The Week



Ticking Car Brings Bomb Squad to North Berkeley Neighborhood

By Sasha Lekach (BCN)
Thursday May 03, 2012 - 04:35:00 PM

A bomb squad surrounded a parked car in Berkeley on Wednesday night after the car's owner reported fearing that a former co-worker had placed an explosive in the vehicle, a police lieutenant said. -more-

New: Oakland: 25 Arrested in Yesterday's Protests

By Bay City News
Wednesday May 02, 2012 - 09:07:00 AM

Oakland police are maintaining a presence in downtown Oakland early this morning to prevent protesters from regrouping after a day of scattered protests throughout the city, police said. -more-

Updated: Oakland Police Attempt to Clear 14th and Broadway Area

By Jeff Shuttleworth (BCN)
Tuesday May 01, 2012 - 10:56:00 PM

Oakland police have ordered a large crowd of demonstrators to clear the area near 14th and Broadway tonight. -more-

Flash: Thousands Converge at Oakland City Center Tonight

By Jeff Shuttleworth (BCN)
Tuesday May 01, 2012 - 06:03:00 PM

Thousands of protesters who marched the streets of Oakland have converged at Frank Ogawa Plaza this evening.

Multiple marches met in the plaza shortly before 7 p.m. and jubilant demonstrators were waving flags, playing drums, making speeches and dancing in the streets.

As of 7 p.m. at least 10 protesters had been arrested during the day of demonstrations, according to police Sgt. Jeff Thomason. -more-

Flash: Oakland Demonstrators Advance on City Hall at 6--Mutual Aid Called In(Press Release)

From Karen Boyd, City of Oakland Public Information Officer
Tuesday May 01, 2012 - 06:07:00 PM

Oakland, CA— Please be advised that a large crowd estimated to be between 3,000 and 5,000 people is marching towards Frank Ogawa Plaza. -more-

Nurses Strike in Berkeley and Throughout Bay Area

By Patricia Decker (BCN)
Tuesday May 01, 2012 - 01:08:00 PM

Thousands of registered nurses from eight Bay Area Sutter Health-managed hospitals are striking today and are planning to participate in rallies to protest a proposed decrease in their employer-covered health care expenses. -more-

Press Release: Sophie Hahn Announces Candidacy for Berkeley's City Council District 5

From Sophie Hahn
Tuesday May 01, 2012 - 06:24:00 PM

It is with great enthusiasm that I announce my candidacy for Berkeley City Council's District 5, and invite you to join me in bringing dynamic, pro-active, responsible and effective leadership to our community. -more-

Updated: Oakland: 4 Protesters Arrested in Midday Clashes with Police

By Jeff Shuttleworth (BCN)
Tuesday May 01, 2012 - 05:51:00 PM

Oakland police Chief Howard Jordan said at least four people were arrested in a confrontation between police and protesters near 14th Street and Broadway shortly after noon today. -more-

May Day Public Hearing on West Berkeley Developments (News Analysis)

By Toni Mester
Thursday April 26, 2012 - 11:20:00 AM

The Berkeley City Council will hear public testimony on the controversial master use permit zoning amendments on Tuesday May 1 in its second floor chamber at 2134 Martin Luther King Jr. Way. The meeting starts at 7 PM with the public hearing scheduled for the first item on the action calendar after the consent items. Members of the public who wish to be heard should arrive at approximately 7:30. The meeting will be broadcast on cable channel 33.

The master use permits are the second part of The West Berkeley Project, which the City planners see as improvements to the 1993 West Berkeley Plan and an important incentive for economic growth, but which the Project’s critics view as a threat to current jobs and affordable land. Many area residents also fear a massive traffic jam in the making and the corporate takeover of Aquatic Park.

