The Week

Four mayoral candidates. Empty seats are for Bernt Wahl, no-show, and Kahlil Jacobs-Fantauzzi, who came after school let out at the Berkeley middle school where he teaches. Left to right: McCormack, Worthington, Bates, RunningWolf, George Lippman, forum moderator.
Ted Friedman
Four mayoral candidates. Empty seats are for Bernt Wahl, no-show, and Kahlil Jacobs-Fantauzzi, who came after school let out at the Berkeley middle school where he teaches. Left to right: McCormack, Worthington, Bates, RunningWolf, George Lippman, forum moderator.


Press Release: Measure S Campaign Heats Up — Supporters Urged to Call KQED Forum Tomorrow at 9

From John Caner, DBA
Thursday October 04, 2012 - 03:10:00 PM

The Downtown Berkeley Association has sent out this press release alerting supporters (and opponents?) to call the KQED Forum radio program regarding Measure S, which the DBA supports. -more-

New: Those Booms Over Berkeley Are the Blue Angels Practicing--And The Noise Could Terrify Pets

By Sasha Lekach (BCN)
Thursday October 04, 2012 - 01:54:00 PM

The U.S. Navy's Blue Angels will be roaring over parts of the Bay Area starting this afternoon as San Francisco Fleet Week gets under way. -more-

ASUC Rejects Anti-Sitting Law

By Carol Denney
Thursday October 04, 2012 - 12:22:00 PM

A politically motivated and almost universally discredited "push" poll almost sucked the juice out of the ASUC's nearly unanimous vote to oppose Measure S, Berkeley Mayor Tom Bates' anti-sitting law October 3rd, 2012, at the ASUC Senate meeting in Eshelman Hall. -more-

New: Watch the Debate at Home Now
Berkeley Mayoral Candidates Face Off

Captured By Paul Kealoha Blake
Wednesday October 03, 2012 - 04:10:00 PM

If you are watching the presidential debate at home today, and wishing it were that easy to see the candidates for mayor of Berkeley (surely you are), here's your big chance.

See five candidates in a face-to-face showdown, courtesy of the Gray Panthers and Paul Kealoha Blake.

Warning: each part is about an hour long, so it will take a few minutes to load. -more-

Updated: Fire At House on Benvenue Displaces Berkeley Family of 5

By Hannah Albaraz (BCN) and Planet
Wednesday October 03, 2012 - 10:18:00 AM

A three-alarm fire at a Berkeley home this morning displaced a family of five, a deputy fire chief said. -more-

Park Name Honors Berkeley's Sylvia McLaughlin

By Patricia Jones, CESP
Tuesday October 02, 2012 - 05:03:00 PM

Santa Monica, CA -- On Friday, September 28 the California State Park and Recreation Commission voted unanimously to rename Eastshore State Park as McLaughlin Eastshore State Park in honor of San Francisco Bay champion Sylvia McLaughlin. -more-

Opponents of Berkeley's Measure S Sit and Kiss on Obamas' Anniversary

By Sasha Lekach (BCN)
Tuesday October 02, 2012 - 07:44:00 PM
Re-creation of the president and first lady's first date eating ice cream on a Chicago sidewalk.

On the eve of President Barack Obama's 20th wedding anniversary, opponents of a ballot measure that would prohibit sitting on sidewalks in commercial areas of Berkeley are holding a curb-sit and kiss-in tonight, according to organizers. -more-

Seagull Starts House Fire in Berkeley

By Sasha Lekach (BCN)
Tuesday October 02, 2012 - 12:47:00 PM

A seagull is being blamed for causing a high-voltage power line to fall in a Berkeley neighborhood this morning, sparking a fire that spread to a home, a Berkeley fire official said. -more-

More Than 12,000 in Berkeley Lose Power Tonight

By Bay City News and Planet
Monday October 01, 2012 - 11:36:00 PM

Thousands of PG&E customers in Berkeley lost power tonight, a PG&E spokeswoman said. -more-

Press Release: BCA Endorsements for Berkeley Measures, State Propositions

From Linda Godzi
Sunday September 30, 2012 - 10:35:00 PM

[Editor's update: A Planet reader called and asked what "BCA" stands for. A fair question-- oldtimers know, but most of our readers probably don't. It's "Berkeley Citizens' Action", Berkeley's seminal and still most prestigious progressive organization, which started in the early 1970s.]

