The Week



Press Release: Faculty Senate to Take up No-Confidence Resolution

By Public Affairs, UC Berkeley
Wednesday November 23, 2011 - 09:40:00 PM

The Berkeley Division of the Academic Senate has scheduled a special meeting to take up a series of resolutions prompted by the Nov. 9 campus confrontation between police and Occupy Cal protesters. -more-

Sequoia Fire Investigation Ongoing;
Businesses Open, Temporary Traffic Routes

By Steven Finacom
Wednesday November 23, 2011 - 12:01:00 PM
Barriers remain up around the fire-damaged Sequoia Apartments at Telegraph and Haste.

The future of the fire-damaged Sequoia Apartments at Haste and Telegraph remained uncertain today, as crews worked to board up the ground floor storefronts and a fire investigation remained ongoing. All but one Telegraph Avenue business on the blocks adjacent to the fire is open, and all the open businesses can be reached by pedestrians.

The historic 96 year old building, a visual icon of the Telegraph district, looked much as it did on Saturday after the Friday night fire was largely extinguished, with a missing roof and many of the windows gone, while others looked incongruously normal with blinds closed behind the glass. -more-

Five Who Survived

By Ted Friedman
Wednesday November 23, 2011 - 11:44:00 AM
Five who survived.

Five students who survived Friday's blaze at the Sequoia apartments at Telegraph and Haste returned to the site Tuesday to see if they could re-enter the building to rescue a hamster named Tango. -more-

Forty-Seven Berkeley Faculty Members Sponsor No Confidence Resolution Against Birgeneau: Meeting to Take Place Monday Afternoon

From the U.C. Berkeley Academic Senate Website
Wednesday November 23, 2011 - 06:00:00 PM

Monday, November 28, 2011, 3:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Chevron Auditorium, International House, 2299 Piedmont Avenue
Summary of Business -more-

Press Release: President Yudof Launches Initiatives to Address Policing and Protests

From Steve Montiel, University of California Office of the President
Wednesday November 23, 2011 - 09:42:00 AM

University of California President Mark G. Yudof moved on two fronts today (Tuesday, Nov. 22) to address policing issues in the wake of the pepper spraying of UC Davis students and other incidents involving law enforcement officers and protesters. -more-

Fire-Damaged Sequoia Building Part of Berkeley's Heritage

By Steven Finacom
Wednesday November 23, 2011 - 07:57:00 AM
The Sequoia Building this week, after the fire.   Part of the interior, and almost all of the distinctive brick façade of the 1915 edifice, remains.

Telegraph Avenue’s Sequoia Apartments building, seriously damaged in a fire on Friday, November 18, 2011, is a stately and historic edifice that helped define the character of Telegraph Avenue in both the early 20th century and in the 1960s.

Constructed in 1915, the 96-year-old, 39-apartment, building was part of an early 20th century development boom that transformed Telegraph Avenue into a bustling business and residential district.

When the Sequoia was built, Berkeley was one of most populous cities in California, riding a wave of suburb development and urbanization that had started with the construction of streetcar lines around the turn of the century, and accelerated after the 1906 San Francisco Earthquake and Fire. -more-

UC Delays Decision on Second Campus For Berkeley Lab

By Jeff Shuttleworth (BCN)
Tuesday November 22, 2011 - 04:46:00 PM

The University of California announced today that it is delaying until early next year its decision on where to locate a second campus of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, which the university manages. -more-

Press Release: Berkeley Lab Second Campus Preferred Site Announcement Expected in 2012

From Jon Weiner
Tuesday November 22, 2011 - 04:40:00 PM

The University of California announced today that its decision regarding a preferred site for the second campus of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) is expected to be announced in early 2012. -more-

New: Oakland Chamber of Commerce Executive Board Member Charged with Committing $19.75 Million Corporate Fraud

by Darwin BondGraham
Tuesday November 22, 2011 - 09:32:00 AM

In a case that is emblematic of the corporate chicanery and greed the Occupy movement proclaims to stand against, Todd Hansen, a former president of Posterscope, a global advertising firm, has been arrested by the FBI and charged with orchestrating a financial fraud to inflate company earnings, thereby enriching himself. -more-

