The Week

UC Berkeley spokesperson Dan Mogulof listened Thursday as attorney Charles Olson declared the university the winner in the battle over the oak grove and the gym planned for the site of the grove.
By Richard Brenneman
UC Berkeley spokesperson Dan Mogulof listened Thursday as attorney Charles Olson declared the university the winner in the battle over the oak grove and the gym planned for the site of the grove.
 

News

Public Asks How Council Voted on Appeal

By Judith Scherr
Wednesday July 30, 2008 - 11:40:00 AM

The public doesn’t know exactly what the Berkeley City Council voted on at last Thursday’s closed-door session. And it doesn’t know how each elected official voted. -more-


Building Heights Before Planners Tonight

By Richard Brenneman
Wednesday July 30, 2008 - 09:38:00 AM

Downtown building heights are back on the planning commission agenda, monopolizing Wednesday night’s special meeting. -more-


BUSD To Unveil Latest Design to Replace Old Gym

By Riya Bhattacharjee
Monday July 28, 2008 - 04:01:00 PM

The Berkeley Unified School District will hold a public meeting Aug. 6 to discuss the latest design for new classrooms and athletic facilities on the south side of the Berkeley High campus. The district proposes to replace the landmarked Old Gym on Milvia Street, which houses the warm water pool, as outlined in the South of Bancroft Master Plan. -more-


Injunction at Oak Grove Could Be Extended 20 Days Following Appeal

By Riya Bhattacharjee
Saturday July 26, 2008 - 10:39:00 AM

The injunction preventing UC Berkeley from cutting down the Memorial Stadium oak grove to build an athletic training facility, set to expire Tuesday, could be extended for 20 days, following a notice of appeal filed Thursday by the California Oaks Foundation and the Panoramic Hill Association, according to UC’s press-spokesperson Dan Mogulof. Plaintiffs’ attorney Stephan Volker was not available for comment to confirm Mogulof’s opinion, but on Friday Volker’s office filed a petition asking the California appeals court for an immediate stay of project implementation until the appeal could be heard. -more-


Berkeley’s Fine Arts Cinema Becomes Medical Office

By Riya Bhattacharjee
Sunday July 27, 2008 - 09:39:00 PM

The ground floor of the Fine Arts Building on Shattuck Avenue— built on the site of Berkeley Fine Arts Cinema, which evolved from the historic Cinema Theatre, showcasing repertory films from all over the world—was approved to be converted to medical office by the Berkeley Zoning Adjustments Board Thursday. -more-


Flash: Berkeley City Council Declines to Appeal University Lawsuit

By Judith Scherr
Thursday July 24, 2008 - 11:45:00 PM

Despite pleas and arguments for an appeal of the city’s lawsuit against the university by an overflow crowd Thursday evening in the Berkeley City Council Chambers, the council went behind closed doors and “decided not to take action,” according to Mayor Tom Bates, who reported the action to the public. -more-


Flash: Mayor Reveals New UC Letter to Angry Audience at Post-Meeting Press Conference

By Riya Bhattacharjee
Friday July 25, 2008 - 09:39:00 AM

Boos and hisses filled the Berkeley City Council chambers Thursday night when Mayor Tom Bates announced that the council had decided not to appeal Judge Barbara Miller's decision on the UC Memorial Stadium lawsuit. The mayor revealed, after a council meeting which was closed to the public, that councilmembers had discussed a letter from the university's Vice Chancellor Nathan Brostrom on Thursday afternoon. -more-


Wednesday’s Robberies Bring Berkeley’s July Total to 45

By Kristin McFarland
Saturday July 26, 2008 - 08:47:00 PM

A rash of robberies this week brought Berkeley to a total of 45 this month, up from 25 in July 2007. -more-


A Primer on East Bay Races for the November Election

By J. Douglas Allen-Taylor
Saturday July 26, 2008 - 08:46:00 PM

While hotly contested elections are expected for Berkeley city and school board positions, Berkeley is not the only area of Alameda County where November voting will take place. -more-


