The Week

Berkeley Iceland is again the focus of discussion as its owner attempts to reverse the city’s decision to give the 67-year-old ice-skating rink landmark status.
Michael Howerton
Berkeley Iceland is again the focus of discussion as its owner attempts to reverse the city’s decision to give the 67-year-old ice-skating rink landmark status.


Unions Oppose Charter School Petitions, Favor Alternative Education Program

By Raymond Barglow Special to the Planet
Tuesday January 19, 2010 - 02:05:00 PM

At the Jan. 13 Berkeley School Board meeting, the Berkeley Federation of Teachers (BFT) joined the Berkeley Council of Classified Employees (BCCE) in opposing applications for two new independent charter schools in Berkeley, one a middle school and the other a high school. Both unions favor the development of a new educational program that is not independent of the school district. -more-

East Bay Then and Now: From Scavengers’ Social Club to Rock Music Mecca

By Daniella Thompson
Monday January 18, 2010 - 10:15:00 PM
4799 Shattuck Ave. today.

Oakland’s Temescal district is best known today for its demographic diversity, most visibly manifested in the variety of its restaurants. Only one establishment, the venerable Genova Delicatessen, stands as a reminder of the neighborhood’s Italian past. -more-

Lawyers Request Report On Torture Memo Authors; Activists Protest Yoo’s 'Secret Class'

By Riya Bhattacharjee
Monday January 18, 2010 - 04:10:00 PM

A group of lawyers, journalists and advocates filed a Freedom of Information Act request Thursday for a report regarding authors of the Bush administration's torture memos, including UC Berkeley law professor John Yoo. -more-

Berkeleyans Contribute to Haiti Disaster Relief

By Riya Bhattacharjee
Friday January 15, 2010 - 11:17:00 PM

Berkeley is doing its part to bring relief to disaster-struck Haiti in the aftermath of the Jan. 12 earthquake that crippled the Caribbean nation, killing tens of thousands. -more-

UC Students Alive and Well in Haiti

By Riya Bhattacharjee
Friday January 15, 2010 - 11:15:00 PM

Three UC Berkeley students initially thought missing in Haiti are safe and will help with relief efforts, the university said Thursday. -more-

Berkeley Police Search for Man Accused of Stabbing His Daughter's Mother

Bay City News
Thursday January 14, 2010 - 03:10:00 PM
Casey Jones.

Berkeley police are looking for a 24-year-old man who allegedly stabbed his daughter’s mother, and punched the woman and their 2-year-old child. -more-

Heated Battle Over Iceland’s Landmark Status

By Riya Bhattacharjee
Thursday January 14, 2010 - 09:15:00 AM

A rare battle over whether a local historic structure can be stripped of its landmark status has pitted Berkeley’s Landmarks Preservation Commission against a City Council decision to settle a legal challenge from the building’s owner by starting the whole process over. -more-

Albany Hopes Community Input Will Resolve Waterfront Debate

By Paul Gackle
Thursday January 14, 2010 - 09:16:00 AM

For more than 40 years the city of Albany has been caught in a game of tug-of-war over its waterfront property. But the city hopes that a new campaign to solicit community input will break the stalemate and provide a shared vision for the community’s shoreline. -more-

School Board to Tackle BHS Science Labs Feb. 3

By Riya Bhattacharjee
Thursday January 14, 2010 - 09:17:00 AM

Berkeley Unified School District Superintendent Bill Huyett said Wednesday that the controversial proposal to reconfigure science labs at Berkeley High will come before the Berkeley Board of Education Feb. 3. -more-

BSEP Wants Specifics Before Reallocating Lab Funds

By Raymond Barglow, Special to the Planet
Thursday January 14, 2010 - 09:37:00 AM

At the end of last year, the Berkeley High School Governance Council (SGC) supported a proposal to eliminate science lab instruction that is currently offered before and after regular school hours. -more-

BUSD Opts Out of Race to the Top Program

By Riya Bhattacharjee
Thursday January 14, 2010 - 09:18:00 AM

Berkeley Unified School District Superintendent Bill Huyett said Monday the governor’s new budget would result in significant cuts to the district in 2010-11. -more-

City Council Will Take Up Soft-Story Ordinance, Instant Runoff Voting,

By Riya Bhattacharjee
Thursday January 14, 2010 - 09:19:00 AM

The Berkeley City Council has a full agenda for next week’s meeing, its first of 2010, including an upgrade for the city’s soft-story ordinance, a June ballot measure for improving Berkeley’s public pools, and a request that the city manager provide more information about the city’s involvement in state Senate Bill 113. -more-

New San Pablo Parking Meters Expected to Take Effect This Month

By Riya Bhattacharjee
Thursday January 14, 2010 - 09:20:00 AM

Next time you want to park on San Pablo Avenue, make sure you have some change on hand. -more-

Former Albany Administrator Named Berkeley’s Interim Health Director

By Riya Bhattacharjee
Thursday January 14, 2010 - 09:21:00 AM

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

The Deadly Debris Of War

By Dorothy Bryant, Special to the Planet
Thursday January 14, 2010 - 09:31:00 AM
At left, a HALO Afghanistan deminer clears his way up a slope in Guldara district (west of Kabul) in 2006. Now that the slope has been cleared of landmines, residents of the village in the background are using it to graze livestock.

