The Week

UC Berkeley briefly gained a pair of tree-sitters Monday morning in one of two acacias at People’s Park designated for the ax by university officials. The activists and the tree came down a day later.
Richard Brenneman
UC Berkeley briefly gained a pair of tree-sitters Monday morning in one of two acacias at People’s Park designated for the ax by university officials. The activists and the tree came down a day later.
 

News

City Officials Question Both Marina Ferry Sites

By Richard Brenneman
Tuesday January 13, 2009 - 05:37:00 PM

The regional agency that governs Bay Area ferries gave too little consideration to the impacts of a ferry terminal at Berkeley Marina, city officials say. -more-


Reshaped Helios Building Sparks Further Criticism

By Richard Brenneman
Tuesday January 13, 2009 - 03:15:00 PM

One after another, Berkeley residents voiced their frustration last Wednesday night with the building that will house a program that is the brainchild of nation’s energy secretary-designate. -more-


Police Arrest Two Suspects in West Berkeley Shooting

By Riya Bhattacharjee
Monday January 12, 2009 - 11:03:00 AM

Berkeley police have arrested Berkeley residents Rhonda Reid, 47, and Lee Freddy Green, 50, for the attempted murder of William Payton on Sunday night. They are being held without bail, authorities said Monday. -more-


Downtown Building Heights Set for Commission Action

By Richard Brenneman By Richard Brenneman
Monday January 12, 2009 - 05:28:00 PM

The most-contested chapter of the city’s emerging new Downtown Area Plan comes before planning commissioners Wednesday night. -more-


North Berkeley BART Station Windows Smashed to Protest Grant Death

By Riya Bhattacharjee
Friday January 09, 2009 - 04:59:00 PM

The North Berkeley BART station was vandalized early Thursday morning as a protest against the killing of Oscar Grant III by a BART police officer, BART authorities said Friday. -more-


Off-Campus Muggings Escalate at Berkeley High

By Riya Bhattacharjee
Friday January 09, 2009 - 04:31:00 PM

At least two Berkeley High students were arrested and another student was sent to the Berkeley Police Department Youth Services Division for disciplinary action in the weeks before Christmas break for a string of strong arm robberies of Berkeley High School students in and around Martin Luther King Civic Center Park. -more-


Oakland and BART Officials Respond to Killing

By J. Douglas Allen-Taylor
Friday January 09, 2009 - 01:14:00 PM

City of Oakland officials moved quickly on Thursday to respond to the growing controversy over the investigation of the New Year’s Day shooting death of 22-year-old San Leandro man by a BART police officer, while members of the BART board of directors—which had been accused of dragging its feet on a response—officially heard the public anger over the shooting for the first time. -more-


Dental Records Give ID for Berkeley Burnt Body

By Richard Brenneman
Wednesday January 07, 2009 - 06:36:00 PM

East Bay Regional Parks District Police Thursday announced their identification of a body found in a burning trash along Interstate 80 along the Berkeley shore. -more-


Cops Mum in Case of Walled-Up Cadaver

By Richard Brenneman
Wednesday January 07, 2009 - 06:37:00 PM

While Berkeley police have identified the body found walled up in a Berkeley apartment building at 2235 Ashby Ave., they aren’t saying anything about how or why he died. -more-


People’s Park Acacias Felled Despite Tree-Sit Protest

By Richard Brenneman
Wednesday January 07, 2009 - 06:37:00 PM

Berkeley’s latest tree-sit ended almost before it began when the lone remaining branch-percher descended to earth Tuesday morning, followed by two acacias a few hours later. -more-


Brunner Elected Oakland City Council President

By J. Douglas Allen-Taylor
Wednesday January 07, 2009 - 06:38:00 PM

The era of male-dominated city government ended in Oakland Monday morning—and perhaps the era of a city government dominated by former state Sen. Don Perata as well—when North Oakland Councilmember Jane Brunner was elected to the powerful position of Oakland City Council president, to succeed the outgoing Ignacio De La Fuente. -more-


Local Groups Plan Events For Obama Inauguration

By Rio Bauce Special to the Planet
Wednesday January 07, 2009 - 06:23:00 PM

While only a select few will actually get to attend the inauguration of Barack Obama as the 44th president of the United States on Jan. 20, many Bay Area citizens and organizations are coming together to have their own local celebrations. -more-


