Press Release: Berkeley Unified School District Shows Gains on the API and AYP

From Mark Coplan
Wednesday October 10, 2012 - 10:05:00 PM

The California Department of Education released the 2012 Accountability Progress Report today. This annual report contains two sections: 1) the state Academic Performance Index (API) measuring year-to-year growth in academic achievement that a school or local educational agency (LEA) has made, and 2) the federal Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) measuring how well a school meets minimum performance targets. -more-

Berkeley Study: Sudden Oak Death 'Epidemic' Threatens East Bay

By Jeff Burbank (BCN)
Wednesday October 10, 2012 - 10:00:00 PM

Sudden Oak Death, a disease that can destroy oak and tanoak trees in California, has reached "epidemic" proportions in some parts of the East Bay and the Peninsula and prevention efforts against further infestation are "urgently needed," according to an environmental task force. -more-

Press Release: Watch Berkeley Candidates “Stump Speeches” on YouTube

From the League of Women Voters
Tuesday October 09, 2012 - 01:01:00 PM

Two-minute stump speeches by candidates for Berkeley Mayor, City Council Districts 2, 3 & 5 and School Board give voters a good sense of each candidate’s views. Candidates for City Council Districts and Berkeley Unified School Board also discuss issues in half hour and hour “Election 2012” programs. Watch at any time on On the site, scroll down to find the spot or program you want to watch. -more-

New: Who's Spending on Berkeley Ballot Measures? The First Filing of Expenditures, and More

By Thomas Lord
Tuesday October 09, 2012 - 10:12:00 AM

The Berkeley Ballot Measure Browser has been improved with the addition of information about campaign donations and campaign spending. Want to get a sense of how much money has been spent promoting each measure, and who is funding the campaigns? Look for the "campaign committees" links on the left hand side.

Click here to use it.

New: Santa Monica has a Plan for Growth and It’s Better than Berkeley’s (News Analysis)

By Toni Mester
Saturday October 06, 2012 - 09:39:00 AM
West Berkeley's historic Heinz factory, now home to successful small businesses

The City of Santa Monica is smaller than Berkeley by 22,000 but it has a bigger and better idea for planning growth than Berkeley’s flawed Measure T, and theirs has already paid off in jobs, green buildings, infrastructure improvements, open space, and other community benefits.

Santa Monica uses the development agreement (DA) for all buildings over 32 feet, negotiated under LUCE, their land use and circulation element that was generated after six years of extensive community engagement and adopted in 2010.

Since then, the number of development agreements negotiated by Santa Monica continues to grow, with 2 projects under construction and 6 more approved and waiting to be built. Prior to LUCE, 12 DA projects were completed between 1981 and 2007.

The benefits that such projects will bring Santa Monica include neighborhood conservation, integrated land use and transportation, affordable housing, greenhouse gas and congestion reduction, historic preservation, daycare, and cultural facilities.

Compare this community generated and award winning plan with Berkeley’s Measure T, a revision of the master use permit section of the zoning ordinance allowing heights of 75 feet on large sites in the manufacturing zones of West Berkeley. Any such site would qualify for a development agreement under existing code, so up-zoning the MUP ordinance is redundant.

The reasons why

It’s a mystery why planning staff chose to handle large developments by revising the MUPs when the existing development agreement code is a far superior tool that can be precisely tailored to the site and the needs of the developer. -more-

Flash: Berkeley Commission Turns Down “Dharma Way”

By Steven Finacom
Friday October 05, 2012 - 12:04:00 AM

The City of Berkeley will not be renaming the 99-year-old Harold Way in Downtown Berkeley “Dharma Way” if a recommendation made by the Public Works Commission stands. -more-

Hometown Online Resources for Berkeley Voters
from The Berkeley Almanac

By Thomas Lord
Thursday October 04, 2012 - 04:00:00 PM

Here is a quick guide to and critique of three on-line tools that can help Berkeley voters make their choices in the upcoming election: -more-

Watch Candidates for Berkeley's Mayor Discuss the Issues

Video by Paul Kealoha Blake
Thursday October 04, 2012 - 02:13:00 PM

If you watched the presidential candidates debate on Wednesday and wished it were that easy to see the candidates for mayor of Berkeley (surely you are), here's your big chance.

See five candidates in a face-to-face showdown, courtesy of the Gray Panthers and videographer Paul Kealoha Blake.

Warning: each part is about an hour long, so it will take a while to load. -more-

The Time To Learn From The 1868 Hayward Fault Earthquake Is NOW

By Richard Schwartz,© 2012
Thursday October 04, 2012 - 02:08:00 PM

It is a sobering endeavor to remember the 1868 Hayward Fault Earthquake, the last major eruption on our local fault. The USGS states that major destructive earthquakes occur along the Hayward Fault, on average, every 138 years. This means that since 2006 we have been due for another. There is no doubt that the Hayward Fault, the most densely populated earthquake fault in the United States, is going to lash out mightily sometime soon. Is “soon” in a few decades, a few years, a few minutes?

The fact is that, as a community, we have chosen to ignore what happened on October 21, 1868, at 7:54am, and at what is most likely in store for us. Few know the facts of this history. What is to be seen is not pretty. It is rather ominous.

The forty-five-second 1868 Hayward Earthquake (over 2½ times longer in duration than Loma Preita, and equal in intensity to the 1906 San Francisco Earthquake) arrived with a rumble and then increased shaking. Then it stopped for a second or two. It then resumed with a growing and overwhelming power and clamor. It ended with an oscillating motion in many locations. -more-

Boalt Hall's Centenary (First Person)

BY Dorothy Snodgrass
Thursday October 04, 2012 - 04:25:00 PM

On Friday, November 9th at 7 p.m., Boalt Hall will be celebrating its 100th Anniversary Gala, an auspicious occasion if ever there was one! -more-

Plough Benefit For No on "S" Draws Raucous Crowd

By Ted Friedman
Sunday October 07, 2012 - 08:43:00 AM
Part of the crowd of fifty, Sunday at Starry Plough to see Denney's show.

Starry Plough, a Berkeley landmark hosted another Berkeley landmark last Sunday afternoon--another political fundraiser. But this raucous event was, well, different. -more-

Election Stories in Back Issues of the Planet

Friday October 05, 2012 - 11:24:00 AM

Are you confused about the upcoming election? Below you'll be able to find all the articles about the November 2012 election that have appeared to date in the Planet, in reverse chronological order, except that the editorial endorsements are at the top so they’re easier to find. We’ve pretty much abandoned the idea of publishing election-related articles in this separate section every week because there are just too many of them, but here’s where to search if you’re looking for something about the election in back issues.


Berkeley Heats Up For the Fall Election Season 08-29-2012

ENDORSEMENT SPECIAL: Yes on Berkeley Measures U, V, N, O. No on Berkeley Measure M. 09-28-2012

ENDORSEMENT SPECIAL: Measure T is a Trojan Horse 09-21-2012

ENDORSEMENT SPECIAL: Sitting Down Should not be Banned in Berkeley 09-14-2012

ENDORSEMENT SPECIAL: Berkeley Mayor and City Council 09-05-2012