Judge Rules for UC Berkeley in Oak Grove Case

By Richard Brenneman
Thursday July 24, 2008 - 09:49:00 AM

Berkeley’s tree-sitters and Memorial Stadium neighbors who had sued to block construction of a gym at the site of the adjacent oak grove were dealt a resounding setback Tuesday. -more-


Lab Promises Answers on Bevatron Contamination, Demolition

By Judith Scherr
Thursday July 24, 2008 - 09:51:00 AM

Fearing adverse health effects related to toxic debris from dismantling the Bevatron and the associated Building 51 at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and trucking the materials through the streets of Berkeley over several years, the City Council Tuesday voted 7-1 for the city manager to write a letter to the lab demanding information on more than 25 issues related to the demolition of the Bevraton. -more-


Council Says ‘Hosts’ Should Help, Not Criminalize

By Judith Scherr
Thursday July 24, 2008 - 09:52:00 AM

The City Council Tuesday cautioned against the criminalization of street people when it unanimously approved a contract for the city’s new $200,000-per-year “host” program, aimed at improving the downtown and Telegraph Avenue shopping experience by targeting people from those areas whose behavior is offensive to shoppers. -more-


Oakland Deficit Far Worse Than Estimated

By J. Douglas Allen-Taylor
Thursday July 24, 2008 - 09:52:00 AM

Oakland Mayor Ron Dellums confirmed Thursday that Oak-land’s current budget deficit is far worse than originally estimated—in the tens of millions of dollars, the mayor noted—and said that he is asking city department heads to prepare new fiscal year 2008-09 budgets that include 10 to 15 percent across-the-board cuts. -more-


Candidates Come Out for District 4, Other Offices

Thursday July 24, 2008 - 09:53:00 AM

By Judith Scherr -more-


Rockridge Residents Say No to College Ave. Safeway Expansion

By Riya Bhattacharjee
Thursday July 24, 2008 - 09:55:00 AM

After months of deliberating neighborhood concerns about Safeway’s proposed expansion plans on College Avenue, the Rockridge Community Planning Council (RCPC) has announced its decision to oppose the project. -more-


Employee Charges Downtown McDonald’s with Discrimination

By Riya Bhattacharjee
Thursday July 24, 2008 - 09:55:00 AM

The Legal Aid Society Employment Law Center of San Francisco filed charges with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission Tuesday (today), alleging that the McDonald’s in downtown Berkeley unlawfully discriminated against one of its employees and her two co-workers because of their developmental disabilities. -more-


Fine Arts Theater Space Could Become Offices

By Riya Bhattacharjee
Thursday July 24, 2008 - 09:54:00 AM

Chicago-based Equity Residential (whose chair, Sam Zell, now also owns the Los Angeles Times) will ask the Berkeley Zoning Adjustments Board Thursday (today) for a modification to the use permit for the Fine Arts Building project to allow retail or offices in a space previously approved for a 4,749-square-foot movie theater. -more-


Picnic Rock Fence Will Just Replace the Old One, Owners Say

By Riya Bhattacharjee
Thursday July 24, 2008 - 09:54:00 AM

The owners of the Sutcliff Picnic Rock in North Berkeley said a new fence will simply replace the old one at the rock. -more-


BUSD, City Differ on Moving Warm Pool to West Campus

By Riya Bhattacharjee
Thursday July 24, 2008 - 09:56:00 AM

The Berkeley Board of Education approved a resolution last week to work with the City of Berkeley to relocate the warm-water pool from the landmarked Old Gym to an appropriate location, without naming West Campus as a preferred site. -more-


Work Begins on Washington School Solar Panels

By Riya Bhattacharjee
Thursday July 24, 2008 - 09:57:00 AM

Washington Elementary is set to become the first school in the Berkeley Unified School District to go solar, once construction of photovoltaic cells on its roof is completed in August. -more-