Fire Dept. Log

By Richard Brenneman
Wednesday January 07, 2009 - 06:26:00 PM

Eunice Street blaze -more-


Police Blotter

By Rio Bauce
Wednesday January 07, 2009 - 06:26:00 PM

Sink hole on Tunnel Road -more-


Top Berkeley Headlines of 2008

Wednesday January 07, 2009 - 06:24:00 PM

By Riya Bhattacharjee -more-


Council 2008:Controversies, Deliberations And Goodbyes

By J. Douglas Allen-Taylor
Wednesday January 07, 2009 - 06:39:00 PM

The year 2008 saw the renewal of the political battle between the once and future mayors of Berkeley: Tom Bates and Shirley Dean. It was a year in which environmental issues dominated City Council discussions, from the furtherance of various “green action” plans to the continuing battles over cellphone antennae facility expansion. Development issues were a constant—what should be built, and where, and how high. -more-


Budget Woes Shadowed School District for Much of Year

By Riya Bhattacharjee
Wednesday January 07, 2009 - 06:25:00 PM

Although the Berkeley Unified School District spent the better part of 2008 bracing for state budget cuts, there were tidings of comfort and joy amid all the gloom and doom, giving way to sporadic bursts of celebration in classrooms, schoolyards and even the steps of the state capitol. -more-


AC Transit in 2008

By J. Douglas Allen-Taylor
Wednesday January 07, 2009 - 06:25:00 PM

In 2008, the East Bay’s only public bus system—AC Transit—staved off possible service cuts or fare increases, for now, at least, with the passage of a tax measure by area voters, and signed a new contract with its bus drivers union. The financially troubled agency was not able to pull away from the continuing controversy over its “partnership” with Belgian bus manufacturer Van Hool, however. And AC Transit continued its deliberate march that the agency hopes will ultimately lead to the Bay Area’s first rapid bus line, BRT. -more-


News Analysis: 2008 Proved a Dismal Year for an Ailing Fourth Estate

By Richard Brenneman
Wednesday January 07, 2009 - 06:27:00 PM

“... were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter.” -more-


Opinion

Editorials

It Was a Wonderful Life

By Becky O’Malley
Wednesday January 07, 2009 - 06:28:00 PM

Last week, as a cold December was coming to an end, my father, Warren Peters (known to everyone from his Princeton ‘34 classmates to his great-grandchildren as “Pete”) departed from his life on this earth. He’d been around for almost a century: Born in 1912, he enjoyed 93 years of vigorous good humor, and endured three more recent years of much-diminished mobility and mental acuity with good grace, dying at 96. -more-


Cartoons

Obama's Burden

By Justin DeFreitas
Monday January 12, 2009 - 02:21:00 PM

Shovel-Ready

By Justin DeFreitas
Monday January 12, 2009 - 02:31:00 PM

The Pottery Barn Rule

By Justin DeFreitas
Monday January 12, 2009 - 02:32:00 PM

Public Comment

Letters to the Editor

Wednesday January 07, 2009 - 06:29:00 PM

Letters to the Editor

Monday January 12, 2009 - 03:25:00 PM

LEAVE ARTISAN DISTRICT ALONE -more-


The Green Smoke Screen

By Toni Mester
Wednesday January 07, 2009 - 06:23:00 PM

Things are seldom what they seem -more-


Berkeley Is About to Blow it Again

By Russ Mitchell
Wednesday January 07, 2009 - 06:23:00 PM

Take a walk through Berkeley’s West Side manufacturing and light industrial district, north of the fancy Fourth Street retail strip where the swells go to shop. You’ll see a few industrial plants puffing their last breaths, and plenty of weedy lots surrounded by chain link fences with plastic bags blowing around inside. -more-


Saving Strawberry Canyon

By Neal Blumenfeld
Wednesday January 07, 2009 - 06:24:00 PM

On Dec. 4, three weeks ago today at the Berkeley High School Auditorium was the scene for the 12th annual Mario Savio Lecture, given by Robert Kenney, Jr. Because of UC administration’s refusal to settle a labor dispute on campus, RFK Jr. refused to talk there. His address was preceded by the “Young Activist Award,” given to an organizer of immigrant women in New York City. One of her accomplishments was to help taxi dancers unionize; she even convincing the dance hall patrons, the $2 a dance ticket men who were also immigrants, to empathize with the dancers. -more-


Berkeley Needs to Protect its Air and its Children

By Maggie Riftik
Wednesday January 07, 2009 - 06:24:00 PM

In “Berkeley Schools Top Bad Air Quality List” (Dec. 17, 2008), Kristin McFarland writes that the air quality in Berkeley schools is among the worst in the nation, as reported recently by USA Today. As a Berkeley parent, I am deeply upset about this, especially given Berkeley’s reputation as one of the greenest cities in our country. I am particularly shocked at how long our local government has let Pacific Steel Casting (PSC) pollute our air. I would like to comment about a few items from Ms. McFarland’s article. -more-


