The Week

Tree foreground, and another middle are siblings of the destroyed crab-apple trees Wednesday. Witnesses say the allegedly murdered trees looked healthy and even had apples. Who knows?Too late for an autopsy, the remains are chips.
Ted Friedman
Tree foreground, and another middle are siblings of the destroyed crab-apple trees Wednesday. Witnesses say the allegedly murdered trees looked healthy and even had apples. Who knows?Too late for an autopsy, the remains are chips.


BUSD Retired Board Member Terry Doran Passes after Battle with Cancer

By Mark Coplan (BUSD Information Officer)
Tuesday January 03, 2012 - 09:48:00 AM

Terry Doran began teaching in the Berkeley Unified School District in 1966, serving Berkeley students as a classroom teacher until he retired and ran for the school board in 1998. A cancer survivor, he joined the Board with a sparkle in his eye and high hopes for the eight years he hoped to be on the Board. He was re-elected to a second term, and in his eight years served as board president twice. -more-

Updated: Water Main Break in Berkeley South Campus Area Is Fixed

By Bay City News
Monday January 02, 2012 - 11:18:00 PM

Crews finished repairs early this morning to a ruptured water main in Berkeley, an East Bay Municipal Utility District spokeswoman said. -more-

Why the University Bulldozing in People's Park Matters (News Analysis)

By Terri Compost
Thursday December 29, 2011 - 11:07:00 PM

The University's recent bulldozer "maintenance" in the Park is problematic in several ways. First, it is a violation of trust and respect. The University snuck into the Park in the early hours with no notice to the community and long time Park volunteers. The Pergola, or trellis in the West End, which UC rather mysteriously decapitated, was designed and agreed upon during almost a year of meetings with University architects and the volunteers who built it. And the information that the University is providing for their recent attack is misleading, if not outright falsehood. I'll eat my hat if the Park sports a native grass and poppy prairie. And how does destroying a trellis deal with rats? please!

Secondly, UC has destroyed precious natural resources that were purchased, planted and tended by volunteers. The list of food producing plants destroyed in the bulldoze include: plum trees, native manzanita, olive, grape vines, kiwi plants, maguay, nopales cactus, and a mature rose bush as well as beautiful plants like pink amaryliss bulb flowers, pyrocantha and a palm like plant donated to the Park by Mario and Rosalinda that was growing by the entrance to their property in the back of the Park. It will take years to replace the food and beauty those plants were producing.

Thirdly, UC is trying to erase history. The incursion itself is a test to see if the People will hold this place as the sacred ground it liberated from the folly of UC in 1969 and has held all these years. Bulldozing is not user development. The Pergola trellis, that was cut in half, was made out of the old growth redwood that was recycled from the volleyball court fiasco of 1991. Also the berms that were removed were actually piles of asphalt that were ripped up by people in 1979 when the University lied, then, about a free parking lot. And the Council Grove surrounded by the plum trees has long been the Park's best meeting place. These are literally testaments of our history that were destroyed.

Also the berms created a peaceful place between two busy streets, they were a feature that good landscape designers desire. UC is trying to implement control and "security". It is up to us to decide if we want recreational areas to resemble prison yards or be living, inspiring, beautiful refuges.

Well now there is a void. I hope people will rise to the challenge and recreate with their friends and their own dreams. Viva People's Park.

Here are some beautiful pictures of the west end of the park before UC's recent "improvements" left it barren: -more-

Sucker-Punch Attack on People's Park Flora, Removal of Sequoia's Last Remains, Draws Praise and Scorn

By Ted Friedman
Thursday December 29, 2011 - 10:06:00 AM
Come on down! New open, "welcoming," and just plain bare-ass new look of People's Park West-end.

A day after the university back-hoed some crab-apple trees in People's Park it claimed were dead and tore down a historic park pergola, some park regulars were filled with gloom, doom, and anger.

A pergola is a vine-covered archway. A backhoe is a tractor with a scoop up front and a hoe in back. The backhoe sucker-punched the crab-apple trees.

