Opinion

Editorials

Ironies Abound This Memorial Day as the Planet Office is Vandalized

By Becky O'Malley
Tuesday June 01, 2010 - 01:27:00 PM

Memorial Day weekend, as it has for many years now, marks the official beginning of summer.In the Midwest, it’s when it becomes prudent to put your tomato plants in the ground, but here in California, they’ve been set out for weeks, and have even set fruit in some Bay Area banana belt hot spots.Around here, it’s the first opportunity to plan neighborhood barbecues with some confidence that they won’t be rained out (though perhaps not this year). With all the opportunities for Fun in the Sun, it’s easy enough to forget why we celebrate this holiday. And though it’s traditionally a mellow, reflective time, some stressful controversies have been in the air this year. -more-


New: Can Measure C Be Saved from Its Friends?

By Becky O'Malley
Friday June 04, 2010 - 12:45:00 PM

Well, Tuesday is election day, and like many Berkeleyans I still haven’t made up my mind whether or not to vote for Measure C. I’ve never, in my 35 or more years as a Berkeley voter, turned down a request for more funds from our various civic beneficiaries, and I suspect the vast majority of my fellow voters are on the same page. At our house, we’re fortunate that we can afford to pay extra taxes for the benefit of today’s children and tomorrow’s, since we’re past the time of having to support our own. But I have to say that the tone of this particular election campaign has made me rethink the whole concept. It’s hard to vote for a cause whose proponents seem compelled to characterize their opponents as fools, knaves or worse. It doesn’t have to be that way. -more-


The Editor's Back Fence

New: Department of Further Clarification

Saturday June 05, 2010 - 05:50:00 PM

City Manager Kamlarz put out a new memo about Measure C on Friday: -more-


New: Stuart Skorman Is Trying to Save Reel.com

Wednesday June 02, 2010 - 09:19:00 PM

Stuart Skorman is at it again, trying to save the world through commerce.His enterprises have been very popular in Berkeley.He started the video mecca Reel.com and opened the store on Shattuck after successful negotiation with neighbors, and sold it at the peak of its success.His Elephant Pharmacy was a big hit too. Now he’s trying to take back Reel.com so it can stay open.. -more-


Bezerkeley Stories

Monday May 31, 2010 - 08:30:00 AM

These are the stories the metro papers love to write: Funny Stuff Going on in Quirky East Bay Town. Here at the Planet we're pleased that they're doing this so we don't need to bother. Think of these as our soft features. -more-


Berkeley News On Tap

Wednesday May 26, 2010 - 10:30:00 AM

For a quick look at what they're saying about Berkeley in the media, consult the City of Berkeley News Scan, assembled by a local consultant who checks everything out and posts the best stuff from various sources. Her job is to make sure that those in city government know what's being said about them, but the rest of us want to know too. -more-


What Are Those "Press Releases" Doing Here?

Tuesday June 01, 2010 - 12:32:00 PM

By now many readers are wondering what’s up with the “Press Release” label. It’s simple: we’re trying a radical experiment. Much of what you read in the press these days is nothing more than re-written press releases with little original reporting involved. We’re just eliminating the disingenuous middle-person and posting the releases cold turkey. In no way do we vouch for the truthfulness of the information contained, we’re just the messenger passing through the statement of the authors. -more-


Cartoons

Odd Bodkins: Domino Theory

Dan O'Neill
Monday May 31, 2010 - 09:05:00 PM

Pepper Spray Times

By Carol Denney
Monday May 31, 2010 - 09:02:00 PM

Public Comment

Letters to the Editor

Saturday May 29, 2010 - 10:16:00 AM

Save Our Pools—Vote No on Measure C; No on C; Measure C: No; Charity; City Employee Pay and Pools; Election Stolen; Loving the Berkeley Rep; No More War! Tea; Afghan Women; Republican Fearmongering; Thanks; Democracy and Education -more-


Updated: More Letters

Friday June 04, 2010 - 01:11:00 PM

Measure C Video; Pools and 3-Card Monte; Measure C is Ill-Timed; Measure C-Berkeley voters have Stockholm Syndrome. -more-


BOND ISSUES: PAST, PRESENT AND FUTURE

Barbara & Henrik Bull
Monday May 31, 2010 - 10:37:00 PM

When you are looking at your June ballot pamphlet, it might be a good idea to look into the future as well as the past. -more-


New: Save the Warm Pool and Build on the Football Field Instead

By Terry Cochrell
Saturday June 05, 2010 - 02:47:00 PM

Seven hundred, 700 swimmers use the warm-pool at BHS, not just a few dozen as detractors insist in print and in whispered anti-warm-pool propaganda. My figure includes hard data: the ‘captured’ names of articulate and literate users over a 17 month period, plus a conservative, rational estimate of ‘uncaptured’ names. -more-


JUNE BALLOT MEASURE ON POOLS (Adapted from Spring NEBA Newsletter Article)

By Barbara Gilbert
Wednesday May 26, 2010 - 10:38:00 AM

After months of discussion, two voter surveys, and intense lobbying by pool advocates, the City Council voted to place a $22,500,000 (plus built-in inflator) Community Facilities bond on the June 8, 2010 ballot.This measure requires a 2/3 majority to pass.It would:provide for a replacement indoor warm pool of about 2250sf and associated facilities constructed at West Campus, to replace the warm pool at the BHS gym scheduled for demolition by BUSD;construct a new all-purpose 25 meter pool and associated facilities at King;and renovate the existing pool and associated facilities at Willard.Over the life of the bond, the average annual tax cost for a 1900 sf residence is estimated at $70, and at $297 for a 10,000 sf commercial space.Since the measure includes an unusual levy for ongoing maintenance (ordinarily paid out of the General Fund), after the bond is repaid in 2040 there would remain an annual maintenance tax of $24 for the average homeowner.And as the measure is based on property square footage, these forgoing taxes would be proportionately higher for larger properties. -more-


