Column: The Public Eye: Welcome to Animal Farm

By Zelda Bronstein
Tuesday June 26, 2007

Just outside the City Council chamber in the Maudelle Shirek Building (formerly Old City Hall) stands a large table. When the council is meeting, that’s where you can find copies of its agenda. Last Tuesday evening, you could find something else there as well: copies of a two-sided sheet entitled “City of Berkeley/Welcome to Your Council Meeting.” -more-

Column: The Public Eye: What Obama Needs to Win the Nomination

By Bob Burnett
Tuesday June 26, 2007

In the sixth month of the campaign for the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination, the race has narrowed to New York Senator Hillary Clinton and Illinois Senator Barack Obama. The latest Gallup Poll shows Obama and Clinton in a statistical dead heat, with John Edwards a distant fourth, behind Al Gore—an undeclared candidate. Public perception of Clinton and Obama is strikingly different: Hillary has much higher unfavorable ratings than does Barack. Obama and Clinton are very different people; which one of them carries the day, at the Denver Democratic convention in August of 2008, will hinge on which campaign is best able to utilize the unique strengths of their candidate. -more-

Wild Neighbors: When One Bird’s Nest is Another’s Home Depot

By Joe Eaton
Tuesday June 26, 2007

It began with a phone call: Jean Moss, a Berkeley reader, had an odd nest that had fallen from a Cecile Bruner rosebush. She suspected it was some kind of hummingbird nest, because she had seen a female hummer hanging around it acting territorial. But what she described sounded more like a bushtit nest, bag-shaped with a small entrance hole near the top. Curious, I arranged to stop by and take a look at it. -more-

Column: Dispatches From The Edge: The Tangled Webs of Northern Iraq

By Conn Hallinan
Friday June 22, 2007

There are few areas in the world more entangled in historical deceit and betrayal than northern Iraq, where the British, the Ottomans, and the Americans have played a deadly game of political chess at the expense of the local Kurds. And now, because of a volatile brew of internal Iraqi and Turkish politics, coupled with the Bush administration’s clandestine war to destabilize and overthrow the Iranian government, the region threatens to explode into a full-scale regional war. -more-

Column: Undercurrents: Preserving a First Language While Learning a Second

By J. Douglas Allen-Taylor
Friday June 22, 2007

My grandfather, Ellis Allen, Sr. I am told, spoke with a musical French accent, as did his sister, Aunt Isobel, who migrated with other Allen family members to Oakland at the end of the 19th century. I barely remember my grandfather and his accent, not at all, but that information does not now surprise me. My father’s people were from the Louisiana bayou country, St. James Parish, near New Orleans, where French was the predominant settler language for years until “the Americans came” and supplanted it with English. -more-

Maybeck Connections on View at Gifford McGrew Open House

By Steven Finacom
Friday June 22, 2007

One of Berkeley’s most important and historic brown shingle homes—with Maybeck connections, too—is currently for sale at 2601 Derby Street. An Open House is scheduled from 2-4:30 p.m. this Sunday, June 24. -more-

Garden Variety: Reading Palms from I-580 in Richmond

By Ron Sullivan
Friday June 22, 2007

We’ve driven past the place dozens of times on the way to the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge, and it’s become a private landmark rather like San Quentin. But last week was the first time we’ve ever managed to get off I-580 and get our feet on the ground at Golden Gate Palms in Richmond. -more-

About the House: Reverse Engineering for the Builder

By Matt Cantor
Friday June 22, 2007

Ihate code books. Not code as in dot-dash-dot or SLWBT means I love you. I mean the building codes. -more-

Quake Tip of the Week: Is Your Major Asset In Jeopardy?

By Larry Guillot
Friday June 22, 2007

One thing history has taught us about major earthquakes: houses that are correctly retrofitted survive intact. -more-