Andrew Lyons is a 40ish, trim, rosy-cheeked man who, though friendly, gives the impression of having no time to waste. Perhaps his manner reflects his role as vice president of HALO USA, the American branch of the global charity, the HALO Trust. HALO is a 21-year-old non-governmental, nonprofit organization with a simple, almost brusquely worded mission: “Getting mines out of the ground, now” -more-

2010 Census Road Tour Arrives in Berkeley

By Riya Bhattacharjee
Thursday January 14, 2010 - 09:22:00 AM

Berkeley became part of the 2010 Census outreach Monday when the Census Portrait of America Road Tour arrived in the city to encourage residents to participate in the nation’s once-a-decade population count. -more-

George Goth, 1943–2009

Thursday January 14, 2010 - 09:25:00 AM

A gathering in memory of George Goth, who recently died from complications of diabetes in his home on Kains Avenue, will be held at 2 p.m. Friday, Jan. 15, in the ballroom at the Berkeley City Club. -more-


Thursday January 14, 2010 - 09:22:00 AM

The Jan.7 article, “General Assistance Funds Cut by 75 Percent,” incorrectly identified the Berkeley city councilmember who spoke in opposition to the cuts at a rally at Frank Ogawa Plaza in downtown Oakland. City Councilmember Darryl Moore was the speaker. Councilmember Kriss Worthington was scheduled to speak but did not. -more-



First, Kill All the Newspapers . . .

By Becky O'Malley
Thursday January 14, 2010 - 09:26:00 AM

Can’t find a Planet downtown? Or even a Guardian, an Express or a Tribune? It’s your tax dollars at work. The city of Berkeley’s Code Enforcement office is in the process of removing what seem to be most of the “ped-mounts,” the stands that hold multiple newspaper distribution boxes, with no prior notice to the publications that have been using them. -more-

Public Comment

Letters to the Editor

Thursday January 14, 2010 - 09:26:00 AM


How the U.S. Impoverished Haiti

by Jean Damu
Saturday January 16, 2010 - 10:15:00 AM

The horrific disaster that has befallen Haiti is perhaps unprecedented in the Western hemisphere. Estimates now say that perhaps hundreds of thousands have died as a result of the Dec. 12 earthquake. Many in the media have constantly said, as a mantra, that the reason so many have died is because of the weak infrastructure and poor quality of construction there. The implication is that Haitians are unable to govern and build a reliable, sustainable society. -more-

Save The Alameda

By Zelda Bronstein
Thursday January 14, 2010 - 09:28:00 AM

The city of Berkeley Office of Transportation (OOT) is threatening to do to The Alameda between Hopkins and Solano what in September 2005 it did to Marin below The Alameda: turn a road with four through-lanes of auto traffic into a road with two through-lanes of auto traffic, intermittent center-turn lanes, and two bike lanes.   -more-

Tom Bates’ Berkeley Iceland

By Wendy Stephens
Thursday January 14, 2010 - 09:27:00 AM

John Lennon and Yoko once sang: “The war is over if you want it to be,” or words to that effect. I bet we could get the gem of Berkeley (town and gown)—Berkeley Iceland—reopened in a jiffy if we renamed it Tom Bates’ Berkeley Iceland. Give it a name like that and the funding will come. -more-

Berkeley Public School Lunches

By Beebo Turman 
Thursday January 14, 2010 - 09:29:00 AM

If you care about what your children eat, you will be pleased to hear that Berkeley Unified School District (BUSD) serves terrific lunches to all our students! The food is either freshly made or assembled, locally grown or produced, and as organic as possible. We have three people to thank for this: Marni Posey, Director of Nutrition Services, Bonnie Christensen, Executive Chef at Nutrition Services, and Ann Cooper, who was Director of Nutrition Services for four years. -more-

Harry Reid and the Demagogues 

By Jean Damu 
Thursday January 14, 2010 - 09:29:00 AM

America needs to get a grip. The idiotic controversy that is the focus of the nation’s media and that claims Nevada Senator Harry Reid uttered racist comments is mind-boggling in its obtuseness. It’s clear he is being pilloried for making comments inherently not racist merely as an attempt to sidetrack the healthcare reform debate.  -more-