Housing and History at Anna Head

By John English
Wednesday January 07, 2009 - 06:25:00 PM

The university is gearing up to build a big student-housing complex on what it calls the “Anna Head West” parking lot. This project poses complex and vital issues, including ones regarding the UC-owned and historic Anna Head property itself and the project’s relationships with the also-historic surrounding neighborhood. -more-


Peace and Justice Commission Reject’s Library’s Request for Waiver of Nuclear Free Berkeley Act

By Peter Warfield
Wednesday January 07, 2009 - 06:25:00 PM

Berkeley ‘s Peace and Justice Commission (P&J) has voted overwhelmingly to deny the Berkeley Public Library (BPL) a waiver of the Nuclear Free Berkeley Act. -more-


Editor's Note on Israel-Palestine Commentary

Wednesday January 07, 2009 - 06:25:00 PM

Because of the holiday break, we have an unusually large number of letters and commentaries this week. Our first thought, to save space, was to run the commentaries on the situation in Palestine and Israel on the web only, leaving only local topics in the print edition. But then one of our advertising sales people relayed the following message from one of her faithful retail advertisers: “Two customers came in the store over the Holiday and BLASTED me for running ads in your paper saying the paper is biased towards Palestine... .” -more-


The View from Tel Aviv

By Heidi Basch
Wednesday January 07, 2009 - 06:26:00 PM

Last year on my birthday, Benazir Bhutto was assassinated in Pakistan. This year on my birthday, the Israeli Air Force (IAF) began bombing targets in Gaza to stop the rain of rockets falling on Southern Israel since the end of the ceasefire with Hamas on Dec. 19. I wonder what next year’s birthday will bring. -more-


Only One Path to Peace in the Middle East

By Rabbi Michael Lerner
Wednesday January 07, 2009 - 06:27:00 PM

Israel’s attempt to wipe out Hamas is understandable, but dumb. No country in the world is going to ignore the provocation of rockets being launched from a neighboring territory day after day. If Mexico had a group of anti-imperialist South Americans bombing Texas, imagine how long it would take for the United States to mobilize a counterattack. Israel has every right to respond. -more-


The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict: A Bit of Background

By Ralph E. Stone
Wednesday January 07, 2009 - 06:27:00 PM

Much of the reportage on Israeli’s response to the Hamas rocket and mortar attacks gives the reader the impression that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is a relatively recent event. What is sometimes lost in such coverage is the deep background. Of course, Hamas has much to answer for, but the present conflict is but the latest chapter in a long saga stretching back to the creation of Israel in 1947. Then, the United Nations partitioned the land, allotting the Jews 55 percent of Palestine. The Arabs did not agree to this partition. In the 1948 “war of independence” (called the “El Naqua,” the catastrophe, by the Arabs), Israel ended up with 78 percent of the area of Palestine. This war displaced 750,000 Palestinians and over 450 Arab villages were erased. -more-


Make Peace with Terrorism

By Dharam Ahuja
Wednesday January 07, 2009 - 06:27:00 PM

We have been waging war on terrorism for seven years and the threat of terrorism at the global level looms just as large today as it was when we declared war on terrorism. I believe we need to shift the paradigm for action taking to “Making peace with terrorism.” The desired goal of any war too is to establish peace. However this is not any war and the actions we take by declaring war on terrorism are not the same that we will take by working on the paradigm of, “Making peace with terrorism.” -more-


Palestinians Are Not Children of a Lesser God

By Hassan Fouda
Wednesday January 07, 2009 - 06:28:00 PM

Israel’s PR machine has successfully controlled media coverage of the Gaza invasion by preventing journalists from entering Gaza and even preventing U.N. special rapporteur for human rights in the occupied Palestinian territory, Professor Richard Falk from entering the country. Instead of exposing Israeli restrictions, our media is parroting Israeli government talking points and broadcasting video supplied by the Israeli military. There is also no shortage of local Zionists to spin and justify every Israeli crime. -more-


Columns

Dispatches From The Edge: Voices On Gaza

By Conn Hallinan
Saturday January 10, 2009 - 09:39:00 PM

Words have power, particularly when they confront each other. These are some words on the current crisis in Gaza: -more-


The Public Eye: 10 Progressive Policies Whose Time Has Come

By Bob Burnett
Wednesday January 07, 2009 - 06:29:00 PM

Among the Obama Administration's highest priorities should be these ten progressive notions: -more-


Speculation Continues—What Is Dellums Trying to Do?

