The Week

Protesters rallied on campus and marched throughout downtown Berkeley Wednesday to voice their dissatisfaction with the University of California’s budget priorities.
Riya Bhattacharjee
Protesters rallied on campus and marched throughout downtown Berkeley Wednesday to voice their dissatisfaction with the University of California’s budget priorities.


Students Protest at UC President’s Office in Oakland; Birgeneau Promises Police Action Review

By Riya Bhattacharjee
Monday November 23, 2009 - 05:52:00 PM

As part of the ongoing protest over the University of California's 32 percent fee increase, UC Berkeley students marched to UC President Mark Yudof’s office in Oakland Monday afternoon and staged a sit-in, demanding to meet with him. -more-

Flash: 9 p.m.: UC Berkeley Occupation Ends Peacefully

by Riya Bhattacharjee
Friday November 20, 2009 - 10:14:00 PM
Adam Astan shows reporters his injuries caused by a police baton.

All 40 occupiers were released from Wheeler Hall a little after 9 p.m. to cheers and applause from the crowd which surrounded the building. -more-

UC Berkeley Strike Day 3: Wheeler Hall Takeover

Riya Bhattacharjee
Friday November 20, 2009 - 12:57:00 AM

Wheeler Occupiers Speak to the Public

Riya Bhattacharjee
Friday November 20, 2009 - 01:15:00 AM

Flash: 6:36 p.m.: UC Berkeley Students To Be Cited and Released

by Riya Bhattacharjee
Friday November 20, 2009 - 07:06:00 PM
Occupiers cheer the crowd standing outside wheeler

6:36 p.m. : UC Berkeley professor of Sociology Andrew Barlow, who was part of the faculty negotiating team, told the Planet that the occupiers inside Wheeler Hall would be cited and released one by one within an hour. -more-

Flash: 5:30 p.m.: Police Break Into Occupied Space at Wheeler

Friday November 20, 2009 - 05:45:00 PM

This just in from the occupiers' liaison—the police have broken into the space occupied by the protestors in Wheeler Hall. The protestors are holding their hands up high to indicate that they intend to act non-violently. -more-

Flash: 5:30 p.m.: Standoff Continues at Wheeler Hall

By Riya Bhattacharjee and Raymond Barglow
Friday November 20, 2009 - 05:36:00 PM

A cold rain did not deter thousands of UC Berkeley students this afternoon as they surrounded the campus’ Wheeler Hall in support of 35 protesters who have occupied the building since this morning in demonstration against the University of California’s 32 percent tuition fee hike. -more-

Flash: 3:30 p.m.: Wheeler Hall Protesters Still Negotiating With Campus Officials

By Riya Bhattacharjee
Friday November 20, 2009 - 02:27:00 PM
A UC Berkeley faculty member asks students to show their support for the occupiers inside Wheeler Hall

Though UC Berkeley professor George Lakoff announced at 3 p.m. Friday that student protesters occupying Wheeler Hall on the UC Berkeley campus Friday would soon be exiting the building, escorted by UC police, no one has yet left the hall. -more-

Flash: Wheeler Hall Occupation Continues; Sheriff's Dept. Arrives in Riot Gear

By Riya Bhattacharjee and Raymond Barglow
Friday November 20, 2009 - 12:52:00 PM
Protesters displayed a banner and addressed the crowed from a Wheeler Hall window Friday morning.

Rain did not deter thousands of UC Berkeley students this afternoon as they surrounded the campus’ Wheeler Hall in support of about 50 protesters who have occupied the building since this morning in demonstration against the University of California’s 32 percent tuition fee hike. -more-

Flash: UC Students Take Over Wheeler Hall

By Riya Bhattacharjee
Friday November 20, 2009 - 09:48:00 AM
Despite the rain, students surrounded Wheeler Hall Friday in support of protesters who occupied the building.

