The Week



Fire on UC Berkeley Campus Forces Evacuation

By Bay City News
Thursday March 01, 2012 - 05:35:00 PM

A small fire at the University of California at Berkeley this morning forced the evacuation of Etcheverry Hall, fire officials said. -more-

Bay Area Campuses, Including U.C. Berkeley, Participate in National Day of Action for Public Education

By Scott Morris (BCN)
Wednesday February 29, 2012 - 03:33:00 PM

Bay Area students are gathering today to protest rising tuition costs and state budget cuts to public education in a wave of demonstrations at U.C. Berkeley and other campuses up and down California. -more-

Press Release: UC Berkeley Faculty Join “99 Mile March” to Sacramento

From Eric Hayes, U.C. Faculty Association Staff
Wednesday February 29, 2012 - 12:55:00 PM

Approximately two dozen UC Berkeley faculty will join the “99 Mile March for Education and Social Justice” on Friday, March 2nd. The march departs Oakland on Thursday, March 1st, and will arrive in Sacramento on Monday March 5th for a rally on behalf of public education at the State Capitol Building. -more-

Berkeley School Safety Officer Charged with Identity Theft

By Jeff Shuttleworth (BCN)
Tuesday February 28, 2012 - 12:55:00 PM

A Berkeley High School safety officer has been charged with one count of felony identity theft for allegedly stealing bank account information from a special education teacher and using it to pay his utility bills.

William "Billy" Keys Jr., 41, was arraigned in Alameda County Superior Court on Friday and is scheduled to return to court Monday to enter a plea. He is free on $10,000 bail.

Keys, who graduated from Berkeley High and has worked for the school for about 20 years, was arrested Thursday after he allegedly admitted to Berkeley police Officer Darren Rafferty that the account numbers that he used to pay his bills were not his own. -more-

Berkeley High School Safety Officer Arrested for Identity Theft

From Sgt. Mary C. Kusmiss, Berkeley Police Department Public Information Officer
Monday February 27, 2012 - 04:26:00 PM

“City of Berkeley Police Department (BPD) Property Crimes/Fraud detectives arrested William Arthur Keys Jr of Oakland on Thursday, February 23, 2012 for violation of 530.5 PC - Identity Theft. “Billy” Keys as he is widely known was arrested at the Public Safety Building. A BPD detective booked him into the BPD jail at about 11:30 a.m. for the crime, a felony, with a bail of $10,000. The arrest was the culmination of an investigation that was documented on a BPD police report January 24, 2012. Subsequent warrants were secured and probable cause existed to arrest Mr. Keys. There is a possibility that the investigation may be ongoing, thus this is all the information BPD is sharing currently.” -more-

Press Release: Berkeley Police Report that Young Man Injured in Fall From Building

From Sgt. Mary Kusmiss, Berkeley Policce
Monday February 27, 2012 - 02:39:00 PM

“At about 11:34 p.m. on Saturday, February 25, 2012, the City of Berkeley Police Department (BPD) got a call for service regarding an individual who fell from a the backside of a fraternity at 2395 Piedmont Avenue (N/E corner of Piedmont at Channing Way). BPD patrol officers arrived within four (4) minutes and found a person down on a pathway between 2335 and 2395 Piedmont Avenue. Officers made an initial first aid assessment of the unconscious male, but there was obvious head trauma and a lot of bleeding. City of Berkeley Fire Department (BFD) paramedics responded, tended to immediate medical needs and transported the subject to a local trauma center where he was treated for several injuries including severe head trauma. BPD officers shared that the individual displayed objective symptoms of alcoholic beverage intoxication.” -more-

Head of Security at Berkeley High School Accused of Identity Theft

Sunday February 26, 2012 - 02:17:00 PM

Berkeley High Principal Pasquale Scuderi sent the following letter on Friday to Berkeley High School staff and families:

In an attempt to head off speculation and to be out in front of any rumors, I want to inform the community of a very difficult development that has occurred within the Berkeley High School Community. On Thursday, following a law enforcement investigation, Berkeley High School safety officer William Keys was interviewed and arrested by the Berkeley Police Department on allegations of identity theft. -more-

New: Judge Orders Competency Report for Berkeley Murder Suspect

By Jeff Shuttleworth (BCN)
Friday February 24, 2012 - 11:44:00 PM

Criminal proceedings against an Alameda man who's accused of murdering a homeowner in the Berkeley hills have been suspended so that a report on his mental competency can be conducted, prosecutors said today. -more-

