The Week

The Oxford Plaza housing project, left, and David Brower Center, right, are both expected to open early in 2009.
By Richard Brenneman
The Oxford Plaza housing project, left, and David Brower Center, right, are both expected to open early in 2009.
 

News

Flash: Missing Rice University Student Arrested on UC Berkeley Campus

By Riya Bhattacharjee
Wednesday August 13, 2008 - 09:36:00 PM

UC police located missing Rice University student Matthew Wilson in Dwinelle Hall on the UC Berkeley campus tonight (Wednesday), and are investigating him for theft of university property, according to the Berkeley Police Department and UC Berkeley police. -more-


Richmond Meeting Addresses Toxic Cleanup Health Concerns

By Richard Brenneman
Tuesday August 12, 2008 - 05:45:00 PM

Contra Costa County Public Health Director Wendel Brunner and three state officials will present a draft public health assessment of Richmond’s Campus Bay site during a public meeting Thursday night. -more-


Bomb Scare at Bayer Plant Halts Seventh Street Traffic

By Richard Brenneman
Tuesday August 12, 2008 - 05:38:00 PM

A bomb scare forced evacuation of Bayer employees in West Berkeley Wednesday morning, ending only after the Berkeley bomb squad blasted a suspicious suitcase with water and found nothing but papers inside. -more-


Four Candidates Disqualified in Berkeley Political Races

By Riya Bhattacharjee
Tuesday August 12, 2008 - 05:36:00 PM

Four people who did not have 20 valid signatures on their nomination forms, as required by state law, were disqualified from running in Berkeley’s 2008 municipal elections Monday, city officials said. -more-


Santa Cruz and UC Settle Development Plan Suit

By Richard Brenneman
Monday August 11, 2008 - 10:34:00 PM

While Berkeley has been going through a highly public confrontation over expansion of its University of California campus, a similar dispute has ended in Santa Cruz. -more-


Berkeley Remembers Councilmember Dona Spring at Sunday’s Memorial

By Riya Bhattacharjee and Rio Bauce
Monday August 11, 2008 - 10:01:00 PM

More than 100 local activists, city officials and community members—some in wheelchairs—paid homage to Dona Spring, one of Berkeley’s most beloved public figures, at a memorial gathering at Martin Luther King Jr. Civic Center Park Sunday. -more-


Court Says Homeschooling OK in California

By Riya Bhattacharjee
Saturday August 09, 2008 - 02:29:00 PM

The Second District Court of Appeal reversed itself and ruled Friday that parents in California had the right to homeschool their children even if they lacked teaching credentials under state law. -more-


AC Transit Van Hool Survey Comes Too Late

By J. Douglas Allen-Taylor
Saturday August 09, 2008 - 02:18:00 PM

AC Transit says it wants to get community feedback on the re-engineered Van Hool buses soon to go out on local routes, but the timing of the district’s public input process appears to make it unlikely that any suggestions or criticisms will come in time to have much effect on the buses’ manufacture. -more-


Berkeley High Teacher Dies in Philippines While On Fulbright Scholarship

By Riya Bhattacharjee and Rio Bauce
Friday August 08, 2008 - 03:31:00 PM
Berkeley International High School teacher Kalpna Mistry passed away Aug. 4 while on a Fulbright Scholarship to the Philippines.

Kalpna Mistry, a global studies teacher at Berkeley International High School, died from natural causes Monday, Aug. 4 while on a Fulbright Scholarship to the Philippines. -more-


Court Says Appeal Must Wait for Final Trial Court Judgment; Injunction in Place At Least Until Aug. 25

By Richard Brenneman
Friday August 08, 2008 - 05:39:00 PM

Three state appellate court justices said Thursday that it is too soon for them to hear the plaintiffs’ appeal challenging the trial court decision on UC Berkeley’s plans for Memorial Stadium and the adjacent grove The ruling leaves an injunction barring construction and demolition of the grove in place at least until after a hearing later this month. -more-


