The Week

Mayoral Candidate Kriss Worthington greets the press on the steps of Berkeley City Hall, where he announced Monday that he's entering the November race.
Mike O'Malley
Mayoral Candidate Kriss Worthington greets the press on the steps of Berkeley City Hall, where he announced Monday that he's entering the November race.


New: Broken Elevator Forces Berkeley Council to Postpone Tuesday Meeting

By Jeff Shuttleworth (BCN)
Wednesday July 25, 2012 - 06:03:00 PM

The Berkeley City Council was forced to postpone its meeting last night because the elevator at the aging building where it meets broke down, city spokeswoman Mary Kay Clunies-Ross said. -more-

New: Berkeley Post Office Rally Highlights Opposition to Sale

By Steven Finacom
Tuesday July 24, 2012 - 11:25:00 PM
Grey Brechin

The ongoing public protest to keep the Downtown Berkeley Post Office from being “relocated”, and the historic building sold, continued Tuesday evening with a rally on the steps of the building. When the event started I counted about 75 people, and the crowd grew to around 100 before the end. -more-

New: Worthington Wants to be Mayor of Berkeley (News Analysis)

By Ted Friedman
Wednesday July 25, 2012 - 10:13:00 AM
Back to our futures. Kriss Worthington announces his opposition to Tom Bates--will oppose him on November ballot.

Kriss Worthington has a steep climb on his journey to unseat Berkeley Mayor Tom Bates in November, but he took the first step Tuesday on the steps of City Hall. -more-

New: Kriss Worthington's Press Conference Announcing That He's Running to be Mayor of Berkeley--A Complete Transcription

Recorded and Transcribed by Thomas Lord
Tuesday July 24, 2012 - 05:51:00 PM


Planet reader and occasional contributor Thomas Lord attended and recorded this press conference at noon today and offered his transcription to us for publication. This is unconventional journalism, of course, but we think that some of our readers will appreciate the opportunity to read the whole thing. Tom asked us to emphasize that this is a rush job and probably contains errors--corrections welcome. -more-

Worthington to Run for Mayor

Tuesday July 24, 2012 - 08:41:00 AM

Berkeley Councilmember Kriss Worthington has informed the Planet that he will run for mayor this November. He plans to take out nomination petitions at noon today at Berkeley City Hall. Already in the race are 3-term incumbent mayor Tom Bates, former District 8 Council candidate Jacquelyn McCormick, poet Mark Schwartz and perennials Running Wolf and Khalil Jacobs-Fantuzzi. -more-

New: The Death of Dude: Berkeley's People's Park Dog Murder

By Ted Friedman
Tuesday July 24, 2012 - 09:22:00 AM

Murder of a People's Park dog, Saturday, 12:45 a.m., has deeply wounded People's Park regulars, for whom the dog was a beloved figure. The regulars are calling it murder by many names, but homicide is the main category. -more-

Press Release: A Practical People’s Platform- Things a Berkeley Mayor could accomplish

From Mayoral Candidate Kriss Worthington
Tuesday July 24, 2012 - 09:15:00 AM

1. FAMILY FRIENDLY COUNCIL MEETINGS: City Council meetings should be moved to a larger room when a controversial proposal is likely to attract a large crowd. This will reduce the frustration factor of people forced to wait outside or in the hallways. People with children, people with jobs the next morning, and disabled residents will be less likely to give up and go home. Any small cost for live television broadcasting is worth it to promote democratic participation.

2. MORE MEETINGS ORGANIZED MORE EFFECTIVELY: Planning Department Public Hearings on ZAB appeals should be scheduled at special meetings with nothing else on the agenda. Staff and management from other departments should not be subjected to hours of unnecessary delay. The number of City Council meetings per year has been decreased. The convenience of hundreds of members of the public is more important than the convenience of nine City Council members. Increasing the number of Council meetings to what they used to be is not an unreasonable burden. -more-

Will The World Watch Berkeley's People's Park Again?

By Ted Friedman
Friday July 20, 2012 - 10:42:00 AM
Telegraph business-man, property-owners president Craig Becker reads Chronicle story on People's Park tourism.