Berkeley High Student Shot in Oakland is Recovering

By Scott Morris (BCN)
Friday February 24, 2012 - 07:40:00 AM

A Berkeley High School student shot on the streets of Oakland this morning has had surgery and is resting and recovering this afternoon, a Berkeley schools spokesman said. -more-

Immigrant Steel Workers March in Berkeley Against Unjust Firings

By David Bacon
Thursday February 23, 2012 - 05:45:00 PM

Two hundred immigrant workers, their wives, husbands, children, and hundreds of supporters marched through downtown Berkeley February 17, protesting their firing from Pacific Steel Castings. The company is one of the city's biggest employers, and the largest steel foundry west of the Mississippi River. Starting at City Hall, they walked for an hour past stores and homes, as bystanders often applauded. Teachers and students at a Montessori school along the route even came out to the sidewalk to urge them on. -more-



The Berkeley Hills Murder Could Have Been Predicted

By Becky O'Malley
Friday February 24, 2012 - 07:44:00 AM

Anyone who has ever tried to help a friend or a family member connect with appropriate mental health services must feel for the two East Bay families who have been caught up in the tragic death of Peter Cukor. Despite the best efforts of the modern media equivalent of yellow journalism, there are no villains to be found in this story, just a whole list of victims of circumstances unforeseen and unforeseeable. -more-


Odd Bodkins: The Skunk and The Loan (Cartoon)

By Dan O'Neill
Wednesday February 29, 2012 - 05:30:00 PM

Public Comment

Is Progressive Zionism Possible?: a Response to Wendy Kenin

By Joanna Graham
Tuesday February 28, 2012 - 01:02:00 PM

In her article, “People with Potential” (Daily Planet and ACCESS blog of the American Jewish Committee, Friday, Feb 17), Wendy Kenin provides brief reports on the activities of four people, two Palestinians and two Israeli Jews, who, she avers, “speak sanely about how to move forward” with respect to what she describes as “Palestine-Israel peace.” I have been trying to think deeply and respectfully about Kenin’s piece, since I believe her underlying assumptions to be far more serious in their implications than her cheerful, bouncy tone suggests.

Kenin is not careful with language. The “meaning” range of many of her words tends to be broad and blurry and thus open to multiple interpretations. Therefore, I will start by deconstructing the title of her piece, which, in full, on both websites (and, therefore, I will assume, provided by her) is “People with Potential: Providing Sanity to the US’ Struggle for Israel’s Peace” (note the parallel with “speak sanely,” above).

Just in passing, “sanity” is a word that rings bells for me; we all, I’m sure, remember John Gertz in the pages of the Daily Planet promising to restore “sanity” to the Berkeley Peace and Justice Commission (a commission on which by what I am sure is total coincidence Kenin now serves.) “Sanity,” one comes to realize, is reserved to those who support Israel. Critics are medicalized as “insane” or sociopathologized as “anti-Semites” or, as the case may be, “self-hating Jews.” In either case, obviously, no considered response is required from any sane or nonsociopathic person.

Anyway, what exactly does Kenin mean by “the US’ [sic] struggle” or, for that matter, “Israel’s peace”? She is not addressing potential actions by the U.S. government or even by any organized nongovernmental bodies nor, with one partial exception to which I will return, is she addressing possibilities for peace in Israel—not, I might mention, that Israel really needs any help on the issue, let alone “struggle,” since the country is at peace and has been so (with the multiple exceptions of its many wars of choice) since 1973, the one and only time in its existence Israel has ever been attacked. As for internal terrorist attacks, for what are probably multiple reasons they stopped years ago; recent Israeli polls show security concerns to rank far below other issues, such as housing or the ultraorthodox, which are far more pressing for ordinary Israelis. -more-

A Step on the Road to Protect Civil Rights

By George Lippman, Coalition for a Safe Berkeley and Chair, Berkeley Peace and Justice Commission (for purposes of identification only)
Tuesday February 28, 2012 - 01:47:00 PM

Last week, Berkeley moved forward a small step forward towards new civil rights and civil liberties protections. In this note I will share some of my personal reflections on this accomplishment. This is not a statement of the Coalition for a Safe Berkeley or the Peace and Justice Commission. -more-

