The Week

Five thousand protesters filled Sproul Plaza Sept. 24 to demand reform of the state's education system.
Richard Brenneman
Five thousand protesters filled Sproul Plaza Sept. 24 to demand reform of the state's education system.
 

News

Helios Builder Sought, Public Meetings Set

By Richard Brenneman
Monday October 05, 2009 - 05:37:00 PM

UC Berkeley wants bidders for its first major downtown construction project in the city center, the Helios Energy Research Facility, with the contract to be awarded Oct. 15. -more-


School District Plans Zone Changes to Address Overcrowding

By Riya Bhattacharjee
Saturday October 03, 2009 - 04:01:00 PM

Berkeley public elementary schools are bursting at the seams and there is no quick fix for the problem. -more-


Student Protesters Gear Up for Oct. 24 Conference at UC Berkeley

By Riya Bhattacharjee
Thursday October 01, 2009 - 05:27:00 PM
Students gathered in Lower Sproul Plaza Wednesday evening to plan for an Oct. 24 conference at UC Berkeley regarding the university's budget cuts, furloughs and fee hikes.

About 200 students gathered in Lower Sproul Plaza Wednesday evening to discuss the upcoming Oct. 24 mobilizing conference at UC Berkeley, potentially the next big event planned in protest of the university’s budget cuts, furloughs and fee hikes. -more-


Two Stabbed in Downtown Berkeley, Suspect in Custody

By Riya Bhattacharjee
Thursday October 01, 2009 - 02:42:00 PM

Berkeley police have arrested a man in connection with two stabbings that took place in downtown Berkeley Wednesday. -more-


UC Protest Movement Continues to Unfold

By Richard Brenneman and Riya Bhattacharjee
Thursday October 01, 2009 - 09:06:00 AM

UC Berkeley students headed back to Sproul Plaza Wednesday evening to discuss possible actions to protest the university’s budget cuts and related topics. -more-


AC Transit to Request Use of BRT Funds to Stave Off Service Cuts

By J. Douglas Allen-Taylor
Thursday October 01, 2009 - 09:07:00 AM

The AC Transit Board of Directors took a step back from its signature Bus Rapid Transit project last week. But just how big a step back is yet to be determined. -more-


Downtown Association Adopts Three-Year Plan

By Riya Bhattacharjee
Thursday October 01, 2009 - 09:08:00 AM

The Downtown Berkeley Association (DBA) is moving in a new direction with the creation of a three-year strategic plan and a search for a new executive director in order to generate more revenue for the 20-year-old organization with hopes of making the downtown more attractive. DBA President Mark McLeod has revealed the organization’s intention to explore the creation of a property-based business improvement district (PBID) and a parking revenue district. The existing Business Improvement District is controlled by business owners, who are not necessarily property owners but can also be tenants. -more-


Shattuck Hotel Officially Opens in Downtown Berkeley

By Riya Bhattacharjee
Thursday October 01, 2009 - 09:09:00 AM
Josh Buckelew, Hotel Shattuck Plaza's welcome ambassador, greets guests outside the hotel last week.

The Shattuck Hotel has been born again. The 100-year-old six-story landmark, Berkeley’s oldest hotel, officially reopened Thursday, Sept. 24, with much fanfare after a two-year, multi-million-dollar remodeling effort. -more-


State, PG&E Pick Berkeley High for Green Energy Program

By Riya Bhattacharjee By Riya Bhattacharjee
Thursday October 01, 2009 - 09:09:00 AM
State Superintendent Jack O'Connell, state Sen. Loni Hancock, California Public Utilities Commission President Michael R. Peevey and Berkeley Mayor Tom Bates.

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Jack O’Connell was in Berkeley Wednesday to announce the names of five California public high schools—including Berkeley High—selected for a new “green energy” partnership academy pilot program that seeks to train students in clean energy technologies. -more-


Council Raises Parking Meter Rates, Adds Meters, Sets Affordable Housing Push

By J. Douglas Allen-Taylor
Thursday October 01, 2009 - 09:10:00 AM

In a short-agenda meeting Tuesday night where controversy was notably absent, the Berkeley City Council unanimously agreed to an across-the-board 25-cent-per-hour increase in parking meter rates, added 420 new parking meter locations around the city, and set an Oct. 27 date to begin a series of council discussions and action on how to increase the amount of affordable housing in the city. -more-


‘People’s Park: Still Blooming’

