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    Community Events: Police talk to seniors on how to prevent crime

    January 31st, 2008

    The Albany Police Department will hold a special meeting for senior citizens to discuss recent crimes specifically targeting our seniors in Albany. The main topic to be discussed will be diversion burglaries and ways to  avoid becoming a victim.

    Where: Albany Senior Center, 846 Masonic Ave.
    When: 10:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m, Saturday, February 2.  


    UC refuses to make commitment to Albany on replanting trees

    January 31st, 2008

    tree at the Gill Tract

    Negotiation between the University of California at Berkeley and the city of Albany is going on as the 184 diseased Monterey pines at the Gill Tract in Albany are being cut down. Photo by Linjun Fan.

    The University of California at Berkeley agreed to satisfy several of Albany’s requests on its tree-cutting project at the Gill Tract, including surveying the site for hawk nests and testing the trees for radioactive materials, but refused to make commitment on replanting trees.

    The City of Albany withdrew its opposition to the removal of 184 diseased Monterey pines at the tract last week, but gave the university a list of requests* in the meantime. Read the rest of this entry »


    UC starts cutting down trees at the Gill Tract; Albany withdraws its opposition

    January 29th, 2008

    tree-cutting sign

    A sign put up by the University of California at Berkeley at the Gill Tract in Albany. Photo by Linjun Fan.

    The University of California at Berkeley started cutting down 184 trees at the Gill Tract Monday after the city of Albany backs down on its opposition to the cutting.

    Workers contracted by the university have brought down several diseased Monterey pines Monday, and will remove about 180 more in the following two weeks.

    Albany City Councilmember Joanne Wile said that she had changed her mind after a visit to the pine grove last Thursday. Read the rest of this entry »


    Commentary: I want to caution against opposition to all chemical methods

    January 27th, 2008

     Albany resident Doug Johnson wrote a commentary on Albany’s opposition to a state pesticide spray program:

    “I respect the extensive work put into the resolution to stop the LBAM eradication program, as well as the desire to protect the health of our community. I also believe agencies should take more steps to engage public review for proposed programs like this one.

    However, as an environmental professional involved in invasive plant management, I also want to caution against opposition to all chemical methods. Counterintuitive as it may be, in some circumstances, such methods can have the lowest nontarget ecological impact. Read the rest of this entry »


    Albany takes lead in passing resolution to oppose pesticide spray program

    January 25th, 2008

    city council meeting Jan.22

    Several dozen Albany residents stayed up until midnight at the City Council meeting Tuesday, waiting for the Council’s decision on whether to oppose a state pesticide spray program. Photo by Linjun Fan.

    Albany City Council unanimously passed a resolution to oppose a state pesticide spray program Tuesday, saying that it could cause “unpredictable” and “often serious” health and environmental problems.

    The program, launched by California Department of Food and Agriculture to eliminate a non-native moth, has aroused widespread public concern since last fall.

    Albany is the first city in the San Francisco Bay Area to pass a resolution opposing the aerial spray, which is scheduled to be conducted in the Bay Area in August. Read the rest of this entry »


    Commentary: The trees should be removed if they are a public safety hazard

    January 24th, 2008

    Albany resident Freyja Knapp wrote a commentary on the tree-cutting controversy, responding to previous comments on the issue:

    As a current Albany resident I’d like to add my comments to this discussion of tree removal. I agree that a comprehensive plan needs to be determined and made public – and with real community participation in the development of the plan. However, I also agree that sick trees should be removed – and now or in 10/20 years matters little to me. Read the rest of this entry »


    Commentary: UC is shortening the tree-cutting schedule to stifle community concerns

    January 24th, 2008

    Albany resident Bill Dann wrote a commentary on the latest dispute between Albany and UC-Berkeley on the tree-cutting plan at the Gill Tract:

    “The UC spokesperson who stood up at the 1/22 city council meeting to defend the university’s rush to clear cut the 317 pine trees (180 next week and the remainder soon after) admitted that the university is shortening the schedule to stifle any community concerns.

