The Week




By John Herbert
Wednesday December 14, 2011 - 12:25:00 PM

Our dog has gone missing and we are quite distraught about it. Our dog went tagging along with some folks walking their dog, along the 1700 block of Oregon Street Berkeley last Sunday.

We do not know who they were, whether they took our dog or simply let him wander off after following. To our utter dismay and sadness, he has not returned.

John Herbert,Oregon Street ,Berkeley, 510-812-3177 -more-

Ceremony Tonight Will Mourn Closing of Berkeley's Warm Pool (Event)

By Gary Marquard
Wednesday December 14, 2011 - 09:24:00 AM

No decision was announced at last Friday's hearing on an injunction against closing the Warm Pool. The judge said only that she would issue a ruling "shortly.” Unless the injunction is granted, or some other last-minute reprieve occurs, Wednesday, December 14 will be the last day ever of public swim at the Warm Pool. -more-

Two Pedestrians Struck by a Car Near the Berkeley Bowl Market

By Steven Finacom
Tuesday December 13, 2011 - 06:53:00 PM

Two pedestrians were hit by a car on Shattuck and Oregon shortly after 7:00 pm on Tuesday, December 13. They were taken away by ambulance as Berkeley police temporarily diverted traffic from two blocks of Shattuck Avenue, adjacent to the Berkeley Bowl and the Shattuck/Adeline Walgreens. That particular intersection is often busy with commuter cars as well as pedestrians. A zebra-striped crosswalk and flashing yellow pedestrian light have been installed in recent years by the city. -more-

Updated: Port Protesters Vote to Continue Blockade--Mayor Quan Says It's "Economic Violence"

By Zack Farmer(BCN)
Monday December 12, 2011 - 06:24:00 PM

Protesters voted to extend a blockade at the Port of Oakland through the early morning at tonight's general assembly meeting. -more-

Oakland Port Blockaded by 1000 Tonight

By Zach Farmer (BCN)
Monday December 12, 2011 - 06:06:00 PM

More than 1,000 protesters are descending on the Port of Oakland this evening as part of a daylong effort to shut down the port. -more-

Death of a Berkeley Deli (and More)

By Ted Friedman
Monday December 12, 2011 - 05:46:00 PM
Dazed shoppers Friday at Telegraph Andronicos, the day before it closed. One of last of aisles with merchandise.

Telegraph Andronicos died Saturday, or was it last Saturday? Or was it last decade?

The Teley deli had been gasping for breath for years. -more-

New: Trucks Lined up Outside Port of Oakland as Protesters Block Entrance

By JeffShuttleworth/ScottMorris (BCN)
Monday December 12, 2011 - 09:51:00 AM

Protesters have blocked at least two entrances to the Port of Oakland this morning as part of a planned all-day West Coast port blockade. -more-

Diesel Fuel Spill on Berkeley Campus Contaminates Strawberry Creek and Bay

By Bay City News
Sunday December 11, 2011 - 10:04:00 PM

Around 1,700 gallons of diesel fuel spilled from a tank in a University of California at Berkeley building Saturday evening, causing a spill that reached Strawberry Creek and San Francisco Bay. -more-

New: U.C. Berkeley Oil Spill into Strawberry Creek Still Evident on Sunday Morning (Reader Report)

By Linda Franklin
Sunday December 11, 2011 - 09:57:00 PM

Last night UCB spilled some kind of fuel oil or diesel into Strawberry Creek. When my son came home at 2 am, he noticed a pervasive smell of gasoline, which he had first noticed about 10 pm that evening. His home in on Strawberry Creek in the flats, and he investigated and found thick reddish brown oil in the creek. He flagged down a police officer who said that UC Berkeley had experienced a leak or spill but had "everything under control." Doubting that, he went out to the mouth of the creek at the Seabreeze cafe to see if UCB had put up containment to keep the fuel out of the bay... they had not. He then traced back up the creek, and found pools of fuel at various spots, and a large amount of fuel in the creek below the Undergraduate Library. No clean up crew was there...

