The Week

David Bacon


Here We Are, And We’re Not Going Away” Berkeley’s Ed Roberts Campus Dedicated

By Steven Finacom
Sunday April 10, 2011 - 09:13:00 AM
Zona Roberts spoke to the crowd in front of the new building named for her son, disability rights activist Ed Roberts.

A throng of well-wishers turned out on a sunny Saturday, April 9, 2011 to formally dedicate the Ed Roberts Campus adjacent to the Ashby BART station in Berkeley. -more-

Erupting Fire Plug Creates Compendious Fountain on Shattuck in Berkeley

Wednesday April 06, 2011 - 08:48:00 PM

Planet reader Carlos Navarro sent us pictures of the tower of water from the hydrant that burst at Shattuck and Center yesterday. He was there and captured almost all of it with his camera. More of his pictures can be seen on Flickr at -more-

Flash: Berkeley Firefighters Battle Downed Power Lines, Gas Leak in Dwight Way Fire

By Bay City News
Thursday April 07, 2011 - 09:00:00 AM

Firefighters dealt with downed power lines and a gas leak while battling a blaze at a home in Berkeley this morning, a fire official said. -more-

Bay Area Workers March to Support Wisconsin Labor

By David Bacon
Wednesday April 06, 2011 - 02:48:00 PM

Over a thousand events took place across the U.S. on April 4 to support the workers and unions in Wisconsin and the Midwest, where Republican-dominated state governments are trying to eliminate collective bargaining for public workers, and cut their healthcare and pensions. In California alone, almost every central labor council organized a rally or march. Two of them took place in Crockett and San Francisco. The events were all called "We Are One" to draw attention to the solidarity of workers and unions nationally in facing this attack. -more-

16,000 New Households In “Vision Scenario” For Berkeley

By Steven Finacom
Wednesday April 06, 2011 - 02:18:00 PM

Should the number of Berkeley households increase by 34% over the next 25 years, adding as many as 35,000 new residents to the city?

That seems to be the premise of a low profile but significant item being transmitted to the Planning Commission for discussion on Wednesday, April 6, 2011. -more-

Move Your Money Has a Message: “Bye-bye BofA”

By Gar Smith
Wednesday April 06, 2011 - 01:54:00 PM

The annual agony of tax filing is always a headache but this year the average taxpayer may be complaining of migraines (and a sickening feeling in the stomach) following the New York Times’ revelation that General Electric paid no 2010 taxes despite US profits of $5.1 billion. (GE even asked for a “refund” of $3.2 billion.) It seems the argument that “corporations are people” endowed with First Amendment rights (to, say, spend millions of dollars on public elections) does not extend to include the concept that corporations also have social obligations (like abiding by the law, facing jail-time for criminal behavior, or paying taxes). -more-

Stabbing Charge Dropped in Berkeley's People's Park Tree-Sit; Midnight Matt Released From Jail Around Midnight

By Ted Friedman
Wednesday April 06, 2011 - 03:06:00 PM

Follow the synchronicity.

Matthew Dodt, 53,aka "Midnight Matt", who defended himself with a camping knife from tree invasion in his tree in People's Park only to wind up in Santa Rita Jail, was released shortly before midnight Monday, according to a releasing officer at the jail.

He served 61 days in Santa Rita and 91 days in the tree. The synchronicity is in there somewhere. -more-

Richmond Council Cancels Point Molate Casino Deal

By Janna Brancolini (BCN)
Wednesday April 06, 2011 - 01:31:00 PM

The Richmond City Council voted Tuesday night not to continue with plans to develop an Indian casino at Point Molate after more than six years of back-and-forth about development of the former Navy base. -more-

Special Meeting About the Branch Library Projects

Tuesday April 05, 2011 - 09:08:00 PM

On Thursday, April 14th at 6:00 PM in the City Council Chambers at 2134 Martin Luther King, Jr. Way, there will be a special joint meeting of the Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) and the Zoning Adjustments Board (ZAB) to consider issues related to the Branch Libraries Projects. The LPC will consider whether or not to approve the demolitions of the South and West Branch Public Libraries. (The West Branch is a Structure of Merit, and both buildings are potentially historic under California law.) The ZAB will consider whether or not to grant use permits for the construction of new libraries at these locations and whether or not to certify the Final Environmental Impact Report concerning these projects. -more-

Berkeley's Socialist Mayor--in 1911--Celebrated in Exhibit

By Steven Finacom
Wednesday April 06, 2011 - 02:29:00 PM
Wilson for Congress Button

