Editorial: We’ll Have to Make Our Own Sunshine

By Becky O’Malley
Friday April 27, 2007

We’d like to thank our good friends at the Bay Guardian (where several of us here cut our journalistic teeth) for their persistent advocacy for sunshine in government. In case their lively publication isn’t on your usual reading list (it should be) here’s what they have to say about what’s going on in Berkeley: -more-

Editorial: It’s Too Easy Acting Green, and Other Arias

By Becky O'Malley
Tuesday April 24, 2007

Don’t get me wrong. I’m a big fan of imported tschotchkes, have a house full of them. (For the Yiddish-challenged, that’s all the little bits of useless decorative stuff you either love because your mother didn’t let them into your childhood home, or hate because she did.) But still, in the context of our PC-plus city’s Earth Day festival on Saturday, I did wonder. The Planet had a table there, and we spent an hour or so alternately sitting and walking around, chatting with vendors and visitors. We noticed quite a few stalls with merchandise which originated in Asia or Latin America which was delivered in big vans, panel trucks or SUVs. What’s wrong with that, you might ask? -more-

Public Comment

Letters to the Editor

Friday April 27, 2007


Commentary: The Peace Symbol’s Golden Year is Here

By Arnie Passman
Friday April 27, 2007

Two thirds into the winter of 1957-58, Gerald Holtom was feeling 66.6 percent-ish as he agonized over the design. That February 21, as the artist was to explain the genesis of his idea in greater, more personal depth later to Peace News editor Hugh Brock, he was “in despair. Deep despair. I drew myself the representation of an individual in despair with arms outstretched outwards and downwards in the manner of Goya’s peasant before the firing squad. I formalized the drawing with a line and put a circle around it.” -more-

Commentary: Time to Re-Name the University

By Dale Becknell
Friday April 27, 2007

In the spirit of cities rolling out the welcome mat for private stadiums, a la Pac Bell Park and McAfee Coliseum, sometimes at the expense of funding such secondary needs as schools, let’s have a contest for renaming the UC Berkeley. British Petroleum has made a strong bid for renaming the school the University of British Petroleum. But that’s a little over the top—maybe we should just put department names up for sale, and at least keep the UCB acronym for the present. -more-

Commentary: A Warm Water Pool Needs Land and Money

by Terry Doran
Friday April 27, 2007

A warm water pool in Berkeley is a truly desirable and important amenity to Berkeley residents, and a boon to the greater East Bay. The article in the Daily Planet on Tuesday, April 10, “Voices of the Berkeley Warm Pool,” is a remarkable tribute and reminder about the benefits of a warm water therapeutic pool for everyone in our community. However, the reality is that the existing pool is very old, deteriorating at a rapid clip, and may soon be unusable. And then where will we all be? -more-

Commentary: AIPAC’s Legion of Supporters

By John Gertz
Friday April 27, 2007

Becky O’Malley begins her latest foray into the Middle East with noble sentiments. She endorses Pelosi’s and Lantos’ recent peace mission to Syria, and condemns the Bush administration for obstructing it. Then, as usual, our local editor severely strays. She starts by calling Israeli Prime Minister “clueless” for denying that Pelosi was bringing a peace message from him to Syrian President Assad, when everyone knows that Olmert is quite anxious to make peace with Syria, has said so often, and yes, of course Pelosi was bearing a message of peace to the Syrians from Olmert. No one has ever seriously called Olmert “clueless.” What a clueless insult. O’Malley, herself, concedes that, in order to send a peace message to Syria through Pelosi, Olmert had to disregard an explicit order from Bush not to do so. Olmert was in a tough position, since defying a bully like Bush cannot be a good thing for little Israel. Then O’Malley incoherently tries to tie AIPAC into this, as though somehow AIPAC is standing in the way of peace with Syria, citing Soros’ recent criticism of that organization. O’Malley quotes Soros as saying that he is “not sufficiently engaged in Jewish affairs,” and yet O’Malley nevertheless touts Soros as “a strong supporter of Israel.” Soros is right and O’Malley wrong. Soros has never been identified with Jewish causes or with Israel. He does not have much of a history of either support or detraction. His main focus of activity has been Eastern Europe. As for AIPAC, it did not in this case, and never would lift a finger to obstruct an Israeli peace initiative, but, more typically, in a case like this its role would be to help smooth over any bad feelings created between Olmert and Bush on his matter. O’Malley offers not a shred of evidence that AIPAC played or plays any obstructive role in the peace process, or in any way works against the interests of either the United States or Israel. Because AIPAC serves America’s interests as well as Israel’s, it is so highly regarded by politicians across the political spectrum, from Tom Bates to Tom Delay, and almost every politician in between, including Nancy Pelosi, Barbara Lee and Tom Lantos. -more-

Letters to the Editor

Tuesday April 24, 2007


Commentary: The Proposed West Berkeley Community Benefits District

By Rick Auerbach
Tuesday April 24, 2007

With almost no public examination a private, developer-driven organization with $10,000 in funding from the city has targeted a new property assessment for large swaths of West Berkeley. Bringing into question our foundational tenets of “one person, one vote,” and “no taxation without representation,” this effort appears to find its basis in that ever popular mutation of the golden rule: whoever owns the gold (property) makes the rules. -more-

Commentary: Doing Whatever We Can to Stop Gun Violence

By Marian Berges
Tuesday April 24, 2007

I’ve been thinking about the violence at Virginia Tech, and about a violent man I once met. He was the boyfriend of a friend of mine. She brought him over to visit one afternoon, but his vibe was so repellent, so dangerous, that I didn’t want him near my kids, near me, nor in my home. I remember him sitting in my kitchen, his eyes moving over the furniture, the fixtures, evaluating everything, sizing everything up. My friend sat a little in the background, not saying much, anxious for us to like him. She was something of an innocent. She owned her own house, had a job, but (and this is my own interpretation; I can’t speak for her) felt she needed a man, a baby, and so invited this man into her home. He had come out of nowhere, had no job—she met him in a café. Over the next few months I often thought of calling her, of warning her about him, and my only excuses for not doing so was that I was pretty sure she wouldn’t listen to me, and moreover that I couldn’t imagine that it would end the way it did. It was obvious that he had all the power, had taken the reins. This is what violence, or the threat of violence does; it trumps good sense, good intentions. So I didn’t call her and he killed her. -more-

Commentary: Were KPFA Comments Red-Baiting, Or Is That a Red Herring?

By Marc Sapir
Tuesday April 24, 2007

Some publicity hound—maybe it was Al Capone—once quipped, “You can write anything you want about me as long as you spell my name right.” Having read about myself in the pages of the Planet lately I can’t say that I have much sympathy for that idea. Maybe it’s my age, but this grandfather of six doesn’t have quite the thick skin he had at 30 when jousting with the windmills of imperialism’s hubris. I actually don’t see why any critic about Berkeley would enjoy being flattered as a writer of “hit pieces,” a “red baiter” or an “agent baiter.” I’ll accept that my piece on KPFA was hard-hitting, but I had thought of that in figurative terms. Sure, I expected some wrathback. Still, those responses helped make my point. -more-

Commentary: Contracting Out the Troop Death Tolls

By Jane Stillwater
Tuesday April 24, 2007

On my plane flight back from Iraq, I was cogitating on what I had learned while I was there and, in between the in-flight movie and the rubber chicken, I started remembering what one female Parliamentarian I had interviewed kept saying to me. “The number of American troops that have died over here is much higher than reported because they do not count the contractors.” -more-