The Week



New: What is the California Real Estate Independent Expenditure Committee, and What Are They Doing in Berkeley?

By Thomas Lord
Thursday November 01, 2012 - 09:50:00 AM

The Moore (District 2) and Capitelli (District 5) campaigns for city council have received support, in the form of mailings and on-line advertising, from an independent expenditure committee known as CREIEC: The California Real Estate Independent Expenditure Committee. -more-

New: Councilmember/Realtor Capitelli and the Police Chief’s $500,000 House Loan from the City of Berkeley

By Zelda Bronstein
Wednesday October 31, 2012 - 09:35:00 AM

On November 10, 2009, Laurie Capitelli joined the rest of the Berkeley City Council in approving the appointment of Michael Meehan as the City’s new police chief, effective December 13, 2009. The resolution of approval authorized “a housing assistance loan of up to $500,000 for the purchase of a residence within the City of Berkeley”.

In 2010 Chief Meehan moved into a home in the Thousand Oaks neighborhood in north Berkeley. I assume that he used his $500,000 loan from the City to purchase that property, which sold for $1,185,000. The seller used an agent from Northbrae Properties; the buyer used Red Oak real estate agent and Berkeley Councilmember Laurie Capitelli. -more-

Updated: Real Estate Committee Pays for Mailers and Ads for Berkeley Council Candidates Moore and Capitelli

By Becky O'Malley
Wednesday October 31, 2012 - 08:19:00 AM

On October 29 the California Real Estate Independent Expenditure Committee, based in Los Angeles, filed two Supplemental Independent Expenditure Reports with the City of Berkeley documenting expenditures of close to $20,000 each made on behalf of incumbent candidates for the Berkeley City Council Darryl Moore and Laurie Capitelli. -more-

New: Worthington Slams Berkeley City Management of Two-Week Voicemail Outages

By Jeff Shuttleworth (BCN)
Wednesday October 31, 2012 - 11:32:00 AM

Berkeley City Councilman Kriss Worthington today criticized city leaders for what he said was their poor response to problems with the city's voicemail system the past 13 days. -more-

New: Who Manages the Economy Better, Republicans or Democrats? (News Analysis)

By Arthur I. Blaustein
Wednesday October 31, 2012 - 09:57:00 AM

Most Americans have one eye on the nation’s economic crises and the other on the presidential election. And they are asking themselves, “Are the Democrats or the Republicans better for the economic health of the country as well as for my own financial well-being?” That is the defining question of this election. -more-

New: Former Berkeley Mayor Dean Charges Candidate Capitelli with Violating State Campaign Law

By Becky O'Malley
Tuesday October 30, 2012 - 06:25:00 PM

At today’s meeting of Berkeley’s Fair Campaign Practices Commission, more charges of illegal practices by campaigns for Berkeley’s November 6 election were filed.

Former Berkeley Mayor Shirley Dean sent a letter to the Commission alleging that the Re-Elect Laurie Capitelli for City Council 2012 Committee violated state law by featuring a photo of a police officer in uniform on a District 5 campaign mailer. Dean said that this is “a clear and misleading violation of State Law California Government Code Title 1, Division 4, Chapter 9.5, Section 3206” which states that “No officer or employee of a local agency shall participate in political activities of any kind while in uniform.”

She said that the photo of the officer pictured on the mailer in uniform and with badge and weapon was “taken on the steps of the City of Berkeley Ronald T. Tsukamoto Public Safety Building” and thus “misleads the reader into believing the officer is a City of Berkeley employee.” A copy of the mailer was attached to her complaint.

