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Jakob Schiller: Johnnie Poindexter, who learned how to quilt when she was 12, works on a Seagull quilt in her senior citizen’s apartment in Berkeley on Thursday evening. “I just love quilts because they are so beautiful to me,” she said. (See article on Improvisational Quilts).i
Jakob Schiller: Johnnie Poindexter, who learned how to quilt when she was 12, works on a Seagull quilt in her senior citizen’s apartment in Berkeley on Thursday evening. “I just love quilts because they are so beautiful to me,” she said. (See article on Improvisational Quilts).i
 

News

BUSD Fiscal Crisis Improving, But Not Over By J. DOUGLAS ALLEN-TAYLOR

Tuesday September 06, 2005

In its final six-month progress report on the Berkeley Unified School District, the Fiscal Crisis Management Assistance Team (FCMAT) praises the district for making what it called “good progress” in its operational areas, but says that the district “still faces significant fiscal challenges” and cautions that BUSD “will need to remain vigilant to avoid fiscal insolvency.” 

The BUSD board will review the report at Wednesday’s regular board meeting. The board had been scheduled to conduct the review at its Aug. 24 meeting, but postponed it when the meeting ran overtime. 

The meeting will be held at 7:30 p.m. at Old City Hall at 2134 Martin Luther King Jr. Way. 

FCMAT is a state-funded organization set up by the Legislature to intervene and assist school districts facing severe financial difficulties. In recent years, the organization’s role has increased to encompass the monitoring of every aspect of school district operations. 

The publication of the final FCMAT report on BUSD, which was released in July, ends the organization’s oversight of the district, which began during BUSD’s fiscal crisis in 2001. In that year, FCMAT was appointed by the Alameda County Office of Education as BUSD’s Fiscal Advisor, but that role ended last summer. 

In the five areas in which FCMAT provides assessments, the organization noted steady improvement in BUSD’s operations. On a 1-10 scale, with 10 being the highest possible score, BUSD received final ratings of 7 in community relations/governance, 5.65 in personnel management, 6.08 in pupil achievement, 5.70 in financial management, and 6.47 in facilities management. 

While all of these showed at least a one-point jump in assessment from July 2003 through July 2005, FCMAT said that BUSD’s greatest gains during that period were in financial management over the two year period, from 3.08 to 5.70. 

In pointing out that BUSD “should continue to self-monitor its fiscal operations regularly,” however, FCMAT officials noted areas of concern that required specific district action. Some were controversial, others seemed difficult to achieve in a period of fiscal austerity. 

• Noting that “a number of district programs significantly encroach upon the general fund,” FCMAT recommended that the practice be “curtailed.” FCMAT mentioned special education as the most “notable” encroachment. 

• FCMAT noted “a high degree of turnover” in the district, “particularly in mid-management positions,” adding that “the superintendent administers the district with few cabinet-level administrators to provide support or to assume leadership roles.” FCMAT made no suggestions as to how the district might find money to add the new level of administrators, however. 

• FCMAT said that BUSD needed to “continue its efforts to address several instructional issues,” including “reducing the achievement gap for minority students,” and “administering fair and equitable student discipline.” 

• The organization suggested that BUSD “should consider providing a full-time informational systems administrator for its management information systems” so that the district could have “accurate information to make appropriate fiscal decisions.” 

To continue its “measurable progress” in fiscal management, the FCMAT report also suggested that BUSD: 

• Develop and distribute an internal control manual so that a clear understanding of district processes exists. 

• Update budgets throughout the year. The report said that for the past several years the district has experienced what it called “significant differences” between its budget estimates and its actual audited amounts, saying that “if these large variances continue to occur annually, confidence in the budget data may begin to erode.” 

• Do something about the continuing deficit in the food budget. FCMAT said that the food budget deficit will not stop “unless food restrictions are eased to permit the high school to serve a wider variety of foods, the campus is closed for lunch, or new innovative ways are found to increase revenues.” The report noted that “at this time, district administration does not consider any of these options feasible. FCMAT has concerns about the [food] fund’s large deficit and encroachment upon the general fund, but these concerns do not appear to be shared by the district.” 

• Develop board policies for the management and oversight of student body funds. The report said that the Berkeley High School ASB advisor and bookkeeper “comprehend their duties and responsibilities and seem to understand and use the ASB Accounting Manual,” FCMAT added they “have not been provided with any board policies for guidance,” and that “without policies and guidelines, employees cannot be held accountable for their actions.” 

• Closely monitor its first full year of self-insurance program for worker’s compensation “since the current activity will affect future rates.”


UC Halts Field Station Talks; Radioactivity Fears Raised By RICHARD BRENNEMAN

Tuesday September 06, 2005

UC Berkeley has called a halt to talks with a Marin County developer whom they had selected as a potential developer of a corporate/industrial research park at their Richmond Field Station. 

A state official also said Thursday that her agency is looking into claims that radioactive waste may have been dumped offshore from the station. 

Meanwhile, two field station workers—one of them retired—were elected Thursday night to the community advisory panel monitoring the state’s oversight of cleanups at the RFS and the adjoining Campus Bay site. 

Rick Alcaraz, the retiree, who is also a former union official, has told the state Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) that he and other workers collected drums from the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and dumped them offshore from the field station three decades ago. Alcaraz said he believes the drums contained radioactive waste material. 

Barbara Cook, who is supervising the cleanups of field station and Campus Bay for the DTSC, said that the property where the drums were dropped is not owned by RFS and that the state does not know who owns the marshland between the station and the Marina Bay subdivision. 

She said that her agency will be using magnetometers in an attempt to pinpoint the barrels so her agency can determine what they contained. 

 

Victory and stalled talks 

The appointment of the RFS representatives with only one dissenting vote represents a major victory for the UC employees, many of whom were worried about potential exposures to hazardous chemicals which are present in the soil. 

Initially, employees were told they were banned from serving on the panel because they worked for one of the parties involved in the cleanup, but the workers pressed their request to serve on CAG, ending in Thursday night’s vote and the seating of David Kim, a current RFS employee, and Alcaraz, who former colleagues say is well-versed on events at the site. 

Both the field station and the adjoining Campus Bay property are contaminated by toxic chemicals left over from the chemical factory and blasting cap plant that were once on the land. 

Cleanups at both sites are now under the control of the state DTSC, which took over jurisdiction from the Regional Water Quality Control Board early this year following protests by local activists and resolutions by the Richmond City Council and Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors. UC Berkeley resisted the change in oversight to the DTSC. 

Because of the change in supervision, UC Berkeley Senior Public Information Representative Sarah Yang said Friday that plans to build a 2.2-million-square-foot corporate/academic research complex on the site have been placed on hold. 

“The talks were discontinued because of all the unresolved issues about the future and the lack of a clear time frame for remediation. We decided that until those issues are resolved, let’s hold off,” said Yang. 

While the university had been in initial talks with Cherokee-Simeon Ventures (CSV) as their choice of applicants from a Request for Qualifications, the talks were eventually narrowed down to Simeon Properties, a Marin County and San Francisco development firm. 

Cherokee Investment Partners, an international firm specializing in investing in developments on cleaned-up toxic sites, is still teamed with Simeon to develop the Campus Bay site—those those plans too are being held in abeyance until cleanup issues are resolved. 

Members of the South Richmond Community Advisory Group, which is charged with observing the cleanup process, moved forward last week, learning that Cook has reopened the investigation into why trees have been dying on both sites. 

While a botanist on Cook’s staff originally blamed the deaths on excess water, field station workers and neighbors feared toxins. Bay Area Residents for Responsible Development (BARRD) activists Claudia Carr and Sherry Padgett—the latter a CAG member—recruited UC Berkeley plant pathologist Dr. Robert Raabe to look at the plants, and he too suspected toxins. 

Raabe, Cook, a toxicologist and a botanist from her staff and developers will tour Campus Bay on Wednesday to examine the trees.


Exhibit Explores African-American Improvisational Quilts By BECKY O’MALLEY

Tuesday September 06, 2005

Different cultures and historic eras have had various approaches to imitation, originality and improvisation in art forms. 

In much traditional art in Asia, careful imitation of the work of a master has been considered one of the highest goals of the artist. The same was true in Europe for long periods, but starting with the Renaissance and continuing to the present day, originality has been highly valued, both in visual arts and in music. 

Improvisation on a standard theme occupies a middle ground between the poles of imitation and originality. European classical music featured a good bit of improvised ornamentation through the Baroque period, but it’s been out of style lately. Jazz and other forms of music with an African inheritance, on the other hand, have maintained a robust improvisatory tradition.  

A small exhibit now at the Mills College Art Museum, “Improving the Bow Tie: African-American Improvisational Quilts,” provides a capsule illustration of how some African-American women artists have struck a balance between standard themes and original expression. The catalogue—free to all attendees, as is admission—is a six-fold cardstock brochure, with handsome prints of all 10 quilts. Curator Eli Leon’s extensive notes plus bibliography provide a good introduction to the art form. 

Leon traces the artists’ style back to their African heritage:” While every society finds its own balance between structured and spontaneous artistic expression, sub-Saharan African cultures—and the traditions they inspired throughout the Americas—are exceptional in the degree to which they favored spontaneity.” He says that this “posed a problem” for Euro-Americans, whose crafts historically have favored exact repetition.  

In the European tradition the divergence between high art and crafts, which has been taking place since the Renaissance, has allocated originality to “art” and imitation to “crafts.” Crafts have often been accorded lower status, especially the fabric crafts, possibly because they have largely been the province of women. But when well-meaning American women of European descent taught quilt-making to African-Americans, they were confounded by what emerged from many of the quilters. These students mastered what Leon calls “standard-traditional” patterns when they chose to, but they also branched out into the colorful riffs on standard themes which this show celebrates.  

Leon calls them “Afro-traditional” quilts, saying that they “incorporate a seemingly heterogeneous mix of qualities, including improvisation, that depart from Euro-American standards while conforming to norms that cut across a broad spectrum of African cultures.” The examples in this exhibit contain variations on the traditional bow-tie pattern deployed in unique designs.  

Leon got into quilt-collecting in the ‘60s, starting out with standard-traditional quilts. He’s an inveterate collector—he says he “must have 50 different collections” of art objects made from things that might otherwise be thrown away, mostly packed into his small North Oakland house. He found quilts made by African-Americans particularly beautiful and intriguing, and started researching their origins. 

There were a few scholars studying this kind of art who were starting to reject what he calls “the deficit theory,” that these were simply failed attempts at traditional quilting, and he learned from them of the African origins of the genre. Later on, he sought out the still-living artists and taped interviews with them about what their intentions were, which confirmed his idea that there is usually some kind of non-random planning underlying their deviation from standard designs. 

The quilts in the Mills show all have the bow-tie somewhere in the design, and they’re all made from vividly colored fabrics, but the interpretation of these motifs is strikingly different for each artist represented. 

Leon had lost track of one of them, Johnnie Poindexter, whose “String Bow Tie” quilt was pieced in 1981 when she lived in Oakland. A friend took her to see the Mills exhibit, and she and Leon reconnected. 

The show was originally scheduled to close on Aug. 7, but it was reopened at the request of African American Mills alumnae who are meeting there this week, and will go on until Sept. 11. Johnnie Poindexter was at the reception which accompanied the re-opening, meeting fans and having her picture taken with her work. 

Talking to her, I was reminded of a line from a hymn I once heard in an African-American church: “After all I’ve seen, I still have joy.” She gets around with a walker now, 24 years after she made the quilt in the show, but she’s still enjoying life. She’s moved to a senior citizens’ apartment building in Berkeley, where she continues piecing her joyous quilts.s


Berkeley School Board to Consider Facilities Plan, Test Results, Recruiters By J. DOUGLAS ALLEN-TAYLOR

Tuesday September 06, 2005

The Berkeley School Board will review the final Fiscal Crisis Management Assistance Team report and the district’s facilities plan update when the board meets this Wednesday, 7:30 p.m., at Old City Hall at 2134 Martin Luther King Jr. Way. 

With a construction boom in progress in the district, the board will also review several construction projects recently completed—including major renovations at Berkeley High School, Willard Middle School, and Washington and Oxford elementaries—as well as projects scheduled for completion within the next year and a half. 

Also at Wednesday’s meeting, the BUSD board will review recently released test and school-ranking results from the state Academic Performance Index (API) and the federal Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP). Those two reports have become the state and national benchmarks in judging the progress—or regress—of public schools. 

Also on Wednesday’s agenda is a resolution in support of California Congressmember Mike Honda’s (D-San Jose) pending bill to change access of military recruiters to student records. Under interpretations of President George Bush’s No Child Left Behind (NCLB) law, military recruiters presently have access to all public student records unless the student or the student’s parents signs a form in advance asking that those records not be released. The policy is commonly known as “opting out.” 

Honda’s bill would change NCLB to require that military recruiters could only receive student information if the student or the student’s parents “opt in,” that is, sign a paper saying that release of such records to recruiters is acceptable. 

The bill is presently in the House Committee on Education and the Workforce, where earlier this year, Honda communications director Jay Staunton says it may languish. “The Republican leadership is not interested in pushing this legislation,” Staunton said. “It’s not their priority at any level. It’s not on their agenda.” 

Berkeley Unified presently operates using the “opt in” interpretation of the law. Since a 2003 policy on military information policy was passed by the school board in Berkeley, parents of Berkeley High School students are provided with a form in the Student/Parent Handbook asking the parents to check a box and sign their names stating: “Please DO release my student’s name, and address, and/or telephone number.” The form goes on to inform parents that if they “do not check a box and sign above, [the high school] will not release your child’s information to military recruiters.” 

Such interpretation in other school districts around the country has been challenged by federal authorities. 

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Doing Well by Doing Good With Campaign Software By RICHARD BRENNEMAN

Tuesday September 06, 2005

Henri Poole and his colleagues have formed a smoothly functioning creative community even though none of the collaborators has ever met all the others. 

They have also found a way to get clients to pay them, even though their clients know that the product they’re paying for will be given away free to all who come later. 

Think of Berkeley resident Poole and his colleagues at CivicActions as a collection of computer-savvy political wonks who’ve set out to transform politics from the grassroots up. Their website describes them as an Internet campaign consulting firm comprised of a network of leading technology and human relationship specialists. Poole ran Dennis Kucinich’s electronic campaign, and collaborator Dan Robinson ran Howard Dean’s national Meet-Up lists during the 2004 primaries. 

Together, they decided to create software to run campaigns, and one of their most successful projects is AdvoKit, a free, open-source software package for organizing communities and running campaigns. 

The software has drawn the attention of State Controller and former eBay exec Steve Westley’s gubernatorial campaign, which is now using the software. Westley is the man that some polls and pundits now rank as the candidate most likely to terminate the governor. 

In last November’s elections, AdvoKit was used to organize four New York state senate races and helped net three winners for the Democrats. Nationally, the program was used to run the Rock The Vote and Music for America get-out-the-vote campaigns, Poole said. 

CivicActions takes on paying clients for all kinds of campaigns, including fundraising, publicity, elections and Internet strategies. Jim Hightower is a prominent fundraising client.  

A nonprofit hired them to organize phone bank software to reach unregistered voters in isolated locations. The campaign registered 5 million votes, including 500,000 who had never voted before. Volunteers could click on the website CivicActions set up for a list of names to call, ten at a time. 

Closer to home, Robinson used AdvoKit to run the Measure B campaign last year, the Berkeley school bond measure that passed at a time when voters were otherwise largely reluctant to add more to their property tax bills. 

AdvoKit users, who can download the software on line, are obligated to share their tweaks with other users, but that’s the only obligation they incur. 

In the course of two to three months, organizer Barbara Graves of Santa Cruz and her volunteers have used the software to organize three million voter records in nine counties and have run precinct captain training programs to organize throughout the state, Poole said. 

Contrast that to programs created by for-profit companies. Some charge $50,000 to $100,000 a state to use their products. 

“With free software and voter rolls available to recognized parties at $50 a county, it opens up campaigning at the local level,” Poole said. “For us, it’s fantastic. We’ll have 400 to 500 precinct leaders already trained in the software” for use in future campaigns. 

State Democratic Party officials were sufficiently impressed to invite Poole to speak to the party’s executive board gathered in Sacramento. 

A month before the November election, Poole and Robinson decided to bring others on board, and now there’s a dozen of them scattered across the country from Point Reyes to Albany, N.Y., as well as two in Eastern Europe. Another principal is joining from his native Germany next month. 

Though none of the participants have met all the others, that will change next month when they will all gather for a meeting in Amsterdam. 

“There’s definitely something about being together physically,” Poole acknowledges, “but it’s not necessary to work in the same building.” 

Poole likens CivicActions to a virtual company. “There’s no bricks and mortar at all. We have no property, no stuff,” he said. 

Each member has connected to the others by Internet telephone, text messaging, computers and other gear, and the team members are expert at—you guessed it—multitasking. 

“You can be meeting with a client and talking by phone to one of us while texting [text messaging] another, so you can answer the clients’ questions and conduct research while you meet,” Poole said. “There’s no intellectual property stuff to deal with, and we bill in five-minute increments, and we may deal with three or four clients a day. We keep track of all our hours on line, and we stay in constant touch.” 

And the best part is, Poole says, is that they’re working to give power back to the voters at the community level. What better way to do well by doing good?


ZAB Hearing Thursday on David Brower Center By RICHARD BRENNEMAN

Tuesday September 06, 2005

The David Brower Center complex is the biggest thing on the agenda when the Berkeley Zoning Adjustments Board meets Thursday. 

The 2200 Oxford St. project features both a “green” building to house offices of environmental organizations and a six-story all-affordable apartment complex. Questions have been raised about the availability of funds to complete both structures. 

The project’s permits are headed to a vote, a crucial step in acquiring funds. 

Other projects on the agenda include: 

• A request by developer Avi Nevo to modify the use permit for his 97-unit residential and commercial building project at 2310 Fulton St. 

• A proposal to demolish an existing one-story single-family home at 1331 Fairview St. to make way for a three-unit, two-story project. 

• A permit request for an addition to a house at 1806 Yosemite street which exceeds city density standards. 

The meeting will be held in City Council chambers at 2134 Martin Luther King, Jr. Way. 

 

Flying Cottage 

The ZAB subcommittee which is pondering the future of the so-called “Flying Cottage” at 3045 Shattuck Ave. is scheduled to meet Friday from 8-10 a.m. in the second floor Sitka Spruce Conference Room of the city Permit Service Center, 2120 Milvia St. 

The committee consists of three members of the Design Review Committee (DRC)—ZAB and DRC member Bob Allen and DRC-only members Burton Edwards and David Snippen. 

Applicant Christine Sun and her architect Andus Brandt stopped meeting with the DRC and appealed the committee’s rejection of the project straight to ZAB, which appointed the committee to find a compromise on a project that has created strong neighborhood opposition. a


News Analysis: How 9/11 Destroyed New Orleans By KRISTIN BALDWIN SEEMAN Special to the Planet

Tuesday September 06, 2005

I happened to be present in Khao-I-Dang Camp, on the Thai/Cambodia border, the day it opened to refugees from Pol Pot’s terror: Thanksgiving Day, 1979. It was an empty field on that day, with tired figures who had been trudging through mine fields arriving with all their belongings in bundles on their heads, to line up to receive inoculations and malaria prophylaxis. 

The camp was a bamboo and blue tarp tent city for 200,000 people not long afterwards. We were a Bay Area medical team, sponsored by International Rescue Committee, and funded by KRON and the San Francisco Chronicle, and we staffed and supplied a grass roofed pediatric hospital in the camp for a few years, during the time it took the refugees to reconnect with surviving family, and find permanent homes, either in third countries or by being repatriated back to Cambodia. 

In the last day or so, since what now will likely be called simply “The Hurricane,” I have been talking by phone and e-mail to some of these same relief workers, many of whom (like me) admit to have been spending their days yelling at their TV sets in horror at what we are seeing in New Orleans. 

We have all been screaming: “If the media got in there, other vehicles could be in there! Where are the fuel trucks, the water tankers, the busses, trucks, and airplanes to take people out?” We all thought, that first day, that there would be boats, and portable hospitals, and out of area police, fire, rescue, military and civilian volunteers. 

We former relief people thought that there would be lists for the evacuees to sign (name, home address, family members, out of state contact, a photo, who’s missing) when someone entered a shelter. (One person with a notebook can do a lot/a computer is better/a digital camera is great).  

And where are the radios/walkie talkies/satellite phones that work when land lines and cell phones fail, so that the people who are helping can know what is going on, and can summon help? Where are the “walking records” for medical situations, the tracing procedures for lost family members? It all takes time, but it should start right away. 

Normally, in an international disaster, international relief organizations, trained and supplied to do this kind of work, would be sent in immediately. But we are not getting international help with this emergency. For one thing, we would need to ask for it. It may be bravado on the part of the president, or simply a matter of his being clueless, but the implication (in his speech today) that other countries are “welcome to send money ... but we can take care of this,” is a big problem. 

Now that everything to do with emergencies in our country—from terrorism to earthquakes to immigration processing—is under one big umbrella called Homeland Security, one suspects that there is also a concern about foreigners getting into our country, and about what they might do. 

Our president is afraid to relinquish control. So 9/11 has come to Louisiana and Mississippi, to tell our people that they must wait for help until we Americans can re-invent the wheel. 

On Thursday we were for the first time seeing signs of movement, which was not soon enough for so very many people, sadly. The Red Cross was no longer saying “just send money,” and was taking names and numbers and calling back potential volunteers (the number to call is (408) 577-1000, by the way). 

In the meantime, however, we have lost that most valuable of resources: time. We cannot easily undo the mess that has happened. In some areas, like the Convention Center, things are apparently falling apart completely. There are, incredibly (they say on my TV) hospital evacuations that are taking place under sniper fire. No use crying over spilt levees, I guess (or at least this is not the moment), but to quote the movie, Animal House, our government seems to be saying to the people, “Hey, you screwed up. You trusted us!” 

As the flood waters recede (at least where they can, in those places that weren’t built in a hole) so must our preconceptions about how together we are as a nation. Our expectations about the “good things in life”—the things that are really just extras—need adjustment as well. 

We can do this; we can scale back. There are few Americans who could not easily get by with half of what they have right now: half the shoes they own, half the energy they consume, half the desserts they eat, half the rooms they live in. Thousands of Americans have more than one home, and assuming that they cannot be in two places at once, at least half the time one of those homes is empty. There are places where families can live, and can send their kids to school, and can find community to help them with jobs and other needs, at least for awhile.  

The Houston Astrodome (are they kidding?) can only be temporary. It is easy to complain, to second guess, and I am not there on the ground to see what is happening first hand. The media (our new “aid workers,” it seems) are doing a good job of showing us how bad it really it, however, while they are helping people as they go. The people who are on the scene (“in the field,” in relief parlance) are doing superhuman work. God bless them. 

The starving Cambodian survivors we worked with in ‘79 to ‘83 were a population coming from the hell of Pol Pot’s Kampuchea, and as a result, anything was better than that. Our new refugees from Louisiana and Mississippi (now we are supposed to call them ‘displaced persons’) on the other hand, are people used to the American lifestyle, which even at lower economic levels has larger expectations than that. It makes what is offered—MREs, bottles of water, a roof but not a bed—seem paltry by comparison. These are good people, who may not be getting even this, however. 

This is fixable. We need to have a giant American potluck supper, symbolically speaking. Our churches, schools, YMCAs, youth centers and neighborhoods need to get together whatever resources we have to share, so that all of our people can enjoy the surplus that this nation has in its hands. We need to be telling people what they can do to help. And the government needs to give help directly to the affected people.  

That’s what they, and we, pay taxes for. This kind of help will not trickle down. 

There are plenty of people who are angry; some are violent. If they want to do something really useful, though, instead of threatening their fellow New Orleans citizens, they should be standing up to our president, and forcing him to sign the Kyoto Accords. Maybe if he had done so, it might not be so bad for so many today. As for the future, we can only hope. 

People wonder, I’m sure, what this emergency would have looked like if we still had the $200 billion dollars (or whatever astronomical number it is) that we have spent in the wars, so we could send it down to our fellow citizens in the South. Maybe each one of them, who has lost a loved one in the last few days, could get a ‘settlement’ like the one that came to the survivors of those lost on 9/11. 

Some may wonder why the National Guard needs to be overseas, if it is, indeed a National Guard. And they may be thinking that it seems like there really ought to be a lot of temporary living space available in all those military bases they were talking about closing last week. Most importantly, however, the survivors and victims themselves may be wondering why they have to pay their own way out of this, rent their own rooms, walk out of the deep water of disaster with their babies on their backs, and why they have to wait for volunteers and for donations. 

I wonder, too. 

 


Editorial Cartoon By JUSTIN DEFREITAS

Tuesday September 06, 2005

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


Letters to the Editor

Tuesday September 06, 2005

GUESTS? 

Editors, Daily Planet:  

Your editorial calling UC Berkeley students “guests” of supposedly superior “long-term residents” was disgusting. 

