Another October Surprise

By Becky O'Malley
Thursday October 29, 2009 - 09:25:00 AM

This last week has been a demonstration in living color of why California is called the Golden State. We spent four days, more time than we’ve been able to afford for a long time, at the family farm in the Santa Cruz mountains. The persimmons are almost ripe, and yet there are still tomatoes to be picked in the garden. -more-

Public Comment

Letters to the Editor

Thursday October 29, 2009 - 09:27:00 AM


City Proposals Threaten West Berkeley Industry and Arts

By John Curl and Rick Auerbach 
Thursday October 29, 2009 - 09:27:00 AM

The West Berkeley Plan, created through a democratic community process and adopted unanimously by the City in 1993, has kept the area stable and affordable over the last two decades, facilitating the thriving of over 320 industrial production, distribution, and repair businesses—most small to mid-scale—7,500 living wage jobs, and almost 250 art and craft studios with around 1,000 artists and artisans. Another 7,500 West Berkeley jobs are thriving in private, government and University-related professional and scientific services, as well as a variety of office and retail uses. This is a mix that has worked well, but all the stakeholders agree that the time is now ripe for some judicious fine tuning. In particular the city identified six large sites which formerly housed manufacturing as “development opportunity sites,” and a spirited debate has flared over how best to facilitate their reuse. More about that later. -more-

Body Burden Study for Northwest Berkeley

By L A Wood
Thursday October 29, 2009 - 09:28:00 AM

The ongoing debate about toxic emissions in northwest Berkeley and their health impacts may be closer to resolve with the advent of a project that will collect blood samples during the next several months. This community effort is funded by the Clarence E. Heller Charitable Foundation to provide a better understanding of the toxic impacts from the area’s poor air quality. The principal focus of this study centers on those who live, work, and attend schools and childcare facilities downwind from Pacific Steel Casting, a local foundry and Berkeley’s biggest air polluter. -more-

UC Students March for Education: Are You Game?

By Victor Sanchez
Thursday October 29, 2009 - 09:29:00 AM

There is an old adage that says: “If you always do what you always did, you’ll always get what you always got.” The Regents and the state legislature have been following this model for years: reacting to budget cuts by raising fees has only brought more budget cuts. These fee increases have only been met with more state budget cuts and cannot be a solution for the problem of accelerated state divestment from higher education. Higher education is in a crisis; if we keep trying old solutions, we’ll stay stuck in this crisis with the same old problems.   -more-

Casino a Losing Hand for Richmond

By Marilee Montgomery
Thursday October 29, 2009 - 09:30:00 AM

The City of Richmond, troubled by low revenue and high crime and unemployment and hoping to balance its budget, wants to partner with a distant Native American tribe to build a huge casino on Point Molate. Not only is gambling a bad way to balance the budget, the casino industry is predatory, deceptive and addictive.  -more-

BUSD Needs Accountability Not 2020 Vision

By Priscilla Myrick
Thursday October 29, 2009 - 09:30:00 AM

California school districts, like the Berkeley Unified School District (BUSD), are separate from other local jurisdictions, like the City of Berkeley. Our locally elected BUSD school board is accountable and responsible for setting educational policies, funding, and oversight for Berkeley’s K-12 public schools. Therefore, it is surprising that the BUSD school board has handed over its responsibility for setting the educational vision for the school district to the self-appointed, non-elected 2020 Vision Planning Team.  -more-

The Real Games of Berkeley, Part I

By Doug Buckwald
Thursday October 29, 2009 - 09:31:00 AM

There used to be stacks of a board game called “Calopoly”—a local version of Monopoly—in souvenir shops and toy stores near the UC campus. It’s not available any longer; the manufacturers apparently lost their license to market it. But don’t worry, in case you missed it the first time, you’re going to get a second chance to play—or, more accurately, watch a game being played—this time in real life on a giant gameboard that some Berkeley citizens quaintly refer to as our “downtown.” UC and the City Council will be the only real players at the table. However, this being Berkeley, it’s important to preserve the illusion of democratic participation, so local residents will be allowed to place a token historic property on the board from time to time, or sneak in a few little trees and a bench—just as long as they do not impede any major development plans. -more-