The Week

Prelude to a clash. Berkeley police came through the Occupy Berkeley General Assembly meeting Wednesday nite with a list of homeless shelters. Earlier, they announced they would enforce park rules, which restrict camping in Civic Center Park. The encampment braced for an eviction at 10p.m.
Ted Friedman
Prelude to a clash. Berkeley police came through the Occupy Berkeley General Assembly meeting Wednesday nite with a list of homeless shelters. Earlier, they announced they would enforce park rules, which restrict camping in Civic Center Park. The encampment braced for an eviction at 10p.m.


Earthquake Hits Berkeley Tonight

By Bay City News
Thursday December 22, 2011 - 10:57:00 AM

An earthquake with a preliminary magnitude of 2.7 shook Berkeley tonight, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. -more-

Updated: Impending Eviction at Occupy Berkeley on Hold, as Occupiers Scatter

By Ted Friedman
Thursday December 22, 2011 - 11:07:00 AM
Back to square one. Occupiers from Civic Center Park return to their origin late Wednesday, as Bank America Plaza fills with evicted tent city-become-village.

Police said they'd enforce no-camping restrictions in Civic Center Park, but they didn't say when. Now cops are on hold, as MLK Park occupiers skedaddle. -more-

A You Tube Video Depicts Police Action Last Night

Thursday December 22, 2011 - 09:29:00 AM

Protesters uploaded this video to YouTube. -more-

Some Occupy Berkeley Campers Stay Despite Police Eviction Notice

By Sasha Lekach (BCN)
Thursday December 22, 2011 - 09:07:00 AM

After members of the "Occupy Berkeley" camp were served with a notice that police planned to evict people lodging at Civic Center Park after 10 p.m. Wednesday night, a group has remained in the area despite small bouts of police action this morning. -more-

Berkeley Occupiers Defiant Wednesday Night, as Berkeley Police March Into Camp to Distribute Shelter Information

By Ted Friedman
Wednesday December 21, 2011 - 05:30:00 PM
What the police will evict, if they do, Wednesday night in Occupy Berkeley.

All day Wednesday occupiers in Civic Center Park prepared themselves for eviction. As the moment of truth approached, they used music, rhetoric, and solidarity to ready themselves.

They practiced maneuvers, gave interviews, and screwed up their courage for a confrontation with Berkeley Police, whom one occupier from Oakland called "pussies" compared to Oakland P.D. -more-

Press Release: Berkeley Police Statement on the Situation at Occupy Berkeley Site

From Sgt. Mary Kusmiss, Public Information Officer, City of Berkeley Police Department
Wednesday December 21, 2011 - 05:27:00 PM

“The message has been consistent within the city that the City of Berkeley Police Department (BPD) officers have been monitoring the park for community, public safety and participant safety.” -more-

Updated: Berkeley Police Threaten to Evict Occupy Berkeley Encampment Tonight--Councilmembers Not Consulted

Wednesday December 21, 2011 - 10:24:00 AM

It appears that Berkeley's city administrators plan to close down the Occupy Berkeley encampment tonight at 10, though they have not informed the public or councilmembers who have been visiting the encampment about their plans.

Last night (Tuesday) at 10 p.m. the Berkeley Police passed out this flyer to those in the Occupy Berkeley encampment, announcing their intention of evicting Occupiers tonight:



Berkeley Municipal Code ("BMC") § 6.32.020 prohibits being in a City park from 10:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m. This park is closed at 10:00 p.m. Starting December 21,2011, this law will be enforced. Persons in this park after 10:00 p.m. will be subject to arrest for violating BMC §6.32.020 and their property will be removed.

Penal Code § 647(e) prohibits lodging on City property without permission from the,City. No one has permission to lodge in this park. Persons who are camping in this park are violating Penal Code § 647(e).

Starting December 21, 2011, anyone found camping in this park will be required to remove their tent and other property being used for lodging here. Persons who fail to remove their tent and other property used for lodging in this park will be subject to arrest for violating Penal Code § 647(!) and their property will be removed."
On the reverse side of the flyer was a list of the city's homeless shelters. -more-

Berkeley Holiday Street Fair Survives Closure by Ghost of the Sequoia

By Ted Friedman
Sunday December 18, 2011 - 07:32:00 AM
Dali-esque. View from a tee-shirt tent across from the Sequoia rubble, as a worker sprays it down Saturday. The rubble consists of compressed walls, appliances, beams, floors, and animal bones.