It’s common today to date the beginnings of progressive politics in Berkeley to “The Sixties”. But leftist activism and idealism on the local scene date back at least half a century earlier. -more-

How to Cut Nuclear Weapons Spending and Save $1.15 Billion (News Analysis)

By Gar Smith / Environmentalists Against War
Wednesday April 06, 2011 - 01:43:00 PM

In the first days of April, Tri-Valley CAREs (Communities Against a Radioactive Environment), the nuclear watchdog organization based in Livermore, dispatched a team to Washington to lobby for a host of targeted reductions in the US nuclear weapons budget. Tri-Valley CAREs (TVC) is working withthe Alliance for Nuclear Accountability, a coalition of nuclear watchdogs from across the country that has scheduled 100 meetings with Members of Congress, committee staff, and the Obama Administration. -more-

Check Out These Links

By Victor Herbert
Wednesday April 06, 2011 - 02:50:00 PM

Spring is Cherry Blossom Time Everywhere

By Steven Finacom
Wednesday April 06, 2011 - 02:32:00 PM
Masses of flowering cherries flank the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial in Washington D.C.  These trees continue all around the adjacent Tidai Basin.

Spending the first part of last week in Washington D.C., and the latter part in Berkeley, I was charmed to see that ornamental cherry trees were coming into bloom in both places on almost exactly the same schedule. -more-



Berkeley Merchants Blame Sitters for their Woes

By Becky O'Malley
Wednesday April 06, 2011 - 10:59:00 AM

Do you love love love Cheese Board pizza? Is your idea of heaven standing in line for a slice and then eating it picnic-style with friends on the grassy strip down the middle of North Shattuck in what’s called “The Gourmet Ghetto” in the New York Times Style Section?

Well, think again, because the clueless merchants of North Shattuck are scheming to make it illegal.

Or maybe it’s not actually you and your lunch buds that they’re out to get, but if equal protection is still the law of the land you’ll have to be on the radar too if they have their way.

(Please note: we do NOT include the Cheese Board among the clueless, but some of their neighbors on the other hand…) -more-


Cartoon Page: Odd Bodkins, BOUNCE

Tuesday April 05, 2011 - 03:47:00 PM

Public Comment

New: The Deceptive Tactics of BRT Supporters

By Doug Buckwald
Wednesday April 06, 2011 - 08:48:00 PM

Two weeks ago, the Berkeley Daily Planet published a commentary by Charles Siegel entitled, “BRT, NIMBYs, and the New York Times” (March 22, 2011). It is helpful that Mr. Siegel offered readers such an illustrative example of how BRT supporters have distorted the facts in an attempt to discredit BRT opponents in Berkeley. Their arguments could be regarded as merely humorous if they had not been used in such a vicious and manipulative manner during the campaign for BRT. And it certainly is clear from Siegel’s writing why he and other BRT zealots repeatedly refused offers to debate this issue in public. They would have been humiliated if they had done so. -more-

New: Retail Vacancy Fee Is Best for Businesses

By Carol Denney
Wednesday April 06, 2011 - 08:42:00 PM

In 1997 Berkeley repealed its ordinance prohibiting sitting and panhandling after an ACLU challenge. But the Downtown Berkeley Association, which initiated the ordinance, never stopped pining for some way to clear the streets of homeless people and panhandlers, whom they blame for a decline in retail sales, and is currently lobbying for an anti-sitting law similar to San Francisco’s.

Berkeley has panhandlers. But it also has hundreds of empty storefronts owned by landlords reluctant to rent at lower commercial rates, empty storefronts which burden a once-vibrant downtown. Commercial leases tend to be long, so locking into even three years at a lower rate is less appealing than taking a tax write-off for the previous, higher rate. Even a business like Amanda’s Feel Good Fresh Food, which won entrepreneur of the year and design awards, cited the inflexibility of the rental rate as the reason it closed in December after two and a half years. -more-

Sacramento Community Post Office Will Close

By Stevanne Auerbach
Wednesday April 06, 2011 - 02:36:00 PM

Dear Berkeley Neighbors:

We tried to save our local community post office on Sacramento St over the past two years. -more-

Walkabilty: Should Oakland Let Safeway Build Bigger at College and Claremont?