Reports are coming in that UC Berkeley students have taken over Wheeler Hall on campus to protest the 32 percent fee increase approved by the UC Regents at UCLA Thursday. -more-

Criminal Profiled in 'America’s Most Wanted' Caught in Berkeley

By Riya Bhattacharjee
Friday November 20, 2009 - 04:40:00 PM

The Berkeley Police Department announced Tuesday that they have arrested a man suspected of being involved in a Berkeley homicide that took place in May. -more-

UC Regents Approve 32 Percent Fee Hike Amid Angry Protests

By Riya Bhattacharjee
Thursday November 19, 2009 - 01:55:00 PM
Students dumped trash in front of California Hall Thursday to protest University of California leadership.

The UC Regents approved a fee hike at a meeting on the UCLA campus today (Thursday, Nov. 19) to address a $1.2 billion deficit next year, amid angry protests throughout the 10-campus University of California system. -more-

BART Board Votes Against Awarding Contract to Nedir Bay

Bay City News
Thursday November 19, 2009 - 05:11:00 PM

The BART board of directors voted today not to give any part of a $2 million lighting improvement project for two stations to a longtime associate of the troubled Your Black Muslim Bakery in Oakland. -more-

Mehserle Case to Be Moved to Los Angeles County

Bay City News
Thursday November 19, 2009 - 05:10:00 PM

An Alameda County Superior Court judge ruled this afternoon that the case of former BART police Officer Johannes Mehserle will be moved to Los Angeles County. -more-

UC’s California News Services Aims to Fill D.C. Journalism Void

Thursday November 19, 2009 - 09:38:00 AM

The business of journalism is dying. But the need for journalists is not. -more-

UC Students, Workers Launch 3-Day Strike

By Riya Bhattacharjee
Thursday November 19, 2009 - 09:28:00 AM

It was anything but business as usual at UC Berkeley Wednesday as students, faculty members and workers embarked on a three-day strike to protest budget cuts, furloughs and fee hikes. -more-

Oakland Man Charged with Aquatic Park Murders

By Riya Bhattacharjee
Thursday November 19, 2009 - 09:31:00 AM

Body of Child Found in Bay Believed to Be -more-

Council Votes to Support Berkeley Ferry Project

By Riya Bhattacharjee
Thursday November 19, 2009 - 09:32:00 AM

Is Berkeley ready for a ferry? The Berkeley City Council seems to think so. -more-

Berkeley Balloon Ban?

By Riya Bhattacharjee
Thursday November 19, 2009 - 09:33:00 AM
Balloon artist Don Daniels, of Paper Plus on San Pablo Avenue, posts a sign on the store window: "Nobody can be uncheered with a balloon ... except the City of Berkeley."

Just as the hullabaloo over Balloon Boy seems to be finally cooling off, Berkeley is getting ready to make some noise about balloons. -more-

Obata Studio Landmarking Revisited

By Riya Bhattacharjee
Thursday November 19, 2009 - 09:33:00 AM

Japanese artist Chiura Obata’s landmarked Mission Revival–style studio was back before the Berkeley Landmarks Preservation Commission Nov. 5, after a remand from the City Council asked the commission to carefully consider singling out the building’s courtyards for preservation as historic features. -more-

Bear’s Lair Food Court Vendors Strike to Protest Rent Increases

By Riya Bhattacharjee
Thursday November 19, 2009 - 09:34:00 AM
Ann Vu protests her rent increase in front of Sproul Plaza Wednesday, right before students board the bus to go the regent's meeting at UCLA.

UC Berkeley students aren’t the only ones who went on strike this week. -more-

UC Abandons Ito’s Downtown Museum Design

By Riya Bhattacharjee
Thursday November 19, 2009 - 09:35:00 AM

Citing “lingering economic uncertainty,” UC Berkeley announced Wednesday that it has abandoned existing architectural plans to construct a new Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive in downtown Berkeley. -more-

Elementary Students Get H1N1 Vaccine, Other Schools Must Wait

By Riya Bhattacharjee
Thursday November 19, 2009 - 09:36:00 AM

More than 2,000 Berkeley public elementary school students received H1N1 vaccinations from the city’s Public Health Division this week. However, middle and high schoolers will have to wait for new shipments to arrive before they can get their shots. -more-