By J. Douglas Allen-Taylor
Wednesday January 07, 2009 - 06:29:00 PM

Sometime in the 1920s, the ruling Communist Party of Russia produced a silent-era film purporting to show how they won the Revolution. -more-


Dispatches From The Edge: Guns, Butter and Obama

By Conn Hallinan
Wednesday January 07, 2009 - 06:28:00 PM

Over the next several months there will be a battle for hearts and minds, but not in Iraq or Afghanistan. The war will be here at home, waged mostly in the halls of Congress, where grim lobbyists for the 13th largest economy in the world are digging in to preserve their stake in the massive U.S. military budget. With the country in deep recession and resources dwindling for the new administration’s programs on health care, education and the environment, the outcome of this battle may well end up defining the next four years. -more-


Green Neighbors: Oh, Those Succulents!

By Ron Sullivan
Wednesday January 07, 2009 - 06:30:00 PM
A succulent spreads thick leaves to catch sun amd minimize water loss at the Paul Leondis nursery in Berkeley.

Succulents—plants that store water in fat, fleshy stems and/or leaves—attract a coterie of fans who have in common little else, but usually can be relied upon to be just a little weird. Of course I count myself among them. -more-


East Bay: Then and Now—Thornburg’s Storybook Village Succeeded Kellogg’s Farm

By Daniella Thompson
Wednesday January 07, 2009 - 06:35:00 PM
Thornburg Village, popularly called Normandy Village, was built by Jack Thornburg and designed by William Raymond Yelland.

On May 8, 1927, the Development page of the Oakland Tribune devoted its leading column and central photograph to what it called “a unique apartment structure.” -more-


About the House: Talkin’ Jack

By Matt Cantor
Wednesday January 07, 2009 - 06:34:00 PM

Every few days I pass a house perched ten or fifteen feet up in the air, waiting for a new set of roots to climb up and bolster its weight. -more-


Arts & Events

Arts Calendar

Friday January 09, 2009 - 12:24:00 PM

THURSDAY, JAN. 8 -more-


Joel Isaacson’s ‘Walls’ at the GTU

By Peter Selz Special to the Planet
Wednesday January 07, 2009 - 06:29:00 PM
Joel Isaacson’s “Orange Burqa,” 2007, oil on canvas.

Harold Rosenberg, the eminent art critic and friend of the Abstract Expressionists, defined their paintings as “arenas to act in.” -more-


Aurora Theatre Expands

By Ken Bullock Special to the Planet
Wednesday January 07, 2009 - 06:31:00 PM

Aurora Theatre recently announced a breakthrough—literally. -more-


SF Library Hosts Reading of Jack Spicer’s Poetry

By Ken Bullock Special to the Planet
Wednesday January 07, 2009 - 06:32:00 PM

Forty-three years after the poet’s death in San Francisco, My Vocabulary Did This to Me: The Collected Poetry of Jack Spicer, edited by Peter Gizzi and Kevin Killian, a handsome 496-page volume, easy to hold and to read, has been issued by Wesleyan University Press ($35), with Spicer’s poetry arranged in chronological order, including several of his “serial poems” previously unpublished. -more-


2008 Onstage in Berkeley and the East Bay

By Ken Bullock Special to the Planet
Wednesday January 07, 2009 - 06:32:00 PM

Onstage, 2008 was more a year of marking time than of either innovation or astonishing successes. To put it in a different way, the gains of the last year for theater in Berkeley and the East Bay usually showed up in different ways than in the satisfaction over a generally recognized hit. -more-


For Shotgun Players, It’s Once Again a ‘Crazy January’

By Ken Bullock Special to the Planet
Wednesday January 07, 2009 - 06:33:00 PM

After a packed fall season, with their own openings and other companies’ plays at the Ashby Stage—not to mention their free Election Night party and the special New Year’s celebration that followed a performance of Macbeth—the “can-do” Shotgun Players have embarked on a “Crazy January.” -more-


East Bay: Then and Now—Thornburg’s Storybook Village Succeeded Kellogg’s Farm

By Daniella Thompson
Wednesday January 07, 2009 - 06:35:00 PM
Thornburg Village, popularly called Normandy Village, was built by Jack Thornburg and designed by William Raymond Yelland.

On May 8, 1927, the Development page of the Oakland Tribune devoted its leading column and central photograph to what it called “a unique apartment structure.” -more-


About the House: Talkin’ Jack

By Matt Cantor
Wednesday January 07, 2009 - 06:34:00 PM

Every few days I pass a house perched ten or fifteen feet up in the air, waiting for a new set of roots to climb up and bolster its weight. -more-


Community Calendar

Wednesday January 07, 2009 - 06:27:00 PM

THURSDAY, JAN. 8 -more-