The Week

Berkeley High Principal Jim Slemp cheers on more than 3,000 high school students who formed a human chain around the campus last week to protest immigration raids by ICE agents in Berkeley.
By Riya Bhattacharjee
Berkeley High Principal Jim Slemp cheers on more than 3,000 high school students who formed a human chain around the campus last week to protest immigration raids by ICE agents in Berkeley.
 

News

Challenges to Oakland Council Incumbents Fizzle as Veterans Avoid Run-Offs

By J. Douglas Allen-Taylor
Wednesday June 04, 2008 - 05:20:00 PM

A campaign season that began with the possibility of a major overhaul of the Oakland City Council’s old guard ended quietly in the status quo early Wednesday morning, as two incumbent Councilmembers avoided run-offs against what had been expected to be stiff opposition, and two others easily swamped their opponents. -more-


Skinner, Hancock Win Big in State Elections

By Judith Scherr
Wednesday June 04, 2008 - 12:04:00 PM

The champagne was flowing last night at victory parties for Nancy Skinner, elected to the State Assembly with 46.8 percent of the vote and Assemblymember Loni Hancock, elected to the State Senate with 56.5 percent of the vote. -more-


Derby Street’s Arsenic Signs Are Principally Precautionary

By Richard Brenneman
Tuesday June 03, 2008 - 02:34:00 PM

The city has closed a lot on the 1400 block of Derby Street, across the street from a day care center, because of potentially dangerous levels of arsenic. -more-


UC and Workers Back at Bargaining Table

By Judith Scherr
Tuesday June 03, 2008 - 02:34:00 PM

University of California service employees, working for 10 months without a contract, have scrapped plans to walk off the job for two days this week and are back at the bargaining table. -more-


Oakland Port Rail Proposal Impacts May Hit Berkeley Landscape, Traffic

By Richard Brenneman
Monday June 02, 2008 - 04:01:00 PM

Is Berkeley being railroaded? -more-


Governor Tells Locals: Budget Deficit Due to Health, Schools Overspending

By Judith Scherr
Monday June 02, 2008 - 04:00:00 PM

Berkeley High Athletic Scams Reported in Oakland and Kensington

By Riya Bhattacharjee
Monday June 02, 2008 - 03:59:00 PM

Berkeley Unified School District officials said they uncovered an athletic fundraising scam on Friday, when a resident of Glenview in Oakland called to report that a young man was going door to door saying he was raising money for the Berkeley High School baseball team to visit Maui. -more-


Freeman Plea Delayed in Durant Avenue Murder

By Riya Bhattacharjee
Friday May 30, 2008 - 05:27:00 PM

Berkeley resident Nathaniel Curtis Freeman, 19, who was charged with murdering Maceo Smith on Durant Avenue on May 13, did not enter a plea as he was scheduled to do at the Alameda County Superior Court today (Friday). -more-


Planners Approve Condos, Haggle over Density Bonus

By Richard Brenneman
Friday May 30, 2008 - 05:26:00 PM

Berkeley planning commissioners voted 8-1 Wednesday to approve a key legal document that paves the way for construction of a long-delayed 24-unit condominium building at 2701 Shattuck Ave. -more-


Dellums Proposes City Shutdown Days to Close Budget Gap

By J. Douglas Allen-Taylor
Friday May 30, 2008 - 05:24:00 PM

Oakland Mayor Ron Dellums proposed $14.4 million in cuts to the City of Oakland budget this week to offset a projected $15 million deficit in the next fiscal year, including calling for the closing down of non-essential city services for 12 days each year. -more-


University Museum Plans Slash Downtown Parking

By Richard Brenneman
Friday May 30, 2008 - 04:48:00 PM

While UC Berkeley’s new downtown museum may attract praise from architecture critics, downward-directed thumbs may come from those already frustrated with the hunt for downtown parking. -more-


