Mid-afternoon today the renamed "Oscar Grant Plaza" in front of Oakland City Hall demonstrated the remarkable variety of Occupy Oakland supporters who responded to the call for a general strike. Everyone from librarians to geeks to hiphoppers seemed to have shown up (and some who might have filled all three categories.) There, then, everything was remarkably peaceful--and few police were to be seen. Plans for this evening called for a march on the Port of Oakland. -more-
Whole Foods in Oakland is shutting down for the day after windows were smashed and paint was thrown on the storefront during protests related to the Occupy Oakland's general strike today, a Whole Foods spokeswoman said. -more-
Hundreds of parents, students and teachers are participating in the general strike in Oakland today. -more-
One Wells Fargo branch has been shut down because of the general strike in Oakland today. -more-
Protesters have begun to gather in downtown Oakland this morning as the general strike organized by Occupy Oakland gets under way. As of 9:30 a.m., protesters had filled the intersection of 14th Street and Broadway, and cars could not get through. The manager of a Rite Aid at that intersection said the store's doors were shut because of the protest but that the store would reopen later today. -more-
When the Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010 was signed, the country's financial giants knew it posed a threat to a host of "transaction fees" that helped banks and credit card companies rack up $16 billion in profits in 2010. (By some estimates, the reform legislation was expected to cut "fee revenue" by $8 billion.) But the Big Banks and Card Companies had already prepared an elaborate response that included the introduction of new fees and the creation of a front group designed to sabotage the law — by pretending to spearhead a consumer friendly "reform campaign" involving a popular Internet activism site. -more-
On Friday, October 28th, at the national Greek aniversary of OXI [that is, NO], taking its name from the answer given to the Italian Ambassador carryng Mussolini's demand that the borders of Greece should open to the Italian army in 28.10.1940, which marked the entrance of Greece to the 2nd WW, all over Greece the official parades were taken over by the people, who chased away the representatives of the government and paraded themselves in most cities. -more-
Police tear-gassing crowds. Reports of protestors throwing bottles at cops. A local arm of a widespread movement garnering national attention. These aren’t new to the Bay Area, but back in the 1960’s it was Berkeley, not Oakland, where the action was.
Occupy Oakland (and to a lesser extent Occupy San Francisco) have dominated the news this week, but Occupy Berkeley, which began October 8, has yet to make waves. City officials reportedly have said they have no immediate plans to break up the protest on the corner of Shattuck Avenue and Center Street, or the small campsite down the street at MLK Jr. Civic Center Park. With a crowd of around 30 people each night for its general assemblies, the movement is dwarfed by the thousands who gather at Occupy Oakland. In fact, when Berkeley students and protestors at other Occupy movements are asked about it, the response is generally ignorance -- “There’s an Occupy Berkeley?” -more-
Press Release: Labor Unions and Members to Join Occupy Oakland Day of Action; Labor to sponsor actions throughout the day, cook-out for all at City Hall
On Wednesday, November 2nd, Alameda County labor unions and members will be joining the Day of Action called by the Occupy Oakland General Assembly. Union members and the rest of the 99% will be participating in a massive city-wide mobilization to speak out in support of good jobs, protection from foreclosure and predatory banking practices, funding for quality public education and services, and a system where everyone, including the top 1% and the corporations, pays their fair share. -more-
Hundreds of teachers will be among thousands expected to participate in the general strike organized by Occupy Oakland on Wednesday.
Oakland Unified School District spokesman Troy Flint said teachers are being allowed to join the general strike as long as they provide prior notice to their supervisors so that proper supervision can be arranged for students.
