The Week

Telegraph Avenue Holiday Street Fair shoppers examine the crafts on display in front of Rasputin's.
Steve Finacom
Telegraph Avenue Holiday Street Fair shoppers examine the crafts on display in front of Rasputin's.


New: Berkeley Council Fails to Act on WikiLeaks, KPFA and Homeland Security Questions

By Charlotte Perry-Houts
Thursday December 16, 2010 - 12:38:00 PM

While the Berkeley City Council was wrapping up its worksession on Tuesday evening, an audience was growing, news cameras were being set up, and a police presence was building in the small Council chambers. A protester's voice could be heard yelling over a megaphone outside the building. Compared to the usual empty-room meeting, this was an exciting scene. There were two hot-button issues on the agenda that drew national media coverage: item 26, supporting Pfc Bradley Manning and claiming him a hero, and item 27, urging Pacifica to reinstate KPFA's morning show. -more-

New: Council Work Session Considers Budget Woes, Schools Project

By Charlotte Perry-Houts
Wednesday December 15, 2010 - 12:26:00 PM

The Berkeley City Council listened to presentations on Tuesday night, first about the city's budget difficulties, and then about the progress of the 2020 Vision, one of the city's priority projects. Teresa Berkeley-Simmons, the city's budget manager, highlighted the problem of continually decreasing revenues and increasing expenses. Revenues are down $1.8 million for Fiscal Year 2011, and there is a $3 million deficit in the general fund, likely to have increased to $4 million by Fiscal Year 2013. Eighty full-time city employees will have been eliminated by the end of FY 2011, with more staff reductions expected for FY 2012, and staff are taking more and more furlough days. The city is expected to continue spending money on priority programs like the 2020 Vision, a collaboration with the Berkeley Unified School District, and was asked by two public speakers to prioritize retrofitting unsafe buildings and maintaining affordable housing. -more-

UC Lab Readies P.R. for West Berkeley Land Grab (News Analysis)

By Zelda Bronstein
Wednesday December 15, 2010 - 09:19:00 AM

Last Saturday afternoon I got a call asking if I was willing to take a survey about my opinion of local issues. I opt out of phone polls, except when they’re about local affairs—not because I think my responses are going to make more of a difference in the local context, but because I usually learn something about Berkeley politics that I wouldn’t know otherwise. So it was with this one, which turned out to be testing the waters of public opinion in preparation for Lawrence Berkeley National Lab’s coming incursion into West Berkeley. -more-

Updated: EGRET Evicted from Building in Berkeley's Aquatic Park (News Analysis)

By Joe Eaton, with Charlotte Perry-Houts
Tuesday December 14, 2010 - 06:10:00 PM

Nothing brightens the holiday season quite like an eviction.

This Monday afternoon, Mark Liolios, founder of the Aquatic Park Environmental Greening, Restoration, and Education Team (EGRET), locked up the Cabin, also known as the Model Boat Building, the structure he and his environmental stewardship group have been using as an interpretive center. The Berkeley Parks and Recreation Department had demanded that EGRET and its sponsoring organization Berkeley Partners for Parks accept the city’s terms for a lease on the building or vacate it by December 14. The city offered to provide a tool shed for the group’s use if the second option was chosen. -more-

AIPAC Comes to Oakland: Seven Protesters Arrested (News Analysis)

By Gar Smith
Tuesday December 14, 2010 - 08:08:00 PM

When the American Israel Political Action Committee (AIPAC) comes to town, demonstrations are sure to follow and, on Monday night, December 13, Oakland was no exception. -more-

Holiday Street Fair Takes a Bite Out of South Side Crime: Or Does It?

by Ted Friedman
Tuesday December 14, 2010 - 07:17:00 PM

Sweeping into town on the mist of a warm London fog, the 27th Telegraph Ave. Holiday Street Fair may have taken a bite out of south side crime. -more-

Celebrate the Solstice at the César Chávez Sundial

By Gar Smith
Tuesday December 14, 2010 - 12:56:00 PM

With the approach of the winter solstice on December 20, druids, stargazers and the science-minded are preparing to converge on “Berkeley’s Stonehenge” — the César Chávez Memorial Sundial, perched high atop a hill in the Berkeley Marina. The solstice officially begins at 23:38 Coordinated Universal Time on December 21 and, occurs at 3:38 PM Pacific Standard Time in the Bay Area but Chavez Memorial founder Santiago Casal explains: “We are holding [the ceremony on the 20th] in order to experience the simultaneous full moonrise and inform people about the lunar eclipse later that night. ” -more-

