The Public Eye: Robert Reich’s Berkeley: Charming, Diverse, Democratic

By Zelda Bronstein
Tuesday January 30, 2007

As soon as I heard that Robert Reich would be speaking about our city’s economic future at Berkeley City College on Jan. 25, I knew I wanted to be there. It’s not often that you get a chance to hear a former secretary of labor/celebrated author/popular NPR commentator/ Goldman School of Public Policy professor hold forth on local affairs, with “a light lunch” thrown in for good measure, and for free yet. This bill of fare would have been more than enough to get me to immediately RSVP the event’s announced sponsor, the Office of the Mayor. -more-

Column: Moving in with the Old Lady

By Susan Parker
Tuesday January 30, 2007

On Sunday at noon my 16-year-old housemate finally rolled out of bed. “What’s to eat?” asked Jernae, peering over my shoulder as I typed on the computer. “And what’re we doin’ today?” -more-

Wild Neighbors: Bug Bombs: The Stink Beetle Meets the Killer Mouse

By Joe Eaton, Special to the Planet
Tuesday January 30, 2007

First, my apologies for the last column’s headline, which I suspect was a spell check-inflicted error. “Scooter” is one of the surf scoter’s many vernacular names, along with “skunkhead coot,” “blossom bill,” “tar-bucket,” and several that involve distasteful ethnic references. But officially, it’s “scoter.” -more-

Column: The Public Eye: Alameda Holds Open House at Alameda Point

By David Howard
Friday January 26, 2007

On Tuesday night, Jan. 23, the City of Alameda held an open house for citizens to meet the developers vying for status with the city as official “replacement master developer” for Alameda Point, the former naval air station. -more-

Column: Undercurrents: Tracing Allegations of Racism at Dellums’ Inaugural

By J. Douglas Allen-Taylor
Friday January 26, 2007

It is not at all unusual for newspapers, television and radio news outlets, and the various journalists who work for them to come away with a different story on the same event. Put five people in a room to witness the same event and, almost invariably, they will write five separate accounts of what happened—most often not because they are lying or because they are trying to cover something up, but because of differences in what they think is important, what they actually saw or heard, and what type of background they brought to the event that enhanced—or colored—their interpretation. Add to that the built-in biases of every news organization—what audiences they are aiming for and what areas of concern they are promoting—and you can easily see why a variety of news sources is necessary for an informed citizenry and a healthy democracy. If your news is coming from only one source, you will be almost as misinformed as if you got no news at all. It is only through sifting through several information outlets—looking at issues and events from several accounts and angles—that we can begin to discover what is fact, and what is truth. -more-

First Person: The Grandmothers Go To Washington

By Joan Levinson
Friday January 26, 2007

A lobbying group of 100 grandmothers from 20 states descended on Washington D.C. on Jan. 18, visiting all 100 senators and some representatives to protest the war in Iraq and to demand that American troops come home quickly. Four Berkeley/Oakland grandmothers were part of the contingent—Helen Isaacson, Marge Lasky, Renate Sadrozinski and myself. -more-

First Person: Amazon Customer Petition Wins Fairer Treatment for Carter Book

By Henry Norr
Friday January 26, 2007

Ten days after I began a campaign to protest Amazon’s hostile presentation of former President Jimmy Carter’s book on Palestine, and a day after the petition with more than 16,000 signatures was delivered to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, the company responded by revamping the page in a way that puts the book in a completely different light. -more-

East Bay Then and Now: Sierra Club Pioneers Lived Near Pre-Stadium Strawberry Canyon

By Daniella Thompson
Friday January 26, 2007

The Save the Memorial Oak Grove tree sit-in is about to complete its second month. Among the campaign’s environmental supporters, which include the Native Plant Society and the Oak Foundation, the Sierra Club is the most powerful if not the most active. -more-

About the House: Singing the Praises of Linoleum

By Matt Cantor
Friday January 26, 2007

I am in love with old houses. When I get a chance to spend a few hours or a day in an older home that has been left unchanged over the decades, I’m really in something of a trance much of the time. -more-

Garden Variety: An Ecological Calamity Below Albany Hill

By Ron Sullivan
Friday January 26, 2007

We gardeners learn (or try to) that our work is worth doing despite disheartening setbacks. It’s the sort of nasty life lesson that somehow doesn’t stop hurting just as badly the tenth or hundredth time as it did the first. Still, we go on. -more-

Quake Tip of the Week

By Larry Guillot
Friday January 26, 2007

It Won’t Be So Bad -more-