Students are full-fledged citizens through the simple act of living here. As a long term resident, I will not allow you to turn Berkeley into a place with first- and second-class citizens. 

As a former student, I remember paying hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of dollars in parking tickets, with usurious 200 percent late fees, because I could not cough up fines within three weeks. Berkeley to this day treats its working poor this way, all for the simple crime of driving a car. 

I also paid thousands of dollars in sales tax and thousands more in property taxes, all to support schools and educational programs for children I did not and still do not have, to help homeless people I do not know or particularly like (assaulted by several), to fund non-profit organizations I never met and to beautify neighborhoods where I knew no one. And yet, even at 18, I could grasp that this is what government is supposed to be: not fee for service, or for impact, but from all for all. 

I am amazed that a gifted newspaper publisher like yourself, who has done excellent work, for example, covering the Marina Shores project in Richmond, cannot get your head around this simple concept. Students are not Less Than simply because they do not write property tax checks directly out of their own bank accounts, or because they disproportionately violate noise ordinances, or even because they are only in town for a few years. Nor is the university anything less than an integral and valuable part of this city simply because it requires heavy services without paying its way in taxes. 

It is tough living with the sort of people who would agree with your sourpuss editorial. When I was editing the Daily Californian and thousands of issues were stolen, your police department did not lift a finger to help (thank you to the UCPD). When our current mayor repeated the crime several years later, a “long-term resident,” who probably loved your scolding and disingenuous “welcome,” shouted at me outside a City Council meeting that my thoughts did not count (she thought I was a student). 

I have lived in Berkeley longer than any other city, for 11 years now. Despite some of the strengths of your paper, I can only hope students see that, like many in the city, you want only their money and not their company, at least not as first-class citizens. In a town with an admitted thief as mayor, teeming with surly homeless and losing retailers left and right downtown and on southside, I don’t think students are the problem. 

Ryan Tate 

 

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IRV 

Editors, Daily Planet:  

Last year, Berkeley voters passed instant runoff voting election modernization by a landslide, with over 72 percent support, the greatest margin of any item on the ballot. We want our first, second and third choice to count. San Francisco voters are already benefiting from better elections. 

The city and county should be making election modernization a top priority so that we too can have IRV elections with less hostility, more votes counted, and without an expensive and time-consuming runoff in 2006. Ranked voting elections empower voters otherwise disenfranchised by the antiquated one-choice plurality election system 

Much of the nation watches our city for civic leadership. IRV elections here in 2006 will support the efforts of congressmen Cynthia McKinney, Jesse Jackson Jr., and Dennis Kucinich, and also Howard Dean, U.S. Sen. Obama, and Assemblymember Loni Hancock for state and national IRV reform by 2008.  

Sennet Williams  

 

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MORE ON IRV 

Editors, Daily Planet:  

In March, 2004, Berkeley citizens voted overwhelmingly—by a 72 percent landslide margin—to pass Measure I, mandating instant runoff voting (IRV) for future Berkeley elections.  

On Monday, Aug. 29, on the steps of City Hall, Berkeley Mayor Tom Bates and City Councilmembers Max Anderson and Kriss Worthington honored Berkeley voters by reaffirming their commitment to establish an IRV voting system in Berkeley before the November 2006 elections. 

During the November 2004 election, San Francisco successfully used IRV voting for municipal candidate offices without difficulty.  

The Utah Republican Party uses IRV at its state conventions to determine nominees for elected offices. During the 1940s and 1950s, major U.S. eastern cities—including Cleveland and Cinncinati—used IRV for municipal office elections, and Australia, Ireland and the United Kingdom have used IRV for decades. 

Even if Berkeley has to hand-count IRV ballots (which is done in Ireland and other locations), IRV must be implemented in the city before the November 2006 elections—Berkeley’s voters demand it!  

Chris Kavanagh 

 

• 

BERKELEY HONDA 

Editors, Daily Planet:  

Regarding your July 15 article, “City Council Calls for Berkeley Honda Boycott,” I would like to know exactly when the City Council was promoting business at Berkeley Honda (previously Jim Doten Honda)?  

According to Councilmember Gordon Wozniak, Berkeley Honda “is one of the city’s top sales-tax generators,” yet when the City Council exercised a contract to purchase Civic Hybrid’s in 2004, they went to a non-union dealership in Southern California to buy these city-owned vehicles? 

Councilmember Linda Maio, who has a 1994 Honda Accord, claims “I’m not going back to Berkeley Honda until they treat their people honestly.”  

This statement is curious, since she has only visited Jim Doten Honda once since 2000 and that was for a free warranty claim. If she has been having her ‘94 Honda serviced in Berkeley, she has been using a non-union shop. 

On the same page as the boycott article, there was a letter to the editor promoting the virtues of Berkeley Minicar as an alternative to using Berkeley Honda. They may be a great place to get your Honda worked on, but they are also non-union. 

The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) is currently holding meetings to determine if the hiring practices used by the new owners of Berkeley Honda were conducted fairly and based solely on the merit of the individuals being interviewed. Wouldn’t the City Council have been better served to wait until these hearings are concluded to make a decision on endorsing any kind of boycott? 

Just as a point of reference, the NLRB recently conducted hearings into the hiring practices of Future Ford in Concord, where new ownership took over a previously union contracted shop and the mechanics/employees went on strike.  

The NLRB found that Future Ford acted “without prejudice” in the hiring of employees and immediately declared the union-organized strike as “illegal and without merit” and the picketers were ordered off the premises of Future Ford. 

On Monday Aug. 29, the NLRB found that the hiring practices at Berkeley Honda were fair and conducted without bias. The union promptly dropped their charges of “unfair labor practices” against the dealership. The mechanics must be asking themselves now, why did they walk out on jobs that were paying them over $100,000 a year? So they could force ownership into accepting their bankrupt retirement plan? 

Yesterday marked 75 days that some employees of Berkeley Honda have been on strike. The only issue that clearly remains is whether ownership of the new Berkeley Honda will take on the financially embattled pension program. 

The cost of this “marriage” is nearly $650,000, the amount that the union officials have demanded from Jim Doten when he retired and now from the new owners of Berkeley Honda, to shore up the nearly $2 million it is under-funded locally. From everything I have seen to date, I can tell you without a doubt, this is one nuptial that will never make it to the altar. 

Tim Lubeck 

Service Advisor 

Berkeley Honda 

 

• 

PROTEST PARTY 

Editors, Daily Planet:  

Boy, has it been uplifting and fun over by the big plastic rat in front of Berkeley Honda lately. Especially on Thursdays and Saturdays, when the weekly rallies have been happening! 

Last Thursday there were picketing mechanics (those who didn’t make the cut when the new owners took over from Jim Doten, and those who were re-hired but left in support of their co-workers). There were school teachers, retirees, relatives of strikers, a remarkable young woman with a broken ankle. (Every time a passing motorist honked in solidarity, she cheered like an alum at a Bears touchdown. She must keep Walgreen’s in business ordering lozenges, because there’s a whole lotta honkin’ goin’ on.) 

And there were mechanics from other shops, leashed and well behaved dogs large and small, Wellstone Democratic Club stalwarts, a smartly dressed 30-something woman, City Councilmember Max Anderson, and tasty snacks to recharge everyone’s energy. You could almost say, “It’s a party!” 

And in a way, it is, but the stakes are also high. Many union jobs with a decent health plan and pension. It’s happening lots of places, but this one is right here where we can join together and win it! Their business is down, but they think if they stall enough, we’ll all go away. Only we won’t. 

So, join us. It’s fun! It’s righteous! Come Thursdays from 4:30-6 p.m., or Saturdays from 1-2:30, when there are rallies. Or really, any time they’re open, join the picketing. Come alone or bring a friend—it’s fun, and really gets their goat to see more people out there. 

Because the more people “join the party,” the more it will lighten the load of the strikers themselves, who have been out there long hours already for two months. 

It will also be one more way to show both the former Doten workers and potential Berkeley Honda customers that this community cares about an old-fashioned concept like justice. 

Oh, and perhaps best of all, we can win! How does that feel in the depths of these political doldrum times? 

Donna Mickleson 

 

• 

VENEZUELA 

Editors, Daily Planet  

Although labeled “news analysis,” the recent article in the Daily Planet on Venezuela (“Despite War of Words, U.S.-Venezuela Ties Remain Strong,” by Vinod Sreeharsha, Pacific News Service) is neither news nor analysis about the process of change in Venezuela.  

I left Berkeley in 1984 to live in Caracas Venezuela, where I lived for seven years. Since 2000, I have returned to Venezuela for several months every year.  

Descriptions such as “communist splurge” or “self-proclaimed revolutionary Hugo Chavez” are very much in line with the overall misinformation campaign of some of the major Venezuelan media and most of the U.S. media who by attaching misleading labels try to discredit the process of change in Venezuela. Such terms do not lend themselves to thoughtful observation and analysis.  

Having observed Venezuela for many years as well as living and talking with Venezuelans of various opinions and social classes, I believe that there is a profound process of social, cultural and political change going on in Venezuela based on a vision of participatory democracy and a commitment to environmental, social, economic and political justice.  

What is the evidence? People living in low income neighborhoods have increased access to health care, food and education. Other positive programs include low income housing projects and access to low or no interest loans to establish cooperatives to re-open businesses and agricultural sectors that have been in decline since the 1989 (when then President Carlos Andres Perez imposed the IMF economic package that led to nationwide demonstrations). 

As a foreign resident, I have seen an annual improvement in the visa and national identity card services. There is more freedom of speech and of movement since 2000 than when I lived here in the 1980s.  

The Venezuelan government has consistently opposed bombing of Afghan and Iraqi civilians. Chavez infuriated the Bush regime when on national television he held up a photo of Afghan women and children killed by American bombs and said “You cannot fight terror with terror.” Chavez is working to increase cooperation among all South American countries for mutual benefit and to escape the historical domination by the United States.  

I would invite Berkeley Daily Planet readers to find out more about what is really happening in Venezuela. The article by Sreeharsha fails to inform your readers about the democratic process of change in Venezuela.  

Pamela Collett 

Tucacas, Venezuela 

 

• 

SUSAN PARKER 

Editors, Daily Planet  

Obviously, Jernae needed to be taught some or be reminded of some manners. If she is incapable of adapting to an unfamiliar environment, she is in trouble. Undoubtedly Susan Parker offered some gentle suggestions as to how things work around here. If it takes a tough grandma in a Cadillac to square things away, so be it. I wonder if grandma makes other out calls. I suspect she would be welcome at 59th and Shattuck to assist Mr. McCullough and the OPD.  

Bill Lutkenhouse 

 

• 

XXXXXXXXXX 

Editors, Daily Planet  

The hurricane and flood damage will cost hundreds of billions to repair, an amount similar to that which has been wasted by Bush in Iraq. Someone needs to tell him to bring his troops home now, and spend our resources rebuilding our devastated cities. 

Most Americans are willing to sacrifice to help fellow Americans who have lost so much, provided that everyone pays their fair share, including the very rich. Bush needs to tell his backers that the free ride is over, and rescind the tax breaks which the rest of us are having to cover. 

Can someone please gently explain to our President that global warming correlates with increasingly catastrophic weather, and closing his eyes real tight will not make it go away. 

Bruce Joffe 

Piedmont 

 

• 

DERBY STREET PLAN 

Editors, Daily Planet  

The Aug. 26 Daily Planet article, “BUSD Says Derby Might be Closed,” omitted several issues that are important to this discussion.  

The stated costs for the open-Derby Street and closed-Derby Street options include only construction cost. According to the school district staff report, neither estimate includes a construction contingency, normal inflation costs, or soft costs such as design work, project management, permit fees, testing and inspections. Together these costs will add 30-40 percent to the cost of the project, raising the budget for the open-Derby Street option to approximately $1,300,000 and the closed-Derby Street option to approximately $6,000,000, yielding a cost differential of $4,700,000.  

It also appears the cost estimates did not include several specific items such as on-site storm drainage for the playing fields to allow them to be used during the wet season. Additionally, in the closed-Derby Street option part of the MLK King Jr. Early Childhood Development Center’s open space will be needed to fit the proposed regulation-size field. The budget will need to include improvements to that site as well.  

The East Campus neighbors welcome the Berkeley High School baseball team to its neighborhood, just as we have welcomed the students who attend the Alternative High School on the same site. In developing the open-Derby Street option, neighborhood representatives to the design committee supported the proposal that gives more to the baseball team and less to the community. These features include a skinned regulation practice infield and batting cages. By comparison the closed-Derby street plan has many shortcomings, The baseball field is a tight fit even with the street closed, resulting in compromises to both the baseball infield and the multipurpose field. The plan also eliminates valuable open space for the Early Childhood Development Center and significantly impacts the neighborhood in the closing of the street.  

Members of the East Campus Neighborhood Association strongly encourage the School Board to work with the city and mayor to seek a more suitable non-residential site to provide a high quality baseball facility in Berkeley. In view of the district’s financial limitations and many other pressing needs, the open-Derby Street option is the fiscally prudent course. This option is supported by the surrounding neighborhoods and does not require City Council approval for the street closure. Affordable sports fields could be ready for play by spring 2006.  

Peter Waller, Susi Marzuola and members of the East Campus Neighborhood Association  

 

• 

XXXXXXXXXX 

Editors, Daily Planet  

Loved Dorothy Bryant’s “Two Novels in Support of the Artist’s Right to Privacy” (Aug. 30). Bryant writes: “The one thing that transformative fiction needs is creative readers...” That’s true now more than ever, since the reading of books is growing arithmetically and the writing of books is growing exponentially, there will soon be more people writing books than reading them. 

Joe Kempkes 

Oakland 

 

• 

DOWNTOWN PLAN 

Editors, Daily Planet  

The board of directors of the Claremont-Elmwood Neighborhood Association (CENA) has discussed the Downtown Area Plan (DAP) element of the UC Berkeley-City of Berkeley agreement at its last two meetings. The DAP was also a topic at CENA’s general membership meeting in June. It was clear from those discussions that our 800 paid members feel strongly about all future development in the downtown area. The board has therefore concluded that CENA and other interested neighborhood associations should be an integral part of the planning process. 

Many compelling reasons supporting that conclusion were brought up during our discussions. Perhaps the single most important one is that CENA feels downtown Berkeley should be developed in a manner that is good for all Berkeleyans—not just for UC, its students, faculty and staff. We are concerned that if university and city staff are the only parties involved in the preparation of the DAP, the decisions on how the downtown will be developed may make our city’s downtown much less attractive to most of Berkeley’s residents. If Berkeley’s neighborhood associations are excluded from the planning process, the voices of many active and concerned citizens will be denied the opportunity to give significant formative input.  

A small mayor’s task force format will not provide a forum broad enough for an open discussion by the entire Berkeley community. We support a much more inclusive format that brings neighborhood groups into the DAP development process as significant voices. Once a draft DAP is created, it should go to the Planning Commission for implementation as the city charter provides. We feel that this inclusive process will allow all citizens to voice comments, questions and concerns in a constructive manner.  

Kimberly Tinawi 

Laurent de Janvry 

Co-president, CENA 

 

• 

KPFA 

Editors, Daily Planet 

No doubt I am as biased as the next person, but I would say that my friend Bob Baldock’s critique of my article adds only refined oil to the fire he claims to want to control. The implication that I am dismissive of women who would charge sexual harassment is unfair. I did not write in the first person on that situation because I have no direct knowledge about it. But my view of those charges is based upon the vote of the elected Station Board entrusted with guiding KPFA’s maturation (15-5 against firing or censure). They did hire independent people including a lawyer to investigate and presumably made an informed decision based upon the reports.  

Baldock fires at me but surely his comments imply that those 15, like myself, must all be male supremacist pigs or have an agenda in protecting Campanella. Nothing could be farther from the truth. The 15 are not a unified block. My article and my understanding of the internal conflicts and resistance to needed reforms at KPFA—such as the unfortunate blocking of the effort by the Program Council to move Pacifica’s most valuable and popular news show, “Democracy Now!” with Amy Goodman and Juan Gonzalez, to a more prime time slot on KPFA—is informed by fact and first hand knowledge. Listeners hold the swing votes in the Program Council that voted the ill-fated change. The intensity of paid staff resistance to such a change is incontrovertible. This overall situation calls for an effort at open dialogue and even mediation between core staff and the activist community of listeners to see how some power sharing might amicably evolve.  

Marc Sapir 

 

• 

CAREGIVING 

Editors, Daily Planet 

Hardly a week goes by that doesn’t include someone telling me about the difficulty of being a caregiver. Most of the difficulties center on communication, either with the person who needs care or with the persons and agencies that provide care. 

It finally occurred to me that I might be able to help. My decades of experience as a communication coach and my own lurching through the intricacies of caring for my mother give me a fair chance of being useful. 

I called the Berkeley Adult School to see if they wanted to sponsor a class in Communication for Caregivers, and was told to go for it. So classes have been scheduled at the South Berkeley Senior Center (2939 Ellis St., 981-5170), starting in September, every Thursday from 1 to 3. This will be an ongoing class. It is free, and people are welcome to start any time. 

This will be a support group with a difference. It will include techniques for effective speaking that have been helpful for hundreds of people in challenging circumstances. Issues that I anticipate arising include:  

The difficulty of being patient when your husband asks you the same question for the third time. 

The challenge of making your requests understood by the rehab center. 

The dilemma of persuading your mother to have hired help in her home. 

Persuading other family members to consider your proposed solutions. 

The general feeling that no one understands how hard it is to be a caretaker. 

I hope that people will take advantage of this chance to make their lives a little easier. 

Donna Davis 

 

• 

WHEAT AND CHAFF 

Editors, Daily Planet 

To support those who want to separate the wheat from the chaff—in the Daily Planet and elsewhere—I offer the best advice I ever got from my grandfather. 

He said that people who had fact and logic on their side didn’t need to use insulting adjectives (like the Planet contributor who called a neighborhood house of worship a “monstrous building”) or judgment-loaded nouns (like the writer who dismissed the historical evidence she disliked as “fables.”) 

The following facts were overlooked by the Planet contributor who claimed that the wars of 1948, 1956, and 1967 “were launched by Israel.” 

Concerning 1948: The day after the UN Partition Resolution of 1947, Syrian-backed armies began a war of liquidation against Palestine’s Jews. 

The armies of Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Syra and Iraq invaded Israel. 

Prior to 1956: In direct violation of international law and a 1951 UN Security Council ruling, Egypt refused to open the Suez Canal to Israeli shipping. 

In a 1951 blockade that was an act of war as a matter of international law, Egypt blocked Israeli commerce from the Straits of Tiran. 

As to 1967: On May 15, 1967, Egypt started a troop-buildup in Sinai. 

One day later, Egypt demanded the withdrawal of the UN troops in Sinai. 

The next week, Egypt again declared war on Israel by blockading the Straits of Tiran. 

In 1967, between May 15 and 5 June 5, the leaders of Egypt, Syria, Jordan, Algeria and Iraq declared that Israel had to be destroyed. 

Though Israel was immediately willing to cede back almost all the land it captured, a conference of Arab leaders in Khartoum in September of 1967 refused to negotiate with or recognize the state of Israel. 

Woodrow Wilson noted that educated people are more likely to shed light than add heat to debate. 

How about it, folks? 

David Altschul 

 

• 

IRAQI CONSTITUTION 

Editors, Daily Planet 

The Bush regime has rigged the proposed Iraqi constitution by embedding 100 orders in it that allow U.S. corporations to control and steal Iraq’s vast oil reserves and to run the rest of the Iraqi economy for their own private benefit. Imagine if the writers of the United States Constitution back in 1787 had been infiltrated, corrupted and subverted by agents of the British Crown who had insisted on the insertion of orders and special provisions that allowed British corporations to control all the major American colonial resources including timber, fisheries, farmland, water power and manufacturing facilities. What if American farmers had been forced to purchase new crop seeds from British corporations each year? That, in essence, is what the American military occupiers of Iraq have illegally done in the proposed Iraq constitution. These illegal actions are violations of International Law and the United Nations Charter. 

Paul Bremer, the then-U.S. proconsul in Baghdad and the head of the U. S.-created “Coalition Provisional Authority,” inserted 100 orders into the interim ruling authority’s rules. These orders allow U.S. corporations to control and eventually steal the vast Iraqi oil reserves and also to control the rest of the Iraqi economy. These orders are deeply embedded in the proposed Iraqi constitution in such a manner that it will be almost impossible for the Iraqis to get rid of them. This is what Mr. Bush smirkingly likes to call “democracy.” 

This is part of the alleged “sovereignty” supposedly granted to the Iraqis by the U.S. occupation in June 2004. For example, Order 81, one of these illegal orders, outlaws the traditional seed-saving practices of the Iraqi farmers of keeping their best seeds from their crops for the planting of next year’s food crops and instead, forces them to buy new seeds each year from U.S. corporations such as Monsanto. How’s that for some “democracy?” What an insult to the farmers of the original Fertile Crescent, the cradle of modern agriculture and modern civilization.  

Thus, this proposed Iraqi constitution, which has been rigged by U.S. and British occupiers, is totally illegitimate under international law and the United Nations Charter. The Iraqi people will probably rightfully reject it, unless the Bush regime and their Iraqi puppets rig the vote. 

James K. Sayre 

Oakland 

 


Column: A Response to My Critics By SUSAN PARKER

Tuesday September 06, 2005

It’s 6:45 a.m. and Clyiesha’s grandmother has just gotten off work and dropped by to pick her up and prepare her for first grade at Santa Fe Elementary School. She leaves half asleep, clad in her Snoopy Dog pajamas, clutching a Safeway bag filled with dirty clothes in one hand, and a Cowboy Bob doll in the other. Upstairs, LaKisha and baby Kemora are still sleeping. 

In the next room I hear Willie’s television blaring, and in the front room Andrea, Clyiesha and LaKisha’s auntie, snores. 

Downstairs Ralph’s oxygen tank rumbles and percolates. Outside my window, one block south, a BART train bound for Fremont rumbles by. A block north, up 54th Street, the Concord/Bay Point line blows its horn, and clickity clacks along the tracks, carrying tired and bright eyed commuters through fog-shrouded sun and dark tunnels into downtown Oakland and San Francisco. 

I’ve just finished reading another letter to the editor of the Berkeley Daily Planet accusing me of racism and insensitivity. In the past, editors and mentoring columnists have advised me to ignore negative criticism and focus only on the positive. But it’s difficult to do so, and during these early morning hours, when the house is quiet and everyone is sleeping, I begin to question my motives and values, my reason for being, my ability to juggle the responsibilities of taking care of my husband, Ralph. 

I think of all the reasons I can give to defend myself against my critics. I‘ll make a list, I tell myself, of every nice thing I’ve ever done for a person of color, starting with taking Mrs. Scott to doctors’ appointments, nursing Leroy while he suffered from terminal lung cancer; the loans I’ve made, the trips to the county jail I’ve taken, the babysitting I’ve done, the parking tickets I’ve paid, the restraining orders I’ve helped obtain. I’ll list the number of times I’ve had to call the police because of threats to someone who lives with me, and I’ll record the broken windows and furniture I’ve had repaired, and the court appearances I’ve had to make, to prove that my identity was stolen and the crimes committed in my name were done by someone else, not me. 

But I know these excuses won’t satisfy my critics. I’m white and middle class and therefore privileged. Even though I share bedrooms, appliances, food, and bathrooms with the people who help me take care of Ralph, and their extended families, I’m always going to offend someone when I write honestly and openly about our living situation. 

I watch the news on TV in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. I read the newspaper reports of death, destruction, and anarchy. I see the anger and fear in the faces of the victims. I cannot know their pain. But I do know that when the Big One splits the East Bay in two, when people are frantic to flee the fires and flooding, Andrea, Willie and whoever else is here, will help me gather up Ralph, place him in his chair, and wheel him out to our van. Then we’ll all pile in together, picking up neighbors on the way, and it won’t matter what color we are or what class we come from. We’ll be a vanload of people who trust and know each other well, doing what we always do, helping one another survive. 


Column: Can You Hustle and Flow with the Aristocrats? By P.M. Price

Tuesday September 06, 2005

When I went to see Hustle and Flow recently, I knew I was going to see a movie about a pimp approaching middle age who has lingering dreams of making it big, of doing something really important with his life before it’s too late. I also knew that this slice of struggling black life was written by a white guy named Craig Brewer and that the making of this film was the culmination of a hard-fought-for dream of his own. I didn’t know whether or not a pimp could be likable or at least, empathetic and I’m still not certain he can be.  

I do know that Terrance Howard, whom I have long admired, is a phenomenal actor. He brought depth and complexity to the lead role of “DJay” that could have been stereotypical. Anthony Anderson, as DJay’s partner (Key), broke through the funny fat guy stereotype and was allowed to stretch—he did a fine job. The supporting female cast, Paula Jai Parker (Lexus), Taraji P. Henson (Shug) and Taryn Manning (Nola), who comprised DJay’s stable of prostitutes all rendered fine performances. So what’s my complaint? 

