Column: The Public Eye: Exploring the Politics of Trust

By Bob Burnett
Tuesday October 16, 2007

Most Americans don’t trust their government. A recent Gallup poll found “Americans generally express less trust in the federal government than at any point in the past decade, and trust in many federal government institutions is now lower than it was during the Watergate era.” Only 43 percent of poll respondents trust President Bush and 50 percent do not trust Congress. -more-

Wild Neighbors: Birds in Winter: Charles Keeler and the Summer Warbler

By Joe Eaton
Tuesday October 16, 2007

If you want to look back at changes in Berkeley’s bird life over the last century, the work of Charles Augustus Keeler provides a convenient benchmark. I have a battered library-discard copy of his Bird Notes Afield, the second edition, published in 1907. Keeler notes in a preface that the bird collection of the California Academy of Sciences, where he did his research, had been a casualty of the San Francisco quake and fire the year before. -more-

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-