After weeks of street and walkway closures, and toxic, stinking fumes, this weekend's Telegraph Holiday (street) Fair, a twenty-six year tradition, breathed life into a moribund business district. -more-

St. John's Church Carols for Occupy Berkeley

By Mark Coplan
Tuesday December 20, 2011 - 12:00:00 PM

Members of St John's Presbyterian Church in Berkeley sang Christmas carols for Occupy Berkeley after church on Sunday (Dec. 18th). The group was led by Pastor Max Lynn and Music Director Todd Lolly in their annual caroling expedition, which usually focuses on senior residents homes, because they wanted to show support for the occupy movement. -more-

Up-arming the Movies

By Gar Smith
Tuesday December 20, 2011 - 07:44:00 AM

I've been dismayed by the recent slew of movie posters advertising the new Sherlock Holmes sequel. Popping up on billboards and buses around the Bay Area, they show a smirking Sherlock and a blank-faced Watson brandishing handguns. -more-

What Matters About Occupy Berkeley (News Analysis)

By Ted Friedman
Friday December 16, 2011 - 07:40:00 PM
Keeping the faith. At an Occupy Berkeley general assembly last month. They still show up at 6, all but Mondays, for G.A.

In October, we reported that Occupy Berkeley was on a collision course with city officials ("Is Occupy Berkeley on a Collision Course With Berkeley?" Planet, Oct. 28). -more-

Occupy Berkeley Health and Safety Plan

By Councilmember Jesse Arreguin
Thursday December 15, 2011 - 07:29:00 PM

To: Christine Daniel, Interim City Manager

Michael Meehan, Chief of Police

From: Councilmember Jesse Arreguín


Consider the proposed strategies to develop an Occupy Berkeley Health and Safety Plan for immediate implementation.

Press Release: City Councilmember Arreguin Proposes Plan to Improve Health and Safety of Occupy Berkeley Encampment

From Anthony Sanchez
Thursday December 15, 2011 - 06:40:00 PM

Berkeley City Councilmember Jesse Arreguín submitted to Interim Berkeley City Manager Christine Daniel and Berkeley Chief of Police Michael Meehan this morning a Health and Safety Plan to address growing crime and public health issues at the ongoing Occupy Berkeley encampment. -more-

Training the Police: SWAT US 2011 (Sidebar)

From the Urban Shield web site
Thursday December 15, 2011 - 08:47:00 AM

During the 2011 Alameda County Sheriff's Office Urban Shield training exercise, SWAT and Tactical Response teams will participate in 29 individual events ranging from Search Warrant Service to Active Shooter/Immediate Action Team scenarios. Teams will arrive on Friday October 14, 2011, and will receive mission and safety briefings as well and an introduction to the latest technology to be used in the training scenarios. In addition, each team member is subjected to a medical assessment and firearms qualification at the Alameda County Regional Training Center Range Facility. -more-

I've Had It with These Masked Thugs (News Analysis)

By Gar Smith
Thursday December 15, 2011 - 08:41:00 AM

I don't know about you, but I'm getting fed up with these self-important gangs of masked, black-clad agitators running roughshod over our city streets. They've occupied parks, shut down roadways, vandalized private property, assaulted law-abiding citizens and left entire communities afraid to venture into financially struggling downtown business districts. They've wielded spray cans and left behind eyesores that have incensed the community.

I am speaking, of course, about the police. -more-

University Officials, Legislators Call for Clearer Police Procedures During Protests in Berkeley and Elsewhere

By Scott Morris (BCN)
Wednesday December 14, 2011 - 10:15:00 PM

Legislators, university officials and civil rights leaders at a hearing in Sacramento today seemed in agreement that campus police in protest situations needed stricter standards of conduct, and potentially a statewide crowd control policy. -more-

U.C. Berkeley Announces New Aid Program for Middle Class

By Jeff Shuttleworth (BCN)
Wednesday December 14, 2011 - 10:11:00 PM

Reacting to rising tuition costs and the state's high cost of living, University of California at Berkeley Chancellor Robert Birgeneau announced a new program today to make his campus more affordable for middle-class families. -more-