By Lydia Gans, Special to the Planet
Thursday October 01, 2009 - 09:11:00 AM

People’s Park: Still Blooming, brilliantly compiled by Terri Compost, longtime Park activist and gardener, is a book that grabs your attention. On the cover is a captivating picture of a sweet-faced child peeking out from behind a flower, and, as you look more closely, below it a vaguely familiar black and white photo of a mass of soldiers standing at attention, wearing gas masks and armed with bayonets. The 190-page book contains hundreds of photographs interspersed with short segments of text culled from museum and newspaper archives, and conversations and recollections from a wide variety of sources. It’s an unusual way to construct a book, but it works well. -more-


Charges Against Yoo Protesters Dropped

By Riya Bhattacharjee
Thursday October 01, 2009 - 09:12:00 AM

The Alameda County district attorney’s office announced Wednesday, Sept. 23 that it would not press criminal charges against four protesters cited for misdemeanors during a rally at UC Berkeley’s School of Law. -more-


Firefighters Battle Blaze Near Fish Ranch Rd.

By Riya Bhattacharjee
Thursday October 01, 2009 - 09:13:00 AM

Firefighters from the East Bay Regional Park District and four other state and local agencies battled a fire near the Fish Ranch Road exit off Highway 24 Tuesday afternoon, according to park district officials. -more-


Clarification

Thursday October 01, 2009 - 09:13:00 AM

John Gertz has told the Daily Planet that he alone did not pay for the signature ad which appeared in the East Bay Express. This was his own prior description of his relationship to the series of ads denouncing the Planet, which have been appearing in the Express, as e-mailed to the Planet’s advertising sales representative on Sept. 8: -more-


First Person: Michael and Me

By Cecil Brown
Thursday October 01, 2009 - 09:14:00 AM
Michael Moore and Cecil Brown with the latter's book.

In the early ’70s, I lived at 2700 Virginia St. in the Berkeley Hills with a sublime view of the Golden Gate Bridge. My next-door neighbor was Adam, a Jewish guy who took care of his son, David, while his wife taught at UC Berkeley. I, as a black writer, and Adam, a stay-at-home father, had a lot of free time on our hands. While taking care of David, we talked a lot about writing fiction and the books we loved. And, of course, we also talked about how we were going to change the literary world. With the publication of my novel, I was something. I threw parties and invited everybody—English department celebrities like Mark Schorer, Larry Ziff, and Leonard Michaels, and lots of writers, like Richard Brautigan, Claude Brown, Richard Pryor and Ishmael Reed. Adam was always invited. -more-


Opinion

Editorials

The Corporate University Grinds On

By Becky O'Malley
Thursday October 01, 2009 - 09:18:00 AM

With all due respect to those who have just noticed, the corporatization/privatization of universities public and private, in California and elsewhere, has been going on for a long time. Way back in the late 1970s I was the only journalist and the only intellectual property lawyer who participated in a semester-long seminar on the problem at Stanford sponsored by the National Science Foundation. We focused on the effect on scientific research of what were potentially high-profit new technologies then under development in university laboratories. Central to the discussion was the biotechnology industry, then just beginning its migration from labs at Stanford and UCSF into lucrative companies like Genentech. -more-


Public Comment

Letters to the Editor

Thursday October 01, 2009 - 09:18:00 AM

AC TRANSIT/BRT -more-


Commentary: Just What Happened to that Referendum Anyway?

By Dave Blake
Thursday October 01, 2009 - 09:19:00 AM

The City Council has their collective head in the sand (or someplace darker), and haven’t made the announcement, even though it’s official, so it’s my privilege to be the first to publicly state: the referendum on the council downtown plan was certified last week by the Alameda county registrar. Based on sampling, 7,900 of the 9,200 signatures submitted were estimated to be valid Berkeley voters at their proper address and with a proper signature, so many more than the 5,558 required that by law there was no need to validate them individually. As a member of the referendum committee, I’d like to express my thanks to all the Berkeley citizens who decided to take an active role in their future and signed the petition. Go Bears!  -more-


Commentary: Proposals Regarding Afghan Narcotics

By Jerry Mandel
Thursday October 01, 2009 - 09:20:00 AM

It’s heartening to know that Afghan Narcotics has at last drawn a letter to the editor in both Berkeley weeklies, but dismaying to read Harry Gans’ proposals. It is impossible to imagine how to “pay poppy farmers ... to not grow poppies.” How can the million Afghan families who live off the opium trade be identified, or paid? If farmers are paid full-market value—five to ten times that of any other crop—everyone will grow poppies next season; but if less than full value is paid, why would any farmer join the program? If the United States buys the entire crop , we will look hypocritical, for in May 2001 the State Department paid the Taliban $43 million for destroying the opium crop. -more-


Commentary: The Future of the Goldstone Report: Can the UN Implement International Law?

