Manufacturing Consent in Berkeley

By Becky O'Malley
Wednesday February 16, 2011 - 11:43:00 AM

In case you ever wondered why things happen the way they do in the People’s Republic of Berkeley, our putative democracy, consider this:

The local Berkeleyside website recently reported on what was billed as a “novel forum”, a very pricey online poll paid for (with city funds?) by the councilmembers from Berkeley’s three most affluent council districts: District 5’s Laurie Capitelli (Thousand Oaks etc.), District 6’s Susan Wengraf (the high Berkeley Hills) and District 8’s Gordon Wozniak (Claremont-Elmwood). The pollster was Peak Democracy, a self-described “non-partisan company whose mission is to broaden civic engagement and build public trust in government.”

Non-partisan? Well, they might not be big-D Dems or big-R Repugs, but they do have an oar or two in the water. -more-


Cartoon Page: Odd Bodkins, BOUNCE

Thursday February 17, 2011 - 02:07:00 PM

Public Comment

Letters to the Editor

Tuesday February 15, 2011 - 08:21:00 PM

What Would Dr. King Do? -more-

Say It Loud!

By Angela Tomeoni
Wednesday February 16, 2011 - 10:35:00 PM

Oakland“Plant Blight” Shakedown Update #3: Yes, It’s More Than Just About The Rosebushes!

By Bob Brokl
Tuesday February 15, 2011 - 08:50:00 PM

My partner and I paid a huge $1279. fine for our “plant blight” violation on a California bungalow rental property. We were targeted by an angry neighbor enlisting a Public Works Dept. employee as inside advocate. But, to quote the old cliché about lemonade out of lemons, our shakedown has been the spur for a morbidly fascinating study of the dark side of the community and Economic Development agency (CEDA) Building Services Dept. This department makes up and applies its own rules, levies stiff fines, fees, and liens as it sees fit, and then forgives and removes same for those with the right juice. Moreover, their in-house “appeal process” is a bogus kangaroo court. -more-

Demolition of Branch Libraries – Not What the Voters Approved

By Gale Garcia
Tuesday February 15, 2011 - 05:46:00 PM

I grew up loving Berkeley’s historic architecture. Until age nine, I lived about seven blocks from the West Berkeley Branch Library. I viewed this Classical Revival structure fondly every time I went down University Avenue. Its stone medallions, representing the curved pages of an open book, seemed to invite one into the joy of reading and the magic of books. How appropriate for a library! -more-

HUAC** at Peace and Justice Commission?

By Gene Bernardi
Tuesday February 15, 2011 - 07:59:00 PM

A rather startling interruption occurred during the Peace and Justice Commission’s (P&J) discussion of a motion at its February 7, 2011 meeting. The motion was to send a letter drafted by the P&J’s Nuclear Free Berkeley Act (NFBA) subcommittee to Library Director Donna Corbeil, asking for “clarification as to whether the risk of unsupported checkout systems, a possible result of the identified gap between the end of the 3M contract and installation of the Bibliotheca system, places at risk the termination of the 3M contract by 14 March, 2011.” -more-

Tree Sit, Tree Sit, Tree Sit

By Dan McMullan, Disabled People Outside
Wednesday February 16, 2011 - 08:57:00 AM

Someone sent me a crazy letter that was sent in to the Planet about People's Park. I could go on point by point ad nauseum, about its crazy assertions So I will. As a disabled person who was thrown on the streets after over a year in the hospital.In one fine day I lost my leg, use of an arm, my pelvis broken in 7 places, back, head and clavicle fractures and 5 broken ribs. These kind of injuries can make work a challenge so excuse me if I take offense at the "get a job" B.S. -more-

Support KPFA's Winter Fund Drive Feb 14 - Mar 4

By Akio Tanaka, KPFA Local Station Board member
Tuesday February 15, 2011 - 10:36:00 PM

Last year KPFA was on course to a fiscal train wreck. (See the graph above). The Pacifica National Board (PNB) stepped in to bring the KPFA finances under control which necessitated some cuts in staff. Seven people took voluntary severance, and in the end two people were laid off. -more-

Mubarak Resigns: YAH-YA MISR – “Long Live Egypt”

By H. Scott Prosterman
Tuesday February 15, 2011 - 10:26:00 PM

Hosni Mubarak has finally resigned. The man who was a cautionary, pro-American caretaker for 30 years morphed into one of the most brutal and autocratic dictators on the planet. In the interim, he milked the U.S. State Department for $billions as a legacy of the Camp David accords, and hopefully closed the chapter on the American policy of supporting autocratic regimes, friendly to Western interests, at the expense of human rights and real liberalization. Until recently, a dictator could carefully control the information by shutting down newspapers, radio and TV stations. Thanks to the global information network, that tactic is now a sure backfire. -more-