    First, as the Albany City Attorney Robert Zweben pointed out, the University claims an exemption from the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) that cannot be challenged for 30 days, by  which time the first 180 trees will already have been clear cut.  Once the first 180 are gone, then the remainder must follow (due to wind exposure). Read the rest of this entry »


    Albany City Council votes to slow down UC’s tree-cutting project

    January 23rd, 2008

    Gill tract extractor

    An extractor has been sent by UC’s contractor, ready to cut down 184 Monterey pines at the Gill Tract in Albany next week. Photo by Linjun Fan.

    Albany urged University of California at Berkeley to suspend its plan to cut down several hundred pines on the Gill Tract, otherwise it would seek a court injunction to intervene, according to a resolution passed unanimously at the Albany City Council Tuesday. Read the rest of this entry »


    Commentary: Mayor Lieber is speaking for the majority of Albany residents

    January 20th, 2008

    Albany resident and Chairman of Albany Waterfront Committee Brian Parker wrote a commentary on the controversy over UC’s tree-cutting plan at the Gill Tract, responding to a previous commentary on Albany Today:

    “I am sure that Mayor Lieber is speaking for the majority of Albany residents when he asks the University to slow down the rush to log the Gill tract trees and to engage the community in looking at alternatives. The Gill Tract trees are one of the most recognizable features of Albany. Like Albany Hill they help define the community. I know I am home after a trip when I see the Gill tract trees. UC has had long term plans to develop the entire Gill tract property. Removing the trees removes one more potential roadblock to the development of the entire property. The trees have been on the property over 40 years and we now face a crisis that requires the removal of 200 trees now? Read the rest of this entry »


    Albany school administrators torn between two quarreling sports teams

    January 19th, 2008

    Construction at the Cougar Jan.19 

    Albany school district spent an extra of $78,000 recently to speed up construction of the Cougar Field in an effort to resolve a dispute between two sports teams of Albany High School, but the dispute remains. Photo by Linjun Fan.

    Two sports teams in Albany High School are quarreling with each other over a playing field, both accusing school administrators of favoring the other side. They appealed one decision after another until the dispute was heard by the Albany School Board last week. Read the rest of this entry »


    Moments of Beauty: Flowers take charming hue from afternoon sunlight

    January 18th, 2008

    california poppy flower

    A California poppy flower takes on a charming hue from afternoon sunlight by a sidewalk in Albany. Photo by Linjun Fan. Read the rest of this entry »


    Commentary: Mayor Lieber should listen to the experts on the tree-cutting issue

    January 18th, 2008

    Albany resident and UC employee Brian Parsley wrote a commentary on the university’s tree-cutting plan on the Gill Tract:

    I am an Albany resident who is also a UC employee. I am responding as a resident and not a spokesperson for the University. I find it interesting that mayor Lieber believes that not all the trees on UC Property need to come down. He has previously stated that he intends to “slow down” the process of the infected trees removal even though they may pose a hazard to people and property on nearby sidewalks and streets. It might serve the mayor to defer these matters to city staff before making comments to the press. Read the rest of this entry »


    Commentary: “Demand for admission to AUSD always exceeds capacity”

    January 16th, 2008

    Albany resident Ross Stapleton-Gray posted a commentary  on the residence-checking and overcrowding issues of the Albany school district in response to previous commentaries on the topic:

    With all due respect, “resentment for those ‘outsiders’ who are crowding into ‘our’ schools” is something of a red herring; I’ve met a parent who’s more qualified to be angry: the mom whose older child was admitted as a transfer to Cornell, but who was told that her son couldn’t start in Albany as a kindergartener, because there was no room.  And if that’s because someone’s “jumped the line” to get a kindergartener enrolled, despite the precedence system established by the School Board, they’re directly (and negatively effected)… neither you nor I have that concern, so long as there’s some capacity in AUSD to take transfer students. Read the rest of this entry »


