Law + Policy

Bureaucratic Maze

Abolhassan Astaneh won’t drive over the repaired portion of the MacArthur Maze until Caltrans proves it’s safe. The Berkeley professor of structural engineering has investigated disasters all over the world, including the collapse of the World Trade Center, and says that most of what you read about the successful reconstruction of the freeway interchange at the eastern end of the Bay Bridge is plain wrong.

From the September October 2007 Green Tech issue of California.

Mud Pies in the Sky

Engineering Professor Rogert G. Bea brought unique bona fides to the academic team investigating the New Orleans levee failure. In addition to his 48 years as a civil engineer, including 19 as a Berkeley educator, he has the benefit of his father’s career with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the government agency overseeing reconstruction of the levees. Bea has been a Corps engineer himself. And he has firsthand experience with hurricane losses—his New Orleans home was destroyed during Hurricane Betsy in 1965.

From the September October 2007 Green Tech issue of California.

A Round table setting

In preparing for this special issue on the future of food and farming, California writer Rick Wartzman and executive editor Patrick Dillon invited food and land-use experts to help frame the questions we subsequently spent several months exploring. Here are their remarks.

From the May June 2007 New Food and Farming issue of California.

The Time is Ripe

California’s food production and distribution system is the root system of the state’s life. Its maintenance is fundamental for our health and our future sustainability—and it requires massive amounts of energy, water, labor, and capital to feed people each day. Consequently, it offers myriad challenges and opportunities: a healthy food system means better health for our children, the elderly, rural and urban communities, and nature in its diverse forms.

From the May June 2007 New Food and Farming issue of California.

Mines to Vines

Ana Paula gingerly crosses a field in southern Angola near her home in the central province of Huambo. She is starving, and across the field drapes a thick curtain of branches on a grove of mango trees, their swollen fruit hanging just within reach. Swollen herself at nine months pregnant, she carefully picks her footsteps, trying to feel for the small metal canisters that keep most of the hungry villagers away from these trees. She reaches toward the dangling fruit under the wide leaves.

Beyond The Silver Bullet

Four years ago, a 55-year-old catholic priest named Father John Corapi set off an FBI investigation that brought down Redding Medical Center’s chief cardiologist and cost Tenet Healthcare, the hospital’s corporate parent, hundreds of millions of dollars in legal settlements. The cardiologist, Dr. Chae Hyun Moon, had told Father Corapi that he needed an emergency triple-bypass operation. But as Corapi was being wheeled into the operating room, another surgeon examined Corapi’s x-rays and could find nothing wrong. His heart was healthy.

Connecting Dots And Dollars

Venture capital took root in Northern California thanks to one thing: connections. That web of connections has turned out to be the most powerful renewable resource that California has ever had, spawning a business phenomenon in the late 1980s that relied on private investment and merchant banks, that at its height in 2002 produced 7,812 deals worth $104 billion and made Sand Hill Road in Menlo Park America’s most important startup hub.


Closer to Home

IMPACT: Main Street USA has been revived, only now it’s called the New Urbanism, and it is shaping new neighborhoods around the world as a friendly, walkable alternative to suburban sprawl. Visionary California architect Peter Calthorpe and a core of Berkeley professors decided in 1988 to push urban planning forward by looking backward. Their deceptively simple concept: neighborhoods made of a dense mix of homes, stores, cafes, and offices clustered around a train or bus station.

Green Rules

No state has matched California in using the law to protect and conserve the environment. The spark that ignited the modern environmental movement was undoubtedly the Santa Barbara oil spill of January 1969, an ecological disaster that blackened 35 miles of scenic coastland and killed thousands of seabirds and marine mammals. Californians responded by passing the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), which required environmental impact review of any development projects within the state, and by pressuring another Californian, President Richard M.

A Slow Paddle Home


When others come to your paradise to find solitude, where do you find yours? This longing has taken me from my hometown on Oahu into the jungles of Central America and to islands in Southeast Asia. A few years ago, I finally found what I was looking for—a mere island hop from where I started. The place was Kauai’s Na Pali Coast.


Teen Doc

Dr. Barbara Staggers ’76, MPH ’80, will never forget the day a teenage boy came to see her at the Oakland Children’s Hospital Teen Clinic and said, “Can you hold me? I’m going to be dead tomorrow.” He was gunned down the next day. He knew that people were after him, says Staggers, “We tried to get him to leave the state, but he refused to go. And the next day he was dead.”

From the March April 2008 Mind Matters issue of California.

Raise Me, Boss

When Ian Sherr decided to ask for a raise a year ago, he carefully considered the circumstances: His boss had just eaten lunch, had recently received a bonus check, and it was the holiday season. “I figured there might be some trickle-down goodness,” says Sherr, 25, now a graduate student in journalism at Berkeley.

From the January February 2008 25 Ideas on the Verge issue of California.


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