The City is proposing increased building heights to 75 feet with a mechanical penthouse up to 100 feet and a 50% increase in the floor area ratio (FAR) determining building mass, on nine sites, most of them south of University Avenue. -more-

Berkeley’s “New” Downtown: Behind the Brand (News Analysis)

By Zelda Bronstein
Friday April 27, 2012 - 10:45:00 AM

“We…want to fundamentally change perceptions about Downtown.” The speaker, Downtown Berkeley Association Executive Director John Caner, was addressing the three hundred or so people who’d crowded into the Shattuck Hotel’s Crystal Ballroom on the morning of April 3 to celebrate the DBA’s launch of the “new” Downtown. The perceptions that Caner and his colleagues hope to change are the widely held views of Downtown as unkempt, unsafe and unpleasant. Accordingly, the ballroom audience was regaled with accounts of recent, intensified efforts at cleaning, beautification and “hospitality”—think visitor assistance and loiterer rousting—along with celebrations of Mayor Tom Bates—“his vision for the Downtown has made this all possible,” Caner enthused—and the University of California’s new projects in the area. The event left me in a state of ambivalence. -more-

Last Day to Opt Out of Smart Meters? (Sort Of)

By Chris Cooney (BCN)
Tuesday May 01, 2012 - 01:11:00 PM

PG&E is asking its customers who want to opt out of the SmartMeter program to contact the utility by the end of today, a spokesman said. -more-

Updated: Arrest in Berkeley Bicycle Hit-and-Run

From Capt. Andrew Greenwood Investigations Division Commander Berkeley Police Department
Friday April 27, 2012 - 10:28:00 PM

The Berkeley Police Department is announcing the arrest of the registered owner of the vehicle which was involved in the hit-and-run collision on Tunnel Road on Wednesday night. -more-

Press Release: Berkeley Riders Hit by Car on Tunnel Road Post Video; Police Investigating

From Lt. Andrew Greenwood, Berkeley Police Department
Friday April 27, 2012 - 01:45:00 PM

On 4/25/12, at about 4:30 PM, two bicycle riders riding east on Tunnel Road were struck by a black vehicle driving east on Tunnel Road. The driver of the black vehicle did not stop after the collision, as required by law. -more-

EBMUD Won't Need to Restrict Water Since It's Been Raining

By Bay City News
Thursday April 26, 2012 - 05:39:00 PM

The East Bay Municipal Utility District is anticipating that it will not have to impose any drought-related water-use restrictions this year, thanks to heavy rainfall in March and April, district officials said this week. -more-

Oakland: Tension Increases as Protesters Gather for Rally

By Jeff Shuttleworth (BCN)
Tuesday May 01, 2012 - 01:08:00 PM

The interaction between police and Occupy Oakland protesters has grown tense in downtown Oakland, where demonstrators have gathered for a rally that began at noon. -more-

Protesters Continue Farm Occupation, Plan Weekend Activities

By Jeff Shuttleworth (BCN)
Saturday April 28, 2012 - 11:25:00 PM

A group of protesters continue to occupy a 10-acre plot of agricultural land in Albany that is owned by the University of California at Berkeley and plans many activities there this weekend, a spokeswoman said today. -more-

New: As People's Park Braces for U.C. Takeover, "Wing-Nut" Supporters Bask in Sun, Dance--Marking Park's 43rd Birthday

By Ted Friedman
Tuesday May 01, 2012 - 12:13:00 PM
Nexus. Banner in vacant Berkeley-Inn lot announcing People's Park 43rd anniversary celebration, less than half a block away. The eye-sore lot could be an imaginative re-development if Ken Sarachan's latest plans are approved. Towering above the scene is the Edith Head student dormitory scheduled to open in August--a project portending intrusions on People's Park, according to park activists.

Ever since the university bulldozed parts of People's Park in December, and construction cranes from the Edith Head dormitory across the street towered over the park symbolizing the university's encroachments, park supporters have feared the worst. -more-

Latest Failed People's Park Tree-Sit Portends Losing Streak

By Ted Friedman
Saturday April 28, 2012 - 09:46:00 AM
Eddie Miller at the top of  hundred foot evergreen in People's Park tree sit busted up last week.

We may need a baseball scorecard to keep up with the players. The Players: Little Bird, Grouse, and Eddie Miller (two strikeouts) seem headed for a losing season, after the most recent failed protest. -more-



Twittering Bates: He Wants to Be Berkeley's Mayor—Again.

By Becky O'Malley
Friday April 27, 2012 - 09:47:00 AM

Twit of the Week: “Announcing today that I'm running for Mayor of Berkeley to continue the progress we've made over the last 10 years.”—From Mayor Tom Bates, to his 363 followers on Twitter yesterday.