Occupy Cal Quiet, But Still Present, on Monday

By Steven Finacom
Tuesday November 22, 2011 - 09:19:00 AM

Although attention has presently turned to UC Davis—where a police officer drenched seated demonstrators with pepper spray last Friday—the Occupy Cal movement at UC Berkeley headed into its third week with a new tactic and the participation of about 200 people Monday night on Sproul Plaza. -more-

UC President Condemns Police Response to Berkeley and Davis Protesters, Calls for Thorough Investigation

By Bay City News Service
Monday November 21, 2011 - 08:43:00 AM

UC President Mark G. Yudof today condemned the police response to protestors at University of California campuses in recent weeks and pledged to protect students and faculty members' right to non-violent protest.

The announcement follows a controversial police response to a protest on the UC Davis campus Friday, where at least two campus police officers pepper-sprayed a group of students huddled on the ground. -more-

Fire a Death-Blow To Lower Telegraph? (News Analysis)

By Ted Friedman
Monday November 21, 2011 - 08:26:00 AM
Traffic-jam at Dwight and Telegraph, Saturday being detoured away from Dwight to Bancroft, turning lower Teley into a disaster site.

Editor's Note: For a complete report on the fire itself, with many photograph's see the Planet's weekend issue:

The late Friday night fire that gutted the historic Sequoia Apartments, while apparently injuring none of its residents, may well be the death-blow to struggling businesses on lower Telegraph.

After years of reported declines in business revenues and significant closures(Cody's,Galaxxi, Eid's Electronics, Blakes, and now burned-out Raleigh's and Intermezzo),Telegraph businesses between Haste and Dwight are being clobbered.

What was once a thriving South side center could become a "desolation row."

Or, like San Francisco's re-emergence after the 1906 earthquake, the troubled block could be re-born. -more-

Press Release: President Yudof Acts in Response to Campus Protest Issues

From Steve Montiel, Media Relations Director, UC Office of the President
Sunday November 20, 2011 - 03:07:00 PM

University of California President Mark G. Yudof today (Sunday, Nov. 20) announced the actions he is taking in response to recent campus protest issues:

I am appalled by images of University of California students being doused with pepper spray and jabbed with police batons on our campuses.

I intend to do everything in my power as President of this university to protect the rights of our students, faculty and staff to engage in non-violent protest. -more-

UC Faculty Associations Council Condemns Police Violence at Berkeley, Other Campuses

By Scott Morris (BCN)
Sunday November 20, 2011 - 03:03:00 PM

The Council of University of California Faculty Associations condemned police actions against protesters at several campuses this week, according to a statement released Saturday.

The council, an umbrella organization for the Faculty Associations at each university campus, said that excessive force has been used against non-violent protesters at the University of California at Berkeley, UC Los Angeles, California State University at Long Beach and UC Davis. -more-

Occupy Oakland Protesters Set Up Camp on Lawn of Foreclosed Home

By Bay City News
Tuesday November 22, 2011 - 09:26:00 AM

Occupy Oakland demonstrators tonight have gathered at a home that is in foreclosure, according to a protester. -more-

Sequoia Building Demolition Likely,
Say City Officials;
Not All Residents Accounted For

By Steven Finacom
Saturday November 19, 2011 - 05:06:00 PM

At a press conference held this afternoon on a closed-down Haste Street with the still smoldering Sequoia Apartment building in the background, Mayor Tom Bates, City Manager Phil Kamlarz, and Assistant Fire Chief Gil Dong said that it hasn’t been fully established whether all the occupants of the building got out during the five alarm blaze, and that the historic building, constructed in 1916, will probably be demolished in the immediate future. -more-

Apartment Fire Still Smouldering

By Steven Finacom
Saturday November 19, 2011 - 11:45:00 AM

The fire that started in the Sequoia Apartments at Haste and Telegraph on the evening of Friday, November 18, was still burning the next morning. Berkeley Fire Department crews continued to pour water into the mixed-use structure, a historic apartment building that contains 39 units and restaurants popular with the campus crowd, including Café Intermezzo and Raleigh’s pub. The building has four floors—including the commercial level—along Telegraph and five levels on Haste.

