The Week

Definitely not the usual scene at Tiffany & Co
Steve Leibel / stevelimages.com
Definitely not the usual scene at Tiffany & Co
 

News

Press Release: 86 Year Old Woman With Dementia Located

From Sgt. Mary Kusmiss, BPD
Friday October 14, 2011 - 09:34:00 AM

A City of Berkeley Police Department (BPD) patrol officer located Mary Souza, the 86 year old woman who had wandered away from her assisted living facility last evening at about 7:00 p.m. The facility is in the 2600 block of Shattuck Avenue. Many members of BPD had been continually searching for her since last night, at one point using the services of the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office (ACSO) Search and Rescue tracking dogs. -more-


Press Release: Community Help Needed to Find 86 Year Old with Dementia (Press Release)

From Sgt. Mary Kusmiss, BPD
Friday October 14, 2011 - 08:15:00 AM

The City of Berkeley Police Department (BPD) needs the community’s help in finding a missing woman, Mary Souza, who is at risk due to age and dementia. -more-


Plans for Berkeley's West Campus to be Presented Tuesday: City Council Chambers, Charter High School, BUSD Offices (News Analysis)

By Kristin Leimkuhler, West Campus Neighbors and Merchants Alliance (WestNEMA)westnema@yahoo.com
Thursday October 13, 2011 - 09:55:00 AM

As currently planned by the City of Berkeley and the Berkeley Unified School District, the neighborhood surrounding the 7.3 acre location on University Avenue, BUSD's "West Campus", will undergo major changes in the next few years. The Berkeley City Council meetings will move to the West Campus site, to be shared with the BUSD administration and the Revolutionary Education and Learning Movement (REALM) charter high school. -more-


Hundreds of Protesters "Occupy Walnut Creek"

By Laura Dixon (BCN)
Thursday October 13, 2011 - 02:02:00 PM
Protesters line Main Street across from BofA

Occupy Wall Street made its way to Walnut Creek Wednesday afternoon, when about 300 people rallied in solidarity with the now nation-wide movement.

From 4 p.m. until around 6:30 p.m., protestors from Walnut Creek and surrounding towns lined the sidewalk at the intersection of Main Street and Mount Diablo Boulevard, standing in front of a Bank of America branch, a Tiffany and Co. store and a handful of upscale eateries. -more-


Day 5: Occupy Berkeley Prepares for Big Action Downtown Saturday

by Ted Friedman
Thursday October 13, 2011 - 03:08:00 PM
Emerging from its tarp last night, General assembly discusses Saturday Noon Rally

Occupy Berkeley may offer some surprises for its second week which launches Saturday at noon at Bank of America Civic Plaza--followed later by its seventh general assembly, a forum in participatory democracy.

The surprises are still kicking around in committees, and now sub-committees, and new committees. And then there are surprises that just happen spontaneously. -more-


Day 4:As Berkeley Anti-Wall Street Protest Aligns With National Occupation Movement, Some Locals Feeling Squeezed

By Ted Friedman
Wednesday October 12, 2011 - 12:24:00 PM
Female facilitator, center and seated, for the 6 p.m. general assembly of Berkeley anti-Wall Street protest at BA Plaza last night. Russell Bates to her left. Michael M. a blur, is right with long hair and beard. Note the flow chart at left. This update on reports and proposals guides the protest. All important note-taker is to facilitator's right

It looks official; the Berkeley branch of the anti-Wall Street movement has branded itself "Occupy Berkeley"--a marketing concept to make it convenient to find your local Bank of America. Now you can pick the occupation movement nearest you.

And some, but not all veterans of Berkeley's often fractious activist community are feeling squeezed out.

Aware of this, one of the founders of Occupy Berkeley, who continues to oppose the idea that he is a leader, vows to give the locals a voice. But to influence "Occupy," you must know and play by the (franchise) rules, the non-leader says. -more-


Why No Demands? Occupy Wall Street is a Rebellion, Not a Protest. (News Analysis)

By Michael Levitin (New America Media)
Wednesday October 12, 2011 - 03:23:00 PM

Let’s get something straight: this movement has issued no demands. It is not a protest. It’s an occupation. Rebellions don’t have demands.