The caption under the photo says that “My son has been a police officer …for over 15 years.” Presumably the person in the photo is Capitelli’s son; the mailer does not say where he works. -more-

New: Anonymous Email Tip Alerts Police to Potential Bomb on UC Berkeley Campus

By Sasha Lekach (BCN)
Tuesday October 30, 2012 - 06:22:00 PM

An anonymous tip about a potential bomb on the University of California of Berkeley campus was emailed to UC Berkeley police this afternoon, a UC Berkeley police captain said. -more-

Press Release: [Berkeley Headed for Football Hell]: Friday Night Game at Memorial Stadium

From Mary Kay Clunies-Ross
Tuesday October 30, 2012 - 06:15:00 PM

On November 2, the University of California, Berkeley will play the season’s first-ever Friday night football game. The game will be nationally televised and is scheduled to begin at 6 p.m., but please note that parking and traffic congestion will begin much earlier, and Berkeley residents and visitors are urged to plan ahead and take public transportation. -more-

New: UC Law Clinic Report Says Sit-Lie Prohibitions Don't Work as Promised by Sponsors

By Bob Offer-Westort
Sunday October 28, 2012 - 08:58:00 PM

Yesterday, the UC Berkeley School of Law Policy Advocacy Clinic released a report entitled Does Sit-Lie Work: Will Berkeley’s “Measure S” Increase Economic Activity and Improve Services to Homeless People?. The answer, in brief, seems to be No: -more-

Rent Board Slate Group Charged with Violating Berkeley Campaign Finance Laws (News Analysis)

By Rob Wrenn
Thursday October 25, 2012 - 03:47:00 PM

A slate mailer organization (SMO), Berkeley Tenants United For Fairness (TUFF), has used a major portion of the $25,000 in large contributions ostensibly given in opposition to Measure U, to finance two mailers largely devoted to support of the four rent board candidates on the TUFF slate that includes incumbent commissioner Nicole Drake. Berkeley law limits individual contributions to candidates to $250. -more-

Berkeley Photographer Wins US Stamp of Approval

By Gar Smith
Friday October 26, 2012 - 01:23:00 PM

It's not everyday that you find a table set up atop of the steps of Berkeley's iconic Main Post Office. But it's not everyday that a hometown photographer has his or her work chosen to grace a US postage stamp. -more-

"Clean Coal" (First Person)

By Daniel Borgström
Thursday October 25, 2012 - 05:37:00 PM

"Clean Coal." Really? I heard the debate the other night and the president was promoting it. Yes, tell me about "Clean Coal"! My father died of black lung. It was a slow, agonizing death, several years in the making, till at last it did him in. -more-

The Berkeley Election in the Planet: Past Issues

Sunday October 28, 2012 - 12:28:00 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, with editorial endorsements at the top of the stack. -more-

The Planet's November 6 Ballot Recommendations

By the Berkeley Daily Planet Editorial Board
Thursday October 25, 2012 - 11:22:00 AM

Below you'll find a list of the Planet's endorsements for the November 6 election. -more-



The Nose on Berkeley's Yes on T Committee Grows Even Longer

By Becky O'Malley
Friday October 26, 2012 - 01:24:00 PM

Oy veh, as the wise men used to say in my old neighborhood. The election news just gets more and more annoying. A friend quotes her late father, complete with old country accent: “The shtupids, they’re everywhere.” Around the nation and even (or especially) here in Berkeley.

What’s even more annoying this week is how some participants in the political process have taken to making things up. At least in the last debate President Obama called out what’s-his-name on that big whopper about the non-existent apology tour.

Whoppers abound, there, here and everywhere this season. In Berkeley we have the coyly named Coalition for a Sustainable West Berkeley (listed in city filings as Coalition for a Sustainable West Berkeley for Measure T, hereinafter CSWBMT). They’ve been sending expensive glossy products to my house on a regular basis.

As documented here and also on, CSWBMT has claimed on a couple of their shiny mailers that they’re endorsed by Service Employees International Union 1021, the union local that represents public employees throughout Northern California.

And that was—a Giant Whopper, Berkeley-style.

