The Week

The new Berkeley Public Library "BranchVan" was purchased and registered with nearly $88,000 in funds taken from Berkeley's Measure FF bond designated to renovate and expand the four branch libraries.  The mobile bookmobile is parked on Bancroft Way, west of Shattuck, in a former yellow zone now designated by the City as a reserved parking spot for the vehicle.
Steven Finacom
The new Berkeley Public Library "BranchVan" was purchased and registered with nearly $88,000 in funds taken from Berkeley's Measure FF bond designated to renovate and expand the four branch libraries. The mobile bookmobile is parked on Bancroft Way, west of Shattuck, in a former yellow zone now designated by the City as a reserved parking spot for the vehicle.


Press Release: Alameda County D. A. Announces a Major Operation Against Large-scale Prostitution Ring in Berkeley and Throughout the Bay Area.

From the Alameda County District Attorney's Office
Friday January 21, 2011 - 02:31:00 PM

On January 20, 2011, a team of 125 law enforcement personnel assisted the Hayward Police Department (HPD) in serving search and arrest warrants at ten locations in Alameda, Contra Costa and Santa Clara counties. Participating agencies include Hayward, Oakland, Berkeley, Sunnyvale, Newark, Danville, and San Jose Police Departments, Contra Costa and Santa Clara County Sheriffs Offices, California Department of Justice, Federal Bureau of Investigations, Internal Revenue Service, U.S. Attorney’s Office, and the Alameda County District Attorney’s Office (ACDAO). Yesterday’s joint effort was intended as both an enforcement and rescue operation. Eight people were arrested for their role in operating the ring. Ten adult females were recovered, provided with support services, and all but one taken into custody. Asian Community Mental Health, Standing Against Global Exploitation, Bay Area Women Against Rape, Women Inc., Community Violence Solutions and an ACDAO H.E.A.T. (Human Exploitation and Trafficking) Unit advocate participated in the operation. The investigation as well efforts to further identify victims and suspects is ongoing. -more-

New: Sex Change Surgery is Beside the Point (Reader Commentary)

By Barbara Gilbert
Thursday January 20, 2011 - 03:44:00 PM

Sex change surgery is beside the point when examining Berkeley’s budget and its employee health care program. -more-

Press Release: UC Berkeley appoints new vice chancellor for administration and finance

Thursday January 20, 2011 - 11:52:00 AM

University of California, Berkeley, Chancellor Robert Birgeneau today (Thursday, Jan. 20) announced the appointment of John Wilton, an economist and senior manager with nearly 25 years’ experience with the World Bank, as UC Berkeley’s chief administrative officer. -more-

Flash: UC Berkeley Appoints Former World Bank Executive to Finance Position

Thursday January 20, 2011 - 09:59:00 AM

An anonymous correspondent has forwarded to the Planet the following letter from U.C. Berkeley Chancellor Robert Birgenau, announcing the appointment of a former World Bank executive to the position of Vice Chancellor for Administration and Finance: -more-

Berkeley Council Worksession Examines Unfunded Liabilities

By Charlotte Perry-Houts
Thursday January 20, 2011 - 09:56:00 AM

The Berkeley City Council discussed the city's unfunded liabilities with City Auditor Anne-Marie Hogan, City Manager Phil Kamlarz, and Budget Manager Teresa Berkeley-Simmons at Tuesday night's Worksession. Facing a projected $11.5 million deficit this fiscal year, the city is trying to figure out how to deal with its employees' pension, vacation, and health benefits that it doesn't have the money to pay for. Hogan's report shows that while 77% of the city's total benefits are funded, several categories of benefits are significantly lower, with only 2% of Sick and Vacation payouts funded and 13% of Police Retiree Medical expenses funded. The report lists the dollar amount of unfunded liabilities to be $252.81 million. -more-

Berkeley Council Approves Local Hiring, Safeway Project--Postpones Funding Sex Reassignment.