By Richard Falk
Thursday October 01, 2009 - 09:20:00 AM

The United Nations has often been tested in the course of its history, and once again it is facing a major challenge directed at its capacity to serve the cause of peace, security, and justice through respect for the rule of law. The test involves the treatment given to the Goldstone Report, so named after the distinguished jurist, Richard Goldstone, former judge of the South African Constitutional Court, who headed a fact-finding mission on behalf of the UN Human Rights Council. The focus of the mission was on alleged war crimes committed by Israel and Hamas between Dec. 27, 2008 and Jan. 18, 2009, when Israel attacked Gaza, an essentially defenseless society whose population was already severely weakened by a blockade of food, fuel, and medicine, which had then been maintained for eighteen months.  -more-


Commentary: The Political Economy of the ‘Illegal’ Immigrant

By Steve Martinot  
Thursday October 01, 2009 - 09:22:00 AM

The recent outburst by Joe Wilson in Congress concerning Obama’s veracity on his proposed health care reform once again invoked that ghost so often enlisted to sidetrack real issues, the specter of the “illegal” person. It refers to those immigrant workers who labor without proper papers under substandard conditions, mostly in agricultural work that is very hard and injurious to health, both physically and chemically. Politically, they live precariously, subject to arrest by immigration authorities and the callous breaking of family bonds, often held, unconstitutionally, in indefinite detention, yet with taxes withheld from paychecks that they then cannot reclaim. They do essential work in this economy, yet face demands that they leave. They are excluded from social services, such as health care and education, that they nevertheless pay for through their labor and their taxes. From a value-added standpoint—the primary standpoint of a capitalist economy—they constitute an ideal labor force. -more-


Commentary: The United States Must Withdraw from Afghanistan

By Kenneth J. Theisen
Thursday October 01, 2009 - 09:23:00 AM

On Oct. 7, 2001 the United States. launched a war of terror against Afghanistan. U.S. leaders are still debating how best to achieve U.S. goals there. Military leaders, including Joint Chiefs Chair Admiral Mike Mullen, Central Command leader General David Petraeus, and General Stanley McChrystal, commander of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan, support the further escalation of the war by sending more U.S. troops to Afghanistan to prosecute the “new” counterinsurgency troop-intensive strategy they wish to pursue. It is reported that some of Obama’s civilian aides are arguing for a greater emphasis on attacking al Qaeda leaders with increased special operations missions and missile strikes, including more missile strikes launched against targets within Pakistan. Commander-in-Chief Obama will have to decide on which course to follow. But regardless of which of various strategies is implemented, it is clear that no one in the top rungs of the U.S. government is arguing for the end of the Afghan war. -more-


Commentary: The Plot to Steal KPFA and Pacifica

By Jim Weber
Thursday October 01, 2009 - 09:24:00 AM

During the KPFA-Pacifica history, the progressive listeners have, at several moments of crisis, come to the rescue of KPFA and Pacifica, and demanded to get their stations back. The listeners helped rescue the network in the 1999 attempted takeover, along with dedicated legal help from attorneys like Dan Siegel, the network is still alive. The following message is to alert the listeners that another, very serious, crisis is now in progress, here in Berkeley today. -more-


Commentary: On KPFA’s Concerned Listeners

By Virginia Jones
Thursday October 01, 2009 - 09:41:00 AM

Readers of the Daily Planet might have noticed an odd disconnect in the recent exchanges between the supporters of Concerned Listeners (CL) and their opponents in the current KPFA Local Station Board elections.  CL’s endorsers are heavy on the labor side, including at least two Labor Councils, the leadership of several others, not to mention scores of militant organizers from a wide range of unions.  Yet some of our attackers have called us anti-worker.  Such is the mudslinging in this election.  -more-


Commentary: Avoiding a Faustian Bargain at KPFA

By Akio Tanaka
Thursday October 01, 2009 - 09:32:00 AM

           The KPFA board elections are in full swing and the ballots are due October 15. I was struck by couple of developments. -more-


