The Week

Protesters downtown Sunday opposing no-sitting Measure S, a November ballot measure.
Ted Friedman
Protesters downtown Sunday opposing no-sitting Measure S, a November ballot measure.


Berkeley School Board President Comments on Heatley Withdrawal

By Jeff Shuttleworth (BCN)
Tuesday September 18, 2012 - 10:09:00 PM

The sole finalist for the Berkeley schools superintendent post has withdrawn his candidacy after rumors circulated that he opposes same-sex marriage.

Berkeley school board members announced three weeks ago that Edmond Heatley, a retired Marine officer who is currently superintendent of Clayton County Public Schools in Georgia, was the only finalist in a comprehensive nationwide search for a new superintendent.

But some Berkeley parents and teachers criticized Heatley last week after they found a memo he wrote in 2008, when he was superintendent in Chino in San Bernardino County, which they said showed that he backed a resolution in support of Proposition 8, the state constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage.

School board president John Selawsky said today that there are conflicting opinions about whether Heatley's memo actually supported the controversial ballot measure, but in the wake of the publicity about the matter he thinks it would have been difficult for Heatley to do a good job in Berkeley. -more-

Flash: Heatley Withdraws Candidacy for Berkeley School Superintendent

Tuesday September 18, 2012 - 08:44:00 AM

Berkeley Unified School District spokesperson Mark Coplan released a statement this morning reporting that Dr. Edmond Heatley, previously identified as the only finalist for the job of Superintendent of Schools, has withdrawn from candidacy. He has been the focus of sustained public criticism because of his participation in a training program funded by Eli Broad, a wealthy proponent of charter schools and other educational theories, and because his name was attached to a memo to the Chino school board promoting a resolution supporting Proposition 8, which banned same-sex marriage. -more-

"The Fight for Berkeley's Soul" Sunday Downtown

By Ted Friedman
Monday September 17, 2012 - 04:02:00 PM

In what promises to be a heated fight for Berkeley's soul, a Berkeley anti-sitting-ban committee launched a well-organized campaign downtown Sunday against Measure S, which would prohibit sitting on the sidewalk in commercial districts. -more-

Don't Close Berkeley Post Office, Say Speakers at Thursday Hearing

By Jeff Shuttleworth (BCN)
Friday September 14, 2012 - 12:56:00 PM

More than 100 people who packed a public hearing yesterday urged the U.S. Postal Service to reconsider its plan to close the historic main post office in downtown Berkeley.

Closing the 57,200-square-foot building at 2000 Alston Way, which was built in 1914 and is on the National Register of Historic Places, "would be akin to selling off a redwood state park," Berkeley resident Edith Hallberg said at the hearing in the City Council's chambers.

Adolfo Cabral, who is running for a City Council seat in the Nov. 6 election, said, "This property needs to remain as a common good for the public." -more-

Walk will Reveal Problems of Berkeley’s Aquatic Park

By Toni Mester
Friday September 14, 2012 - 11:52:00 AM
Aquatic Park view

A free informative walk around troubled Aquatic Park in Berkeley is scheduled for Saturday morning September 22 from 10 to 12:30. The two mile walk, guided by Mark Liolios of EGRET, departs from the Waterside Café at 84 Bolivar Drive, opposite Pexxikon, and will circle the Park clockwise, ending at Touchdown Plaza in front of the new Dona Spring Animal Shelter at the base of the pedestrian bridge. -more-

Updated: Heatley Should Not Be Hired as Superintendent : An Open Letter to the Berkeley School Board (News Analysis)

By Rob Wrenn
Thursday September 13, 2012 - 09:12:00 AM

Edmond Heatley would clearly be a terrible choice for superintendent of the Berkeley Unified School District.

  1. He has very little classroom experience: only two years teaching in Norfolk Virginia after a career in the Marines before moving on to administrative positions. We need a superintendent who knows what teaching is all about from first hand experience. The classroom is where education takes place.
  2. He has been accurately described as a "gypsy", an administrator who moves frequently from district to district. Has he been anywhere for more than 3 years?
  3. He hasn't done a good job where he has been superintendent.

Press Release: Berkeley Standing Up Coalition Kicks Off Campaign to Defeat “Sit-Lie” Measure S

From Christopher Cook
Sunday September 16, 2012 - 07:14:00 PM

More than 60 Berkeley residents and city and community leaders rallied support today at the city's downtown Constitution Square for their campaign to defeat Measure S, a “sit-lie” proposal on this November’s ballot which would make it illegal to sit on a sidewalk in commercial corridors. -more-

Community Campaign Center Opening

Friday September 14, 2012 - 01:51:00 PM

The Community Campaign Center at 1551 University, which is the campaign home for Measure U, along with Jacquelyn McCormick, Kriss Worthington and a handful of other campaigns, will be holding its grand opening tomorrow, Saturday, Sept. 15, at 10 a.m. -more-

