Undercurrents: Working Out the Kinks in the Perata Machine

By J. Douglas Allen-Taylor
Thursday November 12, 2009 - 09:31:00 AM

Whatever else he may accomplish this election season, former State Senator Don Perata appears—so far—to be successfully winning the battle to get the media to adopt his electoral narrative. While no other reporter or columnist has embarrassed themselves by declaring, as the Chronicle’s Chip Johnson once did, that nothing stands between Mr. Perata and the Oakland mayor’s office but “blue skies” (“With Probe Over, Perata Primed To Lead Oakland,” May 29, 2009), there appears a subtle—if sometimes grudging—tone in local reporting that once Mr. Perata’s potential federal corruption problems were behind him, the mayor’s race is his to lose. That, of course, is clearly Mr. Perata’s strategy in next year’s election: to run as if his victory is all but inevitable, and those who do not get with his campaign immediately will be left out. -more-

Dispatches From the Edge: Malarkey over Maoists? Japan’s New Course?

By Conn Hallinan
Thursday November 12, 2009 - 09:32:00 AM

Rebels Widen Deadly Reach Across India” reads the alarming headline in the New York Times, and the prose that follows is pretty scary: “India’s Maoist rebels are now present in 20 states and have evolved into a potent and lethal insurgency.” According to the Times, the Maoists have killed 900 Indian security officers over the last four years, hi-jacked a train, burned two schools, and freed prisoners from jails. Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh calls them the “single greatest security challenge ever faced in our country.” -more-

Green Neighbors: Sweetness and Light, Evoking the Blues

By Ron Sullivan
Thursday November 12, 2009 - 09:58:00 AM

Those of us who came of age at a certain time think of Van Morrison and John Lee Hooker when we hear the tree’s name: tupelo. It’s an Algonquian word, like the name of the Susquehannock (“muddy river”) people, who lived along the river I grew up on, the Susquehanna. (Donald Culross Peattie said it was derived from the Creek eto, “tree”, and opelwv, “swamp.”) -more-

East Bay: Then and Now: J. L. Barker Was Berkeley’s Booster for Five Decades

By Daniella Thompson
Thursday November 12, 2009 - 09:56:00 AM
James Barker.

On many an April 18, the anniversary of the 1906 San Francisco Earthquake, Berkeley Gazette columnist Hal Johnson used to trot out one of his favorite stories: “The Barker Block, on the northwest corner of Shattuck Ave. and Dwight Way, had just been built ... Brick cornices crashed. Damage was quickly repaired. Soon the building was housing book concerns that were burned out in San Francisco.” -more-