Reedley Says OK to Spray Bay Area

By Judith Scherr
Friday May 30, 2008 - 04:47:00 PM

With some 30 cities and 80 organizations on record opposing the state agriculture department’s plan to spray coastal cities and the Bay Area to eradicate the light brown apple moth (LBAM), one city is bucking the trend. Reedley, a Fresno County agricultural community of around 24,000, has stepped up to support the state. -more-


Code Pink Organizer Accused of Police Officer Battery

By Judith Scherr
Thursday May 29, 2008 - 09:21:00 PM

Zanne Joi, organizer for Code Pink, was arrested this afternoon (Thursday) on charges of trespassing, battery on an officer and resisting arrest at the downtown Marine Recruiting Center. -more-


Superintendent Points Out Discrepancies in District’s API Rankings

By Riya Bhattacharjee
Thursday May 29, 2008 - 09:20:00 PM

The Berkeley Board of Education took an in-depth look at Berkeley Unified’s 2007 Academic Performance Index (API) rankings at the school board meeting Wednesday. -more-


South Berkeley Homicide Is City’s Eighth for 2008

By Richard Brenneman
Thursday May 29, 2008 - 04:05:00 PM

A 29-year-old Berkeley man was shot and killed Wednesday night as he stood on a sidewalk near the corner of California and Tyler streets. -more-


Oakland Council Candidates Accepted Contributions From City Vendors

By J. Douglas Allen-Taylor
Thursday May 29, 2008 - 09:36:00 AM

Oakland City Council incumbents running for re-election are taking in campaign donations from individuals who regularly require City Council approval for the business they do with the City of Oakland. While the practice is, for the most part, not illegal, it violates the spirit of the 1997 Oakland Campaign Reform Act, which sought to prevent a connection between City Council decisions and campaign donations to city councilmembers running for re-election. -more-


Incumbents Lead Fundraising in Oakland City Council Races

By J. Douglas Allen-Taylor
Thursday May 29, 2008 - 09:38:00 AM

In the tightly contested June 3 races for the Oakland City Council, incumbent councilmembers are predictably winning the important fund-raising battles, with 5th District Councilmember and Council President Ignacio De La Fuente leading the way. -more-


Candidates Face Questions on Immigration, Education, Health Care

By Judith Scherr
Thursday May 29, 2008 - 09:39:00 AM

The questions posed to Senate and Assembly candidates at Tuesday evening’s forum presented by the Berkeley Organizing Congregations for Action came from real life. -more-


Berkeley High Students Take Stand Against Local Immigration Raids

By Riya Bhattacharjee
Thursday May 29, 2008 - 09:41:00 AM

What seemed like typical lunch-time ruckus to visitors at Berkeley High School last week was in fact an act of solidarity with immigrants across the nation. -more-


Carjacking Suspects Elude Manhunt In Berkeley Hills

By Richard Brenneman
Thursday May 29, 2008 - 09:47:00 AM

A massive manhunt scoured the Berkeley hills Friday afternoon as officers closed Highway 13 along Tunnel Road while they searched for the men who carjacked a San Ramon man in Oakland. -more-


Newspaper Theft Increases, New Law in the Works

By Judith Scherr
Thursday May 29, 2008 - 09:47:00 AM

An early riser at 5:30 on Wednesday morning thought he’d spotted a thief in the act of committing a crime which is the subject of legislation that has passed the state Assembly and is now headed for the Senate. He saw a man loading many copies of newspapers from distribution boxes on College Avenue near Ashby into a pickup truck, and he called the Berkeley Police Department with a full description of the man and the truck, complete with license number. -more-


LaRouchites Try for a Foothold in County

By Judith Scherr
Thursday May 29, 2008 - 09:43:00 AM

Described as friendly, brilliant and bright-eyed—and at the same time as scary and cult-like—six LaRouche Democrats are running for Alameda County Democratic Central Committee (ACDCC) slots. -more-


