The Week

Bank Of America had refused to meet with a delegation from the community--so this demonstration took place at the Solano branch on Monday.
Harry Brill
Bank Of America had refused to meet with a delegation from the community--so this demonstration took place at the Solano branch on Monday.


Berkeley: 6-Year-Old Boy Injured in May 18 Crash Dies

By Jeff Shuttleworth and Hannah Albarazi (BCN)
Tuesday May 29, 2012 - 09:34:00 PM

A 6-year-old boy has died from injuries he suffered in a car crash in Berkeley 11 days ago that also killed his mother and injured her boyfriend, police said today. -more-

Press Release: Boy, Passenger in Solo Car Collision at California Street and Allston Way, Passes Away on May 25, 2012

From Sgt. Mary C. Kusmiss BPD Public Information Officer
Tuesday May 29, 2012 - 01:38:00 PM

The Alameda County Coroner’s Office called the City of Berkeley Police Department (BPD) on Friday night, May 25, 2012 to advise us that Xavier Chevez, born 4/14/06, of Berkeley, died at about 6:30 p.m. that evening. The boy’s autopsy is pending. When the BPD investigators receive the results of the autopsy, they will take the information to the Alameda County District Attorney’s Office (BA) for her review and consideration of added and/or amended charges in the case. -more-

Second Richmond Casino
Dealt a Busted Flush

By Richard Brenneman
Saturday May 26, 2012 - 08:23:00 AM

Richmond, one of the San Francisco Bay Area’s poorest cities, had been betting on casinos to boost a lagging local economy plagued by a decayed urban center and high unemployment. The developers, who recruited landless Native America bands to front their plans, promised jobs for the jobless and cash for the city’s revenue-starved coffers. [Getting a tribal affiliation is critical, since Vegas-style gambling is illegal in California unless it's on land claimed as a tribal reservation, which falls under federal jurisdiction.]

The first proposal called for a billion-dollar-plus Vegas style resort directly on the waters of the Bay near the foot of the Richmond San Rafael Bridge, a major traffic artery connecting Marin County to the East Bay.

There’d be Sin City-style showrooms, a major hotel complex, high-roller tables, gourmet eateries, an exclusive condo development, and more — and all of it “green.”

But Berkeley developer Jim Levine, who made his pile on hazardous waste cleanups [including part of the Richmond site where UC Berkeley hopes to build a massive second campus of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory] was dealt a death blow when the Bureau of Indian Affairs determined that the Guidiville Rancheria band of Pomos had no historic connection with the site — a basic requirement for restoring a landless tribe to a new reservation.

Now the same fate has befallen the second project, put forward by Florida casino developer Alan Ginsburg, who also heads North American Sports Management. -more-

Press Release: Berkeley Neighborhood Groups Sue City Over Downtown Plan

From Hank Gehman
Friday May 25, 2012 - 09:17:00 AM

The long-established Council of Neighborhood Associations and other neighborhood groups filed suit in Alameda County Court last week against the City of Berkeley’s Environmental Impact Report (EIR) for its new Downtown Area Plan (DAP). The suit alleges that the City has made numerous changes since it last reviewed the DAP, in 2009, but has not analyzed their effects, as required by the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). In particular, the suit charges that the City has proposed a new zoning ordinance, cynically called the “Green Pathway”, which makes it quicker and easier for developers to demolish older buildings, even if they are attractive and historically important. -more-

Press Release: Father of Free Speech Memorial Planned
Donation Deadline Extended to June 30, 2012

From Bryan Bell / Sonoma State University
Monday May 28, 2012 - 08:21:00 AM

Mario Savio's civil rights work as a university student in the Freedom Summer Project of 1964 in Mississippi led to his involvement as a leader of the Free Speech Movement at UC Berkeley during 1964-1965. His brilliant rhetoric inspired thousands of students who demanded the administration lift the ban of on-campus political activities and acknowledge the students' right to free speech and academic freedom. Standing on the steps of Sproul Hall, Mario spoke to these students: "There is a time when the operation of the machine becomes so odious, makes you so sick at heart, that you can't take've got to put your bodies upon the gears and upon the wheels, upon the levers, upon all the apparatus and you've got to make it stop." -more-