Campaign Slogan: “A Lifetime of Public Service!”

Age at the end of his fourth term: 78

Probably most annoyed: District 5 Councilmember Laurie Capitelli, who had legitimate hopes that it might be his turn. -more-


Odd Bodkins: Not a Marvel (Cartoon)

By Dan O'Neill
Tuesday May 01, 2012 - 06:08:00 PM

Odd Bodkins: Nate (Cartoon)

By Dan O'Neill
Saturday April 28, 2012 - 10:00:00 AM

Public Comment

New: The Berkeley City Council Should Remand the Lions Hall Project to the Zoning Adjustment Board for Proper Review

By Chadidjah McFall
Monday April 30, 2012 - 06:53:00 PM

This letter is in regard to the Lions Hall Project at 2301 Durant Avenue, which appears on the May 1, 2012 Council Agenda. I respectfully request that Council ask the advice of City Auditor Hogan and City Attorney Cowan in evaluating the issues I raise in this letter, and I respectfully request that Council remand the Lions Hall Project to the Zoning Adjustments Board and order the Zoning Adjustments Board to conduct a proper public hearing to determine the merits of the Global International Montessori School and the true point of view of all stakeholders in the issue of the proposed Lions Hall Project. -more-

Turning the “Occupy the UC Gill Tract” Conflict into an Opportunity for Resolving Key Food, Environmental and Social Problems Affecting our Bay Area Urban Communities

By Miguel A. Altieri, Professor of Agroecology, College of Natural Resources, UC Berkeley, And Claudia J. Carr, Associate Professor, Environmental Science, Policy and Management, UC Berkeley
Monday April 30, 2012 - 06:44:00 PM

Dozens of advocates of community urban farming took over UC’s Gill Tract on Earth Day, April 22, establishing a camp and planting about two acres of vegetable crops. Their goal is to prevent development of this five-acre piece of land that represents one of the few remaining agricultural spaces with the best ("class-one") soil in the East Bay. This effort would allow the community to be engaged with the land, arguing that preserving it as a productive farm is consistent with public policy and the public interest. Such preservation would also honor the history of the Gill Tract, which has housed researchers who, since the 1940’s, conducted research on biological pest control, protecting California agriculture from exotic pests without the use of chemical pesticides. -more-

New: WEBAIC Response To Misleading East Bay Express Article: “The Battle Over Live-Work Communities in West Berkeley”

From Rick Auerbach, WEBAIC
Saturday April 28, 2012 - 09:56:00 AM

The Article:

For all its support of the local culinary and retail economy, one might expect the East Bay Express to understand the value of retaining affordable habitat for working artists and good jobs in manufacturing and industry for working people - lynchpins of the 99%. Unfortunately, the opposite is true in this week’s Express article by editor Robert Gammon - “The Battle Over Live-Work Communities in West Berkeley”. When measured against the Express’s ongoing support of Occupy goals, the article’s editorial perspective is not only mystifying in the abstract, but destructive of on-the-ground societal equity the paper purports to champion. -more-

Press Release: The "Occupy the Farm" Letters

From UC Berkeley Public Affairs and Occupy the Farm
Monday April 30, 2012 - 12:15:00 PM

EDITOR'S NOTE: These open letters were issued by contending parties in the dispute over the occupation of what is now agricultural land on the Gill Tract, which has been managed over several decades by the University of California at Berkeley. -more-

Why I Support President Obama

By Dr Deborah Hecht
Thursday April 26, 2012 - 05:31:00 PM

I am a grandmother. I am going to vote for President Obama in November -more-

Sierra Club Takes Visionary Stand to Preserve Land in West Berkeley for Recycling/Reuse, Green Collar, & Manufacturing Activities & Jobs

Thursday April 26, 2012 - 10:47:00 AM

On Tuesday, May 1st at 7:30pm, the City Council will hold the West Berkeley Project’s most important public hearing on the future of West Berkeley. This hearing will address the allowable size and nature of development on West Berkeley’s largest properties (at least 4 acres or 1 city block) in 5 of the 6 W. Berkeley zones (M, MM, MULI, MUR, CW – R1A excluded) from (and including) San Pablo Ave. to Frontage Rd. -more-

May Pepper Spray Times

By Grace Underpressure
Saturday April 28, 2012 - 10:34:00 AM

Editor's Note: The latest issue of the Pepper Spray Times is now available.