Zoning Board Postpones Decision on Cell Phone Antennas for T-Mobile

By Riya Bhattacharjee
Thursday May 29, 2008 - 09:46:00 AM

In a move that closely resembled past efforts to thwart cell phone antennas from being located in Berkeley, the city’s Zoning Adjustments Board (ZAB) did not approve a permit for T-Mobile to construct a new wireless telecommunications facility on the roof of an Affordable Housing Associates-owned multistoried building at 1725 University Ave. -more-


Most Speakers at AC Transit Hearing Oppose Fare Increases

By J. Douglas Allen-Taylor
Thursday May 29, 2008 - 09:48:00 AM

AC Transit bus district directors took their first steps last week toward a possible fare increase this fall, holding a public hearing on the issue May 21 at Oakland City Hall. -more-


Berkeley Sea Scout Leader Faces New Charges in Sex Case

By Richard Brenneman
Thursday May 29, 2008 - 09:49:00 AM

The Berkeley Sea Scout leader who was arrested in December for the alleged sexual abuse of his charges was hit with still more counts on Friday. -more-


UC System Workers Vote to Strike

By Bay City News
Thursday May 29, 2008 - 09:50:00 AM

Thousands of patient care and service workers for the University of California system announced Friday they plan to strike as soon as June 2 because they feel their wages just don’t cut it. -more-


Sunday Blazes Keep Firefighters Hopping

By Richard Brenneman
Thursday May 29, 2008 - 09:50:00 AM

Berkeley firefighters found themselves facing two structure fires that erupted within minutes of each other Sunday afternoon, reported Deputy Fire Chief Gil Dong. -more-


‘Lone Gunman’ Continues to Rob Berkeley Businesses

By Richard Brenneman
Thursday May 29, 2008 - 09:51:00 AM

The masked takeover bandit dubbed “The Lone Gunman” has pulled off at least two more armed robberies in Berkeley, police announced. -more-


Regents Greenlight BP Lab, LBNL Computing Center

By Richard Brenneman
Thursday May 29, 2008 - 09:52:00 AM

The University of California Board of Regents Tuesday signed off on the environmental impact reports on two controversial buildings at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. -more-


Construction of $10 Million BUSD Transportation Facility Underway

By Riya Bhattacharjee
Thursday May 29, 2008 - 09:52:00 AM

Construction of the Berkeley Unified School District’s $10 million transportation facility at Sixth Street is scheduled to begin Monday, according to district officials. -more-


BUSD Unveils West Campus Plan Tonight

By Riya Bhattacharjee
Thursday May 29, 2008 - 09:54:00 AM

The Berkeley Unified School District is a step closer to relocating its administrative offices from the seismically unsafe Old City Hall building on 2134 Martin Luther King Jr. Way to the southwest portion of the West Campus, between Curtis and Browning streets. -more-


Downtown Plan Hits Rough Waters in Commission Discussions

By Richard Brenneman
Thursday May 29, 2008 - 09:59:00 AM

The curtain went up on the Downtown Area Plan’s second act Wednesday night, with a sharply divided Planning Commission headed for a rewrite. -more-


Clarification

Thursday May 29, 2008 - 09:55:00 AM

The California Department of Education (CDE) has retracted its statement that state school suspension data, which revealed that Berkeley’s Willard Middle School had one of the highest violent-suspension rates in the Bay Area last year, was inaccurate. In an article in the May 22 Planet, CDE information officer Tina Jung told the Planet the suspension data published in the San Francisco Chronicle on May 19 was “incorrect.” Jung said in an e-mail, “We should not have attested that the data used by the [Chronicle] reporter was inaccurate, only that CDE cannot verify its accuracy.” -more-


Opinion

Editorials

The Editor Endorses:

By Becky O'Malley
Thursday May 29, 2008 - 09:42:00 AM

State Senate District 9: Wilma Chan -more-


Let the Sun Shine in Berkeley

By Becky O'Malley
Thursday May 29, 2008 - 10:04:00 AM

If you sometimes read the Planet online (and we hope you do) you will have seen our new experimental web-only feature, The Editor’s Back Fence. It’s a collection of items too small or too silly to dignify with print, and will appear randomly at the executive editor’s pleasure. Of course it has another goal, to motivate readers to check out the really-Daily-online Planet each and every day so that they don’t miss anything. This week I answered a teacher’s complaint that our education reporter didn’t talk to a school principal for a story she did. That’s one of those “thank you for asking” questions, and you can see the full reply online. But it also served the purpose of opening up a larger topic that can’t be addressed too often or too seriously. -more-