Oakland PEN Writing Awards Honor Paul Krassner, Local Writers

By Gar Smith
Tuesday December 14, 2010 - 12:49:00 PM

On Saturday afternoon, more than 100 literary buffs descended on the Rockridge Library and squeezed their way into a crowded upstairs meeting room to celebrate the winners of PEN Oakland’s 2010 Josephine Miles Literary Awards. -more-

Press Release: Civil Resistance Planned for Federal Building in San Francisco

From Grandmothers Against the War
Tuesday December 14, 2010 - 04:50:00 PM

On Thursday, December 16, Veterans for Peace and others will stage the largest veteran-led civil resistance to U.S. wars in recent history. After a rally at Lafayette Park in Washington, DC, many will engage in nonviolent civil resistance at the White House. -more-

Press Release: Concerned Library Users (CLU) Group Prevails in Library Suit

From Concerned Library Users
Wednesday December 15, 2010 - 09:36:00 AM

The City of Berkeley has agreed to settle part of the lawsuit brought by Concerned Library Users (CLU) regarding inadequate environmental review of an ordinance facilitating public library demolitions. -more-

Press Release: Environmental Justice Case Study: Bayer MaterialScience, Baytown (Texas)

From the Coalition on Bayer Dangers (Germany)
Monday December 13, 2010 - 09:41:00 PM

The Bayer Group was listed as the most toxic company in the U.S. in the March 2010 release of the University of Massachusetts (UMass)’ Political Economy Resource Institute (PERI) “Toxic 100 Air Polluters’ Index”, which is a scorecard listing the 100 top air polluters in the U.S. based on chemical release data from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)’s 2006 Toxics Release Inventory (TRI). The TRI measures the weight in pounds of about 600 chemicals released into the air based on reports submitted annually by the facilities as required under the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act. The EPA Office of Pollution Prevention and Toxics then uses the TRI data to assess the related human health risk based on three factors: -more-

Press Release: Nine Robbery Suspects Arrested by Berkeley Police

From Sgt. Mary Kusmiss
Wednesday December 15, 2010 - 10:05:00 AM

Members of the City of Berkeley Police Department (BPD) have made nine (9) arrests of robbery suspects citywide in recent days. The arrests were a result in part by a departmental focus that included crime analysis, increased communication and the use of additional BPD personnel to concentrate patrol in several areas of the city that were identified as locations where robberies have taken place. -more-

Holiday Scenes in Berkeley, 2010

Steven Finacom
Tuesday December 14, 2010 - 09:29:00 PM

The second week in December was filled with festive holiday events and seasonal color in Berkeley. -more-



Updated: Much Ado about Not Much: Wikileaks Comes to the Berkeley City Council

By Becky O'Malley
Monday December 13, 2010 - 09:41:00 PM

An enormous hoo-ha has developed over a resolution passed by Berkeley’s Peace and Justice Commission (commonly known as P&J). Seven of the good and sincere souls on that body think that it’s time to support Private Bradley Manning, who is suspected of providing WikiLeaks with fodder for its leaks heard round the world: release of (mostly not classified) contents of diplomatic cables and other embarrassing miscellany. -more-

The Editor's Back Fence

Check Out These Links

Monday December 13, 2010 - 06:39:00 PM

Richard Brenneman tipped us off that Courthouse News has reported that a photojournalist is suing U.C. Berkeley because he was detained by U.C. police while covering the demonstration at the Chancellor's House a year ago. -more-


Cartoon Page: Odd Bodkins, BOUNCE

Tuesday December 14, 2010 - 04:38:00 PM

Public Comment

Letters to the Editor

Tuesday December 14, 2010 - 10:44:00 PM

A Christmas Carol;"Fair Game"; Ishmael Reed’s New York Times Op-Ed; Beware the Evil Republicans -more-

Measure FF and Branch Library Demolitions

By Steven Finacom
Monday December 13, 2010 - 05:56:00 PM

A community group, Concerned Library Users, recently sued the City of Berkeley to, in part, stop the illegal use of bond funds for the demolition of two branch libraries.

