminary stages of my research). 

In case someone thought last week’s passages were aberrations or taken out of context, here is another example from Mr. London’s 1911 novel Adventure, set on a Solomon Island slave plantation. This one is from chapter seven, where Sheldon, the plantation owner and the novel’s protagonist, explains to an outsider his view on his captives, “You see, you don’t understand the situation. In the first place, the blacks have to be ruled sternly. Kindness is all very well, but you can’t rule them by kindness only. … These boys are Melanesians. They’re blacks. They’re niggers—look at their kinky hair. And they’re a whole lot lower than the African niggers. … They possess no gratitude, no sympathy, no kindliness. If you are kind to them, they think you are a fool. If you are gentle with them they think you are afraid. And when they think you are afraid, watch out, for they will get you. Just to show you, let me state the one invariable process in a black man’s brain when, on his native heath, he encounters a stranger. His first thought is one of fear. Will the stranger kill him? His next thought, seeing that he is not killed, is: Can he kill the stranger?” 

Although I could, of course, be mistaken, the passage-taken in the context of the entire book-does not appear to demonstrate that Mr. London was condemning those sentiments, but rather seeing them as a practical virtue. 

(One thing to note in passing: take out the overt racist phrases, and the underlying attitude shown by Mr. London’s character towards these “Melanesian boys” is awfully similar to present-day attitudes in the media, in the mayor’s office, and in the Council Chambers at Oakland City Hall about the young African-American participants in East Oakland’s sideshows. We have not traveled so far as we might think. That, however, is a subject for another column…) 

In any event how does Oakland, with its large population of color and its often-repeated promotion of itself as “the most diverse city in the country” and a “hate-free zone,” reconcile the placement of a statue at its waterfront gateway to a man who espoused anti-black, anti-Asian racism? 

Last week, we suggested that Oakland undertake a public dialogue on the subject to begin to clear the air about our prejudiced past and present. This week, I will add some suggestions as to how Oakland might conduct that dialogue in a way that might bring some added benefit to the city. 

The first suggestion would be to establish a Jack London Room at the main branch of the Oakland Public Library, not dedicated merely to Mr. London, but to East Bay writers in general. The library already has an Oakland History Room that includes some of Jack London’s writings, but that tends to get hidden in a venue that is dedicated to all of Oakland’s history. I would suggest setting up a second room that both contracts and expands on that idea-opening up to a collection for the entire East Bay, while limiting the focus to writers only. 

In that way, we could both a collection of Jack London’s writings, but the writings of other well-known authors with East Bay ties as well (people like Frank Norris, Amy Tan, Ishmael Reed, Terry McMillan, Michael Chabon, Jessica Mitford, and Joaquin Miller come immediately to mind). 

In addition, I would include in an Oakland Library Jack London Room written work by various writers which highlights and concentrates on the effects of racism and ways to combat it, perhaps in the spirit of the Simon Wiesenthal Museum of Tolerance in Los Angeles. London’s racism, then, could be seen in context, and not just left out there unacknowledged. 

Another suggestion, since we are talking about museums, would be a revival of the old Jack London Museum itself. There once was such a museum, operated by a private group out of the old Jack London Village. The private group went under and the museum closed sometime before the City of Oakland razed the Village, and despite promises that the museum would be relocated and reopened, that appears to have never happened. So to this day, except for that sad, lonely statue staring out on the estuary next to Scott’s and the surrounding square that has little, if anything, to do with Jack London, Oakland has no destination magnet for its most famous citizen. 

An Oakland Jack London Museum probably can’t hope to compete with the museum in the Jack London State Park up in Glen Ellen, located in the last house that he and his wife occupied. But I think that can be made into a positive rather than a problem. 

First, in much the same way as I would suggest expanding a proposed Jack London Room at the Oakland Public Library to include anti-racist studies, I would suggest expanding a proposed new Jack London Museum to include not only Jack London artifacts from his days in Oakland and the East Bay, but replications of the East Bay communities as they were around the turn of the last century, when Mr. London lived here, concentrating in part on those communities that Mr. London’s writings looked down upon. There were thriving African-American and Chinese-American communities in the East Bay at the turn of the 20th century. Placing replications of those communities next to, say, one of Mr. London’s oyster pirate sloops or the saloon where he hung out would help us understand more of Mr. London, and the times in which he lived. (The Oakland Museum showed how that type of juxtaposition might be done in its recent Vietnam War exhibit, giving equal weight and perspective to both sides of the conflict.) 

A third suggestion would be an Oakland-based Jack London Writers Conference, complete with a writing contest that solicited entries both from those who are working right now towards a professional career, as well as area high school students. Race and racism, once more, could be a suggested theme that would help in both the understanding of Mr. London’s work, as well as ameliorating the harm some of his work helped to perpetuate. The East Bay is awash in both professional writers who could serve as facilitators and colleges that might be induced to sign on as co-sponsors (the Peralta Community College District, Cal State East Bay, and UC Berkeley, for example). Holding such a conference would both encourage Oakland’s own sense of itself as a literary center—which it certainly could be, if it wanted to—as well as change the city’s negative image among folks not familiar with the city. 

Such Oakland problems as the long-known but little-discussed racist side of Jack London are not insurmountable. What it takes for Oakland’s revival is less money thrown at developers, and more imagination. Since Oakland has not so much of the former, and more than enough of the latter, this shouldn’t end up being nearly as much trouble as we seem to be making it. 



Friday August 26, 2005

The story “Bayer Corp. Janitors Hold on To Their Jobs,” in the Aug. 19 edition of the Daily Planet incorrectly reported that ILWU Business Agent Donald Mahon said Bayer had not asked janitors to take a pay cut. In fact, Mahon said that Bayer had asked janitors to accept lower pay.›

Letters to the Editor

Friday August 26, 2005


Editors, Daily Planet: 

Poor Mike Vandeman! Life is a risky business, isn’t it! Having sporting fun is so dangerous! A mountain biker crashes and is hurt in Briones. Ban the sport! Control anything and everything potentially dangerous! Protect people against themselves! Everybody walking even in the street should wear a crash helmet, as they should in cars, too! 

Of all use activities which are allowed and/or encouraged in public-access natural areas, surely mountain biking has just about the lightest foot-print (as long as parking associated with it is controlled and confined to existing parking areas). It isn’t that he doesn’t raise some relevant questions. Certainly, we have to struggle to balance the public benefit of mountain biking (contact with the natural environment, physical fitness, sport, not sitting at home in front of the telly) against potential minor detrimental aspects? But ban the sport and discourage children....please! What about the dangers of football, boxing, hang-gliding, etc, etc? 

Why do people who think like Mike make such facile black and white, good and evil, assumptions about life and what other people like to do for pleasure and recreation? If Mike rode a mountain bike, of course, he would see the whole situation completely differently! 

Andrew Ritchie  

El Cerrito 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

On Friday, James Sayre wrote a great letter (“President Sheehan) criticizing the president and supporting Cindy Sheehan as president. I had never really thought about the possiblity of Cindy Sheehan becoming president, but if Bush was appointed to be president in 2000, Sayre thinks Sheehan should be as well. He said that Cindy Sheehan is smart, thoughtful, and sensible. Just what we need in a president. Now I feel awestruck. I had this crazy idea that Mr. Sayre was a Republican. How wrong I must have been. 

Rio Bauce 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

I want to congratulate and thank Susan Muscarella for her successful Downtown Berkeley Jazz Festival. Six months ago Susan told me about her idea to have an event that didn’t focus on one downtown business but rather encompassed as much of the downtown as possible. She wanted to create a festival that celebrated Latin jazz and celebrated our unique downtown businesses. I supported her vision but I knew it was going to be a lot of hard work. If you personally know Susan then you would know that hard work never has stopped her before. Susan along with her staff and an advisory committee were able to put together a four day festival that featured over 40 artists in 15 different venues in the downtown. Over these past 6 months as Susan shared her vision she was able to secure over 20 sponsors for the festival. I am proud to be part of two of those sponsors (Downtown Berkeley Association and the Mechanics Bank). Once again, thank you Susan for this wonderful contribution to our downtown. I can’t wait until next year’s festival! 

Raudel Wilson  



Editors, Daily Planet: 

It appears to me that all of the Muslim suicide bombers have been young believers. Some of the parents who have been interviewed, have spoken of pride in their kid’s “martyrdom” and rewards in paradise. Doesn’t mama want paradise too? Why aren’t there middle aged and elderly voluntary martyrs? It doesn’t take much to drive a truck and blow yourself into the sublime. 

Ronald Gans 





Editors, Daily Planet: 

As a long-time Berkeley Public Library user, it is apparent to me that our library is in serious decline. Hours are shorter, lines are longer, skilled librarians are retiring or being removed from public view, staff is demoralized, mistakes are regularly made checking books in, it is harder than ever to find things on the shelves, and many old favorites have been “weeded.” The library will be open again on Sundays only because of staff efforts. 

Many Berkeley taxpayers are deeply unhappy with this decline. What began some months ago as public questioning of library decisions has turned into accusations of incompetence against Library Director Jackie Griffin. 

At the latest Library Board meeting—a public forum on privacy and safety issues surrounding the new RFID electronic checkout system—the public expressed deep frustrations not only against a so-called public forum three years after the library began pursuing this technology, but also against the director who made the deal, the Library Board that hired her four years ago, and even the City Council that passively approves the board’s selection of its own members. It is doubtful that a new library tax to address the library hours and staff crisis would pass at this time. 

It is time for the Library Board to take responsibility for the library administration’s unwillingness or inability to address the challenges that face our public library. 

Pat McPhee 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

What happened to IRV in Berkeley? The Berkeley City Council has done nothing to implement what 72 percent of voters passed in March of 2004. Berkeley City Council is relying on Alameda County and its voting equipment to implement a Berkeley law. Since when is it Alameda county’s responsibility for implementing a Berkeley law? It’s Berkeley City Council’s responsibility. 

If the county’s election equipment isn’t ready for IRV, then the Berkeley City Council should be exploring other options. Other options include using another vendor like ES&S, which has already given a quote to the city of $1.55 per registered voter to run the election. Another option is doing a hand count, like Cambridge, Massachusetts did for decades. Either of those options fulfill the criteria of the charter amendment, and the Berkeley City Council needs to start getting serious about implementing instant runoff voting. No more excuses, it’s the will of the voters. 

