The Week

Justin DeFreitas


Press Release: Berkeley Unified School District Shows Gains on the API and AYP

From Mark Coplan
Wednesday October 10, 2012 - 10:05:00 PM

The California Department of Education released the 2012 Accountability Progress Report today. This annual report contains two sections: 1) the state Academic Performance Index (API) measuring year-to-year growth in academic achievement that a school or local educational agency (LEA) has made, and 2) the federal Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) measuring how well a school meets minimum performance targets. -more-

Berkeley Study: Sudden Oak Death 'Epidemic' Threatens East Bay

By Jeff Burbank (BCN)
Wednesday October 10, 2012 - 10:00:00 PM

Sudden Oak Death, a disease that can destroy oak and tanoak trees in California, has reached "epidemic" proportions in some parts of the East Bay and the Peninsula and prevention efforts against further infestation are "urgently needed," according to an environmental task force. -more-

Press Release: Watch Berkeley Candidates “Stump Speeches” on YouTube

From the League of Women Voters
Tuesday October 09, 2012 - 01:01:00 PM

Two-minute stump speeches by candidates for Berkeley Mayor, City Council Districts 2, 3 & 5 and School Board give voters a good sense of each candidate’s views. Candidates for City Council Districts and Berkeley Unified School Board also discuss issues in half hour and hour “Election 2012” programs. Watch at any time on On the site, scroll down to find the spot or program you want to watch. -more-

New: Who's Spending on Berkeley Ballot Measures? The First Filing of Expenditures, and More

By Thomas Lord
Tuesday October 09, 2012 - 10:12:00 AM

The Berkeley Ballot Measure Browser has been improved with the addition of information about campaign donations and campaign spending. Want to get a sense of how much money has been spent promoting each measure, and who is funding the campaigns? Look for the "campaign committees" links on the left hand side.

Click here to use it.

New: Santa Monica has a Plan for Growth and It’s Better than Berkeley’s (News Analysis)

By Toni Mester
Saturday October 06, 2012 - 09:39:00 AM
West Berkeley's historic Heinz factory, now home to successful small businesses

The City of Santa Monica is smaller than Berkeley by 22,000 but it has a bigger and better idea for planning growth than Berkeley’s flawed Measure T, and theirs has already paid off in jobs, green buildings, infrastructure improvements, open space, and other community benefits.

Santa Monica uses the development agreement (DA) for all buildings over 32 feet, negotiated under LUCE, their land use and circulation element that was generated after six years of extensive community engagement and adopted in 2010.

Since then, the number of development agreements negotiated by Santa Monica continues to grow, with 2 projects under construction and 6 more approved and waiting to be built. Prior to LUCE, 12 DA projects were completed between 1981 and 2007.

The benefits that such projects will bring Santa Monica include neighborhood conservation, integrated land use and transportation, affordable housing, greenhouse gas and congestion reduction, historic preservation, daycare, and cultural facilities.

Compare this community generated and award winning plan with Berkeley’s Measure T, a revision of the master use permit section of the zoning ordinance allowing heights of 75 feet on large sites in the manufacturing zones of West Berkeley. Any such site would qualify for a development agreement under existing code, so up-zoning the MUP ordinance is redundant.

The reasons why

It’s a mystery why planning staff chose to handle large developments by revising the MUPs when the existing development agreement code is a far superior tool that can be precisely tailored to the site and the needs of the developer. -more-

Flash: Berkeley Commission Turns Down “Dharma Way”

By Steven Finacom
Friday October 05, 2012 - 12:04:00 AM

The City of Berkeley will not be renaming the 99-year-old Harold Way in Downtown Berkeley “Dharma Way” if a recommendation made by the Public Works Commission stands. -more-

Hometown Online Resources for Berkeley Voters
from The Berkeley Almanac

By Thomas Lord
Thursday October 04, 2012 - 04:00:00 PM

Here is a quick guide to and critique of three on-line tools that can help Berkeley voters make their choices in the upcoming election: -more-

Watch Candidates for Berkeley's Mayor Discuss the Issues

Video by Paul Kealoha Blake
Thursday October 04, 2012 - 02:13:00 PM

If you watched the presidential candidates debate on Wednesday and wished 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 videographer Paul Kealoha Blake.

