After police enforced an eviction notice on protesters camped in downtown Oakland as part of "Occupy Oakland" this morning, transit through the area was affected. -more-
City officials are advising downtown Oakland employers to consider having employees delay their arrival downtown this morning after police action at the "Occupy Oakland" encampment. -more-
Oakland city officials said this morning police are enforcing a notice of violation issued last week to protesters at the downtown "Occupy Oakland" encampment. -more-
Occupy Berkeley's Growing Tent City Occupied Saturday at Civic Center by Peaceful Bay Area Teachers; But How Long Will Peaceful Vibes Last?
A dozen bay area teachers, joining Occupy Berkeley, engaged in a peaceful "grade-in" Saturday at Berkeley's Martin Luther King Civic Center, but a growing tent city in the park could clash with the city if grounds maintenance problems are not solved. -more-
Southeast Berkeley was full of fear and chaos October 20, 1991. People poured down Tunnel Road, evacuating from the fire above. Emergency vehicles chugged and sirened in the opposite direction. Homes along some of Berkeley’s most charmed streets—Alvarado Road, Vicente Road, Roble Road—were ablaze, along with hundreds of residences in Oakland. For hours, it looked as if the Claremont Hotel would become a gigantic torch. -more-
An Oakland city official has tipped off the Occupy Oakland protest group that a raid tonight is "highly probable." Such a raid would happen after midnight, and would most likely occur between 3 a.m. and 5 a.m. -more-
Berkeley, CA – The teachers at Realm Middle and High Schools became the first charter schools in Berkeley to receive union recognition last week when they were informed by California’s Public Employee Relations Board (PERB) that their request to join the Berkeley Federation of Teachers (BFT), an affiliate of the California Federation of Teachers, had been granted. -more-
Another aftershock with a 2.5 magnitude struck this morning, after two small quakes shook the East Bay this morning, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. -more-
The U.S. Geological Survey has downgraded tonight's earthquake from its original preliminary magnitude of 4.2, to 3.9 a short time later, and now experts report it was a 3.8-magnitude tremor. -more-
According to the U.S. Geological Service, a magnitude
4.2 3.9 4.0 earthquake rattled Berkeley today at 02:41:04 PM, with the epicenter located within blocks of the site where U.C. Berkeley's Memorial Stadium is currently being reconstructed.
If a proposal being developed by City and School District staff comes to fruition, a battered, vacant, one-story former cafeteria on a quiet residential side-street in West Berkeley may soon become Berkeley’s new City Council chambers—and meeting place for other City deliberative bodies, from the Rent Board to the School Board.
The project—estimated to cost $2.1 million—would trigger the essential abandonment of Berkeley’s 102 year old City Hall Downtown and the relocation of City Council and School Board meetings to the old cafeteria at “West Campus”, the School District property on University Avenue between Curtis and Bonar Streets.
The cafeteria, a dilapidated one-story structure, faces out on Addison Street between Bonar and Browning.
City and School District staff said at a community meeting Tuesday night (October 18,2011) that they have not yet presented the concept to either the School Board or the City Council for consideration.
Some of the neighbors of West Campus who spoke at the meeting characterized the meeting relocation proposal as “completely crazy”, “nuts”, ridiculous”, “not a good choice”, and “under the radar.” -more-
New: Occupy Berkeley Deliberates Reviving "How Berkeley Can You Be" Oct. 30; Calls for "Grade-in" and Lawn Watering Saturday--in Lieu of a March
Next up for Occupy Berkeley, a teacher grade-in and lawn watering at Martin Luther King Center Park behind City Hall Saturday noon. No March is planned. The following week, Occupy will homage Berkeley's beloved (and not) How Berkeley Can You Be? with its own, "How Occupy Berkeley Can You Be?" -more-
Editor's Note: The Norman Mailer Center and Writers Colony has announced that this year’s recipient of the National Community College Nonfiction Writing Award is Christopher Woodard of Berkeley City College. He'll get his award and a check for $5,000 at the Center’s third annual benefit gala on Tuesday, November 8 in New York City. Honorary Chair Tina Brown (Newsweek and The Daily Beast) and an advisory board of writers including Joan Didion, William Kennedy, Nobel Laureate Gunter Grass, Doris Kearns Goodwin, Gay Talese, and others will host a lively evening of cocktails, dinner, and an awards ceremony. The Planet is pleased to reprint the winning essay below: -more-
Having been warned by scientists that the Bay Area is due a sizable earthquake in the next 30 years, we're passing on valuable information [found on a postcard, author unknown] on what to do when that earthquake occurs. -more-
Launched just over a year ago in the San Francisco Bay Area’s East Bay, the 170-member social network – driven in considerable part by expertise and membership from the University of California, Berkeley – is among the newest additions to the Village Movement, a nationwide, neighbor-helping-neighbor effort that has spread to more than 50 U.S. cities and communities.
