The Week

The J. R. on this memorial display on the wall of Don's Headquarters barber shop stands for "Junior", the name old friends and family called Berkeley murder victim Kenneth Warren.
M. H. O'Malley
The J. R. on this memorial display on the wall of Don's Headquarters barber shop stands for "Junior", the name old friends and family called Berkeley murder victim Kenneth Warren.


Press Release: Occupy Oakland Say Oakland Police Violate Their Own Policies

From Occupy Oakland Media Committee
Sunday January 29, 2012 - 07:52:00 AM

Yesterday, the Oakland Police deployed hundreds of officers in riot gear so as to prevent Occupy Oakland from putting a vacant building to better use. This is a building which has sat vacant for 6 years, and the city has no current plans for it. The Occupy Oakland GA passed a proposal calling for the space to be turned into a social center, convergence center and headquarters of the Occupy Oakland movement.

The police actions tonight cost the city of Oakland hundreds of thousands of dollars, and they repeatedly violated their own crowd control guidelines and protester’s civil rights.

With all the problems in our city, should preventing activists from putting a vacant building to better use be their highest priority? Was it worth the hundreds of thousands of dollars they spent? -more-

Oakland Police Say 200 Arrested During Occupy Actions

By Bay City News
Saturday January 28, 2012 - 11:11:00 PM

Police arrested around 200 Occupy Oakland protesters during a day of action Saturday that began with the protesters' attempt to take over a vacant building to establish a community center there. -more-

Press Release: Audio of Oakland Press Conference with Mayor Jean Quan and Oakland City Officials

From Sgt. Christopher Bolton, Oakland Police Department and Harry Hamilton Oakland City Administrator’s Office
Saturday January 28, 2012 - 10:58:00 PM

A downloadable audio file of the press conference has been posted at -more-

Press Release: City Provides Update on Occupy Activities in Downtown Oakland – 10:30 pm

From Sgt. Christopher Bolton, Oakland Police Department and Harry Hamilton Oakland City Administrator’s Office
Saturday January 28, 2012 - 10:48:00 PM

Oakland, CA – At an 8:30 pm press briefing, Oakland officials provided updates on the Occupy activities in downtown Oakland. -more-

Occupy Breaks into Oakland City Hall

By Bay City News
Saturday January 28, 2012 - 07:47:00 PM

Oakland City Hall was broken into by multiple people tonight during Occupy Oakland protests, according to police. -more-

Press Release: Occupy Oakland Responds to Oakland Police Repression Tonight, Demands Accounting of Brutal Tactics, and End to Disinformation

From Jamie Omar Yassin, Occupy Oakland
Saturday January 28, 2012 - 08:41:00 PM

Occupy Oakland's building occupation, an act of constitutionally protected civil disobedience was disrupted by a brutal police response today. Protesters were met with baton strikes, shot with rubber bullets, and exposed to tear gas. Police immediately issued denials that tear gas was used, however, as many victims can attest, it was used freely and without regard to safety. -more-

Updated: Oakland: At Least 100 People Detained Near YMCA in Occupy Protest

By Bay City News
Saturday January 28, 2012 - 07:54:00 PM

At least 100 people have been detained and face possible arrest outside the YMCA at 2350 Broadway in Oakland after allegedly attempting to force entry into the building, according to Oakland police. -more-

Oakland Protesters Prepare for Second Try to Enter Building

By Laura Dixon (BCN)
Saturday January 28, 2012 - 05:40:00 PM

Around 250 to 300 Occupy Oakland protestors have gathered at Frank Ogawa Plaza in Oakland to rest and reorganize following a failed attempt to take over a building this afternoon. -more-

Press Release: Update on Occupy Activities in Downtown Oakland – 4:30 pm

From Officer Johnna Watson, Oakland Police Department and Harry Hamilton, Oakland City Administrator’s Office
Saturday January 28, 2012 - 05:26:00 PM

Oakland--By 12 pm, a crowd of approximately 250 had gathered in Frank Ogawa Plaza for the Occupy rally. Just before 1:30 pm, the group started marching southbound on Broadway. As the group of approximately 450 marched, traffic disruptions occurred on downtown streets. At approximately 2:15 pm, some of the marchers entered the campus of Laney College. -more-