A sucker-punch is an unexpected blow. Not even Telegraph property owners, who had proposed the very actions the university took Wednesday, expected it to happen. They said they were not informed by the university. -more-

High Court Ruling Abolishes Redevelopment Agencies, Allows Transfer of $1.7 Billion

By Julia Cheever (BCN)
Friday December 30, 2011 - 10:02:00 AM

The future of California's 400 redevelopment agencies was thrown into disarray today when the state Supreme Court upheld a law that dissolves them and seizes $1.7 billion in revenue, but struck down a second law that would have allowed them to restructure. -more-

In Berkeley We're All Smarter Than Cops

By Ted Friedman
Monday December 26, 2011 - 10:17:00 AM
Sgt. Kelley's big scene. "If you can tape us, we can tape you."

A university police spokesman confided to me recently, "most people think they are smarter than the police. Some are," he concluded, after thinking it over. -more-

A St. Columba Christmas (First Person)

By Dorothy Snodgrass
Friday December 30, 2011 - 11:38:00 AM

I'm happy to report that I had a very pleasant, indeed spiritual Christmas this year, attending a 9:30 Mass at St. Columba Catholic Church. -more-



Happy New Year to Auld Acquaintances and New

By Becky O'Malley
Friday December 30, 2011 - 10:58:00 AM

Happy New Year to all the loyal readers, old and new, of the Berkeley Daily Planet. In honor of the holiday season, I’m taking most of the day off and foregoing the usual too-long essay, but we’re slowly posting the always excellent pieces from our volunteer contributors which are coming in—keep checking to see what’s new over the weekend.

Many times since we’ve commenced this endeavor, in many forms over the last 8 or 9 years, some readers have implored us to concentrate on “the good news”. Well, feel-good stories concocted by “public information officers” abound in all kinds of media, but when things go wrong you won’t always hear about it. That’s one reason we keep on trucking.

We have every expectation that much of the next year will prove just about as annoying as this one. I observe in today’s issue, for example, bad behavior on the part of the city of Berkeley, the University of California at Berkeley, some elements of the state of California and of course annoyances galore at the national and international level.

But things go right too—the early Occupy events are an example of news that is both good and consequential. We appreciate the efforts of all of our readers to keep us informed, on good days and bad, of what’s happening in Berkeley and the big world beyond. -more-


Odd Bodkins: Inventory

By Dan O'Neill
Friday December 30, 2011 - 10:19:00 AM

Public Comment

There Were Poems

By Carol Denney
Friday December 30, 2011 - 10:43:00 AM

there were poems
pasted on painted fish
hanging in the treetops
of the trees now gone
in People's Park
poems which floated
over the night
then the morning
then the plastic netting
then the bulldozers
until they fell
among the leaves
and the branches
and were hauled away
to the woodchipper

Discouraging Shopping in Berkeley

By Jamy O. Faulhaber
Thursday December 29, 2011 - 11:18:00 PM

Dear City of Berkeley:

On December 23 I was cited under code 14.40.060B(1) for having the front wheel of my 2010 Toyota Prius more than six inches from the curb. I did not see the ticket until I drove away from 2462 Shattuck, I have no doubt that the car was further than six inches from the curb. I have been a resident of Berkeley since 1969 and have never been aware of this ordinance.

Yesterday I went back to this area of Berkeley, downtown Berkeley, to view cars parked diagonally. I would ask that you do the same so as not to take my word (or pictures) for it. One out of three cars is parked more than six inches from the curb. As to my own situation the front bumper clearance of a 2010 Toyota Prius is 7 inches. Your curbs, depending on the condition of the street, are 6.5 inches high. To approach your curb is to scrape the underside of the bumper. Therefore, to avoid more damage to my car, I stay a distance away.

