Making Transit Work for People: Why BRT is Doomed to Fail

By Becky O'Malley
Friday May 07, 2010 - 11:21:00 AM

Today we have an excellent reader commentary from an environmental scientist explaining, once more with feeling, why AC Transit’s Bus Rapid Transit boondoggle will do absolutely nothing to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, contrary to the claims of some local pols. To that can be added what’s even more pathetic: It won’t do anything to improve public transit either. -more-

A Hate Crime with a Religious Motive

By Becky O'Malley
Tuesday May 04, 2010 - 12:21:00 PM

The email from the Tikkun organization which the Planet received yesterday with the news that vandals had pasted up threatening messages at the home of founder Rabbi Michael Lerner said this: “The police say that this is not a "hate crime" because the attackers were not attacking Rabbi Lerner for his religion, but for his politics.” With all due respect, the police have it exactly backwards. It’s his religion, not just his politics, that infuriates the crazies. -more-

The Editor's Back Fence

Blips on the Screen: BP's a Threat in Berkeley Too; Raging Deer in Thousand Oaks; McMansion Marches On

Friday May 07, 2010 - 09:16:00 AM

Anyone who's worried about BP's seeming lock on a lot of space and people here in Berkeley had better read this :"...from my investigation, BP has figured out a very low-cost way to prepare for this task: BP lies. BP prevaricates, BP fabricates and BP obfuscates. That's because responding to a spill may be easy and simple, but not at all cheap. And BP is cheap. Deadly cheap." -more-

New: BP's in Berkeley Too

Wednesday May 05, 2010 - 05:37:00 PM

Anyone who's worried about BP's seeming lock on a lot of space and people here in Berkeley had better read this :"...from my investigation, BP has figured out a very low-cost way to prepare for this task: BP lies. BP prevaricates, BP fabricates and BP obfuscates. That's because responding to a spill may be easy and simple, but not at all cheap. And BP is cheap. Deadly cheap." -more-



By Marian Kamensky
Friday May 07, 2010 - 01:07:00 PM

Odd Bodkins -- The Miracle

By Dan O'Neill
Friday May 07, 2010 - 01:03:00 PM

Odd Bodkins -- The Miracle

By Dan O'Neill
Monday May 03, 2010 - 11:25:00 PM

Public Comment

Letters to the Editor

Friday May 07, 2010 - 02:04:00 PM

Mother's Day really was in its origin an antiwar day, an antiwar statement. Julia Ward Howe was sickened by what had happened during the Civil War, the loss of life, the carnage, and she created Mother's Day as a call for women all over the world to come together and create ways of protesting war, of making a kind of alternate government that could finally do away with war as an acceptable way of solving conflict. Countries used to go to war just for pride over some incident because they were offended or one king made a bad remark about another king. -more-

Updated: Of Polar Bears and Concrete Islands in Telegraph Avenue

By Matt Kondolf, with an addendum by Robert Lauriston
Friday May 07, 2010 - 10:02:00 PM

Shortly before the November 2008 election, I received in the mail a glossy flyer with a picture of a polar bear, which said “We can’t afford to wait…” The flyer argued that we must implement transit projects to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to save the polar bear, and that we should oppose a citizen initiative (Measure KK) to require voter approval of Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) along Telegraph Avenue. My interest was piqued, and I began to follow the debate about the proposal for BRT with interest. As one trained to evaluate scientific claims, I was intrigued. The scientific question (with obvious policy implications) is whether building the proposed BRT down Telegraph Avenue will result in less greenhouse gas emissions than the current situation. But who paid for this slick flyer, and what scientific basis underlay the claim that pouring concrete islands in the middle of Telegraph Avenue was likely to reduce greenhouse gas emissions? -more-

Berkeley Budget Mess? Fix the Public Servant Cartel

By Victoria Peirotes
Friday May 07, 2010 - 10:06:00 PM

Recent headlines: “Berkeley Tackles $14.6 Million Budget Deficit”. Some may recall that ten months ago Mayor Bates was featured, in color, front page-and-center, in the Berkeley Voice, saying “The Future is Rosy for Berkeley.” Now “Rosy-the-Rivet-You” sings a different Looney-Tune. What a difference a year makes! -more-


