There is always a risk in politics that arguments get personal and hurtful. But there is a difference between small town politics and national politics. Donald Trump can say false and abhorrent things about the President; nasty criticism is part of our national political tradition, and a thick skin is part of the job description for a national politician. At the small town level, not so much. The Planet editor is right to call to task those who made what to her ears were accusations of racism against opponents of the current plans for demolishing the South and West branch libraries and building new ones. And yet to someone who has followed the library’s plans for many years, it is hard not to wonder what can motivate the opponents other than something as irrational and emotional as racism. The closest national dispute that comes to mind is the opposition to building an Islamic Center near the site of the World Trade Center. -more-
Crews this morning pulled a man out from his car after he took a 100-foot plunge down an embankment in the Oakland hills three days ago, a fire battalion chief said. -more-
A doctor who worked for the University of California at Berkeley's health center for nearly 22 years pleaded not guilty today to 19 felony counts involving allegations that he sexually assaulted six male patients. -more-
Berkeleyans may be confused and dismayed, as am I, by the escalating rhetoric about demolition of the West and South Branch libraries.
I re-reviewed Measure FF to see if library branch demolition is permitted. The short answer is absolutely not and I urge readers to read the stark reality for themselves at :
The voters clearly approved only renovation and improvements, the measure was sold on this basis, and FF may well have failed if library demolition was an option. -more-
A former University of California physician has been arrested on suspicion of engaging in sexual misconduct with patients at UC Berkeley's health care facility, according to prosecutors. -more-
In an early morning extension of their April 26 meeting the Berkeley Council moved forward with controversial plans to demolish and rebuild the South and West Berkeley branch libraries. -more-
A modestly sized rally of about 60 to 70 individuals gathered at the steps of City Hall on the evening of April 26, 2011 to express support for the demolition and rebuilding of the South and West branches of the Berkeley Public Library. -more-
More than 60 sitters, lie-ers, crawlers, and a clown engaged in a little street theater Tuesday at the old Cody’s building on Telegraph Avenue, demonstrating what might happen if a new measure prohibiting sitting or lying on public sidewalks were to be adopted by the Berkeley City Council.
Afterwards, demonstrators moved on to speak in the public comment period of the Berkeley City Council meeting, picking up more supporters along the route. They were joined by a large group of Cal students, workers at the Suitcase Clinic—who weren’t getting course credit for their efforts. The clinic provides medical treatment for homeless and other underserved clients.
At the city council meeting, five names were drawn at random to make public comments before the meeting started about items not on the council’s agenda for the night. Suitcase Clinic workers, who had become a sizeable percentage of the 100 or so protesters who occupied most of the seats in the council chamber, made impassioned statements defending the rights of their clients to sit down when they needed to, even on public sidewalks. -more-
The 105th anniversary of the 1906 San Francisco Earthquake on Monday, April 18, was commemorated by Mother Nature herself with a little bump of an offshore tremor that afternoon. Another way to remember 1906—and to prepare for the inevitable major earthquakes in the future of the Bay Area—is to attend the 2011 Lawson Lecture sponsored by the Seismographic Laboratory at the UC Berkeley campus. -more-
Peace-War Melodrama Debuts in Berkeley's People's Park 42nd Anniversary Entertainment; Easter and Weather Attack Teley Street Fest
Easter Sunday and bad morning weather threatened to attack this year's 42nd anniversary of the battle for People's Park in 1969 and take out Teley's "Last Weekends Festival" too.
If the cold 15mph wind and sometimes hard rain had continued into the afternoon, People's Park would have been slogged and sound amplifiers driving the Telegraph Ave. fest would have been blown by rain, according to the event's organizer.
The People's Park amps and onstage entertainment were tented. But park revelers would have sunk in 'quickmud,' according to park sources familiar with the park's legendary water drainage problems.
The day was somewhat saved when weather changed its mind. Easter doesn't do change. The fair's organizer, an avenue head shop owner, joked that he'd emailed the Easter bunny requesting weather change. The bunny came through. -more-
BUSD To Consider Dumping All Pre-K Extended Day Programs--
Goodbye 2020 Vision to Close Achievement Gap! (Partisan Position)
My Name is Pablo Paredes and I am a parent of a child in one of the last four remaining extended day programs in BUSD's Pre-K system (attached is a photo where my son interacts with his exclusively students of color classroom). I am also the Chair of the School Governance Council for the three Berkeley Preschools. I was shocked to learn that in order to address the 15 % state mandated budget cuts and 10% reduction in per pupil reimbursement the strategy that staff will submit for approval by the BUSD Board
next [today], Wednesday, is to cut the last remaining four classrooms that offer extended care for Pre-schools in Berkeley. Maybe even the last of their kind in the state. This is a major issue for families of color in Berkeley. A quick site visit at Hopkins, King or Franklin CDC to the 9.5 hour classrooms will reveal classrooms that almost exclusively serve working poor families of color and these are the classrooms on the chopping block.
If the week before last there was a spirit of celebration on the UC Berkeley campus, including the Cal Day Open House, the third week of April might be characterized as more contemplative. -more-
Press Release: AB 410(Equal Access to Public Information for the Blind) Passes the Assembly Business and Professions Committee
Today, the Equal Access to Public Information for the Blind Act passed the Assembly Business and Professions Committee with a unanimous vote. “Blind and visually impaired people have a right to the same information that state agencies are required to provide to the rest of the public,” explained author Assemblymember Sandré R. Swanson (D-Alameda). “AB 410 codifies fundamental democratic principles of equal access and public notice by requiring state agencies to provide regulations in a format that is accessible to the blind and visually impaired.” -more-
About equal numbers of young children, parents, and digital cameras flooded into Berkeley’s Willard Park on Saturday, April 23, to participate in and record the City of Berkeley’s annual “Egg Hunt Extravaganza”. -more-
Tax Refunds Held by City of Berkeley; Library Lawsuit; Worth Repeating: Democracy; School Project Query; Curiosity; Confidence Game; Republicans; Budget -more-
Promoting the general welfare,
We'll cut education and health care.