You can be assured that I won’t be parking on Berkeley City streets in the future. That is a shame because I have always made it a point to purchase goods from small Berkeley retailers and to frequent Berkeley restaurants. They now will lose my business to merchants with private parking, to UC Berkeley, to shopping malls, and to the internet. The City of Berkeley has been frequently criticized for its aggressive enforcement of parking violations. One of the reasons that there are so many empty store fronts in downtown Berkeley is because of the difficulty in parking and over- zealous enforcement of parking regulations. I suggest to the Mayor and City Council through this letter that these regulations be revised if Berkeley is to attract customers to any part of the city. -more-


By Erich Frisch
Friday December 30, 2011 - 10:19:00 AM

I left the dark little cave this morning and went through a range of emotion from amazement with the fantastic California weather to amazement that yet again a two legged rat had decided to use my car as its dinner table leaving curried lentils and an imprint of its ass behind to amazement that the western end of "People's Park" had been cordoned off and in the process of being cleaned and purged. Hallelujah! There is a GAWD and its name is not Bates or Worthington! -more-


DISPATCHES FROM THE EDGE: 2011 Dispatches News Awards

By Conn Hallinan
Friday December 30, 2011 - 09:59:00 AM

Every year Dispatches From The Edge gives awards to news stories and newsmakers that fall under the category of “Are you serious?” Here are the awards for the year 2011. -more-

THE PUBLIC EYE:2011 Politics: The Best and Worst

By Bob Burnett
Friday December 30, 2011 - 09:54:00 AM

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times,” Charles Dickens wrote describing the period before the 1789 French Revolution. For America’s rich, the 1 percent, 2011 was the best of times; for everyone else, the 99 percent, it was the worst of times.

The worst: The economy staggered throughout 2011. At yearend, roughly 25 million Americans were either unemployed or involuntarily working part time. But that’s not the worst. As Bob Dylan wrote, “take the rag away from your face, now ain't the time for your tears.”

5. Global Climate Change accelerated: In 2010 global emissions of Carbon Dioxide jumped by a record amount and they continued to rise in 2011. Artic ice hit record lows and there were horrific natural disasters across the planet including ten in the US. But for most Americans, Global Climate Change was one problem too many. (Nonetheless, the most recent Pew Poll found that 65 percent of respondents believed it to be a serious concern.) -more-

ECLECTIC RANT: Post-Mubarak Egypt Still a Work in Progress

By Ralph E. Stone
Thursday December 29, 2011 - 11:15:00 PM

Two friends of mine recently returned from Cairo and report that except for Tahrir Square and the immediate surroundings, there is very little evidence of protests against military rule. True this is scant anecdotal evidence, but it appears from the news accounts that the protestors may be losing the propaganda campaign that portray them as vandals and arsonists. And perhaps demonstration fatigue has set in. -more-

WILD NEIGHBORS: Heron Bait and Other Bird Tools

By Joe Eaton
Thursday December 29, 2011 - 11:09:00 PM
Black-headed night herons: "I thought you were bringing the bait.

Not so long ago, tool use was one of the defining criteria for humanity. Subsequent observations of non-human creatures using, and in a few cases making, tools have required that goalpost to be moved. Primates—chimps, organs, capuchin monkeys—have been caught in the act, as have bottle-nosed dolphins, tropical reef fish, and at least one species of octopus, the one that carries coconut shells around. Not to mention a handful of birds, among which the New Caledonian crow, a maker and user, is the most technically sophisticated. Then there’s the Galapagos woodpecker finch that employs twigs and spines to pry insect grubs out of tree trunks; the Egyptian vulture that smashes ostrich eggs with stones; and, if a fishing lure can be considered a tool (and why not?), the bait-fishing herons. -more-

My Commonplace Book (a diary of excerpts copied from printed books, with comments added by the reader.)

By Dorothy Bryant
Friday December 30, 2011 - 11:41:00 AM

Men fight and lose the battle, and the thing they fought for comes about in spite of their defeat, and when it comes turns out not to be what they meant, and other men have to fight for what they meant under another name.
from The Dream of John Ball, by William Morris (1834-1898),Artist, writer, textile designer -more-

SENIOR POWER… Oral history

By Helen Rippier Wheeler
Thursday December 29, 2011 - 11:09:00 AM

Oral history is the collection and study of historical information about individuals, families, important events, or everyday life using audiotapes, videotapes, or transcriptions of interviews. These interviews are planned and conducted with people who participated in or observed past events and whose memories and perceptions of these are to be preserved as an aural record for future generations. Oral history also refers to information gathered in this manner and to written work — published or unpublished — based on such data, often preserved in archives and large libraries such as the Bancroft. -more-