Measure C, the Warm Pool, and Wedge-Issue Politics

By JoAnn Cook, Elizabeth Gutfeldt, Odette Larde, Anne Marx, Summer Raven and Mertis Shekeloff
Thursday May 27, 2010 - 04:44:00 PM

In the June 8 election, Berkeley has the choice of deciding whether to embrace all our city’s residents – old as well as young, disabled as well as able-bodied – or whether to succumb to conservative wedge-issue tactics that seek to divide us. -more-


Measure C: Fact vs. Fiction

By Robert Collier
Sunday May 30, 2010 - 03:28:00 PM


In recent weeks, the Measure C campaign has found widespread support for saving Berkeley’s pools. From the hills to the flats, from young parents to the elderly and disabled, enthusiasm is high. But our opponents have made a never-ending series of false allegations about Measure C’s financing and other details. No matter how often we rebut the false claims, they keep popping up with wilder embellishments and ever-more bogus numbers. Here is a voter guide with the straight facts: -more-


Remembering Rachel Corrie

Ralph E. Stone
Tuesday June 01, 2010 - 11:36:00 AM

The MV Rachel Corrie is one of the ships in the international aid Gaza Freedom Flotilla that was attacked by Israeli naval forces on May 31, 2010. Remember Rachel Corrie, the 22-year old peace activist from Washington State, who attempted to stop a bulldozer operated by the Israeli military from demolishing homes and other buildings in Gaza. Rachel was struck and killed. Some witnesses claimed she was struck deliberately, but an Israeli inquiry found her death to be an accident. -more-


New: Measure C is Necessary Because of Political Blackmail

By H. Scott Prosterman
Friday June 04, 2010 - 01:16:00 PM

It is unusual for politicians in Berkeley to be unified on any single issue. The campaign for “YES” on Measure C is a necessary bond measure to ensure the ongoing health and viability of Berkeley’s aging aquatic system. -more-


Below the Radar: HUD Is Trying to Privatize and Mortgage Off All of America's Public Housing

By George Lakoff
Wednesday May 26, 2010 - 08:38:00 AM

The Obama administration's move to the right is about to give conservatives a victory they could not have anticipated, even under Bush. HUD, under Obama, submitted legislation, called PETRA, to Congress that would result in the privatization of all public housing in America. -more-


Measure C Cartoon

Justin Lee
Tuesday June 01, 2010 - 03:02:00 PM

Dancing on a Listing Deck

By Gray Brechin
Thursday May 27, 2010 - 11:17:00 AM

I watched the news today, oh boy! Channel 7 at 11 flashed back to Air Force One as it touched down at SFO in a light drizzle. From there, a caravan of stretch limos black as polished coffins carried the lucky man who made the grade through barricaded streets to a Nob Hill fundraiser for Senator Boxer. Hundreds of fans paid dearly to see and hear the lucky man press flesh and crack jokes in the Fairmont Hotel’s Edwardian opulence. The limos soon departed for an even more sybaritic reception at the Getty mansions on Pacific Heights’ Gold Coast. Yes, that’s Getty, as in Getty Oil. -more-


Can California Afford a $11.1 Million Water Bond?

By Ralph Stone
Thursday May 27, 2010 - 05:26:00 PM

The $11.1 Water Bond Proposition now on the November ballot would pay for the overhaul of California's aging and overburdened water system. If passed by the voters, the bond will ultimately cost taxpayers $22 billion when interest is included. Putting aside the merits or demerits of the bond measure, can California, now in a budget crisis, afford it. -more-


Time for Immediate Repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell Military Policy

By Ralph E. Stone
Tuesday June 01, 2010 - 11:47:00 AM

I applaud the recent U.S. House of Representative vote to repeal of the 1993 "don't ask, don't tell" policy that allows homosexuals to serve in the military only if they don't disclose their sexual orientation. The House vote came after a similar vote in the U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee. I object, however, that the repeal, if passed, will not be immediate. Rather repeal will go into effect only after the $5 million Pentagon study is received on December 1 and after the President, the Secretary of Defense, and the Joint Chiefs of Staff certify that the repeal. I only wish President Obama had fulfilled his campaign pledge by repealing the policy by executive order after becoming president. -more-


Wetlands Versus Human Ignorance

By Jack Bragen
Sunday May 30, 2010 - 03:35:00 PM

My wife and I used to ride Amtrak between Martinez and Klamath Falls a couple of times a year to visit relatives. Amtrak dubbed this train route, “The Coast Starlight.” I would recommend this train to my worst enemy. -more-


Troubling Autism News

Nathan Pitts, Autism Spectrum Liberation Front
Tuesday June 01, 2010 - 04:16:00 PM

There were three troubling news items this past two weeks relating to Autism. Two relate to police violence, and the third sadly involves Hershey's Foods Corporation. -more-


New: What's a Warm Pool Worth?

By Gary Marquard
Monday June 07, 2010 - 12:37:00 PM

Skeptics about and opponents of Measure C commonly claim that the Warm Pool is beneficial to or used by a relatively few people.Let's see. -more-