Piedmont Resident to Become Ambassador to Australia

By Megan Murphy, California News Service
Thursday November 19, 2009 - 09:37:00 AM

As a law clerk to judge Abner Mikva 20 years ago, Jeffrey Bleich never imagined that the young man Mikva tried to recruit as a fellow clerk would one day name him ambassador to Australia. -more-

Remembering Andrea Lewis

By Max Pringle, New America Media
Thursday November 19, 2009 - 09:41:00 AM

Andrea Lewis, long-time broadcast and print journalist, co-anchor of the KPFA Evening News and host of Pacifica’s Sunday Sedition, died last weekend of an apparent heart attack. She was 52. -more-


Thursday November 19, 2009 - 09:34:00 AM

The name and author of a Seattle blog were misidentified in the Nov. 12 story, “Meehan Approv-ed as City’s New Police Chief.” Quotes regarding police commanders’ length of service at Seattle’s East Precinct and about Meehan’s tenure there were originally posted by Doug Schwartz on the blog Capitol Hill Seattle. -more-



What Shall We Tell the Children?

By Becky O'Malley
Thursday November 19, 2009 - 09:43:00 AM

The most famous words spoken about the Great Depression, by Franklin Roosevelt in his first inaugural address, were these: “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” They have become a mantra invoked in many situations where there’s a lot more than fear to fear, where real dangers are confronting people who must nonetheless act unafraid. -more-

Public Comment

Letters to the Editor

Thursday November 19, 2009 - 09:43:00 AM


Blue Dog Democrats and Health Care Reform

By Ralph E. Stone
Thursday November 19, 2009 - 09:45:00 AM

Recently, Senate majority leader Harry Reid indicated that health care reform might not be passed this year. Why? Because he may not have the votes in the Senate to pass the legislation and, if such legislation were passed, it might not survive a Republican filibuster. -more-

Smart Balloon Practices Are Better Than Bans

By Dan Flynn 
Thursday November 19, 2009 - 09:44:00 AM

The Berkeley City Council may soon consider a measure that would make balloon releases illegal at any public events that require a permit authorized by the city. This is an unwise action; the City Council’s objectives could be far better addressed through less extreme measures, including consumer education about smart balloon practices.  -more-

Bus Rapid Transit: Feel-Good Environmentalism?

By Matt Kondolf
Thursday November 19, 2009 - 09:45:00 AM

The city of Berkeley has now released its plan for Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) on Telegraph Avenue, arguing that this system will reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The proposed project may make us feel good that we are doing something but in fact is more likely to increase greenhouse gas emissions than reduce them.  -more-

Continuing Problems with Design of New Animal Shelter

By Jill Posener
Thursday November 19, 2009 - 09:46:00 AM

I appreciated the opportunity to vent my frustrations with the process for the new Berkeley Animal Shelter. Responses to your Letters page and e-mails I have received indicate that many people share the sense of being under-informed, misinformed or flat out excluded from a truly open public process.  -more-

Controversy at the Bear’s Lair Food Court

By Nad Permaul
Thursday November 19, 2009 - 09:47:00 AM

The Auxiliary Store Operations Board of the Associated Students of the University of California voted to offer terms to the Bear’s Lair food court vendors that the students on the board negotiated last spring. Those terms were offered to each vendor in June 2009 by the Auxiliary in the presence of two board members, Chief Victoria Harrison and former student Co-Chair David Rhoads. Two of the vendors accepted the terms, one did not. They were asked by the board at the time the terms were offered if they had any concerns. The principal concerns expressed to the board by the two vendors who accepted the terms were the length of the lease, the terms for any extension options and the number of months of partial payment when school is not in session. The board adjusted the lease language to extend the length of the lease and to alter the terms of the option and months or partial payment. In October, after the language was completed by the campus, one of the vendors, The Coffee Spot, signed. We are working with the Coffee Spot on the physical improvements. The owner has expressed nothing but satisfaction with the new lease and our relationship. -more-