Do not reach maturity.
We see no promise of wealth there. -more-
A reporter from the Berkeley Times called a couple of weeks ago to interview me about the lawsuit over the misuse of Measure FF library bond funding. I returned his call for two reasons, to read him the clear, unambiguous wording of Measure FF and to see if the Berkeley Times would do justice to the interview. -more-
Lately there has been much heated debate about tearing down the South Berkeley library. Many people around this neighborhood are quite outraged, and keep protesting that this building doesn't need to be torn down. However, I say otherwise. This building should be replaced. -more-
As peace loving and progressive forces in the West and in the US in particular deliriously celebrated the awakening of pro-democratic movements in white dominated Islamic countries that routinely and officially kick blacks to the curb, growing evidence suggests the West, led by France, engineered a political and military coup in the Cote d’Ivoire, that some say is designed to re-colonize that country. -more-
This time last year KPFA was in dire financial circumstances. 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-
Stop. Now. It’s time, right now, to put a stop to an ugly undercurrent which has crept into the discussion of whether it’s a good idea to demolish two of Berkeley’s branch libraries in order to rebuild them.
This has absolutely nothing to do with historical preservation or architectural merit, but it has everything to do with civil discourse and what we want Berkeley to be. What is disturbing is a spate of thinly veiled accusations of racism directed against the plaintiffs in the environmental lawsuit regarding the city’s plans to replace the library buildings in South and West Berkeley.
At last night’s rally to support demolition, I heard Councilmember Max Anderson, an African-American, refer to “standing in the library door”. This publication seldom identifies speakers by race, but this time it’s relevant because of the historic associations with that choice of words.
The few younger people present last night might not have caught the allusion, but for veterans of the civil rights struggles of the 50s and 60s, who include both Anderson and me, it echoes the famous stance of segregationist Alabama Governor George Wallace, who described himself as “standing in the schoolhouse door.” That’s dirty pool, and it should end right here, right now. -more-
The Editor's Back Fence
Because the Berkeley City Council meeting ran so late last night, stories on the protest against the ordinance proposed to ban sitting on the sidewalk and about the ultimate conclusion of the library demolition discussion will appear later on, when we have time to finish it, maybe even this afternoon. Both stories are in and posted--thanks Ted and Steve for your hard work. If you're still curious, you could watch the video of the meeting as soon as it's posted.
At the beginning of the 112th Congress, a Bay Area Congresswoman was invited to a Washington gathering of new Representatives, mostly Republicans. When she mentioned that, in previous eras, the two Parties had often worked together, a freshman Republican barked, “We were sent here to shrink the government, not collaborate with you.” President Obama seeks bipartisanship, but most Republicans aren’t interested in pursuing the common good. -more-
The residential neighborhood gracing the hills east of Arlington Avenue and above the Spring mansion is one of Berkeley’s most scenic early 20th-century garden suburbs. Tree-shaded streets are lined with picturesque period-revival houses reminiscent of Italian villas, Norman country houses, Tudor manors, and beguiling “storybook” cottages. -more-
Senior Power: “Try to reason about love, and you will lose your reason,” wrote Russian playwright Anton Pavlovich Chekhov (1860-1904).
Three Sisters was produced in 1901, in Moscow. It is one of his several great plays: Ivanov (1887-1889), The Seagull (1896, a comedy), Uncle Vanya (1897), and The Cherry Orchard (1903-04). He may have been inspired by the 19th Century literary Bronte family associated with northern England’s historic Yorkshire county -- sisters Charlotte(1816–1855), who wrote Jane Eyre using pen name Currer Bell, Emily (1818-1848) and Anne (1920-1849) -- and brother Patrick Branwell Brontë (1817–1848), a painter and poet. Or by three sisters who were living in Perm, in the European part of Russia. -more-
When the current economic crisis hit Europe in 2008, small countries on the periphery were its first victims: Iceland, Ireland, and Latvia. Within a year it had spread to Greece and Portugal, though the GDP of both nations—respectively 11th and 12th in the European Union (EU)—are hardly central to the continent’s economic engine. -more-
Close to five years ago, I wrote a piece for the Planet about an obscure native California bird, the Hutton’s vireo. It’s a small greenish thing, often mistaken for a ruby-crowned kinglet; the accompanying photo shows the vireo’s diagnostic broken eye-ring. grayish legs and feet, and stronger beak. Unlike our other vireos— the migratory Cassin’s, warbling, and Bell’s—Hutton’s vireos appear to be year-round residents. They frequent oak woods, build their nests with hanging lichens, and commonly join mixed-species foraging flocks in winter. Much of the species’ life history is undocumented. -more-
A man wrote in claiming that I am doing a disservice with my column because I am promoting psychiatry, which he claims is a fraud. -more-
Arts & Events
Music: Quinteto Latino at the Berkeley City Club
Theater: Ireland's Druid performs Martin McDonagh's The Cripple of Inishmaan at Zellerbach Playhouse -more-
These photographs take us inside these communities and illuminate the ties that bind people together, the influence of their working conditions on migrants and their families, their health and their collective and personal struggles for better lives. Images in the project also show the social movements in Mexico that challenge the poverty and community displacement that make migration a question of basic human survival.
For more information, contact:
2018 Addison Street (between Shattuck Av./ Milvia St.) Berkeley, CA
April 22 thru May 31, 2011
street encuentro / meet the artist --
Thursday, May 12, 6-8 PM, at the Windows