Spreading Rumors, or Why Gossip Counts

By Becky O'Malley
Thursday April 08, 2010 - 08:48:00 AM

A reader writes: “for once I don't like what I hear of the Planet. Especially with Citizens United passing the Supremes, I think truth-telling is going to be as rare as hens' teeth, and our media megachurch shoul not encourage rumor & gossip.” She was complaining about the inclusion this week of a rumor that someone’s hoping to start a new Berkeley paper in the informal “Editor’s Back Fence” column. She has a point, but sometimes rumors are the leading edge of real information. -more-

The Editor's Back Fence


Odd Bodkins

By Dan O'Neill
Wednesday April 07, 2010 - 11:05:00 PM

Public Comment

Letters to the Editor

Wednesday April 07, 2010 - 11:03:00 PM

The Tea Party Movement Examined -more-

New: The Dire State of the University of California Pension Fund

By the Berkeley Faculty Association
Monday April 12, 2010 - 05:20:00 PM

A new report from the Berkeley Faculty Association calls attention to the enormous unfunded liabilities facing the University of California Retirement Plan (UCRP) - estimated to reach $18 billion by 2013 if no action is taken. The long term financial viability of UCRP is now in question and the future pensions of current employees are at risk. -more-

Singling out Israel is the right thing to do

By Yaman Salahi
Thursday April 08, 2010 - 09:26:00 PM

Two weeks ago, UC Berkeley's student senate made a historic 16-4 decision to divest from General Electric and United Technologies, two American companies that profit from the Israeli occupation. A week later, the student body president vetoed the bill, citing its “focus on a specific country,” Israel. His veto echoed identical claims by Rabbi Abraham Cooper of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, that “in a world filled with human rights abuses across Africa, Asia and the Americas, the UC Berkeley students vote to single out Israel for censure is hypocritical.” -more-

Pools Bond Floats Special Interest Groups, Sinking Viable Alternatives and Berkeley Values

by Marie Bowman
Thursday April 08, 2010 - 08:05:00 PM

Berkeley’s pool bond will be on the June 8th ballot. It proposes to replace the indoor warm pool at the Berkeley High School (without identifying a new location), renovate the West Campus and Willard pools, and construct a multi-purpose (competition) pool at King, at a construction cost of $22,500,000 PLUS annual maintenance of $3,500,000 indexed to the highest rate of inflation. -more-

UC Berkeley Plans to Destroy Smyth-Fernwald

by Kevin Moore
Wednesday April 07, 2010 - 09:12:00 PM

Like yourself, I am also a strong proponent of protecting and restoring our natural environment…the streams, rivers, shoreline, hills, meadows, green open spaces and the wildlife upon which we here in the Bay Area all rely, not only for the pleasure and beauty they provide, but for their ecological necessity. I am familiar with your concerns in these areas, and am therefore writing this to you to make absolutely sure that you are aware of a situation taking place at this present time. I hope that you will agree that it is crucial that something be done to save a local environmental and architectural treasure in our community. -more-

Yelling Smoke in a Crowded Theater

by Carol Denney
Wednesday April 07, 2010 - 07:58:00 PM

An actor lit up a cigarette near me at a recent stage performance in Berkeley, and I nearly bolted. I felt the same panic I’ve had to field for years as people without respiratory difficulties assume that their smoking won’t matter to those of us whose physiological reactions are immediate, debilitating, and sometimes deadly. -more-

Unemployed Laborers Misdirect Frustration and Anger at Richmond Mayor

By Jeff Ritterman, Vice Mayor of Richmond
Thursday April 08, 2010 - 06:28:00 PM

At the April 6 Richmond City Council meeting a stream of unemployed laborers and labor leaders vented their anger and frustration on Mayor Gayle McLaughlin. They blamed the mayor for their unemployed status. They were aided and abetted by some in the audience and some on the dais who were clearly motivated by their own political agendas and not the plight of the workers. -more-

Discovering Simón Bolivar

By Ralph E. Stone
Friday April 02, 2010 - 10:24:00 PM

In 2007 and 2008, my wife and I traveled to the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela -- where Simón Bolivar is revered as a national hero, the country's liberator from Spain. We were, therefore, cautioned never to show disrespect for Bolivar. Hugo Rafael Chávez Frias, the current president of Venezuela, frequently links himself to this legendary figure to gain popular support for his programs both at home and abroad. But who exactly is Simón Bolivar? -more-

Bus Rapid Transit: The Majority Supports and the Minority Distorts

By Charles Siegel
Wednesday April 07, 2010 - 10:23:00 PM

In late January, the federal government allocated $15 million to AC Transit's proposed Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) project Of all the Small Starts projects funded for 2011, this is the only one rated “high," which means it is the most cost-effective of all those projects. This sign of support from the Obama administration shows we can expect more federal funding in the future. -more-