Editorial: Back in the Big Muddy

Becky O'Malley
Tuesday June 01, 2004

Casual conversations with strangers can be more revealing than stories on the nightly news. A Berkeley friend, a motherly lady in her fifties, started chatting with her seatmate on a bus a couple of weeks ago. He was an army officer, a personnel specialist in a big infantry unit down South somewhere. He said his job is dealing with “bereavements”—supporting families of service people who have died on duty. My friend, who comes from a military family herself, was shocked at what he told her: that in the last few months, out of every 100 deaths he’s worked on, 14 have been suicides. That’s not an official Army statistic, he emphasized, just his estimate, but in his opinion, based on about 20 years experience in the military, the suicide rate has gone up dramatically since the Iraq invasion. -more-

Editorial: Start Running Now

Becky O'Malley
Friday May 28, 2004

The next Berkeley City Council race should be shaping up right about now. The first of a series of important dates for potential candidates is today, May 28. This is the first day to take out petitions to file as a candidate without paying a fee. Ordinarily, a candidate running for local office in the City of Berkeley is required to pay a filing fee of $150 at the time he or she takes out nomination papers. However, instead of paying all or part of the fee, a candidate can get signatures of support from up to 150 Berkeley registered voters. Each valid signature reduces the filing fee by $1. The city clerk’s office at City Hall (2180 Milvia St.) has the petition forms, which must be filed at least 15 days prior to the close of the nomination period, which closes Friday, August 6. Candidates who pay the fee can wait until then to file, though they also must collect some signatures to be eligible. The city clerk’s office has ample information on all this in the form of a pamphlet and on the city’s website. -more-

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