The Week

The corner of University and Bonar in Berkeley was the scene of this crash at midday today.
Carol Denney
The corner of University and Bonar in Berkeley was the scene of this crash at midday today.


Check Out These Links

By Victor Herbert
Monday June 20, 2011 - 11:03:00 AM

1. - "Berkeley's icon Maudelle Shirek celebrates her 100th birthday and Carolyn Jones tells the Bay Area about it in the Chron."

2. "It's budget time in Berkeley and Judith Scherr reports on the perennial Employee-Overtime debate in the EBExpress." -more-

Protest This Morning at St. Joseph the Worker in Berkeley

Friday June 17, 2011 - 09:38:00 AM

The Contra Costa Times reports that 100 people took part in a protest this morning at St. Joseph the Worker church in Berkeley. -more-

Flash: Berkeley Unified School District Will Not Pursue Community Day Classroom at BAS (Press Release)

From Mark Coplan, BUSD Public Information Officer
Saturday June 18, 2011 - 12:52:00 AM

Berkeley Unified School District administration has decided not to bring forward the placement of a County Community Day School Classroom at Berkeley Adult School, or any other location on District property. Superintendent Bill Huyett has expressed that the District has other more pressing issues and needs that require staff time. -more-

Union Concessions Would Reduce $12.2 Million Berkeley Deficit by $411,000

Friday June 17, 2011 - 09:02:00 AM

From an article by Jonathan Tam in Thursday's Daily Cal: -more-

Press Release: Berkeley Councilmember Arreguin to Meet with President Obama

From Anthony Sanches
Friday June 17, 2011 - 05:52:00 PM

Berkeley City Councilmember Jesse Arreguín will travel to Washington, D.C. today to meet with members of the Obama administration and attend an intimate reception at the White House with President Obama. Councilmember Arreguín is one of a small number of members of the Young Elected Officials Network, a network of young progressives in elected office, who were invited to the White House to discuss important issues facing states and localities. -more-

An Open Letter to Rep. Barbara Lee about the Gaza Flotilla

By Henry Norr
Thursday June 16, 2011 - 02:16:00 PM

As a resident of Berkeley and therefore one of your constituents, I am writing with two purposes:

a) to let you know that I will be sailing later this month to the Gaza Strip aboard a vessel called The Audacity of Hope, which will join 10 or 12 other ships, with more than 1,000 passengers from all over the world, in this year's Gaza Freedom Flotilla; and

b) to request that you use your good offices to demand that the Israeli government not interfere with our mission and to insist that the State Department and other branches of the U.S. government stand up for our right to travel freely in international waters and to enter a territory Israel says it no longer occupies. -more-

Supporters of Retired Pastor George Crespin at Berkeley's St. Joseph the Worker Church Asked to Gather at Sunday Masses (Letter)

By Beatriz Leyva-Cutler
Thursday June 16, 2011 - 02:03:00 PM

Editor's Note: The following open letter from Beatriz Leyva-Cutler was forwarded to the Planet by Pastor Michael McBride, Executive Director of BOCA (Berkeley Organizing Congregations for Action).

Sadly, I write to share that there is much unhappiness and unrest at St. Joseph the Worker and also new organizers that are arising from this situation. The parishioners of the church are asking to meet with the Bishop of Oakland because there is discontent with the direction that Pastor John, who has been there for two years, has lead the church. Recently, he has asked the respected and esteemed Fr. George Crespin to vacate SJW. Pastor John. has already closed two churches before coming to SJW. Since his arrival there has been many changes including dismissing many if not all of the Latino ministries and organizers in the church. This discontent has led to many many parishioners organizing outside the church to demand a meeting with the bishop, which continues to be ignored. A letter was mailed in August, 2010 and recently another letter was hand delivered with hundreds of signatures and remains ignored. Last week many of us withheld our Sunday contribution and promised to double the donation, if only the Bishop would meet with parishioners.

