The Week

This is the view across Aquatic Park to the property which formerly housed the American Soils company, with current and proposed building heights indicated.
This is the view across Aquatic Park to the property which formerly housed the American Soils company, with current and proposed building heights indicated.


Press Release: Daniel Borenstein to Speak on Berkeley's Unfunded Pension Liabilities on Thursday

From Barbara Gilbert, NEBA
Monday May 30, 2011 - 10:03:00 PM

Daniel Borenstein, award-winning columnist and editorial writer for the Bay Area News Group will address the Spring Meeting of the Northeast Berkeley Association (NEBA) on Thursday evening, June 2. -more-

Can Aquatic Park Survive? (News Analysis)

By Toni Mester
Sunday May 29, 2011 - 10:13:00 AM

The Berkeley City Council doesn’t know what to do with Aquatic Park, Berkeley’s largest - 102 acres of wetlands, lagoons, and uplands that provide recreation for humans, habitat for birds, and, in the view of the Council majority, a site for massive development. These uses are not compatible. The future of the park will be on the council agenda on Tuesday, May 31. -more-

Gina Sasso, 49, Berkeley Activist Dies at Highland Hospital Wednesday;
A Large Circle of Friends Plans Celebration in People's Park Sunday

By Ted Friedman
Saturday May 28, 2011 - 09:56:00 AM
Gina Sasso, left, demands dignity before a demo at Moe's

Gina Sasso, 49, who died of complications from pneumonia at Highland Hospital Wednesday, leaves a mournful circle of friends who are organizing a musical and performance event this Sunday in People's Park to celebrate, not mourn, her life.

Sasso's brother-in-law, Ernest "Boom" Carter, a drummer with Bruce Springsteen and David Sancious, will head the list of performers. -more-

Into Eternity Opens Today at San Francisco’s Roxie Theater

Film Review by Gar Smith
Friday May 27, 2011 - 05:53:00 PM

In 1983, eco-philosopher Joanna Macy was among the first to raise the issue of Nuclear Guardianship, “a citizen commitment to present and future generations to keep radioactive materials out of the biosphere.” Macy challenged people to consider what it would take to safely isolate nuclear wastes for millennia — and how to leave behind a warning on burial sites that could be understood by any future survivors who might stumble across a still-deadly atomic garbage pit. -more-

The Cal Stadium Renovation Will Not Make The Stadium Safe (Commentary)

By Hank Gehman
Thursday May 26, 2011 - 08:42:00 AM

The university would have people think that the Cal football stadium renovation will eliminate dangers to public safety in the case of the earthquake and make the stadium and its environs safe for intensive use. This is not true. The renovation of the stadium will not create a risk-free structure and there are other risks that cannot be mitigated by a retrofit. -more-

Dispatches From The Edge:The New Face Of War (Column)

By Conn Hallinan
Friday May 27, 2011 - 12:42:00 PM

The assassination of al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden did more than knock off America’s Public Enemy Number One, it formalized a new kind of warfare, where sovereignty is irrelevant, armies tangential, and decisions are secret. It is, in the words of counterinsurgency expert John Nagl, “an astounding change in the nature of warfare.” -more-

Press Release: Weekend Excursion to Point Richmond: 100 Garage Sales on Monday

Friday May 27, 2011 - 11:38:00 AM

Monday is the Point Richmond Memorial Day Sale, an annual event not to be missed. -more-

Another Point of View on BUSD Laundry (Commentary)

By Kristen Lono
Thursday May 26, 2011 - 08:42:00 AM

I teach at Berkeley Arts Magnet and the portrait painted by parent Ms. McCleary in a recent letter published by your paper bears no resemblance to the school as I know it. To post this under a "BUSD Dirty Laundry" headline was irresponsible and divisive. Ms. Collins has worked hard since she came on board to pull Arts Magnet out of its academic tailspin. She inherited a school which had been identified as a program improvement school under the federal mandate of No Child Left Behind. Under her guidance, the school has made steady and statistically significant gains based on the California Standards Test results, which state and federal agencies use to measure school success, whether we like it or not. Ms. Collins has had to make difficult decisions, most driven by fiscal imperatives or District directives. She has often had to bear the brunt of uninformed community voices who assume she has more authority than in fact she has to allocate resources or determine site priorities. She works closely with a school site council and is under the authority of the school board and district administration. The school has not met all of its goals, and the work continues. This entire staff is dedicated to the idea that all children can and should be able to succeed . -more-

Berkeley's Memorial Stadium Mulched

By Ted Friedman
Wednesday May 25, 2011 - 11:54:00 AM
The walls of Memorial Stadium did not come tumbling down last week, but where is the stadium? Amid disputes over continued "renovation,"  construction is on schedule for completion in fall 2012, according to U.C.

Mulch ado about nothing much or has the university's football stadium disappeared?

Somewhere in some great recycling bin in the heavens you will find the last earthly remains of the university's fabled, disputed, and even despised by some—Memorial Stadium.
As the accompanying photo illustrates, the controversial edifice is missing in action.

