Tuesday, March 25, 2008

The East Bay Today: March 25, 2008

Tue, Mar 25, 2008 at 6:19 PM

Today's Top Event: Tell It On Tuesday at Julia Morgan Center for the Arts.

Brainiac: Learn something new every day. Today's event: Life Drawing Sessions at Frank Bette Center for the Arts.

Is It Lunch Yet? Express food critics recommend: Bette's Oceanview Diner in Berkeley.

On the Town: Going out tonight? For a change of pace, make plans to attend a concert by the World Harmony Chorus at the Lake Merritt United Methodist Church.

Hardly Working: You've got time. We know how to waste it. Check out the secret to happiness.

Feed Us: Got an East Bay news tip, photo, video, or link we need to know about? E-mail us.

Outnumbered in Emeryville

by Anneli Star Josselin Rufus
Tue, Mar 25, 2008 at 11:03 AM

This account from the victim of a recent evening robbery — aka a warning to the rest of us — has been making the rounds today on neighborhood-watch sites.

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Chevron Still Talking to Iraqis, Richmonders

by Chris Thompson
Tue, Mar 25, 2008 at 9:10 AM

Richmond's Planning Commission may have decided to take three weeks to think about Chevron's proposal to upgrade its refinery capacity. But over in Iraq, the country's Oil Ministry has apparently decided it's spent far too much time thinking about oil, and it's time to make some deals. That's why they've started negotiating some two-year, short-term contracts with Chevron to produce and export oil from existing fields, thereby bypassing the legal requirement that long-term contracts be subject to approval from the Iraqi parliament. Critics argue that any negotiations during the American occupation are inherently coercive; we don't know nothin' 'bout birthin' no oil fields, so we'll reserve comment.

Alameda May Finally Sell Telecom Arm

by Chris Thompson
Tue, Mar 25, 2008 at 8:37 AM

After a decade of catastrophe and $85 million in losses, the city of Alameda has finally recognized that it never should've gotten into the telecommunications business after all. According to the Chron's Chip Johnson, the city has hired a consultant to find buyers interested in acquiring the publicly-owned Internet and cable service provider. Alameda's municipal power company has served the city very well, sparing it from the terrible years of the energy crisis and guaranteeing cheap electricity for its residents. But when it tried to diversify into telecommunications (and compete with better choices like Comcast), it fell into a world of debt, from which the city won't extricate itself for years. Now, behold the irony: it was electricity deregulation, which provoked the energy crisis Alameda avoided, that scared the city into gambling on telecom in the first place. City leaders worried that deregulation would allow competitors to eat into their power monopoly, and they decided to get into telecommunications in order to compensate for lost power revenue. Now the power side is doing just fine, and it's telecom that will bleed the city long into the future.

Town-Gown Memorial Stadium Lawsuit Reaching Endgame

by Chris Thompson
Tue, Mar 25, 2008 at 8:05 AM

Just so we're clear, the real reason the city of Berkeley and the Panoramic Hill Association don't want Cal to build a new athletic training center near Memorial Stadium is the increased traffic and the inevitable clear-cutting of an oak tree grove. Okay? Are we clear on that? So when you read that in the present lawsuit to stop construction, the city's main objection is that the university would violate an old law banning additions to buildings on fault lines where the addition's cost would exceed fifty percent of the existing building's present value...eh, screw that. It's all about the traffic. Anyhoo, that's the leverage the city's got, and they've been milking it for months in a lawsuit that has cost the university some $10 million. Last week, the Merc reports, County Superior Court Judge Barbara Miller met with both parties as part of her effort to decide whether the training center will technically be part of the stadium, and what work should be considered an addition. Since the trial has concluded, everyone is waiting on Miller's verdict, which is expected very soon. Then we can have more tree-sits!

Schwarzenegger Snubs Ron Cowan

by Chris Thompson
Tue, Mar 25, 2008 at 7:43 AM

Musn't forget to point out yesterday's juicy Matier and Ross item on how Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger told Alameda developer and Don Perata crony Ron Cowan to shove it. Cowan did a good deal of behind the scenes maneuvering to create the Bay Area Water Emergency Transportation Authority, and everyone knew he wanted to chair the group. But Schwarzenegger went with Charlene Haught Johnson instead, and M&R think it's because Cowan has a few too many conflicts of interest that could compromise him. Now, Cowan only his has considerable fortune to console him.

Chauncey Bailey Project Honored

by Chris Thompson
Tue, Mar 25, 2008 at 7:31 AM

Investigative Reporters and Editors Inc. has bestowed one of its highest honors to the Chauncey Bailey Project, the group of reporters and editors from traditionally competitive media outlets that came together to investigate the Yusuf Bey Black Muslim family in the wake of Chauncey Bailey's murder. The Project joined such stellar company as the Washington Post's Dana Priest and Anne Hull, who did such excellent work exposing the neglect at Walter Reed hospital last year. Props are rightly due to the Bay Area News Group, KQED, the San Francisco Bay Guardian, and a host of independent reporters for turning over Oakland's most sordid rock. And big ups in particular for my man A.C. Thompson, who did so much of the heavy lifting. As long as we're doling out the shout-outs, congrats to former Express staff writer Jennifer Barrios, who was part of the Newsday team that won an IRE award for exposing dangerous conditions on the Long Island Railroad. Toasts all around, by which we mean we'll be happy to send the winners some delicious toast.

Monday, March 24, 2008

A's Blanton takes the bow for Opening Day/Night?

Mon, Mar 24, 2008 at 6:21 PM

I've got a new rooting interest just in time for Opening Day. Major League Baseball arranged for the A's least flashy ballplayer, Country Joe Blanton to post a daily blog from Japan. And if it doesn't totally endear you to the beefy Oakland starter, I recommend you enjoy a night of N.I.T basketball instead. On the cusp of Tuesday, the Athletics ace-by-default will toss out the first pitch thrown in anger for the 2008 season. Realizing that it might be the last time the nation's eyes look to the A's all season, take a moment before the moment to spend time with Big Joe first.

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The East Bay Today: March 24, 2008

Mon, Mar 24, 2008 at 6:09 PM

Today's Top Event: Metals in Motion at the Oakland Museum.

Brainiac: Learn something new every day. Today's event: Misako Akimoto at the Berkeley Public Library, Central Branch.

Is It Lunch Yet? Express food critics recommend: Mona's Table in Alameda.

On the Town: Going out tonight? Head to Oakland's Ruby Room, where DJs will be spinning hip-hop, new wave, and electro tunes for your enjoyment.

Hardly Working: You've got time. We know how to waste it. Check out the Tom Waits dog food commercial.

Feed Us: Got an East Bay news tip, photo, video, or link we need to know about? E-mail us.

Bikers Back Marines in Berkeley

by Chris Thompson
Mon, Mar 24, 2008 at 8:01 AM

Now that Code Pink and other anti-war protesters have had their say about the downtown Berkeley Marine recuriting station, it's tiime for the other side to take a crack at playing politics on Shattuck Avenue. Over the weekend, roughly four hundred bikers revved into town, waving flags, gunning their engines, and warbling, "From the halls of Montezuma..." According to the San Francisco Chronicle, the bikers gassed up and bought crullers from stores in Emeryville, and planned to present them to the city of Berkeley in order to underscore their intent to boycott city businesses. Breathless residents now wait to see if Cirque du Soleil will show up to express their feelings about the war.

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