A man was found dead from an apparent fall in the Berkeley Hills on Wednesday evening, a University of California at Berkeley police captain said. -more-
THURSDAY UPDATE: Figures posted today were the same as those posted yesterday. So far there's no explanation of why this might be. -more-
Measure T continues to lose, now by close to 500 votes. : -more-
Updated: Oakland Council Will Decide Future of Oakland-Berkeley Border Safeway on December 18 Based on Settlement with Neighbors
The Oakland City Council tonight agreed to postpone until December 18 their final decision on Safeway's proposed expansion of their store at College and Claremont on the Oakland-Berkeley border.
It was announced this afternoon that Safeway had reached a settlement agreement with a trio of neighborhood organizations who have appealed the Oakland planning commission's decision to grant Safeway the permits they sought in their initial proposal.
The settlement reduces the size of the new building to 45,500 gross square feet, puts parking on the roof and provides up to an hour of free parking for shoppers at other nearby stores.
At tonight's meeting, all councilmembers praised Councilmember Jane Brunner for mediating the agreement. Some stressed points in the deal that they wanted planning staff to examine carefully. The staff will work with Safeway to create a revised proposal that reflects the terms of the agreement, which Brunner's office has made public. -more-
The No votes continue to lead on Berkeley Measure C, a proposal to rezone several large West Berkeley land holdings. -more-
Safeway has released this statement about the settlement with College/Claremont neighbors: -more-
The Rockridge Community Planning Council and Berkeleyans for Pedestrian-Oriented Development (BPOD), the two groups who appealed the Planning Commission's approval of the College Avenue Safeway Project, along with FANS (who was not an appellant) have reached a tentative settlement with Safeway.
The settlement reduces the size of the project by 8,000 sq. ft. It also moves the Safeway store down to ground level, with screened rooftop parking, and opens up a pedestrian plaza east of 63rd St. between College & Claremont. Safeway has agreed to eliminate the project’s parking deficit, as well as to pay for residential permit parking within the surrounding two-block area. There are numerous other benefits included in the settlement. They will be spelled out at tonight’s hearing. The settlement was reached as a result of a mediation effort undertaken by District One Council Member Jane Brunner. -more-
A settlement between Safeway and neighbors who were opposed to the chain's planned expansion on College and Claremont has been reached, according to a report published on berkeleyside.com and attributed to a Safeway press release. The Berkeley Daily Planet has been aware of the settlement since yesterday, when we received a copy of an email detailing its terms, but we have honored the request of settlement participants from FANS, the neighborhood organizers, and the Rockridge Planning Council to hold the story until after the Oakland City Council meets tonight at 5:30 at the Oakland City Hall. More details will be published later this evening after the meeting. -more-
Updated: Post-Election Vote Count: Berkeley's Measure T Is Losing by More Than 400 Votes; Measure S is Firmly Defeated
Tuesday update: Measure T still lags; has little chance of passing
About 2400-2500 more votes were counted today by the Registrar in Oakland. Measure T picked up only 5 votes, reducing its vote deficit from 472 to 467. But with the count expected to be largely over tomorrow, there is little likelihood that the measure will pass.
Measure T is the only undecided race in Berkeley. Measure S, the anti-sitting measure, is now losing by over 2000 votes, a 52% to 48% margin. Measure N, the pools bond measure, has 62.3%, well short of the required two-thirds. Rent board candidates Judy Shelton, Asa Dodsworth and Alejandro Soto-Vigil from the Progressive Affordable Housing slate, and Judy Hunt from the landlord-financed TUFF slate appear to have been elected. There is a small chance that Igor Tregub, the fourth member of the progressive slate will catch up with Soto-Vigil, who leads him by 155 votes for fourth place. At one point in the count, Tregub was only 13 votes behind Soto-Vigil. -more-
The one Nobel Prize you won’t hear announced is for Mathematics―because, in contrast to Chemistry, Physics, and Literature, there is no Nobelity in Math. Rumor has it that it’s because of a sex scandal: Alfred Nobel’s wife had an affair with a mathematician. -more-
The main reason why right-minded people dislike the Republicans is probably that Republicans are mean. Republicans don't care if other people who are not in the rich mean people's club experience suffering. Republicans don't care about helping their fellow human being unless there is something in it for them. They are willing to amass huge piles of wealth while others nearby are starving. They go to church every Sunday and get forgiven because they need to get some relief from the ever-present guilt of being nasty people. -more-
Current situation and background -more-
What a joy to win the uphill battle on behalf of the California tax measure, Prop 30. The grass roots effort to win Prop 30 was immense. The Berkeley based Tax the Rich group which in alliance with The Wellstone Democratic Party encouraged hundreds of activists to reach thousands of likely voters. We organized a vigorous people's campaign, which was more effective than the tens of millions of dollars that the super-rich spent to defeat it. -more-
Well, election day has come and gone, and have we learned anything?