When we went back there at 8:30 am Sunday morning, there was a cleanup crew pumping out the remains of the oil. What was the spill, why didn't UCB act to contain the spill before it left the creek and entered the bay? Why did it take so long to get a clean up crew out? -more-

Press Release: U.C. Berkeley Says Oil Spill Was Contained at 9 on Saturday

From Janet Gilmore, UCB Public Information Officer
Sunday December 11, 2011 - 10:07:00 PM

Emergency crews on Sunday, Dec. 11, removed hundreds of gallons of diesel fuel from a University of California, Berkeley, building where equipment failure caused a diesel tank to overflow. On Saturday evening, Dec. 10, about 1,700 gallons of fuel spilled within Stanley Hall, with some fuel reaching Strawberry Creek and a smaller amount making its way to San Francisco Bay. -more-

Press Release: City of Berkeley Police Clarify Reports of Youth Prostitution

From Sgt. Mary Kusmiss, BPD
Friday December 09, 2011 - 03:02:00 PM

Since 2010, the number of juvenile prostitution cases investigated by the Berkeley Police Department (BPD) throughout the City of Berkeley has fallen from seven in 2010 to four in 2011, a decline of over 40%. The population of Berkeley is approximately 112,000. -more-

Occupy Movement Plans Port Shutdown--Union Leaders Not All Supportive

By Scott Morris (BCN)
Friday December 09, 2011 - 02:49:00 PM

Inspired by the Nov. 2 shutdown of the Port of Oakland by Occupy Oakland protesters, Occupy movements across the country are seeking to disrupt port and shipping activities, particularly along the West Coast on Monday, including at the Port of Oakland. -more-

Of Mice and Men; Micah and Me (First Person)

By Ted Friedman
Friday December 09, 2011 - 03:04:00 PM
Micah M. White, center in white shirt,  a founder of Occupy Wall Street movement, and a new Berkeley resident.

When I was a kid, I read "Ben and Me," a 1939 children's bio of Ben Franklin, purportedly written by Franklin's mouse, Amos. In this story, I am the mouse, and Micah M. White, credited by the New Yorker as a key founder of the Occupy movement, is Ben.

Micah is famous at the moment, and I, a mere mouse who roars at the Planet. We both live in Berkeley; me for 40 years, Micah since last year. -more-

Press Release: Telegraph and Haste Open to Traffic

From Mary Kay Clunies-Ross, City of Berkeley Public Information Officer
Wednesday December 07, 2011 - 12:39:00 PM

Telegraph Avenue and Haste Street in Berkeley were both opened to vehicle and pedestrian traffic today, less than three weeks after a raging fire forced the demolition of a 39-unit apartment building at the intersection. -more-

Contractor Error Completes Destruction of Most of Berkeley Building

By Dave Blake
Tuesday December 06, 2011 - 04:18:00 PM

Last Saturday the wrecking crew employed by Kenneth and Gregory Ent, owners of the Sequoia Apartments, began demolishing what remained of the mixed-use apartment building at the northwest corner of Haste and Telegraph,which was the subject of a fire on November 18 of still undetermined origin that left the building uninhabitable, and also necessitated the evacuation of the apartment building directly west on Haste. -more-

Occupy Berkeley Survives—For Now!(News Analysis)

By Ted Friedman
Tuesday December 06, 2011 - 12:31:00 PM
A portion of the burgeoning encampment at the "other" Occupy Berkeley, Monday at MLK Civic Center Park.

It is often confused with Occupy Cal, especially on-line, has launched no major actions, and has not distinguished itself from thousands of similar-sized Occupies—but it has something that other Occupies, (including O.C.) might envy—it has survived. -more-

Berkeley Councilman Says Growing Encampment is Creating More Issues

By Jeff Shuttleworth (BCN)
Tuesday December 06, 2011 - 11:29:00 PM

The Occupy Wall Street encampment in downtown Berkeley is creating more issues now that it is growing in size but there still aren't any serious problems there, Berkeley City Councilman Jesse Arreguin said today.

The encampment in Civic Center Park, which began in early October, along with similar encampments around the country, initially had only 30 to 40 tents but now has reached about 100 tents. -more-



What's in Berkeley's Future--and Does Anyone Care?

By Becky O'Malley
Friday December 09, 2011 - 03:54:00 PM

Whither local government? In view of recent more-than-dire predictions about the burden of unfunded liabilities faced by cities like Berkeley, it’s a hard question to address, let alone answer. -more-

The Editor's Back Fence

Coming Soon to a Neighborhood Near You? The Berkeley City Council grapples with a 17 bedroom monstrosity that the planning staff and the city attorney think is legal.