By R.G. Davis
Friday May 07, 2010 - 03:41:00 PM

If we take the BP oil slick, now 23000 gallons a day (May 3, 2010), floating disaster into the gulf of Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Texas onto Florida and then into the Atlantic Ocean as the greatest, the biggest, the primo example of how oil companies are killing the ecological resources, the breeding grounds fly-ways of birds and aquatic life; and make a connection by adding a report from the US Disease Control Agency, revealing that cigarette smoking, (still!) junk food and sedentary life are now causing obesity and diabetes thus increasing heart disease in 50 percent of the adult population (Chron., Disease Control April 27, 10: A8), then we could predict, with qualifying evidence and substantial data, based upon third party research of Government agencies and official news of the established press, that these ruinous events might well weaken the courage and resources of the US economy, the society, the military and the Empire. -more-

Letters to the Editor

Monday May 03, 2010 - 10:42:00 PM

Against BRT: Streets are for People, Not Buses

By Peter Smith
Tuesday May 04, 2010 - 08:44:00 AM

Proponents of bus rapid transit (BRT) have often engaged in a form of propaganda known as 'Lying by omission'--omitting important facts to deliberately leave someone with a misconception. It is common in our history textbooks, and on Fox News. -more-

First Person: The Metamorphosis and Evisceration of Islamic Progressivism

By Rizwan Rahmani
Monday May 03, 2010 - 10:39:00 PM

While I was brought up in a very traditional Muslim environment during my early childhood years, my views on religion have changed drastically. Now I am more of an agnostic who is verging on atheism. I don’t believe there are going to be multitude of Hoors (indescribably gorgeous women of paradise) in the offing for me after I die and go to heaven eventually – I am sure I have to endure some fire and brimstone! Having been brought up traditionally, I do have a unique perspective of looking from inside out without really being an insider. -more-

The Dementia of Petroleum Addiction?

By Craig Collins, Ph.D.
Monday May 03, 2010 - 09:42:00 PM

Petroleum executives assure us that their giant tankers and offshore oil rigs pose no danger to the environment; coal company CEOs insist that their mines are safe and that blasting away mountaintops is ecologically benign; natural gas companies insist that “fracking” deep underground geological formations will not contaminate fresh water aquifers; and nuclear power promoters tell us not to worry about core meltdowns or the disposal of millions of tons of highly radioactive waste.

Do we have S-T-U-P-I-D written on our foreheads? Or do we just choose to swallow these lies because, like addicts everywhere, we need these pushers to provide us with our daily energy fix? -more-

Signs of Our Time

By Steve Martinot
Monday May 03, 2010 - 09:36:00 PM

On Mayday, I participated in the march and rally in SF for immigrant rights. I do this because I think that people should come before profits, human rights before property rights, and if those principles held true, we wouldn't need borders in the first place. -more-

The Berkeley Divestment Campaign and the Problem of Antisemitism

By Ronald Hendel
Tuesday May 04, 2010 - 02:28:00 PM

In the wake of the emotional debate about the divestment bill in the Berkeley Student Senate (titled, “A Bill In Support of UC Divestment from War Crimes”[1]), a number of antisemitic incidents have occurred on campus. Most notably, last week there were two instances of large swastikas drawn on the walls of student dorms. We don’t know if the perpetrators were mischief-makers or sociopaths. During the official public discussion of the bill, some participants uttered offensive speech. One woman accosted a yarmulke-clad man and said, “You really look like a Nazi.” Later that evening a male student shouted to a group of Jewish students, “You killed Jesus.” On the one hand, the perpetrators of these and other recent antisemitic gestures are exceptions to the normal standard of behavior at Berkeley, which generally prizes tolerance of ethnic, racial, and religious minorities. On the other hand, tolerance for the rights of others has taken a beating during this emotion-laden debate. -more-