The Week

Miguel Perez Bounce, an artist with Trust Your Struggle Collective, works on the group’s mural at La Peña Cultural Center on Wednesday. La Peña will hold a dedication for the yet-to-be-named mural as part of its 35th anniversary celebration at noon Sunday at the center at 3105 Shattuck Ave. Admission is free.
Michael Howerton
Miguel Perez Bounce, an artist with Trust Your Struggle Collective, works on the group’s mural at La Peña Cultural Center on Wednesday. La Peña will hold a dedication for the yet-to-be-named mural as part of its 35th anniversary celebration at noon Sunday at the center at 3105 Shattuck Ave. Admission is free.


City Council Urges Compromise Between Cannabis Clinic, Neighbors

By Riya Bhattacharjee
Tuesday February 09, 2010 - 09:44:00 PM

The Berkeley City Council did not take any action in a closed-session discussion Monday regarding a cannabis clinic's proposal to move into the former Scharffen Berger chocolate factory. -more-

Berkeley High Student Suspended for Possession of Marijuana Cookies

By Riya Bhattacharjee
Tuesday February 09, 2010 - 04:13:00 PM

A Berkeley High School student has been suspended for handing out marijuana-laced cookies to his friends. -more-

UC Police Want Public to Watch for ‘Potty Pirates’

By Riya Bhattacharjee
Tuesday February 09, 2010 - 12:21:00 PM

UC Berkeley police are asking people to be on the lookout for “Potty Pirates”—thieves who are removing brass flushing hardware from toilets and urinals on the UC Berkeley campus. -more-

Charter School Proposal to Include More State Funds

By Riya Bhattacharjee
Tuesday February 09, 2010 - 10:38:00 AM

Although the Berkeley Board of Education was scheduled to vote on Berkeley’s first public charter school proposal Wednesday, Feb. 3, the petition was withdrawn at the last minute. -more-

Metropolitan Will Not Renew Lease for Oaks Theater

By Riya Bhattacharjee
Sunday February 07, 2010 - 08:41:00 PM
Metropolitan Theaters will not renew its lease for Solano Avenue's Oaks Theater.

Five years after taking over Solano Avenue’s Oaks Theater, Los Angeles-based Metropolitan Theaters has decided not to renew its lease when it expires at the end of February. -more-

School Board Wants More Information on Equity Grants Before Redirecting Lab Funds

By Riya Bhattacharjee
Friday February 05, 2010 - 11:50:00 AM
Berkeley High School English teacher Susanna Bell (front left) and other school staffers ask for equity in education during the school board meeting Wednesday.

The Berkeley Board of Education asked for more information from Berkeley High School Wednesday before weighing in on whether it should re-direct parcel tax funds from science labs toward equity grants. -more-

Clinton: U.S. Won't Engage in Swap for Detained UC Berkeley Grads

Bay City News
Thursday February 04, 2010 - 12:59:00 PM

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has ruled out Iran President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s suggestion that three American hikers detained by his country be swapped for Iranian citizens held in the United States. -more-

Daily Planet Hit by Massive Payroll Fraud

By Becky O’Malley
Thursday February 04, 2010 - 08:24:00 AM

The Berkeley Daily Planet has discovered that the company that has prepared its payroll for eight years vanished from its Oakland office shortly after the first of this year, leaving behind a trail of unpaid taxes and embezzlement charges. The Planet is not the only victim of what looks like a major fraud and a possible Ponzi scheme worthy of Bernie Madoff—the company claimed that it had more than 100 clients. Most of them are small businesses or nonprofits, and it seems likely that most of them have been stung. The total take could be in the millions of dollars. -more-

University Eyes Printing Plant For New Art Museum

By Riya Bhattacharjee
Thursday February 04, 2010 - 08:24:00 AM

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-

Neighbors Emerge Victorious Over Telegraph Ave. Laundromat

By Riya Bhattacharjee
Thursday February 04, 2010 - 08:25:00 AM
Southside Lofts Neighbor Joslyn Rose holds up a  sign at the Zoning Adjustments Board meeting last Thursday.

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-

Partisan Position; No Justice At Justice

By Gretchen Gordon and Liz Jackson
Thursday February 04, 2010 - 08:26:00 AM

Last week Newsweek broke the story that the Justice Department will finally release its long-awaited report on the lawyers who justified the Bush administration’s torture and wiretapping policies. But according to what’s been leaked, the report’s findings aren’t what they used to be. The previous charge of professional misconduct against Office of Legal Council lawyers John Yoo and Jay Bybee has been replaced by a simple accusation of “poor judgment.” While the report in its original form would have triggered referral to state bar associations for possible disbarment, the new report looks to be about as strong as a slap on the wrist. -more-

