The Week

Susan Hanks (left) was one of three disabled workers laid off by the McDonald’s franchise at University and Shattuck avenues in downtown Berkeley. Hanks was joined Tuesday in protesting the restaurant by her brother Larry and his partner Aurora Fox.
By Riya Bhattacharjee
Susan Hanks (left) was one of three disabled workers laid off by the McDonald’s franchise at University and Shattuck avenues in downtown Berkeley. Hanks was joined Tuesday in protesting the restaurant by her brother Larry and his partner Aurora Fox.
 

News

Building Boom Continues in Downtown Berkeley

By Richard Brenneman
Tuesday August 05, 2008 - 05:16:00 PM

The business of building is still booming, at least for the moment, in the heart of downtown Berkeley. -more-


Cody’s Won’t Refund Customer Gift Vouchers

By Riya Bhattacharjee
Tuesday August 05, 2008 - 05:17:00 PM

Cody’s Books, which closed down forever on June 20 and is currently in the process of liquidating all its assets, will not provide any books or refunds to customers with store credit, according to company officials. -more-


City Workers Vote for 13.5 Percent Raises and Bonuses for Longevity

By Judith Scherr
Tuesday August 05, 2008 - 05:15:00 PM

City Manager Phil Kamlarz talks about belt-tightening and eliminating vacant positions in these hard budget times. Still, city workers-many of them, at least-won't be dining on bread and water, according to reports received by the Daily Planet. -more-


City Discusses Helmet Enforcement for Berkeley Skate Park Users

By Riya Bhattacharjee
Monday August 04, 2008 - 09:37:00 PM

Berkeley has long had a law mandating skateboarders to helmets and other protective gear, but it has been ignored, largely due to enforcement limitations. -more-


Decades-Old Nolo Press Might Move Out of West Berkeley

By Riya Bhattacharjee
Saturday August 02, 2008 - 09:21:00 PM

Nolo Press, which has operated out of a renovated clock factory in West Berkeley for the last 30 years, plans to move from its location at Ninth Street and might relocate from Berkeley altogether, company officials said Friday. -more-


Silence Plus Torture Equals Complicity, Billboard Says

By Judith Scherr
Friday August 01, 2008 - 04:43:00 PM

Peace activists have taken a page from the book of Budweiser and—in addition to using the web and other modern means—are spreading their message by old fashioned billboard advertising. -more-


Oakland Councilmember Files Lawsuit Against Chronicle Columnist Over Corruption Allegations

By J. Douglas Allen-Taylor
Friday August 01, 2008 - 10:01:00 PM

Oakland City Councilmember Desley Brooks has filed a defamation lawsuit against the San Francisco Chronicle and its East Bay columnist, Chip Johnson, over an item written about her by Johnson in a June 24 column. The lawsuit, filed in Superior Court in Oakland on Tuesday, alleges that the June 24 column item “began a campaign [by Chip Johnson] to smear and defame the reputation of Desley Brooks.” -more-


Commission High-Rise Vote Calls for Point Tower Study

By Richard Brenneman
Thursday July 31, 2008 - 09:37:00 PM

The ongoing struggle over the shape of Berkeley’s future skyline gained a higher profile during a lengthy session of the city Planning Commission on Wednesday night. -more-


Extended Stay Comes to Downtown Berkeley

By Riya Bhattacharjee
Thursday July 31, 2008 - 09:37:00 PM

Visitors, business travelers and international students at UC Berkeley might be able to soon stay in the city for up to a year without having to worry about signing leases or dealing with fussy landlords. -more-


Council Declines to Appeal UC Lawsuit

By Judith Scherr and Riya Bhattacharjee
Thursday July 31, 2008 - 09:54:00 AM

Despite pleas and arguments for an appeal of the city’s lawsuit against the university by an overflow crowd last 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-


Stadium Appeal Halts Construction for Now

By Richard Brenneman
Thursday July 31, 2008 - 09:57:00 AM

The legal battle over the grove where tree-sitters and a now-threatened injunction have stymied UC Berkeley’s growth plans has entered a new forum—minus, for now, one litigant. -more-


Public Asks How Council Voted in Closed Session

By Judith Scherr
Thursday July 31, 2008 - 09:58:00 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-


Disabled Criticize Restaurant’s Alleged Discrimination Against Employees

By Riya Bhattacharjee
Thursday July 31, 2008 - 09:58:00 AM

Disability rights advocates in wheelchairs held a protest Tuesday in front of the downtown Berkeley McDonald’s at University and Shattuck avenues, against what they said was unlawful discrimination against three of its disabled employees. -more-


