A Berkeley police officer shot a man in Castro Valley after the suspect pinned another officer between two cars, according to an Alameda County Sheriff's Office spokesman. -more-
Press Release: Center for Investigative Reporting, The Bay Citizen Announce a Joint Memorandum of Understanding to Pursue Merger
Combination will provide highest quality nonprofit journalism and investigative reporting locally, regionally, and globally
The Center for Investigative Reporting (CIR) and the Bay Area News Project (BANP), which operates The Bay Citizen, announced today that they have entered into a memorandum of understanding to pursue a potential merger. The agreement was unanimously approved by the boards of directors of both nonprofit organizations.The conceived merger will bring together The Bay Citizen, an award-winning nonprofit news organization focused on covering the San Francisco and Bay Area, and CIR, the nation's oldest nonprofit investigative news organization, which operates California Watch. The merger will create a more sustainable foundation for their shared missions: to provide high-quality journalism that is essential to an informed and engaged democracy. The proposed merger will bring together the collective expertise, reputations, and innovative talents of both organizations. -more-
A federal appeals court in San Francisco today ruled that Proposition 8, California's ban on same-sex marriage, is unconstitutional. -more-
The Berkeley Fire Department finalized the investigation report for the 2441 Haste “Sequoia Apartment” fire, which confirms the initial findings that the fire ignited accidentally in the building’s elevator mechanical room. -more-
With no fanfare, Berkeley Mayor Tom Bates,73, slipped in under the radar on Monday and filed a form kicking off his campaign to become a candidate for a fourth term--the "Campaign Intention Statement" of the "Re-Elect Mayor Tom Bates Committee."
He's already served one two-year and two four-year terms, so if he wins another four-year term, he'll have been mayor of Berkeley for a total of fourteen years.
His wife Loni Hancock, now running for yet another term as State Senator from the district which includes Berkeley, preceded him in the Berkeley mayor's office. This time the mayor's race will be decided by ranked choice voting, but as yet no other candidates have appeared to be willing to challenge the formidable power of the well-oiled Bates-Hancock apparatus, which last week knocked Oakland Assemblymember Sandre Swanson out of the race for the Senate seat. -more-
Craig Becker, owner of Berkeley's legendary Caffe Mediterraneum, popped in on an impromptu meeting of the People's Park Advisory Board in the park, Monday. He is well on his way to becoming, a park activist, a category, he often disparages. But he's trapped in the new battle for People's Park, and can't extricate himself. -more-
There’s a story that when George Berkeley, the future philosopher, was a student he decided to see what it was like to approach death. He hung himself, arranging to have a friend cut him down and revive him after he lost consciousness. -more-
I’m wary of saying something is “the best” or “the only” or “the oldest”, because it’s usually not possible to know for sure. -more-
Do you ever wonder about the butterflies in your stomach?
Do you wonder if that tightness in your chest, that queasy feeling in your abdomen, and, let's admit it, that worry, is a problem that others suffer from, too? Are you anxious? Do you feel something that you have identified as angst? Do you seem to have these fearful emotions for no apparent reason? Do you find that these painful emotions are almost unbearable? You are not alone. -more-
Zelda writes a fair minded series of articles. She and The Tea Party can agree - follow the money! Yes, NGO's and regular folks should have a say - and they should be held accountable to scrutiny - who do they represent? Who stands to gain financially? What about those left out by virtue of full time jobs, no transportation, etc. And so should the money backed agencies, and support groups. -more-
Recent news coverage highlights possible benefits the expanded Lawrence Berkeley National Lab could bring the city of Richmond (“Richmond chosen as site for Berkeley lab’s second campus,” CCT 1/26/12.) But Richmond residents have reason for concern. Much of the research to be conducted at the lab will use a new, insufficiently regulated, potentially dangerous emerging technology -- synthetic biology. http://www.humanebiotech.com/
Bay Area activism has proven once again that it can withstand government resistance, police brutality and a little bit of winter’s rain and cold. -more-
You gotta love Berkeley.
There we were, sitting outside at the Farmers’ Market despite the cold foggy weather, enjoying cappuccini from Blue Bottle and biscotti from Phoenix Pastrificio after buying our organic Brussels sprouts produced by Swanton Farms with United Farm Workers union labor, discussing the future of Occupy Oakland. Before going to the market, I’d posted an excellent thoughtful essay on the topic from my old friend Osha Neumann, which raised many points that people like us need to think about.
And then, as sometimes happens with al fresco coffee conversations, a passerby chimed in.
“Me, I’m the 98%,” he asserted.
What’s the 98%?
“There’s the 1% who have all the money, the 98% like me who work for a living, and the 1% who don’t need to work and just want to make trouble.” (Paraphrased: no notebook at hand to transcribe exactly.)
I looked over his physical presentation. His claim to working class status checked out.