One thing which we seem to have learned is that despite all the weeping and gnashing of teeth by certain parties, Americans seem to think that Barack Obama is doing as well as can be expected under the circumstances. That’s sort of a mandate: You have our permission not to screw up. Nothing wrong with that, but the guy’s still walking a tightrope.
The difference between 2008 and 2012 is that the penalty for trying something bolder is much less, thanks to term limits. Whatever he does, Obama will be out in four years, and that must feel like liberation.
Let’s hope he takes advantage of the opportunity and proposes trying something radical like—oh, I don’t know—taxing the rich. Dealing with immigration. Closing Guantanamo. Improving health care. Replacing No Child Left Behind with something better, not just more of the same. Pursuing a real Keynesian stimulus program instead of the watered-down imitation he tried in the first term. Spending the money on things we really need: not more school buildings, but more teachers. We all have lots of ideas about what he could do, don’t we?
Here in Berkeley, the situation is a bit different. The Mayor-for-Life, free from the nasty constraints imposed by term limits, has been re-elected by Berkeleyans who have a strong emotional investment in believing that—cue up the tune from Bernstein’s Candide—This is the Best of All Possible Worlds. In fact, all the incumbents were re-elected. No surprise—we love eating our organic lotuses, and we boast of having the best restaurants in the world to cook them up and serve them to us on silver platters .
Some fun has been made in other quarters of the headline in a local “news site” over a post-election insider interview with Bates: “Mayor Bates hails election as harbinger of change.” I’m not sure the headline writer didn’t have a certain ironic consciousness in writing that line—since by design not much is going to change under the new term won by the old regime. -more-
On November 6th Barack Obama defeated Mitt Romney with 50.3 percent of the popular vote and a surprising 332 electoral votes. Here are the top ten reasons Romney tanked. -more-
In September 2011, President Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian leader, formally requested full United Nations membership for his as yet undefined country. The initiative developed during a two-year impasse in negotiations with Israel that followed the latter's refusal to freeze its settlement activities in the West Bank. The request failed because Palestine was unable to garner enough support in the UN Security Council, and faced strong opposition, including the threat of veto, from the United States. -more-
One of the ways a person with mental illness might avoid a premature death is to keep up with their health. A part of this is to get a sleep study. Sleep apnea is a condition in which breathing during sleep is hindered by an obstruction in the airway. Researchers believe it can cause a whole slew of problems, including but not limited to depression and/or a worsening of other psychiatric conditions. -more-
Arts & Events
Cosi fan tutti, the charming Mozart/Da Ponte opera, will be presented for one night only, Friday November 30, by Dazzling Diva Productions, Jonathan Khuner (of Berkeley West Edge Opera) conducting, and Eliza O'Malley producing, directing--and singing the role of Floridiligi--at the Berkeley Piano Club. -more-
Giulio Cesare Perrone, one of the most talented theater designers here, and formerly with both the Grotowski Institute in Italy and Dell'Arte Theater School at Blue Lake near Eureka, has written, directed and designed a new adaptation of 'Dracula,' one that plays up the power of suggestion, possession and somnambulism, for his Inferno Theatre, the European-style physical theater company that performed notably at the Berkeley City Club in Perrone's 'Galileo's Daughters' and 'The Iliad' the past two years. Inferno's a unique company in the Bay Area. -more-
Miles Graber, pianist, and Joe Neeman, violinist, will play Berkeley Chamber Performances second 20th anniversary season concert this Tuesday evening at 8 in the ballroom of the Berkeley City Club, with a program including Mozart's Sonata in D flat major, K454; Beethoven's Sonata in C minor, Opus 20, No. 2; Duo Concertante by Stravinsky; Estonian composer Avo Part's Fratres and Polish composer Witold Lutoslawski's Subito, written just before his death for Anne-Sofie Mutter. The concert will be followed by a complimentary wine and cheese reception for the audience to meet the artists.