BCA members met today and determined their endorsements on Measures and Propositions. Here are the results:

Berkeley Measures
Measure M – Repair Streets and Watershed YES
Measure N – Rebuild Willard and Warm Pools YES
Measure O – Maintain and Operate New Pools YES
Measure P – Continue to fund Parks, Libraries & Emerg. Svcs YES
Measure Q – Utility Users Tax YES
Measure R – Redistricting NO
Measure S – Sit/Lie NO
Measure T – West Berkeley Plan NO
Measure U – Sunshine Ordinance NO
Measure V – FACTS Initiative YES

Alameda County Measures
Measure A1 - Oakland Zoo NO ENDORSEMENT
Measure B1 - Transportation Sales Tax YES

State Propositions
Proposition 30 - Jerry Brown’s Tax Increase YES
Proposition 31 - Austerity Budget NO
Proposition 32 - Censors Unions & Workers NO
Proposition 33 - Auto Insurance Scam NO
Proposition 34 - End the Death Penalty YES
Proposition 35 - Attempts to Control Human Trafficking & Sex Slavery NO ENDORSEMENT
Proposition 36 - Revise “Three Strikes” Law YES
Proposition 37 - Label (GMO) Genetically Engineered Foods YES
Proposition 38 - Molly Munger’s State Income Tax NO
Proposition 39 - Income Tax Increase for Multi-state Businesses YES
Proposition 40 - Referendum on State Senate Redistricting Plan YES -more-

Ranked Choice Voting Comes to Berkeley: How It Works, How to Do It

By Lydia Gans
Friday September 28, 2012 - 02:52:00 PM

This November Berkeley will use Ranked Choice Voting (RCV) to elect city council members and, for the first time, the mayor. RCV is actually not a novel idea. A click on Wikipedia's entry for “instant runoff voting” (another name for the system) shows that RCV is used all over the world as well as in a number of U.S. cities. It is designed to do just what "instant runoff" implies: simulate a runoff between the top candidates if no candidate achieves a first round majority.

This is clearly a big saving in money and resources. It ensures that we can elect our leaders in the high turnout presidential election, so candidates don't have to raise and spend money in two separate elections. Berkeley voters cast RCV ballots for councilmembers in 2010, and seemed to use them very effectively.

Instead of having one column listing all the candidates for each office, there will be three separate columns, headed First Choice, Second Choice, Third Choice. Each column will have the identical list of candidates and divided arrows next to each candidate’s name. The voter marks his or her first choice by connecting the arrow associated with that candidate in column one, then a second choice in column two and third choice in column three.Casting a vote is that simple. -more-

Is Three-Term Berkeley Mayor Tom Bates Vulnerable?

By Ted Friedman
Friday September 28, 2012 - 11:41:00 AM
You count them. Big crowd at Berkeley's first mayoral forum, at North side Senior Center Wednesday afternoon.

Four opponents of Berkeley’s current mayor learned Wednesday, at a face-off with his honor, that there's strength in numbers, as they vied to stop his fourth term. -more-

Press Release: Cal Berkeley Democrats Endorse 2012 Local Candidates Worthington, Anderson, and Progressive Rent Board Candidates

From Sofie Karasek
Friday September 28, 2012 - 02:31:00 PM

The Cal Berkeley Democrats endorsed ten candidates for the congressional, state, and local elections at their endorsement meeting this Thursday night, including current Berkeley City Councilmember Kriss Worthington for the mayoral race, Max Anderson for District 3 and the Progressive slate for the Berkeley Rent Board. -more-

Press Release: Berkeley No on S Campaign Grabs Three Democratic Club Endorsements

By Christopher Cook, No on S coalition
Friday September 28, 2012 - 12:35:00 PM

Three prominent Berkeley Democratic clubs endorsed a "No on S" position this week, lending new momentum to the campaign to defeat the "sit-lie" measure on this November's ballot. -more-

