The Week

Moms and kids sitting on the Derby sidewalk enjoy the sunshine  at the Farmers' Market.
Becky O'Malley
Moms and kids sitting on the Derby sidewalk enjoy the sunshine at the Farmers' Market.


Flash: Earthquake Shakes East Bay on Saturday Evening, But So Far No Rapture

By Saul Sugarman (BCN) and Berkeley Daily Planet
Saturday May 21, 2011 - 07:35:00 PM

A 3.6-magnitude earthquake shook Contra Costa and Alameda Counties this evening, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. -more-

Berkeley Man Gets Some Money Back in Phone Fraud

By Bay City News
Wednesday May 18, 2011 - 01:31:00 PM

An 80-year-old Berkeley man who was swindled out of $53,000 got a portion of the money back when it was recovered by officials. -more-

Press Release: Summary of Hot Prowl Burglary and Barricaded Suspect in the 1300 Block of Parker Street in Berkeley

From Sgt. Mary C. Kusmiss S-6, BPD Public Information Officer
Wednesday May 18, 2011 - 01:39:00 PM

“This morning, Wednesday, May 18, 2011 at a few minutes before 7:00 a.m., a male resident/community member called to report a burglary in progress of his home in the 1300 block of Parker Street on the south side of the street. A male suspect had entered the basement area.” -more-

Berkeley Police Re-Open Streets After Barricade Incident

By Rachel Purdy (BCN)
Wednesday May 18, 2011 - 01:23:00 PM

Police have reopened streets in a Berkeley neighborhood after earlier closures prompted by a man who barricaded himself in a home early this morning, a police dispatcher said. -more-

Zoning Board Discusses, Critiques, Acheson Commons

By Steven Finacom
Tuesday May 17, 2011 - 10:09:00 PM
Dustin Smith from Equity Residential listens to Zoning Board comments while architect Kirk
                Peterson, at right, takes notes.

The Acheson Commons housing development proposed for Downtown Berkeley forged ahead into the second of three “preview” meetings before City review bodies, but ran into at least temporarily unsettled weather at Berkeley’s Zoning Adjustment Board at its meeting on May 12, 2011.

While the ZAB was cautiously favorable towards the general development, members raised firm objections to a number of aspects of the project and predicted it would not win their approval without modifications. -more-

Protests against John Yoo at Berkeley Law Commencement

By Steven Finacom
Monday May 16, 2011 - 04:50:00 PM
Cecile Pineda offers an orange ribbon to a guest at the Law School Commencement
                as part of the protest against John Yoo and torture policies.

“May I offer you one of these to protest torture in your own country?” said writer Cecile Pineda, as she proffered orange ribbons to each visitor walking up the ramp from Gayley Road towards the Greek Theatre.

The orange clad Pineda was part of a small protest organized by the group World Can’t Wait! outside the May 13, 2011 Commencement ceremonies for Berkeley Law ( formerly Boalt School of Law) at UC Berkeley. -more-

Meet Mitch Daniels, Big Spender (News Analysis)

By Carol Polsgrove
Tuesday May 17, 2011 - 09:53:00 PM
Protesters welcomed Mitch Daniels to Bloomington this spring.

The idea that possible presidential candidate Mitch Daniels represents fiscal restraint sounds like hogwash to opponents of three pricey projects moving forward on his watch as governor of Indiana.

At Edwardsport, Ind., construction cost overruns have skyrocketed at a Duke Energy plant that would convert coal into synthetic gas to generate electricity. Consumer groups and industrial customers have balked at the $2.72 billion bill that Duke wants ratepayers to pick up. -more-

Jewish Americans and the Fate of Israel: Between Two Worlds (News Analysis)

By Ruth Rosen
Tuesday May 17, 2011 - 10:19:00 PM

TIME IS running out. Israelis know that. So do American Jews. If Israel refuses to cease building settlements in the West Bank, the newly unified Palestinian government will ask the UN General Assembly to ratify it as a new and sovereign state in September. Only Israel and the United States are expected to vote against the adoption of this resolution. -more-

Off the Beat in Berkeley's Historic Panoramic Hills as Expletives Hit the Fan

By Ted Friedman
Tuesday May 17, 2011 - 09:31:00 PM
Two million dollar view from Panoramic Hills after the Memorial Stadium cranes change the scene.

A South side-based reporter on assignment for the Planet was off his beat and out of his element on the once scenic and historic Panoramic Hill, Friday.

