The Week

The image on the left shows The Whirlpool Galaxy in 2009. The image on the right highlights the supernova as it appeared on July 8, 2011. The image was taken through Chabot’s 36-inch reflector telescope.  The supernova’s name is currently designated as SN 2011dh.
From Conrad Jung, Chabot Space & Science Center
The image on the left shows The Whirlpool Galaxy in 2009. The image on the right highlights the supernova as it appeared on July 8, 2011. The image was taken through Chabot’s 36-inch reflector telescope. The supernova’s name is currently designated as SN 2011dh.


Around & About Music: Faye Carol at Yoshi's San Francisco Tonight at 8

By Ken Bullock
Tuesday July 26, 2011 - 11:44:00 AM

Miss Faye Carol, the pride of Berkeley, will be singing and swinging with her quartet--Berkeley High graduate Howard Wiley, saxophone; Marco Casasola, piano; Marcus Shelby, bass; Geechie Taylor, drums--at Yoshi's San Francisco, 1330 Fillmore, today at 8 pm--$10-$20. (415) 655-5600; -more-

Mylar Balloons Spark Two Berkeley Power Outages

By Rachel Purdy (BCN
Monday July 25, 2011 - 10:11:00 AM

Power was restored at about 5:15 a.m. to about 1,000 PG&E customers in Berkeley who have been without power since just before midnight, a PG&E spokeswoman said. -more-

Translating Code: Deciphering the Real Republican Agenda (Commentary)

By The Occasional Curmudgeon
Saturday July 23, 2011 - 10:56:00 AM

First, we are a civilized people. We are, after all, Berkeleyans. We abhor violence and have institutionalized and elevated the pursuit of peace to the level of religion. We led the resistance to Bush’s invasion of Iraq, and our Congressional district’s representative—herself a resident of Our Fair City—was the only one of more than 400 House members to vote against U.S. action in Afghanistan immediately after 9/11. So we would never raise a hand against another human being, not even in self defense. We are, after all, Berkeleyans…. -more-

Hancock and Skinner Are Backing Stealth Pro-Developer Bills (News Analysis)

By Zelda Bronstein
Wednesday July 20, 2011 - 11:38:00 AM

A major casualty of the newspaper industry’s decline is the coverage of local affairs, especially those having to do with governance. Elections and political scandal still get some attention, but most drawn-out legislative processes are at best under-reported, especially when they’re unfolding in Sacramento. Case in point: the local press has ignored two development-oriented bills that have been making their way through the State legislature since mid-February—AB 710, the Infill Development and Sustainable Community Act of 2011, introduced by Assemblywoman Nancy Skinner; and SB 310, the Transit Priority Project Program, introduced by State Senator Loni Hancock. Both bills curtail local democracy; for that reason alone, they merit scrutiny. With the legislature just adjourned for its summer recess, this is an opportune moment to give them a look. -more-

Water Mains Break in Berkeley and Richmond Soon after Quake

By Steven Finacom
Wednesday July 20, 2011 - 12:59:00 PM
EBMUD Water Line Bursts in Point Richmond, Swallows Wig Wag.

Not long after the 3:51 a.m. earthquake on Saturday morning, which was centered in Berkeley, a couple of water mains broke in the urban East Bay. Caused by the earthquake, or coincidence? East Bay Municipal District workers at both sites said it was just old cast iron pipe, but the timing suggested that ground movement might have been a factor in the breaks. -more-

Updated: Berkeley Hit by 3.4 Quake

Wednesday July 20, 2011 - 09:12:00 AM

A 3.4-magnitude earthquake shook Alameda County on Saturday, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

The tremor, at 3:51 a.m, centered on an area described by the USGS as two miles southeast of Berkeley and three miles northeast of Emeryville, which placed it in Berkeley's Southside neighborhood, adjacent to U.C.'s Clark Kerr Campus and close to the Hayward fault, which runs through Memorial Stadium, now under construction.

The quake had a depth of 4 miles, according to the USGS.

View Larger Map -more-

Is Berkeley A Hilton for the Homeless?

By Ted Friedman
Wednesday July 20, 2011 - 12:23:00 PM
The Traveling ART SHOW,  from Santa Monica sets up at Cody's. The artists ducked out of the pic, but not before reporting on the homeless scene in S.M. Their travel-gear can be seen in the hump on the right.

