Enjoy Inauguration Day While You Can

By Becky O’Malley
Thursday January 15, 2009 - 06:27:00 PM

As Inauguration Day approaches, people around here seem to be buffeted by conflicting sentiments. There are absolutely no regrets about the impending departure of George W. Bush, of course. Even as a figure of fun, Dubya seems to be shrinking in size from the absurd to the merely pathetic, like the inflated standup punching toy in his image that someone gave us as a gag gift a few Christmases back. As a villain, he also seems to have deflated, as it appears increasingly likely that the crimes committed in his name were conceived and carried out by others, with the putative Commander-in-Chief often out of the loop while the big boys made policy. -more-


Obama's Burden

By Justin DeFreitas
Thursday January 22, 2009 - 03:48:00 PM

Hopeful in Berkeley

By Justin DeFreitas
Thursday January 22, 2009 - 03:48:00 PM


By Justin DeFreitas
Thursday January 22, 2009 - 03:49:00 PM

The Pottery Barn Rule

By Justin DeFreitas
Thursday January 22, 2009 - 03:49:00 PM

Public Comment

Letters to the Editor

Thursday January 15, 2009 - 06:28:00 PM


Rezoning = Business Gentrification in West Berkeley

By Mary Lou Van Deventer
Thursday January 15, 2009 - 06:29:00 PM

In his Jan. 8 commentary, “Berkeley Is About to Blow It Again,” Russ Mitchell sees high-tech research and development and the traditional model of college-town-and-research-park as the sole hope for West Berkeley. One obstacle, the intent of a citizens’ plan drawn up by people who live and work there, has to be kicked aside. He insults it first. -more-

Protect Westside Zoning Rules

By Daniel Knapp
Thursday January 15, 2009 - 06:29:00 PM

Russ Mitchell may be a “long-time journalist,” but he didn’t bother to fact-check his Jan. 8 hit piece on West Berkeley and Urban Ore (“Berkeley is About to Blow It Again”). He says that Urban Ore is a “cool place,” and I agree, but when he says future kids will be “stuck taking over Dad’s job sweeping sawdust at Urban Ore” if all of West Berkeley isn’t upzoned for UC’s convenience, he got it wrong. We don’t cut or finish wood at Urban Ore. The amount of sawdust we generate in an average 10.5-hour day might fill a thimble. -more-

Sidewalks, Liability and Street Trees

By Bob Brokl
Thursday January 15, 2009 - 06:29:00 PM

At the federal level, all the talk has been about boosting infrastructure spending to lift the economy. In Oakland, property owners may be required to ante up the stimulus out of their own pockets. -more-

The Silence of Barack Obama

By Osha Neumann
Thursday January 15, 2009 - 06:30:00 PM

Oh Father, I cried. There was no shame in your confusion. Just as there had been no shame in your father’s before you. No shame in the fear, or in the fear of his father before him. There was only shame in the silence fear had produced. It was the silence that betrayed us. -more-

Unity for the Sake of Change

By Keith Carson
Thursday January 15, 2009 - 06:31:00 PM

The New Year is forecasted to be a year of continued economic volatility, higher unemployment and business closures. Downsizing in government and businesses will increase the financial and emotional strain on individuals and families yet, together we can weather this storm. -more-

The Great Depression: An Essential Lesson

By Harry Brill
Thursday January 15, 2009 - 06:31:00 PM

The front page of the New York Times recently captioned “In His Emphasis on Economy, Obama is Looking to History.” Elected officials and working people should take a careful look at the history of the Great Depression of the 1930s for guidance on not only how to generate millions of decent paying jobs, but how to do so within a very short period of time. To accomplish this challenging task, the main lessons to be learned are not from the well known 1935 WPA program, which although it created many jobs, it was nevertheless a work relief, needs tested program. The nation’s most effective and largest ever job program both before and after WPA, is barely known to most people and perhaps not even to Obama himself. -more-

Oak-to-Ninth Revisited

By Joyce Roy
Thursday January 15, 2009 - 06:33:00 PM

The Oakland City Council can revisit its approval of the Oak-to-Ninth project at its meeting on Jan. 20 when they will be asked to certify a revised EIR. A court ruling that upheld a CEQA lawsuit challenging the original EIR’s adequacy necessitated this revision. Three things in particular have changed since the original approval in July 2006. -more-

Senior Power?

By Helen Rippier Wheeler
Thursday January 15, 2009 - 06:32:00 PM

The mission statement of the Division on Aging (DOA)—“to promote a dignified, healthful quality of life for older adults by advocating for vital services, providing opportunities to develop meaningful fellowship, offering lifelong learning activities, recognizing the continued and varied accomplishments of older adults, and being an accessible and trusted community resource”—is belied by the status quo. The DOA is berthed in Health & Human Services; senior center directors report to a city career employee who, it is said, also functions as Commission on Aging (COA) secretary. The COA is “charged with identifying the needs of the aging, creating awareness of these needs, and encouraging improved standards of services to the aging. Council shall appoint one of its members as liaison;” each Councilmember is able [responsible] to appoint a COA Commissioner. Council has neglected its COA in ways not all attributable to lack of funds, e.g. its liaison not attending COA meetings, a seat left vacant for more than a year (said to prefer a young person,) attempts made to reduce meetings frequency to quarterly, agendas and minutes not posted in a timely fashion, dwindling access to pools, increased taxi fares while unacceptable treatment of some passengers is tolerated, failure to manage senior centers’ staff searches and appointments affirmatively. How the COA functions is reflected in its annual Work Plan as well as Berkeley’s nursing homes, senior centers, Tri-Center Nugget newsletter, lunches, etc. -more-

Who Will Police Bus Rapid Transit?

By Russ Tilleman
Thursday January 15, 2009 - 06:32:00 PM

There has been a lot of discussion recently about the land use ramifications of Bus Rapid Transit, but so far I have not heard much about the law enforcement side of the issue. If the Berkeley City Council approves BRT and donates the center two lanes of Telegraph to AC Transit, they will also be handing over the responsibility for law enforcement there. Anyone who drives down Telegraph or walks across it will fall under the jurisdiction of AC Transit’s police force. According to the BRT website, that police force will be the Alameda County Sheriff’s Department. -more-