Jerome Buttrick, AIA, LEED AP BUTTRICK WONG Architects
Tuesday April 05, 2011 - 03:51:00 PM

I would like to thank Mayor Quan for reaching out to the various Oakland communities to hear what is on our minds and to help set her agenda. There is no doubt that there are many areas Oakland needs work on, including improving our school system, strengthening our police force and filling potholes. These all need attention and we feel those needs dearly, every day.

Less immediate but equally important to all of us, is the design of our small commercial streets and how live-able walking streets are made, preserved and enhanced. In North Oakland we have several streets and neighborhoods that bustle during the day and into the evening — I am speaking of Piedmont Avenue, Temescal, and College Avenue. It is in our small-neighborhood, vital interest to protect these areas and make sure that they continue to function as the local hubs that they are. People are drawn to them for their liveliness and vitality. Let there be no doubt —these are not shopping malls—these are real, living, small neighborhood places, that are fantastic to the tax roll and foster entrepreneurship. -more-

Kaiser Rules, or NLRB Law? An Appeal to Overturn the Kaiser Election

by Steve Early, Ellen David Friedman, Paul Rockwell, Cal Winslow
Tuesday April 05, 2011 - 04:25:00 PM

Throughout the United States, pro-labor activists are beginning to realize that the right to collective bargaining—currently under assault—is intertwined with the right of employees to choose their union, free from fear and intimidation.

That’s why a long-overdue trial is taking place in the NLRB hearing room in downtown Oakland, where the Kaiser Permanente union election (October 7, 2010), the largest private-sector election in 70 years, faces a well-documented challenge from NUHW (National Union of Healthcare Workers). -more-

Pepper Spray Times

Grace Underpressure
Tuesday April 05, 2011 - 04:06:00 PM

Editor's Note: The latest issue of the Pepper Spray Times is now available. -more-

A Call for On-Air Fairness at KPFA

By Rob Browning
Tuesday April 05, 2011 - 03:25:00 PM

The current tempest at KPFA is deeply troubling to those of us who value independent radio journalism. And it is confusing because so much of what we read and hear seems so vitriolic and biased. The following petition is a call for fairness on KPFA's air. Please read this petition, and if it seems fair to you please sign it: -more-

Time for Tax Justice

By David Leeper
Wednesday April 06, 2011 - 01:58:00 PM

In this time of budget crises we are hearing increasing calls to tax the rich. Working people paying the cost of our wars with both their lives and their taxes are outraged that corporations like General Electric, with huge profits, pay nothing toward the many government services which allow them to make so much money. -more-

In Commemoration of Cesar Chavez--a shot across the bow for immigrants rights to health care in CCCC!!

By Mark Sapir, M.D., M.P.H.
Wednesday April 06, 2011 - 01:34:00 PM

Today, Yesterday, April 5, 2011, the Contra Costa County, CA Board of Supervisors conducted their 18th annual commemoration of the life and work of Cesar E. Chavez founder of the United Farm Workers Union. In response, a group of 15 representing the Richmond Progressive Alliance, doctors and other staff at the Contra Costa County Public Clinic system and the Health Care Action Team-East Bay let the Board know that their decision in 2009 excluding undocumented immigrants from public clinics must be reconsidered, is unacceptable, stands in contradiction to their honoring Cesar Chavez and shall not stand. -more-


Dispatches From The Edge: The CIA, Pakistan & Tangled Webs

By Conn Hallinan
Tuesday April 05, 2011 - 03:15:00 PM

Was American CIA agent Raymond Davis secretly working with the Taliban and al-Qaeda to destabilize Pakistan and lay the groundwork for a U.S. seizure of that country’s nuclear weapons? Was he photographing sensitive military installations and marking them with a global positioning device? Did he gun down two men in cold blood to prevent them from revealing what he was up to? These are just a few of the rumors ricocheting around Islamabad, Lahore and Peshawar in the aftermath of Davis’s arrest Jan. 27, and sorting through them is a little like stepping through Alice’s looking glass. -more-

The Public Eye: When Bad Things Happen to Good Americans

By Bob Burnett
Tuesday April 05, 2011 - 03:37:00 PM

In 1981, in response to the death of his son, Rabbi Harold Kushner wrote the classic When Bad Things Happen to Good People. In recent days there’s been such bad news about jobs and unemployment that Rabbi Kushner should consider writing a sequel: “When Bad Things Happen to Good Americans.” -more-

Senior Power: Potpourri

By Helen Rippier Wheeler
Tuesday April 05, 2011 - 10:18:00 PM

This week’s column is a potpourri-- a collection of miscellaneous or diverse items. -more-

Eclectic Rant: Marketing and Promotion of Tobacco Products

By Ralph E. Stone
Tuesday April 05, 2011 - 05:44:00 PM
The Camel San Francisco is a blue pack of cigarettes with the following text on the back:  “The Summer of Love, protests to be civil and a rainbow of counterculture. Whether you started here or put flowers in your hair, grabbed a drum and hitched a ride on a painted minibus, Camel lights up this little piece of San Francisco that pulses with the spirit to evolve, revolve or revolt and follows the force to break free.”

