The Week

LeConte Elementary School fifth-graders Vanessa Echeveste, Yesenia Bermudez and Zaira Romero lead their classmates and the audience in a rendition of “What Can One Little Person Do?” during the school’s June 9 promotion ceremony.
Riya Bhattacharjee
LeConte Elementary School fifth-graders Vanessa Echeveste, Yesenia Bermudez and Zaira Romero lead their classmates and the audience in a rendition of “What Can One Little Person Do?” during the school’s June 9 promotion ceremony.
 

News

West Berkeley Zoning Changes Stir Concerns from Neighbors

By Richard Brenneman
Monday June 15, 2009 - 10:49:00 PM

With changes in West Berkeley zoning rules on the Planning Commission’s slate, residents of the area say they want a seat at the stakeholders’ table. -more-


Students Protest Racism on Berkeley High Campus

By Riya Bhattacharjee
Friday June 12, 2009 - 09:23:00 AM

At Wednesday’s Berkeley Board of Education meeting, about 20 Berkeley High School students protested what they called campus racism. -more-


State Supreme Court Rejects Challenge to Berkeley’s Assignment Plan

By Riya Bhattacharjee
Thursday June 11, 2009 - 05:56:00 PM

The state Supreme Court Wednesday rejected a challenge to Berkeley Unified School District’s student assignment plan, upholding a March appellate court decision and paving the way for other school districts to replicate it. -more-


Second Swine Flu Death in Alameda County

By Riya Bhattacharjee
Thursday June 11, 2009 - 05:04:00 PM

Alameda County public health officials announced the county’s second swine flu death Thursday. A middle-aged man who had been hospitalized for pre-existing health conditions died two days after the first death was reported. -more-


South Berkeley Crime Has Neighbors Outraged

By Riya Bhattacharjee
Thursday June 11, 2009 - 07:23:00 PM
Two young girls were injured when gunfire pierced the glass of the Oregon Street bedroom where they slept.

A day after two children were injured when the house in which they were sleeping came under a barrage of gunfire, it looked like everything was back to normal in their South Berkeley neighborhood. -more-


County Reports First Swine Flu Death

By Riya Bhattacharjee
Thursday June 11, 2009 - 07:29:00 PM

Alameda County reported its first swine flu death Tuesday, June 9, a middle-aged man who tested positive for the H1N1 virus and had pre-existing chronic health conditions. -more-


UC’s Downtown Hotel Project Stalls

By Richard Brenneman
Thursday June 11, 2009 - 07:52:00 PM

The flagging economy has already stopped—at least for the moment—one of the two tallest new buildings planned for downtown Berkeley. -more-


Zoning Board Considers New Site for Animal Shelter

By Riya Bhattacharjee
Thursday June 11, 2009 - 07:53:00 PM
The kennels at the current Berkeley Animal Shelter.

It’s been a long time coming. And if the city’s Zoning Adjustments Board gives the green signal Thursday, June 11, the Berkeley Animal Shelter will have a new home after a decade-long battle. -more-


Council Moves Forward With Bates-Maio Downtown Plan Proposals

By J. Douglas Allen-Taylor
Thursday June 11, 2009 - 07:53:00 PM

The Berkeley City Council moved several steps closer to a finished Downtown Area Plan late Tuesday night, approving on a 6-2-1 vote a proposal by Mayor Tom Bates and Councilmember Linda Maio to modify the Planning Commission’s version of the plan and bringing in elements from the Downtown Area Plan Advisory Commission (DAPAC) version. But rather than building a full council consensus on the final plan, a majority-minority council split appeared to be widening, and at least one councilmember—a visibly agitated Jesse Arreguín—pounded his palm on the podium and said that the method in which the plan deliberations were being handled might force him to vote against the Downtown Area Plan in the end. -more-


City May Raise Fees in Light of State Cutbacks

By J. Douglas Allen-Taylor
Thursday June 11, 2009 - 07:54:00 PM

In what Mayor Tom Bates called “a sobering update,” City of Berkeley Budget Manager Tracy Vesely told the City Council Tuesday night that proposed cutbacks in state funds being discussed in Sacramento could cost Berkeley as much as $8.2 million in the upcoming fiscal year. -more-