BUSD Unveils Design to Replace Berkeley High’s Old Gym

By Riya Bhattacharjee
Thursday August 07, 2008 - 09:01:00 PM

Parents, teachers and athletic coaches crowded inside the Berkeley High School library Wednesday for their first look at the Berkeley Unified School District’s new design for classrooms and sports facilities to replace the landmarked Old Gym on Milvia Street. -more-


Many East Bay Incumbents Face No Challengers

By J. Douglas Allen-Taylor
Thursday August 07, 2008 - 03:25:00 PM

With only one day left for candidates to file for the November elections, online filing records at the offices of the Alameda and Contra Costa Registrar of Voters indicate that not many have yet taken the plunge. -more-


UC Berkeley Biofuel Critic Fires a Farewell Salvo

By Richard Brenneman
Thursday August 07, 2008 - 12:49:00 PM

Tad Patzek bid his farewell to Berkeley Saturday, launching a final, stinging attack on the university’s half-billion-dollar-partnership to turn plants into fuels. -more-


Dellums Gets Celebrity Treatment on Tour of Oakland National Night Out Events

By J. Douglas Allen-Taylor
Thursday August 07, 2008 - 12:48:00 PM

If Mayor Ron Dellums is losing popularity in Oakland, as has been suggested by recent polling data, it wasn’t apparent in this week’s National Night Out events in the city. -more-


Downtown Building Boom Continues

By Richard Brenneman
Thursday August 07, 2008 - 09:34:00 AM

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


Thursday July 10, 2008 - 06:40:00 PM

Football Coach Tops UC Payscale at $2.8 Million

By Rio Bauce Special to the Planet
Thursday August 07, 2008 - 11:13:00 AM

The University of California released its annual employee compensation report last week, reporting both the base pay and gross pay, as well as overtime pay, of its 170,000 employees. UC Berkeley has 21,836 employees. -more-


University Sends Mixed Messages Over Stadium

By Richard Brenneman
Thursday August 07, 2008 - 11:46:00 AM

UC Berkeley seems to be telling the Berkeley City Council one thing about its construction plans at Memorial Stadium while telling something different to the state Court of Appeal. -more-


City Workers Vote for Raises, Longevity Bonuses

By Judith Scherr
Thursday August 07, 2008 - 11:54:00 AM

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-


Services and Celebration for Dona Spring This Sunday

Thursday August 07, 2008 - 11:52:00 AM

A memorial service for former councilmember Dona Spring, who died July 13, will be held from 2-4 p.m. Sunday at Civic Center Park (Martin Luther King Jr. Way, between Center Street and Allston Way). Seating at the memorial service is park-style, so those who attend are asked to bring blankets or folding chairs. Wheelchair users will be given priority for the paved areas in front. -more-


Parks and Rec Commission Recommends Fee Increases

By Riya Bhattacharjee
Thursday August 07, 2008 - 11:55:00 AM

If a proposal by the city’s Parks and Recreation Commission is approved by the City Council in September, Berkeley residents will have to wait longer for senior citizen discounts for some city programs. -more-


Landmark Status Considered For David Brower’s House

By Riya Bhattacharjee
Thursday August 07, 2008 - 11:56:00 AM

The Berkeley Landmarks Preservation Commission will decide whether to designate the childhood home of noted writer and environmentalist David Brower as a city landmark at a public meeting today (Thursday). -more-


Zoning Board Approves Permit For Extended-Stay Hotel

By Riya Bhattacharjee
Thursday August 07, 2008 - 11:57:00 AM

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


Commission High-Rise Vote Calls for Point Tower Study

By Richard Brenneman
Thursday August 07, 2008 - 11:58:00 AM

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


Peace Activists Use Billboard to Call for Firing of UC Law Professor

By Judith Scherr
Thursday August 07, 2008 - 12:00:00 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-


Cody’s Won’t Refund Gift Vouchers

By Riya Bhattacharjee
Thursday August 07, 2008 - 12:01:00 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-


