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Issue #2489 :: Monday, July 26, 2010

Issue #2489 Cover

Top Headlines

Candidates Vie for City Council Seats Podcast
With two weeks left in the nomination period for the Berkeley City Council elections, the fight for District 7 has already raised quite a stir as two heavily backed candidates have stepped up to challenge Councilmember Kriss Worthington for the seat he has held for the past 14 years.

National Treasures
Not a lot of people know who Kristine Lilly is. For even the most avid sports fans, women's soccer just doesn't tend to be a major point of interest.

UC Graduate Student Pay Lags Behind Competition
As the University of California tries to absorb massive cuts in state funding, a recent UC report shows that without addressing the many financial challenges graduate students face, the academic quality of the entire UC system could slowly erode.

Five-Star Recruit Transfers To Florida
Chris Martin, one of the top recruits from Cal's 2010 signing class, announced his intention Wednesday to transfer to Florida due to "distractions" in the Bay.

News

Wave of Employee Absences Causes Delays for AC Transit Riders
Hundreds of AC Transit employees have not been showing up for work each day throughout the past week since a new contract took effect July 18, resulting in increased delays for riders and furthering disputes between the agency and union workers.

New Federal Law May Reduce Textbook Prices for Students
After struggling to pay for the increasing costs of higher education, students could see a decrease in textbook prices and an overall improvement in the textbook industry this fall due to a new federal law that aims to hold textbook publishers more accountable.

Man Arrested in Connection With Sam's Market Fire
Police have arrested a Berkeley homeless man for allegedly setting the "suspicious" fire in front of Sam's Market on Telegraph Avenue early Tuesday morning.

Candidates Vie for City Council Seats Podcast
With two weeks left in the nomination period for the Berkeley City Council elections, the fight for District 7 has already raised quite a stir as two heavily backed candidates have stepped up to challenge Councilmember Kriss Worthington for the seat he has held for the past 14 years.

UC Graduate Student Pay Lags Behind Competition
As the University of California tries to absorb massive cuts in state funding, a recent UC report shows that without addressing the many financial challenges graduate students face, the academic quality of the entire UC system could slowly erode.

Obstacles Remain in Campus Efforts to Conserve Water Podcast
Amid global concern that water will one day become a scarce and precious resource, UC Berkeley's Office of Sustainability is attempting to overcome technical complexities and financial strains in order to implement programs projected to save up to 53 million gallons of water and $4 million.

BART Connector Project Moves Ahead With New Funding Plan
The BART board of directors approved a new funding package for a rail connector to the Oakland Airport at a meeting Thursday, a crucial step in the agency's prolonged efforts to provide passengers with a more efficient way of traveling between the airport and other parts of the Bay Area.


Sports

Five-Star Recruit Transfers To Florida
Chris Martin, one of the top recruits from Cal's 2010 signing class, announced his intention Wednesday to transfer to Florida due to "distractions" in the Bay.

National Treasures
Not a lot of people know who Kristine Lilly is. For even the most avid sports fans, women's soccer just doesn't tend to be a major point of interest.

Martin's Is a 'Decision' to Respect
After deliberation, a supremely talented athlete opts to leave his local team and take his talent down to Florida.

Thumb Wars: Can today's Cal fans still brag about The Play?
The story needs no retelling. You've already seen it once, twice, maybe a hundred times. With four seconds left in the 1982 Big Game, 10 Cal players added their names to a list that includes Jesus, Muhammad and Annie Sullivan.


Opinion

No Running From Cuts
As budget cuts simultaneously hurt the quality of education while increasing its cost, it is only natural that stakeholders seek to find where reductions in expense can be effected. One such effort was Chancellor Robert Birgeneau's Committee on Intercollegiate Athletics. The blue ribbon panel, composed of four alumni and four faculty members, was charged with proposing changes to the funding mechanism for Cal Athletics. In 2008-09 alone, UC Berkeley allocated over $13 million to the department, most of which does not have to be repaid.

A Technical Fix
The overriding theme in the everlasting struggle over the politics of university admission policies is a balancing act between maintaining academic standards while increasing the accessibility of higher education. We see this question raised in nationwide debates like the one on affirmative action. But we also see it in seemingly minor initiatives, such as the University of California's decade-long effort to increase the number of career and technical education (CTE) courses that meet UC and CSU admissions requirements.

Berkeley-BP Deal Only Looks Worse Post-Spill
In 2007, British Petroleum donated $500 million in research funds to UC Berkeley and partners to develop new sources of energy - primarily biotechnology to produce biofuel crops. Robert A. Malone, chairman and president of BP America Inc proclaimed BP was "joining some of the world's best science and engineering talent for improving and expanding the production of clean, renewable energy through the development of better crops." With what for BP was a relatively small investment, UC Berkeley's academic expertise, built over decades of public support, was recruited into a corporate partnership at the service of private interests. In fact in the Energy Biosciences Institute's 2009 annual report the Director was not shy in stating that "the mission of the institute is to provide ideas and innovations that supports the company's commitment to find new, more sustainable energy technologies." But all this public recruited talent did not help BP in preventing nor containing the oil spill that gushed more than 90 million gallons of crude oil into the Gulf of Mexico for 87 days, constituting the worst ecological disaster in US history.

Postdocs Deserve Good-Faith Contract
Whereas summer usually brings a relative quiet to campus, there is an important struggle now percolating beneath the surface with important implications for the future of the University of California system, namely the ongoing negotiations between UC administrators and its more than 6,500 Postdoctoral Scholars ("postdocs") seeking a fair first contract. So far, these negotiations provide one more unfortunate example ongoing mismanagement of our great university-unchecked administrative growth, draconian hikes in student fees and now bad-faith bargaining charges in their negotiations with postdocs. UC postdocs formed their union in November 2008 in order to negotiate for long-overdue improvements in salaries, benefits and working conditions. However, the university has dragged out negotiations for more than 17 months, refusing to agree to a fair first contract for these important researchers who are critical to the university's reputation as the world leader in scientific innovation.

Short-Selling the Short-Sold
Arguing with the religious right about their phobia of sex can be frustrating, not least because what they advocate is so tragic and objectively absurd. As part of our sexual caste system, millions of LGBT people lack the full rights of being human. Myriad unwanted pregnancies and STIs among teenagers occur because their schools teach them that people rode dinosaurs saddleback, instead of teaching them how to use a condom.

White Space