The Week

Berkeley Mayor Tom Bates talks to Bayer’s Joerg Heidrich as Douglas Hoffner looks on during the announcement Wednesday that Bayer was staying in Berkeley.
Berkeley Mayor Tom Bates talks to Bayer’s Joerg Heidrich as Douglas Hoffner looks on during the announcement Wednesday that Bayer was staying in Berkeley.
 

News

Planners Take Up Urns Again, Housing Element

By Richard Brenneman
Tuesday September 22, 2009 - 10:25:00 PM

Berkeley planning commissioners will try once again Wednesday night to resolve their struggle with a new law that would allow up to 400 urns containing ashes of human remains to be interred on sites in the city. -more-


School District Ends Financial Year On a Positive Note

By Riya Bhattacharjee
Saturday September 19, 2009 - 07:25:00 AM

Despite ongoing budget challenges, the Berkeley Unified School District was able to end its 2008-09 financial year on a positive note. -more-


Bayer Will Stay in Berkeley

By Riya Bhattacharjee
Thursday September 17, 2009 - 09:55:00 AM

Bayer Healthcare announced Wednesday that they will remain in Berkeley, allaying fears of city officials who were alarmed at the prospect of losing the city’s largest private sector employer. -more-


Faculty, Staff Protest UC’s Handling of Budget Crisis

Thursday September 17, 2009 - 09:56:00 AM

Faculty from every University of California campus, including UC Berkeley, are planning to walk out on Sept. 24 “in solidarity with students and staff to protest the defunding of public education and the UC administration’s mishandling of the budget crisis, which has done disproportionate harm to students and low-paid employees,” according to an ad hoc website ucfacultywalkout.com, which has been set up to gather faculty endorsement signatures, numbering 750 at press time. -more-


City Council to Address Downtown Plan Issue

By J. Douglas Allen-Taylor
Thursday September 17, 2009 - 09:56:00 AM

With Berkeley Mayor Tom Bates opting to take a slower approach to resolving the issues over the Downtown Area Plan, the possibility has emerged that some of those issues may be worked out though citywide changes to Berkeley policies and ordinances. -more-


City’s BRT Alternative Plan Released

By J. Douglas Allen-Taylor
Thursday September 17, 2009 - 09:57:00 AM

City of Berkeley Transporta-tion Department staff has released the city’s draft of a Locally Preferred Alternative to AC Transit’s proposed Bus Rapid Transit system, the East Bay bus agency’s ambitious but controversial plan to establish fast-moving, light-rail-like bus service along the current 1 and 1R lines between downtown San Leandro and downtown Berkeley. -more-


Marin County Detectives Pay Visit to San Pablo Ave. Marijuana Clinic

By Richard Brenneman
Thursday September 17, 2009 - 09:51:00 AM
Berkeley’s Marijuana Clinic on San Pablo Avenue.

A half-dozen Marin County Sheriff’s deputies and a court-appointed Special Master armed with a search warrant hit a Berkeley marijuana clinic Tuesday but left empty-handed. -more-


H1N1 Swine Flu Cases Hit Berkeley, But UC Doctor Calls Symptoms Mild

By Richard Brenneman
Thursday September 17, 2009 - 09:51:00 AM

Swine flu is alive and well at UC Berkeley, and so are the many students who have contracted the H1N1 influenza virus, reports campus Medical Director Brad Buchman. -more-


Women Who Refused to Join Israeli Army Speak at UC Berkeley

By Riya Bhattacharjee
Thursday September 17, 2009 - 09:49:00 AM
Maya Wind and Netta Mishly at UC Hastings Monday. The two will be talking at UC Berkeley Wednesday, at an event sponsored by the campus group Students for Justice in Palestine.