"We support many of the ideals contained in the Occupy Oakland movement," Flint said. "We believe public education, and other social services are underfunded. It's impacting kids and families in a negative way." -more-
Press Release: Occupy Oakland Joins with Workers and Community Members to Call for a November 2nd General Strike and Mass Day of Action
Oakland, CA—On Monday October 31st, at 4:00 p.m., the Occupy Oakland Strike Assembly held a press conference regarding the General Strike and Mass Day of Action planned for November 2nd. Members of the Occupation as well as community, school, and labor representatives spoke in regard to the motivations and wide-reaching potential of the strike. The press conference was held at the intersection of Broadway and Telegraph, the epicenter of the 1946 Oakland General strike, the last general strike in the continental United States. -more-
Occupy Oakland protesters are again pitching tents in the plaza in front of Oakland City Hall but Mayor Jean Quan and police Chief Howard Jordan said yesterday that they don't have any plans to remove the tents or the protesters at this time. -more-
Is Occupy Berkeley—Berkeley branch of the international anti-Wall Street movement—on a collision course with the city it occupies? -more-
It is 11 pm on Wednesday night, 10/27/2011, and I just got back from the most amazing meeting I have ever been to in my life. It was held at the scene of Monday's carnage in Oakland where the Oakland cops crushed one of the most amazing demonstrations I have ever encountered.
For those of you who didn't get a chance to get down to the OccupyOakland encampment, it was astonishing. The people there had set up a village. There was a kitchen, a restaurant, a café, a library, a first aid station, and an art department, and all of this surrounded by well over 150 tents set up on the grassy area of the plaza. They had water and sanitary facilities (provided by the OEA), a calender, and many really interesting meetings. The cops attacked Monday night around 3 in the morning, and demolished it.
I won't waste my breath trying to explain that there was no reason to do this. The attack is estimated to cost between 3 and 5 million dollars, where a couple of thousand would have maintained sanitation, and provided a few social workers to help smooth over the inevitable conflicts that occur in small spaces across class, across ideology, and across levels of sobriety, especially among people already living on the edge because of their unneutralizable marginalization at the property interests's hands. -more-
Oakland Mayor Jean Quan said today that she's "very saddened" by "Occupy Oakland" protests Tuesday night that turned violent. -more-
Demonstrators at the "Occupy Oakland" general assembly meeting at Frank Ogawa Plaza tonight addressed the critical injury of Scott Olsen, a former Marine who served two tours in Iraq, which occurred during Tuesday night's demonstration. -more-
The fences are coming down at Oakland's Frank Ogawa Plaza this evening while a general assembly meeting continues among "Occupy Oakland" protesters. -more-
Remarkable footage posted by several reporters on YouTube seems to show that some police in Oakland deliberately aimed projectiles at those aiding a wounded Occupy Oakland protester. The eviction was managed by Oakland police, but Berkeley police also took part in the assault on the Occupy protesters. Some of the videos can be seen below: -more-
An Iraq War veteran was critically injured during "Occupy Oakland" protests Tuesday night when he was hit in the head with a police projectile, according to the group Iraq Veterans Against the War. -more-
Occupy Oakland will reconvene tonight at 6:00 pm Pacific time to conduct its next General Assembly, at the corner of Broadway and 14th. We urge the public to join us tonight and help us build consensus. We are the 99%, and you are too. Please participate in true democracy. -more-
Press Release: The City of Berkeley Police Department’s (BPD) Involvement in Occupy Oakland Dispersal
The Oakland Police Department (OPD) requested mutual aid through the Alameda County Mutual Aid Coordinator, who in turn requested mutual aid from various law enforcement agencies within the county. The Alameda County Sheriff’s Office (ACSO) is the Operational Area Mutual Aid Coordinating entity. The basis of the request was that OPD was unable to address and manage the situation safely (and take care of the City of Oakland) with their internal resources. -more-
We have received several inquiries regarding the City of Berkeley's response to the City of Oakland's request for Mutual Aid assistance with recent events in and around Frank Ogawa Plaza. -more-
Oakland police officers in riot gear used "less-than-lethal" munitions on about 300 protesters Tuesday night after a day of police raids and riots when "Occupy Oakland" campers were evicted from a city plaza, an Oakland police spokeswoman said.
During another protest Tuesday night many officers were assaulted, doused and hit with hazardous materials and hit with large rocks and bottles, police spokeswoman Cynthia Perkins said.
An Oakland police officer said officers in riot gear had bright blue paint thrown on them during the rallies Tuesday evening.
Perkins said this resulted in a declaration of an unlawful assembly and an order to disperse. To enforce dispersal officers used "less-than-lethal force tactics".