Dave Heller 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

I am sure people are getting weary of the give and take about Beth El, but I wanted to clarify past events that are well documented in the minutes of various City Commissions.  

A recent letter stated that Beth El “voluntarily initiated an optional environmental impact report (EIR)”. My definition of voluntary is somewhat different. In May and June 1999, neighbors had spoken to Landmarks Commission, Parks and Recreation Commission, and Community Environmental Advisory Commission about the “preliminary plans” (though plans were not modified until the mediation in 2001). At that time, Beth El leaders felt a negative declaration was all that was necessary. Because of the impacts to the neighborhood and Codornices Creek, neighbors felt an EIR was warranted.  

In June 1999, the Parks and Recreation Commission unanimously approved a motion asking Beth El to carefully consider concerns of the impacts of the development on the environmentally sensitive area, consider daylighting the creek and mitigating impact of parking. In June 1999, the Community Environmental Advisory Commission recommended an EIR for this project given the impact on the environment. In September 1998, 186 neighbors signed a petition requesting a need for an EIR.  

This grassroots work would have been unnecessary if Beth El leaders initially agreed to an EIR. It was after these commission decisions and public outcry, Beth El decided to do the EIR before they would be formally asked by the city to perform one. 

A similar issue occurred with the original plans to put a parking lot and road over Codornices Creek where no such parking lot and road had previously existed. Only after neighborhood involvement including the gathering of over 2,400 signatures on a petition asking for full restoration of Codornices Creek and the involvement of numerous environmental groups and community gardeners, was this idea finally dropped.  

Some could interpret the changes as being voluntary on Beth El’s part, but from my perspective, changes did not come voluntarily or easily. It took the work of neighbors, several commissions, and environmental groups to persuade Beth El to take these “voluntary” actions.  

Diane Tokugawa 



Friday August 26, 2005

Middle school heist 

Burglars broke into the offices of Willard Middle School and stole radios, computer gear, monitors and other office equipment, said Officer Joe Okies, Berkeley police spokesperson. 

While he couldn’t put an exact dollar amount on the cost of the gear taken, Okies said the sum was significant. 


Beanie bandit 

A gunman packing a pistol and sporting a beanie walked into the Valero gas station at 1894 University Ave. just before noon Monday and demanded the contents of the till. 

The bandit then scooped up his ill-gotten gains and departed forthwith. 


Till tappers 

What the Valero bandit accomplished with a gun, a pair of fellows accomplished with their fingers shortly before 6:30 p.m. Monday, when they tapped the till of the Import Tile Co. at 611 Hearst Ave. 

They were making their getaway before anyone figured out what they’d done. 

Unlike the Valero heister, this pair won’t face robbery charges because they didn’t resort to the threat of force. The max they can be charged with is grand theft. 


Potty arsonist redux 

The felon who ignited a portable toilet at Martin Luther King Jr. Middle School on Aug. 16 appears to have staged a replay of the odiferous arson sometime after 9 p.m. Tuesday. 

Police and Fire department personnel arrived at the 1701 Rose St. school to find yet another portable potty on fire. 

No humans were injured, and investigators are seeking to identify a suspect. 


Teenagers rob teen 

A 16-year-old fellow was walking along the Ohlone Greenway along the 1400 block of Virginia Street about 9:50 p.m. Tuesday when two teenagers approached, produced a pistol and demanded his cash. 

The teen complied and the bandits fled on their BMX-style bicycles. 


Sex worker sting 

Acting on complaints of residents of the San Pablo Avenue corridor, Berkeley police staged a prostitution sting Wednesday afternoon and evening. 

Posing as would-be johns, officers nabbed eight women on soliciting charges. The suspects ranged in age from 17 to 52, said Officer Okies.›

Commentary: Harrassment Charges at KPFA Must Be Taken Seriously By BOB BALDOCK

Friday August 26, 2005

Long-time Berkeley resident Marc Sapir, not a man hesitant to declare his views, chose last week to advance instead in the Daily Planet the words of KPFA manager Roy Campanella, Jr, and two of Campanella’s supporters on KPFA’s Local Station Board. In doing this, Sapir dismissed, or certainly tried to, the sexual harassment claims of eight KPFA women workers—all against the manager, all now filed with the state—by ignorantly belittling them and then by insinuating the claims all have a common and ulterior motivation. This is unbelievably insulting to the women and to those who care about them. In my judgment, each of the women and each of their claims must be taken very seriously.  

Interested readers should type “KPFA-workers” into their Google slot. The www.indybay.org destination also has information on the statement of no confidence (in the new manager), the names of the 80 KPFA workers who have signed to date, and on the Hard Knock opposition (to the new manager).  

But what is all of this new strife about? Like many of us, Sapir dislikes certain aspects of what he acknowledges is “the premier alternative radio station in the region.” Can his dislike alone account for such uncritical championing of the new manager? For his absurd assertion that “many of the permanent staff have little respect for the activist community”? For his peculiar characterizing of much of the real core of the KPFA staff as a “dissident group?”  

Only six years ago some 12,000 to 15,000 individuals marched through the streets of Berkeley in vigorous support of KPFA Radio, an astonishing turnout even for the first listener-sponsored radio station in the United States. Essentially the same workers then being endorsed are running the radio station now. There have been some internal changes, of course, some shows added, a few old friends gone, a few younger folks moving into place, but the core staff—both paid and volunteer—is the same reliable and conscientious entity. 

What is different since six years ago? For one thing, the political climate throughout the country has grown emphatically grimmer, rendering alternative media far more endangered. That must be understood. KPFA is imperiled and increasingly vulnerable. Partisan disinformation is injurious to it. Demonizing of the staff or portions of it is only divisive. The situation is already far too polarized, and the Local Station Board has certainly not proven helpful in strengthening this invaluable community asset. What we have in common is simply too important to be jeopardized by ideological manipulations and distortions of our differences.  


Bob Baldock has been KPFA’s public events producer since 1988.  

Commentary: Station Board Members Evaluate Campanella

Friday August 26, 2005

Since May 21, 2005, the KPFA Local Station Board (LSB) has been actively examining the situation at KPFA regarding the conduct of its general manager (general manager), Mr. Roy Campanella II. The LSB was asked to investigate these matters at the invitation of Mr. Dan Coughlin, the former executive director (executive director) of the Pacifica Foundation (parent corporation of KPFA) and Mr. Campanella’s direct supervisor.  

At the end of 2004 and early in 2005, some KPFA employees leveled charges of misconduct against Mr. Campanella. Management promptly hired an outside organization to investigate these allegations and then took steps in March to deal with these issues. Subsequently, early in May 2005, a charge relating to an alleged confrontation between Mr. Campanella and another KPFA employee was filed with the union representing paid staff. 

Representatives of the LSB attempted to get involved in the situation as early as March 2005 but were rebuffed by Mr. Coughlin. Mr. Coughlin stated that the rebuff stemmed from the advice of Pacifica’s counsel who argued that the matter was strictly a personnel issue under the exclusive purview of the executive director due to its confidential nature.  

The LSB continued to be increasingly concerned about this issue. On April 11, when its Personnel Committee requested a meeting with Mr. Coughlin, over half the members of the LSB attended the meeting. At this meeting representatives of the LSB asserted that the Pacifica bylaws gave the LSB the right and the duty to participate in a review of this critical issue but Mr. Coughlin still refused to involve the LSB.  

One month later, on May 5, after an alleged confrontation between Mr. Campanella and another KPFA employee, Mr. Coughlin invited the LSB to participate in the review process shortly before he left Pacifica. 

Since May, the LSB has taken the following steps: 

1. Hired Mr. Dan Siegel, a well known local attorney, to conduct an investigation. 

2. Met with Mr. Siegel to review and discuss his findings. 

3. Met with Mr. Campanella to hear his perspective and quiz him about the above-referenced allegations and review with him the findings and conclusions of the Siegel report. 

4. Examined certain personnel files relevant to the case. 

5. Held eight meetings in executive session (confidential meetings) to discuss this matter. 

After many lengthy discussions of all relevant issues the LSB decided the following: 

• On Aug. 14, it rejected a motion to terminate Mr. Campanella by a vote of 5 for, 15 against, 2 abstentions, 1 no vote and 2 absences.  

• On Aug. 14, it rejected a motion to put Mr. Campanella on probation until February of next year. 

• On Aug. 20, it approved a motion recommending constructive steps to be taken to improve the situation at KPFA.  

This information will shortly be communicated to Mr. Ambrose Lane, Pacifica’s interim executive director. He will then exercise one of two options as spelled out in Pacifica’s bylaws:  

• Accept the recommendations of the KPFA LSB and work with the LSB and Mr. Campanella to implement its recommendations, or 

• Reject the recommendations of the LSB in which case the matter will go to the Pacifica National Board, which is empowered to make the final decision according to the Pacifica bylaws.  


N.B. On August 14, 2005, the LSB voted in executive session in Berkeley, not to terminate Mr. Campanella. On August 20, 2005, also in executive session, the LSB approved disclosure of the above decision and the below roll call vote: 



Berg, Mary 

Blanchet, Max  

Enteen, Riva 

Friedman, Ted 

Hauptman, Chandra 

Khosrowjah, Sepideh 

Nagy, Attila 

Ratcliff, Willie 

Phelps, Richard 

Saba, Fadi 

Tattersall, Marnie 

Wanzala, Joseph 

Williams, LaVarn 


Commentary: Primary (Reform Under False) Colors By Thomas Gangale

Friday August 26, 2005

The greatest political issue of 2005 is flying under the publicCs radar: how shall we decide who gets to be on the November 2008 ballot? Ah! To nominate or not to nominate, that is the question! 

In 2004, Iowa and New Hampshire nominated John Kerry, then it was all over but the shouting. The voters in later states didn’t really matter. By the time Howard Dean threw in the towel in mid-February, only a fifth of the American electorate had spoken. 

In 2008, California will have no voice. The state legislature has moved the primary to June. That’ll be about four months after the shouting, unless there is a complete redesign of the nomination process. 

The Democratic National Committee has a commission studying possible reforms. How are they doing? An eye-witness to the DNC commission’s July 16 reported, “At one point a commission member noted they didn’t have a clear idea of what question they were supposed to be answering.” After seven months of work, the commission is still looking for a mission statement. 