AT&T logo jacket? Check. Communications Workers of America arm patch? Check? Tools dangling from belt? Check. Watch cap? Check. Handlebar mustache? Check. And I remembered seeing him park his motorcycle as we came in.
He told us he was a telephone lineman, recently transferred to the night shift as an alternative to a pay cut, who has been employed for many years by the company which has answered to a long succession of corporate acronyms. He had a bunch of sarcastic translations of these various initials, all of them too colorful for a family publication like this one.
He’s resentful, deeply resentful, about what the latest claimants to the Occupy Oakland name have done, supposedly on his behalf. -more-
The Editor's Back Fence
Profiles in Courage (and Cowardice): Watch the Berkeley City Council Vote on the Public Nuisance at 2133 Parker Street
The outcome of the 2012 Presidential election will depend upon voters’ perception of the US economy and the jobs market. Republicans have labeled Obama a failed president claiming he could have done more to create jobs. In the GOP response to Obama’s State-of-the-Union, Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels said, "The President did not cause the economic and fiscal crises that continue in America tonight. But he was elected on a promise to fix them, and he cannot claim that the last three years have made things anything but worse.” -more-
Last year, California State Senator Lou Correa (D-Orange County) was sued for a $4,000 debt owed by an unrelated “Luis Correa,” and learned of the lawsuit only after his wages had been garnished. Sear's billing department had handed the original debt off to LVNV Funding LLC, a debt-collection clearinghouse, which in turn hired the Brachfield Law Group to collect the actual debt. Brachfield sent numerous letters to Luis Correa that went unanswered. The company then apparently decided to stick it to Lou Correa instead. The senator sent numerous letters to Sears and Brachfield explaining they had the wrong Correa. Those letters went unanswered, too. Then came the order to garnish the senator's wages. -more-
The state is proposing building two or three assisted living centers for aging prison inmates with medical problems as part of a new master plan for the Department of Correction. The 400-page Corrections Master Plan obtained by the Boston Herald also proposes barring federal prisoners from Massachusetts prisons by 2020, handing sexually dangerous inmates to the Department of Mental Health, and building regional women's jails to alleviate overcrowding at the main state women's prison in Framingham. -more-
When the Alameda County Breeding Bird Atlas was published late last year, I wondered in print if anyone had undertaken, or was planning to undertake, a comparable project for San Francisco. It turns out that a San Francisco census was in fact completed some time ago, but the results have never been published. Thanks to a reliable source, I’ve seen the digital draft version. -more-
MY COMMONPLACE BOOK (a diary of excerpts copied from printed books, with comments added by the reader.)
I give myself credit for having seen clearly in a number of important situations, in itself not so difficult . . . it is less a question of an exalted or shrewd intelligence than of good sense, goodwill, and a certain kind of courage to rise above the pressures of one’s environment . . . A French essayist has said, ”What is terrible when you seek the truth, is that you find it.” You find it, and then you are no longer free to follow the biases of your personal circle, or to accept fashionable clichés.— Memoirs of a Revolutionary, Victor Serge (1890-1947) -more-
Arts & Events
For the Groundhog Day faithful, recent mild weather has fostered a widespread expectation that Punxsutawney Phil would predict an early spring. He dashed the hope in seconds. But we in the Bay Area, with its moderate temperature, have no need to worry about frigid weather. And we're happy to offer several "heart-warming" activities in weeks to come. -more-
It’s sort of annoying when you can’t criticize a play because it’s so good. A baker needs to bake, a critic needs to criticize. That noted, this stymied critic is regaled to remind you that, every so often, there is a reason to cross the bridge. Becky Shaw at SF Playhouse is a great excuse. -more-
Those of us who have been rallying Mondays are deeply troubled about how much inequality adversely effects our lives and the quality of life of the 99 percent generally. Bill Moyers, who has a wonderful way with words, expresses his concern: -more-
On Sunday, February 5, at 2 pm, at the Berkeley History Center, 1931 Center Street, Barbara Babcock, Stanford Law Professor Emerita, will discuss Clara Foltz, the ground-breaking woman lawyer and subject of her biography, Woman Lawyer: The Trials of Clara Foltz. Deserted by her husband and needing to support her five children, Clara Shortridge Foltz became a path breaker. With the help of her fellow woman suffragists, she fought her way into the California Bar in 1878 and became the first woman to practice law in the state. She introduced the idea that indigent criminal defendants should have state provided lawyers and that convicted criminals should have the possibility of parole. She became the first female deputy district attorney in the United States. -more-
A peculiarity of contemporary drama is that we often start out disliking all the characters. In good modern drama, as the play progresses and we live their life and struggle with their struggles, our opinion changes. -more-
Nancy Carlin has directed an enjoyable but uneven ARMS AND THE MAN by G. B. Shaw at Center Rep in Walnut Creek. -more-
Three years ago, Shakespeare at Stimson closed. They sent a letter to their audience asking if they wanted more, and there was a resounding, “Yes!” -more-