The Week

Protesters demonstrate outside McDonald's in downtown Berkeley.
Rio Bauce
Protesters demonstrate outside McDonald's in downtown Berkeley.
 

News

Crime from Willard Students Sparks Community Meeting

By Rio Bauce Special to the Planet
Wednesday June 03, 2009 - 01:41:00 PM

Last Thursday, the LeConte Neighborhood Association held a meeting together with the Berkeley Police Department and Willard Middle School Safety Officer Andre Kellum to discuss the issue of after-school student vandalism. -more-


Berkeley Students Show Decline in SAT Scores, Large Gains in AP Scores

By Riya Bhattacharjee
Wednesday June 03, 2009 - 10:52:00 AM

Berkeley High School students showed a sharp decline in 2008 SAT math and verbal scores, but large gains in Advanced Placement tests, according to a report prepared by the Berkeley Unified School District. -more-


Flash: Police Find Shooting Suspect in South Berkeley Dumpster

By Riya Bhattacharjee
Tuesday June 02, 2009 - 08:10:00 PM

After a lengthy search, police found the man suspected of firing shots from a car in West Berkeley Tuesday afternoon. -more-


Flash: Search for Suspect Continues in South Berkeley

By Riya Bhattacharjee
Tuesday June 02, 2009 - 06:00:00 PM

Three hours after a young man fired shots from a moving car in West Berkeley, police were still searching for the suspect in South Berkeley after chasing him to a neighborhood near the intersection of Ashby and Shattuck avenues. -more-


Flash: Police Search for Armed Suspect in South Berkeley

By Riya Bhattacharjee
Tuesday June 02, 2009 - 01:39:00 PM
The Berkeley Police Department SWAT team searches for an armed suspect near the corner of Shattuck and Ashby avenues.

Berkeley police cordoned off two blocks near Shattuck and Ashby avenues at 3:30 p.m. to search for a suspect who fired shots earlier today in West Berkeley. -more-


Campanile Undergoes Restoration Work

By Rio Bauce Special to the Planet
Tuesday June 02, 2009 - 04:56:00 PM
UC Berkeley's Campanile will is undergoing restoration. The work is expected to  be completed by the beginning of the fall semester.

On May 26, UC Berkeley began restoration work on Sather Tower (also known as the Campanile) to repair and clean the marble spire, secure the beacon, and repair the roof. The project is expected to be complete by the beginning of the fall semester. -more-


Black Oak Books Moves Out

By Riya Bhattacharjee
Monday June 01, 2009 - 01:35:00 PM

Shattuck Avenue lost an icon Sunday. Owner Gary Cornell confirmed Monday morning that Black Oak Books, one of Berkeley’s best-loved bookstores, is moving out. Cornell has been trying to negotiate a lease with landlord Ruegg and Ellsworth for several months. -more-


Counselors Hit Hard by School District Budget Cuts

By Riya Bhattacharjee
Monday June 01, 2009 - 01:33:00 PM

Teachers, parents and students packed the City Council chambers Wednesday to ask the Berkeley Board of Education to save high school counseling positions threatened by budget cuts. -more-


Harmon Street Apartment Fire

By Richard Brenneman
Monday June 01, 2009 - 01:33:00 PM

Where there’s smoke—even the sweet-smelling kind—there’s sometimes fire, as the occupants of one Berkeley apartment discovered to their chagrin last week. -more-


AC Transit Takes First Step Towards Projected Bus Line Cuts

By J. Douglas Allen-Taylor
Friday May 29, 2009 - 08:59:00 AM

AC Transit officials took the first step Wednesday toward eliminating or reducing bus lines. The cuts are expected to be implemented later this year. -more-


Planners Approve Easing of Downtown Business Permits, Look at New Housing Allocations

By Richard Brenneman
Thursday May 28, 2009 - 03:59:00 PM

Berkeley planning commissioners finished their adjustments to downtown zoning rules Wednesday night (May 27), easing requirements for entrepreneurs setting up shop in the vacancy-plagued city center. -more-


BART Sets Fare Hike; Changes Take Effect July 1

Bay City News
Thursday May 28, 2009 - 01:46:00 PM

BART directors voted today to adopt three fare hikes that will go into effect July 1. -more-