Report Shows High B-Tech Dropout Rates

By Riya Bhattacharjee
Thursday July 24, 2008 - 09:57:00 AM

The first statewide report on high school dropout and graduation rates tracking individual students revealed a high dropout rate for African Americans and Latinos compared to other ethnic groups, state educators said. -more-


Berkeley High Gets Federal Grant To Explore Small Schools Expansion

By Riya Bhattacharjee
Thursday July 24, 2008 - 09:57:00 AM

The Berkeley Board of Education gave Berkeley High the go-ahead to move forward with a five-year federal Smaller Learning Community grant that aims to expand small school programs, provide students with a personalized college prep education and work on closing the achievement gap. -more-


Point Molate Casino Backer to Help Fund Cleanup

By Richard Brenneman
Thursday July 24, 2008 - 09:58:00 AM

The mysterious financial angel bankrolling a planned billion-dollar casino proposed for Richmond’s Point Molate has emerged from the shadows. -more-


Police Blotter

By Kristin McFarland
Thursday July 24, 2008 - 09:58:00 AM

Russell Street shooter turns himself in -more-


UC Berkeley Building Projects, Lawsuits on Regents’ Agenda

By Richard Brenneman
Thursday July 24, 2008 - 09:59:00 AM

University of California regents last week made key votes on three major Berkeley campus building projects. -more-


Planners Sail Through Pair of Downtown Plan Chapters

By Richard Brenneman
Thursday July 24, 2008 - 10:00:00 AM

Berkeley planning commissioners zipped through a chapter and a half of the Downtown Area Plan last week, including the potentially controversial section on historic buildings and design. -more-


Durant Hall Remodel Bids Due by July 31

By Richard Brenneman
Thursday July 24, 2008 - 10:00:00 AM

Bidding closes July 31 for a $7.4 million renovation of UC Berkeley’s Durant Hall. -more-


Council Extends Panoramic Hill Moratorium, Refuses Cell Phone Ban

By Judith Scherr
Thursday July 24, 2008 - 10:18:00 AM

The City Council addressed dozens of issues at its Tuesday meeting, the last before its summer break. The council reconvenes Sept. 16. -more-


DONA SPRING MEMORIAL

Thursday July 24, 2008 - 10:01:00 AM

There will be a celebration of the life of Councilmember Dona Spring beginning at 2 p.m. Aug. 10 at Civic Center park, followed by a gathering at the North Berkeley Senior Center. -more-


Opinion

Editorials

Appeal Is the Prudent Choice In UC Decision

By Becky O'Malley
Thursday July 24, 2008 - 09:50:00 AM

Today’s regular editorial, to be found in its usual place in the opinion section, was written on Tuesday, before the trial court decision on the three lawsuits against the University of California. But Judge Barbara Miller’s decision, faxed to attorneys late in the day on Tuesday, puts the Berkeley City Council suddenly on the hot seat. Because of the judge’s curious timing—some angry friends of the oaks even call it prejudicial—plaintiffs, including the City of Berkeley, have only a short week in which to file their appeals. It’s especially tough because Tuesday night was supposed to have been the last City Council meeting before the summer recess, and many other members of plaintiff groups and their attorneys are on vacation, to be expected at this time of year. -more-


Obama Leads the Way for Young Candidates

By Becky O’Malley
Thursday July 24, 2008 - 10:03:00 AM

Buyer’s Remorse is hitting the presidential sweepstakes long about now. Left-leaners are discovering that Barack Obama just might not be the messiah incarnate, might even have at least one clay foot, or perhaps a clay toe or two. They cringe when he compromises on Senate votes, even on votes where the good guys had not a prayer of winning. I’m as guilty as the next aging lefty—I unsubscribed from his web page in a fit of pique after the FISA vote. But really, does that make sense? No. -more-


Cartoons

Shirley's Platform

By Justin DeFreitas
Thursday July 24, 2008 - 12:29:00 PM

Click Here to Support Your Local Cartoonist!

