The Week

The Hills Emergency Forum shows on its website this map showing the overlapping zones of Berkeley Hills fires in the 20th century.  The 1991 Firestorm is the large red area at center, and the 1937 Fire is the pinkish tongue extending eastward from it.
The Hills Emergency Forum shows on its website this map showing the overlapping zones of Berkeley Hills fires in the 20th century. The 1991 Firestorm is the large red area at center, and the 1937 Fire is the pinkish tongue extending eastward from it.


New: 1937 Oakland/Temescal Fire Foreshadowed 1991 Conflagration In Oakland/Berkeley Hills

By Steven Finacom
Monday September 24, 2012 - 01:22:00 PM
This map from the September 27, 1937 Oakland Tribune, shows the fire area; it was published while the fire was still burning eastwards.   Highway 24 now runs up the “New Tunnel Road” route that crosses the map, to the Caldecott Tunnel (shown as “Western Portal of New Tunnel” on map).   Lake Temescal at lower left.

September 26 / 27 is the 75th anniversary of one of the five largest wildfires of the 20th century to burn the west side of the Berkeley Hills. Scorching at least a square mile of land south of today’s Highway 24 and the Caldecott Tunnel, the fire burned for more than a day and threatened both Oakland and Berkeley residential neighborhoods. -more-

Space Shuttle Passes Over Berkeley

By Becky O'Malley
Friday September 21, 2012 - 10:15:00 AM
The NASA Shuttle as seen over Berkeley

Wow! I just glanced out my window and saw the retiring space shuttle, mounted on the back of a big plane, passing over my head. Very moving, much more than I'd expected.

Mark Coplan forwarded some great pictures with this comment:

"The historic flight of the NASA Shuttle to its final resting place where millions will be able to see it passed over Berkeley today. It was an awesome sight from the roof of the new Berkeley Unified School District Administrative Offices." -more-

Campaign for McLaughlin Park
on State Parks Commission Agenda
for September 28

By Patricia Vaughan Jones,Executive Director, Citizens for East Shore Parks
Friday September 21, 2012 - 03:32:00 PM

Naming parks after people adds a human element and story to open space. Citizens for East Shore Parks (CESP), a shoreline advocacy nonprofit, has spearheaded a campaign to rename Eastshore State Park as McLaughlin Eastshore State Park after San Francisco Bay champion and citizen volunteer Sylvia McLaughlin. The proposal will be on the agenda of the California State Parks Commission on September 28.

CESP is committed to this campaign because Sylvia McLaughlin represents the many citizen volunteers who worked to preserve the San Francisco Bay shoreline. Sylvia McLaughlin is co-founder of CESP and Save the Bay and she was instrumental in establishing the Eastshore State Park. CESP was founded in 1985 as a result of Santa Fe Railroad’s proposed fill and development on the Berkeley shoreline. CESP brought shoreline advocates together to stop this development, preserving the land that became the Eastshore State Park. -more-

Ashby BART Station in Berkeley Closed Due to Person Under Train

Tuesday September 25, 2012 - 07:43:00 PM

Berkeley's Ashby BART station is closed this evening because a person was under a train there, according to BART. -more-

New: Grey Panthers Host Berkeley Mayor Candidates in Forum

By Helen Rippier Wheeler
Wednesday September 26, 2012 - 10:21:00 PM

The Berkeley-East Bay Gray Panthers’ monthly meeting filled the North Berkeley Senior Center large meeting room with reporters, photographers, and senior citizens-elders-boomers on Wednesday, September 26, 2012 afternoon. Maggie Kuhn —she who contended that “Power should not be concentrated in the hands of so few, and powerlessness in the hands of so many”— would have been pleased with the turn-out and how the Meet the Candidates for Berkeley Mayor forum was conducted. -more-

Press Release: Celebratory “Sitting Olympics” To Highlight Measure S Concerns
Berkeley celebs headline Sept. 30 “Starry Plough Olympiad 2012”

From Christopher Cook
Wednesday September 26, 2012 - 06:07:00 PM

Adding colorful levity to the campaign season, the coalition Berkeley Standing Up for the Right to Sit Down/No on S is hosting an “Olympic Sitting Competition” Sept. 30 to dramatize the “absurdity” of outlawing sitting on a sidewalk. -more-

