The Week

Berkeley High School students count money raised for Haiti relief on Friday, Jan. 22.
Riya Bhattacharjee
Berkeley High School students count money raised for Haiti relief on Friday, Jan. 22.


Berkeley YMCA Center Breaks Ground at Old PG&E Building

Wednesday February 03, 2010 - 06:55:00 PM

Berkeley-Albany YMCA President Fran Gallati was joined by members of the Teen Task Force as he spoke at a ceremony Monday for YMCA Teen Center’s groundbreaking. Located at a former PG&E service station at 2111 Martin Luther King Jr. Way, the building was handed over to the Berkeley YMCA in October 2007 to be developed into a safe place for teenagers to spend time after school. The $2.1 million, 8,000-square-foot building is PG&E’s largest corporate charitable contribution to date. -more-

School Board Weighs In on BHS Science Lab Proposal

By Riya Bhattacharjee
Wednesday February 03, 2010 - 06:35:00 PM

The Berkeley Board of Education was scheduled to hear the controversial plan to eliminate before- and after-school science labs at Berkeley High School at its Wednesday night meeting, too late for the Daily Planet’s deadline. -more-

Berkeley Police Officer Injured in Ashby Avenue Accident

By Riya Bhattacharjee
Tuesday February 02, 2010 - 05:11:00 PM

A Berkeley police motorcycle officer was injured in a motorcycle collision with a car at the intersection of Ashby and Benvenue avenues at 4:21 p.m. Tuesday. -more-

Iran May Swap Detained American Hikers for Iranian Prisoners

By Riya Bhattacharjee
Tuesday February 02, 2010 - 01:11:00 PM

Reuters reported Tuesday that Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad told state television that the three UC Berkeley graduates detained in Iran on espionage charges may be exchanged for Iranians jailed in the United States. -more-

SF Symphony, Berkeley’s Pacific Boychoir Win Grammy Award

Bay City News
Monday February 01, 2010 - 01:51:00 PM

A recording of the San Francisco Symphony featuring local youth choirs won three Grammy awards, including Best Classical Album, on Sunday. -more-

Body of Berkeley Woman Swept to Sea in Pacifica Recovered

Bay City News
Monday February 01, 2010 - 01:19:00 PM

The body of a 37-year-old Berkeley woman was found south of a pier on Sharp Park Beach in Pacifica this weekend after she was swept into the ocean by a strong current, according to police. -more-

Neighbors Emerge Victorious Over Telegraph Ave. Laundromat

By Riya Bhattacharjee
Thursday January 28, 2010 - 05:25:00 PM

The Berkeley Zoning Adjustments Board sided with Southside Lofts residents Thursday when it unanimously denied a use permit for a laundromat at 3095 Telegraph Ave., citing health and safety concerns. -more-

University Eyes Old UC Printing Plant for New Art Museum

By Riya Bhattacharjee
Thursday January 28, 2010 - 04:37:00 PM
UC Berkeley may repurpose the former UC Printing Plant at Oxford and Center streets as the new home of the Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive.

After abandoning plans to construct a new museum, Berkeley Art Musem/Pacific Film Archive announced Wednesday that it is examining the possibility of moving into the former UC Printing Plant at 2120 Oxford St. -more-

Meehan Sworn In as Berkeley Police Chief

Thursday January 28, 2010 - 05:17:00 PM

Michael Meehan, with a little help from his wife Becky, was sworn in as Berkeley’s new police chief today at Freight and Salvage Coffeehouse. More than 200 people attended the event, including police chiefs from all over the Bay Area, law enforcement officials, Berkeley city councilmembers and Mayor Tom Bates. -more-

Berkeley High Students Raise $10,000 for Haiti Relief

By Riya Bhattacharjee
Thursday January 28, 2010 - 08:23:00 AM

Every penny counted at Berkeley High School’s “Relief for Haiti” campaign. -more-

City Might Close Willard Pool

By Riya Bhattacharjee
Thursday January 28, 2010 - 08:25:00 AM

Faced with an $80,000 cut in its aquatics program due to a major budget crisis, Berkeley’s Parks, Recreation and Waterfront Department is proposing closure for Willard Pool in July. -more-