University Makes First Moves To Raze Public Health Building

By Richard Brenneman
Thursday June 11, 2009 - 07:54:00 PM

UC Berkeley has taken the first step toward demolition of one of the city center’s biggest buildings, the 120,000-square-foot, eight-story former home of the state Department of Health Services. -more-


Chevron Defeated in CEQA Lawsuit; Richmond Refinery Plans in Doubt

By Richard Brenneman
Thursday June 11, 2009 - 07:55:00 PM

Chevron’s environmental study of a proposed expansion of their Richmond refinery received a fatal blow Friday at the hands of a Martinez judge. -more-


State Fines UC, Zeneca for Richmond Toxics Disposal

By Richard Brenneman
Thursday June 11, 2009 - 07:55:00 PM

The state has fined UC Berkeley and an international agropharmaceutical corporation a total of $510,000 for illegally disposing of toxic waste in Richmond, prompting outrage from Sherry Padgett, the woman who has spearheaded the battle to clean up the sites, because the total penalties for illegal disposal of more than 3,000 truckloads of soils contaminated with deadly organic chemicals and poisonous metals work out to less than $170 a load. -more-


Daily Planet Wins Two Peninsula Press Club Awards

Thursday June 11, 2009 - 07:56:00 PM

The Daily Planet won two awards in the San Francisco Peninsula Press Club’s 2008 annual Greater Bay Area Journalism Awards dinner, held June 6 at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Foster City. -more-


Obata Studio Is Newest City Landmark

By Riya Bhattacharjee
Thursday June 11, 2009 - 07:56:00 PM
Artist Chiura Obata’s studio on Telegraph Ave.

The Berkeley Landmarks Preservation Commission voted 5–3 Thursday, June 4, to designate renowned artist Chiura Obata’s former studio on Telegraph Avenue a landmark. -more-


Crime in Berkeley Down Slightly in the First Quarter

By J. Douglas Allen-Taylor
Saturday June 13, 2009 - 07:57:00 PM

Outgoing Berkeley Police Chief Douglas Hambleton told the City Council Tuesday night that the number of violent crimes in Berkeley had a small drop in the first quarter of 2009 and serious property crimes an even larger drop, something the chief called “a hopeful sign.” -more-


EBMUD Approves Two-Year Rate Increase

By Riya Bhattacharjee
Thursday June 11, 2009 - 07:58:00 PM

The East Bay Municipal Utility District on Tuesday, June 9, adopted a two-year budget amidst financial constraints which will raise rates by 7.5 percent for each of the next two years. -more-


Corrections

Thursday June 11, 2009 - 07:58:00 PM

The first names of both Bill Fujimoto (Page Nine) and Rev. Mark Wilson (Page One) were botched in the June 4 edition. We regret the errors. -more-


Fire Department Log

By Richard Brenneman
Thursday June 11, 2009 - 07:59:00 PM

Fireworked -more-


Two Assaults Cap Busy Day for Berkeley Police

By Richard Brenneman
Thursday June 11, 2009 - 08:00:00 PM

A pair of assaults kept Berkeley Police hopping in the hours after a massive manhunt in South Berkeley Tuesday. -more-


Berkeley Pedestrian Killed by Amtrak Train

By Richard Brenneman
Thursday June 11, 2009 - 08:00:00 PM

A pedestrian who apparently leapt in front of an Amtrak passenger train in West Berkeley Thursday morning, last week, was fatally injured, according to railroad spokesperson Vernae Graham. -more-


Tiny Quake Strikes Beneath El Cerrito

Thursday June 11, 2009 - 08:00:00 PM

A mild earthquake sent a seismic shudder across the East Bay Saturday afternoon, rating a modest 3.2 on U.S. Geological Survey seismometers. -more-


MediaNews’ East Bay Papers Ratify Union Contract

By Richard Brenneman
Thursday June 11, 2009 - 08:01:00 PM

Pressed by repeated waves of downsizings, Bay Area journalists have been giving up pay, benefits and one of the hardest-won icons of the labor movement: pay differentials based on years of experience. -more-


Police Still Looking for Last Suspect in West Berkeley Homicide

By Riya Bhattacharjee
Thursday June 11, 2009 - 08:01:00 PM
Rafael Campbell.

