Good for Berkeley, Good for Business

By Becky O'Malley
Thursday September 17, 2009 - 09:46:00 AM

The publisher and I were invited to attend the meeting of the Berkeley Chamber of Commerce Governmental Affairs Committee meeting on Monday as executives of a Chamber member business, so we went. The meeting was originally billed as a chance to get to know the Chamber’s newly hired CEO, and each Chamber member attending was asked “to come prepared to give [the new CEO] a three-minute summary of what each sees as the one or two most critical features of the Berkeley political landscape. Once these summaries have been delivered, we will have a lively Q&A.” Unfortunately, that never happened, because the new guy didn’t take the job after all, for reasons undisclosed. -more-

Public Comment

Letters to the Editor

Thursday September 17, 2009 - 09:47:00 AM


Commentary: The Downtown Area Plan 

By Laurie Capitelli
Thursday September 17, 2009 - 09:47:00 AM

It’s déjà vu all over again. Or back to the drawing board. Or how I like to refer to Berkeley process: governing by the last person standing.  -more-

Commentary: Downsize the Downtown

By Fred Dodsworth
Thursday September 17, 2009 - 09:48:00 AM

The Berkeley Downtown Plan our City Council recently tried to foist on us was turned back by direct citizen-action with an astounding 9,200 signatures, nearly twice the number required to place this highly controversial proposal on the ballot. Clearly the city’s Downtown Plan isn’t the downtown the citizens of Berkeley want, nor is it the fatally-compromised downtown plan the Downtown Area Plan Advisory Committee (DAPAC) approved. -more-

Commentary: Railroad Horns, Invitations to Suicide

By Earl Williamson
Thursday September 17, 2009 - 09:49:00 AM

This evening, Sept. 10, the railroad horns are unusually loud. This nuisance increases often when cold foggy air comes into the bay through the Golden Gate, moving underneath the warm summer air. Since the speed of sound is proportional to the absolute temperature, the upper warm air conducts the sound faster than the cold air near the surface. Thus the sound that would have dispersed upwards bends downward toward the surface focusing the sound like an acoustical lens. This amplifies the railroad horn sound pollution sound in our hill areas. On hot days, we can tell when the cool ocean air is coming in by its sound. -more-

Commentary: Making the UC Campus Safer

By Benjamin Freedman
Thursday September 17, 2009 - 09:49:00 AM

We are all very impressed with the action of two UC police officers, who apprehended kidnapper Philip Garrido. Nevertheless, the recent murder of Yale pharmacology graduate student Annie Le inside her own lab building reminds us that danger never stops. The case strikes a cord with me because Annie reminds me of many of the excellent students here at Berkeley, close to her hometown of Placerville. -more-

Commentary: What is Traffic Safety Fodder for?

By Dave Campbell
Thursday September 17, 2009 - 09:50:00 AM

Last week’s Berkeley Daily Planet generated a good stir of thought on bicycle safety, but most of it misses the point, kind of like the guy who wrote the letter railing against new pavement at North Berkeley BART. Arguing for helmets, for parking fees for bicyclists, for us all to ride like Lance Armstrong, or against traffic circles all loses us in the forest. The focus on traffic safety should first and foremost be on creating great streets in Berkeley where everyone can safely use the roadway. Think about Fourth Street in Berkeley—the shopping district part. You don’t need a helmet when riding this street, you don’t have to be an experienced bicyclist to ride there, pedestrians can safely walk around and cross the street with no traffic lights, and no amount of bicycle parking fees will accomplish anything. The street works for everyone, it’s a great street. All streets in Berkeley should be like this. But as long as traffic engineers are required to move more cars along the street, we’ll never have streets like this, streets that are safe. -more-

Commentary: Confessions of a Failed Role Model

By George Rose
Thursday September 17, 2009 - 09:51:00 AM

It appears that the fair citizens of Berkeley are considering a proposed law requiring all bicyclists to wear helmets. Even Carol Denny, usually so level headed and reliably libertarian when it comes to legislating the behavior of our citizenry, seems to have climbed on board this bandwagon. She writes in her letter to the editor that it will force us all to become better role models for our children.  -more-

Commentary: We Love the ZAB

By Janice and David Schroeder
Thursday September 17, 2009 - 09:53:00 AM

Pacific Steel Casting Company (PSC) was the topic at the Sept. 10 Zoning Adjustment Board’s meeting at which PSC’s current performance review was presented as an information item. The staff report stated that everything is fine, but this preposterous claim only served to provoke community members and the ZAB to question what dowe actually know, think we know, and need to know about PSC.  -more-

Commentary: Community Radio at the Crossroads: The Significance of the KPFA Board

By Joe Wanzala, Shahram Aghamir, Tracy Rosenberg and Anthony Fest
Thursday September 17, 2009 - 09:52:00 AM

KPFA listeners know that the Local Station Board elections tend to be acrimonious. What many listeners might not realize is that the controversy of the LSB elections actually reflects a historical issue about the nature of community radio itself. The four of us founded the Independents for Community Radio affinity group of LSB candidates with the goal of ensuring that KPFA remains rooted in the communities it serves. In October 2008, nearly 90 KPFA staff members issued a statement articulating their goals for leadership at the station. They called for management committed to fulfilling the historic Transformation Proposal made during the 1999 KPFA Lockout. They also called for leaders who support the unpaid staff, maintain a respectful and collaborative approach to station operations, and understand that KPFA should include community representatives on its decision making bodies. These aspirations remain largely unfulfilled or have been undermined by the current management and its Concerned Listener allies. -more-

Commentary: Concerned Listeners’ Solutions for KPFA

By Brian Edwards-Tiekert
Thursday September 17, 2009 - 09:53:00 AM

If you’re a KPFA member, you should gotten a ballot by now from the Pacifica Foundation that asks you to rank 29 candidates for nine seats on KPFA’s Local Station Board. Here are the people I’m endorsing (I’ll explain why below). You can read more about them at ww.concernedlisteners.org. In no particular order: Conn Hallinan, Dan Siegel, Andrea j. Turner, Mike Smith, John Van Eyck, Jack Kurzweil, Virginia Rodriguez, Pamela Drake, Donald Goldmacher, Mark Hernandez. -more-