The Week



Press Release: City of Berkeley Police Department (BPD) PIO Email Summary - Chief Meehan Son's Stolen iPhone

From Sergeant Mary C. Kusmiss S-6 BPD Public Information Officer
Tuesday May 22, 2012 - 12:27:00 PM

New: Passenger Killed in Berkeley Crash was UC Student

By Zack Farmer (BCN)
Tuesday May 22, 2012 - 01:58:00 PM

A passenger who died in a solo-vehicle accident in Berkeley early Friday morning was identified by the Alameda County coroner's bureau as 22-year-old Milanca Alicia Lopez, a UC Berkeley student. -more-

New: Berkeley's Bayer Stung by Critics

By Gar Smith
Sunday May 20, 2012 - 07:16:00 AM
Bee Protest

"Inch by inch, row by row,

Gonna make this garden grow…

Till my body and my brain

Tell the music of the land."

It was mid-afternoon on May 16 when more than 30 activists began arriving at San Pablo Park. The crowd was greeted by the lyrics of David Mallett's "Garden Song," performed by the guitar-wielding, guerilla trio known as Occupella. Passersby could tell this was not your average Berkeley demo (as if there were such a thing). First clue: Half the crowd was dressed up as bees.

This West Berkeley park was the staging ground for a self-declared human "Bee-in at Bayer." The goal: to call attention to the chemical maker's role in producing a pesticide linked to "Colony Collapse Disorder," a mysterious syndrome that suddenly turns once-healthy hives into empty shells devoid of bees. -more-

Driver, Child Remain Hospitalized After Fatal Berkeley Crash

By Sara Gaiser (BCN)
Friday May 18, 2012 - 01:44:00 PM

A man and a child remain hospitalized following a fatal crash in which a car struck a roundabout in Berkeley early this morning, according to police. -more-

Reinstated Telegraph Cop Patrols Spotty, as Teley Street Life Continues to Eat the Street—An Ontology

By Ted Friedman
Friday May 18, 2012 - 12:45:00 PM
Scene outside Amoeba, Wednesday.

Initial South-side response to announced resumption of Telegraph Avenue police foot patrols—after a five year absence—was met with cynical skepticism born of years of inconsistent avenue policing. The two-man patrols team Berkeley and U.C. police. -more-

Press Release: Berkeley Residents Urge Police Reforms

From George Lippman, Coalition for a Safe Berkeley
Friday May 18, 2012 - 04:59:00 PM

A coalition of Berkeley residents and civil rights groups will return to the City Council on Tuesday, May 22, 2012 at 8 pm in Old City Hall, 2134 Martin Luther King Jr. Way, Berkeley, in support of protections for civil rights and civil liberties in local policing. On May 15, the Council postponed for one week consideration of recommendations to increase civilian oversight of the Berkeley Police Department (BPD). -more-

The Wild Mustard Grass (First Person)

By Daniel Borgström
Friday May 18, 2012 - 12:39:00 PM

Just south of Albany Hill there's a sizable piece of pristine farm land, grown up in wild mustard grass, surrounded by urban housing, known as the "Gill Tract"--what's left of it anyway--the 104 acre Gill Farm, which has been carved up and developed piece by piece over the years, whittling it down to a mere 14 remaining acres. It's the last such piece of farmland in this part of the East Bay. -more-

Community Service Award for Jack Bragen

By Sam Greyson,Member, Alameda County Mental Health Board
Friday May 18, 2012 - 11:11:00 AM

Berkeley Daily Planet columnist Jack Bragen was honored with a Community Service Award by the Alameda County Mental Health Board at a dinner May 16 for his column in the Berkeley Daily Planet "On Mental Health". Among other honorees that night was Brian Copeland for his one man play "Exit Strategy'. Because I was the one who nominated Jack (but not on the Selection Committee that chose him among six candidates in the Consumer category) I was privileged to introduce him and I read portions of one of his columns to the audience, which was extremely well received. -more-



Local Theaters Demand Statistics from Reviewers

By Becky O'Malley
Friday May 18, 2012 - 11:11:00 AM

What is it about “free” that’s so hard to understand?

Someone who frequently provides the Planet—gratis—with his excellent reviews of local theater productions forwarded to us a letter he received which displays the truly remarkable sense of entitlement which afflicts some members of the Bay Area theatrical industry.

It’s from the flacks who work for a few local theaters—oh sorry, from “PR representatives for nine of the most prominent theaters in the Bay Area.” -more-

Public Comment

New: The Chronicle Wipes Palestine Off the Map

By Gar Smith
Saturday May 19, 2012 - 01:57:00 PM

Note: The following is a copy of a letter to the editor sent to the San Francisco Chronicle and to Michael Collier, the paper's National-Foreign Editor. Since a week has passed with no response, I am now sharing this letter with the Daily Planet.

Dear Editors:

The Chronicle's World section for Sunday, May 12, contained a curious inconsistency. The first three pages featured six stories, five of which were introduced with "sky heads" identifying the location of the story—Syria, Egypt, Afghanistan, Greece and Russia. The only exception to this rule was the story about the imminent destruction of farming villages in the West Bank. Instead of a sky head reading "Palestine," "West Bank," or "Occupied Territories," readers were offered a region—"Middle East."