A column of smoke was visible throughout Berkeley this morning above the severely damaged building. Along Telegraph the top floor apartments and some on the third floor below appeared gutted. The sky and charred lathe and plaster walls were visible through several of the fourth floor windows. Along Haste the damage extended down to the second floor, which was one of the first portions of the building visibly burning last night. Some of the aluminum window frames hung blackened and distorted above the street. -more-

Berkeley Fire at Sequoia Apartments on Telegraph Contained at 3 a.m., Chief Says

By Sasha Lekach (BCN)
Saturday November 19, 2011 - 08:53:00 AM

A four-alarm fire at an apartment building near the University of California at Berkeley has been contained more than six hours after the fire department first received reports of a fire, a Berkeley fire chief said. -more-

Flash: Huge Fire Raging at Telegraph and Haste in Berkeley

By Becky O'Malley and Steven Finacom
Friday November 18, 2011 - 11:30:00 PM
Fire bursts through the windows on the south side.

11:30 p.m.

A four-alarm fire is raging in the Sequoia Apartments building, on the northwest corner of Haste and Telegraph in Berkeley. The tile-faced five-story building, which dates from the early 20th century, has 39 apartments on its upper floors. The storefront on the first floor for many years housed Mario's La Fiesta Restaurant. There was a two-alarm fire in the building in February of this year. -more-

Press Release: Occupy Oakland Takes to the Streets on Saturday at 2

From Kevin Seal
Friday November 18, 2011 - 07:18:00 PM

Occupy Oakland will take to the streets at 14th and Broadway this Saturday at 2:00 p.m. for a mass rally and march. -more-

Occupy Cal Camp and Police Low Key on Friday Morning

By Steven Finacom
Friday November 18, 2011 - 12:48:00 PM

The “Occupy Cal” encampment seemed at an early morning ebb on Friday as I arrived on the UC Berkeley campus for work. After the police action on Thursday night that had cleared away the tents and most of the other objects and art—from pianos to sculpture—that had accumulated on Tuesday and Wednesday, the Mario Savio Steps of Sproul Hall displayed only a few signs, some black and white balloons, and perhaps a dozen Occupiers. -more-

"Occupy Cal" Votes on Next Step

By Ted Friedman
Saturday November 19, 2011 - 12:11:00 PM
Students at the Occupy Cal general assembly on Thursday night voted to re-occupy Sproul Plaza on Monday.  Their sign was lifted off the steps by gas balloons to avoid retribution from UC police for violating rules banning installations at the site.

Occupy Cal Plans to Re-Group

By Jeff Shuttleworth (BCN)
Friday November 18, 2011 - 08:15:00 AM

About 200 Occupy Cal protesters gathered on the steps of Sproul Hall at the University of California at Berkeley last night for a general assembly meeting to decide if they will set up an encampment again. -more-

Signs from A Protest--Tuesday's Action

By Steven Finacom
Friday November 18, 2011 - 07:56:00 AM

A Last Look at Occupy Cal on Wednesday

By Steven Finacom
Friday November 18, 2011 - 08:14:00 AM

By Steven Finacom -more-



Yudof Gets It Wrong Again

By Becky O'Malley
Wednesday November 23, 2011 - 11:07:00 AM

The University of California bureaucracy is all over the Occupy scandal, now that it’s gone viral. Seldom have I experienced such a fast response to my online opinions—but University of California President Mark Yudof seems to have hopped to, with alacrity. Unfortunately, he's only made things worse.

Last Wednesday I predicted that U.C. administrators would continue their longstanding tradition of trying stupid repressive measures against students exercising free speech. Right on cue, the dumb cops at U.C. Davis on Friday assaulted passive non-violent students with pepper spray—on camera yet. -more-

The Editor's Back Fence

And a Happy Thanksgiving to You

Wednesday November 23, 2011 - 12:50:00 PM

The master sets the tone: "A lot more to say about this — but I’m needed in the kitchen to chop vegetables."--Paul Krugman's blog today. Me too.