The whole world may again be watching Berkeley's People's Park, if Southside supporters have their way. The last time the whole world watched was 1969—"the Battle for People's Park."

But the whole world's attention can be fickle, and has, over the years, fizzled. I've kept a tourist watch in Berkeley's People's Park for several years, and can report no more than ten tourist sightings, and a few unpublished interviews with them.

The question is whether tourism on Telegraph Avenue has not also fizzled.

Numerous Teley businessmen, and the city's economic planners, attest to tourism declines on Telegraph Avenue. -more-

I Was a Tourist In People's Park (First Person)

By Ted Friedman
Friday July 20, 2012 - 10:26:00 AM
Meet here, the West end, to begin your tour.

Before the tour busses roll in (see our accompanying Planet piece), I want tourists to know I was here first. -more-

Excerpt 5

By John Curl
Thursday July 19, 2012 - 10:00:00 PM

Copyright © 2012 by John Curl. All rights reserved.

This is the fifth in a series of excerpts from John Curl’s long article about Mayor Bates and his effects on the city. The article follows Bates and the progressive movement in city government from its beginnings to today, based on extensive quotes from Bates’ own oral history and interviews with other players in the political events. In this excerpt Bates discusses Congressman Ronald V. Dellums, his mentor; Assembly Speaker Willie Brown, his teacher; Assemblymember Dion Aroner, his aide and successor; his frustrated ambitions for higher office; his ouster from the Assembly by term limits; and his difficulties while out of office while his wife, Loni Hancock, was becoming increasingly successful. You can also download a Full PDF. of the entire article.> -more-

Police in Berkeley and Elsewhere Get White Powder

By Sasha Lekach (BCN)
Saturday July 21, 2012 - 11:52:00 PM

An envelope filled with white powder was delivered to a San Francisco police station this morning, as well as at the Oakland Police Department Friday evening, San Francisco and Oakland police said. -more-

New: Rally Planned Against Berkeley Post Office Sale

By Steven Finacom
Friday July 20, 2012 - 05:51:00 PM
An early postcard shows Berkeley’s Downtown Main Post Office, probably not long after its completion in 1914. (Courtesy, Berkeley Historical Society)

“We’re going to stop them. They picked the wrong building in the wrong town”, geographer Gray Brechin firmly told a crowd of about 100 concerned locals who came to Berkeley’s Hillside Club on short notice Friday evening, July 20, 2012, to discuss what could be done to save Berkeley’s busy and historic Downtown Post Office building from closure and sale. -more-

Bon Appetit in Berkeley

By Dorothy Snodgrass
Friday July 20, 2012 - 11:38:00 AM

While not widely acclaimed for its Epicurean taste in fine food, Berkeley nonetheless boasts dozens of great restaurants and cafes. Offering a wide choice of food, from plain, no-nonsense dishes to ultra gourmet cuisine, you won't go hungry believe me! Depending on your appetite and your financial situation, you may want to try one or two of these popular eateries: -more-

In Memoriam Arlene Sagan: 1928-2012

By Ken Bullock (From SFCV, with permission)
Tuesday July 31, 2012 - 09:37:00 AM

Arlene Sagan, 84, died on July 5 in her Berkeley home, where she lived since 1955. She was music director emeritus of the 180-plus voice Berkeley Community Chorus and Orchestra (BCCO), which she directed from 1988, when it was a 30-voice group, until her retirement last year, and of Bella Musica Chorus — just two among many Bay Area musical groups and projects with which she was deeply involved.

With the news of Sagan’s death, members of Bella Musica gathered at her home to sing in commemoration of her life and work. Ann Callaway, Bella Musica composer in residence, remarked: “When we all got together, we went up to her room where she was lying and sang for her, and the words to Sibelius’ ‘Finlandia Hymn,’ about ‘love’ and ‘community,’ seemed so ... her. ... We even managed to do ‘How Lovely Is Thy Dwelling Place’ from the Brahms Requiem.”

