The Week



Berkeley Man Shot Monday Identified by Police

By Bay City News
Wednesday February 06, 2013 - 09:13:00 PM

A man who was fatally shot on a busy Berkeley street in broad daylight late Monday morning has been identified by police as 34-year-old Zontee Jones of Berkeley. -more-

Updated: Berkeley Hills Fire Controlled; Causes Damage, No Injuries

By Jeff Shuttleworth (BCN)
Wednesday February 06, 2013 - 03:08:00 PM

A spectacular two-alarm fire caused extensive damage to a home in a heavily-wooded section of the Berkeley hills today, but there weren't any injuries to the residents or firefighters. -more-

UC Berkeley Lab Building Re-Opens after Bomb Scare

By Sasha Lekach (BCN)
Wednesday February 06, 2013 - 03:01:00 PM

Authorities have reopened streets near two buildings that were evacuated this morning after a bomb threat was reported at a University of California at Berkeley-affiliated office in Emeryville. -more-

Flash: Three-Story House Engulfed in Flames in Berkeley Hills

By Sasha Lekach (BCN)
Wednesday February 06, 2013 - 01:13:00 PM

Firefighters are tackling a one-alarm fire at a three-story home in the Berkeley Hills this afternoon, the Berkeley interim fire chief said. -more-

Press Release: Mechanics Bank Robber Arrested

From Ofc. Jennifer Coats, BPD
Wednesday February 06, 2013 - 10:54:00 AM

The City of Berkeley Police Department is announcing the arrest of James Craig Davis, 33 years old, of San Pablo, for the January 6, 2013 armed robbery of Mechanics Bank on Solano Avenue. -more-

Flash: UC Berkeley Building Evacuated after Bomb Threat

Wednesday February 06, 2013 - 10:53:00 AM

Two buildings have been evacuated this morning as police and fire crews investigate a bomb threat to a University of California at Berkeley-affiliated office in Emeryville. -more-

Flash: Delaware Street Closed After Homicide in Berkeley

By Sasha Lekach (BCN)and Planet
Monday February 04, 2013 - 04:34:00 PM

UPDATE: According to the San Francisco Chronicle, the victim has been identified as Zontee Jones of Berkeley. -more-

Flash: Homicide on Delaware Street in Berkeley This Morning

PRESS RELEASE From Officer Jennifer Coates, Berkeley Police
Monday February 04, 2013 - 04:30:00 PM

The City of Berkeley Police Department (BPD) is investigating a fatal shooting that occurred on Delaware Street near the intersection of San Pablo Avenue.

On Monday, at approximately 11:08 a.m., BPD patrol officers responded to multiple reports of shots fired, with a victim down near the intersection of Delaware Street and San Pablo Avenue. BPD officers arrived on scene and discovered a single victim down, suffering from gunshot wounds. The victim a 34 year old male was transported to a local hospital by the Albany Fire Department. The victim was pronounced deceased at the hospital. BPD will not be releasing the victim’s name out of respect for those family or friends that still need to be notified of his passing. -more-

Berkeley's Chu Resigns as Energy Secretary

By Bay City News
Friday February 01, 2013 - 04:45:00 PM

Energy Secretary Steven Chu, the Nobel Prize-winning former director of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, announced his resignation today, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.

In a letter to department employees today, Chu said that he had informed the president of his decision to leave a few days after the election, and noted that he and his wife are "eager to return to California.

"I would like to return to an academic life of teaching and research, but will still work to advance the missions that we have been working on together for the last four years," Chu said. -more-

New: Dog Walkers Urged to Stay Safe On Shore if Dogs Are Swept Out--Dogs Will Survive

By Laura Dixon (BCN)
Friday February 01, 2013 - 10:49:00 PM

The U.S. Coast Guard, National Park Service and East Bay Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals teamed up today to remind people that while dogs almost always survive being swept out to sea, their owners usually don't.

The message at East Bay SPCA headquarters in Oakland today came less than a week after Northern California saw another fatality involving a person at the beach with their dog. -more-

New: Spare the Air Today in Berkeley

By Dan McMenamin (BCN)
Friday February 01, 2013 - 04:49:00 PM

The 10th "Winter Spare the Air" alert of the season has been issued for Saturday, according to the Bay Area Air Quality Management District.

