A 39-year-old man who was fatally shot by Oakland police on Saturday morning was carrying a replica rifle, police said. -more-
A man brandishing "a very real looking replica firearm" was shot and killed by officers this morning in Oakland, according to Oakland Police spokeswoman Holly Joshi. -more-
Ten people have been charged with conspiracy, pimping, pandering and human trafficking for allegedly running a prostitution ring in three counties, a spokeswoman for the Alameda County District Attorney's Office said today.
The charges stem from a year-long, multi-agency investigation that culminated last week with search and arrest warrants being carried out at 10 locations in Alameda, Contra Costa and Santa Clara counties on Thursday to break up the alleged ring.
One such search was conducted in Berkeley, in an apartment building at 713 Essex Way in Berkeley. Essex Way is a short private street in a new complex between Fourth Street and the old railroad station which is now the home of Brennan’s restaurant. The former Brennan’s building was demolished to make way for the new project.
According to Captain Darryl McAllister of the Hayward Police, not enough evidence was recovered in the Berkeley raid to provide probable cause for arrests here. -more-
When I spent the Summer of 1980 in Cairo the Middle East, it was a time of heady optimism in the immediate aftermath of the Camp David accords. One of the maxims at the time was a comparison of the Egyptian and Palestinian people. It was said that both the Palestinians and Egyptians were poor, but whereas the Palestinians were miserable, the Egyptians were relatively happy. Not so anymore. -more-
Stewart Edward "Stew" Albert was a Brooklyn-born, Berkeley-bred anti-war political activist, poet and publisher in the 1960s. Stew made the trek to San Francisco in 1965 and, within days of running into poet Allen Ginsberg at the City Lights Bookstore, he was working with the Vietnam Day Committee. (The VDC went on to host a historic Teach-In on the Berkeley campus with speeches from Norman Mailer and Ken Kesey and songs by Phil Ochs). It was in Berkeley that Stew met Jerry Rubin and Abbie Hoffman — and joined them in co-founding the Youth International Party (aka the “Yippies”). -more-
The People's Park tree-sit protest ended at 3:30 a.m. Friday morning after a stabbing in the occupied tree and a massive U.C. Police Department show of force.
The protest was three months old at the time of death.
Before the six hour stand off was over, there had been in addition to the stabbing, a cordoning off of the Northwest corner of the park, and a police build-up that at times involved ten officers, two support vehicles, a utility truck, a fire engine, an ambulance, and as many as six squad cars. -more-
The Berkeley City Council returned to the now ten-year-old Open Government debate on Tuesday evening. Deputy City Manager Chris Daniel presented the staff’s ordinance draft, which addressed some, but not all, of the open government issues which have been raised by citizens in the last decade. A more comprehensive citizen-drafted Sunshine Ordinance has qualified by initiative petition for the November election ballot. -more-
Tuesday night's work session and public hearing at the Berkeley City Council went into the details and concerns regarding West Berkeley. City planning staff have been working on restructuring West Berkeley for the last three years, as an update to the last West Berkeley Plan, which was drafted in 1985 and went into effect in 1998. -more-
A story in the Albany Patch online newspaper reports that Mark Rhoades, the former Berkeley Planning Director, has applied for a permit to open a marijuana dispensary in Albany. Rhoades was listed as a voting member of Berkeley's previous Medical Cannabis Commission in the minutes of the commission's November 2010 meeting, although the Berkeley City Clerk's office was unable to confirm his membership in the current commission, which replaced the former one after the November election. -more-
[Editor’s note: This is an experiment. This article is much longer than the ordinary Internet offering, but it’s worth the time it takes to read it, since what business interests(and the local officials who support them) want Berkeley to become is important to everyone who lives here. We’d like to get comments on the role of business in Berkeley from our readers, which we’ll post online as they come in. Send your email comments to email@example.com.]