Press Release: Dr. Ami Bera Comments on New Misleading Chamber of Commerce Ads

Friday September 28, 2012 - 04:19:00 PM

Editor's Note: Many Berkeley residents are supporting Democrat Dr. Ami Bera's campaign for Congress against Republican Dan Lungren in the Sacramento area. -more-

Earthquake In Berkeley This Morning

Friday September 28, 2012 - 10:28:00 AM

Another quake in Berkeley on the Hayward fault. About 9:25 a.m., magnitude 2.7, depth about 4.5 miles. Did you feel it? Here's where it was: -more-

20 Years Later--The Origins of Indigenous Peoples Day
Excerpts of a Conversation between Dennis Jennings and John Curl

From John Curl
Friday September 28, 2012 - 03:41:00 PM
Head lady dancer Leslie Deer

The 20th anniversary Berkeley Indigenous Peoples Day Powwow and Indian Market will be celebrated on Saturday, October 13, between 10 AM and 6 PM at Martin Luther King Civic Center Park. -more-

Election 2012 in the Planet Archives

Saturday September 29, 2012 - 05:50:00 PM

Are you confused about the upcoming election? Below you'll be able to find all the articles about the November 2012 election that have appeared to date in the Planet, in reverse chronological order, except that the editorial endorsements are at the top so they’re easier to find. We’ve pretty much abandoned the idea of publishing election-related articles in this separate section every week because there are just too many of them, but here’s where to search if you’re looking for something about the election in back issues.


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

ENDORSEMENT SPECIAL: Yes on Berkeley Measures U, V, N, O. No on Berkeley Measure M. 09-28-2012

ENDORSEMENT SPECIAL: Measure T is a Trojan Horse 09-21-2012

ENDORSEMENT SPECIAL: Sitting Down Should not be Banned in Berkeley 09-14-2012

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




ENDORSEMENT SPECIAL: Yes on Berkeley Measures U, V, N, O. No on Berkeley Measure M.

By Becky O'Malley
Friday September 28, 2012 - 10:17:00 AM

Today we’re going to try to make some sense out of a passel of ballot measures which address attempts to specify how the city of Berkeley should raise and spend its funds. Really, the best way to figure out what’s going on is to look at all the information which will be on the ballot, and which is now on the city’s website. To make this possible, a full set of links is posted at the bottom of this piece in alphabetical order.

But for a quick take on what’s happening locally, we’ll look at these measures in a different sequence. Voters are being asked by the City Council majority to vote to raise money with two bonds and one tax, which we’ll get to in a moment, but first let’s talk about a pair of initiative measures which reflect citizens’ desire to know more about what the city government is doing with their money before they vote to provide it. -more-

The Editor's Back Fence

Should This Be Against the Law in Berkeley?

Tuesday October 02, 2012 - 10:17:00 PM

These sidewalk-sitters were enjoying the warm weather on Tuesday at Berkeley's South West Farmer's Market. Tyler, seated with his back to the side wall of Sweet Adeline's Bakery at the corner of 63rd and Adeline, is a tourist, in town from San Diego. We didn't get the name of the family resting on the curb in the same block, but they were clearly having a good time too. If Measure S passes, all of these satisfied market patrons would be subject to citation and possible arrest for the crime of sitting on the sidewalk in a commercial district. Some measure backers claim that such a law would be enforced selectively, but guess what? That's probably unconstitutional, and would certainly provoke lawsuits to test it. -more-

On the Berkeley Election: Two Good Pieces in One Day

Tuesday October 02, 2012 - 04:31:00 PM

Here are two good stories about the upcoming Berkeley City Council election: -more-

Public Comment

New: Berkeley Street Renaming Hearing this Week: A Proposal with Troubling Implications

By Steven Finacom
Tuesday October 02, 2012 - 09:45:00 PM
Dharma College, a private institution recently moved to Downtown Berkeley, is asking the City of Berkeley to change the name of the street in front of its facilities to “Dharma Way”.    “Harold Way”, has been the name of the street for almost a century.

This Thursday night, the Public Works Commission of the City of Berkeley is holding a public hearing, and discussion, on the proposal to rename Harold Way in Downtown Berkeley to “Dharma Way”, at the behest of the adjacent Dharma College, which owns one side of the block.