They are not your average teenagers. They have held M-16s as kids, watched suicide bombings from their backyards and grown up hearing the rumblings in the West Bank. -more-


Zoning Board Takes on Pacific Steel

By Riya Bhattacharjee
Thursday September 17, 2009 - 09:49:00 AM

The Berkeley Zoning Adjustments Board last week hinted that unless Pacific Steel Casting addressed community concerns about odor and emissions effectively, it could be in trouble. -more-


Berkeley Student Academic Performance Improves

By Riya Bhattacharjee
Thursday September 17, 2009 - 09:55:00 AM

California’s 2008-09 Accountability Progress Report released Tuesday shows that Berkeley Unified School District received an Academic Performance Index of 769, up 10 points from last year’s score, making steady progress toward the statewide target. -more-


Homeless Man Arrested in Civic Center Park Shooting Had Prior Record of Violence

By Riya Bhattacharjee
Thursday September 17, 2009 - 09:50:00 AM

Berkeley police arrested a homeless man in connection with a shooting at Martin Luther King Civic Center Park in downtown Berkeley Sept. 9. -more-


Planning Commission

By Richard Brenneman
Thursday September 17, 2009 - 09:52:00 AM

Berkeley organizations shouldn’t get their hopes up about any urned income in the new future. -more-


Fate of Historic Building and Tenants Hangs in Balance

By Richard Brenneman
Thursday September 17, 2009 - 09:47:00 AM

While the struggle over one of Berkeley’s newest landmarks has focused in part on a moment of national shame, for those who live there, a more crucial question is the fate of their rent-controlled apartments. -more-


Commission Weighs Campaign Contribution Hike Plan

By Richard Brenneman
Thursday September 17, 2009 - 09:48:00 AM

Money could play an even more crucial role in Berkeley politics if members of the city’s Fair Campaign Practices Commission (FCPC) approves a proposal to raise contribution limits. -more-


Police Blotter

By Richard Brenneman
Thursday September 17, 2009 - 09:48:00 AM

Strong-arm robbery -more-


Correction

Thursday September 17, 2009 - 09:48:00 AM

In the Sept. 10 story “Swanson Withdraws BART Oversight Bill,” the story indicates that Assemblymember Sandré Swanson’s AB 1586 BART Police Oversight bill is being carried over by Swanson to next year’s legislative session. The word “withdraws” only referred to withdrawal from consideration this year. However, because the Planet story also referred to several community groups and individuals who were withdrawing their support for the BART Police Oversight bill, the story may have given the mistaken impression that Assemblymember Swanson was withdrawing his support for the bill as well. Assemblymember Swanson continues to support the BART Police Oversight bill. -more-


Clarification

Thursday September 17, 2009 - 09:45:00 AM

To clarify Richard Brenneman’s Sept. 10 article, “Agrofuel Lab Appears Twice on Regent’s Slate”:   -more-


Aging in Berkeley: It Takes a Village

By Shirley Haberfeld
Thursday September 17, 2009 - 09:45:00 AM

Do you remember that first phone call from your eldest sister? “What are we going to do about Mom—she doesn’t want any help and she won’t move out of the house.” That call set the stage for the last years of your widowed mother’s life. She still lived in the house where you grew up, she’d had some recent falls and sometimes was a bit confused on the phone, but she was still involved with her Wednesday bridge club and tried to get out to church occasionally. Four of her friends died in the last three years—and so did your father. -more-


First Person: Mad as Hell Doctors Fight for Single-Payer Healthcare

By Marc Sapir
Thursday September 17, 2009 - 09:46:00 AM

On Sept. 14, I joined the Mad as Hell Doctors for single-payer Health Care in Denver, part way into their national tour. I’m writing from one of the Care-a-Vans for single-payer Health Insurance. My partners today are Barbara Matthews from the University of Washington and Bob Seward a retired Oregon internist who worked for the VA and in private practice. We rotated drivers every couple of hours all day on the way to our single-payer event in Des Moines, that drew an incredibly energized crowd. The event in a church was organized by the Des Moines, IA Catholic Worker movement with support from four other churches. Asked to speak up as to why they were mad as hell, a near endless lineup of people from as young as teenagers to the elderly came forward and passionately told their brief stories, all video-recorded and to be found via www.madashelldoctors.com. The panel of docs was as moved by the audience and the Catholic Worker folks who have been arrested fighting the health insurance industry here as the audience was moved by the docs. The youngest arrestee came up and gave a beautiful plea for people to move their concern to a higher level of activism and involvement to protect their grandchildren’s futures. She was 10 or 11 years old and has been to a Washington, D.C. speakout for single-payer. -more-


Erling Horn, 1905–2009

By Dorothy Snodgrass
Thursday September 17, 2009 - 09:44:00 AM

Little more than a month after the Berkeley Daily Planet ran a front-page article on Erling Horn on the occasion of his 104th birthday, the miraculous life of this admirable man came to an end. After falling in his apartment and suffering a stroke, he was taken to Kaiser Hospital, never to return to the Berkeley Town House, where he had happily resided for many years, though missing his adored wife, Margaret, who passed away at age 91 in 2000. Fortunately, he had an adoring family who looked in on him frequently. His grandson, Jacques, lived across the hall and faithfully attended to his needs, as did his daughter, Maggie, when visiting from Canada. His son, Erling, Jr., former mayor of Lafayette, visited him regularly. -more-


Opinion

Editorials

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

PEDESTRIAN SAFETY -more-


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-


Columns

Dispatches From the Edge: Afghanistan: What Are These People Thinking?