I write to you to ask you to join us this Sunday to demand a meeting with the Bishop Salvatore Cordileone. He is scheduled to give mass at 8, 9, or 11 (which mass has not been confirmed). People have not been noticed to the exact hour of mass that he will address the concerns of the parishioners and there are hundreds if not a thousand people of SJW, waiting to hear and talk with him. SJW has a long history as a sanctuary for the undocumented, labor movement, and helping to organize the community to address the academic achievement gap in Berkeley Schools. This is the church that Cesar Chavez retreated when his life was threaten and when he needed respite. -more-

Council and State Redistricting Changes Proposed for Berkeley (News Analysis)

By Steven Finacom
Tuesday June 14, 2011 - 09:35:00 PM

With the 2010 Census data in, it’s a year for political redistricting.

Last week I reported on Alameda County Supervisorial redistricting, apparently lackluster at least where Berkeley is concerned. This week, let’s take a look at other re-districting issues that affect Berkeley, especially since a process for Council redistricting is before the Berkeley City Council. -more-

Berkeley Grad Student Plays Leading Role in West Virginia March on Blair Mountain

By Carol Polsgrove
Tuesday June 14, 2011 - 09:42:00 PM
UC-Berkeley graduate student Brandon Nida, a West Virginia native,  was a key organizer of the march to save Blair Mountain and end mountaintop removal.

Mountains are sacred the world over, and when about a thousand of us gathered at the foot of Blair Mountain June 11, you could feel the spirit rising. For five days, several hundred people had walked single file down roads from Charleston, West Virginia’s capital. Now, joined by several hundred more, they staked a claim to the historic site of the Battle of Blair Mountain 90 years ago when a face-off between United Mine Workers and coal companies reached such a peak that federal forces came in to quell the conflict.

So pivotal was the battle that in 2009, partly as a result of research by UC-Berkeley archaeology graduate student Brandon Nida, Blair Mountain was listed on the National Register of Historic Places—then promptly delisted under pressure by coal companies. In response, Nida, a West Virginian and board member of Friends of Blair Mountain, helped to organize this long walk commemorating a march to the mountain by more than 10,000 miners in 1921. -more-

Press Release: Robert Kennedy, Jr., to Speak about Risks of Coal Mining Tomorrow Night in San Francisco

From Riki Rafner
Wednesday June 15, 2011 - 06:29:00 PM
Robert Kennedy Jr. spoke at the rally and also appeared at the West Virginia premiere of a new documentary, "The Last Mountain," the night before.

Renowned environmental lawyer Robert F. Kennedy Jr.,will discuss his concerns about the environmental risks of coal mining in America, as presented in his new documentary, “Last Mountain” tomorrow night at 6 at the Commonwealth Club in San Francisco. -more-

Two "MAD" Berkeley Spies Square Off:
Berkeley Council's Sit-Lie Ordinance is Caught in the Crossfire

By Ted Friedman
Wednesday June 15, 2011 - 03:14:00 PM
Boona, Janney, Mike and her Community Organizing Team outside Berkeley Public Library last week. Boona is up-front; Mike Diehl is in second row.

Those familiar with the venerable Mad Magazine's 55 year feature, "Spy Versus Spy" will recall that these alter-ego spies come in two colors: white and black, but it's hard to tell the good spy from the bad without a score card. -more-

Demonstrations Opposing Sitting Ban Continue

By Lydia Gans
Wednesday June 15, 2011 - 11:59:00 AM

The media is ignoring them but homeless activists and providers of services for homeless youth and adults are making sure the Berkeley mayor and city council are paying attention. The threat that the city might pass a law prohibiting sitting or lying on the city streets (so-called anti sit-lie law) has mobilized a broad coalition of organizations to express opposition to it. Tuesday evening June 7 there was another demonstration at the city hall where a number of young people who have or are experiencing homelessness joined with organizers in explaining the wrongheadedness of the idea and pointing out the paucity of services for the homeless. -more-

Changeable the Weather

By Steven Finacom
Wednesday June 15, 2011 - 08:12:00 AM

Shall I compare thee to a Berkeley day?