This proposal should be turned down. It violates an informal, but long, tradition against giving names directly associated with a religious or spiritual tradition to public facilities in Berkeley; it would remove a historic name, nearly a century old, from the heart of Downtown Berkeley; and it creates a really troubling precedent that an institution can move into a new space and almost immediately expect the City to rename adjacent public facilities in its honor. -more-

Measure R: The Name of the Game is POWER

by Former Berkeley Mayor Shirley Dean
Friday September 28, 2012 - 03:41:00 PM

With some twenty-four ballot measures to consider on November 6th, you probably are feeling a bit overwhelmed. At least Berkeley Measure R is easy to connect the letter with what the measure is about. “R” stands for “Redistricting,” but after that, it’s not so easy! You’ll be told that Measure R is just a matter of drawing fair and up-to-date district boundaries. Not so!! Be very, very careful! -more-

Berkeley's Measure U: $1 million for sunshine? That’s a stretch! And it would still be a bargain!

By Richard Knee
Friday September 28, 2012 - 03:32:00 PM

Opponents of Berkeley’s proposed Sunshine Ordinance (Measure U) claim it would increase the cost of city government by between $1 million and $2 million annually.

They don’t itemize that estimate; they just want you to take their word for it.

Even if it were accurate, the cost for each of Berkeley’s 130,000 residents would be at most about $15.40 a year or just under $1.30 a month.

But if San Francisco’s experience is any indication, the estimate is way off the mark. -more-

No on Berkeley Measure T

By Sam Greyson
Friday September 28, 2012 - 03:57:00 PM

My West Berkeley mechanic alerted me to the danger of ballet measure "T" some time ago. He has been in west Berkeley since the seventies employing a dozen or so people and believes that if Measure "T" passes there will be no room in Berkeley for a business like his. -more-

Please Help “Ruby”; Limited Equity Tenants Need Help

By Carol Denney
Friday September 28, 2012 - 04:00:00 PM

“Ruby” never believed our building manager’s personal animosity toward her roommate could result in her own eviction. Neither did I. We live in a “limited equity co-op”, where limited income tenants are supposed to have more safety and security than ordinary renters. But it doesn’t work out that way. -more-


New: AGAINST FORGETTING: Behind the Scenes of the First Debate

By Ruth Rosen
Tuesday October 02, 2012 - 09:48:00 PM

UPDATE: A new version of this column, written after the debate, is now online in the Planet's next issue.

For weeks, President Obama and former Governor Mitt Romney have sparred with partners, immersed themselves in piles of position papers, practiced remaining cool, and in the case of Romnney, memorized unforgettable zingers.

Their strategy and goals were necessarily different. Mitt Romney had to blame President Obama for everything that was wrong with America. For Obama, the goal was to justify his record, to sound like a president rather than a professor, and to explain the economic crisis was implemented by the same Republican policies advocated by Mitt Romney and conservative Republicans. -more-

THE PUBLIC EYE: Why is Romney Losing?

By Bob Burnett
Friday September 28, 2012 - 02:33:00 PM

Thirty-nine days before the Presidential election, Mitt Romney doesn’t appear to be the formidable challenge to President Obama that many expected. Indeed, Romney’s ineptness has turned the tide in Obama’s favor. What happened? -more-

ON MENTAL ILLNESS: Prospects vs. Limitations

By Jack Bragen
Friday September 28, 2012 - 06:12:00 PM

When a person with mental illness, their family, or their treatment practitioners anticipate few prospects toward a career or other goal, it may be unnecessarily pessimistic. It can also become a self-fulfilling prophecy. Persons with mental illness and their families should have hope tempered with realism of a possible good outcome. Having optimism and the preparedness to try increases a person's chances that they will do something good in life. -more-

DISPATCHES FROM THE EDGE: Syria and the Dogs of War

By Conn Hallinan
Friday September 28, 2012 - 02:39:00 PM

“Cry ‘Havoc,’ and let slip the dogs of war;

That this foul deed shall smell above the earth

With carrion men, groaning for burial”

Julius Caesar

Act 3, scene 1

William Shakespeare

“Blood and destruction,” “dreadful objects,” and “pity choked” was the Bard’s searing characterization of what war visits upon the living. It is a description that increasingly parallels the ongoing war in Syria, and one that is likely to worsen unless the protagonists step back and search for a diplomatic solution to the 17-month old civil war. From an initial clash over a monopoly of power by Syria’s Baathist Party, the war has spread to Lebanon, Turkey, and Iraq, ignited regional sectarianism, drawn in nations around the globe, and damaged the reputation of regional and international organizations.