On Monday the Berkeleyside website hosted a forum on local business at the Freight and Salvage Coffeehouse in downtown Berkeley.
About 200 people attended by my count, comprising an audience heavy with business people, Berkeleyside readers, developers, some City staff and officials, and a noticeable contingent of University administrators and staff.
The event was, by turns, a lively discussion of innovation and business financing on a regional and global scale, a confrontation between a frustrated merchant and a City Councilmember, a litany of attacks by political and business leaders on unnamed Others who allegedly oppose all change in Berkeley, an exploration of small business concerns from “street behavior” to parking and Internet competition, and a tent revival meeting preaching the gospel of changing city zoning rules and planning policies to promote development, particularly in West Berkeley and downtown. -more-
Over 300 people gathered at Thousand Oaks Elementary School last Friday evening for the school’s 8th annual Science Fair. Posters describing student experiments filled the cafeteria with displays that covered topics ranging from nutrition, to plant physiology, electro-chemistry, psychology, and even “kindergarten archaeology.” Proud students led parents around the room, joined up with friends to select goodies from the potluck dinner table, and went from table to table reading, touching, listening, and discovering. Displays ranged from posters with photos and a few descriptive words written in a kindergarten hand to large, interactive projects by teams of 5th graders. -more-
Sunday, January 23, 2011, new stories began to appear about the death that day of famed fitness guru Jack La Lanne at age 96. But some of them contained one striking error—apparently based on a mistaken AP wire service account, in which La Lanne was described as coming from “his native Oakland.”
While he started his fitness business in Oakland in the 1930s, La Lanne actually lived as a teenager in Berkeley on Spaulding Avenue, west of Downtown, attended Berkeley High School, and began his weight training and fitness regime in the back rooms of the Downtown Berkeley YMCA on Allston Way and Milvia and his own backyard and Berkeley parks. -more-
The holiday season is over and the good people who donated food and clothes and toys and money and who volunteered with soup kitchens to prepare and serve festive a dinner for the poor and hungry have gone back to their usual routines. Until the next holiday season brings out the public conscience, the poor and hungry continue their daily struggle to feed themselves and their families. -more-
In early November, the Executive Director of Pacifica, Arlene Englehardt seized all power at KPFA, firing the talented hosts of the station’s most popular locally produced program, and replacing it with one of her own choosing. She acted without consulting the Interim General Manager of the station or the Local Station Board (LSB). She didn’t ask to meet with the staff of the station or with the union that represents them. In her rush to fire the hosts of The Morning Show, she violated the terms of the union contract, trampled on KPFA's democratic system of local control, and created wide discontent and disillusionment among the listeners. -more-
An overwhelming majority of Berkeley citizens in a 1986 election approved the Nuclear Free Berkeley Act (NFBA). The Peace and Justice (P&J) Commission was established at that time to monitor the enforcement of the Act. The law states the City “shall grant no contract to any person or business which knowingly engages in work for Nuclear Weapons, unless the city council makes a specific determination that no reasonable alternative exists…”. Most of the proposed contracts that have come before the P&J Commission are with the University of California (UC) which manages the Nuclear Weapons labs. In the case of UC there is almost always, if not always, a finding of “no reasonable alternative.” -more-
“I arrived at length at Cairo, mother of cities and seat of Pharaoh the tyrant, mistress of broad regions and fruitful lands, boundless in multitude of buildings, peerless in beauty and splendor, the meeting-place of comer and goer, the halting-place of feeble and mighty, whose throngs surge as the waves of the sea, and can scarce be contained in her for all her size and capacity." This is a synopsis of what Ibn Battuta the great Moroccan traveler wrote of Cairo when he arrived there in year 1326. Although it is still a very important city in Arab world, it has lost some of that splendor through the ages. -more-
When the last tree-sit protester descended from his oak at the U.C. Memorial Stadium oak grove in 2008 after the longest urban tree-sit in America, the university had spent nearly a half million dollars for security, extra policing, and incidentals. -more-