Although the lawsuit has been excoriated and ridiculed by some public officials and community members it is, in my view, a justifiable and important effort to restrain the City from improperly changing the voter-approved use of bond money. -more-

Why the Labor Show Isn't on KPFA

By David Bacon
Wednesday December 15, 2010 - 09:19:00 AM

To listeners of the labor show on KPFA,

Today is the fifth Wednesday that you haven't heard the labor show at its normal time, 7:30 AM on Wednesday. I'm writing to explain why, and to ask you to take action to support the work we've done and would like to continue. -more-

Take Action Now to Make Hearst and Le Roy Safer

By Laura Morsch and Enrique Ruacho, Hearst and LeRoy Pedestrians United for Safety (HeLP US)
Tuesday December 14, 2010 - 04:54:00 PM

On August 23, a student pedestrian was hit by a car and injured at Hearst and Le Roy Aves., along the northern border of the University of California campus. The accident was simultaneously tragic and unsurprising, as pedestrians and drivers alike struggle to negotiate this contested intersection. It’s time for the City of Berkeley to take action. -more-

Don't Ask, Don't Tell Can Still Be Repealed

By Logan Buckley and Arielle Swernoff
Tuesday December 14, 2010 - 10:46:00 PM

As often as the United States Senate fails to produce necessary and effective legislation, on Thursday, the body outdid itself. By failing to repeal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”, Senate Republicans (aided by Democrat Joe Manchin) promoted discrimination, compromised our security, and showed gross disrespect and negligence towards the men and women who have volunteered to defend our country, for the sake of winning petty political squabbles. -more-


Dispatches From The Edge: Israel, Obama & The Bomb

By Conn Hallinan
Monday December 13, 2010 - 09:56:00 PM

This past July, a nuclear-armed nation, in violation of an international treaty, clandestinely agreed to supply uranium to a known proliferator of nuclear weapons. China and North Korea? No, the United States and Israel. -more-

Where This Road Has Led Us—and How We Can Turn Around

by Carol Polsgrove
Monday December 13, 2010 - 06:25:00 PM

[Editor's note: This is the first of a series of columns from correspondents outside of Berkeley on topics which shed light on what's happening here. Carol Polsgrove, here reporting on environmental activism in the Midwest, has lived in the Bay Area, which she still visits often. She writes about environmental issues for the Huffington Post's Green page.]

I remember my first ride on a new four-lane highway through the Kentucky countryside, and what a fine road it was: smooth, wide, and uncrowded. We just floated along in our Chevrolet—Mother, Daddy, my little brother and me, back home from Nigeria where roads were usually unpaved laterite and we bounced through clouds of dust, moving over now and then to let herds of long-horned cows pass. It was 1956, and America was zooming full-bore into what looked like a bright future of suburban homes with two-car garages.

I think of that now as state surveyors move into my Indiana community to chart the route of an interstate highway—maybe the last interstate highway that will be built in the United States, if it is built at all, a question I hope still hangs in the air. As our town tries to dig its way out of the mess that twentieth-century America has made of itself, we can hardly imagine that what we need now at the dawn of the post-oil age is another highway. -more-

The Public Eye:Barack Obama: Negotiating With Vipers

By Bob Burnett
Monday December 13, 2010 - 07:01:00 PM

In his inaugural address, John Kennedy said, “Let us never negotiate out of fear, but let us never fear to negotiate.” JFK was referring to US deliberations with Russia, but his words apply to the current political reality. President Obama’s tax cut “deal” was negotiated out of fear.

The President knows this. In his December 7th Press conference Obama acknowledged: “…the middle-class tax cuts were being held hostage to the high-end tax cuts. I think it’s tempting not to negotiate with hostage-takers, unless the hostage gets harmed… In this case, the hostage was the American people and I was not willing to see them get harmed.”

Like so many of his excuses, Obama’s explanation doesn’t hold up. This “hostage-taking” didn’t happen suddenly; the Republican hostage takers didn’t burst into the Oval Office with a bomb and announce: “Either you continue the Bush tax cuts for millionaires or this place is dust.” For months, Barack Obama knew that Republicans were cutthroats, who wouldn’t hesitate to hold the working people of America hostage in order to secure a tax-cut “ransom” for the rich and powerful. Obama saw the hostage-taking coming but did nothing to prevent it. -more-

Wild Neighbors: A Hawk in the Park

By Joe Eaton
Monday December 13, 2010 - 06:21:00 PM
Pale Male with stick.

