The Week

A small spectator raises her arms in delight as the sky fills with octopi at last weekend’s Berkeley Kite Festival at Cesar Chavez Park on the Berkeley Marina.
Steven Finacom
A small spectator raises her arms in delight as the sky fills with octopi at last weekend’s Berkeley Kite Festival at Cesar Chavez Park on the Berkeley Marina.
 

News

Three UC Berkeley Graduates Detained in Iran

By Riya Bhattacharjee
Tuesday August 04, 2009 - 09:20:00 AM

The three American hikers who recently disappeared in Iran have been identified as UC Berkeley graduates. At least two are journalists based in Africa and the Middle East. -more-


BP’s Biofuel Lab Heads to Downtown Berkeley

By Richard Brenneman
Friday July 31, 2009 - 02:45:00 PM

UC Berkeley is moving the site of its BP-funded agrofuel research from the hills above Strawberry Canyon to the heart of downtown Berkeley. -more-


Tentative Agreement Reached on Contracts for BART Workers

Bay City News
Thursday July 30, 2009 - 02:25:00 PM

BART management and union leaders this morning announced a tentative agreement on new four-year contract that, if given final approval, will avoid a strike by BART workers. -more-


Chemical Spill Forces REI Store Evacuation

By Richard Brenneman
Thursday July 30, 2009 - 09:59:00 AM
The Berkeley Fire Department's HazMat team evacuated the REI store on San Pablo Avenue Wednesday.

A chemical spilled from a backpack at West Berkeley’s REI store Wednesday afternoon forced the evacuation of scores of customers and employees. -more-


Campaign Gets Underway for Referendum on Downtown Plan

By J. Douglas Allen-Taylor
Thursday July 30, 2009 - 10:44:00 AM

In a move that was widely expected, opponents of the city of Berkeley’s Downtown Area Plan have begun a petition drive for a voter referendum on the plan. -more-


Planners Adopt West Berkeley Subdivision Regulations

By Richard Brenneman
Thursday July 30, 2009 - 10:46:00 AM

Planning commissioners finished the easy part of their West Berkeley zoning changes Wednesday, July 22, but the hardest part will be on their agenda after their August break. -more-


George Yoshida: Still Swingin’

By Dorothy Bryant Special to the Planet
Thursday July 30, 2009 - 10:46:00 AM
George Yoshida.

When George Yoshida greets his South Berkeley Senior Center class of “modified” tai chi and leads us into the first stretch, we see a compact, supple, dark-haired man—pushing 70? Wrong. George was born in 1922. The teaching career he began in Berkeley in 1952 continues to this day. Devoted to teaching? Yes, but his great passion is music—swing and jazz. -more-


Berkeley’s First Teen Center Planned for Downtown

By Riya Bhattacharjee
Thursday July 30, 2009 - 10:59:00 AM
2109 Martin Luther King, Jr. Way as it currently exists.

Berkeley teenagers may finally have a solution to their boredom. -more-


Rumors of Eastshore Park Closure Untrue

By Richard Brenneman
Thursday July 30, 2009 - 11:00:00 AM

Despite reports from the state Department of Parks and Recreation, Eastshore State Park isn’t about to close, reports Larry Tong, interagency planning manager for the park district. -more-


Correction

Thursday July 30, 2009 - 11:00:00 AM

Russell Grant, the homeless man pictured on the front of the Daily Planet’s July 23 edition, states emphatically that he is not “Holy Man,” as stated in the accompanying caption and story. Other people have called him a holy man, he says, but he would never himself claim to be a holy man. -more-


Point Molate Casino Plan Draws Concerns, Praise

By Richard Brenneman
Thursday July 30, 2009 - 11:00:00 AM

The massive draft environmental impact report on what could become California’s first Las Vegas-style metropolitan casino reveals sharp divisions among Richmond residents. -more-


Oakland Runner Heads to Nationals

By Rio Bauce Special to the Planet
Thursday July 30, 2009 - 11:01:00 AM
Tayo Ogunmayin.

Twelve-year-old Tayo Ogunmayin may have been running track for just two years, but she is already gaining national attention. An incoming seventh-grader at Oakland’s Julia Morgan School for Girls, Ogunmayin will be participating in the North American finals of the Track and Field Games this Saturday in Hershey, Pennsylvania. -more-


Clif Bar Set to Move to Emeryville

By Rio Bauce Special to the Planet
Thursday July 30, 2009 - 11:02:00 AM

Energy snack manufacturer Clif Bar recently announced that it would be moving from Berkeley to Emeryville next year. -more-


City Council Approves Ashby Senior Housing Project

By J. Douglas Allen-Taylor
Thursday July 30, 2009 - 11:02:00 AM

The Berkeley City Council broke for the summer on Thursday after unanimously approving a $1.4 million loan in Housing Trust Fund money for the 98-unit Ashby Arts Senior Housing project, after City Manager Phil Kamlarz came up with a proposal to replenish the trust fund monies with the sale and loan foreclosure of other properties. -more-