By Charlotte Perry-Houts
Thursday January 20, 2011 - 09:23:00 AM

At Tuesday night's regular meeting, the Berkeley City Council took action on the Community Workforce Agreement, discussed sex reassignment surgery, and upheld a ZAB decision to allow the Safeway on North Shattuck to expand and remodel. Councilmember Max Anderson was absent due to back problems. -more-

Library Buys Temporary Bookmobile – Paid for out of Branch Permanent Renovation Funds

By Steven Finacom
Wednesday January 19, 2011 - 07:44:00 AM

The City of Berkeley has purchased and registered with the State, at a cost of nearly $88,000, a bookmobile to bring limited Berkeley Public Library services to Berkeley neighborhoods when their branch libraries are closed down for renovation or demolition, starting this year.

To buy and register the temporary-use van the City dipped into bond money Berkeley voters approved for the permanent physical renovation of the branches. -more-

Massive West Berkeley Rezoning on Council Agenda (News Analysis)

By Zelda Bronstein
Wednesday January 19, 2011 - 02:42:00 PM

On January 25, the council will twice consider sweeping changes to West Berkeley zoning will be that would open the district up to high-rise, high-density, Emeryville-style development. In the works for three years, the proposed changes will come to the council for the first time at a 5:30 worksession. Then they are the subject of a public hearing at the council’s regular meeting, which starts at 7 pm. Both meetings will take place at Old City Hall, 2134 Martin Luther King, Jr., Way. -more-

Press Release: UC Berkeley Police Report Armed Robbery on Grizzly Peak

From UC Berkeley Police Departent
Wednesday January 19, 2011 - 12:50:00 PM

On Tuesday, January 18, 2011 at approximately 11:30 p.m. an armed robbery occurred at “Vista Point” located at sign post 15 on Grizzly Peak. The male and female victims, both non-affiliates, were sitting in their parked car when four men exited a large pickup truck and approached their car. One suspect stood in the back of the vehicle to prevent it from leaving while another suspect approached the passenger side and pointed an automatic handgun at the victim. The other two suspects, wearing black ski masks, were standing next to the driver’s side window. The suspect with the gun spoke in both Spanish and English and demanded the victims’ property. The victims complied and the four suspects were last seen fleeing the scene in their pickup truck northbound on Grizzly Peak. UCPD searched the area but was unable to locate the suspects or the pickup truck. The victims were not injured during this incident. -more-

Firefighters Battle Two Alarm Blaze

By Bay City News
Tuesday January 18, 2011 - 09:57:00 AM

Firefighters battled a residential blaze that broke out near downtown Berkeley this morning, the city's fire chief said.


Press Release: Books Available for Local Schools

By Anne Hawkins
Wednesday January 19, 2011 - 12:47:00 PM

Bruce Larkin, owner of Wilbooks, Inc and author of over 900 children’s books, has pledged that his company will donate 2,000 local interest books to Alameda County elementary schools in 2011. Wilbooks is a donor to the East Bay Children’s Book Project, and Larkin has even written a book about the literacy charity called “A Book For Every Child.” -more-

Timothy J. Moellering, 1957-2011

Friday January 21, 2011 - 12:39:00 PM

Timothy J. Moellering , 53, of Berkeley, passed away on January 18, 2011. Tim was born in Chicago on September 7, 1957, but lived in Berkeley since the age of 2. -more-



Celebrating and Preserving Our Civil Liberties

By Becky O'Malley
Wednesday January 19, 2011 - 12:41:00 PM

This week marks the 25th anniversary of the first observance of the U.S. holiday honoring Martin Luther King, Jr. President Ronald Reagan signed the bill establishing it in 1983, but the holiday took until January 20, 1986, to get going. The states took their own sweet time getting on board—it was not until 2000 that all 50 states recognized Martin Luther King Day as a real holiday. And even today in some benighted parts of the country people can be surly about it -more-


Cartoon Page: Odd Bodkins, BOUNCE

Wednesday January 19, 2011 - 12:08:00 PM

Public Comment

Letters to the Editor

Wednesday January 19, 2011 - 10:56:00 AM

Guns; Anagram; Gun Violence; The Violence and the Rhetoric; Darfur; Another Predictably Inane Editorial; Re: banning guns and/or high-capacity magazines; A short allegory in reference to current events; Living Independently; People's Park does not want a tree sit -more-