Visit Telegraph for Holiday Gifts

By Steven Finacom
Saturday December 17, 2011 - 10:37:00 AM

Sunny skies and sparkling gifts are available this weekend and next at the Telegraph Avenue Holiday Fair. The 28th annual edition of the arts and crafts event runs from 11 am to 6 pm Saturday and Sunday, and next Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, December 22 through 24th. -more-



Occu-Puncture in Berkeley: Time to Occupy Everywhere

By Becky O'Malley
Friday December 16, 2011 - 01:59:00 PM

It’s becoming clear to most of us that the helium is slowly seeping out of the Occupy Berkeley balloon, which rose with great enthusiasm not that long ago. The movement has had enormous results, succeeding completely in the obvious goal of calling attention to the huge disparities between the super-rich and everyone else which are growing throughout the world. Now, however, it’s time to—sorry to use an overused slogan—move on to something else.

Berkeley Councilmember Jesse Arreguin has issued a lucid and intelligent summary of where Occupy Berkeley has been, along with an analyis of how the city of Berkeley should manage the settlement in Martin Luther King Civic Center Park in the near future. His document could serve as a model for other places which still have lingering Occupy encampments, but it probably won’t.

A quick crib sheet, for those who can’t be bothered to read three or four pages of print: As long as campers don’t break any other laws, the city will treat camping out as a form of protected speech, but that doesn’t mean campers can let their dogs run wild. (Arreguin’s use of the police-speak tag “zero tolerance” seems to have confused some commenters: it’s zero tolerance for repeat infractions of the stated rules, not zero tolerance for behavior explicitly defined as tolerable, i.e. camping.)

But he, correctly, doesn’t get into the question of whether camping out per se is still the best form of political expression. To understand that, supporters need to unwind the history of the Occupy actions to see what the next step should be. -more-

The Editor's Back Fence

Making a Mess Even Messier: Evicting Occupy Berkeley

By Becky O'Malley
Wednesday December 21, 2011 - 02:12:00 PM

Merry Xmas, Baby, from Aunt and Uncle Scrooge in Berkeley! If we believe the flyer distributed last night at the Occupy Berkeley encampment by Berkeley police, tonight’s the night for the big bust.

Let’s stipulate, for starters, that the site’s turned into an awful mess. No one I talk to would deny that anymore, even the most loyal supporters of the occupy concept. Something should certainly be done about it, and Councilmember Jesse Arreguin’s suggestions would be a good place to start. stupid is it that the city’s hired guns, the city manager and the police chief, don’t seem to have made the most desultory attempt to get buy-in from Berkeley citizens or the elected officials who have spent the most time working with the protesters?

Maybe someone, somewhere, in Berkeley’s city bureaucracy (oops, almost wrote autocracy) should have a chat with Robert Birgenau or Jean Quan before giving the police carte blanche to go full steam ahead.

There are many opportunities for things to go wrong tonight. Even though we’ve all got better things to do, it might be a good idea for anyone who is concerned with civic peace and civil liberties to observe whatever proceedings materialize at 10. -more-

Hallelujah, Corporations

Thursday December 15, 2011 - 09:55:00 PM

Thanks to Marty Schiffenbauer for passing along this jolly seasonal ditty, Hallelujah Corporations! A musical tribute to corporate excess: -more-


Bounce: Good Vanities

By Joseph Young
Wednesday December 21, 2011 - 05:34:00 PM

Odd Bodkins: Santa

By Dan O'Neill
Wednesday December 21, 2011 - 05:28:00 PM

Odd Bodkins: PoutingKitten

By Dan O'Neill
Friday December 16, 2011 - 12:05:00 PM

Public Comment

New: Occupy Berkeley: Where It is Now

By Thomas Lord
Wednesday December 21, 2011 - 12:27:00 PM

Here is part of what I want to say:

I don't regard the camp as having any remaining political legitimacy. It still has political significance, but not legitimacy.