Authorities are looking for the last suspect wanted in connection with the murder of Berkeley resident Charles Davis, Berkeley police announced Tuesday, June 9. -more-


Hurrah for Weeds

By Shirley Barker Special to the Planet
Thursday June 11, 2009 - 07:12:00 PM

Recently, as I read for and against comments in the Daily Planet concerning the restoration of the meadow at Berkeley’s marina, I realized my feelings were mixed. There is no question that the fenced trails that cross the meadow already show protection for the jack rabbits and other wild creatures that have struggled to survive there for decades. Wet areas when restoration is finished will doubtless attract migrating birds and aquatic life. -more-


Opinion

Editorials

Reporting the Bad News

By Becky O'Malley
Thursday June 11, 2009 - 06:47:00 PM

At a farmers’ market, we sat down to share a table with a mother and two small children. The little girl, who looked to be about 3, or perhaps a clever 2 and a half, announced that my companion had “a big white beard!” -more-


Cartoons

John Gertz and Dan Spitzer

By Justin DeFreitas
Thursday June 11, 2009 - 08:21:00 PM

Arnold and the State Parks

By Justin DeFreitas
Thursday June 11, 2009 - 08:17:00 PM

Public Comment

Readers Respond to ‘The Campaign Against the Daily Planet’

Thursday June 11, 2009 - 07:06:00 PM

DISTURBED BY ATTACKS -more-


Letters to the Editor

Tuesday June 16, 2009 - 11:45:00 AM

SALES TAX -more-


A Frightful Decision for Downtown

By Dave Blake
Thursday June 11, 2009 - 06:57:00 PM

Tuesday night the City Council, led by Councilmember Maio and Mayor Bates, adopted guidance for staff to craft a Downtown Area Plan that will open the downtown up to the hugest extensive expansion, both up to the sky (and a bit beyond), and outward into the neighborhoods, in the city’s history. The plan, proposed by Councilmember Maio (District 1), creates incentives for two 225-foot (20-story-plus) hotels and a 180-foot office or residential structure, and extends the downtown area buildable to 85 feet to Dwight to the south, MLK to the west, and north to Hearst. UC, which isn’t technically bound by the city’s zoning, has always agreed to adhere to the city’s zoning limits in principle, and by this plan will be free to build any additional buildings that fit those general guidelines (that is, hotels to 225 feet and office or residential buildings to 180 feet.) -more-


The Costs of a Berkeley High School Graduation Ceremony

By Judson H. Owens
Thursday June 11, 2009 - 06:59:00 PM

As of late I have read a number of articles regarding the expenses for the Graduation of Berkeley High School at the UC Hearst Greek Theater. With over 30 years of experience (1974-2005) assisting, producing and directing the production of the graduation at the Greek Theater, I believe I can speak with some authority. -more-


The War on Medi-Cal

By Anne Richardson
Thursday June 11, 2009 - 06:59:00 PM

Nine years ago, Medi-Cal saved my life. I was diagnosed with thyroid cancer, and could not pay for my care. Medi-Cal covered two surgeries, two hospital overnights, two diagnostic outpatient visits, an examination and consultation with a prominent oncologist, and the coordinative work and monitoring laboratory work of my primary care provider, who was proactive throughout the experience. My surgeon operated twice, because the foci of cancer in the second lobe were submicroscopic at the time of the first surgery, and he concluded from the slides he examined microscopically that this lobe was healthy. It is good surgical practice not to perform a complete thyroidectomy, when one lobe can remain and do the work of both. When, months later, the foci of carcinoma in the remaining lobe became microscopic, it was clear that this lobe, too, needed to be removed. I asked this well-thought-of young surgeon what motivated him to do such conscientious work for such a low rate of reimbursement under Medi-Cal, and he said, “ love.” Those were the high and palmy days of Medi-Cal, when increasing numbers of specialists were not taking Medi-Cal patients but the perception was, still, that the best doctors considered such a denial of service unconscionable. -more-


Morning Scramble: Reflections on Courtroom Conditions At Mehserle’s Trial

By Bisola Marignay
Thursday June 11, 2009 - 07:01:00 PM

Preliminary hearing were resumed today (June 2) at the Alameda County Courthouse for Johannes Mehserle, the Bart police officer who shot and killed Oscar Grant, Jan. 1, 2009. And I was up at 6:30 this morning preparing to leave and get to the courthouse by 7:30, even though, I live only 10 walking minutes away from it. But the courtroom has seating for only 27 people. So, getting there early to stand in line is part of the ritual of doing one’s civic duty to support the implementation of justice. -more-