Expletives flew as he was investigating complaints of the Panoramic Hill Organization that continuing noisy construction at U.C.'s Memorial Stadium violated terms of a court settlement, the complainaonts say they won. -more-

California Homeowners Left to Fight Foreclosure on Their Own

Ngoc Nguyen,New America Media
Wednesday May 18, 2011 - 01:16:00 PM

LOS ANGELES, Calif. -- Three years into the mortgage meltdown, California homeowners still have little relief from the foreclosure crisis. Last week, state legislative committees failed to clear three separate bills designed to help struggling homeowners and hold banks more accountable during foreclosure proceedings. -more-

Steven De Staebler, 1933-2011

Wednesday May 18, 2011 - 01:32:00 PM

Stephen De Staebler, noted Bay Area sculptor, passed away at home in Berkeley, California, in the early morning of May 13, 2011, with family by his side. De Staebler, 78, is survived by his wife of 14 years, Danae Lynn Mattes; their daughter Arianne Seraphine; and by his sons Jordan Lucas and David Conrad De Staebler. He was predeceased in 1996 by his wife of 39 years, Dona Merced Curley De Staebler. He was the son of the late Herbert Conrad and Juliette Hoiles De Staebler; and was predeceased by his brother Herbert (Hobey) De Staebler and sister Jan Angel. The cause of death was complications from cancer. -more-



Standing Up for the Right to Sit Down in Berkeley

By Becky O'Malley
Tuesday May 17, 2011 - 11:10:00 PM

It’s hard to believe, but it seems that the clueless owners of the commercial buildings in downtown Berkeley and on Telegraph are pressing on with their campaign to ban sitting down. It appears that their proposal is still on the fast track for passage in mid-summer, in that convenient sweet spot when most students and many other residents are out of town and the Berkeley City Council can do its dirtiest deeds relatively unnoticed.

Since there are already many well-organized opponents, passing an ordinance like this would be a guaranteed recipe for disruption: certainly demonstrations, possibly calls for boycotting businesses in the target areas. But there’s very little indication that the struggling small business owners who meet the public at street level every day even support the sitting ban.

Boycotting retail merchants and family-owned restaurants seems like a bad idea, because these establishments are more likely to be victims of the high and ever-increasing rents demanded by predatory property owner landlords than instigators of the anti-sitting move. Many small-time operators, such as Fred’s Market and Shakespeare Books on Telegraph, are patient and generous with the down-and-out population on their doorsteps. A better tactic would be a “shop-in”, a reverse boycott in which public-spirited businesses like these are supported by patrons who appreciate their stance.

A major problem for many retailers in such areas is the prevalence of business improvement districts (BIDs) which are controlled and funded by the big property owners, with voting power proportionate to the amount of property owned instead of one-business-one-vote. Telegraph Avenue already has such a BID, the Telegraph Property BID, which, represented by director Roland Peterson, is a main proponent of the anti-sitting move. -more-


Cartoon Page: Odd Bodkins, BOUNCE

Wednesday May 18, 2011 - 12:57:00 PM

Public Comment

Letters to the Editor

By Ben H.Bagdikian, Joan Levinson, Terry Cochrell, Estelle Jelinek, Ron Lowe
Tuesday May 17, 2011 - 10:35:00 PM

Stop Zell Threats to Downtown Ace Hardware; Monterey Market; BP Lab Site and Global Warming; Warm Pool Construction Displaces Disabled Users; Civil Rights; Tea Party Threatens Health Care -more-

Disappointed In Berkeley

By Kathleen Wilson
Monday May 16, 2011 - 04:48:00 PM

We’ve just returned to the east coast from 10 days in Berkeley and are still recovering from the greeting we received. We have relatives in the area and decided the best way to visit was to rent our own place. We did through VRBO (Vacation Rental by Owners), finding a very attractive and affordable duplex two blocks from our family on Derby Street. -more-

Discrimination and the Smokefree Universe Far, Far Away

By C. Denney
Monday May 16, 2011 - 05:05:00 PM

Smokers congregate outside the Acme Bar on San Pablo Avenue, blowing clouds of smoke into the air of the smokefree business district. No cops, no tickets, no scolding by management. It’s the same story down the street at the Albatross, where employees who smoke join the crowd, puffing away in the evening air, even using an ashtray by the door supposedly forbidden for establishments to place in smokefree areas. It’s the same at the Jupiter, in Downtown Berkeley, the same at the Trieste Café. It’s the same all over town. -more-

KPFA's Republican Activist

By Daniel Borgstrom
Wednesday May 18, 2011 - 07:11:00 AM

KPFA appears to have a Republican activist, and a high-profile one at that. She is Harmeet K. Dhillon, chair of the GOP in San Francisco and an innovative political strategist. She also heads a law firm which has been representing a faction in the station's ongoing turf war, and her role in this seems to be something more than a client-attorney relationship. -more-


The Public Eye: Barack Obama: The Return of the Cool

By Bob Burnett
Tuesday May 17, 2011 - 09:42:00 PM

The May 1st attack on Osama bin Laden produced an iconic image: President Barack Obama in the White House situation room, surrounded by his national security advisers, monitoring the progress of the Navy Seals’ mission in far off Abbottabad, Pakistan. Obama stands out because of the steely intensity in his eyes. He’s totally focused. Preternaturally cool. -more-

Dispatches From The Edge: War Crimes & the Bombing of Libya

By Conn Hallinan
Tuesday May 17, 2011 - 09:15:00 PM

According to the New York Times (5/16/11), Gen. Sir David Richards, “Britain’s top military commander,” is proposing that the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) target Libyan “infrastructure,” including electrical power grids and fuel dumps, in government held areas. -more-

Dispatches From the Edge: Why is the New York Times Censoring Afghan News?

