Seven Days

No parade for Oakland; IHOP for Emeryville; Fight over Berkeley ferry

Terminal condition: In case you didn’t know, the possibility of a ferry terminal in Berkeley is being studied by the newly created San Francisco Bay Area Water Transit Authority. At a preliminary meeting late last month, WTA officials outlined their plan to study a variety of possibilities for ferry terminals, including one in Berkeley, based on feasibility, potential ridership, and environmental impacts. The WTA is charged with ultimately producing two major planning documents that recommend the best possible ferry routes in the SF Bay, and must provide a draft Environmental Impact Report on the matter by fall of 2002. WTA meetings aimed at enviros will take place this October in Alameda County. But don’t expect any talk of a ferry from Berkeley passing without a fight. Meeting-goer Norman La Force of the Sierra Club said that a ferry would not be a compatible use with the new Eastshore State Park on the Berkeley-Albany shoreline. “We will take anyone on who tries to develop the waterfront,” he said to the meeting. “We took Santa Fe [who used to own the shoreline] on, and we’ll take you on, too.”

Over the line: If you’re a politico, one word crops up every ten years to set your nerves aflame: redistricting. Councilmembers, assemblymembers, and their aides all scramble to safeguard their districts and draw lines to the detriment of their rivals. It can be a stressful affair — and two weeks ago, it got a little too stressful over at the South Berkeley home of Councilmember Maudelle Shirek’s aide Mike Berkowitz. Word is that Berkowitz and Zoning Adjustment Board member Dave Blake sat down to discuss redrawing the line between Shirek’s district and that of Kriss Worthington; Blake wanted to take a piece of Shirek’s district, and Berkowitz told him where he could shove that plan. Blake promptly blew up at him, whereupon Berkowitz threw him out of his house and threatened to “redistrict much of your body.” Blake denies the whole incident, claiming “I don’t even know where Berkowitz lives.”

Blue vs. green: Are Oakland cops investigating the radical enviro group, Earth Liberation Front? Acting police spokesperson Cynthia Perkins says, “As far as I know, there is no investigation.” But 7 Days has come across information that Oakland flatfoots have indeed taken an interest in ELF, which has taken credit for, among other things, setting fire to the Vail ski resort in Colorado in 1998.

In June, Pacific Lumber prez John Campbell was deposed by attorneys for Darryl Cherney and the estate of the late Judi Bari in connection with their false arrest lawsuit against the FBI and Oakland police (see cover story).

In the middle of the deposition, plaintiff attorney Dennis Cunningham asked Campbell if he has had any contact with Oakland police in the years after the car bombing, according to the transcript of the sworn June 14 Q&A.

“Once, I think, that I recall,” Campbell offered.

“When was that?” Cunningham asked.

“Two months ago.”

“And what was the subject of it?”

“The Earth Liberation Front.”

Surprised, Cunningham stumbled. “And was there a — I’m sorry, did they [Oakland police] ask you for information, or were you asking them for information?”

Campbell replied, “Um, they were — the individual that came up is part of the …”

At which point Pacific Lumber’s attorney interrupted and told his client not to answer anything else on the topic because it wasn’t relevant to the case. 7 Days tried to get more details from Campbell, but couldn’t reach him before deadline.

According to its Web site, the Earth Liberation Front was formed nine years ago in England “by Earth First! members who refused to abandon criminal acts as a tactic.” The group has not taken credit for any acts of industrial sabotage or vandalism in Oakland, though we are waiting for them to take responsibility for the Coliseum’s football makeover._Rain on your parade. It’s official — this year there will be no Veterans’ Day Parade in Oakland. The parade, organized by the Alameda County Veterans’ Affairs Commission, usually rotates hosting duties among five East Bay cities according to a schedule set by the office of the US Secretary of Veterans’ Affairs. This year, the lot fell to Oakland. But earlier this spring, when Veteran Affairs Commission chairman Mark R. Chandler approached the Oakland Arts Commission for help with the preparations, he was given a hefty packet of paperwork to fill out and was told he would have to compete with other organizations for funding. (The veterans weren’t asking for cash, but as a nonprofit organization they need city donations of services such as police security and cleanup.) Attempting to negotiate with the city dragged on for so long that by the end of summer, the veterans realized that they would not be able to organize a parade — a process Chandler says usually takes six or seven months — in time for the November holiday. In the end, they had to cancel the whole project.The city’s foot-dragging has left a sour taste in the mouths of the East Bay’s former servicemen and women. “We feel badly,” says Chandler. “Over the years, the interest has diminished among the population, and since the Navy and Marines left Alameda and the Bay Area, no one wants to jump on the bandwagon anymore.” He points out that having an annual parade isn’t just for the benefit of members of the armed services. “The theory behind honoring our veterans is that we’re bringing people together,” he says. “It’s not just walking along the street and waving a flag; you’re neck to neck with people from the community.” For this year’s celebration, Chandler is planning an alternative Veterans’ Day ceremony to be held at the pier by the USS Hornet in Alameda.

Mmm. Buckwheat… If you are looking for pancakes en masse, look no further than Emeryville. The Emeryville City Council approved a plan by the developer of the city’s new Promenade project on San Pablo to rent a space to the International House of Pancakes. This was an affront to some Emeryville residents (yes, despite the city’s hefty acreage of big boxes, people actually live in Emeryville, too), who would much rather have seen something locally owned in the space. Now the worry is that cheap chains à la IHOP will follow suit in the Promenade. “Five years from now I see a vastly different, economically thriving San Pablo Avenue,” wrote Emeryville resident and Green Party member Marc Albert in a voice dripping with sarcasm to the City Council. “Picture our city’s Main Street from the California Hotel to Emery High lined with sales-tax-generating businesses like Bob’s Big Boy, a rent-to-own furniture outlet, Jack in the Box, Jiffy Lube, Golden West Pancake House, Popeye’s Fried Chicken, Honest John’s Used Cars, Big O Tires, a check-cashing store, and a pawn shop. Let’s help make this vision a reality! Please don’t hesitate to contact me for help organizing your re-election.”

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