The Week



New: Housing Authority Asks Berkeley City Council for $400,000 to Privatize 75 Public Housing Units--Vote at Tuesday Meeting

By Lynda Carson
Sunday April 01, 2012 - 12:37:00 PM

The Berkeley Housing Authority (BHA) is asking for $400,000 in what are being called "predevelopment costs," to privatize and sell Berkeley's 75 public housing town-homes, to billionaire's Jorge M. Perez and Stephen M. Ross, of the Related Companies of California, LLC, (a.k.a. Berkeley 75 Housing Partners, L.P.). -more-

Third Homicide of the Year in Berkeley

By Sasha Lekach (BCN)
Friday March 30, 2012 - 04:00:00 PM

One person has been arrested in connection to a Thursday night shooting that left one man dead in South Berkeley, a Berkeley police lieutenant said. -more-

Stakeholders Weigh in on UC Berkeley GMO Complex

By Richard Brenneman
Friday March 30, 2012 - 02:39:00 PM

A forum critical of UC Berkeley’s plans to ramp up genetic engineering research at a planned massive new second campus of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in Richmond drew a capacity crowd to the David Brower Center Thursday night. -more-

Police Transcripts, Police Review Raise New Questions about Berkeley Police Response to Victim's Call for Help

By Ted Friedman
Friday March 30, 2012 - 01:36:00 PM
University police ready to protect their headquarters Feb 18 from Occupys Oakland and Cal. They say they expected an invasion.

Could Berkeley's Feb. 18 Park Hills murder have been prevented? -more-

Special Consideration for Senior Seniors?

By Helen Rippier Wheeler
Friday March 30, 2012 - 01:56:00 PM

Strawberry Creek Lodge (SCL), referred to locally as The Lodge or Strawberry, was built in 1962 at 1320 Addison Street in Berkeley, California. Its purpose was affordable rental housing for lower to middle income senior citizens. Three adjoining buildings in a park-like setting provide 150 units-- some are one-bedroom apartments, most are studios, all with bathrooms and kitchenettes. An elective, not-free evening meal is served. There is no longer a supermarket within walking distance.

Recently, the Berkeley Daily Planet received a message that “while Strawberry Creek Lodge is being refurbished it's causing lots of problems for the residents.” There have been health and disruption problems at SCL. “We are on pins and needles,” according to a former hospice patient. -more-

New: Conference on LBNL Plans for Synthetic Biology Tonight at Berkeley's Brower Center

By Richard Brenneman
Thursday March 29, 2012 - 10:39:00 AM

A conference will take place tonight in Berkeley on the the billion-dollar-plus academic/industrial complex planned by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory for the Richmond shoreline. -more-

City of Berkeley Releases Working Draft of Dispatcher's Conversation with Victim of Hills Killing

Tuesday March 27, 2012 - 08:55:00 PM

The city of Berkeley has released a "working draft" of the conversation between Peter Cukor and the Berkeley police dispatcher which was recorded on February 18. The document notes that "this is NOT a verbatim transcript..." -more-

St. Paul AME Church in Berkeley Remembers Trayvon Martin

Tuesday March 27, 2012 - 02:37:00 PM

St. Paul AME Church, on Ashby Avenue in Berkeley near the corner of Shattuck, has posted this video of their "Hoodie Sunday" observance in memory of Trayvon Martin, featuring Pastor Leslie R. White and members of the congregation: -more-

Press Release: Center for Investigative Reporting, The Bay Citizen Agree to Merge: Merger Will Create Nation’s Largest Nonprofit Organization Focused on Accountability Journalism

From Business Wire
Tuesday March 27, 2012 - 04:32:00 PM

The Center for Investigative Reporting (CIR) and The Bay Area News Project (BANP), which operates The Bay Citizen, today agreed to merge operations, pending a review by the California attorney general. -more-

A Vanishing Legacy of the Last Depression in Berkeley

By Gray Brechin
Tuesday March 27, 2012 - 04:22:00 PM

An ancient cherry tree on Sacramento Street just north of the North Berkeley BART station this week is popping into its annual glorious bloom. I once thought it must have been planted by someone in the small Japanese community that left so many private Japanese gardens in the neighborhood, but a box of yellowed newspaper clippings I discovered at the Bancroft Library suggests it is yet another unmarked legacy of President Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal. -more-