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

The Time To Learn From The 1868 Hayward Fault Earthquake Is NOW

By Richard Schwartz,© 2012
Thursday October 04, 2012 - 02:08:00 PM

It is a sobering endeavor to remember the 1868 Hayward Fault Earthquake, the last major eruption on our local fault. The USGS states that major destructive earthquakes occur along the Hayward Fault, on average, every 138 years. This means that since 2006 we have been due for another. There is no doubt that the Hayward Fault, the most densely populated earthquake fault in the United States, is going to lash out mightily sometime soon. Is “soon” in a few decades, a few years, a few minutes?

The fact is that, as a community, we have chosen to ignore what happened on October 21, 1868, at 7:54am, and at what is most likely in store for us. Few know the facts of this history. What is to be seen is not pretty. It is rather ominous.

The forty-five-second 1868 Hayward Earthquake (over 2½ times longer in duration than Loma Preita, and equal in intensity to the 1906 San Francisco Earthquake) arrived with a rumble and then increased shaking. Then it stopped for a second or two. It then resumed with a growing and overwhelming power and clamor. It ended with an oscillating motion in many locations. -more-

Boalt Hall's Centenary (First Person)

BY Dorothy Snodgrass
Thursday October 04, 2012 - 04:25:00 PM

On Friday, November 9th at 7 p.m., Boalt Hall will be celebrating its 100th Anniversary Gala, an auspicious occasion if ever there was one! -more-

Plough Benefit For No on "S" Draws Raucous Crowd

By Ted Friedman
Sunday October 07, 2012 - 08:43:00 AM
Part of the crowd of fifty, Sunday at Starry Plough to see Denney's show.

Starry Plough, a Berkeley landmark hosted another Berkeley landmark last Sunday afternoon--another political fundraiser. But this raucous event was, well, different. -more-

Election Stories in Back Issues of the Planet

Friday October 05, 2012 - 11:24:00 AM

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: Avoid R, and the Rest of the Story

By Becky O'Malley
Thursday October 04, 2012 - 12:30:00 PM

Sometimes you can’t tell the players without a scorecard. You probably wouldn’t know what’s wrong with Berkeley’s proposed Measure R if you didn’t recognize the names of those who signed the rebuttal to the ballot argument which pushed it.

No one who has been watching Berkeley politics as long as I have would ever have expected to see Shirley Dean, Dave Blake, Nancy Carleton and Jacquelyn McCormick singing the same tune in perfect harmony. Dean was a stalwart standard bearer of Berkeley’s moderate faction, while Blake and Carleton have always been outspoken progressives. What links them all together is that they genuinely care about what happens to Berkeley, even though they’ve seldom agreed on what the prescription should be.

The ballot question is couched in deliberately vague language, but in plain English what it does is transfer the power to draw council district boundaries from citizens to elected incumbents: in other words, it facilitates gerrymandering by self-interested parties. California just took this power away from the politicians and put it in the hands of a commission which was not only non-partisan, but more important, not politicians, and that’s what we need in Berkeley too. -more-

The Editor's Back Fence

View Competitive Sitting Here, Now!

Friday October 05, 2012 - 10:57:00 AM

Did you miss the Sitting Olympics on Sunday? Do not despair, help is at hand. We have been given the exclusive—well, original—opportunity to present for your viewing pleasure the brilliant film that opened the event, a fitting competitor to Danny Boyle’s extravaganza created to kick off the London Olympics.

We present this in the hope that tired shoppers, mothers at their wits ends, clueless tourists and others will not be “kicked off” their temporary resting places in Berkeley’s commercial districts by Measure S, which would ban sitting down downtown. (Can you believe it?)

Drumroll please!

The Definitive History of the Misunderstood Sport of Competitive Sitting



Odd Bodkins: The Perfect Man (Cartoon)

By Dan O'Neill
Saturday October 06, 2012 - 09:54:00 AM

Bounce: The Gnome (Cartoon)

By Joseph Young
Saturday October 06, 2012 - 09:59:00 AM

Public Comment

New: Yes,the Fiscal Sky May Be Falling: Moody's is Examining Berkeley for a Rating Downgrade

By Barbara Gilbert
Tuesday October 09, 2012 - 11:18:00 PM

Berkeley’s fiscal hawks, often accused of undue pessimism, inhumanity, and an unseemly low civic boosterism level, are being vindicated by the hard cold facts. -more-

BUSD mailer touts false accomplishments in student achievement

By Priscilla Myrick
Thursday October 04, 2012 - 04:46:00 PM

Along with the usual campaign flyers that arrive in mailboxes during election season, Berkeley residents are receiving a glossy brochure from the Berkeley Unified School District touting a rosy laundry list of twenty disparate “accomplishments” in academics, facilities, and finances. Among the “Twenty Things to Know,” the claim that all Berkeley public schools have shown improved student achievement is false and misleading. Berkeley High has not shown improvement for years. -more-

October Pepper Spray Times

By Grace Underpressure
Thursday October 04, 2012 - 12:28:00 PM

Editor's Note: The latest issue of the Pepper Spray Times is now available.