Cody’s Stock to be Sold to Pay Bank

By Riya Bhattacharjee
Thursday July 31, 2008 - 09:59:00 AM

Books and furniture belonging to Cody’s Books, which closed its doors for good on June 20 after 52 years due to dwindling sales, will be sold next week to pay off a Uniform Commercial Code lien in favor of Summit Bank, according to Mindy Galoob, the store’s former general manager. -more-


Summertime and the Election Heats Up

By Judith Scherr
Thursday July 31, 2008 - 09:59:00 AM

It’s almost August, laid-back vacation time for some. But for candidates for local offices, it’s time to sharpen elbows and dust off the cleats. -more-


Sunday Convention Will Choose Rent Stabilization Board Slate

By Judith Scherr
Thursday July 31, 2008 - 10:00:00 AM

On Sunday, a group of self-identified progressives will select five candidates to form a slate to fill the five vacancies on the Berkeley Rent Stabilization Board. -more-


Space Once Set Aside for Cinema Will Become Medical Offices

By Riya Bhattacharjee
Thursday July 31, 2008 - 10:01:00 AM

The ground floor of the Fine Arts Building on Shattuck Avenue—built on the former 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 space by the Berkeley Zoning Adjustments Board last week. -more-


BUSD to Unveil Latest Design to Replace Old Gym

By Riya Bhattacharjee
Thursday July 31, 2008 - 10:01:00 AM

The Berkeley Unified School District will hold a public meeting Wednesday 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-


BUSD to Show West Campus Rehabilitation Plans

By Riya Bhattacharjee
Thursday July 31, 2008 - 10:02:00 AM

The Berkeley Unified School District at a public meeting on Monday is scheduled to unveil a plan to rehabilitate West Campus before taking it to the Berkeley Board of Education later in the month. -more-


High School Graduation Rates Mixed

By Riya Bhattacharjee
Thursday July 31, 2008 - 10:02:00 AM

The 82 percent graduation rate for the Berkeley Unified School District in 2006–07 is higher than the state level (79.5 percent) but lower than the county level (84 percent), according to data released by the California Department of Education Tuesday as required by federal No Child Left Behind standards. -more-


Berkeley High Beat: Summer School Is Out

By Rio Bauce
Thursday July 31, 2008 - 10:03:00 AM

Last Friday, 450 students finished classes for summer school at Berkeley High School (BHS). While most of BHS’s 3,200 students have already been enjoying summer for the last month, many kids have been diligently attending school to receive credit for courses that they either failed or failed to take during regularly scheduled school. -more-


State Party Money Was Key In Hancock-Chan Primary

By J. Douglas Allen-Taylor
Thursday July 31, 2008 - 10:03:00 AM

What determines under what circumstances—and how energetically—the California Democratic Party intervenes in contested Democratic primaries? -more-


Conflicting Agendas Over West Berkeley Project

By Richard Brenneman
Thursday July 31, 2008 - 10:04:00 AM

The effort to change West Berkeley zoning regulations has produced an unusual show of amity after an initially tense confrontation between city staff and neighborhood activists. -more-


Berkeley Robberies Up in July

By Kristin McFarland
Thursday July 31, 2008 - 10:05:00 AM

A rash of robberies in the past week brings Berkeley to a total of 50 this month, up from 25 in July 2007. -more-


First Person: Not a Time to Be a Smoker

By Al Winslow
Thursday July 31, 2008 - 10:06:00 AM

I’ve smoked cigarettes for 52 years, which is pushing my luck. Statistically, I should have been dead six years ago. -more-


News Analysis: Why Labor Lost on May Day

By Phil McArdle Special to the Planet
Thursday July 31, 2008 - 10:07:00 AM

My wife and I were visiting England when the Labor Party suffered its resounding defeat in the municipal elections held on May Day. Labor’s debacle may offer lessons for us and our own politicians. -more-


Crusader for Justice: Peter Mutnick, 1949-2008

By Ted Friedman Special to the Planet
Thursday July 31, 2008 - 10:08:00 AM
Peter Mutnick

Peter Mutnick was mad as hell and he wasn’t going to take it anymore. So he sued UC Berkeley and the city all the way to the Supreme Court. He died peacefully last week in the Oncology Unit at Alta Bates at the age of 59. He was a frequent contributor to the Daily Planet’s opinion pages. -more-