The Editor's Back Fence

The Editor's Back Fence

By Becky O'Malley
Friday May 30, 2008 - 09:59:00 AM

LAST MINUTE ELECTION UPDATES -more-


Cartoons

Upon Further Reflection...

By Justin DeFreitas
Thursday May 29, 2008 - 03:14:00 PM

Kissing Hillary

By Justin DeFreitas
Thursday May 29, 2008 - 03:17:00 PM

Public Comment

Letters to the Editor

Thursday May 29, 2008 - 10:05:00 AM

A DISAPPOINTED PROGRESSIVE -more-


Letters to the Editor

Monday June 02, 2008 - 04:09:00 PM

Letters to the Editor

Tuesday June 03, 2008 - 02:00:00 PM

NoCoHo at the ‘Kingfish’: Anatomy of a Deception

By Bob Brokl
Thursday May 29, 2008 - 10:06:00 AM

A group of well-intentioned individuals (North Oakland Cohousing) with a laudatory goal—creation of a cohousing community in the heart of Oakland’s Temescal District—partners with local entrepreneurs of several controversial projects. They enter a marriage of convenience with a high-density/multistory advocacy group. -more-


Misinformation?

By Dave Blake
Tuesday June 03, 2008 - 08:48:00 AM

-more-


What Total Compensation Is and What It Is Not

By Tim Donnelly
Tuesday June 03, 2008 - 01:59:00 PM

There was a time in the misty, not-too-distant past, when Sacramento’s Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA ) was passed along directly to their Teachers and Classified Staff. No More. -more-


Prop. 98 Would Deeply Subvert California’s Future

By John English
Thursday May 29, 2008 - 10:07:00 AM

Our state and our cities and counties are again in grave peril. At the November 2006 general election hugely harmful Proposition 90 failed by just a slim margin. Now the same greedy special interests are back with something even worse: Proposition 98. And they’ve cleverly timed it for the June 3 primary when (because the presidential-preference contest got moved earlier) voter turnout may be woefully low. -more-


Oak Grove Issue Springs Back to Life

By Doug Buckwald
Thursday May 29, 2008 - 10:07:00 AM

Time is definitely not the thing that flies when you are living in a tree. Birds fly, to be sure, and squirrels and insects, too, and—thanks to the people on the ground below—your food flies up to you on ropes, but time passes incrementally, governed by the rhythms of nature. Sunlight, moonlight, stars, rain, wind, and the changing seasons become your clock. It has been almost one and a half years since tree sitters first occupied the threatened trees in Memorial Stadium oak grove on Piedmont Avenue, and they are still up there. They are a visible example of the concern that many in our community feel about the fate of this special natural place. -more-


The View from the Gutter

By Marvin Chachere
Thursday May 29, 2008 - 10:08:00 AM

Presidential campaign reporting wallows in the language of competitive sports, especially racing: who’s ahead, who’s losing ground, who dropped out. Political analysts, like Las Vegas odds makers, deploy their assessment of strengths and weakness in attempts to predict the outcome—“If the election were held today, so-and-so would be the winner.” The normal perspective of analysts and reporters is from outside and above the fray. What does the current presidential race look like from below, from the gutter? -more-


South Berkeley Cell Antenna Dispute: Maio Recuses Herself, Telecoms Threaten Legal Action

By Michael Barglow
Thursday May 29, 2008 - 10:09:00 AM

At the end of the May 20 Council meeting, Linda Maio recused herself on a Max Anderson motion which calls for a moratorium on cell antenna applications in the city. Maio did not explain her action. However, her husband has for many years been a tenant of developer Patrick Kennedy. Kennedy owns UC Storage. And UC Storage is the site where Kennedy would like to rent cell phone antenna space to the telecommunications industry for over $200,000 a year. -more-