Smoking is linked with lung cancer, emphysema, and other diseases. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) (each year about 443,000 people die prematurely from smoking or exposure to secondhand smoke, and another 8.6 million live with a serious illness caused by smoking. Despite these risks, approximately 46.6 million U.S. adults smoke cigarettes. And cigarette smoking costs more than $193 billion, $97 billion in lost productivity plus $96 billion in health care expenditures. -more-

Wild Neighbors: Talking Turkey

By Joe Eaton
Tuesday April 05, 2011 - 02:58:00 PM
One of Berkeley's own wild turkeys in display mode.

The inexorable march of the wild turkeys continues. Lately we’ve been seeing them at the Gill Tract in Albany, feeding in the fields that the Canada geese occupy in winter. Maybe there’s a time-share arrangement. -more-

On Mental Illness: Medication Isn't the Holy Grail

By Jack Bragen
Tuesday April 05, 2011 - 09:58:00 PM

Medicating the brain is a serious matter; it should not be considered with an off-hand approach. It seems there are some psychiatrists who prescribe during a fifteen-minute session, with as much contemplation as someone shooting down fake ducks in a shooting gallery. Especially, when you are medicating a child, other avenues of accomplishing the same objective (whatever the objective is) ought to be investigated. -more-

Arts & Events

Theater Review: Beardo, at Shotgun

By Ken Bullock
Tuesday April 05, 2011 - 03:04:00 PM

Beardo, Jason Craig's (Beowulf: A Thousand Years of Baggage—A Songplay) latest at Shotgun, with splendid music (Slavic Country Swing?) by Dave Malloy—played by an augmented string quartet among the birches (Lisa Clark's set) and directed by Shotgun founder Patrick Dooley—who's assembled a team that's given the show unusually high production values (especially Christine Crook's costumes and Michael Palumbo's lighting) slips half-drunkenly over and over between two stools that rascal Rasputin balances his backside on: musical comedy burlesque and a deadpan conceptual put-on. -more-

Theater Review: Afterthoughts, in re: Ruined, at the Berkeley Rep

By Ken Bullock
Tuesday April 05, 2011 - 02:58:00 PM

Ruined, Lynn Nottage's Pulitzer Prizewinner--now in its last week at Berkeley Rep--presents a conundrum to theater-goers, one often enough found in regional rep productions: a thoroughly professional stage production of a newer play, offset by a kind of aimlessness of dramatic intent dogging a well-meaning script that seems to aim at all the academic verities of the craft. -more-

Press Release: Critics Circle Announces Awards

From Sally Hogarty
Wednesday April 06, 2011 - 03:29:00 PM

On April 4, 2011, the SF Bay Area Theatre Critics Circle Awards presented their 35th Annual Awards Ceremony, celebrating outstanding achievement in Bay Area theatre during 2010, at the Palace of Fine Arts Theatre Lobby. [The complete list of award winners may be found at the end of this press release.] -more-

Eye from the Aisle: East Bay Theatre and More—BEARDO a song of a Dionysiac mystic

By John A. McMullen II
Tuesday April 05, 2011 - 06:40:00 PM
Ashkon Davaran

Mystics, prophets, and seers often move kings and empires. Think of Daniel, think of Joseph; then think of Rasputin. We stand outside the stories that vaunt their deeds and read and hear them as tales of the hero—or rascal. BEARDO is a look into the mind of that hedonist mystic Rasputin, who most Westerners may think of as the charlatan who beguiled the Tsarina and was part of thecause of the revolution. -more-

Press Release: Freight & Salvage Coffeehouse Show Listings April 2011 & Beyond

From Lisa Manning
Tuesday April 05, 2011 - 09:09:00 PM

Venue Information:
All shows are doors 7 pm, show time 8 pm, unless otherwise noted
2020 Addison Street, Berkeley CA 94704


Fri Apr 1 2011 John Jorgenson Quintet- Esprit de Django et Stephane Festival $22.50 $24.50
Franco-American jazz ensemble