New Police Chief’s Stance on Marijuana

By Maris Arnold
Thursday November 19, 2009 - 09:47:00 AM

In the article on the approval by the City Council of former Seattle top cop Michael Meehan as Berkeley’s new police chief (Daily Planet, Nov. 12–18), Mr. Meehan is quoted as saying with reference to Seattle’s voter-approved policy of making marajuana arrests the lowest police priority, “I don’t want to send a message to kids that drug use is ok.” That wasn’t just a personal opinion. That was a professional judgment. Moreover, a majority of Seattle voters thought differently and passed the ordinance but Meehan was against them and it.  -more-

Turning to the White House for Help With a Berkeley Permit Problem

By Hoda A. Cox 
Thursday November 19, 2009 - 09:48:00 AM

Today, at the end of my rope, I wrote President Obama the attached letter. -more-

Politics and Theatre: A Too Comfortable Controversy

By Marc Sapir
Thursday November 19, 2009 - 09:49:00 AM

At the beginning of Caryl Churchill’s one act, Seven Jewish Children: A Play for Gaza, one can not determine the ethnicity or nationality of the voices that are conflicted about what to tell a young girl about the terrible tensions and conflicts in her life, the history of her people and the lives of those around her. Brought by Anne Hallinan and Patricia Silver’s Agora Theater to the Ashby Stage in a polished reading directed by Hal Gelb this play was contrasted with another—What Strong Fences Make, by Israel Horovitz—solicited by Theatre J in Washington, D.C., in response to Churchill. -more-

Homecare Services in Today’s Life

By Nicholas Feldman
Thursday November 19, 2009 - 09:50:00 AM

When the recession hit, my business was put through unbelievable turmoil here in California. Everyone who had ever worked for me started to file for unemployment, and many laborious hours were put into filling out claims to EDD and other authorities. People started to apply for low-income everything, from transportation, to welfare, to housing. -more-


Undercurrents: Don’t Sell When You’re Desperate for Cash

By J. Douglas Allen-Taylor
Thursday November 19, 2009 - 09:39:00 AM

There are two truisms in this world about budgeting and finance. The first is, never shop in a supermarket when you’re hungry. The second is, never sell property when you’re desperate for cash. In the first instance, you’ll almost always buy more than you need. In the second, you’ll almost always settle for less than it’s worth. -more-

The Public Eye: Get Tough, Obama

By Bob Burnett
Thursday November 19, 2009 - 09:42:00 AM

A year after Barack Obama won the presidential election, it’s apparent the change he promised isn’t going to come easy. The Nov. 3 election results indicate a rising level of discontent with Obama and Democrats, in general. Confronted by massive problems, Washington is moving at a glacial pace. What should be done to quicken the tempo, to make change happen more rapidly? -more-

Wild Neighbors: Second Chances in Sinaloa

By Joe Eaton
Thursday November 19, 2009 - 09:56:00 AM
Hooded orioles may nest in the United States, then raise a second brood in Mexico.

The birds continue to surprise us. We think we know their routines, their travel schedules, and then someone comes up with evidence that at least five North American species—yellow-billed cuckoo, Cassin’s vireo, yellow-breasted chat, and hooded and orchard orioles—have been leading double lives. These birds, according to newly published research by Sievert Rohwer at the University of Washington, rear one brood in the United States, then fly to western Mexico and produce a second brood. Some, at least, continue on to South American wintering grounds. This is a bit like learning that your Uncle Henry, the Amtrak conductor, has a second family at the end of his route in Sacramento. -more-

Arts & Events

Arts Calendar

Thursday November 19, 2009 - 09:56:00 AM

THURSDAY, NOV. 19 -more-

Watkins’ ‘Dark River’ at Oakland Opera

By Ken Bullock, Special to the Planet
Thursday November 19, 2009 - 09:52:00 AM

Behind a scrim decorated with concentric circles, framed by cotton bolls, Emmett Till is dancing (performed by Hannefah Hassan-Evans), high-stepping in his Chicago finery, until he acknowledges a white woman passing—after which, two white men in black beat him in a brutal, stylized assault that turns his dance into writhing. -more-

Admirable Woodcuts on Display at Kala Institute

By Peter Selz, Special to the Planet
Thursday November 19, 2009 - 09:52:00 AM
Harry Clewans' <i>Octopus</i>.