As we wrote in the editorial that appeared in the second edition of The Occupied Wall Street Journal on Saturday: “We are speaking to each other, and listening. This occupation is first about participation.” -more-


Bon Appetit

By Dorothy Snodgrass
Wednesday October 12, 2011 - 03:20:00 PM

After studying me critically, in ill- disguised disgust, my Kaiser doctor recently ordered me in stern tones to go on a diet. O.k., so that's easy for her to say -- she weighs all of 95 pounds, soaking wet. I know she would strenuously object to the many times a week I go out for breakfast/lunch with friends and neighbors. But, what the heck, this is one of life's pleasures. And there are so many great restaurants in Berkeley and the bay area where one can hang out (and pig out). -more-


Flash: Power Outage Closes Downtown Berkeley BART Station

By Bay City News
Tuesday October 11, 2011 - 05:21:00 PM

BART has closed the Downtown Berkeley station after a PG&E power outage was reported, a utility spokeswoman said. -more-


Day 3: "Occupy Berkeley" Emerging as Berkeley Version of Anti-Wall Street Movement

By Ted Friedman
Tuesday October 11, 2011 - 04:45:00 PM
As rain returned, forcing protesters to huddle under a tarp, you can't tell from this photo, but the crowd for night three of Berkeley's anti-Wall Street protest reached nearly fifty

What do you do when your demo is overshadowed by San Francisco's and Oakland's, if not more than 240 anti-Wall Street protests across the nation?

If you are clever young activists, you brand yourself, and that is exactly what Berkeley's version of the growing national movement is trying to do. And doesn't Berkeley have a few moves when it comes to protest?

"Occupy Berkeley," is the first branding step. Pending approval by the protest's communication committee (the protest is governed by committees open to all--even provocateurs.) -more-


Protestors Begin Day Two of "Occupy Oakland" Demonstration

By Hannah Albarazi (BCN)
Tuesday October 11, 2011 - 01:02:00 PM

"Occupy Oakland" demonstrators who converged on Frank Ogawa Plaza on Monday afternoon remained camped out in front of Oakland City Hall this morning.
Dozens of tents dotted the lawn, and about 75 people gathered under a large tarp at the camp to discuss logistical plans for the open-ended protest.
A homeless protester who gave his name only as Adam explained that there is no one in charge of the movement or the camp. He said that about 1,000 people attended Monday night's general assembly. -more-


Glover, Mayors of Oakland, Berkeley and Richmond to Speak at "Jobs not Cuts" Rally on Saturday

By Zipporah Collins
Tuesday October 11, 2011 - 04:14:00 PM

Actor and activist Danny Glover has accepted an invitation to speak at a “Jobs Not Cuts” march and rally in Oakland on Saturday, October 15.

In addition to Glover, Oakland Mayor Jean Quan, Berkeley Mayor Tom Bates, Richmond Mayor Gayle McLaughlin, and community leaders will add their voices to the public outcry for government to invest in jobs and stop cutting needed programs for the poor and middle class. -more-


Day Two: As Occupy Wall Street Movement Builds in Berkeley, How Berkeley Will it Be?

By Ted Friedman
Monday October 10, 2011 - 01:04:00 PM
Second night facilitator at Wall Street protest prepares instructional chart with hand signals for "general assembly."

Day two of the national Occupy Wall Street Movement presently encamped (by night) in the Bank of America Civic Plaza at Shattuck and Center streets was a planning session which will determine the course of the protest. -more-


Occupy Oakland Starts Today at 4 at Oakland City Hall

By Scott Morris (BCN)
Monday October 10, 2011 - 01:19:00 PM

The wave of protests that began with "Occupy Wall Street" in September is continuing to expand in the Bay Area, and activists plan to begin camping out in Oakland's Frank Ogawa Plaza this afternoon. -more-


Berkeley Meeting Introduces Ashby Village

By Dorothy Snodgrass
Monday October 10, 2011 - 12:58:00 PM

Having frequently heard about Ashby Village, I had only the vaguest notion of what it actually is. But this past week, during an informal discussion group at the Berkeley Town House, lead by Andra Lichtenstein, we were provided details on the history and growth of this organization. (With over 30 years of experience in public and private sectors with a focus on community health centers, and as Planning and Development Director of Lifelong Medical Care, Andra is well qualified to describe the virtues of this very admirable organization.) -more-