Taking a look at the commission’s website, most of the links on it result in a “Page Not Found” error. There is no way for the ordinary citizen to know what the commission has done, is doing, or will do. Also, this commission was supposed to hold meetings around the country and get lots of input, but all of its meetings have been meeting in Washington. The new DNC chairman Howard Dean has promised a more open and activist Democratic Party, but this commission is the blackest of the black holes, the smokiest of the smoke-filled rooms. The analysis and decision-making that go into determining how the 2008 primary schedule will be laid out ought to be conducted in the full light of day, which as much participation as possible by the party rank and file. This is an issue that all Democrats own, yet it  

might just as well be locked away at Guantanamo Bay. 

This year’s Democratic commission may not have the depth of knowledge on this issue that Republicans acquired through dogged experience, so they might well repeat the error that a Republican commission made in 1996 and recommend half-hearted measures, rather than go for a systemic solution as another Republican commission did in 2000 (which George Bush helped to shoot down). If so, then another blitzkrieg campaign looms in 2008, and a small portion of the American electorate will be buried in the rubble of sound-bite rhetoric, while the majority--including all Californians--will be left politically orphaned. 

2008 is the grand opportunity. For the first time since 1928, no incumbent president is running for re-election, and no sitting vice-president is running for the top job. The planets are all lined up, and the Democrats are acting like they’re not ready to launch. 

A systemic solution is possible, but it must be fair to populous states even as it preserves “retail politicking” in the intimate venues of low-population states in the early part of the campaign season. It would be far better for the two parties to take this leap of faith, if not simultaneously, at least with some confidence that one will follow the other. We, the people, deserve this. The report of the bipartisan Miller commission stated: 

“No political process in the United States is more important than our method of nominating presidential candidates, yet none has given rise to so much dissatisfaction. From both ends of the political spectrum come demands for change. A growing resolve on the part of concerned Americans to find a solution to this problem unites Democrats and Republicans, liberals and conservatives.... This new movement knows no partisan cast, nor does it seek to benefit any one candidate or faction. It is motivated solely by the belief that the public interest is ill-served by the current nominating system. Its conviction is as simple as it is significant: there must be reform.” 

That was in 1982. My watch says, “Half past 2005.” How about yours? 


Thomas Gangale is the executive director at OPS-Alaska, a think tank based in Petaluma, and an international relations scholar at San Francisco State University. He is the author of the American Plan to reform the presidential nomination process. 




Back to Berkeley: Berkeley Abounds in Wi-Fi Hotspots; Many are Free By RICHARD BRENNEMAN

Friday August 26, 2005

While AirBears, UC Berkeley’s wireless Internet connection for students, faculty and staff, offers Wi-Fi on and around the campus, the city of Berkeley and nearby environs offer dozens of restaurants and coffee shops featuring wireless connections for everybody. 

So if you are itching to get work done outside of your house or apartment, grab your computer and use this guide to find places around town where you can connect to the Internet. 

Though most of these places have a specific address, there’s another group of sites planned that will be harder to pin down—the 40 or so buses that the AC Transit plans to equip with Wi-Fi for commuters who travel between the East Bay and San Francisco during peak commute periods. 

Wi-Fi—techno-speak for wireless fidelity—has gone from a rarity to commonplace in the course of a few years. Elsewhere, whole cities have begun offering free or low-cost service to residents and visitors. 

San Francisco has taken the first steps toward providing city-wide low-cost Wi-Fi, and Tempe, Ariz., already provides free access to all city and Arizona State websites and large areas of free service. Seattle offers unrestricted free Wi-Fi to residents in many areas, and universal free service is already available in places like Peachtree, Georgia. 

Free Wi-Fi around Berkeley 

You can enjoy net surfing while you sample decadent pastries, peruse games and zines, nosh on pizza or fine cuisine or simply sip a large latte at many places around town. Some of the favorites of staff at the Daily Planet are: 

• Crixa Cakes, at 2748 Adeline St., home of excellent pastries and other decadent delights. Another bakery offering free Wi-Fi is Sweet Adeline Bakeshop at 3350 Adeline St. 

• Le Bateau Ivre, at 2969 Telegraph Ave., is an easy walk from the UC campus and the source of reasonably priced French food as well as free Wi-Fi and DSL hookups. 

• The Nomad Cafe, at 6500 Shattuck Ave., just across the Oakland city limits, is your basic coffee shop, featuring good food and tech-literate clientele who love both the coffee and Wi-Fi. 

• For devotees of Chinese cuisine, there’s the Yangtze River Restaurant at 1688 Shattuck Ave. 

• Yali’s Cafe, at 1920 Oxford St., just across from campus has free Wi-Fi, and customers say you can also find AirBears service there. 

• The Caproeira Arts Cafe offers free Wi-Fi and unusual cuisine at 2026 Addison St. 

• Fertile Grounds, at 1796 Shattuck Ave., seems to be a favorite of graduate students. 

• There’s also free Wi-Fi at the Steamworks, Berkeley’s gay bath house at 2107 Fourth St. 

• For gamers, there’s Eudemonia at 2154 University Ave., another close-to-campus locale. 

• For chocoholics, there’s Cafe Cacao, located in Berkeley’s famous Scharffen Berger Chocolate Factory at 914 Heinz Ave. 

• And, finally, for pizzaholics, there’s Spud’s Pizza at 3290 Adeline St. 


Finding hot spots 

For a more comprehensive listing of free Wi-Fi locations, around the Bay Area and beyond, see the following websites: 

• The Wi-Fi-FreeSpot Directory is just that, a listing of free Wi-Fi hotspots. Go to www.wififreespot.com and click on California to find free locales throughout the state, including 13 in Berkeley, one in nearby Albany and several just south of the Berkeley city limits in Oakland. 

• Another compendium of free hotspots can be found on the Beast Blog (Beast in Pig Latin is “EastBay”) at www.beastblog.com. Enter “Wi-Fi” in the search engine. The Beast Blog also contains a wide range of listings in its right-hand column, where you’ll find restaurants categorized by ethnicity and location, entertainment venues, and a host of other information about neighborhoods and communities. 

• For additional free sites in the area, try bayareafreefi.com, and for both pay and free locales, see www.jiwire.com.›

Back to Berkeley: The East Bay Offers Scores of Unusual and Intimate Concerts By BECKY O’MALLEY

Friday August 26, 2005

The Bay Area is home to an enormous number and variety of classical musicians. The Arts Calendar in every issue of the Daily Planet lists unusual small concerts by local artists, some with international reputations, which are easily accessible and affordable for music lovers in the Greater Berkeley area. One which is typical of the rich selection available will take place this Sunday afternoon at Oakland’s Chapel of the Chimes, part of the “Sunday Afternoon Musicale and Tea Series” presented this fall by the Oakland Lyric Opera organization. OLO’s goal is “to preserve the art form of opera by working with young, local, classically-trained performers who are on a career track and to make high-quality, affordable opera available to everyone.” 

Classically trained African-American vocalists Angela Dean-Baham (soprano) and Martin Bell (baritone) with accompanist Kristin Pankonin will explore a unique group of songs reflecting various facets of the theme of expressions of love in African-American culture. The concert title is “Love Songs and Lullabies.” It will include such diverse offerings as settings of Langston Hughes poems, “hush songs” (lullabies) and traditional spirituals, both solos and duets. I heard a preview of some of their choices at an open rehearsal. They were unusual, beautiful and meticulously sung by two talented young artists who already have impressive resumes. 

What’s more, the venue itself is fascinating. It’s a historic building, an official Oakland landmark, designed by Julia Morgan, California’s most famous woman architect, who also designed William Randolph Hearst’s San Simeon estate. Adjacent to Oakland’s Mountain View Cemetery, the Chapel of the Chimes has traditionally been used for funerals and occasional weddings, but recently it has also been the site of intimate concerts like this one. On Sunday, there will be an artists’ reception and tea immediately following the performance, when docents will offer tours of the building’s “amazing labyrinth of fountains, pools and gardens.”  



“Love Songs and Lullabies,” Sunday, Aug. 28, 2 p.m., Chapel of the Chimes, 4499 Piedmont Ave., Oakland. ?

Back to Berkeley: A Few Reasons to Stay on this Side of the Bay at Night By MATTHEW ARTZ

Friday August 26, 2005

Berkeley is many things, but a San Francisco suburb it is not. Berkeley has its own symphony, its own theater district and an assortment of restaurants that rival any town in North America. 

In fact, Berkeley can satisfy just about any type of person except maybe one: the hard core partier. 

Every weekend night, throngs of people who want to get down until the early dawn amass at BART platforms to catch one of the last trains for San Francisco. Whatever they see in that town is beyond us. 

So here is a sampling of some of the better nighttime options the San Francisco-bound partiers are leaving behind. 


Telegraph Avenue 

The two most popular establishments on Telegraph Avenue are Kips Restaurant at 2439 Durant Ave. and Blakes at 2367 Telegraph Ave. 

Kip’s is known for passable food and over two dozen of the cheapest brews in Berkeley. The place is usually packed for sporting events and most nights after 11 p.m. As of last year Kip’s is now open until 2 a.m. 

Although it is popular with undergrads, Blakes draws fans of all ages to its ground floor restaurant/pub and its basement music venue, Telegraph’s only place for live bands. Blakes hosts rock, hip hop and DJ acts throughout the week. Covers range from $5 to $10. The basement has a separate bar as well as couches and some pinball machines. 

Also on Telegraph is Raleigh’s, a more upscale pub. The burgers, nachos and fries are considered to be a cut above its nearby competition, and Raleigh’s serves its own microbrews to those old enough to drink them. The bar also has two pool tables and shuffle board. On nice days and nights, patrons can enjoy the backyard beer garden. 

The East Bay’s preeminent gay and lesbian bar is the White Horse Inn at 6551 Telegraph Ave. in Oakland. 


Shattuck Avenue 

Downtown Berkeley is home to the city’s one establishment that can truly call itself a club. The Shattuck Down Low at 2284 Shattuck Ave. is a dancer’s paradise. No matter if the there’s live rock, hip hop or if a DJ is spinning beats, the massive 20-by-40-foot dance floor is likely to be packed and the elevated stage hopping. 