But an apology is owed to architect Kirk Petersen--I accidentally published one of his informal and private emails exploring the idea of reconstruction instead of demolition for the Sequoia building, which had been forwarded to me by the recipient, thinking it was a Letter to the Editor. I did think it was an intelligent observation, and I hope he takes me up on my invitation to write a formal commentary on the subject when he has time. -more-

U.C. Police in Berkeley and Davis Are Savages--the U.C. Executives Responsible Should be Fired

Monday November 21, 2011 - 08:48:00 AM

Okay—it's pretty clear to me. The President of the University of California along with the chicken Chancellors of U.C. Berkeley and U.C. Davis should resign. Looking at this video of the pepper-spraying of peaceful non-violent students at Davis, I see only two interpretations: Either these three highly paid executives approved of what happened and planned it that way, or they've lost control of the jack-booted thugs who work for them. Either way, they've failed, disgracefully, at their jobs. The governor of California should demand their resignation. -more-


Odd Bodkins: My Surreal Period

By Dan O'Neill
Saturday November 26, 2011 - 10:16:00 AM

Public Comment

New: Thoughts on the Sequoia Apartments

By Kirk E.Peterson
Friday November 25, 2011 - 05:22:00 PM

Without my knowledge the Daily Planet published a paragraph I wrote regarding the treatment of what's left of the Sequoia. It was not a big deal, there was certainly no malfeasance, and they've apologized nicely. My words were clear and are now part of the internet's parallel internet universe. So I am now expanding on what I said, in the hope of provoking some discussion. Please consider the following: -more-

New: Alarming News! Trees in Strawberry Canyon to be Clearcut for UC Berkeley, Lawrence Lab

By Lesley Emmington, for Save Strawberry Canyon
Thursday November 24, 2011 - 08:13:00 AM

Up in the Berkeley Hills, the cutting of some 50 trees will begin tomorrow morning, the day after Thanksgiving. The tree cutting is the initial step to clear the hillside landscape for the construction of a massive "supercomputer" structure. It is the University of California's (UC) Computational Research and Theory Facility (CRT), a 130,000 GSF facility built for the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) in contract with the Department of Energy (DOE). The site is located above Hearst Avenue and, then, above the steep curve of Cyclotron Road where it meets the LBNL security gates. CRT promises to become a dominant presence spanning across the Canyon ridge, in an unstable area that has suffered over 40 landslides, contaminating Strawberry Creek's watershed and further destabilizing the hills. -more-

There Should Be a Moratorium on the Use of Pepper Spray

By Carol Denney
Wednesday November 23, 2011 - 11:18:00 AM

If all the University of California chancellors resigned simultaneously, that would still leave pepper (OC) spray, carotid holds, hog-tying, and blunt-end baton strikes available for the next bored police officer who loses patience with student protests. -more-

Letter from Berkeley Architectural Heritage Association to Owners of Sequoia Apartments

Per Carrie Olson, President
Monday November 21, 2011 - 12:40:00 PM

To: Kenneth Ent and Gregory Ent,owners of the Sequoia Apartments building, 2441 Haste St. Berkeley

The Board of Directors of the Berkeley Architectural Heritage Association wants to extend its heartfelt sympathy to those who lost their property, homes, businesses, and workplaces in the fire at the Sequoia Apartments on November 18, 2011.

We are writing to encourage you to consider a course of redevelopment of the interior of the building while retaining the unique exterior façade of this beautiful building.

In the coming days, as you weigh the challenging issues that face you regarding the property, we would like to provide here for your consideration several substantial benefits that may be gained by redeveloping the building within the existing exterior. -more-

Why They Go After the Students: Reflections on Police Actions at Davis and Berkeley

By Michael Song Lim
Monday November 21, 2011 - 09:23:00 AM

So there we have it, a policeman pepper-sprays seated protesters at close range, not with a small device, but essentially empties an extinguisher-sized canister of chemicals into young, upturned faces. Now, the sprayer, UC Davis Police Lt. John Pike. knew full well that the cameras were running. He brandished the canister, slowly raised it, and opened fire. Lieutenant Pike must have known that his full name and phone number would be tweeted all over the blogosphere before he wiped his hands and holstered his weapon, and must have predicted that his telephone message machine would be filled with inquiries, probably before his victims were triaged and admitted to the hospital. He must, therefore have figured that the UC Davis Chancellor Linda Katehi would have his back. And, I’m sure that both Generalissimo Katehi and her sidekick believed that it's high time to draw the line against the Occupy movement. Both figured that, although the public may sympathize with the protester’s demands, most would agree these spoiled children need to be taken to the woodshed for a good whippin’. -more-

