The Week

Photograph by Stephan Babuljak: Alisia Brown, 17, works on a computer at the Berkeley Alternative High School, which is seeking an image change in its new incarnation at B-Tech.				o
Photograph by Stephan Babuljak: Alisia Brown, 17, works on a computer at the Berkeley Alternative High School, which is seeking an image change in its new incarnation at B-Tech. o
 

News

District Struggles to Remake School’s Image

By Suzanne La Barre
Friday May 05, 2006

Grappling with an identity that, in the past, has included pejoratives like “dumping grounds,” “pre-prison,” and “a place for bad kids,” Berkeley’s Alternative High School is due for a systemic overhaul, administrators say. -more-


Deputy Director Leaves Troubled Library System After Brief Stay

By Judith Scherr
Friday May 05, 2006

Vivian Pisano may be just one more casualty of Berkeley’s library wars. -more-


BUSD Maintenance Department in Disarray

By Suzanne La Barre
Friday May 05, 2006

The Berkeley Unified School District (BUSD) Maintenance Department is in need of repair. -more-


Wilson Will Challenge Spring For City Council Seat in District 4

By Judith Scherr
Friday May 05, 2006

While local elections won’t happen for another half year, candidates are already rolling up their sleeves for a fight in District 4, the central Berkeley council district that includes the downtown business area, held by incumbent Dona Spring since 1992. -more-


Magna, Owner of Golden Gate Fields, in Financial Crisis

By Richard Brenneman
Friday May 05, 2006

Magna Entertainment, the Canadian firm that owns Golden Gate Fields in Albany, warned this week that its ability to continue in business is in “substantial doubt.” -more-


West Berkeley Bowl Project Put on City’s Fast Track

By Suzanne La Barre
Friday May 05, 2006

Attempting to harness a protracted public approval process, the Planning Department has placed the West Berkeley Bowl project on the fast track. -more-


UC Police Review Board Holds Rare Public Meeting

By Riya Bhattacharjee
Friday May 05, 2006

The UC Police Review Board met for its first open meeting in two years Tuesday evening at the Goldman School of Public Policy at UC Berkeley. -more-


Gay Couple Claim Iceland Forced Them Off of Ice

By Judith Scherr
Friday May 05, 2006

Two skaters alleging discrimination are suing Berkeley Iceland over an incident in February in which they say they were asked to leave the rink based on their sexual orientation. -more-


Man Dies After Being Hit By UC Construction Truck

Bay City News
Friday May 05, 2006

A longtime Berkeley resident was struck and killed by a tractor-trailer on Wednesday morning, Berkeley police reported. -more-


County Worker to Stand Trial in Rose Garden Slashing

Bay City News
Friday May 05, 2006

A judge ruled Thursday that there’s sufficient evidence to have a former Alameda County mental health worker stand trial on charges that she was an accessory to the brutal stabbing of a 75-year-old woman near the Berkeley Rose Garden last year. -more-


City Buys New Vactor Truck To Unclog Storm Drains

By Riya Bhattacharjee
Friday May 05, 2006

The City of Berkeley recently bought a powerful new Vactor truck to clean up clogged storm drains in the city. -more-


The June Election Beyond the Oakland Mayor’s Race

By J. Douglas Allen-Taylor
Friday May 05, 2006

The race to replace Jerry Brown as mayor of Oakland in the June 6 primary has gotten the lion’s share of local media and public attention so far. Meanwhile, Alameda County residents will have the opportunity to vote on a number of candidates and issues that will have a great affect on the shape of their government, fiscal policy, and the direction of area education. -more-


Acting Registrar of Voters Announces Her Departure

By J. Douglas Allen-Taylor
Friday May 05, 2006

In the wake of the sudden announcement by the acting Alameda County Registrar of Voters to take herself out of the running for the permanent position, at least one local voting activist said it is an opportune time for the county to rethink its position on the purchase of electronic voting machines. -more-


