Public Eye: California’s Worsening Budget Crisis: The Second Shoe Drops

By Bob Burnett
Wednesday March 18, 2009 - 06:17:00 PM

It’s understandable that Californians breathed a sigh of relief on Feb. 19, when the state Legislature ended months of political gridlock and agreed upon a $144.5 million budget. Given America’s hard times, it’s likely that many Golden State residents turned their attention to pressing financial concerns such as holding onto their job or paying their mortgage. Nonetheless, Californians’ behavior is problematic because the issues that precipitated the fiscal battle have not been resolved and another serious problem has emerged: the possibility of an immutable spending cap. -more-

Express Stumbles When They Borrow From Chronicle

By J. Douglas Allen-Taylor
Wednesday March 18, 2009 - 06:16:00 PM

For some time now, I’ve been commenting on the methods used by my good friend, Chris Thompson, in writing items for the Seven Days column and the 92510 blog of the East Bay Express. In case you missed it, I pointed out how Mr. Thompson didn’t actually attend the events or meetings he wrote about in these blogs and columns, but would simply take accounts of these events from other stories posted online, and then write them up as items adding his own interpretive spin. It’s a spectacularly bad form of “journalism,” if it even qualifies to be considered as journalism, even more so when Mr. Thompson made outright errors in fact, as he once in a while did. -more-

Wild Neighbors: Restoration at the Berkeley Meadow: Working Around the Hawks

By Joe Eaton
Wednesday March 18, 2009 - 06:15:00 PM
This harrier's owl-like facial disc allows her to detect prey by sound.

Corinne Greenberg has kept an eye on the Berkeley Meadow—the unit of the Eastshore State Park just east of the Marina and north of University Avenue—for a while now, paying particular attention to the northern harriers that have nested in the meadow’s northwest corner since at least 1994. No one knows for sure whether it’s been the same pair of hawks all along, or whether the territory has changed hands. -more-

East Bay Then and Now: French Couple Left Two Monuments on Dwight Way

By Daniella Thompson
Wednesday March 18, 2009 - 06:14:00 PM
The Town and Gown Club was designed by Bernard Maybeck in 1899.

It’s hard to believe now, but there used to be a time when Berkeley’s Southside was a fashionable place to live, dotted with the residences of professors and society people. -more-

About the House: Taking a Look at California’s New Building Codes

By Matt Cantor
Wednesday March 18, 2009 - 06:12:00 PM

I’m not a fan of the building codes but I have to admit that they do a lot for us. That may come as a surprise to those of you who know me as a building inspector. “Aren’t the codes what that’s all about?” you may ask. Well, not really. Not for me. -more-