New: Berkeley Dodges End of the World, Joins National Anti-Wall Street Revolution Saturday at Bank of America Plaza Downtown

By Ted Friedman
Saturday October 08, 2011 - 10:21:00 PM
Bo-Peter Laanen, 20, a Cal poly-sci major is second from left in foreground. His techniques moved the crowd from the planning stage to an all-night camp-in Saturday at Bank of America Plaza downtown

As Wall Street protests spread across America from Manhattan—to Boston, Hartford, Savannah, San Francisco, Seattle, Los Angeles, Huntsville, Birmingham, Mobile. Columbus, Ga., Chicago, San Diego, among others—Berkeley, which recently survived the end of the world while awaiting "the revolution," joined one Saturday afternoon at the Bank of America Plaza at Center and Shattuck. -more-


U.S. Prosecutors Announce Crackdown on Medical Marijuana Stores

By Julia Cheever (Bay City News Service)
Friday October 07, 2011 - 10:25:00 AM

Federal prosecutors in California announced a full-court-press crackdown on the state's commercial marijuana industry today, saying they will not allow large-scale, for-profit enterprises in the name of medical marijuana. -more-


Opinion

Editorials

Planning More of Those Robot Apartments for Berkeley

By Becky O'Malley
Wednesday October 12, 2011 - 02:29:00 PM

Much to my surprise, last week’s New Yorker cover seemed to be devoted to Berkeley’s in-the-works new Downtown Area Plan.

Thanks to sometime Planet contributor Tom Lord, we’ve learned that cover artist Eric Drooker, who lives in downtown Berkeley, seems to have been riffing on an animation he did to go with a film version of Alan Ginzberg’s Howl—the sinister figure at the top of the skyscrapers is Ginzberg’s Moloch:

"Moloch whose Soul is electricity and banks!"
"Moloch whose Poverty is the specter of Genius"
"Moloch whose fate is a cloud of sexless hydrogen"
"Moloch whose name is the Mind. Robot apartments"

Drooker’s visual imagery reprises Fritz Lang's 1927 expressionist film, Metropolis.

Oh sure, you say. Well, I had the misfortune to watch as much as I could stand of yesterday’s city council workshop on “development fees”, and let me tell you, it was all about building robot apartments with souls of electricity and banks. -more-


The Editor's Back Fence

Make Your Voice Heard Again in the Sierra Club--Join Now to Vote in December Election

Thursday October 13, 2011 - 03:00:00 PM

Are you one of those Berkeleyans who’d like to say that “the Sierra Club speaks for me?” But perhaps are you a past member who, like David Brower, resigned when the club took a position that you thought was a mistake?

Many of us were disillusioned when the local arm of the Sierra Club allowed its good name to be used by notorious developer Sam Zell’s corporation in Berkeley’s hotly contested and widely criticized Measure R election.

Now’s your chance to try again to set the club on the right path by choosing who will fill the 5 open positions on the Sierra Club S.F. Bay Chapter’s Northern Alameda County (NAC) Group Executive Committee—but you have to act now.

According to the organization’s web site, Oct. 15 is the date by which you need to be a member in the club’s database to vote in the election. -more-


Local Business in the News

Thursday October 13, 2011 - 10:53:00 PM

Richard Brenneman reports on his blog about a local company, Amyris. -more-


This Is the Weekend Issue: Good until Monday

Sunday October 09, 2011 - 01:21:00 PM

We're trying this week to use the issue with Friday's date all through the weekend for consistency. If you have time, keep checking for updates. The issue with Monday's date will appear midday. -more-


Cartoons

Cartoon Page: Odd Bodkins: Perfect Happiness

Dan O'Neill
Wednesday October 12, 2011 - 02:08:00 PM

Cartoon Page: BOUNCE:

By Joseph Young
Wednesday October 12, 2011 - 02:24:00 PM

Public Comment

Letters to the Editor

Thursday October 13, 2011 - 01:07:00 PM

Rossmann Piece on Skinner/Hancock Bad Votes; Tax the Rich Demo, Monday, 5:30pm -more-


Letters to the Editor

Wednesday October 12, 2011 - 03:34:00 PM

Each day I wait to see relief on the faces of people who are hoping to get their needs for survival met by other kind people but at the end of the day most of them are still desperate and depressed. I always thought life is lived now first and that today's needs are more important than needs of the unseen tomorrow. Our readers of the U.S. Constitution remind us of the unseen tomorrow by ignoring today for the one-third of the U.S. that lives in poverty. Ask those about tomorrow whose child went to sleep without food. Ask those about tomorrow whose child is undernourished and sick. Will the child keep alive without help until tomorrow? Well, the wearer knows where the shoe pinches. People who sit in Congress or govern the country may not have ever missed a meal in their lives. They may never have gaped in bewilderment at the sky. -more-


AB 292 and SB 900: Both Bad for the Environment;
Why Did Skinner and Hancock Vote for Them?