The Editor's Back Fence
[RUMOR UPDATE: Some callers now believe they've traced the origin of the imminent earthquake legend to a staffer in the Office of the Mayor, not an assistant to a councilmember as originally reported. The Planet was given the name of the suspect and we've asked her if it's true. She
has declined comment, saying she wants wanted to talk to her chief of staff first. If Since she doesn't didn't call back with her story, we'll just have to add her name to this story without it. here's the name we were given:
Sbeydeh Viveros-Banderas, Assistant to the Mayor, Scheduler and Constituent Services . According to the office website, she is the office manager and handles the Mayor's schedule. She also runs the Intern program and handles many constituent services.
We have been trying without success to get anyone in the Mayor's office or the city's public relations office to confirm or deny that Ms. Viveros-Banderas was the student who originally told the earthquake story in a class at San Francisco State. No one there seems to be answering the phone at the moment (about 4 on Monday). -more-
Editor's Note: The latest issue of the Pepper Spray Times is now available. -more-
Here's a video exhortation to join tomorrow's Occupy Oakland action. -more-
First, let me state that no one from Occupy Berkeley “represents” us, part of a worldwide, leaderless protest which seems to befuddle many. We are united in refusing to issue demands from the movement. -more-
The UN body for education, science and culture, UNESCO, backed the Palestinian request for membership. In the going, according to the Financial Times, "107 member countries voted for the Palestinians, rejecting US and Israel pressure. Only 14 countries voted against membership, while 52 abstained. France voted in favor, Germany voted against while Britain decided to abstain, China, India, Russia, and Brazil also backed the Palestinians while Canada sided with the US and Israel.” -more-
When I looked at most of the plans that were put forward for redistricting Berkeley's Council districts, I was taken aback by the way the lines were drawn. I believe the most important thing to consider in redistricting is the preservation of neighborhoods (communities of interest) within Council districts. -more-
Your apparent belief that the only purpose behind the south of Bancroft renovation at BHS is to get a larger football field is incorrect. For example, the new building will house many classrooms and make room for a cozy softball field for the girls’ team. The process of the renovation was a long process with many public meetings and the input of the community. Also, despite the belief of many in our community, the obligation of BHS is to its students and not to maintain a warm pool for a relatively small group of non-students. The warm pool at BHS is gone. -more-
One hears over and over that on Tues. 10/25 the police overreacted in their attempted eviction of Oakland's nonviolent Occupy Oakland encampment. I beg to differ. It was not an "over-reaction." What occurred was a well-planned exercise orchestrated by Homeland Security, coordinating 17 police jurisdictions. -more-
They won't win this fight.
We've only begun to unite.
Grass roots and no mowers,
It's lawnless. We're growers.
There won't be a golf cart in sight. -more-
Washington, D.C. – Today, Congresswoman Barbara Lee (D-CA) issued the following statement on Occupy Oakland:
“I shared my outrage and grave concern about the police brutality in Oakland directly with the Mayor. My thoughts go out to the injured and especially Scott Olsen. I strongly support the occupy movement and continue to stand with the peaceful protesters in this struggle for economic justice and equality.” -more-
The National Lawyers Guild San Francisco Bay Area Chapter (NLGSF) condemns Oakland Police excessive force against Occupy demonstrators and violations of OPD Crowd Control Policy. -more-
As a nearby resident of Civic Center Park, I've cast a wary eye on the "Occupy Berkeley" encampment since it metastasized away from the B of A circle. Dated signs ("No Taxes For Star Wars") reinforce my impression that Berkeley has never not been Occupied and this just becomes an excuse to put up tents in the park. I figured the ardor would cool come the rains. Friends who grew up here suggested the sprinklers would put an end to it (as they recalled some of their high-school evenings concluding). All saw a risk of People's Park West and wondered how it might conclude or how bad it might get in the meanwhile. -more-
To:Tom Bates, Mayor; Laurie Capetelli, Council person; Michael K. Meehan, Chief of Police
Why were police from the City of Berkeley involved in the violence of and by the police of Oakland (and others) on the the people of Occupy Oakland?