Flash: Occupy Oakland Protest: Police Tear Gas, Threaten to Forcibly Remove Protesters

By Laura Dixon (BCN)
Saturday January 28, 2012 - 03:32:00 PM

Police tear gassed Occupy Oakland protesters this afternoon near Lake Merritt and warned them to leave an area where they had gathered or they would be forcibly removed. -more-

Berkeley Police Identify Victim of Last Night's Murder

By Becky O'Malley
Friday January 27, 2012 - 01:01:00 PM

Berkeley Police Lt. Dave Frankel has informed the Planet that the victim of the murder last night at the corner of Shattuck and Emerson has been identified as Kenneth Warren, who worked at Don's Headquarters, a popular neighborhood barber shop at the same location, as well as at the Port of Oakland. -more-

Video Report on Berkeley Murder Scene Last Night

By Florian Charread
Friday January 27, 2012 - 12:59:00 AM

[Editor's Note: Reader Florian Charread sent the Planet this video which he made last night at the scene of the shooting which took place at the corner of Emerson and Shattuck in Berkeley.]

Shooting aftermath-Berkeley from manaovisual on Vimeo. -more-

Flash: Man Shot and Killed on Emerson near Shattuck in Berkeley

By Becky O'Malley
Friday January 27, 2012 - 12:22:00 AM

A man was shot and killed on Emerson Street near Shattuck in Berkeley tonight. This account, author unknown, was forwarded to the Planet from the neighborhood watch group:

"My husband just finished talking to the police. We heard a group of shots (maybe 10?) and then a pause, then a few more shots (maybe 5?), then a pause, then another group of shots (maybe 10?). I went and called the police. My husband went to the window and saw a man with dark skin (maybe African American) get into a dark grey Honda (Accord?) and drive off heading east on Emerson without his headlights on. My husband walked outside and there was smoke in the air. We thought it was firecrackers and he was looking for a burn mark on the pavement or something to indicate firecrackers. He went back inside the house and got a flashlight and then saw bullet casings on the pavement but didn't see anyone injured. The police arrived and other neighbors came out. Other people came by and were screaming. Someone screamed, "Oh my god it was Donnie! Oh my god oh my god! No!" It was really terrifying as this was in the apartment building [near] our house. The paramedics came and did CPR on someone on the balcony of the apartment building. The victim was on the second floor. The paramedics took him away and we don't know if he was alive or dead. The police are now going door to door taking statements. I believe the officer used the word 'homicide.' "

Berkeley Police confirmed at midnight that the shooting did take place as reported, and that the victim has died. Comments on the Berkeleyside website indicate that the victim may have been the nephew of Don Warren, the owner of Don's HeadQuarters barber shop on Shattuck, a well-regarded fixture and a stabilizing influence in the neighborhood for decades, including the eight years when the Planet office was located next door. -more-

Police Respond to Berkeley Shooting on Thursday Night

By Erika Heidecker (BCN)
Thursday January 26, 2012 - 08:34:00 PM

Police are responding to a fatal shooting in Berkeley tonight, police said.

Officers responded to the 3000 block of Shattuck Avenue and found a male victim suffering from multiple gunshot wounds near an apartment building at the corner of Shattuck Avenue and Emerson Street, according to police Sgt. Mary Kusmiss.

The victim was taken to a trauma center where he was pronounced dead.

"The evidence suggests that this was not a random shooting," Kusmiss said. -more-

Free-Market Medicine—A Personal Account

by Michael Parenti
Friday January 27, 2012 - 12:36:00 AM

When I recently went to Alta Bates hospital for surgery, I discovered that legal procedures take precedence over medical ones. I had to sign intimidating statements about financial counseling, indemnity, patient responsibilities, consent to treatment, use of electronic technologies, and the like.

One of these documents committed me to the following: “The hospital pathologist is hereby authorized to use his/her discretion in disposing of any member, organ, or other tissue removed from my person during the procedure.” Any member? Any organ?

The next day I returned for the actual operation. While playing Frank Sinatra recordings, the surgeon went to work cutting open several layers of my abdomen in order to secure my intestines with a permanent mesh implant. Afterward I spent two hours in the recovery room. “I feel like I’ve been in a knife fight,” I told one nurse. “It’s called surgery,” she explained.