Those who don’t have the stamina to dance nonstop until 2 a.m. can head off with a beer or whiskey to one of the club’s comfortable booths or try their luck at the club’s pool table. 

Across the street from the Down Low is Beckett’s, one of two Irish pubs in town. Beckett’s isn’t just a bar, restaurant and music venue, it’s a Berkeley landmark. The 1925 French Provincial building was designed by famed architect W.F. Yelland and is on the National Register of Historic Places. Every arcane fact is useful at Beckett’s considering the bar hosts a weekly pub quiz every Tuesday. 

Heading towards University Avenue is Jupiter. The microbrew palace at 2181 Shattuck Ave. is a hit with graduate students looking to enjoy one of the pub’s nine house brews and numerous varieties of wood fried pizza. Jupiter features a huge heated outdoor beer garden and plays host to live jazz. 

On the other side of University is Triple Rock Brewery. Owned by John Martin, founder of Jupiter and the Bear’s Lair on the Cal campus, Triple Rock, at 1920 Shattuck Ave., has 10 home-brewed beers on tap. Besides beer, Triple Rock offers its share of sandwiches, nachos and soups. The bar has become so crowded that it recently removed its shuffle board table to make way for more seating. 

Downtown Berkeley has boosted its live jazz offerings in recent years. Anna’s Jazz Island at 2120 Allston Way has live music every night starting at 8 p.m. Happy hour is from 5 to 7 p.m. Covers range from $5 on weeknights to $7 on weekends. 

Live jazz can also be heard at the Jazz Cafe on 2087 Addison St. and at Downtown, a restaurant on 2102 Shattuck Ave.  


San Pablo Avenue 

There are always plenty of games going on at Berkeley’s oldest pub. The Albatross at 1822 San Pablo Ave. destroys the competition when it comes to giving patrons something to compete over. Guests can choose between Pictionary, Trivial Pursuit, Boggle, Balderdash, Chess, Checkers and Connect Four. For those who want a more physical activity, The Albatross has six dart boards and a pool table. Sunday nights is Berkeley’s most challenging trivia night. Be warned, experts of ‘60s garage rock have a decided advantage. 

For lovers of punk and classic country music, the Acme Bar at 2115 San Pablo is a popular choice. The juke box there is perhaps Berkeley’s finest. 

Another good dive bar is the Missouri Lounge at 2600 San Pablo Ave. The recently remodeled pub has a pool table, darts, a 50-inch plasma television and the world’s smallest VIP room. 

Not far from San Pablo is the 924 Gilman Street Project, a seminal local punk club. The alcohol free establishment has played host to Green Day and other local punk icons. Although it has a strong teenage following, punk lovers of all ages call it home. 


South Berkeley 

The south end of Shattuck Avenue has a hub of nightlife centered around the Starry Plough and La Peña. The Starry Plough at 3101 Shattuck Ave., hosts live rock acts Thursday through Friday, Irish music on Sundays, Irish dancing lessons on Mondays and a poetry slam every Wednesday. La Peña, at 3105 Shattuck, is a non-profit cultural center with a focus on Latin American issues and music. 


Other options 

For those who want to do more than sit at a bar, Berkeley offers a wide range of live entertainment. Cal Performances brings some of the best entertainers from across the globe to Zellerbach Hall on the UC Berkeley campus.  

The Berkeley Repertory Theater, winner of the 1997 Tony Award for outstanding regional theater, showcases seven productions every season at 2025 Addison St.  

In South Berkeley, the Shotgun Players have transformed a former church at 1901 Ashby Ave. into the Ashby Stage. 

Berkeley is also home to the Bay Area’s premiere folk venue. The Freight and Salvage at 1111 Addison St. plays home to folk, acoustic and bluegrass acts. For world beats and some of the least pretentious dancing imaginable, head for Ashkenaz at 1317 San Pablo Ave. And for classical music lovers, the Berkeley Symphony kicks its season off this November at Zellerbach. 

Back to Berkeley: Berkeley Landmarks Are Everywhere You Look By DANIELLA THOMPSONSpecial to the Planet

Friday August 26, 2005

If you’ve driven around California, you’ll no doubt have seen the ubiquitous signs that grace the entrance to various cities, directing you to the historic district (often downtown) or what’s left of it. Berkeley has no such sign—probably because it’s preserved more of its historic heritage than most cities, and because our landmarks aren’t confined to one area but can be found all over town. 

At the heart of Berkeley is the UC campus, whose classic Beaux Arts core was designed by John Galen Howard between 1902 and 1924. The campus plan was created as a result of the Phoebe Apperson Hearst International Architectural Competition of 1898–99. 

Although Howard did not win the competition, he was appointed Supervising Architect and determined the look of the campus, designing two dozen structures, including its most famous sites: Sather Tower (the campanile), Sather Gate, Doe Library, Hearst Greek Theatre, California Memorial Stadium, Wheeler Hall, California Hall, and Hearst Memorial Mining Building. 

Many of the buildings are clad in granite (or stucco when the budget was tight) and surmounted by red tile roofs; a few are Brown Shingles in the Arts & Crafts style. As an ensemble, they constitute California Historic Landmark No. 946 and are also individuall y listed on the National Register of Historic Places. 

Berkeley’s earliest founding community was Ocean View, on the shore of San Francisco Bay. The former town, now West Berkeley, is home to a large collection of 19th-century architecture. Strolling along the 800 block of Delaware Street with its boardwalks, water towers, picket fences, and beautifully restored Victorians, the visitor can taste the rural character that once defined this neighborhood. 

At 834 Delaware St., you’ll see the charming ye llow building that served as Captain Bowen’s Inn since 1854. Queen Anne houses and 19th-century workmen’s cottages are scattered on surrounding streets, just steps away from the elegant shops and restaurants of Fourth Street. Delaware Street Historic Dist rict; National Register of Historic Places. 

Just south of UC campus, at 2315 Durant Ave., stands the Berkeley City Club, designed in 1929 by Julia Morgan. Like Morgan’s Hearst Castle, the six-story clubhouse combines Moorish and Gothic elements that earn ed it the moniker “The Little Castle.” 

Originally the Berkeley Women’s City Club, it was entirely financed by subscriptions from 4,000 women. The fabulous interiors include an indoor swimming pool, a ballroom, various reception halls, dining rooms, courtyards, and a terrace. 

The building is now run as a hotel, and the restaurant is open to the public. California Historic Landmark No. 908; National Register of Historic Places. 

About a mile north of the UC campus, the Berkeley Municipal Rose Garden is a favorite venue for June weddings, tennis games, picnics, hiking, or daydreaming. A Depression-era Civil Works Progress Project, the garden was opened in September 1937. 

Arranged in an amphitheater, wide stone terraces planted with fragrant rose bushes face west toward the Golden Gate. A semicircular redwood pergola draped with climbing roses crowns the terraces. 

Boasting 3,000 rose bushes and 250 varieties of roses, the garden, City of Berkeley Landmark #189, is considered by many to be the finest rose garden in Northern California.. A block to the south on Euclid Avenue, the famous Rose Walk (City of Berkeley Landmark #9), laid out by Bernard Maybeck, and lined with cottages by Henry Gutterson, is worth a look as well. 



Back to Berkeley: Local Spots Where Vegetarians Can Eat Well By MATTHEW ARTZ

Friday August 26, 2005

At first blush one would think of Berkeley as a Mecca for vegetarian eateries. But, alas, free speech and soy protein do not always go hand-in-hand. 

This reporter has seen the Cal Democrats pig out on chicken wings and the local communists barbecue pig flesh. 

Still, this being Berkeley, even the greasiest spoon will offer a garden burger, probably with some fresh avocado on the side. But there are several restaurants who devote all of their energies to pleasing vegetarians and vegans, so let’s give them our undivided attention. 


Cha Ya 

If long lines are the surest sign of exquisite cuisine, the crown jewel of Berkeley’s meatless fare is the vegan Japanese restaurant at 1686 Shattuck Ave. Started in 2002, by Atsushi Katsumata, the retired head sushi chef at San Francisco’s Hotel Nikko, Cha Ya is the only vegan sushi house in the country. 

In the past three years Katsumata says he has come up with 1,500 vegan recipes. Specials at Cha Ya change weekly.  

The restaurant’s signature dish is the Cha Ya roll—sushi filled with avocado, yam and carrots and then covered in batter and lightly fried. Besides a full complement of sushi and noodle dishes, Cha Ya has seven original, elegantly prepared salads, which cost around $5 and are often the perfect meal on a hot summer’s day. 

Any vegetarian planning to travel to Japan should make a pit stop at Cha Ya, where Katsumata keeps a listing of every vegetarian restaurant in his native land. 

Katsumato said he opened Cha Ya at the behest of his wife, who is a strict vegetarian. He, however, has loftier goals. As one of about a half-dozen chefs in Northern California with a license to prepare Blowfish, he wants to open the Bay Area’s first restaurant to serve the poisonous fish. 

“That is my dream,” he said. 


Before last January a fancy meatless meal required a trip across the bay. But now vegans have an East Bay restaurant that’s suitable for just about any occasion.  

Manzanita, at 1050 40th St. in Emeryville, is a worthy to successor to the popular Macrobiotic Cafe that operated out of the storefront for over a decade. Like its predecessor, Manzanita offers food that is 100 percent vegan and organic. 

To the delight of the cafe’s strong following, new owner and baker Masha French retained the cafe’s cadre of Tibetan chefs. They specialize in macrobiotic cooking, which seeks to improve health by offering foods that aren’t high in acids or alkalines. 

Unlike the Macrobiotic Cafe, Manzanita is solely a restaurant. But, while there are no more produce sales or volunteers, the restaurant does try to reach out to the community by holding macrobiotic cooking classes. 

The menu at Manzanita changes daily and consists of seasonal produce. A full lunch costs $10 and dinner, which on Tuesday consisted of cashew cheese tacos, miso bean soup, short grain rice with shitake mushrooms, mixed green salad and steamed kale with tahini sauce, costs $11. For those who can’t handle so much healthy food, the restaurant offers a scaled down meal for $7 and individual items for $2.50. 


Vegi Food 

One of the pioneers of Berkeley vegetarian food is perhaps the city’s most anonymous restaurant. Dimly lit and spartan, the Chinese restaurant at 2085 Vine Street often looks like it’s closed. 