    Commentary: “Demand for admission to AUSD always exceeds capacity”

    January 16th, 2008

    Albany resident Ross Stapleton-Gray posted a commentary  on the residence-checking and overcrowding issues of the Albany school district in response to previous commentaries on the topic:

    With all due respect, “resentment for those ‘outsiders’ who are crowding into ‘our’ schools” is something of a red herring; I’ve met a parent who’s more qualified to be angry: the mom whose older child was admitted as a transfer to Cornell, but who was told that her son couldn’t start in Albany as a kindergartener, because there was no room.  And if that’s because someone’s “jumped the line” to get a kindergartener enrolled, despite the precedence system established by the School Board, they’re directly (and negatively effected)… neither you nor I have that concern, so long as there’s some capacity in AUSD to take transfer students. Read the rest of this entry »


    Commentary: “Building a wall with barbed wire along the Albany border is not the answer”

    January 15th, 2008

    Albany resident Peter Lincroft wrote a commentary on the residence checking story:

    “As I am sure most Albany parents have, I have been following the news regarding the issues of overcrowding, inter-district transfers, and residency requirements. Its not a simple issue, but I just finished reading Miriam Walden’s blog article on the subject and it really struck a chord with me.

    My family is one of those that went to the very significant trouble and expense to move into Albany just for the schools. We are exactly the kind of people who ought to have the highest level of resentment for those “outsiders” who are crowding into “our” schools. Read the rest of this entry »


    Commentary: “Building a wall with barbed wire along the Albany border is not the answer”

    January 15th, 2008

    Albany resident Peter Lincroft wrote a commentary on the residence checking story:

    “As I am sure most Albany parents have, I have been following the news regarding the issues of overcrowding, inter-district transfers, and residency requirements. Its not a simple issue, but I just finished reading Miriam Walden’s blog article on the subject and it really struck a chord with me.

    My family is one of those that went to the very significant trouble and expense to move into Albany just for the schools. We are exactly the kind of people who ought to have the highest level of resentment for those “outsiders” who are crowding into “our” schools. Read the rest of this entry »


    UC plans to cut down several hundred trees at the Gill Tract in Albany

    January 15th, 2008

    trees on the Gill Tract 1

    The Monterey pine grove on the Gill Tract of Albany will soon disappear. Photo by Linjun Fan.

    Several hundred trees on the Gill Tract in Albany will be cut down by the University of California at Berkeley soon, causing concerns from a number of residents in the community.

    All the 317 Monterey pines, which have grown into a dense grove on the corner of San Pablo Avenue and Buchanan Street in the past half century, need to be cut down because many of them are infected with pitch canker and could hurt passers-by when falling onto streets,  according to university staff.

    Albany Mayor Robert Lieber said he was skeptical of the plan, and questioned whether it’s necessary to cut down all the Monterey pines, some of which are still healthy. Read the rest of this entry »


    Issues of Concern: Garbage piles up on the Albany Beach

    January 12th, 2008

    garbage piles up at beach

    The Albany Beach is now clear of oil spill, but full of garbage washed ashore by recent tides. The caution tape that prohibited visitors from entering the beach during the oil spill disappeared, but a few brackets remain abandoned there.  Read the rest of this entry »


    Photos: A beautiful morning after the storm

    January 12th, 2008

    ladybug rests

    A ladybug seems to be taking a nap in tender sunshine at the Albany Plateau. Read the rest of this entry »


    Commentary: “There are no illegal children, students or people”

    January 12th, 2008

    Albany School Board Member Miriam Walden wrote a commentary on the residence checking story:

    “There are no illegal children, students or people. They all belong here on our planet. They all have a right to learn. The issue is only one of residency documentation — an artificial problem that is caused by our immoral system of state funding for education, not by parents or students on their own. For a full description of my concerns about this issue and my response to the “overcrowding” complaints, please see my blog at http://www.miriamwalden.blogspot.com. ” 

    Please post your comments directly or write an email to me if you’d like to share your opinions on the issue.