Then, while still pumped up with anesthetics and medications, I was rolled out into the street. The street? Yes, some few hours after surgery they send you home. In countries that have socialized medicine (there I said it), a van might be waiting with trained personnel to help you to your abode.

Not so in free-market America. Your presurgery agreement specifies in boldface that you must have “a responsible adult acquaintance” (as opposed to an irresponsible teenage stranger) take you home in a private vehicle. I kept thinking, what happens to those unfortunates who have no one to bundle them away? Do they languish endlessly in the hospital driveway until the nasty weather finishes them off? -more-

Fire Hits Great China Restaurant in Downtown Berkeley

By Scott Morris (BCN) and Planet
Thursday January 26, 2012 - 04:06:00 PM

A fire badly damaged a Chinese food restaurant on Kittredge near Oxford in downtown Berkeley on Wednesday night, Berkeley fire officials said. -more-

Press Release: Alameda County Bans Bags, Mandates Recycling

From Jeff Becerra,
Thursday January 26, 2012 - 10:20:00 AM

Yesterday the Alameda County Waste Management Authority (ACWMA) adopted two ordinances that will help the county achieve its long-term waste reduction goals. The first ordinance requires recycling of high market-value materials from larger businesses and multi-family properties. The second ordinance prohibits free distribution of single-use bags at check out in stores that sell packaged food. The initiatives are designed to reduce waste and litter, stimulate the local economy and create jobs. -more-

New: The Tea Party, Planning and Democracy(Part One)

By Zelda Bronstein
Wednesday January 25, 2012 - 10:08:00 AM

[Editor's Note: This is the first part of a two-part news analysis which explores some unexpected synergies between Tea Party protesters and progressive opponents of planning policies which are perceived as anti-democratic. Part 2 will appear on Friday.]

Most people regard meetings about regional planning, if they regard them at all, as soporific, PowerPointed affairs frequented by policy wonks. But on January 11, I attended a regional planning workshop in Dublin that was anything but dull. That’s because protesters from the East Bay Area Tea Party showed up along with some “fellow travelers” and nearly took the evening over. Their appearance was no surprise. -more-

New: Two Arrested as Suspects in December Berkeley Shooting

By HannahAlbarazi/JeffShuttleworth (BCN)
Wednesday January 25, 2012 - 10:31:00 AM

Police arrested two teens suspected of injuring two people in a daytime shooting in Berkeley last month, police said. -more-

Press Release: Study Shows Restored Wetlands Rarely Equal Condition of Original Wetlands

By Robert Sanders, UC Berkeley Media Relations
Wednesday January 25, 2012 - 10:45:00 AM

Wetland restoration is a billion-dollar-a-year industry in the United States that aims to create ecosystems similar to those that disappeared over the past century. But a new analysis of restoration projects shows that restored wetlands seldom reach the quality of a natural wetland. -more-

New: Ghosts of the Past: Blake's Re-opening on Telegraph Avenue as Pappy's--a Happy, If Haunted, Reminder of Berkeley's Past

By Ted Friedman
Wednesday January 25, 2012 - 09:54:00 AM
Sleek new lookout at Pappy's, Saturday, retains Blake's view of the Avenue, but not from tables.

Ghosts of Berkeley's Blake's past happily haunt us on Telegraph Avenue.

Don't expect a chronology here, but ever since I can remember, Larry Blake's on upper Teley, has been closing and re-opening. Re-opened once more as Pappy's Bar and Grill, Saturday, it is more Blake's than ever, thanks to "smart" Alex Popov, who runs Smart Alec's next door. -more-



Handgun Violence Strikes Again: Another Senseless Shooting in a Berkeley Neighborhood

By Becky O'Malley
Friday January 27, 2012 - 12:49:00 PM

There’s bad news today in the Planet’s old neighborhood in south Berkeley. Kenny Warren, nephew of Don Warren who’s been running the very popular Don’s Headquarters barber shop on Shattuck for four decades, was gunned down last night as he stood on the balcony at a friend’s apartment on Emerson, around the corner from the shop.

The gunman is reported to have fired many many rounds of bullets, perhaps as many as 80, from a pair of automatic weapons, the super-lethal variety which make it possible for any fool, without need for target practice, to hit his mark with at least one bullet. Forty shell casings were recovered from the sidewalk alone.

