The Week

A fence was constructed around the former Union 76 station at the corner of College and Claremont avenues last week after Safeway bought the site and closed the station as part of its plans to expand.
Michael Howerton
A fence was constructed around the former Union 76 station at the corner of College and Claremont avenues last week after Safeway bought the site and closed the station as part of its plans to expand.


UC Students, Workers Launch 3-Day Strike

By Riya Bhattacharjee
Tuesday November 17, 2009 - 05:19:00 PM
Protesters rallied on campus and marched throughout downtown Berkeley Wednesday to voice their dissatisfaction with the University of California’s budget priorities.

UC Berkeley students embarked on a three day strike Wednesday to protest budget cuts, furloughs and fee hikes. -more-

Martin Charged With Murder of Zoelina Toney and Child

By Riya Bhattacharjee
Tuesday November 17, 2009 - 12:37:00 PM

The Alameda County district attorney charged Oakland resident Curtis Martin III Tuesday with murdering Zoelina Toney and her 17-month-old son Jashon Williams. -more-

Berkeley City Council Considers Ban on Balloon Releases

By Riya Bhattacharjee
Tuesday November 17, 2009 - 08:44:00 AM
The City Council will vote tonight on whether to ban the release of balloons.

Just as the hullabaloo over Balloon Boy seems to be finally cooling off, Berkeley is getting ready to make some noise about balloons. -more-

City Council to Gauge Berkeley Ferry Project

By Riya Bhattacharjee
Tuesday November 17, 2009 - 09:00:00 AM

Is Berkeley ready for a ferry? The Berkeley City Council might have an answer after receiving a presentation on this highly contentious proposal at tonight's council meeting. -more-

Unidentified Child's Body Found in SF Bay

By Riya Bhattacharjee
Sunday November 15, 2009 - 04:17:00 PM

The body of a child recovered Sunday from San Francisco Bay near the Berkeley Marina remains unidentified. -more-

Landmarks Commission Revisits Obata Studio Application

By Riya Bhattacharjee
Monday November 16, 2009 - 05:00:00 PM

Japanese artist Chiura Obata’s landmarked Mission revival-style studio was back before the Berkeley Landmarks Preservation Commission Nov. 5, after a remand from the City Council asked the commission to carefully consider singling out the building’s courtyards for preservation as historic features. -more-

Man Arrested in Aquatic Park Murder

By Riya Bhattacharjee
Friday November 13, 2009 - 11:39:00 AM
Curtis Martin III

Oakland police arrested Curtis Martin III at Chestnut Street and 24th Avenue in Oakland a little after 1 p.m. Friday for his alleged involvement in this morning’s Aquatic Park homicide. -more-

UC Food Court Vendors to Strike Monday to Protest Rent Increases

By Riya Bhattacharjee
Friday November 13, 2009 - 04:09:00 PM

UC Berkeley students aren’t the only ones planning to go on strike next week. -more-

14 Birds Injured in Dubai Star Oil Spill Released Today

Bay City News
Friday November 13, 2009 - 12:52:00 PM

Fourteen birds injured after last month’s Dubai Star oil spill have been rehabilitated and were released today at Eastshore State Park in Berkeley. -more-

Downtown Drill

Friday November 13, 2009 - 11:40:00 AM

Civic Center Park became the safest place in Berkeley Friday evening due to a joint training program for hostage negotiations by the Berkeley police and fire departments. About six fire engines lined up on Center Street across from City Hall a little before 6 p.m., stretching all the way to the Public Safety Building on Martin Luther King Jr. Way. -more-

Safeway Closes Gas Station, Moves Ahead with Rockridge Expansion

By Riya Bhattacharjee
Thursday November 12, 2009 - 09:24:00 AM

Safeway took ownership of the Union 76 gas station site in Rockridge last week and is moving ahead with plans to incorporate it into a proposed remodeling project for its supermarket at the corner of College and Claremont avenues. -more-

UC Students, Faculty Talk Strike Tactics

By Raymond Barglow, Special to the Planet
Thursday November 12, 2009 - 09:25:00 AM

On Tuesday evening about 80 UC Berkeley students and faculty packed the Sociology Department lounge in Barrows Hall to ponder strategy and tactics for a strike that will take place Wednesday through Friday next week, Nov. 18–20. -more-

Meehan Approved as City’s New Police Chief

By Riya Bhattacharjee
Thursday November 12, 2009 - 09:26:00 AM
Michael Meehan will take over as Berkeley’s new police chief next month.