Think of the last dramatic film you saw in which the black woman was the lead character or romantic interest. (Foxy Brown don’t count.) Quick! Time’s up. What we got in Hustle and Flow is the same thing we’re usually stuck with: Sapphire and Butterfly McQueen. “Well, hell,” you say. “These are prostitutes we’re talking about.” “I know,” I sigh. But, it’s still tiresome. 

Lexus is a hard-assed “ho” who don’t take no stuff, a la “Sapphire” of “Amos ‘n’ Andy” fame and almost every Hollywood movie and television show since. Lexus and DJay get along fine until she gets all up in his face and tells him he ain’t never gonna be nuthin’. DJay—his artistic soul pierced by her “evil bitch” tongue—kicks Lexus and her baby boy to the curb, sure to become another struggling single black woman turning tricks to feed her no-daddy baby. Shug’s character is slightly more sensitive although she initially appears to be brain damaged. Her constantly dazed expression calls to mind Butterfly’s lament in Gone with the Wind: “I don’t know nuthin’ ‘bout birthin’ no babies.” But then it occurs to me that many women caught in the web of prostitution have been severely abused—physically, mentally and emotionally—and that the fog which surrounds Shug is probably a result of such abuse (perhaps with a little drug abuse thrown in for good measure). 

The white prostitute, a Bo Derek look-alike, had more props. Nola is considered by DJay and his clientele to be special—exotic, even. When Nola protests DJay’s callous treatment of her and the fact that she also has unfulfilled dreams even though she cannot verbalize them, DJay tells her that all she needs is in order to feel better about herself is a suit. In the end, Nola is still turning tricks for her pimp—albeit in a pin-stripped suit—and has been convinced that that is dream enough for her. DJay is still hustling her, even from his prison cell, and she’s flowing right along with it. 

The “hustle” of The Aristocrats is that it documents the retelling of an old vaudevillian joke full of feces, vomit and deviant sex which flows from the mouths of over 100 comics like so much you know what. The details leading up to the punch line—which is always “The Aristocrats!”—become increasingly obscene and include graphic (and to these guys; hysterical) accounts of rape, incest and beastiality. (If anyone were to study the history of American culture by focusing on what makes white men laugh, it would answer a lot of questions about where we are today.) 

The creation of Paul Provenza and Penn Jilette, this 86-minute documentary is, Penn cautions, “not for everyone.” Hopefully, this is an understatement, although he adds, “I want everyone who sees our movie to enjoy it.” I must admit to laughing at some of the interpretations, the funniest jokes being those which were most off-formula. 

The most appealing aspect of the film is the sheer number of popular comics assembled around this joke (George Carlin, Shelly Berman, Eric Idle, Bill Maher, Carrie Snow, Robin Williams, Jason Alexander, The Smothers Brothers), each with their own perspective on both the history of the joke and the best way to tell it. Chris Rock, who does not offer a version of the joke, appears to have been thrown in gratuitously, perhaps so the producers could say that they did have one black guy in the film. Whoopi Goldberg attempts a version and comments that “the shockability of American audiences has gone way down” perhaps in an effort to explain why the jokes are so vile. I don’t know how she feels about the joke I found the most offensive, however. 

This “joke” is a reversal of the Artistocrats formula, inasmuch as it describes a group of people who are doing “aristocratic” things but have contrastingly vulgar names. This particular jokester—the only unidentified person in the credits—describes three “women of color” performing aristocratic feats; reciting Shakespeare, sipping tea and singing opera. What does one call these women? “Nigger cunts,” the comedian grins. “But, of course,” he chuckles, “You can’t say that.” But of course, (ha ha) he just did. And it isn’t funny, Penn. And not because it isn’t “politically correct.” The “joke” doesn’t make sense unless one accepts the premise that “women of color” are not only unsophisticated but are easily identifiable as “nigger cunts.” These guys don’t seem to get that racist jokes can only be funny to racists. 

One of the most memorable lines from Hustle and Flow (and I don’t mean “memorable” in a good way) is DJay’s declaration that “I don’t call a ho no bitch!” I am so weary of hearing one black woman after another being called “ho,” “bitch,” “cunt” and every other derogatory name under the sun, particularly absent a comparable calling out of the many talented, intelligent, classy, beautiful black women desperate for an opportunity to balance them out. I am certain that my mother and grandmothers felt the same way. 

 


Commentary: Diebold Delivers Untrustworthy Results By RICHARD STEINFELD

Tuesday September 06, 2005

I’m following up on Peter Teichner’s insightful Aug. 16 piece, “How Many Diebolds to Screw Up an Election.” 

Diebold’s receipt-printing behavior reminds me of Arafat’s shlemeil act: a strange seeming incompetence and shrugging, while election officials just stand around and watch helplessly. The shenanigans have been curious and telling. 

Some people in politics, when they get to a certain degree of power, enter a strange realm of arrogance or power-drunkenness within which it no longer seems to matter to them that their appearance of wrongdoing has become visible to the electorate. They don’t bother to cover their tracks any more. And here, we see Schwarzenegger’s shameless money steamroller, Cheney’s glaring Haliburton conflict and Scalia’s chumming with him right before an important court vote about him (electric with impropriety), and Bush’s appointed regulators standing around and watching while his buddy Ken Lay rapes California’s electricity consumers (Democrats have given goodies to their chums, too, but the GOP has taken the corruption to new, dizzying heights). And then there’s the rather transparent boast that Diebold would deliver Ohio to the neocons: our topic of the moment. How numb have we become in the face of so much corruption, conflict, and connivance, that this hasn’t been more of a hot-button? 

When it comes to Diebold and the receipts, you’re going to prove the lie to yourself! The next time you go to the ATM, take a good, hard look at the logo on that ATM machine. Spell it out. What does it say? (If it doesn’t say D-I-E-B-O-L-D, go look at a few more ATMs.) 

I submit that not only can Diebold print receipts, but that Diebold has refined receipt printing to flawless excellence. They are experts at reliable receipt printing. Diebold prints receipts day after day with complete accuracy. Have you ever checked your Diebold-printed ATM receipt and found that it disagreed with either your transaction or with your monthly bank statement? Has the Diebold ATM machine screwed up the transaction in those rare cases in which it didn’t print a receipt for you? And would their customer financial institutions put up with the same behavior that Diebold has exhibited when it comes to their voting machines? I smell a rat. And I think we’ve been fed some bad electoral pizza with rat topping. 

Alameda is one of a number of counties that have bought into electronic voting machines via the Trojan horse of access so that our handicapped citizens can participate fully in our democratic process. And, indeed, who can oppose this goal? But I think that our democracy is too important to allow the present gang of jokers to steal it from us. Diebold has proved to be untrustworthy. It’s time to kick the rascals out. And if Diebold’s competitors (remember them?) won’t give us the verifiable systems that we can trust, it’s time for a whole new approach. 

My thinking is that we should, indeed, have electronic voting machines. But our voting machines should be manufactured and programmed by a corporation made up of a consortium of governments. It would have snags, of course, and it’d be a rocky road. But it can be done. 

We have precedents. For example, San Francisco manufactures parts for its cable cars. Governments and corporations hire teams of consultants to come in and design entire vertical software systems—systems that sometimes aren’t perfect, but are good enough to get the job done. The U.S. Army has built some pretty secure dams for us. NASA blasts off into space pretty well, for the most part. Very often, Government can do things right. A lot of us are so busy grumping our government grump mantra that we fail to see how well, for example, the Post Office delivers our mail—the percentage that gets delivered accurately (pretty impressive, huh?). 

I also think that it’s time for tough questions to our election officials. In some cases, there are clear conflicts of interest, some pretty transparent partisan motivations. Why have some counties, including Alameda, adopted such buggy unverifiable technology, gone ahead with machinery that’s suspect to so many of their constituents, signed contracts despite the alarm bells rung by organizations of expert data professionals? Are these people to be trusted with our democracy? 

I’m thankful that my own county has not jumped on this bandwagon. But note that Diebold or similar systems actually tally the votes from our black-dot vote cards (should these be suspect, too?). 

I’m certain that we’ve got all the proof we need: our democracy is too important to be entrusted to the private sector. I’m glad that Teichner brought our attention round again, and this is a topic that should be kept alive until the problem is solved and our election process can be trusted by all. 

 

Richard Steinfeld lives in Contra Costa County.


Commentary: A Corrupt Track Record By KARLA BEAN

Tuesday September 06, 2005

Regardless of the performance of Diebold’s electronic voting machines, we are putting our whole election system in jeopardy by placing it into the hands of private corporations who refuse to allow anyone to analyze the programming code unless they sign a non-disclosure agreement. 

When Ion Sancho, the registrar of Leon County in Florida, invited Black Box Voting to examine his Diebold optical scan voting system, computer expert Harri Hursti found an executable program written into the code of each memory card. There is no justifiable reason to have such a program on these cards, except to facilitate manipulation of the vote count, and the voting system won’t work unless it is present. Harri Hursti was able to manipulate the vote count using this program in three different ways without leaving any trace of evidence behind. The votes can be switched and still equal the number of votes casts. The paper audit tape will agree with the changed vote totals and show no evidence of the program run. To see Hursti’s technical report, go to www.blackboxvoting.org/BBVreport.pdf. 

To receive federal certification, electronic voting machine vendors use labs they hire themselves. These labs merely test that components of the system will operate in the way they say they will; there is no security testing done on these machines. 

There are countless reported incidents, such as what occurred in the Alameda 2004 primary, where Diebold technicians applied “patches” at the last minute to their touchscreen machines before the election without having them certified or examined. Poll workers saw unfamiliar Windows screens, frozen screens, strange error messages and login boxes—none of which they’d been trained to expect. A report released by Diebold showed 186 of 763 voter-card encoders failed because of hardware or software problems or both, but they offered no explanation of how and why they delivered faulty voting equipment to Alameda and San Diego counties—its two largest West Coast customers—on the eve of the 2004 presidential primary. 

After the Oct. 7 recall election, when Diebold’s vote-tabulating software wrongly awarded 9,000 Democratic absentee votes to a Southern California Socialist, Diebold decided its computer was overwhelmed and replaced it. 

In San Diego County, Diebold’s software misreported almost 3,000 votes. In the worst case, it switched 2,747 Democratic presidential primary votes for U.S. Sen. John Kerry to U.S. Rep. Dick Gephardt, who had dropped out of the race. In the recent San Diego mayoral race, Diebold technicians were observed actually replacing the central tabulation machines with unknown devices to count the votes. Was it a remarkable happenstance that the percentages of votes per candidate stayed even throughout the night as the precinct results were fed into the tabulators? 

Former Secretary of State Kevin Shelley decertified Diebold after he found they had fraudulently delivered machines running uncertified versions of software to California counties. He also mandated paper trails for machines by 2006, but current Secretary of State McPherson says he doubts these paper ballot copies could be used in a recount, the only way to verify an election. 

So please forgive us, Mr. Byrd, if we have skepticism and disdain for Diebold and other electronic voting machine vendors, but it based on your company’s past history of deception, contract breaches, questionable contributions, insecure practices and use of executable programs on your memory cards that facilitate vote manipulation, illegal application of uncertified “patches” on the machines that count our votes, and the countless incidents of miscounted, uncounted and switched votes and voter disenfranchisements that seem to accompany your machines. 

Until we go back to hand-counted paper ballots, we will never truly be able to trust the results of our elections. 

 

Karla Bean is a Richmond resident. 

 

 

 

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Commentary: The Future of the Albany Track: Park? Casino? Housing? By TONY CAINE

Tuesday September 06, 2005

Albany has been hosting a huge urban gambling operation on its waterfront for 60 years, maintaining one of the lowest bay area crime rates while deriving up to 20 percent of its budget from the racetrack. In recent years the track’s usefulness has faltered as patronage and income dropped. Part of our community prefers a park in place of the track and another part is mainly interested in increased income from the site. Some of our politicians seem to think the track will die a quiet death if we just leave things alone.  

This may be true of other tracks but is unlikely for ours. Taking a passive approach could cause an undesirable outcome. Magna stands to make a lot more money by hanging onto the land than by selling it under the current zoning. As long as the zoning is locked by Measure C, the value of Magna’s property would likely be depressed by $100 million or more. It would be in their interest to write off cumulative losses of 10, 20, or even 40 million dollars by continuing to operate the track for 20 or more years if there is a good possibility of eventually gaining full value by rezoning or adding slot machines. This could happen in several ways. Political tides can rapidly shift. The failure of the slot machine initiative two years ago does not mean that a future one cannot succeed. Many states now allow slot machines at racetracks and the number keeps increasing. We could easily end up with a racetrack and a casino and no park, ever. It is also possible that horse racing could come back from the dead, like bowling did, making it much more difficult to negotiate with Magna for track closure. 

Alternatively, Magna might actually close the track and put a chain link fence around the property, depriving Albany of $800,000 in income while hanging onto the land relatively inexpensively, letting it appreciate until political and economic events fall their way. Do not assume that Albany would have the resolve hold out forever, particularly if a recession hits or the housing bubble pops. In the early ‘90s Albany prices dropped 15-20 percent. We would then be negotiating from weakness. Speaking as the originator of Measure C, we cannot simply rezone the land in advance to induce them to sell, in the absence of a linked development agreement we lose much control of what happens out there and also lose the income from the track while the land sits vacant. 

In the ideal we should try to come up with a project that is financially attractive enough to induce Magna to close the track, create a large park on 80 percent of the property, and generate substantially increased income for Albany. This should satisfy both the park and income factions in Albany. Without doubt the strongest incentive would be to offer Magna a casino or hotel/casino. In effect, we would be downsizing a large and inefficient urban gambling operation to a much smaller more profitable one while creating a park on 80 percent of the land. Casinos are politically incorrect these days, however. Weaker incentives would include a mall and/or hotel project. Perhaps there are other, much better, ideas out there. 

We have all heard the negatives about casinos but, for the sake of completeness, we should examine the positives and then decide if they outweigh the negatives in this particular situation. Because of space limitations here, I have set up a website at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/albanyca where 13 arguments in favor of a casino are listed and where we can discuss all the possible alternatives in a constructive and civil way. Public hearings are not efficient ways to resolve complex issues. We need give and take with questions and answers to properly evaluate the alternatives and break the current stalemate. 

Albany can take a year or two exploring politically correct solutions. If we find one that works, great. But we need to set a deadline. It is inadvisable to leave the waterfront unresolved for another ten years. People need to stop thinking in terms of the best conceivable outcome and start thinking in terms of the best realistic outcome. We may ultimately need to choose between getting a park plus millions additional income on the one hand and being politically correct on the other. 

 

Tony Caine is an Albany resident. 

 

 




Arts Calendar

Tuesday September 06, 2005

TUESDAY, SEPT. 6 

EXHIBITIONS 

“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.  

READINGS AND LECTURES 

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 

MUSIC AND DANCE 

Fundraiser for Victims of Hurricane Katrina withTom 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. 

Benefit for New Orleans with 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. 

WEDNESDAY, SEPT. 7 

EXHIBITIONS 

“CCA Faculty New Work” Reception at 5:30 p.m. at the Oliver Art Center, 5212 Broadway, Oakland. 594-3600. 

READINGS AND LECTURES 

Chris Mooney discusses “The Republican War on Science” at 7:30 p.m. at Cody’s Books. 845-7852. www.codysbooks.com 

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

MUSIC AND DANCE 

Wednesday Noon Concert with Anais Lim, flute, and Jessie Lee, piano, at Hertz Hall, UC Campus. Free. 642-4864. http://music.berkeley.edu 

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

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

Edessa at 8:30 p.m. at Ashkenaz. Balkan dance lesson at 7:30 p.m. Cost is $9. 525-5054. www.ashkenaz.com 

Julio Bravo, salsa, at 9:30 p.m. at Shattuck Down Low, 2284 Shattuck Ave. Lessons at 8 p.m. Cost is $5. 548-1159.  

Fundamentals Jazz at 8 p.m. at Jupiter. 848-8277. 

Dirk Powell Band with Riley Baugus, Appalachian music, at 8 p.m. at Freight and Salvage. Cost is $17.50- $18.50. 548-1761. www.freightandsalvage.org 

Calvin Keys Trio Invitational Jam at 8 p.m. at Anna’s Jazz Island, 2120 Allston Way. Cost is $5. 841-JAZZ. www.AnnasJazzIsland.com 

Dave Eshelman’s Jazz Garden Big Band at 8 and 10 p.m. Yoshi’s at Jack London Square. Cost is $10-$15. 238-9200. www.yoshis.com 

THURSDAY, SEPT. 8 

THEATER 

Woodminster Summer Musicals “Jesus Christ Superstar” at 8 p.m. at Woodminster Amphitheater in Joaquin Miller Park, 3300 Joaquin Miller Rd., Oakland, through Sun. Tickets are $20-33. 531-9597. www.woodminster.com 

EXHIBITIONS 

Residency Projects Part Two by Kala Fellowship artists. Reception at 6 p.m. at Kala Art Institute, 1060 Heinz Ave. Exhibit runs to Oct. 15. 549-2977. www.kala.org 

“From the Maker’s Hand” selections from the permanent collection of the Phoebe Hearst Museum opens at Bancroft Way at College. 643-7648. http://hearstmuseum.berkeley.edu 

“China Obscura: A Photo Exhibit” by Mark Leong opens at the IEAS Conference Room, 2223 Fulton St., 6th flr. 642-2809. 

“Retro” a photography exhibition by Harold Adler opens at the Art of Living Gallery, 2905 Shattuck Ave. Reception at 6 p.m.  

“China’s Vanishing Heritage” Heirloom Embroidered Textiles from the Hill Tribes of Southwestern China at Ethnic Arts, 1314 10th St. 415-812-0015. www.redgingko.com 

READINGS AND LECTURES 

“Reporting From China” by Mark Leong in conjunction with his photography exhibit at 4 p.m. at the IEAS Conference Room, 2223 Fulton St., 6th flr. 642-2809. 

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

Lan Samantha Chang introduces her novel “Inheritance” at 7:30 p.m. at Cody’s Books. 845-7852. www.codysbooks.com  

Word Beat Reading Series with Jan Steckel and Debra Grace Khattab at 7 p.m. at Mediterraneum Caffe, 2475 Telegraph Ave. 526-5985. 

MUSIC AND DANCE 

Albany Music in the Park with Spirit of ‘29, Dixieland jazz, at 6:30 p.m. at Albany’s Memorial Park. 524-9283. www.albanyca.org 

She’Koyokh Klezmer Ensemble, Eastern European folk music, at 8:30 p.m. at Ashkenaz. Cost is $10. 525-5054. www.ashkenaz.com 

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

Ahenk Duo, traditional music from Turkey, at 8 p.m. at Freight and Salvage. Cost is $17.50-$18.50. 548-1761. www.freightandsalvage.org 

The Memphis Murder Man, Year of the Wildcat at 9:30 p.m. at The Starry Plough. Cost is $5. 841-2082 www.starryploughpub.com 

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

Ginny Wilson and Tommy Kesecker, piano, vibes, at 8 p.m. at Downtown. 649-3810.  

The Zawinul Syndicate at 8 and 10 p.m. through Sun. at Yoshi’s at Jack London Square, through Sun. Cost is $18-$22. 238-9200. www.yoshis.com 

Selector, laptop funk, at 8 p.m. at Jupiter. 848-8277. 

FRIDAY, SEPT. 9 

THEATER 

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.  

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  

Shotgun Players, “Owners” at 8 p.m., Thurs.-Sun. through Oct. 16 at The Ashby Stage, 1901 Ashby Ave. Reservations suggested. 841-6500. www.shotgunplayers.org 

Wilde Irish Productions “Someone Who’ll Watch Over Me” Thurs. -Sat. at 8 p.m., Sun. at 3 p.m., at Berkeley City Club, 2315 Durant Ave., through Oct. 2. Tickets are $18-$22. 644-9940. www.wildeirish.org 

Woodminster Summer Musicals “Jesus Christ Superstar” at 8 p.m. at Woodminster Amphitheater in Joaquin Miller Park, 3300 Joaquin Miller Rd., Oakland, through Sun. Tickets are $20-33. 531-9597. www.woodminster.com 

EXHIBITIONS 

Arie Furumoto, color etchings inspired by landscape, ocean and plants. Reception at 6 p.m. at The Scriptum-Schurman Gallery, 1659 San Pablo Ave. 524-0623. 

“Contemporary Traditions in Clay: The Pottery of Mata Ortiz” reception at 5 p.m. at the Phoebe Hearst Museum, College and Bancroft. 643-7648. http://hearstmuseum. 

berkeley.edu 

Recent Work by Jon Nagel and Loren Purcel Reception at 7:30 p.m. at Boontling Gallery, 4224 Telegraph Ave., Oakland. boontlinggallery@hotmail.com 

The Big Brush Off featuring works by Berkeley artists Gael Fitzmaurice and John King at Falkirk Cultural Center, 1408 Mission, at E St., San Rafael. Reception at 5:30 p.m. 

READINGS AND LECTURES 

“Images of America: El Cerrito” will be introduced by the El Cerrito Historical Society at 5:30 p.m. at the El Cerrito Library.  

Bret Easton Ellis introduces his new novel “Lunar Park” at 7:30 p.m. at Cody’s Books. 845-7852. www.codysbooks.com 

MUSIC AND DANCE 

Sheng Xiang & Band, Taiwanese folk music, at 8 p.m. at Zellerbach Hall, UC Campus. Tickets are $22. 642-9988.  

Mamadou Diabate & Walter Strauss, African, contemporary at 9 p.m. at Ashkenaz. Cost is $15. 525-5054. www.ashkenaz.com 

E.W. Wainwright’s Elvin Jones Birthday Celebration at 8 p.m. at Anna’s Jazz Island, 2120 Allston Way. 841-JAZZ.  

Duamuxa, CD release concert at 8 p.m. at La Peña Cultural Center. Cost is $12. 849-2568.  

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

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

Plays Monk, Ben Goldberg at 9:30 p.m. at The Starry Plough. Cost is $7. 841-2082.  

Dani Thompson Quartet at 9 p.m. at Downtown. 649-3810. 

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

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

Brown Baggin’ at 9:30 p.m. at Shattuck Down Low, 2284 Shattuck Ave. Cost is $5. 548-1159.  

Times 4, contemporary jazz, at 8 p.m. at Jupiter. 848-8277. 

The Time Flys, Top 10, The Gimmies, High Vox at 8 p.m. at 924 Gilman St., an all-ages, member-run, no alcohol, no drugs, no violence club. Cost is $7. 525-9926. 

The Zawinul Syndicate at 8 and 10 p.m. through Sun. at Yoshi’s at Jack London Square, through Sun. Cost is $18-$22. 238-9200. www.yoshis.com 

SATURDAY, SEPT. 10 

THEATER 

Living Arts Playback Theater Ensemble “Immigrant Stories” at 8 p.m. at Live Oak Theater, 1301 Shattuck Ave. Tickets are $12-$18 sliding scale. 595-5500, ext. 25. www.livingartscenter.org 

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

EXHIBITIONS 

China’s Vanishing Heritage: Heirloom Embroidered Textiles from the Hill Tribes of Southwestern China. Reception from 4 to 6 p.m. at Ethnic Arts, 1314 10th St. www.redgingko.com 

READINGS AND LECTURES 

Yuri Kochiyama and her biographer, Diane Fujino, will speak at 2 p.m. at Heller Lounge, MLK, Jr. Student Union, UC Campus. 642-6717.  

“Music, Community Politics and Environmental Justice in Taiwan” with Shen Xiang at noon at 145 Dwinelle, UC Campus. 642-9988. www.calperfs.berkeley.edu 

Juris Jurjevics reads from “The Trudeau Vector: A Novel” at 7:30 p.m. at Cody’s Books. 845-7852. www.codysbooks.com 

MUSIC AND DANCE 

Chalis Opera Ensemble “The Magic Flute” at 2 p.m. at Live Oak Theater, 1301 Shattuck Ave. Tickets are $5-$10, children free. 415-826-8670.  

Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra, “Atalanta” by Handel at 7:30 p.m. at First Congregational Church, Dana and Durant. Tickets are $28-$62. 415-392-4400. www.philharmonia.org 

Trinity Chamber Concerts: The Beth Custer Ensemble at 8 p.m. at 2320 Dana St. Tickets are $8-$12. 549-3864. http://trinitychamberconcerts.com 

Tom Huebner Band, country, folk-rock and blues, from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. at Bay Street Plaza, (near Old Navy) Emeryville. 

Wayward Monks, jazz, progressive rock and new age, at 8 p.m. at Epic Arts Studios, 1923 Ashby Ave. Donation $5-$10. All Ages. 644-2204. 

Wadi Gad & Jahbandis at 9:30 p.m. at Ashkenaz. Reggae dance lesson at 9 p.m. Cost is $11-$13. 525-5054.  

Ed Reed and Laura Klein Trio at 8 p.m. at Anna’s Jazz Island, 2120 Allston Way. Cost is $7. 841-JAZZ.  