Florida Killing Undermines the Rule of Law, and Truth is Another Victim

By Becky O'Malley
Friday March 30, 2012 - 10:47:00 AM

President Obama’s comment, just one among many such poignant statements, said it all: “If I had a son, he would have looked like Trayvon”. The news from Florida about a kid with a pack of Skittles in his hand being killed by a gun-toting vigilante was especially heartstopping for those of us who have children or grandchildren of African descent. I watched my granddaughter flick up the hood on her shocking pink rain slicker and flashed on all those dark-skinned boys pulling up their hoods against the rain as Trayvon did, and tempting fate in the form of fearful cowards with powerful weapons. -more-


Odd Bodkins: The Dulcet Tones (Cartoon)

By Dan O'Neill
Tuesday March 27, 2012 - 11:29:00 PM

Bounce: This Land (Cartoon)

By Joseph Young
Tuesday March 27, 2012 - 11:33:00 PM

Public Comment

Trayvon Martin and the Media Depiction of African American Males

By Dori J. Maynard
Friday March 30, 2012 - 02:41:00 PM

“He’s got his hand in his waistband, and he’s a black male.”

— George Zimmerman to a 911 operator shortly before he fatally shot Trayvon Martin

When people ask why I do the work I do, sometimes I tell the truth — because I don’t want my brothers shot.

Until last month, my hesitation stemmed from fear that this answer sounded overly dramatic for someone who runs a nonprofit focused on helping the nation’s news media diversify its coverage.

Then Trayvon Martin was slain because a neighborhood watch volunteer thought he looked suspicious while walking back from a store after buying Skittles and an iced tea. -more-

Money vs. Democracy

By Steve Martinot
Friday March 30, 2012 - 05:53:00 PM

A neighborhood group in Oakland contacted us, the anti-Smartmeter movement, to invite us to debate PGE on Smartmeters. They wanted to learn about Smartmeters, and had already contacted PGE. But they on their own also decided that they should hear both sides. I volunteered to take it on, and contacted the group spokesperson, a man I'll call Jack. Jack then contacted PGE, and they assigned someone, who I'll call Stan, to hold up PGE's side of the debate. The group (I'll call ONA, for Oakland neighborhood association) then hired a room in a restaurant in which to hold the event. The rent was $300. Originally PGE said they would pay for it, but when ONA set up the debate, they properly took on the costs, with PGE's blessing. -more-

Healthcare Jujitsu

By Robert Reich
Tuesday March 27, 2012 - 03:29:00 PM

Not surprisingly, today’s debut Supreme Court argument over the so-called “individual mandate” requiring everyone to buy health insurance revolved around epistemological niceties such as the meaning of a “tax,” and the question of whether the issue is ripe for review. -more-

Zoning Laws and Property Rights

By Steve Randy Waldman
Tuesday March 27, 2012 - 04:17:00 PM

A couple of weeks ago, I sat down and read Matt Yglesias’ The Rent Is Too Damned High and Ryan Avent’s The Gated City back to back. Both were a pleasure to read, for their content, and for the opportunity to kick a couple of bucks to two of my fave bloggers behind an ennobling veil of commerce. As an avid reader of both authors’ online work, there were no huge surprises, but reading the ebooks took me deeper and inspired some more considered thought on their ideas. Ryan Avent and Matt Yglesias (and Ed Glaeser too!) are separate humans with their own identities and ideas. But these “econourbanists” share a core view, and I hope they will forgive me if I consider their work together. Although they arrive at a similar place, the two books take very different roads: Avent’s book is a bit wonkier and more economistic, focusing on the macro role of cities in enhancing productivity through economies of scale and agglomeration; Yglesias treats the same set of issues more polemically and with an emphasis on the personal, thinking about how individuals should expect to make a living in an increasingly service-oriented economy, the importance of accessible cities to the kind of prosperity he envisions, and the perils of any obstacle that makes urban life inaccessible (“the rent is too damned high!”). Read both! -more-



By Bob Burnett
Friday March 30, 2012 - 03:31:00 PM

The Hunger Games movie had a multimillion-dollar weekend opening and seems destined to be the most successful film of the year. Which is remarkable because it’s a political movie set in a not-too-distant America and expresses themes that are familiar and disturbing. -more-

ECLECTIC RANT: Puerto Rico: The GOP Primary, Latino Vote and Statehood

By Ralph E. Stone
Friday March 30, 2012 - 03:56:00 PM

My wife and I just returned from a visit to Puerto Rico. The temperatures were in the high 80s with very little humidity and no rain. We spent most of our time in old San Juan, but did take a 2-hour road trip across the island to Ponce, named after Juan Ponce de León y Loayza, the great-grandson of Spanish conquistador Juan Ponce de León.