Whether Berkeley continues to be a Hilton to the homeless or, instead, a Roach Motel ("the roaches check in but they do not check out!") may be little affected by a sit-lie ordinance, according to the street kids themselves. -more-

My recent Oakland mini-vacation: Getting back to "There"

By Jane Stillwater
Monday July 18, 2011 - 12:40:00 PM
The Washington Inn is quaint, centrally located and affordable.

I used to be able to travel the world on the cheap by squeezing all my pennies until the eagle screamed, searching for discount airfares and deals, making various work-for-travel arrangements and embedding with the military. But not any more. Not since the economy tanked and the price of gasoline went up. Unless I win the lottery bigtime pretty soon, these former travel options are pretty much out. Now I have to do my traveling much closer to home. -more-



Fair Weather and Foul on the Berkeley Arts Horizon

By Becky O'Malley
Wednesday July 20, 2011 - 12:09:00 PM

Last night’s Berkeley City Council meeting started off with a genuine warm fuzzy moment. My old friends Russ Ellis and Julie Shearer were lauded and given a richly deserved award for their many, many contributions to the arts in Berkeley. A couple of highlights: Russ, a retired UC Vice President, has been an avid supporter of the Young Musicians’ Program, a UC-based program which provides extra encouragement and excellent teaching on a full scholarship basis for gifted music students, many of whom come from underserved communities. Julie is a performer and a composer, especially in the area of musical theater.

They’re both singers too— Julie was an early member of the celebrated Oakland Interfaith Gospel Choir. I’ve been privileged to hear the classy recording Russ made as a young crooner before the demands of making a living overtook him. And much later in life he was part of a distinguished local group of music-makers whose celebrated members included Professor Troy Duster and Federal Judge Thelton Henderson.

Russ and Julie typify the devotion to the arts that many Berkeleyans exhibit. Another example of what Berkeley at its best can do for the arts is the Berkeley Arts Festival, now in its 20th season of stone-soup productions by the indefatigable Bonnie Hughes. Bonnie has managed, time after time, to beg and borrow unused downtown storefronts for exhibit and performance spaces, benefiting all at the same time the festival’s (always sensational and always paid) performers, the downtown businesses and most of all audience members. She gets a lot of amenities contributed, sometimes gets modest funding from the city of Berkeley, and always seems to turn a few drops of water into a lot of wine. A short unsolicited tribute to the Berkeley Arts Festival by one of the participating painters appears in this issue, and we've given the schedule a free display ad as a thank you for 20 years of pleasure.

There’s another arts story this week that’s not so heartwarming, however. Professional musicians who have survived the somewhat rigorous jurying process for performing at the Solano Stroll received a letter this week from Allen Cain, Executive Director and Events Manager of the Solano Avenue Association, which said in part:

“We simply cannot afford to pay for entertainment this year. ... We simply lack the resources....As a result, moving forward – we are suspending entertainer pay…We do recommend you pass the hat, which can be lucrative – especially when you tell the public you are performing for free and rely on their generosity! What are we asking from you? We are asking you to perform for free. It’s just that simple." -more-

The Editor's Back Fence

Students Present Re-Districting Proposal Despite Mayoral Harassment

By Becky O'Malley
Wednesday July 20, 2011 - 02:02:00 PM

A not-so-nice moment about 20 minutes into last night's Berkeley City Council meeting, which I watched online, came when a serious and charming group of young people attempted to present a council redistricting formula which they'd created in less than a week during the council's pre-meeting public comment time, which is limited to 5 speakers on a subject not on the council agenda. -more-


Cartoon Page: Odd Bodkins, BOUNCE

Tuesday July 19, 2011 - 11:22:00 PM

Public Comment

Letters to the Editor

Friday July 22, 2011 - 10:21:00 AM

BerkeleyBizarre; Medicaid; Paris is Burning: an Open Letter to Alameda Labor Council, AFL-CIO; -more-

Berkeley School Construction Bond Oversight

By Stephanie Allan, Co-Chair, Construction Bond Oversight Committee (on behalf of the committee)
Monday July 18, 2011 - 11:01:00 AM

On June 29, 2011, a reader commentary appeared regarding the expenditures of BUSD bond monies. The commentary contained a number of inaccuracies and, as Co-Chair of the Construction Bond Oversight Committee (CBOC), I’d like to correct them. For your readers’ information, the CBOC is constitutionally mandated, under the California State Constitution, Article 13A, section1, subdivision (b)(3), and is part of the California State Education Code. Such committees have broad independent authority to audit and oversee expenditures of what are called Prop. 39 bonds, which is what Berkeley voters approved last November. These committees are required as a condition of issuing bonds under Prop. 39. -more-