Council Tables Measure Endorsing SCA 21

By Rio Bauce Special to the Planet
Thursday July 30, 2009 - 11:03:00 AM

Last Thursday, the Berkeley City Council tabled a measure supporting a bill in the state Legislature that would strip the University of California’s Board of Regents of a certain measure of autonomy. -more-


School District Not Surprised by State Budget Cuts

By Riya Bhattacharjee
Thursday July 30, 2009 - 11:04:00 AM

The latest round of proposed state budget cuts to public education did not come as a surprise to the Berkeley Unified School District. -more-


Fate of Golden Gate Fields Still Uncertain

By Richard Brenneman
Thursday July 30, 2009 - 11:05:00 AM

The fate of Golden Gate Fields, the Bay Area’s last remaining horseracing venue, remains uncertain as parent Magna Entertainment continues to undergo bankruptcy proceedings in the United States and Canada. -more-


Berkeley and the General Strike of 1934

By Steven Finacom Special to the Planet
Thursday July 30, 2009 - 11:07:00 AM
Courtesy Berkeley Historical Society
                July 25, 1934, the Berkeley Gazette carried this small advertisement calling for a “mass meeting” to protest the July 19 attacks in Berkeley.

In spring and summer 1934 San Francisco experienced one of the most dramatic labor confrontations in 20th century American history. -more-


Police Blotter

By Richard Brenneman
Thursday July 30, 2009 - 11:07:00 AM

Sexual battery arrest -more-


Fire Department Log

By Richard Brenneman
Thursday July 30, 2009 - 11:06:00 AM

Shattuck Avenue fire -more-


B.N. Duncan, 1943-2009

By Ace Backwords
Thursday July 30, 2009 - 11:09:00 AM
B.N. Duncan.

Telegraph Avenue legend B.N. Duncan died in June at the age of 65. I first met B.N. Duncan in 1979 at Krishna Copy on the corner of Telegraph and Dwight. He was xeroxing copies of Tele Times, a little homemade magazine he published. And I was xeroxing copies of Ass Backwards Comix #1. So we were on the same page, literally, from the word go. Geez, I must have been 23, so Duncan was 36. He looked like a weird old man with his disheveled hair and thick horn-rimmed glasses and ratty old clothes. He looked like your weird uncle that you kept in the basement out of sight. He was the arachetypal weirdo artist. -more-


B.N. Duncan: A Telegraph Avenue Fixture

By Dan McMullan
Thursday July 30, 2009 - 11:10:00 AM

B.N. Duncan had been a fixture at the corner of Haste and Telegraph for so long that the word “fixture” seemed to fit him well. He seemed as permanent as the street sign or as we once thought of Cody’s Books. His Telegraph Avenue Street Calendar, produced with longtime friend Ace Backwords, documented a street scene that was rapidly succumbing to the erroneous business and city view that people came to the Avenue to shop, not to experience its colorful denizens. -more-


Foreclosed and Evicted in Oakland

By David Bacon TruthOut
Thursday July 30, 2009 - 11:15:00 AM
Tosha Alberty’s father Charles speaks his mind.

At eight in the morning on Monday, July 20, 10 Alameda County sheriffs arrived in their patrol cars in front of the tan house on the corner of Tenth and Willow in West Oakland, the oldest African- American neighborhood in the city, and one of the oldest on the West Coast. The renovated home is surrounded by an iron fence, and the sheriffs poured through its open gate and up the stairs. -more-


Opinion

Editorials

The Planet’s Open-Door Policy

By Becky O'Malley
Thursday July 30, 2009 - 11:13:00 AM

In the city of Annecy, in Savoie at the beginning of the French Alps, there’s a beautiful Alpine lake in the middle of town. A grand city park surrounds the lake with everything there to delight a child: boats, merry-go-round, playground, picnic tables. When we were there last week I saw that there was also an elementary school and day care center right there in the park—how nice, I thought, it must be for the children who are students in the middle of a children’s paradise. -more-


Public Comment

Letters to the Editor

Thursday July 30, 2009 - 11:13:00 AM

UC FOOTBALL MONEY -more-


The Dangers of an All-Cuts Budget

By Ariel Boone, Nik Dixit and Mia Pskowski
Thursday July 30, 2009 - 11:14:00 AM

Though it ends our embarrassing episode with IOUs, California’s new budget is a giant leap backward. -more-


Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory’s BELLA Laser

By Mark McDonald
Thursday July 30, 2009 - 11:14:00 AM

I was one of several commentators who penned an opinion piece for the July 9 Berkeley Planet which criticized Lawrence Berkeley National Lab (LBNL) for their fast-tracked and inadequate review of potential hazards from their proposed BELLA laser-accelerator facility. -more-


Listening To Both Sides

By Harry S. Pariser
Thursday July 30, 2009 - 11:14:00 AM

As a frequent visitor to the East Bay from San Francisco, I make a point of picking up your publication regularly. In the latest issue, I was amazed at the number of diatribes against Palestinians and “self-hating Jews.” I am perplexed by the negative energy channeled towards your publication just because you have dared to air dissenting (and therefore apparently unpalatable) views. -more-


Disappointed in Obama?

