The Week

Dmitri Belser, one of many disabled who will be affected by Caltrans’ Disabilities Act settlement to improve sidewalk access, crosses the intersection at San Pablo Avenue and Dwight Way which, until a year ago, lacked a curb ramp and a yellow detectable warning panel.
Riya Bhattacharjee
Dmitri Belser, one of many disabled who will be affected by Caltrans’ Disabilities Act settlement to improve sidewalk access, crosses the intersection at San Pablo Avenue and Dwight Way which, until a year ago, lacked a curb ramp and a yellow detectable warning panel.


Goat Missing From Tilden Park Farm

By Riya Bhattacharjee
Tuesday January 12, 2010 - 04:57:00 PM
Honey the goat has been missing from Tilden Park's Little Farm since Thursday, Jan. 7.

Honey, the 16-year-old Alpine goat at Tilden Little Farm, has been missing since Thursday. The news has upset farm workers and members of Tilden’s nature education program, who are trying to figure out whether Honey’s disappearance was a prank or something more serious. -more-

New San Pablo Parking Meters Expected to Take Effect this Month

By Riya Bhattacharjee
Monday January 11, 2010 - 01:57:00 PM
The city has installed parking meters along San Pablo Avenue.

Next time you want to park on San Pablo Avenue, make sure you have some change on hand. San Pablo’s new parking meters—which have sparked concern among area merchants—are expected to take effect over the next two months, according to the City of Berkeley Transportation Manager Farid Javandel. -more-

Former Albany Administrator to Become Berkeley's Interim Health Director

By Riya Bhattacharjee
Saturday January 09, 2010 - 08:28:00 PM

Berkeley city officials Friday named former Albany administrator Daren Fields as the interim director of the city's health department. -more-

Census Road Tour Hits Berkeley Monday

By Riya Bhattacharjee
Saturday January 09, 2010 - 08:26:00 PM

Berkeley will become a part of the 2010 Census outreach Monday when the Census Portrait of America Road Tour arrives in the city to encourage residents to participate in the nation's once-a-decade population count. With the third-lowest response rate in Alameda County in the 2000 Census—70 percent—city officials believe Berkeley can do better. The city is currently working with community leaders, minority groups, schools and institutions of higher education to make that happen. -more-

Teenagers Arrested in Downtown Fight; Arrests Made in West Berkeley Shooting

By Riya Bhattacharjee
Friday January 08, 2010 - 10:05:00 AM

Berkeley police arrested a 16-year-old girl in front of the Shattuck Hotel Wednesday for hitting a boy with a hammer. -more-

Caltrans Settles Class Action Disability-Access Lawsuit

By Riya Bhattacharjee
Thursday January 07, 2010 - 08:25:00 AM

Berkeley resident Dmitri Belser wants a curb ramp on every street in the country. That dream may not come true anytime soon, but Belser, who is legally blind, has reason to feel encouraged. -more-

Berkeley to Sell Off Public Housing Stock

By Riya Bhattacharjee
Thursday January 07, 2010 - 08:28:00 AM

Berkeley is set to lose its public housing, and depending on whom you talk to in the city, that may or may not be such a bad thing. -more-

General Assistance Funds Cut by 75 Percent

By Riya Bhattacharjee
Thursday January 07, 2010 - 08:28:00 AM

For thousands of Alameda County residents, New Year’s eve was anything but a party. -more-

Berkeley Developer Puts Ashby Arts Condo Site Up for Sale

By Riya Bhattacharjee
Thursday January 07, 2010 - 08:29:00 AM

Berkeley developer Ali Kashani’s proposed five-story, mixed-use condo project at 1200 Ashby Avenue is up for sale. -more-

King Student Sent to Juvenile Hall For Bringing Gun to School

By Riya Bhattacharjee
Thursday January 07, 2010 - 08:30:00 AM

A Martin Luther King Jr. Middle School student was sent to Alameda County Juvenile Hall for bringing an unloaded gun to school. -more-

BART to Appoint Interim Police Chief

By Riya Bhattacharjee
Thursday January 07, 2010 - 08:31:00 AM

The Bay Area Rapid Transit will be appointing former Berkeley police chief Daschel Butler to lead its police force on a temporary basis. -more-