Here is what I mean: -more-

New: Bill Bahou and the Roxie Deli Need Your Help

By Donna Mickelson
Tuesday December 20, 2011 - 09:52:00 PM

As far as I can tell Bill Bahou, popular longtime owner of the neighborhood Roxie Deli in South Berkeley, is in the cross-hairs of both the Walgreens Corporation and—thanks to Walgreens' highly paid lawyers—Berkeley City bureaucracy. -more-

New: Vandals Paste Gingrich Quote on Berkeley Rabbi's Home

By Rabbi Michael Lerner
Tuesday December 20, 2011 - 09:38:00 PM

Editor's Note: The Planet received this letter tonight (the first night of Chanukah) from Rabbi Lerner:

Challenged by interviewer Michael Krasny on the NPR affiliate KQED's Forum show Tuesday morning Dec. 20, 2011, to defend one part of Embracing Israel/Palestine (my claim that the path to peace requires a transformation of consciousness, and that Israel and Palestine not only could live together in peace but that there is no peace and justice for Israel without peace and justice for Palestine, so the best way to be both pro-Israel is to be pro-Palestine, and the best way to be pro-Palestine is to also be pro-Israel) I argued that the majority of both Israelis and Palestinians actually want peace but cannot believe that the other side wants it too. It is this depressive paranoid certainty that "the other" wants to destroy us that has been a central part of what keeps Israeli and Palestinians from finding the path to their common interests, just as it is a similar paranoid and pathogenic fantasy that keeps the US population willing to finance an inflated military which keeps in an ending state of hyper-alertness and makes it a ready tool for imperial ambitions of the wealthy. I also presented my psychological assessment of both sides and my view that consciousness transformation, though difficult, is both possible and absolutely necessary, both in Israel/Palestine and in the U.S.
The answer from the Jewish Right came tonight in the 4th attack on my house, this time on the first night of Chanukah (tonight, Dec. 20th). This one was relatively mild—two black-hooded men pasted signs on the outside of my house and garage saying "Palestine is an Arab fantasy." They were taking their clue from Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich who has tried to out-do his Republican opponents in the primaries by, among other things, showing that he can be even more extreme on Israel than anyone else. Thus the notion that Palestine is an "invented nation." -more-

Oil Company Advertisements and the Propagation of Malaise

By Jack Bragen
Tuesday December 20, 2011 - 07:28:00 AM

In recent advertisements in their attempt to gain control of people’s opinions, the oil companies have reached a new level of brazenness. They have now come out and said, in a straightforward manner, that we ought to be in favor of more oil exploration and of the use of “oil sands” in Canada, which is actually a nicer way of saying “oil shale.” It would be a strip-mining of large areas of wilderness to get the oil contained in the rock. They would like to see the public approve of more offshore drilling. -more-

Judging the Monterey Market: Another Point of View

By Ruchama Burrell
Tuesday December 20, 2011 - 09:35:00 PM

Mr. Rosenberg's remarks about the dispute between Monterey Market and its neighboring businesses ignores the history of laws against unfair competition and "loss leaders," that have been in place in California since 1933. It is illegal to sell items at below cost (including overhead and business expenses) in order to drive a competitor out of business. -more-

Judging the Monterey Market

By Jordan Rosenberg
Tuesday December 20, 2011 - 07:42:00 AM

Monterey Market, primarily but not only a produce market, has been a Berkeley institution for decades. The produce is fresh, the varieties endless, the prices low. -more-

(More) Whistling in the Dark

By John Vinopal
Thursday December 15, 2011 - 10:44:00 AM

"The Berkeley Almanac" (1976) by Alfred Meyer provides additional data points to David Wilson's "Whistling in the Dark". Page 17 provides a percentage-wise breakdown of Berkeley's bicentennial year's expenses. Although there is no total budget provided, some multiplication suggests it may have been around $8.6m. (If 8.8% Community Agencies was $758k, see Pg 19.) -more-

Wine License Causes conflicted Loyalties in South Berkeley

By Jane Stillwater
Thursday December 15, 2011 - 10:40:00 AM

I have become very bothered, concerned and, well, torn in two directions lately because of the fact that my friendly neighborhood Walgreens store right across the street from me on Oregon and Adeline here in South Berkeley has apparently declared war on Bill Bahou, the kind-hearted owner of Roxie Deli, located at the corner of Shattuck and Ashby. -more-


DISPATCHES FROM THE EDGE: Gingrich, The Times & Doomsday

By Conn Hallinan
Tuesday December 13, 2011 - 08:23:00 AM

In a recent New York Times article the newspaper’s senior science writer, William J. Broad, takes a dig at Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich’s obsession with the possibility of a “nightmarish of doomsday scenarios: a nuclear blast high above the United States that would instantly throw the United States in a dark age.”