You can view it absolutely free of charge by clicking here . You can print it out to give to your friends.

Grace Underpressure has been producing it for many years now, even before the Berkeley Daily Planet started distributing it, most of the time without being paid, and now we'd like you to show your appreciation by using the button below to send her money. -more-

See, Hear, Feel

By Romila Khanna
Saturday April 28, 2012 - 10:04:00 AM

I see every day the same sad faces and hear every day the same heartbreaking stories from the people I meet on the road to my bus stop. “I have no food, no job and no place of my own,” they say, “but some years back I had food, clothing and a rented apartment. I am homeless now.” These people collect plastic or glass bottles and empty metal cans. I wonder how much plastic and metal they need to collect before they can exchange empties for food or clothing. These people are not in good health. They pick up leftover sticky food from the trash bin and lick the food to test if it is edible. They barely have on clothes sufficient for the weather. Sometimes I carry extra fruit and clothing to share with them before I board my bus to work. -more-


New: DISPATCHES FROM THE EDGE:Latin America Delivers A Swift Kick

By Conn Hallinan
Tuesday May 01, 2012 - 12:00:00 PM

On one level, April’s hemispheric summit meeting was an old fashioned butt kicking for Washington’s policies in the region. The White House found itself virtually alone—Dudley Do Right Canada its sole ally—on everything from Cuba to the war on drugs. But the differences go deeper than the exclusion of Havana and the growing body count in Washington’s failed anti-narcotics strategy. They reflect profound disagreements on how to build economies, confront inequity, and reflect a new balance of power in world affairs. -more-

ECLECTIC RANT: Islamophobia in the Workplace

By Ralph E. Stone
Friday April 27, 2012 - 12:53:00 PM

Are Muslims discriminated in the workplace? Given the aftermath of September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, the U.S.-Iran confrontation, and the revolutions in Tunisia, Egypt, Bahrain, and Libya, I assumed there would be some discrimination. However, I expected most of the discrimination would be against women, African Americans, Latinos, and lesbian-Gay-Bisexual-Transgender persons. -more-

THE PUBLIC EYE: Fukushima is a Metaphor for What Happened to the US

By Bob Burnett
Friday April 27, 2012 - 12:50:00 PM

More than a year after a tsunami swamped the Fukushima-Daiichi nuclear power plants, the radiation peril continues – reactor 4 is teetering on the edge of collapse, which would force the evacuation of one-third of Japan’s population. What happened at Fukushima is a metaphor for the US economic crisis. -more-

WILD NEIGHBORS: Not Just the Same Old Song

By Joe Eaton
Thursday April 26, 2012 - 05:01:00 PM
A semi-local (Half Moon Bay) white-crowned sparrow

From a birthday card I saw a couple of years ago: “It’s not that you’re getting older—the music really does suck.” -more-

SENIOR POWER: Ozu and Noda

By Helen Rippier Wheeler
Thursday April 26, 2012 - 04:48:00 PM

Japanese screenwriter Kōgo Noda (1893-1968) and film writer-director Yasujirō Ozu (1903-1963) began their collaboration when Noda supplied the script for director Ozu’s first feature, Sword of Penitence (1927). It led to such post-War masterpieces as Tokyo Story (1953) and Floating Weeds (1959). -more-

ON MENTAL ILLNESS: The Psychotic Mind

By Jack Bragen
Thursday April 26, 2012 - 05:33:00 PM

In the past year and nearly a half, I have covered a lot of the life situations that are difficult for persons with mental illness. However, I haven't discussed very much what it is like for a schizophrenic person to experience an episode of psychosis. -more-

New: My Commonplace Book (a diary of excerpts copied from printed books, with comments added by the reader.)

By Dorothy Bryant
Tuesday May 01, 2012 - 12:15:00 PM

" . . . a novel? Nothing but a short story padded. . . . Unity, totality of effect, is impossible; for besides the few pages last read, all that is carried in the mind is the mere plot of what has gone before.”