“It’s about being engaged with a lot of really smart people and trying to figure out what we want our community to look like as we get older,” said Steve Lustig, former associate vice chancellor of health and human services at UC Berkeley, and an Ashby Village board member.
Next week (Oct. 24-26), the Village to Village Network, a national nonprofit organization that helps communities manage their villages, will host its annual conference in Oakland. An envoy of some two dozen Ashby Village members will attend. Speakers will include UC Berkeley social welfare professor Andrew Scharlach, whose research on aging-friendly communities has contributed to the Village Movement’s success. -more-
Berkeley City Officials Push UC to Choose West Berkeley for New LBNL Site--
With No Public Review(News Analysis)
Mayor Bates and his allies like to gripe about public process in Berkeley, complaining that an inordinate amount of citizen participation results in costly and unnecessary delays. But a striking aspect of our current civic affairs is the lack, if not total absence, of public process with respect to some of the biggest issues in town.
The problem of City employees’ budget-busting benefits, for example, was last agendaized, as they say in City Hall, at the council’s meeting on January 18, 2011 . The plan to spend $1.4 million to renovate the West Campus cafeteria into a meeting space for the council has never appeared on the public agenda of the council or any City commission.
Neither has the distinct possibility that Berkeley will house the second campus of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.
The second LBNL campus is a very big deal. The first phase will involve 480,000 square feet of development; the second will bring that figure up to two million. Square feet aside, the presence of the second lab will raise land values and boost the “innovation” quotient of whatever place it occupies.
Twenty-three applicants responded to the RFQ that was issued in January 2011. Six made it to the final round.
One, from Wareham Development, would situate the new facility partly in Berkeley and partly in Emeryville, wholly in Berkeley or wholly in Emeryville . A second, from The Stronach Group, would locate it on the current site of Golden Gate Fields racetrack (owned by the Group), which is partly in Berkeley and partly in Albany . A third, from the Goldin brothers and the Jones family, would put the new campus alongside Berkeley's Aquatic Park . The other three possible sites are in Alameda (the former Naval Station), Oakland (the Estuary) and Richmond (the University of California Field Station).
Wherever it goes, the project will have an immense impact on the surrounding community. Accordingly, the second LBNL campus has been publicly vetted by every prospective host city—except Berkeley. -more-
The first thing some protesters experience is demo-paranoia.
Paranoia shone its bloodshot eyes early—on all factions among the protesters.
Some of the paranoia: fear that the occupy movement is a sting operation to identify America's most dangerous radicals and charge them as terrorists: fear of provocateurs and obstructionists; fear of being co-opted by larger movements; fear of politicians, fear of reporters and photographers; fears that unauthorized flyers and buttons would not benefit the protest; and the fear that someone would steal the donations that support the protest.
Saturday, I investigated a suspicious police training in a large building (the old U.C. Press Building), at Oxford and Center. Signs in the lobby touted police trainings, and an FBI Van was parked out front, less than a half block from Saturday's protest. -more-
The Unfinished Legacy of 2010: How a massive Democratic voter cop-out in last year’s elections put the reactionary right in the driver’s seat (News Analysis)
Take a close and objective look at the angry demonstrators now gathered on Wall Street, and at similar protest encampments burgeoning from San Francisco to Madrid. What you see is not simply a vast expression of rage at the crisis enveloping the world of democracy.
The demonstrations also frame a fundamental contradiction – a profound source of strength that has been transformed into a disabling weakness.
They deserve enormous credit for drawing a global spotlight to the perpetrators of that crisis: a sinister cabal of financial scamsters and rightwing politicians, backed by the dubiously “grass-roots” electorate of the Tea Party. What almost no one, on the right or left alike, wants to talk about is that the cabal was empowered by the very people who are now denouncing it.
Progressives, out of a mixture of political correctness and embarrassment, carefully avoid the subject. The Republicans are delighted at the silence, because it masks what should be fatal weaknesses in their own position.
It may not be pleasant to hear, but a massive Democratic voter cop-out in last year’s elections is what put the reactionary right in the driver’s seat, creating the disastrous logjam in Congress, and bringing to a dead halt the hyper-active first two years of the Obama Administration. -more-
The splendid and beloved bear cub fountain in the Circle on Berkeley’s Marin Avenue had a one-hundredth birthday celebration on Sunday, October 16, 2011.
More than 300 people crowded temporarily closed Mendocino Avenue and Los Angeles Avenue northwest of the busy traffic hub to congratulate volunteers, applaud the revived civic amenity, and raise funds for adjacent restoration. -more-
As part of that strategic marketing process, we are looking to get input from a broad range of Berkeleyans and Bay Area residents. We'd like to know why they come--or do not come--to Downtown Berkeley, and what kind of improvements they would like to see in the future.
