The Week



Press Release: Aerial Survey Taking Radiation Measurements over Berkeley

From the National Nuclear Security Agency
Wednesday August 29, 2012 - 06:34:00 PM

[Councilmember Jesse Arreguin forwarded the following information to his constituents today:] -more-

Wondering about That Helicopter?

Wednesday August 29, 2012 - 10:12:00 AM

The helicopter flying low over the Berkeley-Oakland border appears to be measuring radiation, according to a story reported by radio station KALW. -more-

Election Information: 2012 Berkeley Ballot Measures

From the City Clerk
Sunday August 26, 2012 - 09:20:00 PM

Here the measures which will be on the Berkeley ballot for the November 6 election, along with the arguments for and against them: -more-

Berkeley's General Election Calendar

From the City Clerk Department
Sunday August 26, 2012 - 09:11:00 PM

Here are the relevant dates for Berkeley's General Election, which will take place on Nov. 6, 2012: -more-

Press Release: McCormick Sponsors Berkeley Community Campaign Office, Open to All

From Josh Wolf, Campaign Manager, McCormick for Mayor
Thursday August 23, 2012 - 11:24:00 AM

Berkeley residents have a one-stop solution this campaign season to learn about local election issues thanks to a mayoral candidate's revolutionary initiative.

The Jacquelyn McCormick For Mayor campaign is opening the doors to its new Community Campaign Center at 1551 University Avenue to all, including her competitors. Nearly a dozen campaigns have agreed to set up their headquarters at the new space, including Kriss Worthington and Kahlil Jacobs-Fantauzzi, who are both running to defeat Mayor Tom Bates in the November election. -more-

Man Arrested for Crashing into UC Berkeley Dorm

By Bay City News
Wednesday August 22, 2012 - 11:29:00 PM

A man was arrested for crashing his car into a University of California at Berkeley residence hall this morning and causing a gas leak that forced the evacuation of roughly 230 students. -more-

Press Release: Lisa and Douglas Goldman Give $10 million to Cal Athletics

By José Rodríguez (UC Berkeley Media Relations)
Monday August 20, 2012 - 02:42:00 PM

Berkeley Mayoral Contest Heats Up

By Ted Friedman
Friday August 10, 2012 - 07:39:00 PM
Candidates for Berkeley's Mayor hold a joint press conference on the steps of City Hall: Left to Right (but not in political order), Jacquelyn McCormick, Kriss Worthington, Kahlil Jacobs-Fantauzzi.

With the teaming of three simpatico Bates opponents this week, Berkeley's mayoral waters heated up. According to these candidates, Berkeley's new ranked choice vote counting system gives opponents a better chance to oust the three-term mayor.

Under the new system, never before used in a Berkeley mayor’s race, voters can choose up to three candidates, and if their first choice doesn’t get a majority, their vote will be transferred to their second choice and then to their third choice until some candidate gets a majority. -more-

Car Hits Berkeley Fire Hydrant, Bursts into Flames on Ashby

By Sasha Lekach (BCN)
Thursday August 16, 2012 - 10:22:00 AM

A car with dysfunctional brakes in Berkeley hit a fire hydrant and then burst into an engine fire on Tuesday, a Berkeley fire official said Wednesday. -more-

Design Review of Acheson Project Continues

By Steven Finacom
Friday August 10, 2012 - 07:44:00 PM
Mark Rhoades points out a detail on the study model of the Acheson Commons block.

After some higher profile appearances in public reviews, the large Acheson Commons project Downtown has moved back into temporary review obscurity as a joint subcommittee of the Landmarks Preservation Commission and the Design Review Subcommittee meet with the architects, developers, and City of Berkeley staff to discuss massing and design details. However, the lower profile meetings are no less important; it’s from this sausage-making that a close to final design for the complex with arise. -more-

The Misunderstood Sport of Sitting

By Carol Denney, Sports Critic
Friday August 17, 2012 - 05:53:00 PM

The flap over Olympic dressage as a sport obscures an even more misunderstood athletic pursuit: the subtle, unpretentious sport of sitting. -more-

Singapore: Stalinist housing blocs & feng shui

By Jane Stillwater
Friday August 17, 2012 - 05:34:00 PM

After spending a rather unique night trying to sleep on glorified lawn chairs at the Doha airport, I finally arrived in Singapore -- blurry-eyed and confused. And that's not a good condition to be in when trying to navigate through the Singapore airport -- because this airport is HUGE. Imagine the Great Mall of America, Rodeo Drive and a mini-Disney Adventureland combined with more restaurants than you could eat at in a month, an elaborate system of people-movers and thousands of happy tourists and shoppers, all tacked onto miles and miles of terminals, departure gates and runways -- and you pretty much get the picture. The Singapore airport is HUGE. -more-

Press Release: Coalition Releases Ballot Statement: Berkeley Anti-Sitting Measure S is “An Extraordinary Waste of Money and Police Resources”

From Christopher Cook, Communications Director, Berkeley Standing Up for the Right to Sit Down/No on S (; 415-504-0325);Pattie Wall, Executive Director, Homeless Action Center (510-333-0772)
Wednesday August 29, 2012 - 10:20:00 AM

