The Public Eye: Slouching Towards Vallejo

By Zelda Bronstein
Thursday May 29, 2008 - 10:01:00 AM

City of Berkeley decisionmakers would like us to believe that circumstances beyond their control have forced them to consider new tax and bond measures for the November ballot. At the council’s May 6 budget workshop, City Manager Phil Kamlarz and Budget Manager Tracy Vesely blamed Berkeley’s fiscal crisis on Prop. 13, the real estate downturn and Sacramento’s past and possible future raids on municipal treasuries, while praising the council for its wisdom and foresight. Councilmembers returned the compliment. -more-

The Public Eye: John McCain and the Death of Conservatism

By Bob Burnett
Thursday May 29, 2008 - 10:02:00 AM

As the primary season grinds to a close, many Democrats expect a decisive victory in the November general election and look forward to four years of a Democratic president working with a partisan Congress. What isn’t being discussed is the possible end of the conservative era. The smashing defeat of John McCain and the Republican Party should signal that Americans reject the inept conservative ideology that’s dominated U.S. politics for 28 years. -more-

Undercurrents: More Thoughts on Staffing of Oakland Police Department

By J. Douglas Allen-Taylor
Thursday May 29, 2008 - 10:03:00 AM

I thought that last week’s column had completed my discussion of the “Safe Streets And Neighborhoods Act of 2008”—the proposed ballot initiative that would increase Oakland’s police force by 272 officers to a total of 1075—and Mayor Ron Dellums’ counter-proposal of a property tax increase initiative to increase OPD’s strength by 50 to 803. -more-

East Bay—Then and Now: Bohemian Jewish Butchers Dominated Downtown Meat Trade

By Daniella Thompson
Thursday May 29, 2008 - 10:14:00 AM
Isaac and Elsie Fischel’s house, built on Bonita Ave. in 1890 and moved to 1624 Delaware St. in 1925, is the recipient of a BAHA Preservation Award.

Among the fortune seekers lured to northern California by the Gold Rush, the Jewish contingent was small but significant. Jewish immigrants would go on to play an important role in the economic and cultural development of the Bay Area, and Berkeley was no exception. Although early accounts rarely discuss Berkeley’s Jewish community, some members figured among the young town’s prominent citizens. -more-

About the House: Should I Buy This House?

By Matt Cantor
Thursday May 29, 2008 - 10:16:00 AM

Marriage is a mixed bag and no matter what anyone tells you, you will never find the perfect man or woman (assuming those two cover your range of preferences) to spend the rest of your life cooking vegan casseroles beside. Everyone has a truckload of unnerving habits, indefensible opinions and inexcusable friends. Everyone. That gorgeous guy or gal you see at the water cooler each day. Them too. Once you get closer enough to anyone, you soon find out that they pick their teeth, that they have some troubling disease or that they’ve never actually read a book. So how do we choose mates? We figure out what’s most important to us and try our best to ignore the rest, in the knowledge that around the corner the grass is actually brown and dying. This is the truth. Therefore, it’s important to decide what you really care about the most. What issues are strongest for you. What attracts you most and what you can bear. Buying houses is no different (you knew I’d get around to this, right?) -more-

Wild Neighbors: Tools of the Trade— The Phalarope’s Capillary Ratchet

By Joe Eaton
Thursday May 29, 2008 - 10:17:00 AM
Red-necked phalaropes in breeding plumage, at the Hayward Regional Shoreline.

The northbound phalaropes passed through a few weeks ago. We saw them at the Hayward Regional Shoreline, a couple hundred at least, spinning around like little feathered tops in one of the fenced ponds. Every few minutes a portion of the flock, seized by some apprehension, would take off, circle, and touch down on the water again. -more-