An Open Letter to Cal Parents and Alumni

By Peter Ernst, San Diego
Friday November 18, 2011 - 07:21:00 PM

Dear Parents and Alumni of Cal:

Like many of you, I have been so proud that our daughter is attending an institution with the stature of Cal. Until last week. While the context of the protests have not been thoroughly reported nationally and are difficult to judge, students linked by their arms should not be bludgeoned. Did the students err? Quite possibly. Did they deserve to be beaten? Absolutely not. Any respect the students and the rest of had for the judgment of the Cal police and administration has been lost by this senseless response. -more-

Peralta Colleges Take Steps to Reinvest Money in Community-Based Financial Institutions

By Abel Guillen
Friday November 18, 2011 - 07:24:00 PM

This week, the Peralta Community College District Board of Trustees adopted a resolution for the local reinvestment of its student fees and community tax dollars that will move the East Bay colleges’ funds from large, for-profit banks to community-based financial institutions. -more-

Letter to Chancellor Regarding Violence Against Students

By Nathan Danielsen, Class of 2007, US Peace Corps in Senegal from 2007 to 2010
Friday November 18, 2011 - 07:27:00 PM

Dear Chancellor, -more-

Unequal Pay

By Robert Clear
Friday November 18, 2011 - 06:46:00 PM

I just finished reading a stock proxy. Like most proxies, it has a section on compensation for its five named executive officers. Also, not atypically, this section was a full third the length of the full proxy, in this case despite the fact that there were two appendices with a restatement of the articles of incorporation. What is particularly relevant to current events in this proxy, was that the compensation section, like all such sections I have read, had no discussion of how executive compensation compares to the compensation of any of the other employees of the company. In the corporate pay structure there is no connection between executive compensation, and worker compensation.

It gets worse. Worker compensation is a cost, and a well-run business does what it can to limit this cost. This includes automation, outsourcing, temporary or part-time employment without benefits, layoffs, and even efforts to eliminate minimum wage laws. On the other hand, the compensation philosophy espoused in proxies almost guarantees pressure to increase executive pay. Companies present themselves as being in competition to attract and hold scarce executive talent. Every compensation section I have read has an extensive discussion of the pay in comparable companies. To ensure company success, target compensation for their executives is almost always at or above the median of their competitive group. At or above, that is the rub. All companies cannot be at or above the median, at least not all the time. A company can, however, raise its pay to the median or above at a particular time. It will then be at or above the median until its competitors raise their executive pay so that they are at or above the median. -more-


New: The Public Eye: Thanksgiving Politics: Top Ten Reasons to be Thankful

By Bob Burnett
Wednesday November 23, 2011 - 09:43:00 PM

Despite the dreadful recession, a broken political system, and other woes, Americans have many reasons to be thankful. Here is my top ten list: -more-

On Mental Illness:Remembering to Give Thanks

By Jack Bragen
Wednesday November 23, 2011 - 05:58:00 PM

If I stop myself from complaining for a little while and realize that I am fortunate in life, there are numerous things that come to mind that I ought to be grateful about. -more-

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

By Dorothy Bryant
Tuesday November 22, 2011 - 09:38:00 AM

Never give anyone a second chance. When people have let you down, you can be sure they will do it again.— V. S. Naipaul, interviewed in the New Yorker 2004. -more-

The Public Eye: Politics 2012: They’ve Gone Too Far

By Bob Burnett
Friday November 18, 2011 - 06:54:00 PM

While the 2012 elections are twelve months away, Republicans have handed President Obama and Democrats a winning theme: ”they’ve gone too far.” -more-

Eclectic Rant: What Next for Occupy Wall Street after Adverse Court Ruling?

