Knowing Who You Are, And Why

By Becky O'Malley
Wednesday April 08, 2009 - 06:10:00 PM

The splendid novelist Walter Mosley was in town last week to read from his new book. He’s a smart and entertaining talker as well as a fine writer, and he had a big audience in the palm of his hand at Oakland’s First Congregational Church for more than an hour, just answering questions about his work. He’s a man in his late fifties who rejoices in having been raised in Los Angeles by a Jewish mother and an African-American father, in a time when there weren’t many guys on the street with that ethnic combination. Not surprising in Oakland, several of his questions were about that dual perspective. -more-

Public Comment

Letters to the Editor

Wednesday April 08, 2009 - 06:11:00 PM


Small Schools Represent Hope for Berkeley Students

By Rick Ayers
Wednesday April 08, 2009 - 07:03:00 PM

While Berkeley has a proud tradition of progressive politics and social justice initiatives, our public high school continues to practice tracking, inequity, and an educational experience which is so much less than it could be. The recent spate of attacks hurled at a redesign proposal and at the small schools shows that some elements of our community will go to great lengths to prevent even modest reforms. While I could make point-by-point refutations of the shoddy and non-existent statistics that underlie the claims made by these people, I think it would be better to reiterate some of the fundamental principles that have guided small schools development at the high school. -more-

Development, Not Restoration, at the Berkeley Meadow

By Pete Najarian
Wednesday April 08, 2009 - 07:05:00 PM

In response to Joe Eaton’s March 19 column, “Restoration at the Berkeley Meadow”: There is no restoration at the meadow. There is instead a development. The original area was under the sea, which was, as you say, filled with refuse. -more-

Berkeley’s War On Newsracks

By Michael Katz
Wednesday April 08, 2009 - 07:05:00 PM

After puzzling over the “newsrack correction notices” littering downtown, I finally extracted copies of last week’s East Bay Express and Daily Planet, where I learned the full story of the city’s War on Newsracks. -more-

America’s Violations of International Law

By Ann Fagan Ginger
Wednesday April 08, 2009 - 07:05:00 PM

As a human rights lawyer and former professor, I think it is necessary to add three facts to the story about the Spanish judge considering indicting six Bush administration officials for violating international law. -more-

The Express Lane and Bus Rapid Transit

By Russ Tilleman
Wednesday April 08, 2009 - 07:06:00 PM

The March 19 edition of the Daily Planet contained three letters to the editor criticizing the proposal for an express lane on Telegraph Avenue. Two of these letters were from Oakland, and the third was from India. No one from Berkeley wrote in to criticize the express lane! So I think the proposal has passed its first real test of public acceptance within Berkeley. I encourage anyone in Berkeley, and especially anyone who lives or works in the neighborhoods surrounding Telegraph, to write in with any criticism they might have about the proposal. -more-

Some Background on U.S.-Iran Relations

By Ralph E. Stone
Wednesday April 08, 2009 - 07:06:00 PM

On March 20 on the eve of the traditional Iranian New Year, President Obama offered the Iranians a “new beginning,” but acknowledged three decades of strained relations between the United States and Iran. Iran’s supreme leader Sayyid Ali Khamenei rebuffed this overture. Here’s a bit of background. -more-

A Lost Opportunity

Wednesday April 08, 2009 - 07:06:00 PM

As an Oaklander watching the memorial services for the four slain Oakland police officers, I was astonished and disturbed when Oakland Mayor Ron Dellums did not speak at the service. I could not imagine a situation where the entire nation is watching and law enforcement officers are attending in force yet the Mayor of the City in mourning does not speak. I later came to understand that several of the officers’ families requested that the Mayor not participate in the ceremony and that the Mayor honored their wishes. It was disappointing to learn that such a request was made. -more-

Black America and the Police

By Jean Damu
Wednesday April 08, 2009 - 07:07:00 PM

When the full story is finally told, and though not likely freely admitted by many, deep within the spiritual thinking of numerous African Americans, an emotional candle will be lit in the memory of Lovelle Mixon, the man who, in a horrific shootout in which he was finally killed, shot five Oakland police officers, four of whom have died. They will then say to themselves, “But for the grace of God I could have been he.” -more-

Protect Our Most Vulnerable from Aerial Spraying

By Robert Lieber and Lynn Elliott-Harding
Wednesday April 08, 2009 - 07:07:00 PM

The light brown apple moth (LBAM) aerial pesticide spray that threatened the Bay Area last year shocked many local residents into awareness of the risks of exposure to mass pesticide applications and has inspired Assemblymember Sandré R. Swanson (D-Oakland) to introduce the Clean Air for Children, Seniors, and Working Families Act (AB 622). -more-

Solving Berkeley’s Pool Puzzle

By Donna Mickleson
Wednesday April 08, 2009 - 07:08:00 PM

These days when I’m not sad or angry because something else vital is lost or threatened, I tend to feel grateful. After all we live in a paid off house, I retired last June, and while life is hardly bon-bons on the couch, any or all of five days a week I can exercise and laugh at Senior Aqua Aerobics at the West Campus City pool with the rest of us aging polar bears and our wonderful Fearless Leader, Yassir. -more-

Debating Berkeley’s Plans for Growth

By Stephen Wollmer
Wednesday April 08, 2009 - 07:08:00 PM

I was both amused and appalled by Mr. Sukoff’s statement in his April 2 commentary that “There is no reason Berkeley could not comfortably house 150,000 or even 200,0000 people and be a more interesting and dynamic place as a result.” -more-