Changes to YMCA Warm Pool are Bad for Disabled Users

By Lorie Brillinger
Wednesday January 19, 2011 - 08:00:00 AM

The people taking the arthritis water classes at the Berkeley "Y" have been unpleasantly surprised by an error made in restoring the "Shallow Pool". All 3 pools are being given new water purification systems, and new tiling, etc. The pool we were using was out of commission for 3 months., so although were using Grace's Pool for our classes, we were glad on Jan.3, 2011 to get back to the pool we had been using before. Our classes are three times/week, and many of us had been attending these classes for 2 or more years. -more-


Dispatches From The Edge:Afghanistan: Killing Peace

By Conn Hallinan
Wednesday January 19, 2011 - 09:17:00 AM

In spite of a White House declaration that “progress” is being made in Afghanistan, by virtually any measure the war has deteriorated significantly since the Obama Administration surged troops into Kandahar and Helmand provinces. This past year has been the deadliest on record for U.S. and coalition troops. Civilian casualties are on the rise, and, according to the Red Cross, security has worsened throughout the country. U.S. allies are falling away, and the central government in Kabul has never been so isolated. Polls in Afghanistan, the U.S. and Europe reflect growing opposition to the nine-year conflict. -more-

The Public Eye: Is the Giffords Shooting a Teachable Moment?

By Bob Burnett
Wednesday January 19, 2011 - 09:00:00 AM

While there is little doubt about the facts of the Tucson tragedy, that one man pulled the trigger on the automatic revolver that shot Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, killed six others, and wounded 12 more, the open question is whether it is a teachable moment. -more-

On Mental Illness: My Take on the Tucson Shootings

By Jack Bragen
Wednesday January 19, 2011 - 09:59:00 AM

I am deeply saddened and shocked at the shooting in Tucson, and my heart goes out to the families of the victims of it, and to the survivors. In order for a person to commit such a crime, in addition to suffering from Schizophrenia, (which I also suffer from), the perpetrator must have a complete disregard for human life, and must completely lack any shred of conscience, (unlike me).


Eclectic Rant:Preventing Identity Theft

By Ralph E. Stone
Wednesday January 19, 2011 - 09:26:00 AM

Identity theft is a serious crime. It occurs when your personal information is stolen and used without your knowledge to commit fraud or other crimes. Identity theft can cost you time and money. It can destroy your credit rating and ruin your good name. By taking a few cautionary steps, you can deter, detect, and defend against identity theft. -more-

Senior Power:The Driving Force

By Helen Rippier Wheeler
Wednesday January 19, 2011 - 08:08:00 AM

I fell down recently, in downtown Berkeley, California – blood, paramedics and firefighters from Fire House #5, police, cervical collar, ambulance – the whole megillah. And there was a woman who heard the 155-pound thud, called 911, and came out of her store and stayed with me. My thanks to all of these people. They did a great job. Guys and gal: you were great. -more-

Arts & Events

Stage-East Bay Through January 30

Wednesday January 19, 2011 - 01:37:00 PM


Stage-San Francisco Through January 30

Wednesday January 19, 2011 - 01:37:00 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-

Professional Dance Through January 30

Wednesday January 19, 2011 - 01:36:00 PM


Readings-East Bay Through January 30

Wednesday January 19, 2011 - 01:36:00 PM


Galleries-San Francisco Through January 30

Wednesday January 19, 2011 - 01:27:00 PM


Classical Music-San Francisco Through January 30

Wednesday January 19, 2011 - 01:24:00 PM

AUDIUM -more-

Classical Music-East Bay Through January 30

Wednesday January 19, 2011 - 01:23:00 PM


Popmusic-East Bay Through January 30

Wednesday January 19, 2011 - 01:34:00 PM

924 GILMAN ST. All ages welcome. -more-

Annual 'Noir City' festival shines a spotlight on cinematic darkness

By Justin DeFreitas
Wednesday January 19, 2011 - 09:59:00 AM
Olivia de Havilland portrays identical twins caught in a murder investigation in Robert Siodmak's The Dark Mirror (1946).

The American roots of film noir begin with the crime fiction that emerged during the 1930s from the pens of writers like Dashiell Hammett, Raymond Chandler, James M. Cain, and multitudes of lesser-known talents. In the wake of the Great Depression, these pulp authors reshaped the literary landscape with dark, cynical, morally ambivalent tales of crime, sex and vice — stories steeped in shadowy imagery, tough talk, and a hardscrabble hyper-realism that portrayed a brutal, hostile world. There were no heroes, only anti-heroes — self-preserving pragmatists whose cynicism was born of dashed hopes and faded ideals.