Commentary: Hear the Facts About KPFA’s Unpaid Staff Organization 

By Anthony Fest, Lisa Dettmer, Nick Alexander, Bonnie Faulkner, Shahram Aghamir, Malihe Razazan
Thursday October 01, 2009 - 09:33:00 AM

We KPFA unpaid-staff members would like to respond to Marcia Rautenstrauch’s attack on our Unpaid Staff Organization, published in last week’s Planet “KPFA Unpaid Staff and the Elections.”  -more-


Commentary: Sister Rautenstrauch and the Unpaid Staff Organization

By Steve Zeltzer
Thursday October 01, 2009 - 09:36:00 AM

As a candidate of Voices For Justice Radio www.voicesforjusticeradio.org who is running for the KPFA listeners candidate for the Local Station Board, I was surprised to see the letter by Sister Rautenstrauch about the struggle within the Unpaid Staff Organization. As a long time unpaid staff volunteer at the station it is surprising to hear her confusion about issues that took place in the unpaid staff organization by a so called  "small organization."  "Several years back the station management derecognized UPSO after a small group within the station tried to take UPSO over and screamed and yelled abuse at anyone who would oppose them in meetings to the point that the organization fell apart?". -more-


Commentary: Why We Endorse Concerned Listeners

By Mitch Jeserich and Max Pringle
Thursday October 01, 2009 - 09:37:00 AM

Pacifica Radio, the nation’s oldest listener sponsored broadcast network, is at an existential crossroads. If serious reforms aren’t implemented soon, the network could go under. The crisis pre-dates the current recession and is the result of numerous factors. The greatest of these is a hopelessly dysfunctional governance structure. -more-


Commentary: Some Observations and Thoughts from the KPFA Election Campaign Trail

By Richard Phelps
Thursday October 01, 2009 - 09:39:00 AM

There are 29 candidates for 9 seats. We have had several events to meet the candidates all around the Bay Area. There has been much more promotion of the election on the air this year based on a Pacifica National Board (PNB) resolution. Concerned Listeners (CL) elected to the PNB voted against this inclusiveness resolution. CL allies in management recently took the candidates’ recorded statements off the air. -more-


Commentary: KPFA: The “Raid”

By Daniel Borgström
Thursday October 01, 2009 - 09:45:00 AM

The information attack came like a one-two-three punch. The Berkeley Daily Planet printed a front page story, titled, “KPFA Charges Pacifica With Raid on Station’s Funds.” That was Thursday, August 6th. The paper had hardly hit the street, and we hadn’t even seen it yet before we heard KPFA newscaster Philip Maldari talking about it on the Morning Show. Improperly using KPFA’s on-air microphone, Maldari called on listeners to attend the Saturday board meeting and hear for themselves how Pacifica grabbed $100,000 from KPFA. He urged listeners to speak out against the “raid.” -more-


Columns

Dispatches from the Edge: Iran Nukes? Taliban’s Gauntlet

By Conn Hallinan
Thursday October 01, 2009 - 09:16:00 AM

Iranian nukes -more-


Undercurrents: Chron Writer Gets it Wrong on Oakland Parking Revolt

By J. Douglas Allen-Taylor
Thursday October 01, 2009 - 09:17:00 AM

An assertion in this week’s Chip Johnson column in the San Francisco Chronicle on Oakland City Council’s parking fee controversy (“Compromise on Oakland parking may be in works”) caught my attention, as Mr. Johnson’s writings sometimes do. -more-


Green Neighbors: Breakfast and a Book for Tree Huggers

By Ron Sullivan
Thursday October 01, 2009 - 09:59:00 AM

I wish I could recommend the new Sibley Guide to Trees as enthusiastically as I can recommend breakfast and/or lunch at Quince, also new. -more-


East Bay Then and Now: Campus Janitor Beats Professors in Popularity Race

By Daniella Thompson
Thursday October 01, 2009 - 09:55:00 AM
James Tait’s small house at 2022 Delaware St. at right and the larger house later built by his widow at 2026 Delaware at left.