When news of Captain Michael Meehan’s appointment as Berkeley’s new police chief reached Seattle last week, the city was going through a rough patch. -more-

Council Revises Sign Policy, Bans Cat Declawing

By Riya Bhattacharjee
Thursday November 12, 2009 - 09:26:00 AM

Berkeleyans, beware: the city will be banning all pole signs effective the third week of December. -more-

Pinpointing Just Where to Celebrate Geographic Information System Day

By Bruce Joffe, Special to the Planet
Thursday November 12, 2009 - 09:27:00 AM

For some people, “where” is a prominent question for getting oriented and staying informed: “where is it?,” “how far?”, “what route to take?”  -more-

BCC Teach-In Aims to Forge Movement

By Raymond Barglow
Thursday November 12, 2009 - 09:28:00 AM
Teach-in participants meet at BCC on Saturday.

A teach-in supporting public school education took place at Berkeley City College on Saturday. -more-

On Teaching: Between Work and Play

By Mary Wolff
Thursday November 12, 2009 - 09:28:00 AM

EDITOR’S NOTE: Mary Wolf is a Bay Area teacher who will be writing occasional columns for the Planet based on her experiences in the classroom. -more-

Iran Charges UC Graduates with Spying

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

The three American hikers, all graduates of UC Berkeley, who were detained by Iranian authorities, were charged with espionage Monday, according to reports by national and international media. -more-

Downtown Berkeley Association Hires New Executive Director

By Riya Bhattacharjee
Thursday November 12, 2009 - 09:30:00 AM

The Downtown Berkeley Association announced Tuesday that it had hired John Caner as their new executive director. -more-

First Person: Why on Earth Is Organic Produce More Expensive?

By Shirley Barker
Thursday November 12, 2009 - 09:51:00 AM
Organic produce can have a cost structure that sometimes defies logic. Tomatoes wait for takers at a Berkeley farmers market.

When at a farmers’ market I had to pay $2.25 for a tomato which, to add injury to insult, looked as though it had a shelf life of half an hour, I asked the vendor why it was so outrageously expensive. -more-



Telling the Truth About Carbon Emissions

By Becky O'Malley
Thursday November 12, 2009 - 09:42:00 AM

A figure cited by a letter writer in a recent issue of the British magazine New Scientist grabbed my attention this week: 10 percent of all greenhouse gas emissions are caused by the manufacture of steel and concrete. -more-

Public Comment

Letters to the Editor

Thursday November 12, 2009 - 09:43:00 AM


Letters to the Editor: Health Care

Thursday November 12, 2009 - 09:43:00 AM

Doctors want to see patients and help people, not fill out paperwork. Give them one framework under which they perform their jobs, and every doctor will become more efficient. Want to save costs? Make it so those who spend decades learning their science spend their time using it, not wasting man months per year filling out differing insurance paperwork. -more-

Berkeley Marina Inappropriate For Ferry Terminal

By Ed Bennett
Thursday November 12, 2009 - 09:45:00 AM

Citizens for East Shore Parks (CESP) has reviewed the present proposal for a ferry terminal at the Berkeley Marina as presented to the Berkeley Waterfront Commission in October 2009. CESP now strongly urges the Berkeley City Council to deny permission for a terminal at the proposed site.  -more-

NIMBYism On the Bay

By James McVaney
Thursday November 12, 2009 - 09:46:00 AM

There is no example more real, and relevant, as to why Berkeley should welcome a ferry system back onto its shores than the recent, and painful, days long closure of the Bay Bridge. And, according to a professional poll taken in April 2005, 83 percent of Berkeleyans think this restoration of service is a good idea.  -more-

Berkeley Ferry Founders On Facts

By David Fielder
Thursday November 12, 2009 - 09:47:00 AM

The Berkeley City Council will vote on Nov. 17 whether to endorse construction of a ferry terminal at the Berkeley Marina between the fishing pier and Hs Lordships restaurant. This vote is premature because of unresolved, significant reservations expressed by Berkeley’s three cognizant commissions: Planning, Transportation, and Waterfront. -more-