Group to Hold Meeting About Possible Reopening of Oakland's Parkway Theater

Bay City News
Thursday May 28, 2009 - 01:47:00 PM

Community members in Oakland will meet this Sunday to discuss an investment offer made this week to take over the former Parkway Speakeasy Theater in Oakland, which closed earlier this year. -more-


Drop in Immigrant Students Leads to Loss of Federal Funds

By Riya Bhattacharjee
Thursday May 28, 2009 - 06:55:00 PM

A significant drop in the number of immigrant students in the Berkeley Unified School District has resulted in the loss of federal funding for some services and programs meant to help them. -more-


API Scores Show Growth For State, Berkeley Schools

By Riya Bhattacharjee
Thursday May 28, 2009 - 06:56:00 PM

Although the 2008 Base Academic Performance Index (API) report released Thursday, May 21, shows progress for California’s public schools, state Superintendent of Public Instruction Jack O’Connell warned that the mounting budget cuts to education could be a major threat to improving student achievement. -more-


Protesters Decry Proximity of Fast Food Outlets, Schools

By Rio Bauce Special to the Planet
Thursday May 28, 2009 - 06:56:00 PM

Ten Berkeley citizens and leaders of Corporate Accountability International (CAI) protested in front of McDonald’s in downtown Berkeley Tuesday to draw attention to the restaurant’s proximity to schools. -more-


Council Plans Budget Review; Election Fallout Still Unknown

By J. Douglas Allen-Taylor
Thursday May 28, 2009 - 06:56:00 PM

While Berkeley City Manager Phil Kamlarz has scheduled an update on the city’s budget for next Tuesday’s City Council meeting, that update will probably not include the impacts of last week’s defeats of ballot measures designed to plug holes in the state’s budget deficit. -more-


Special Election Results Impact Higher Education

By Rio Bauce Special to the Planet
Thursday May 28, 2009 - 06:57:00 PM

The defeat of five of the May 19 special election ballot initiatives means trouble for the economic future of California’s universities, colleges and community colleges. -more-


Berkeley Couple Challenges Prop. 8 in New Federal Lawsuit

By Bay City News
Thursday May 28, 2009 - 06:57:00 PM

In the wake of the California Supreme Court’s decision to uphold Proposition 8, the state’s ban on same-sex marriage, two couples are pursuing a new tactic with a federal court lawsuit. -more-


Police Arrest 150 in SF Protests

By Bay City News
Thursday May 28, 2009 - 06:58:00 PM

San Francisco police arrested at least 150 protesters on Tuesday after a large crowd blocked a major intersection in response to the state Supreme Court’s ruling upholding Proposition 8, the voter-approved ban on same-sex marriage. -more-


Power Outage Hits 3,880 PG&E Users

By Richard Brenneman
Thursday May 28, 2009 - 06:58:00 PM

A power outage on the Berkeley-Oakland border near the Claremont Hotel darkened nearly 4,000 homes Wednesday, reports Pacific Gas & Electric. -more-


Biofuels Oasis Opens in South Berkeley

By Riya Bhattacharjee
Thursday May 28, 2009 - 06:59:00 PM

It’s not a gas station, yet more than 2,000 people swear by it when it comes to refueling their cars in the East Bay. -more-


Berkeley High Opens Scheduling Meetings to Public

By Riya Bhattacharjee
Thursday May 28, 2009 - 07:00:00 PM

Berkeley High School will allow the public to participate in meetings held by a committee charged with planning a new schedule for the high school, Berkeley Unified School District Superintendent Bill Huyett said Tuesday. -more-


City College Graduates Take Stage at Zellerbach

By Rio Bauce Special to the Planet
Thursday May 28, 2009 - 07:01:00 PM

Zellerbach Auditorium was filled to capacity Thursday, May 21, for Berkeley City College's 2009 graduation ceremony. -more-


Plan to Double West Berkeley Rail Lines Fades With Economy

By Richard Brenneman
Thursday May 28, 2009 - 07:01:00 PM

A plan to double the number of rail lines through West Berkeley has joined banks and car makers as a casualty of the economic crash. -more-


Police Arrest Third Suspect in Homicide Cases

Bay City News
Thursday May 28, 2009 - 07:02:00 PM

A third suspect in a May 16 triple homicide in the East Bay was arrested early Monday in Florida, Berkeley police announced today. -more-


Testimony Continues in Mehserle Hearing

Bay City News
Thursday May 28, 2009 - 07:02:00 PM

An Alameda County Superior Court judge said today he won’t allow witnesses to testify that they overheard former BART police Officer Johannes Mehserle mention using his Taser stun gun before he fatally shot Oscar Grant III on New Year’s Day. -more-


First Person: More Thoughts on The Art of Aging

By Rose Green
Thursday May 28, 2009 - 07:02:00 PM

Al Winslow’s article “The Art of Aging” (Daily Planet, Dec. 10, 2008) inspired me to add my two cents to this important issue. -more-


First Person: O Say, Can We Sing?