City of Alameda Voters Should Vote ‘No’ on Measure B

By Eugenie P. Thomson
Thursday January 14, 2010 - 09:30:00 AM

On Feb. 2, 2010, I’m voting against Measure B, and I urge you to join me.   -more-


Partisan Position: Update on the Apple Moth ‘Eradication’ Program

By Jane Kelly and Lynn Elliott-Harding
Thursday January 14, 2010 - 09:18:00 AM

Any day now, the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) will release the final environmental impact report on how the CDFA proposes to deal with the light brown apple moth. Concerned citizens who opposed the CDFA’s original plans to aerially spray the Bay Area counties with pesticides are assuming that the CDFA will attempt to expand its “eradication” program throughout the state and are gearing up to oppose it. -more-

Undercurrents: Chronicle Blogger Gets Dellums Analysis Wrong

By J. Douglas Allen-Taylor
Thursday January 14, 2010 - 09:23:00 AM

Last week’s column failed to spark any immediate, community discussion on setting standards for judging an Oakland mayoral administration, but that’s to be expected. To paraphrase the Turk from the first Godfather movie, I’m not that influential. A Chip Johnson column or Matier & Ross item in the Chronicle, or a front-page story in the Tribune can set the direction of Oakland discussion for several days running. But I write an Oakland column for an admittedly struggling small weekly Berkeley newspaper whose influence takes a somewhat dramatic dive at the Oakland border. But we do what we can with what we have. -more-

Reverse Engineering for the Builder

By Matt Cantor
Thursday January 14, 2010 - 09:39:00 AM

I hate code books. Not code as in dot-dash-dot or SLWBT means I love you. I mean the building codes. Codes have loads of exceptions and don’t address each case with real clarity. They vary by year; by city, county, state and region; by building department and ultimately by the site inspector who enforced or ignored the edict. Yes, I’m very much aware of the need for codes, but the frustrating contradictions that a person faces when the code is invoked make me want to pull my hair out. -more-

Wild Neighbors: Antioch Owls Face Evicition

By Joe Eaton
Thursday January 14, 2010 - 09:42:00 AM
A burrowing owl at the Antioch construction site.

I’ve written a couple of times about the western burrowing owls that winter at Cesar Chavez Park at the Berkeley Marina, which seem to be in good hands for now. Other burrowing owls in the Bay Area are not so lucky. In Antioch, a breeding population of owls is about to be displaced by a developer under legally dubious circumstances. Owl advocates have rallied to protect them, but time is running out. -more-

Arts & Events

Arts Calendar

Thursday January 14, 2010 - 09:36:00 AM

THURSDAY, JAN. 14 -more-

An Innovative Take on Gogol’s ‘The Nose’

By Ken Bullock, Special to the Planet
Thursday January 14, 2010 - 09:33:00 AM

Gogol is for me the main author,” said Russian actor-director Oleg Liptsin. “Probably he’s been that way since third grade, when I was waiting to get a little older for two things: to start chemistry—and study Gogol!” -more-

Alphonse Berber Gallery Exhibits ‘Slow Art’

By Celeste Connor, Special to the Planet
Thursday January 14, 2010 - 09:35:00 AM
Ursula O’Farrell’s Uncertain Morning evokes an intimate state of mind, representing not only a moment ripe with uncertainty and doubt but also, potentially, a powerful moment of overcoming.

On the verge of the 1960s, Mildred Constantine and Peter Selz produced a landmark catalog under New York MoMA’s tent: “New Images of Man.” At a cultural moment when hip formalists on the Right Coast were savoring abstraction to the exclusion of other trends, the pair created turbulence by featuring figurative images. Monstrous ones at that, according to the review by my painting and film teacher, the late Manny Farber. Now, on the brink of another new decade, Selz revisits the subject with a new collaborator, Cameron Jackson. The necessary postscript is spotlit in the exhibit’s title: “Images of Man and Woman,” now at the Alphonse Berber Gallery in Berkeley. -more-

Altarena Playhouse Stages 'Bus Stop'

Thursday January 14, 2010 - 09:34:00 AM

Bus Stop, now onstage at Altarena Playhouse in Alameda, may be best-known for the 1956 film version, starring Marilyn Monroe. It’s also one of the more famous plays by William Inge (Come Back, Little Sheba; Picnic; Dark at the Top of the Stairs—and the films Splendor in the Grass and All Fall Down), once considered near the top among postwar American playwrights, often mentioned in the same breath with Tennessee Williams and Arthur Miller. Through Feb. 6. 1409 High St., Alameda. $19–$22. 523-1553. -more-

Community Calendar

Thursday January 14, 2010 - 09:24:00 AM

THURSDAY, JAN. 14 -more-