Press Release: Bookmark and Share Curb-Sit and Kiss-In Protest Against Anti-Sitting Law-- Re-Creation Of Barack And Michelle Obama's First Kiss While Sitting On The Sidewalk

By B Sofer
Wednesday September 26, 2012 - 12:05:00 PM

What: Obama wedding anniversary eve first date re-creation, “Curb-Sit” and “Kiss-In”

When: Tuesday, October 2, 2012 at 6:30 PM

Where: On the Curb of the Berkeley City Council meeting, 2134 Martin Luther King Jr. Way

On the eve of Barack and Michelle Obama's 20th wedding anniversary, citizens of Berkeley will be re-creating the First Family’s first date and first kiss, exactly as they did, while sitting on the sidewalk and sharing ice cream. If measure S, (the sidewalks for the merchants, not the homeless measure) passes in the November election, this re-creation would be illegal on the Obamas 21st anniversary.
A plaque placed outside a strip mall in the Hyde Park neighborh
The protesters were inspired by the dedication, in August, of a plaque commemorating that first kiss, on a 3000-pound granite marker at the location where their first kiss occurred.

The photo is from Zimbio

There will be a signing of an anniversary card, urging the Obamas to come out in opposition to this awful law.

That first kiss occurred in 1989 when Pres. Obama was a Harvard law student working as a summer associate in the law firm where Michelle Obama was an attorney. Their first kiss occurred while they were sitting on the sidewalk in front of what is now a Subway sandwich shop. The president said in a February 2007 interview in Oprah's "O.", magazine, " On our first date, I treated her to the finest ice cream Baskin-Robbins had to offer, our dinner table doubling as the curb. I kissed her, and it tasted like chocolate." -more-

New: Vote No on Alameda County Measure A1 (Opinion)

By Laura Baker,East Bay Chapter of the California Native Plant Society
Wednesday September 26, 2012 - 10:29:00 AM

The East Bay Chapter of the California Native Plant Society is a member of the organized opposition to the Oakland Zoo's county-wide parcel tax measure, Measure A1. We are one of the signers to the argument against the measure that appears in the voter pamphlet. This measure is not what the zoo is claiming it is--all about humane animal care. It's about getting Alameda county taxpayers to foot the bill for the big ridgeline expansion and 34,000 sq. foot visitor center, restaurant, and office complex that zoo management insists they will be building on unspoiled Knowland Park, Oakland's largest park and an area of amazing plant and wildlife diversity. There is another side to this measure besides the cute animals that the zoo displays to divert attention away from the real issues. -more-

Press Release: Berkeley Mayoral Candidate Kahlil Jacobs-Fantauzzi to Host Green Party Endorsement Celebration at New Campaign Headquarters

Friday September 21, 2012 - 11:45:00 AM

Berkeley Mayoral candidate and Green Party member Kahlil Jacobs-Fantauzzi will host a Green Party endorsement celebration and meet-and-greet on Friday, September 21, 2012 at his new campaign's headquarters located at 1551 University Avenue.

The event will be held on Friday evening, between the hours of 5PM to 9PM, and invited guests and speakers include City Councilmember Kriss Worthington, Rent Commissioner Asa Dodsworth, Adolfo Cabral, Michelle Hamilton and other progressive candidates, community leaders and educators. -more-

MapLight's Voter's Edge: A Graphic Guide to Election Information

Monday September 24, 2012 - 06:16:00 PM

Voter's Edge is the product of MapLight, a non-profit foundation-funded organization which documents political contributions and presents them in an easily accessed online format. Here's their widget which tells you all about California ballot propositions:

And below you'll see the MapLight widget for Berkeley.

We must emphasize, however, that we haven't fact-checked the information here, which is compiled by and for the blog under contract with MapLight. Also, in many categories, like "Endorsements", the information is incomplete.

We've taken just a quick look, and have already found one error: Street Spirit's cartoon on Anti-Sitting Measure S does not belong under Editorials in the "Yes" column—they're emphatic opponents, as any Street Spirit reader might guess. Also, Osha Neumann's Public Comment piece, listed under Measure S "No" editorials, is not technically a Planet editorial, though we're proud to host it nonetheless and agree with his opinion..