By Justin DeFreitas
Tuesday July 29, 2008 - 09:50:00 AM

Public Comment

Letters to the Editor

Tuesday July 29, 2008 - 08:39:00 AM

Secret UC Berkeley Letter to the City Council Subverts Democratic Decision-Making

By Doug Buckwald
Friday July 25, 2008 - 10:03:00 AM

One never really gets used to getting thrown out of the lifeboat, no matter how many times it may have happened in the past. It is always excruciatingly shocking and painful. Last Thursday night, the city council did this to its own citizens again—right after a special closed council meeting called by the mayor to decide whether or not the city would appeal Judge Barbara Miller’s recent ruling in the Memorial Stadium oak grove case. The city decided not to appeal, thus also tossing overboard the quarter million dollars it has already invested in the case. -more-


Victory in Stadium Case Must Come on Appeal

By Antonio Rossmann
Friday July 25, 2008 - 11:58:00 AM

As predicted, Judge Miller’s decision enabled the university to “find” their way out of it, with minimal environmental commitments. (Those promises about stadium use etc should be recorded as were the UC commitments when they acquired the blind school for Clark Kerr.) I am a bit surprised that she (to use your phrase) sliced and diced the costs; that is her discretion and proves, as does her final order, that she really believed that UC won the case as originally decided. -more-


Berkeley Boosters Police Activities League: A Primer

By David Manson
Thursday July 24, 2008 - 10:06:00 AM

I just finished reading Ms. Scherr’s “article” on the new Berkeley Hosts program, and felt immediately compelled to write. -more-


Beating a Dead Horse: The Bus Rapid Transit Draft EIR

By Alan Tobey
Thursday July 24, 2008 - 10:07:00 AM

Dean Metzger (July 17) and other opponents of a Bus Rapid Transit plan that would employ dedicated lanes, continue to quote the project’s obsolescent draft environmental report (DEIR) as if it’s holy writ, and as if everything preliminarily mentioned therein will inevitably come to pass. But this stance ignores the first word in the title: The 15-month-old DEIR is indeed merely a first draft that attempts to generally describe the project, but inevitably does so in a way that all interested parties know is incomplete at best and sometimes even misleading. -more-


What’s Next In Iraq?

By Ralph Stone
Thursday July 24, 2008 - 10:07:00 AM

Sen. Barack Obama’s recent trip to Iraq is an excellent time to ask where we are in Iraq both militarily and economically. First, let’s be clear, the United States invasion and occupation of Iraq was and is about seizing and controlling its major oil fields. Those who still believe otherwise haven’t been paying attention. (By the way, an invasion to seize natural resources is illegal under the Geneva Conventions.) Thus, it would seem to be the responsibility of the United States to rebuild Iraq’s infrastructure. We broke it. We should fix it. Remember, Saddam Hussein’s regime paid $9 billion to Kuwait in reparations for its 1990 invasion. The ill-advised Iraq adventure so far has cost the United States 4,125 dead and 30,324 wounded and $538.6 billion. In addition, thousands of Iraqi civilians have died or been displaced by the war. -more-


Land-Use Consequences in Berkeley’s Southside

By Doug Buckwald
Thursday July 24, 2008 - 10:09:00 AM

Here is a news flash for those who don’t think land use issues are important: They are important! For example, in the Southside neighborhood, the university has recently added hundreds of new living spaces for students in residence halls and apartments. This has dramatically increased the percentage of students living in this area. The problem is that students are usually transient and have little interest or incentive to maintain—let alone improve—the quality of life for all residents. -more-


Emission Cuts Alone Won’t Solve the Problem

By James Singmaster
Thursday July 24, 2008 - 10:08:00 AM

In a July 17 front-page article in the San Francisco Chronicle, a poll on the public’s views on action and attitude over gas prices showed that Californians’ attitudes are changing to be more receptive to nuclear energy and offshore drilling indicating that big oil and energy companies are getting their way even here. They are backing away from taking the action, given much publicity by some of those companies, of finding energy alternatives, perhaps now even underplaying various government agencies from working on alternatives, especially hydrogen. This may backfire on them and the United States as Chinese investigators have recently reported a catalyst to generate hydrogen from water using the sun’s energy. BP has been conning the UC Berkeley and other universities with big bucks for biofuels that got debunked in the April 7 Time cover article “The Clean Energy Myth.” -more-