Wednesday December 14, 2011 - 09:44:00 AM

In case you might have thought that Berkeley's zoning laws would keep mini-dorms out of your neighborhood, watch this cautionary video. Our city planning staff has allowed this seventeen-bedroom development to invade a peaceful Southside neighborhood. It's the latest outrage from a developer who has already had several run-ins with the law. Councilmembers are Shocked, Shocked, as usual, but we'll have to wait until at least January to see if neighbors have any recourse.

Get Microsoft Silverlight -more-

Swanson to Challenge Hancock for Senate in 9th District--Which Still Includes Berkeley After Redistricting

Tuesday December 13, 2011 - 06:33:00 PM

Josh Richman at the Oakland Tribune has confirmed the rampant rumor that State Representative Sandre Swanson will challenge State Senator Loni Hancock for the seat in the reconfigured 9th District, which includes Berkeley, starting in the 2012 June primary. Both are Democrats.

No one has yet confirmed the other rumor: that her spouse, Berkeley Mayor Tom Bates, won't run again, and will endorse the District Five moderate councilmember, realtor Laurie Capitelli, a partner in Red Oak Realty. If Bates steps down, he'd be able to spend more time in Sacramento with his wife if Hancock is re-elected.

Another yet-to-be confirmed rumor making the rounds: Councilmember Jesse Arreguin will carry the progressive banner in the Berkeley mayor's race in November. -more-

A Pair of Tantalizing Tales

Tuesday December 06, 2011 - 05:36:00 PM

Richard Brenneman's blog this week spotlights a remarkable report: that the UC Police Department trained with the Alameda County Sheriff's Department on campus to shut down Occupy camps, and "even more astounding: The exercise was part of a national training exercise that included elements of Israeli border police." -more-


Odd Bodkins: Newt

By Dan O'Neill
Friday December 09, 2011 - 05:03:00 PM

Public Comment

Occupy Berkeley Beer Committees

from the OccupyBerkeley website:
Wednesday December 14, 2011 - 11:12:00 AM

The Occupy movement, broadly speaking, is about remedying the large-scale political and economic inequality that exists in this world, about fixing a system which currently allows the most wealthy Americans to use their wealth to obtain a monopoly on political power and to use that political power to further enrich themselves at the expense of the 99%. The 99% of Americans that the system is currently rigged against, while having common grievances against the economic and political systems under which we live, also have a huge variety of different lifestyles, work schedules, preferences, etc. We understand that not everyone can camp out in the park every night, and it’s also okay if not everyone wants to. We also understand that not everyone is able to join a nightly General Assembly because of jobs, families, or other commitments. If the 99% are going to prevail in changing the nature of our society for the better, we are going to need widespread participation and this means having organizations that have flexible structures that will accommodate the wide variety of lifestyles and preferences.

Occupy Berkeley is thus calling for more widespread community participation in the form of Occupy Berkeley Beer Committees (OBBCs). These should not be confused with the formal committees or working groups that exist within Occupy Berkeley (which have regular meeting times, point people, and other requirements of regular attendance). OBBCs are built around the idea of the “affinity group”, which is a small collection of individuals (say, 5-20) that are united under a common desire to do something. You can form an OBBC with your friends, your work colleagues, your family, or people that you meet online through Occupy-related forums and websites. -more-

Oil Spill Shows that U.C. Berkeley's Disaster Plans Are Inadequate

By Linda Franklin
Monday December 12, 2011 - 05:52:00 PM

I am writing with deep concern about the inadequacy of UCB's disaster prep plans as evidenced by their handling of the diesel spill on campus this Saturday night. -more-

Republican Affect for 2012

By Jack Bragen
Monday December 12, 2011 - 05:49:00 PM

My usage of the word “affect” in this article is that of a psychological term used by clinicians to describe their emotional impression of their patients. It is the nonfactual impression that we get of a person, and it is often responsible for how well a politician connects with the public. (Notice that I am transplanting use of the term from psychology to politics.) -more-

December Pepper Spray Times

By Grace Underpressure
Friday December 09, 2011 - 04:57:00 PM

Editor's Note: The latest issue of the Pepper Spray Times is now available. -more-

Tax Breaks for Millionaires in Berkeley at City Council Tonight

By Paul M. Schwartz
Tuesday December 06, 2011 - 09:04:00 AM

Are you fed up with Millionaires not paying their fair share of federal taxes and not paying their fair share of state taxes? If so, would you be interested in knowing the City of Berkeley has an item on their agenda to provide city tax breaks for local well heeled people? -more-

Demolition Ordinance Before Berkeley City Council Neglects Tenants

By Igor Tregub, Berkeley Rent Board Commissioner
Tuesday December 06, 2011 - 08:18:00 AM

This evening, the Berkeley City Council will be considering a framework for revisions to the ordinances governing the demolition and elimination of housing units. I believe that the language in the framework is a huge improvement over previous language that has been shared with me, as it includes provisions for tenant protections.