A Berkeley coalition of merchants, neighborhood and social service groups, and religious and city leaders today released its official ballot argument against anti-sitting Measure S—calling it an “extraordinary waste of money and police resources” that infringes on all city residents’ civil rights and liberties. -more-



SUMMERTIME! And the Living Will Be Easy for a Few Weeks

By Becky O'Malley
Friday August 10, 2012 - 10:00:00 AM

Paul Krugman is has been on vacation. The Nation sneaks in a "double issue"— meaning they're skipping a week. The London Review of books has a "Sad Summer Issue". So we're doing it too. This issue will be up probably until after Labor Day, and I'l just add articles from time to time at my leisure, more or less randomly. More are in the works now, and will be posted in the next few days.

Some of our regular contributors will take time off as they choose, and I'll just be posting contributions from others when I get around to it, without worrying too much about deadlines. (Bob Burnett is on vacation this week.)

For "News", I might provide links to stories in the many worthwhile sites which aspire to report on what's happening in Berkeley. I'll also keep an eye on Bay City News, and will welcome news articles but not search them out.

I'll send email alerts to subscribers whenever there's critical mass of new material. If you'd like to get on the list, write to There's no charge. -more-

The Editor's Back Fence

Summer Reading

Friday August 17, 2012 - 04:53:00 PM

Since in theory I've been taking it easy, I've had time to read what others are up to.

I haven't read Subversives, Seth Rosenfeld's new book about the FBI and Berkeley's student movement in the '60s, but knowing Seth's work and after reading this review in the Wall Street Journal I will.

And also, the September Harper's has a review of some books about Pauline Kael, someone many in Berkeley admired and might even still remember. It doesn't seem to be online yet, but the print version just came to my house.

The Peralta community colleges are suing J.P. Morgan alleging chicanery over bond issues, according to an interesting article in the Daily Cal. -more-


Odd Bodkins: Devolution (Cartoon)

By Dan O'Neill
Thursday August 16, 2012 - 12:37:00 PM

Odd Bodkins: Still a Moran (Cartoon)

By Dan O'Neill
Thursday August 16, 2012 - 12:33:00 PM

Public Comment

Homosexuality And Christian Arrogance

By Peter Opa
Tuesday August 14, 2012 - 10:53:00 AM

It is unfair, if not outright wicked, to condemn or judge somebody for who they are without ever walking in their shoes. And it is arrogant, if not dishonest, to pretend to understand something that is beyond human comprehension. Sadly, that’s what conservatives have done to the gays in the name of Christianity. They judge the homosexuals and say vile things about them without knowing what it feels like to be attracted to same sex. -more-

Divide and Conquer

By Bruce Joffe
Tuesday August 14, 2012 - 10:40:00 AM

Call it class warfare, or call it the politics of resentment. The Romney enablers are using a strategy of division to conquer the Presidency. They are trying to turn hard-working people, who struggle everyday just to get by, against the people who are even less fortunate, by promoting resentment that some are receiving government assistance while others aren't. -more-

An Open Letter to the City of Berkeley Re Upzoning Residential Areas Adjacent to Downtown

By Stephen Stine
Monday August 13, 2012 - 01:33:00 PM

Hello Mayor Tom Bates, Berkeley City Council, the Zoning Adjustments Board, Planning Commission, Design Review Committee, Terry Blount, Alex Amoroso, and Anne Burns,

I am submitting this public comment to request the Zoning Adjustments Board, the Planning Commission, and City Council to review the 2012 upzoning of the 2024 Durant property from R-4 residential zoning to C-DMU commercial mixed use zoning, and to request City Council to downzone 2024 Durant to R-3 residential zoning, as was originally proposed in the Downtown Area Plan (DAP). Policy LU-7.1 of the Downtown Area Plan directed the city to downzone R-4 properties in the southwest downtown area of Berkeley to R-3 residential zoning in order to preserve the residential nature of the neighborhood, and Planning Commission and City Council did the exact opposite by upzoning 2024 Durant from R-4 to C-DMU commercial mixed use zoning. -more-

Clean Up Iceland

By Robert and Dorothy Bryant
Tuesday August 14, 2012 - 10:51:00 AM

We live one block from ICELAND and we want to thank each and every one of the volunteers who worked to clean up the filth that had accumulated around it. But this wonderful volunteer action is no substitute for a permanent solution to this abandoned and derelict building. -more-

Global Warming Are We Paving the Way to Inaction?

