The Week

Alice Waters faces a group of children while being interviewed about the Chez Panisse 40th Anniversary.
Steven Finacom
Alice Waters faces a group of children while being interviewed about the Chez Panisse 40th Anniversary.


Another Bad Experience with EDD and BofA (Commentary)

By Marilyn Shaw
Friday September 02, 2011 - 01:10:00 PM

This email is written in response to Gar Smith's story, dated August 31, 2011, concerning the State of California outsourcing and processing of unemployment benefits through Bank of America.

I have an interesting story and more information to add to this story. I personallly believe this process is just another way of bilking the middle class and poor people of this nation. Below is my recent experience concerning this matter. -more-

Point Molate Indian Gaming Application Denied

By Tom Butt, Richmond City Councilmember
Friday September 02, 2011 - 10:35:00 AM

The Department of the Interior has denied the Guidiville Band’s “restored lands” gaming application under the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act and determined that the Band does not have a modern connection to the proposed gaming site in Richmond and that the band does not have a significant historical connection to the proposed gaming site in Richmond. -more-

Updated: Tire Damage Total in South Berkeley and North Oakland Affects 74 Cars

Press Release From Sergeant Mary C. Kusmiss S-6,BPD Public Information Officer
Thursday September 01, 2011 - 10:31:00 PM

As of this writing, 8:45 p.m., the City of Berkeley Police Department (BPD) has made no arrest(s) for the vandalism of tires in South Berkeley. The investigation is continuing and Officers are pursuing some potentially viable leads. The total documented count of vehicles that had tires damaged is 74. (61 in Berkeley, 13 in Oakland) -more-

String of Crimes Starts New School Year at U.C. Berkeley

By Laura Dixon (BCN)
Thursday September 01, 2011 - 10:27:00 PM

As students head back to the University of California at Berkeley for a new school year, police said there have been a string of armed robberies and sexual assaults on or near campus over the past 10 days. -more-

Press Release: Berkeley Unified School District Shows Gains on the API and AYP

From Debbi D'Angelo Garcia, Director Berkeley Evaluation & Assessment (BEA) Berkeley Unified School District
Wednesday August 31, 2011 - 02:24:00 PM

The California Department of Education released the 2011 Accountability Progress Report today. This annual report contains two sections: 1) the state Academic Performance Index (API) measuring year-to-year growth in academic achievement that a school or local educational agency (LEA) has made, and 2) the federal Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) measuring how well a school meets minimum performance targets. -more-

At Play in the Garden of Chez Panisse

By Steven Finacom
Monday August 29, 2011 - 11:22:00 AM
A Berkeley Art Museum sculpture does double duty as a stand for fresh tomatoes during the OPENeducation event on August 27.

Part selective 60s theme park, part serious educational and eating opportunity, and part sunny day of fun, what was dubbed “OPENeducation” drew hundreds to an outdoor carnival of food philosophy in the sculpture garden of the Berkeley Art Museum on Saturday, August 27, 2011.

It was one element of the celebration of the 40th anniversary of Berkeley’s Chez Panisse restaurant. Most of the other events publicized by the Chez Panisse Foundation (now morphing into the Edible Schoolyard Foundation) were pricey fundraising dinners and galas that unfolded over the week, at which the finely-fed and well-heeled paid anywhere from $100 to a couple of thousand dollars per person to partake.

In contrast, participants at OPENeducation who had made free advance reservations for timed entry were let in through the gates of the terraced sculpture garden that wraps around the west side of the massive concrete museum edifice on Bancroft Way. Each attendee’s hand was marked with a stamp that mimicked the Department of Agriculture stamps placed on inspected meat. -more-

EDD Responds to BofA Debit Card Concerns

By Gar Smith
Wednesday August 31, 2011 - 09:39:00 AM

On August 16, a Planet investigation raised a number of questions about a decision by the State’s Employment Development Department (EDD) to partner with Bank of America to send BofA Debit Cards to all 1.2 million Californians collecting unemployment insurance. Initial attempts to contact the EDD failed. However, following the publication of our story, The Planet received an extensive response from the EDD’s Communications Manager Patti Roberts who offered to provide “clarification for some of the misinformation in the article.” Here is the latest. -more-

Berkeley Police Cite Decrease in Crime for First Six Months of 2011

Wednesday August 31, 2011 - 09:33:00 AM

Berkeley’s police department yesterday issued a press release which claimed that the city has experienced significant decreases in both violent crime and property crime in the first six months of 2011.

The release did not document specifically how the Berkeley statistics compare with national statistics or statistics for comparable college towns in the same period , though it did assert without supporting data that the local property crime decrease was ahead of state and national trends. No comparison of violent crime statistics to state and local trends was included. -more-

Press Release: Vehicles Vandalized in South Berkeley

From Sergeant Mary C. Kusmiss, BPD Public Information Officer
Wednesday August 31, 2011 - 05:16:00 PM

A community member [called] the City of Berkeley Police Department (BPD) at about 7:00 a.m. this morning (August 31, 2011) to report that one of her car’s tires had been slashed or punctured. BPD received additional reports of flattened tires in a number of South Berkeley neighborhoods, thus additional BPD patrol officers responded to support the investigation.