It was only a matter of time before these stories infiltrated Hollywood, merging with the stark, shadowy imagery of German Expressionism, which crossed the Atlantic along with the refugees who left Germany just ahead of Hitler's advancing stormtroopers. And thus a bold and distinctly downbeat genre was born, a German-American hybrid that introduced a stock of melodramatic characters: the dangerous and brooding urban gangster-villain; the tormented innocent caught up in nefarious circumstances beyond his control or comprehension; the icy, diabolical femme fatale; and an array of edgy protagonists ranging from the introspective, tormented, world-weary anti-hero to the twitchy, slippery, would-be hero, the third-rate, small-time hood looking to get ahead in a hostile world for which he is ill-equipped.

Noir City, the annual film festival that celebrates these dark cinematic gems and presents them on the big screen in all their tawdry glory, returns to San Francisco's Castro Theater this Friday with another 10-day program of dames, destruction and depravity. The festival is full of rarities; in fact, most of films in this year's program are not available on DVD. -more-

Around and About in the Performing Arts

By Ken Bullock
Wednesday January 19, 2011 - 09:35:00 AM

--Berkeley Symphony produces Landscapes of Sound, this Thursday's concert at 8, Zellerbach Hall on the UC campus, featuring the world premiere of Du Yu's orchestral piece Mantichora, celebrating the Manticore, fabulous beast with the body of a red lion and a very toothy human head, as well as Olivier Messaien's Oiseaux exotiques, featuring pianist Natasha Paremski (Berkeley Symphony has a long relationship with Messaien's groundbreaking music, Kent Nagano having worked with the composer decades ago) and Beethoven'sSymphony no. 6 in F major, The Pastoral Symphony, all under the baton of musical director Joana Carneiro. Pre-concert talk at 7. Tickets: $20-$60. 841-2800; -more-

Film Review: The Illusionist: The Re-animation of Jacques Tati

By Gar Smith
Wednesday January 19, 2011 - 09:12:00 AM

The wordless French comic, Jacques Tati (“Mr. Hulot’s Holiday,” “Mon Oncle”), lives again, thanks to the magic of a well-drawn line and the vision of Sylvain Chomet (director of the Oscar-winning animated feature, “The Triplets of Belleville”). -more-

Eye from the Aisle: Teatro Zinzanni--Save up your singles for a special occasion!

By John A. McMullen II
Wednesday January 19, 2011 - 09:10:00 AM

I never went to TEATRO ZINZANNI before because it seemed so expensive. But I now recommend starting to squirrel away a dollar a day in your special occasion piggy bank, because THIS IS THE PLACE TO GO. -more-

Museums-San Francisco Through January 30

Wednesday January 19, 2011 - 01:33:00 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-

Outdoors-North Bay Through January 30

Wednesday January 19, 2011 - 01:33:00 PM

ANGEL ISLAND STATE PARK ongoing. On the island there are guided history tours, TramTour and nature walks featuring the Quarantine Station, the ImTramTour are one-hour, audio-enhanced tours which cover the island's military history from the Civil War to the Cold War; its past use as an immigration station where 175,000 Chinese, other Asians and Europeans were detanted on the island. Call for ferry schedule. -more-

Kids-East Bay Through January 30

Wednesday January 19, 2011 - 01:32:00 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-

Museums-East Bay Through January 30

Wednesday January 19, 2011 - 01:32:00 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-

Highlights-East Bay Through January 30

Wednesday January 19, 2011 - 01:31:00 PM

ARMANDO'S -more-

General-East Bay Through January 30

Wednesday January 19, 2011 - 01:28:00 PM

"INTERNATIONAL FILM SHOWCASE," -- Jan. 28. A chance to view extraordinary movies not usually made available to the general public. -more-

Exhibits-San Francisco Through January 30

Wednesday January 19, 2011 - 01:25:00 PM

"SUN SPHERES," -- ongoing. "Sun Spheres'' is a trio of mosaic sculptures by artist Laurel True at the intersection of Ocean and G -more-

Exhibits-East Bay Through January 30

Wednesday January 19, 2011 - 01:24:00 PM