The visitor to the still new and stately exhibition space at the Kala Art Institute will encounter a large picture of an octopus on the right wall. The artist, Harry Clewans had read about the mollusks with their eight arms, their unusual intelligence, memory and ability to hide from their predators, and he made this picture of a large scary animal, which looks almost alive in its leafy habitat. -more-

‘Jesters and Gestures’: PFA Presents Performed Yiddish Culture

By Ken Bullock, Special to the Planet
Thursday November 19, 2009 - 09:53:00 AM

The way many people see Yiddish culture is often one-sided, flat. Knowing just a little, they project fantasies: ‘the poor little shtetl!’” -more-

Dr. Abdulaziz Sachedina Lectures on Islam and Human Rights

By Ken Bullock, Special to the Planet
Thursday November 19, 2009 - 09:54:00 AM

Dr. Abdulaziz Sachedina, who will appear Saturday night at the Islamic Cultural Center of Northern California in downtown Oakland to discuss his new book, Islam and the Challenge of Human Rights (Oxford, $25), says that religion can help persuade its own adherents to respect other humans. -more-

'The Walworth Farce' — Druid Ireland at Zellerbach

By Ken Bullock Special to the Planet
Thursday November 19, 2009 - 01:09:00 PM

Opening and closing with Bing crooning “An Irish Lullaby,” and proceeding with snatches and strains of other airs and songs, including “Ireland United At Last,” accompanying abrupt—yet endlessly repeated—gestures, speeches and quick changes from one ratty costume and wig to another, the performance by Druid Ireland of Enda Walsh’s The Walworth Farce at Zellerbach Playhouse is by turns silly, disconcerting, uproarious, dismaying, hysterical and strangely tragic—an unexpected triumph of gestural theater and histrionic storytelling in the service of what cannot be easily articulated or shown. -more-

Author Discusses Book on Assassination of Fred Hampton

By Ken Bullock, Special to the Planet
Thursday November 19, 2009 - 09:55:00 AM

I’m going to talk a good deal about Fred Hampton,” said Jeffrey Haas, “how he became a revolutionary leader—but, even more, who he was. How impressed I was hearing him speak, seeing him. He had a real desire for justice. He had wanted to be a lawyer but said he didn’t have enough time to get a law degree. And he died when he was only 21.” -more-

In the Theaters

Thursday November 19, 2009 - 09:51:00 AM

Impact Theatre continues with Large Animal Games, by Steve Yockey, directed by Melissa Hillman at 8 p.m. Thursday–Saturday through Dec. 12 (La Val’s Subterranean, 1834 Euclid; $12–$20;; while Contra Costa Civic Theatre has opened Lucky Stiff, a musical comedy–murder mystery based on “The Man Who Broke the Bank At Monte Carlo,” Friday–Saturday at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m. through Dec. 6 (951 Pomona Ave., El Cerrito; $15–$24; 524-9132; Berkeley Playhouse is putting on The Wizard of Oz at 2 and 7 p.m. Saturdays and 4 p.m. Sundays through Dec. 6 (Julia Morgan Center, 2540 College Ave; $19-$28; 845-8542; Druid, Ireland’s extraordinary theater company, is presenting Enda Walsh’s uproarious “gothic comedy,” The Walworth Farce, at 8 p.m. Thursday–Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday, with an interview of the performers onstage (free admission) 4 p.m. Thursday (Zellerbach Playhouse; $72; 642-9988; -more-

Community Calendar

Thursday November 19, 2009 - 09:40:00 AM

THURSDAY, NOV. 19 -more-