Dani Thompson at 9 p.m. at Cafe Van Kleef, 1621 Telegraph Ave. Cost is $5. 763-7711.  

Katherine Peck and Terese Taylor at 7:30 p.m. at Nomad Cafe, 6500 Shattuck Ave. 595-5344.  

Big Skin at 8 p.m. at Jupiter. 848-8277. 

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

Pickpocket Ensemble at 9 p.m. at Albatross, 1822 San Pablo Ave. Cost is $3. 843-2473.  

Quanti Bomani at 8 and 10 p.m. at La Peña Cultural Center. Cost is $15-$17. 849-2568.  

Chuck Steed, musical suite “Manfish” at 7 p.m. at Spuds Pizza, 3290 Adeline St. Cost is $7. 558-0881. 

Tarbox Ramblers, The Cowlicks at 9:30 p.m. at The Starry Plough. Cost is $10. 841-2082. www.starryploughpub.com 

Sherri Roberts Quartet at 9 p.m. at Downtown. 649-3810. 

What Kids Want, Madeline, Whiskey Sunday, Gypsy at 8 p.m. at 924 Gilman St. Cost is $6. 525-9926. 

SUNDAY, SEPT. 11 

EXHIBITIONS 

“Pleasure” by Susan Danis Opening Reception at 2 p.m. at The Berkeley Art Center, 1275 Walnut St. Gallery hours are Wed. through Sun. noon to 5 p.m. 

“Ascension” photographs by Shoey Sindel. Reception at 4 p.m. at Berkeley Richmond Jewish Community Center, 1414 Walnut St. 848-0237. 

Works by Fran Roccaforte Opening reception at 4 p.m. at Nomad Cafe, 6500 Shattuck Ave. 595-5344.  

READINGS AND LECTURES 

“The Danube Exodus” artist talk with Larry Rinder and Larry Abramson at 2 p.m. at the Judah L. Magnes Museum, 2911 Russell St. www.magnes.org 

Rabbi Alan Lew describes “Be Still and Get Going” at 2 p.m. at Cody’s Books. 845-7852.  

Poetry Flash with Alicia Suskin Ostriker and Anita Barrows with Joanna Macy at 7:30 p.m. at Cody’s Books. Donation $2. 845-7852. www.codysbooks.com 

 

MUSIC AND DANCE 

Davitt Moroney, harpsichord, performs J.S. Bach Inventions and Sinfonias at 3 p.m. at Hertz Hall, UC Campus. Tickets are $3-$10. 642-9988. 

Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra, “Atalanta” by Handel at 7 p.m. at First Congregational Church, Dana and Durant. Tickets are $28-$62. 415-392-4400.  

Organ Recital by Robert McCormick at 6:10 p.m. at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church, 2300 Bancroft Way. Donations accepted. 845-0888.  

Jazz and Spoken Word with Philip Greenlief, Lisa Mezzacappa, and Noah Phillips at 6 p.m. at Kimball’s Carnival, 522 Second St., Oakland. Cost is $5. 

Mark Levine Trio at 8 p.m. at Anna’s Jazz Island, 2120 Allston Way. Cost is $7. 841-JAZZ.  

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

Rafael Manriquez at 8 p.m. at La Peña Cultural Center. Cost is $12. 849-2568. www.lapena.org 

Trout Fishing in America, folk originals, at 8 p.m. at Freight and Salvage. Cost is $17.50-$18.50. 548-1761.  

Brook Schoenfield at 10 a.m. at Nomad Cafe, 6500 Shattuck Ave. 595-5344.  

MONDAY, SEPT. 12 

EXHIBITIONS 

Jerome Carlin’s Landscape Paintings Imaginary Landscapes and small plein air oil sketches. Reception at 5 p.m. at The Musical Offering, 2340 Bancroft Way. www.jeromecarlin.com 

“Revisions” Larry Abramson: Searching for an Ideal City opens at the Judah L. Magnes Museum, 2911 Russell St.  

READINGS AND LECTURES 

Poets for Peace poetry reading featuring Dan Bellm, John Burgess, Ilya Kaminsky, Alicia Ostricker, and Meredith Stricker at 7:30 p.m. at Pegasus Books, 2349 Shattuck Ave. 649-1320. 

Actors Reading Writers ”Coming Home” Stories by Garrison Keillor, Kurt Vonnegut and Wu Zuxiang at 7:30 p.m. at Berkeley City Club, 2315 Durant Ave.  

Karl Soehnlein reads from his latest novel “You Can Say You Knew Me When” at 7:30 p.m. at Black Oak Books. 486-0698.  

Tram Nguyen describes “We Are All Immigrants Now: Untold Stories from Immigrant Communities After 9/11” at 7:30 p.m. at Cody’s Books. 845-7852.  

Poetry Express with Karen Pojmann and John Burgess at 7 p.m., at Priya Restaurant, 2072 San Pablo Ave. berkeleypoetryexpress@yahoo.com 

MUSIC AND DANCE 

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

Sara Gazarek at 8 and 10 p.m. at Yoshi’s at Jack London Square. Cost is $6-$12. 238-9200.  


Celebrating the Sweet Songs of the Katydids By JOE EATON Special to the Planet

Tuesday September 06, 2005

Even after a quarter-century in California, I still miss lightning bugs—especially in late summer. By some quirk of biogeography, they never made it west of the Rockies. We have a few species of glowworms, with luminescent wingless females and larvae, but no fireflies as such. And I also miss the nocturnal chorus of the katydids: what Sue Hubbell called “the audible essence of a summer night.” 

Not that we don’t have katydids; I found two a couple of weeks ago, lurking in a pelargonium. But they don’t have the classic call. (The eastern true katydid has borne that name since colonial times; the first documented reference is by the botanist John Bartram in 1751. There are various stories about who Katy was and what she might have done, most involving a romantic triangle that ended badly). Although I’m not sure about the fine points of identification, the katydids in the garden, big green insects with long gawky hind legs and rhomboid wings, were probably either greater angle-wings (Microcentrum rhombifolium) or California angle-wings (M. californicum). The brand new Field Guide to Grasshoppers, Katydids, and Crickets of the United States describes the song of rhombifolium as “a loud lisp repeated every 2-4 seconds and a series of ticks that sounds much like someone slowly running a thumbnail along the teeth of a pocket comb.” Californicum’s song is a two-part lisp at 2.5-second intervals, without the ticks. 

You can hear both songs, and many others, at the Singing Insects of North America web site (http://buzz.ifas.ufl.edu). Katydid songs tend to be high-pitched, with a frequency of 8 to 20 kiloHertz. Given the normal loss of high-frequency hearing, folks my age are often deaf to most of them. I was relieved that I could still register the performances of the common virtuoso katydid (Amblycorypha longinicta), said to be the most complex of any North American singing insect’s, and its relative the Cajun virtuoso (A. cajuni). Some entomologists use ultrasonic detectors to translate these high-frequency songs into audible range. 

It’s not a vocal performance, of course. Katydids (and crickets) make music by rubbing their forewings together—a process called stridulation. Grasshoppers also stridulate, using their legs and hindwings. Near the base of a katydid’s left forewing is a specialized vein with a series of downward-projecting ridges, the stridulatory file. The right forewing has a sharp, upward-projecting structure called the scraper. Opening and closing the wings brings the scraper and the file into contact and produces the calling song.  

Among true katydids, only the males sing. But Microcentrum is a member of the false-katydid subfamily in which males call and females respond with brief ticks, produced by a less complex apparatus. The song of each species is a unique combination of frequencies and rhythms. Entomologists have found that apparently identical populations with variant songs are in fact genetically distinct; the songs are part of a shared recognition mating system, ensuring that the callers find appropriate partners. In some, males move in the direction of a female’s tick calls; in others, the two move toward each other. They listen with the knees of their forelegs; how’s that for Intelligent Design? It’s a risky process; predators and parasitic flies may be eavesdropping. 

In addition to the calling song, some katydids, according to the field guide, make a distinctive noise when threatened or harassed. This is called a “protest song,” but is otherwise not described. I doubt that it sounds like “We Shall Not Be Moved,” though. 

Human musicians have picked up on the idea of stridulation, of course. The frottoir or rubboard of Louisiana Creole music is a pretty close analogy to the katydid’s file. It used to be an actual washboard hung around the player’s neck until 1946, when Cleveland Chenier asked his welder friend Willie Landry to make him a special model with built-in shoulder straps. Chenier, brother of accordionist Clifton, played with a handful of bottle openers and other picks and could get amazing echo effects on the rubboard. Puerto Rican jibaro musicians use a gourd rasp called the guiro; and in Kenya, the ridged surfaces of Fanta soda bottles are or were used to similar effect. But the most remarkable parallel to katydid music, and one that was only recently discovered, is a product of evolutionary convergence: a stridulating bird.  

In the forests of Ecuador there’s a small red-headed bird called the club-winged manakin, a member of a family noted for elaborate male song-and-dance displays. The club-wing waves its wings over its back, producing a loud, clear, violin-like tone. Cornell ornithologist Kimberly Bostwick noticed that one feather on each of the bird’s wings had a series of seven ridges on its central vane and another had a stiff, curved tip. Equipped with a camera that could record a thousand frames a second, Bostwick filmed the manakin in action. She found that the bird shakes its wings a hundred times a second. With each shake, the scraper feathers hit the feathers with the ridged vane, just like the action of katydid wings or a rubboard player. That produces 14 sounds per shake, with a frequency of 1,400 cycles per second.  

Bostwick calls the modified wings of the male manakin a tribute to the power of sexual selection—the same process that drove the evolution of the songs of the katydid: “Darwin would have loved it if he had known.” In fact, Darwin did write about the specialized music-making wing feathers of a species of manakin in The Descent of Man, among a long catalog of secondary sexual characteristics. He just didn’t have the technology to go beyond description to functional analysis. Darwin with a high-speed camera—there’s a thought. A scanning electron microscope would have been nice, too.  

 

 

R


Berkeley This Week

Tuesday September 06, 2005

TUESDAY, SEPT. 6 

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. 

WEDNESDAY, SEPT. 7 

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  

“Reflections on Life in Gaza” with Palestinian activist Majeda Al-Saqqa from Gaza at 7:30 p.m. at La Peña. Cost is $5-$10 sliding scale, no one turned away. 849-2568. www.lapena.org 

“Firescaping: Creating Fire-Resistant Landscapes” A discussion with author Douglass Kent at 5:30 p.m. at University Press Books, 2430 Bancroft Way. 558-1666. 

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. 

WriterCoach Connection Training Sessions Wed. Sept. 7 and 14 at 6:30 p.m. Help students improve their writing and critical thinking skills; become a mentor to Berkeley students. Commit to 1-2 hours per week during the school day. To register call 524-2319. www.writercoachconnection.org  

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.  

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/ 

vigil4peace/vigil 

THURSDAY, SEPT. 8 

“Altered Global Needs: Meeting the Challenges” with Rita Maran, Lecturer in International Human RIghts, UCB, at 7:30 p.m. in the Home Room, International House, 2299 Piedmont Ave. Cost is $5. 642-9460.  

Medicare Prescription Drug Plans, a presentation by Medi- 

care Today at 11 a.m. at the South Berkeley Senior Center.  

East Bay Mac User Group Mark Altenberg of Apple presents Quicktime Streaming Server from 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at Expression College for Digital Arts, 6601 Shellmound St., Emeryville. Free. ebmug.org 

Communication for Caregivers An ongoing free Berkeley Adult School class meets Thurs. at 1 p.m. at the South Berkeley Senior Center. 981-5170. 

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 

FRIDAY, SEPT. 9 

City Commons Club Noon Luncheon with Peter Haurus, author, “Resurgence of China: Whither?” Luncheon at 11:45 a.m. for $13.50, speech at 12:30 p.m., at the Berkeley City Club, 2315 Durant St. For information and reservations call 526-2925 or 665-9020.  

Free Emergency Preparedness Class in Disaster First Aid from 9 a.m. to noon at 997 Cedar St. To sign up call 981-5605. www.ci.berkeley.ca.us/ 

fire/oes.html 

Town Hall Meeting on RFID (Radiofrequency ID) tracking tags in Berkeley Public Library materials at 7 p.m. at Berkeley Fellowship, 1924 Cedar at Bonita. 843-2152. 

Womansong Circle a monthly musical gathering for women at 6:45 p.m. at First Congregational Church of Berkeley, 2345 Channing Way, at Dana. 525-7082. 

By the Light of the Moon Open Mic and Salon for Women at 7:30 p.m. at Changemakers, 6536 Telegraph Ave., Oakland. Cost is $3-$7 sliding scale. 655-2405. 

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

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

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

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

SATURDAY, SEPT. 10 

Berkeley Path Wanderers Waterfront Walk to explore the history and future of Berkeley’s waterfront, led by Susan Schwartz. Meet at 10 a.m. at Sea Breeze Delicatessen, south side of University Ave. just west of the I-880/580 Freeway. Bring water, snack, and, if you want, binoculars to enjoy shorebirds on their fall migration. 848-9358. www.berkeleypaths.org 

Point Richmond Day Long Summer Festival starting at 11 a.m. Featuring 360, The Irrationals, Two Feet Tall Norma Blase, Jeb Brady and many more. Plus classic car show, vendors, children’s activities, food and drink. www.pointrichmond.com/prmusic/ 

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

Progressive Democrats of the East Bay Chapter meets at 1 p.m. at Temescal Library, 5205 Telegraph, Oakland. The agenda includes a discussion of the propositions for the special election on Nov. 8, and the anti-war, pro-choice Ret. Lt. Col. Charlie Brown, who is planning to contest the 4th congressional seat of very conservative Republican John Doolittle. 526-4632. www.pdeastbay.org 

Free Emergency Preparedness Class on Basic Personal Preparedness from 9 to 11 a.m. at 997 Cedar St., between 8th and 9th. To sign up call 981-5605. www.ci.berkeley.ca.us/fire/oes.html 

East Bay Athiests meets at 2 p.m. at Berkeley Public Library, 3rd flr meeting room, 2090 Kittredge St. Videos from “Theo- 

cracy Watch” will be shown. 222-7580. 

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 

“Music, Community Politics and Environmental Justice in Taiwan” at noon at 145 Dwinelle, UC Campus. 642-2809. 

Piedmont Choirs Fall Tryouts for children age six to 18, from 9:30 a.m. to noon in Piedmont and 10 a.m. to noon in Alameda. Call for appointment 547-4441. www.piedmontchoirs.org 

Tet Trung Thu: Mid Autumn Children’s Festival Celebrate the Vietnamese full moon festival from 4 to 8 p.m. at the Oakland Museum of California, 10th and Oak Sts. 238-2200. www.museumca.org 

Yuri Kochiyama and her biographer, Diane Fujino, will speak at 2 p.m. at Heller Lounge, MLK, Jr. Student Union, UC Campus. 642-6717.  

Free Quit Smoking Class for pregnant and parenting women from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. at Alta Bates, first floor auditorium, 2450 Ashby Ave. Childcare provided. Free but registration requested. 981-5330. quitnow@ci.berkeley.ca.us 

East Bay Chapter of the Great War Society meets to discuss “Military Revolutions Since 1600” and “Napoleon and WWI” at 10:30 a.m. at 640 Arlington Ave. 527-7118. 

Studio 12 Open House from 4 to 7 p.m. to meet the teachers and see what classes and workshops are coming this fall, at 2525 8th St. www.movingout.org 

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

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

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

SUNDAY, SEPT. 11 

Solano Avenue Stroll “Don't Rain on My Parade” from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. with entertainment, food booths, crafts, art cars, kidtown and more. 527-5358. www.solanostroll.org 

Run for Peace with the United Nations Association A 10k run or a 5k run/walk at 9 a.m. at Cesar Chavez Park, Berkeley Marina. Cost is $15-$20. To register call 849-1752. www.unausaeastbay.org 

Bike Ride to the Solano Stroll Leave from the North Berkeley BART at 9:30 and 11:30 a.m. and the El Cerrito Plaza BART at 10:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. Valet bike parking at the Stroll. Sponsored by the Bicycle-Friendly Berkeley Coalition. 549-7433. 

Free Hazardous Waste Drop-Off of computers, monitors, TVs, cell phones, and batteries at Solano at Evelyn St., near the BART tracks, from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sponsored by the Cities of Berkeley and Albany and the Ecology Center. 981-5435. 

Mercury Thermometer Exchange Liquid mercury from broken thermometers is harmful to the Bay. Exchange them for a Bay-safe digital thermometer. Bring mercury thermometers in two plastic zipper bags from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. to 1241 Solano Ave., Albany. 452-9261, ext. 130. www.savesfbay.org 

Pancake Breakfast on the Red Oak Victory Ship in Richmond Harbor from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. 1337 Canal Blvd., Berth #6. Exit at Canal Blvd off 580. Cost is $6, children under 5 free. 237-2933. 

Montclair Flea Market and Community Fair from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at 6300 Moraga Ave. Activities include safety fair, health fair, food and Astro Jump. Benefits the Montclair Lions Club. www.montclairlions.org 

Music in the Park at Arroyo Viejo Park with Toni, Tony, Tone at 3 p.m. at 7701 Krause St., Oakland. 

“New Faces of Israel” with Donna Rosenthal at 7 p.m. at Oakland Hebrew Day School, 5500 Redwood Rd., Oakland. RSVP to 531-8600, ext. 26 

“Friends of Roman Cats” a slide show and presentation on the Torre Argentina Roman Cat Sanctuary at 3 p.m. at Rabbitears, 303 Arlington Ave., Kensington. Donation $10. 525-6155. 

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 

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 

“Christianity for Unitarian Universalists” with Huston Smith at 9:30 a.m. at Unitarian Universalist Church of Berkeley, 1 Lawson Rd., Kensington. 525-0302, ext. 306. 

Weekend Healing Workshops with Rabbi Goldie Milgram at the Berkeley Richmond Jewish Community Center, 1414 Walnut St. Cost is $50-$65. 655-8530. 

MONDAY, SEPT. 12 

National Organization for Women Oakland/East Bay Chapter meets from 6 to 8 p.m. at the San Leandro Public Library, 300 Estudillo. The topic will be Teen Safety: The Importance of Defeating Proposition 73. 287-8948. 

Berkeley-Albany YMCA Golf Tournament at 12:30 p.m. at Tilden Regional Golf Course. Fee is $150 per player, which includes green fees, tee bags with promotional items, lunch and dinner. Proceeds support the South Berkeley Learning Academy. To reserve a place call Amy Golsong at 486-8406. agolsong@baymca.org 

“Voluntary Simplicity” a workshop with David McFarlane, on Mon. eves. at 7 p.m., through Nov. 14 at Unitarian Universalist Church of Berkeley, 1 Lawson Rd., Kensington. Cost is $25. 525-0302, ext. 306. 

“Get Rid of Physical and Emotional Clutter” with psychotherapist Jill Lebeau and organizer Stephanie Barbic at 7 p.m. at Kensington Library, 61 Arlington Ave., Kensington. Free. 524-3043. 

TUESDAY, SEPT. 13 

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

WriterCoach Connection Training Sessions Tues. Sept. 13 and 20 from noon to 3 p.m. Help students improve their writing and critical thinking skills; become a mentor to students at Berkeley High, Willard, King or Longfellow Middle Schools. Commit to 1-2 hours per week during the school day. To register call 524-2319. www.writercoachconnection.org  

 

“Hetch Hetchy Valley: Water and California’s Future,” a panel discussion on the feasibility of dismantling the O’Shaughnessy Dam to restore the Hetch Hetchy River Valley, at 5:30 p.m. at Goldman School of Public Policy, Room 150, UC Campus. 642-2666. 

Youth Arts Studio Demonstration Class in visual arts for ages 10-13 at 3:15 p.m. at All Souls Episcopal Church, 2220 Cedar St. Youth Arts Studio is a non-profit after-school program. 848-1755. 

Day Hiking with Your Dog with Thom Gabrukiewicz and dog trainer Jen Worth at 7 p.m. at REI, 1338 San Pablo Ave. 527-4140. 

“Elections in Crisis” documentary films on voter fraud from noon to 5 p.m. followed by a speaker event at 7 p.m. at Grand Lake Theater, 3200 Grand Ave., Oakland. Tickets are $6 for the afternoon, $10 for the evening. Sponsored by the Wellstone Democratic Renewal Club. 848-6767, ext. 609. 

Red Cross Blood Drive from 1 to 7 p.m. at Berkeley Community Media, 2239 MLK, Jr. Way. To schedule an appointment call 848-2288, ext. 13. www.BeADonor.com 

“Medicare: Understanding Your Drug Coverage” at 4 p.m. at Center for Older Adult Services, 828 San Pablo Ave. To register call 558-7800. 

“Applied Buddhism” a workshop led by Marilee Baccich and Lynette Delgado, Tues. at 12:15 p.m. through Dec. 6 at Unitarian Universalist Church of Berkeley, 1 Lawson Rd., Kensington. Donation $40. To register call 526-8944.  

Berkeley Camera Club meets at 7:30 p.m., at the Northbrae Community Church, 941 The Alameda. 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. 845-6830. 

CITY MEETINGS 

Council Agenda Committee meets Tues., Sept. 6, at 2:30 p.m., at 2180 Milvia St. 981-6900. 

www.ci.berkeley.ca.us/ 

citycouncil/agenda-committee 

Commission on the Status of Women meets Wed., Sept. 7, at 7:30 p.m., at the North Berkeley Senior Center. Tasha Tervelon, 981-5190. www.ci.berkeley. 

ca.us/commissions/women 

Berkeley Rent Stabilization Board meets Thurs. Sept. 8 at 7 p.m. in City Council Chambers, Pam Wyche, 644-6128 ext. 113. www.ci.berkeley.ca.us/rent 

Community Health Commission meets Thurs., Sept. 8, at 6:45 p.m., at the North Berkeley Senior Center. Kristin Tehrani, 981-5356. www.ci.berkeley.ca.us/commissions/health 

West Berkeley Project Area Commission meets Thurs., Sept. 8, at 7 p.m., at the West Berkeley Senior Center. Iris Starr, 981-7520. www.ci.berkeley.ca.us/commissions/westberkeley  

Zoning Adjustments Board meets Thurs., Sept. 8, at 7 p.m., in City Council Chambers. Mark Rhoades, 981-7410. www.ci.berkeley.ca.us/ 

commissions/zoning ›


Off and Running at Berkeley High By J. DOUGLAS ALLEN-TAYLOR

Friday September 02, 2005

Construction crews were still carting away trash by the forklift near the Donahue Gymnasium and in the newly refurbished Academic Building, many baseboards were still not in place and some of the wall tiles had not been cemented into place. 

But the first day of school at Berkeley High School on Wednesday was a far cry from the two previous days, when what was described as an army of workers swarmed over the C Building in an effort to finish the job. 

Late Monday afternoon, workers had been still hand-painting the red doors along the first floor corridor of the building, the most visible part of a project that included classroom remodeling and repainting, restoration of 12 restrooms, additional lockers, and new flooring. 

“I don’t see how they got it done,” BHS baseball coach Tim Moellering said on Wednesday afternoon. “It was pretty amazing.” 

“It used to look like a dungeon down on the first floor,” another teacher said. “It’s certainly an improvement.” 

Wednesday afternoon the refurbished hallways were empty, quiet except for the sound of a security guard speaking over a walkie-talkie, and the hum of activity coming from the classrooms. On the classroom doors were signs of the massive organizational effort it takes to move some 3,000 students around through a six-period day. 

Mimeographed class schedules were taped on the walls at interviews down the hallway, with teachers’ names and their location each period listed. On each doorway, a second set of handwritten notations showed the schedule modifications. On Room C131, a note told Mr. Hildebrandt’s Spanish 6-7 students to go to Room C106, and on Room C135, another note simply announced a “Room Change!” to C126. And one guidance counselor said there had been later modifications from the handwritten ones. 

“I came to one or two classrooms and the teachers weren’t there who were listed on the signs,” she said. “I’m not sure how it worked, but all of the students seemed to have found their way to the right classroom. None of them were wandering around in the halls.” 

In fact, on the first day of school, there was little evidence of students wandering anywhere without purpose. Shortly after the ringing of the bell to return to class, only a handful of students are left in the common area between the C Building and the theater. Within moments they are sent somewhere—to class, or off campus if they are seniors and their day is done—by Principal Jim Slemp, who can be seen crisscrossing the school campus throughout the day, seemingly all places at all times, without ever appearing to be hurrying. 

Teachers and administrators say that an increased organizational efficiency at Berkeley High is directly attributable to Slemp, who is entering his third year at the school. 

“The first year he was here, I think he did a lot of observation on the first day of school,” said Vice Principal Thelette A. Bennett. “And he said, ‘this can’t work that way,’ and began planning administrative changes. This is the best I’ve seen it.” 

Bennett said that one of the major changes is in student responsibility. “This is Berkeley,” she said, “so a lot of students were used to doing what they want to do. But that’s changing. It has to change. The whole world is changing.” 