If you find any other mistakes, please let us know at, and we'll post corrections. And if you can supply missing information, please tell us that too.

UPDATE: The Street Spirit cartoon about Measure S has been moved to the "No" column as of Wednesday morning. Please continue to report errors and omissions. -more-

Election Information

Friday September 21, 2012 - 12:34:00 PM

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



ENDORSEMENT SPECIAL: Measure T is a Trojan Horse

By Becky O'Malley
Friday September 21, 2012 - 12:09:00 PM

More on the Berkeley ballot measures: for the election-weary among us, it’s hard even to remember which is which. Here’s an easy way to remember why to vote NO on Measure T, courtesy of Wikipedia:

“The Trojan Horse is a tale from the Trojan War about the stratagem that allowed the Greeks to finally enter the city of Troy and end the conflict….After a fruitless 10-year siege, the Greeks constructed a huge wooden horse, and hid a select force of men inside. The Greeks pretended to sail away, and the Trojans pulled the horse into their city as a victory trophy. That night the Greek force crept out of the horse and opened the gates for the rest of the Greek army, which had sailed back under cover of night. The Greeks entered and destroyed the city of Troy, decisively ending the war….

“Metaphorically, a "Trojan Horse" has come to mean any trick or stratagem that causes a target to invite a foe into a securely protected bastion or space.”

So when you see Measure “T”, think “Trojan” Horse, and vote NO. -more-

The Editor's Back Fence

Endorsements? Forums? Tell the World!

Monday September 24, 2012 - 08:39:00 PM

Are you a member of an organization that endorses candidates, such as a neighborhood association, a Democratic Club or a political party? Please send us a report of who and what you've endorsed, and we'll post it.

Do you know of a candidates' night somewhere? Let us know about it, and we'll let everyone know.

Here's the email link for all this: Click on it, and write us a letter.

Thanks for participating. -more-


Odd Bodkins: New Arrival (Cartoon)

By Dan O'Neill
Friday September 21, 2012 - 07:45:00 PM

Odd Bodkins: Good with a Mop (Cartoon)

By Dan O'Neill
Friday September 21, 2012 - 07:41:00 PM

Odd Bodkins: Winnemucca (Cartoon)

By Dan O'Neill
Friday September 21, 2012 - 07:36:00 PM

Public Comment

New: Time Calls for the Great Awakening of the Muslim World

By Ramlah Malhi
Sunday September 23, 2012 - 10:06:00 PM

At this time of distrust and chaos around the world especially in the Middle East the Muslim world needs to remember the time when the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of God be upon Him) was stoned in the city of Taif and bled to the extent that his shoes were soaked with blood. At that time Angel Gabriel came to him saying that at Prophet’s one word he had the ability and permission from God to join the two mountains and crush the people who lived between them. What did our injured Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) say? ‘NO’. He showed patience and forbearance because God will help the same people come to the right path. If our most honored and respectable Prophet can forgive the people who caused his blood to stain his clothes and shoes then who are we to take revenge on others? -more-

Measure S is a Hate Crime

By Carol Denney
Friday September 21, 2012 - 12:29:00 PM

"We really, really need this law,” states the literature supporting Mayor Tom Bates’ proposed anti-sitting law. “But we’re not going to use it for six months and even then hardly ever.”

Sound peculiar? It should. Why shouldn’t the city use a law it claims to need so badly? Why all the backtracking and double-speak?

If you know why, then you probably know that nationwide there’s a move to recognize the cost of the peculiar but politically popular temptation to fine poor people for having no money. -more-

Coalition for a Safe Berkeley urges City Council to protect immigrant’s rights in Berkeley, applauds steps towards police accountability

From Diana Bohn, Coalition for a Safe Berkeley
Friday September 21, 2012 - 10:11:00 AM

This Tuesday, the Berkeley City Council approved final wording on the majority of revisions to several Berkeley Police Department (BPD) policies and external agreements. This package addressed mutual aid, memorandums of understanding, surveillance, intelligence activities, grants for police equipment, and how Berkeley will handle detainer requests from ICE. The Council voted on all issues except detainers. -more-

New: Administering the left-wing loyalty oath: How the Heatley / Prop 8 imbroglio is Berkeley's disgrace

From the Berkeley Almanac, by Thomas Lord
Monday September 24, 2012 - 08:11:00 PM

A new online site, the Berkeley Almanac, features a lengthy opinion piece on the Berkeley Unified School District's recent encounter with superintendent candidate Edmond Heatley and his critics. -more-


New: DISPATCHES FROM THE EDGE: Japan Vs. China: Smoke or fire?