Decades-Old Nolo Press Might Move Out of West Berkeley

By Riya Bhattacharjee
Thursday August 07, 2008 - 12:02:00 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. -more-


City Discusses Helmet Enforcement for Skate Park Users

By Riya Bhattacharjee
Thursday August 07, 2008 - 12:11:00 PM

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


BUSD’s New West Campus Design Draws Enthusiasm

By Riya Bhattacharjee
Thursday August 07, 2008 - 12:12:00 PM

More than 30 West Berkeley residents supported the Berkeley Unified School District’s plans to refurbish the old Bonar Street red-brick building at West Campus at a community meeting Monday. The district plans to use the building as its new headquarters. -more-


Tregub Is Top Rent Board Slate Vote-Getter

By Al Winslow - Special to the Planet
Thursday August 07, 2008 - 12:13:00 PM

Igor Tregub, 23, a recent UC Berkeley graduate, was the top vote-getter at a convention this week to pick five progressive candidates to run on as a slate for the Berkeley Rent Stabilization Board. -more-


Oakland Councilmember Sues Chronicle Columnist

By J. Douglas Allen-Taylor
Thursday August 07, 2008 - 12:16:00 PM

Oakland City Councilmember Desley Brooks filed a defamation lawsuit last week 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. -more-


Local DMV Workers Protest Wage, Job Cuts

By Rio Bauce
Thursday August 07, 2008 - 12:14:00 PM

Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) workers across the Bay Area held protests outside DMV offices on Monday to protest Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s plan to reduce state worker wages to the federal minimum wage of $6.55 per hour from the California minimum wage of $8 per hour. -more-


Opinion

Editorials

Editorial:The Locavore’s Dilemma: Finding Places to Plant

By Becky O'Malley
Thursday August 07, 2008 - 12:03:00 PM

On your left! Slow Food, coming up fast. A movement once associated with European elites will be convening in San Francisco over Labor Day weekend, bringing an advertised 50,000 devotees along to celebrate the virtues of thinking globally but eating locally. -more-


Cartoons

Wishing Well

By Justin DeFreitas
Saturday August 09, 2008 - 11:56:00 AM

Public Comment

Letters to the Editor

Thursday August 07, 2008 - 12:05:00 PM

WINDFALL PROFITS ARE THEFT -more-


Letters to the Editor

Monday August 11, 2008 - 12:22:00 PM

Commentary: Council Won’t Explain Non-Decision Decision

By Terry Francke
Thursday August 07, 2008 - 12:22:00 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-


Commentary: Brown Act

Thursday August 07, 2008 - 12:30:00 PM

BROWN ACT -more-


Commentary: Questioning the AC Transit-Van Hool Partnership

By Joyce Roy
Thursday August 07, 2008 - 12:27:00 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-


Commentary: Why the City Should Not Back Down

By Janice Thomas
Thursday August 07, 2008 - 12:31:00 PM

Although the focus in the court room and the press has been on the significance of a beautiful stand of coastal live oaks west of Memorial Stadium, lawsuits filed by the City of Berkeley and the Panoramic Hill Association have, from day one, also been directed toward public safety and quality of life (traffic) impacts from the entirety of projects officially named the Southeast Campus Integrated Projects (SCIP). -more-


Commentary: Discerning Change

By Irving Gershenberg
Thursday August 07, 2008 - 12:33:00 PM

Two three years from now, looking back at this upcoming election, with an Obama or McCain in the White House, how might we tell if their promise of change has, or is being, fulfilled? Yes, here during the summer of 2008, awaiting election day, we have been promised change, and change we do desire. But what that change might consist of remains elusive, vague. What we do have, and in abundance, is rhetoric, the promise of change. Of course, we know for certain, come Jan. 20, one kind of change that we will surely get is the departure of President Bush. But if that is all, if nothing else, noting substantial changes, then will we still be content to say that change indeed has occurred? -more-


