The Week

A tree-sitter watches as a member of the scaffold crew looks out over the crowd that had gathered to witness the final hours of the protest on Tuesday.
by Richard Brenneman
A tree-sitter watches as a member of the scaffold crew looks out over the crowd that had gathered to witness the final hours of the protest on Tuesday.
 

News

Downtown Plan, Report Back Before Commission

By Richard Brenneman
Wednesday September 17, 2008 - 01:36:00 PM

Planning commissioners will devote another meeting tonight (Wednesday) to their own rewrite of the new downtown plan, including possible changes to a controversial report on building heights. -more-


Animal Researcher Cyber-Stalking Cited as Long Haul Raid Rationale

By Richard Brenneman
Tuesday September 16, 2008 - 11:45:00 AM

UC Berkeley police, joined by federal and county law enforcement, raided the Long Haul Infoshop Aug. 27 in search of the source of threats to university researchers who experiment on animals. -more-


Dellums Administration Rolls Out Preliminary Public Safety Strategy To Skeptical Community Representatives

By J. Douglas Allen-Taylor
Tuesday September 16, 2008 - 11:43:00 AM

The administration of Oakland Mayor Ron Dellums introduced its long-awaited public safety strategy to selected members of the Oakland public Thursday evening to a pointedly skeptical reaction, outlining an ambitious program in which each of Oakland’s neighborhood would be organized for citizen participation, work on local public safety problems would be filtered through area public safety coordinating councils made up of city officials, police representatives, and neighborhood groups, and a citywide public safety policy council would oversee city goals and strategies. -more-


School Board Approves Plan to Sell Hillside School

By Riya Bhattacharjee
Tuesday September 16, 2008 - 11:42:00 AM

The Berkeley Board of Education last week unanimously approved a plan to put the historic Hillside School at 1581 Le Roy Ave. up for sale. -more-


Council to Address Noise, Solar Financing

By Judith Scherr
Monday September 15, 2008 - 03:46:00 PM

Fresh from an almost two-month break, Berkeley City Council members will address a full agenda Tuesday, updating the noise ordinance, increasing city worker salaries, approving a 22-meeting annual council schedule, appointing a councilmember to the county Waste Authority, and doubling parking fines near campus on football days. There will be a public hearing on Mayor Tom Bates’ solar financing plan. -more-


School Board Approves $15 Million West Campus Rehab for BUSD Headquarters

By Riya Bhattacharjee
Friday September 12, 2008 - 04:38:00 PM

West Campus neighbors won a major victory Wednesday night when the Berkeley Board of Education approved plans to rehabilitate the former Berkeley Adult School building on Bonar Street in order to relocate Berkeley Unified School District’s headquarters from the seismically unsafe Old City Hall at 2134 Martin Luther King Jr. Way. -more-


Nadel Says Violence Diminished In The Wake Of Operation Nutcracker Raids

By J. Douglas Allen-Taylor
Friday September 12, 2008 - 04:16:00 PM

Oakland City Councilmember Nancy Nadel says that she was “very concerned” about charges made by Nation of Islam Oakland Mosque Minister Keith Muhammad about problems with this summer’s Oakland police “Operation Nutcracker” raids of the Acorn Housing Project, but says that police officials have assured her that the raids were properly conducted and have had the desired result. -more-


Berkeley School Employees Rally for New Contract

By Riya Bhattacharjee
Friday September 12, 2008 - 10:59:00 AM
Workers marched from Berkeley Technology Academy to school district headquarters Wednesday to demand contract renewals and pay raises.

More than 150 workers from the Berkeley Council of Classified Employees (BCCE) and their supporters filled the Old City Hall lawn and chambers Wednesday to rally for contract renewals and demand pay raises for the Berkeley Unified School District’s classified unions. -more-


Weekend Fire Demolishes Berkeley Hills Home

By Richard Brenneman
Thursday September 11, 2008 - 06:16:00 PM

A spectacular early morning three-alarm fire visible from miles away demolished a Berkeley hills home Sunday and brought in crews from fire departments in Oakland, Albany, Alameda County and the East Bay Regional Parks District. -more-


Correction

Thursday September 11, 2008 - 03:13:00 PM

An item in the Police Blotter in the Sept. 4 issue of the Planet incorrectly reported the location of a shooting. A shooting on the 2900 block of Sacramento Street on Sept. 2 did not occur at Johnson’s House of Style but at another address on that block. -more-


Chainsaws Level Memorial Stadium Grove

By Richard Brenneman
Thursday September 11, 2008 - 09:39:00 AM

UC Berkeley brought out the chainsaws Friday, and by the time their engines went silent Tuesday, the Memorial Stadium grove was gone. -more-