By Conn Hallinan
Thursday September 17, 2009 - 09:43:00 AM

One of the oddest—indeed, surreal—encounters around the war in Afghanistan has to be a telephone call this past July 27. On one end of the line was historian Stanley Karnow, author of Vietnam: A History. On the other, State Department special envoy Richard Holbrooke and the U.S. military commander in Afghanistan, General Stanley McChrystal. The question: How does Washington avoid defeat like it suffered in Southeast Asia 40 years ago? -more-


Undercurrents: Making Changes in ‘God-Forsaken Richmond’

By J. Douglas Allen-Taylor
Thursday September 17, 2009 - 09:44:00 AM

My uncle, Charlie Reid, moved to Richmond in the early 1930s, and my mother often told the story of how my grandmother, Jennie Reid, first went to visit Uncle Charlie out there on the bus. When Grandma Reid got back home, she was sobbing, asking “Why did Charlie move to that God-forsaken place?” -more-


Green Neighbors: Something Old, Something New at Flowerland

By Ron Sullivan
Thursday September 17, 2009 - 09:40:00 AM
Glory be to Odd for dappled things, like these on display at Flowerland.

I’ll take the weekend’s set of rainstorms as the starting gun for fall planting season this year. As some might have noticed, I’ve been personally less than productive lately, and quite slow. (Blame the damned fruitless mulberries that shut my lungs down way back in spring. Plus, I Blame the Patriarchy, but then I always do.) As a result, I’m seriously impatient with limitations like energy and stamina and time itself. I want to plant! -more-


East Bay Then and Now: The Circuitous Career of Berkeley’s Favorite Undertaker

By Daniella Thompson
Thursday September 17, 2009 - 09:43:00 AM
The Hull & Durgin mortuary building at 3051 Adeline St. was designed in 1923 by Hutchinson & Mills.

On the morning of Feb. 1, 1895, a Berkeley carpenter by the name of A.E. Spaulding entered Stricker’s cigar store at 2132 Shattuck Ave. Laying a bundle of medications on the counter, he announced that he wished to leave it there. Then he walked to the rear of Durgin & Bleakley, a furniture and undertaking establishment at 2129 Center St. Leaning against a barn, Spaulding shot himself through the heart with a 38-caliber revolver. -more-


About the House: Mother Nature and Our Best Laid Plans

By Matt Cantor
Thursday September 17, 2009 - 09:40:00 AM

It always amazes me how nature manages to foil our best laid plans. Nothing is predictable, even the ground we build our houses on. And I’m not just talking about faults or landslides. -more-


Arts & Events

Arts Calendar

Thursday September 17, 2009 - 09:59:00 AM

THURSDAY, SEPT. 17 -more-


Impact Theater’s ‘See How We Are’ at La Val’s

By Ken Bullock, Special to the Planet
Thursday September 17, 2009 - 09:55:00 AM

The basement theater at La Val’s on the north side of campus is stark white, chairs painted white stand or hang at most of the corners, and a big white table is planted on its side, facing out, at another. Two white uniformed young men lie dead against the upended tabletop, while a disconsolate young woman in white sits nearby. -more-


‘This World in a Woman’s Hand’ At Shotgun Players’ Ashby Theater

By Ken Bullock, Special to the Planet
Thursday September 17, 2009 - 09:56:00 AM

Wrapped around three inside walls of the Ashby Stage, once a church fashioned out of a quonset hut, scaffolding becomes a set, stretching beyond the stage, giving the audience a sense of witnessing a spectacle in a shipyard, an industrial pageant—just the tone for Marcus Gardley’s This World in a Woman’s Hands, commisioned and produced by Shotgun Players, a kind of lyrical epic of the women of all colors, from all over the country, who built the Liberty and Victory ships launched from Richmond during the Second World War, Rosie the Riveters of legend. -more-