Where did it go? -more-

A Berkeley Sidewalk Sitting Ban

By Steven Finacom
Wednesday May 25, 2011 - 12:55:00 PM

The rich and poor alike, in town,

Upon the sidewalk splotched with gum

Are both enjoined from sitting down

Elsewise the Men of Law will come. -more-

The World's First Chair-a-Pillar Comes to Downtown Berkeley

By Lydia Gans
Tuesday May 24, 2011 - 08:25:00 PM

Sunday at the Downtown Berkeley BART station there was a unique, quirky, dynamic action to protest a proposed ban on sitting or lying on sidewalks. It was sponsored by the Stand Up For The Right To Sit Down coalition and it was called a Chair-a-Pillar, the inspired invention of musician and writer Carol Denny. This new and clever way to stage a public protest went on for almost two hours, attracting much interest and support from passers-by.

Participants gathered at noon with signs and chairs on the street side of the BART station entrance on Shattuck Avenue. They arranged their chairs in a row and sat with their signs facing the street. The action started when the person at one end of the row picked up his chair, took it to the other end and sat down. The next person in line did the same.

As the action continued this way the line of chairs snaked around the BART station and wound its way up and down the sidewalk. Sometimes signs faced the street, eliciting enthusiastic horn honking from passing cars, and at other times they faced the people walking on the sidewalk. -more-

Design Review Considers Acheson Commons

By Steven Finacom
Tuesday May 24, 2011 - 08:22:00 PM
Design Review Committee member Bob Allen points to narrow separations between buildings on the Acheson Commons plans, while Committee secretary Anne Burns listens.

Acheson Commons, the 203-unit new housing development proposed to be built above and around several historic buildings in Downtown Berkeley, had its third and final “preview” presentation to a City of Berkeley review body on Thursday, May 19, 2011. -more-

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

By Saul Sugarman (BCN) and Planet
Sunday May 22, 2011 - 08:54:00 PM

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

San Francisco Sit/Lie Law Has Little Effect

By Dan McMenamin (BCN)
Wednesday May 25, 2011 - 02:05:00 PM

San Francisco's controversial sit-lie ordinance has been mostly ineffective in preventing transients from loitering in the city's Haight-Ashbury neighborhood, a police lieutenant said at a department meeting today. -more-

Press Release: Summer School Enrollment at UC Berkeley Another Record Breaker

From Yasmin Anwar, UC Press Service
Monday May 23, 2011 - 04:11:00 PM

Once again, enrollment for summer school at the University of California, Berkeley, is projected to be a record-breaker. More than 15,000 students – including more than 2,700 international scholars – are expected to sign up for classes and, in the case of incoming freshmen, get a head start on their peers who are arriving in the fall. -more-

Partisan Position:Berkeley Tenants and Activists Rally to Save Public Housing

By Lynda Carson
Monday May 23, 2011 - 04:02:00 PM

After spending a small fortune on attorneys, consultants, a strategic plan to dispose of Berkeley's 75 public housing units, relocation specialists, several meetings with tenants opposed to the sale of their public housing, and several years of planning to privatize and sell Berkeley's public housing units, only around 1 or 2 persons representing developers appeared at a Berkeley Housing Authority (BHA) pre-proposal bidders conference, to express an interest in buying Berkeley's public housing units. -more-



Sourcing the Iconic Eats, Berkeley-style

By Becky O'Malley
Wednesday May 25, 2011 - 11:54:00 AM

Number One on the list of words that need to take a vacation is “iconic”. Never a day goes by that someone or something, anything from a golden retriever to a brand of toothpaste, isn’t described as “iconic” in some venue.

These days, iconic seems to be considered a good thing, but it can also have negative connotations. Think of the prohibition, common to all three desert religions, against worshipping false gods—too many things become objects of worship, icons, when they shouldn’t.

In the Bay Area, especially in Berkeley, food and dogs could both be called “iconic”, and not in a good way. People around here spend hours, days, weeks, years discussing what they do or don’t eat and how to find it. (They also get much too wrapped up in the comfort and personality of their dogs.) -more-


Cartoon Page: Odd Bodkins, BOUNCE

Wednesday May 25, 2011 - 12:42:00 PM

Public Comment

Letters to the Editor

Wednesday May 25, 2011 - 12:27:00 PM

"You Choose Bay Area"; Berkeley's Plan to Consolidate Commissions; Standing Up for the Right to Sit Down in Berkeley; Will Berkeley's City Council Downsize Local Democracy by Cutting Volunteer Commissions? Arrest Warrants for Syria's Addad; Rapture; Ace Hardware Building; Jewish Americans and the Fate of Israel; Confrontation; Confessions of a Chocaholic; Panoramic Resident Replies; The Reporter Responds -more-