Tree-Sit Activists Plan Next Campaigns

By Richard Brenneman
Thursday September 11, 2008 - 09:39:00 AM

Tuesday’s nine arrests—including the last four tree-sitters—cleared the ground, literally, for construction of the four-level gym and office complex that had been stalled for nearly two years by legal action. -more-


Candidates Question Validity Of Club, Union Endorsements

By Judith Scherr
Thursday September 11, 2008 - 09:39:00 AM

Buyer beware! An organization’s endorsement of a candidate or measure may not be as sound as the general public thinks—and in some cases, it may not be as meaningful as the organization itself would like it to be. -more-


Group’s Draft of Sunshine Law Comes to Light

By Riya Bhattacharjee
Thursday September 11, 2008 - 09:40:00 AM

It was cloudy in Berkeley Tuesday, so a small but dedicated group of people got together at the Lutheran Church of the Christ on University Avenue to make their own sunshine. -more-


Still No Contract for UC Workers

By Judith Scherr
Thursday September 11, 2008 - 09:42:00 AM

When Maricruz Manzanarez isn’t mopping up at student dorms, she’s out fighting for her fellow University of California service workers across the state. -more-


Ed Roberts Campus On Way To Becoming a Reality

By Riya Bhattacharjee
Thursday September 11, 2008 - 09:43:00 AM

The east parking lot of the Ashby BART reopened last week for a couple of hours to give birth to a vision. -more-


Roberts Made Berkeley Leader in Fight for Rights

By Lydia Gans Special to the Planet
Thursday September 11, 2008 - 09:43:00 AM

Last week several hundred people gathered at the Ashby BART station to celebrate the groundbreaking for the planned Ed Roberts Campus. The campus will provide space under one roof for a number of organizations and facilities for people with disabilities. It will occupy the east parking lot of the station, which will be temporarily unavailable for patrons. Parking will be restored when the building is completed. -more-


Worthington, Mayor Collide Over Appointment

By Judith Scherr
Thursday September 11, 2008 - 09:42:00 AM

Councilmember Kriss Worthington and Mayor Tom Bates clashed Monday afternoon at an obscure but powerful city committee meeting over an appointment to a county commission. -more-


City: Annual Report Doesn’t Promote Tax Measures

By Judith Scherr
Thursday September 11, 2008 - 09:42:00 AM

While a statement on the proposed library and fire tax in the annual city report that goes to every Berkeley citizen is phrased in such a way that some have said it could read like a promotion for the measures, Deputy City Manager Lisa Caronna told the Daily Planet it is not. -more-


Campus Rally Protests Police Raid of Long Haul

By Richard Brenneman
Thursday September 11, 2008 - 09:40:00 AM

Protesters—including Free Speech Movement veterans and a Berkeley city councilmember—gathered in Sproul Plaza Sept. 4 to rally against the UC Berkeley police raid on the Long Haul the week before. -more-


District, State Show Growth in API Scores

By Riya Bhattacharjee
Thursday September 11, 2008 - 09:44:00 AM

At least 11 schools in the Berkeley Unified School District met their Academic Performance Index targets for 2008 according to the state’s 2007-08 Accountability Progress Report (APR) released by State Superintendent Jack O’Connell last week. -more-


Special Ed Students Take Exit Exam for First Time

By Riya Bhattacharjee
Thursday September 11, 2008 - 09:45:00 AM

The 2007-08 California High School Exit Exam (CAHSEE) results released on Tuesday by the State Superintendent of Public Instruction, Jack O’Connell, show that the estimated passing rates for all first-time test takers in the Berkeley Unified School District are lower than the state rate in math and slightly higher in English. -more-


Mary Lou Wyatt Stern, 1932–2008

By Andrew Stern
Thursday September 11, 2008 - 09:45:00 AM
Mary Lou Wyatt Stern

Mary Lou Wyatt Stern was born on May 16, 1932, in North Wilkesboro, Wilkes County, North Carolina. Her father was killed in an auto accident when she was 1. Her mother died from a heart attack when Mary Lou was 10. She had a mean stepfather and was shunted between relatives and a loving grandmother. While finishing high school, she cleaned people’s homes, worked the night shift at a hospital, and did various odd jobs. Still, she often reminisced about freshly picked green beans and potatoes from her grandmother’s garden. The memory of these flavors and tastes remained with her for the rest of her life. -more-


Dellums: Deal Is Near for Oakland Neighborhoods

By J. Douglas Allen-Taylor
Thursday September 11, 2008 - 09:46:00 AM

The administration of Oakland Mayor Ron Dellums says it is close to completion of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) agreement with California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, establishing a state-city partnership to revitalize close to 500 blocks of Oakland’s most depressed neighborhoods. -more-