One of the most visible changes Slemp has instituted, a teacher said, is ending what she called the school’s former “hang-out culture. There’s not a lot of hanging out going on now. Students know they’re supposed to be someplace.” 

That change was evident this year in the way the counseling department is handling course changes. Two years ago, students requesting course changes lounged in chairs in the hallways in front of the counselors’ offices while classes were going on, waiting to be seen. This year, counselors said that they are requiring that students fill out course change requests in writing, and then send the students back to class, where their revised schedules are later delivered to them. The obvious purpose, counselors explain, is to keep the students in class as much as possible while administrative tasks are being handled. 

Another innovation speeding up the first of the year organizational work is the computerized textbook checkout procedure. Instituted a year ago for history, math, and science textbooks, the procedure now includes foreign language and the 125-title English Literature section. 

Teachers walk their classes down to the textbook room, where students pick up their class book and have its bar code and their student ID number scanned into the library computer. The classes come to the textbook room on a prearranged schedule, four classes per period, with AP and honors classes going first, the rest of the school later to follow. 

While students stood in line the blazing sun of Wednesday’s first day, BHS Library Media Teacher Ellie Goldstein-Erickson was making a game of it, clapping her hands and saying “we’re going to set a land-speed record for this, okay?” to the students as they filed through. After timing the procedure, Goldstein-Erickson told subsequent classes that they had a six-minute, 30-second record to beat. Pumping her arms as the students left, she told a parent volunteer “anything to get teenagers worked up.” 

By midday, administrators said that most of the registration work had been completed, leaving only latecomers or students with schedule problems to be worked out on an individual basis. Clifford Blueitt, Director of Photography for ABC Harrell, the photographic service company handling the school’s ID photos, said that his firm had taken 120 ID photos on Wednesday and 400 the day before as part of the school’s registration procedure in the gymnasium, and that the bulk of the registration had actually taken place the week before.


Citizens File Suit Seeking To Overturn UC-City Pact By J. DOUGLAS ALLEN-TAYLOR

Friday September 02, 2005

A group of Berkeley citizens filed a lawsuit against the City of Berkeley and several city officials in the California Superior Court in Oakland yesterday, asking the court to set aside the city’s settlement agreement with the University of California over UC’s Long Range Development Plan because it “contracted away the City Council’s right to independently exercise its police power in the future.” 

The plaintiffs charge that the agreement would deprive the council (and future councils) of independent regulatory and planning powers and also of environmental protection authority, which they claim is in violation of state and local law and contrary to at least three settled lines of legal authority in case law. 

The lawsuit was filed by the law offices of Oakland attorney Stephan C. Volker on behalf of Carl Friberg, Anne Wagley, Jim Sharp, and Dean Metzger. All four plaintiffs are neighborhood activists who live near the university campus. Wagley is a former District 8 City Council candidate, and is the arts and calendar editor for the Berkeley Daily Planet. 

“The suit points out that the city sold its autonomy for the illusory promise of a few more dollars from the university,” Volker said. “The agreement violated the state constitution and the city’s own charter, which forbids the city from delegating its legislative authority to the university. It gave the university veto power over the Downtown Plan and the City Charter prohibits that.” 

Volker said the city’s interests and those of UC are opposed to one another in regards to development downtown. 

“The city sold its independence to another agency and that’s unconstitutional,” he said. 

The suit lists the City of Berkeley, Mayor Tom Bates and Councilmembers Linda Maio, Darryl Moore, Max Anderson, Laurie Capitelli, and Gordon Wozniak as defendants, along with City Manager Phil Kamlarz and City Attorney Manuela Albuquerque. 

Not listed as defendants were City Councilmembers Dona Spring, Kriss Worthington, and Betty Olds. Wagley said that those councilmembers were not included in the lawsuit because they voted against the Berkeley/UC Berkeley settlement agreement. 

The suit requests the court to invalidate the settlement agreement and to reinstate the city’s lawsuit against the university. One of its major contentions is that “the settlement agreement redefines, without any opportunity for city Planning Commission review and approval, or public participation, the Downtown Area Specific Plan boundaries,” amounting to a significant expansion of the downtown area. 

Sybil Parks-Brown, secretary of the Berkeley city attorney’s office, told the Daily Planet that “it is our policy not to comment on any on-going litigation.” 

The roots of the dispute go back to last February, when the City of Berkeley filed its own lawsuit against the university in state court, charging that the university’s Long Range Development Plan (LRDP) violated state law and would sanction a university building boom inside of Berkeley, leaving Berkeley residents to pay for strained city services and clogged roads. The city’s lawsuit contended that the university circumvented the state’s Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) by not disclosing all of the effects the LRDP would have on the city. 

“The university asked us to sign the equivalent of a blank check that would allow it to build wherever, whenever, and however it would like,” said Bates at the time of the filing of the city’s lawsuit. “This lawsuit firmly states that we are not signing anything until we know what we are buying.” 

But the Berkeley citizen plaintiffs in the new lawsuit now charge that when city officials eventually gained that information from the university in closed door meetings, they withheld the information from their own citizens until a binding agreement was reached with the university. 

Last May, after a series of private negotiations between city and university representatives over the university’s LRDP, the Berkeley City Council voted in closed session to approve an agreement with the university that called for, in part, the city’s dropping of its lawsuit. The terms of the settlement agreement were not released to the public before City Council’s vote and were only released after the university approved the agreement several days following the City Council vote. 

Under the agreement, UC Berkeley is required to increase its annual payments to the city from just over $500,000 to $800,000, with the amount increasing by 3 percent every year through 2021. The payments, which will go to sewer and fire services as well as transportation improvement and neighborhood beautification programs, were far lower than the $4.1 million originally sought by the city. 

When details of the agreement were publicly announced, Bates said that he agreed to the settlement because even if the city had prevailed in court against the LRDP, the university “would have still gotten exactly what it wanted with just more stop signs.” 

UC Chancellor Robert Birgeneau said the university didn’t have enough money to raise its offer to the city, and the eventual settlement agreement was the best the university could do. “We’re running a deficit too,” he said.  

Shortly after Berkeley city officials dropped the city’s lawsuit against the university, a superior court judge dismissed a petition filed by Friberg, Wagley, and Councilmember Worthington asking to intervene as a third party in the city lawsuit. 

At the time of the filing of that petition last May, Worthington said that he hoped the court would allow the petitioners to pursue the lawsuit on their own, even though the city was abandoning the effort. “If the city doesn’t address [the issues raised in the lawsuit],” Worthington said, “the community should be allowed to pursue them.” 

The court ruled, however, that the petition came too late because lawsuit had been dropped before action on the petition could be taken by the court. 

The new complaint also charges that by reaching the settlement agreement “secretly, in closed session, without any public notice or participation,” the city broke state law.


Noise Complaints Raise Tensions in South Campus Neighborhood By RICHARD BRENNEMAN

Friday September 02, 2005

If, as the poet Robert Frost once wrote with a touch of irony, “good fences makes good neighbors,” the Berkeley corollary is clearly, “loud parties don’t.” 

If you crowd a handful or two bright young students into one-bedroom off-campus apartments, parties are pretty much a given—as are the complaints of the more sedate “civilians” who live nearby. 

Witness the case of the residents of Hillegass Avenue who showed up at last week’s meeting of the Zoning Adjustments Board to raise a ruckus of their own about a landlord who rents primarily to UC Berkeley students. 

 

Neighbors vs. landlord 

David Meyers came to the board from his home in Dublin requesting a use permit that would allow him to add three new apartments to the building he owns at 2538 Hillegass Ave. 

What followed offered a glimpse at long familiar town/gown rifts in a neighborhood that’s seen plenty of them—so much so that the university has launched a special program this year to ease student/neighbor conflicts there. 

George Beier was the first to offer opposition, speaking on behalf of the 300 members of the Willard Neighborhood Association (WNA), one of the areas most impacted by off-campus student housing. 

The WNA district is bounded by Dwight Way on the north, Ashby Avenue on the south and College Avenue on the east and Telegraph Avenue on the West, and includes one of the most troubled—many would say notorious—student housing properties. 

Meyers’ building is located on Hillegass a few doors south of People’s Park, and directly across the street from the late and often noisy Le Chateau, which was closed to undergraduate students this year following lawsuits by angry neighbors. 

That three-building complex, owned by the University Students Cooperative Association, housed 85 undergraduates before a judge awarded neighbors $63,230 in damages  

As Meyers explained it to ZAB members, “I don’t think conditions should be put upon me because of what they see as problems with other houses in the neighborhood.” 

But there’s another property in the neighborhood that’s also problematic, and that is one that Meyers does own at 2609 Hillegass, where complaints of loud parties resulted in a city “second response” warning last March—which meant that the landlord must post a prominent notice warning that any further calls to the house will result in escalating fines. 

What irked neighbor Randy Fish, who has lived across the street from 2609 for the last 20 years, was Meyers’ response when he called him to complain about a noisy party that had continued into the pre-dawn hours. 

“He said, ‘Just call the cops. Don’t call me,’” Fish said, a point Meyers conceded. 

But, Meyers said, “I’ve worked real hard on 2609 and there’ve been no calls since March. It takes me a few months to get rid of problem tenants.” 

“What you do with other property indicates what might happen with this building,” said ZAB member David Blake. 

When asked by ZAB member Rick Judd, Meyers said he owned 35 units in Berkeley. 

“Often we can require that there can be specific people to call when there is a problem,” said Judd. 

“We have to have place for the students,” said member Jesse Anthony, “but at the same time, you have to work to make the students behave.” 

Blake said he felt that as the landlord of Berkeley property, Meyers’ action showed that “you don’t want to take responsibility for your tenants in a way that’s appropriate.” 

“I agree with Dave’s comment,” said ZAB member Bob Allen. “It’s totally inappropriate to say ‘Don’t call me; call the police.’” 

“I’m sure the applicant knows this is a very organized neighborhood,” said ZAB Chair Andy Katz. “Behavior of the sort that’s gone on at 2609 won’t be tolerated.” 

Judd also joined the call for a contact person who could handle complaints, and the board voted to stay a decision on his additions until their next meeting to allow Meyer to address the issue.  

It’s a neighborhood where neighbors are willing to fight, and they’ve succeeded in making a major change in another noisy property. 

 

University targets neighbors 

The university has taken steps this year to ease relationships between students and their neighbors, most notably the creation last spring by Chancellor Robert Birgeneau of a town/gown task force that looked into the issue. 

Panel chair Associate Chancellor John Cummins said their meetings “achieved remarkable buy-in on everybody’s part.” 

The panel included university and city officials, neighbors and students, and one was the WNA’s own George Beier. 

“The task force represents a true partnership between the university and the community and the neighborhood to make a concerted effort to make things better,” said Jim Hynes, assistant to Berkeley City Manager Phil Kamlarz. 

One result of their meetings was the creation of a “welcome to the neighborhood brochure” that has been distributed to residents of the Willard neighborhood offering tips for good student/neighbor relations and spelling out the relevant city codes and fines that could accrue from bad behavior. 

The task force also helped in winning funds for AlcoholEdu, an online alcohol education program now required of all incoming students. The university has also funded two student goodwill ambassadors to the neighborhood. 

Members of the WNA are forming a neighborhood crime watch, and students have been invited to join. 

 

Students weigh in 

One student who’s somewhat cynical about the result is Jesse Arreguin, who is perhaps the embodiment of a unique set of town/gown relations fostered by City Councilmember Kris Worthington, whose district includes much of the university and the Telegraph Avenue corridor. 

“I am concerned with the university’s approach to relations between the student and community,” said Arreguin, a man of many titles. 

Besides serving as City Affairs Director for the ASUC—“I’m their lobbyist”— Arreguin serves on the city’s Rent Stabilization Board and as acting chair of the Berkeley Housing Advisory Commission. He also has a seat on the university’s Planning and Transportation Committee and on the board of the Telegraph Avenue Association. 

“We make up about 20 percent of the city’s population, but with the exception of Kris Worthington, councilmembers don’t appoint students,” he said. 

Arreguin acknowledged that the Willard neighborhood has had some legitimate concerns about students, “but my sense is that the university is putting the neighbors before its own students.” 

Arreguin praised the WNA for hosting an upcoming neighborhood yard sale and party on Sept. 11 to introduce students to their new neighbors in friendly setting. 

But he said the university’s actions toward its own students complicate the picture. 

However Sharon Han, external affairs vice president for the ASUC, said “We’re very excited about the program. We think it’s going to be very beneficial for the campus community.” 

a


Berkeley Emergency, Medical Workers Rush to Aid Hurricane Katrina Victims By RICHARD BRENNEMAN

Friday September 02, 2005

Three firefighters and one healthcare worker from Berkeley have flown to the South to aid in the rescue and care of victims of Hurricane Katrina. 

A second healthcare worker, a specialist in treating stress in rescue personnel, is scheduled to leave in two weeks. 

Firefighter Dave McPartland, an expert in swift water rescue, was the first to go. He left for New Orleans Tuesday, said Deputy Fire Chief David Orth. 

Lt. Darren Bobrosky, the head of the department’s Rescue Dog Program, was sent to Mississippi Wednesday as a rescue dog team leader. Accompanying him was Firefighter David Sprague, who will serve as the team’s information systems specialist. 

“He’ll be starting up a website for sharing information,” Orth said. 

They are members of Urban Search and Rescue Team Task Force 4, a program sponsored by the Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency, Orth said. 

The team includes participants from the county, city departments, the Lawrence Livermore Lab and the state parks system. Of 28 such teams nationally, eight are based in California. 

Also leaving Wednesday were two members of the Disaster Medical Aid Team (DMAT). 

One of them, Barbara Morita, is a familiar face at Berkeley High School’s health center. As public health nurse, she will be providing assistance to both rescuers and the rescued. 

The final member of the contingent is David Wee, a licensed clinical social worker and head of the city’s Mobile Mental Health Team. He is a nationally recognized leader in the field of stress debriefing, Orth said. Wee will leave in the coming weeks to handle the effects of the disaster on the rescue workers themselves. 

“His specialty is called critical incident stress management,” said Orth. Wee assists city firefighters and police with on-the-job traumas.  

Wee will contact rescuers, learn how they fell about what they’ve seen and done, arrange group meetings and arrange individual debriefings as needed with peer counselors and mental health professionals.  

Alameda County currently maintains three identical search and rescue teams of 64 members each. 

“Currently, the Red Team was deployable,” Orth said. “The second team helped them get out the door and on their way, and the third team provides fill-in people if any members of the Red Team happen to be on vacation or ill.” 

A team includes a contingent of rescue specialists, including an acoustic expert to help locate people in collapsed and damaged building, a rigger to set up equipment to lift concrete and sections of collapsed structures to rescue people buried beneath, water rescue specialists and a dog component for locating victims. 

Orth said normal deployments are for a maximum of 10 days, and he expects that the group’s tour this time will last about a week as more teams are rotated through the disaster areas. 

The search and rescue teams are composed of sworn fire and police personnel, while the DMAT teams are drawn from the civilian sector, Orth added.›


County Will Seek Instant Runoff Voting Machines By RICHARD BRENNEMAN

Friday September 02, 2005

Alameda County Supervisors voted unanimously Tuesday to call for proposals from voting machine vendors who can provide both a verifiable paper trail and the capacity for instant runoff voting (IRV). 

Berkeley City Councilmember Kris Worthington, who attended the meeting, hailed the vote as a small but significant step forward. 

“If nothing else, the proposals will give us proposals with specific costs,” he said. 

The county currently uses equipment and software from Diebold Election Systems Inc., the firm Democratic Party activists love to hate. 

Critics have charged that Diebold machines were manipulated to give inflated vote totals for George W. Bush in the last presidential election, and hackers have pointed to vulnerabilities in the company’s software. 

But the firm’s biggest problem came in June, when the California secretary of state’s office reported that of 96 of Diebold’s machines with paper audit capability, 19 had failed when tested by the state. 

Alameda County officials immediately began exploring alternatives because state law requires paper-verifiable machines in time for next June’s primary elections. 

Since Berkeley voters approved IRV elections by an overwhelming majority last year, Worthington and City Council colleagues Max Anderson and Mayor Tom Bates have urged the county supervisors to require that bidders for a replacement system offer IRV along with the paper trail. 

Worthington said that the bidders who answer the call for proposals issued Tuesday could still lose out to Diebold if the company fixes its paper problems. 

The supervisors are scheduled to act on the bids in November, Worthington said.


Union to Announce Hospital Strike Deadline By RICHARD BRENNEMAN

Friday September 02, 2005

Officials of the union representing 8,000 workers at Sutter Health hospitals—including the Alta Bates Summit facilities in Berkeley and Oakland—are holding a press conference this morning (Friday) to announce a strike deadline. 

Failure to reach a settlement could result in what officials of SEIU United Healthcare Workers West say would be “the nation’s largest open-ended healthcare strike in two decades.” 

California Federation of Labor Executive Secretary Art Pulaski will speak at the conference, slated for 9:30 a.m. at the San Francisco Marriott. 

Also slated to appear are representatives of the SEIU, the California Nurses Association, and the Stationary Engineers, Teamsters, Professional Employees, UNITE-HERE and Caregivers and Healthcare Employees Union. 

Carolyn Kemp, spokesperson for Summit Alta Bates, said that if and when the strike is called, “that would be unfortunate, but we will be taking care of the people who come to us. It’s the only reason we exist.” 

Union officials have been attempting to negotiate a contract with all 13 Sutter facilities, but corporate officials have argued that each division is separate entity. 

The California Nurses Association, which represents only registered nurses, signed an accord with Summit Alta Bates last month—though they had made the same argument.›


Turmoil In Oakland School for the Arts, Parents Say By J. DOUGLAS ALLEN-TAYLOR

Friday September 02, 2005

An Oakland parent who transferred her ninth-grade daughter from the Oakland School for the Arts to Skyline High School after only one semester says that OSA’s academic program and some of its art programs are in “turmoil,” adding several other parents have pulled their children from the school during the past year. 

“While I had some reservations about OSA’s academic program going in, I never thought my daughter would be getting anything but a top notch arts education,” Andrea Kosmos said in an interview with the Daily Planet. “So I was shocked that she didn’t get the theater training I expected.” 

Kosmos cited teacher turnover, broken promises, and a lack of adequate freshman theater curriculum as her reasons for removing her daughter, Lydia, from the school. Kosmos said she knows of six or seven other OSA students who have transferred to Skyline in the past year for similar reasons, and “at least 15, that we know of” who have transferred to Berkeley High School in the same period. 

Oakland School for the Arts, a nonprofit public charter school founded by Oakland Mayor Jerry Brown, has operated in downtown Oakland under an Oakland Unified School District charter since September 2002. 

The school had a 9- to 11-grade attendance of 300 for the 2004-05 school year, with attendance expected to rise to 550 this fall as OSA adds 6th through eight-grades. OSA is ranked in the top 10 percentile in the Academic Performance Index, California’s official scorecard for rating its grade schools. 

But Kosmos said that teacher turnover this school year, particularly in OSA’s academic department, was “unacceptable,” and was one of the reasons that drove her to remove her daughter from the school. 

“Lydia’s English teacher [Vani Ari] quit in the first month of school,” Kosmos said, adding that her daughter’s science teacher, Asher Davison, left the school soon after. Kosmos said that in all, her daughter had three separate English and three separate science teachers during her one semester at OSA, with “much of the time filled in by substitutes.” 

Kosmos said that comparing a list of OSA teachers from the end of the last school year to the end of this, she has estimated that there was more than 50 percent teacher turnover, with only one of seven English teachers and one of six science teachers lasting in their positions the whole year. 

Kosmos’ claims of an exodus from OSA could not be verified by the school. OSA Director Loni Berry did not return telephone calls in connection with this article. 

A spokesperson for the Oakland Unified School District said that while individual student records at Skyline High School would indicate the school from which a student transferred, neither the school nor the district compile a report detailing student transfers. 

Berkeley Unified School District Public Information Officer Mark Coplan said he could not determine if that number of students had transferred from OSA to Berkeley High this year, but said the number was “possible.” Coplan said that Berkeley residents who attended OSA would be automatically eligible to transfer to Berkeley High School. 

Coplan said that in addition, BUSD examines inter-district student transfers “on a case-by-case basis,” and said it was possible that some non-Berkeley resident OSA students could have transferred to Berkeley High on that basis. 

But a pair of Oakland parents whose child remains at OSA confirmed much of Kosmos’ complaint, saying that their child also had three different English teachers in the course of last year, and that the humanities classes were “so disorganized” that different classes were taught during the year by a French teacher, a Spanish teacher, an English teacher, and a Visual Arts teacher. 

The parents, who asked to remain anonymous because they feared retaliation against their child by school administrators if their names were published, said that while they were “incredibly pleased with OSA’s music department,” they did not feel OSA administrators exercised “a lot of oversight” over the academic department, and that they often learned of a teacher’s leaving from their child, but not from the school administration itself. 

“If we don’t get satisfaction from the administration about these problems, [our child] will leave the school as well by the end of the next school year,” one of the parents said. “Art is very important. But we feel [our child’s] academic future is at stake.” 

It was Lydia Kosmos’s theater courses, however, that were the most disappointing to both Andrea and Lydia Kosmos. 

“I sent her to OSA specifically to get pre-professional training in drama,” Kosmos said. 

Instead, Lydia said she spent most of her semester doing physical exercises led by a teacher she had for three of her four afternoon theater-oriented periods. 

“He kept saying that if we did these correctly, he’d move us into something that was fun, like improv,” Lydia said. “But we never got to do anything like improv, not for the whole semester, because we could never get the exercises right.” 

She said the teacher left OSA shortly after she transferred out. 

In contrast, even before being accepted into Skyline’s Performing Arts Academy for this fall, Lydia said that she was able to enroll mid-year in a Beginning Drama course, which is open to all students. She ticked off a list of things she learned in her semester, including “projection work, articulation, breathing, moving on stage, character development, memorization of monologues, writing a monologue, and theater history.” 

Another difference between OSA and Skyline, the mother and daughter said, was in performances and field trips, both of which they said had been promised in OSA literature. 

“They said in the handbook that performances would be frequent and intense,” Kosmos said. “They were neither.” 

“I didn’t take a single field trip while I was at OSA,” Lydia said. “They told us that they didn’t have enough money.” She also said that she had “no opportunity to perform” while she was at OSA. 

She said a planned February production of the musical Chicago—for which she got a callback after auditioning—was canceled, and that another play was not performed until after she had left. 

During her semester at Skyline, she said that she took four theater-related field trips, and that within two weeks at Skyline, she won a singing and speaking role in the school’s spring musical. 

“There are problems at Skyline, like there are everywhere,” Kosmos said. “But I’m satisfied with what my daughter is getting now. I’m just sorry that the children who are left at OSA are getting gypped.” 

 


Editorial Cartoon By JUSTIN DEFREITAS

Friday September 02, 2005

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


Letters to the Editor

Friday September 02, 2005

HOUSING CRISIS 

Editors, Daily Planet: 

Many thanks for enlightening readers regarding the “crises” of increased “above moderate” housing. Let me add further dangers of this creeping social nemesis. As middle income families increased the crime rate simultaneously has fallen. So too new entertainment venues opened and restaurants and retail began to make profits. City accounts balance as new tax payers are initially charged market rather than Prop. 13 rates. Schools are full and the school board may be forced to give priority to residents over non-taxable crashers from out of district. Yes, nice housing is the root social problem of our city! Thanks for a fair and thoughtful consideration of the issue. 

Professor David Baggins 

CSU Hayward 

 

• 

PERVASIVE RACISM 

Editors, Daily Planet: 

Of all the sad news that has resulted from Hurricane Katrina, the media’s characterization of white people as “finding food” while black people are “looting” (AFP and AP photo feeds), is one of the most disappointing reminders of the racism that pervades our country. 

Allyson Klein 

San Francisco  

 

• 

WELCOME BACK 

Editors, Daily Planet:  

Becky O’Malley welcomes the students back to Berkeley with tales of conflict between UC and our city. She admonishes student behavior. She sees students as merely guests of real city residents. 

Ms. O’Malley, Where you see conflict and bad behavior, I see vibrancy, excitement, opportunity and renewal. Many long-term residents were themselves attracted to this town because of the affiliations and opportunities associated with a great university. The student body while possibly only residents for four or six years are vital to the well being of all permanent residents and the greater good of our city. The students are in no way a temporary guests. Many students stay and become permanent citizens. The rest act as ambassadors and boosters for our town, their alma mater. 

Our wealth, diversity and international recognition are a privilege derived from UC’s coattails, and no longer earned by the city itself. What came first, the chicken or the egg? What would Berkeley be if not for UC. A suburb of San Francisco? 

This city has allowed itself to be dominated by a conservative neighborhoods at the expense of the greater good. 

If neighbors can’t live with the UC’s “noise” or understand its contribution they should simply relocate to a non-university town. Don’t buy a house next to a football stadium or amphitheater if you don’t like noisy crowds. 