However, there are two gaping problems with it:

1) Although tenants of the demolished building have the right of first refusal to return to new construction that replaces it, there are almost no provisions that these new units will be at anything other than market rate. Thus, a situation similar to Park Merced in San Francisco could arise, in which low-income tenants are would be unable to move back into the new units. -more-


AGAINST FORGETTING: Occupy: You Can't Evict an Idea

By Ruth Rosen
Monday December 12, 2011 - 05:55:00 PM

As snowstorms and freezing rain announce the arrival of winter, it’s hard to remember that the Occupy Wall Street movement emerged just a few months ago, in September. Enraged by the government bailout of Wall Street, but not of those who had lost their jobs and homes, angry at the rise of university tuition, frightened by the precarious decline of the middle class, several generations---not only the young--- began a movement that quickly spread from Zuccotti park in New York across the nation. “We are the 99%,” they chanted, until it became the slogan of the movement. The 1%, they explained, owned as much wealth as the rest of the population. -more-

Eclectic Rant: Abolish the Death Penalty, Replace With Life Without Parole

By Ralph E. Stone
Friday December 09, 2011 - 04:34:00 PM

The death penalty should be abolished in the United States because life without parole is more humane, less discriminatory, and a less costly alternative – and it avoids the risk of executing an innocent person. -more-

THE PUBLIC EYE: Elizabeth Warren: Voice of the 99 Percent

By Bob Burnett
Friday December 09, 2011 - 02:56:00 PM

Wednesday evening, December 7th, senatorial candidate Elizabeth Warren met with Bay Area progressives. Some of us recalled a comparable meeting four years earlier with presidential candidate Barack Obama. At the time Obama was a rising star; now Warren is the rising star. While the two have similarities, there is one crucial difference. -more-

SENIOR POWER…It’s Called Gray divorce.

By Helen Rippier Wheeler
Friday December 09, 2011 - 03:16:00 PM

Famous and infamous, great and not so great. Divorce quotes abound… -more-

WILD NEIGHBORS: Deception on the Lek

BY Joe Eaton
Wednesday December 07, 2011 - 12:39:00 PM
Resident Male Ruff

This is the last of what turned into a series on the female impersonators of the animal kingdom: males that temporarily or permanently mimic the females of their respective species to enhance their mating opportunities. Cuttlefish do it, as do isopods, a whole slew of fish, one snake, a couple of lizards, and at least two birds. (If the phenomenon occurs among mammals, I haven’t located any examples.) One of the birds is the western marsh-harrier, in which 40 percent of males have female-typical plumage and are not recognized as rivals by “normal” males. The other, better-known species is the ruff (Philomachus pugnax), which has a much more complicated arrangement. The Latin name translates as “combative battle-lover.” -more-

MY COMMONPLACE BOOK: (a diary of excerpts copied from printed books, with comments added by the reader.)

By Dorothy Bryant
Tuesday December 06, 2011 - 01:18:00 PM

Nothing makes you hate people as much as knowing in your heart that you are in the wrong and they are in the right. — Paul Krugman, Nobel Prize-winning economist, author, in his NY Times column, Sept. 3, 2004 -more-


By Jack Bragen
Tuesday December 06, 2011 - 09:29:00 AM

I have been writing this column for the Planet for about a year, and have covered a lot of territory about the plight and the needs of persons with mental illness. I have reached a point where it feels like it is time to do something else with my writing career. -more-

Arts & Events

Defend Your Bill of Rights: Candlelight Vigil Thursday 12-15-2011- a public response to S 1867 aka the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA)(Event)

By Carol Denney
Wednesday December 14, 2011 - 09:32:00 AM

Join Occupy, Fiddlers for Peace, and the Revolutionary Poets Brigade Thursday, 12 noon, December 15th, 2011, at 101 Market Street in San Francisco (or anywhere you happen to be) to raise a candle for the tattered Bill of Rights.

The National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which enables the government to indefinitely jail those suspected of terrorism, had only a handful of voices opposing it in Congress.