The alert means that Bay Area residents will not be able to burn wood for 24 hours because a high-pressure weather system has caused an unhealthy level of wood smoke and particle pollution in the air. -more-

Two Suspects with Guns Mug Teen Near UC Berkeley

By Sasha Lekach (BCN)
Friday February 01, 2013 - 12:43:00 PM

Early Thursday morning a teen was robbed by two men with a gun near the south side of the University of California at Berkeley campus, UC Berkeley police said.

The 19-year-old man was standing at Warring Street and Channing Way around 1:30 a.m. when he was approached by two men, later identified as an armed 21-year-old and a 24-year-old man, police said.

The 21-year-old suspect had a gun and demanded the victim's backpack, cellphone and wallet.

The victim complied and the suspects fled into a car driven by a third suspect, a 22-year-old man, police said.

UC police and Berkeley police officers searched the area for the suspects and the car, and eventually found the trio driving on state Highway 13 in Oakland. -more-

Stork With Me; Bird Puns on Fire, a One-Minute Play

By C. Denney
Monday February 04, 2013 - 02:53:00 PM

“ I lark you,” he said.
“You make me feel like a tanager,” she said.
“Stork with me,” he said. “I’ll never leave you a loon. But I’m vireo late. I can’t sparrow minute.”
“What’s thrush?” she asked.
“I kite tell you now,” he said. “Magpie later.”
“I baked a crake for you,” she said.
“Wait until ostrich my legs,” he said.
“It’s a parrot that you don’t love me any moa,” she said.
“I widgeon wasn’t true,” he replied. “From heron, it’s going to be a little auklet. You see, I accipiter invitation.”
“Chicken come with us,” she said. “I don’t mynah.” -more-



Cars? In Berkeley? Specifically, My Old Red Van?

By Becky O'Malley
Friday February 01, 2013 - 12:22:00 PM

So okay, has anyone seen a 1995 red Honda Odyssey, a small van, that doesn’t belong on their block?

Someone stole (or “borrowed”) my car on Wednesday night, darn it. -more-

The Editor's Back Fence

New: Berkeley Business Briefs

Monday February 04, 2013 - 02:28:00 PM

Wondering what will become of the old Andronico’s site on Telegraph? Forget whatever you’ve seen elsewhere. Trombonist-raconteur Mal Sharp, caught by the Planet last Wednesday playing the Bateau Ivre next door, with chanteuse Melanie O’Reilly and his band Big Money in Dixieland, says that he and Mel are putting together a group to turn it into a bowling alley. Yes, that’s right, he says that they hope to build the biggest bowling alley west of the Mississippi: 47 lanes, big neon “OPEN” sign, the works. Oh, and because it’s Berkeley, he says, for bowling shoes they plan to provide Birkenstocks. Umm-hmm. -more-


Bounce: Hello ... I must be going. (Cartoon)

By Joseph Young
Saturday February 02, 2013 - 09:54:00 PM

Public Comment

New: Gun Laws Needed

By Romila Khanna
Sunday February 03, 2013 - 09:54:00 AM

I hear a lot of arguments in favor of gun ownership and guns sales but these arguments are seldom made by people who have lost loved ones to violent crime. Unfortunately it is difficult to tell ahead of time who will use readily available guns wisely and who will use these weapons in a fit of rage or crime. Of the many imperfect ways available to reduce the senseless killing of civilians it seems best to introduce strict gun controls. -more-

A Terrible Normality

By Michael Parenti
Friday February 01, 2013 - 01:17:00 PM

Through much of history the abnormal has been the norm. This is a paradox to which we should attend. Aberrations, so plentiful as to form a terrible normality of their own, descend upon us with frightful consistency.

The number of massacres in history, for instance, are almost more than we can record. There was the New World holocaust, consisting of the extermination of indigenous Native American peoples throughout the western hemisphere, extending over four centuries or more, continuing into recent times in the Amazon region.

There were the centuries of heartless slavery in the Americas and elsewhere, followed by a full century of lynch mob rule and Jim Crow segregation in the United States, and today the numerous killings and incarcerations of Black youth by law enforcement agencies.