The job of the City Council and it’s many commissions is to capture the energy of the university in the form of a tax base instead of demanding handouts from UC. UC related startup companies choosing to do business in Berkeley usually end up in Emeryville. Outdated zoning ordinances preserve derelict factories and empty warehouses instead of allowing innovative companies to thrive. 

Instead of thousands of students enjoying our downtown every evening there is the sucking sound of cars and BART trains taking them away to San Francisco to entertain themselves. Instead of thousands of Bay Area citizens enjoying unique UC funded venues such as the Football stadium, the Greek Theatre etc., neighbors restrict their full use. 

Students of UC let your youthful exuberance overflow onto our streets. Your immediate neighbors can move to quieter locales. Thanks to UC their land values will be high. We feel privileged that you chose this university even if the town is becoming unattractive, unhip, and unfriendly. Make a big racket while you are here. We are enriched by your presence. Stay even longer and help write our next downtown plan! 

Peter Levitt 

Proprietor of Saul’s Delicatessen 

 

• 

THE ‘UN’ PARTY 

Editors, Daily Planet: 

Bob Burnett (“Democrats Must Cease to be The ‘Un’ Party,” Aug. 23) has it exactly right. Anybody, anything other than Bush didn’t cut it in November 2004 and won’t be effective in 2006 or 2008. Burnett provides three examples of policy areas (national security, social security, energy) for which the Democrats should propose positive and realistic alternatives to what the Bush Republicans are offering. He might well have added to this list, including such policy possibilities as poverty, education, medical insurance, affordable housing, income equality, etc. Unfortunately, he did not go on and suggest what such alternative policy statements might contain or who might be charged with the responsibility of drawing up such statements. A more glaring lack in Burnett’s presentation is the absence of any discussion of exactly what or who was meant to be the audience for these policy presentations. 

To my way of thinking, both the main stream Democratic Party and the political left have continued to ignore religiously inspired people who, in part at least because of being ignored and often mocked, have gravitated to the Republican Party. They account for 30 or more percent of the electorate. It is a most un-natural home for them. To be good Christians and Jews, to adhere to the precepts set forth in the new and old testaments, religiously inspired people must be committed to reducing, if not eradicating, poverty, to caring for the sick and for the old, to caring for this earth, this universe. And these are all areas in which the Democratic Party has a justifiable claim to represent, to champion what is best in political and spiritual America. What the party and left must do is to actively seek ways to communicate, compassionately (must we let Bush monopolize this term?) and respectfully, with our religiously inspired fellow American. 

Irving Gershenberg 

 

• 

SUSAN PARKER 

Editors, Daily Planet: 

Thank you, Jessica Matthews. I have had a running e-mail battle with Susan Parker since her racist columns appeared in the San Francisco Chronicle some time ago. I was very disappointed when the Daily Planet picked her up. There are countless good, witty writers in Berkeley and Oakland. Why her?  

At the time she was denigrating Ms. Scott (who since died), Jernae, the helpers waiting on her poor husband, and any other of her neighborhood 

friends of color. When I pointed out to Ms. Parker how insulting her pieces were rather than humorous as she seemed to find them, she told me that the people she wrote about thought her pieces were just dandy. They would, wouldn’t they? These unsophisticated people trusted her. And she continues to take liberties with them (and by inference all African-Americans, myself included). 

What really bothers me is why newspapers such as the Berkeley Daily Planet continue to publish her. Evidently the white press doesn’t get it either. You (the press) consider her witty—an amusing read. And when she is finished belittling black people, she belittles Ralph. I have often wished he would rise up out of his wheel chair and “go upside her head.” 

Madeline Smith Moore 

Oakland 

 

• 

CRIME PEDALERS 

Editors, Daily Planet: 

When I saw that Richard Brenneman had featured “Crime Pedalers” in his controversial Police Blotter, I at first thought it my duty as a member of the board of directors of the Bicycle-Friendly Berkeley Coalition (BFBC) to write a good, stuffy “We are not amused” type letter. However, after a moment’s thought, I realized that Brenneman is on to something; the hoodlums have just gotten ahead of the curve, as they so often seem to do, and figured out that the bicycle has real practical advantages as a means of urban transportation. Something we in the bicycle-advocacy community have been trying to demonstrate to the general public for years! So I’m glad to see that somebody’s listening, even if it’s the wrong guys. 

For others who may want to explore the low-cost, convenient, swift and easy transport that a bicycle provides, BFBC is hosting four “Get Acquainted  

Rides” to the Solano Stroll on Sunday, Sept. 12; two groups will leave from North Berkeley BART, at 9:30 and 11:30 a.m., two others will leave from El  

Cerrito Plaza BART at 10:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m.: destination for all four is the valet bicycle parking booth in the Wells Fargo Bank parking lot at Solano and Colusa, where riders can leave their bikes safely—for free—while they enjoy the Stroll. 

Anyone interested in joining one of these rides can get more information at www.bfbc.org/events or by calling 549-RIDE. We can also use volunteers to distribute flyers, call 549-RIDE and leave your phone number and/or e-mail address,. We’ll be in touch. 

David Coolidge 

 

• 

MANDEL, PRESENT TENSE 

Editors, Daily Planet: 

Your identification of me under my article in last Tuesday’s Daily Planet says that I was a KPFA broadcaster for 37 years. 

It’s hard enough to rebuild an audience with a half-hour show only every second week, and a change in time right in the middle of the 14 weeks assured me, without the further handicap of being described in the past tense. My broadcasts henceforth will be every other Friday, at 2:30 p.m., the next on Sept. 16. Whether I have guests or not, they will include the phone-in period that won me the status of most popular individual broadcaster in numerous surveys over the years by the station itself. 

Listeners whose work hours prohibit tuning in at that time may hear my program, and any other, by computer. Go to kpfa.org. Click on “archive.” That will bring up an alphabetical list of all programs. I am under “T”: “Thinking Out Loud With Bill Mandel.” Click on that, and all of my programs to date come up. They are not repetitive in any way, so you will find a lot of interesting listening. 

Bill Mandel 

 

• 

ISRAEL / PALESTINE 

Editors, Daily Planet: 

I enjoy reading the Daily Planet so much, and feel a loss when I miss an issue. Thanks for your excellent coverage of local issues. 

Thank you also for branching out, for publishing the article about Palestinians being driven out of their small village by Jewish settlers. Publishing it was courageous; I’m sure there are many Daily Planet readers who are not aware of the extent of the hateful behavior of many of the Israeli settlers. They are the illegal residents, and yet go unpunished. We as Americans must know what Israel is doing in our name and with our tax money, and must speak out to our government to stop endorsing the kind of behavior pointed out in this article. 

Joy Hilden 

 

• 

MIXED FEELINGS 

Editors, Daily Planet: 

I confess to mixed feelings about Henry Norr’s article about Israeli settler hooliganism. On the one hand, his article does ring true. A small minority of settlers are indeed prepared to act recklessly guided by their religious chauvinism. As far as they are concerned, God gave them the whole land of Israel plus Palestine and any Arab thereon is a trespasser. In this regard they are similar to Hamas, which represents the view of Islamic chauvinists who believe that Allah has given them the whole land of Israel plus Palestine, and that any Jew found thereon is to be slaughtered as an infidel trespasser. Followers of Hamas are far more numerous, and their acts are often fatal, while their Jewish counterparts, though loathsome fanatics, have generally, but not always, used non-lethal tactics. 

But what bothers me about this article is that the Daily Planet published it not as an op-ed, but in a form that made it look like it was written by a reporter, when in fact it was written by a pro-Palestinian activist. Late in the article Norr admits that he is one of a group of international volunteers who has come to the West Bank to protect Palestinians. We further know that Norr is a Palestinian activist, because he ends his article with a reiteration of standard Palestinian propaganda. He calls for the removal of all Israeli settlements in accordance with UN Security Council Resolution 242. Although that is the governing resolution in the matter, 242 in no way calls for the removal of all settlements. Quite the opposite, it calls for Israeli withdrawal from territories in exchange for peace. First, a final end-of-conflict peace has never been offered by the Palestinians. Second, 224 pointedly left out the word “the” in front of “territories.” This was a matter of intense diplomatic negotiation at the time. All parties understood that Israel would not be required to give up “the” or “all the” territories and return to the 1967 line. That line, after all, was not an international border, but an armistice line. Arafat’s attacks on Israel began in 1965 precisely because he did not recognize that line, and the 1967 war was precipitated by the Arabs who felt that Israel’s true border should be the sea. The war began when Nasser famously boasted “I will throw the Jews into the sea.” He then blockaded Israeli shipping (an act of war) and sent his armies into Sinai. In fact, Jordan entered that war, and thus lost the West Bank, on Egypt’s assurance that its armies were fast approaching Tel Aviv, when in fact they had already been largely destroyed en route. 

Elsewhere, Norr seems to indicate that the name of his group of volunteers is ISM. ISM is the pro-Palestinian group that sent Rachel Corrie into a war zone to protect Hamas weapons smuggling tunnels. ISM, though practicing non-violence itself, praises Palestinian violence, and explicitly supports suicide bombings. In fact, ISM was found to have harbored a suicide bomber in its office. The group was also caught passing photos to the press allegedly taken at Corrie’s tragic death, when they were not. Since having so thoroughly discredited itself in this fashion, ISM has been almost completely shut out of the press, except of course, our own Daily Planet, which never seems to care a whit about fact-checking or the reliability of its sources when it comes to Israel/Palestine. Politically, ISM has also been totally discredited everywhere, except of course here in Berkeley, where they are supported by Linda Maio’s wing of the City Council. 

So, is the Daily Planet’s account of a small hapless Palestinian village accurate? I have no idea. The story sounds believable, but neither the Planet, nor its reporter, have any more credibility than a tabloid peddling cheap sensationalism. 

John Gertz 

 

• 

THANKS 

Editors, Daily Planet: 

Thank you, Henry Norr, for the reminder of how Palestinians are made to disappear from their land. Of course some of our readers will find ethnic cleansing to be just fine and dandy (as long as it’s aimed at the right ethnicity). Others find it sad but inevitable, because the West Bank will be tamed and the buffalo are gone, anyway. (Oops! Wrong ethnocide.) 

Thank you, Daily Planet, for the reminder of what a free press looks like. The San Francisco Chronicle already told Mr. Norr it had no further use for exposure of Israeli intentions, so I’m glad to see someone still recognizes its journalistic value. 

Thank you, city of Berkeley and its Peace and Justice Commission, for reminding us that government by the people is still alive. If the nation and the State are too spineless to address an issue, let the city of Berkeley be their Socrates, and give stinging advice to those who would deceive themselves and others. 

To who girds our freedoms with repressive intent, I say, “Go join! Your nation calls you.” 

Paul Larudee 

El Cerrito 

 

• 

RARE BIRD 

Editors, Daily Planet: 

I would like to thank Henry Norr one thousand and one times for his Aug. 30 article, “Palestinians Struggle to Hold on to Land, Watering Holes.” His story is a small yet no less tragic story of the ethnic cleansing which has been going on for years in the West Bank and Jerusalem. The timing of this article is particularly important, because the Gaza disengagement has proved, predictably, to be a giant cover for the systematic land-grab sponsored by the Israeli government, the U.S. government, and paid for by us, the taxpayers. There will never be peace in Israel-Palestine until Americans are aware of the pain and suffering on both sides. The mass media tends to focus only on Israel’s story, which makes Norr’s article a rare bird indeed. 

Heather Merriam 

 

• 

KPFA 

Editors, Daily Planet: 

This letter is about the dispute between the KPFA Local Station Board and the paid KPFA staff. The LSB wants to move Amy Goodman’s “Democracy Now!” program to 7 a.m. “Prime Drive Time” and the paid staff refuses to follow the order. The reason for the LSB’s decision is that Amy Goodman is “Pacifica’s proudest human product” (Bill Mandel’s description). 

The inference is that “Democracy Now!” is a better program than “The Morning Show” and better than all the other KPFA programs, that Amy Goodman is a better producer and interviewer than Philip Maldari and Andrea Lewis and all the other KPFA producers and interviewers. 

My opinion is that they are all equally good: Philip Maldari, Andrea Lewis, Dennis Bernstein, Larry Bensky, Kris Welch, C. S. Soong, Sasha Lilley, Pratap Chatterjee, Bonnie Faulkner, Amy Goodman and so on. 

I think the reason that Amy Goodman is the “star” of Pacifica is that her program is broadcast on many stations. If any other Pacifica programmers were broadcast on many other stations, they too would be “stars.” 

There was a survey of KPFA’s contributors about KPFA’s programming. We’ve never been given the results of that survey. Does the LSB have it and their decision reflects the desires of the contributors? I would like to know. 

Myrna Sokolinsky 

 

• 

MORE ON KPFA 

Editors, Daily Planet: 

The commentary by some KPFA board members on that appeared on Aug. 26 leaves out some important details. 

Though they say that the board: 

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 [about the sexual harassment charges against Mr. Campenella].” They leave out the fact that they ignored Mr. Siegel’s recommendation to fire Roy Campenella as general manager. When asked about this, they respond that the report was biased, but when asked to explain further they will hastily explain that they can’t due to confidentiality. Apparently the statement that the investigator, that the board itself hired, is biased is not confidential but the reasons behind it are. 

They go on to state that while they didn’t recommend firing Mr. Campenella or even the purely symbolic act of putting him on probation, but “On Aug. 20, it [the board} approved a motion recommending constructive steps to be taken to improve the situation at KPFA.” 

However, the board hasn’t detailed what those “steps” are beyond that one word description of “constructive.” 

Chris Stehlik 

KPFA staff person 

 

• 

JACK LONDON 

Editors, Daily Planet: 

Usually, when people assert that Jack London was a racist it is because some of his characters are racists, as J. Douglas-Allen Taylor recently pointed out in the Daily Planet on Aug. 26 and Aug. 30. 

If a novelist gives voice to bigots, racists, fascists, etc., does that make him one? If his fiction accurately portrays the sentiments of his times does that mean he agreed with them? What about authors of mystery novels? Does this make them murders or sympathetic to murderers? 

Jack London stated very clearly that he wrote two kinds of work: fiction for money, non-fiction for conviction. Jack London was a life-long socialist who saw racism as a tool for dividing working people. Jack London can speak for himself on this question, quoting from a letter to Toichi Nakahara, editor of the Japanese American Commercial Weekly, dated Aug. 25, 1913:  

Dear sir: 

In reply to yours of August 16,1913. First of all, I should say by stopping the stupid newspaper from always fomenting race prejudice. 

This of course, being impossible, I would say, next, by educating the people of Japan so that they will be too intelligently tolerant to respond to any call to race prejudice. 

And, finally, by realizing, in industry and government, of socialism—which last word is merely a word that stands for the actual application of in the affairs off men of the theory of the Brotherhood of Man. 

In the meantime the nations and races are only unruly boys who have not yet grown to the stature of men. So we must expect them to do unruly and boisterous things at times. And, just as boys grow up, so the races of mankind will grow up and laugh when they look back upon their childish quarrels. 

Sincerely yours, 

Jack London 

(From The Letters of Jack London: Volume Three: 1913-1916, edited by Earle Labor, Robert C. Leitz, III, and I. Milo Shepard, Stanford University Press 1988, p.1219) 

Tarnel Abbott 

(One of Jack London’s great-granddaughters 

Richmond) 

 

• 

SCHOOLS 

Editors, Daily Planet: 

It’s good that Superintendent Michele Lawrence attended the August meeting of the Berkeley Alliance of Neighborhood Associations and participated in the agenda item about ballot initiatives for Berkeley’s public schools. 

The first initiative in circulation seeks to change the way school board members are elected to be in sync with our city’s eight districts. This way, every resident in Berkeley will have representation on the School Board. Some districts, like mine, District 8, has not had a representative for many, many years.  

The second initiative being prepared, would require BUSD to have an auditor whose job would be to insure that our tax monies are efficiently and effectively used. We know the school district spends the money. But no one seems to be able to say, was the money well spent? In fact, the state’s Fiscal Management Crisis Advisory Team, in their June, 2006 report, rated the personnel management as a 5.65 and financial management as a 5.7 on a scale of 10. Less than 60 percent equals an F. We need to do much better than that. 

The third initiative being prepared would require that the school district to not sell land unless approved by the voters of Berkeley. We all know that once the school district sells land, it will never be able to buy it back. The school district holds land and other assets in trust for the public, so the public should be consulted before any sale.  

I hope the School Board and superintendent will work cooperatively with the community rather than opposing the community so that we can, together, productively invest our energy, time and money into our very important public schools. 

Stephanie Corcos 

 

• 

IRV 

Editors, Daily Planet: 

Last year, Berkeley voters passed instant runoff voting election modernization by a landslide, with over 72 percent support, the most greatest margin of any item on the ballot. We want our first, second and third choice to count. San Francisco voters are already benefiting from better elections. 

The city and county should be making election modernization a top priority so that we too can have IRV elections with less hostility, more votes counted, and without an expensive and time-consuming runoff in 2006. Ranked Voting elections empower voters otherwise disenfranchised by the antiquated one-choice plurality election system 

On Monday Aug. 29, please join us in front of City Hall for a noon rally to renew Berkeley’s call for better democracy. Much of the nation watches our city for civic leadership. IRV elections here in 2006 will support the efforts of congressmen Cynthia McKinney, Jesse Jackson Jr., and Dennis Kucinich, and also Howard Dean, U.S. Sen. Obama, and Assemblymember Loni Hancock for state and national IRV reform by 2008.  

Sennet WIliams  

?


Column: The Public Eye: The Difference Between Getting it Right and Getting it Done By BOB BURNETT

Friday September 02, 2005

A key Silicon Valley rule is that to be successful at developing new products one must focus on getting the job done, rather than on being right. The failure of the Iraq constitutional process brings America to a critical decision-point, where the American public has been presented with only two options, both based on the notion of taking the “right” next step in Iraq. 

The Bush administration champions a conservative view of rightness. They contend that we must fight terrorists in Iraq, so that we don’t have to fight them at home. Bush argues that the United States must stay in Iraq until “the job gets done,” the insurgency ends. There are two problems with his position: One is that it is open-ended—there are no cost limits in terms of time, money, or American lives. The other is that this conservative view turns a blind eye to the increased risk of another 9/11; it ignores the reality that America has been weakened by the Iraqi occupation, that resources spent in Iraq would be better spent on real homeland security measures, such as fortifying chemical plants, 

Progressives propose a competing view of what is right. They argue that the justification for the Iraq war was fabricated and, therefore, the occupation has no moral authority. They insist upon a withdrawal plan, that troops must begin to leave Iraq by Oct. 1, 2006. The problem with this approach is that a total U.S. withdrawal from Iraq would likely plunge the nation into civil war, where hundreds of thousands would perish in sectarian battles and ethnic cleansing. Inevitably, this fighting would spill over into the rest of the Middle East, and impact the economy and security of the United States. 

Giving up the notion of being right and substituting “getting the job done” represents a significant departure from both the conservative and progressive views. Such a stance recognizes that our occupation of Iraq has not worked, but that the United States cannot simply walk away. After all, it is one thing for a married couple to divorce after two months, and quite another for them to divorce after 10 years and two children. Whether we like it or not, our “marriage” with the Iraqis has produced “children” that we must take responsibility for. 

Getting the job done means that Americans, first, get our priorities straight. It reasons that rather than asking how we win in Iraq, or how we get out as fast as possible, we should instead ask ourselves what course of action will make America safer, in the long run. It recognizes that the United States is expending resources in Iraq that should, instead, be used to bolster homeland security; for example, rather than build enduring military bases in Iraq, we should be strengthening our first responders here at home, pumping funds into police and fire departments.  

After we clarify our priorities, the United States needs to adopt three new policies to help us get the job done. The first regards our military forces. We should admit that we are not winning the war with our ground troops—that we have never had enough troops in Iraq for a successful occupation—and that it would enhance our national security if we began bringing these troops home. Therefore, we should announce that we are withdrawing our ground troops from urban areas and that, once all parties accept a new Iraqi constitution, we will withdraw most of our ground troops from the country. Thereafter, the United States would adopt the same strategy that we have in Afghanistan: let the reconstituted national army do the day-to-day fighting with insurgents, while we assist Iraq with our air power and Special Forces.  

The second new policy regards our conception of Iraqi democracy. We should accept the Shiite and Kurd position that Iraq must become a federation rather than a republic. The United States should provide financial and political incentives so the Sunnis can live with this arrangement; for example, we should agree upon an amnesty for most former Baath Party members. We should allow Kurds, Shiites, and Sunnis to have different versions of democracy; for example, the Shiite region could place more emphasis on Islamic law. The United States must abandon the notion of “model” democracy and settle for something that works. 

The third new policy would be economic. The United States must renounce the draconian financial conditions set by the Coalition Provisional Authority, for example, the terms of the reconstruction loans from the World Bank. We should redirect reconstruction funding away from U.S. contractors to their Iraqi counterparts. Finally, the United States should announce that when there is political stability in each of the three regions of Iraq, we would withdraw from our bases there and turn them over to the Iraqi military. 

By dogmatically insisting that we are right in Iraq, and refusing to acknowledge our mistakes, the Bush administration has backed the United States into a corner. The only way to get out of this corner is to abandon all pretenses of getting it right and, instead, take actions that will truly protect America. 

 

Bob Burnett is a retired Silicon Valley executive, now a Berkeley writer and activist. He can be reached at bobburnett@comcast.net.


Column: Undercurrents: Media Reports Muddle Questions on Oakland Shooting By J. DOUGLAS ALLEN-TAYLOR

Friday September 02, 2005

Did someone fire seven shots “at” Oakland police officers following a motorcycle club charity event at the Kaiser Convention Center last Saturday night? Were the motorcycle clubs—composed of mostly black members—in any way connected with the fired shots or the reported “chaos” that surrounded it, including what has been described by police officials as a “massive sideshow” that rolled from the downtown area out into East Oakland? And what were the exact events that led to the fired shots? 

It would seem that the City of Oakland would want to know the answers to those questions in order to prepare the proper response. 

I don’t know what information the Police Department or some city officials have, but following the various reports in the local media, it is pretty much impossible to get an accurate picture of what happened. 

According to the Oakland Tribune article by reporter Heather MacDonald published the next day, “the disturbance began about 11 p.m. as the [Kaiser Convention Center event hosted by the Shadows of the Knight, Kings of Cali, Wiseguys and Goodfellas local motorcycle clubs] began breaking up. At 2 a.m.—an hour after police ordered the crowd to disperse—someone fired seven shots at two police officers who were attempting to direct the traffic outside the Convention Center near Lake Merritt. Neither was hit. … To quell the chaos, officers pushed the vehicles out of the area, only to have hundreds of vehicles swarm the streets near Jack London Square less than a hour later, touching off a massive reckless driving ‘sideshow’ near Fourth Street and Broadway that involved several hundred people and vehicles.” 

The puzzlement begins with this newspaper account. What type of “disturbance” was taking place at 11 p.m. and if it was serious enough to be noted in the newspaper, why did Oakland police not order the crowd to disperse until two hours later? (The MacDonald article says the shots were fired at 2 a.m., an hour after they began the dispersal.) 

A San Francisco Chronicle article on the 29th by reporter Demian Bulwa mentioned no 11 p.m. disturbance, but only said that “[a]t 1 a.m. Sunday, police responded to the city-owned Henry J. Kaiser Convention Center downtown on 10th Street, as a canned food drive and charity dance organized by four motorcycle clubs was letting out.” Responded to what? Unfortunately, Mr. Bulwa doesn’t let us know. 

The reporter goes on to say, however, that ‘[a]s people hung out in the parking lot and traffic backed up in the area, a sideshow—an illegal street party where some participants perform tricks with their cars—was starting.” 

But to believe this account, you have to believe that a sideshow continued in the Kaiser Convention Center parking lot after Oakland police responded to the scene and continued on for an hour in full police presence. 

Is that what happened? Perhaps, but it doesn’t fit any of the scenarios I’ve witnessed over the past several years when Oakland police came out to disperse sideshow events. In all such events that I have seen or heard of, sideshow participants have dispersed almost immediately as soon as the police showed up. Are we being told that sideshow participants are now ignoring the police and going on with their activities, regardless? Or, in the alternative, was this merely a dispersal of cars from a parking lot that later developed into a sideshow at another downtown location several blocks away, Fourth and Broadway. 

And where, exactly, were the shots fired? 

The Tribune articles puts the shooting outside the Convention Center while two police officers were directing traffic. That shooting location appeared to be confirmed by KPIX and KTVU television stations, both of which posted the almost identical lead paragraphs on their websites that “about a thousand people were involved in a sideshow at the Henry J. Kaiser Convention Center in Oakland Saturday night when shots were fired at police.” 

But the Chronicle article quotes a motorcycle club member from Vallejo, identified only by his club name Fireworks, saying that “(the shooting) happened up the street from us.” Up the street, where? Meaning the parking lot? Or was he talking about the Fourth and Broadway location where sideshow events reportedly took place somewhere around 2 o’clock? 