By Shahir Masri, MS
Sunday August 12, 2012 - 11:25:00 AM

What will it mean to teach today’s students both sides of the “global warming debate?” Will this translate to a politically balanced and scientifically sound education? Well that is the consensus among members of California’s Los Alamitos School Board who now require the District to teach “controversial issues” such as global warming in a balanced way that presents both sides of the issue. Just because two theories surround an issue, however, does not make that issue controversial or mean that both theories deserve balanced attention. In the case of global warming, because theories surrounding the issue are not supported equally by the scientific community, these theories should not be given equal representation in the classroom. -more-


New: THE PUBLIC EYE: Karl Rove’s Monstrous Second Act: The Romneyan

By Bob Burnett
Wednesday August 29, 2012 - 04:45:00 PM

In the 2000 Presidential campaign, Karl Rove created The Dubya. Now the evil genius of Republican politics is back with his second monster, The Romneyan. Will Rove’s creation win again? -more-

New: Romney, Ryan, and Rand: The Republican Trinity

By Bob Burnett
Friday August 17, 2012 - 12:51:00 PM

Sensing that if he did not shake up his campaign he would lose to Barack Obama, Mitt Romney anointed Paul Ryan as his running mate. Thereby, Romney assumed all of Ryan’s baggage, including the infamous Ryan budget, and the Wisconsin Congressman’s support for Ayn Rand’s “Objectivism.” -more-

SENIOR POWER A Tale of Two Sisters

By Helen Rippier Wheeler
Friday August 17, 2012 - 01:00:00 PM

Our books are about being old, single, and independent professional women. -more-

New: ON MENTAL ILLNESS: Institutionalization, Diet and Death

By Jack Bragen
Friday August 17, 2012 - 12:54:00 PM

Persons with mental illness who do not have a job tend to be sucked into institutionalization. The mental health treatment system has the ability to grab a person and keep them coming back. This is an entirely different subject than today's and deserves its separate column, which I will write in the future. -more-

ON MENTAL ILLNESS: Those Who Accept/Don't Accept Treatment

By Jack Bragen
Sunday August 12, 2012 - 11:24:00 AM

There are two types of persons who have severe mental illness. These are the ones who recognize that they have an illness and who accept treatment versus those who do not, and who incorrectly believe they are not ill. After the second or third relapse that happens subsequent to quitting medication, it should be clear to a person that they weren't misdiagnosed. Or, if they were misdiagnosed to begin with, the diagnosis has become accurate. -more-

ECLECTIC RANT: Helping the Elderly: California's Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program

By Ralph E. Stone
Sunday August 12, 2012 - 11:33:00 AM

Californians are getting older. The number of state residents over 60 grew from 1.6 million in 1950 to 4.7 million in 2000. By 2020, nearly 20 percent of California’s population is expected to be 60 or older. By 2050, that number is expected to be 25 percent. Many senior citizens end up in nursing homes, residential care facilities for the elderly, or assisted living facilities. In many cases, a senior citizen must go outside the long-term care system for help with a complaint. The Ombudsman Program can help resolve complaints and advocate for facility improvements. -more-

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

By Dorothy Bryant
Tuesday August 14, 2012 - 10:57:00 AM

There is no man whom it would so little become to speak of memory, for I find scarcely a trace of it in myself.— “Of Liars”, Essays, Michel de Montaigne (1533—1592)

As my brain leaks more and more memories, I happily discover Montaigne’s list of the advantages of his poor memory. -more-

Arts & Events

Hermano: A Story of Brotherhood, Family and Soccer

By Gar Smith
Monday August 27, 2012 - 11:40:00 AM

In the ten years since Bend it Like Beckham first lit up the screen, a major soccer movie has managed to make it to US theaters about once every three years. In 2005, it was Goal: The Dream Begins. In 2009, it was Rudo y Cursi (with Gael Garcia Bernal and Diego Luna). And now, soccer-loving cineastes can look forward to Hermano, a fast-paced, dust-kicking box-office hit from Venezuela, directed by Marcel Rasquin.

Hermano (originally released in 2010) won numerous international film awards (including the Moscow, Naples and Havana Film Festivals) on its way to an Academy Awards nomination as Best Foreign Film for 2011.

The story line of Hermano parallels the tale in Rudo y Cursi — two competitive brothers vie for commercial stardom on a national team and encounter challenges, disappointments and gang violence along the way. But where Rudo y Cursi had comic moments and musical interludes (when one brother tries to use his soccer stardom as a springboard for a musical career), Hermano has the kind of grit associated with a documentary. It's got the rivalry, it's got the gangs, and it's got more soccer battles than a Jackie Chan movie has kung fu fights. -more-

New: EYE FROM THE AISLE: Education of a Rake: Sexual Politics hot and edgy at Central Works

By John A. McMullen II
Thursday August 16, 2012 - 12:39:00 PM
Eric Reid and Gabrielle Patacsil

Don't Miss This: In the Dog Days

By Dorothy Snodgrass
Tuesday August 14, 2012 - 10:36:00 AM

I'm quite certain that most of you are well aware that the month of August is commonly referred to as "dog days." Romans referred to dog days as "dies caniculares"; the name coming from the ancient belief that Sirus, also called the "Dog Star", was responsible for the hot, sultry period of summer stagnation. Happily, we in the bay area are blessed with delightfully cool weather. O.k, enough of my lecture—let's get down to the interesting, entertaining and FREE performances lined up this month. -more-

Theater Review: 'Education of a Rake' by Central Works at the Berkeley City Club

By Ken Bullock
Sunday August 12, 2012 - 11:29:00 AM

"You're dumping me for the ERA and your wife?" -more-