By Mary Ford
Thursday May 28, 2009 - 07:04:00 PM

In Spring 2008 as I prepared to produce a fall choral concert benefiting Berkeley High School, I went looking for student singers to feature in the concert, only to painfully realize that hardly anyone knew who to ask. Berkeley High, a school of 3,300 kids, hadn’t had a choral arts program for three years, after having enjoyed as many as five separate choirs through the 1990s and early 2000s. California has been hovering at 48th place in state ranking for money spent per student. Choral arts had taken a big hit at Berkeley High. -more-


Opinion

Editorials

One More Time, From the Top

By Becky O’Malley
Thursday May 28, 2009 - 07:05:00 PM

Never thought I’d hear the word “empathy” used as a pejorative. (Definitions, for the one or two Republicans who might be be reading this: “Empathy: …the action of understanding, being aware of, being sensitive to, and vicariously experiencing the feelings, thoughts, and experience of another” and “pejorative: having negative connotations; especially: tending to disparage or belittle.” ) -more-


Cartoons

Proposition 8 Upheld

By Justin DeFreitas
Thursday May 28, 2009 - 08:29:00 AM

The Many Faces of Nancy Pelosi

By Justin DeFreitas
Thursday May 28, 2009 - 08:31:00 AM

Special Election Results

By Justin DeFreitas
Thursday May 28, 2009 - 08:32:00 AM

Public Comment

Letters to the Editor

Thursday May 28, 2009 - 07:07:00 PM

MEMORIAL DAY -more-


A Climate Action Plan

By Steven Finacom
Thursday May 28, 2009 - 07:07:00 PM

Will policies proposed to turn Berkeley “green” eventually eliminate real local green spaces, particularly our backyards and private gardens? If the proposed Climate Action Plan (CAP) doesn’t change, it’s quite possible. -more-


Open Government in Berkeley and the Sunshine Ordinance

By Dean Metzger
Thursday May 28, 2009 - 07:11:00 PM

The City Council is scheduled to open the discussion of the Citizens’ Sunshine Ordinance at the June 2 Council Meeting. Mayor Bates has said that the discussion will be restricted to the fiscal impact the proposed ordinance would have on the city budget. -more-


State Supreme Court Perverts Power of Initiative Process

By Paul Hogarth
Thursday May 28, 2009 - 07:11:00 PM

In 1964, Stanley Kubrick produced the Cold War film Dr. Strangelove, or “How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb.” By upholding Proposition 8, the California Supreme Court has learned to stop worrying and love the initiative process. It’s an apt analogy, because yesterday’s decision leaves an unchecked power of the voters to strike a “bomb” through our basic Constitutional protections. Not only did the court minimize Prop. 8’s effect on the right to marry, using logic that contradicted last year’s decision on the same subject. It set up a dubious distinction between “amendments” and “revisions” to the state Constitution, which will allow virtually any ballot measure to pass as a mere “amendment.” Without adequate safeguards that a “revision” was meant to place, equal protection is no longer sacred—because the power of the ballot is supreme. At the same time, the court ruled that the 18,000 same-sex couples who legally wed last year are still married—because to invalidate these licenses would be an undue violation of due process and property rights. While that was a wise decision, it remains a mystery why such a right is more important than equal protection. -more-


Neighborhood Alert: Berkeley Home to Possible War Criminal

By Cynthia Papermaster
Thursday May 28, 2009 - 07:12:00 PM

From time to time I receive alerts, usually by email, from the Berkeley Police Department and neighborhood groups, about criminal activity in Berkeley. I like getting this information. It helps me be on the lookout for criminals and is a good reminder to lock my doors and windows. -more-


Decline of Daily Newspaper Is Decline of the Republic

By Leon Cyens
Thursday May 28, 2009 - 07:12:00 PM

In the old movie Three Days of the Condor Robert Redford discovers renegade CIA agents plotting a cover up of one of their crimes. Confronted in the street by the CIA agents Redford is told there is no where he can run to and there is nothing he can do about it. He is told to remain silent and pray that he does not have an accident. -more-


About Obama

By Marvin Chachere
Thursday May 28, 2009 - 07:13:00 PM

Since Jan. 21 the Obama team has been struggling—with mixed success—to stabilize the ship of state, to plug its leaks, to change its direction and set a new course. The ship our 44th president took command of cannot be righted easily or quickly; it is foundering due to two terms of venal management by its previous captain. -more-


Fruit Trees in Berkeley?