The question is more than idle curiosity. Various city officials—including City Council President Ignacio De La Fuente, a spokesperson for Mayor Jerry Brown, and Oakland Police Lieutenant Paul Berlin—have all put the cause for the disturbances on the motorcycle clubs, with Lt. Berlin telling the Tribune he was going to ask city officials to revoke a permit for the clubs to have a similar event at the Convention Center this weekend. “We have enough problems here in Oakland,” Berlin said. And while Mr. Brown’s spokesperson Gil Duran said the organizers of the charity event are not “personally responsible for the actions of individuals,” Mr. Duran noted that “we don’t need to be sanctioning events that have our officers shot at in the middle of the night.” 

But shouldn’t we determine if the motorcycle clubs were at fault in some way-other than for simply holding an event in Oakland-before deciding to initiate a ban on their activities. How far away did the disturbances occur from their event? Was it reasonable to suppose in advance that there would be trouble? If so, did city or police officials anticipate such trouble and, if so, did they require any extra security efforts by the motorcycle clubs that the clubs did not follow? Or did the police not anticipate trouble, but are now holding the motorcycle clubs to a higher standard? 

Another important question to be answered is were the seven shots actually intentionally fired at the officers, or did they simply go by the officers because they happened to be there? 

Don’t get me wrong. Discharging a weapon in a crowded, public place is a serious, dangerous act, and people can end up just as dead from it regardless of whether or not their deaths were intentional. But it seems we would all agree that the intentional firing of a weapon at police officers trying to disperse a crowd would have enormous implications for any and all police and public activities in this city, so shouldn’t we know for sure? Is there a video available that can show—or witnesses who can say—that someone pointed a weapon directly at the two officers and fired at them? 

And finally—in the past, Oakland police have been accused of escalating crowd problems by their attitude, particularly crowds involving young African-Americans (Carijama, the Festival at the Lake, and, of course, Oakland’s sideshows come quickest to mind). Nobody has made that charge about Saturday night’s disturbances, although it must be noted that because neither the two newspapers or the two television stations quoted anyone who says they were in the parking lot when police were dispersing the drivers, or admitted being involved in the later sideshow at Fourth and Broadway, we haven’t yet heard from the individuals who were in a good position to make that charge. We will have to wait and see if any such accusations surface. If such accusations of police escalation of the problem do come forward, they should not necessarily be believed, but they should be taken seriously and made part of the investigation of this event. 

And an investigation of the events that occurred surrounding the Kaiser Convention Center benefit is certainly in order. Although some people have already drawn their conclusions, the public, at least, has not been presented with nearly enough information to be able to make up our minds about what happened, and why.


Police Blotter By RICHARD BRENNEMAN

Friday September 02, 2005

Rape suspect busted 

Israel Bustamonte, 25, of Oakland, was arrested Monday for a May 22 rape in Aquatic Park, said Berkeley Police spokesperson Officer Joe Okies. 

The 17-year-old victim was assaulted and raped about 6 p.m. as she was walking along the north side of the park. With her help, police were able to produce a sketch of the assailant, which played a key role in role in the case when a patrol officer spotted the suspect several days later and remembered another case in which he had been involved.  

Sex Crimes Detail Detective Keith Deblasi said the sketch, extensive interviews and DNA evidence were critical to the case officers assembled. 

Bustamonte was arrested while already in custody at Santa Clara County Jail, where he was being held in connection with an unrelated case, said Okies. 

 

Cyclist botches heist 

A man in his early 20s pulled a pistol on a 23-year-old fellow walking along the 2200 block of Ellsworth Street about 4:30 a.m. Monday and demanded valuables. 

When the victim showed his disinclination to comply, the bandit departed on his street bike. 

 

Teenage bandit foiled 

A teenage bandit armed with a small knife was rebuffed by two would-be robbery victims, causing him to run away on both occasions. 

The first incident just before 5 p.m. Monday when a teenager described as about 14 approached a 22-year-old man walking along Ashby Avenue near the Adeline Street intersection, said Officer Okies. 

When the victim refused to comply, the young robber boogied. 

Then, at 7:30, a fellow of similar description approached a 37-year-old woman near the corner of Adeline and Russell streets, he pulled his knife. 

The small-knife fugitive remains at large. 

 

Profitable bust 

When Berkeley police arrived in the 18900 block of Seventh Street to arrest a 23-year-old man on an outstanding warrant Monday evening, they discovered he was in possession of methamphetamine, stolen property, and a concealed and loaded pistol—adding four new charges to the one on which he was sought, said Officer Okies.3


Commentary: Looting New Orleans, and America’s Poverty Crisis By EARL OFARI HUTCHINSON Pacific News Service

Friday September 02, 2005

Two things happened in one day that tell much about the abysmal failure of the Bush administration to get a handle on poverty in America.  

The first was the tragic and disgraceful images of hordes of New Orleans residents scurrying down the city’s hurricane-ravaged streets with their arms loaded with food, clothes, appliances, and in some cases guns that they looted from stores and shops. The second was a Census Bureau report released the same day, which found that the number of poor Americans has leaped even higher since Bush took office in 2000.  

Criminal gangs, which always take advantage of chaos and misery to grab whatever they can, did much of the looting. But many desperately poor, mostly black residents saw a chance to grab items that they can’t afford. That’s still wrong, unless the items were necessary for survival. But it’s no surprise. New Orleans has one of the highest poverty rates of any of America’s big cities.  

According to a report by Total Community Action, a New Orleans public advocacy group, nearly one in three of New Orleans’ 485,000 residents live below the poverty level. The majority of that group is black. A spokesperson for the United Negro College Fund noted that the city’s poor live in some of the most dilapidated housing in the nation.  

New Orleans is not an aberration. Nationally, according to Census figures, blacks remain at the bottom of the economic totem pole. They have the lowest median income of any group. Bush’s war and economic policies don’t help matters. His tax cuts redistributed billions to the rich and corporations. The Iraq war has drained billions from cash-starved job training, health and education programs. Increased American dependence on Saudi oil has driven fuel prices skyward. Corporate downsizing, outsourcing and industrial flight have further fueled America’s poverty crisis. All of this happened on Bush’s watch.  

The 2 million new jobs in 2004 Bush touts as proof that his economic policies work are mostly due to number-counting tricks. The bulk of these jobs are low-paying ones in retail and service industries, with minimum benefits and little job security. A big portion of the nearly 40 million Americans who live below the official poverty line fill these jobs. They’re the lucky ones. They have jobs. Many young blacks, such as those who ransacked stores in New Orleans, don’t.  

The poverty crisis has slammed them the hardest of all. Even during the Clinton-era economic boom, the unemployment rate for young black males was double and in some parts of the country triple that of white males.  

During the past couple of years, state and federal cutbacks in job training and skills programs, the brutal competition for low- and semi-skilled service and retail jobs from immigrants and the refusal of many employers to hire those with criminal records have further hammered black communities and added to high unemployment numbers among young blacks that resemble joblessness during the Great Depression. The tale of poverty is more evident in the nearly 1 million blacks behind bars, the HIV/AIDS rampage in black communities and the raging drug and gang violence in many black neighborhoods.  

Then there are the children. One-third of America’s poor are children. Worse, the Children’s Defense Fund found that nearly 1 million black children live in extreme poverty. That’s the greatest number of black children trapped in dire poverty in nearly 25 years.  

Bush officials claim the poverty numbers do not surprise them. They contend that past trends show that poverty peaks and then declines a year after the jump in new job growth. But the poverty numbers have steadily risen for all five years of the Bush administration. There has been no sign of a turnaround. For that to happen, Bush would have to reverse his tax-and-war spending policies, and commit massive funds to job, training and education programs and provide tax incentives for businesses to train and hire the poor. That would take an active national lobbying effort by Congressional Democrats, civil rights and anti-poverty groups. That’s not likely either. The poor are too nameless, faceless and vast in numbers to target with a sustained lobbying campaign.  

The NAACP hammers Bush on the Iraq war and his domestic policies, but poverty has not been their top priority. The fight for affirmative action, economic parity, professional advancement and busing replaced battling poverty, reducing unemployment, securing quality education, promoting self-help and gaining greater political empowerment as the goals of all African-Americans. That effectively left out in the cold the one in four blacks who live below the official poverty level.  

The looting in New Orleans, though deplorable, put an ugly public face on a crisis that Bush administration policies have made worse. The millions in America who grow poorer, more desperate and greater in number are bitter testament to that.  

 

Earl Ofari Hutchinson is author of The Crisis in Black and Black (Middle Passage Press).


Commentary: Seeing Through the Fads of City Planning By JANE POWELL

Friday September 02, 2005

I think that in the beginning, redevelopment was either a good idea or an act of desperation. I believe it was initially spurred by massive disinvestment in inner cities in the East. I have to laugh when I hear redevelopment people in California talking about blight and abandoned buildings; do you know that Baltimore has 40,000 empty buildings? Oakland only has 80,000 buildings altogether. In any case, the good idea or act of desperation, once it was in place, turned out to be not so good. It led to “urban renewal”—the destruction of mostly historic and intact neighborhoods deemed “blighted,” and the removal of the residents. Eventually urban renewal fell from grace and was replaced by new planning fads like: turning your downtown into a pedestrian mall, festival marketplaces, building aquariums, gambling facilities, or the current favorite, downtown baseball stadiums, and of course, “smart growth.” Because you have to understand, planning is subject to fads, and planners like to think big. Politicians like to think big, too, because it gives them big things to point at when they run for reelection.  

Smart growth is the current fad, and they can all repeat the tenets like gospel: density in the inner cities will save farmland in the Central Valley, density near transit will get people out of their cars. Let me be clear: The only connection between density in the inner cities and farmland in the Central Valley is money- money for developers. The developer spouting the Smart Growth line at the Oakland Planning Commission is exactly the same developer who is paving over farmland in Ripon. And the same developer who is making large political contributions to the city councilmembers who also just happen to be the board of the Redevelopment Agency. 

All that aside, my primary problem with redevelopment is that historic buildings are always the first thing to go. They are always the ones that are (and I’m quoting now from the California Redevelopment Association), “aging, deteriorating, outdated and inefficient building configuration and design that does not meet current business needs, vacant, underutilized, incompatible adjacent or nearby uses of land parcels that hinder economic activity.” 

You should always run screaming when any politician or city planner uses the word “underutilized.” 

No one ever tears down an ugly building from the 1970s to put in a parking lot, but the argument whenever someone wants to demolish a historic building is “It would cost too much to fix it.” On top of that is what I call “hate the building syndrome.” Most people simply cannot see beyond a bad use or bad tenants, so if a historic building was a crack house or a porn theater or a liquor store, or was allowed to run down by an uncaring owner, although it is not the building’s fault, everyone will say, “Oh yes, it’s so awful—tear it down!” And then several thousand board feet of old growth timber will be sent splintered and useless to the landfill, and in its place will rise an overly dense building that dwarfs everything around it, built of crappy materials, that looks like hell inside of five years. 

I find this particularly amusing because one of the “adverse economic conditions” listed under blight is “residential overcrowding.” 

Redevelopment is not about giving homeowners low interest loans to fix up their houses. It is not about giving low interest loans to business people so they can open up bookstores or hardware stores or bakeries or shoe repair shops or other things that benefit the neighborhood. Rather, it’s about removing long time homeowners and existing businesses in order to assemble large parcels that can be turned over to developers.  

And development is apparently the only business in which you can demand a guaranteed profit, and refuse to do things you don’t want to do because they “don’t pencil out.”  

Russell Baker said, “Usually, terrible things that are done with the excuse that progress requires them are not really progress at all, but just terrible things.”  

Half of Oakland is already IN redevelopment areas—the downtown area was recently renewed for another 30 years, because the first 30 years where we threw millions of dollars at the Warrior practice arena, the Oakland Ice Center, and everything else that was supposed to “revitalize downtown Oakland” didn’t work. Now we are prepared to spend $65 million at minimum, remove thriving small businesses through eminent domain, all in order to build a suburban-style apartment complex for the benefit of a developer from Cleveland, with no guarantee that it will revitalize downtown. 

With the recent Kelo decision by the Supreme Court, no one is safe from eminent domain. Cities can take your property (or your landlord’s property) and give it to a private developer in the name of “economic development.” Oakland city officials are salivating over the possible tax increment money to be gained from annexing North Oakland to the existing redevelopment area. North Oakland is not blighted—that’s why they want it. The millions of dollars they will get from increased property taxes on houses that are selling for $600,000 to $800,000 will get sucked into the black hole of the MacArthur Transit Village or some other project that a developer is pitching to them even now, that will be a snowball rolling downhill before we even hear of it. 

According to officials at the California Redevelopment Association, if Tom McClintock’s bill SCA15, the Homeowner and Property Protection Act, ever becomes law, they will be out of business. I suggest we should all do our best to make sure that happens. 

 

Jane Powell is an Oakland preservationist.


Commentary: An Urban Myth By GORDON WOZNIAK

Friday September 02, 2005

First, I would like to commend Daily Planet Executive Editor O’Malley for her two editorials welcoming UC Berkeley students back to Berkeley and presenting them with information on the myriad of opportunities to shop and participate in community life. I would also like to take this opportunity to correct a pervasive urban myth that the University of California and non-profits “dominate the majority of square acreage in Berkeley”. 

A March 15 report to the City Council and City Auditor Ann-Marie Hogan presents an analysis of the 28,293 Berkeley parcels on Alameda County’s 2003 Secured Tax Roll which lists the major Berkeley landowners. Excluding underwater land at the marina, Berkeley’s total lot square footage is 241 million square feet. The major landowners are: City of Berkeley, 5.6 percent: other public agencies, 23.1 percent (includes the Regents of California and East Bay Regional Park District): public utilities, 0.7 percent, and nonprofits, 2.5 percent. Thus, public and non-profit entities own 31.9 percent of Berkeley’s above-water land, whereas taxpaying residential, commercial, industrial and institutional own 68.1 percent. 

The biggest landowner is the East Bay Regional Park District (28.3 million square feet), with the Regents of California second with 21.4 million square feet (includes both the UC Berkeley campus, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and other parcels owned by UC), followed by the City of Berkeley with 13.5 million square feet and the Berkeley Unified School District with 3.8 million square feet.  

To summarize, the Regents own about 8.9 percent of the property in Berkeley. Adding the nonprofits (2.5 percent) increases the total for the “university and nonprofits” to 11.4 percent. Thus, the university and nonprofits own less than one-eighth of the above-water land in Berkeley. This can easily be verified by the casual observer by simply looking carefully at a map of the City of Berkeley and observing the relative size of UC to the city as a whole. 

Thus, the Alameda County tax rolls indicate that Becky O’Malley’s claim that UC and nonprofits “dominate the majority of square acreage in Berkeley” is clearly erroneous. Since one of the purpose of journalism is to provide a critical review of the facts and eliminate errors from the public debate, I would ask that the Daily Planet cease making this clearly erroneous claim in its future editions. 

  Finally, although I do not have space in this letter to address the complex issue of whether public entities and nonprofits are paying their “fair share” for services rendered by the City of Berkeley, I would note that the consultant report that O’Malley quotes for her claim that the university owes the city millions of dollars was never peer-reviewed and suffers from a seriously flawed methodology. Basically, the consultant was hired to generate the largest possible number to be used as an opening gambit in the negotiations between the city and the university and not to make an objective assessment. Thus, it is misleading to the public to quote this report as the definitive word on the subject. 

 

City Councilmember Gordon Wozniak City represents Berkeley’s District 8. 


Commentary: Listeners Marched to Support KPFA, Not Staff By MARA RIVERA

Friday September 02, 2005

I was one of those 12,000 or more KPFA supporters Bob Baldock referred to in his Aug. 26 opinion piece, and I have a different take than Mr. Baldock (for whom I have a lot of respect) on both the meaning of that march for KPFA six years ago and of the present situation. We did not march to support the staff, but the station. And we listeners not only won it back, but we won recognition as the guardians of the station, and network, and a role in station and network governance which we hadn’t had before. Now we find some staff blocking us in this role.  

I was out there to preserve the community ownership of the radio station which was my trusted source of information about our world. I’ve been a listener/supporter of KPFA since 1962 and as a leftist I pay attention to dissident views, and that is why I participated in movements to democratize the station and stop the corporate takeover, long before 1999 (Take Back KPFA and Save KPFA). It was not to support just the station staff—the station is more to me than just particular individuals. I was happy to see staff support the autonomy of the station from the forces trying to gag and sell it, but I was well aware that this struggle began long before 1999 and that previously much of the staff had had much denial for the situation and little support for those trying to save the station. 

It was an amazing victory when we won the station back and won democratic participation for the listeners, who were instrumental in the victory. Our governance was changed from a general manager and an “advisory five stations’ representation on the National Board. 

I don’t know all the details of the sexual harassment charges and denials, but I see that this elected board has taken it very seriously, spending many hours investigating it, and found Mr. Campanella not guilty as charged. I am a feminist but am all too aware of these charges being used to manipulate situations. 

And as someone who keeps up with governance at the station, I am also aware that there is a basic struggle going on there for the last two years at least, between those who want a station run by shared decision making, and those who have de facto power and want to preserve it. I have been a part of various democratic collectives over the years, and I can tell you two things: Democratic decision making is essential to the health of community organizations, and those who have the power want to keep the status quo and will fight to the death—the death of their principles!—to preserve it! This is what is really going on: The general manager was trying to include others in the decisionmaking, and various forces on the staff are trying to push him out, just as they did the former GM, Gus Newport.  

This is all very heartbreaking and confusing to most of us. We love and identify with the brave and true hosts and commentators on KPFA, and actually know them personally if we are staff. But, I have to say, we are also being manipulated with such issues as harassment, feminism, workers vs. management, violence, a safe workplace, unity, and they are all red herrings, whether intentional or not. 

I will offer some websites as well: go to www.PeoplesRadio.net for pro-democracy articles; also www.IndyBay.org and/or SF.IndyMedia.org for articles such as Maria Gilardin’s well documented “Why Did the Staff not Prevent the 10-Year Corporate Raid?” (Aug. 30, 2004). 

 

Mara Rivera is a KPFA listener and supporter.  


Arts: Patsy Krebs’ Show at GTU Explores the Boundaries By PETER SELZSpecial to the Planet

Friday September 02, 2005

One of the most beautiful exhibitions to be seen hereabouts in a long time is currently on view at the library of the Graduate Theological Union on Holy Hill (2400 Ridge Road) in Berkeley, a venue that has mounted fine art exhibitions for over 30 years. 

The artist, Patsy Krebs, has had almost 40 solo exhibitions, and shows regularly at the Haines Gallery in San Francisco, but this is her first in the East Bay. On the walls and in the display cases of the library, the viewer encounters contemplative wate rcolors, paintings whose subtle color relationships induce contemplation. 

It is always difficult to find words in the discussion of abstract painting, as the work strikes the viewer on a pre-verbal level. Krebs’s recent work belongs to the tradition of g eometric abstraction, going back to the early 20th Century masters Kasimir Malevich and Piet Mondrian, transmitted at mid-century by Josef Albers’s luminous squares and Mark Rothko’s vibrating rectangles, which defied geometry. 

Among the pictures on disp lay are four pieces of layered watercolor and acrylic on paper, mounted on panel, which are called “Elysion.” Elysion in Homer is a beautiful meadow at the extreme end of the earth. The paintings are horizontal fields without limit, extending, it would se em, beyond space and time. 

“Horizon,” Krebs writes, “is both distance and boundary. It is as far as we can see in any direction, an edge of what is unseeable.” 

And, on the wall label, she also quotes the philosopher Martin Heidegger: “What is evident of a horizon, then, is but the side facing us of an openness which surrounds us.” And, indeed, one of the “Elysion” paintings of the two horizontal planes in the dark browns and dark green-greys, recalls Rothko’s canvanses, which affect a silent dialogue be tween painting and viewer. 

On the library walls there are also several paintings called “Stepwells” that consist of squares which emit color haloes and are embedded in larger squares of related color tones. In the display cases there are sequences of wat ercolors on hand-made paper and larger paintings, some of them luminescent, even though they are almost monochrome, and have poetic titles such as “Requiescat,” “Vigil” and “The Hours.” 

At a time in which so much of the art we see is gimmicky, when we ar e confronted with public art of low wit, when much of the stuff flaunts high tech without human emotion, when our vision is overloaded with endless visual noise, it is difficult to tune into silent art such as Patsy Krebs’ paintings, which can slowly chan ge our perception, as we become aware of the subtle gradations of color and light. Each observer will respond differently to these paintings, depending on his/her own feelings and thoughts, which may well be the essential artistic experience. 

 

“Patsy Kreb s: A Decade” will be on view at the Flora Lamson Hewlett Library, Graduate Theological Union, 2400 Ridge Road, through Sept. 22, featuring select works on paper, 1995-2005. A lecture and reception is scheduled for 5 p.m. on Sept. 22. Exhibit is free and open to the public during library hours. For more information, call 649-2500 or see www.gtu.edu. 


Arts Calendar

Friday September 02, 2005

FRIDAY, SEPT. 2 

THEATER 

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 

EXHIBITIONS 

Jerome Carlin’s Landscape Paintings Imaginary Landscapes and small plein air oil oil sketches of Tilden Park and streetscapes of the Berkeley Hills, at The Musical Offering, 2340 Bancroft Way, through Oct. www.jeromecarlin.com 

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

MUSIC AND DANCE 

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 

SATURDAY, SEPT. 3 

THEATER 

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 

READINGS AND LECTURES 

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

MUSIC AND DANCE 

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. 

SUNDAY, SEPT. 4 

CHILDREN 

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

READINGS AND LECTURES 

“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 

MUSIC AND DANCE 

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. 

MONDAY, SEPT. 5 

THEATER 

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 

READINGS AND LECTURES 

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

MUSIC AND DANCE 

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

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

TUESDAY, SEPT. 6 

EXHIBITIONS 

“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.  

READINGS AND LECTURES 

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 

MUSIC AND DANCE 

Fundraiser for Victims of Hurricane Katrina withTom 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. 

WEDNESDAY, SEPT. 7 

EXHIBITIONS 

“CCA Faculty New Work” Reception at 5:30 p.m. at the Oliver Art Center, 5212 Broadway, Oakland. 594-3600. 

READINGS AND LECTURES 

Chris Mooney discusses “The Republican War on Science” at 7:30 p.m. at Cody’s Books. 845-7852. www.codysbooks.com 

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

MUSIC AND DANCE 

Wednesday Noon Concert with Anais Lim, flute, and Jessie Lee, piano, at Hertz Hall, UC Campus. Free. 642-4864. http://music.berkeley.edu 

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

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

Edessa at 8:30 p.m. at Ashkenaz. Balkan dance lesson at 7:30 p.m. Cost is $9. 525-5054. www.ashkenaz.com 

Julio Bravo, salsa, at 9:30 p.m. at Shattuck Down Low, 2284 Shattuck Ave. Lessons at 8 p.m. Cost is $5. 548-1159.  

Fundamentals Jazz at 8 p.m. at Jupiter. 848-8277. 

Dirk Powell Band with Riley Baugus, Appalachian music, at 8 p.m. at Freight and Salvage. Cost is $17.50- $18.50. 548-1761. www.freightandsalvage.org 

Calvin Keys Trio Invitational Jam at 8 p.m. at Anna’s Jazz Island, 2120 Allston Way. Cost is $5. 841-JAZZ. www.AnnasJazzIsland.com 

Dave Eshelman’s Jazz Garden Big Band at 8 and 10 p.m. Yoshi’s at Jack London Square. Cost is $10-$15. 238-9200. www.yoshis.com 

THURSDAY, SEPT. 8 

THEATER 

Woodminster Summer Musicals “Jesus Christ Superstar” at 8 p.m. at Woodminster Amphitheater in Joaquin Miller Park, 3300 Joaquin Miller Rd., Oakland, through Sun. Tickets are $20-33. 531-9597. www.woodminster.com 

EXHIBITIONS 

Residency Projects Part Two by Kala Fellowship artists. Reception at 6 p.m. at Kala Art Institute, 1060 Heinz Ave. Exhibit runs to Oct. 15. 549-2977. www.kala.org 

“From the Maker’s Hand” selections from the permanent collection of the Phoebe Hearst Museum opens at Bancroft Way at College. 643-7648. http://hearstmuseum.berkeley.edu 

“China Obscura: A Photo Exhibit” by Mark Leong opens at the IEAS Conference Room, 2223 Fulton St., 6th flr. 642-2809. 

“Retro” a photography exhibition by Harold Adler opens at the Art of Living Gallery, 2905 Shattuck Ave. Reception at 6 p.m.  

“China’s Vanishing Heritage” Heirloom Embroidered Textiles from the Hill Tribes of Southwestern China at Ethnic Arts, 1314 10th St. 415-812-0015. www.redgingko.com 

READINGS AND LECTURES 

“Reporting From China” by Mark Leong in conjunction with his photography exhibit at 4 p.m. at the IEAS Conference Room, 2223 Fulton St., 6th flr. 642-2809. 