Tributes and memorial statements poured into the organizations Sagan led, recalling (as Callaway put it) her “very deep personal connections with people through music, her dedication to music” itself, and her longtime, firm commitment to include amateur singers, including many who couldn’t read music or who’d never sung before, in practice and performance of “major, difficult choral works, such as Brahms’ Requiem and Orff’s Carmina Burana. -more-



Deception 101: How to Write a Ballot Measure in Berkeley

By Becky O'Malley
Friday July 20, 2012 - 09:14:00 AM

The Berkeley City Council continues to be a depressing illustration of the decline and fall of democratic government in Berkeley. At meeting after meeting a parade of articulate and well-informed citizens explains to an increasingly out-of-it council what’s happening regarding a cluster of issues crucial to the future of the city, and the council on straight factional votes continues to ignore them.

(At this point, if the Planet allowed anonymous comments, we’d cue the chorus of faceless Fox News wannabes who plague other local online news sources. They would claim that a silent majority of stay-at-homes espouses positions contrary to those of the citizens who actually show up at meetings, speak and write under their real names and show their own faces in public. Uh-huh.)

Below are links to an assortment of respectable news stories from various local media reporting, mostly accurately, what happened at Tuesday’s council meeting. In brief, the council approved ballot language for placing two more items on the ballot for citizen vote in the November election, refused to approve a deal with Safeway to accept trivial payoffs for not opposing its proposed megastore just over the Oakland border, and decided to spend a quarter of a million dollars on YMCA memberships for city employees. -more-

The Editor's Back Fence

Updated: Addie's Closed, Trieste Will Return

Friday July 20, 2012 - 11:46:00 AM


Last week I discovered that two of my favorite restaurants, Addie's Pizza Pie on Adeline (an offshoot of Sweet Adeline's Bakery, still there) and Caffe Trieste at Dwight and San Pablo, had suddenly closed. We were at the Trieste (a franchise of San Francisco's famous cafe) not more than a week ago--and yesterday it was gone. closed for repairs. Addie's, sad to say, seems to be closed for good. -more-


Odd Bodkins: The Wrong Comic Strip (Cartoon)

By Dan O'Neill
Monday July 23, 2012 - 11:49:00 AM

Public Comment

New: Mutual Aid Communities: A Must

By Harry Brill
Tuesday July 24, 2012 - 11:13:00 PM

Open Letter to Berkeley Design Review Committee about Durant Avenue Dorm Project Proposal

By Stephen Stine
Friday July 20, 2012 - 11:18:00 AM

Hello Ann Burns and the City of Berkeley Design Review Committee, -more-

On Board the Stand up for the Right to Sit Down Coalition:

Friday July 20, 2012 - 05:33:00 PM



DISPATCHES FROM THE EDGE: Moral Drones and the New York Times

By Conn Hallinan
Friday July 20, 2012 - 10:04:00 AM

“…it may be a surprise to find some moral philosophers, political scientists, and weapons specialists believe unmanned aircraft offer marked moral advantages over almost any other tool of warfare.”—Scott Shane, national security reporter for the New York Times, “The Moral Defense For Drones,” 7/15/12

First, one should never be surprised to find that the NY Times can ferret out experts to say virtually anything. Didn’t they dig up those who told us all that Saddam Hussein had nuclear weapons? Second, whenever the newspaper uses the words “some,” that’s generally a tipoff the dice are loaded, in this case with a former Air Force officer (who teaches philosophy at the Naval Postgraduate School), a former CIA deputy chief of counterintelligence, and political scientist Avery Plaw, author of “Targeting Terrorists: A License To Kill?” -more-

THE PUBLIC EYE: Think Different: What Apple Can Teach America

By Bob Burnett
Friday July 20, 2012 - 09:39:00 AM

In the latest issue of VANITY FAIR, journalist Kurt Eichenwald chronicles the twelve-year decline of Microsoft. Over the same period, Apple prospered, but America floundered. Analyzing Microsoft’s failure and Apple’s success helps us understand what the US needs to do to get back on track.

In December of 2000, Microsoft shares (MSFT) were worth $119.94; it was the most valuable corporation in the world with a market capitalization of $510 billion. Then the slide began; now Microsoft’s stock is worth $30.63 per share and its market capitalization is $257B. During the same period Apple’s stock (AAPL) increased in value from $8.19 to $614.32 and its market cap rose from $4.8B to $574B. Now Apple is the world’s most valuable company.