—Ambrose Bierce, prolific California writer (1842—1913?—disappeared while covering wars in Mexico.) -more-

Arts & Events

New: Theater Review: 'A Hot Day in Ephesus' at Actos Ensemble of Berkeley

By Ken Bullock
Tuesday May 01, 2012 - 12:07:00 PM

On a gorgeously painted set of a Mediterranean town of Antiquity (Lili Smith's design, Steve Coleman's artistry) resembling the constructions of the early Italian stage, Actors Ensemble of Berkeley assembles their cast of 15 to celebrate longtime AE player Vicki Siegel's musical version of The Bard's 'Comedy of Errors' (and Plautus' 'Menaechmi'), 'A Hot Day in Ephesus,' after a few years as a work-in-progress, an earlier workshop version done outdoors in Mill Valley three years ago; the band of four musicians onstage hails from that show. -more-

New: AROUND & ABOUT THEATER: A Sampler of the Theater of Ismael Reed at CCA—Free!

By Ken Bullock
Friday April 27, 2012 - 10:28:00 PM

Prolific and highly-acclaimed East Bay author Ishmael Reed's dramatic writings will get a showcase this weekend—and for free—at both CCA campuses, Oakland and San Francisco. Saturday at 2:30, A Sampler of the Theater of Ishamael Reed will be presented at Nahl Hall on CCA's Oakland campus, 5212 Broadway (at College Avenue); Sunday at 2:30, at Timkin Hall, CCA-SF, 1111-8th Street, between Hooper & Irwin, in the Design District, South of Market. Feaured will be Boadiba, Sherry Davis, Michael Lange, Genny Lim, Alex Maynard, with Tennessee Reed as narrator. Carla Blank directs. Free admission. ... for directions. -more-

Historic and Garden Events In and Around Berkeley Are Here

By Steven Finacom
Thursday April 26, 2012 - 05:23:00 PM

Over the next several days there are a number of historical or local garden tour events in town. Here’s a brief rundown, in chronological order. Some are free, and all offer interesting insights into the present, past, and future of our local community. -more-

EYE FROM THE AISLE: Bay Area Children’s Theater: TRUE STORY OF THE 3 LITTLE PIGS in Berkeley

By John A. McMullen II
Saturday April 28, 2012 - 09:41:00 AM
Sharon Huff Robinson as Judge Prudence

A few years ago, producers got hip to the idea that when it comes to children’s theatre, it needs to appeal to both parents and kids to keep them coming back for more. “Up,” “Toy Story” (particularly #3), and “The Lion King” cashed in on it. -more-

10th Berkeley Poetry Festival & 2nd Art In The Atrium Festival

By Marcia Poole
Thursday April 26, 2012 - 05:12:00 PM

This year’s 10th Berkeley Poetry Festival (BPF) will be held Saturday, May 5th, from 1 – 4:30 PM in the Audito­rium of Berkeley City College, 2050 Center St., Berkeley. The Poetry Festival’s main purpose is to introduce the public to the work of the community poets who read throughout the San Francisco Bay Area. -more-

THEATER REVIEW: 'Anatol' at the Aurora

By Ken Bullock
Thursday April 26, 2012 - 04:55:00 PM

No matter what mood the title character of Arthur Schnitzler's 1893 play 'Anatol' finds himself in, he's bound, by the end of the scene, to express the opposite. Soaring to imagined romantic heights, Anatol plunges down to the depths—and plumbs them as vigorously as he exalted his former ecstasy. Carried away by his own passion, he's immediately overcome by jealousy, sure his lovers have deceived him, all the while plotting his next affair, or suddenly taking advantage of an amorous possibility that arises in the midst of his agonies of doubt and rejection, usually just imagined. -more-

Press Release: New Monsters & Looney/Mezzacappa/Robinson Trio plus special guest Marco Eneidi at Berkeley Arts Festival on May 5

By Bonnie Hughes
Saturday April 28, 2012 - 10:02:00 AM

New Monsters:

The latest brainchild of Dan Plonsey, saxophone and Steve Horowitz, bass; features Steve Adams, saxophone; Scott Looney, piano and John Hanes, percussion, all long-time vets of the Bay Area Music Scene. -more-