By Antonio Rossmann
Tuesday October 11, 2011 - 09:58:00 AM

Enactment of these two bills represent the culmination of a perfect storm, which runs the risk of repetition often in the days ahead. But first explanation of what they are.

SB 292 was the special interest bill to facilitate approval of a new NFL stadium in downtown Los Angeles. The project proponent is AEG Enterprises, Philip Anschutz' empire that includes many of the world's major sports and entertainment stadia, and ownership of several professional sports teams in hockey, basketball, and soccer. AEG claims they need special treatment under CEQA in order to bring an NFL team to Los Angeles; the asserted fear is that a lengthy CEQA lawsuit would delay the arrival of a team they acquire from elsewhere, leaving that team stranded in its present location. AEG also claimed discrimination because two years ago the Legislature gave a competing Southern California promoter categorical exemption from CEQA. AEG built a political consensus for its project and CEQA exception by touting the tens of thousands of jobs that would be created by stadium construction. -more-


Local Activists Join New National Movement to “Take Back the American Dream”

By Ken A. Epstein
Tuesday October 11, 2011 - 04:17:00 PM
Van Jones

Twenty-three- year old Nelini Stamp became an activist at the age of 17 when her family was evicted from their apartment in New York City. She is one of the young generation of organizers who responded quickly to the call of the Occupy Wall Street protests.

“I went down there and didn’t realize it was going to change my life,” said Stamp, who is a member of the Working Families Party. “I started sleeping on cardboard (and began) pressuring labor organizations and community organizations to come on down and check it out.”

“We don’t need demands,” she explained in response to mainstream press criticisms. “If we tell them demands, it’s saying they have the power. And we have the power because we have strength in numbers.”

Stamp was among the 2,0000 veteran and newly emerging leaders from around the country who came together recently in Washington, DC to spark what they hope will become a national coalition and movement to “ Take Back the American Dream” from bankers, corporate CEOs and the lobbyist-owned politicians who have turned that dream into a nightmare. -more-


New: Hancock's Senate Bill 555 Release is Wrong: Berkeley's Solar Program Went Up in Flames

By Nigel Guest
Saturday October 08, 2011 - 10:43:00 PM

Loni Hancock's press release for this bill that you published is seriously flawed. I wrote [the following commentary about the Berkeley Solar Program]for the (Berkeley) Council of neighborhood Associations' August, 2011 newsletter.

The key problems are:

1) The Federal Housing Financing Authority has ruled that solar property tax liens cannot be accepted for properties with "conforming" mortgage loans.

2) The BerkeleyFirst solar financing scheme was not a success. It was a disaster. Only 13 people went through with it, and, after the FHFA ruling, the City abandoned it. -more-


New: Occupy Berkeley Report

By Steve Martinot
Sunday October 09, 2011 - 03:11:00 PM

The Berkeley occupation, joining some 900 other cities, has begun. Though the original call was for people to come to the B of A grounds at Center and Shattuck to plan an occupation, which would then begin on Saturday, Oct. 15, 100 people showed up, and the decision was made to begin right away. -more-


A Nurse's Viewpoint

By Berit Block, RN
Friday October 07, 2011 - 08:12:00 AM

I have been a Registered Nurse at Alta Bates Summit Medical Center for over 29 years. I love my job. I started at age 24 when it was Merritt Hospital and have worked there through various mergers and labor disputes and strikes. We, as Registered Nurses, have worked very hard through the years for a contract that protects our patients and offers us fair working conditions and upholds our work as a profession. Our contract is upheld by nurses working in other facilities as a Gold Standard. What is happening now, as we are negotiating our contract is unprecedented. Never, in almost 30 years have I experienced what we are now going through. We are asking for language in the contract for better murse-patient staffing ratios and it should be noted that California is one of the only states that has a law that mandates nurse-patient ratios to protect the patients. These have already decreased the number of deaths and poor outcomes in the state. We, as CNA members, are only asking that our previous contract be upheld. We are not asking for anything new, not even a cost of living pay raise. We only want NO TAKEAWAYS. -more-