Families of American Hikers Detained in Iran Hire Lawyer

By Riya Bhattacharjee
Thursday January 07, 2010 - 08:32:00 AM

The families of the three UC Berkeley alums detained in Iran for illegally crossing over the border announced Dec. 27 that they have hired a prominent Iranian lawyer to help bring them home. -more-

Suspect in Southside Stabbing Arrested, Police Investigate Armed Robbery

By Riya Bhattacharjee
Thursday January 07, 2010 - 08:32:00 AM

Berkeley police arrested 32-year-old Hercules resident Dimitar Popov in connection with a stabbing incident south of the UC Berkeley campus last week. -more-



A Step In the Right Direction

By Becky O'Malley
Thursday January 07, 2010 - 08:35:00 AM

To everyone who’s asked why there’s been nothing in this space for the past couple of weeks: right after finishing an editorial for the Dec. 17 paper I went off to Kaiser for what turned out to be, after some hours of discussion and a cat scan, an emergency appendectomy. This experience provided me with ample opportunity to appreciate the efficiency and skill of the current crop of Kaiser health care providers, and renewed my dedication to working to make sure that all Americans will eventually have access to this kind of care. It looks now like the Congress of the United States is poised to pass a long overdue step in the right direction. -more-

Public Comment

Letters to the Editor

Thursday January 07, 2010 - 08:36:00 AM


Berkeley Iceland Is a Landmark

By Tom Killilea
Thursday January 07, 2010 - 08:38:00 AM

Berkeley Iceland is a landmark, a fact known to almost anyone who has lived in Berkeley or experienced Berkeley Iceland since the doors opened in 1940—a fact made official in the designation by the Berkeley Landmark Preservation Commission (LPC) in May 2007 and, at one time, affirmed by the Berkeley City Council. The community worked hard to gain the landmark designation through a process that gave ample opportunity for the current owners to make their case. In the end, a Berkeley gem was deemed worthy of the formal title of “Berkeley Landmark.” As part of a settlement to a lawsuit initiated by the current owners of Berkeley Iceland, the Berkeley City Council will revisit its decision to uphold the LPC’s designation. A public hearing is currently scheduled for the Jan. 19 City Council meeting—a meeting supporters of Berkeley Iceland need to attend. -more-

Health Care ‘Reform’ Is a Trojan Horse For the Health Insurance Industry

By Richard Phelps
Thursday January 07, 2010 - 08:39:00 AM

Imagine a headline “Federal Government Requires People to Buy Ford Pintos”—the ones with the exploding gas tanks. Those Pintos were clearly a defective product. And Ford decided not to make the changes to make it safe since they concluded that it would cost more to do that than the lawsuits to follow. Absolutely no concern for the lives lost in horrible fires when the Pintos were rear ended! -more-

Free Speech vs. Hate Speech

By Leon Mayeri
Thursday January 07, 2010 - 08:40:00 AM

As the birthplace of the Free Speech Movement, Berkeley residents have long honored the responsibility of speaking truth to power in the name of advocating social justice and racial equality. After all, the Free Speech Movement (FSM) was born directly from the efforts of civil rights activists to set up an information table on Sproul Plaza promoting CORE (The Congress on Racial Equality). While as a matter of legal technicality, the principles of free speech encompass even the most odious racist hate mongering, the true moral authority of the FSM was born out of the desire to speak out and organize against racial and ethnic bigotry. Thousands of outraged Berkeley students would not have spontaneously surrounded for 32 hours a police car that was attempting to arrest Jack Weinberg on Sproul Plaza on Oct. 1, 1964. It is inconceivable that this would have happened had Weinberg been distributing “literature” claiming that Jews deserved the Holocaust or that some Jewish groups actively aided and abetted the Holocaust to further their own parochial political interests.  -more-

Understanding the Palestinian Tragedy

By Hassan Fouda
Thursday January 07, 2010 - 08:41:00 AM

To understand the Palestinian tragedy and how young Israelis are motivated to commit monstrous acts look for the pronouncements of several influential rabbis. -more-

Pass the Health Insurance Industry Antitrust Enforcement Act

By Ralph E. Stone
Thursday January 07, 2010 - 08:42:00 AM

What happened to the “ Health Insurance Industry Antitrust Enforcement Act of 2009”? Did it fall through the cracks along with the public option? Because there is unlikely to be a public option in the forthcoming healthcare legislation, Congress must repeal the McCarran-Ferguson Act antitrust exemption for the health insurance industry as a first step toward bringing at least some competition in that industry, which in turn will help bring down the cost of health insurance.  -more-