Lawsuit Threatened Over Westside Cannabis Clinic

By Riya Bhattacharjee
Thursday January 28, 2010 - 08:26:00 AM

Wareham Development has threatened to sue the City of Berkeley if it allows a cannabis clinic to move into the old Scharffen Berger building in West Berkeley. -more-

Berkeley City Council Asks Iran to Release Detained UC Students

By Riya Bhattacharjee
Thursday January 28, 2010 - 08:27:00 AM

The Berkeley City Council joined the fight to free three UC Berkeley graduates detained in Iran Tuesday when it voted to send a letter urging Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to release the trio. -more-

District Honors B-Tech Principal; Bids Farewell to BHS Football Coach

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

The Berkeley Board of Education honored B-Tech Principal Victor Diaz, bid farewell to Berkeley High football coach Alonzo Carter and approved a solar grant for Rosa Parks Elementary School at its Jan 20 meeting. -more-

Bank Robbery Suspect Arrested

Bay City News
Thursday January 28, 2010 - 08:28:00 AM

A 34-year-old Oakland man was in custody Tuesday after being arrested on suspicion of robbing a bank in Berkeley on Monday afternoon, police said today. -more-

Oakland School Budget Cuts Pit Primary Vs. Adult Education

By Paul Gackle
Thursday January 28, 2010 - 08:29:00 AM
With the help of Oakland’s adult education program, Rigoberto Alvarado, who arrived in the United States with no knowledge of English, worked his way up to a managerial position at the Waterfront Hotel.

Rigoberto Alvarado says he’s living the American Dream. He came to the United States with very little money and no knowledge of English and worked his way up to a manager position at Oakland’s Waterfront Hotel. -more-

BART Reaches $1.5 Million Settlement for Oscar Grant’s Daughter

By Riya Bhattacharjee
Thursday January 28, 2010 - 08:30:00 AM

BART announced Wednesday it had reached a $1.5 million settlement with the mother of Oscar Grant’s young daughter Tatiana. -more-

Solar Power: From Berkeley To Haiti and Beyond

By Raymond Barglow, Special to the Planet
Thursday January 28, 2010 - 08:31:00 AM
Assembling “solar suitcases” in Stachel's and Aronson's back yard, from left to right: Vander Covington, Matthew Marks Evans, Jabali Nash, Hal Aronson, Laura Stachel, Mark Davis, Mike Strykowski, and neighbor Glen Leggoe who donated materials to the cause.

Worldwide, half a million women die each year in childbirth, most of them in Africa and Asia. When Laura Stachel, a medical doctor who lives in Berkeley, went to Nigeria in 2008, she witnessed hospital conditions that make not only childbirth but all medical care difficult and unreliable. Resolving to change that situation, she and her husband, Hal Aronson, an educator and solar expert, formed an organization, WE CARE Solar, whose mission is “saving mothers’ lives with solar-powered light and communication.” -more-

New Analysis: Regulating Flame Retardant Chemicals

Thursday January 28, 2010 - 08:34:00 AM

By Ruth Rosen -more-

On Gardening: Lightning

By Shirley Barker
Thursday January 28, 2010 - 08:35:00 AM

By Shirley Barker -more-

Hidden Town and Gown History in North Central Berkeley

By Steven Finacom, Special to the Planet
Thursday January 28, 2010 - 08:53:00 AM

Southwest of the intersection of Sacramento and Rose streets in north central Berkeley there’s a site with a century and a half of hidden history. The story involves what was Berkeley’s second oldest house, early local farm life, a nearly forgotten reverse in university expansion, and a final outcome that’s visible today, a small residential subdivision built on the eve of World War II. -more-



All the Rants Are Fit to Print

By Becky O'Malley
Thursday January 28, 2010 - 08:35:00 AM

Few events in recent weeks have produced a flood of letters comparable to the number we received criticizing the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to allow unlimited corporate contributions to political campaigns. We agree with the writers: it’s an appalling decision, not only in substance and in likely consequences, but also because of the cavalier way the so-called “conservatives” blithely ignored a century of precedent supporting the government’s right and duty to regulate corporate election spending. Justice Stevens’ dissent amounts to a complete course in constitutional law, and anyone who cares about the Constitution should read it. -more-

Public Comment

Letters to the Editor

Thursday January 28, 2010 - 08:36:00 AM

Remembering -more-

The Theory of Urban (Un)Development

By Steve Martinot
Thursday January 28, 2010 - 08:38:00 AM

The idea of the Berkeley Downtown Plan was vetted last month by the ostensible representatives of the 5th and 6th districts. I call them “ostensible representatives” rather than “real” ones because they actively tried to stop the petition campaign to put this highly controversial Downtown Plan on the ballot. It was an overtly anti-democratic stance. The term “representative” needs to be reserved for those who foster as well as believe in democracy. But at their meeting, they spoke about their “dream” for downtown, I suppose in the hopes that we would represent them when it came time to vote. -more-

What Is the Downtown Berkeley Association?