By Conn Hallinan
Monday September 24, 2012 - 12:03:00 PM

Could Japan and China—the number two and three largest economies in the world—really get into a punch-out over five tiny islands covering less than four square miles? According to the International Crisis Group, maybe: “All the trends are in the wrong direction, and prospects of resolution are diminishing.” -more-

THE PUBLIC EYE:Campaign 2012: Playing the Israel Card

By Bob Burnett
Friday September 21, 2012 - 08:51:00 AM

2012’s presidential contest took another weird turn when Israel’s Prime Minister, Benjamin “Bibi” Netanyahu, appeared on America’s Sunday talk shows to complain the Obama Administration wasn’t doing enough to stop Iran from making an atomic bomb. Netanyahu’s orchestrated appearance was another Republican ploy to corner the US Jewish vote. -more-

SENIOR POWER Step on it…

By Helen Rippier Wheeler
Friday September 21, 2012 - 10:30:00 AM

Powerless senior citizens aren’t likely to make it across the street safely within the engineered-time allotment. The light changes -- where there is a light -- and traffic roars by. They are left stranded in the intersection. On a median if they’re lucky. Which Berkeley intersections and corners without stop-lights are the most dangerous for powerless senior citizens and disabled persons? -more-

ON MENTAL ILLNESS: Creating And Maintaining Self-Respect

By Jack Bragen
Friday September 21, 2012 - 12:21:00 PM

Many people who are "helping professionals" in the mental health treatment system do not believe that persons with mental illness are their equals. This is a message that gets delivered repeatedly to persons with mental illness: "You are something less"-less of a person, less intelligent, less competent, and, less worthy of self respect. -more-

Arts & Events

New: MUSIC: UpSurge! Farewell Concert at Freight & Salvage for Founder Raymond Nat Turner

By Ken Bullock
Tuesday September 25, 2012 - 11:18:00 AM

"The power of poetry, the pizzazz of jazz" ... UpSurge! jazz and poetry ensemble will be performing a "NY Goin' Away Gig" for their founder, poet Raymond Nat Turner, this Friday at 8, Freight & Salvage in downtown Berkeley. -more-

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

Reviewed by Gar Smith
Friday September 21, 2012 - 11:17:00 PM

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: 'Our Toes Grip the Edge'--Theatre of Yugen & mugwumpin

By Ken Bullock
Friday September 21, 2012 - 10:19:00 AM

"Artworks don't exist in bubbles, but are constantly in dialogue with other art, even if unintentionally." Which sums up the introductory remarks by mugwumpin co-founder Christopher W. White at 'Our Toes Grip the Edge,' a one evening joint performance with Theatre of Yugen at San Francisco's Z Space in Project Artaud, to allow the audience to "catch a glimpse" of two works-in-progress--one almost ready to be fully staged. -more-

Around & About Theater: foolsFURY's POSH; Yakshagana in Woodside

By Ken Bullock
Friday September 21, 2012 - 10:17:00 AM

foolsFURY, one of the most original Bay Area theater troupes, specializing in movement and gestural theater, sponsors of the annual FURY Factory theater festival, founded by Ben Yalom over a decade ago, has presented shows in venues like the Ashby Stage ('Monster in the Dark') to acclaim. Their latest is Sheila Callaghan's play, 'Port Out, Starboard Home,' a trip on a luxury cruise ship whose passengers escape their lives at home to descend into a surreal ritual, directed by Yalom, with its final two (of 11) performances this Satuday at 4 and 8 at Z Space (formerly Theatre Artaud), 450 Florida Street (near 17th Street) in the Mission-Potrero, San Francisco. $25-$30. -more-