Column: Confessions of a Desperate Housewife

By Susan Parker
Tuesday May 09, 2006

Twelve years ago my husband had an accident that left him a C-4 quadriplegic, paralyzed below the shoulders. After two nights in Highland Hospital he was transferred to the Neurology Department at the Kaiser Permanente in Redwood City. While there, nurses from India, Sumatra and Sunnyvale cared for him. Ten days later he was sent to the Kaiser rehab center in Vallejo. He came under the supervision of a Pakistani doctor. The therapists who moved his arms and legs and taught me how to get him in and out of his new wheelchair were students enrolled in a nearby physical therapy school. They were from Holland, Belgium, Germany, and Switzerland. Filipino nurses gave Ralph his pills, took his temperature, and recorded his vital signs. The assistants who bathed Ralph, emptied his urine bag, and shifted him from his left side onto his right were African-Americans. -more-

Wildfire and Freeways: Why Did the Bobcat Cross the Road?

By Joe Eaton Special to the Planet
Tuesday May 09, 2006

I’ve seen only a handful of bobcats in my life, most of them in or around Point Reyes and the Marin Headlands. My one East Bay encounter was about a decade ago, while heading out to Briones Regional Park on a spring morning. The cat was crossing Bear Creek Road near the reservoir, not being in a particular hurry about it. The first reaction in such sightings tends to be “funny-looking dog,” and then you notice the pointed ears and the abbreviated tail. -more-

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-