Opinion

Editorials

American Democracy, Ideal Versus Real

By Becky O’Malley
Thursday July 31, 2008 - 10:10:00 AM

One day this week, much to my surprise, I pledged allegiance, sang the national anthem, and had my picture taken next to an American flag with an immigration service official. Why? one might ask, as I asked myself. Because a friend was being admitted to an exclusive society, becoming a naturalized American citizen, and despite all of our griping about what’s wrong with this country of ours, he thinks it’s great, and so do I. -more-


Cartoons

The Clip-'n'-Go Endangered Frog

By Justin DeFreitas
Friday August 01, 2008 - 12:22:00 PM

Click Here to Support Your Local Cartoonist!

By Justin DeFreitas
Friday August 01, 2008 - 12:23:00 PM

Public Comment

Letters to the Editor

Thursday July 31, 2008 - 10:11:00 AM

CODY’S REPLACEMENT -more-


Letters to the Editor

Monday August 04, 2008 - 07:56:00 PM

Council’s Closed Session Discussion Violated Brown Act

By Shirley Dean
Thursday July 31, 2008 - 10:14:00 AM

I believe that actions taken by the City Council during its July 24 closed session are in violation of the Brown Act, California’s “sunshine” law. The City Council needs to take action immediately to correct that violation and put in place a procedure that enhances the public’s right to know information vital to their comments regarding subjects to be discussed in closed sessions. -more-


Questioning the AC Transit-Van Hool Partnership

By Joyce Roy
Tuesday August 05, 2008 - 03:23:00 PM

AC Transit began displaying a proto-type Van Hool 40-foot, two-door, low-aisle bus in June. After a few mechanical fixes, it is now ready for the rubber to hit the road. And they have prepared a survey for riders. -more-


Council Actions Subverted Democratic Decision-Making

By Doug Buckwald
Thursday July 31, 2008 - 10:14:00 AM

Last Thursday night, the Berkeley City Council threw its citizens out of the lifeboat again—this time in 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. Not only that, the City Council appears to have violated the Brown Act in the process, and may be about to give up all rights to any future court challenges to the university’s legally questionable plans for the reconstruction of Memorial Stadium. This goes beyond simple sell-out and ventures into the realm of serious civic misconduct. -more-


Council Won’t Explain Non-Decision Decision

By Terry Francke
Tuesday August 05, 2008 - 03:26:00 PM

As reported in the Berkeley Daily Planet, no city official will disclose which members of the Berkeley City Council supported or opposed the possible appeal of what may be the city’s most controversial court loss this year. -more-


Dona Spring, Tom Bates, and the Sound of Silence

By Elliot Cohen
Thursday July 31, 2008 - 10:17:00 AM

I have not written to the Daily Planet often in the past few years because the current state of our city is so depressing that I don’t know where to start. But the passing of Dona Spring has made me start thinking again of all the work that needs to be done. -more-


Victory in UC Stadium Case Must Come on Appeal

By Antonio Rossman
Thursday July 31, 2008 - 10:18:00 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 the Planet’s 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-


Connecting the Dots

By Kingman Lim
Thursday July 31, 2008 - 10:19:00 AM

I’ve had the honor and pleasure of being able to participate in the oak grove tree-sit for the last 600-plus days. I’ve had the opportunity to meet members of my community who feel the same way I do about the state of the world, the state of our country, and the state of our city. I’ve been able to see and experience how “police state” and “fascism”—words that I usually associate with some other country in some other time period—are actually a lot closer to home that I thought. The UC Berkeley Police Department, however unprofessional and unreasonable they have been, I now see are quite predictably acting in service of their chancellor and UC Regent masters. -more-


Kids, Alcohol and Science: A Warning to Parents

By Karen Klitz, Laura Menard and Ralph Adams
Thursday July 31, 2008 - 10:19:00 AM

EDITOR’S NOTE: This is the first installment of a two-part commentary. The second will run in the coming weeks. -more-


Using Loss to Fuel Gain: My Rent Board Candidacy

By Igor Tregub
Thursday July 31, 2008 - 10:19:00 AM

They say that a loss is an opportunity for gain and that a trial simply fuels the flames of passion. In my case, I have seen what struggle looks like firsthand, in the form of undergoing a forced eviction due to circumstances beyond my control. -more-