A Day of Immigrant Action

By Riya Bhattacharjee
Tuesday May 02, 2006

The conch shells resounding and the flags raised in unison on the Sproul Hall steps at noon Monday signaled a day of action for a new civil rights movement. -more-


Public Mixed Over Trader Joe’s Project

By Richard Brenneman
Tuesday May 02, 2006

A parade of speakers marched to the podium at Thursday’s Zoning Adjustments Board, 22 praising a proposed development, and a dozen speaking in opposition. -more-


Seeking a New Look For Downtown BART

By Suzanne La Barre
Tuesday May 02, 2006

Plans to redesign the downtown BART station drew a range of reactions at an open house presentation over the weekend. -more-


Local Impact of Preschool Initiative Is Unclear

By Suzanne La Barre
Tuesday May 02, 2006

An initiative to grant preschool to all California 4-year-olds is on the ballot this June, but how it would operate locally, if approved, remains unclear. -more-


Student Achievement at Small Schools Is Mixed

By Suzanne La Barre
Tuesday May 02, 2006

Academic performance at Berkeley High School’s first two small schools is a mixed bag, new data show. -more-


County Gets Late Start On Measure A Oversight

By J. Douglas Allen-Taylor
Tuesday May 02, 2006

Two years after voters gave Alameda County the authority to impose a half-cent sales tax to augment medical and health care spending, the county is just beginning the process of monitoring how a major percentage of Measure A money has been spent. -more-


Peralta Steps Back from Extending Hand to Compton

By J. Douglas Allen-Taylor
Tuesday May 02, 2006

Recent developments surrounding Compton Community College makes it less likely—but not impossible—that the Peralta Community College District may step in to help bail out the troubled Southern California district. -more-


New, Hip Identity Proposed for Berkeley Alternative High

By Suzanne La Barre
Tuesday May 02, 2006

The Berkeley Alternative High School is in for a new model—and a hip new name. -more-


Berkeley Schools, Businesses Affected by May 1 Boycott

By Judith Scherr
Tuesday May 02, 2006

A few weeks ago, most felt invisible. -more-


Barbara Lee Speaks Out Against Immigration Bill

By Judith Scherr
Tuesday May 02, 2006

Calling for “real, comprehensive immigration reform,” Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Oakland) blasted legislation now stalled in the House of Representatives that would criminalize undocumented immigrants and those who help them. -more-


Asian Media Report Conflicts Over Economic Boycott

By Carolyn Goossen, New American Media
Tuesday May 02, 2006

The national economic boycott for immigrant rights on May 1 elicited mixed feelings among Asian communities, according to a survey of Asian media. -more-


Police Blotter

By Richard Brenneman
Tuesday May 02, 2006

Two heisters -more-


Opinion

Editorials

Editorial: Telling the Emperor He’s Naked

By Becky O’Malley
Friday May 05, 2006

The big story in media circles this week was Steven Colbert’s skewering the Washington press establishment (and incidentally G.W. Bush & Co.) over dinner on Saturday night. It will be interesting for future journalism scholars to study how the news of his thinly disguised attack on the administration and its tepid critics rolled across the country on the Internet after it was originally ignored by the big media. Evidently C-Span viewers who were watching on Saturday night caught it first, and some of them posted the video clips on the Internet, using magic technology which I don’t begin to understand. The only person I know who is glued to C-Span is my 91-year-old mother, who watches it the way some men watch ESPN and for some of the same reasons, and even she missed it. -more-


Editorial: Singing About America in Many Tongues

By Becky O’Malley
Tuesday May 02, 2006

A couple of weeks after Sept. 11, 2001, I attended a concert which was a benefit for African-American college students. It was organized by Hope Briggs, then just another struggling soprano, though she’s now a featured artist with the San Francisco Opera and other major companies. She had put together a bouquet of young classical singers who contributed their performances, many but not all of them African-Americans like herself. -more-


Public Comment

Letters to the Editor

Friday May 05, 2006

PARKING, TRANSIT -more-


More Letters to thte Editor

Friday May 05, 2006

EDITOR’S NOTE: The following letters from frequent correspondents on the topic of the Middle East appear only on our website. -more-