BUSD's Dirty Laundry

By Kimberly M. McCreary
Tuesday May 24, 2011 - 08:58:00 PM

I am a 40 year Berkeley resident, a parent and a parent advocate for parents of children enrolled in BUSD. For the past five years I have worked with the principal, Kristin Collins, at the school site of Berkeley Arts Magnet at Whittier to address numerous issues of cultural competency (in relationship to African-American and/or Black families). Within these five years I and other parents (and their children) that have chosen to address these issues have been ostracized, retaliated against (overt and covert) and belittled. This year the President of the Black Parents organization(United as Family at BAM) Ms. Artura Brown and the secretary (myself) worked all year to address the current achievement gap amongst Black students at this site. Out of the aggregate population our Black students are the lowest with only 35% of our students proficient in Math and Language Arts and with only 18% of our students proficient in Science. -more-

Art Creams Bad Public Policy

By Carol Denney
Tuesday May 24, 2011 - 09:24:00 PM

When I first heard that Berkeley might try for another anti-sitting law I turned to the poets, singers, activists, and musicians I know and told them about the proposed legislation. The immediate result was disbelief. And poetry. And songs. People started to write and sing about it because that’s what they do. It was like suddenly finding a beautiful river springing to life around me. -more-

The Berkeley City Council is Not Your Friend

By Victoria Peirotes
Tuesday May 24, 2011 - 09:49:00 PM

In a media campaign two years ago Mayor Bates told us, “The future of Berkeley is rosy”. He proceeded to “spike” the City Manager’s salary, advocating “…because he, like me, could make more in retirement than on the job.” That inadvertent admission was true and telling. What was inaccurate is that the future of Berkeley wasn’t rosy then and most certainly isn’t now. -more-

Jesus Slept Right Through the Second Coming (Song)

By Carol Denney
Wednesday May 25, 2011 - 01:10:00 PM

Jesus slept right through the second coming -more-


Wild Neighbors: Annals of Forensic Ornithology: The Peregrine Report

By Joe Eaton
Tuesday May 24, 2011 - 09:51:00 AM
Adult peregrine falcon at Morro Bay, a long-time nest site.

Sorting through the trash may not be most folks’ idea of a good time, but it can be a boon to science. I’m thinking here about the intrepid researchers who examine the leftovers in or near raptor nests and reconstruct the birds’ diets. -more-

The Public Eye: America After 9/11: Still Crazy After All These Years

By Bob Burnett
Monday May 23, 2011 - 03:59:00 PM

The death of Osama bin Laden is an opportunity to reflect upon the deterioration of the United States since the attacks on September 11, 2001. We’ve entered into an endless state of war and our economy teeters on the brink of collapse. And, as a people, we’ve developed a distinctive derangement. -more-

On Mental Illness: Modifying the Work Ethic

By Jack Bragen
Monday May 23, 2011 - 04:06:00 PM

The work ethic that helps most Americans get their jobs accomplished can be poisonous for a person dealing with a major psychiatric illness. To accomplish overcoming the resistance to work, many non-disabled people create a “turbocharged” motivational system. Such a system doesn’t generally work for someone with mental illness, since there are times when we must slow down and take care. The system that is taught to people under psychiatric and psychological care is often the antithesis of the American work ethic. No wonder that successful people often find it hard to understand, and have empathy for, those who suffer with a mental illness. -more-

Senior Power: We live in a death-denying, death-defying culture....

By Helen Rippier Wheeler
Monday May 23, 2011 - 03:51:00 PM

We live in a death-denying, death-defying culture declares seventy-year old Jane Ellen Brody, the high priestess of health, per Time magazine. Our attitudes about life affect our attitudes about death. Brody’s Guide to the Great Beyond -- “a practical primer to help you and your loved ones prepare medically, legally, and emotionally for the end of life” -- is especially good on advance directives (file your living will with the U.S. Registry of Living Wills), assisted dying, and palliative treatment (relieving pain without curing). Compassion & Choices online bookstore carries this Guide to the Great Beyond. -more-

Arts & Events

Ragged Wing Ensemble in "Open"

By Ken Bullock
Wednesday May 25, 2011 - 12:51:00 PM

"It began with a beard ... "

Ragged Wing Ensemble, local troupe that's been specializing in stylized and physical theater productions for the past half-dozen years, opens the newest show--an original, written and directed by co-founder Amy Sass, appropriately titled Open--with this leading line, referring by it, and in a little shadowplay, to the old folktale Bluebeard, first put into shape by fairytale pioneer Perrault, inspiration for countless books (Dickens, Thackery, Anatole France), illustrations (Dore'), plays (one by Maeterlinck) and operas (like Paul Dukas', from Maeterlinck, or Bartok's, made into a charming Clay-mation-type film by Jean Painleve'). -more-

Around and About Music

By Ken Bullock
Wednesday May 25, 2011 - 01:00:00 PM

Lisa Mezzacappa's Bait & Switch at the Jazz School; Meet the Mendocino Music Festival in Berkeley; Cello Heaven with a Soprano -more-