Governor Should Rethink Cal Grant Cuts

By Ilene Abrams
Thursday June 11, 2009 - 07:02:00 PM

Gov. Schwarzenegger’s freeze of the Cal Grant, the state’s primary college financial aid program for low-income students, and his plan to eliminate it in its entirety is both short-sighted and cruel. It backtracks on the promise to make higher education available to all eligible students. Republicans who have signed a pledge to never raise taxes are in fact cynically taxing those who can least afford it, low income students, by increasing fees and rescinding grants. -more-


Insurance Coverage Should Be Available for Eating Disorders Not Otherwise Specified

By Natasha Kim
Thursday June 11, 2009 - 07:04:00 PM

In 1996, California mandated that insurance cover anorexia and bulimia, but excluded Eating Disorders Not Otherwise Specified (EDNOS). This policy should change to include EDNOS coverage, as the current information readily available about EDNOS invalidates the original policy’s oversights. -more-


Police Put Community At Risk

By Larissa Cummings
Thursday June 11, 2009 - 07:05:00 PM

As a resident of South Berkeley I am outraged that the Berkeley Police Department claims its recent high-speed police pursuits were “by the book.” Just weeks ago, two innocent people were killed as a result of BPD engaging in a high-speed chase down heavily populated neighborhood streets into a major corridor. This is not unprecedented; it is increasing. Our community has been victimized by these tactics numerous times over many years. It needs to stop. -more-


Pacifica’s Financial Crisis: Part II

By Richard Phelps
Thursday June 11, 2009 - 07:05:00 PM

Brian Edwards-Tiekert starts his reply to my original commentary (May 14) by calling me “delusional,” after saying he is not prone to hyperbole, which he then uses throughout his reply. -more-


Columns

Real American Racism: A History Lesson In Our Own Words

By J. Douglas Allen-Taylor
Thursday June 11, 2009 - 07:10:00 PM

Over the last couple of weeks, we have been subjected to various conservative commentators and Republican officials charge United States Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor with “racism” because Ms. Sotomayor indicated that all things being equal, a Latina woman judge might be better able to rule on a sex-race discrimination case than a white male judge. -more-


The Public Eye: Triage Economics

By Bob Burnett
Thursday June 11, 2009 - 07:11:00 PM

America’s economic health continues to be marginal. While the Obama administration suggests the worst is behind us and mentions signs of economic progress, unemployment remains high and businesses continue to close. How can we tell if we are at the bottom of the economic decline? And what should we expect over the next 12 months? -more-


Green Neighbors: Good Intentions and Wicked Plants

By Ron Sullivan
Thursday June 11, 2009 - 07:07:00 PM
Lovely to look at, stupid to ingest. Brugmansia hybrid flower.
                credit.

Only ignorance! only ignorance? How can you talk about only ignorance Don’t you know that it is the is the worst thing in the world, next to wickedness?—and which does the most mischief heaven only knows.” -more-


Architectural Excursions: Rustic Traditions in Southern California’s Mountain Resorts

By Daniella Thompson
Thursday June 11, 2009 - 07:09:00 PM
Boulder Bay, on the southern shore of Big Bear Lake.

Each September, the Adirondack Museum in Blue Mountain Lake, New York, holds a rustic furniture fair featuring “unique interpretations of rustic found in handcrafted furniture, furnishings, and fine art.” The Adirondacks are widely considered to be the fount of rustic style, which found expression across North America, including the San Jacinto and San Bernardino Mountains of Southern California. -more-


About the House: Flashing Is Not a Dirty Word

By Matt Cantor
Thursday June 11, 2009 - 07:08:00 PM

Disregard any fictitious tales you may have heard about me doing inspections in the buff. Aside from the danger of sunburn, electric shock or harm to the casual observer, it would be unprofessional and I am, if nothing, unflinchingly professional. OK, check your legs for matching length, but I do think I have your attention and it is flashing that I want to talk about (and not the naughty kind). -more-