Sat Apr 2 2011 Tony Marcus's Birthday w/ Cats & Jammers, Leftover Dreams, Steel Swingin’ w/ Bobby Black, members of Cheap Suit Serenaders, others TBA $20.50 $22.50

Tue Apr 5- Freight Open Mic $4.50/$6.50

Wed Apr 6 2011 Peggy Seeger $22.50/$24.50
Folksinger, songwriter, activist

Thu Apr 7 2011 Charles Hamilton & Beyond w/ Hitomi Oba & Glen Pearson $20.50 $22.50
straight ahead, hard driving, Afro-centric jazz

Fri Apr 8 2011 Robbie Fulks , Nel Robinson & Jim Nunally open $20.50 $22.50
Alt-country songwriter and guitarist

Sat Apr 9 2011 George Cole Quintet- Esprit de Django et Stephane Festival $22.50 $24.50
contemporary Gypsy jazz

Sun Apr 10 2011 Caren Armstrong w/ Joe Craven & Joshua Zucker $20.50 $22.50
a living testament to the art of self expression

Tue Apr 12 Vocal Jazz Open Mic w/ Ellen Hoffman $8.50/$10.50

Wed Apr 13 2011 Elephant Revival $20.50 $22.50
neo-acoustic, transcendental folk quintet

Thu Apr 14 2011 Sourdough Slim w/ Robert Armstrong $20.50 $22.50
the last of the vaudeville cowboys

Fri Apr 15 Maestro Ali Akbar Khan’s Annual Birthday Tribute Celebration $22.50 $24.50 - 7:00 pm
featuring Aashish Khan, Shujaat Khan, Swapan Chaudhuri, Alam Khan, and many others. Free afternoon events at 2 pm

Sat Apr 16 2011 Rory Block $20.50 $22.50
Reigning queen of country blues guitar

Sun Apr 17 2011 Karla Bonoff $34.50 $36.50
Soul touching songcraft

Mon pr 18 West Coast Songwriters Competition $6.50/$8.50 – 7:30 pm
Original songwriting contest & performance

Tue Apr 19 Freight Open Mic $4.50/$6.50

Thu Apr 21 Dr K’s Homegrown Roots Revue: Charles Wheal, Tip of the Top, Quinn Deveaux $14.50/$16.50
Blues revue

Fri Apr 22 2011 Susan Werner, Natalia Zuckerman opens $22.50 $24.50
Jazz tinged originals with sly, sexy wit

Sat Apr 23 2011 House Jacks $22.50 $24.50
Rock band without instruments

Sun Apr 24 Gerry Tenney & the Hard Times Orchestra $18.50/$20.50
Labor songs of Pete Seeger

Mon Apr 26 Classical@ the Freight- Gabriela Lena Frank & friends $8.50/$10.50
An informal evening of chamber music with San Francisco Chamber Orchestra’s director Ben Simon as host

Tue Apr 26 Saints & Tzadiks: Lorin Sklamberg & Susan McKeown $24.50/$26.50
a vivid array of Irish & Yiddish songs

Wed Apr 27 2011 Carol Denney $20.50 $22.50
Traditional & topical folk

Thu Apr 28 2011 James McMurtry, Patrick Sweany opens $24.50 $26.50
Texastentialist singer-songwriter

Fri Apr 29 2011 Cascada De Flores $22.50 $24.50
Gorgeous folkloric Mexican and Cuban music

Sat Apr 30 2011 Berkeley Old-Time Music Convention’s Spring Situation-Community Open House $FREE noon- 4 pm
free afternoon of old-time stringband picking, singing and dancing, including a family dance (12 pm), cabaret-style concert sets, jam sessions and workshops

Sat Apr 30 2011 Nell Robinson w/ All-Star Band, plus the Henriettas $20.50 $22.50
Honky-tonk infused bluegrass & country featuring John Reischman & the Jaybirds- Nell’s bday celebration!

Press Release: Berkeley Symphony Hosts Music in the Schools Day at Peet's on April 16

From Jenny Lee
Tuesday April 05, 2011 - 09:08:00 PM

Berkeley Symphony and Peet’s Coffee & Tea, in partnership with the Berkeley Unified School District, Berkeley Public Education Foundation, Young People’s Symphony Orchestra, and Crowden Music Center, announced today that they will host the first annual “Music in the Schools” Day on Saturday, April 16, 2011, to recognize and celebrate the community’s support of and commitment to music education. -more-