In its 136 years, the University of California’s Berkeley campus has seen many buildings come and go. Among them, North Hall was the only one to have merited a demolition ceremony attended by the UC president and 700 alumni. -more-


About the House: The Foreman Problem

By Matt Cantor
Thursday October 01, 2009 - 09:58:00 AM

Contracting is called contracting because it’s about writing contracts. It’s about sales, which are contractual. Contractors aren’t builders, they are people who write and perfect (that’s the legal term for bringing to completion) contracts. We’ve come to think of contractors as people who wear tool belts, but for anyone who has ever hired a contractor only to find them inexplicably absent for the duration of the job, this understanding of a contractor’s role in building can prevent woe and direct you through a morass of remodeling problems. -more-


Arts & Events

Arts Calendar

Thursday October 01, 2009 - 09:54:00 AM

THURSDAY, OCT. 1 -more-


Oakland East Bay Symphony Presents ‘Evening With Denyse Graves’

By Ken Bullock, Special to the Planet
Thursday October 01, 2009 - 09:47:00 AM

Oakland East Bay Symphony, celebrating Michael Morgan’s 20th anniversary as music director, will present “An Evening with Denyse Graves,” a preseason benefit for the symphony’s education and outreach programs, this Saturday, beginning at 5 p.m. with a champagne reception including special guests, followed by dinner with entertainment by Charles Spikes and Friends at 6 p.m., a Gala Concert at 8:30, and a dance with dessert reception at 10:30, at the Fox Theatre in uptown Oakland. -more-


The Culture and Science of Pinball

By Ken Bullock, Special to the Planet
Thursday October 01, 2009 - 09:49:00 AM

Pinball machines are really a kind of kinetic sculpture,” said Lawrence Zartarian of the Pacific Pinball Museum in Alameda, as he and museum founder Michael Scheiss, both Berkeley residents, gave a tour of the museum on Santa Clara Avenue, where visitors can pay a set price for free play on the dozens of vintage machines, as well as check out art exhibits and find out about the history and science of pinball. -more-


Duykers, Frasconi at Bucci's Cafe

By Ken Bullock Special to the Planet
Thursday October 01, 2009 - 01:11:00 PM

Opera tenor John Duykers, no stranger to unconventional performance, will join forces with musician and composer Miguel Frasconi, founder of the Glass Orchestra, in a “sneak preview” and dinner to show excerpts from (and to benefit) Hand to Mouth, the work-in-progress song-play they’re developing together with director Missy Weaver, including additional songs by Charles Shere and artwork by sculptor John Watrous. -more-


‘The Nerd’ at Altarena

By Ken Bullock, Special to The Planet
Thursday October 01, 2009 - 09:51:00 AM

Working—or rather, slaving—in Terre Haute, architect Willum (Misha Madison) is having a birthday party. From his lady love Tansy (Jillian Seagrave), he receives a card for an 8-year-old (“I couldn’t find one that said 34”) and a kind of ultimatum: she’ll be leaving for D.C. to be a TV weatherwoman (“There’s something bigger than us—meteorology!”). He also receives a notice of an audit from the IRS and, from his cynical, hard-drinking theater-critic friend (clearly a realistic role) Axel (Christopher Ciabattoni), a ration of, well, acid bons mots—manque for his milquetoast demeanor. (Willum’s the sort of guy who leaves an outgoing voice message, “I’m not at home—but the front door is always open!”) -more-


Stephen De Staebler at Richmond Art Center

By Peter Selz, Special to the Planet
Thursday October 01, 2009 - 09:53:00 AM

Ever since Rodin conveyed the illusion of movement by modeling a Walking Man without head or arms in the 1870s, so many modern sculptors have adopted the partial human form that it has become endemic to modern sculpture. For at least three decades, Berkeley sculptor De Staebler has been forming sculpted, fragmented images that signify human incompleteness and yearning for wholeness. -more-


East Bay Then and Now: Campus Janitor Beats Professors in Popularity Race

By Daniella Thompson
Thursday October 01, 2009 - 09:55:00 AM
James Tait’s small house at 2022 Delaware St. at right and the larger house later built by his widow at 2026 Delaware at left.

In its 136 years, the University of California’s Berkeley campus has seen many buildings come and go. Among them, North Hall was the only one to have merited a demolition ceremony attended by the UC president and 700 alumni. -more-


About the House: The Foreman Problem

By Matt Cantor
Thursday October 01, 2009 - 09:58:00 AM

Contracting is called contracting because it’s about writing contracts. It’s about sales, which are contractual. Contractors aren’t builders, they are people who write and perfect (that’s the legal term for bringing to completion) contracts. We’ve come to think of contractors as people who wear tool belts, but for anyone who has ever hired a contractor only to find them inexplicably absent for the duration of the job, this understanding of a contractor’s role in building can prevent woe and direct you through a morass of remodeling problems. -more-


Community Calendar

Thursday October 01, 2009 - 09:15:00 AM

THURSDAY, OCT. 1 -more-