Opinion

Editorials

Editorial: Pie in the Sky for the Holiday Table

By Becky O’Malley
Friday November 30, 2007

If you want a good laugh, type “sex on the sidewalk” into Google News. This will give you the opportunity to witness, firsthand, the birth of an urban legend. And where has it been born? Why, in our beloved San Francisco Chronicle, of course. Carolyn Jones reported on Tuesday that: “The new plan cracks down on yelling, littering, camping, drunkenness, smoking, urinating and sex on sidewalks and in parks.” I know she was at the City Council meeting—so was I, and I saw her. But where did she get that sentence? Never mind, it’s been picked up all over the map as the key component of whatever the City Council thinks it passed on Tuesday night. -more-


Editorial: Substituting Private Profit for Public Policy

By Becky O’Malley
Tuesday November 27, 2007

What’s nice about book reviews is that, well done, they turn a monologue into a dialogue. It takes a certain amount of chutzpah for an author to reveal his thought processes and his conclusions on the printed page, and even more to submit to the judgment of his peers about whether or not he got it right. At our house we’ve been planning for a while now to form opinions about two new books by two Bobs, Robert Reich, now a Berkeley snowbird who teaches at UC’s Goldman School of Public Policy in the months when Cambridge is unpleasant, and Robert Kuttner, who’s still mostly an Easterner. They’re co-founders of The American Prospect, a worthy if sometimes dull journal of opinion populated mostly by center-left thinkers with a Boston background who have a lingering affection for the Democratic Party in some of its manifestations. -more-


Public Comment

Letters to the Editor

Friday November 30, 2007

WORK IT OUT TOGETHER -more-


Commentary: Whom Do We Blame?

By Alan Miller
Friday November 30, 2007

In last Friday’s issue of Berkeley Daily Planet, Jonathan Stevens asks one of the most discussed questions today: “Whom do we blame....” for the failures in public education? This is easy to answer: let’s start with the citizens of California, who passed Proposition 13 and began the process of starving what was once considered the premier public education system in the country. That initiative quickly gutted the state budget and made it unlikely that, without an appeal, California could ever add the per pupil funding expenditures necessary to achieve the results citizens say they desire. California has the highest class sizes in the nation and moves between 40th and 48th in per pupil expenditures (depending upon which numbers one uses). Thank God for Mississippi, one of the poorest states in the nation, and one of the few to be as consistently stingy as we are with our students. Nina Simone said it all in her classic song! And thanks to Berkeley citizens for Measure A and all of the bond measures which have supplemented the district budget. -more-


Commentary: Schools Are Better Now

By Al Durrette
Friday November 30, 2007

In “The State of Education” in the Nov. 23 Daily Planet, teacher Jonathan Stephens decries the “diminishing intellectual returns” in today’s classrooms, but fails to appreciate the deepened understanding of other cultures and behaviors, and the internalization of the idea of justice, that students achieve in today’s multi-cultural equal-opportunity classrooms. -more-


Commentary: Talking Points for the Superintendent Selection Process

By Michael Miller
Friday November 30, 2007

The following text is the United In Action “Talking Points for Superintendent Selection Process,” submitted to the Leadership Associates (“Leadership”) consulting group. Leadership is the agency contracted by the BUSD to find our next superintendent. -more-


Commentary: Real Solutions Needed for Greenhouse Gases

By James Singmaster
Friday November 30, 2007

Richard Brenneman’s comment in Nov. 20 issue of the Planet continues to point to the deficiencies of the BP grant and agrofuel programs, but the real deficiency has gotten little mention until Dr. J. Overpeck’s statement on the last IPCC report in the San Francisco Chronicle on Nov. 18. In the front page article, Dr. Overpeck, director of the University of Arizona, Institute for the Study of Planet Earth and member of the IPCC, is cited as saying “It’s going to get warmer” from industrial emissions remaining in the atmosphere for decades to centuries without making mention of new emissions that will be adding to raise the level of greenhouse gases (GHGs) mainly carbon dioxide. The real issue that has to be addressed to get some control of global warming is finding a means to remove some of the 35 percent overload of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere since the start of the Industrial Revolution. In the same article, Dr. S. Schneider of Stanford cited that overload in the article as being the main cause of warming seen in the last 40-50 years. Almost all proposals for curbing of emissions from vehicles and power plants, which still allows some adding to that 35 percent, and for growing agrofuels, which allow a lot of non-energy generating recycling of that gas, do nothing to remove any of that 35 percent. -more-


Letters to the Editor

Tuesday November 27, 2007

ARE WORDS OF PRAISE -more-


Commentary: The DAPAC Finale: A Convoluted But Positive Ending

By Jim Novosel
Tuesday November 27, 2007

The proceeding of the Downtown Area Plan Advisory Committee (DAPAC) has come to an end. And what an ending it is. This Thursday, Nov. 29, the Committee will vote on the plan and most likely, a slight majority will affirm it and a minority will abstain; not vote against it but abstain in the final vote before the group disbands. It is a true irony that the many of those who were appointed by the councilmembers that had voted against creating DAPAC, were those who worked the hardest to create a consensus plan that is reasonable, progressive and one that most of our citizens will likely support. On the other hand, most appointees of councilmembers who voted to create DAPAC have indicated that they will abstain from voting for the plan. DAPAC, set up by the City Council with a slim 5 to 4 vote, has ended mirroring the divisions on the city Council in the reverse. -more-


Commentary: Act Rationally: Go Independent

By Joanna Graham
Tuesday November 27, 2007

OK, I’ve been putting this off for a long time, but now I have to ask. In what universe does Bob Burnett live? I’m interested because I’d like to go there too. In Bob’s universe, surely goodness and mercy will follow us as soon as “bad” Republicans are replaced by “good” Democrats. I guess in Bob’s universe the “good” Democrats haven’t already been in control of Congress for a year, getting nothing done that might cheer us humble folk. Oh, but wait, that’s not fair! They have a mere majority and there’s a Republican in the White House, so how can we expect them to accomplish anything? We must look back to the glory years from 1993 to 2001 when the Democrat in the White House did so much good for us…. Oops, I forgot! For all except the first two years (during which he agitated for NAFTA, instituted “Don’t ask, don’t tell”, and created the health care debacle) that poor Democrat was hamstrung by a Republican Congress. So there was no way he could possibly have accomplished all the wonderful things he intended. -more-