Berkeley's Great Libraries

By Dorothy Snodgrass
Thursday May 24, 2012 - 05:06:00 PM

I've just received the Spring issue of "Berkeley Bookmark," a newsletter of the Berkeley Public Library. It's jam-packed with items of interest for book lovers. Foremost is the announcement of the Friends' Annual Luncheon, to be held Wednesday, June 20, noon, at the Northbrae Community Church, 941 The Alameda, Berkeley. Special Guest will be Ann Thomas, owner of Pegasus Bookstores, speaking on "Thirty Years of Bookselling in Berkeley." Other items to be discussed will include Elections to the Friends' Board of Directors, Financial Update, Service Awards for Library Staff -- Library Director, Donna Corbeil, and Library Foundation Capital Campaign Update. Please bring a brown bag lunch. Beverages, fruit and tasty desserts will be provided. RSVP by Friday, June 15 (510) 981-6152 and bring a friend! -more-

Robert George Chacona
June 3, 1927 - April 21, 2012

Thursday May 24, 2012 - 04:44:00 PM

Robert George Chacona, beloved retired Berkeley Public Schools music teacher, died on April 21, 2012 surrounded by his loved ones. Bob's deepest joys in life were teaching music, playing his trumpet, spending time with his family/friends and talking about "the good ol' days".

Bob was preceded in death by his wife, Jan, but remained very close to her family over the years. He leaves to mourn his beloved daughter Margretha, son-in-law Maurice, granddaughters Angela and Tatlin, and great-grandson Robert; his companion Joan Natkin, her son Ben, and daughter Jessica (Blair) and their children. Bob was a gentle loving person who was deeply loved and will be greatly missed.

A service will be held at 2:00 pm on June 2, 2012, St. Mark's Episcopal Church, 2300 Bancroft Way, Berkeley. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations in memory of Bob be remitted to The James Fund (sponsored by the Retired Teachers Association of the Berkeley Unified School District) and mailed c/o Barnetta Robinson, 288 Whitmore St #120. Oakland CA 94611. -more-



Let's Hear It for the Sisters

By Becky O'Malley
Friday May 25, 2012 - 09:10:00 AM

In the latest New York Review of Books. Garry Wills does something I’ve been intending to do for a long time: He speaks up for American nuns, who are now under attack by the Vatican, clueless as ever. -more-

The Editor's Back Fence

"Cellphonegate" in Berkeley:Another View

Saturday May 26, 2012 - 09:05:00 AM

Have you gotten all lathered up over news reports that Berkeley Police Chief Michael Meehan sent Berkeley police on the trail of his son's stolen cell phone, following the electronic signal which the phone's tracking device provided? There's an excellent story on the Berkeley CA Patch website by Rebecca Rosen Lum, an experienced reporter who has written for the Contra Costa Times, exploring the question of why the story has just surfaced. One possible explanation: the city police union is out to get Meehan, who's been reported as trying to get them to shape up a bit. You can find the piece here. -more-


Odd Bodkins: Ralph the Theologian (Cartoon)

By Dan O'Neill
Friday May 25, 2012 - 08:50:00 AM

Public Comment

New: Opponents Are Still Inflating Sunshine Ordinance Costs

By Josh Wolf for the Berkeley Sunshine Ordinance Committee
Saturday May 26, 2012 - 07:45:00 AM

The cost of a proposed Sunshine Ordinance in Berkeley continues to be inflated by the city government, but the projected costs have been shrinking due to continued community pressure to justify their projections.

When an early draft of the Berkeley Sunshine Ordinance was submitted in 2009, the city tabulated that it would cost $2.9 million each year to implement the proposed open government law, according to city documents the Berkeley Sunshine Ordinance received through a public records request.
Among these costs were $689 office-chairs and more than $3,000 to install three new cubicles. The city also said it would need to buy 13 portable PA systems at a cost of $10,000 a piece in order to record its meetings, and that it would add nearly a million dollars to the photocopy budget in order to make copies of the complete agenda available to the public. -more-

New: Re: Bullying the Nuns

By Jorge Gomez
Sunday May 27, 2012 - 05:46:00 PM

I strongly disagree with the introductory statements from Ms O’Malley and can’t seem to understand how an ex-Jesuit [Garry Wills] be a “still practicing catholic” after trying to destroy the same doctrine that he claims to “still” profess. -more-

Rallies at Berkeley's Bank of America Office are Having an Impact

By Harry Brill
Friday May 25, 2012 - 07:28:00 AM

I am delighted to report that at Monday's rally at the Bank of America in Albany over 70 of us participated, giving out leaflets, talking to people passing by, carrying informative placards, and not least, providing music led by Hali Hammer which expressed our political concerns with intelligent and meaningful lyrics. -more-



