We came to see it fall, but stayed to see it outlast us.
City Officials reported the Sequoia would be "demolished" Monday morning, but a few things interfered on the way to demolishment.
The Berkeley Architectural Heritage Association, in a tautly-written letter to Berkeley's new city manager, Christine Daniel, argued that the Sequoia has a unique heritage that must be preserved.
But preservation apparently gave way to the city's argument favoring "public safety." -more-
We came to see it fall, but stayed to see it outlast us.
Flash: U.C. Berkeley Faculty Senate Registers 10-1 Vote Condemning Administration Response to Occupy Berkeley Protesters
The Berkeley Division of the University of California Faculty Senate endorsed, by a 10-1 margin (336-34), a group of four resolutions expressing, with varying degrees of specificity, their lack of confidence in the way Berkeley administrators have handled student protests.
Three U.C. Berkeley executives, Chancellor Robert Birgenau and two of his subordinates, attempted an explanation of their actions on November 9, when students and faculty were clubbed by police. They were greeted with stony silence by the faculty members in the front of the International House auditorium where the meeting was held, and with audible snickers from the students in the back of the room.
Professor Judith Butler, one of the sponsors of the original no-confidence resolution, moved the acceptance of her motion plus three more which had been submitted by other faculty members. -more-
Dozens of University of California students, employees and others spoke at a Board of Regents meeting held via teleconference at four UC campuses today, sharply criticizing recent police actions in Davis and Berkeley, as well as rising tuition costs. -more-
An Open Letter to UC Berkeley Students, Faculty, Administration & Regents from the UC Berkeley Police Officers’ Association
It is our hope that this letter will help open the door to a better understanding between UC Berkeley police and the University community. -more-
Demolition work is expected to begin today on the top two floors of a four-story apartment building near the University of California at Berkeley that was badly damaged in a five-alarm fire earlier this month, the head of a local merchants' group said. -more-
A University of California Board of Regents meeting held via teleconference at four UC campuses wrapped up this afternoon after being briefly interrupted by protesters who criticized recent police actions in Davis and Berkeley and rising tuition costs. -more-
This evening, The Council of UC Faculty Associations (CUCFA) sent the following letter to President Yudof in response to his decision to hire the Kroll Security Group, and its Chairman William Bratton, to to conduct an investigation of police violence at UC Davis.
Dear President Yudof,
The Council of University of California Faculty Associations (CUCFA) protests your decision to hire the Kroll Security Group, and its Chairman William Bratton, to conduct what you call an independent investigation of police violence at UC Davis. We take no position here on Mr. Bratton’s personal qualifications; our objection is to the conflicts of interest of Kroll Security itself, which is already a major contractor with UC on security matters. According to its website, Kroll’s services are not confined to securing databases and facilities from attacks by criminals and terrorists. It also protects many global financial institutions and other multinationals against threats to “operations” that may come from public criticism and direct political action.
By deepening UC’s links to Kroll, you would be illustrating the kinds of connection between public higher education and Wall Street that the Occupy UC movement is protesting. Kroll’s parent company, Altegrity, provides data-mining, intelligence and on-the-ground security to financial institutions and governments seeking to head off and defeat both private sabotage and public protest. In addition, Altegrity’s parent company, Providence Private Equity, is a major global investor in for-profit higher education companies that benefit from the decline of publicly funded higher education. -more-
Some crafty Occupy Berkeley members are showing solidarity with their Occupy brethren in cold-weather areas by holding a "knit-in at the sit-in" today.
Organizers are inviting the public to join them as they knit and crochet hats, mittens and scarves to send to cold-weather encampments that are facing dropping temperatures and snow as winter approaches.
The knit-in will be held at noon, rain or shine, at Civic Center Park at Martin Luther King Jr. Way and Center Street. -more-
Flash: U.C. Berkeley Faculty Scheduled to Vote on UCPD Violence on Monday Afternoon--But They've Lost Their Email Access
The UC Berkeley Academic Senate is scheduled to vote Monday on a resolution condemning the use of violence against students exercising their First Amendment rights.
From the meeting announcement:
In addition to the initial resolution, three others have since been introduced, and we’ll reprint them all.A special meeting of the Berkeley Division of the Academic Senate will be held in the Chevron Auditorium of the International House (2299 Piedmont Avenue). The Notice of Meeting and the resolution to be presented can be downloaded by clicking here.Monday, November 28, 2011 – 3:00pm – 5:00pm
We will be meeting to deliberate and reach conclusions upon a specific topic: The role of protest at Berkeley, the protests of November 2011 and events surrounding them including police and administration responses, and related policies.
But UC Berkeley’s email system suddenly shuts down
But before we do, we’ll like to call your attention to an email we’ve just received revealing that a critical mode of discussion used by the faculty members has conveniently broken down over the weekend.
Here’s what one faculty member reports:
The Berkeley email is disabled this weekend, at a critical time of organization and discussion leading to a special meeting of the Academic Senate on Monday. Those using berkeley.edu addresses are out of email from the morning after their Thanksgiving dinners (Friday morning) until the Monday when the Academic Senate meeting takes place. The meeting is intended “to deliberate and reach conclusions upon a specific topic: The role of protest at Berkeley, the protests of November 2011 and events surrounding them including police and administration responses, and related policies.” Some see this meeting as potentially leading to a vote of no-confidence in the Chancellor, Robert Birgeneau. In my personal experience, this kind of outage is not accidental. -more-
Writing a new chapter in physics, a Ford Mustang convertible, traveling under 30mph hit a BMW leaving the curb, and then launched into the air and landed, upside-down, on its rag-roof. It happened Saturday, just before noon at Channing Way and Telegraph.
