What Shall We Tell the Children?

By Becky O'Malley
Thursday November 19, 2009 - 09:43:00 AM

The most famous words spoken about the Great Depression, by Franklin Roosevelt in his first inaugural address, were these: “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” They have become a mantra invoked in many situations where there’s a lot more than fear to fear, where real dangers are confronting people who must nonetheless act unafraid. -more-

Public Comment

Letters to the Editor

Thursday November 19, 2009 - 09:43:00 AM


Blue Dog Democrats and Health Care Reform

By Ralph E. Stone
Thursday November 19, 2009 - 09:45:00 AM

Recently, Senate majority leader Harry Reid indicated that health care reform might not be passed this year. Why? Because he may not have the votes in the Senate to pass the legislation and, if such legislation were passed, it might not survive a Republican filibuster. -more-

Smart Balloon Practices Are Better Than Bans

By Dan Flynn 
Thursday November 19, 2009 - 09:44:00 AM

The Berkeley City Council may soon consider a measure that would make balloon releases illegal at any public events that require a permit authorized by the city. This is an unwise action; the City Council’s objectives could be far better addressed through less extreme measures, including consumer education about smart balloon practices.  -more-

Bus Rapid Transit: Feel-Good Environmentalism?

By Matt Kondolf
Thursday November 19, 2009 - 09:45:00 AM

The city of Berkeley has now released its plan for Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) on Telegraph Avenue, arguing that this system will reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The proposed project may make us feel good that we are doing something but in fact is more likely to increase greenhouse gas emissions than reduce them.  -more-

Continuing Problems with Design of New Animal Shelter

By Jill Posener
Thursday November 19, 2009 - 09:46:00 AM

I appreciated the opportunity to vent my frustrations with the process for the new Berkeley Animal Shelter. Responses to your Letters page and e-mails I have received indicate that many people share the sense of being under-informed, misinformed or flat out excluded from a truly open public process.  -more-

Controversy at the Bear’s Lair Food Court

By Nad Permaul
Thursday November 19, 2009 - 09:47:00 AM

The Auxiliary Store Operations Board of the Associated Students of the University of California voted to offer terms to the Bear’s Lair food court vendors that the students on the board negotiated last spring. Those terms were offered to each vendor in June 2009 by the Auxiliary in the presence of two board members, Chief Victoria Harrison and former student Co-Chair David Rhoads. Two of the vendors accepted the terms, one did not. They were asked by the board at the time the terms were offered if they had any concerns. The principal concerns expressed to the board by the two vendors who accepted the terms were the length of the lease, the terms for any extension options and the number of months of partial payment when school is not in session. The board adjusted the lease language to extend the length of the lease and to alter the terms of the option and months or partial payment. In October, after the language was completed by the campus, one of the vendors, The Coffee Spot, signed. We are working with the Coffee Spot on the physical improvements. The owner has expressed nothing but satisfaction with the new lease and our relationship. -more-

New Police Chief’s Stance on Marijuana

By Maris Arnold
Thursday November 19, 2009 - 09:47:00 AM

In the article on the approval by the City Council of former Seattle top cop Michael Meehan as Berkeley’s new police chief (Daily Planet, Nov. 12–18), Mr. Meehan is quoted as saying with reference to Seattle’s voter-approved policy of making marajuana arrests the lowest police priority, “I don’t want to send a message to kids that drug use is ok.” That wasn’t just a personal opinion. That was a professional judgment. Moreover, a majority of Seattle voters thought differently and passed the ordinance but Meehan was against them and it.  -more-

Turning to the White House for Help With a Berkeley Permit Problem

By Hoda A. Cox 
Thursday November 19, 2009 - 09:48:00 AM

Today, at the end of my rope, I wrote President Obama the attached letter. -more-

Politics and Theatre: A Too Comfortable Controversy

By Marc Sapir
Thursday November 19, 2009 - 09:49:00 AM

At the beginning of Caryl Churchill’s one act, Seven Jewish Children: A Play for Gaza, one can not determine the ethnicity or nationality of the voices that are conflicted about what to tell a young girl about the terrible tensions and conflicts in her life, the history of her people and the lives of those around her. Brought by Anne Hallinan and Patricia Silver’s Agora Theater to the Ashby Stage in a polished reading directed by Hal Gelb this play was contrasted with another—What Strong Fences Make, by Israel Horovitz—solicited by Theatre J in Washington, D.C., in response to Churchill. -more-

Homecare Services in Today’s Life

By Nicholas Feldman
Thursday November 19, 2009 - 09:50:00 AM

When the recession hit, my business was put through unbelievable turmoil here in California. Everyone who had ever worked for me started to file for unemployment, and many laborious hours were put into filling out claims to EDD and other authorities. People started to apply for low-income everything, from transportation, to welfare, to housing. -more-