Once inside, time appears to stand still at Vegi Food. One of the few items hanging on the restaurant’s baby blue walls is a glowing restaurant review from April 15, 1979. 

The couple that owns the restaurant wasn’t available for an interview, but the patrons had plenty of kind things to say about their favorite whole-in-the-wall. 

“We come for that mama’s kitchen feel,” said Andrew Harth, who recommended the soy bean sheets with walnuts. “Obviously there isn’t much in the way of decor, but there’s a happy feeling here.” 


Ital Calabash 

Don’t be surprised if Berkeley soon sees an influx of vegan Rastafarians. They now have the perfect hot spot at the corner of Emerson and Adeline streets. 

The lego-like building that for years held the mercurial Taste of Africa is now home to Ital Calabash, where the reggae music never stops and animal products never find there way into the food. 

“Not all rastas are vegan, but we think they should be,” said the dreadlocked man behind the counter, who added that giving his name would be a form of self promotion, which the restaurant frowns upon. 

Although Ital Calabash arrived in Berkeley a few months ago, the man behind the counter said he had been working in Berkeley with health food icons like Dick Gregory since the early 1980s. 

Ital Calabash offers a variety of soy based burgers and raw veggie wraps for between $5 and $6. For a couple of dollars more, patrons can eat their signature No Meat Treat, a Jamaican style soy protein in tomato-based curry sauce over a grain with salad on the side. The restaurant also serves a variety of smoothies and shakes. 

Amaryst, who stopped by Ital on Sunday, recommends the rice and peas dish. And she should know good vegan food since her boyfriend is a chef at Manzanita. If you don’t trust her, here’s what Oakland-based actor/activist Danny Glover wrote in the restaurant’s guest book, “Ital is love, love of life, love of self.” 


Supreme Vegan 

Robert Williams might be the hardest working man in the vegan food world. Earlier this year he opened West Oakland’s first Vegan Soulfood restaurant at 906 Stanford Ave., and he still hasn’t managed to hire himself any paid help. 

The only downside to being a one-man show is that Williams doesn’t have time to prepare all the items that are on his menu. 

Although you never know what exactly will be available at Supreme Vegan, it’s pretty much guaranteed to taste good. 

“It’s wonderful to have an all vegan restaurant here,” said Travis Moore, who recommends the barbecue seitan sandwich and the banana tofu creme pie. “It’s the best vegan pie I’ve ever had.” 

It might also the healthiest pie in the East Bay. Williams is a health zealot. He refuses to use regular salt or soy sauce in his cooking. Instead he uses Himalayan salt, which he says can also be used as a health supplement. Almost nothing in the restaurant has any oil in it. Even the unchicken nuggets are steamed, rather than fried. 

William’s was raised as a vegan by his family who like him were members of the African Hebrew Israelites Nation. The small sect insists that they are the original Jews and that believe the bible calls on believers to eschew eating flesh. After his family was deported from Israel in 1986, Williams learned the ropes of vegan cooking as a chef for 15 years at Soul Vegetarian in Atlanta. 

Supreme Vegan offers seven sandwiches for between $4.50 and $5.50. Specialty drinks cost around $3 and a slice of pie goes for $2.50. The restaurant also has the only soft serve vegan ice cream machine in town. 


Udupi Palace 

If chicken tika or aloo gobi is what comes to mind when you think of Indian food, it might be time to head to Udupi Palace, Berkeley’s only all vegetarian Indian restaurant.  

Udupi specialties in Southern Indian cuisine so many of the dishes most familiar to the American palate aren’t available there. Udupi’s specialty is the dosa. A mammoth sized crepe filled with the customers choice of potatoes, vegetables, spinach or even cream of wheat. Udupi offers eight types of dosas, all of which are vegan. For those who prefer thicker bread, Udupi has Uthappam, which are pancakes wrapped in spices with options for, vegetable, pineapple, hot peppers or onions. 

Most of the food is vegan, and store manager Jaffar Salik said anything on the menu can be made dairy free. Dosas range from $5.25 to $6.95 and the Uthappam costs between $5.25 and $5.75. 


Comings and goings 

Albany’s best vegan restaurant Mother Nature closed earlier this month. However fans of raw food can take heart that in December San Francisco’s Cafe Gratitude will set up shop on Shattuck Avenue by Virginia Street. 


Honorable mentions 

For vegans who want pizza, the only game in town is Lanesplitter Pub. The restaurant with locations at 2033 San Pablo Ave. in Berkeley and 4799 Telegraph Ave. in Oakland, servers a vegan pies along with more traditional pizzas and has plenty of beer on tap.  

Vegans who want something cold and creamy after dinner are advised to head to Gelateria Naia at 2002 Shattuck Ave. The popular eatery has around a dozen different dairy-free frozen desert options.›

Back to Berkeley: Local Theater Groups Present Robust Programs By KEN BULLOCK Special to the Planet

Friday August 26, 2005

Despite grant funding drying up and the competition of movies, video and other cheaper, often in-the-home competition, live theater performance continues to thrive, even spill over in the Bay Area—and Berkeley is no exception. 

There are several hundred theater companies in the Bay Area, and—from top to bottom, professional resident stage companies to community theaters and short-lived amateur-semipro projects—the Berkeley area is the scene for some of the best, as well as the most diverse. 

Just as with homes, the real estate market is the hidden arbiter of theatrical production and its problems, just as much as funding. Only a handful of companies have homes or even regular—if shared—venues. Some of the best longtime troupes are vagabond, producing in different places every season, or sometimes for each show. 

TheatreFIRST, with 10 years in the area, produces shows of consistently high quality that engage in often unexpected ways with contemporary social issues. The group is on the move again after a year at Mills College (in past years, at the Julia Morgan Theater on College Ave. and in the Morgan-designed Berkeley City Club), opening The Arab-Israeli Cookbook Oct. 27 at the Jewish Community Center. (The play is based on “verbatim conversations ranging from how to cook falafel—and we will be cooking onstage!—to having children who become martyrs to both causes—42 characters played by 8 actors!”) 

In the spring, at ProArts Gallery at 9th and Broadway in Oakland, TheatreFIRST will present the West Coast premiere of Love Play, by Moira Buffini (“2000 years of loving encounters, from the Romans to a dating service, on one spot in London—30 characters played by six actors!”) and World Music by Steve Waters (on the aftermath, in Brussels and Africa, of the Rwanda genocide). 

For more information, see www.theatrefirst.com. 

Oakland’s Eastenders, celebrating their 15th year of genuine repertory production, develops ensembles for rotating programs of both thematically related short plays by known playwrights and new locally-written full-length plays (some by co-founder Charle Polly, who also trades off directing with co-founder Susan Evans). They are still unconfirmed searching for a venue for their annual 100 Years Of Festival. Last year the theme was “Political Theater,” this year it is “Sex Acts” (questions of gender, relationship, etc.) For more information on the upcoming season, see www.eastenders.org. 

They last performed at the new Ashby Stage, as well as in San Francisco—an increasingly employed alternative for homeless East Bay troupes and projects, such as Golden Thread’s ReOrient, an annual program of short plays that deal with the Middle East. Last year, ReOrient staged an artistically successful (not to mention socially engaged) run at the Ashby Stage; this year, the bulk of the fest will be at San Francisco’s Magic Theater in November, with a seminar at UC Berkeley’s Center for MidEast Studies around a staged reading of Egyptian playwright Lenin El Ramly’s Nightmare. For more information see, www.goldenthread.org. 

Central Works Theater En-semble’s motto is “We make plays”—and they do, in a true collaborative lab situation, with innovative and highly professional results, developing new plays from draft to stage. They have a home—the intimate hall of the Berkeley City Club. In October they will produce Achilles & Patroclus, “a play about two men and a woman,” by cofounder Gary Graves, who will also direct a play still in development next spring, under the working title Crossing, by Brian Thorstenson (“about citizenship and immigration”). Cental Works charges admission on a sliding scale, $25-$9. For more information, see www.centralworks.org. 

Another great City Club regular company, Wilde Irish, will be back Sept. 9 with Irish playwright Frank McGuinness’ Someone Who’ll Watch Over Me, about hostages in 1992 Lebanon, directed by founder Gemma Whalen, the former head of the now-defunct Mills Drama Dept. For more information, see www.wildeirish.org. 

Newest of home venues is the Ashby Stage (nee Transparent Theatre), home to both the Shotgun Players and Shotgun’s collaborative Theater Lab. Berkeley favorites for over a decade, Shotgun is a vigorous and community-minded troupe that casts a wide net: their Cyrano is still running outdoors at John Hinkel Park; Owners (by Caryl Churchill, directed by founder Patrick Dooley) opens Sept. 6, followed by Cabaret in December and January. 

Ambitious, sometimes over-reaching, stretching dramaturgy and technique, Shotgun has dazzled its public by seeming to run on a fund of sheer energy—something that carries over to the Lab, any production of which is always potentially the most interesting show in town. Cry/Don’t Cry, by Playwrights Foundation’s Christine Young and musician Greg Beuthin, with live drumming, runs Nov. 8-17. For more information, see www.shotgunplayers.org. 

The Ashby Stage is venue for other local and Bay Area groups, both through Theater Lab and as a rental. Last year, San Francisco’s innovative foolsFURY played at the Lab, and Darvag, Oakland’s long-standing Iranian ensemble, produced the exceptional Death of Yazgird by poet Bahram Beyzaii. It’s a curious multicultural note that the two best-written plays premiering in the Bay Area last year that this reviewer covered were both Iranian: Yazgird and a short play in ReOrient, Taziyeh, by Novid Parsi, both at the Ashby Stage. 

Darvag will be back at the Ashby this October and November with The Suitecase, a piece on exile and moving from place to place, originally written (and performed) in Farsi 15 years ago by director and cofounder Farhad Aeesh about the aftermath of the Iranian Revolution, now updated and translated into English. For more information, see www.Darvag.org.  

Holding pride of place among local resident companies is Berkeley Repertory, with two theaters side-by-side on Addison Street off Shattuck Avenue: the new Roda and the older Thrust Stage. The Rep is one of the Bay Area’s handful of Equity (the actors’ union) houses, running six days a week during production. Performing a broad range of plays with professional casts, production staffs and designers (local and imported), there is the occasional awkwardness of a well-acted, brilliantly appointed imported new play with a bland script—too often the albatross of the Regional Rep system in America. 