Protecting the Right to Marry

By Mark Coplan
Thursday July 24, 2008 - 10:09:00 AM

I just celebrated my fourth wedding anniversary with the most incredible woman. When our relationship began six years ago, I knew that she was the woman that I had spent a lifetime looking for. I knew from that moment, and so did she. -more-


Berkeley’s Green Solution

By Tom Cloutier
Thursday July 24, 2008 - 10:10:00 AM

After recently reaching the advanced age of 60, I was surprised to find that I still harbored some naive schoolboy notions. For instance, I still have this silly idea that we elect fellow citizens to carry out various tasks for which we may not have the expertise or time. I further assume there is a tacit agreement that these public employees would represent and advance the interests of their employers. This simplistic notion still forms my working definition of government. -more-


Panoramic Hill Moratorium Costly to Land Owners

By David Gilley
Thursday July 24, 2008 - 12:28:00 PM

I am writing regarding our developable legal lot at 2 Panoramic Place, Panoramic Hill, Berkeley. We understand that the Berkeley City Council may enact a residential development moratorium in the Panoramic Hill Area that targets our property. -more-


Friendship Is a Two-Way Street: KPFA's Fading Democratic Principles

By Richard Phelps
Thursday July 24, 2008 - 12:29:00 PM

I had hoped that KPFA’s "FriendRaiser" was going to be an improvement from the “Alternative Home Shopping Network." (Fundraising by recording speeches and public affairs programs, playing a teaser portion to get our interest, and then “selling” them as a “gift” for our donations.) The tragedy in this methodology is that the vast majority of KPFA’s audience is denied these programs unless they buy them.  Which means that low-income listeners are “priced out” of access and the information won’t get broad dissemination in our broadcast area, which I believe is the main reason for KPFA to exist. -more-


Letters to the Editor

Thursday July 24, 2008 - 10:04:00 AM

BERKELEY COMMUNITY MEDIA -more-


Columns

The Public Eye: Why is McCain Even Close?

By Bob Burnett
Thursday July 24, 2008 - 10:01:00 AM

Five weeks after Barack Obama clinched the Democratic nomination, the parameters of the 2008 presidential contest have been established. The battle will be waged in roughly 33 states and cost more than a billion dollars. The central issues will be gas prices, the economy, and Iraq. And, despite John McCain’s ineptness as a candidate, the race will be disturbingly close. -more-


Water Water Everywhere

By Shirley Barker Special to the Planet
Thursday July 24, 2008 - 10:02:00 AM

Water rationing strikes terror into the heart of the gardener. How on earth can one conserve water and maintain healthy plants? -more-


Undercurrents: Mayoral Race, Perata Case May Explain Political Maneuvering

By J. Douglas Allen-Taylor
Thursday July 24, 2008 - 10:03:00 AM

To understand the political maneuvering currently going on in Oakland, one has to take into account two events. The first is the possible pending federal indictment of State Senator Don Perata. The second is the upcoming 2010 Oakland mayoral election. These two elements certainly don’t fully explain everything, but leaving them out of your equations will leave you hopelessly confused. -more-


Wild Neighbors: Rabid Bats in Berkeley

By Joe Eaton
Thursday July 24, 2008 - 10:20:00 AM

A rabid bat was found on July 15 in the Sonoma-Hopkins Triangle area of North Berkeley. According to Manuel Ramirez of the Environmental Health Division of the city’s Health and Human Services Department, it was identified as a California myotis, a common western bat species. -more-


East Bay Then and Now: Civil War Hero Established a Military Dynasty

By Daniella Thompson
Thursday July 24, 2008 - 10:18:00 AM
The two McCleave rental houses (l to r), 1510 and 1506 Oxford St.