We say “his” mark here because neighbor accounts suggest that the shooter, like his victim, was a young African-American man. This is sad but not surprising. -more-

The Editor's Back Fence

Fund for Berkeley Murder Victim's Children Will Be Established

Saturday January 28, 2012 - 03:32:00 PM

Don Warren, uncle of Kenneth Warren, who was gunned down on Thursday night next door to Don's HeadQuarters barbershop in Berkeley, said today that a fund for the victim's five children is being established. Don asked anyone who would like to contribute to send an email with contact information to and they will be contacted when the fund has been set up, probably early next week. -more-

Funding Israel and Berkeley Law

Saturday January 28, 2012 - 10:32:00 AM

Anyone interested in Israel or high tech funding might want to take a look at this piece, which touts an upcoming conference sponsored by U.C. Berkeley's Law School to promote investment in Israeli technology companies. -more-

THIS JUST IN! New Lab to Be Build on UC Berkeley's Richmond Property!

Tuesday January 24, 2012 - 11:31:00 AM

The giant whoop-de-doo over Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory's decision to expand its bioscience research to U.C. Berkeley's Richmond Field Station is mind-boggling. Front page headline in the metro daily! Dog Bites Man--Read It Here!

What's mysterious is why such a fuss was made in the first place with purported consideration of other sites, given that the university already owned this obviously perfect site. The only explanation that makes sense is that it's The Planners' Full Employment Stimulus Program, given that hundreds of thousands of dollars were expended on fancy video-enhanced bids that, rightfully, should never have had a chance.

What if—just what if—the powers that be at the two UC-related players had simply announced that "we own a lovely site down by the bay, and we're putting our new labs there"? Period.

Who could cavil? Just sayin'. -more-


Odd Bodkins: Squishy (Cartoon)

By Dan O'Neill
Saturday January 28, 2012 - 11:18:00 AM

Bounce: Chamaeleon Eyes.gif (Cartoon)

By Joseph Young
Saturday January 28, 2012 - 11:23:00 AM

Public Comment

The Tea Party, Planning and Democracy, Part Two (News Analysis)

By Zelda Bronstein
Friday January 27, 2012 - 12:31:00 PM

[Editor's Note: This is the second part of a two part series. Part One can be found here.]

Progressive observers treat the Tea Party’s forays into land use planning as the work of paranoid reactionaries. The March-April 2011 issue of Mother Jones ran an article by Stephanie Mencimer that portrayed Tea Partiers as “nutters” whose opposition to increased density and mass transit is rooted in “a hostility to what it sees as elites” and a pro-sprawl, suburban lifestyle. Last December, the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy’s Anthony Flint riffed off of Mencimer’s piece in a post on the Atlantic magazine’s “Urban Wonk” blog that decried Tea Party disruption of planning efforts from California to Maine to Florida.

The truth is more complicated. Pace Rosa Koire, to attack smart growth as part of an international plot guided by the U.N.’s Agenda 21 really is to espouse conspiracy theory. To denounce “human-caused global warming” as a myth, as does the East Bay Tea Party, is to indulge in perilous denial. But to claim that land use planning is often run by unresponsive elites is to tap reality. Flint himself intimated as much: “Some might wonder,” he wrote, “whether there’s some truth” to accusations that “planners have draped the public process with the trappings of citizen input, while in fact all the decisions to promote smart growth have been made.”

Some do more than wonder, and they’re not all members or even “fellow travelers” of the Tea Party—for example, longtime Berkeley community activist Doug Buckwald. Speaking at the Dublin open mike, Buckwald assailed Plan Bay Area for discriminating against dissenters from smart growth doctrine. He said that a friend had tried to register for a workshop online at 7:30 am the day that registration opened, only to be told that the meetings were filled, and that she would be placed on a waitlist. She never got a confirmation from MTC, but she did receive letters from Greenbelt Alliance urging her to sign up and hold the line against opponents to the process who were poised to flood into the meetings. -more-

CNN Attempts to Defame Memory of Martin Luther King

By Jack Bragen
Saturday January 28, 2012 - 10:29:00 AM

An article by John Blake (a writer for CNN) attempts to create a controversy where there is none and to portray Martin Luther King Jr., as not being accepting of gay people. This is in line with CNN's tendency to be manipulative of public opinion and to do so through casting clouds of doubt in the absence of facts. -more-

New: Another Occupy Oakland March Attacked by Police.