A disasterous fire this summer at their scene shop has beleaguered the Rep. This year’s shows range from Thornton Wilder’s combine of Americana and 1930s experimental spareness and theatricality, Our Town in September; the world premiere Finn in the Underworld, by Jordan Harrison, in October; and the extravaganza Brundabar and Comedy on the Bridge, adapted by Artistic Director Tony Taccone from a piece performed in concentration camps, with set and costumes by Maurice Sendak and a local children’s choir. For more infomation, see www.berkeley rep.org. 

Next door to the Rep’s Thrust Stage is the Aurora. Under the artistic direction of Barbara Oliver, Aurora built up the greatest critical reputation of perhaps any Bay Area company, for both dramaturgy and production values—in particular, acting. Oliver has just retired, replaced by longtime Managing Director Tom Ross. Their season begins Sept. 2 with Berkeley favorite Joy Carlin directing the late Arthur Miller’s The Price, with an all-star Bay Area cast. In November,a Tom Ross will direct a new translation of Pagnol’s Marius, followed by another new translation, of Ibsen’s Master Builder, and new plays by Thomas Gibbons and Craig Lucas. For more information, see www.auroratheare.org. 

On Adeline, Black Repertory is a three-generation family affair. Last year’s shows ranged from a premiere of Ishmael Reed’s Tough Love Game to the musical Bubbling Brown Sugar. Bolstered by civic and community support, though dogged by controversy and uneven production values and artistic directorship, Black Rep stands as one of two or three African-American companies in the Bay Area with regular shows on a stage of their own. For more information, see www.blackrepertorygroup.org. 

In Orinda, California Shakespeare performs The Bard outdoors, continuing into fall with the two-part Nicholas Nickleby. For more information, see .www.calshakes.org. Woman’s Will, the all-female Shakespeare company, has been performing Richard III in parks around the Bay for free (including at John Hinkel Park). This fall, they present the Brecht-Weill radical musical Happy End at Luka’s Tap Room in downtown Oakland. For more information, see www.womanswill.org. 

Other troupes perform at Hinkel and other parks, often for free—the San Francisco Mime Troupe plays here this weekend. Julia Morgan Theater, Berkeley City Club, Live Oak Theater, Ashby Stage and other venues have seen performances by local and regional groups (like Larry Reed’s innovative Shadowlight puppet-and-actor theater or San Francisco’s Traveling Jewish Theater). Intimate venues like Eighth St. Studios or LaVal’s Subterranean host regulars such as ImpactTheater. For more information, see www.impacttheatre.com. There are other good local vagabond troupes, such as Subterranean Shakespeare Company and Ragged Wing Ensemble, which presented a splendid debut at Eighth St. last year. 

More conventional repertory and community theater (as well as a few surprises) are presented by Berkeley Actors Ensemble (usually at Live Oak Park), Contra Costa Civic Theatre, and the twin venerables, Altarena Playhouse in Alameda and The Masquers in Point Richmond. Unusual and international fare can be found at UC Berkeley, from the ‘30s labor musical The Cradle Will Rock to contemporary social-political plays from India and the UK. For more information, see www.theater.berkeley.edu and the usually brief shows in the panoply booked by CalPerformances at Zellerbach Hall, see www.calperfs.berkeley.edu. 

The latest, both as venue and as theater project, The Marsh-Berkeley, an extension of San Francisco’s solo performance landmark in the Mission, is now playing And God Winked in the Gaia Building. For more information, see www.themarsh.org. 

Most companies have discounts for students seniors and groups, as well as sliding scale or pay-what-you-will performances.r

Back to Berkeley: High School Students Struggle With Stress, Depression By ELIZABETH HOPPERSpecial to the Planet

Friday August 26, 2005

Most adults know that being a high school student isn’t easy. However, many would be surprised to learn that the vast majority of teenagers are becoming depressed and losing sleep over problems that are much less superficial than fashion or the high scho ol social scene. 

Bay Area psychologist Dr. Anita Barrows, who has 25 years of experience counseling children and adolescents, estimates that 60 to 70 percent of teenagers are affected negatively by stress. 

According to psychologists, stress can have a variety of effects on teenagers. Although the most common effects of stress are insomnia, stomachaches, headaches, anxiety, and irritability, stress can also be a major factor in depression and eating disorders. Michael Simon, an East Bay psychotherapist, estimates that 60 percent of high school students have their eating habits disrupted in some way by stress and that 20 to 30 percent of teenagers have their mental health affected negatively by stress. 

Most teenagers worry about issues that are much more serious than cliché high school problems such as homework and popularity. According to Bay Area psychologists and teenagers interviewed by the Daily Planet, high school students often worry about being successful, both in the immediate future and later i n life. 

Barrows said teenagers often fear that they won’t make it in a competitive society. Simon points out that teenagers with successful parents often worry about failing to match their parents’ level of success. Many teenagers also worry about living up to impossible standards. One 16-year-old said she often feels as though she has to do “everything perfectly.” 

High school students who are considering attending college may face an even greater level of stress. Simon blamed the media for creating a “publicity machine” surrounding the college application process by compiling lists of the top schools. Barrows points out that trying to gain admission to one of these top schools can be like trying to “win a prize.” 

As high school students strive to win these prizes, their lives are made more stressful by the fact that they are trying to achieve success at the same time that they are trying to determine “who they are and what they want out of their lives,” as Simon puts it. When faced both with the pressure to excel as well as the need to determine their own identities and goals, it isn’t surprising that most teenagers suffer from stress. 

The stress faced by today’s teenagers is more complicated and widespread than it may seem to many adults. According to Barrows, “Parents and teachers like to think of teenagers as lazy—[they] underestimate how seriously teenagers take their lives and how hard it is to be a teenager.” 



What Teens Can Do About Stress 


Bay Area psychologists and teenagers suggest severa l things that high school students can do to reduce stress. All of the items on this list were suggested both by Simon or Barrows and teenagers interviewed by the Daily Planet. 

• Exercise regularly. 

• Talk to someone (such as a parent or friend) about w hat is causing stress. 

• Find a “creative outlet” (according to Barrows) such as art or writing. 

• Participate in a relaxing, noncompetitive activity or hobby. 

• Get enough sleep. 


Berkeley resident Elizabeth Hopper is a senior at Bentley School in Lafayette. 

Arts Calendar

Friday August 26, 2005



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

Impact Theater “Nicky Goes Goth” at 8 p.m., Thurs.-Sat. at La Val’s Subterranean, 1834 Euclid, through Oct. 1. Tickets are $10-$15. 464-4468. www.impacttheatre.com 

“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. 

Magical Arts Ritutal Theater, “Equus” Fri. and Sat. at 8 p.m., Sun. at 2 p.m. at Ashby Stage, 1901 Ashby Ave. Tickets are $25. 523-7754. www.ticketweb.com 

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. www.themarsh.org  


Louis Malle: “Au reviour les enfants” at 7 p.m. and “Atlantic City” at 9:05 p.m. at the Pacific Film Archive. Cost is $4-$8. 642-0808. www.bampfa.berkeley.edu 


Dr. Loco’s Rockin’ Jalapeño Band at 9 p.m. at La Peña Cultural Center. Cost is $7-$10. 849-2568. www.lapena.org 

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

Wake the Dead at 9 p.m. at Ashkenaz. Cost is $13-$15. 525-5054. www.ashkenaz.com 

Lua at 8 p.m. at Caffe Trieste, 2500 San Pablo Ave. 548-5198.  

Anna Maria Flechero, singer-songwriter, at 8 p.m. at Maxwell’s 341 13th St., Oakland. 839-6169. www.maxwellslounge.com 

Lee Waterman Trio at 9 p.m. at Downtown. 649-3810.  

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

Tom Freund at 9:30 p.m. at The Starry Plough. Cost is $8. 841-2082. www.starryploughpub.com 

Akimbo, Lords, Ass End Offend, Paint Out the Light, at 8 p.m. at 924 Gilman St. Cost is $6. 525-9926. 

London Street and Baby James at 10 p.m. at Shattuck Down Low, 2284 Shattuck Ave. Cost is $5. 548-1159.  

Bitches Brew at 8 p.m. at Jupiter. 848-8277. 

Kenny Burrell Quintet at 8 and 10 p.m., through Sun. at Yoshi’s at Jack London Square. Cost is $14-$20. 238-9200.  



Oakland-East Bay Shakespeare Festival “Much Ado About Nothing” Sat. and Sun. at 4 p.m. at Lakeside Park at Lake Merritt, corner of Perkins and Bellevue, through Aug. 28. Free. 415-865-4434. www.sfshakes.org 

San Francisco Mime Troupe “Doing Good” at 2 p.m. at Cedar Rose Park, 1300 Rose St. 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 


“New Visions: Introductions 2005” artists’ talk at 1 p.m. at ProArts Gallery, 550 Second St., Oakland. www.proartsgallery.org 

“CCA Faculty New Work” opens at the Oliver Art Center, California College of the Arts, 5212 Broadway, Oakland. 594-3600. 


A Theater Near You: “F for Fake” 7 and 8:45 p.m. at the Pacific Film Archive. Cost is $4-$8. 642-0808.  


Rhythm & Muse with poet and prose writer Jan Steckel at 7 p.m. at Berkeley Art Center. Free. 527-9753. 

Poetry Flash with Michael McClure and M.L. Liebler at 7:30 p.m. at Cody’s Books. Cost is $2. 845-7852.  


Diablo Street Jazz Band from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. at Bay Street Plaza, near Old Navy, Emeryville. 

Robin Gregory & Her Trio at 8 p.m. at Anna’s Jazz Island, 2120 Allston Way. 841-JAZZ.  

Bolokada Conde, child prodigy drummer from West Africa, at 8 p.m. at La Peña Cultural Center. Cost is $15. 849-2568. www.lapena.org 

Ray Abshire with Andre & Louis Michot of Lost Bayou Ramblers at 9 p.m. at Ashkenaz. Cajun dance lesson at 8 p.m. Cost is $11-$13. 525-5054.  

Don Villa & Gary Wade, original compositions for guitar, at 7 p.m. at Spuds Pizza, 3290 Adeline St. Cost is $7. 558-0881. 