By Conn Hallinan
Tuesday May 17, 2011 - 08:20:00 PM

On May 12, the New York Times did a very curious thing. -more-

Wild Neighbors: Speaking of Tongues: Hummingbirds, Flamingoes, and Others

By Joe Eaton
Monday May 16, 2011 - 04:49:00 PM
Male Anna's hummingbird displays his tongue.

Birds have an astounding variety of bills, or beaks if you prefer. Consider the frogbills, the spoonbills, the crossbills, the boatbill heron, the New Zealand wrybill (a small shorebird whose bill is curved sideways.) Bird tongues, on the other hand, are nowhere near that variable. Most bird tongues are fairly boring. But there are notable exceptions. -more-

Eclectic Rant: Charleston: A Hodgepodge of Impressions, Trivia, and History

By Ralph E. Stone & Judi Iranyi
Tuesday May 17, 2011 - 09:42:00 PM
The Old Slave Mart Museum in Charleston, SC

Earlier this month, we spent an enjoyable, informative week-long visit to Charleston, South Carolina. We had no idea that Charleston was observing the Civil War Sesquicentennial (150) until after our arrival. As a result, we were able to brush up on our Civil War history. That is, mostly from a southern point of view. What follows is a hodgepodge of trip impressions, trivia, and Civil War history. -more-

On Mental Illness: How I Prevent a Relapse

By Jack Bragen
Monday May 16, 2011 - 04:53:00 PM

Many people with Schizophrenia or Bipolar illnesses have a relapse of acute symptoms every two or three years. Sometimes, this is triggered by going off medication against medical advice. In other cases, the relapse occurs in spite of the psychiatric consumer taking medication, and doing everything he or she is supposed to do. Stopping medication without a doctor’s approval is sometimes caused by an initial resurgence of symptoms (while still on medication) that clouds the judgment and interferes with the insight that the medication is still needed. The person had already begun the process of getting ill; and then stopping medication accelerated this deterioration. -more-

Senior Power: Profiling Older Americans

By Helen Rippier Wheeler
Tuesday May 17, 2011 - 09:17:00 PM

The great profile… AProfile of Older Americans: 2010 is now available online. This annual summary of the latest statistics on the older population covers 15 topical areas including population, income and poverty, living arrangements, education, and health. -more-

Arts & Events

Press Release: Open Opera Presents Free Concert in Live Oak Park on Sunday at 3

Wednesday May 18, 2011 - 01:40:00 PM

Open Opera is very proud to present a free afternoon concert featuring opera’s best-loved arias and ensembles. The sensuous and joyful sounds of Mozart, Verdi, Puccini and Bizet will be performed by outstanding Bay Area singers. Open Opera extends opera’s reach to park audiences with award-winning performers and extraordinary newly discovered singers. -more-

Don't Miss This

By Dorothy Snodgrass
Tuesday May 17, 2011 - 09:48:00 PM

"Summer time and the living is easy" -- those familiar lines are, of course, from George Gershwin's 1935 opera, "Porgy and Bess". This is, indeed, the perfect time for taking in the many cultural and educational activities available in our bay area. But where to begin? Listed below, in no particular order of importance, are just a few of the very worthwhile events occurring in the next few weeks.

New Zealand’s Unstoppable, UnTOPPable Twins

Review by Gar Smith
Wednesday May 18, 2011 - 01:01:00 PM

The Topp Twins: Untouchable Girlsopens May 20 at the Lumiere in San Francisco and the Shattuck Cinemas in Berkeley. Lynda and Jools Topps will be appearing in person at the Lumiere on May 20 (7PM and 9:45PM) and May 22 (4:45PM) and at Berkeley’s Shattuck Cinemas on Saturday, May 21 (7:45PM and 10PM). -more-

Eye from the Aisle:The15th Best of Playground—the best bet in town, at SF’s Thick House.

By John A. McMullen II
Tuesday May 17, 2011 - 10:31:00 PM
Michael Phillis and Holli Hornlien in Arisa White's FRIGIDARE

The art of the very short play is like writing a poem: the daunting challenge of compressing ideas that emotionally move the listener.

Now think about writing such a play on a specific topic in less than 5 days time.

The 15th Best of Playground, now playing at Thick Housein SF’s Potrero district, delivers seven amazing plays in a scant two hours including intermission, all written according to the above rules, and acted by a talented and versatile cast of six. -more-

Around and About . . . Poetry

By Ken Bullock
Tuesday May 17, 2011 - 10:05:00 PM

Daniel Abdal Hayy Moore, poet, impressario of the Floating Lotus Magic Opera Company in 60s Berkeley, embraced Islam--and Sufism--in 1970, after two books of poetry, published by City Lights. -more-

Evangelist at Sather Gate

By Steven Finacom
Tuesday May 17, 2011 - 09:47:00 PM
Sather Gate Evangelist

Asserting God-struck truth and speech -more-