The weather has been so confusing.

Big storm in June! And such a chilly May--

And allergies so not at all amusing.

The hillsides know not when to brown, -more-

First Person: Berkeley goes all Punjabi this week

By Jane Stillwater
Wednesday June 15, 2011 - 12:05:00 PM

Every Sunday I try to get down to the YMCA and treat myself to a jacuzzi, a swim, some serious time in the steam room, a hair-wash and a granola bar from a snack machine in the basement. But when I went to the "Y" this Sunday, I was amazed to see all of downtown Berkeley crowded everywhere with Indian men and women, all wearing multi-colored turbans and bright saris. So I joined the crowd and followed everyone to a huge festival being staged in what used to be called Provo Park. -more-

Julia Vinograd: Berkeley's Poet Laureate

Dy Dorothy Snodgrass
Wednesday June 15, 2011 - 11:57:00 AM

While leisurely sipping my almost-daily cafe au lait at Peet's Coffee on Telegraph and Dwight Way, I'm fairly certain that I'll see Julia Vinograd making her way slowly along the Avenue; she limps because of a brace on her leg. Immediately recognizable for her black and gold cap and loose flowing robe bearing the emblem of a human skull and the teeth of her dead friend Gypsy Canto, Julie is well known as the unofficial poet laureate of Berkeley. For nearly 30 years she has written lyrically about the lost, the misfits, the downtrodden, the abandoned, the wild and the free. Her latest book, "Skull and Crosswords" is her 50th volume of poetry. -more-

Climbing a Bikeway to Heaven: Bob Berry Remembered
Robert Stephen Berry
March 18, 1949 – May 19, 2011

By Gar Smith
Wednesday June 15, 2011 - 08:30:00 AM
Bob Berry

It’s not everyday you find a Quaker church service crammed with CalTrans employees — especially when more than half of them are decked out in tie-dyed shirts. But it’s not everyday that our community says goodbye to a unique Berkeley treasure like Bob Berry — a songwriting, pro-biking activist who became so disenchanted with traditional political parties that, in the Bicentennial Year of 1976, he dedicated himself to reviving the Whig Party. The invitation to Berry’s June 10 memorial service included a unique request: “The family hopes that people attending the memorial service would arrive in tie-dyed T-shirts to honor Bob’s free spirit.” -more-



Bundles of Boodle, Missing in Action

By Becky O'Malley
Wednesday June 15, 2011 - 12:37:00 PM

It’s a mind-boggling image.

Great big military cargo planes, packed to the gills with shrink-wrapped bundles of hundred-dollar bills, destined for….where, exactly? Or whom, precisely?

If you believe the article in the L.A. Times , approximately $6.6 billion, give or take a few bales of hundreds, seems to have turned up missing. The Times reporter hypothesized that the money might have been "the largest theft of funds in national history," in a quote attributed to an auditor on the case. -more-

The Editor's Back Fence

Information Found Elsewhere

Friday June 17, 2011 - 09:01:00 AM


Cartoon Page: Odd Bodkins, BOUNCE

Wednesday June 15, 2011 - 03:37:00 PM

Public Comment

Letters to the Editor

Wednesday June 15, 2011 - 11:30:00 AM

What Part of “It’s About the Voters” Don’t You Understand? End Sales Tax Loophole; Republicans in Reverse -more-

Why Not to Outsource Berkeley’s Resource Management System

By Mary Lou Van Deventer and Daniel Knapp
Wednesday June 15, 2011 - 10:16:00 AM

It's an illusion that outsourcing Berkeley’s City-owned and -operated resource management system would help the City’s budget problems. No robotic cost-of-living rate escalator would work satisfactorily, either.

The recent Refuse Fund deficit is a new problem resulting partly from errors in capital expenditures and partly from previous attempts at outsourcing. Many of these errors have never been acknowledged or discussed. The effects of internal mistakes on the budget deficits have not been analyzed.