Deanna Witkowski Trio at 9 p.m. at Downtown. 649-3810.  

Dave Lionelli, singer songwriter, at 7:30 p.m. at Nomad Cafe, 6500 Shattuck Ave. 595-5344. 

Toychestra, The Loins at 9:30 p.m. at The Starry Plough. Cost is $8. 841-2082.  

Allegiance, Blacklisted, Cast Aside, Down to Nothing at 8 p.m. at 924 Gilman St. Cost is $6. 525-9926. 

Will Bernard & Motherbug at 8 p.m. at Jupiter. 848-8277. 



San Francisco Mime Troupe “Doing Good” at 2 p.m. at Cedar Rose Park, 1300 Rose St. 415-285-1717. www.sfmt.org 


A Theater Near You: “Edvard Munch”at 2 and 5:30 p.m. at the Pacific Film Archive. Cost is $4-$8. 642-0808.  


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

Poetry Reading by contributers to Diner, a Journal of Poetry, at 7 p.m. at Pegasus Books, 2349 Shattuck Ave. 649-1320. 

Poetry Flash with poet Bryce Milligan and novelist Cecile Pineda at 7:30 p.m. at Cody’s Books. Donation $2. 845-7852.  


Oakland Lyric Opera “Love Songs and Lullabies,” songs by African American composers at 2 p.m. at Chapel of the Chimes, 4499 Piedmont Ave., Oakland. 836-6772. www.oaklandlyricopera.com 

Live Oak Concert with Amy Likar, flute, Bruce Foster, clarinet, Yueh Chou, bassoon, Erika Wilsen, horn, at 7:30 p.m. at Berkeley Art Center, 1275 Walnut St. Cost is $8-$10. 644-6893.  

Du’Vo’ from Hungary, at 7:30 p.m. at Finnish Hall, 1970 Chestnut St. Tickets are $5-$15. 526-7757. 

Oak, Ash & Thorn at 8 p.m. at Freight and Salvage. Cost is $18.50-$19.50. 548-1761.  

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

Koko de la Isla, flamenco, at 8 p.m. at Ashkenaz. Cost is $10. 525-5054. www.ashkenaz.com 

David Serotkin, CD release party, at 7:30 p.m. at Epic Arts, 1923 Ashby Ave. Cost is $5-$10. 644-2204.  

Shotgun Ragtime Band at 10 a.m. at Nomad Cafe, 6500 Shattuck Ave. 595-5344.  

Americana Unplugged with The Dark Hollow Band at 5 p.m. at Jupiter. 848-8277. 



“The Danube Exodus” Interactive installation by Péter Forgács & the Labyrinth Project opens at the Judah L. Magnes Museum, 2911 Russell St. www.magnes.org 


“Stolen Childhoods” a documentary on child labor, at 7:45 p.m. followed by discussion with director Len Morris, at Pacific Film Archive. Sponsored by Amnesty International.  


Poetry Express Theme Night: “Ex’s” at 7 p.m., at Priya Restaurant, 2072 San Pablo Ave. berkeleypoetryexpress@yahoo.com 


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

Oaktown Jazz Workshop with Najee & His Band at 8 p.m. at Yoshi’s at Jack London Square. Cost is $35. 238-9200.  



Eyeing Nature: “Ten Skies” with James Benning in person at 7:30 p.m. at the Pacific Film Archive. Cost is $4-$8. 642-0808. www.bampfa.berkeley.edu 


“Tell it on Tuesday” storytelling with Ruth Halpern, Wayne Harris, Marijo, and Gay Ducey at 7:30 p.m. at Julia Morgan Center for the Arts. 845-8542. www.juliamorgan.org 

Karen Fisher describes the romance and cruelty of pioneer life in “A Sudden Country” at 7:30 p.m. at Cody’s Books. 845-7852. www.codysbooks.com  


Sauce Piquante at 8:30 p.m. at Ashkenaz. Cajun dance leson at 8 p.m. 525-5054. www.ashkenaz.com 

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

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

Randy Craig Trio, jazz, at 7:30 p.m. at Caffe Trieste, 2500 San Pablo Ave. 548-5198.  

Larry Coryell Trio with Victor Bailey and Lenny White at 8 and 10 p.m. at 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. 

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



Tenth Annual Yozo Hamaguchi Printmaking Scholarship Awards Exhibition opens at the Isabelle Percy West Gallery, California College of the Arts, 5212 Broadway, Oakland. 594-3619. 


For Your Eyes Only: The President’s Analyst” 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.starryploughpub.com 


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

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

Dhol Patrol at 9 p.m. at Ashkenaz. Cost is $9. 525-5054.  

Home at Last at 8 p.m. at Jupiter. 848-8277. 

Larry Coryell Trio with Victor Bailey and Lenny White at 8 and 10 p.m. at Yoshi’s at Jack London Square. Cost is $10-$16. 238-9200. www.yoshis.com 



Lunch Poems at 12:10 p.m. at Morrison Library in Doe Library, UC Campus. http://lunchpoems. 


Julia Vinograd, poet, at 7 p.m. at the Albany Library, 1247 Marin Ave., Albany. 526-3720. 

Nomad Spoken Word Night at 6 p.m. at Nomad Cafe, 6500 Shattuck Ave. 595-5344.  

Word Beat Reading Series with Jamey Genna and Alice Templeton at 7 p.m. at Mediterraneum Caffe, 2475 Telegraph Ave. 526-5985. 


Davka, classical Middle-Eastern Ashkenazi jazz, at 8 p.m. at Freight and Salvage. Cost is $18.50-$19.50. 548-1761.  

Peter Barshay’s “Fog” at 8 p.m. at Anna’s Jazz Island, 2120 Allston Way. Cost is $5. 841-JAZZ. www.AnnasJazzIsland.com 

Paul Mehling, Will Bernhard and Ken Emerson, guitar, at 8 p.m. at Downtown. 649-3810. 

Night of the Cookers with Billy Harper, James Spaulding, Charles Tolliver, David Weiss, John Hicks, Roy McCurdy and Dwayne Burno at 8 and 10 p.m. at Yoshi’s at Jack London Square, through Sun. Cost is $1-$24. 238-9200. www.yoshis.comÊ

Berkeley This Week

Friday August 26, 2005


Reduced City Services Today Call ahead to ensure programs or services you desire will be available. 981-CITY. www.cityofberkeley.info 

Activism Series on 9/11 and Social Change with Carol Bouillet, Ken Jenkins, Maya Schoen and Ralph Schoenman at 7 p.m. at Berkeley Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, 1924 Cedar St. at Bonita. 528-5403. 

“Building a Community FM Broadcast Station” by T.J. Enrile. Book Release Party at 7 p.m. at AK Press, 674-A 23rd St., Oakland. Donation $5-$10. 208-1700. 

Middendorf Institute for Breathexperience Open House at 6 p.m. at 830 Bancroft Way, #104. RSVP to 981-1710.  

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. 

Celebrate a Humanistic Shabbat with Kol Hadash, led by Rabbi Jay Heyman, with song leader Bon Singer, at 7:30 p.m. at the Albany Community Center, 1249 Marin Ave. Free and open to the public. 428-1492. info@KolHadash@org  

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 Cedar Rose Park, 1300 Rose St. 415-285-1717. www.sfmt.org 

Names on the Land: George R. Stewart Hike to learn the origin of local names Orinda, Treasure Island, Golden Gate and others. Meet at 10 a.m. in the overflow parking lot off Lomas Cantadas and Grizzly Peak Blvd. in Tilden Park. 525-2233. 

Dr. Terrence Roberts, one of the “Little Rock Nine” will speak at the Leaders’ Conference at Boalt Hall, UC Campus. Conference runs 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Cost is $125 for all day, $55 for the Awards program. For information call 835-7999.  

Walking Tour of Oakland Chinatown Meet at 10 a.m. at the courtyard fountain in the Pacific Renaissance Plaza at 388 Ninth St. Tour lasts 90 minutes. Reservations can be made by calling 238-3234. www.oaklandnet.com/walkingtours 

All Life Strives to Have Grandchildren Learn why there is so much activity by insects, birds and flowers aimed at finding a mate. From 2 to 4 p.m. at Tilden Nature Center, Tilden Park. 525-2233. 

Winter Vegetable Garden Learn about plant selection, preparation and planting at 10 a.m. at Magic Gardens, 729 Heinz Ave. 644-2351. 

Homebrewing Biodiesel Learn the whole process from testing, washing, filtering to putting it in your vehicle, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. in Oakland. Cost is $20-$40. Call to register. 843-9877. 

Natural Hormone Therapy at 10:30 a.m. at Elephant Pharmacy, 1607 Shattuck Ave. 549-9200. www.elephantpharmacy.com 

Oakland Heritage Alliance Walking Tour of Picardy Drive and Mills Gardens. Cost is $5-$10. For details call 763-9218. www.oaklandheritage.org 

Free Sailboat Rides between 1 and 4 p.m. at the Cal Sailing Club in the Berkeley Marina. Bring warm waterproof clothes. www.cal-sailing.org 

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.  

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 Cedar Rose Park, 1300 Rose St. 415-285-1717. www.sfmt.org 

Community Garden Party and Fundraiser from 1 to 5 p.m. at Peralta Community Garden, 1400 Peralta Ave. near Hopkins. Live music, food, on-site raffle, kid’s activities, and peace-tile painting. 798-8148. 

“Birdbrain” is Really a Compliment We’ll look for smart birds and see what they are doing with all their brain power. From 10 a.m. to noon at Tilden Nature Center, Tilden Park. 525-2233. 

All of Life is a Great Thirst Learn how life copes with keeping as much water as it can inside. From 2 to 4 p.m. at Tilden Nature Center, Tilden Park. 525-2233. 

The Art of Composting Learn to make fertilizer from your kitchen scraps from 2 to 4 p.m. at City Slicker Farms, 16th and Center Sts., Oakland. 763-4241. 

Social Action Forum with Chris O’Sullivan who had a Fulbright Fellowship in Jordan, at 9:30 a.m. at Unitarian Universalist Church of Berkeley, 1 Lawson Rd., Kensington. 525-0302, ext. 306. 

Hungarian Folk Dancing with Du’Vo’ from Hungary, at 7:30 p.m. at Finnish Hall, 1970 Chestnut St. Tickets are $5-$15. 526-7757. 