Once loosed, the dogs of war range where they will. -more-

Arts & Events

Press Release: Neighborhood Informational Berkeley Candidates' Forum

From Laura Menard, South Berkeley/Lorin Neighborhoods
Wednesday October 03, 2012 - 10:59:00 AM

There will be a candidates' forum on Monday, October 15th, 2012 from 7—9 PM at the MALCOLM X SCHOOL AUDITORIUM at King and Ashby in South West Berkeley [enter from King Street]. -more-

Berkeley Mayor and Council Candidates Debate on Sundays

From Nigel Guest
Friday September 28, 2012 - 05:22:00 PM

The Berkeley Neighborhood Council (BNC) is a recent off-shoot of the long-established Council of Neighborhood Associations. They are inviting the Berkeley mayoral candidates to a debate at the Community Campaign Center, 1551 University Avenue on Sunday, September 30th, and Councilmember candidates at the same venue on October 7th. -more-

Sarah Cahill in Berkeley Arts Festival Concerts Saturday, Tuesday

By Bonnie Hughes
Friday September 28, 2012 - 02:41:00 PM

The Berkeley Arts Festival has a treat in store for music lovers. In the space of four days this week Sarah Cahill will perform two piano concerts. -more-

AROUND AND ABOUT MUSIC: Berkeley Symphony Opens With Dresher, Beethoven and Ives

By Ken Bullock
Friday September 28, 2012 - 03:26:00 PM

Berkeley Symphony will open its new season next Thursday, October 4, at 7 in Zellerbach Hall with Joana Carneiro conducting the premiere of noted Berkeley composer Paul Dresher's Concerto for Quadrachord and Orchestra, featuring his invention, a stringed instrument that can be plucked or bowed; Beethoven's 7th Symphony (1813) and Charles Ives' The Unanswered Question (1946)--as so often with Joana, a mix of the Romantic, the Modern and the contemporary. The Symphony's celebratory season opening dinner with Carneiro and Dresher will follow the concert. -more-

Don't Miss This!

By Dorothy Snodgrass
Friday September 28, 2012 - 02:50:00 PM

As summer wanes, the autumn season brings with it the full beauty of October. The liquid amber trees in the bay area are now ablaze with red leaves. Ah, yes -- October has to be the most beautiful month of the year! But enough rhapsodizing -- with it comes a staggering line-up of musical and educational features that will make your head spin. -more-

CENA Candidates' Night is Monday

Friday September 28, 2012 - 04:28:00 PM

Berkeley's Claremont-Elmwood Neighborhood Association is holding a candidates' night on Monday, October 1, from 7 to 9:30, at St. John's Church, 2727 College, in the Fireside room. Journalists from a number of publications, including the Berkeley Daily Planet, have been invited to question candidates for Mayor of Berkeley, -more-

Berkeley For All Candidates' Forum
McGee Avenue Baptist Church in Berkeley, Thursday

Friday September 28, 2012 - 04:31:00 PM

On Thursday, October 4, 2012, Berkeley residents are expected to pack the sanctuary of McGee Avenue Baptist church in Berkeley. They will come to hear from candidates running for public office in the city of Berkeley. Much is at stake and every Berkeley voter must make an informed decision when they come out to vote on November 6. -more-

THEATER REVIEW: Theatre of Yugen's Remarkable Mystical Abyss

By Ken Bullock
Friday September 28, 2012 - 04:24:00 PM

In its 35th year, Theatre of Yugen has been bringing Japanese classical theater (Noh, the classical tragedy, and Kyogen, classical comedy, Noh's complement--together, as Nogaku, the oldest continuous theater form in the world) during that time to the Bay Area, and busy adapting modern plays to those rigorously physical styles and fusing them with other, sometimes radically different methods to come up with something new. -more-