Commentary:Fast Times at the Planning Commission

By John English
Thursday August 07, 2008 - 12:35:00 PM

On July 30 I witnessed the Planning Commission’s session regarding the Downtown Area Plan. The meeting was distressingly chaotic and it seems that at times some participants got confused. -more-


Commentary: UC Berkeley Ignores New Earthquake Safety Report

By Scott Wachenheim and Doug Buckwald
Thursday August 07, 2008 - 12:36:00 PM

It is not widely known that a new, updated seismic hazard evaluation method has been adopted by UC Berkeley as their new standard for review of their construction projects. This state-of-the-art evaluation methodology, developed by URS (a major engineering and consulting firm based in San Francisco), is detailed in the firm’s report, “Updated Probabilistic Seismic Hazard Evaluation and Development of Seismic Design Ground Motions.” It uses the latest data and research about fault hazards to predict building motions and possible damage during any major earthquake. -more-


Commentary: Recent BRT Revelations Support Critics’ Concerns

By Glen Kohler
Thursday August 07, 2008 - 12:38:00 PM

Recent revelations about Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) support the reservations expressed by critics. The extent of the harm this entrepreneurial free-for-all threatens to do to our community goes beyond the imaginings of early naysayers. Ever since David Stoloff’s hand was stayed from surreptitiously giving the Ashby BART parking lot to his developer pals there have been continuous attempts upon Berkeley’s buildings and rights of way: Laurie Capitelli’s recent assault on North Berkeley at Shattuck and Rose, stymied for now by people who live and work there; the Southside plan—a monumental script for inconvenience and pedestrian and bicycle un-safety. But that won’t happen for some time if at all. -more-


Columns

The Public Eye: The Trash Talk Express

By Bob Burnett
Thursday August 07, 2008 - 12:18:00 PM

Once upon a time, John McCain merited his reputation as a maverick politician, a “truth teller.” Reporters fought to get on his campaign bus, “the straight talk express,” because they expected to hear the Arizona senator spew uncensored opinions on a variety of subjects. Alas, those days are over. Three months from the presidential election, McCain has decided his only hope of besting Barack Obama is to wage a negative campaign. Get on board the trash talk express. -more-


UnderCurrents: Which Campaign Benefited Most from Racial Flap?

By J. Douglas Allen-Taylor
Thursday August 07, 2008 - 12:21:00 PM

It is understandable why there is considerable anxiety and antsyness amongst the Democratic Party faithful as we enter summer’s doggish days. We have, after all, seen this played out twice before in recent elections—a lead beginning to slip away in a presidential race in which all the stars seemed lined up for a Democratic win. In both instances—2000 and again in 2004—the Democratic candidates were done in by a combination of their own mistakes and a Republican manipulation of electoral rules to disenfranchise key Democratic constituencies as well as playing upon the shallowest instincts of the electorate (as well as, of course, the help of a Supreme Court largely picked by one of the candidate’s Daddies). Thus went Gore. Thus went Kerry. Thus goes Obama? -more-


Wild Neighbors: Tools of the Trade: Through The Eyes of a Dragonfly

By Joe Eaton
Thursday August 07, 2008 - 12:58:00 PM
Meadowhawk dragonfly at rest on thistle.

I’m gratified to see that the History Channel is branching out into prehistory, with a new series on the evolution of various organs and systems. They started off last week with the eye and did a reasonable job, although the program was shamelessly vertebrate-centric: no mention of the remarkable eyes of the mantis shrimp, or the sophisticated camera eye of the octopus, so much like our own. (Richard Dawkins says eyes have evolved independently at least 40 times in the animal kingdom; no hope of covering all that in an hour, less commercials.) -more-


East Bay - Then and Now: The Curious Case of Honora Townsend Bentley

By Daniella Thompson
Thursday August 07, 2008 - 12:54:00 PM
This Italianate Victorian at 2109 Fifth St. was built in 1877 by Chilean tanner Juan Velasco and acquired by Honora Townsend in 1886.