Commentary: Mayor’s Landmarks Ordinance Hardly A Compromise

By Roger Marquis
Friday May 05, 2006

In response to Alan Tobey’s Commentary “Devil Is In the Details of Revised LPO”: I was impressed more by the details Alan left out, among those his affiliation with Livable Berkeley, a group that espouses “Smart Growth” but has yet to define any real-estate development that it does not consider smart. -more-


Commentary: Looking for Peace in the Peace Movement

By boona cheema
Friday May 05, 2006

At no other time has a movement for global peace become so crucial. And this movement has no place for hate, anger, or abuse. To cease all hostilities we the members of the movement need to make a commitment to peaceful language and peaceful assembly. Without this action we cannot grow—and we cannot win. -more-


Commentary: Oakland’s Teachers Face Tough Jobs, Low Pay

By Life Academy High Street School Staff
Friday May 05, 2006

On the afternoon of Wednesday, April 26, the 14 teachers of Life Academy High School prepared to go on strike; hours later we were relieved that it wasn’t necessary. The negotiations had led to a settlement. We rejoiced. However as details of the settlement became available, we realized that we celebrated too early. The district and the union negotiators had not met the basic needs of teachers and Oakland students. -more-


Letters to the Editor

Tuesday May 02, 2006

FCMAT -more-


Commentary: ZAB Holds Trader Joe’s Pep Rally

By Regan Richardson
Tuesday May 02, 2006

After attending the April 28 Zoning Adjustments Board (ZAB) meeting and witnessing the sickening and suspiciously euphoric response to the behemoth project proposed at 1950 MLK Way, and after reading the post-meeting “Livable Berkeley” (they may soon want to consider a name-change) blog page, I am compelled to respond. In theory this was supposed to be a substantive ZAB meeting to discuss the mass and height of this project. Thanks to the developer, Hudson McDonald, it actually just turned out to be a pep rally for supporters of Trader Joe’s, alternative transit and even denser housing, staged on public time in a public venue. -more-


Commentary: Latini Omnes Sunt

By Thomas Gangale
Tuesday May 02, 2006

Last summer, when California Democratic Party chair Art Torres quipped from the podium, “I’ve been a Latino for most of my life,” he received the laughter his remark was intended to garner. But afterward, I got to thinking—he’s on to something here. Who are the Latinos? -more-


Columns

Column: Actions We Can Take to Protect our Democracy

By Bob Burnett
Friday May 05, 2006

President Bush’s job approval ratings continue to plummet, as increasing numbers of Americans recognize that the administration has no capacity to deal with the critical issues that confront America. Nonetheless, many citizens despair of the prospects of changing America’s course, so long as George Bush is president. They ask, “What can we do?” to restore democracy to the United States. -more-


Column: Undercurrents: Race and Gender in the Oakland Mayoral Race

by J. Douglas Allen-Tayor
Friday May 05, 2006

In an odd passage that perhaps reveals more about his own thoughts than it does about the campaign itself, San Francisco Chronicle staff writer Christopher Heredia gives his version of what Oakland voters may do in the upcoming mayoral race (“Oakland mayor rivals each woo voters in own particular ways,” April 30). -more-


East Bay: Then and Now: When Ratcliff Was City Architect

By Daniella Thompson
Friday May 05, 2006

City architect in Berkeley? Like the farms, this office is a thing of the past. The position existed for only eight years—from 1913 to 1921—and was occupied by a single person: Walter Harris Ratcliff, Jr. (1881–1973). -more-


About the House: Whether or Not to Shut Off The Gas

By Matt Cantor
Friday May 05, 2006

I was speaking as a guest of my friend Howard at a local senior center the other day when a fellow stood up and told me that he did not agree with my position on the very contentious issue of whether to turn your gas off in your house after an earthquake. -more-