I may risk losing my curmudgeon status by saying this in public, but The Legend of Pale Male got to me, despite my high threshold of resistance to anything heartwarming. The documentary is now at the Shattuck, where such films tend to wind up. I don’t know how long it’s playing, and would recommend catching it before it goes away. See www.thelegendofpalemale for details. -more-

Eclectic Rant: Demise of the Celtic Tiger

By Ralph E. Stone
Tuesday December 14, 2010 - 04:40:00 PM

I read with interest Conn Hallinan's interesting, informative article, Dispatches From the Edge: The Great Hunger Returns (Dec. 6, 2010). Last year, my wife and I visited the Republic of Ireland. While the Irish newspapers hinted at economic difficulties, tourists and probably most Irish citizens still saw Ireland as the Celtic Tiger. Perhaps it was mass Irish denial. -more-

Senior Power: “People wish their enemies dead, but I do not; I say give them the GOUT…!”

By Helen Rippier Wheeler
Monday December 13, 2010 - 03:03:00 PM

"People wish their enemies dead, but I do not; I say give them the GOUT…!” —Mary Wortley Montagu (1689 – 1762), English writer. -more-

On Mental Illness: Dealing with SSI

By Jack Bragen
Monday December 13, 2010 - 07:09:00 PM

My wife’s recent work attempt and possibly my published writing apparently attracted the attention of those at the social security administration. -more-

Arts & Events

Stage-San Francisco Through December 26

Tuesday December 14, 2010 - 05:52:00 PM

"CIRQUE DU SOLEIL'S OVO," -- through Jan. 24. A lively rush into a world of insects and acrobatics. Written and directed by Deborah Colker. See website for times, dates and complete details. Performances take place under the "Grand Chapiteau'' at AT&T Park. -more-

Stage-East Bay Through December 26

Tuesday December 14, 2010 - 05:51:00 PM


Professional Dance- Through December 26

Tuesday December 14, 2010 - 05:50:00 PM


Classical Music-San Francisco Through December 26

Tuesday December 14, 2010 - 05:42:00 PM

AUDIUM -more-

Classical Music-East Bay Through December 26

Tuesday December 14, 2010 - 05:41:00 PM


Popmusic-East Bay Through December 26

Tuesday December 14, 2010 - 05:50:00 PM


Press Release: MEO Productions and the Oaks Theater Present POWER TRIP – Theatrically Berkeley

Tuesday December 14, 2010 - 07:33:00 PM

On Saturday December 18th at Noon at The Oaks Theater 1875 Solano Ave, North Berkeley, there will be a special showing of Power Trip –Theatrically Berkeley (78min) by Emio Tomeoni.

Power Trip – Theatrically Berkeley is a journey through modern day Berkeley politics and theatrics. With exclusive interviews from top policy makers and prominent noise makers, Power Trip is an unfiltered look at the frantic pace of the activists and reactionists, asking only one question: Does anything actually ever get done here? -more-

Book Review: Dancing With Dynamite

By Conn Hallinan
Tuesday December 14, 2010 - 11:28:00 AM

Dancing With Dynamite: Social Movements and States in Latin America

By Benjamin Dangl, AK Press, 2010, $15.95

Dynamite is dangerous stuff. Drop it and you visit the clouds. Misuse it and you might just to blow up the neighborhood. Which is why Benjamin Dangl’s use of the word in the title of his book on Latin America’s leftish surge is so apt. Social movements can be explosive. -more-

Don't Miss This: Seasonal Treats

By Dorothy Snodgrass
Monday December 13, 2010 - 06:47:00 PM

"Chestnuts roasting on an open fire, Jack Frost nipping at your nose." You're probably far too busy wrapping packages, addressing cards and baking fruit cakes, to be roasting chestnuts. And you may well be looking around for festive events to celebrate Christmas and New Year's. So, herewith are holidays activities that may strike your fancy without hitting your budget. -more-

Eye From the Aisle: SALT TWO at Shotgun—True Artistry v. Tedium

By John A. McMullen II
Monday December 13, 2010 - 05:58:00 PM
Features Elena Wright, Charisse Loriaux,
                Dan Bruno, Rami Margron, Emily Rosenthal.