My Thoughts on the Berkeley Hills Murder

By Jack Bragen
Tuesday February 28, 2012 - 12:57:00 PM

When someone with mental illness is presumed guilty of a crime, it's all over the news, and this promotes the misconception that mentally ill people are automatically criminals and that criminals are automatically mentally ill. Persons with mental illness are far more likely to be victims of crimes than perpetrators of them. -more-


EATS, SHOOTS 'N" Leaves: Occupy Education Rally at UC Berkeley on Thursday

By Richard Brenneman
Wednesday February 29, 2012 - 12:55:00 PM

Forwarded by a friend:

Thursday, March 1 begins a series of nationwide actions around public education coordinated by Occupy Education. At UC Berkeley, March 1 will include a daylong student strike, an Open University, a noon rally on Sproul Plaza, and a march to Oakland where we will converge with other East Bay schools at Oscar Grant Plaza. While the massive cuts to public education in California have clear roots in the systemic failures of our state government and financial system, we cannot ignore the active role upper administrators at the UC continue to play in the privatization of our university. Nor can we afford to forget that administrators like Chancellor Robert Birgeneau and Provost George Breslauer have repeatedly ordered the brutal criminalization of Cal students, faculty, workers, and community members. We will kick off March 1 at UC Berkeley with a protest against the UC administration for its mishandling of university resources and repression of campus activism. Please join us at 7:30am to begin this protest outside of California Hall—where much of the upper administration works (including Chancellor Birgeneau). -more-

DISPATCHES FROM THE EDGE: Iran, Israel & the U.S.: The Slide To War

By Conn Hallinan
Friday February 24, 2012 - 08:24:00 AM

Wars are fought because some people decide it is in their interests to fight them. World War I was not started over the Archduke Ferdinand’s assassination, nor was it triggered by the alliance system. An “incident” may set the stage for war, but no one keeps shooting unless they think it’s a good idea. The Great War started because the countries involved decided they would profit by it, delusional as that conclusion was. -more-

THE PUBLIC EYE: The Republicans’ Rick Santorum Problem

By Bob Burnett
Friday February 24, 2012 - 08:18:00 AM

After Rick Santorum’s surprising victories in the Colorado, Minnesota, and Missouri primaries, many observers wonder if he has a chance to wrench the Republican presidential nomination away from Mitt Romney. Santorum does have a chance, but he’s not a winning candidate, someone who can unite the fractured GOP base. -more-


By Joe Eaton
Thursday February 23, 2012 - 05:28:00 PM
Cynipid wasp gall on blue oak.

Ron has begun noticing plant galls. This is fine, since we have a field guide: Ron Russo’s Plant Galls of California and Other Western States, in the estimable UC Press California Natural History Guide series. Galls are the kinds of things you pay attention to when nature is not otherwise cooperative. -more-

SENIOR POWER: Conferences on Aging

By Helen Rippier Wheeler
Thursday February 23, 2012 - 05:16:00 PM

A White House Conference is a national meeting sponsored by the Executive Office of the President of the United States with the purpose of discussing a topic of importance to the American public, and they are typically created by specific legislation. Some conferences last for a day, others for several. Typical attendees include experts in the particular field, community leaders, advocates and citizens with an interest in the issue. The President usually speaks to a conference general session. The conference concludes by issuing a report to the President summarizing and making recommendations for executive or legislative action. The First Lady has sometimes hosted White House conferences. The first White House conference was the Conference on the Care of Dependent Children held in 1909 under President Theodore Roosevelt. -more-

ECLECTIC RANT: SWIFT Pressured to Ban Iran Over Nuclear Ambitions

By Ralph E. Stone
Thursday February 23, 2012 - 05:25:00 PM

Under pressure from the United States and the European Union, the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (SWIFT), based in Belgium, is expected to ban Iran's forty banks and institutions from using SWIFT to process its financial transactions, which would effect Iran's foreign trade and access to international payments. United Against Nuclear Iran, a powerful U.S.-based group, had been lobbying for the past month for SWIFT to end its relationship with Iran. -more-

Arts & Events

Theater Review: Central Works' 'Mesmeric Revelation' at the City Club

By Ken Bullock
Friday February 24, 2012 - 08:30:00 AM

Beneath a portrait of Marie Antoinette, patroness of the Royal French Academy of Sciences, sits an upright periwigged figure, long coat, embroidered vest, cravat ... The door of the salon opens—and another wigged figure, similarly dressed, steps in the room, as the first's head swivels to fix the second's eye with his gaze—and a tight smile blossoms on both faces ... -more-