Listeners Outraged by Cuts To KPFA’s Flashpoints Program

By Henry Norr
Thursday January 07, 2010 - 08:43:00 AM

In the face of mounting deficits, KPFA this month began laying off staff. The cuts come as no surprise; in fact, they’re overdue, considering that the station has been running in the red for several years, in defiance of Local Station Board and Pacifica National Board mandates to bring expenses into line with income. Anger and protest were probably inevitable when the cuts finally came. But by implementing them in an abrupt and seemingly insensitive way, ignoring provisions of the paid staff’s union contract, and loading what looks like a disproportionate share of the pain on one program—Flashpoints—management has succeeded in turning a tough situation into yet another full-fledged crisis for the station. -more-


Partisan Position: Residents Oppose Privatization of Berkeley Public Housing

By Lynda Carson
Thursday January 07, 2010 - 08:27:00 AM

Recently the public housing residents of Berkeley received a shocking notice, dated Oct. 27, announcing that the Berkeley Housing Authority (BHA) is preparing to convert their public housing units into privately owned housing subsidized by Section 8 voucher rental assistance, and that their housing would be transferred to a local nonprofit housing developer. -more-

Undercurrents: How Should Dellums’ Term as Mayor Be Judged?

By J. Douglas Allen-Taylor
Thursday January 07, 2010 - 08:33:00 AM

One of the more noted Oakland political developments at the turn of the year is the scramble by journalists columnists and political commentators—now that the possibility has arisen in their minds that Ron Dellums might run for re-election as the city’s mayor—to publish election-year assessments of the first three years of the Dellums administration. -more-

Dispatches from the Edge: Annual Dispatches Awards

By Conn Hallinan
Thursday January 07, 2010 - 08:34:00 AM

The Golden Poodle Award goes to former British Prime Minister Tony Blair for his decision to join in the March 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq, and lying about it. Blair told Parliament in July 2002 that prior to the November 2002 United Nations resolution to disarm Iraq, his government made no preparations for invading Iraq. But according to leaked government documents, plans to attack Baghdad had begun in February 2002. -more-

About the House: Unreinforced Masonry and the Craftsman Home

By Matt Cantor
Thursday January 07, 2010 - 08:48:00 AM
The Craftsman Bungalow often found in Berkeley poses hazards in earthquake country.

It’s a good thing there are no dead-animal right’s groups or I’d surely be hiding in my home most of the time, because there’s nothing I enjoy more than beating a dead horse. -more-

Wild Neighbors: The State of the Shorebirds

By Joe Eaton
Thursday January 07, 2010 - 08:52:00 AM
American avocets, one of the top five shorebird species in San Francisco Bay.

If you’ve ever wondered how many shorebirds winter in San Francisco Bay, a report released last fall has the statistics. -more-

Arts & Events

Arts Calendar

Thursday January 07, 2010 - 08:47:00 AM

THURSDAY, JAN. 7 -more-

Looking Back on Year, Decade in Theater

By Ken Bullock, Special to the Planet
Thursday January 07, 2010 - 08:44:00 AM

At the end of the season, it’s a wry task to talk about what happened last year in theater, something that progresses by seasons more than by calendar years, in a kind of reverse order, like everything on stage seems to be: where life is turned upside down, inside out—so we can look (and laugh or cry) at it. -more-

Moving Pictures: Recently Released Cinematic Treasures for the Cinephile

By Justin DeFreitas
Thursday January 07, 2010 - 08:46:00 AM

Wings of Desire (1987) -more-

Around the East Bay: The 'Nose', the "Norman Conquests', and 'Macbeth'

Thursday January 07, 2010 - 08:45:00 AM

After the holidays, the first half of January is usually the doldrums for theater. But three unusual events will be staged in the next week or two: -more-

Shotgun Players Present 'The Norman Conquests'

By Ken Bullock Special to the Planet
Friday January 08, 2010 - 02:00:00 PM

“When I was starting the theater company,” Patrick Dooley of Shotgun Players recalled, “My mom asked me why I was doing it. I’d been working as an actor. And I said, I want to see different kinds of plays—and the only way I’m going to see them is to direct them.” -more-

Community Calendar

Thursday January 07, 2010 - 08:34:00 AM

THURSDAY, JAN. 7 -more-