THE SALT PLAYS, PART TWO: OF THE EARTH is the second installment of Jon Tracy’s take on the Greek Epics produced by the Shotgun Players. It is a work of art, hauntingly beautiful in design, fascinating in choreography, impeccably executed lighting and sound, excellently acted. But it is often tedious. Go figure. -more-

Around and About

By Ken Bullock
Tuesday December 14, 2010 - 04:38:00 PM

The second, final part of Jon Tracy's The Salt Plays, Of the Earth, produced by Shotgun Players, this time indoors (after last summer's In the Wound, at John Hinkel Park), is playing at the Ashby Stage. The best-looking of the Tracy productions I've seen—he has a flair for design concepts—Of the Earth is a take on Homer's Odyssey, following the Iliad of In the Wound. -more-

Museums-East Bay Through December 26

Tuesday December 14, 2010 - 05:48:00 PM

AFRICAN AMERICAN MUSEUM AND LIBRARY AT OAKLAND ongoing. The Oakland Public Library's museum is designed to discover, preserve, interpret and share the cultural and historical experiences of African Americans in California and the West. In addition, a three-panel mural is on permanent display. -more-

Museums-San Francisco Through December 26

Tuesday December 14, 2010 - 05:48:00 PM

ASIAN ART MUSEUM OF SAN FRANCISCO The Asian Art Museum-Chon-Moon Lee Center for Asian Art and Culture recently unveiled its new building in San Francisco's Civic Center. The building, the former San Francisco Public Library, has been completely retrofitted and rebuilt to house San Francisco's significant collection of Asian treasures. The museum offers complimentary audio tours of the museum's collection galleries. "In a New Light," ongoing. There are some 2,500 works displayed in the museum's new galleries. They cover all the major cultures of Asia and include Indian stone sculptures, intricately carved Chinese jades, Korean paintings, Tibetan thanksgas, Cambodian Buddhas, Islamic manuscripts and Japanese basketry and kimonos. -more-

General-East Bay Through December 26

Tuesday December 14, 2010 - 05:46:00 PM

"BERKELEY ARTISANS HOLIDAY OPEN STUDIOS," -- through Dec. 19. More than 100 artists and craftspeople will be showing their works, including glass, ceramics, furniture, photography, paintings, and much more. -more-

Highlights-East Bay Through December 26

Tuesday December 14, 2010 - 05:46:00 PM

"BERKELEY ARTISANS HOLIDAY OPEN STUDIOS," -- through Dec. 19. More than 100 artists and craftspeople will be showing their works, including glass, ceramics, furniture, photography, paintings, and much more. -more-

Exhibits-San Francisco Through December 26

Tuesday December 14, 2010 - 05:45:00 PM

"CANDLESTICK PARK ANTIQUES & COLLECTIBLES FAIRE," -- Dec. 19. More than 500 booths of antiques and collectibles will be available to browse at this huge show. Event takes place in the parking lot at Candlestick Park, San Francisco. -more-

Galleries-San Francisco Through December 26

Tuesday December 14, 2010 - 05:45:00 PM

"CANDLESTICK PARK ANTIQUES & COLLECTIBLES FAIRE," -- Dec. 19. More than 500 booths of antiques and collectibles will be available to browse at this huge show. Event takes place in the parking lot at Candlestick Park, San Francisco. -more-

Exhibits-East Bay Through December 26

Tuesday December 14, 2010 - 05:44:00 PM

"BERKELEY ARTISANS HOLIDAY OPEN STUDIOS," -- through Dec. 19. More than 100 artists and craftspeople will be showing their works, including glass, ceramics, furniture, photography, paintings, and much more. -more-

Outdoors-East Bay Through December 26

Tuesday December 14, 2010 - 05:49:00 PM

ARDENWOOD HISTORIC FARM Ardenwood farm is a working farm that dates back to the time of the Patterson Ranch, a 19th-century estate with a mansion and Victorian Gardens. Today, the farm still practices farming techniques from the 1870s. Unless otherwise noted, programs are free with regular admission. -more-

Kids-East Bay Through December 26

Tuesday December 14, 2010 - 05:47:00 PM

"TELEGRAPH AVENUE HOLIDAY STREET FAIR," -- through Dec. 24. The event will feature festive lights, colorful decorations and a multicultural shopping atmosphere featuring more than 200 street artists, merchants, and community groups. -more-

Dance-East Bay Through December 26

Tuesday December 14, 2010 - 05:43:00 PM