How could this happen? Curiosity got the better of me last night, and I dropped in on a special meeting of Berkeley’s Fair Campaign Practices Commission, where I witnessed a remarkable performance which I might previously have thought could happen only in Chicago. -more-

The Editor's Back Fence

Planet Endorsements Now Online

Thursday October 25, 2012 - 10:40:00 PM

Okay, okay, okay, thanks for the emails and the calls asking where the short-form summary was--the last one was from my mother. The organized version of the official Berkeley Daily Planet endorsements can be found by clicking here. And thanks Jesse, Daniella and Mom for catching mistakes even before the Next Issue was officially published. -more-

Public Comment

New: Zoo Executives’ Backroom Deals on Measure A1

By Ruth Malone
Wednesday October 31, 2012 - 09:50:00 AM

Good government requires transparency and open public debate of the issues. The Brown Act was passed in 1953 to address concerns that governing bodies were avoiding public scrutiny by holding secret meetings. In 1968 the California Public Records Act furthered open government by requiring that records be disclosed to the public upon request. When open government is sidestepped and discussions and decisions occur in secrecy, bad public policy decisions may result. The placement of Measure A1 on the November 6 Alameda County ballot reveals how backroom negotiations are employed by politically connected players to try to suppress dissent-- at the expense of good government.

Measure A1 is a 25-year, irrevocable parcel tax measure apparently first discussed by the Alameda County board of supervisors at a retreat meeting on May 8th. However, neither the Agenda nor the Minutes of this meeting, which Zoo executives apparently attended, mention anything about the Oakland Zoo or a parcel tax measure, so the public would have no way to know such a measure was contemplated or to attend the discussion, much less to organize opposition. However, an article in the San Jose Mercury News (an out-of-county newspaper) reported on the tax measure discussion. After reading this article, Friends of Knowland Park repeatedly attempted to obtain copies of the materials discussed by the supervisors. They were told that no one knew anything about a Zoo parcel tax measure.

No mention of the measure ever appeared on any agendas or minutes until the July 24th meeting when the measure was approved for the ballot at the last possible moment, right before the summer recess. Because Measure A1 was likely to elicit strong public opposition, given the fact that the measure allowed the funds to be used to pay for a highly controversial Zoo expansion into unspoiled Knowland Park, it appears that the measure’s proponents hoped to get it on the ballot without opponents’ knowledge, thus increasing the chance that there would be no ballot argument against it. The plan would have succeeded, were it not for that article. (Thank goodness for what remains of our free, independent press!) -more-

New: Why I'm Voting for Max Anderson

Jane Stillwater
Wednesday October 31, 2012 - 08:14:00 AM

I love South Berkeley's new farmers' market location and look forward to shopping there every Tuesday -- but this last Tuesday? Not so much. Why? Because as I was happily browsing among the vegetables, a campaign worker for Dmitri Belser came up and verbally harassed me.

"Vote for Dmitri," she ordered me at first.

"Er, uh, sorry, but, er, actually I want to vote for Max Anderson..." Wrong thing to say! -more-

For the record: a message from your firefighters and police officers:

By James Geissinger President, Berkeley Fire Fighters Association
Monday October 29, 2012 - 03:17:00 PM

Time is short now to clear up some misinformation that’s crept into Berkeley’s political scene since the Berkeley Fire Fighters’ and Police Officers’ Associations both enthusiastically endorsed Sophie Hahn for District 5 councilmember: -more-

New: Support Change: Voting Recommendations

By Tim Hansen, with the help of friends
Wednesday October 31, 2012 - 10:20:00 AM

Many of us feel uneasy about the direction Berkeley is going. We believe it is time for a change. If one looks, the signs are everywhere:

New: Romney's Sense-Defying Proposals

By Jack Bragen
Monday October 29, 2012 - 03:32:00 PM

Having watched Mitt Romney on television including during the presidential debates, I believe he is a good person. It is noteworthy that President Obama and Governor Romney have both been civilized campaigners; and there does not appear to be any real animosity between the two. This is different than how it was when George W. Bush ran, both for election and re-election. The campaigns for and against George W. Bush did not refrain from nastiness, including the time in which the Supreme Court was involved. -more-

New: Vote NO on Measure A1? How could I ask you to vote against Animal Care?