Arts & Events

Arts Calendar

Thursday June 11, 2009 - 07:14:00 PM

THURSDAY, JUNE 11 -more-


‘Lady Windermere’s Fan’ at Masquers

By Ken Bullock Special to the Planet
Thursday June 11, 2009 - 07:15:00 PM

A handkerchief, given to a lady by her soldier husband, then stolen, turns romance into senseless tragedy in Othello. In Oscar Wilde’s Lady Windermere’s Fan, the innocuous accessory of the title, a gift by a wealthy lord to his young wife, turns romantic melodrama into wry comedy, as Wilde’s refracted view of manners and society takes a turn on the boards of Point Richmond’s venerable Masquers Playhouse. -more-


Summer Brenner’s ‘I-5’

By Estelle Jelinek Special to the Planet
Thursday June 11, 2009 - 07:16:00 PM

Summer Brenner regularly swims long distances in Berkeley’s public pools. She is also an accomplished author who writes as gracefully as she swims. -more-


Hill, Brenner Read at Moe’s

By Ken Bullock Special to the Planet
Thursday June 11, 2009 - 07:17:00 PM

Owen Hill, longtime bookseller at Moe’s Books on Telegraph Avenue, will read from his new humorous detective novel about the Berkeley adventures of Clay Blackburn, book scout and private eye, The Incredible Double (P.M. Press), for the reading series he established and continues to run at Moe’s. Summer Brenner will also read from her latest, I-5: A Novel of Crime, Transport, and Sex. -more-


‘Inferno’: New Opera Premieres at Live Oak Theater

By Ken Bullock Special to the Planet
Thursday June 11, 2009 - 07:18:00 PM

“Say you come across someone in the street, a street person who tells you a story. Later, you hear them tell the same story to someone else, and you feel a little betrayed, like they’re on a loop.” -more-


Cal Shakes’ Contemporary ‘Romeo and Juliet’

By Ken Bullock Special to the Planet
Thursday June 11, 2009 - 07:18:00 PM

Under the Orinda sky, the stage at the Bruns Amphitheatre is dominated by a bed, a crowned statue of the Virgin with child on a plinth, and a stairway adorned with bright tagging, as if it were an Expressionist sunset. Through these urban markers, old and new, the action of Cal Shakes’ production of Romeo and Juliet will pour, interrupted by its famous tableaux of balcony, bedroom and tomb, young love and death. -more-


Islands in the Park: A Celebration of Caribbean American Culture

By Ken Bullock Special to the Planet
Thursday June 11, 2009 - 07:19:00 PM

Celebrating the Rich Cultural Heritage of the Caribbean through Music, with Third World Reggae Band from Jamaica, Calypso monarch The Mighty Sparrow from Trinidad and Tobago, Sheila Hylton (reggae from Jamaica, London and New York), Collie Buddz (reggae and dancehall from Bermuda) and the New Kingston Band appearing 7 p. m. Sunday evening at Woodminster Amphitheatre in Oakland’s Joaquin Miller Park, with awards presented to celebrate and honor the contributions of Caribbean Americans. -more-


Dance for Parkinson’s Disease Comes to the Bay Area

By Jaime Robles Special to the Planet
Thursday June 11, 2009 - 07:20:00 PM

In a studio with mirrored walls and ballet barres, dancers are learning a series of steps from “Gorgeous tragedy,” a solo variation from Mark Morris’ L’allegro, il penseroso, ed il moderato. They cup their hands as if they were holding water and throw their arms backward, tossing that water over their shoulder; at the same time, they kick a foot outward. They bring their arms and hands together before their face, part their hands, and lean forward, arms dropped toward the floor and dangling, with the smallest suggestion of a pendulum swinging. The dancers finish the combination of movement by tracing a serpentine curve with their fingers in the air in front of them. -more-