The officers began checking the blocks surrounded the initial reports and were either flagged down by vehicle owners or found many more vandalized tries covering 17 blocks on California Street from 62nd to Blake Streets. Four (4) officers pro-actively continued searching for additional vehicles and respond to new calls for service related to the crimes. Additional vehicles’ tries were damaged in the 1600 block of Julia, 1500 block of Russell Street, 2800, 2900, 3000 and 3400 blocks of King Streets.” -more-

FSM Vet Jack Weinberg Salutes Alice Waters at the UC Art Museum

By Gar Smith
Wednesday August 31, 2011 - 01:55:00 PM
Jack Weinberg speaking from top of police car. Mario Savio standing on ground in foreground.

One of the many recent tributes to the work and life of Alice Waters was the Chez Panisse-related OpenEducation event staged at the UC Berkeley Art Museum last Saturday. One of the highlights (especially for old-timers and veterans of the 1964 Free Speech Movement) was a chance to catch Jack Weinberg climbing on top of a squad car positioned against a wall of the Museum to speak about the early days of the student rebellion that refashioned the Sixties. (Note: Kudos to the Museum planners for managing to procure a police car for the occasion. All props to the props department!) -more-

People's Park Tree-Sit 3 Up in the Air Again Despite In-Park Opposition and Telegraph Property Owners’ Pleas to "Revitalize" Park

By Ted Friedman
Wednesday August 31, 2011 - 10:18:00 AM
The latest People's Park tree-sitter, Moon Shadow, in his "mid-twenties," and non-the-less
                for wear after two nights on the boards

Despite opposition from within People's Park, and calls by adjacent property owners for park reform, a revived tree-sit has become the first revitalizing action in the park—since the last one. The new action launches from the same perch where Matt Dodt, 53, was fork-lifted out in January after three months aloft. -more-



Berkeley Challenges Rome This Week:
Throws Its First Canonization

By Becky O'Malley
Tuesday August 30, 2011 - 05:24:00 PM

This week’s hooha about the 40th anniversary of Chez Panisse (for those who have taken up residence on Mars, it’s a smallish, rather expensive restaurant in Berkeley, CA, USA) has put me in mind of some of my favorite childhood reading, the lives of the saints, especially the female saints, who, it seemed to me, did just about as they pleased most of the time and yet were honored for it later. It’s an old tradition, hagiography, to use its proper literary name: telling stories about high achievers in a way that “ac-centuates the positive and e-liminates the negative,” in the words of the old Andrews Sisters’ song. The term is sometimes but not always used pejoratively. And the flourishing flackery which now surrounds Panisse proprietress Alice Waters is in the best hagiographic tradition, either way you slice it. -more-


Cartoon Page: Odd Bodkins, BOUNCE

Wednesday August 31, 2011 - 10:43:00 AM

Public Comment

Letters to the Editor

Wednesday August 31, 2011 - 11:46:00 AM

Dear Anti-Obama vandal in the 1700 block of Delaware in Berkeley: Obama’s Record; Time for Community Sharing; Heart of a Soldier; Sharing the Wealth? Dr. Martin Luther King -more-

EDD & Bof A: Further Thoughts

By Steve Nadel
Wednesday August 31, 2011 - 04:43:00 PM

I believe Gar Smith has missed some major issues regarding this controversy over B of A/EDD relations. As with the previous respondent, I found it quick, easy & painless to bypass B of A completely and have the funds transferred to my private account. For the unemployed who have their bank accounts & internet access this is really not an issue. B of A won't make a penny off such people. -more-

BARTcar: Silver Lining from the BRT Cloud

Russ Tilleman
Wednesday August 31, 2011 - 10:06:00 AM

The debate over Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) may have felt like a dark cloud hanging over Telegraph Avenue, but now it looks like it might have a silver lining. The discussions about public transit triggered by the BRT proposal have led to a new project called BARTcar.

Somewhere in the BRT debate, someone suggested finding better ways to get people to and from BART stations. Time passed and some of us who were involved in the conflict formed a political activism group called Proper Action. We thought about ways to solve the problems facing our communities, and looked back on what was wrong with the BRT approach. Eventually, we came up with a proposal of our own for improving public transit. -more-

The City of Berkeley Allows Noisy Tenants to Move into "Nuisance" Building on Parker Street

By Gale Garcia
Monday August 29, 2011 - 10:31:00 PM

The former family home at 2133 Parker was allowed to be completed with 17 bedrooms (some of which are doubles, so there are probably at least 20 students living in it). This was despite the unanimous decision of July 14 by the ZAB that the project was determined to be a Group Living Accommodation (not allowed in R2A zones) and a nuisance. Multiple moving trucks blocked the street over a week or two while multiple students moved in. -more-

Panetta Becomes a Shill for the Empire

By Don Monkerud
Monday August 29, 2011 - 05:29:00 PM

For those who remember former Nixon appointee Leon Panetta as a moderate Democrat, his current transformation is a sad disappointment. With his recent speeches in Monterey Panetta's makeover became complete. -more-


