The Middle East: Of Torpedoes and New Voices

By Conn Hallinan
Friday October 12, 2007

Bush administration neo-conservatives, allied with a group of U.S. senators, appear to have successfully torpedoed the upcoming Bush administration-sponsored Middle East peace conference. Initially billed as a gathering that would propel Israel and the Palestinians toward a “final-status” agreement, the November conference’s goals have now been reduced to little more than establishing a “set of principles” as Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert put it. -more-

Planners From Another Planet The Public Eye

By Zelda Bronstein
Friday October 12, 2007

When the Berkeley Planning Department proposed last January to re-zone the West Berkeley properties occupied by Urban Ore and the city’s transfer station—two of northern Alameda County’s recycling hubs—for auto dealerships, it might have seemed that the bureau had exhausted its capacity to dream up bizarre land use schemes. That impression was dispelled last Wednesday evening, as senior planner Matt Taecker presented the Downtown Area Planning Advisory Committee (DAPAC—sounds like daypack) with a vision of a high-rise downtown as surreal as the notion of replacing Berkeley’s major recycling facilities with auto dealers. -more-

The Police Should Stick to Facts, Not Speculate

By J. Douglas Allen-Taylor
Friday October 12, 2007

It was a couple of throwaway sentences deep into the second page of an Oakland Tribune murder arrest story, so innocuous that if you read it, you probably hardly noticed. And that’s what makes it so insidious, why it should make us worried, and why the police practice involved ought to be brought to a halt. -more-

Victorian ‘Enigma’ in Central Berkeley on View Sunday

By Steven Finacom
Friday October 12, 2007

2206 Jefferson Ave. in central Berkeley is a charming enigma of an old Berkeley house. Precisely when it was built and how it arrived where it is are matters of some mystery. -more-

Fall is Planting and Plant Sale Season

By Ron Sullivan
Friday October 12, 2007

Some promising plant sales and garden events will happen over the next couple of weeks. One thing to remember about plant sales: Most of them accept payment by cash or check only, as it’s not feasible for them to set up a credit-card facility for such infrequent events. So remember your checkbook along with your walking shoes and some cartons or recycling boxes to tote your plants. -more-

Ceiling Heights Get Real

By Matt Cantor
Friday October 12, 2007

For those of you who’ve been reading this column for some time, you know that I have what might be called a conflicted relationship with the building codes. Basically they bug me. I’m glad they’re there but they still bug me. -more-

Green Neighbors: Tobacco on the Streets, With Diverse Digressions

By Ron Sullivan
Tuesday October 09, 2007

For a couple of decades at least, Joe and I have lurked around a few of the little stands of the weed Nicotiana glauca, tree tobacco, that are scattered along Del Puerto Canyon Road just east of I5. Short lurks are part of our usual spring day-trip itinerary along that route from Del Puerto Canyon to Mines Road because we might see Costa’s hummingbirds feeding on the tall shrubs’ tubular yellow flowers, and who knows what other hummers might show up while they’re migrating? -more-