Press Release: Protest Filed to Save California Watersheds From Dangerous Fracking
Drilling Poised to Move Forward Without Thorough Environmental Review

From Matt Vespa, Center for Biological Diversity, and Jason Pitt, Sierra Club,
Monday July 18, 2011 - 11:07:00 AM

SACRAMENTO, Calif.— The Center for Biological Diversity, Sierra Club and Los Padres ForestWatch filed a formal protest today to stop the Bureau of Land Management from leasing out 2,600 acres of environmentally sensitive land in Monterey and Fresno counties for oil and gas development. The leasing of this federal mining-estate land comes without a thorough examination of the effects drilling will have on California’s landscapes, wildlife and watersheds. -more-

Musicians Will Eat Anything You Feed Them

By Carol Denney
Wednesday July 20, 2011 - 12:37:00 PM

The musicians selected to play for the Solano Stroll through an application process that began back in April have just been told that this year they are expected to play for free. -more-

Hal Carstad Was Quite a Man

By Carol Ann Amour
Monday July 18, 2011 - 08:23:00 AM

I am new to the Berkeley area. I moved here from the Midwest in November and knew no one excepting my daughter, her husband, and their new twins. How to meet people? How to get connected? How to find meaningful experiences? -more-


My Commonplace Book (a diary of excerpts copied from printed books, with comments added by the reader.)

By Dorothy Bryant
Monday July 18, 2011 - 11:09:00 AM

“You’re born naked, and the rest is drag.” -more-

The Public Eye: Lost in Space: The Decline of the American Spirit

By Bob Burnett
Monday July 18, 2011 - 08:14:00 AM

Fifty years after Alan Shepard became America’s first astronaut, the US launched its last space shuttle, marking the end of our space program. And a new low for the American spirit. -more-

Eclectic Rant: From Eugenics to the Holocaust

By Ralph E. Stone & Judi Iranyi
Monday July 18, 2011 - 12:03:00 PM
Some dictators don't know where to stop (created by J.N. Darling, 1876-1962)

In his book, Mad in America: Bad Science, Bad Medicine, and the Enduring Mistreatment of the Mentally Ill, author Robert Whitaker discusses a pseudoscientific theory called eugenics. According to this theory, the gene pool was being polluted by the mentally ill, that the severely mentally ill were carriers of defective "germ plasm" and thus, were a threat to the health of American society. The mentally ill were described as a degenerate strain of humanity, social wastage that bred at alarming rates and burdened normal Americans with their upkeep. In some states, the mentally ill were prohibited from marrying, forcibly committed to asylums, and in many states sterilized against their will. American eugenicists encouraged Nazi Germany in its massive sterilization of the mentally ill, a program that led to the crematoriums of the Holocaust. -more-

Senior Power: Life Story

By Helen Rippier Wheeler
Monday July 18, 2011 - 08:07:00 AM

Joanna Kim-Selby is the president/executive director of the East Bay Korean-American Senior Service Center, located at 1723 Telegraph Avenue in Oakland, California 94612. Telephone (510) 763-0736 (Korean), -1879 (English). It is open Tuesday through Saturday from 10 A.M. to 3 P.M. Lunch is served daily at 12 noon under provisions of The Older Americans Act. The Center is a non-profit 501c3 organization. A fuller account appears on pages 8-9 of UCB Resource Center on Aging’s June 2011 Engaging Aging e-Newsletter. -more-

On Mental Illness: Getting Through a Mental "Cold"

By Jack Bragen
Monday July 18, 2011 - 08:20:00 AM

As the reader by now probably knows, I suffer from some type of psychotic disorder. Because my disorder is chronic and severe, I get symptoms of it despite being well-medicated. Sometimes, I experience a mini-episode, not severe enough to be called a mild relapse, but instead, at the level of seriousness of a bad cold. -more-

Arts & Events

A Quick Review of a Berkeley Arts Festival Concert

By M. Louise Stanley
Tuesday July 19, 2011 - 07:42:00 PM

.So I went to one of the concerts tonight in the Berkeley Arts Festival... Jerry Kuderna, a pianist who played some wonderful Debussy etudes, very modern, percussive and bombastic, new to me. He talked about Debussy's process and sources and how hearing Stravinsky for the first time, Debussy was inspired to take more risks. He was very passionate and entertaining. He also premiered a piece by Alden Jenks who was present. -more-