By Marc Sapir
Saturday January 28, 2012 - 11:01:00 PM

Oakland, CA--Saturday, January 28, 2012, Sheila and I joined about 1,500 members of Occupy massed at 14th and Broadway in downtown Oakland. Occupy Oakland’s announced intention was to march to and occupy a long vacant building “somewhere” in the city to re-create a living, working, and coordinating center for this young “politics on the fly” movement for the rights of the 99%. As you probably know, previous occupations of public space from coast to coast have been destroyed and precluded by Government ordered police actions, making community development, collaboration and participatory mass democracy yet more difficult. -more-

New: Self Immolations and Tibet

By Tenzin Dorjee
Thursday January 26, 2012 - 09:17:00 AM

The Mayan prophecy that the world will end in 2012 has spawned hundreds of books, films, plays and satires. Although the public fascination with apocalyptic stories does not necessarily translate into real belief, I admit to secretly subscribing to an alternative vision of a 2012 apocalypse—one where the world is cleansed of tyranny, colonialism, and totalitarianism. -more-

New: Jerusalem Concert by Children's Orchestra Cancelled by Israeli Government Action

By Samia Nasir Khoury
Tuesday January 24, 2012 - 09:20:00 AM

Friends and family who know me well know how I would love to hibernate in winter. I am just not a winter person, and I would never contemplate stepping out of the house on a rainy day, especially these days when my falls have become unpredictable. Last Sunday seemed to be a nice sunny day, but by noon it turned to be a very rainy and wet day. The Jerusalem children’s orchestra of the Edward Said National Conservatory was scheduled to perform at the Cultural Palace in Ramallah, and the next day at the National Theatre in Ramallah. I already made up my mind to go the next day to Jerusalem and avoid the drive through Kalandia where the road ends up more like a river when the heavy rains fall. But alas the last minute the concert in Jerusalem was cancelled because the children from the West Bank were not granted permits. -more-

Welcome Back Streicher!- The Alabama-Arizona Immigration Laws Recall 1935 Germany

By Jean Damu
Tuesday January 24, 2012 - 09:21:00 AM

Is Kansas Secretary of State, Kris Kobach, he who roams the nation promoting vicious anti-immigration laws and ordinances a latter day Julius Streicher? -more-

One Person, One Vote (Except in Berkeley)

By the Occasional Curmudgeon*
Tuesday January 24, 2012 - 08:32:00 AM

The Curmudgeon Light was shining on the side of the Campanile the other night, my signal from Planet Editor Becky O’Malley that she wanted me to check in after she’d gotten copies of some emails I’d sent to councilmembers.

“Write something satirical, Curmudge,” Becky ordered, referring to the stultifying subject of voter redistricting, the process of redrawing election districts that follows every decennial census. But how can you be funny about something like redistricting? -more-

There's More to Tobacco Story

By Carol Denney
Tuesday January 24, 2012 - 12:03:00 PM

Thank you for Gar Smith’s excellent and detailed review of Addiction Incorporated (Addiction Incorporated: The Other Insider 1-17-2012 ) at the Shattuck Cinemas.

The tobacco industry’s manipulation of the public, cigarette additives, and the scientific community is still going on, and this movie does a great job of telling whistleblower Victor DeNoble’s insider story of doing research at Philip Morris like the great suspense thriller it is.

But the film leaves out a big part of the tobacco story – the dogged, dedicated citizens, parents, public health professionals, policymakers, teachers, casino workers, truck drivers, musicians and others who continue to fight ordinance by ordinance, city council by city council, for clean air despite the billions the tobacco industry spends to try to thwart common sense public health policy. -more-

Happy New Year, Berkeley--The Chickens Have Come Home to Roost

By Jim Fousekis, Berkeley Budget SOS
Tuesday January 24, 2012 - 08:35:00 AM

For the last several years, Berkeley Budget SOS has attempted to focus our City government on the realities of Berkeley’s financial crisis; unfortunately, our pleas for fiscal reality and transparency have fallen on deaf ears. During 2011, most Berkeley City leaders appear to have remained deluded by the comments of Councilman Laurie Capitelli, who proclaimed “We are in better fiscal shape than virtually any other jurisdiction in the Bay Area and I would suggest even California”. The fallacy of that comment was repeatedly evident last year. The chickens have indeed come home to roost. -more-