By Christopher Adams
Thursday January 28, 2010 - 08:39:00 AM

Full disclosure: I go to downtown Berkeley, a lot. Last year I spent about $4,000 on downtown enterprises, including gym memberships, pharmacy items, photocopying, movies, plays, restaurants, stationery, computer repairs, hardware, and, not least, the Saturday Farmers Market. For me downtown is a place to shop, a place for entertainment, (and a place to hunt for parking, more on that later).   -more-

KPFA: Heading Towards Dysfunction of WBAI

By Warren Mar
Thursday January 28, 2010 - 08:40:00 AM

The New York Times (Jan. 16, 2010) ran an article about the dysfunction at one of KPFA’s sister stations, the New York Pacifica affiliate: WBAI. It mentioned the ultra-left sectarianism of various board members and the personal attacks on the chair disguised behind politically correct line variations. -more-

‘Save Berkeley Iceland’ Soldiers On

By Richard Fabry
Thursday January 28, 2010 - 08:40:00 AM

It was heartening to see the response of the community during the Jan. 19 Berkeley City Council meeting, particularly the sense of outrage many citizens expressed towards the council’s mostly cavalier attitude toward Berkeley Iceland’s future. Instead of embracing the efforts of a determined and able group, Save Berkeley Iceland (SBI), the council attempted to subvert the law and threaten Iceland’s landmark status. -more-

Pacific Steel and the Zoning Adjustments Board

By Chris Kroll, David Schroeder and Janice Schroeder
Thursday January 28, 2010 - 08:41:00 AM

Last Thursday, after holding a meeting solely about Pacific Steel Casting Company (PSC), the Zoning Adjustments Board (ZAB) postponed its decision to accept or reject PSC’s most recent annual performance review. The West Berkeley Alliance for Clean Air and Safe Jobs had urged the ZAB to modify PSC’s use permit to ensure air cleanup. The decision to postpone came at the end of a sometimes dramatic meeting that demonstrated the way the city of Berkeley is run. The meeting process raised alarming questions about the way commissions like the ZAB are manipulated for political purposes by elected officials, city staff, and the corporate interests they often serve. -more-

The California Democracy Act

By David Fielder
Thursday January 28, 2010 - 08:43:00 AM

The California Democracy Act, a non-partisan constitutional amendment authored by Cal Professor George Lakoff, consists in its entirety of a mere 14 words: -more-

Natural Immunity or Artificial Immunity?

By Michael Bauce
Thursday January 28, 2010 - 08:43:00 AM

The most important job you have in this lifetime is to raise your kids properly. With that in mind, my wife and I decided NOT to vaccinate our children soon after the birth of our first son in 1985. This decision was a well-thought out one. We weighed both sides carefully and made the choice in the interests of our kid’s future. We were happy to find out that our choice was guaranteed under California Health and Safety Code Section 120365 and also by federal law. It should also be noted that the American Medical Association is currently working to deny freedom of choice in this matter. If the AMA truly believes vaccination protects from disease, why would unvaccinated children be a threat to vaccinated ones? -more-

UC Must Respect Due Process Rights

By Carmen Comsti, Sean Graham and Nathan Shaffer
Thursday January 28, 2010 - 08:44:00 AM

A Jan. 13, 2010, Student Conduct panel upheld an “interim suspension” placed on UC Berkeley Junior Angela Miller, a student activist who is accused of violating the Code of Student Conduct for participating in a demonstration on Dec. 11, 2009. The panel’s suspension banned Ms. Miller from campus property, ordered her not to communicate with any faculty or student, and evicted her from off-campus housing. -more-

Thoughts on the Senate Election in Massachusetts

By Ralph E. Stone
Thursday January 28, 2010 - 08:45:00 AM

Yes, Martha Coakley managed to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory in the recent special Senate election in Massachusetts. I wonder how much campaigning the Kennedy clan did for her. Guess there is no such thing as a “Kennedy” seat in Massachusetts anymore. -more-


