The Week

Two burning cars on the Clark Kerr Campus. Cause of the fire is under investigation.
Glen Kohler
Two burning cars on the Clark Kerr Campus. Cause of the fire is under investigation.


Flash: Car Conflagration at Clark Kerr

By Glen Kohler
Thursday July 19, 2012 - 03:07:00 PM

Thursday morning at or around 9:30 am two cars burned in the driveway between the Clark Kerr Campus and the back of Redwood Gardens senior housing in Berkeley. Black and white plumes from the fires rose hundreds of feet into the air, clearly marking the location for emergency crews, campus officials, and on-lookers. -more-

Press Release: Save Our Berkeley Post Office-- Berkeley Residents Take Action!

Forwarded by Adolpho Cabral
Tuesday July 17, 2012 - 12:24:00 PM

On Friday, July 20, from 3– 6:00 pm. A public information demonstration will gather at the Downtown Berkeley Post Office, at 2200 Allston Way (near Milvia St). -more-

New: Who Owns OUR (Downtown Berkeley) Post Office? (News Analysis)

By Gray Brechin
Monday July 16, 2012 - 12:30:00 PM

Steve Finacom confirmed rumors I’d heard when he reported on June 24 that the US Postal Service will soon sell Berkeley’s downtown post office. If that sale goes through as planned, it will be only the latest instance of an accelerating heist from the public domain as the USPS Board of Governors and Congress incrementally unravel America’s 237-year old postal system. In that sense, it is also another lurch in the direction of Ayn Rand’s utopia in which public services and the public domain simply cease to exist. -more-

Who Won Historic Anti-Sit-Lie Debate at Jam-Packed Council Meeting, Tuesday? A Snapshot of Berkeley as It Unites, Finds Its Voice Against Alleged Injustices

By Ted Friedman
Friday July 13, 2012 - 03:59:00 PM
Not much of a crowd before council meeting Tuesday, but all that changed later in chambers.

It was to have been a working birthday for me. I can't recommend a working birthday too highly, especially if you are running from your age, and discover the soul of Berkeley in the process. -more-

Bicyclist Killed In Berkeley Collision Was Prominent Psychology Professor

By Scott Morris (BCN)
Friday July 13, 2012 - 11:33:00 PM

A bicyclist was killed in downtown Berkeley this afternoon in a collision with a dump truck, police said.

The 65-year-old Berkeley resident was found lying in the roadway on Bancroft Way west of Fulton Street at 3:38 p.m.

The Alameda County coroner's bureau identified him as Shlomo Bentin. -more-

Upstream, Downstream: Bond Issue Scheduled for Berkeley (News Analysis)

By Toni Mester
Friday July 13, 2012 - 03:10:00 PM
Aquatic Park

Gravity has emerged as a player in Berkeley politics in the guise of a watershed and streets bond currently under consideration by the City Council. In a city bifurcated between hills and flatlands, the way water moves towards the Bay parallels the trickling down of money into the municipal coffers. -more-

Press Release: City of Berkeley Fatal Bicycle Collision – Bancroft Way and Fulton Street

From Sergeant Mary C. Kusmiss S-6, City of Berkeley Police Department
Friday July 13, 2012 - 10:43:00 PM

This afternoon, Friday, July 13, 2012 at about 3:38 p.m., community members called the City of Berkeley Police Department (BPD) reporting a collision involving a bicyclist and a dump truck. The bicyclist, a man in his 60s, was lying in the roadway on Bancroft Way west of Fulton Street. The dump truck was not aware of a collision, but returned to the scene after being alerted by a passing motorcyclist. -more-

SF-Chef Food Trucks "Soft Launch" to Save South Side, Thursday

By Ted Friedman
Friday July 13, 2012 - 11:36:00 AM
Cars clog Telegraph/Haste Thursday as "soft-launch" of Chef food trucks begins nearby.