Re-Imagining Berkeley as a City Within a Park

By John N. Roberts
Thursday May 29, 2008 - 10:09:00 AM

One of the most compelling visions for Berkeley’s parks included in Louise Mozingo and Marcia McNally’s study, is the early 20th century proposal that parks be part of an integrated system of large and small open spaces linked together along the natural creek channels from the hills to the bay. Underlying this vision is the seemingly revolutionary idea that natural open space would be the primary infrastructure used to define the physical form of the built environment. A century ago as this city was being formed, an enlightened thinker imagined an urban structural system for this place with nature and the built environment deliberately and dynamically balanced. And it could occur throughout the city, with all citizens having equal access to open spaces. -more-


Kawamura’s Misinformation

By Robert Lieber
Thursday May 29, 2008 - 10:10:00 AM

In a May 16 editorial on his department’s plan to eradicate the light brown apple moth (LBAM) by aerial spray and other means, California Agriculture Secretary A. G. Kawamura ac-cuses those who oppose the LBAM program of spreading “misinformation” and urges us all to rely on “sound science” and to “draw the line” on “exaggerated and unsubstantiated claims” that cause “unwarranted fear.” (www.california progressreport.com/2008/05/california_secr_6.html.) -more-


Columns

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-


Arts & Events

Arts Calendar

Thursday May 29, 2008 - 10:12:00 AM

THURSDAY, MAY 29 -more-


Kafka’s Life at the Berkeley City Club

By Ken Bullock Special to the Planet
Thursday May 29, 2008 - 10:10:00 AM

The world is full of hope. But not for us,” Franz Kafka once replied to someone who questioned the “hopelessness” of his stories. -more-


Berkeley Early Music Festival and Exhibition Begins June 3

By Ira Steingroot Special to the Planet
Thursday May 29, 2008 - 10:11:00 AM

When I first became a jazz fan (short for fanatic) in high school, I saw European classical music as the enemy. The 19th century composers were easily characterized as a pack of pretentious, highfalutin, hoity-toity, high-hat, pompous, stuffy, overstuffed, snobby, snooty, effete and elitist fuddy-duds, not to mention being middlebrow, bourgeois, sententious and musically platitudinous, to boot; instigators of gargantuan aggregations of performers intoning their vast musical stories full of profound meanings, all of which reeked of the academy and salon and smelled of the lamp. -more-


Poets Schevill, Garcia, Starck Read Monday at Moe’s

By Ken Bullock Special to the Planet
Thursday May 29, 2008 - 10:12:00 AM

Poets James Schevill and Luis Garcia, both Berkeley natives, will be joined by Clemens Starck from the Oregon coast range to read at Moe’s Books on Telegraph, 7:30 p.m. Monday, June 2, as part of the Monday At Moe’s series. Admission will be free. -more-


Shotgun Presents a New ‘Beowulf’

By Ken Bullock Special to the Planet
Thursday May 29, 2008 - 10:13:00 AM

The dressing of the stage—Ashby Stage, that is—says it all in advance of curtain. With a platform that makes the audience feel savagely ringside or fashionably rampside; a long counter below the apron with microphones set for a panel, backed by a sextet at the ready; a bank of fans as a wall behind—it’s clear the epic poem of Anglo-Saxon academe is to be subjected to a deconstruction via The Media, Big Time Wrestling and Vegas floor shows ... alliterative Beowulf has finally arrived. A little unkempt, with a sweep of gore-matted hair, in the carefully dishevelled, talking head-laden, close-up world of the early 21st century, replete with Rabbit’s Foot Mead for sale outside (sweet, but not cloying) to swill while said hero waxes grandiloquent. -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-


Community Calendar

Thursday May 29, 2008 - 09:55:00 AM

THURSDAY, MAY 29 -more-