All Our Voices: Celebrating Diversity through Storytelling with Jewish, Latino, Asian, African American and Native American stories from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the BRJCC, 1414 Walnut Ave. Cost is $20-$45. 444-4755. www.stagebridge.org 

Oakland Heritage Alliance Walking Tour around the Claremont. Cost is $5-$10. For details call 763-9218. www.oaklandheritage.org 

Berkeley City Club free tour from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Tours are sponsored by the Berkeley City Club and the Landmark Heritage Foundation. Donations welcome. The Berkeley City Club is located at 2315 Durant Ave. For group reservations or more information, call 848-7800. 

Free Sailboat Rides between 1 and 4 p.m. at the Cal Sailing Club in the Berkeley Marina. Bring warm waterproof clothes. www.cal-sailing.org 

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

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


Rally to Support Instant Runoff Voting (IRV) in Berkeley Join City Councilmember Kriss Worthington and other IRV supporters for a rally at noon at City Hall, 2180 Milvia, to urge that the Berkeley City Council work harder to implement IRV, approved by the voters last March with over 72% of the vote. 981-7170. 

“Stolen Childhoods” a documentary on child labor, at 7:45 p.m. followed by discussion with director Len Morris, at Pacific Film Archive, 2575 Bancroft Way. Sponsored by Amnesty International.  

Stress Less with Hypnosis A free seminar at 6:30 p.m. in Oakland. Registration required. 465-2524. 

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


Return of the Over-the-Hills Gang Hikers 55 years and older who are interested in nature study, history, fitness, and fun are invited to join us on a series of monthly excursions exploring our Regional Parks. Meets at 10 a.m. at Pt. Pinole. For information and to register call 525-2233.  

GPS Mapping Learn how to make your own maps at 7 p.m. at REI, 1338 San Pablo Ave. 527-4140. 

East Bay Animals Advocates Volunteer Meeting at 7:30 p.m. at Fellini Restaurant, 1401 University Ave. 925-487-4419. infor@eastbayanimaladvocates.org 

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

Tai Chi for Health and Long Life from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. at Elephant Pharmacy, 1607 Shattuck Ave. 549-9200. www.elephantpharmacy.com 

“Supporting Your Child’s Attention Holistically” at 7 p.m. at Elephant Pharmacy, 1607 Shattuck Ave. 549-9200. www.elephantpharmacy.com 

Celebrating the Legacy of Derek Humphry, of the Hemlock Society, at 1 p.m. at Northbrae Church. Reservations required. 843-6798. 

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

Brainstormer Weekly Pub Quiz every Tuesday from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. at Pyramid Alehouse Brewery, 901 Gilman St. 528-9880. 

Healthy Eating Habits and Hypnosis A free seminar at 6:30 p.m. in Oakland. Registration required. 465-2524. 

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. 


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

Bayswater Book Club meets to discuss “From Jesus to Christianity” by l. Michael White, at 6:30 p.m. at Barnes and Noble Coffee Shop, El Cerrito Plaza. 433-2911. 

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 and a warm hat. 548-9840. 

Fresh Produce Stand at San Pablo Park from 3 to 6:30 p.m. in the Frances Albrier Community Center. Sponsored by the Ecology Center’s Farm Fresh Choice. 848-1704. www.ecologycenter.org 

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. 

Kundalini Yoga for All Ages at 2:30 p.m. at Elephant Pharmacy, 1607 Shattuck Ave. 549-9200. www.elephantpharmacy.com 

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/ 



LGBT Catholics BBQ-Potluck Get-together at 6:30 p.m. at Newman Hall, Holy Spirit Parish, 2700 Dwight Way at College Ave. 663-6302. www.calnewman.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?



Editorial: Experiments Enhance Education By BECKY O'MALLEY

Tuesday August 30, 2005

For those of us who have spent a substantial part of our lives in or near educational institutions—and that’s most of us in Greater Berkeley—the approach of September always feels like the real New Year. Even for small children it’s the chance to start over again and to get it right this time. Over the weekend we attended a small gathering marking the tenth anniversary of the deaths of Page and Eloise Smith, who 40 years ago spearheaded some significant attempts to get education right.  

Page, a distinguished historian who was teaching at UCLA at the time, became the first provost of Cowell College, the first college of the University of California at Santa Cruz. The model was to be Oxford, California-style, and the plan was that students and faculty would form small learning communities within the larger institution. It was seen as an antidote to the mega-university on the corporate model which was starting to dominate the other campuses of the University of California, notably Berkeley and UCLA. There were many educational experiments conducted at Santa Cruz in the first few years, notably narrative evaluation of students instead of letter grades and a core curriculum grandly called “World Civilization” which attempted to incorporate most of human history in a course taught by several professors as a group. Not all, or perhaps not most, of these experiments are now considered to have been successful by current academic theorists. Page Smith himself didn’t last even 10 years at UCSC, resigning in disgust at the decision of the academic bureaucracy to deny tenure to a valued colleague, and yet his former students who spoke at the memorial on Saturday continue to believe that their education was an outstanding success from their personal perspective.  

No discussion of education is complete without pointing out the Latin root of the word, from the Latin educare, to lead out. The job of education, contrary to the philosophy of No Child Left Behind, is not to stuff students with poorly grasped facts and figures to be regurgitated verbatim on tests. It is instead to encourage them to make the most of their inherent gifts, in the context of the past to be sure. The University of California bureaucrats have spent the last 40 years trying to destroy this ideal at Santa Cruz, to turn the school into another feeder for whatever industry is trendy at the moment, first Silicon Valley and now biotechnology. What survives to this day nonetheless among some of the students at the University of California at Santa Cruz is a vigorous curiosity and an irreverence toward the conventional wisdom which dead-serious competitive Berkeley students increasingly lack. It’s not a coincidence that among the Daily Planet’s liveliest staffers and contributors at least four were educated at UCSC.  

Eloise Smith, Page’s wife and co-conspirator, was a fine painter who made her major contribution to education with the program she started in 1977 to bring art to California prisons. She believed that participation in the arts offered inmates the best way to develop the self-respect which is essential for rebuilding life after incarceration. British critic John Carey, in his recent book What Good Are the Arts?, says that the most important, or perhaps the only, way that art “improves” society is in prison programs, and he quotes several criminology studies to prove his point. It’s an idea which has been widely recognized since Eloise Smith launched her prison art program, though not, unfortunately, by the state of California, which defunded it in 2003. 

Most educational experiments don’t survive for very long, at least in their original form, but many of them seem to be “successful” nevertheless. This might have something to do with the nature of experiments. Industrial psychologists in the nineteen-thirties documented the Hawthorne Effect: At an electrical plant, workers took part in a series of experiments with different ways of doing their jobs, and to the surprise of the investigators, almost everything worked. One commentator described the results as “an increase in worker productivity produced by the psychological stimulus of being singled out and made to feel important” because workers knew that they were participating in an experiment. What was good for workers then is probably good for students now.  

Conceptual rigidity is the enemy of true education. As soon as would-be educators get locked into The Right Way to Do It, à la NCLB, they’re probably getting it wrong. That’s why the people who are trying to create a bit of ferment at Berkeley High School with programs like Small Schools and Academic Choice deserve community support. Even if no particular program gets it exactly right, chances are that 40 years from now today’s students, like the original UCSC students, will report that they’re better people—and better educated—because they participated in an interesting experiment in 2005.  

Editorial Welcome Back, Part Two By BECKY O'MALLEY

Friday August 26, 2005

This issue of the Berkeley Daily Planet contains the second of two special “Back to Berkeley” pullout magazine sections. Like the first one (which is still being distributed around town as well) it’s full of insider tips from local residents on how students and other newcomers can make the most of their Berkeley experience. For those of you who can’t find a copy of Part One, we’ll just repeat a bit of what we said earlier. The Planet is the publication for what we call Greater Berkeley: people who live in Berkeley, but also people who work in Berkeley, shop in Berkeley, go to school in Berkeley, or even just wish that they lived, worked or shopped in Berkeley. We believe that Berkeley is a state of mind which has expansive boundaries. Those of us who are lifers here are happy to welcome most of the new faces we see every August.  

At this time of year, though, the perennial conflicts between town and gown are highlighted. The University of California always has new schemes to reduce friction between students and residents. This year it’s a new alcohol education program and re-configuration of housing sites where there were problems last year. Good luck. Student rowdiness has always been a part of the university experience, and it won’t be completely banished. The thirteenth century seems to have been particularly hot. A quick Google produces the University of Paris riots of 1229 and a whole bunch of English clashes in the 1200s, but also the “Turl Street Riot” in Oxford in 1979. Sometimes rowdiness and politics mix, sometimes not.  

Incoming students might just keep in mind that they are the guests of the long-term residents of Berkeley. A recent editorial which suggested that Berkeley’s non-taxpaying religious institutions (of which we have a plethora) are also guests produced an outraged response from some congregants. But it’s a fact: neither the University of California nor any of the many other non-profits which dominate the majority of the square acreage in Berkeley pay their fair share for the upkeep of the roads, the sewer system and other necessities of modern life. Some money flows to city coffers from sales tax revenues generated by students and staff, but in these days of regional shopping malls and web purchasing, not that much anymore.  

The City of Berkeley huffed and puffed a lot last spring about the cost to Berkeley of UC’s new long-range expansion plan. At one point consultants hired by the city estimated that if the university paid its full share of civic costs it would add up to about $11 million. Chancellor Birgeneau’s response was that if the university gave the city even $3 million more a year, it would mean depriving 300 students of a UC Berkeley education. City officials ended up making a sucker deal with Cal for less than a million in compensatory payments. Using Birgeneau’s figures, it would therefore seem that at least a thousand U.C. students are going to school courtesy of the local taxpayers’ approximately $10 million contribution.  

Not, of course, that we Berkeleyans aren’t glad to see you again. We choose to live here instead of in Walnut Creek or San Mateo because we appreciate the pizzazz the presence of a major university and its students adds to our lives. We enjoy going to your lectures, your plays, your museums and your concerts. Many of us have fond memories of our own riotous student days, so we’re happy to wink at a certain number of indiscretions. But we’d appreciate it if you could try to keep your youthful exuberance within reasonable limits most of the time, at least at night when some UC neighbors need their sleep.