The Week

Flying cottage engulfed in flames late Monday night.  Photograph by Anthony Cody
Flying cottage engulfed in flames late Monday night. Photograph by Anthony Cody
 

News

NEWS FLASH: First Person: Flying Cottage Inferno

By Anthony Cody
Tuesday May 09, 2006

Editor’s Note: This is a first-person account, written at 1:30 a.m. Tuesday morning, of the fire that broke out Monday night at 3045 Shattuck Ave. The structure has been known by the nickname “the Flying Cottage” ever since the owner raised a one-story house above two additional stories nearly three years ago. The city shut down the project mid-construction because the owner had not received the necessary permits for such a project and the property has sat vacant and boarded up since. -more-


NEWS FLASH: Cody's on Telegraph to Close

Tuesday May 09, 2006

Blaming big chain and Internet booksellers, as well as a lack of help from the city, Andy Ross, owner and president of Cody’s Books, Inc., has announced he’s shutting down Cody’s oldest store on Telegraph Avenue in July. -more-


Fast-Food Plans for New Telegraph Avenue Building Alarm Neighbors

By Riya Bhattacharjee
Tuesday May 09, 2006

Neighbors of a new building on Telegraph Avenue will be raising concerns about a proposed 44-seat Quiznos restaurant at 3095 Telegraph Ave. at the Zoning Adjustments Board (ZAB) meeting on Thursday. -more-


UC Releases EIR For New StadiumComplex

By Richard Brenneman
Tuesday May 09, 2006

The half-billion-dollar set of projects planned around California Memorial Stadium carry “unavoidable significant impacts” in at least 14 areas, according to a draft environmental impact report (EIR) released Monday. -more-


Shattuck Cinema Workers Call For Union

By Judith Scherr
Tuesday May 09, 2006

Aurelia River has worked six years at the Shattuck Cinema in downtown Berkeley, with a 50-cent increase in salary during that time, going from $6.75 to $7.25 an hour for almost full-time work. She earns no benefits. -more-


UC Berkeley Adopts Revised Sweatshop Policy

By Suzanne La Barre
Tuesday May 09, 2006

On the heels of multiple protests—some clothing-optional—UC has agreed to revise its sweatshop policy, UC Berkeley student activists announced Tuesday. -more-


Public, Press Excluded from Downtown Advisory Meeting

By Suzanne la Barre
Tuesday May 09, 2006

A meeting last week on development in downtown Berkeley was closed to the public. -more-


Trader Joe’s, Pacific Steel Casting on Crowded ZAB Agenda

By Richard Brenneman
Tuesday May 09, 2006

The dense, five-story project at University Avenue and Martin Luther King Jr. Way that Zoning Adjustments Board (ZAB) member Bob Allen dubbed “the Trader Joe’s Building” is back on ZAB’s agenda Thursday night. -more-


ZAB to Decide on Bowl EIR, Use Permit

By Suzanne La Barre
Tuesday May 09, 2006

There are two days to go before the Zoning Adjustments Board is scheduled to render a verdict on use permits for the West Berkeley Bowl project, but at a special meeting late last week, board members indicated they still have a number of concerns. -more-


Accrediting Commission Provokes Critics After Compton Threats

By J. Douglas Allen-Taylor
Tuesday May 09, 2006

A statewide education revolt is growing against the agency that accredits California community colleges in part because of recent actions the agency has taken against the Peralta and the Compton Community College Districts. -more-


Suit Charges Berkeley Police with False Arrest, Battery

By Judith Scherr
Tuesday May 09, 2006

A former Berkeley resident alleges in a lawsuit filed in federal court two weeks ago that a Union City police detective chased him, tackled him, then punched him repeatedly after he broke the mirror of the officer’s personal vehicle, while dodging the vehicle that was about to hit him. -more-


Neighborhood Corporation Chooses Panel to Plan Ashby BART Village

By Richard Brenneman
Tuesday May 09, 2006

A 12-member board will outline the plans for a major development at the Ashby BART parking lot, according to an announcement released late Friday. -more-


Berkeley Humane Commission Members Propose Mandatory Neutering of Pit Bulls

By Judith Scherr
Tuesday May 09, 2006

The American Kennel Club is howling about a law some members of the Citizens Humane Commission are proposing that would mandate the spaying and neutering of most Berkeley pit bulls, a breed overrepresented in the city’s animal shelter. -more-


LPC to Convene Special Meeting on Law Changes

By Richard Brenneman
Tuesday May 09, 2006

Landmarks Preservation Commissioners looked at the latest draft of Mayor Tom Bates’ revision of the city’s landmarks ordinance and scheduled a special May 25 meeting to address their concerns. -more-