Alcohol Permit Process Eases for Downtown Quick-Service Restaurants

By Riya Bhattacharjee
Thursday February 04, 2010 - 08:27:00 AM

If the Berkeley City Council signs off on a recommendation made by the Planning Commission last week, then some quick-service restaurants may soon be able to avoid a cumbersome alcohol permitting process. -more-

Iran May Swap Detained Berkeley Hikers For U.S.-Held Iranian Prisoners

By Riya Bhattacharjee
Thursday February 04, 2010 - 08:28:00 AM

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-

School Board Weighs In on BHS Science Lab Proposal

By Riya Bhattacharjee
Thursday February 04, 2010 - 08:28:00 AM

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-

Two Berkeley Films Vie for Academy Award

By Gar Smith
Thursday February 04, 2010 - 08:32:00 AM

Two powerful documentaries—one profiling Pentagon Papers whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg and the other celebrating dolphin-trainer-turned-activist Ric O’Barry—are among the five finalists in the 2010 Academy Awards race for best documentary. Both have ties to Berkeley. -more-

SF Symphony and Berkeley’s Pacific Boychoir Win Grammy

Bay City News Service
Thursday February 04, 2010 - 08:33:00 AM

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

Police Chief Sworn In

Thursday February 04, 2010 - 08:35:00 AM
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.

Body of Berkeley Woman Swept to Sea in Pacifica Recovered

Bay City News Service
Thursday February 04, 2010 - 08:34:00 AM

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-

North Berkeley Neighbors Protest Scale of Proposed Home, Garage

By Riya Bhattacharjee
Thursday February 04, 2010 - 08:34:00 AM
A model of the Kapors’ proposal for their new Rose Street home.

The zoning board approved the construction of a two-story, 6,478-square-foot, 10-car garage house on a 30,000-square-foot parcel at 2707 Rose St. for philanthropists Mitch Kapor and Freada Kapor Klein despite last-minute neighborhood resistance. -more-

Berkeley Adult School Threatened By Governor’s New Budget

By Riya Bhattacharjee
Thursday February 04, 2010 - 08:38:00 AM

More than 100 Berkeley Adult School employees showed up at a Jan. 20 School Board meeting to protest the governor’s most recent round of budget cuts to education, a move they fear might affect them greatly. -more-

AC Transit Gets $15 Million In Federal Funds for Bus Rapid Transit

By Riya Bhattacharjee
Thursday February 04, 2010 - 08:39:00 AM

The U.S. Department of Transportation will award $15 million to AC Transit’s Bus Rapid Transit project, which proposes to develop an express bus system along a 17-mile route through Berkeley, Oakland and San Leandro. -more-

Alameda Voters Reject Proposal to Redevelop Naval Air Station

Bay City News
Thursday February 04, 2010 - 08:40:00 AM

Alameda voters on Tuesday appeared to have decisively voted down a proposal to redevelop the site of the former Alameda Naval Air Station at Alameda Point. -more-

Berkeley Police Officer Injured in Ashby Avenue Accident

By Riya Bhattacharjee
Thursday February 04, 2010 - 08:40:00 AM

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-

Remembering Tom Condit

By Stan Woods
Thursday February 04, 2010 - 08:42:00 AM

Tom Condit, a lifelong Socialist and longtime resident of Berkeley, died Jan. 9 at Kaiser Oakland after battling prostate cancer. -more-

YMCA Teen Center

Thursday February 04, 2010 - 09:03:00 AM
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. 
                	The building is currently going through extensive renovation work and is expected to open this year.


Public Comment

Letters to the Editor

Thursday February 04, 2010 - 08:46:00 AM


‘Avatar’: Tree Speech on the Silver Screen?

By Jessica Schley
Thursday February 04, 2010 - 08:47:00 AM

People want to kill tree sitters, but no one wants to kill James Cameron. -more-

Wind Turbines Continue To Kill Birds

By Golden Gate Audubon Society
Thursday February 04, 2010 - 08:48:00 AM

Golden Gate Audubon and four other local Audubon chapters sent a letter Jan. 28 to Alameda County demanding that the county ensure that wind turbines operating in the Altamont Pass remain shut down until the county implements a management plan that significantly reduces avian mortality resulting from wind turbine operations in the Altamont. -more-

Warren Mar Is Wrong about KPFA/Pacifica

By Mara Rivera
Thursday February 04, 2010 - 08:49:00 AM

I will address just one or two of Warren Mar’s amazing compendium of disinformation in his Commentary of Jan. 28, “KPFA: Heading Toward the Dysfunction of WBAI.” -more-

Disheartening Commentary by Mar

By Richard Phelps
Thursday February 04, 2010 - 08:50:00 AM

I found Warren Mar’s recent Commentary about KPFA and Pacifica disheartening. I had hoped that the recent staff and listener voters’ rejection of the Concerned Listeners (CL) dishonest and anti-democratic practices (de-tailed at'09_2 issues.htm), would have given CL pause to revaluate their methods of political struggle. Unfortunately, it appears to have caused them to dig their hole even deeper. Warren’s article is replete with accusations of ultra-left behavior by CL’s opponents without one concrete example or any facts. Defamatory hyperbole, without any facts, will not win over people or build a positive political culture and is not in the spirit of Pacifica. Then there are his factual distortions and deceptions, which I will expose one by one. -more-