Press Release: BCA Endorsement Meeting Results

From Linda Godzi
Sunday September 16, 2012 - 10:16:00 PM

The following candidates have received the endorsement of Berkeley Citizens Action for the November 2012 election, selected Sunday September 16 at our candidate endorsement meeting. Candidates who were endorsed got at least 60% of the vote. If that threshold was not met, BCA makes no endorsement. -more-

Press Release: BCA Endorsement Meeting

From BCA Steering Committee
Friday September 14, 2012 - 04:41:00 PM

The BCA Candidate Endorsement Meeting will take place on Sunday, Sept. 16, 1:30 to 5 PM, at the South Berkeley Senior Center, 2939 Ellis St. @ Ashby Ave. -more-

Election Information

Friday September 14, 2012 - 01:41:00 PM

Here are previous Planet articles with information and opinion about Berkeley’s November election:

ENDORSEMENT SPECIAL: Berkeley Mayor and City Council 09-05-2012

Berkeley Heats Up For the Fall Election Season 08-29-2012

Press Release: Bates and Berkeley Council Violated Brown Act in Measure S Process, Says ACLU in Letter From Bob Offer-Westort, Berkeley Standing Up for the Right to Sit Down; Michael T. Risher, Staff Attorney, ACLU of Northern California: 415 621 2493 09-06-2012

There's Something About Tom Bates (News Analysis) By Ted Friedman 09-01-2012

New: Berkeley Election News in Other Media 09-04-2012

Profiles of the Candidates for Berkeley Office in the November Election From the Berkeley City Clerk 08-28-2012

Berkeley Mayoral Candidates Forum on Sept 26th By Margot Smith 08-29-2012

Election Information: 2012 Berkeley Ballot Measures 08-29-2012

Berkeley's General Election Calendar From the Berkeley City Clerk 08-29-2012

Jacquelyn McCormick for Mayor (Opinion) By Martha Nicoloff 08-29-2012 -more-



ENDORSEMENT SPECIAL: Sitting Down Should not be Banned in Berkeley

By Becky O'Malley
Friday September 14, 2012 - 09:41:00 AM
Sitting the sidewalk on Pacific in Santa Cruz, a man whose sign describes him as a veteran begs passersby for money.  Sitting on the sidewalk is illegal in Santa Cruz, but the law is seldom enforced.

Here’s the big date: October 8.

That’s the day voters can get their mail-in ballots, and many Berkeley voters will eagerly jump the gun, get their ballots and vote on the spot.

Me, I have a nostalgic fondness for the ritual of walking to my neighborhood firehouse, seeing that nice lady who always knows my name even though I don’t always remember hers, placing that “I Voted” sticker on my shoulder. But realistically I know that mail-in ballots are safer and even easier for many, so decisions need to be made soon.

We’ve gotten the simple decisions out of the way here already: the council candidates, including the mayor. Or at least the top-rank candidates are apparent, though deciding the one-two order for mayor and District Two are not as easy.

This week we’ll ease into the rest of the ballot with a freeby, Measure S (Don’t Sit Down). -more-

Public Comment

But of Course, It Could Never Happen in Berkeley--or Could It?

By Osha Neumann
Friday September 14, 2012 - 10:15:00 AM

Editor's Note: The Daily Cal rejected this op ed saying it was "a significant departure from our typical op-ed style," and they preferred "a written format as opposed to a script."

A weekday afternoon on Telegraph Avenue. The year is 2013. A young woman, slings her book bag off her shoulder, sits down on the sidewalk, and takes off her shoes. A policeman walks up, stands over her, and takes out his citation book:

The officer: Get up! Get up! You’re breaking the law.

The woman (incredulous): My feet hurt. See these heels. I know it's just vanity but I like them. Where is it written that a woman whose feet hurt can’t sit down and take off her shoes?

The officer: Get up! It is written. Right here. (Pulls out a little blue book from his pocket and reads)No person shall sit on a commercial sidewalk between 7 AM and 10 PM.” Here you can read it yourself. -more-

Romney Follows His Own Rules

By Bruce Joffee
Friday September 14, 2012 - 10:34:00 AM

It is despicable that Candidate Romney issued a preemptive criticism of President Obama even as American Ambassador Chris Stevens was being killed in Libya. Not only was Romney misinformed and misguided, but he failed to adhere to a basic rule of American politics: politics stops at the water's edge. When our country is attacked, we stand behind our President, no matter what political party he belongs to. Romney's statements demonstrate how corruptly he values partisan politics over uniting around our country. He showed greed for power instead of patriotism. Romney seems to think that he is exempt from our common rules of decency. -more-

Letter to Berkeley Mayor and City Council Regarding Brown Act Violations in Placing Measure S on the November Ballot

By Michael T. Risher, Staff Attorney, ACLU of Northern California
Thursday September 13, 2012 - 02:48:00 PM