The Public Eye: Tiptoeing Towards Theocracy

By Bob Burnett
Monday August 29, 2011 - 04:30:00 PM

In difficult times, nations sometimes embrace extreme solutions. In 1494 Florence became a Christian Republic and Savonarola commenced his inquisition. In 1932 Adolph Hitler became chancellor of Germany and launched the Third Reich. Now America is in turmoil and Republicans offer a radical vision – Michele Bachmann and Rick Perry. Is the US sliding towards Theocracy? -more-

Eclectic Rant: Senate Must Pass AB 144 to Restrict California's Open Carry Gun Law

By Ralph E. Stone
Monday August 29, 2011 - 04:58:00 PM

The California Assembly passed Assembly Bill 144, which would severely restrict California’s open-carry gun law with certain reasonable exceptions, for example, hunters or to transport guns in locked trunks or cases. California law now allows adults who are not prohibited by law to visibly carry an unloaded gun in public places, excluding school zones, government buildings, state and national parks and secured areas like airports. The law permits a gun owner to carry ammunition with the unloaded gun, which could be loaded within seconds, belying the distinction between a loaded and unloaded gun. Police are permitted only to ensure the weapon is not loaded. They cannot check the gun’s serial number, ask for the carrier’s identification, or detain him or her. It is also still legal to carry a concealed weapon, although gun most advocates claim such permits are and should be difficult to obtain. -more-

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

By Dorothy Bryant
Monday August 29, 2011 - 05:00:00 PM

“The book of my enemy has been remaindered

And I am pleased. -more-

Senior Power: Senior Centers

By Helen Rippier Wheeler
Monday August 29, 2011 - 04:38:00 PM

National Senior Center Month will be celebrated again in September. This year’s theme is It Happens at My Senior Center. My Life. My Time. My Way. The International Council on Active Aging is promoting September 25-October 1 as Active Aging Week, “for an active and healthy lifestyle.” -more-

On Mental Illness: Give Yourself a Break

By Jack Bragen
Monday August 29, 2011 - 11:38:00 AM

A common myth says that mentally ill people need to “get with it,” get up off the sofa, and get to work; that we’re lazy; and if we just tried harder and would put more effort into life, our problems would evaporate. I’m here to tell you that, more often than not, this idea is untrue. The belief that if we just, “get up and run ten miles a day” then our problems would disappear, is just more of the same punishment, as well as self-punishment, that got many of us into trouble in the first place. -more-

Arts & Events

The MLK Monument: In the Style of Soviet Social Realism?

By Raymond Barglow
Wednesday August 31, 2011 - 09:48:00 AM

Martin Luther King will be the first non-president and the first African-American to be honored on the National Mall in Washington DC. It’s about time! MLK is one of the towering, heroic figures of the 20th century.

The design of the memorial is based on an image in MLK’s “I Have a Dream” speech, “We will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope.” Like many of MLK’s metaphors, this one is compelling, but does it translate well into sculpture? From the time this monument was proposed over a decade ago until now, the project has been criticized on both esthetic and political grounds. -more-

Encore for the Berkeley Arts Festival

Wednesday August 31, 2011 - 11:54:00 AM

The Berkeley Art Festival's space at University and Shattuck has been extended indefinitely. Here are the new listings: -more-

Around & About Theater: Woodminster presents Finian's Rainbow; Impact at La Val's Subterranean: Of Dice & Men

By Ken Bullock
Tuesday August 30, 2011 - 04:36:00 PM

Woodminster presents Finian's Rainbow from 1947, the final summer musical at the old WPA amphitheater high above the Bay in Joaquin Miller Park, featuring tunes like "That Old Devil Moon" and "How Are Things in Glocca Morra?" With a leprechaun and a corrupt Southern Democrat Senator, a pot of gold stolen from Ft. Knox, and a mix of Irish airs, Gospel and R&B ... and a lot of dancing. Thursday, September 1 through Sunday the 11. This Thursday--preview--at 8 p. m.; otherwise, Thursday and-Sundays at 7, Fridays and Saturdays at 8. $26-$42. 62 and over, 16 and under--$2 off. Preview half price. 531-9597; -more-

Don't Miss This

By Dorothy Snodgrass
Monday August 29, 2011 - 04:47:00 PM

With Labor Day just around the corner, you'll need to labor long and hard when choosing between the many entertaining and worthwhile events occurring the next few weeks. -more-

Adult Education Music and Theater Appreciation Classes at Northbrae Center

By Ken Bullock
Wednesday August 31, 2011 - 10:36:00 AM

Two popular ten week adult education classes in music and theater appreciation, taught by Marion Fay, will start up again the week of September 12 at Berkeley's Northbrae Community Center. The classes are through Albany Adult School, but draw from the Berkeley community as well. Theater Explorations, which features three separate sections, will see Rita Moreno's show at Berkeley Rep and Edward Albee's A Delicate Balance at the Aurora--plus three other plays--at discounted prices, and host guest speakers, including actors and directors. Music Appreciation meets Thursday mornings and features trips to classical music performances, as well as composers, conductors and musicians from the San Francisco and Berkeley Symphonies as guests discussing their work. Musical training is not required for the class. -more-