You can view it absolutely free of charge by clicking here . You can print it out to give to your friends.

Grace Underpressure has been producing it for many years now, even before the Berkeley Daily Planet started distributing it, most of the time without being paid, and now we'd like you to show your appreciation by using the button below to send her money. -more-

Quakers Oppose Berkeley Measure S

By Berkeley Society of Friends
Thursday October 04, 2012 - 04:47:00 PM

Berkeley Society of Friends (Quakers), located in North Berkeley at Vine and Walnut streets, deplores Measure S, the proposed ordinance to impose citations and jail sentences on homeless people for sitting on the streets in Berkeley. Such a policy would not only violate the civil rights of hundreds of Berkeley citizens, but it would be a discriminatory law that would be enforced more against homeless people and in shopping areas than against shoppers and in residential areas. -more-

My Take on the Presidential Debate

By Joseph Stubbs
Thursday October 04, 2012 - 04:34:00 PM

I am disturbed by the reaction to the first round of debates. The 2012 first Obama/Romney presidential debate featured a performance by Mitt Romney which was an abomination of psychological techniques surely compiled by the best and the brightest, techniques designed to affect and compel us on an emotional level while at the same time encouraging us to disregard critical analysis of the content of what he was saying. The latter effect was most effectively achieved by ‘snowballing’ ideas into a blizzard of phrases which were virtually impossible to digest, weigh and analyze unless you were already an expert. He didn’t try to explain anything so Joe American would understand it better; his litanies were essentially defensive in nature while posing as offensive. -more-

Vote Yes on A1

By Dr. Joel Parrott, Veterinarian and Executive Director, Oakland Zoo
Thursday October 04, 2012 - 04:39:00 PM

The animals at the Oakland Zoo need your help! Vote YES on A1 to give Oakland Zoo animals the quality, humane care they deserve. -more-


THE PUBLIC EYE: Romney Channels Reagan, Wins Debate

By Bob Burnett
Friday October 05, 2012 - 07:57:00 AM

To the delight of Republicans and the dismay of Democrats, Mitt Romney won the first presidential debate. His performance was reminiscent of the 1980 presidential debate between Ronald Reagan and Jimmy Carter, where Reagan asked Americans, “Are you better off than you were four years ago?” -more-

SENIOR POWER: A Senior Moment

By Helen Rippier Wheeler
Thursday October 04, 2012 - 04:28:00 PM

Beginning in June 2012, an invitation has been included in each Senior Power column:

All candidates for election are welcome to share statements of their accomplishments and plans vis a vis senior citizens and elders. Please email them to me…

And I sent individual invitations to candidates for Berkeley Mayor and City Councilmembers representing districts 2, 3, 5 and 6 in the November 6, 2012 General Municipal Election.

I received one statement. From Sophie Hahn, candidate for City Council, District 5, running against incumbent Laurie Capitelli. The City Election website indicates that she is currently a Zoning Commissioner, i.e. a member of the Zoning Adjustments Board. She recounts accomplishments and plans relative to the health, housing and transportation of our senior citizens.

None of the other, thirteen mayoral and councilor candidates provided statements. There were acknowledgments of receipt of Senior Power’s invitation from the offices of candidates Bates, Capitelli, Wengraf, and Worthington. -more-

AGAINST FORGETTING: Who Cares Most About Ordinary Americans?

By Ruth Rosen
Thursday October 04, 2012 - 01:09:00 PM

Summary: At stake, says Ruth Rosen, are two visions of the so-called American Dream. One emphasizes government and people helping each other and the other insists that individuals are on their own. Neither, however, seems to remember that that women are half the population. -more-

ON MENTAL ILLNESS: Accepting Oneself with Imperfections

By Jack Bragen
Thursday October 04, 2012 - 04:31:00 PM

It can be hard for people with mental illness to accept the idea that there is a "defect" in their brain. This is one reason, among others, why some people are in denial of the illness-there is a conflict between liking oneself, versus acknowledging what seems like a significant flaw. Newly diagnosed people must come to terms with the idea that they may have this biological "difference." -more-

Arts & Events

Berkeley Actor returns in Marin Theatre Co. "TOPDOG/UNDERDOG"

By John A. McMullen II
Sunday October 07, 2012 - 08:38:00 AM
Bowman Wright (Lincoln) left, and Biko Eisen-Martin (Booth) right

Biko Eisen-Martin (on right in photo) is a Bay Area native who has returned to co-star in Marin Theatre Company’s "TOPDOG/UNDERDOG" by Suzan-Lori Parks directed by Timothy Douglas.