Garden Variety: Finding Spring Flower Resources At Annie’s

By Ron Sullivan
Friday May 05, 2006

A sunny morning spent at Annie’s Annuals and Perennials is worth the trip to Richmond, and a good way to celebrate the belated arrival of spring. -more-


Column: New From the Home Page Of the Fallen Warriors

By Susan Parker
Tuesday May 02, 2006

Two weeks ago I wrote a column about receiving a solicitation in the mail to join the United States Navy. In the letter the Navy promised me training on the world’s most advanced equipment, a debt-free education, full benefits, outstanding medical coverage, a competitive edge in the civilian job market, and no “money hassles.” -more-


The Not-So-Sweet Life of the Lemon Tree

By Ron Sullivan Special to the Planet
Tuesday May 02, 2006

Lemon tree very pretty -more-


Arts & Events

Arts Calendar

Friday May 05, 2006

FRIDAY, MAY 5 -more-


Arts: Jimbo Trout, Toshio Hirano Play the Twang Cafe

By Justin DeFreitas
Friday May 05, 2006

Jimbo Trout and the Fishpeople will be the headliners this Sunday at the Twang Café, an ongoing Americana music series held monthly at Epic Arts on Ashby Avenue. The series, produced and hosted by Berkeley resident Tom Wegner, is held on the first Sunday of every month and features an array of Bay Area folk and bluegrass artists in a casual and intimate venue. Toshio Hirano and Jacob & Harry round out this month’s bill. -more-


Arts: Moving Pictures: Long-Neglected British Masterpiece Returns to the Screen

By Justin DeFreitas
Friday May 05, 2006

British director Carol Reed’s reputation rests almost exclusively on his 1949 noir classic The Third Man, and if that were the only movie he ever made his reputation would be secure. But as great as that film is, it is not Reed’s only masterpiece. -more-


Arts: ‘Berkeley Treasures’ Spotlights Three Local Artists

By Dorothy Bryant Special to the Planet
Friday May 05, 2006

Last week an artist friend returned from her annual visit to New York looking depressed. -more-


East Bay: Then and Now: When Ratcliff Was City Architect

By Daniella Thompson
Friday May 05, 2006

City architect in Berkeley? Like the farms, this office is a thing of the past. The position existed for only eight years—from 1913 to 1921—and was occupied by a single person: Walter Harris Ratcliff, Jr. (1881–1973). -more-


About the House: Whether or Not to Shut Off The Gas

By Matt Cantor
Friday May 05, 2006

I was speaking as a guest of my friend Howard at a local senior center the other day when a fellow stood up and told me that he did not agree with my position on the very contentious issue of whether to turn your gas off in your house after an earthquake. -more-


Garden Variety: Finding Spring Flower Resources At Annie’s

By Ron Sullivan
Friday May 05, 2006

A sunny morning spent at Annie’s Annuals and Perennials is worth the trip to Richmond, and a good way to celebrate the belated arrival of spring. -more-


Berkeley This Week

Friday May 05, 2006

FRIDAY, MAY 5 -more-


Arts Calendar

Tuesday May 02, 2006

TUESDAY, MAY 2 -more-


Arts: Benny Golson Headlines At Yoshi’s This Weekend

By Ira Steingroot Special to the Planet
Tuesday May 02, 2006

If you saw Steven Spielberg’s somewhat unfocused 2004 film Terminal starring Tom Hanks, you may remember that Hanks’ character travels to America, where he proceeds to get stuck at JFK Airport, in order to fulfill a promise he had made to his late father. -more-


Arts: A Tale of Genocide Unfolds in TheatreFIRST’s ‘World Music’

By Ken Bullock Special to the Planet
Tuesday May 02, 2006

“Welcome to Europe!” As a British father and son reunite in Brussels and stumble through French to order food in a cafe, a young African waitress surprises both by speaking to them in English. -more-


The Not-So-Sweet Life of the Lemon Tree

By Ron Sullivan Special to the Planet
Tuesday May 02, 2006

Lemon tree very pretty -more-


Berkeley This Week

Tuesday May 02, 2006

TUESDAY, MAY 2 -more-