By Asa Dodsworth
Thursday May 28, 2009 - 07:13:00 PM

I have a confession to make. I have fruit trees and vegetable beds in my front yard and on the median strip in front of my house. My neighbors and I think this is gorgeous, but Berkeley’s code-enforcement officers disagree. These compliance “enforcers” think my gardens are code-violations worthy of fines of $3,000 dollars a day, $90,000.00 dollars a month. (These fines are substantially larger than the development fees paid by Berkeley’s multimillion dollar development projects!) -more-


Financial Concerns at KPFA

By Brian Edwards-Tiekert
Thursday May 28, 2009 - 07:13:00 PM

In a recent commentary, Richard Phelps attacks me and several others as “responsible for this crisis” at our sister station, WBAI in New York. I am a reporter and not prone to hyperbole: so please believe me when I tell you that the man’s rambling attack is nothing short of delusional. -more-


College Prep School Expansion Shocks Neighbors

By Laura Santina
Thursday May 28, 2009 - 07:13:00 PM

On May 6, College Preparatory High School—a private high school located in Oakland on Broadway between Brookside and Golden Gate Avenues—presented its three-year expansion plans to neighbors and a couple of Rockridge Community Planning Council (RCPC) members. Unfortunately, the invitations arrived two days before the meeting, and many neighbors whose lives would be directly impacted by the development were unable to attend. Of those who did attend, many were seriously troubled by what they heard. -more-


Columns

The Public Eye: The Republican Dilemma

By Bob Burnett
Thursday May 28, 2009 - 07:03:00 PM

After Barack Obama’s victory in the November presidential election, the Republican Party attempted to re-brand itself, but hasn’t come up with compelling ideas or attractive leaders. So far, the GOP has been unwilling to modify its conservative credo. That’s good news for Democrats. -more-


UnderCurrents: Address the Crucial, Don’t Be Distracted by the Trivial

By J. Douglas Allen-Taylor
Thursday May 28, 2009 - 07:05:00 PM

We are so easily distracted, aren’t we, so often allowing the trivial and the unimportant to take the center stage of our attention while serious issues are left unattended in the outer wings of our collective consciousness, often to die without even a comment. -more-


Green Neighbors: Getting a Public Garden out of Legal Limbo

By Ron Sullivan
Thursday May 28, 2009 - 07:17:00 PM
Convenient ignorance in action: When you know that butterflies lay eggs on the leafy outer bits of plants, what looks like a half-assed mow-n-blow attack looks even worse. LeConte traffic circle, a few days post-vandalism.

Berkeley flatland citizens have turned those odd “traffic calming” circles that the city plunked into various intersections a few years back into showcases of gardening art and dedication. Volunteering their time, energy, skills, and plants, they’ve created something more than beauty: these breaks in the asphalt function to catch, slow, and filter rainwater before it hits the storm sewers, to filter pollutants as do all urban plants, and to nurture the local wildlife so many of us fail to notice. -more-


East Bay, Then and Now: James Pierce, the Consummate Host of Ridge Road

By Daniella Thompson
Thursday May 28, 2009 - 07:19:00 PM
The Treehaven Apartments were named for the oak trees on Ridge Road.