I am a tax-paying Berkeley homeowner and am outraged that my tax dollars were used to destroy that encampment-or any others; the more so because an already reduced police force was further diminished to be pulled away from their jobs. But that is not the major issue; it is that of both provocative and violent police actions toward citizens protesting peacefully. -more-
For all practical purposes I would be considered one of the 5% and yet I whole heartedly support the actions of the Occupy movement worldwide. My children are highly educated, underemployed and unlikely to ever own their own home unless I pass before becoming infirm or diagnosed with chronic disease. They are not alone. -more-
The California Nurses Association/National Nurses United today condemned the early morning police raid on the peaceful Occupy Oakland encampment, and criticized Oakland Mayor Jean Quan for joining the list of mayors employing repression against the occupy movement. -more-
President Obama announced that all U.S. troops will be withdrawn from Iraq by the end of the year. Was the “mission accomplished?” Did we win the war? -more-
Brace yourselves, birders: here comes the sixth edition of the National Geographic Field Guide to the Birds of North America. I haven’t laid hands on a copy myself, but advance word has it that the new version is 71 pages longer than the fifth edition, with 23 additional species accounts (mostly extralimital vagrants) and 300 new illustrations. Oh yes, and range maps for subspecies. That’s going to cause a lot of trouble.
At $27.95, most likely I’ll buy it when it hits the stores. I’ll probably also buy the rumored revision of David Sibley’s canonical bird guide; no details on that one yet. But I will do so with lowered expectations.
The thing about field guides is that they offer a handle on the natural world. They tell you that you can, after all, tell a hawk from a handsaw. The field marks, the behavioral cues, the breeding and wintering ranges and migration routes: they’re all in the book. All you have to do is pay attention. -more-
My Commonplace Book (a diary of excerpts copied from printed books, with comments added by the reader.)
Even at their darkest, Shakespeare’s history plays have the built-in promise of a better future, of an ever more civilized England.
The Greek classics, on the other hand, have no such complacency. Among their incontrovertible principles are the beliefs that the human race was born to suffer and to inflict suffering; that empires rise only to fall; that self-knowledge, if it ever arrives, comes too late.
— Ben Brantley, drama critic (2004, from his NY Times review of a new production of a tragedy by Euripides) -more-
Are Male Baby Boomers Doomed To Become Lonely Seniors?
Why are women more psychologically prepared for old age?
It’s not just the young in the Occupy Movement who fear for their futures. Many older people, who are marching with them, dread retirement, even if they hate their jobs. They fear social isolation, the loss of friends they enjoyed at work and the freedom of too much unstructured time. The good news is that women are already preparing for what is often called the "third chapter” of their lives. What’s sad is that men of the same age, for a variety of reasons, are largely unprepared and less likely to participate in activities that offer stimulation and friendship. -more-
In order to run effectively, public and independent schools worldwide rely heavily on donations and on parents, grandparents and community members’ volunteering. Because most – not all -- old people are women, I was particularly interested in interviewing a male senior citizen who is a school volunteer. So I went to http://www.bpef-online.org/volunteer.
BPEF School Volunteers director Jill Coffey responded to my solicitation of a senior interviewee. “...We have many amazing volunteers, so if you need to connect with others--from any background or involved with any school program--please contact me. We love to honor volunteers' time and commitment with an opportunity to share their experiences in a public format. It's a great way to recognize volunteers while also recruiting new ones! Thank you for that opportunity.”
Shortly, I heard from school volunteer, Richard “Dick” Colton: “Jill Coffey gave me your contact info and said you’re looking for a BSV volunteer to interview -- preferably a senior male. Well, that's me for sure, 68, though I am not yet quite willing to settle for the descriptor “elder.” Oops, my bad. “I'm just starting my 7th year volunteering in a 4th grade class at Rosa Parks School. I spend the whole day on Wednesdays. Always my best day of the week.” -more-
The content presented in the column (for this week), that follows below, consists of my opinions about a limited relapse into mental illness; I believe this to be knowledge and it arises from my personal experiences. Since I am not a doctor or mental health professional, if you need an expert opinion, you should go elsewhere. -more-
Terrorism is not a statistic for us.”—Asif Ali Zardari, president of Pakistan
This is a Pakistani truism that few Americans understand. Since the U.S. invaded Afghanistan in October 2001, Pakistan has lost more than 35,000 people, the vast bulk of them civilians. While the U.S. has had slightly over 1800 soldiers killed in the past 10 years, Pakistan has lost over 5,000 soldiers and police. The number of suicide bombings in Pakistan has gone from one before 2001, to more than 335 since.