No need to march all over town for this one. Just grab a friend and light a candle, and enjoy being one of Time Magazine’s protesters of the year. -more-

New: AROUND AND ABOUT: Theater Review: 'Adoration of the Magi'--Inferno Theatre at South Berkeley Community Church

By Ken Bullock
Tuesday December 13, 2011 - 09:54:00 PM

"When I was young, I was enchanted with the night. They made me stare into a basin of water and asked me, What do you see?"

Giulio Perrone's Inferno Theatre, after offering up theatrical originals like 'Galileo's Daughters' and 'The Iliad' at the City Club, are staging one of the more original holiday shows, from material used for over a millennium. Jasper (Simone Bloch), Balthasar (Valentina Emeri) and Melchiar (Priscilla Parchia) witness the star of the Epiphany, meet one another, show their gifts, tell their stories and journey together from the East to Judea, meeting with Herod (Alison Sacha Ross) in Jerusalem: "I am so cold, and the moon warms me not"--to find the divine child of peace, heralded also by Virgil's Fourth Eclogue, encountering festivity along the way. -more-

EYE FROM THE AISLE: Theater Review: GOD’S PLOT at Shotgun Players

By John A. McMullen II
Tuesday December 13, 2011 - 09:39:00 AM
Will Hand, Juliana Lustenader, Josh Pollock (Banjo), Anthony Nemirovsky.

Mark Jackson’s latest oeuvre, GOD’S PLOT at Shotgun Players, is like boiled filet mignon. There is much good meat there, but the failure is in its preparation and lack of flavor. It is overdone a half hour past its curtain time. -more-

Get Ready for the Oakland Museum's White Elephant Sale

By Dorothy Snodgrass
Tuesday December 13, 2011 - 09:39:00 AM

I'm always delighted to receive the announcement of the Oakland Museum of California's White Elephant Sale, this year marking their 53rd Anniversary. Talk about "trash and treasures" -- you name it, they've got it! Because the Warehouse is located at 333 Lancaster Street, Oakland, parking is nigh unto impossible. Shoppers are therefore encouraged to take a free shuttle bus, which runs continuously from the Fruitvale Bart Station to the Warehouse. -more-

Theater Review: Yussef el Guindi's 'Language Rooms'

By Ken Bullock
Friday December 09, 2011 - 03:25:00 PM

"I know we're of different religions here, so I will refer to a generic god." -more-

AROUND AND ABOUT THEATER: Christmas Mystery Play Adapted at st. Mark's This Saturday

By Ken Bullock
Friday December 09, 2011 - 03:27:00 PM

'The Mary Play, or Gabriel's Message,' an Advent play adapted from English Mystery Plays, will be presented at St. Mark's Episcopal Church this Saturday afternoon from 3 to 4, followed by a festive reception. The public is invited. -more-

AROUND AND ABOUT THEATER: Inferno Theatre's 'Adoration of the Magi' at South Berkeley Community Church

By Ken Bullock
Tuesday December 06, 2011 - 04:59:00 PM

Inferno Theatre, founded by Giulio Perrone—maybe best-known in the theater community as set designer for local professional theaters and once director at Dell'Arte School of Physical Theater in Blue Lake near Eureka—has produced some of the most interesting original work around here in the past few years: 'Galileo's Daughters' and 'The Iliad,' both at the Berkeley City Club. -more-

AROUND AND ABOUT MUSIC : Berkeley Symphony--Sarah Cahill plays Lou Harrison

By Ken Bullock
Tuesday December 06, 2011 - 01:23:00 PM

This Thursday—December 8—Berkeley Symphony, led by guest conductor Jayce Ogren, will explore the late Bay Area composer Lou Harrison's seldom-played Piano Concerto, featuring Berkeley's Sarah Cahill on the keys. Harrison, student of Henry Cowell and early promoter of Charles Ives, Alan Hovhaness and Harry Partch, among others, is known for his works in just intonation (versus equal temperament) and for composing in microtones, influenced by Indonesian, Chinese and other Asian musics. -more-

THE CHRISTMAS REVELS:Chase the Holiday Yuck with Yule

By John A. McMullen II
Tuesday December 06, 2011 - 05:04:00 PM

For thinking folks, the holidays can be conflicting and a downer. If you aren’t religious, and maybe a tad cynical like me, you might consider taking a flight to India or Peking to get away from all the “stuff” surrounding Christmas. -more-