Leader Condemns Nutcracker Arrests

By J. Douglas Allen-Taylor
Thursday September 11, 2008 - 09:46:00 AM

The leader of Oakland’s Nation of Islam mosque has charged that few of the 54 individuals arrested in the City of Oakland’s much-publicized June “Operation Nutcracker” raid targeting West Oakland’s Acorn Gang have actually been charged with serious crimes, and that the raid itself endangered many of the Acorn Project residents it was supposed to protect. -more-


Safeway Holds Meeting to Decide Fate of College Ave. Store

By Riya Bhattacharjee
Thursday September 11, 2008 - 09:47:00 AM

Safeway will hold a series of public meetings starting this week at Oakland’s Claremont Middle School in an effort to come up with a different design for remodeling its College Avenue store. -more-


Opinion

Editorials

UC Berkeley Embarrasses Its Alumnae One More Time

By Becky O’Malley
Thursday September 11, 2008 - 09:49:00 AM

It’s been an unpleasant few days around here. All weekend long, and for two days later the ominous drone of circling helicopters was heard at our house, as if we were in a war zone. University of California in its majesty was administering the coup de grace to the hapless romantics perched atop the skeleton of the lone redwood which temporarily survived the assault of the Monarch of the West. -more-


Cartoons

Scandal in the Interior Department

By Justin DeFreitas
Tuesday September 16, 2008 - 12:19:00 PM

One-Way Wall Street

By Justin DeFreitas
Tuesday September 16, 2008 - 12:22:00 PM

Babies, Guns and Jesus

By Justin DeFreitas
Tuesday September 16, 2008 - 12:24:00 PM

Public Comment

Letters to the Editor

Thursday September 11, 2008 - 09:49:00 AM

OAK GROVE -more-


Letters to the Editor

Monday September 15, 2008 - 04:18:00 PM

-more-


What the Tree-Sitters Wanted — And Still Want

By Ayr
Thursday September 11, 2008 - 09:51:00 AM

After UC cut down Memorial Stadium oak grove, the tree-sitters remained for three days in a lone redwood tree surrounded by decimation before they agreed to come down Tuesday morning. During those three days you probably wanted to know: What do they want in order to come down? -more-


Battle for Strawberry Canyon Ever More Urgent

By Ariel Parkinson
Thursday September 11, 2008 - 09:52:00 AM

Suddenly, in Berkeley, we are back in the early 1960s. Half a century ago a large, ad hoc, well-funded assortment of owners and managers targeted for urban development (classrooms, malls, hotels, discount houses, condominiums) the “unused” shoreline, the land and water to the west. A similar group of movers and shakers has now mapped out for concrete and asphalt, equipment and people, the beautiful natural park with its year-round creek, that extends up Strawberry Canyon to the east. -more-


Sarah Palin is Merely a Distraction

By John Koenigshofer
Thursday September 11, 2008 - 09:52:00 AM

Becky O’Malley’s editorial “Sarah Palin Fails Her Most Important Job” is unfortunate and misguided. -more-


Have Progressives Lost Faith in America?

By Randy Shaw
Thursday September 11, 2008 - 09:52:00 AM

As the presidential poll numbers tighten, I have recently heard the following: The American people are stupid, voters have again been manipulated by the media, working class voters will again vote on cultural, not economic, issues, and the United States will never elect an African-American President. This deep-seated distrust of the “average” U.S. voter appears to conflict with progressives’ stated faith in the wisdom of “the people.” For many progressives, the past week has brought back memories of 2004, when an openly right-wing president prevailed despite forcing the nation into a disastrous war. Some now believe that the 2004 scenario will be repeated, particularly in a media climate as supportive of McCain-Palin as it was toward Bush-Cheney. Not to spoil people’s misery fest, but 2008 is not 2004. And those lacking any confidence in voters’ ability to decide which candidates really represent “change” should become active in something other than politics. -more-


Saying No to the Berkeley Tax Measures

By Barbara Gilbert
Thursday September 11, 2008 - 09:53:00 AM

There are three local tax measures facing Berkeley voters: Measure GG, Fire Protection and Emergency Preparedness Tax; Measure FF, Library Bond; and Measure GG, the Gann Tax Renewals. The most objectionable is GG, for the reasons below, but there are also good reasons to say no to all three. -more-


False Claims in Anti-Transit Initiative Ballot Argument

By Charles Siegel
Thursday September 11, 2008 - 09:53:00 AM

The city clerk has published the ballot arguments for Measure KK, the anti-transit initiative, and anyone who is familiar with the issues can see that the measure’s backers have filled their ballot argument with false claims. -more-


Foul Foolishness Indeed

By Sonja Fitz
Thursday September 11, 2008 - 09:54:00 AM

First of all, full disclosure: Mr. Rizwan A. Rahmani, who penned a Labor Day op-ed regarding the questionable allegiances of Sen. Joe Lieberman, is my husband, so when I respond to the letter from David Altschul, I do so not only because the letter in question is full of “foul foolishness” (Mr. Altschul’s own letter-closing zinger), but also because he attacked the man I love, and unlike the aforementioned Sen. Lieberman, I know where my loyalties lie. -more-


Public Funds for Underground Wiring

By Pamela Doolan
Thursday September 11, 2008 - 09:54:00 AM

Berkeley’s Public Works Commission is in the process of changing the criteria for allocating PG&E 20A public funds for underground wiring. It has been a process without public input or consideration from other city commissions. -more-


Columns

Dispatches From The Edge: U.S. Death Squads?