By Marvin Chachere
Thursday July 30, 2009 - 11:15:00 AM

If you voted for Obama believing he’d be a better president than John McCain, then you have no reason to be disappointed.  -more-


Columns

Dispatches From the Edge: Oil and Blood: The Looming Battle for Energy

By Conn Hallinan
Thursday July 30, 2009 - 11:11:00 AM

In the past month, two seeming unrelated events have turned Central Asia into a potential flashpoint between an aggressively expanding North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and a nascent strategic alliance between Russia and China. At stake is nothing less than who holds the future high ground in the competition for the world’s energy resources. -more-


The Public Eye: Obama’s Defining Moment

By Bob Burnett
Thursday July 30, 2009 - 11:11:00 AM

After six months in office, the Obama administration has arrived at a defining moment: the battle over health care reform. The outcome will shape future White House initiatives, the 2010 mid-term elections, and the future of the Republican Party. -more-


Undercurrents: Pat Buchanan’s Unchecked Bigotry and Racism

By J. Douglas Allen-Taylor
Thursday July 30, 2009 - 11:12:00 AM

It used to be that a public figure could immediately lose his public standing by openly and avowedly making unmistakable white supremacist-racist remarks in the public domain. -more-


Crabs, Whelks, and Oysters: Life in Tomales Bay’s Food Chain

By Joe Eaton
Thursday July 30, 2009 - 11:21:00 AM
The European green crab, a recent invader on the West Coast.

We’re surrounded by non-native plants and animals, most of which would qualify as what biologists and resource managers call invasive exotics. The thistles in your garden, the possum in your garage, the house sparrows nesting under your eaves, the Argentine ants in your kitchen, the blue gum eucalyptus up the hill—all are invasives. San Francisco Bay has been called the world’s most invaded estuary, the adopted home of aquatic creatures native to the East Coast, Europe, Asia, and elsewhere. Many have displaced native species that filled a similar ecological niche. -more-


About the House: Curing the Devon Colic

Thursday July 30, 2009 - 11:20:00 AM
Though not used for drinking, this lead closet bend (the waste line below the toilet) shows us that lead is still part of many plumbing systems in our homes.

The people of 17th century Devon made and enjoyed a wonderful apple cyder, and being a modern people (aren’t we always modern people?) they used a new-fangled mechanical press to make their cyder. The press was cleaned using lead shot and, when combined with the acid of the apples, left a residue that made more than a few folks sick. The Devon Colic was identified and explained by one Dr. George Baker in the mid-18th century and by the early 19th century, folks finally accepted the science and got the lead out. -more-


Arts & Events

Arts Calendar

Thursday July 30, 2009 - 12:13:00 PM

THURSDAY, JULY 30 -more-


SF Mime Troupe’s ‘Too Big Too Fail’

By Ken Bullock Special to the Planet
Thursday July 30, 2009 - 11:16:00 AM

Too Big to Fail, the San Francisco Mime Troupe’s 50th anniversary show, swings through Berkeley again this weekend, playing outdoors in Willard Park Friday evening and Saturday afternoon. -more-


‘The W. Kamau Bell Curve: Ending Racism in About an Hour’

By Ken Bullock Special to the Planet
Thursday July 30, 2009 - 11:18:00 AM

“In case you haven’t heard,” comedian W. Kamau Bell said, “A black guy’s president now. I’m not fighting against the Evil Empire anymore! I mean, how many Bush jokes can you do?” -more-


‘Les Miz’ Brims with Youthful Excitement at Julia Morgan

By Ken Bullock Special to the Planet
Thursday July 30, 2009 - 11:19:00 AM
The ensemble of young actors, backed by a cadre of adult volunteers, makes Les Miserables a winning production.

Whether it’s toiling in a chain gang, getting pickpocketed in a lowlife inn or fighting with hopeless courage on a Parisian barricade, the swirling onstage action and musical fanfare of Les Miserables would keep any company of actors and techs busy with the breakneck scene changes alone—much less a troupe of aspiring teenage performing artists, who take on the singing, dancing, emoting roles of principal and supporting characters, besides making up the ever-changing, ever-active chorus. -more-


Roy Zimmerman At The Freight

By Ken Bullock Special to the Planet
Thursday July 30, 2009 - 11:17:00 AM

“I don’t know if Obama can unite the Democrats and Republicans,” said satiric songwriter-singer Roy Zimmerman, who will perform at Freight and Salvage Friday night, “but he can unite a subject with a predicate! But fortunately, my job’s not just to make fun of the president.” -more-


About the House: Curing the Devon Colic

Thursday July 30, 2009 - 11:20:00 AM
Though not used for drinking, this lead closet bend (the waste line below the toilet) shows us that lead is still part of many plumbing systems in our homes.

The people of 17th century Devon made and enjoyed a wonderful apple cyder, and being a modern people (aren’t we always modern people?) they used a new-fangled mechanical press to make their cyder. The press was cleaned using lead shot and, when combined with the acid of the apples, left a residue that made more than a few folks sick. The Devon Colic was identified and explained by one Dr. George Baker in the mid-18th century and by the early 19th century, folks finally accepted the science and got the lead out. -more-


Community Calendar

Thursday July 30, 2009 - 12:17:00 PM

THURSDAY, JULY 30 -more-