Also curious: While the headline on the original AP story read "In West Bank, barrier threatens Roman terraces," the Chronicle reconfigured the headline to read "Ancient ways threatened in farming village." -more-

Destroying West Berkeley = $ for City Employees and Developers

By Barbara Gilbert
Friday May 18, 2012 - 11:11:00 AM

After years of mismanagement and denial, the City is at the end of the fiscal line. There is over $1B in unfunded liabilities for employee benefits and capital improvements and inadequate annual revenues to keep up with annual costs. About $262M, about 80% of the City budget of $325M, goes toward employee costs, with almost nothing left over to put toward these unfunded liabilities. The City has even cut worthwhile community social service agencies just to preserve its own employee structure. -more-

Berkeley/Albany/UC Police Want Armored Vehicle

By Gene Bernardi SuperBOLD, Berkeley
Friday May 18, 2012 - 12:29:00 PM

Three North Alameda County Police Departments; Berkeley, U.C. and Albany, known as the North County Tactical Working Group (NCTWG) have identified common concerns which have “a nexus to terrorism”. Mentioned are these large incidents: Cal Games, Solano Stroll and “in progress crimes or warrant services”. The plan is to request funding for an Armored Tactical Intervention Vehicle from the Urban Areas Security Initiative (UASI) a Homeland Security program now in place in Berkeley, and apparently the adjoining agencies. -more-

We Need to Change Our System to Protect All

By Romila Khanna
Friday May 18, 2012 - 11:11:00 AM

Enough is enough. How many more shooting deaths will turn the attention of our lawmakers and attorneys towards ending the easy access to guns and other firearms to end the untimely deaths in neighborhood? -more-

Jesse vs. Mayor Tom Bates?

By Merrilie Mitchell
Monday May 21, 2012 - 05:57:00 PM

Remember the saying, “Those who don’t know history are destined to repeat it.” -more-

New: Bank of America Refuses to Meet with Community People

By Harry Brill
Saturday May 19, 2012 - 12:32:00 PM

A delegation of nine of us, peaceful and mainly senior citizens from ages 60 to 85 years walked into the Albany branch of the Bank of America to discuss with the bank manager community concerns about its foreclosure practices and its poor record of providing mortgage modifications to homeowners in trouble. Also, the BofA has recently agreed to reduce mortgages up to 35 percent on homes whose value is lower than the mortgage payments. We want to make sure that the Bank fulfills its promise. -more-

Is the Climate Change Movement a Grassroots Movement?

By Vivian Warkentin
Friday May 18, 2012 - 12:54:00 PM

Is the Climate Change movement actually a grassroots movement, or a well-funded top-down power grab which has hijacked the grassroots? -more-


ECLECTIC RANT: Report on Our Annual Trip to the Big Apple

By Ralph E. Stone
Friday May 18, 2012 - 11:11:00 AM

My wife and I just returned from our annual, week-long visit to New York City. Long ago, we did the usual tourist stuff such as visits to the Statue of Liberty, the United Nations, the Cloisters, and a ride on the Staten Island ferry. Now we concentrate on seeing as many shows as possible -- usually eight -- and visits to museums. This year, we saw eight plays and visited the Metropolitan Museum, the Museum of Modern Act, and the Neue Gallery. -more-

SENIOR POWER: resolved to grow fat

By Helen Rippier Wheeler
Friday May 18, 2012 - 11:11:00 AM

“I am resolved to grow fat, and look young till forty; And then slip out of the world with the first wrinkle and the reputation of five-and twenty.” Flormel, “a maid of honour” in The Maiden Queen (1667), a tragicomedy by John Dryden (1631–1700), said that. -more-


By Jack Bragen
Friday May 18, 2012 - 11:11:00 AM

In the past year and six months, I have covered mostly the subject of schizophrenia, and sometimes bipolar, and the ramifications of these conditions. Yet, I have also been diagnosed with a mood disorder. I experience chronic anxiety and depression on a daily basis, and they have become part of my more recent diagnosis: Schizoaffective Disorder. This diagnosis means that I have psychotic problems and also have a mood disorder. Consequently, I can take treatment for my psychotic problem and I become a sane but miserable person. -more-

Arts & Events

Berkeley Arts Festival Continues Through May

By Bonnie Hughes
Friday May 18, 2012 - 02:23:00 PM

The Berkeley Arts Festival has been extended through May 31. All performances will take place at 2133 University Avenue in downtown Berkeley. -more-

Press Release: Berkeley Symphony Announces 2012-2013 Season

From Jenny Lee, Berkeley Symphony Orchestra
Tuesday May 15, 2012 - 01:49:00 PM

Music Director Joana Carneiro and Berkeley Symphony today announced programming for the 2012–2013 Season, including a world premiere commission on each of the four subscription concerts. Maestra Carneiro’s critically acclaimed partnership with Berkeley Symphony will continue for an additional five years with the announcement that her contract has been renewed through the 2016–2017 Season. -more-

Don't Miss This in June

By Dorothy Snodgrass
Friday May 18, 2012 - 12:39:00 PM

We're all aware, of course, that June is traditionally a month of weddings, outdoor picnics, and band concerts in Oakland's Ozawa Plaza. To say that summer festivals abound in the East Bay would be a gross understatement. Indeed, "June is Busting Out All Over" aptly describes the astonishing number of entertaining/educational events available throughout the month. Listed below are just a few of such events. -more-

PlayGround’s first Film Festival of local playwrights shows in Berkeley on May 24 & 26.

By John A. McMullen II
Friday May 18, 2012 - 12:34:00 PM

PlayGround has teamed up with film makers to transform five of their award-winning scripts into short films including one animation.

Next week, you can see these at the Elmwood Theatre on College near Ashby on Thursday, or at Zaentz Media Center on 10th Street on Saturday.

The Film Festival features five short films adapted from short plays originally developed and premiered at the Best of PlayGround Festival, created by teams of local filmmakers, writers, actors and technicians. -more-