By Anita Wah
Monday October 29, 2012 - 03:29:00 PM

Over the past three weeks, my mailbox has been inundated with glossy flyers and giant postcards exhorting me to vote YES on A1 for Animal Care, the 25-year parcel tax that would benefit the Oakland Zoo. One four-page flyer describes the pitiful state of the zoo’s infrastructure, including “plumbing and drainage systems [that] are over 40 years old” and “leaking reptile exhibits.” A second flyer exhorts me to “Help Our Animals & Kids” and features a handwritten message from Maya, age 10, who likes “going to the zoo” and pleads with me to “help take care of my friend Leonard.” It’s followed by a third flyer with a lovely photo of the majestic lion himself, detailing Leonard’s history of abuse before coming to the Oakland Zoo, and explaining the need for my tax money to buy him “milk & raw eggs.” A giant postcard arrives, with a cute lion cartoon assuring me that A1 will “provide animals with food & fresh water.” By the time the last postcard comes through the door, crying, “Leonard & Sandy Need You!” and reminding me that the money from A1 “Buys Lion treats,” I am wondering whether the folks from the Oakland Zoo inhabit an alternate universe. I can’t imagine how the Zoo could afford this expensive mail campaign when they are so financially strapped that they need a parcel tax to fund basics such as food, fresh water, and plumbing repair. -more-

No on Berkeley Measure S: Sitting on the Sidewalk is a Time-Honored Tradtion

By ChristopheRobin Byers
Sunday October 28, 2012 - 12:21:00 PM

One decision Berkeley voters will be making in the upcoming election is whether to make the simple act of sitting on the sidewalk illegal. Proponents of Measure S say it is needed, because people sitting on the sidewalk in Berkeley’s retail areas are discouraging people from patronizing local shops. They go so far as to suggest this is one of the main reasons why many local businesses cannot afford to hire new employees. I would argue that most of the troubles that both local merchants and the homeless experience have more to do with the current recession than anything else. -more-

West Berkeley Thrives as a Manufacturing Ecology

By Bernard Marszalek
Thursday October 25, 2012 - 05:19:00 PM

A house does not make a home. In the same way, only homes make a neighborhood. In both cases, human agency transforms the material into the social. -more-

Yes on Measure V: Let’s avoid the fate of California’s bankrupt cities

By Priscilla Myrick
Thursday October 25, 2012 - 04:59:00 PM

Recently two major California cities, Stockton and San Bernardino, have declared bankruptcy. Other cities are following suit. Maybe Stockton and San Bernardino needed a Measure V. -more-

The City of Berkeley's Borrowing

By Ted Edlin
Friday October 26, 2012 - 09:44:00 AM

Ever since the housing collapse the news outlets have been telling us about the bad behavior of people who refinance their mortgages and then take out a larger mortgage at a lower interest rate and take the difference in cash and go on a vacation. -more-

New: Election Year 2012

By Romila Khanna
Wednesday October 31, 2012 - 08:17:00 AM

Why are fact checkers not providing accurate information to the public regarding the candidates standing for election? We need to be very careful with our votes on November 6, 2012. If we don’t pay attention to electing the right President at this critical time, we will see the downfall of middle and low-income people. We need a President who speaks for the underprivileged and worries about their access to healthcare. We need a President who supports each citizen’s right to improve her or his situation, particularly through skills training, community colleges and four-year colleges. It is well-known that those who have the skills to make a living are not likely to take up lives of crime. The ultimate wealth of a nation consists of the spirit of all its people. Let’s elect a President who speaks for us all. -more-

“We Can’t Allow the People to Steal This Election!”