By Conn Hallinan
Thursday May 24, 2012 - 04:51:00 PM

Asia is currently in the middle of an unprecedented arms race that is not only sharpening tensions in the region, but competing with efforts by Asian countries to address poverty and growing economic disparity. The gap between rich and poor—calculated by the Gini coefficient that measures inequality—has increased from 39 percent to 46 percent in China, India, and Indonesia. While affluent households continue to garner larger and larger portions of the economic pie, “Children born to poor families can be 10 times more likely to die in infancy” than those from wealthy families, according to Changyong Rhee, chief economist of the Asian Development Bank. -more-

ECLECTIC RANT: One in Six Americans Live in Poverty

By Ralph E. Stone
Friday May 25, 2012 - 09:47:00 AM

According to a recent survey, a record 49.1 million Americans (16 percent) are living below the federal poverty line. Considering the U.S. is one of the richest nations in the world, the results are sobering. -more-

WILD NEIGHBORS: The Schreckstoff Chronicles

By Joe Eaton
Thursday May 24, 2012 - 04:50:00 PM
Coho salmon smolts (not smelts!) in the Seattle Aquarium.

I’ve heard all my life that dogs can smell fear. If this has been empirically demonstrated, I don’t know about it. However, science has established that fish can. It may only work within a species, and it would be more accurate to speak of detecting schreckstoff than of smelling fear. Still, it’s a neat trick for a fish. -more-

SENIOR POWER: offensive defensive

By Helen Rippier Wheeler
Thursday May 24, 2012 - 05:09:00 PM

It wouldn’t hurt if we all became more defensive in our relationships with medical practitioners. If Senior Power were a meaningful concept. -more-

ON MENTAL ILLNESS: The Value of a Caring Family

By Jack Bragen
Thursday May 24, 2012 - 05:00:00 PM

There are numerous sad stories of a schizophrenic person wandering the streets, incarcerated, or missing because of not receiving adequate treatment for their disease. Family members stand by and watch with horror as these misfortunes befall their relatives. -more-

Arts & Events

EYE FROM THE AISLE: “FORTUNE” by Ragged Wing (at 2055 Center Street in Berkeley} ends Sunday—DON'T MISS IT!

By John A. McMullen II
Friday May 25, 2012 - 09:49:00 AM
Keith Davis, atop; Addie Ulrey, Phil Wharton, David Stein, Annie Paladino

I’m old and jaded, but sometimes serendipity strikes and I remember why I love theater.

There is theatrical magic happening in the recesses of a new building on Center Street off Shattuck in Berkeley.

(This review is far too short to do the specifics and the players justice, but it only plays thorough Sunday and I wanted to let you know NOT TO MISS THIS!) -more-

EYE FROM THE AISLE: Beckett’s ENDGAME and PLAY with Bill Irwin and Barbara Oliver at A.C.T. in SF

By John A. McMullen II
Thursday May 24, 2012 - 05:03:00 PM
Nagg (Giles Havergal, left) and Nell (Barbara Oliver).

Though ENDGAME is a classic, it can be tedious even in the hands of talented professionals.

We expect Samuel Beckett to be enigmatic—we still ponder Waiting for Godot. Other than the Robin Williams and Steve Martin 1988 “play it for laughs” version on Broadway (which Beckett disowned), I’ve never been a fan. -more-

Seldom Seen Theater Classic Opens in Hayward June 7

By John A. McMullen II
Thursday May 24, 2012 - 04:56:00 PM
Katy Hidalgo, Alexaendrai Bond, Ruby Buckwalter.

Carson McCuller’s THE MEMBER OF THE WEDDING opens in Hayward on June 7 at the Douglas Morrison Theatre (formerly Hayward Little Theatre). It’s an opportunity to see a seldom produced theatre classic. It runs through July 1. -more-

Press Release: City Commons Club of Berkeley --June, 2012 Programs

From David Aroner
Saturday May 26, 2012 - 08:23:00 AM

City Commons Club meets in the historic Berkeley City Club at 2315 Durant Avenue; Berkeley. The building was designed by famous architect and BCC member Julia Morgan. For information about the City Commons Club: or call (510) 845-8055 or (510) 428-0222.

Pre-meeting coffee, soft drinks, wine, and conversation from 11:20 in the Venetian Room. Lunch served from 11:45 to 12:15. Lunch is $17.00;coffee only is $1.00. Speaker begins at 12:30 and meeting adjourns at 1:30.Visitors are welcome: please call for lunch reservations by the day before the Friday meeting: Jane Barrett--(510)845-8055.