I shall never forget October 19, 1991, the day of the Oakland Hills Firestorm. From my sixth floor window looking out on the east bay hills, I saw one house after the other go up in flames. At the same time, I could also watch this devastation on my television, a rather surrealistic touch. I stayed glued to my window most of that day. -more-
While no one’s paying much attention, a substantial part of the last remaining open space in flatlands Berkeley is being reconfigured by the Berkeley Unified School District in collusion with bureaucrats working for the City of Berkeley. There has been almost no meaningful public discussion either of the goals of planned lavish and well-funded building projects or of the schedule for carrying them out. -more-
The Editor's Back Fence
A reader has forwarded a disturbing article by Lauren Rosenhall in Monday's Sacramento Bee, which implicates Berkeley Senator Loni Hancock in the disreputable practice of "gut-and-amend", which allows bills to be passed in Sacramento with essentially no public process. Here's the top of the story:
"It was after midnight on the last day of the legislative session last month when the state Senate took up a controversial bill concerning election laws for the very first time.
Most bills go through a months-long process of hearings, negotiations, amendments and votes. Not this one.
Senate Bill 202 was written about 24 hours earlier, when Democrat Loni Hancock of Berkeley deleted the language in a bill about filing fees on voter initiatives and replaced it with a highly political proposal to change the state's election laws in ways that will favor Democrats in 2012.
'The lack of process in this bill is inexcusable,' Sen. Ted Lieu of Torrance told his colleagues that night. 'We as Democrats should be ashamed at how this came to the Senate floor.'
Hancock's bill was the most extreme example this year of the Legislature's penchant for writing new laws at the last minute – but it was by no means the only one." -more-
November 8, 2011
To: Honorable Mayor and Members of the City Council
From: Councilmember Jesse Arreguin, Councilmember Kriss Worthington
Subject: Possible New Council Chambers – Options and Accessibility
That the City Council request a report back to the Council in no less than 60 days on the proposal suggested to vacate Old City Hall and relocate the City Council Chambers to a new location. The report should analyze feasible alternate locations for a Council Chambers, issues of accessibility for the disabled, proximity to transit, adequate seating for large crowds, and connectivity to technology including television broadcasting. -more-
A coward's way of killing
Murders from afar
Yemen body count:
Saleh's volleys kill 18
US drones kill nine. -more-
I just read Steve Finacom's article [about plans to move the City Council meetings to West Campus] on the Planet website and I wanted to let you know about an item that [Councilmember] Kriss [Worthington] and I have submitted an item for an upcoming Council agenda about moving Council meetings to West Campus. In response to the fact that discussions have occurred between City staff and the School District on relocating our Council meetings from Old City Hall to a new Council Chambers at West Campus, and given the lack of information, and public discussion, Kriss and I have submitted the item for the November 8th Council agenda, asking the City Manager to provide a report on the West Campus plans, alternatives to West Campus, and discussion about what will happen with Old City Hall. The item asks that the report come back to the Council in no less than 60 days and that it be calendared for discussion. -more-
Jobs is a Four Letter Word;Republican Primaries;Socialism in One City;Make it fair; Children Need Love -more-
I was asked weeks ago by some in the Occupy Wall Street movement to make suggestions for how to frame the movement. I have hesitated so far, because I think the movement should be framing itself. It's a general principle: Unless you frame yourself, others will frame you - the media, your enemies, your competitors, your well-meaning friends. I have so far hesitated to offer suggestions. But the movement appears to maturing and entering a critical time when small framing errors could have large negative consequences. So I thought it might be helpful to accept the invitation and start a discussion of how the movement might think about framing itself. -more-
The historical reality is that Iceland embodied, and can embody again, all that is truly great in Berkeley the town and Berkeley the gown. Not only did my son and I and thousands of other people of all ages and relationships and background have a wonderful time skating there to the music, with the Friday night disco lights or the Christmas lights, not only did so many of us have memorable birthday parties for our children there, but it was also a womblike place (kind of like the design for the new Apple headquarters) that held diversity in place with utter peace and good vibes. By the way, the nonpareil skate guards contributed, too, to the good vibes. -more-
While the organic Occupy Wall Street movement is similar to the spontaneous Arab Spring uprisings that began last December in Tunisia and Egypt, OWS is eerily reminiscent of the run up to the American revolutionary war.
Three ingredients fueled the original American Revolution. The first was egregious British taxation policy exacerbated by the fact that the colonies had no representation in Parliament. The second was the growth of liberalism and its concepts of natural rights and the social contract. Finally, Americans embraced the values of “republicanism” -- in its original form – which criticized both British corruption and the power of the English aristocracy.