By Ralph E. Stone
Friday November 18, 2011 - 07:03:00 PM

On November 15, 2011, New York City Police evicted Occupy Wall Street (OWS) from lower Manhattan's Zuccotti Park. Later that same day, OWS obtained a temporary restraining order (TRO) requiring that they immediately be allowed back into Zuccotti Park with their tents, tarps, and sleeping bags. But the next day, the New York County Supreme Court In the matter of Waller V. The City of New York, et. al. declined to extend the TRO. Thus, the OWS eviction stands, although OWS's application challenging the eviction will continue. -more-

SENIOR POWER… A Play for an Older Actress

By Helen Rippier Wheeler
Friday November 18, 2011 - 07:32:00 PM

This week I saw and heard Bill Cain’s play, How to Write a New Book for the Bible, world premiered at the Berkeley Rep. In short, “A man moves in with his mother when she can no longer care for herself… Their reunion heals old wounds, opening a heartfelt and humorous new chapter in their relationship … this timeless tale celebrates a mother’s love and a son’s devotion.” -more-

On Mental Illness: Psychosis or Depression, Take Your Pick

By Jack Bragen
Friday November 18, 2011 - 06:40:00 PM

Living with schizophrenic illness entails several different “catch-22’s” in which the options are limited. One of these conflicts is the choice between being overmedicated and thus depressed, versus not taking enough medication and being mildly psychotic. It seems, for me at least, there is little or no middle zone between these. -more-

Arts & Events

New: Neil Marcus: Fantastic Spastic

By Dorothy Snodgrass
Wednesday November 23, 2011 - 09:44:00 PM

I have a dear friend and neighbor, Neil Marcus, a playwright, poet and actor, who describes himself as a "fantastic spastic, creatively endowed with disability." As a perfectly healthy eight-year old growing up in Ojai, he was stricken with dystonia, a rare neurological disorder in which powerful involuntary muscle spasms twist and jerk the body into unusual postures. Neil is affected with "generalized dystonia", the most severe and painful form of this disorder. It denies his ability to speak, stand and walk and/or control sudden and sometimes bizarre movements. -more-

Berkeley Arts Festival Hosts Piano--and Pianists

By Bonnie Hughes
Monday November 21, 2011 - 09:58:00 AM

Over the years as the Berkeley Arts Festival has moved around downtown Berkeley it is the arrival of the grand piano that gives the space its allure. This year it is Jerry Kuderna's 9 foot Baldwin that came down from Jerry and Mari's home up in the hills to preside over our University Avenue space and it is bringing a pianist from far away Albany, New York to join the Festival.

Pianist Findlay Cockrell wanted to come to Berkeley to celebrate Liszt's 200th birthday. He had attended Berkeley High many years ago and wanted to revisit the music scene he remembers from his youth . He contacted the DBA in search of a space with a grand piano and they knew where to look.

Coincidentally Findley Cockrell, Emeritus Prof. (Music) UAlbany (SUNY), taught at Julliard when Jerry Kuderna was a 16 year old student there.

Continuing the Adventure: Findlay Cockrell will be playing Jerry's piano in a concert scheduled for Wednesday, November 30 at 8 pm

Jerry Kuderna will be playing every Friday at noon, except for Thanksgiving week.

Sarah Cahill's next concert is on Friday December 2, when she will give a preview of the Lou Harrison Piano Concerto, which she is playing with the Berkeley Symphony on Thursday, December 8th,

Jerry Kuderna will play on the evening of Monday December 12, at 8 pm, a program yet to be determined.

Temporary residence of Jerry''s piano: Berkeley Arts Festival 2133 University Avenue just west of Ace Hardware

For the complete list of concerts please check

Eye from the Aisle: The Hot Mikado at Pt. Richmond MASQUERS, Uneven but Thrilling

by John A. McMullen II
Friday November 18, 2011 - 09:04:00 AM
Amy Lucido as Yum-Yum

It started out like a typical community theatre musical, kind of lackluster, some good actors and singers, some mediocre, the set very Japanese but everyone dressed for Guys and Dolls. It was the Point Richmond Masquers Playhouse production of The Hot Mikado, a swing era rewrite of Gilbert & Sullivan. For the most of the first act I was in and out, occasionally nodding. The band was flat and non- ensemble with no drummer (!?). The choreography seemed uninspired. There was a good barbershop-like harmony at one point. There is one truly impressive baritone, a couple of pretty girls, one a guy who had great moves, but pretty unmemorable all around. -more-

Theater Review: David A.Moss in 'Cracked Clown' at the East Bay Media Center

By Ken Bullock
Friday November 18, 2011 - 09:06:00 AM

"I'm so glad you came to see me ..." -more-