Although both drivers were taken to the hospital, they were not seriously injured, according to rescue workers at the scene.
The driver of the Mustang was wrenched from under his steering wheel by a good-samaritan street vendor, who rushed over from his Teley street stand. -more-
Andronico's, the supermarket chain that opened its first store in Berkeley in the 1920s, announced today that it will close its Telegraph Avenue store in Berkeley.
The store was called "Park and Shop" when it opened, but the name was later changed to reflect family ownership.
The closure is related to the chain's restructuring after it filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy this August, according to a representative for the markets.
Five stores will remain open and "will receive the company's full attention" as part of a capital improvement plan expected to begin early next year, according to a statement released on behalf of the company. -more-
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-
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-
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-
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-
Forty-Seven Berkeley Faculty Members Sponsor No Confidence Resolution Against Birgeneau: Meeting to Take Place Monday Afternoon
NOTICE OF SPECIAL MEETING
BERKELEY DIVISION OF THE ACADEMIC SENATE
Monday, November 28, 2011, 3:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Chevron Auditorium, International House, 2299 Piedmont Avenue
Summary of Business -more-
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-
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-
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-
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-
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-
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-
UC President Condemns Police Response to Berkeley and Davis Protesters, Calls for Thorough Investigation
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-
New: Oakland Chamber of Commerce Executive Board Member Charged with Committing $19.75 Million Corporate Fraud
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-
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 demonstrators tonight have gathered at a home that is in foreclosure, according to a protester. -more-
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
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-
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-
Eids; Why the Super Committee Was Doomed; U.C. Berkeley Police;Resignation Vs. Moratorium;The Super Commitee's Failure; A Thought about Needed Change -more-
Occupy is about mass organizing to directly address big, structural problems that create intolerable inequities and injustices.
Occupy focuses on a malevolent concentration of political and economic power in a relatively small elite who seem to exercise their power so as to increase those inequities and injustices.
Occupy attempts to organize resistance under a "big tent", improvising and using techniques of Real Democracy. -more-
I’m a student at UC Berkeley - and lately, an Occupier. In the last month, I have seen hundreds of people from many different backgrounds sitting down in the public sphere and talking about what they think is going wrong in our country right now. It has been inspiring to see such a diverse group of people coming together hoping to make the world a better place.
I’ve also found myself on the wrong side of police barricades more times than I ever imagined happening. I've seen peaceful protesters in Oakland tear-gassed and shot with 'non-lethal' weapons. I've seen peaceful students on Sproul Plaza beaten viciously. The scenes I have seen – both the good and the bad – are not unique to the bay area, they've been repeated in dozens of other cities across the country. -more-
While citizens of Berkeley are nestled snug in their beds, City Councilmembers are dreaming, not of sugar plums, but of ways to fund the City’s failing infrastructure.
At several recent Council workshops, the demise and needs of our parks, marina, pools, storm drains, sewers and streets were discussed in detail. To date there has been no mention of City buildings (except that Old City Hall is a death trap if there is a significant earthquake, so Council is pondering a new location) – although rebuilding the solid waste transfer station and recycling center was briefly mentioned last spring.
Mid-December should reveal the “total” capital project dollars that are needed for all the necessary improvements but it is looking as though that number is close to $600million. That works out to approximately $5,300 per resident, including students. Couple that with the $253 million debt for employee benefits related liabilities – most owed to CALPERS and you end up with close to $850million in unfunded liabilities, or a whopping $7,500 per resident. And we call it unfunded because, sadly, it is. Unless significant budgetary changes are made, there is no money to fund any of this and Berkeley taxpayers and the City treasury are tapped out. -more-
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-
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-
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-
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-
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-
Hot news from Europe: in a population of western marsh harriers (Circus aeruginosus) in France, 40 percent of the males are crossdressers . Typical males of this hawk species, a close relative of our northern harrier, have overall streaky-brown plumage. Females have whitish heads and shoulders, and so do female-mimicking males. Typical males don’t seem to recognize the mimics as rivals. Audrey Sternalski, Francois Mougeot, and Vincent Bretagnolle report in Biology Letters that typical males attack decoys with their own kind of plumage at a higher rate than those with female-mimic plumage. What the mimics get out of it is access to the mates—up to three, depending on available resources—of territory-holding typical males. -more-
Senior Power … “Age insists that I be dull as a further disability.” [Florida Scott-Maxwell at 83. The Measure of My Days.]
Disability, impairment, handicap. They’re different. While old age is not a disability, the weakening of the body’s resources exacerbates the impact of debilitating trauma or chronic disease that is likely to accompany old age. -more-
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-
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-
My Commonplace Book (a diary of excerpts copied from printed books, with comments added by the reader.)
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-
Arts & Events
Theater: Another Slew of Reviews:'Shoot O'Malley Twice' (Virago); 'Annie' (Berkeley Playhouse); 'The Soldier's Tale' (Aurora); 'Rumi x 7' (Golden Thread).
—'Shoot O'Malley Twice' (Virago Theatre Company) Since this review is running in the Planet, a note of disclosure—and reassurance—is in order at the start. The title of Jon Brooks' (who has written for the Mime Troupe) amusing play, about betting on "shooting fingers" while the Giants and Dodgers are betraying New York and Brooklyn by moving to the West Coast, refers to Walter O'Malley, owner of the Dodgers, object of such distain by the Brooklyn Faithful that—the saying goes—if you had Hitler, Stalin and Walter O'Malley together in a room and your gun had only two bullets, what would you do? "Shoot O'Malley Twice!" -more-
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-
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 www.berkeleyartsfestival.com