THE PUBLIC EYE: Obama’s Common Sense

By Bob Burnett
Friday January 27, 2012 - 06:11:00 PM

ECLECTIC RANT: Remembering Vietnam

By Ralph E. Stone
Friday January 27, 2012 - 06:00:00 PM

January 30th marks the forty-fourth anniversary of the beginning of the Tet Offensive, a defining event in the Vietnam War. I was a U.S. Army Transportation officer stationed in Vietnam during the 1968 Tet Offensive. -more-


By Helen Rippier Wheeler
Friday January 27, 2012 - 06:13:00 PM

Food became a metaphor for life as M. F. K. Fisher learned and explained the arts of cooking and of eating. Her reputation as a writer about food and its importance in human life began in 1937 with publication of her first book, Serve It Forth. -more-

DISPATCHES FROM THE EDGE: The U.S., Indonesia & The Times

By Conn Hallinan
Tuesday January 24, 2012 - 10:59:00 AM

Why is the New York Times concealing the key role that the United States played in the 1965 coup in Indonesia that ended up killing somewhere between 500,000 and 1 million people? In a story Jan. 19—“Indonesia Chips Away At the Enforced Silence Around a Dark History”—the Times writes that the coup was “one of the darkest periods in modern Indonesian history, and the least discussed, until now.” -more-

New: WILD NEIGHBORS; The Short but Intense Life of the Tidewater Goby

By Joe Eaton
Wednesday January 25, 2012 - 09:47:00 AM
The endangered and California-endemic tidewater goby.

Watching a predator eat an endangered species is always awkward. Should you intervene? Yell, wave your arms, throw things? I went through that train of thought a couple of years ago as a great blue heron and a great egret ate their way through the California red-legged frog population of a small stock pond at Point Reyes. -more-

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

By Dorothy Bryant
Tuesday January 24, 2012 - 11:26:00 AM

“ . . . how much easier it is to let the mind, rather than the body, do the traveling. No tickets or schedules, no borders, no passports. Thought is the one thing that remains free no matter what changes outside the head.”
Not Now Voyager (2009), Lynne Sharon Schwartz, (contemporary writer) -more-

Arts & Events

Press Release: Group Demands Mortgage Modification for Noted Author

From The Friends of Jane Powell
Saturday January 28, 2012 - 10:41:00 AM
Sunset House circa 1910

The Friends of Jane Powell, a group organized to help the noted author of home renovation books and Planet contributing writer, is demanding her mortgage servicer GMAC negotiate and memorialize a reasonable modification of her home mortgage. In support of this effort the group will be holding a fund raising event at Jane’s historic home on February 12 at 2:00 pm. -more-

New: AROUND & ABOUT MUSIC: Berkeley Symphony This Thursday: Debussy, Dutilleux, Shostakovich

By Ken Bullock
Tuesday January 24, 2012 - 12:03:00 PM

Berkeley Symphony, directed by Joana Carneiro, will perform another engaging program of modern orchestral music, featuring works of Debussy, Henry Dutilleux and Shostakovich, this Thursday at 8, preceded by a talk at 7:10, at Zellerbach Hall on the UC campus, near Bancroft and Telegraph. -more-


By Ken Bullock
Wednesday January 25, 2012 - 05:22:00 PM

Tom Stoppard's 'Arcadia' at Actors Ensemble; John O'Keefe at Theatre of Yugen, free, on Sunday Only; Ragged Wing Ensemble performs 'A Fool's Errand' -more-

Don't Miss This

By Dorothy Snodgrass
Tuesday January 24, 2012 - 11:31:00 AM

Hooray and Hallelujah! The New York Times recently rated Oakland as one of the world's top tourist destinations in 2012 because of its stellar restaurants and bars. We knew that. For a year Bay Area Photographers have been documenting First Friday's diverse and eclectic audiences in a show, "Portraits from Oakland." This show can be seen through Feb. 18 at PHOTO, 473 25th Street, Oakland. (510) 847-2416. -more-