During our visit, the GOP hopefuls, Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum personally campaigned for Puerto Rico's 20 delegates. Ron Paul and Newt Gingrich did not personally campaign there. The vote was held on Sunday -- with no alcohol sales during voting -- and as has been reported, Romney won all 20 delegates to the national convention at stake.

Why would Romney and Santorum spend so much time for 20 delegates when the Illinois primary with 69 delegates at stake was just a few days away? Probably because to win the White House, the GOP candidate will have to win about 45 percent of the Hispanic vote. Obama won about 67 percent of the Hispanic vote in 2008. -more-

SENIOR POWER: getting online

By Helen Rippier Wheeler
Friday March 30, 2012 - 05:45:00 PM

How many senior citizens does it take to fight their landlord in a light bulb?

A group of tenants is fighting their landlord’s online-only rent payment rule. Elderly renters in south Los Angeles’ Woodlake Manor apartment building are suing landlord Jones & Jones. They allege that its requirement could leave them vulnerable to eviction under the Woodland Hills company’s new requirement that they make all their payments online and that a "green" initiative introduced by the company is actually a pretense to evict low-income, elderly renters benefiting from rent-stabilization provisions. -more-

ON MENTAL ILLNESS: Post-Traumatic Stress

By Jack Bragen
Tuesday March 27, 2012 - 02:41:00 PM

Post traumatic stress seems to exist when someone is trying to incorporate, assimilate or digest the memory of a horrible incident into their system. -more-

Arts & Events

Confessions of an English Soap Opera Addict

By Stuart Dodds
Friday March 30, 2012 - 02:34:00 PM

In 1999, at the height of his success, a silver-tongued Prime Minister Tony Blair greeted the Labor Party Conference in Bournemouth with: “My friends! The class war is over!” For me—speaking as one who had viewed the upper echelon with a mixture of caution and envy—the class war ended while watching “Downton Abbey” on television. Something in me snapped. -more-

AROUND AND ABOUT FILM: 'Time Regained' in the Raul Ruiz 'Library Lover' Retrospective at the Pacific Film Archive

By Ken Bullock
Friday March 30, 2012 - 02:22:00 PM

Watching 'Time Regained,' Raul Ruiz's 1999 adaptation of Proust's last book, onscreen at the PFA, over a decade after seeing it projected three times in a two year period, revealed again the density of the film in its engagement with Proust's vision—and with a contemporary audience. -more-

EYE FROM THE AISLE: RED at the Rep—weighed in the balance and found outstanding!

By John A. McMullen II
Tuesday March 27, 2012 - 05:08:00 PM
David Chandler at Mark Rothko

An argument between two actors in poetic dialogue was the original basis of theatre. Whether Aeschlyus or Plato’s Dialogues, we revel in the deep ideas while we rejoice in the crafting of the argument and the fervor and wit with which it is delivered. -more-

AROUND & ABOUT OPERA: Erling Wold's new 'Certitude & Joy' at Bindlestiff Studio

By Ken Bullock
Tuesday March 27, 2012 - 05:08:00 PM

Erling Wold's new opera, 'Certitude & Joy' (title from Pascal), blends the stories from Chapter 22 of Genesis, Abraham's near-sacrifice of Isaac, with Lashaun Harris' s (of Oakland) 2005 drowning of her young sons at the Embarcadero in San Francisco from what she thought to be God's command. Staged by the ubiquitous Jim Cave (who also teaches at Laney), with six performers—singers, actors, dancers—'Certitude & Joy' plays with identity ... Lashaun, Abarham, God, Jesus—and Wold himself—all speak from various lips onstage. -more-

Don't Miss This on April Fool's Day

By Dorothy Snodgrass
Tuesday March 27, 2012 - 09:13:00 PM

So you're of the belief that April Fools Day is a modern, 20th Century celebration? Think again. April Fools Day can be traced back to the 1500's under the reign of Charles IX and the change in the Gregorian Calendar. On this day in 1700 English pranksters began popularizing the annual tradition of April Fools Day by playing practical jokes on each other. April Fools Day of this year offers embarrassment of riches -- art, drama, music, etc. You'll be hard pressed to make choices given the attractive events out there. -more-