He will reprise the role of Booth, the younger brother and hustler, who tries to draw older brother Lincoln back into his scams. Lincoln has gone straight and has a steady job as a black Abraham Lincoln impersonator.

Eisen-Martin taught history at Berkeley High. As a youth, Eisen-Martin attended the prestigious Branson School in Ross, arising before dawn to catch the bus from San Francisco. He was a member of “Youth Speaks,” Bay Area's first spoken word artists and educators. -more-

Bitter Seeds: Monsanto's Legacy—Debt and Mass Suicides

By Gar Smith
Saturday October 06, 2012 - 09:09:00 AM

Several years ago, I sat in a San Francisco screening room with other local film critics to watch China Blue, the second documentary in Micha X. Peled's ambitious Globalization Trilogy. China Blue shared the stories of several young men and women who had moved from rural villages to urban factories where they labored long hours producing blue jeans for US consumers. The film was by turns astonishing, amusing, and heartbreaking. At one point, I had to stumble from my seat and flee to the lobby to get a grip on my emotions. -more-

AROUND & ABOUT THEATER: John Guare's "Bosoms & Neglect" This Weekend Only At Masquers Playhouse

By Ken Bullock
Friday October 05, 2012 - 08:02:00 AM

Masquers Playhouse, 105 Park Place in downtown Point Richmond, as part of their Envision series, will be presenting that unusual black comedy by New Yorker John Guare, 'Bosoms & Neglect,' staged at the Aurora a few years back, but seldom enough seen ... & it's only through this weekend: Friday-Saturday at 8, Sunday at 2. Directed by Linda Ellinwood, with Martha Luehrman (of Actors Ensemble of Berkeley & Poor Players), David Irving & Michelle Pond. $10--or free to Masquers subscribers. 232-3888; -more-

Around & About Music: Berkeley Chamber Concerts Presents the Ives String Quartet Playing Haydn, Henry Cowell & Smetana; Grand Finale This Year's Westbrae Free Concerts—& Received! 'Long Old Road,' Smooth Toad's Latest CD

By Ken Bullock
Friday October 05, 2012 - 08:00:00 AM

—Berkeley Chamber Concerts presents the Ives String Quartet—Susan Freier, violin; Steven Harrison, cello; Jodi Levitz, viola; & Bettina Mussumeli, violin—playing Haydn's Quartet in F Major, opus 50, no. 5 "The Dream;" Henry Cowell's Quartet no. 4 "United Quartet" & Smetana's Quartet no. 1 "From My Life," 8 p. m. Tuesday, October 9, in the Ballroom of the Berkeley City Club, appropriately for Bay Area composer Cowell in particular, a 1929 Julia Morgan-designed "castle." A complimentary reception with wine & cheese will follow, giving listeners a chance to meet & speak with the musicians. (The Ives Quartet is committed to performing European classic pieces together with those by less-played American composers.) $25; high school students free; students past high school, $12.50. 525-5211; -more-

Berkeley No on S Campaign Holds Sidewalk Events Citywide Sunday

From Bob Offer-Westort, Campaign Coordinator, No on S
Friday October 05, 2012 - 08:18:00 AM

(Don't Just) Sit There… Do Something Will Highlight Absurdity of Sit/Lie Proposal, Call Attention to Ignored Proposals for Real Improvements

On Sunday, October 7, opponents of Berkeley's controversial Measure S will hold events on sidewalks all over Berkeley to educate their neighbors about the measure. If it passes, Measure S will make it a crime to sit down on sidewalks in Berkeley's commercial districts between 7 a.m. and 10 p.m. Events include a sidewalk children's circus, a yoga class, a barbecue, a tea party, hopscotch, and chalk art. The events are collectively going by the name (Don't Just) Sit There… Do Something.

Events Include: -more-

NEBA Holds Two Berkeley Election Fairs and Forums

Friday October 05, 2012 - 08:13:00 AM

The North East Berkeley Association (NEBA) will sponsor two election forums in October. -more-