The phenomenon that Gingrich refers to is an electromagnetic pulse (EMP), one side effect of a nuclear explosion. EMPs can destroy or disrupt virtually anything electrical, from computers to power grids. As the Times points out, Gingrich has used this potential threat to advocate bombing Iran and North Korea. “I favor taking out the Iranian and North Korean missiles on their sites,” he told the American Israel Public Affairs Committee in 2009. Gingrich has also talked up the EMP “threat” on the campaign trail.

Broad dismisses EMPs as “a poorly understood phenomenon of the nuclear age” and quotes Missile Defense Agency spokesman Richard Lehner poo-pooing the damage from an EMP attack as “pretty theoretical.”

While the Times is correct in dismissing any Iranian or North Korean threat—neither country has missiles capable of reaching the U.S., Iran doesn’t have nuclear weapons, and both have never demonstrated a desire to commit national suicide—what Broad does not mention is that the effects of EMP are hardly “poorly understood”: the U.S. has an “E-bomb” in its arsenal. -more-

THE PUBLIC EYE:2011: The Year Corporations Attacked Democracy

By Bob Burnett
Saturday December 17, 2011 - 10:56:00 AM

For eighty years, Americans have feared robots, worrying they might one day rule the world. In 2011 we realized our real enemies are not robots, but multinational corporations, who have declared war on democracy. -more-

WILD NEIGHBORS: Alameda’s Turn (and Terns)

By Joe Eaton
Thursday December 15, 2011 - 10:49:00 AM

It’s been a long time coming, but the Alameda County Breeding Bird Atlas is finally available from Golden Gate Audubon. Based on intensive fieldwork in the 1990s, this book is a splendid addition to the shelf of Bay Area atlases. So far we have Marin, Sonoma, Napa, Contra Costa, Santa Clara, and now Alameda. I believe a Solano project is in the works. A San Francisco atlas would be slender, but perhaps surprising. How about it, Audubon? -more-

ECLECTIC RANT: Is Water Fluoridation Safe?

By Ralph E. Stone
Saturday December 17, 2011 - 11:01:00 AM

Fluoride is the name given to a group of compounds that are composed of the naturally occurring element fluorine and one or more other elements. In the early 1940s, scientists discovered that people who lived where drinking water supplies had naturally occurring fluoride levels of approximately 1.0 part fluoride per million parts water (ppm) had fewer dental caries (cavities). More recent studies have supported this finding. Fluoride can prevent and even reverse tooth decay by enhancing remineralization, the process by which fluoride “rebuilds” tooth enamel that is beginning to decay. In 1945, Grand Rapids, Michigan adjusted the fluoride content of its water supply to 1 ppm and thus became the first city to implement community water fluoridation in a public water system. -more-

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

by Dorothy Bryant
Saturday December 17, 2011 - 11:03:00 AM

He who despairs because of the news is a coward, but he who sees hope in the human condition is mad. Albert Camus, 1943, occupied France -more-

SENIOR POWER… Whatever became of

By Helen Rippier Wheeler
Thursday December 15, 2011 - 10:52:00 AM

As one ages, one wonders Whatever became of… -more-

Arts & Events

AROUND AND ABOUT: Theater Review: 'The Wild Bride'--Kneehigh Theatre at Berkeley Rep

By Ken Bullock
Thursday December 15, 2011 - 10:41:00 AM

Under a slouch hat, the eyes of the guitarist shift; he grimaces as he sings Robert Johnson's Delta blues "Crossroads" under a tree with a mirror in its splayed branches, but no shade. -more-

EYE FROM THE AISLE: Give yourself a Holiday Present with THE WILD BRIDE at REP

By John A. McMullen II
Thursday December 15, 2011 - 10:38:00 AM
Patrycja Kujawska and Stuart Goodwin

If you wanted to tell a fairy tale on stage, what would you dream of? I’d want a bunch of actors all of whom could sing and dance and play instruments with expressive flexibility and astonishing appearances. -more-