2315 Durant Avenue, between Dana and Ellsworth. $25; students through high school, free; post-secondary school students, $12.50. 848-7800; berkeleychamberconcerts.org< -more-
Fame High: When Tomorrow's Young Stars Go to Make the Grade--Plays one night: Sunday, November 11, 7:15 PM, Shattuck Theaters
At the Los Angeles County High School for the Arts (LACHSA), "all the school's a stage." A proving ground for over-achievers and multi-taskers, LACHSA challenges a select community of teens to excel academically — researching essays, passing grueling tests — while leading parallel lives, honing their talents as singers, dancers, and actors. And the ground rules are clear: you may play piano like Thelonius Monk, but you aren't going to graduate if you can't make the grade in algebra. -more-
In cinema, documentaries constitute the literature of life. And, on that basis, the latest, 11th edition of SF DocFest rolls into town like a bookmobile for the eyes. Pouring over this DocFest selections — an eclectic list of more than 50 domestic and foreign films set to light up screens in SF and Berkeley from November 8-21— leads one to wonder: What combination of talent and luck does it take to find and film the offbeat tales and oddball personalities that define these projects? While a gifted writer of can endow fictional characters with fatal foibles or superpowers, it would be hard to imagine a novel populated by characters as delightful and daft as some of the protagonists on display in this year's DocFest. -more-
Torange Yeghiazarian's Golden Thread Productions is in the midst of staging its annual ReOrient festival of contemporary plays from and about the Middle East. One of the most important theatrical companies in the Bay Area—or anywhere in North America—Golden Thread brings top quality collaborators to bear on a double string of short plays of immediate importance. -more-
Editior's Note: Who knew? Berkeley Unified School District's ex-Superintendent Jack McLaughlin has written a roman-a-clef about Our Town (but no competition with Thornton Wilder, I imagine.) For the full details, here's the press release we got from the "supported self-publishing provider:" -more-
Around & About Theater: Aurora Opens Wilder Nights; Ram Das 'Acid Test' at the Marsh—& a Few Richards: 'Richard the First' at Central Works & Actors Ensemble of Berkeley's 'Richard III'
—Aurora's opening a selection of Thornton Wilder's one-acts (Thursday, November 8 through December 9), directed by founding Artistic Director Barbara Oliver: "Infancy" (1962), "Childhood" ('62), "The Happy Journey to Trenton and Camden" (1931) and "The Long Christmas Dinner" ('31)—the latter, his most famous one-act, with its time-lapse view of human lifetimes through a family feast, may've been part inspiration for Orson Welles' famous montage of a marriage at the breakfast table, failing over the years, in 'Citizen Kane.' It was made into an opera by Paul Hindemith. -more-
Around & About Music & Theater: International Operas at SF World Music Festival--including Free Shows
The San Francisco World Music Festival is celebrating its 13th year, and this weekend at the SF JCC there will be an extraordinary run of opera, or operatic forms, from around the world, including early Italian opera (Monteverdi) and Chinese opera, just to name two of the more familiar forms. -more-
Minutes after the third and last Presidential debate- the one on foreign policy--was over on TV, Mort Sahl came onstage at the 142 Throckmorton Theatre in Mill Valley and opened his show by quipping: "What was the argument? Who is the best friend of the Jewish people! ... Either one of them would make a splendid prime minister of Israel. ... When he visited Israel, Obama went to the Holocaust Museum first. And Romney claims to be an intimate of Netanyahu. Romney wants to do what? Buy those countries in the Middle East--and consolidate them!" -more-
Matias Tarnopolsky of Cal Performances has initiated a series of residencies here with major orchestras and conductors--and this month, there are two, the first with Esa-Pekka Salonen and the London Philharmonia this weekend ... and later this month with Gustavo Dudamel and the Simon Bolivar Symphony Orchestra of Venezuela. -more-
Locals have the opportunity to look at some of the most interesting design work of famed architect Julia Morgan on a tour this coming Sunday, November 18, 2012. Organized by the Berkeley Architectural Heritage Association (BAHA) the afternoon tour takes in ten buildings, including all the structures designed by Morgan standing on the UC Berkeley campus, the elaborate Berkeley City Club, and three off-campus houses Morgan designed as private homes which are now used as student living groups. -more-
Protest on Wednesday, Nov 14 at 11:30 at the Berkeley Post Office, 2000 Allston Street
Comment at the United States Post Office Public Hearing TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 20th, 2012 @ 7:00 PM Florence Schwimley Little Theater Berkeley High School 1980 Alston Way, Berkeley -more-
Press Release: "Saints & Prophets" Return to Berkeley Council Supporting Homeless Youth Services Leveraging Proposal on Tuesday Agenda
Ten saints & prophets (giant puppets) representing diverse faith traditions including St. Martin des Porres, Our Lady of Guadelupe, Rabbi Hillel, Gandhi and others will be escorting formerly homeless youth leaders from Berkeley's Youth Spirit Artworks as they hold an interfaith prayer circle supporting their proposal to leverage existing homeless youth services to create a day time space for homeless youth. The Tuesday night event will take place at 6pm at Maudelle Shirek Old City Hall, 2134 MLK Jr. Way, Berkeley. -more-