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

Lan Samantha Chang introduces her novel “Inheritance” at 7:30 p.m. at Cody’s Books. 845-7852. www.codysbooks.com  

Word Beat Reading Series with Jan Steckel and Debra Grace Khattab at 7 p.m. at Mediterraneum Caffe, 2475 Telegraph Ave. 526-5985. 

MUSIC AND DANCE 

Albany Music in the Park with Spirit of ‘29, Dixieland jazz, at 6:30 p.m. at Albany’s Memorial Park. 524-9283. www.albanyca.org 

She’Koyokh Klezmer Ensemble, Eastern European folk music, at 8:30 p.m. at Ashkenaz. Cost is $10. 525-5054. www.ashkenaz.com 

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

Ahenk Duo, traditional music from Turkey, at 8 p.m. at Freight and Salvage. Cost is $17.50-$18.50. 548-1761. www.freightandsalvage.org 

The Memphis Murder Man, Year of the Wildcat at 9:30 p.m. at The Starry Plough. Cost is $5. 841-2082 www.starryploughpub.com 

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

Ginny Wilson and Tommy Kesecker, piano, vibes, at 8 p.m. at Downtown. 649-3810.  

The Zawinul Syndicate at 8 and 10 p.m. through Sun. at Yoshi’s at Jack London Square, through Sun. Cost is $18-$22. 238-9200. www.yoshis.com 

Selector, laptop funk, at 8 p.m. at Jupiter. 848-8277. 

FRIDAY, SEPT. 9 

THEATER 

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  

Shotgun Players, “Owners” at 8 p.m., Thurs.-Sun. through Oct. 16 at The Ashby Stage, 1901 Ashby Ave. Reservations suggested. 841-6500. www.shotgunplayers.org 

Wilde Irish Productions “Someone Who’ll Watch Over Me” Thurs. -Sat. at 8 p.m., Sun. at 3 p.m., at Berkeley City Club, 2315 Durant Ave., through Oct. 2. Tickets are $18-$22. 644-9940. www.wildeirish.org 

Woodminster Summer Musicals “Jesus Christ Superstar” at 8 p.m. at Woodminster Amphitheater in Joaquin Miller Park, 3300 Joaquin Miller Rd., Oakland, through Sun. Tickets are $20-33. 531-9597. www.woodminster.com 

EXHIBITIONS 

Arie Furumoto, color etchings inspired by landscape, ocean and plants. Reception at 6 p.m. at The Scriptum-Schurman Gallery, 1659 San Pablo Ave. 524-0623. 

“Contemporary Traditions in Clay: The Pottery of Mata Ortiz” reception at 5 p.m. at the Phoebe Hearst Museum, College and Bancroft. 643-7648. http://hearstmuseum. 

berkeley.edu 

Recent Work by Jon Nagel and Loren Purcel Reception at 7:30 p.m. at Boontling Gallery, 4224 Telegraph Ave., Oakland. boontlinggallery@hotmail.com 

The Big Brush Off featuring works by Berkeley artists Gael Fitzmaurice and John King at Falkirk Cultural Center, 1408 Mission, at E St., San Rafael. Reception at 5:30 p.m. 

READINGS AND LECTURES 

“Images of America: El Cerrito” will be introduced by the El Cerrito Historical Society at 5:30 p.m. at the El Cerrito Library.  

Bret Easton Ellis introduces his new novel “Lunar Park” at 7:30 p.m. at Cody’s Books. 845-7852. www.codysbooks.com 

MUSIC AND DANCE 

Sheng Xiang & Band, Taiwanese folk music, at 8 p.m. at Zellerbach Hall, UC Campus. Tickets are $22. 642-9988. www.calperfs.berkeley.edu 

Mamadou Diabate & Walter Strauss, African, contemporary at 9 p.m. at Ashkenaz. Cost is $15. 525-5054. www.ashkenaz.com 

E.W. Wainwright’s Elvin Jones Birthday Celebration at 8 p.m. at Anna’s Jazz Island, 2120 Allston Way. 841-JAZZ. www.AnnasJazzIsland.com 

Duamuxa, CD release concert at 8 p.m. at La Peña Cultural Center. Cost is $12. 849-2568. www.lapena.org 

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

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

Plays Monk, Ben Goldberg at 9:30 p.m. at The Starry Plough. Cost is $7. 841-2082. www.starryploughpub.com 

Dani Thompson Quartet at 9 p.m. at Downtown. 649-3810. 

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

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

school.com 

Brown Baggin’ at 9:30 p.m. at Shattuck Down Low, 2284 Shattuck Ave. Cost is $5. 548-1159. www.shattuckdownlow.com 

Times 4, contemporary jazz, at 8 p.m. at Jupiter. 848-8277. 

The Time Flys, Top 10, The Gimmies, High Vox at 8 p.m. at 924 Gilman St., an all-ages, member-run, no alcohol, no drugs, no violence club. Cost is $7. 525-9926. 

The Zawinul Syndicate at 8 and 10 p.m. through Sun. at Yoshi’s at Jack London Square, through Sun. Cost is $18-$22. 238-9200. www.yoshis.comh


Pick a Spot — Any Spot — on the Spectacular Redwood Coast By MARTA YAMAMOTO Special to the Planet

Friday September 02, 2005

Calf-deep in the snappy waters of the Pacific, on a driftwood-tossed beach across the river from the town of Gualala, I gaze at the portrait of raw beauty around me. My weekend escape was to be work-free but a travel article is writing itself in my head. Some places are just too good to keep to oneself. 

Once you reach the north coast on Highway 1, your actual destination ceases to be important. From Jenner to Mendocino, any salt-tanged village or roadside pullout offers a similar experience: an untouched coastline seemingly far removed from the Bay Area, a place devoid of loud noises and jarring distractions. Here the landscape is the main event and surprises await you at every turn. 

Above Jenner, Highway 1 hugs the coast as it snakes north. As I followed hairpin curves I played hide and seek with the sun drifting in and out of the thick fog. On one side of the road the softly contoured hills held pale sere grasses of burnt gold with mauve tassels and bunches of wild sweet peas, cow parsnips and lupine in colors of blue, apricot and white. In contrast were sharp-edged rock formations tinged with orange and the sparkling aquamarine of the sea. Cows precariously grazed on the narrow verge, sea weathered farm buildings dotted the landscape and stands of pines and firs acted as windbreaks. 

The road wound past Fort Ross Park, a historic Russian settlement, and its village with bluff-side cabins and general store, and Stillwater and Ocean Coves with their privately owned facilities for camping and coastal access. Salt Point State Park’s 6,000 acres of coastal forest and rocky coastline with hidden coves drew me in. I surveyed the two campgrounds for a future visit, noting the numbers of especially alluring sites. Kruse Rhododendron Reserve offered hiking trails amid a forest of redwood, tan oak, fir and a wealth of rhododendrons. 

White plumes of crashing waves and weathered, lichen bedecked picket fences lined the road. Colors appeared softened, a palette of soft hues buffeted by the marine climate. Even oxidized red metal roofs were subdued. Cows, sheep and llamas shared the same field amid sheds completely overgrown by pink flowered vines. A landscape ruggedly shaped by the water and wind of the north coast. 

If your trip ended at Steward Point General Store, it wouldn’t be in vain. Serving coastal residents since 1868, this historic clapboard building greeting customers with a wide front porch is a highlight in itself. Catering to ranchers and Sea Ranchers, groceries run the gamut from the basics to fine wines, gourmet brownie mix and Stonewall Kitchen jams. Fishing, camping and hardware supplies vie for space on wooden shelves, while the ceiling displays remnants from the past: old saddles and harnesses, fishing floats and even beautiful paper wasp nests. It was hard to pass up the Big Daddy skillet of rolled steel, especially when it cooks 8 fish fillets, one dozen eggs and 15 pancakes! 

Gualala was my home base for the weekend. Small enough for comfort and big enough to provide the services a weekend away requires: good sleeps, good eats and interesting shops to peruse.  

Gualala is the geographic heart of the Redwood Coast, located in a “banana belt.” While the rest of the coast drips with fog, Gualala is often sunny and mild. The Gualala River, at its southern end, historically served as an attracter to Pomo Indians, loggers and millers and gave the town its name—Gualala means where the waters meet. During summer, the landlocked river becomes a calm lagoon for sea birds, kayakers and swimmers. 

Gualala Point Regional Park is the ideal spot to enjoy both the river and the coast. I began my visit in the Sea Ranch- style Visitor Center, where cement buttresses and steep roof make it my choice as the best place to wait out a fierce winter storm. Inside, interpretive panels describe Gualala’s past while posters and artifacts illustrate the plant and animal communities of the present. 

Many trails lead through the 195-acres of this park. A 0.5-mile paved path leads to the beach, bluffs and picnic tables, crossing open meadows and breaks of pines. Side paths lead down to the river. At the beach, few people but hundreds of brown pelicans, gliding and plummeting to the sea, greeted me. Driftwood constructions glowed silver in the afternoon light. As I stood barefoot, the waves whispered as they traveled over my toes and the tiny pebbles on the beach. 

There’s nothing like sea air to build up an appetite. Bones Roadhouse fits the bill for great food and great ambiance, combining Texas Style BBQ, brews and blues in an eclectic décor. This roadhouse was hopping on a Saturday night with a nice mix of locals, visitors and live music. Amid skulls and crossbones, Harley Davidson Club memorabilia, multi-state license plates and Marilyn Monroe—there’s something here for everyone. 

The next day I stopped in Point Arena to tour the town and wharf. Storefronts sport bold paint jobs in bright orange, olive, navy and yellow-blue sunray stripes. Large enough for its own movie-theater, thriving commercial fishing and choices for good eats, Point Arena is definitely browse-worthy. At Carlini’s Cafe, I relished a classic north coast experience, a delicious Sidecar breakfast in a homey atmosphere. There’s nothing like eggs, sausage, pancakes and a side of home fries to provide fuel for further exploration.  

The Point Arena Lighthouse combines history with a fantastic coastal photo-op. Erected in 1870 at the tip of a narrow peninsula, destroyed in the 1906 earthquake and rebuilt in 1908, a tour of the light tower and the Fog Signal Building’s maritime museum just seems to fit perfectly with a coastal adventure. An aid to digestion is the 115-foot climb to the top, equivalent to six stories, where the two-ton Fresnel lens from France kept ships at bay. The views from the outside circumference walkway are amazing—postcard vistas at every turn. Illustrations at the tower’s base are a history lesson on the types of illumination, lenses, housing and rotating mechanisms used in lighthouses. If this remoteness appeals, the three original keeper’s homes are now vacation rentals. 

Heading back on Lighthouse Road, I pulled over and stopped behind other parked cars. A telltale trail led out to rocky bluffs above the sea. Grazing black cows, yellow flowers carpeting the ground, cliffs highlighted with orange mineral deposits—a picture worth painting. Just a random spot being accessed by abalone divers, rock cod fishermen and others enjoying the waves crashing on the shale. 

Northward, open ranch land and white farm buildings gave the landscape a pastoral air and the gnarled trunks of cypress lined the road. In Manchester I smiled at toadstool-like cypress topiary and a flamingo decorated fence. At Manchester Beach State Park, campsites were spacious and popular. Access to the beach is across undulant sand dunes festooned with narrow grasses in shades of pale yellow and green, violet lupine and the hidden nests of snowy plovers. The 18,000-feet of curved ocean frontage is a catch basin for driftwood and is one of the highlights of this spectacular coast. 

My journey ended here. The rugged beauty I experienced continues north to Mendocino and beyond. Every stop I made, in village, headland or beach, could have been my final destination and I would not have been disappointed. For some, the open road calls. For others, like myself, a quiet beach with a flock of sea birds, the feel of the sand and the sea is the place to be. 

 

Getting there: Take Hwy 101 north. You can access Hwy 1 via 116 west, at Cotati, or River Road, north of Santa Rosa, taking you though Guerneville and reaching the coast at Jenner. Mileage from Berkeley to Gualala is 115 miles. 

 

Where to stay:  

Surf Motel: West side of Hwy 1, Gualala, 1-888-451-SURF, www.gualala.com. Doubles from $95.  

 

Where to eat: 

Bones Roadhouse: 38920 S. Hwy One (Uptown Gualala), (707) 884-1188. Dine in or take out. Open daily 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. 

Twinks: Downtown Gualala, (707) 884-1713. Open daily. Brewed coffee, pastries, light breakfast, lunch. 

Carlini’s Café: 206 Main St., Point Arena, (707) 882 2942. Open 6:30 a.m.-2 p.m. Mon., Tues., Thurs., Fri. Open 7:30 a.m.-2 p.m. Sat. and Sun. 

 

What to do: 

Salt Point State Park: (707) 847-3222, day use $4/car, camping $25/night (reservations required) 

Gualala Point Regional Park: (707) 785-2377, open sunrise to sunset, parking $4/car. 

Point Arena Lighthouse: 45500 Lighthouse Road, Point Arena, (877) 725-4448, www.pointarenalighthouse.com. Open daily 10 a.m.-3:30 p.m. (winter), until 4:30 p.m. (summer). Adults $5, children $1. 

Manchester Beach State Park: (707) 882-2463. Campsites on first come first served basis. 

 

For more information: 

Redwood Coast Chamber of Commerce: (800) 778-5252, or www.redwoodcoastchamber.com 

 

 

 

 

 


Berkeley This Week

Friday September 02, 2005

FRIDAY, SEPT. 2 

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.  

SATURDAY, SEPT. 3 

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. 

SUNDAY, SEPT. 4 

“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/ 

davidjrandolph1 

“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 

Reportback from Cindy Sheehan’s Camp Casey outside of Bush’s Ranch in Crawford, Texas, at 7:30 p.m. at the Long Haul, 3124 Shattuck Ave. 658-9178. 

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. 

MONDAY, SEPT. 5 

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

“The Chavez Code: Cracking U.S. Intervention in Venuzuela” with author and human rights attorney Eva Golinger at 7 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. 

TUESDAY, SEPT. 6 

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. 

WEDNESDAY, SEPT. 7 

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  

“Reflections on Life in Gaza” with Palestinian activist Majeda Al-Saqqa from Gaza at 7:30 p.m. at La Peña. Cost is $5-$10 sliding scale, no one turned away. 849-2568. www.lapena.org 

“Firescaping: Creating Fire-Resistant Landscapes” A discussion with author Douglass Kent at 5:30 p.m. at University Press Books, 2430 Bancroft Way. 558-1666. 

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. 

WriterCoach Connection Training Sessions Wed. Sept. 7 and 14 at 6:30 p.m. Help students improve their writing and critical thinking skills; become a mentor to Berkeley students. Commit to 1-2 hours per week during the school day. To register call 524-2319. www.writercoachconnection.org  

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.  

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/ 

vigil4peace/vigil 

THURSDAY, SEPT. 8 

“Altered Global Needs: Meeting the Challenges” with Rita Maran, Lecturer in International Human RIghts, UCB, at 7:30 p.m. in the Home Room, International House, 2299 Piedmont Ave. Cost is $5. 642-9460.  

Medicare Prescription Drug Plans, a presentation by Medi- 

care Today at 11 a.m. at the South Berkeley Senior Center.  

East Bay Mac User Group Mark Altenberg of Apple presents Quicktime Streaming Server from 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at Expression College for Digital Arts, 6601 Shellmound St., Emeryville. Free. ebmug.org 

Communication for Caregivers An ongoing free Berkeley Adult School class meets Thurs. at 1 p.m. at the South Berkeley Senior Center. 981-5170. 

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 

FRIDAY, SEPT. 9 

City Commons Club Noon Luncheon with Peter Haurus, author, “Resurgence of China: Whither?” Luncheon at 11:45 a.m. for $13.50, speech at 12:30 p.m., at the Berkeley City Club, 2315 Durant St. For information and reservations call 526-2925 or 665-9020.  

Free Emergency Preparedness Class in Disaster First Aid from 9 a.m. to noon at 997 Cedar St. To sign up call 981-5605. www.ci.berkeley.ca.us/ 

fire/oes.html 

Town Hall Meeting on RFID (Radiofrequency ID) tracking tags in Berkeley Public Library materials at 7 p.m. at Berkeley Fellowship, 1924 Cedar at Bonita. 843-2152. 

Womansong Circle a monthly musical gathering for women at 6:45 p.m. at First Congregational Church of Berkeley, 2345 Channing Way, at Dana. 525-7082. 

By the Light of the Moon Open Mic and Salon for Women at 7:30 p.m. at Changemakers, 6536 Telegraph Ave., Oakland. Cost is $3-$7 sliding scale. 655-2405. 

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

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

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

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

SATURDAY, SEPT. 10 

Berkeley Path Wanderers Waterfront Walk to explore the history and future of Berkeley’s waterfront, led by Susan Schwartz. Meet at 10 a.m. at Sea Breeze Delicatessen, south side of University Ave. just west of the I-880/580 Freeway. Bring water, snack, and, if you want, binoculars to enjoy shorebirds on their fall migration. 848-9358. www.berkeleypaths.org 

Point Richmond Day Long Summer Festival starting at 11 a.m. Featuring 360, The Irrationals, Two Feet Tall Norma Blase, Jeb Brady and many more. Plus Classic car show, vendors, children’s activities, food and drink. www.pointrichmond.com/prmusic/ 

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

Progressive Democrats of the East Bay Chapter meets at 1 p.m. at Temescal Library, 5205 Telegraph, Oakland. The agenda includes a discussion of the propositions for the special election on Nov. 8, and the anti-war, pro-choice Ret. Lt. Col. Charlie Brown, who is planning to contest the 4th congressional seat of very conservative Republican John Doolittle. 526-4632. www.pdeastbay.org 

Free Emergency Preparedness Class on Basic Personal Preparedness from 9 to 11 a.m. at 997 Cedar St., between 8th and 9th. To sign up call 981-5605. www.ci.berkeley.ca.us/fire/oes.html 

East Bay Athiests meets at 2 p.m. at Berkeley Public Library, 3rd flr meeting room, 2090 Kittredge St. Videos from “Theocracy Watch” will be shown. 222-7580. 

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 

“Music, Community Politics and Environmental Justice in Taiwan” at noon at 145 Dwinelle, UC Campus. 642-2809. 

Piedmont Choirs Fall Tryouts for children age six to 18, from 9:30 a.m. to noon in Piedmont and 10 a.m. to noon in Alameda. Call for appointment 547-4441. www.piedmontchoirs.org 

Tet Trung Thu: Mid Autumn Children’s Festival Celebrate the Vietnamese full moon festival from 4 to 8 p.m. at the Oakland Museum of California, 10th and Oak Sts. 238-2200. www.museumca.org 

Yuri Kochiyama and her biographer, Diane Fujino, will speak at 2 p.m. at Heller Lounge, MLK, Jr. Student Union, UC Campus. 642-6717.  

Free Quit Smoking Class for pregnant and parenting women from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. at Alta Bates, first floor auditorium, 2450 Ashby Ave. Childcare provided. Free but registration requested. 981-5330. quitnow@ci.berkeley.ca.us 

East Bay Chapter of the Great War Society meets to discuss “Military Revolutions Since 1600” and “Napoleon and WWI” at 10:30 a.m. at 640 Arlington Ave. 527-7118. 

Studio 12 Open House from 4 to 7 p.m. to meet the teachers and see what classes and workshops are coming this fall, at 2525 8th St. www.movingout.org 

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

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

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

SUNDAY, SEPT. 11 

Solano Avenue Stroll “Don't Rain on My Parade” from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. with entertainment, food booths, crafts, art cars, kidtown and more. 527-5358. www.solanostroll.org 

Run for Peace with the United Nations Association A 10k run or a 5k run/walk at 9 a.m. at Cesar Chavez Park, Berkeley Marina. To register call 849-1752. www.active.com, www.unausaeastbay.org 

Bike Ride to the Solano Stroll Leave from the North Berkeley BART at 9:30 and 11:30 a.m. and the El Cerrito Plaza BART at 10:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. Valet bike parking at the Stroll. Sponsored by the Bicycle-Friendly Berkeley Coalition. 549-7433. 

Free Hazardous Waste Drop-Off of computers, monitors, TVs, cell phones, and batteries at Solano at Evelyn St., near the BART tracks, from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sponsored by the Cities of Berkeley and Albany and the Ecology Center. 981-5435. 

Mercury Thermometer Exchange Liquid mercury from broken thermometers is harmful to the Bay. Exchange them for a Bay-safe digital thermometer. Bring mercury thermometers in two plastic zipper bags from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. to 1241 Solano Ave., Albany. 452-9261, ext. 130. www.savesfbay.org 

Pancake Breakfast on the Red Oak Victory Ship in Richmond Harbor from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. 1337 Canal Blvd., Berth #6. Exit at Canal Blvd off 580. Cost is $6, children under 5 free. 237-2933. 

Montclair Flea Market and Community Fair from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at 6300 Moraga Ave. Activities include safety fair, health fair, food and Astro Jump. Benefits the Montclair Lions Club. www.montclairlions.org 

Music in the Park at Arroyo Viejo Park with Toni, Tony, Tone at 3 p.m. at 7701 Krause St., Oakland. 

“New Faces of Israel” with Donna Rosenthal at 7 p.m. at Oakland Hebrew Day School, 5500 Redwood Rd., Oakland. RSVP to 531-8600, ext. 26 

“Friends of Roman Cats” a slide show and presentation on the Torre Argentina Roman Cat Sanctuary at 3 p.m. at Rabbitears, 303 Arlington Ave., Kensington. Donation $10. 525-6155. 

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 

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 

“Christianity for Unitarian Universalists” with Huston Smith at 9:30 a.m. at Unitarian Universalist Church of Berkeley, 1 Lawson Rd., Kensington. 525-0302, ext. 306. 

Weekend Healing Workshops with Rabbi Goldie Milgram at the Berkeley Richmond Jewish Community Center, 1414 Walnut St. Cost is $50-$65. 655-8530. 

CITY MEETINGS 

Council Agenda Committee meets Tues., Sept. 6, at 2:30 p.m., at 2180 Milvia St. 981-6900. 

www.ci.berkeley.ca.us/ 

citycouncil/agenda-committee 

Commission on the Status of Women meets Wed., Sept. 7, at 7:30 p.m., at the North Berkeley Senior Center. Tasha Tervelon, 981-5190. www.ci.berkeley. 

ca.us/commissions/women 

Berkeley Rent Stabilization Board meets Thurs. Sept. 8 at 7 p.m. in City Council Chambers, Pam Wyche, 644-6128 ext. 113. www.ci.berkeley.ca.us/rent 

Community Health Commission meets Thurs., Sept. 8, at 6:45 p.m., at the North Berkeley Senior Center. Kristin Tehrani, 981-5356. www.ci.berkeley.ca.us/commissions/health 

West Berkeley Project Area Commission meets Thurs., Sept. 8, at 7 p.m., at the West Berkeley Senior Center. Iris Starr, 981-7520. www.ci.berkeley.ca.us/commissions/westberkeley  

Zoning Adjustments Board meets Thurs., Sept. 8, at 7 p.m., in City Council Chambers. Mark Rhoades, 981-7410. www.ci.berkeley.ca.us/ 

commissions/zoning ?


Opinion

Editorials

Sutter Health Union Sets Strike Deadline By RICHARD BRENNEMAN

Tuesday September 06, 2005

Leaders of nine unions vowed Friday to walk out in sympathy if members of SEIU-United Healthcare Workers-West strike the three Alta Bates hospitals and 10 other facilities of Stutter Health on Sept. 13. 

Planned talks between the union and the hospitals last month reached an impasse before they ever began, though SEIU-UHW President Sal Rosselli said he hopes they will be restarted before the walkout. 

The 10-day notice, announced at a press conference at the San Francisco Marriott, could lead to the walkout of 8,000 union workers at the affected facilities, said Rosselli. 

Carolyn Kemp, spokesperson for the three Summit Alta Bates facilities in Berkeley and Oakland, said management is already making arrangements for replacement workers. 

If the California Nurses Association joins the walkout as announced Friday, that will mean the loss of registered nurses along with licensed vocational nurses and other workers represented by SEIU-UHW. 

“We will do whatever is necessary to make sure we have quality people to keep the doors of the medical center open so we are there for the patients and for the community,” Kemp said. 

Carey Garner, spokesperson for Sacramento-based Sutter Health, said her firm does not engage in negotiations, which are handled entirely by the local affiliates. 

“We have 26 hospitals in Northern California and eight are in separate contract negotiations. Each has offered employees a great wage and benefit package,” Garner said. 

Rosselli said the strike isn’t about salaries and benefits as much as it is about his members “achieving what’s the industry standard across the country, namely giving workers a say in staffing and offering a training and educational fund.” 

Rosselli said he still hopes that talks with the hospitals can be reopened with National Labor Relations Board mediator David Weinberg. 

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