Columns

Dispatches From The Edge: Nukes—An Uncomfortable Conversation

By Conn Hallinan
Thursday July 31, 2008 - 10:09:00 AM

Why are Henry Kissinger, George Schultz, William Perry and Sam Nunn writing opinion pieces in the Wall Street Journal calling for the abolition of nuclear weapons? It’s a good question and the reasons are worth thinking about. -more-


Undercurrents: A Question on the Role of the President and the Military

By J. Douglas Allen-Taylor
Thursday July 31, 2008 - 10:09:00 AM

The question of the day in the American presidential race appears to be: Why is Barack Obama not further ahead of John McCain, given the current political climate and recent developments? -more-


Wild Neighbors: The Subterraneans—Life Among the Pocket Gophers

By Joe Eaton
Thursday July 31, 2008 - 10:25:00 AM

Years ago, probably while watching a bird or watching for a bird, I saw a dandelion move. Not a breeze-driven sway, but a sort of convulsive shudder. And then it slowly retracted into the ground. It was like watching one of those nature-documentary time-lapse sequences in reverse. Then I realized a pocket gopher must be at work. -more-


About the House: Is Cooperative Housing for You?

By Matt Cantor
Thursday July 31, 2008 - 10:24:00 AM

Years ago, when my girls were little, I began to realize that the world, my world really, was partitioned up into two distinct groups. People that had kids and those who didn’t. Now that I had found myself in the former group I slowly started to see some underlying differences between people in the two groups. These are, of course, generalities and there are lots of exceptions but it is clear that those who carry the unflagging responsibility for other people are altered by the process and forced, as I certainly was, to grow up. This is, naturally a very broad statement and I think can only be seen in relative terms. -more-


Arts & Events

Arts Calendar

Thursday July 31, 2008 - 10:20:00 AM

THURSDAY, JULY 31 -more-


‘The Matchmaker’ at Live Oak Park

By Ken Bullock Special to the Planet
Thursday July 31, 2008 - 10:21:00 AM

A prosperous—and obstreperous—dry goods merchant in Belle Epoque suburban Yonkers forbids his daughter to marry a young artist, all the while planning a marriage himself, bride-to-be as yet unknown. Having engaged a matchmaker of great certitude and byzantine machinations, the shopkeeper prepares to descend on Manhattan with his counselor to visit his apparently intended, a millineress. -more-


Central Works Stages Gary Graves’ ‘Midsummer / 4’ at Berkeley City Club

By Ken Bullock Special to the Planet
Thursday July 31, 2008 - 10:21:00 AM

Above a leaf-pattern carpet, the narrow eyes and wry smile of a strange man look out through foliage, a funny portrait above the mantel. Or are the leaves growing from his face? (The painting is King of the Green Men, by Brian Froud.) -more-


Festival Features Two Readings of Gardley’s Work-in-Progress

By Ken Bullock Special to the Planet
Thursday July 31, 2008 - 10:23:00 AM

Alabama churchgoers sway in their pews, back and forth between testifying with a sanctimonious air and buzzing with gossip. “Lord, it’s hot! Hot as Hades ... in a gut-bucket town, a hundred degrees ... nowhere to go, too hot to drive around, too hot to leave the house!” Some suddenly freeze in attitudes of suspicion as the ensemble builds to a crescendo, writhing, rubbing their hands and exclaiming in unison: “We’re hot—because our church is on fire—and we’re trapped!” -more-


Books: Consumerism and the ‘Inverted Quarantine’

By Conn Hallinan Special to the Planet
Thursday July 31, 2008 - 10:22:00 AM

Bookstore shelves groan with volumes on how the world is out to get us. Authors tell us that what we eat, drink and breathe are just a slow way to commit suicide. The media is full of crime stories, drug busts and murders. It’s a wonder people get out of bed in the morning. -more-


About the House: Is Cooperative Housing for You?

By Matt Cantor
Thursday July 31, 2008 - 10:24:00 AM

Years ago, when my girls were little, I began to realize that the world, my world really, was partitioned up into two distinct groups. People that had kids and those who didn’t. Now that I had found myself in the former group I slowly started to see some underlying differences between people in the two groups. These are, of course, generalities and there are lots of exceptions but it is clear that those who carry the unflagging responsibility for other people are altered by the process and forced, as I certainly was, to grow up. This is, naturally a very broad statement and I think can only be seen in relative terms. -more-


Community Calendar

Thursday July 31, 2008 - 10:06:00 AM

THURSDAY, JULY 31 -more-