Around the East Bay: Fury Factory Fest

Thursday June 11, 2009 - 07:21:00 PM

foolsFURY, the innovative theater company that’s co-produced with Shotgun, hosts their annual Fury Factory festival of experimental and movement-based performers and theater companies from all over North America and as far off as Liverpool and Afghanistan, playing in different venues almost every evening. In the Berkeley-Oakland area, Ragged Wing Ensemble performs So Many Ways to Kill a Man; Just Theater presents Take Me to the Bridge; Sara Zimmerman performs in Aphasia; Deborah Eliezer and Silvia Girardi in Run If You Care About Dying; David Szlasa with Gadget; and from Hercules, Ochlos Theatre Workshop with Medea3. foolsFURY performs Port Out, Starboard; cohost Theatre of Yugen stages the classic Japanese Kyogen comedy Shuron and Erik Ehn’s Pretty—all at NohSpace and Traveling Jewish Theatre in the San Francisco’s Project Artaud, now through June 27. $12–$15. (800) 838-3006. foolsfury.org. -more-


Around the East Bay: Berkeley Bloomsday

Thursday June 11, 2009 - 07:22:00 PM

Wilde Irish, dubbed the area’s Best Bloomin’ Thespians by the Bay Guardian, celebrate their sixth annual Bloomsday in Berkeley bash on Tuesday, June 16, “the day Leopold Bloom, the most famous Jew in Ireland, and his contemporaries ... walked, wandered, meandered and staggered through ... Dublin city and county ... in one day (and night): June 16, 1904.” Passages of James Joyce’s epic modern novel Ulysses will be given staged readings, along with other Joycean prose. One time only, 7:30 p. m. at the Gaia Arts Center, 2116 Allston Way, near Shattuck (and Berkeley BART). $12–$15 ($20 includes “Wine of the Country”). 644-9940. www.wildeirish.org. -more-


Around the East Bay: Live Oak Park Fest

Thursday June 11, 2009 - 07:22:00 PM

The 39th annual Live Oak Park Fair features work for sale by 110 artists and craftspeople (a select group of which will be exhibited by the co-sponsoring Berkeley Art Center) and entertainment by Tippy Canoe (ukelele and ’60s Girl Group/Country-style vocals), Mikie Lee Prasard (former blues & acoustic jam leader at Blakes), Wildsang (blues duos), Girltalk band (World Jazz) and Violet the Clown. Under the big trees alongside Codornices Creek, 1301 Shattuck at Berryman, 10–6 Saturday and Sunday, with free shuttles every 20 minutes to and from North Berkeley BART (another co-sponsor, along with ACCI Gallery and the UC Botanical Garden, among others). This year held in memory of artist Claus Sievert. Wheelchair accessible. Free. 227-7110. liveoakparkfair.org. -more-


Around the East Bay: Art House Gallery

Thursday June 11, 2009 - 07:23:00 PM

The brand-new Art House Gallery and Cultural Center, housed in what was once a blacksmith’s shop, opens on Saturday with a celebration fom noon till 10 p. m. featuring an art exhibit, “Visionary Surrealism, Fantasy and Psychedelic Art,” with work by a score of artists; music by more than a dozen players and singers (including Naomi Ruth Eisenberg of Dan Hicks & His Hot Licks fame); poets Al Young, Luis Garcia, Harold Adler, Richard Krech and others; theatrical performance by Fella-Fem and psychedelic lightshow by LSD Visuals; with a potluck. $5–$10 donation. 2905 Shattuck Ave. (near Ashby, across from Berkeley Bowl). 472-3170. berkeleyarthouse.wordpress.com. -more-


Architectural Excursions: Rustic Traditions in Southern California’s Mountain Resorts

By Daniella Thompson
Thursday June 11, 2009 - 07:09:00 PM
Boulder Bay, on the southern shore of Big Bear Lake.

Each September, the Adirondack Museum in Blue Mountain Lake, New York, holds a rustic furniture fair featuring “unique interpretations of rustic found in handcrafted furniture, furnishings, and fine art.” The Adirondacks are widely considered to be the fount of rustic style, which found expression across North America, including the San Jacinto and San Bernardino Mountains of Southern California. -more-


About the House: Flashing Is Not a Dirty Word

By Matt Cantor
Thursday June 11, 2009 - 07:08:00 PM

Disregard any fictitious tales you may have heard about me doing inspections in the buff. Aside from the danger of sunburn, electric shock or harm to the casual observer, it would be unprofessional and I am, if nothing, unflinchingly professional. OK, check your legs for matching length, but I do think I have your attention and it is flashing that I want to talk about (and not the naughty kind). -more-


Community Calendar

Thursday June 11, 2009 - 07:13:00 PM

THURSDAY, JUNE 11 -more-