The Upside of Hell

By H. Scott Prosterman
Thursday February 04, 2010 - 08:51:00 AM

I’m told by a fellow traveler that the upside of hell is knowing that all of your friends will be there. I can hardly wait. Such was the feeling I had when I saw my name among many more important people on the Masada 2000 website. They are an ultra-right Zionist organization, bent on destroying the reputations and careers of any Jew who dares to utter or publish a criticism of Israel. They call this the Self Hating and/or Israel Threatening (SHIT) List. And there are over 8,800 names. Does that illustrate anything about how many Jews actually support Israel but readily voice objection to Israel’s behavior and policies toward the Palestinians? -more-

ABAG and Downtown Development

By Revan Tranter
Thursday February 04, 2010 - 08:51:00 AM

Steve Martinot’s Jan. 28 article, “The Theory of Urban (Un)Development” was disappointing in many respects, but I’ll confine myself to one of them. It concerns ABAG, the Association of Bay Area Governments, for which I served as executive director for 22 years before retiring 15 years ago. During these 37 years, my family and I have been Berkeley residents. -more-

SOSIP—Berkeley Planners’ Latest Acronym

By Merrilie Mitchell
Thursday February 04, 2010 - 08:52:00 AM

The SOSIP Community Meeting will be held Sat., Feb. 6, at 10 a.m. at the North Berkeley Senior Center. -more-

Solar Radiation Management: Dr. Strangelove’s Fix for Global Warming

By Vivian Warkentin
Thursday February 04, 2010 - 08:53:00 AM

Ever hear of Solar Radiation Management? No, it’s not ... oh wait, maybe it is, a type of sunscreen. Only you don’t apply it to your skin, the Air Force applies it to the sky, for all of us. -more-


Dispatches From the Edge: Stories From The Year That Was

By Conn Hallinan
Thursday February 04, 2010 - 08:44:00 AM

News tends to vanish from our radar screens when the attention of the media moves elsewhere. But the stories go on. This week Dispatches revisits four subjects it has covered in the past year. -more-

Undercurrents: Quan, Dellums Put the Slowdown on the Perata Machine

By J. Douglas Allen-Taylor
Thursday February 04, 2010 - 08:45:00 AM

Remember when at least one overenthusiastic Don Perata supporter was crowing that the former state senator was going to cakewalk into the office of mayor of the city of Oakland in 2010? (“With the dark cloud of a lingering federal probe behind him, there is nothing standing between former state Sen. Don Perata and the Oakland mayor’s office but time, opportunity and blue skies,” wrote the San Francisco Chronicle’s Chip Johnson.) -more-

East Bay Then and Now: Ghosts of Old Greeks Populate Campus Northside

By Daniella Thompson
Thursday February 04, 2010 - 08:55:00 AM

                Phi Omega Pi house, 2601 Le Conte Ave., was designed by B. Reede Hardman in 1928.

The current class-action lawsuit by Southside residents against 35 Berkeley fraternities serves to highlight the overwhelming concentration of Greek chapter houses in that part of town. It wasn’t always so. -more-

About the House: A Few Thoughts on Working With Contractors

By Matt Cantor
Thursday February 04, 2010 - 08:58:00 AM

As a longtime contractor and one who inspects the work of contractors, I have had the good fortune to see both sides of this curious and often heated area of commerce. -more-

Wild Neighbors: Old as an Albatross

By Joe Eaton
Thursday February 04, 2010 - 08:59:00 AM
Courting Laysan albatrosses on Tern Island, Hawai'i.

Last week I wrote about a recent study out of Cornell that attempted to find ecological and life-history factors correlated with longer life-spans in birds. The authors reported that larger birds lived longer than smaller species. Sociality, herbivory, and the tendency to nest on islands were also associated with long life, as measured by extreme records for banded birds. -more-

Arts & Events

Arts Calendar

Thursday February 04, 2010 - 08:55:00 AM

THURSDAY, FEB. 4 -more-

Marsh Berkeley Opens With Reed Solo Show

By Ken Bullock, Special to the Planet
Thursday February 04, 2010 - 08:53:00 AM

When Don Reed hits the stage at the Marsh’s newly opened Berkeley venue, he traverses it in slow motion—running, dancing, winking and giving thumbs up to the audience—before he grabs the white hat hanging from a street sign that bears the name of his show: East 14th. -more-

Community Calendar

Thursday February 04, 2010 - 08:41:00 AM

THURSDAY, FEB. 4 -more-