Alumni Celebrate Antioch College Independence

By Ken Bullock, Special to the Planet
Thursday September 17, 2009 - 09:58:00 AM

Bay Area alumni of Antioch College and those concerned with Antioch’s future will celebrate this Saturday evening at the Brower Center in downtown Berkeley last week’s signing of documents separating the College from Antioch University, creating a newly independent college on the original campus in Yellow Springs, Ohio, which was closed in June 2008. -more-


The World as You Have Not Yet Seen It

By Celeste Connor, Special to the Planet
Thursday September 17, 2009 - 10:01:00 AM

If you’ve been lamenting the crummy prizes in your crackerjack boxes lately, I’m sending you immediately to see Bedri Baykam’s show at Alphonse Berber Gallery on Bancroft Avenue in Berkeley. Here you’ll see the very latest cool gimmick in art. And imagine! It’s not even Made-in-the-USA! Artists have complained since the dawn of Modernism that “everyone’s looking for a gimmick.” Baykam has rediscovered the hook and charm of the original crackerjack-box mini 4-D images that, in the 1940s (a much less visually overstimulated age) fascinated the recipient of the delightful prize inside. -more-


SoVoSo: The East Bay’s Winning A Cappella Group At First Unitarian

By Ken Bullock, Special to The Planet
Thursday September 17, 2009 - 09:59:00 AM

SunshineBecker, a 14-year veteran of SoVoSo, talked about the group and its new lineup for Friday’s show. -more-


No-Impact Man: A Review and an Experiment

By Gar Smith, Special to the Planet
Thursday September 17, 2009 - 10:01:00 AM

Like cyber-chef Julie Powell in the movie Julie and Julia, Colin Beavan has followed the blog-book-flick path to fame. His blog about trying to live a “no Impact” lifestyle in the midst of Manhattan spawned a book, a website (NoImpactMan.com) and a documentary. (No Impact Man, opens in the Bay Area on Sept. 18.) -more-


Downhome Music at Its Best: Freight & Salvage

By Jane Stillwater, Special to the Planet
Thursday September 17, 2009 - 10:02:00 AM

“I’m about to go off to the grand opening of the fancy new Freight and Salvage folk music coffee house,” I told my son Joe, “but I seriously doubt that it will be as good as the original old funky Freight was back in 1972.” Remember the old Freight and Salvage? Legendary! -more-


2009 Berkeley Film and Video and Festival

Monday September 21, 2009 - 02:57:00 PM

The annual Berkeley Film and Video and Festival returns this year with yet another eclectic program of independent cinema. -more-


Pacific Film Archive Celebrates Internat’l Home Movie Day

Thursday September 17, 2009 - 09:57:00 AM

Got old family footage you’d like to see on the big screen? Once again, Pacific Film Archive is participating in the international celebration of Home Movie Day, inviting patrons to drop off their old films by Sept. 25 for consideration for screening on Oct. 17. Bring in your home movies, in 8mm, Super-8mm and 16mm formats, and PFA will include as many as possible in the screening, where participants are invited to share their films and memories. -more-


East Bay Then and Now: The Circuitous Career of Berkeley’s Favorite Undertaker

By Daniella Thompson
Thursday September 17, 2009 - 09:43:00 AM
The Hull & Durgin mortuary building at 3051 Adeline St. was designed in 1923 by Hutchinson & Mills.

On the morning of Feb. 1, 1895, a Berkeley carpenter by the name of A.E. Spaulding entered Stricker’s cigar store at 2132 Shattuck Ave. Laying a bundle of medications on the counter, he announced that he wished to leave it there. Then he walked to the rear of Durgin & Bleakley, a furniture and undertaking establishment at 2129 Center St. Leaning against a barn, Spaulding shot himself through the heart with a 38-caliber revolver. -more-


About the House: Mother Nature and Our Best Laid Plans

By Matt Cantor
Thursday September 17, 2009 - 09:40:00 AM

It always amazes me how nature manages to foil our best laid plans. Nothing is predictable, even the ground we build our houses on. And I’m not just talking about faults or landslides. -more-


Community Calendar

Thursday September 17, 2009 - 09:39:00 AM

THURSDAY, SEPT. 17 -more-