By Barb Weir
Thursday October 25, 2012 - 11:12:00 PM

Plucky megacorporations Chevron and American Beverage Association take on powerful grassroots activists Marilyn Langlois and Eduardo Martinez in Richmond, California. -more-

New: The Nobel Peace Prize for War

By Michael Parenti
Thursday October 25, 2012 - 05:29:00 PM

Those who own the wealth of nations take care to downplay the immensity of their holdings while emphasizing the supposedly benign features of the socio-economic order over which they preside. With its regiments of lawmakers and opinion-makers, the ruling hierarchs produce a never-ending cavalcade of symbols, images, and narratives to disguise and legitimate the system of exploitative social relations existing between the 1% and the 99%. -more-


New: THE PUBLIC EYE: Four Keys to an Obama Victory

By Bob Burnett
Monday October 29, 2012 - 03:40:00 PM

Ten days before the presidential election, Barack Obama and Mitt Romney are locked in a tight contest. The Obama campaign needs to do four things to pull victory out of the fire. -more-

AGAINST FORGETTING: US Presidential Debate: America’s National Insecurity

By Ruth Rosen
Thursday October 25, 2012 - 05:13:00 PM

Presidential candidates usually frame national security in terms of foreign policy – relations between nations, including their treaties, military agreements, arms sales, foreign aid and military action. But if a President’s most important job is to protect the welfare of his nation’s citizens, then this foreign policy frame is actually a narrow, militaristic, euphemistic way of avoiding talking about our real need for national security. -more-

THE PUBLIC EYE: Obama Finds Mojo, Wins Final Debate

By Bob Burnett
Thursday October 25, 2012 - 05:06:00 PM

Barack Obama and Mitt Romney entered the October 22nd presidential debate with different objectives. Obama needed to build upon the momentum from his last debate victory. Romney had to convince voters he is qualified to serve as Commander-in-chief. Obama succeeded because he found his voice. -more-

ECLECTIC RANT: Tasers May Not Be As Safe As Advertised

By Ralph E. Stone
Thursday October 25, 2012 - 04:51:00 PM

According to Wikipedia , a taser is an electroshock weapon sold by Taser International, Inc. It uses electric current to disrupt voluntary control of muscles causing neuromuscular incapacitation. Someone struck by a Taser experiences stimulation of his or her sensory nerves and motor nerves, resulting in strong involuntary muscle contractions. Tasers do not rely only on pain compliance, except when used in Drive Stun mode, and are thus preferred by some law enforcement over non-Taser stun guns and other electronic control weapons. -more-

ON MENTAL ILLNESS: Diverse Levels of "Functioning"

By Jack Bragen
Thursday October 25, 2012 - 05:34:00 PM

In many of my columns, I admit, I have made assumptions about persons with mental illness. The profile I have used has been of people who are usually not employed, who require daily medication, and for whom living a normal existence is a challenge. For the most part, I have used myself as an example, and as a source of information. I suffer from paranoid schizophrenia as well as a mood disorder. I can't do a lot of the things you might assume "normal" people can do. -more-

Arts & Events

Around & About Theater: Last Minute Announcement, One Night Only--Dan Carbone in 'Kingdom of Not' & 'Up From the Ground'--Tonight Only

By Ken Bullock
Friday October 26, 2012 - 02:16:00 PM

Performance artist Dan Carbone will stage a rare performance of his 'Kingdom of Not' & 'Up From the Ground,' weird pieces he describes as "employing live projection by Bulk Foodveyor, puppets, monologues, French Lessons, songs about demon children, demon blackbirds, demon dogs, demon Eskimos and most other popular demon themes, beloved by all peoples." At 'Crack,' 1823 Ninth Street at Hearst, Berkeley (side building to Good Shepherd Church). 8:30. $10/sliding scale. -more-

Around & About Music: Nancarrow At 100--remarkable Celebration of Composer, November 2-4, UC Berkeley Venues

By Ken Bullock
Friday October 26, 2012 - 02:15:00 PM

"Every time Conlon punched a hole, the world got more interesting." - Robert Willey