This is a problem with multiple causes. It needs to be corrected in thoughtful delicate ways, not with a meat cleaver. A subcommittee of the Zero Waste Commission is already well into a professional-level review of the structure of services and rates. These are good people, smart and committed. Their work should be encouraged, not sidestepped.

Now staff wants approval to spend money it says it does not have to pay yet another outside consultant to do the same work. Besides being duplicative, this is directly undermining the Zero Waste Commission’s efforts. -more-

Council Votes to Record All License Numbers from Cars on City Streets

By Pat Mapps
Wednesday June 15, 2011 - 03:38:00 PM

The depth and persistence of Berkeley’s current financial problems suggests that those who are in charge of running the city lack foresight, hindsight, and perspective. The current approach to managing our City seems to be to increase revenue at all costs. The recently authorized ‘Boot and Release’ Program is evidence of a unitary focus on increasing revenue. ‘Boot and Release’ relies on highly questionable public policy to yield unspecified revenue and promises to be poorly designed and implemented. -more-


The Public Eye: Roll Over, Karl Marx

By Bob Burnett
Wednesday June 15, 2011 - 11:26:00 AM

In 1883, Karl Marx died as an obscure philosopher, but since then he’s become notorious. A 1999 BBC poll judged Marx “the thinker of the millennium” but for the last 60 years he’s been infamous in America, where being called a Marxist is equivalent to being labeled a terrorist or pedophile. Despite the controversy, Marx’s analysis was correct on many issues and his insights help explain America’s growing economic and political divide. -more-

Dispatches From the Edge: Iran’s Turmoil: Through A Glass Darkly

By Conn Hallinan
Wednesday June 15, 2011 - 11:34:00 AM

On the surface, the recent turmoil in Teheran looks like a case of the clerical elite, led by Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, slapping down an independent minded President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, though the battle is couched in vocabulary that does more to obscure than to reveal: accusations of “sorcery” and “witchcraft” get equal billing with charges of corruption and violations of the constitution. But if the language can at times seem odd, the players and the stakes are hardy abstruse. -more-

Eclectic Rant: Congress Should Reject the U.S.-Colombia Free Trade Agreement

By Ralph E. Stone
Tuesday June 14, 2011 - 09:58:00 PM

Last month, the Obama administration announced that it would not seek Congressional approval of the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with Colombia until Republicans agree to expand assistance to American workers who might lose jobs as a result. The U.S.-Colombia FTA was negotiated under U.S. Trade Promotion Authority, which means that it can be approved or disapproved by Congress, but Congress cannot amend it. FTAs are nothing more than dollar imperialism. That is, a major economic power—the U.S— taking unfair advantage of a revocering economy. Congress should reject the U.S.-Colombia FTA. -more-

Senior Power: This Will Be on the Final ...

By Helen Rippier Wheeler
Wednesday June 15, 2011 - 11:45:00 AM

World Elder Abuse Awareness Day is being observed today, Wednesday, June 15, 2011. This week’s Senior Power column is the second of two devoted to this subject. Possibly, by the time you read it, World Elder Abuse Awareness Day will have come and gone without great notice. -more-

Wild Neighbors: Nature Says "Back Off"

By Joe Eaton
Tuesday June 14, 2011 - 10:17:00 PM
Striped skunks: truth in advertising.

Readers who are old enough to remember Gary Larson may recall a cartoon captioned “How Nature says, ‘Do not touch.’” It depicts a rattling rattlesnake, a fully inflated porcupinefish, a hissing cat with its back arched, and a guy in an overcoat standing on a street corner with a shoe on his head, a bazooka under one arm, and one of those horse-headed plastic flotation devices around his waist. I hope you’re also old enough to remember horse-headed plastic flotation devices. -more-