Vivisecting the University of California

By Gray Brechin
Thursday November 12, 2009 - 09:48:00 AM

In her latest book Bright-Sided, Barbara Ehrenreich contends that positive thinking can render you powerless when it overrides reality. It did so for a man I knew whose face was being eaten by cancer. He dabbed at the suppurating wound with a handkerchief while sunnily burbling about everything but that or seeking treatment. I wondered how he could so blithely ignore what was obvious to everyone else. I wonder the same about the UC administrators and regents. -more-

Manufacturing in Berkeley? Of Course

By Bernard Marszalek
Thursday November 12, 2009 - 09:48:00 AM

What? Manufacturing in Berkeley? Of course. In the United States the largest economic sector is manufacturing. Manufacturing accounts for 70 percent of R & D. Manufacturing pays better. For every dollar paid to production workers, service workers receive 75 cents. Retail jobs pay 50 cents. -more-

Manure and Money Drive Current West Berkeley Planning Process

By Harry Wiener
Thursday November 12, 2009 - 09:49:00 AM

President Lyndon Johnson once said that you can’t sell chicken poop as chicken soup. Only he didn’t say poop. New Yorker’s have a saying “money talks and bull manure walks” only they don’t say manure. I have found, especially over the last eight years, that both of these truisms are wrong. When you mix money with any kind of manure you can sell chicken poop as soup and money plus manure always rides in limousines. I am writing to counter the deep manure and the heavy money that is driving the changes to the West Berkeley Plan. -more-

Will Berkeley Lead or Lag? 

By Paul Perry
Thursday November 12, 2009 - 09:50:00 AM

Our city is on the verge of an incredible achievement. Across the country, city officials and their school district counterparts often bicker about everything under the sun relating to youth and their needs within a given jurisdiction. All the while, the children they are responsible for educating are lost in the shuffle. Low-income, African-American and Latino children fall the furthest behind and often drop out of the system altogether. -more-

China’s Cultural Revolution a Human Disaster? Not According to Symposium Participants

By Reiko Redmonde 
Thursday November 12, 2009 - 09:50:00 AM

I don’t believe in human nature, said Prof. Dongping Han, a participant in China’s Cultural Revolution and now a Professor of History at Warren Wilson College. In the Cultural Revolution, he said, we didn’t have to care about ourselves, because others cared about us.  -more-


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-

Arts & Events

Arts Calendar

Thursday November 12, 2009 - 09:56:00 AM

THURSDAY, NOV. 12 -more-

LaBute’s ‘Fat Pig’ Has Weight, Lacks Depth

By Ken Bullock, Special to the Planet
Thursday November 12, 2009 - 09:52:00 AM

As in much fiction, and occasionally in life, the set-up for Fat Pig, the Neil LaBute play at the Aurora, is simple, leading to complications that threaten that initially apparent simplicity. -more-

Agora Theater Stages Two Readings about Israel and Gaza

By Ken Bullock, Special to the Planet
Thursday November 12, 2009 - 09:53:00 AM

Agora Theater—“think ‘marketplace of ideas’ in the public square”—was founded by Anne Hallinan and her fellow San Francisco Mime Troupe alumna Patricia Silver -more-

Wilson’s Twin Bill: ‘A Night at the Opera,’ and Yoshi’s Too

By Ken Bullock, Special to the Planet
Thursday November 12, 2009 - 09:54:00 AM

Kahlil Wilson, alumnus of both the UC Berkeley Young Musicians’ Program and the Oakland Youth Chorus, comes home to the Bay Area this week to sing with soprano Hope Briggs and others at the Oakland East Bay Symphony’s “Night at the Opera.” -more-

St. Alban’s Hosts Canconier’s Music of Vlad Dracula’s Time

By Ken Bullock, Special to the Planet
Thursday November 12, 2009 - 09:55:00 AM

The Black Dragon: Music from the Time of Vlad Dracula, the title of Canconier’s Sunday evening concert at St. Alban’s Church in Albany, may strike some readers as being less about the richness and diversity in sounds from 15th- century Eastern and Central Europe and the Balkans than as a vague memory of Bela Lugosi intoning, to the accompaniment of a wolf howling, “Children of the Night! What music they make!” -more-

Community Calendar

Thursday November 12, 2009 - 09:31:00 AM

THURSDAY, NOV. 12 -more-