Composer Conlon Nancarrow, praised in the most extravagant terms by figures in music as diverse as Gyorgi Ligeti ("the greatest discovery since Webern and Ives!"), John Cage ("Conlon's music has such an outrageous, original character, it's literally shocking") and Frank Zappa ("fabulous ... It'll kill you!"), would be 100 this year--and Other Minds, in conjunction with Cal Performances and the Berkeley Art Museum/Pacific Film Archive, is celebrating in style. Nancarrow, who fought for the Republican cause in the Spanish Civil War, later moving to Mexico City to escape political harassment, spent decades composing primarily for pianola--player piano--inspired by Henry Cowell. His works are dense, diverse, beyond the capabilities of even four-handed human playing ... His pianolas and piano rolls themselves the realia of his works of art. His music was seldom heard, only recorded once, until Other Minds founder (and former KPFA programmer) Charles Amirkhanian produced several records on the 1740 Arch label in Berkeley over 30 years ago. -more-

Theater Review: 'Richard the First,' a Trilogy of Plays by Gary Graves--Central Works at the Berkeley City Club

By Ken Bullock
Monday October 29, 2012 - 03:35:00 PM

"I need to pray in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, where all sins are forgiven!"

Richard Coeur de Lion, The Lionheart ... Richard the First of England, Duke of Aquitaine, of Normandy and Gascony, Lord of Cyprus, Count of Anjou, of Maine and Nantes, Overlord of Brittany ... Malek al-Inkitar to Arabic speakers ...

So many titles and monickers, so many legends, from the 12th century, on, legends of his courage and subtlety--and ruthlessness--in war, of his mission as crusader, his capture for ransom on return and supposed discovery by the troubadour Blondel. These legends were taken up again--and added to--by Sir Walter Scott in 'Ivanhoe' and 'The Talisman,' the first linking him with Robin Hood, the second bringing up the old legend of the Ismaili "Assassins" during the Crusades. He's a major player in William Goldman's witty play 'The Lion on Winter,' as one of the scheming sons of Henry II and Eleanor of Aquitaine, played in the film by Antony Hopkins ...

Now Gary Graves, co-director of Central Works, has written an ambitious trilogy on Richard, staged with equal ambition--and great verve--by Jan Zvaifler, the troupe's other director. A kind of intimate epic is unfolding in the confines of the City Club where Central Works has been in residence for years, taking its audiences on whirlwind tours of medieval Britain, Europe, the Mediterranean and the Levant, as absorbing an entertainment as any offered by bigger theaters with greater budgets--indeed, more so--or many cinema blockbusters. -more-

Around & About Theater: Ragged Wing Ensemble's 'Within the Wheel'--Free Performances in Live Oak Park Installations

By Ken Bullock
Monday October 29, 2012 - 03:23:00 PM

"How does death look, taste, smell, feel? What's it like on the other side of the wheel?"

For Hallowe'en, Ragged Wing Ensemble, our local physical theater troupe, is staging their third annual Fall show--again for free--in six interactive art/performance installations in Live Oak Park, continuous performances from 6-8 p. m. (last entry: 7:30) Thursdays through Saturdays until November 3, with a special Hallowe'en show this coming Wednesday the 31. A half dozen more dates left for their innovative, Ensemble-created experience, directed by co-founder Anna Shneiderman, inspired by the Tibetan book of the Dead, using hospice interviews ... Live music, visual design and the immediate physicality of Ragged Wing's dedicated performers. Info at: including a Virtual Site that expands on the production in process. Live Oak Park, Shattuck at Berryman, a block north of the North Berkeley business district and Gourmet Ghetto. -more-

Nureyev: A Life in Dance

By Dorothy Snodgrass
Thursday October 25, 2012 - 05:36:00 PM

Over the past several years I've attended many outstanding art exhibits at the deYoung Museum in Golden Gate Park. But none have been as exhilarating as the current show, "Rudolph Nureyev: A Life in Dance." Beautifully staged by Brad Rosenstein, the Museum's curator, walking through the exhibit is an absolute, if exhausting, joy! -more-