News Analysis: Immigrant Movement Must Reach Out to Blacks

By Jasmyne A. Channick and Earl Ofari Hutchinson
Tuesday May 09, 2006

LOS ANGELES — Immigrant rights leaders have repeatedly and with great pride compared the movement for humane immigration reform to the great civil rights battles of the 1960s. They have cited the Poor Peoples March in 1968, the high esteem that Cesar Chavez held for Dr. Martin Luther King, and the unequivocal support that top civil rights leaders and the Congressional Black Caucus has given to immigrant rights as solid models of black and brown cooperation. Yet, despite these public pronouncements, there has been no sustained movement to build any real coalitions with blacks on the immigration issue. -more-


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-


Opinion

Editorials

Planners, ZAB Rush to Approve Projects Before Recess

By Suzanne La Barre
Tuesday May 09, 2006

West Berkeley Bowl, Creeks at Planning Commission -more-


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-


Public Comment

Letters to the Editor

Tuesday May 09, 2006

CAN’T DO THAT HERE -more-


Commentary: On Being Black at a Latino March

By Van Jones New American Media
Tuesday May 09, 2006

SAN FRANCISCO—At this week’s “Dia Sin Inmigrantes/Day Without Immigrants” march in San Francisco, I saw a beautiful, exciting and hopeful vision of the future of this country. -more-


Commentary: Pacific Steel Casting: ZAB ’em!

By L A Wood
Tuesday May 09, 2006

Absent for over 15 years, Pacific Steel Casting (PSC) has finally made a return to the Berkeley Zoning Adjustments Board. The steel mill is requesting modification of their use permit No. 8957 for operating one of their three facilities on Second Street. A privately owned West Berkeley company, PSC has the distinction of being the city’s biggest stationary air polluter. This fact is also reflected in its long history of neighborhood conflicts, odor nuisance complaints, and abatement orders. -more-


Commentary: Bus Rapid Transit Leaflet Misleading

By Rob Wrenn
Tuesday May 09, 2006

At the recent community workshop on the Downtown Berkeley BART Plaza redesign plan, an anonymous leaflet was distributed that is full of factual errors and misinformation about Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) service, which AC Transit is planning for Telegraph Avenue, the Southside and Downtown Berkeley. -more-


Commentary: Creekside Homeowners Need the Right to Rebuild

by Shirley Dean
Tuesday May 09, 2006

The Planning Commission and City Council will soon be considering recommendations regarding revisions to the Creeks Ordinance. When property owners affected by the Creeks Ordinance were informed that it would be virtually impossible to rebuild their homes if they were destroyed, more than 600 attended the City Council meeting to express their outrage. It turns out that this is core issue for those directly affected by the Creeks Ordinance but also for almost everyone else in Berkeley. -more-


Commentary: Shedding Light on Strawberry Creek

By Gus Yates
Tuesday May 09, 2006

The current alignment of Strawberry Creek is well known, and its future location is up to the community. Frank Greenspan’s April 25 letter to the editor suggests that there is some public confusion regarding the current status of the Strawberry Creek and proposals to daylight it. The creek presently enters a five-by-six-foot arched box culvert as it leaves campus at Oxford Street. The culvert jogs diagonally under buildings to Allston Way, runs down Allston Way to near the post office, cuts diagonally under the YMCA to the Center Street side of City Hall, and diagonally crosses the northwest corner of Civic Center Park to Martin Luther King Jr. Way. The culvert runs in perfectly straight segments, whereas the natural channel did not. Thus, the existing culvert is already a “realignment” of the creek. -more-


Commentary: Mayor May Be Swing Vote on Right to Pave

By Robert Lauriston
Tuesday May 09, 2006

How un-Berkeley can you be? Mayor Tom Bates and City Councilmembers Darryl Moore, Laurie Capitelli and Gordon Wozniak offered one possible answer to that question last Tuesday when they indicated support for a proposal to allow developers to convert landscaped rear yards into parking lots with no public notice, no public hearing, and no possibility of appeal by neighbors. -more-


Commentary: Why Is Jerry Brown Running Again?

By Joyce Roy
Tuesday May 09, 2006

Jerry Brown is running for attorney general for the same reason he ran for mayor of Oakland in 1998: “I don’t know what to do with myself when I am not running for office.” Soon after he became mayor, he looked for the next office to run for without an incumbent. He had his eye on Barbara Boxer’s Senate seat until she decided not to step down. So then he focused on the attorney general’s office. -more-


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-


Columns

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-


Arts & Events

Arts Calendar

Tuesday May 09, 2006

TUESDAY, MAY 9 -more-


Arts: Subterranean Shakespeare Takes on ‘Richard III’

By Ken Bulock Special to the Planet
Tuesday May 09, 2006

“Now is the Winter of our Discontent,” rings out offstage, as silent Lady Anne (Tiffany Harrison) has laid at the audience’s feet the first of many forlorn coats that signify their absent—and murdered—wearers, and Subterranean Shakespeare’s production of The Bard’s Richard III gets underway at the Berkeley Art Center. -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-


Berkeley This Week

Tuesday May 09, 2006

TUESDAY, MAY 9 -more-


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-