Off the Grid, a federation of chef-operated, moderately priced food trucks rolled onto Haste and Telegraph to help save Berkeley's besieged center, Thursday 5-9 p.m., and packed in the crowds (as many as 5,000, mostly students, over four hours). -more-



Odd Bodkins: President Bobbitt (Cartoon)

By Dan O'Neill
Friday July 13, 2012 - 04:09:00 PM

Public Comment

Ron Dellums and the Berkeley Post Office

By Christopher Adams
Tuesday July 17, 2012 - 12:26:00 PM

Gray Brechin's fine piece on the Berkeley post office notes that "The building has, over the years, managed to escape the tacky remodelings that the USPS has inflicted on other historic properties such as Oakland’s main post office." This is not because of luck. When the USPS threatened to remodel the lobby with its latest interior decoration ideas--formica countertops, etc.--the Berkeley Architectural Heritage Association complained to Ron Dellums, then our representative in Congress. His office arranged some meetings with the regional USPS office in San Carlos. It was a frustrating meeting with some of the most stubborn bureaucrats one could imagine, but plans were revised, and the lobby remains. -more-

Thank-you, Downtown Berkeley Association for the Controlled Space Program!

By Carol Denney
Saturday July 14, 2012 - 10:34:00 AM

Some of you who have struggled for permits of various kinds will find it unfair that the Downtown Berkeley Association (DBA) has acquired not just one permit for amplified sound, but what appears to be an eternal permit for the prime territory near the BART Station on Shattuck Avenue. But consider that, as the most powerful political group in town, they really, really want to control what goes on there. -more-


DISPATCHES FROM THE EDGE; Iran Sanctions: War By Another Name

By Conn Hallinan
Friday July 13, 2012 - 10:48:00 PM

Now that the talks with Iran on its nuclear program appear to be on the ropes, are we on the road to war? The Israelis threaten it almost weekly, and the Obama administration has reportedly drawn up an attack plan. But in a sense, we are already at war with Iran. -more-

THE PUBLIC EYE: Mitt Romney: No There There

By Bob Burnett
Friday July 13, 2012 - 10:57:00 AM

Returning to Oakland after a long absence, Gertrude Stein famously remarked, “there is no there there.” During the first week of July, conservatives made a similar discovery about Mitt Romney: he’s an empty suit. While Romney blames President Obama for America’s economic malaise, the Republican presidential candidate doesn’t understand what caused the recession and, therefore, has no recovery plan. -more-

ECLECTIC RANT: Independent Foreclosure Review

By Ralph E. Stone
Friday July 13, 2012 - 04:46:00 PM

If your primary residence was involved in a foreclosure process between January 1, 2009 and December 31, 2010, you may qualify for a free Independent Foreclosure Review . All Requests for Review Forms must be submitted online or postmarked no later than September 30, 2012. -more-

WILD NEIGHBORS: Odds and Loose Ends

By Joe Eaton
Friday July 13, 2012 - 03:52:00 PM
Merlin: an unexpected taste for dragonflies.

A few weeks ago I wrote about a new citizen science initiative to monitor migrating dragonflies. In getting some background on this phenomenon, I read that dragonflies tend to follow the same migratory routes as birds, following the same topographic landmarks and avoiding the same water crossings. Cape May, New Jersey, famous for its migrant raptors and other birds, also sees swarms of southbound dragonflies. I wondered if anything similar had been observed by the hawkwatchers at Hill 129 in the Marin Headlands. Here’s a response from Allen Fish, director of the Golden Gate Raptor Observatory: -more-

ON MENTAL ILLNESS: Chronic Anxiety

By Jack Bragen
Friday July 13, 2012 - 11:04:00 AM

Anxiety is fear, which is usually less intense than outright terror, which is constant, and which stubbornly hangs on despite attempts at relief. It can occur for a variety of reasons including but not limited to having post traumatic stress or having some type of brain malfunction. There isn't always an explanation for its occurrence. -more-

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

By Dorothy Bryant
Tuesday July 17, 2012 - 12:29:00 PM

Over my head, I see the bronze butterfly
Asleep on the black trunk
Blowing like a leaf in green shadow.
Down the ravine behind the empty house,
The Cowbells follow one another
Into the distances of the afternoon.
(5 lines omitted)
I lean back, as evening darkens and comes on
A chicken hawk floats over, looking for home.

I have wasted my life.