Let us not forget the extermination of some 200,000 Filipinos by the U.S. military at the beginning of the twentieth century, the genocidal massacre of 1.5 million Armenians by the Turks in 1915, and the mass killings of African peoples by the western colonists, including the 63,000 Herero victims in German Southwest Africa in 1904, and the brutalization and enslavement of millions in the Belgian Congo from the late 1880s until emancipation in 1960---followed by years of neocolonial free-market exploitation and repression in what was Mobutu's Zaire. -more-

Open Letter to City Attorney Laura McKinney Re West Berkeley Crime

By Jon Alff
Friday February 08, 2013 - 04:39:00 PM

Dear Ms. McKinney,

I have lived in West Berkeley for more than 18 years. I am proud of my neighborhood and have been active with my neighbors on many local projects over the years. I write you with deep gratitude for your work regarding the problems originating at 1722 Ninth Street, which is barely a block from my home.

As you know, the area has been subject to disturbing crime for years. Most of the crime originates with or involves several local properties. Everyone - residents and the Police - knows where the crime comes from. Drug houses, such as 1722 Ninth Street, and apartment buildings, such as 1011 Delaware and 1726 Tenth Street (and others), have been the primary sources of our problems. These properties have supported major drug dealing, prostitution and violent domestic situations on an ongoing rotating basis for decades. Each time something horrible happens there is a flurry of 'action'. Then everything quiets down only to return the same horrible problems once again.

Yesterday, people associated with the apartment building at 1011 Delaware Street endangered us for the second time in less than a year. Once again shots were fired. This time someone, highly suspected of drug and gang involvement, died. Thankfully, the bullets did not hit anyone else. Of course, these problems are not limited to West Berkeley - they are all over Berkeley. -more-

February Spray Times

By Grace Underpressure
Saturday February 02, 2013 - 09:48:00 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-


THE PUBLIC EYE: Chuck Hagel: Obama’s Hatchet Man?

By Bob Burnett
Friday February 01, 2013 - 12:42:00 PM

Even though he’s one of their own, many Republicans oppose President Obama’s Secretary of Defense nominee, former Senator Chuck Hagel. GOP leaders fear Hagel will be Obama’s hatchet man, leading the effort to shrink the defense budget.

Hagel is a Vietnam War veteran, an enlisted man who rose to the rank of sergeant as an infantry squad leader. A two-term Republican Senator, Hagel began as a hawk but his ardor for war diminished after he understood the mismanagement of the war in Iraq. In 2005, Hagel compared the Iraq conflict to the War in Vietnam.

If Hagel is confirmed he will oversee a bitter fight on the trajectory of the DOD budget. The 2012 budget was $646 billion – roughly 20 percent of the total US budget. But in 2013 sequestration would cut $55 Billion from the proposed budget. The current Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said such a cut would be “a disaster for national defense.” Nonetheless, many Washington pundits doubt that there would be a dramatic impact, pointing to waste in defense spending and noting the US is winding down two wars. -more-

Osama, Where Art Thou?

By Ralph E. Stone
Friday February 01, 2013 - 12:30:00 PM

Under the prevailing narrative, Osama bin Laden was killed by Navy SEALS at bin Laden's compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, on May 2, 2011, at zero dark thirty, spy-jargon for "half past midnight," the time of bin Laden's death. According to this narrative, the raid was videotaped and photographs were taken. The body was then taken to the supercarrier USS Carl Vinson where traditional procedures for an Islamic burial were followed. The body was then placed in a weighted bag and slid into the sea. -more-

ON MENTAL ILLNESS: The Folly of Trying to Be Psychic

By Jack Bragen
Friday February 01, 2013 - 04:44:00 PM

The assumption that you are “psychic” teaches the mind to come up with nonsense and treat it as reality. Attributing internal feelings, thoughts and perceptions to outside forces is very un-liberating and will create more problems. While I have experienced things that I could not explain, and that seemed to come from some kind of supernatural phenomena, I know that trying to be a psychic or participate in a belief system of a psychic group will generally spell a disaster for someone trying to recover from mental illness. -more-

Arts & Events

New: Shakespeare and Australia in Chains, plus Sarah Cahill, at the Berkeley Arts Festival, Friday-February 8, 8 pm

Friday February 01, 2013 - 10:45:00 PM

Shakespeare scholar Philippa Kelly, author of The King and I and a descendant of convicts shipped from England to Australia in chains, will discuss Across the Atlantic, Across the Pacific: Conversations About Diaspora, exploring the sense of loss and shame in the cultures of both colonial and Aboriginal Australians. She looks at how the theater, and especially the themes of King Lear, can help us understand and express racial blindness in the context of national histories of loss. Sharing the evening, Sarah Cahill performs Four Preludes by Andrew Lovett, currently visiting composer at Stanford. -more-