Columns

Dispatches From the Edge: Libya & Afghanistan: The Price of Getting it Wrong

By Conn Hallinan
Thursday October 13, 2011 - 01:05:00 PM

“In 1979, when Soviet troops swept into Afghanistan, an angry Jimmy Carter organized an unofficial alliance to give the Soviets ‘their Vietnam’ (which Afghanistan became).” New York Times, 11/9/11 -more-


Senior Power: Happy Birthday, Betty Dukes

By Helen Rippier Wheeler
Thursday October 13, 2011 - 01:55:00 PM

Sex and gender are frequently-considered factors in employment. Sex is the biological status of the person; gender is the cultural notion of what it is to be a woman or a man, girl or boy. “Gender” has become standard usage, as if some people are unable to say the S word. -more-


The Poetry of Money: a New Irregular Personal Column

By R.M. Ryan
Wednesday October 12, 2011 - 03:43:00 PM

I worked in the sales, research, and management departments of a major regional brokerage firm for over twenty-five years. I left as a Senior Vice President to become a private money manger in 2005.

While I never literally worked on Wall Street, I lived in the air of that synecdoche.

I learned quite early in the game that, if I wanted to survive, I had to pick and choose very carefully among the investments offered to me and my clients. Many of them—such as, for instance, most tax shelters back in the 1980's and numerous mortgage-backed products—were financial poison.

Once you hung around a while, it got to be fairly easy to spot the bad products—the first test was simple: crappy investments usually had the largest commissions for the brokers. -more-


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

by Dorothy Bryant
Tuesday October 11, 2011 - 01:04:00 PM

The advantage of the melting pot is that it undermines tribalism. One gains a distance from one’s own national folly. Fashionable present-day multiculturalism, with its naïve call for ethnic pride, sounds to me like an attempt to restore me to precisely that state of mind my parents ran away from in Europe. The American culture is a strange concoction prepared and cooked by each individual in his own kitchen. It ought not to come in a package with a label and a fake list of wholesome, all-natural ingredients.

—Charles Simic, poet, NY Times Book Review, 12/20/03 -more-


It’s the Water, Stupid: The Perils of Clearcutting

By Bob Burnett
Friday October 07, 2011 - 08:47:00 AM

When you fly to the west coast, you usually pass over the Sierra Nevada mountain range. On a clear day you’ll notice the surrounding forests are irregular; they’ve been “checkerboarded.” Millions of acres have been logged and ”clearcut.” While problematic on many levels, clearcutting imperils the drinking water for 45 million Americans. -more-


On Mental Illness: Smoking, Obesity and Type II Diabetes

By Jack Bragen
Sunday October 09, 2011 - 01:19:00 PM

Far too many persons with mental illness literally “drop dead” at too young an age. In many instances, our deaths are the result of preventable health issues that most un-afflicted people address by middle age. The mental health treatment system is failing to provide preventative maintenance to a population which is very vulnerable to premature illness and death through heart disease, type II diabetes, high blood pressure, and emphysema. If the assumption is that persons with mental illness have less competence compared to the mainstream population, then it becomes the responsibility of mental health caregivers to help regulate the diet, smoking and exercise level of their clientele. -more-


Arts & Events

Around & About Theater: Ragged Wing Ensemble--Innana's Descent--free performances & celebration

By Ken Bullock
Wednesday October 12, 2011 - 03:13:00 PM

Ragged Wing Ensemble, the East Bay's plucky little physical theater troupe, will stage Innana's Descent--the story of the Mesopotamian queen of Heaven & Earth, goddess of love, entering the underworld--as 'a celebration of the darkening of days" from this weekend through October 30, Saturdays and Sundays, 1-5, at Codornices Park, 1301 Euclid (near the Berkeley Art Center; just east of Live Oak Park) with interactive art installations and continuous performances all afternoon--and a special Halloween show, October 31, 5-8 p. m. Free. raggedwing.org -more-