For eighteenth-century American colonists, democracy was a novel idea, whose influence grew from 1763 onward and culminated with the publication of Tom Paine’s Common Sense. -more-
Have you seen the television commercial that advertises a new medication for children with hyperactivity and attention deficit? The commercial shows a well-behaved, sedated little kid doing his homework and being an angelic little boy, while at the same time a list of possible side effects is being read over the sound portion of the commercial. If you’re paying any attention to those side effects, it sounds horrific. If you’re paying attention to the portrayal of the child, you ought to be horrified. No child should be that well-behaved; it’s not natural. -more-
My Commonplace Book (a diary of excerpts copied from printed books, with comments added by the reader.)
For the memory of another is like a ship which one sees coming down a bay—the hull and the sails separating from the distance and from the outlying islands and capes—charged with freight and cutting open the waves, addressing itself in increasingly clear outlines to the impatient eyes on the waterfront; which, before it reaches the shore, grows ghostly and sinks in the sea; and one has to wait for the tides to cast on the beach, fragment by fragment, the awaited cargo.
—Glenway Wescott, novelist (1901-1987), from The Grandmothers -more-
Alexis de Tocqueville (1805–1859), famous for his Democracy in America, wrote about Americans, “I have often admired the extreme skill they show in proposing a common object for the exertions of very many and in inducing them voluntarily to pursue it.”
The traditions of community service and citizen participation have long been at the heart of American civic culture, through town meetings, local school systems, political parties, hospital auxiliaries, and national and local organizations. Many Americans act on the need to give something back to their communities. There’s a good feeling that can come from commitment to an unpaid responsibility that impacts others positively. Some activities that are considered voluntary provide compensation or remuneration in kind. -more-
The mule is in many ways an admirable creature. It’s tough and adaptable. It has a mind of its own, but it’s open to negotiation. The US Army has rediscovered the virtues of mules as pack animal in inhospitable terrain like most of Afghanistan. The one thing a mule can’t do, of course, is reproduce its own kind. The offspring of a male horse and a female donkey, it’s the archetypal sterile hybrid. -more-
Arts & Events
With Halloween just a week away, you'd be wise to stock up on candy to hand out to those little Trick or Treaters when they come knocking at your door. You may not know that Pope Gregory III designated Nov. 1 as a time to honor saints and martyrs. The evening before was known as Halloween's Eve and then later Halloween. Obviously this holiday has little religious meaning today. -more-
Around & About Theater: Central Works Premieres Brian Thorstenson's 'Embassy: A Domestic Diplomatic Comedy'
You're too late to catch the Kronos Quartet’s most recent one night stand on the UC Berkeley Campus, but don't despair: they return February 12 at 7 p.m. to Hertz Hall. Their appearance in the same venue earlier this month was a revelation.
Not content to simply play masterfully while representing acclaimed composer Steve Reich’s grand themes of terror and peace, Kronos Quartet used bow and string to transcend the limits of time and place.
It was Sunday, October 9th, 2011, at Berkeley’s Hertz Hall, and yet, it was not. -more-
I've been on the road nonstop since 1982," says John Malkovich, speaking of his career for a CNN mini-doc (which can be viewed online—click on "Multimedia" under the photo of Malkovich) ... and comments on his reputation for playing psycho heavies: "they're only talking about four or five films that happened to make hundreds of millions of dollars." -more-
Eye From the Aisle: Rep’s HOW to Write a NEW Book for the Bible—too funny, often too tragic to abide
How to Write a NEW Book for the Bible, now playing its world premiere at Berkeley Rep, is written by a recently successful playwright Bill Cain, S.J. Many of you of The Faith or not will recognize the letters: Cain is also a Jesuit priest.
It seems like a play written by a priest. It is about ministering to the sick, about keeping watch, about the most profoundly prolonged last rites as he moves in with his cancer-riddled, pain-oppressed, dying mother to care for her in her last days. -more-
Press Release: School Violence: Myths and Reality - Rescheduled - A Discussion with Annette Fuentes and Jody Sokolower at the Berkeley Public Library, Tuesday, November 1 at 6 p.m.
Berkeley Public Library invites you to participate in a discussion of the myths and reality of school violence with Annette Fuentes and Jody Sokolower. Author Annette Fuentes and editor Jody Sokolower will speak about zero tolerance discipline and the school to prison pipeline in the community meeting room at the Berkeley Public Library’s Central Library, 2090 Kittredge Street, at 6:00 p.m. on Tuesday, November 1. Annette Fuentes spent two years as an investigative reporter researching discipline systems in public schools. The result is her recently published book Lockdown High: When the Schoolhouse Becomes a Jailhouse which traces the penetration of prison culture into daily life in public schools. Jody Sokolower is co-editor of Rethinking Schools, a magazine about social justice education for K-12 teachers and education activists. Her work is informed by years of experience as a teacher in public schools including six years at Berkeley High School. Join us for what promises to be a lively discussion of the way education policy impacts violence in our public schools. Please note this is a rescheduled date for this event since the original presentation was canceled due to a power outage. -more-