I am writing on behalf of the American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California to express our concerns about the procedure that the Berkeley City Council used in putting the sit-lie proposal to a vote on July 10, 2012. Specifically, we are troubled that in responding to disruption of its meeting, the Council violated both the Brown Act and its own procedures: it failed to follow the Act's procedures for addressing disruptive behavior and instead calling a recess at which a majority ofthe Council may have discussed the matter under consideration; and it then held a vote immediately after reconvening even though there were members of both the public and the Council who were on the list to comment on the proposal. As a result of these violations, members of the public and of the Council Were denied their rights to speak about this controversial proposal, and the proposal was adopted without the public debate by Councilmembers that is a crucial part of our democracy. -more-

East Bay Tax the Rich Group Celebrates One Year of Weekly Rallies

By Carol and Harry Brill
Sunday September 16, 2012 - 07:13:00 PM

Last Monday the Eastbay Tax the Rich Group celebrated our one year anniversary with a party on the street. The group started on September 11, 2011 when 10 community people rallied at the top of Solano Avenue in Berkeley to protest the inequality of taxes in our country. We held signs saying “Tax the Rich” and “Tax the Big Corporations”. -more-


THE PUBLIC EYE: Welcome to Romneyland

By Bob Burnett
Friday September 14, 2012 - 08:59:00 AM

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s policies would degrade American life. If Romney had his way, the US would follow the dysfunctional course of Wyoming, a state run by big oil and gas companies and governed by conservative Republicans. A state where pursuit of corporate profits trumps quality of life.

In Romney’s acceptance speech he promised, “By 2020, North America will be energy independent by taking full advantage of our oil and coal and gas and nuclear and renewables.” Reframing the Republican mantra “drill, baby, drill,” Romney’s energy plan would “open America’s energy reserves for development” and “provide a rational and streamlined process to regulation.” A Washington Post analysis of the plan concludes Romney would “Open all federal lands and waters for drilling, including the entire Pacific and Atlantic coasts as well as the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.” Currently, the Interior Department has the power to issue drilling permits for Federal lands and waters; “Romney would give that power to states.” In addition, Romney would “approve the Keystone XL pipeline, which would carry oil sands from Canada to the Texas gulf coast.”

To facilitate his full-throttle approach, Romney would significantly weaken the regulatory power of Federal agencies. He would, “Strip the Environmental Protection Agency of the power to regulate carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas.” In addition, Romney would “remove obstacles and regulations” that impede the development of coal. (Romney has called the Clean Water and Clean Air Acts “outdated” and said “they need to be overhauled.”) -more-

ECLECTIC RANT: Making it Harder For Some to Vote: Restrictive Voting Laws

By Ralph E. Stone
Friday September 14, 2012 - 09:55:00 AM

In the 2008 presidential election, approximately 5 million more Americans voted than in 2004. And the voters were the most racially diverse in American history, with African-Americans, Latino, and Asian-American citizens voting in record number. Since the 2008 election, however, more than 30 states have introduced laws that make it harder to vote, ostensibly to curb voter fraud. According to the Brennan Center for Justice , these restrictive laws could disenfranchise more than 5 million Americans, and could effect the presidential election in key states. -more-

ON MENTAL ILLNESS:Outpatient Institutionalization--A Rant

By Jack Bragen
Friday September 14, 2012 - 09:46:00 AM

Institutionalization can happen to a person with mental illness with or without their housing as one of its components. Many persons with mental illness are forced by economic concerns to live in a "board and care home" (which is a privately owned house that rents to mentally ill people) or in "supported housing," (this might be an apartment complex that has low rent, set aside for persons with disabilities.) -more-

Arts & Events

New: FILM REVIEW: Tears of Gaza: An Apolitical Apocalypse-- Opens September 21 at the Elmwood Theater

Reviewed by Gar Smith
Thursday September 20, 2012 - 09:28:00 AM

In a perfect world, I'd like to think Bibi Netanyahu might be required to sit through a screening of Tears of Gaza—and that he would emerge moved by the plight of the Palestinians. Again, in a more perfect world, I would wish that the men who manufactured the bullets, grenades and unquenchable, flesh-searing phosphorus bombs used in Gaza (and elsewhere in the world) would be required to sit through this film—in the company of their horrified wives and children. -more-

THEATER REVIEW: Three Nights--or Matinees--of James Keller's Plays at Live Oak Theater

By Ken Bullock
Friday September 14, 2012 - 04:48:00 PM

Unusual to have the chance to see the work of a mature playwright, a local one at that, in a setting like Live Oak Theater. But the opportunity to see James Keller's troupe, Poor Players, performing two gender-specific programs of his delightfull—and very thoughtful—short plays, plus Keller himself performing his condensation of James Joyce's 'Ulysses' (he has also taught classes in literature and other subjects at Berkeley Adult Ed.) is an opportunity not to pass up. -more-