By Conn Hallinan
Thursday September 11, 2008 - 09:47:00 AM

United Nations officials charge that secret “international intelligence services” are conducting raids to kill Afghan civilians, then hiding the perpetuators behind an “impenetrable” wall of bureaucracy. -more-


Undercurrents: Republicans Adept at Dividing and Attacking ‘The Other’

By J. Douglas Allen-Taylor
Thursday September 11, 2008 - 09:48:00 AM

While Gov. Sarah Palin’s various stances on Alaska’s infamous Bridge to Nowhere are getting the most media attention these days and make an interesting issue, it is the willingness of our Republican friends to burn any bridges over which longstanding American rifts might be joined and healed—and the progressive Democratic response—that is the real heart of this year’s presidential campaign. -more-


Wild Neighbors: Corvid Minds—Know Yourself, Know Your Enemy

By Joe Eaton
Thursday September 11, 2008 - 10:01:00 AM
A yellow-billed magpie, so far untested in the lab.

The corvid family continues to surprise. The remarkable cognitive abilities of these birds—ravens, crows, jays, and kin—have been well documented. The Clark’s nutcracker, a jaylike bird, stores thousands of pine-nut caches each fall and is able to relocate them under a blanket of winter snow. Ravens use insight rather than trial-and-error to retrieve chunks of salami dangling from strings. New Caledonian crows fashion leaves into tools to probe rotting wood for tasty grubs. Steller’s jays have been observed brandishing pointed sticks as weapons. -more-


About the House: If You Think You Can’t Replace a Toilet, Think Again

By Matt Cantor
Thursday September 11, 2008 - 10:00:00 AM

Water conservation is a global warming issue and an energy issue and a cost issue. It’s global and it’s local. It’s a water availability issue and a pollution issue. The population of the planet was estimated at 6.2 billion in 2000 and expected to increase by 3 billion by 2025 (mostly in the developing world, of course, since we’re not allowed to talk about birth control or distribute condoms). That’s only 16 years from now. -more-


Arts & Events

Arts Calendar

Thursday September 11, 2008 - 09:56:00 AM

THURSDAY, SEPT. 11 -more-


‘Yellowjackets’ Debuts at Berkeley Rep

By Ken Bullock Special to the Planet
Thursday September 11, 2008 - 09:54:00 AM

“C’mon, man. I’m just playin’. I ain’t got no knife!” Yellowjackets, set at Berkeley High, opens on the Berkeley Rep Thrust Stage with two students at their desks, side by side, at the beginning of the school year, with Annie Smart’s set of a frieze of a slave from antiquity, blowing a clarion, and much-tagged murals above a cyclone fence, with lockers to the side. -more-


‘Pirates of Penzance’ Summer’s Last Show At Woodminster

By Ken Bullock Special to the Planet
Thursday September 11, 2008 - 09:55:00 AM

Walking up the path to Woodminster Amphitheatre, after parking on Joaquin Miller Road, a little bit past Woodminster Village in the Oakland hills—past the jets of the fountain and up along the torrential Cascade, spilling down through pools in Writers Grove along the beautiful man-made watercourse—is part of the enjoyment of going to see the summer musicals staged there, though there is a City of Oakland parking lot at the top available for $4. -more-


Impact Presents ‘Ching Chong Chinaman’

By Ken Bullock Special to the Planet
Thursday September 11, 2008 - 09:59:00 AM

Hedging, when I saw that Impact’s new production, Ching Chong Chinaman, was written by Lauren Yee, a San Francisco native, I said to myself, “It isn’t Sarah Silverman, so I guess I can review it.” -more-


About the House: If You Think You Can’t Replace a Toilet, Think Again

By Matt Cantor
Thursday September 11, 2008 - 10:00:00 AM

Water conservation is a global warming issue and an energy issue and a cost issue. It’s global and it’s local. It’s a water availability issue and a pollution issue. The population of the planet was estimated at 6.2 billion in 2000 and expected to increase by 3 billion by 2025 (mostly in the developing world, of course, since we’re not allowed to talk about birth control or distribute condoms). That’s only 16 years from now. -more-


Community Calendar

Thursday September 11, 2008 - 09:46:00 AM

THURSDAY, SEPT. 11 -more-