The Week

Demostrators rallied in front of UC President Mark Yudof’s home in Oakland Saturday to protest cuts to education and workers’ pay. Protesters constructed a paper cemetery in back of the residence.
By Dan Harper
Demostrators rallied in front of UC President Mark Yudof’s home in Oakland Saturday to protest cuts to education and workers’ pay. Protesters constructed a paper cemetery in back of the residence.


Partisan Position: Legislation Allows UC to Duck Alquist-Priolo Restrictions to Rebuild Stadium on Fault Line

By Janice Thomas
Monday November 02, 2009 - 10:00:00 AM

UC Berkeley has found a way to evade the limitations on new construction atop earthquake faults which are imposed by the Alquist-Priolo Fault Zoning Act by persuading the California legislature to add just a few sentences to its 61 page Omnibus Act of 2009. -more-

Berkeley Ferry Project Makes Waves But Doesn't Win Recommendation

By Riya Bhattacharjee
Friday October 30, 2009 - 08:57:00 AM

When news of the Bay Bridge closure broke at the Berkeley City Council meeting on Tuesday Berkeley Mayor Tom Bates asked, jokingly: “Where’s our ferry?” -more-

Disabled Workers Win Ruling Against McDonald’s

By Riya Bhattacharjee
Thursday October 29, 2009 - 09:12:00 AM

The disability community won a victory Tuesday when the U.S. Equal Opportunity Employment Commission ruled that the McDonald’s in Berkeley, on University and Shattuck avenues, discriminated against three of its disabled employees when it fired them from work last year. -more-

Partisan Position: Protesters Give UC President a Cemetery

By Raymond Barglow
Thursday October 29, 2009 - 09:16:00 AM

A day-long conference held this past Saturday on the UC campus addressed the California public education crisis. In late afternoon of the same day, about 200 students, workers, and community activists visited UC President Mark Yudof’s house in the Oakland hills. On the hillside below his residence, the protesters built a mock cemetery, in keeping with Yudof’s recent comparison of the university to a cemetery.  -more-

BMW Waits on Lease After City Waives Fees

By Riya Bhattacharjee
Thursday October 29, 2009 - 09:15:00 AM

Weatherford BMW said this week that it has not finalized lease agreements for renovations and new construction at its current 735 Ashby Ave.-750 Potter St. dealership location in Berkeley, although the Berkeley City Council approved about $500,000 dollars in building permit fee waivers for the project earlier this month. -more-

Neighbors Launch Rescue of Hillside Building

By Riya Bhattacharjee
Thursday October 29, 2009 - 09:16:00 AM
Neighbors and tenants are fighting to save the 80-year-old landmark Hillside School at 1581 Le Roy Ave.

Neighbors and tenants of Berkeley’s Hillside School say they are determined to do what it takes to save the 80-year-old architectural landmark. -more-

BUSD Plans $10M Upgrade for Oregon Street Maintenance Facility

By Riya Bhattacharjee
Thursday October 29, 2009 - 09:18:00 AM

The Berkeley Unified School District plans to demolish its seismically unsafe maintenance facility at 1707 Russell-1720 Oregon streets in South Berkeley and build new, smaller buildings on the site. -more-

City Council Asks for Troops to Come Home

By Riya Bhattacharjee
Thursday October 29, 2009 - 09:20:00 AM

Berkeley once again dipped into U.S. foreign policy Tuesday when its City Council passed a resolution asking the Obama administration to withdraw troops and private armed contractors from Afghanistan. -more-

Students Absent in Health Care Debate

By Rozina Ali, Special to the Planet
Thursday October 29, 2009 - 09:19:00 AM

In 2007, Fatimah Simmons was attending rallies and fundraisers around New York City for the man she hoped would become her country’s next president. When the presidential campaign was in full swing, she spent hours every week encouraging people to register to vote. And in 2008—largely due to support like hers—President Obama was elected to office. -more-

Bay Area Briefs

Thursday October 29, 2009 - 09:20:00 AM

High Winds Slow Bay Bridge Repairs, No -more-

Remembering Harold Murphree

By Matt Cantor
Thursday October 29, 2009 - 09:21:00 AM
Harold Murphree

Our dear friend Harold Mark Murphree died in his sleep in the early morning of Sunday, Oct. 18, 2009, at the age of 60, after a night of warm banter with close friends. We are all deeply grieved at this profound loss. -more-

Remembering Seymour Fromer

    By Dorothy Snodgrass
Thursday October 29, 2009 - 09:22:00 AM

On Tuesday I attended a memorial service at Congregation Beth El for my good friend and neighbor, Seymour Fromer. Seymour passed away Sunday, Oct. 25 at age 87 after a lengthy illness.  -more-



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-


Dispatches From The Edge: Of Roman Roads and Modern Emperors

By Conn Hallinan
Thursday October 29, 2009 - 09:24:00 AM

CARSULAE, ITALY—The Via Flaminia emerges from a hillside—literally—and climbs up a gentle hill toward a ruined forum. Like all Roman roads, it was well built, considerably more so than the modern ones jammed with trucks and cars that crisscross the Umbrian countryside. The large limestone slabs that surface it are still rutted with the wheels of ox carts on their way to Ariminum on the Adriatic. -more-

Undercurrents: ‘For a Safe Town’ Event and Sideshows

By J. Douglas Allen-Taylor
Thursday October 29, 2009 - 09:23:00 AM

I stopped by, late, over to the “For a Safe Town” event at Verdese Carter Park on 98th and Bancroft last weekend. Who, after all, can resist when they’re serving free Everett & Jones barbecue in your neighborhood? -more-

East Bay Then and Now: The American Turgenev’s House Is Offered for $1

By Daniella Thompson
Thursday October 29, 2009 - 09:38:00 AM
Warren and May Cheney’s house at 2241 College Ave. was built in 1885. Built in the Stick-Eastlake style, the Cheney house is the second oldest surviving structure in the Berkeley Property Tract.