On Feb. 4, 1904, the San Francisco Call published the following obituary: -more-


Remembering Paul Mickiewicz

By Matt Cantor
Thursday July 24, 2008 - 10:20:00 AM
Paul Mickiewicz with his daughter Miranda in an undated photo.

There is, for me, no virtue greater than kindness. The world suffers for an inadequacy of this greatest of dispositions and today the world is a little more deficient for the loss of our friend Paul, who knew kindness as both student and teacher. -more-


Arts & Events

Arts Calendar

Thursday July 24, 2008 - 10:10:00 AM

MONDAY, JULY 28 -more-


Mari Marks: Process with Natural Matter

By Peter Selz Special to the Planet
Thursday July 24, 2008 - 10:11:00 AM
A painting from the Mari Marks exhibit, on display through Sept. 3 at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley.

Mari Mark’s works, presently seen in a fine installation by Nicolas Ukranic at the Graduate Theological Union Library, are luminous encaustic paintings. Some are heavily textured, others reveal their smooth wax surface. Some are translucent, others appear opaque. They are open to free association by the viewer. They may suggest clouds, sand, rippling water, ploughed earth, heavy fog—everything from mountain ranges and deep canyons to bee hives and fingerprints. They can also evoke a sense of turmoil as well as a feeling of peace. A special luminosity seems to emerge from the material and the process employed by the artist. -more-


African-American Shakespeare Co. Stages Moliere’s ‘Tartuffe’

By Ken Bullock Special to the Planet
Thursday July 24, 2008 - 10:11:00 AM

A young couple, forced to part, goes through mutual recriminations, put right by a knowing maidservant: “Give me your hands.” At the protest, “I don’t see much point in it,” she replies, “There hasn’t been much point in the past five minutes. Remember you’re in love.” And they do. -more-


Noel Coward’s ‘Hay Fever’ at Altarena Playhouse

By Ken Bullock Special to the Planet
Thursday July 24, 2008 - 10:16:00 AM

"Nudity can be a beautiful thing, Clara.” “Blimey! Perhaps me being a dresser has spoiled my eye for it!” -more-


‘Merry Wives’ New Vaudeville Style at Art Center

By Ken Bullock Special to the Planet
Thursday July 24, 2008 - 10:17:00 AM

Uh-one, uh-two ...” Not Lawrence Welk but Sir John Falstaff—or is that Geoffrey Pond of Subterranean Shakespeare in the outlandish tie and suspenders?—gives the downbeat, and accompanied by the unlikely tinkle of a toy piano, launches into “This Guy’s in Love With You,” with female chorus, to open Subterranean Shakespeare’s Merry Wives of Windsor in “new vaudeville” style, as directed by Katya Rivera, at the Berkeley Art Center in Live Oak Park. -more-


Moving Picures: Film Documents Would-Be President’s 2006 Trip to Africa

By Justin DeFreitas,
Thursday July 24, 2008 - 10:15:00 AM

In August of 2006, Illinois Senator Barack Obama embarked on a diplomatic trip to Africa. Along the way, he made his first visit in 14 years to Kenya, birthplace of his father. Thousands turned out to see the would-be president wherever he went, and to his credit Obama sought to make the most of it, using every appearance to draw attention to the issues of the region. -more-


East Bay Then and Now: Civil War Hero Established a Military Dynasty

By Daniella Thompson
Thursday July 24, 2008 - 10:18:00 AM
The two McCleave rental houses (l to r), 1510 and 1506 Oxford St.

On Feb. 4, 1904, the San Francisco Call published the following obituary: -more-


Remembering Paul Mickiewicz

By Matt Cantor
Thursday July 24, 2008 - 10:20:00 AM
Paul Mickiewicz with his daughter Miranda in an undated photo.

There is, for me, no virtue greater than kindness. The world suffers for an inadequacy of this greatest of dispositions and today the world is a little more deficient for the loss of our friend Paul, who knew kindness as both student and teacher. -more-


Community Calendar

Thursday July 24, 2008 - 09:59:00 AM

MONDAY, JULY 28 -more-