Why did Microsoft decline while Apple prospered? Eichenwald focuses on management and strategy. But purpose is as important. -more-

ECLECTIC RANT: Mending Fences in Laos

By Ralph E. Stone
Friday July 20, 2012 - 09:56:00 AM

Earlier this month U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton became the first high level U.S. official to visit Laos since the Vietnam War. Although not touted as such, the visit was an effort to mend fences with Laos, the most heavily bombed nation per capita in history.

While in Laos, Clinton made a visit to the Cooperative Orthotic and Prosthetic Enterprise (COPE) Center to observe medical and rehabilitation services for amputees, many of whom are victims of explosions from bombs left over from the Vietnam War era. The exhibit included dangling cluster bombs and crude wooden artificial legs made by villagers whose limbs had been lost by unexploded ordinance, a legacy of the U.S. secret war.

From 1964 to 1973, the U.S. conducted a secret war in Laos to support the Royal Lao Government against the Pathet Lao. The U.S. flew over Laos from bases in Thailand to bomb the Ho Chi Minh trail in North Vietnam. The B-52s released many of their bombs over eastern Laos. The CIA effort in Laos remains the largest and most expensive paramilitary operation ever conducted by the U.S. -more-


By Helen Rippier Wheeler
Thursday July 19, 2012 - 08:39:00 PM

For powerless seniors, it has become very difficult, often impossible, to identify a physician who accepts (1) new patients and (2) Medicare Assignment. Medicare Assignment refers to the amount assigned by Medicare and paid the provider for a given procedure. Few physicians accept what Medicare pays as payment in full, including those who in the past did so. -more-

ON MENTAL ILLNESS: The Issue of Compliance: Weighing Side Effects Against Symptoms

By Jack Bragen
Thursday July 19, 2012 - 08:34:00 PM

If you think about it, the term "noncompliance," applied to persons with mental illness, implies that the medication is some kind of punishment. Or it at least implies that taking it is something the patient is being made to do, and wouldn't do if given a choice. -more-

MY COMMONPLACE BOOK (a diary of excerpts copied from printed books, with comments added by the reader.)

By Dorothy Bryant
Friday July 20, 2012 - 11:23:00 AM

The truth, he thought, has never been of any real value to any human being—it is a symbol for mathematicians and philosophers to pursue. In human relations, kindness and lies are worth a thousand truths.— from The Heart of the Matter (1948) by Graham Greene (1904—1991) -more-

Arts & Events

THEATER REVIEW: Mime Troupe: "For the Greater Good, or The Last Election'--Free, in the Parks

By Ken Bullock
Thursday July 19, 2012 - 08:28:00 PM

"OCCUPY might not need a leader, but it could use a poster child!' It's summer and the SF Mime Troupe's back in the parks, this time with an inverted, updated melodrama: taking off from Dion Boucicault's 'The Poor of New York' (also Scorsese's starting point for 'The Gangs of New York'), itself adapted from 'Les Pauvres de Paris,' originally about the financial panics of the 1830s and 50s ... "for the Greater Good, or The Last Election.' -more-

Around & About Theater: 'Noises Off' at Actors Ensemble of Berkeley; Jovelyn Richards' Own Bistro Variety Series

By Ken Bullock
Thursday July 19, 2012 - 08:23:00 PM

—'Noises Off,' Michael Frayn's burlesque of a farce--both easier and harder than it sounds--as seen from both sides of the stage, upstage and back, will open at Actors Ensemble in Berkeley Friday the 20th ... Directed by Colin Johnson, the cast of eight must essay the theater company's roles versus personalities, literally turn the set around twice--and be very, very inadvertently funny, trying to be both sexy and conventionally funny, while slamming doors and keeping quiet backstage. -more-

THEATER REVIEW: 'Noises Off' at Actors Ensemble of Berkeley

By Ken Bullock
Friday July 27, 2012 - 12:59:00 PM

"I hope you enjoy the remains of the evening." -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 - 08:55:00 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-