On Oct. 19, the University of California’s Real Estate Services Group issued a request for proposals for the purchase and relocation of one or both of the historic residential structures known as 2241 and 2243 College Ave., located on the central campus in an area slated for future development. -more-

About the House: Those Fabulous 1960s

By Matt Cantor
Thursday October 29, 2009 - 09:39:00 AM

I am an avowed architecture snob. This is not a requirement for being in the home inspection business. It’s just a little extra service I like to be able to offer my clients. All kidding aside, I really am a design snob and am fairly unapologetic about it. There it is. -more-

Green Neighbors: Sudden Oak Death, Part 3

By Ron Sullivan
Thursday October 29, 2009 - 09:40:00 AM
A spring-loaded tree injector forces solution into a fresh log at Matteo Garbelotto’s October SOD workshop.

UC forest pathologist Matteo Garbelotto’s Sudden Oak Death workshops are open to professionals and “homeowners”—unpaid tree companions?—alike. Garbelotto said, “As much as we work with the professionals, some people can’t afford a professional. I looked into the law. Almost everybody believes landowners can do it themselves. Tree-care professionals were not too upset. I got a sense the community was coming together to solve the problem.” -more-

Arts & Events

Arts Calendar

Thursday October 29, 2009 - 09:36:00 AM

THURSDAY, OCT. 29 -more-

Central Works Stages Biting Biological Satire

By Ken Bullock, Special to the Planet
Thursday October 29, 2009 - 09:31:00 AM

“I can’t believe you’d use that ugly, demeaning term, biological!” snaps Jess (Kendra Lee Oberhauser)—“a walking case of nurture over nature” and the white-clad bride-to-be—at her mentor and self-adopted mother, Gender Studies Department Chair Dede (Gwen Loeb), who is, in fact, her biological mother. Dropping the ugly term again, Dede lets her own first-generation feminist Mom (Jan Zvaifler) have it: “You forgot to mention, biology is unfair!” -more-

Film Documents Grocery Store Bagger National Championship

By Ken Bullock, Special to the Planet
Thursday October 29, 2009 - 09:33:00 AM

There have been movies about waitresses and grocery check-out clerks; now, finally, that overlooked retail figure, the bagger, is represented in Ready, Set, Bag!—a new documentary by Oren Jacob of Piedmont, Chief Technical Officer at Pixar Animation Studios in Emeryville, his wife Justine and a few colleagues from Pixar, set to have its world premiere next Tuesday and Wednesday at 7 p.m. at the Elmwood on College Ave. near Ashby, and 7 p.m. Wednesday at the Cerrito, on San Pablo in El Cerrito. -more-

Shaker Tales of Song, Dance and Sin

By Ken Bullock, Special to the Planet
Thursday October 29, 2009 - 09:33:00 AM

Before a backdrop painting of hills with a few houses and a road in the distance, nine Shaker women file out, greet the audience with a bright chorale and set about confessing their sins to each other: “I slept late last Thursday” ... “I was angry at the hens” ... “I was prideful of my new apron”—a lot of confessions of the tiniest peccadillos open As It Is in Heaven, Arlene Hutton’s play, at Actors Ensemble of Berkeley. -more-

Everyday Horrors in ‘Afterlife of the Mind’

By Ken Bullock, Special to the Planet
Thursday October 29, 2009 - 09:34:00 AM

“No man’s worth losing your brain over.” The only one who doesn’t lose it, though, in the course of William Bivins’ The Afterlife of the Mind, put on by Virago Theatre Company at the Ashby Stage, is Harry, famous (and terminally ill) philosopher, who is all brain—literally. -more-

Lyric Representations of Sacred, Unattainable Worlds

By Peter Selz, Special to the Planet
Thursday October 29, 2009 - 09:35:00 AM
“June 11, 2007” by Alex Zecca produces fields of visual energy, creating an object of meditation.

Abstract painting has been with us for about a century. At times it has descended into mere decoration or design or “color-field” painting with its thesis that painting addresses only the eye. Abstract painting, however, even more than figuration can communicate what philosophers have called the Sublime. -more-

Scary and Sweet Halloween Events

By Ken Bullock, Special to the Planet
Thursday October 29, 2009 - 09:37:00 AM

Halloween has gone from Trick-or-Treat to Superstore, apple bobbing to Exotic Erotic. -more-

Community Calendar

Thursday October 29, 2009 - 09:25:00 AM

THURSDAY, OCT. 29 -more-