The Public Eye: Why I’m Not Running for Mayor of Berkeley This Time

By Shirley Dean
Friday August 04, 2006

First, I want to thank the many Berkeley residents who have indicated their support for me to enter the race for mayor this November, particularly Merilee Mitchell who took out papers to gather signatures in-lieu of filing fees (even though I didn't know about it at the time); and to all of you who collected signatures, signed your names, sent me e-mails, called me, wrote me letters and stopped to talk to me in the grocery store, on the street or at various meetings. -more-

Column: Dispatches From The Edge: Of Treadle Pumps and Grandmothers

By Conn Hallinan
Friday August 04, 2006

Erica Schoenberger is scrolling through her photos of Maphaphateni, a small village in the “Valley of 1,000 Hills” northwest of Durban in South Africa’s KwaZulu-Natal Province. She is looking for a particular image that crystallizes the difference between a project funded by the World Bank and one sponsored by the Colorado-based organization, Engineers Without Borders (EWB). -more-

Column: Undercurrents: Oakland Night Out Welcomes (Some) Citizens

By J. Douglas Allen-Taylor
Friday August 04, 2006

Driving home on Tuesday evening, Aug. 1, I passed one of the officially sanctioned National Night Out Events, this one sponsored by the East Bay Dragons (African-American) Motorcycle Club, who had already begun to cordon off the block at 88th and International on the side of their clubhouse. National Night Out, from its website, is a campaign involving “citizens, law enforcement agencies, civic groups, businesses, neighborhood organizations and local officials… Along with the traditional display of outdoor lights and front porch vigils, cities, towns and neighborhoods ‘celebrate’ NNO with a variety of events and activities such as block parties, cookouts, [and] visits from local police and sheriff departments.” -more-

About the House: Granite, and Some Other Boring Things

By Matt Cantor
Friday August 04, 2006

I can feel another rant coming on and this one has been coming for some time. I’m definitely involved in the world of real estate, for better AND for worse. Rather than simply sharing construction knowledge with people at their homes, a lot of what I end up doing involves checking over houses that are in the sale process, and this means examining the product of sales preparation, of last-minute, minimally budgeted spin and fluff. Even the term “flipping” a house sounds more like making a crepe than building a home. There’s a vernacular to these things that’s not unlike reality TV or aerobics classes and it’s become so predictable that there are genuinely days in which I can’t remember which flip I’ve been inside of for three or four hours. Yes, one had two baths and three bedrooms and the other was four baths with an in-law downstairs but the “look” of these places is often so similar, due to the vernacular of choices that there isn’t much difference beyond square footage. -more-

Garden Variety: Antiques, Nurseries and a Coffee Break in Alameda

By Ron Sullivan
Friday August 04, 2006

The Alameda Antiques Flea Market happens on the first Sunday of the month. It’s a good show for five bucks, a stroll through the surreal, and, if you’re my age, just a bit unsettling to see so many of your own childhood artifacts labeled “vintage.” -more-

Quake Tip of the Week

By Larry Guillot
Friday August 04, 2006

What About Quake Insurance? -more-

Column: The Devil in Me Carries Fake Prada

By Susan Parker
Tuesday August 01, 2006

The recent heat wave has been difficult for my husband, Ralph. He is often bedridden, and because he can’t move or perspire properly, he is prone to overheating. Ralph doesn’t know he’s too hot until it’s too late. -more-

Trees, Plants are Great, But the Real Action is Underground

By Ron Sullivan, Special to the Planet
Tuesday August 01, 2006

In some ways, we humans are educating ourselves about the planet that sustains us the way the owner of a cranky old car educates herself about how cars work: We learn about systems and parts when they break down and we’re forced to figure out why. Partly that’s a matter of perceived urgency that gets grants written and funding done—“pure” research is a delicious notion, but it’s rare that anyone can get the time, facilities, and support to study a matter just because we all get intrigued by it. -more-