On January 24, 2011, our local Berkeleyside blog [sic] sponsored a very informative forum on the subject of small businesses -- and I went to it. The first panel consisted of Carl Bass, CEO of AutoDesk, and Chris Anderson, editor of Wired magazine. Bass spoke on the many advantages that Berkeley has to offer anyone who might be considering starting up a tech-oriented small business here. "You have access to the global supply chain, labor, assets, IT, creativity and ideas. Stanford gave birth to Silicon Valley. UC Berkeley, one of the top research universities in the world, could also give birth to something on that scale of innovation." -more-
Some Berkeleyans care a lot about their libraries. Probably, most Berkeleyans care a lot about their libraries in principle, but some care even more and care more consistently. In the latter group, in the last few years, there’s been a tug of war between those who have ideas and plans for improvements in the name of progress, and those who aren’t so sure that all change is really progress. They’re all good people. -more-
The Editor's Back Fence
Our readers have sent us great links this week: -more-
For the past decade, American policy vis-à-vis Latin America has been relatively low-key, partly because of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and partly because the region has seen an unprecedented growth in economic power and political independence. But, with Republicans taking over the House of Representatives, that is about to change, and, while the Southern Cone no longer stands to attention when Washington snaps its fingers, an aggressive and right wing Congress is capable of causing considerable mischief. -more-
The language of birding has crossed a cultural divide. Readers may have noticed the increased use of the four-letter banding codes designated by the American Ornithologists’ Union in communication among birders, especially on birding listserves. Now, for the first time, they’re in a field guide. -more-
On Tuesday, January 25th, President Obama will give the annual state-of-the-union address to Congress and the American people. Since the disastrous mid-term elections, Obama’s popularity has surged. The President should use this opportunity to tell Americans his strategy for dealing with the US jobs crisis. -more-
Like a bad penny, Jean-Claude "Baby Doc" Duvalier arrived in Haiti on January 16, 2011. No one seems to know why Baby Doc returned and what effect, if any, his return will have on the country. -more-
One of the primary goals of this column is to provide for the general public some idea of what it is like to be a mentally ill person. Since people in the mainstream often seem to denigrate the mentally ill, I believe they ought to realize how hard it is to be one of us. Additionally, the public ought to realize that we are essentially the same as “normal“ people, only we struggle with brain illnesses that are not always under our control. The adage, "you should not judge a man until you have walked a mile in his shoes," is applicable to the attitudes people have toward mentally ill persons. Indeed, you should be asking; what do the shoes feel like of a schizophrenic person, a clinically depressed person or someone with bipolar as they try to coexist in society, and even try to hold a job alongside people in society at large? What follows could give you some idea of those shoes... -more-
Remember that daytime soap, Life Can Be Beautiful? It was billed as "an inspiring message of faith drawn from life." Broadcast on NBC and CBS radio from 1938 to 1954, it remained a leading drama through the 1940s, sponsored by Procter & Gamble and Spic and Span. Carol Conrad, aka Chichi, was a teen on the run until Papa David Solomon, owner of the Slightly Read Bookshop, gave her a home. She continued to live in the back room of the bookstore while romancing crippled law student Stephen Hamilton. -more-
Arts & Events
Eye from the Aisle: STRANGE TRAVEL SUGGESTIONS takes you for a lovely trip without leaving the Berkeley Marsh station
Used to be, people painted pictures with words. The verbal description of a place is a staple in literature and travel books. In an age of streaming video, in STRANGE TRAVEL SUGGESTIONS at Berkeley’s THE MARSH, Jeff Greenwald transports you with his imagery as he paints the scene anew. In an age where the imagination needs do little work, it was a pleasure to use the mind’s eye to view the sights he lyrically describes. -more-
First produced in 1920, Heartbreak House is about cultured, leisured Europe before the First World War when crowned heads ruled and before “Bolshevik” was a common word. -more-