Partisan Position: The Volcano Beneath

By Georgia Wright
Thursday January 28, 2010 - 08:26:00 AM

Most people do not know that the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory is almost entirely sited on a caldeara, a collapsed volcano. Below this caldera there is the Hayward Fault, which cuts through Memorial Stadium and across the bottom of the hills. The Hayward Fault is due for a magnitude 6.5 to 7.0 earthquake anytime within the next 30 years. Still, LBNL plans to build up to a million square feet of research facilities on its steep and unstable hills above the city and UC campus. -more-

Undercurrents: Brown’s Record on Public Records Speaks Volumes

By J. Douglas Allen-Taylor
Thursday January 28, 2010 - 08:32:00 AM

We have long recognized California Attorney General Jerry Brown as the great artful dodger of our time, more skilled than most at being able to avoid the political consequences of his various positions and official actions. -more-

The Public Eye: Financial Terrorism

By Bob Burnett
Thursday January 28, 2010 - 08:33:00 AM

The Wall Street meltdown in the fall of 2008 had striking parallels to the destruction of the twin towers on Sept. 11, 2001. In both cases there were unheeded warnings, a traumatic event, a problematic initial response, and a failure to punish the perpetrators. Will financial terrorism flourish, as has jihadi terrorism? -more-

About the House: Soundproofing Against the Garage Band Next Door

By Matt Cantor
Thursday January 28, 2010 - 08:56:00 AM

I think of myself as one who lives to revel in the sounds of the world, much of—if not all—the time. I don’t want to live in an anechoic chamber, devoid of sound, devoid of the joyful noises of NPR and of Dexter. Screaming is good. I like screaming. -more-

Wild Neighbors: It’s a Bird’s Life

By Joe Eaton
Thursday January 28, 2010 - 08:58:00 AM

How long do birds live? That question is surprisingly hard to answer, in part because of the range of lifespans involved and in part because of data limitations. Apart from captive birds, what we know about avian longevity is based on recovery of wild individuals that have been banded. And recovery of banded birds is so rare that there’s not really enough information to calculate meaningful averages. What we have to work with are the extremes. -more-

Arts & Events

Arts Calendar

Thursday January 28, 2010 - 08:52:00 AM

THURSDAY, JAN. 28 -more-

Stoppard, Anouilh, Fugard and More

By Ken Bullock, Special to the Planet
Thursday January 28, 2010 - 08:45:00 AM

The beginning of the winter-spring theater season hit last weekend, more concentrated a downpour than the storm. And a few shows that opened earlier are still running, too, including Oleg Liptsin’s unique, brilliant iPhone-era take on Gogol’s The Nose (which has decamped from Berkeley to the Shelton Studio at Pier 26 in San Francisco), Altarena’s production of Bus Stop, in Alameda, and Shotgun’s acclaimed production of Threepenny Opera, ending its extended run at the Ashby Stage this weekend. A floodtide of theatrical offerings. Here, then, a few highlights, struggling to be an overview: -more-

‘Sylvia’ the Musical at Stagebridge

By Ken Bullock, Special to the Planet
Thursday January 28, 2010 - 08:50:00 AM
Joan Mankin plays the title character in <i>Sylvia’s Advice On How to Age Gracefully On the Planet Denial</i>, in a new musical based on the comic strip by Nicole Hollander. Sarah Moore and Franklin Hall play Sylvia’s cats, Lassie the Wonder Cat and Kismet.

Singing cats in a bathtub? With a cigarette-smoking, negative advice col-umnist beneath the bubbles? (Well, “the aging process can be funny ...”) -more-

‘Nikkatsu Noir’ Presents Darker Side of Japanese Cinema

By Justin DeFreitas
Thursday January 28, 2010 - 08:52:00 AM
A prison guard investigates the shooting that led to his dismissal in <i>Take Aim at the Police Van.</i>

If you haven’t gotten your fix from this year’s Noir City festival at San Francisco’s Castro Theater, rest assured—a whole world of dark, depraved cinema awaits on DVD. -more-

Community Calendar

Thursday January 28, 2010 - 08:32:00 AM

THURSDAY, JAN. 28 -more-