On April 30, 1906, Chief of Police August Vollmer observed an aged woman receiving supplies at the YMCA headquarters, where refugees of the San Francisco earthquake and fire were given food and clothing. Vollmer identified her as Honora Bentley, a well-to-do West Berkeley property owner who lived in apparent poverty at 2439 Ninth Street. -more-


About the House: Kristi’s Rule: Proactive vs. Reactive

By Matt Cantor
Thursday August 07, 2008 - 12:56:00 PM

The weather has been so nice lately. I always tell myself that when it finally gets nice, I’ll get out and finish my arbor. My poor neighbors have to look at that thing all year, and you’d think that with what I know about construction, I’d just get it done, but Noooo. I just want to loll around the house looking for more 1 point snacks and watching YouTube. -more-


Arts & Events

Arts Calendar

Thursday August 07, 2008 - 12:39:00 PM

THURSDAY, AUGUST 7 -more-


‘W. Kamau Bell Curve’ at Oakland’s Pro Arts

By Ken Bullock, Special to The Planet
Thursday August 07, 2008 - 12:46:00 PM

Kamau Bell dances around the stage at Pro Arts, a little bit like a boxer in the ring, but he’s smiling. And exercising the audience and himself: “Call me an Obvious Ethnic. We all are ethnic; some of us are obvious.” -more-


Shotgun Stages ‘Ubu for President’

By Ken Bullock, Special to The Planet
Thursday August 07, 2008 - 12:47:00 PM

Cries of “Hornstrumpot!” and “By my green candle!” mingle strangely with the savage shrieks of warring pom-pom girls and feel-good admonitions to “send your energy” in the Shotgun Players’ Ubu for President. The play is Shotgun’s offering for their annual free outdoor theater extraganza at John Hinkel Park, and it coincides nicely with election season as the group confabulates the specter of Alfred Jarry’s seminal avant-garde play, Ubu Roi, with a bunch of ghost images from the media. -more-


Arts & Entertainment: PFA Screens Oliveira Retrospective

y Ken Bullock, Special to The Planet
Thursday August 07, 2008 - 12:50:00 PM

Around the East Bay: DENNIS BANKS-MASAOU YAMAMOTO FILM COLLABORATION SCREENS IN SF AS PART OF ‘LONGEST WALK 2’

Thursday August 07, 2008 - 12:52:00 PM

Dennis Banks, co-founder of the American Indian Movement, and filmmaker Masaou Yamamoto will show a documentary film-in-progress on the Longest Walk 2, a walk across America for the environment, to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the original Longest Walk for Native American rights. Banks will speak, tell stories and play drums in a performance on the theme with dancer/choreographer Mary Sano and pianist/songwriter Tony Chapman. 7 p.m. Tues. Aug. 12 at the Mary Sano Studio of Duncan Dance, 245 Fifth St. #314, San Francisco. (415) 357-1817 or info@duncandance.org $10-15. -more-


East Bay - Then and Now: The Curious Case of Honora Townsend Bentley

By Daniella Thompson
Thursday August 07, 2008 - 12:54:00 PM
This Italianate Victorian at 2109 Fifth St. was built in 1877 by Chilean tanner Juan Velasco and acquired by Honora Townsend in 1886.

On April 30, 1906, Chief of Police August Vollmer observed an aged woman receiving supplies at the YMCA headquarters, where refugees of the San Francisco earthquake and fire were given food and clothing. Vollmer identified her as Honora Bentley, a well-to-do West Berkeley property owner who lived in apparent poverty at 2439 Ninth Street. -more-


About the House: Kristi’s Rule: Proactive vs. Reactive

By Matt Cantor
Thursday August 07, 2008 - 12:56:00 PM

The weather has been so nice lately. I always tell myself that when it finally gets nice, I’ll get out and finish my arbor. My poor neighbors have to look at that thing all year, and you’d think that with what I know about construction, I’d just get it done, but Noooo. I just want to loll around the house looking for more 1 point snacks and watching YouTube. -more-


Community Calendar

Thursday August 07, 2008 - 12:15:00 PM

THURSDAY, AUGUST 7 -more-