—from “Lying in a Hammock at William Duffy’s Farm” by James Wright -more-

Arts & Events

Around & About Theater: Jovelyn Richards' 'Strippin' Down to Story;' The SF Mime Troupe at Cedar-Rose Park; 'Willy Wonka' at Julia Morgan

By Ken Bullock
Friday July 13, 2012 - 11:02:00 AM

Oakland storyteller Jovelyn Richards stages an expanded version of the piece she debuted at the East Bay Media Center in Berkeley, 'Stripping Down to Story,' about the pride of the Harlem Renaissance, Diane, aka Stardust, showing it all in the back alley striptease club in NYC, including the tattooed pictures that begin speaking to her during the black-outs ... Jovelyn holding forth, with musical accompaniment in her inimitable style, supplied by Mike Wilson, sax, and Dexter Rogers, keyboards. Friday-Saturday at 8, this weekend only, The Garage, 715 Howard at Fifth, San Francisco, part of the Resident Artist Workshop (RAW). $10-$20 (cash) at the door, $15 in advance. (415) 518-1517; -more-

Press Release: They're Selling the Berkeley Post Office?! Discussion of Options with Dr. Gray Brechin Friday, June 20, at 7:30

From John Feld, Hillside Club
Thursday July 12, 2012 - 04:20:00 PM

A giant real estate company contracted by the U.S. Postal Service to sell America's post offices is doing so without user input and with no consideration for their aesthetic or historic merit let alone their vital community functions.

Now it's Berkeley's turn. Built in 1914 and modeled on Brunelleschi's Foundling Hospital in Florence to harmonize with the nearby University buildings, the downtown post office is one of the nation's most beautiful and hosts two New Deal art works. It belongs to all of us.

Dr. Gray Brechin will discuss the actual reasons for the fire sale of what the National Trust for Historic Preservation has categorically named among America's most endangered treasures and what we can do to stop it. The Berkeley City Council will consider a resolution to formally appeal the sale at its July 24 meeting. -more-

Eye from the Aisle: “SPRING AWAKENING” at Alameda’s Altarena Playhouse CLOSES SUNDAY

By John A. McMullen II
Thursday July 12, 2012 - 11:38:00 PM
Brendon North as Melichior

Director Fred Chacon is to be congratulated for assembling a cast of highly talented young actors and singers who believably resemble the teenage characters in the Tony Winning “SPRING AWAKENING” at Altarena. When this musical is produced, usually the actors look like they are in their twenties. -more-

Saving the Art and Fighting Post Office Closings: LaborFest presents: Gray Brechin; Dave Welsh, NALC; and Jose Carlos Riquelme, APWU at the Berkeley Arts Festival

Friday July 13, 2012 - 04:45:00 PM

Gray Brechin will provide the context of the closings within the push for privatization of the public sector and will describe how the New Deal not only built post offices, but also beautified them with public art. Union postal workers will talk about the national grassroots fight to stop service cutbacks and preserve living-wage postal jobs for our communities. -more-

Around & About Opera: Festival Opera--"Make Our Garden Grow"

By Ken Bullock
Friday July 13, 2012 - 11:02:00 AM

Excellent Festival Opera celebrates the start of its third decade with a benefit this Saturday at 8, with an all-star reprise of some of the great moments of its past performances, featuring 16 splendid singers, starting with Eugene Brancovenu and Hope Briggs, as well as special guest from The Met, Susanne Mentzer ... Music and artistic director Michael Morgan, principal conductor Bryan Nies and Joseph Marcheso will conduct, with James Toland leading the 40-voice Festival Opera Chorus. $100--with a special package including restaurant party and champagne reception at intermission, $250. (925) 943-7469; -more-

Press Release: COMMUNITY FORUM:The Struggle for Free Speech at the City College of New York: 1931-42

From Carol Smith
Thursday July 19, 2012 - 08:50:00 PM

Carol Smith, retired CCNY faculty, will give a slide lecture of photographs, graphics, and cartoons documenting student and faculty political activism at CCNY in the 1930s, and the ensuing repression which led to the dismissal of over fifty faculty and staff in 1941-42. -more-