On Mental Illness: The Sickness of Being Overly Compliant

By Jack Bragen
Wednesday June 15, 2011 - 11:35:00 AM

When I discovered myself getting excessively sweet, nice, and perhaps obedient toward someone in my life who likes me that way, I realized, at some point, that I felt very sick. Then, the anger came, and I left that person an angry voicemail. Of course, that person said that they were unhappy with the disrespect I had shown. And I replied that respect needs to be mutual. Regardless, I realize now that I was in a twisted frame of mind in which I conceded too much. -more-

Pepper Spray Times

Grace Underpressure
Friday June 17, 2011 - 12:18:00 PM

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

Arts & Events

Juneteenth Community Sing on Sunday Afternoon

By Ken Bullock
Wednesday June 15, 2011 - 07:05:00 PM

There's a Bright Side Some Where, a Juneteenth community sing, by Friends of Negro Spirituals, will be held this Sunday, June 19, 3-5 p. m. at the West Oakland Senior Center, 1724 Adeline, near 18th, Oakland--an unusual Juneteenth celebration announced by FNS founder Sam Edwards. -more-

Eye from the Aisle: THE MUSICAL OF MUSICALS at Masquers is 5-STARS!

By John A. McMullen II
Tuesday June 14, 2011 - 10:15:00 PM
Craig Eychner, Ted V. Bigornia, Shauna Shoptaw, Sophia Rose Morris

If you know and love musicals and have not seen THE MUSICAL OF MUSICALS (The Musical), stop reading right now and click on the website to order tickets for the little theatre in Point Richmond. This is a 5-star production, it’s an 88 seat theatre, and they will sell out to SRO in a trice. -more-

Eye from the Aisle:MOONLIGHT AND MAGNOLIAS at Alameda’s Altarena—superior talent, good cookies, LOLs.

By John A. McMullen II
Tuesday June 14, 2011 - 10:08:00 PM
John Hale as Victor Fleming, Tim Reynolds as David O. Selzick, and Keith Jefferds as Ben Hecht

Moonlight and Magnolias, now at the Altarena Playhouse in Alameda on High St., is a well-directed and well-acted three-man drama. Director Stewart Lyle, himself an Equity actor, has had his second success with this triangular formula, having done a successful “Art” at this theatre a couple of seasons ago. -more-

Around & About Theater: Just Theater at the City Club; Ragged Wing Youth Ensemble Workshop for teachers; Just Theater Lab; TheatreFirst's Iraq veteran's story onstage; CalShakes' Titus Andronicus

By Ken Bullock
Wednesday June 15, 2011 - 03:14:00 PM

Just Theater, always a company to watch, has opened, in partnership with Playground, Bay Area playwright Erin Bregman's Down a Little Dirt Road, about the daughter of a woman who's mysteriously disappeared making "a fantastical life" with her father "out of the shards" of their loss. Thursdays to Saturdays, 8 p. m., Sundays at 5, till July 3, Berkeley City Club, 2315 Durant. $15-$30, sliding scale.; 306-1184. -more-

Press Release: Berkeley Symphony Announces 2011-2012 Season

From Jenny Lee
Wednesday June 15, 2011 - 12:00:00 PM

On June 8 Berkeley Symphony Music Director Joana Carneiro unveiled programming plans for Berkeley Symphony's 2011-12 Season, her third with the Orchestra since assuming the music directorship in 2009. The upcoming season, highlighted by one world premiere commission, one West Coast premiere, and works by today's leading composers and their forebears, in exciting collaborations with visionary artists both local and abroad, exemplifies the orchestra's adventurous spirit and steadfast commitment to presenting original, thought-provoking programs, as well as its role as a champion of artists and composers of our generation. -more-

Opus-Q Vocal Ensemble Re-Launches in Berkeley

By Steven Finacom
Wednesday June 15, 2011 - 08:14:00 AM
Four members of Opus Q including, second from right, the Willard neighborhood’s George Beier, during the June 12, 2011 inaugural performance.

A sweet and hopeful pair of concerts on Sunday, June 12, 2011 signaled the re-launch of a Bay Area men’s singing group. -more-