For most Americans, Pakistan is a two-faced “ally” playing a double game in Central Asia, all while siphoning off tens of billions of dollars in aid. For Pakistanis, the spillover from the Afghan war has cost Islamabad approximately of $100 billion. And this is in a country with a yearly GDP of around $175 billion, and whose resources have been deeply strained by two years of catastrophic flooding. -more-
Arts & Events
We’ve all been there.
The concert ends, the applause begins. A well-dressed woman up front (the chair of the board?) stands up. The other board members see her standing, and they stand up too.
Other audience members see people in front standing up, and they begin to stand as well. The conductor or soloist bows to the audience and exits stage right. By the time she returns, most of the audience is standing.
This is all wrong.
It misses the point.
A standing-ovation performance is one in which you are so excited at the end that the only possible action is to leap to your feet. If you have to think about it, forget it. The performance doesn’t deserve a standing ovation.
Bay Area audiences are way too ready to rise to their feet at the end of a performance. I have, on occasion, given in to the crowd and joined in when everyone around me has risen to his or her feet, but I do so grudgingly, and if I saw nothing exceptional about the performance, I will remain seated.
Last Thursday, when Johannes Moser performed the Shostakovich Cello Concerto No. 1 with the Berkeley Symphony, I didn’t have to think about it. Like most of the audience, I jumped to my feet before the last hair on his bow had snapped. Moser grabbed that concerto by the throat at the very beginning and never let go until he was finished. -more-
Last week's opening concert for the Berkeley Symphony's new season--and Joana Carneiro's third season as music director here--saw two contemporary pieces premiere, one played by the composer in memory of Harry Weininger (Gabriela Lena Frank's Vendaval), the other with the composer present (Enrico Chapela's Li Po, for orchestra and electronic soundtrack, after Jose Juan Tablada's modernist poem about the 8th century Chinese poet), as well as extraordinary renditions of Brahms' Third Symphony, occasioning great ovations from the audience, and virtuoso cellist Johannes Moser featured as soloist in Shostakovich's First Cello Concerto, which was met with shouts and a prolonged standing ovation, as well as a Bach piece as encore by the energetic and genial Moser. -more-
About 20 years ago, I was walking with my girlfriend down 2nd Avenue in NYC. I looked up and saw “Final Preview Tonight --Mamet’s OLEANNA.” They had two tickets left. It was about a college professor opening up to his working class student in private, mandated lectures with an undercurrent of intimacy and her cataclysmic reaction. William Macy and Rebecca Pidgeon on a spare set with her husband’s inflammatory words. At the end of the play, couples were shrieking at one another in the lobby and into the street. -more-
Bay Area singer-songwriter Ira Marlowe is within days of pulling off a truly tricky treat. Since the first day of October, Marlowe has been posting a new, original and ghoulishly gleeful song for each and every day leading up to Halloween. Anyone can tune in for free. You just need to "friend" him on Facebook. (http://www.facebook.com/ira.marlowe) If you need another infusion of Marlowe's macabre melodies after this first bite, you're in luck: he's got two live performances scheduled for the next week (see below). -more-
Berkeley Symphony, conducted by Joana Carneiro, opens the new season with music by Enrico Chapela, Brahms and Shostakovich, Thursday at 8, Zellerbach Auditorium. -more-
Around & About Music: Kent Nagano Conducts at Gala Celebrating Alden Gilchrist's 60th Anniversary at Calvary Presbyterian
In his only West Coast appearance this season, former Berkeley Symphony music director and present emeritus conductor Kent Nagano will conduct the San Francisco Academy Orchestra at a gala concert to celebrate Alden Gilchrist's 60th anniversary as organist and music director at Calvary Presbyterian Church atop Pacific Heights in San Francisco, where Nagano has sung with the Chancel Choir, which will also perform, along with featured soloists, a jazz cycle by the Dave Scott Quartet and the Santa Rosa Children's Chorus, featuring music of Monteverdi, J. S. Bach, Mozart, Dvorak--and Gilchrist, Friday at 6 p. m, with a reception to follow. The community is invited, free of charge, but asked to RSVP: (415) 346-3832 x 60; email@example.com -more-