EDITOR’S NOTE: This is the second in a series on Cloyne Court. -more-


About the House: Stinky House Syndrome

By Matt Cantor
Thursday May 28, 2009 - 07:18:00 PM

Mr. and Mrs. American Home Buyer, are you suffering from Stinky House Syndrome? Do strangers cover their noses and flee your dwelling soon after entering? Do relatives plan family gatherings at the homes of family members who are less scintillating than you? Are you engaging in microbial experiments without possession of the pertinent advanced degree? Does your house smell bad? If you answered yes to any of the above, you may be a candidate for dehumidifier ownership. -more-


Arts & Events

Arts Calendar

Thursday May 28, 2009 - 07:17:00 PM

THURSDAY, MAY 28 -more-


Shotgun Stages Goethe’s ‘Faust’

By Ken Bullock Special to the Planet
Thursday May 28, 2009 - 07:14:00 PM

“I myself poisoned thousands. ...” Faust, Goethe’s hero—and one of the great figures drawn by European modernity—gives his cynical, unsolicited confession to his assistant, Wagner, rejecting the tokens of love and respect Wagner reminds him that the people have given Faust and his physician father since their ministrations during an outbreak of the plague. Faust’s withering reply is to expose the charlatanism of his own medicine, the emptiness of his knowledge, his egotism. -more-


Hamilton, Longtime Leader of BHS Jazz, Takes Final Bow

By Ken Bullock Special to the Planet
Thursday May 28, 2009 - 07:15:00 PM

Charles Hamilton, retiring music director of the Berkeley High Jazz Ensemble, will play this Sunday afternoon, 1-3 p.m., at A Jazz Blast in Live Oak Theater with his group, Charles Hamilton and Friends. -more-


Berkeley Akademie Gears Up For Nagano’s Last Performance

By Ken Bullock Special to the Planet
Thursday May 28, 2009 - 07:16:00 PM

Berkeley Akademie will feature the final performance of the season this Sunday evening at First Congregational Church, with Bach’s Italian Concerto (in a modern arrangement for chamber orchestra by Joachim F. W. Schneider); Charles Ives’ Symphony No. 3 (“Camp-Meeting”) and Beethoven’s Septet in E-flat Major, Opus 20. -more-


Creativity to the Rescue: ‘Human/Nature’ at BAM

By Peter Selz Special to the Planet
Thursday May 28, 2009 - 07:16:00 PM

In the 1960s, artists, disenchanted with the commercialization of art reached beyond the White Cube. Animated by the compelling masculine power of Abstract Expressionism, they went to isolated deserts and mountains and moved the earth, creating monumental works on a high plateau in New Mexico, in Great Salt Lake, in the Nevada desert. These enterprises, grandiose as they were, also indicated an entropic disregard of nature. -more-


Central Works Revives Moliere’s ‘Misanthrope’

By Ken Bullock Special to the Planet
Thursday May 28, 2009 - 07:16:00 PM

In the back room of a mansion, a Pepto Bismol-swigging investigative reporter complains to his artist buddy that he hates parties, like the one still raging outside that he has fled. In fact, he hates a society that doesn’t “speak from the heart.” -more-


Around the East Bay: Lady Windemere’s Fan

Monday June 01, 2009 - 01:46:00 PM

Oscar Wilde’s wry predecessor to Earnest-ness, Lady Windemere’s Fan, is onstage now at the Masquers Playhouse, updated by director Patricia Inabnet to the status-seeking 1950s. 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays; 2:30 p.m. Sundays. 105 Park Place, Point Richmond. $18. 232-4031. www.masquers.org. -more-


Around the East Bay: A Streetcar Named Desire

Monday June 01, 2009 - 01:54:00 PM

An unusually good production of A Streetcar Named Desire goes into its final performances at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday and at 2 p.m. Sunday, at Altarena Playhouse. Director Sue Trigg and her cast stage Tennessee Williams’ masterwork in the round, and do it justice by making every detail build on the last. The final scenes are indelible. 1409 High St., Alameda. $17-20. 764-9718. www.altarena.org. -more-


East Bay, Then and Now: James Pierce, the Consummate Host of Ridge Road

By Daniella Thompson
Thursday May 28, 2009 - 07:19:00 PM
The Treehaven Apartments were named for the oak trees on Ridge Road.

EDITOR’S NOTE: This is the second in a series on Cloyne Court. -more-


About the House: Stinky House Syndrome

By Matt Cantor
Thursday May 28, 2009 - 07:18:00 PM

Mr. and Mrs. American Home Buyer, are you suffering from Stinky House Syndrome? Do strangers cover their noses and flee your dwelling soon after entering? Do relatives plan family gatherings at the homes of family members who are less scintillating than you? Are you engaging in microbial experiments without possession of the pertinent advanced degree? Does your house smell bad? If you answered yes to any of the above, you may be a candidate for dehumidifier ownership. -more-


Community Calendar

Thursday May 28, 2009 - 07:19:00 PM

THURSDAY, MAY 28 -more-